Performance

Let's talk Handstand 

If you talk to any person in a Crossfit gym most likely that person either can do a Handstand or wants to be able to do a Handstand. Either way, it is a party trick we all think is pretty cool to be able to do. It demonstrates great balance, strength and muscular endurance. 

July was our 30-day Handstand challenge month and it was amazing to see how many started this journey. Throughout the 30 days of Handstand challenge we showed progressive skills to help those who want to achieve this impressive skill. Many started, few did it for all 30 days. 

Well done to everybody who joined and pushed themselves out of their comfort zone. It is not an easy thing and excites me!

If however you did not take on this challenge this time, but still wish to one day give it a go, here's how to approach it. 

You need a good plan.

Usually at the beginning the biggest challenge is mental fear. Fear of not being strong enough to support your body weight, fear of falling down and fear of hurting yourself. 

So, how do you overcome this fear?

Like learning any other skill you need to start slow, steady and know the proper steps. 

Step 1 

Holding a Handstand puts a lot of pressure on your wrists and hands, so you need to ensure you always warm up your wrists and hands before practicing Handstands. Include wrist mobility work to avoid wrist pain. 

Step 2 

Start with basic progressions to get stronger and work on your balance. Great drills to practice at the very start of your Handstand journey are headstands, crowstands, wall walks and hollow body holds.

Headstands and crowstands are great for balance work. Wall walks will help to develop strength and muscular endurance. Hollow body holds will help to become aware of body position as well as improve core strength which is crucial in a handstand. 

 Step 3 

When basic skills are starting to feel like a walk in a park start adding harder skills as wall supported handstand holds, wall runs and front leaning rest holds.  It's advisable you can hold a comfortable 60 second wall Handstand hold with a proper form before moving away from the wall. 

As you progress it is really important you learn and feel comfortable bailing - exiting safely out of the Handstand, so that you can avoid hurting yourself. 

Step 4 

Stay consistent with your Handstand practice. When you find yourself struggling with harder skills it can get hard to motivate yourself to keep practicing, but it is important to keep in mind that consistent work will pay off. 

I have found that it works best for me to include my 10 minute Handstand practice at the beginning of my session, right after I have done the warm up. Body is feeling fresh, mind is clear and I can focus on the skill. 

Step 5 

Commit. 

Thanks for sparing a minute to have a read and if you haven't done our Handstand challenge but want to give it a go, head to our Instagram page highlights. You'll find all the drills and skills we did in our 30 day Handstand challenge. 


WHAT IS YOUR WHY?

What is your why?

I find myself having this conversation a lot lately, and the more I have this conversation the more I realize it’s not something people have spent much time thinking about. What is your why? Not the “I want to be the best version of myself” cookie-cutter bullshit that you tell everyone. No. I mean, the real, deep-down reason that drives you to invest thousands of dirhams and hundreds of hours into your health and fitness. I believe that everybody has a strong ‘why’, a deep-rooted and meaningful motivation that drives them; most people just don’t know it or haven’t taken the time to figure it out.

Everyone wants to “be fitter”, “get stronger”, “look better”, “be healthier”, “lose weight” etc, and although there is nothing wrong with having these generic and superficial (as in, surface, not stuck up) training goals, they will not be able to provide you with enough motivation when push comes to shove. There isn’t enough depth of meaning in wanting to just “look better” to motivate you to get to bed early so that you don’t hit snooze the next morning.

Wanting to “be healthier”, isn’t going to persuade you to turn down a second piece of pumpkin pie. Training to “be faster” isn’t going to fuel you to dig deeper when your legs and lungs are burning and you’re on the final stretch and a second off your PR.

These are good umbrella goals, but they don’t define your ‘why’ in all of its glory. The human mind is complex, and you’re better than just “I want to be the best version of myself”.

Yes, you want to look better; but why? So that your partner is more attracted to you? To give you more confidence? Because someone called you fat when you were a kid? So that you don’t have to feel self-conscious on your boat party?

You want to be healthier; but why? Because you want to be around for your family in 10 years? Because you’d love to see your grandkids?

You want to be fitter; but why? So that people give you the respect you think you deserve? So that you can still beat your kids at tennis when your 54? Because it makes you feel good?

I used to have a superficial ‘why’. I always thought that, if I trained hard and had some sort of evidence to post on social media, people would think I was legit, would respect me as a Coach, and would be more likely to train with me. The problem was, if I wasn’t feeling it on a certain day, I wouldn’t bother pushing myself because I had the option of just not posting anything; no one would know, no pressure. My reason for training wasn’t powerful enough to outweigh the occasional lack of motivation (and we all have those days).

I’ve recently found a new ‘why’, a deeper motivation that keeps me on-track and accountable. It’s important to me, my business, my livelihood and who I am as a person, and is more powerful than the pain of exercise, stronger than my temptation to hit snooze and bigger than a lapse in will power. I get excited when I talk about it and, when I think about it when I’m training, it gets me AMPED!

