A Rope Review with Rutherford


Jump ropes are a staple in everyone’s CrossFit bag, but how do you know which rope is right for you? In this week’s gear review, I’ll give you the low-down on ropes. Why should you listen to a guy who can barely do double-unders (dubs)? Well, this definitely isn’t a “how to do dubs really well” article. It’s about jump ropes, and I happen to have about half a dozen of them! My top three are pictured.

On to the good and bad of these ropes…

Jason R's top three jump ropes

RX Smart Gear

Let’s start with the RX Smart Gear ropes (the orange rope in the picture). This was my 2nd rope and — believe it or not — it is thinner than my first RX rope. The RX ropes are great for executing singles or starting to learn dubs. You can always get a thinner rope to change out with the same set of handles. The handle is girthy (I said it), but the rubber grip makes it easy to hang on during those long jumping WODs. The company has a ton of colored ropes to choose from. Pair that with the custom handles and BOOM! An endless variety of color combinations between the cables and handles! So that’s neat. Overall these are great ropes, but the handles are a bit heavy and the length isn’t adjustable. You’ll also need to know the length of the cable you want, which is difficult to determine when you’re new.

Pros:

  • Interchangeable ropes and handles
  • Customizable color combinations

Cons:

  • Length is not adjustable
  • Heavier handles

SR-2s Speed Rope 2.0

The Fraser (HWPO) SR-2s rope is the red-handled rope in the picture. I purchased the rope when I decided to stop trying singles and move to a speed rope. At 2.3 mm, it’s is thinner than any RX rope I had ever purchased, and the length is completely adjustable. While this rope is not the smallest out there, it was a great rope for getting more dubs than I previously had. I really like this rope overall, but the shortness of the handles started to bother me during long WODs. There is a version with longer handles that would likely alleviate my in-WOD woes with this rope.

Pros:

  • Adjustable length
  • Great weight for discovering a dub rhythm

Cons:

  • The small aluminum handles get slippery as you’re dying in a WOD

RPM Session 3.0

The newest (1 week old) addition to the Rutherford Rope collection is the dark lavender handled RPM 3.0. Judge my color choice if you must, but this thing is fast. The rope turns effortlessly because — according to RPM’s website — it features patented dual axis rotation, which allows your handles to stay on the end of the rope and eliminates torque build-up in the cable. And did I mention this thing is fast? The rope is fully adjustable, and when you find the rhythm with this rope, it is effortless. Although I have done a couple sets of 50 dubs and found it to be smooth, I have found this rope to be difficult to crank out those sets because of its lightweight.

Pros:

  • Adjustable length
  • Fast
  • Lightweight
  • Fast
  • Replaceable cables

Cons:

  • Fast

Now, I’m no Jenn Hogan, Ryan Barr, Kris Oberheim, Anthony Menichino, Mike Flynn, Sara Palmier, Ben Stroud, Paul Cegon, Josh Wansing, John Harder, Sarah Floyd, Kyle Pick, or Collette West (I’m sure there are plenty of people that have amazing dubs that I didn’t list here, I just listed the first people that came to mind that dominate their dubs. If I’ve left you off the list, it was unintentional, and I’ll buy you a FitAid once you show me your dub dominance), but I have been through a ton of jump ropes. There are plenty of ropes not mentioned here that are fantastic, such as the Froning SR-1F, Bridges SR-2 Speed Rope 3.0, the Double Under Wonder, and some of the Amazon ropes. If you’re new to the jump rope game, start with a thicker and heavier rope, and move to smaller, lightweight, faster ropes as you improve. Look for cable weight and coating, if the rope is adjustable in length or not, and handle material when shopping for new ropes. ALSO, I’m a talker and have a mild obsession with gear, so if you want to talk ropes, hit me up!


CrossFit Strongman at CFSTC!

What is CrossFit Strongman?

