sit up

04 April 2019 - Throwback Thursday: "A CrossFit Road Map for the Beginner Athlete"

It’s time for our second Throwback Thursday blog, another chance for you to re-read a blog from many moons ago, or maybe even read it for the very first time!

For this week’s Throwback, we present: “A CrossFit Road Map for the Beginner Athlete”, originally posted on 8 November 2014.

Yes, I know, technically, we should have posted this one first, but the Intermediate Road Map is my favourite blog!

CrossFit 1864 is growing! We have lots of new faces WODing with us these days, many of whom are completely new to the ‘Sport of Fitness’.

So, for all our new CrossFitters out there, Phil and I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of things that you will find and do over the next few months, based on our experiences as both coaches and athletes.

Think of it as a sort of road map for this first leg of your CrossFit journey…

September 2014 with Ben, our very first member! Suffice it to say, we didn’t have Coach David to take photos back then…

As a Beginner CrossFitter, you will…

  1. Try to compare yourself with other athletes. The ultimate rookie error, avoid this at all costs. When you walk in to the box, you walk in to do YOUR workout, with YOUR lifts, YOUR weights, scaled and adapted based on YOUR ability and background. No one else’s. Similarly, the gains and improvements you will make by focusing on your training will be.... take a guess?! YOURS and you will have earned them for yourself.

    Furthermore, don’t be intimidated by the more experienced CrossFitters. Instead, learn from them. Ask them questions and ask them for advice. It might be hard to imagine, but even that one beast CrossFitter who is sprinting across the floor on his hands and deadlifting your 1RM for 20+ reps was once a beginner and had the same questions and concerns as you. They might just have a few words of wisdom to share…

  2. You will be confused by a progression, movement or an instruction the coaches give in class. You will lose count during a WOD, and you will mess up the order of the movements, finding yourself heading out for a run when everyone else is starting their wall balls. This is inevitable – don’t stress! The more classes you attend, the more you will pick up the rhythm of each session, the faster the progressions will become second nature, and the more adept you will become at counting rounds, reps, sets, intervals and seconds of rest. You will even figure out the most efficient way to strip a barbell of its plates so you can clear your kit away in record time! As long as you put the effort in, your coaches will be happy. Just like point 1, ask questions if you're unsure! And if you can’t remember what number you’re on, do an extra rep… it will just make you a better athlete in the long run ;)

  3. You will learn an entirely new vocabulary. You will find yourself saying things like ‘mob’ (pronounced Mobe), tekkers, and Rx. You will become a passionate advocate for the Acronym (EMOM, AMRAP). You might even be able to tell someone that you’re working on your snatch without giggling (although I still struggle). These words will sneak themselves into your daily conversation. Just be prepared for your non-CrossFit friends to either not understand a word that you’re saying, or get a bit frustrated with you constantly banging on about CrossFit…

  4. You will start eating more. Just like an über fast, luxury sports car burns through fuel, your body, which is being put through some intense workouts, will need loads more fuel (aka food) than you had pre-CrossFit! And just like that luxury sports car, you need to give it the good stuff. Don’t know what we mean by this? Speak to a coach!

  5. You will ache. Some days, stairs will be a challenge. Other days, getting out of your t-shirt will seem impossible. This is what we call DOMs.

  6. You will struggle. CrossFit. Is. Not. Easy. I cannot emphasise this enough. There are loads of movements, both skill and strength-based, to learn and these movements are not normally picked up quickly. It took me 18 months to link together 10 double unders. 18 MONTHS. Not only is CrossFit a great strength and conditioning programme, it’s also a great test of character.

  7. You will fail. Sorry to rain on your parade, but eventually failure will happen. I read somewhere that in Olympic lifting (and CrossFit), you will have more bad days than good...

  8. Then you will succeed. ...But when the good days arrive, they’re f*cking awesome.

  9. You will make new friends and meet interesting people that quite possibly would have never crossed your path pre-CrossFit. Many of you have experienced this already, but CrossFit is not just about getting your sweat on and lifting heavy weights. It’s about the community. It’s about the people you interact with that, even though you might not expect it, will have an impact on your life. They will encourage you and push you when you don’t think you can go on in a workout, then they will share a beer with you to celebrate afterwards. Get involved in your community, introduce yourself to people before class and don't let yourself miss out on this important element of CrossFit!

  10. You will start to approach problems in your life differently. This sounds a bit far-fetched, but I cannot emphasise enough how true it is. And the best explanation I have found of this change is from an article by CrossFit Kindred Owner and Life Coach Cindy Lau…

“…Fast forward to a conversation I had last year with my own life coach. I was already well on my way to my dream career: I was launching CrossFit Kindred as well as my life coaching practice. But I was afraid of taking the final plunge and quitting my successful, secure career as a software engineer at Google. “What happens if I fail?” I asked my coach. “Won’t it mean that my dream just wasn’t meant to be? I’d have to go crawling back to software engineering, and I don’t know if I could face that.”

My wise coach asked me: “So…you do CrossFit. What would failing look like in CrossFit?”
I responded: “Dropping the barbell during a lift.”
My coach: “And what happens if you drop the bar?”
Me: “Well, I just pick it up again.”

