ON THIS DAY, SATURDAY 21ST, 2014, A LITTLE GROUP OF CROSSFITTERS WENT TO HELP SOME LONELY PUPPIES FIND BETTER HOMES AND CAME HOME CHAMPIONS. BIG CONGRATS TO COACHES BRONWEN ALEXANDER, SHAUN ANTHONY AND JOSH BISHOP FOR BRINGING HOME FIRST PLACE PRIZES. WE ALSO SEND OUT EXTRA BIG PROPS TO ONE OF OUR NEWISH MEMBERS TIFFANY LYTLE BEING THE OTHER DRIVING FORCE WHO TOPPED THE PODIUM BESIDE BRONWEN. WE CANNOT FORGET ALL THE OTHER TEAMS THAT LEFT THEIR LIVES OUT THERE ON THE FLOOR AND KILLED IT IN THE NAME OF A4 FITNESS! WE LOVE YOU!
How to Do a Bar Muscle Up
In order to perform a proper Bar Muscle Up, it is important for cross fit athletes to perfect a few foundational exercises. Practicing strict pull ups and tightening your core strength are the two most important foundational elements. Next, you will want to perfect your kipping pull up, as this maneuver is essential to completing effective Bar Muscle Ups. If you can perform these exercises with ease every time you go to the gym, then you are ready to face the awesome power of the Bar Muscle Up.
The best way to begin learning the Bar Muscle Up is to practice with a box first. Grab the bar with your hands a little more than a shoulder-width apart. Your focus should be upon “diving” over the bar. The best way to do this is to pull your chest over the bar, with it clear past your ribcage. Get a feel for the bar: rotate your hands as your chest moves over the bar. If your wrists are locked, it may prevent you from passing over the top of it.
The next step is to practice “diving” from the hanging position. Start by removing the box. Hang from the bar as though you are going to do a pull up. Then in one fluid motion, pull yourself up into the dive explosively, throwing your hips toward the bar with a strong pull. This is very similar to the motion you perform during a kipping pull up: press your chest through at the beginning, get yourself away from the bar so you are at a 45 degree angle from the bar, then throw your hips into the bar and lean forward into the dive. Ideally your hips will sit on top of the bar and your body will be parallel to the ground.
The last step is a simple press upward. The motion is a sort of push up performed at when your body is on top of the bar. When descending, you can swing your body back out and press your chest again underneath the bar in order to gain momentum for your next Bar Muscle Up.
The Bar Muscle Up is not for wannabe gym rats. Be sure to practice safety when you are starting out; master the kipping pull up ahead of time. The Bar Muscle Up exercises your core, your glutes, your chest, arms and back. Crossfit enthusiasts know the value of this maneuver, and performing it properly is key.
The Difference Between a Muscle Clean, a Power Clean, and a Squat Clean
There are three cleans we utilize here at A4 fitness in Los Angeles: the Muscle Clean, the Power Clean, and the Full Squat Clean. When you execute these exercises in your crossfit training, you will want to make sure that you are using a manageable amount of weight, practicing with a spotter from your gym when you are starting out.
All three cleans start in the same position. Your hips should be just above your knees. Avoid using a snatch grip, as this can cause you to lose the bar. Instead, use a hook grip: it helps to keep your arms straight and allows you to get a big pull from your traps as you extend your hips. Your chest should be up and your head & neck should be in a neutral position. Now you are ready to begin.
A straight, light catch, the Muscle Clean is fairly simple to pull off. The bar is driven up into a clean position with your legs as straight as possible. Your back should remain firm throughout each of the cleans. Because you will not be using much leg or hips in this exercise, the Muscle Clean is excellent for improving upper body strength.
The Power clean is a tad different from the Muscle Clean. It is considered a bent-leg catch, where only a slight squat is needed for proper execution. Power cleans can vary in the amount of movement in the lower body: some prefer only a minor knee bend, where others prefer to move closer to a squat, just above parallel. The bar is immediately then lifted into the final position.
