When Being “Tough” Becomes A Burden

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Are you the kind of athlete that digs deep in your workouts? Hits that extra gear when the going gets tough? (Some of you are victoriously shaking your heads right now). Being a tough athlete, however, does not always correspond with being a smart athlete. One of the most important elements to training is knowing what your body needs. This could be the appropriate fuel, some auxiliary mobilization, or identifying movement deficiencies. All of these things signs of a conscious athlete; however, even the most aware of people get hurt. Working out at any cost and using “toughness” as a masking agent for true pain very harmful to your progress. While your coaches appreciate your dedication and love to see you going full tilt in class, our primary concern is the longevity of your health. I never want to break your competitive spirit, but I insist you are selfish in this one regard. Come into the gym and “bother” us with your issue because that is what we are here for.   The care and consideration our staff reaches far beyond the confines of the gym. We care about how you functioning in your everyday life. Consider this scenario: Day 1 comes and your shoulder is irritating you.   You get through the workout and try your best to hide the painful grimace on your face. The coach, focused on your form, does not notice that you are favoring because he or she is resting on the assumption that you are well. Once the session is over, you sigh with relief because you didn’t scream out in agony for the entire hour.  You are “tough!” That night you sleep on the same shoulder, causing a reverberating, dull pain the entire next day that causes you to take the day off from the gym because you barely made it through work. It is at this point you will exhaust all of your illogical resources and find yourself on Web M.D. methodically self-diagnosing your shoulder pain. While you did learn a lot in the process, you are not on the road to recovery. This situation could have been easily avoided. The conscious athlete would have confided in his or her coach and found a practical means of fixing the issue. The coach would design and implement strategies to combat the issue as well as scale the workout avoid further injury. While I admire your toughness, I want you to possess a greater awareness of what is best for you and use all the resources at your disposal. As coaches, we want to be there to assist you in the victories and the adversities. -Coach Angelo Sisco

Why Training Alone Can Be So Beneficial

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I am not going to go on a rant about how to training alone creates a greater sense of mental fortitude, and you alone can be the star in your own Rocky training montage.  However, as someone who has primarily trained alone for the greater part of my 7 years in CrossFit, I have experimented with a vast array of training methodologies.  While working out with the community has a multitude of benefit, I would like to focus on the progressive outcomes of training along.

There is something about the mental part of isolation training that requires a degree of perseverance that I find rewarding.  When you are responsible for your own course of training the onus is on you and not the culminating actions of the group.  When you do not have the communal energy to feed off of you must delve into your own reserve of determination.

In the warm up you must find the appropriate mindset for that particular day. What are going to be the specific elements of your focus?  How will you handle errors or successes?  As you look at your videos in between lifts, check your form and work on refining your movement and self-correcting.  This is crucial to the development of an athlete because you must build a stronger sense of physical awareness.  Coaching is wonderful, but true progression comes with an intrinsic understanding of needs.

In conditioning you must be hypercritical of your form.  While this may detract from your score, who cares!  The idea here is to move efficiently and appropriately; the outcomes will render themselves in time.  No one is there as a means of checks and balance; consequently, your integrity will dictate the strides you make.  The score is secondary to you holding yourself accountable

As I finished my interval rowing for today, which I considered quitting several times, I explored the universal need to challenge the “self.”  As we are all defined by different matrices throughout the day the unifying one is the internal drive to accomplish.  Test yourself and find something new within you that you may not have known was there.

Here is a little test to get you on  your way – put your headphones on and see what you are made of…

My rowing workout if anyone would like to try, I’d love the feedback. Courtesy of Chris Hinshaw

Workout 1250m Row rest 90s 1000m Row + 250m row rest 90s 750m + 250m+ 250m rest 90s 500m + 250m + 250m+ 250m rest 90s 250m +250m + 250m+ 250m +250m Pacing (1250, 1k, 750, 500, were all at 12-15s off 2k TT pace 152-155 for me) (250m were at 2k TT pace (140 for me, got into 142-143 on last series) How to perform easier paces right into 250s, rest 10s btw 250m efforts IE, 750m Row @152 - immediately into 250m @140, rest 10s 250m Row @140.