If you have any sort of training goal, long or short-term, I encourage you to understand the ‘why’ behind it. Have a conversation with yourself, a loved one, your training partner, or even me, and go deep in to the reason behind your goals. Why are you at the gym 6 times a week? Why put yourself through all of this hard work? Why do you really want it? You’ll know once you get there; it’ll give you goosebumps, a new lease on training, and you’ll want to throw your cookies in the bin and head straight to the gym.

What is your why?

Do you trust me?

Do you trust me?
The plan for the 2019/20 season.

 As we approach what will likely be the end of the CrossFit competition season for most of us. It’s time to reflect on your previous years training and see how much progress you’ve made, set some new goals, come up with a plan and re-commit.

My reasons for asking this are not ego driven or because I fear you’re doubting the program. Not because I’m going to come up with some mad shit that doesn’t make any sense.
I just want to make sure you understand my intent with the direction of the program for the next year.

Last year, I had a solid plan, a mapped-out macro program that laid out every detail of every week from start to finish a year in advance. The season was set, and it was easy for us to plan. This year things are slightly different. We aren’t games or regional athletes (well most of aren’t, right Seham? ;-)), so the changes don’t reeeeeally apply, but it has created some disruption to the season.

Reflection and goal setting

Before we start a new season, I’d suggest sitting down and reviewing the season that has just passed. It’s always worth doing, so we can pat ourselves on the back for the goals we hit and re-evaluate the ones we missed. Once you’ve done this, I’d then suggest sitting down and doing some goal setting for this season. I’d love to be a part of this so if any of you want to have a catch up and do some goal setting, let’s go grab a coffee and see what we can come up with,

I’ve put some time in to looking for comps that we can do to keep us busy until we hit competition season again, and honestly there is LOADS out there. I’ve shortlisted a couple of online comps, some that are just online, some that are qualifiers for exotic locations and some that are for bigger comps that we won’t qualify for, but still good to use as a measure. We’ve done a lot of team stuff in previous years, I’d like to suggest looking at some individual comps this year too.

I’ll build these in to a schedule and we can as a group decide which ones would be fun to do, whilst still making sense.

Here is what I’ve come up with in terms of a broad timeline for the 19/20 season. All of which is subject to change as a lot of events haven’t released information, so dates are not confirmed, and other events are likely to pop up.

March – Finish out the 2019 open
April – Deload for a few weeks, start off season with a testing week
May – Off season
June – Finish up off season, and begin looking at online comps
July – Start of new season
August – Ramp up in season
September – Still in season
October – Comp season starts, qualifiers and second Open of 2019
November – BoE + potentially another comp in the region
December – Elfit (heard it’s a shit show but let’s keep options open, team and indie)
January – WOD mayhem, Bahrain, I don’t believe these have qualifiers, Indie comp
February – Altitude, unless something else comps up, get medical insurance sorted prior to event.

Off season.

This is where I need your trust.
None of you are idiots, well most of you (I’m kidding), so I assume you understand you can’t keep training at full send all year round. When you train hard in preparation for a competition and ramp up your intensity and volume the risk of injury and blowing up are heightened. I’m sure you see what would happen if you kept training at the same gear year-round?

So, I’m suggesting we take a bit of an off season. Ride out the Open, finish March strong, have a week or two of easy training and recovering, hit a testing week and then get really serious about destroying some weaknesses. Use a 6-8 week window whilst the competition calendar is quiet and focus on getting strong / fast / gymnasty (insert generic training goal) as fuck!

 I’m working on putting together a fairly sophisticated off season that can be tailored to your goals, and eliminating your weaknesses, whilst being able to train together, and have fun doing so. I’m excited about it for myself as well as you guys, it’s a good opportunity to build on experiences from the past season and to set the attitude for the coming season.

 Give me 2 months of solid training and you’ll walk out ready to crush the rest of the year.

 This message is disclaimery, because I need your buy in. I’m asking for your trust, because training will look differently, we won’t be doing loads of CrossFit and we won’t be doing loads of smash yourself in to the ground training during this period. Don’t misunderstand me, training will be far from easy, it’ll just look different from what you’d expect “CrossFit” to look like.

 What you should expect from a competitive CrossFit off season.

-       Lots of isolated strength work

-       Loads of hard / long endurance intervals

-       Plenty of gymnastic skill work

-       Time to improve and develop better movement, with the scope to more resilient

-       Plenty of strongman

-       Loads of recovery work

-       More time for mobility and movement work

 We’re still trying to be as good at working out as possible, and the plan I’ve come up with is built around doing exactly that.

We’ve made some amazing progress in the last 12 months, I hope you all see it yourselves. I’m really looking forward to kicking off this new season.

If you would like to sit down with me and discuss any of this, and get some guidance on setting targets for the season, you know where to find me.

Honcho


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