Why you need to be doing accessory work

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We are all different. We all have different backgrounds, imbalances, injury history, mobility issues, and limitations. I truly believe it is up to the athlete to be responsible enough to learn about their own bodies through education, trial and error, and proper screening. It is our responsibility as coaches to educate, empower, and enlighten our athletes on this topic. What is “Accessory” work? It is any type of isolation work to bring up any lagging area that you are aware of. This can be strength work, structural work, single leg or arm, stability work, and/or mobility. Adding 1-3 days a week of a 15-20 minute session will gradually improve these areas and make you a better athlete. One’s overall performance will improve, and compensation will diminish, thus leading to a lesser chance of injury. Here are some examples of muscle groups that we have found that are usually lagging and some exercises that can bring them up to par. In my opinion there is no right or wrong rep scheme or loading. Proper form, posture, muscular engagement and position are key. Glutes (Extremely common in today’s society) Good Mornings (All variations) Banded Monster Walks Bottom’s up single leg lateral step ups (Start from bottom position and let lead leg go up) Romanian Deadlfits ( Single & Double leg variations) Overhead Stability Therband Work Serratus Anterior Pulldowns (Single arm, Double arm variations) External Rotations Powell Raise Lat Pulldowns (Yep, I said it) Upper Body Pulling Strength Bicep Curls Bar Hang Holds (Single & Double Arms) Farmer Carries Upper Body Pushing Strength Tricep Pressdowns Tricep Kickbacks Tricep Extensions Static Holding in locked out arm position Core Work Static Holding (L sit, Knee Tuck, Arch Hold or Back Extension) Compression – (Strict Toes to bar, Strict Knees to Elbows, V ups etc) Oblique Twisting (Med ball Throws, Russian Twist, Side Plank ups) Holds & Carries (Overhead, Yoke, etc) Single Leg Imbalance work Step ups (Front, Lateral, Bottoms up) Lunges Balance Holds Single Arm imbalance Work Bottoms up kettlebell Pressing or holds Get ups Wrist Mobility/ Forearm Mobility Crawling Standard Crawl Lizard Crawl Army Crawl any Variation of locomotive or flow work If you are not aware of what is lagging with your body, I would recommend getting movement screen by a coach or pt. From there you will have good idea what you need to bring up and begin your journey in picking up these areas. #CreateExcellence Angelo Sisco    

Six-week Pull Up Training Cycle – Entire Program

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Stop, drop, and get down to get your pull up: Six-week Pull Up Training cycle (by Rupert Egan)

If you have set the goal of achieving a full range pull up, or even if you just want to improve your upper body strength and positions for dynamic work in CF, this supplemental program could be very useful. The goal is to be able to progressively develop your upper body pulling strength by building strict strength and positional control for application to the various types of pull up techniques utilized in crossfit. If you are unable to complete the exercises that comprise one of the training weeks, simply repeat the previous week's program until you are able to move onto the next progression. In this way, the program also contains an autoregulation component where the feedback is built into the program. Initial Assessments: A1- 15 second tight body passive hang in a slight hollow position A2- 10 second flexed arm hang (chin up grip on bars or neutral grip on the rings) A3- 3x Active and passive hang for Scapular control and active ROM An optional day 3 can be added each week where the athlete performs pull ups in the Ring Thing and progressively adds weight, either by a weight vest or by hold a DB between their legs. Week 1- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Tempo Active and passive hang - 4x 3 (3 second hold each position) B. Neutral grip (Rings) flexed arm hang - 4x 10-15sec. hold + 3 sec. eccentric C. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 1-5 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      D. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10  Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Elevated Ring Rows - 4x 5-10 (or 4x Max) B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 5 (note weight)  D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds Week 2- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Tempo Active and passive hang - 4x 3 (3 second hold each position) B. Neutral grip (Rings) flexed arm hang - 4x 10-15sec. hold + 3 sec. eccentric C. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 1-5 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      D. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10  Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Elevated Ring Rows - 4x 5-10 (or 4x Max) B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 5 (note weight)  D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds Week 3- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Tempo Active and passive hang - 4x 3 (3 second hold each position) B. Neutral grip (Rings) flexed arm hang with 1/4 lowers - 4x 10-15sec. hold w/2 quarter lower at 5 seconds + 3 sec. eccentric C. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 2-6 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      D. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10  Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Hinge Rows - 4x 3-5 B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 6 (note weight)  D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds Week 4- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Tempo Active and passive hang - 4x 2 (3 second hold each position: passive, active, 1/2 pull up) B. Neutral grip (Rings) flexed arm hang with 1/2 lowers - 4x 10-15sec. hold w/1 half lower at 5 seconds + 3 sec. eccentric C. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 3-8 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      D. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10  Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Hinge Rows - 4x 3-5 B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 6 (note weight)  D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds Week 5- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Tempo Active and passive hang - 4x 2 (3 second hold each position: passive, active, 1/2 pull up) B. Neutral grip (Rings) flexed arm hang with 1/2 lowers - 4x 10-15sec. hold w/2 half lower at 5 seconds + 3 sec. eccentric C. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 3-8 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      D. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10  Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Hinge Rows - 4x 3-6 B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 6 (note weight)  D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds Week 6- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Chin up/Pull ups - 4x 1 max  B. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 3-8 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      C. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10  Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Hinge Rows - 4x 3-5 B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 6 (note weight)  D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds

