Starting Crossfit Training

Starting Crossfit Training

Here, as a continuation of the article about CrossFit, I bring you a “guide” to help you start training. 

CrossFit is for Everyone…

I’ll start by emphasising that this sport is extremely hard. Although it invites any person to try it, and makes it accessible, the truth is that you need to be in good physical condition as a point of departure, a condition that allows you on the one hand to face the new challenges, and on the other not to suffer any kind of injury practicing it.

Crossfit for everyone

Obviously «you’re not obliged» to do the most gruelling workouts, and there’s always the option to «scale-up» or adapt it to your level.

What I’m proposing with this article is how to establish, from my point of view, the bases you’ll need to get started with this extraordinary sport.

Lung Capacity

Indispensable. If you’re not able to cope with running for a certain amount of time at a determined intensity, you need to work on it, and not just to be able to practice CrossFit, but for all sports you might want to practice. In my opinion, this is an essential skill for practicing sport.

Easy run

I can’t imagine lifting a high weight, but then not being able to go for a run, to climb some stairs and arrive tired on the third floor… That’s why it’s of vital importance that you master your lung capacity, which will show through the great variety of exercises

We’re not talking about half-marathons, but it would be necessary to endure at least several km at an acceptable rate before throwing the liver…

How do we know if we’re ready or in good condition?

Just put on a watch to keep track of the time and go for a run. As a rule, you are considered to be in good condition, or at least as good as you can be, if you can hold out for some 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, taking as a reference the fact of running and being able to talk to a partner at the same time.

Moderate running

This is the initial pace, we can always go up!

Let’s say that this level is the basic one. If we pay attention to a heart rate monitor, instead of taking “conversation” as a measuring point, we’ll set our pulses to a moderate to medium rhythm. In this case, without going too deep, a percentage between 65-75% of our maximum capacity would be ideal to maintain during those 45-60 minutes.

What can I do if I don’t reach this basic level or I intend to keep going up?

Well, you’ll have to rely on your capacity for self-improvement and sacrifice, since, although I don’t like the word, you are going to “suffer” a little. But don’t be alarmed, that will only last the period of adaptation.

Walk

If you’re starting point is below the basic level, we should start working on our running in the following manner: alternating periods of walking and jogging.

«Walk & Jog»

We start by walking at a fast pace, for 5 minutes, and then intersperse it with jogging. Depending on the condition of each person, we should keep up the jog for as long as possible, establishing of course a minimum time which we should never lower. This time will vary, but the threshold can be set at about {30″- 1′}, always according to the physical condition.

So when you’re in the jogging phase, keep it until you can’t go any further, and then don’t stop! Keep moving, that is, keep up the pace. I reiterate the fact that even if you slow down your jogging, never stop in the middle, always be moving. OK. Now how about repeating this sequence, walk-jog, for 45 minutes?

How long do I keep up this kind of pre-conditioning?

As soon as you’re able to keep up with the pace of the jogging, the moment you keep it up, without stopping to walk for 45 minutes, let’s say you are at the basic level. The next thing will be to increase the intensity, that is, to maintain a higher rhythm than the jog during the set time

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And if my physical condition already allows me to run, let’s say I’m at the intermediate level?

So we continue with the approach and will now raise the intensity of the exercise again. For this, the improvements will come from specialised work in the form of performing higher intensity series with recovery series (somewhat similar to the previous walking-jogging theme), but safeguarding the differences.

Crossfit hiit

The High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is a very powerful tool for improving our capacity. However, it is also true that to get the most out of it we need to be in top physical condition.

With all this, our training scheme will be as set out below:

  • Warm up with a light jog, for about 5-10 minutes
  • Specific work, about 15-25 minutes (depending on the intensity wanted)
  • Cool down, a light jog, for about 5-10 minutes

For the specific work, we’ll set out a determined time to keep ourselves in a high state, that is, running at a strong pace, but it won’t be the maximum we can give, let’s say we stay around 85-90% of our total capacity. On the other hand, when we’re in the recovery state, we simply do a light jog (at the same rhythm as in the warm up and cool down).

For the intervals, we can establish two patterns: either in a pyramidal form or in a homogeneous way, this way we can play about with the method, so that in spite of how demanding it is, it doesn’t get monotonous and we never get “bored” of it.

I’ll now explain it with some examples. (I only refer to effective working time)

Pyramid-shaped pattern

Training in a progressive and ascending pyramidal shape, repeating the following sequence (the first number indicates the rhythm in a high state, and the second the light jog):

1) {15”-15” + 30”-30” + 15”-15”},

*This will give you a time of 2 minutes, and we’ll repeat it between 8 – 10 times.

Another, slightly more intensive sequence:

2) {15”-15” + 30”-30” + 45”- 45”},

*This will give you a time of 3 minutes, and we’ll repeat it between 3 – 5 times.

Homogeneous shape pattern

1) {30”-30”}

*This will give you a time of 1 minute, and we’ll repeat it between 12 – 15 times.

Or increasing the intensity:

2) {60”-60”}

*This will give you a time of 2 minutes, and we’ll repeat it between 8 – 10 times.

Recovery work is hugely important

How many times do I practice this system?

We should aim to train on the rest days of the weightlifting room routine, about 3 times a week.

Recommendation: don’t forget your mp3. Use it and load it with songs with good rhythm, songs that will motivate you to face up to the tough training in the fast rhythm phase, it’ll help you to finish the exercise. In our blog there is a section about some songs that benefit this system. Go have a look, they won’t disappoint!

