I'm one of our resident Exercise Physiologists, and also an accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer and Level 1 Weightlifting Instructor. I like all things exercise - everything from musculoskeletal rehab to performance training! My own exercise background varies from playing representative Rugby League and touch football to athletics, cricket and nine years of martial arts training. Lately (well, three years now), its all been about CrossFit and CrossFit performance. I've represented CFIS (along with some of the other trainers) at the 2010 and 2011 CrossFit Games in Los Angeles, USA. Outside of the gym, I tend to go in search of good food and great coffee. You'll more than likely find me in a restaurant on a Saturday night thoroughly enjoying my cheat meal for the week! I've also travelled much of the world (I don't know if it's a hobby or an obsession!) - everywhere from China to Rwanda! Antarctica remains my final frontier... Ask me anything exercise related - I love to get my nerd on when it comes to exercise and health theories. If I don't know the answer, I'll find it! And yes, Dan's Shoulder Stretch is mine.
Ever wonder what it feels like to have a really long mud bath (complete with cow poo smell)? Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be groped, man-handled, pushed and pulled by friends as well as complete strangers? Have you ever thought about how much mud fits underneath your toes nails? If so, then you should try doing the Tough Mudder. You will learn the answers to these questions and so many more. You also learn about what scares you, and what makes you stronger. You will make new friends, and have some incredible stories to tell.
What is the “Tough Mudder” you ask? It is a 18-20 km off-road obstacle course. There is a lot of mud and 20-25 challenging obstacles along the way.The idea behind the course is not to finish in a certain time, but rather to just finish it and complete it as a team as you will need help from your fellow mudders to complete the course.
Some the obstacle highlights were the Kiss of Mud x 2 (crawling under barbed wire in mud), Artic Enimea (ice bath), Berlin Walls x 2 (12 and 14 ft walls), Boa Constrictor (pipe crawls), Dirty Ballerina (crawling, leaping and swimming through mud pits), Electric Eel (belly crawl with electric shock), Funky Monkey (sloped monkey bars with an ice bath if you drop into the water below), Hold Your Wood (carry a rather large and awkward piece of wood around a circuit), Log Bog (over and under a series of log gates), Mud Mile (a very long section of deep, THICK mud), Walk the Plank (a 15 ft jump a ledge into the river), Everest (14ft half pipe wall to summit), and Electric Shock Therapy (run with an electric shock).
Crossfit Ignite Sydney recently fielded a team of 23 brave, eager, and possibly slightly nervous people to participate in the Tough Mudder on Sunday 23 Sept 2012. Five of the faster runners went in their own group to really give the course their best effort, and finished the course in times ranging from 3-4 hrs. The other 18 Ignite mudders stuck together as they battled their way through the mud, electricity, ice baths and their fears. This “fun group”, as was dubbed by the participants, really wanted to fully enjoy the whole event, soak up the mud and fun, and really support each other through the event, and thus spent over 5 ½ hrs on the course. There were also several other Ignitians who completed the course with their own group of friends.
At the end of the day, everyone finished and more importantly, everyone had a wonderful time. Obstacles and fears were conquered, new friendships were made, limits were tested, and everyone walked away feeling they had really accomplished something.
“Being part of a team for this challenge made it so much more enjoyable. Getting to know fellow ‘Ignitians’ was also great as we are often doing solo programs in the gym without a lot of interaction.” “How many trenches of mud, as thick as cement, could they have created in which to get stuck? Far too many! This was the most challenging part of the course from my perspective but satisfying to complete.”
Mac said, “This has been the craziest and the most physically challenging thing I have ever done in my life. I believe we all had lots of fun and everybody enjoyed every bit of that muddy adventure enriched by electric shocks, and despite all the bruises, scratches and sore muscles I’m definitely up for another Tough Mudder next year!”
Bryan said, “I really enjoyed working with everyone on the Crossfit Ignite team to ensure we all got through course. It was nice to see a few people conquer some fears and complete what was a grueling course.”
