Major Benefits of Lunges

Lunges, split squats, and other unilateral leg movements are tremendous tools for building a strong, functional, and balanced body. Yet they tend to take a backseat to the sexier exercises like squats and deadlifts. Let’s look at the benefits of lunges, common faults, and some popular variations to help you get those gains!

Lunges are a fundamental human movement pattern and take many different forms. As a result, lunges require and therefore help us improve leg strength, core strength, balance, and coordination. Choose to perform lunges as a bodyweight movement, with weight, or explosively by including a jump. So, no matter your goals training lunges is very beneficial.

Balance and Coordination

To improve balance and coordination you can train lunges with weight which increases the demand for midline stability. Do lunges with a barbell overhead or a single dumbbell/kettlebell loading one side of the body. Thus, due to the stabilization and core strength required to do weighted lunges there is a huge transfer to sports and life. However, ensure that the load demands don’t force you into a compromised position and that you have the necessary mobility to handle the movement and weight. As always ask a Coach if you’re unsure!

Strength and Muscle Growth

Looking to gain strength and increase muscle growth?! Do lunges that allow you to add weight! A reverse lunge works well because it allows the weight to remain in the lead leg ensuring proper form. Do reverse lunges with dumbbells held at waist level or a barbell on your back to go hard and heavy. A good rule of thumb is to keep the majority of the load in the front leg as you perform the movement. Select a load that allows for a controlled descent to the floor allowing the knee to kiss the ground.

Preventing Injuries

Looking to prevent injuries, increase range of motion, and correct imbalances the Bulgarian split squat might just be the choice for you! This exercise is performed with one foot elevated off the floor. So, with the foot elevated this movement optimizes the hinge position of the hips and is greater for activating the glutes, #bootygainz! This variation can be completed with or without weight depending on your goals! Take care to stabilize the lead leg and focus on balance to reap the benefits of this killer lunge variation.

If you want to learn more about the best training movements be sure to discuss your goals with one of our coaches!

Already a CFK member? Keep an eye out for Coach Alex’s 2021 Goals Challenge!

Not a CFK member? Click our logo to schedule your FREE intro session:

Cheers,

Coach Alex

Bodyweight Movements to Improve Your Game

This year has showed us that we can’t take going into the gym for granted anymore and we should have some movements in out back pocket we can whip out when there is no equipment in sight. This can be especially frustrating when you love to lift all the heavy weights. But what if I told you these seemingly simple bodyweight movements could help you lift even heavier weights.

“Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are.”
-Teddy Roosevelt

These bodyweight movements can help you to strengthen your joints, build up core strength, and address imbalances/weaknesses that may have been holding you back. And all of this will translate you your weighted lifts! By stripping down weights and focusing on body positioning and movement you’d be surprised how drastically that can improve everything else! 

1.Candlestick

Roll out the yoga mat or head out into the backyard. The candlestick is a fun exercise that has tremendous benefits.  This is perhaps the best demonstration of real world functional movement. The ability to move your body from the ground to standing is a great indicator of fitness (burpees anyone?!). You will also learn coordination, balance, and build your core strength as you strive to maintain a hollow body position. 

Check out a great video on the candlestick here:

2. Wall Walks

Think of these as planks taken to a whole new level. The key here is to maintain your position and not let your low back arch. If you are nervous to go all the way upside down or have trouble getting your nose all the way to the wall don’t worry. Just go as far as you safely and comfortably can – there are still so many benefits to doing this exercise!

Focus on moving slowly as you work on these and challenge yourself to spend more time under tension rather than completing the wall walk up as quickly as possible. Play around with different variations and mix in elements like shifting your weight from one hand to the other – this will have tremendous carryover to skills like handstand walking!

Here’s a great demo video:

3. Pull Ups

Pull ups can’t be beat when it comes to upper body strength training. Build up your lats, arms, and core strength by adding these in daily. Pull ups respond well to training frequency so try to do more small sets throughout the day to build up your strength. Try doing sets that are 50% of your max number of pullups to ensure you are always able to rep them out (if 8 pullups is your max always do sets of 4 with plenty of rest in between). If doing your first pullup is the goal then focus on doing just the lowering phase of the movement. Step up so your chin starts over the bar and control your lowering at a steady rate of speed so that it takes at 4-5 seconds to get your arms fully extended at the bottom of the movement.