CrossFit Strongman is a program that has been developed for both men and women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Its purpose is to integrate strongman movements into the CrossFit model that revolves around constant variation. CrossFit Strongman is a  fun and exciting ways to increase our strength and power while simultaneously enhancing our overall fitness. CrossFit Strongman is a pathway for all people to gain strength and improve as athletes while having fun in the process.

Why Do CrossFit Strongman?

CrossFit Strongman has a variety of workout formats and incorporates “odd objects” that would never be seen in a traditional gym. Not only does this present an environment resembling an adult playground, it also helps us better develop functional movements that we frequently use outside of the gym. Since strongman objects are less convenient to lift than a barbell, we become more efficient at lifting loads that we encounter in our daily lives, like lifting a grocery bag or even a child. Likewise, our performance will also improve when we return to using more convenient equipment, like a barbell.

CrossFit Strongman can improve our overall fitness and prepare us for any surprises that life sends our way.

The magic and beauty of Strongman is that anyone can do it. The movements are simple yet powerful. It is a great opportunity for any athlete to get the benefits of explosive movements without the complexity of a barbell. It’s also a great way to train hip and leg drive which are vital to the advanced skills of the Olympic Lifts.

Our Program

In a typical session, we will expose you to, train on and use a strongman skill and implement that skill into a short duration, very high intensity workout.  This is an extremely effective– and fun – way for anyone to increase strength without using a barbell. Because of the awkward size, shape and consistency of the objects in strongman, the lifts tend to be less efficient than those done with a barbell, but are (overall) easier to master and take much less time to become proficient at than the Olympic lifts. These exercises challenge the neuromuscular system in a way a barbell cannot and better mimic challenges found in real life. athletes will learn to lift Atlas stones and sand bags, carry a variety of odd objects, perform farmer’s carries, flip tires, and push and pull sleds, prowlers and other basic objects.  Athletes will also press or load kegs, stones and logs at their relative level of strength.

CrossFit St. Charles Strongman is a Wednesday evening at 5pm course that runs within a 6 week block starting Juy 10-14th. The duration of each class will be  60 minutes. Classes will be held both indoors and out. Since the movements are learned quickly, there are no prerequisites to attend.

Our program is open to current CrossFit St.Charles members and non-members alike, but limited to 12 athletes.

 

Classes May Include:

  • Atlas Stone Lifts/Carries
  • Farmer’s Walks
  • Keg Lifts/Carries
  • Prowler Sled Pushes
  • Sand Bag Carries
  • Tire Flips
    And More…

CrossFit Strongman at CFSTC

Date: July 10-Aug 4 Wednesdays
Time: 5:00pm
Price: $70 (15% discount for CFSTC Members)
Enroll: CrossFit Strongman Course at CFSTC

 

How Mindset Affects Performance


How Your Mindset Affects Performance

There is a lot going on when you step on to that lifting platform or competition floor. Some days you feel strong and focused. Others you can’t quite seem able to connect the dots. You feel slow and foggy or the weight feels heavy.

The mind and body are in constant fluctuation. Our thoughts can instantly change our physiology. Just think of a time when your were made or scared. Your muscles tensed, heart rate quickened, and pupils dilated ready to react.

And the converse is just as true. Our body influences our mental state and thoughts. Think about how chill and carefree you feel after a long walk in nature or how amped you get when exercising or dancing to your favorite song.

Controlling the stressors and other stimuli in your environment is essential when it comes to controlling your mind and body for performance. Stress can have significant impact on performance and can seriously get in the way of your competitive goals if you don’t have a strategy to manage it.

Let’s take a look at why stress is so damaging to performance and some key strategies to combat it…

The Cortisol/Testosterone Relationship

A study of 109 male olympic weightlifters was set up to determine the effects of cortisol as a moderator of the relationship between testosterone and performance in olympic lifting. The study measured pre and post levels of serum cortisol and testosterone to see if there was any effect on performance. It turns out that pre-competition levels of cortisol or testosterone had a significant effect on olympic weightlifting performance. The inverse relationship between testosterone and cortisol shows that the level of stress an athlete experiences before training or competition can significantly impact their testosterone levels and subsequent performance.