Sarah said, “Probably the thing i will take out from the whole day is how determined we all are, and i do think we definitely bonded over the experience with lots of support for each other. My favourite mental image of the day was waiting for Alex on the berlin walls and just seeing the very top of his gorgeous swimming cap pop up, hilarious!”
Leigh said, “Overcoming fears (the Arctic Enema and the 3m jump were particular challenges for me). I was nervous, but knowing there were so many of us, I could get over those nerves.”
Catherine had this to say, “I had underestimated the amount of mud that was on the course but what struck me throughout the day was the team work from the “Ignite train” and from complete strangers.“
Quotes from the day,
“Is it better if i go down like this?” – Dom to Penny
“I am just recovering from that enema earlier” – Scott to everyone
“I feel like a crocodile” – Leigh
“I think I’m getting Trench foot” – Sarah
Other Ignitians not on the team
Julien, participated in Tough Mudder with his partner and 2 friends. “It was a great personal challenge and a fun time between friends. The 20km are not the hardest to achieve but, it is really fun to play in the mud!”
Anthony said, “I have never entered in any mud runs or obstacle courses before. In the lead up to Tough Mudder I was scared and not sure what to expect. I signed up with a team of 7 people from my work. The course was challenging and teamwork was essential. There was so much mud of every type imaginable. I had the most fun I have had in years. I have already signed up for the next Sydney Tough Mudder in February 2013.”
I would like to congratulate all those who took part of the tough mudder whether you were on the Ignite team or another team. You all accomplished something excellent! What a great day Tough Mudders!
The next Tough Mudder in Sydney is in Feb 2013. If you would like to take the challenge with Team Ignite email me at email@example.com.
The following drills will help transform your running to become more natural which will help you be more efficient and decrease your occurrence of injury. Like any new skill it will take some practice of each of the drills to get better.. However, the effort you put into learning this natural way of running will help you become a better runner and taking time off your timed workouts.
In all drills you want to start with a good posture, which consists of the following set-up: start with head in line with the spine (chin is not jutted out in front), shoulders pulled back (not rounded forward), an upright body, eyes looking forward (not down), arms at a 90 degree angle with hands relaxed, midsection tight, hips forward, soft bend in the knee, feet about shoulder width apart.
1. Ball of Foot (BOF) Drill – This is the area forward of the arch, but behind the toes, where you will want to land while running – it is also called the mid foot. Start hopping in place while holding the above posture for 10-20 hops. Make sure your heels touch on every hop. After doing this a few times, add a forward lean from the ankle and hop forward for 10 hops. Follow your 10 hops while leaning forward with 2 more rounds without stopping.
This drill teaches you where to land while running as well as how to fall forward while maintaining a tight midline.
Common mistakes – Landing on the toes or too far forward of the foot. Not allowing the heel to touch the ground after landing on BOF. Looking at the ground. Leaning too far forward.
Watch the video on Ball of Foot Drill
2. Posture Drill – Start with good posture as described above, then pick your right foot up so your legs make a figure 4 (pull heel up under the bum). Keeping good posture, pull the left heel up under the bum and land on the right foot like you did in the BOF drill. Make sure you are still holding good posture. Start slowly, then pick up the pace so you are jogging in place. When you can jog in place keeping good posture add a bit of lean from the ankles and jog/run forward for 25-50m. Repeat 3 times.
This posture will decrease your chance of injury and make you a more efficient runner.
Common mistakes – Jutting the neck forward – chin out in front of chest, shrugging or rounded shoulders, lifting the knee too high or trail leg going too far back (not under the bum).
Watch the video on Posture Drill
3. Wall Lean Drill – Stand with good posture then extend arms straight out in front of you and fall forward into the wall maintaining the tight midsection throughout. Look straight ahead and begin running in place, making sure to pull the foot off the ground and make the figure 4 before dropping the elevated foot to the ground. Always land on the BOF and allow the heel to touch the ground afterwards.
This drill helps you to feel the falling forward movement, hold the figure 4 position and pulling the foot off the ground.