If you don’t have access to a pull up bar you can always grab a backpack, some dumbbells, or kettlebells and do some bent over rows!

4. Pistol Squats

Pistol squats or single leg squats are a great way to maintain leg strength without any external load. They also improve your squat mechanics and mobility if you are disciplined with your form and really focus on movement quality. Make sure you are mobilizing your ankles and properly warming up before diving into pistol squats. 

Below is a great progression you can use to warm up and train this beneficial movement!

5. Glute Bridge

The movement we all know and love and probably don’t do often enough. If you are working from home right now (or spending more time on the couch than usual) then set an alarm on your phone to drop and perform some glute bridges every hour. Your low back will thank you and so will your Levi’s!

There are a ton of variations of the glute bridge that you can train. Performing these as often as possible with your bodyweight will pay huge dividends. It can help alleviate back and sciatic pain and will also improve your squat and deadlift. Checking out this video is a great place to start!

 

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
-Vince Lombardi

Fitness is a mindset. Not an activity that you go to the gym to perform for an hour 4-5 times a week. Our gym and community is here to facilitate your fitness journey. Let us know if you need guidance, motivation, or just someone to sweat with!

Schedule your very own 1:1 intro session with us just click the image below to sign up!

 

Cheers!

Coach Alex

#OpenUp

“Each year of the Open is filled with memorable moments. Stories of first muscle-ups, personal breakthroughs, and the beginning of lasting friendships are often sparked during the five weeks of competition in the Open.” -CrossFit.com

 

The CrossFit Open is celebrating its 10th season! It gets better every year, and while there have been many changes to its format over the years, it remains the single greatest test of pure fitness we have. Whether this year’s open will be your first, or your tenth, you’re bound to push to new heights and discover previously unknown capabilities during the Open!

 

“But I don’t like to compete, I just want to get fit and have fun.”

 

Great! That’s what the Open is all about. You don’t have to compete with anybody if you don’t wish to, but just by participating and committing to 100% effort for 5 weeks, you’ll:

 

  1. Push yourself harder than you have all year, likely setting a PR or doing a movement you’ve never been able to before. Each year, at least a handful of CFK’ers get their first pull-up, toes-to-bar, muscle-up, or set a weightlifting PR.
  2. Learn to go to places of discomfort that you weren’t sure of before, thus setting you up for a more successful year of training in 2020 and gaining you the much coveted mental toughness to overcome other obstacles.
  3. Have an absolute blast tuning in and hanging out each week with all of your CFK buddies, cheering each other on, high fiving, chest-bumping, and ringing PR bells.

 

Regardless of if you compete with yourself or anyone else, the Open workouts are still just workouts and will be normal training days for those not testing.  All our workouts are as difficult as you want them to be and these will be nothing different from that standpoint and should not be skipped.


HOW TO REGISTER

  1. Sign-up for the CrossFit Open HERE.
  2. More information HERE

 

IMPORTANT DATES:

Thursday, October 10: 20.1 (First Open WOD) released online here

Friday, October 11 – Friday, November 10: Workouts 20.1 – 20.5

Friday: CrossFit Classes – all classes, all day, each Friday will perform the Open WOD (One heat each class, no judges)

Saturday: CrossFit L2 @10: 15 am, both locations: Open WOD (with judges)

**If you intend to register as an athlete at CrossFit.com and will require a certified judge, you must also register as a judge and pass the judges course here so that you can also judge for someone else on Saturday!

Friday, November 8: Workout 20.5 – Friday Night Lights / “FRANsgiving” Potluck!

The final Open WOD, crossed with our Thanksgiving celebration! Don’t worry, we won’t be doing “FRAN”… unless that’s what 20.5 turns out to be!

Location: CFK West

Time: 4pm – 8pm


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Q: I’m not sure if I should do the Open, should I?

A: Yes. Regardless of age, training history, current abilities, physical limitations, or any other potential excuse, EVERYONE will benefit by participating in the Open. There is a scaled division, and at CFK we will have a beginner version of the workout each week.