16.5 Post CrossFit Open Party!

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The 2016 Open has been amazing thus far!  All athletes have worked extra hard and already have so much to be proud of.  

So why not throw a party?  Come join the O'Hare CrossFit and CrossFit Harwood Heights Communities on Friday, March 25th to celebrate the end of the CrossFit Games open!  We will be meeting at:

Underpass Restaurant and Lounge 9400 Grand Avenue Franklin Park, IL, 60131

We are offering a bracelet special for $20.00, that are good from 9:30pm - 11:30pm.  Bracelets include: Wines, premium mixed, drafts, domestic and craft beers during that time.  All are welcome!  We will see you there!

Click below to RSVP!

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or

RSVP-Email

Stand Up Straight! Tips to Improve Posture

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Stand Up Straight! Tips To Improve Posture   The majority of people in the United States spend most of their time either sitting at a desk or in their car.  Sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to one's health for numerous reasons.  One of the main reasons is many people do not sit with proper postural alignment.  Many people will sit in a hunched over position for hours throughout the day.  The average time sitting during one's commute plus the amount of time sitting at work is a total of 7.7 hours per day. ( www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3527832/). Not only can your upper back and thoracic spine suffer from too much sitting but your hip flexors can also have an adverse effect and become tight.  Overall, sitting too much will have an adverse effect on your sustained health as well as your performance at the gym. Your upper back thoracic spine, and shoulders play an important role when you are exercising, and making sure you are in the right position is extremely important.  If you are not in a proper position, your shoulders will internally rotate causing your back to round.  And we have all heard our coaches cue athletes to keep their shoulder back and chest proud.   As coaches we are trying to emphasize proper upper back alignment and keep your spine safe during a lift or any movement. The first step in treating poor posture is teaching yourself what good posture is. Proper postural alignment can be attained by doing the following:  A) Stand up and flex your glutes, this should help tilt your pelvis towards a posterior angle. B) Now, flex your abs just a bit, only enough to maintain the pelvic position so you can relax your glutes. C) Next, stand up tall as if a string was pulling the top of your head to the ceiling. D) Finally, twist your thumbs all the way out so they almost point behind you while pulling your shoulder blades back a bit. Once you have completed these steps, relax your arms and try to maintain that shoulder position by using only the muscles in your upper back. Once you can feel what this position is like, the best fix for poor posture is forcing yourself to maintain this position.  Similar to other movement patterns, the only way to get to a point where you can maintain good posture is by practicing good posture over and over until it happens naturally. Every time you slouch or find yourself hunched over, make sure to consciously correct yourself.  Also, if you work primarily at a desk, it may be beneficial to begin using a stand up desk.  Ask your human resources department about getting a standing desk.  If this type of desk is not an option for you, try to get up for a couple minutes every half hour and stretch, walk, or stand. Whether you are experienced in fitness or someone who is just beginning his or her journey, you must be conscientious of your posture and position.  Making sure you take the time so stay in a good position, as well as mobilize your t-spine and shoulders, can play a huge role in improving your fitness and overall health. Below is a video that will go through some mobility to help improve posture and position.  These can be done at home or before a workout. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5r1ij6-CAg