Six-week Pull Up Training Cycle – Week 3

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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 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 If you missed week 1 click here to view it. If you missed week 2 click here to view it.

Check in for Charity – St. Baldricks

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  If you did not know, O’Hare CrossFit and OCF Member Lucas Lee have been in a long-standing relationship with St. Baldrick’s Foundation. This foundation raises money for childhood cancer research and we couldn’t think of a better cause to support. We wanted to remind you that this foundation is our #checkinforcharity this month and to keep checking in or start if you haven’t yet! We want to be able to donate as much as possible to this cause and so keep this check in’s coming! st. baldricks_Lucas  

Oly 101 – Next Cycle

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There are only 3 spots left for the next Oly 101 Weightlifting Session!

It begins on March 7th and is open to both members and non-members. There is no weightlifting experience needed and this opportunity provides a great environment to learn and develop more efficiency in the Olympic Lifts!

You can use the program to help supplement your current CrossFit training or use it to focus solely on learning the lifts!

Contact info@oharecrossfit.com for more information on dates, times, and prices.

Equipment Needed for CrossFit

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As current CrossFitters, or those of you looking to try CrossFit, we all have an idea of what gear we need. I have decided to put together a list of what I think one must get as he or she progresses through his or her fitness journey. Keep in mind, it is not necessary to get all of this gear all at once, but instead; this list is what Coach Lu thinks will help you through your many workouts.
  1. A Positive Attitude- I think this is so important for those who are just starting, as well as those who have been in the game for so long to possess a amiable willingness to be open to coaching. We need to remember our goals and enjoy the process, not take it all so serious. You will improve exceedingly if you allow yourself to be receptive to new ideas. #NoRoomForNegativeNancy
  1. A Clear Mind – Staying positive could be more and more difficult when you walk through the doors with the stress of your day on your shoulders. Channeling that anger onto the barbell is important but letting it all go before the call to the whiteboard may be more important as well. Each workout seems to be more fun and a tad bit easier when you aren’t still worried about what happened at work or at home. Allow yourself these moments in the gym to distress and focus on becoming a more ideal you; this is your designated time to escape. #stresscauseswrinkles
  1. Compression Compression Compression- It all starts from the inside out right? For my guys, getting a good pair of compression shorts or tights can make a huge difference for those long rowing workouts. A sports bra can also make a huge difference for you ladies in several movements. These serve a greater purpose than just making your butt look good, they keep your body warm and circulation fluid. This type of clothing will provide greater muscular support and can prevent injury. #TheTighterTheBetter
  1. The Right Shoe- Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of shoes just as much as the next guy; however, we need to find the right pair of shoes for CrossFit. We all have seen the video of that woman doing deadlifts in heels. (If you have not, you might want to look it up). This might be an exaggeration of what can happen if you are not wearing the right pair of shoes, but the right message is there. Rebook and Nike have both put out a shoe specifically for CrossFit; I strongly recommend both pairs as they are the best I have tried. Regardless of the shoes you purchase, nothing looks fresher than kick a@# form! #HeelsarenotforCrossFit
  1. Knee Sleeves- Especially if you are in a competition group, knee sleeves can be a great purchase. There is nothing better than knee sleeves to keep your knees healthy, as well as giving you that experienced CrossFitter the temperature and fluidity desired in his or her knees during heavy lifts. #LookGoodFeelGood
  1. A CrossFit Shirt- Do you even lift if you don’t post a selfie at the gym? Well do you even CrossFit if you don’t rep your gym with the latest shirt they have? We are lucky enough to have some stylish and comfortable shirts here at OCF, stop by and get one.   At the very least try to find breathable material that is sized not to suffocate you in a difficult workout. #RepYourGym
  1. Tape- Tape is like currency for CrossFitters. We all have heard someone asking for tape and then following with “I’ll get you back when I get more tape”. Taping your thumbs for long barbells workouts will help with your hook grip. Taping your hands for pull ups or muscle ups can really save you from the rips we all hate. Beside that who doesn’t feel more bada** when your hands are taped. Remember when taping you want to provide support while not hindering circulation. #LookingLikeABoxerBeforeAWorkout
This gear is optional; however, I would like all members to buy into is having a positive attitude, other than that the rest of the objects are just material. There is not a single piece of gear that will help you get through a workout faster or help you PR every week. Enjoy the process, treat yourself to some nice gear every now and then, but most importantly; work hard and have fun with all of us at OCF.-#LiveLaughLou -Coach Lou