 

Q: Should I register online?

A: We STRONGLY recommend it. The online leaderboard is very cool, and has improved over the past 2 years with the ability to create custom leaderboards for individual gyms (CFK will have one), as well as optional filters for age, occupation, experience level, and many other options. You can see your performances year-over-year, providing a yearly benchmark to track progress. Plus, it’s an added layer of ACCOUNTABILITY!

NOTE: It’s not required to register online, and CFK makes no money on your registration. All registration fees go to CrossFit HQ.

 

Q: I’m new to CrossFit

or

I haven’t been consistent lately, do I really need to be testing?

A: No, not at all.  But… you should still do the Open workouts because they are great training days just like all CrossFit workouts! Work within your means and follow the principles of MCI (Mechanics, Consistency, THEN Intensity). The Open will give you a weekly focus/event to anticipate, keep you consistent during a time where distractions are everywhere, and you’ll have a great time cheering your friends on and talking/tweeting/hashtagging within the community each week.

 

Q: Which division should I compete in?

A: You don’t need to designate it right this moment. See what the first workout is, view the scaling options, and then decide. You can take it week-by-week, or determine it now and stick with your division the whole time, regardless of the workout. You can’t mess it up!

*We do recommend staying in the same division throughout the open, regardless of the workouts.  It’s good to see your weaknesses and if you switch back and forth you can miss out on valuable lessons.

Q: When will we be doing the workouts?

A: Two Options – Friday during classes, or Saturday during the L2 workout at 10:15 am.

NOTE: Those who register online as an athlete must be judged by a certified judge and also become a certified judge to score someone else. Saturday will be the only scheduled option with judges, so if you’re registering online you’ll need to come on Saturday!

**EVERYONE who registers as an athlete online is asked to also register as a judge and pass the online judges course which can be found hereThis ensures that we have enough judges on Saturdays!

 

Q: What if I can’t make Saturdays for the Open throwdowns?

A: If you are registered online and can’t make Saturdays, then you’ll need to find a buddy who’s passed the judges course to judge you during off-class hours, or in the auxiliary room, if available.  We will be very accommodating but cannot interrupt other’s workouts or disrespect their time.

 

Q: What is the deadline for submitting scores?

A: For the CrossFit Open (online), you’ll need to submit prior to Monday at 8 p.m. EST. each week.

 

Q: How do I submit my scores?

A: For the online competition, submit at https://games.crossfit.com/

 

Q: What exactly is the CrossFit Open?

A: Besides being the biggest single fitness event in the world, it’s the first way for professional athletes to qualify for the CrossFit Games, as each national champion from every nation with a CrossFit affiliate worldwide will receive an invite. For most of us, it’s 5 weeks of tough workouts, PR’s and high fives. Plus, what’s cooler than seeing your name on the same leaderboard as the greatest athletes in the world?

Who should try Olympic Weightlifting and Why

CFK PERFORMANCE powered by TRISTAR WEIGHTLIFTING

Why Weightlifting?

Weightlifting is not just for weightlifters – it is one of the most transferable training systems around! You will see benefits in your daily life, such as increased joint and bone strength, improved balance and stability, and mental confidence, among others.

 

Lifting objects from the floor and putting them over your head is a very basic and required skill for everyday life.  Having a strong core, back, and legs will not only benefit you in everyday life but make you stronger and healthier so you can enjoy your life more.

 

Here’s a quick List of Benefits but there are many more:

  • Injury prevention and overall fitness
  • Increased Core Strength = less back pain
  • Increased CardioVascular health! (your heart rate still gets up and you will gain muscular endurance and a decent level of conditioning.
  • Lifting weight can be a challenging but fun alternative to conventional gym workouts
  • It’s a great way to burn fat because you are building muscle and increasing your metabolism
  • It’s an awesome community since you have lots of time to socialize with those around, and your not constantly out of breath!
  • It’s a little less fast paced than say our CrossFit classes so it’s a fun alternative to those days when just don’t feel like breathing hard!

How does that apply to me?  

Most people know that Olympic weightlifting is an amazing Sports and athletic performance program.  As a sport it’s contested both on a local, national, and international level (think Olympics).  What a lot of people don’t know is that from a training perspective, the lifts, or versions of (power clean, push press, front squats, etc…) provide amazing benefits to any training or fitness program.