First 3 to 6 Months into CrossFit? Read This –

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Some of you are in your first few months of CrossFit, and you are coming to grips with some harsh realities. This fitness methodology is difficult and demanding. You never really took into account your need to improve your balance and coordination because other activities do not really demand it. I have seen people from all walks of life start at the gym, and it is interesting to see how the stimulus is unique for each of them. The Bodybuilding Background –  This group of people is initially shell-shocked with the fact that the facility does not have mirrors, easy curl bars, or elliptical machines. They have a belief that they are already “strong,” but they need CrossFit to get some more cardio in their regiment. It is not long before they realize they can’t squat below parallel, they have forward posture from all the bench presses they have done, and their one rep max deadlift is being rep’d out by several other people in class. It is at this point where the fight or flight mentality kicks it, and these individuals are either drawn to the possibility of development or run right back to the “Globo-gym.” You must have the character to appreciate that you may not be the best at something initially. Evaluate the difficulty of CrossFit and how it exposes the weak points of your fitness. There will be times of celebration and marked improvement, but the majority of the time the sport exposes weaknesses. We learn from our mistakes not our successes. This process requires great patience and mental fortitude. You will have to put in extra time to correct those elements of your posture, balance, and overcompensation (both mentally and physically). But little by little you will get better; your overhead position will feel right, and your movement will cease to feel awkward. Allow the process to happen; it is proven. “Cardio” or Endurance Background Some of these individuals have run marathons and treat 5K runs as a warm-up; however, their experience with lifting weights is minimal.   They anticipate the days of 20 minute Amraps in which the majority of the workload is running. They love the longer rowing sessions, because their aerobic base is easy to tap into. Then their worst nightmare comes to fruition: They have a 3RM back squat. At this point they still think lifting heavy is not for them.   They do not want to put on too much muscle (as if it was that easy) and wish to avoid possessing the same dimensions as a typical CrossFit athlete.  They begin “cherry picking” the classes they go to in order to avoid the strength emphasis days because they feel uncomfortable. Eventually you come to realize that perhaps the reason your knees hurt in your last marathon was because your midline, hamstring, and glutes were not strong enough. You conceptualize the notion that being strong is not necessarily about just having muscles; rather, it pertains to being able to perform functional tasks well. This is practical, baseline strength that will enable you to complete life’s tasks. Your athletic achievement will greatly improve with time. Your results in marathon, 5K, or Spartan Race will be demonstrative of this new found physical awareness and strength. Couch Potato Background    These particular people are near and dear to my heart because I used to be one. I was 300 plus pounds; I had a bum ankle with screws and plates in it, but I always knew I needed a change. So you start doing CrossFit and realize that you are more out of shape then you thought. Your sense of nostalgia brings you to a time where you were in shape and maybe even athletic. These memories trigger a grand sense of frustration which leads you towards giving up. Your sense of pride is counterproductive for you at this moment.   Envision being a better version of yourself, a 2.0 if you will. Realize that this is going to be the hardest, yet most rewarding experience of your life. Check yourself every time you finish last in a workout, every time a coach scales something for you, and when you begin to plague your mind with negative self talk. Allow the difficulty to fuel you with a relentless attitude. You are on the precipice of your life, and you need to choose to stay and win or jump off into the abyss. Find ways to focus on your small successes because they were not there last week or last month. Ask for help and allow the community to support you. Yoga or Class style training CrossFit is amazing for its ability to blend many different types of areas of fitness into one program. If you participated in any other fitness methodology, I am willing to bet that you participated in a program that involved specializing. These areas, like Yoga, focus on one specific area of fitness. If your goal is to be fit in a cardiovascular and aesthetic sense, then one would conclude that your training regiment must be conducive to being well-rounded. The 10 aspects of fitness described in the CF methodology are cardio, flexibility, strength, power, agility, accuracy, stamina, coordination, balance, and speed. CrossFit programming is a harmonizing of these aspects. Ideally, you will learn to appreciate all aspects and modalities of fitness and realize they all have a place in your life. Most of us need to examine where are deficits are and fix them to ensure long term health. Enjoy all realms of fitness as they each provide another piece of the overall puzzle. No matter which path brought you here, it speaks volumes to who you are as a person. You are someone who runs towards difficulty and reaps the rewards of hard work. Stay the course, be patient, and never lose sight of who you are and where you wish to go. Angelo Sisco

Six-week Pull Up Training Cycle – Week 6

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Stop, drop, and get down to get your pull up: Six-week Pull Up Training cycle (by Rupert Egan)

If you have set the goal of achieving a full range pull up, or even if you just want to improve your upper body strength and positions for dynamic work in CF, this supplemental program could be very useful. The goal is to be able to progressively develop your upper body pulling strength by building strict strength and positional control for application to the various types of pull up techniques utilized in crossfit. If you are unable to complete the exercises that comprise one of the training weeks, simply repeat the previous week's program until you are able to move onto the next progression. In this way, the program also contains an autoregulation component where the feedback is built into the program. Initial Assessments: A1- 15 second tight body passive hang in a slight hollow position A2- 10 second flexed arm hang (chin up grip on bars or neutral grip on the rings) A3- 3x Active and passive hang for Scapular control and active ROM An optional day 3 can be added each week where the athlete performs pull ups in the Ring Thing and progressively adds weight, either by a weight vest or by hold a DB between their legs. Week 6- Day 1: Shoulder prehab work A. Chin up/Pull ups - 4x 1 max  B. Stable surface tempo push ups - 4x 3-8 w/ 2-5 sec. pause @ the bottom (full ROM, can perform elevated if needed to achieve full range)      C. Hip extension (GHD) - 4x 6-10  Day 2: Wrist mobility flow A. Hinge Rows - 4x 3-5 B. Tight body hang - 4x 10-25 seconds C. Seated DB press - 4x 6 (note weight)  D. Push up plus plank - 4x 30 seconds If you missed week 1 click here to view it. If you missed week 2 click here to view it. If you missed week 3 click here to view it. If you missed week 4 click here to view it. If you missed week 5 click here to view it.