Common mistakes – Breaking at the hips (bum back – chest forward), pulling the knee too high, pulling the foot too high, pulling foot back behind your body instead of under the bum.
Watch the video on Wall Lean Drill
4. Back to Wall Drill – Start with your good running posture and back towards the wall about 10cm away from the wall. Perform 15-20 pulls with each foot.
This drill helps you feel the falling forward movement, holding the figure 4 position, and pulling the foot off the ground without pushing off to move forward.
Common mistakes – Breaking at the hips (bum back – chest forward), pulling the knee too high, pulling the foot too high, pulling foot back behind your body instead of under the bum (your heel hits the wall behind you).
Watch a video on Back to Wall Drill
5. Pistol Running Drill – Start with your good running posture, then extend your arms forward with hands clasped while keeping arms locked out. Begin running in place (pulling foot up into the figure 4 position), lean forward at the ankles and run forward without the arms moving side-to-side.
This drill helps you feel the tight midsection and the falling forward without breaking at the hips.
Common mistakes – Breaking at the hips, lifting knee too high, lifting foot too high, pulling foot too far back, arms moving side-to-side.
Watch the video on Pistol Running Drill
6. Arms Behind the Back Drill – Start with good running posture, then take your arms behind your back and clasp the hands. Begin running in place (pulling foot up into the figure 4 position), lean forward at the ankles and run forward without breaking at the hips.
This drill is similar to the Pistol Running Drill, but it helps you focus on keeping your hips forward and holding the midsection tight.
Common mistakes – Breaking at the hips, lifting knee too high, lifting foot too high, pulling foot too far back.
Watch a video on Arms Behind the Back Drill
7. Exaggerated Heel Pull – Starting with good running posture, run in place, then lean forward at the ankles to move forward. As you move forward exaggerate how high you pull your heel up towards your bum. Perform 10 pulls on right leg, then 10 pulls on the left leg. Pull the foot up quickly making sure you feel the hamstring doing the work. This drill is not meant to be done at speed or covering much ground.
This drill teaches you to keep your ankle relaxed while running to prevent heel striking as well as feeling the hamstring do the work to pull the foot off the ground.
Common mistakes – not pulling the foot high enough or pulling it up quick enough.
Watch a video on Exaggerated Heel Pull Drill
8. Band Running Drill – Place a long band around a pole waist high. Step inside the band and put it around your waist and assume good running posture. Lean forward from the ankles putting your weight into the band. Begin running and make sure you always feel the band pulling your backwards.
This drill gets you to feel comfortable with the amount of lean you can use to move forward and maintain a tight midsection.
Common mistakes – breaking at the hips (very little pressure on the band at this time), not leaning far enough forward.
Watch a video on Band Running Drill
In my next blog I will talk about how to add these drills into your everyday running so you can become a more efficient and injury free runner!
I have a background in wrestling and endurance sport. I have used compression gear before, during and after some of my activities. Especially the longer events, like marathon training runs, marathon, ultra-marathons. I have even used it in my shorter crossfit workouts. I have found some great value in using these garments. I’m not sure if it is the placebo effect or if the science behind them actually works, but I use them and feel a benefit.
I do feel I can get a better session in with the compression gear on as it keeps the muscles from vibrating as much (the vibrations cause more damage to the muscle). The compression also helps keep the blood flow going meaning no blood pooling and less lactic acid build up. However, the biggest help I have found is when wearing the garments after a training session. I seem to be less sore the next day if I wear compression gear for about an hour after I have done a exercise session.
Some of the research I have found on the compression wear has shown little benefit during exercise. This article talks about how research has not shown people who wear these garments get better results while wearing it compared to the times they didn’t wear it. However, there has been research showing there are benefits from wearing the compression gear for a better recovery. If you recover better, your next session can be better, so there is a benefit to wearing compression wear for recovery.