We’ve now set up the training framework both for a person starting to practice the sport, or who wants to improve their physical condition and then adapt it to other sports, and for people who, from a certain base, want to go up a level.

Training with your own weight

If I referred earlier to the fact that cardio exercise should not be separated from other sports, in the same way, each person should be able to manage his or her own weight for certain exercises. We now refer to what is known as calisthenics exercises. In these exercises, weights are not used: your own weight will be the “weight” used.

Crossfit push ups

Within the catalogue of results you’ll find searching this term, I consider 3 exercises to be essential: press-ups, pull-ups and dips. As I say, there are others, but mastering these are essential.

Without going into too much detail about this type of exercises, I’ll tell you that a state of optimum form can be achieved by means of Calisthenics Training

Press-ups

Everyone knows what the typical press-up is. But to do a large number of press-ups, taking care of the technique is essential, and how many press-ups should we be doing? We should be doing, without problems, around 20-30 reps, a number which will be increasing as training progresses, and which we’ll need to work on with an appropriate approach.

Push ups

If you really want to test yourselves: Try Tabata Press-Ups!

Improving your press-ups

If you start from a low level, there’s nothing to it but to practice, practice, practice. But if strict press-ups are impossible, an “extra support” can be used. In this case, by using the knees as an aid so that, little by little, through many repetitions, we’re able to perform them in the right way, that is, with the four basic supports, hands and toes.

If we want to improve the number of repetitions we’re making, we can carry out sets or blocks of press-ups. In that case, a good number would be to work with the following structure:

2-4 blocks {2 sets of 15-25 press-ups}

*The rest time between sets will be 45″, while between blocks we’ll rest between 60″ and 90″, depending on how tired we are. With all this, we’ll be able to exceed 100 push-ups per session, a record!

Pull-ups

Another of the most essential and at the same time most demanding exercises that exist. If you’re able to lift your own weight, by lifting your head over the bar you’re hanging from, let’s say about 12 or 15 repetitions, consider yourself lucky! This is a key exercise to develop strength and endurance of the upper body.

Pull ups

In the same way as for press-ups, if we start from a low level, or are not able to perform several repetitions, we have two solutions: either to practice the exercise with the help of a partner who “pushes” us, or to use the gym machines with support to help us get up. There is no other solution.

Learn how to do pull-ups from scratch

Improving your pull-ups

If we’re already able to make several consecutive repetitions, taking care of the technique, and we want to increase that number, I’ve got a method for increasing the number of pull-ups that helped me a lot. From my experience, to increase the number of pull-ups you can perform, there is a way… (yes it is what you’re thinking) repeat pull-up after pull-up… in effect, sets of high repetitions.

Pull ups 2

Due to the anaerobic character of the exercise, and as a consequence of it, lactate, doing several pull-ups in a row can lead us to collapse in a short period of time – we’ll tire ourselves out quickly, and won’t be able to lift ourselves.

To avoid this, a “trick” I invented was to alternate sets of pull-ups with active rests, and within these, the exercise bike. Do a set of pull-ups «until failure», followed by 3-5 minutes on an exercise bike. Repeat this pattern for 45-60min between 1 and 2 times a week…

Dips

Chest and tricep dips, practiced on parallel bars, as you see with the olympic gymnasts (also performed on rings)… They’re usually more doable than pull-ups as the exercise starts from a position where the potential energy is our “ally” in the first steps of the exercise. A good number of minimum repetitions that you should be able to do, without to much problem, can range from 15 to 20 dips.

Dips chest

Basically, unlike the pull-ups, where it’s necessary to move the whole body with your strength (of the upper body), in the dips, it begins with the descent of the body mass, to a certain a point, before rising again, where most of the work is done.

Improving your dips

We can turn to assistance by means of elastic bands, of which there are various resistances (i.e. more or less help or assistance with the exercise). They can help us in the «more complicated» phase in the execution of the exercise.

Here, the same approach can be applied as for the press-ups, i.e. doing the training in blocks and sets. However, it’s not the same as for the pull-ups. I’m referring to the nature of the exercise itself, training by alternating active breaks (cycling for blood circulation and so on…) with the effective sets, because in the dips we work in, let’s say, an aerobic way, so active resting will harm us more than benefit us.

Conclusions

Well, that’s all for now. I think that by working on these points you’ll be able get to a pre-conditioned state, ready to start your CrossFit training. I wanted to try to “encourage” those who are starting out, suggesting a series of exercises to try that I believe will be useful. And if you look into its, there’s new there, they’re all exercises that have been performed for years …

Crossfit

As always, if you’re able to get hold of a trainer or instructor, they’ll be able to help you along, but I’m here for you if you have any questions, which I’ll do my best to answer, based as always on my own experience.

If you’re not yet planning to start CrossFit, but you want to be doing training that combines several capacities, such as strength and hypertrophy, and also serve as an introduction to gymnastic movements and halterophilia, without forgetting running and, of course, metabolic conditioning, your best option is Beatman Performance Training (BPT)

Related Entries

  • If you want to find out more, click on the following article about Training Methodology in CrossFit
  • Continuing with aerobic skills, it’s time to get to know
Review of Starting CrossFit Training

Lung capacity - 100%

Not reaching the minimum condition required - 100%

Training with your own body weight - 100%

Conclusions - 100%

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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
Under the motto “Knowledge Makes me Stronger”, Javier Colomer clearly expresses his intentions to share his knowledge and experience within the world of Fitness. His BPT training system is proof of this.
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