While it is the most rigorous of the three cleans, the Full Squat Clean actually uses a little less energy on the initial pull. This makes the Squat Clean more of a full body exercise than the other two. Come up with the bar to the top of the position and pull your hips through into your shrug, and finally drop quickly into your squat. Maintain the catch, and stand upright. These movements should be executed in one fluid motion.
Determine what areas of your body require the most attention for your crossfit workout, and decide which of the three cleans works best for you.
How to Do a Proper Overhead Squat
One of the most demanding lifts in weight training, the overhead cross fit squat is a challenge to execute properly. By incorporating this lift into your crossfit regimen, you will improve your mobility, your squat depth, the strength of your back, and your stability when performing other lifts. Be sure to practice safety and use a spotter when you are starting out.
Set your stance first. Your heels should be directly under your shoulders, and you should turn your toes out slightly for stability. While a PVC pipe can be used to demonstrate the proper stance and grip, it is possible to lock out the pipe incorrectly without even realizing it. Experts recommend that you use a barbell (15 or 20kg) or a training bar when you first practice your stance and your grip in the gym. This will help ingrain the proper positioning as you begin.
Next, work out a good grip. Your index fingers should hold the bar just outside of your elbows, and you should raise the bar up to shoulder height. When you are setting up the lift, your grip should create a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Use a “snatch grip” with your thumb around the bar – grip it tightly like you are squeezing the life out of the bar.
Third, press the bar straight up over your head. You will want the bar to be 6 to 8 inches overhead. Be sure to keep your wrists straight as you get ready to do your first squat.
Then drop into the squat. Push your knees out, and keep them in line with your toes. Your torso must remain straight with your chest as upright as possible. The weight should sit in the outside of your heels as you go into the squat.
Finally, execute the lift. Drive the bar upward, pushing the floor away through outside of your heels. Keep your wrists directly over your shoulders at both the top and bottom of the motion. Avoid leaning forward, and don’t bring your hands behind your shoulders. Keep your body as straight and upright as you can, with your knees above your toes. Repeat the motion down and up until you repeat the desired number of reps.
If you are a Los Angeles gym rat – or maybe you want to become one – make sure you know how to properly execute an overhead squat. It will work wonders for your cross fit workout.
Adam Lerner of A4 Fitness in Los Angeles shows 8 interesting types of pull-ups to work various muscle groups and create the ultimate pull-up challenge! Great for any crossfit routine or normal strength training exercise regimen. Try these 8 pull-ups to increase your agility and strength.
Eight Types of Pull-ups for the Ultimate Challenge
Whether you want to be an athlete, build muscular strength, or if you are training at the gym for the MMA, you have to have a good pull-up regimen. Old fashioned pull-ups are an excellent start, but what if you want to diversify your crossfit workout? Take a look at these eight types of pull-ups and try to incorporate all of them into your workout.
1) The Standard Pull-up
Practiced throughout the ages using only a crossbar and your own physical weight, the classic pull-up is one of the best ways to build upper body strength without weights. The execution is simple. Keeping your arms shoulder-width apart, hang suspended from the bar by your hands. As opposed to a chin-up, where your palms face your body, make sure that your palms are facing away from you. Then, using only your arm strength, carefully lift your head up over the bar, chin and all. Do not swing your legs to gain momentum – you want to make sure that your upper body is doing all of the work.
2) Reverse Grip
Also known as a chin-up, a reverse grip pull-up relies on your bicep strength rather than your triceps. The execution is the same as a standard pullup, except that you should curl your hands underneath the bar with your palms facing toward you. You may find that you are able to do more pull-ups using the reverse grip than the standard method: be sure to increase your reps accordingly.
3) Switch Grip
A switch grip pull-up is a hybrid of standard and reverse grip pull-up styles. Simply place one hand over the bar, and the other underneath as you hang suspended (i.e., with one palm facing forward and the other facing toward you). After you complete a set of switch grip pull-ups, perform another set with your hands in the opposite positions.
You will need a sizable curling weight for this pull-up: we recommend a 35-pound dumbbell. Before jumping up to the crossbar, turn the curling weight on its side. Position your shoes on either side of the dumbbell’s grip, keeping your balance with your toes. Then leap for the bar and perform a set of standard pull-ups. The weight will create additional resistance, so be sure to decrease the number of reps if necessary.