Many of you have heard of Skins, 2XU, BSC. These are all compression style garments. You may not have heard of CW-X. An old trainer, Kyle, has introduced us to CW-X conditioning wear. This is a new brand to Australia to rival the above mentioned brands. The difference is the kinesio support webbing designed around proven kinesio taping techniques used by sports medicine practitioners around the world.
The webbing provides an exoskeleton to support muscles and joints while exercising. This helps provide you with more stability and balance during exercise. This type of support allows you to get more out of your training.
The research on these compared to just compression gear show you can get a better workout while using less energy.
I have given the CW-X conditioning wear a try myself. I have felt the support of the webbing to be beneficial during my strength sessions as well as my times workouts. I try to wear it for a while after my session to help with my recovery and have found I haven’t been as sore coming back from my holiday, which is a bit of a surprise, since I didn’t have any heavy weights to lift over the 2 weeks.
Many of the Ignite trainers are using the gear, like Darren. I asked Darren what he thinks about the CW-X conditioning wear longs. This is what he has to say, “I’ve never worn compression wear previous to CW-X, but I thought that I should give them a try. I have several athlete friends that wear compression wear and rave about the recovery benefits, so with all the lower body work I have been doing recently due to my shoulder surgery plus the advent of the cold weather I thought now is a good a time as any to give them a go. And I love them. I used to think they looked silly, but don’t care about that after feeling how great they are. Have they made a difference to my performance. Good question. Can’t say convincingly but I do feel like I don’t get as sore and recover faster and warm up faster. I’m converted.
Kyle has kindly offered Ignite clients a 20% discount, so if you are interested in some CW-X conditioning wear go to the web site and check out what is available and ask us what we are finding with the use of CW-X. When you go to order some remember to use the discount code IGNITE20 to claim the special Ignite discount.
Congratulations to the following Ignitian’s who participated at Crossfit Never Quit on 22 April. It was a fundraiser for Cancer which is always a nice reason to workout. It is always nice to go to another gym to do a workout and see other people participate in CrossFit as well. We had a great showing. Well done everyone.
The workout was:
AMRAP – 15mins
3 Front Squats 60/40kg
6 Pull Ups
9 Kettle Bell Swings 24/16kg
12 Box Jumps 24/20inch
Crossfit Never Quit Women’s Overall Standings
1 Nadine Burns 12rds +3FS + 1PU
2 Jess Ackad 10 rds + 3FS + 6PU + 9 KBS + 6BJ
11 Kendra Bruseker 7rds +3 FS + 3PU
34 Mel Aldridge 6rds + 3 FS + 3 PU
Crossfit Never Quit Mens Standings
3 Damien Flaherty 9 rds + 3FS + 6 PU
9 Ben Cheong 8rds + 3FS + 6 PU + 9 KBS + 9 BJ
10 Ben Wood 8rds + 3FS + 6 PU + 9 KBS + 2 BJ
40 Alex Gold 7rds + 3FS + 3 PU
44 Julian Ackad 7rds + 3 FS
To see the complete list of standings go to: http://cfnq.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/crossfit-for-cancer-scores.html?m=1
We want to say congratulations to Andrew Jarvis for completing his 2nd Ironman race using crossfit as a huge part of his training. Well done Andrew on this great accomplishment.
1. When did you start training at Crossfit Ignite?
I started CrossFit in August 2011, 8 Months before Iron Man Melbourne, with no intention of it being used for my race or having an impact. I started because Belinda, now my wife, had joined with a goal of working out before our Wedding Day in October 2011.
2. How many Ironman races have you done?
I have now completed 2 IM Races. My first was IM Australia held in Port Macquarie, May 1 2011; It was was my 4th triathlon. My second was Melbourne IM April 2012.
3. How did you do in both IM races?
I reached my goals; 1. Finish
2. Remember crossing the line
3. Did not require any medical assistance!!
I finished IM Australia in a time of 11Hrs 51min. It was a long day. 2.8km Swim – 1.05, 180km Ride – 6.00, 42.2km Run 4.30 + transitions. I walked through every aid station on the run (located every 2km) from the 10km mark until the end, firstly to ensure I was taking in enough nutrition, secondly and as time lapsed as a reward and thirdly (after 32km) because I simply had to.