Feeling out of the breath in these longer Open workouts? The honest (painful) truth about building an engine.

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You are six minutes into your 20 minute AMRAP, and your legs are dense and motionless; your lungs are burning; you are getting dizzy and losing focus. It is at this point that you want to quit more than anything. This is a natural feeling; unfortunately, the mind gives up long before the body does. These situations can only be conquered through experience. Your will can only get you so far; eventually, you must adjust your training. Engines are manufactured not found on the side of the road. Building an engine is no different then building strength. It takes time and consistent effort at submaximal percentages and efforts.    Submaximal percentages/efforts refer to reaching a level of exertion that approaches one’s threshold without reaching total failure. “Coming out hot” wherein you totally burn out will garner you a good score in the first minute or so of the workout; however, it will not allow for comprehensive success. You must have patience and allow yourself to move efficiently, reaching a point where you still have energy left to push yourself at the end of the workout. Consider this for your off-season: for the entire year I would add 2-3 long duration mono structural sessions a week. Start at 20 to 30 minutes of constant steady effort at 70-80% of maximal HR and keep moving. This is not glamorous at all, and not many athletes have the heart or the mental game to row for an hour by themselves at 6am on a Saturday. If you want to stop pausing in between workouts hands on knees dreaming of what a fresh breath would feel like, then these types of sessions are necessary.   I realize that most of you reading this won’t find this type of programming sexy and will stay away from it; hopefully, a few of you will use this process to improve yourself. You have to do something out of the ordinary to achieve extraordinary results.  So, go out and Row, Airdyne, Run, Ski, Versaclimber, or any other cyclical modality exercise. Just get on there and hum smoothly for a long duration. Add 4-5 minutes a week and build to be able to handle 60-90 minute steady sessions. Keep in mind these are to be submaximal efforts. Steady, non stop, smooth efforts is the name of the game here. Our fitness journey is a marathon not a sprint, so consider the dedication you need to maintain lifelong progress. Once you have done at least 4-6 months of this type of work consistently, I would look to start adding in mixed modal MAP (Maximal Aerobic Power) sessions. These are essential for the CrossFit effort. I would start with mono structural plus one other element whether it is weightlifting or gymnastics just to not over complicate things. A good example of a MAP session is the following: 5 minute Amrap @80-85% 10 Cal Row 10 Burpees over Erg rest 2:30 5 minute Amrap @80-85% 15 Cal AD 10 Power Clean 95/65# rest 2:30 5 minute Amrap @80-85% 250m Row 15 Kettlebell Swings 70/55# It is all about unbroken, smooth efforts; do not rush at the end to get another few reps. The goal is to find a means of pacing.  Over time I would add another modality, making it a triplet, lengthening out AMRAP playing with rest times, and figuring out what movements or combinations spike an athlete’s heart rate, so we can learn how to manage him or her. The athletes’ individual needs will be unique, so you may need to adjust accordingly. Like any fine piece of craftsmanship, an engine is not something that can be rushed or built in a day. One must take the necessary steps to achieving this valuable athletic resource. Time is your allay and you must use your time wisely. Their isn’t a secret formula to building your work capacity; you must put in hard work and variety. Most have gotten into CrossFit to hide from the lengthy workouts and long duration exercise sessions; however, they are as essential to your improvement as Olympic lifting. Add these principles to your off season and you see the benefits in your performance in 17.1. I am happy to help athletes with this issue or discuss some more programming principles or experiences I have had. I can be reached at angelo@oharecrossfit.com anytime. Angelo Sisco  

Zach Riberdy joins OCF Full Time Coach

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As of March 1st, Zach Riberdy is officially a full time coach at O’Hare CrossFit. As time has progressed, OCF has shifted its focus into hiring full time coaches. Coaching continues to be our main focus and it is the cornerstone of our mission. We want to provide the community with the best possible service and individualized attention. We could not be more excited to have Zach as a welcome addition to our already stellar group of coaches. Zach has a passion for coaching, learning and helping others that is truly remarkable. While he is new to our staff he has a wealth of knowledge and an excellent approach to developing functional skills and movements. His personality and approach to teaching directly parallels his professionalism and constant willingness to improve his own methodologies. Zach will be around OCF much more now. If you would like any help with anything, please feel free to ask him or email him at zach@oharecrossfit.com. Congratulations Zach, and welcome to the full-time OCF family. The passion our staff shares for fitness, service, and providing value is unparalleled, and Zach instantly makes us collectively better. We are a very strong team, and you should be excited for the future of our affiliate.