OCF Monthly Newsletter – February 2016

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New and  Improved for Friday Night Lights

The CrossFit Games Open is right around the corner, and we have made some changes for this coming year! We are really excited and have new sponsors joining in with us to make it even better! Whether you are an athlete or spectator come show support for your OCF community. The experience is much better for everyone when OCF family and friends are there to show support. On the fence about participating in the Open? Want to know more information about what we have in store this year for the "Friday Night Lights Experience"? Check out this video from Coach Angelo -

New OCF Gear On Its Way!

We have T-shirts that will be in by the 3rd week of February.  OCF joggers are being finalized and pre-orders will be out shortly, keep an eye out in our Front Area for the New Shirts & Pre-order sheet. They will go fast!

OCF T-Shirts

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OCF Joggers

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Next Cycle of Weightlifting 101 to Potentially Start March 7th!

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Did you know we have a waiting list in place for the next Weightlifting 101 Cycle?  We need 5 more athletes to sign up and we will be ready to schedule another cycle. If you, or anyone you know, is looking to gain experience and knowledge in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, please contact us. Our program is for everyone, Crossfitter, non crossfitter, or anyone that is looking to understand weightlifting more. Contact Rocio for more information or to get signed up.

Friends and Family Referral Program made Permanent!

event-2 First off, thank you to all OCF members who have referred OCF to their friends and family. We are truly grateful for you giving us the best compliment there is - sharing OCF with the people that are close to you! Due to the increased demand, and response of the program, we have decided to make the program a permanent monthly offering! If you feel that OCF is worthy of sharing with a friend or family, we will allow them free entry into our 3 week Foundations Program. Have a friend that already does CrossFit, but needs to be doing it the OCF Way? We will give them a month to experience CrossFit, OCF Style.

What Constitutes Success in your Training?

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What constitutes Success in your training?

I’ve have had this question asked to me quite a few times in my career. Like most tough questions, the answer depends on the individual. Also, one must understand the term “success” is a relative term.  Your manner of success is in direct correlation to your goals and desired outcomes; further, the willingness to improve and fervent dedication will dictate one’s ability to achieve.

 Top ways to feel successful about your training

  1. Some days success may mean just showing up and getting the workout in. We have all been there: tough day at work, fighting with a personal relationship, lack of sleep, not eating well etc… Getting to the gym, getting through the workout is an acceptable measure of success that day; wherein, you just getting through it.  It doesn’t matter if it was the heaviest weight, fastest time, or any other minor details that can drive us crazy.
  2. Picking a success for each day is a great way to set small manageable goals. Look at the workout, pick one movement or part of the workout and focus on it.  Be cognizant of making small changes to your movement, breathing, or pacing in order to improve in that particular realm.   "I’m going to not stop one time doing the burpees today" is a perfect example. One little impromptu goal is a great way to set yourself up for success
  3.  Take time to truly enjoy your successes. We live in a world that is consumed with the thought of scarcity. When was the last time you looked back at your first day of CrossFit and examined how far you have come? Some of you couldn’t squat properly the first intro class, you had issues swinging a 15 pound kettebell, you couldn’t keep your arm locked out on getup, or where unable to do one pushup or pull-up. When you’re having a rough day take a step back and put your mind in that place and smile. You have come a long way. Enjoy it.

I hope you all find a way to reach every success in your lives. It is truly an honor to be support of your journey.  Success is a great motivator, look to find it anywhere you can.

-Coach Angelo Sisco

Six-week Pull Up Training Cycle – Week 2

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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 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 If you missed week 1 click here to view it.