In Melbourne IM; my 6th triathlon, I felt so much stronger leading into this race and it paid off – 10Hrs 42min. Impossible to compare courses & conditions, but I did a PB by 1Hr & 9min. Swim 1.10, Ride 5.27, Run 3.55. The strength in my legs to maintain an average of 33km/h over 180km was enough for me to know CrossFit had a major impact, but to start the run “relatively” fresh and run 4.57min/km for the first 10km & 5.15 until 21km….I knew I had the strength to run out the marathon. I did fade through the 2nd half of the marathon, but I ran through every aid station, with only a quick nature break, my only stop for a sub 4hr.
4. How did the training differ between the races (strength training in each program, hours spent training each day/week)?
Training varied significantly this time around. In my first race IM my base for any of the 3 disciplines simply did not exist, therefore I spent a lot of hours riding & running @ a HR average of 145-155 to create my base.
This time around I had 4 x CF sessions, 2 x Swim, 2 x Ride (1 short, 1 longer) & 2 x Run (1 short, 1 longer) per week. It accounted for approximately a 15-17% reduction in training volume compared to my 1st race.
My CF sessions started with foundations & I needed it….not lifting a weight for over 18 years….and slowly progressed from there, until we had specific CF Endurance program, which I look at and explain to my non CF friends as; 1. Warm Up (which feels like a work out), 2. Strength Session (Squats, Deadlift, Squats, Olympic Lifts, Presses….and some more squats), and 3. A timed workout to finish off.
I have already signed up for Ironman Melbourne 2013 and look forward to continue to build strength during the winter months, something I have never done….I know CF Endurance works and it will allow me to continue to reduce the volume of sport specific training & achieve the results I desire.
A big thank you to all CF trainers, especially Scott who “chose” to take me on.
On Saturday 11 Feb a group of Ignitians went up to Glenworth Valley to participate in the Warrior Dash. This event was 5km of running with some obstacles. There was some climbing over walls, up a wooden wall with rope, through some mud, over a couple water crossings with logs and a rope bridge, jumping over fire, and crawling under barbed wire.The one obstacle we didn’t know we would have to contest is that of the hail storm we had after we finished the race. We were lucky to have a tent area close on our way back to the car. The water puddles on the way back were a bit cold. It was a great challenge that 18 Ignitians conquered. Well done everyone.
I asked for some feedback on how they enjoyed the day and how they thought CrossFit helped prepare them for the event and this is what the said. Below is what they had to say.
- I had done no pre-dash running training (other than the small block) and 5 km felt like a short stroll. Could only be my crossfitting!
- I had an absolutely great time yesterday. I was really terrified of doing the event - had anticipated it being much harder. On the day the adrenalin and the buzz kicked in and I LOVED it.
- CrossFit training definitely helped with a bulk of the obstacles. My friends commented that Andy and I both easily got up the first rope climb – so all the upper body/strength work we do at the gym helped.
- I enjoyed the warrior dash, particularly the opportunity to take on different physical challenges in a fun environment. CrossFit assisted me to maintain my fitness in preparation for the event. I am seriously considering the other events, including the Tough Mudder.
- I had a great time. I was a little nervous about it beforehand, but need not have been. I think CrossFit certainly meant I had good overall fitness, and certainly meant that I had absolutely no problems with any of the obstacles. Our friends who do a bit of running said that they had difficulty with strength with rope climbs, etc. I’m sure that CrossFit gives us lots of practice at different activities that improved my ability to recover and rest at the obstacles.
- Great fun, especially as we did it as a team. And CrossFit made the rope climb obstacle a piece of cake!
- CrossFit helps prepare you for the obstacles – there’s pretty much nothing that you can’t confidently tackle. All the high intensity WOD training also makes it easier to get straight back into running for the next one.