This form of pull-up requires continuous movement, so once you begin try to get a flow going. To begin, you will want to press your chest forward and swing your legs as you perform a standard pull-up. As you rise to the bar, allow your momentum to bring your face toward the bar – but do not pull your chin over the bar! As you descend, maintain your momentum by pressing your chest forward again while swinging your legs. Repeat the motion again and again in a fluid, circular motion.
Kipping is similar to the Butterfly, but less fluid. Press your chest forward and swing your legs, as before. As your rise to the bar, pull your chin over the top. Immediately push back once you reach the top, allowing your weight to draw you back down. Press your chest forward again, swinging your legs, as many times as it feels comfortable to do.
7) Rock Climber
In order to perform the rock climber pull-up, you will want to space your hands further apart on the bar. Then as you pull yourself up, lean toward one of your hands and lift your chin above that hand. Then lower yourself, and attempt to pull your chin over the other hand. Keep alternating which hand your pull your chin over in your reps.
8) Ladder Pull-up
The ladder pull-up is the most difficult – and therefore the best – pull-up technique. Start in the same way you would do a rock climber pull-up with a wider space between your hands on the bar. With the first inch (or so) that you lift yourself up, pull your body all the way to one side. With the next inch or so, pull yourself to the other side. And so on and so forth. You will essentially move in a zig-zag motion as your ascend. When you descend, continue to move in a zig-zag motion.
With your interest in crossfit training, you will find that these techniques will help to boost the diversity in your workout. Practice all eight of them to gain the greatest benefit for your muscular growth and definition.
Dead Lift Instructional Video by cross fit instructor Adam lerner of A4 Fitness Los Angeles.
The dead lift is an essential part of your weight-lifting regimen. It is an exercise that works several different muscle groups: while it directly targets your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, it also works the quads, abs, upper back, arms, forearms, and shoulders. This lift must be executed properly in order to benefit from it – if you have poor form, you could disrupt your posture or even throw out your back.
To begin, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right amount of weight on the bar. If you are unsure how much you should start with, try lifting the bar plus five pounds on each side. If you need more weight, add another five pound weight on both sides. Continue in this manner until you’ve got the right amount.
Next, place the balls of your feet directly under the bar. Line the bar up with the joints in your toes, to be exact. This will allow you to lift the bar safely past your knees as you perform the dead lift. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, and parallel to each other. If you prefer, you may point your toes slightly outward for more balance.
The typical grips for dead lifts are the overhand grip, with the palms of your hands facing your body, or the hook grip, where the thumb is locked underneath the fingers. For beginners, we suggest that you use a mixed grip instead: place one hand over the bar and the other hand underneath, so that your palms face opposite directions. We recommend this grip because the bar will have a tendency to slip out of your hands with an overhand grip. A mixed grip allows one hand to maintain its grasp of the bar should it begin to loosen from the other. (Warning: Do not use an underhand grip, as it could rupture your bicep and nearby tendons.)
The starting position is called the setup. With the knees slightly bent and your hands gripping the bar outside of your legs, hinge forward with your hips. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, and your lower legs should be nearly vertical. The angle between your feet and your calves should be about ninety degrees. With the bar near your shins, keep your head and eyes facing forward. Your chest should be out and your back flat.
Let a breath drop in. Then, keeping the bar close to the body, exhale and straighten your legs. Push the floor away from you with your heels and bring the weight up past your knees. Maintain a tight core throughout the lift, and thrust your hips into alignment with your feet. This is called the lockout position. Pause for a moment and breathe again.
Maintaining a straight back, hinge forward at your hips and allow your knees to bend. Set the bar down. That counts as one rep; make sure to do an appropriate number dead lift reps according to the weight and how many you want in your set. Make sure to always perform a proper dead lift in order to avoid injuries throughout your workout regimen.
Adam & Amanda
We have spent most of our adult lives training and guiding hundreds of people toward better health & fitness. We have created this A4 Blog in order to better educate our friends & members. We will answer any of your health / fitness / nutrition questions as well as keeping you posted on what's new at A4.