Whoop Dee Doo. But what does it all mean Basil?!

Getting stressed about before a competition or intense training session is a surefire way to negatively impact performance. There are several techniques you can utilize to prepare your mind making it an asset rather than a liability. Top athletes all develop their mental game through practices involving goal setting, visualization, and routines.

“The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential to achieving any specific outcome you want in life. When you focus on a specific outcome your mind will constantly be searching for ways to bring the object of focus into being. That can be for the good or the bad. Say you are a weightlifter competing in your first meet. You should set a goal involving the successful completion of a lift at a weight you feel optimistic you can hit. When you set this metric for success you will be determined to achieve the outcome and take confident action towards achieving it. Odds are you will outperform your goal and be able to raise the bar for your next meet.

Visualization

Visualization is the formation of a mental image. As an athlete you want to visualize a successful outcome you desire. Picture yourself achieving your goals with as much detail as possible. From the clothes you are wearing to the sound of the crowd. The way you move, powerful and strong. The sweat on your brow and the heartbeat in your chest. When you get to gameday it will feel like you’ve been there before. Visualization of success also lends itself to positive self talk that will reinforce your mindset and confidence when it comes to competition.

Routines

Routines are extremely useful when it comes to athletes and performance. They help reduce decision fatigue and providing fewer distractions and less to think about on game day. Decide ahead of time your warmup, clothing, equipment, music, and anything else you would use in competition. Practice with it and make it comfortable and familiar. One important consideration with routines is not to get too superstitious or hung up on these items being responsible for your success. You and only you are responsible for your success. Not your lucky sneakers…

If you want to accomplish your goals working with a professional coach is one of the best ways to develop a strategy and system for results. If you want to work with someone to help you create a game plan for your fitness goals get in touch with one of our qualified coaches for a free consult and discussion on how we can help you!

It All Starts Here



This is where you’ll get coaching on exercise and nutrition.
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This is where we implement our best strategies and techniques for getting you results. 💪🏻👊🏻
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We’ve trained some impressive athletes, but more importantly, we’ve gotten results for grandmothers, office workers, and kids.
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All off this means we have proven strategies that will work for you!
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You’ll be surrounded by a thriving community who wants to see you succeed. People who motivate you to get better, and help you do things you’ve never tried before!

Bring it in


The thing about short term challenges, 30 days paleo, 30 days sugar free, the whole 30- once they’re over, so are your results. –

Here we’re committed to long term results. No crazy restrictions, no excessive exercising. –

We’ve got balanced nutrition and regular training. –
Bring it in, come see us, we’ve got answers for your long term goals.

Get a Grip!


Having opposable thumbs is divine. It allows us to grip. Its part of what makes us human and special.
We pick up our kids, carry groceries, open jars and hang on for dear life. Among athletics, we lift weights, throw balls, and grip bats, clubs, and rackets. Anything we do that requires holding something is limited by our grip.
Simply gaining awareness of the importance of grip and being mindful of using will yield immediate improved strength and in some cases skill.

The Ignition Switch
There is this super cool magic trick that the body does called the Law of Irradiation. This is the ability of one muscle, when it tenses strongly, to recruit the tension of nearby muscles.
Make a fist, squeeze as hard as you can, feel the muscles in your arms start to tense.
Squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and feel your quads start to engage.
Instant Strength. It’s Magic.
Phrases like “break the bar” or “screw your feet down” are common coaching cues before big lifts. This generates hip and shoulder rotation for stable positions that are ready to move heavy loads.
But in order to generate torque, you need a strong connection point.
If you opt for a weak finger hold, you’ll notice you can’t lock the shoulders in as well. This limits performance and results in compensations at the elbow, shoulder or spine.
The same is true with a “disengaged” foot. Feel your foot relationship with the floor and the whole system gets stronger.