- Really enjoyed the warrior dash – given it was so much fun, it was more like a reward putting my Crossfit training to use, and yes Crossfit ensured I stayed with a solid pace, even with the different obstacles along the way.
- Besides various factors that crossfit has helped me complete this event, I would say the mental growth that has been developing had the greatest effect.
- Having never done a mud-run before, I was somewhat disillusioned as to how ‘muddy’ I would get. At the very first obstacle I got through without getting any mud on my face until someone behind jumped in splashing muddy water everywhere! From that point onwards we were like piglets negotiating our way through a trail of mud, water, wooden and barbed wire obstacles. It was so much fun and a great taste for what is to come in the Tough Mudder.
Scott Stefl – 31:06.10, Ian Lyons – 34:27.80, Adriano Mazzaferro – 34:35.50, David Wilson – 35:33.15, Heath Cowden – 35:52.65, Bradley Stringer – 37:10.75, Andrew Pearce – 39:58.55,
Mark Moala – 42:41.30, Jessica Ackad – 45:02.65, Julian Ackad – 45:02.80, Andy Cook – 48:56.75, Sonny Lowe – 49:21.05, Zane England – 49:46.40, Richard Garard – 50:44.65, Larissa Ivacheff – 51:27.10, Dominique Tardo – 1:01:05.15, Suzanne Cox – 1:01:05.51, Penny Martens – 1:01:05.70. Dom, Suz, and Penny stuck together through the whole race.
If this race sounds like if was a lot of fun and you would like to participate in something like this, we are getting a group together for the Tough Bloke/Chick Challenge on Saturday 30 June. This is about a km course like the Warrior Dash. If you enter before 20 Feb it is $70 afterwards it is $80. After you sign up please let me know, so I can keep a list of people going. Thanks!
Then a bit bigger event (20km and obstacles) in which we will be doing as a team, meaning everyone will stick together, is coming up on Sunday 23 Sept. It is called the Tough Mudder. We have a team of 10 at the moment. Once you enter I will be notified via email of your entry on the team.
Please visit this link to join the team:
These events are made for Crossfitters as they challenge you in more than just running. After the Crossfit Games, you might want something to keep you motivated to come in and train!
I have been in the fitness industry since 2008 starting from the age of 18. I can say it was a gift finding it at that age. Since then, I have gone overseas and to university to say that I really have tried to broaden my understanding on athletic performance and general health and wellbeing.
I found CrossFit in mid 2009, but didn’t seriously take it on board until early 2010. Within those 2 years of participating in Crossfit I have noticed that it is a self-motivating fitness regime that definitely drives every day individuals to want above average levels of fitness, which definitely is refreshing for any personal trainer that is helping a client.
I’m a motivated individual who likes to see progression in anyone. I have participated in many activities such as dance, track and field, gymnastics and most recent to date Olympic Weightlifting. I’d consider Olympic lifts my bread and butter in coaching terms. Also in workouts where I definitely much prefer a heavy snatch or clean and jerk than a terribly enjoyable met-con.
Being a lover of gelato, I workout so I can eat loads. Not really, my training has become an imperative part of my life now, not just for the obvious health benefits but it also gives me more goals to chase and things to learn.
Crossfit has the capacity to show every individual how much more they’re capable of, and I like to do the same. Not hailing from a sports background, and was the overweight child in the classroom; I worked with a trainer to increase my fitness gradually, and eventually was inspired by him to become one myself. The thing I love about Crossfit is the constant pursuit for improvement, you are always working to get better at something, which keeps your passion for training alive. I’ve been a trainer for 2 years, having completed the Crossfit Level 1 and Gymnastics course; I look to constantly evolve and have my eyes set on completing more Olympic lifting work.
I believe that everyone should have a rock solid base, have a strong foundation, with technique over intensity and gradually bringing intensity into play. Just think with a rock solid base, the trickier things will come along easier.
Apparently I have a life outside of the gym as well which involves me taking my dog out, eating out, cooking, drinking copious amounts of coffee and loudly singing along with the radio.