A Learning Curve With Sandbag Training

Hot crossfit chicks sandbag training unstable load training
Sandbag Training in CrossFit

I’ve recently gotten into training with sandbags, and there’s definitely a learning curve involved in terms of manipulating unstable loads.

This was my workout today:

  • Sandbag Deadlifts
  • Sandbag Cleans
  • Sandbag Thrusters
  • OH Sandbag sit-ups

I finally figured out how to do the thrusters unbroken as well as the overhead sandbag sit-ups, but it took me about a dozen reps each.

Benefits of Unstable Load Training

  • Real world application. You don’t lift evenly distributed weights in real life, such as your coach. Unstable load training forces you to use many different muscles to accomplish this real-world task.
  • Increases grip strength. In the traditional gym, very little grip strength is trained to lift weights. To pick up a sandbag, you build hand and forearm strength naturally.
  • Training different muscle groups. You stand differently, hold the weight differently, shift differently, and have to stabilize when using a sandbag. You can’t help but use more muscles than normal.
  • Builds stability. You have to control the weight in order to move the weight. This gives you practice in balance as well.
  • Challenging and fun. Sandbag training to me is pure joy. Manipulating an uncooperative weight is challenging and fun because of the challenge. You’ll beat yourself up and who doesn’t enjoy that?
  • Builds all around strength. From strong shoulders, legs and backs, sandbags will build your strength like few other things.
  • Cheap and portable. Sand, due to its abundance found around the world, is cheap — especially when compared to a barbell set. It’s also portable, which comes in handy when traveling.

You should try sandbag training if you haven’t. You’ll be surprised at how hard it is and how fun!

CrossFit: Deadlifts and DT

CrossFit hotties doing Push Jerks at CrossFit competition
CrossFit Push Jerks

DT is a hero Workout by CrossFit that honors soldiers who have given their lives for this great nation. DT is also known as one of the hardest CrossFit workouts since it involves heavy weights.

CROSSFIT DT HERO WOD:

5 Rounds for time:

  • 12 deadlifts
  • 9 hang power cleans
  • 6 push jerks

Weight is 155 lb for guys and 105 for the ladies.

I PR’ed this workout (hit a personal record) by 2 minutes — only the 2nd time I’ve been strong enough to do 105 lbs. It was good, but it probably could have been better. I will add this one to my list of tests to do periodically. I like DT because it does challenge me as heavy weights is not my strong suit.

I also got some nice bruises when the hang power cleans got a bit too heavy!

I also did deadlifts for my strength since DT has deadlifts in them. It was a good combination to start off the week!

Why I CrossFit

Hot Crossfit chicks crossfit competition
Power Snatch in CrossFit Competition

The CrossFit Games is not your average athlete. The CrossFit Games’ athletes are professionals who work out many hours every day. Most have professional coaches who do their programming.

I CrossFit once a day. I take rest days. I push myself but smartly. I strive and am competitive but am okay if I don’t win.

REASONS I CROSSFIT

  • To push my body to its limits
  • To transform my body composition and looks
  • To do things others don’t or won’t
  • To strengthen my mind
  • To improve my self-confidence
  • To improve my self-esteem
  • To have fun
  • To constantly challenge myself
  • To be different

It’s hard at this moment to quantify CrossFit and what it means to me. But this is my attempt.

Knowing When to Rest From CrossFit

Ever since Sunday, I’ve been hitting my CrossFit workouts hard. This week has been all about heavy weights, which I haven’t done for a while, especially after coming back from surgery. My shoulders are trashed. My calves are trashed. Squatting down in the simple things like doing laundry is difficult.

This morning I had a workout planned. I did not do it. I was too sore, and my body was crying out for rest.  Here’s some tips on how to know when to rest from exercise, CrossFit workouts, running, or whatever sport you do.

Tips to Know When to Rest from Exercise

  • Your body is crying out to you. This one should be intuitive, but I often ignore this one. When everything is sore and everyday movements become a challenge, it’s time for a break.
  • Your exhausted at the end of the day. Exercise causes trauma to our bodies that our bodies need rest and sleep in order to recover from. If you’re not giving your body rest, then you are not maximizing your time under the barbell. When you’re tired all the time, it’s your body crying out to rest, so it can do its job and repair muscle fibers and tissues, so you can be stronger for your next CrossFit workout.
  • Your mental game is affected. Loss of enthusiasm, motivation, and desire is a sure sign you need a rest day. If you’re only half into your CrossFit workout and you’re just going through the movements without any heart, then you’re not doing yourself any good. Rest and hit your workouts hard in the upcoming days.
  • You have a tweak that won’t go away. If you exercise or do CrossFit a lot, odds are you’re familiar with tweaks — some muscle feels a bit off and when you move it, you notice it. Most of the time, these tweaks resolve themselves on their own in a week or so. However, if you have a perpetual tweak that won’t go away, it’s time for a break. Take at least one rest day and then rest that muscle as much as possible. Modify the CrossFit programming to suit your needs or design your own CrossFit programming.
crossfit babes taking a rest day
Rest Day in CrossFit

As you can see, the key is listening to your body. Rest is crucial to progress in sports, but it’s so hard to take that day when our passion is our sport. Below are tips for rest days.