The research shows that even a slight grip, can significantly increase rotator cuff (supraspinatus and infraspinatus) activity, which improves the ratio of muscle forces between the rotator cuff and deltoid
This helps reduce the risk of impingement and sets up the shoulder for performance.
Make Big Gains With A Strong Grip
Lift, carry, hang, and climb…that’s the best way to build strength, along with strong hands to support it.

Here are a couple of specifics to put into practice…

1. Hold Onto Things
When we grip an object to do work, whether its a barbell, dumbbell, pull up bar etc. we want that  object to become a part of us. We “absorb” an object with a strong grip which makes it much easier to move as opposed to a loose grip that allows the object to be wobbly and less stable.  Consider a strong grip on a dumbbell for a bicep curl and how it engages the entire arm.
Please be advised, if you are not using a hook grip, You are doing it wrong!

When holding onto a pull up bar, a solid palm grip not only improves safety on the bar but it activates the shoulder.

Strong Grip=engaged shoulders
Weak grip=turtle neck

2. Grip Work For Shoulder Work
There is a strong correlation between grip and shoulder strength
Partly because lifting weights improves both the grip and rotator cuff, but there’s also evidence to show that grip exercises provide a training effect for the shoulder as well.
If you’re struggling with some shoulder pain, grip intensive exercises like farmer carries and deadlifts can provide a training effect for the shoulder, with minimal risk of furthering any irritation.
You can also use this evidence to close out your shoulder training days. Throw some carries and hangs on the tail end of your shoulder days, to increase workloads, without piling more repetitions on the joint.

Get a grip on things…
Irradiation of the upper extremity from gripping a handle or weight is a natural part of movement and necessary for proper shoulder function.
For those reasons, if you want to improve the capacity of your rotator cuff and shoulder complex, exercises that use a grip are better options for strength, function, and overall shoulder health.
A strong grips makes you stronger overall.

Is it time to take a look at nutrition?


You’ve been here a bit; we’ve loved every minute of it. But maybe now it’s time to think outside The Box. Are there things you could be doing outside of the gym to help you improve and meet your goals inside? If you are not getting the results you want in your workouts, you might need to look at your nutrition.

 

If you are dragging and slow during a WOD with 400 meter runs in it and then we hear you’ve only had two meals a day, that is not enough food to support your workout.

If you are feeling sick during your workout and ate greasy burgers and beer the night before, your nutrition is not supporting your workout.

If you can’t do a pull-up even though you have the form down, you may need to increase muscle, which means changing your nutrition.

 

There are so many reasons to take a look at your nutrition. We have been taught a lot of inaccurate things about nutrition, but at CrossFit St. Charles, we believe the purpose of nutrition is to help you feel and function better.
Eating enough food, eating foods that build muscle, and decreasing foods that cause inflammation in your body will help you work to the best of your ability in the gym and outside.

Feel free to ask any of our coaches about your nutrition.
Or even better, set up a nutrition consultation with Coach Jessie.
Jessie offers a body positive, science-based approach that includes several different levels of support with accountability and personalized planning. All the options can be found on our website!

Offering the Chalk


Shortly after Opening CrossFit St. Charles in 2008, I saw this youtube video of a 3 year old girl on a play ground about to swing through some monkey bars.
Little Girl: I’m gonna stick it!
Dad: Ok, let’s go
LG: (falls off monkey bar)
Dad: What happened? Needs some chalk?
LG: Jumps up and runs off to play

That was Kelly Starrett and instead of asking his daughter if she was ok (he knew she was) he offered her chalk for her grip.

It’s what we do everyday.

The hardest part of working out is the simple act of coming in our doors.
We offer the coaching, equipment, programming and guidance to attain real fitness and health to anyone who has the commitment to “stick the landing”

Sometimes, all you need to know is that you CAN do it.

CrossFit St. Charles
“Offering the Chalk”

CrossFit St. Charles Open Banquet



We had an amazing time at our CFStC Open Awards Banquet. It’s always great to get out of the gym and appreciate Val and Ryan Barr for hosting. The food was amazing and the awards were epic.
I’m looking forward to the next Open in the fall of this year!