 

Implementing the lifts in your training program can be both intimidating and risky if you aren’t doing them correctly.  Our team of coaches are very educated and well trained on a National level and have experience working with both high level competitors and people who have never lifted a barbell. Through proper skill development and progressions, they’ll teach you how to safely reap the many benefits of Olympic Weightlifting.

So how can try it out to see if it’s for me?  

Drop in and try a class!  Click HERE, pick your location, and book your free session. Beginners are welcome!
Session Times:
Tuesdays (West Location): 5:30pm & 7pm
Thursdays (North Location): 5:30pm & 7pm
Saturdays (Both Locations): 9am

CFK Performance Memberships are divided into three tracks:

Tri-Star Weightlifting – ($99/month)

 

Tri-Star Compete – ($129/Month)

Weightlifting is an Olympic sport – yes those Olympics – and has the opportunity for sponsorship and competition at the international level. We facilitate a respectful, team environment for those interested in training for Weightlifting competition. As coaches, we continue to broaden our knowledge of the sport and help devise the best individual approach to training for our competitors – from exercise selection, volume, and training frequency, to nutrition, sleep, and recovery.

We have competition experience ourselves, have trained in, and coached Weightlifting for years.  We continuously seek the expertise of advanced coaches beyond our level, and have taken our own lifters to National level competitions. Let us help you today, and watch the kilos pile on the bar!

Athletes will receive 5 days/week programming, get access to CFK’s Tri-Star Weightlifting classes (3x/week), Open Gym hours, and meet coaching.

Programming is event focused and the goal is 1 rep max Snatch and  Clean and Jerk as that’s what’s tested at competitions.  Workouts will include lots of classic lifts plus squatting, pulling, and plenty of accessory work to create balance and longevity in the athlete.

 

Sports Performance – ($129/Month)

The focus of Tri-Star sports performance is increasing general athletic ability and improving performance on the field of play. Athletes receive access to Tri-Star Weightlifting classes (3x/week), as well as unlimited access to CFK Burn classes.

CFK Burn classes: Programming will include high-intensity conditioning training to supplement weightlifting classes. We use simple but effective movements with moderate weight loading to maximize power output and increase general athleticism.

 

CrossFit Track – (All Programs are included in CFK Membership)

Weightlifting is a third of the system we follow.  In CrossFit we want to be incrementally better over time and Life is the contest, not the gym.  We use the lifts because of the general preparedness they bring to the challenges we may see in an emergency situation.  Body awareness, moving loads efficiently, core stability, mobility, and general coordination are all valuable skills for life that are learned and improved through weightlifting. The workouts will be similar to the Competitive Program but much more technique focussed.  No Squatting or heavy pulling, but plenty of skill and assistance work for injury prevention.

 

 

I Am Not A Natural

I am not a Natural.
I am not a Phenom.
I am not Gifted.
I don’t possess an above average athletic ability.

I work hard. I understand that some positions or movements are not going to come easy. I understand that my training is not a sprint but a marathon. My Intensity is high and I expect great things from myself but my day doesn’t hinge on whether I PR or I have a bad workout.

If I don’t succeed I simply step back and assess the situation.
– Did I miss because of flexibility?
– Did I miss because of a lack of strength?
– Did I miss because I haven’t been sleeping well?
– Did I miss because my mind is elsewhere because “real life” throws rough stuff at me sometimes right before I’m supposed to focus on a workout.

No matter what the answer, I keep coming back over and over. Most of the time with a vengeance to make up for last time.

I have had bad weeks. I have even had a stretch of tough workouts lasting multiple weeks while nursing an injury. It doesn’t matter.

I show up because my bad workouts are way better than sitting on the couch.

I’m getting better everyday by working hard. It may not always be more than last time, but it will be all I can give.

I am not a natural. But the harder I work the closer I come to looking like one.

Are you ready to work hard? To take on a challenge? To push yourself each and every day? Then CrossFit Knoxville is the place for you. Stop by either of our Knoxville locations and try 3 CrossFit class for free.

We’ll see you on the other side of the bar.