Tips for Rest Days

  • Active recovery. It’s hard for some of us to not do anything physical on rest days. Active recovery is a great way to let your muscles recover but appease your mind that is nagging at you to work out. I personally like to walk my dog on rest days from CrossFit or go swimming, which is no impact and gets all your built-up lactic acid in your muscles.
  • Distraction. Plan rest days during the week instead of on weekends, so you’re busy all day long. Plan rest days during the weekend if your weekend is packed, and you won’t have time to exercise.
  • Plan your CrossFit programming or workouts. Planning my next workouts satisfies the need deep within me to workout. It gives me something to look forward to when it’s time to hit my CrossFit workouts hard again.
  • Read a book. Alternate worlds are always good to enter when trying to NOT do something like exercise.
  • Get a massage. Let’s face it, we all need massages if we lift heavy weights. Schedule your massage during your rest day if possible to maximize the effects of rest on the body.
  • Go to bed early that day. Get extra sleep to afford your body the time it needs to repair muscle tissue and grow stronger.

We only get stronger when we rest. Adequate rest and nutrition play a big part in our muscle gains and, odd enough, our muscle loss.

Working out and lifting heavy weights, whether you do CrossFit or a different sport, is only half the equation. Keep in mind the harder part — eating right and resting — and you’ll see results quicker.

Crossfit: How NOT to Cherry-Pick Workouts

Today’s CrossFit workout I wanted no part of. If you skip a CrossFit Workout that was programmed, it’s known as cherry-picking in the CrossFit world, meaning you only do the workouts you want to do and skip the ones that are hard or the ones you dont’ want to do. Today’s programmed CrossFit WOD was this:

3 rounds of:

hot crossfit chicks
Power Snatches in CrossFit
  • 10 power cleans
  • 10 front squats
  • 10 push jerks

1st round was 95 lb, 2nd round was 105 lb, 3rd round was 115 lb

Then we had a WOD that was this:

3 Rounds for Time:

  • 10 power snatches 80 lbs
  • 20 box jump overs
  • 30 wall balls

I haven’t lifted that much in push jerks since August. I knew that was going to be tough mentally for me more than physically. But I did it. Not happily (I’m glad it’s over), but I know I need to do this stuff to be stronger and to improve at CrossFit. Here are tips when faced with a workout, so you don’t cherry-pick it:

  1. Go at your own pace. Don’t worry about what others are doing around you. Remember this is your workout, so do it your way.
  2. Concentrate on good form. For weights that heavy for you (80% and up), good form is crucial to a) being able to do the work b) being able to lift heavier weights moving forward. Take that extra second to get set before you lift to ingrain muscle memory to these Olympic moves.
  3. It’s about the work. Take it one rep at a time if this is tough for you mentally. Just get the work done and finish.

In CrossFit, we all have the movements we love and those we hate. When faced with those you hate, don’t avoid them like you do your mother-in-law. Do them. You’ll be a stronger, more well-rounded athlete overall. And you may even find you like the moves once you get good at them.

CrossFit: How to Fill Sandbags

At my last competition, the Turkey Challenge, we had a WOD with sandbags. I fell in love — so much so I bought two sandbags from Brute Force for myself for Christmas. One I filled with 35 pounds and one with 62 pounds.

Filling sandbags is not as easy as it sounds. Here are the steps and methods I utilized:

crossfit chicks working out during crossfit competition with sandbags
Working out with Sandbags
  • Buy sand (play sand is recommended) from your local hardware store or superstore
  • Fill the filler bags accordingly. A less filled bag is more unstable and will tax your grip and balance more. We used a funnel and a measuring cup that had a pour spout. This enabled us to accurately fill the bags with the same amount of sand.
  • Use a scale. After filling the bags, we would weigh the bags on a scale to make sure they were equal.
  • These Brute Force bags come with military-grade velcro. Velcro the bags and place them in the outer shell bag, shaking to make even.
  • You’re ready to begin!

WHY TRAIN WITH SANDBAGS

Sandbag training is utilized for unstable load training which is the ability to unconventionally move or lift an odd object that is unstable or has an uneven load efficiently. This type of training provides a much more dynamic and challenging training experience. You must engage your body’s stabilizer muscles, building coordinated strength and balance throughout your entire body.

Unstable load training is definitely challenging, no doubt about it. And fun. Once I’m healed from my surgery, I can’t wait to get started!

Thanksgiving Day Murph

For the third year in a row, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving by doing a CrossFit WOD called

crossfit hero wod murph crossfit hotties
Preparing for Work

Murph. A hero workout named for Lt Michael Murphy, who died in Afghanistan serving our country, it consists of:

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1 mile run

This is one of the most famous CrossFit workouts and is traditionally programmed for Memorial Day around the country. However, I began doing this on Thanksgiving as well three years ago to commemorate the Fallen.

The weather was perfect: 55 degrees and sunny. I invited one friend and it was him and me who performed it. It was fun. It wasn’t my best time, but I wasn’t pushing all out. It was, again, just doing the movement and enjoying life. Thank you to all who have served our country and especially to those who have made the greatest sacrifice and given their lives. Words are not enough.