And therein lay another key lesson for me. Obviously, if I encounter failure during a CrossFit workout, I’m not going to conclude, “Oh, well. I failed. I guess I just wasn’t meant to be a CrossFitter!” I’d regroup, learn what I did wrong, and come back stronger on the next attempt, or on the next day. Similarly, I realized that, if I really wanted to make my dream career a success, I couldn’t let myself give up at the first sign of failure, or let that failure determine my beliefs about myself and my capabilities. I decided to go all in, and commit myself fully to my dream.”

I hope this list is helpful for all of our new CrossFitters. Now go enjoy the journey!


A) Conditioning
2 x 12 minutes on : 2 minutes off, alternate between i) and ii):
* Nasal breathing only, gears 1 to 2

500m Row
50ft Single arm overhead walking lunge, left arm (22.5/15 kg)
50ft Single arm overhead walking lunge, right arm (22.5/15 kg)

400m Run
15 Toes to bar (or 20 Abmat sit-ups)

B) Positional awareness
3-5 rounds for quality:
30 second left side plank
30 second right side plank
100m kettlebell front rack carry, heavy
* Nasal breathing only
* Aim for full breaths

12 Mar 2019 - WOD


A) Conditioning
At 00:00, perform a 1500m Row
* Nasal breathing only

At 10:00, perform a 1 mile Run
* As quickly as possible

At 20:00, perform a 1500m Row
* Nasal breathing only
* Aim to be faster that the first 1500m

B) Swole Session
Alternate complete movements with a partner, for 10-15 minutes:
10-15 Close grip floor press
4-8 Rope pull-ups (alternate hand on top at halfway point)
15 Sit-up with wall ball toss

22 Nov 2018 - The Importance of Nasal Breathing, Pt. 2

So, how can you tell if you have a problem with carbon dioxide tolerance? Read on to learn more and find out how you can test yourself!

In Part 1 (which you can find here) we discussed why the nose is so important in breathing and what the benefits are to nasal breathing.

In order to understand the relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide, we need to understand the Bohr Effect, which describes how the pH of the blood impacts the affinity of oxygen to haemoglobin.

Let’s do a quick biology recap of what happens when we inhale:

Step 1: Air enters the lungs

Step 2: Oxygen passes into the blood stream via the alveoli

Step 3: Oxygen binds to haemoglobin (red blood cells) and is transported around the body

Step 4: Oxygen is released from haemoglobin where it is required at the cells

Back to the Bohr Effect…

When the pH of the blood drops (it becomes more acidic), oxygen is more readily released by haemoglobin (so our cells can use it). Conversely, as the pH rises (becomes more alkaline), haemoglobin will hold onto oxygen (so our cells cannot use it). Carbon dioxide is one such gas that makes the blood more acidic. The key point to take away here is that the more carbon dioxide there is in the blood, the more readily oxygen is released from haemoglobin for our cells to use.

The rate and volume of breathing is determined by receptors in the brain that are sensitive to levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen and blood pH level. When carbon dioxide rises and blood pH falls, we are stimulated to increase our rate of respiration to expel the carbon dioxide. Crucially, some carbon dioxide is retained in the body and correct breathing patterns rely on this.

Those who over-breathe (mouth breathers) have a habit of breathing more air than is required and importantly, too much carbon dioxide is expelled. When this habit lasts for weeks, months or years, it results in the body having chronically lowered levels of carbon dioxide. Due to this, the receptors in our brains develop an increased sensitivity to lower levels of carbon dioxide.

With this lowered limit of Carbon dioxide tolerance we are more regularly stimulated to increases in breathing rates (even though it is not required), and this is where it's impact on performance comes into focus.

Carbon dioxide is a by-product of metabolism; as our activity levels increase, so does the production of carbon dioxide. if we have a lower sensitivity to this, it means that lower levels of intensity will cause us to breathe heavily, pant, or struggle to breathe and ultimately "gas out" much earlier than we should.

You may be thinking that breathing more heavily gets us more oxygen, but this is not quite the case. Blood oxygen saturation is the percentage of oxygen-saturated haemoglobin relative to total haemoglobin in the blood. In normal folks, it sits between 95-99%. This normally stays the same at rest or at exercise - it is very carefully regulated. What this means is that even under increasing levels of intensity our blood does not carry more oxygen.

However if we have decreased sensitivity to carbon Dioxide (because we mouth breathe), haemoglobin has a harder time releasing oxygen for us to use.

To truly develop our aerobic system’s efficiency, we need to increase our tolerance to carbon dioxide and use breathing mechanics appropriate for the level of intensity. Unfortunately, just going HAM on any given workout is not going to fit the bill in these cases!

Whilst we will discuss breathing mechanics during exercise more in our next blog post, it is worth noting that breathing through the mouth is appropriate at certain times, but to be able to control our use of our energy systems, we need to learn to control our breathing.

So, how can you tell if you have a problem with carbon dioxide tolerance? You can perform the following test below, all you need is yourself and a stop watch…

Find a comfortable sitting position

Take 3 normal breaths in and out through the nose

After the 4th inhale (through the nose), start the timer and begin to exhale (again through the nose) as slowly as you can.

When you stop exhaling or need to take a breath in, stop the timer

Post your times to the comments section, and in the next blog post I will reveal what your score tells you about your carbon dioxide tolerance!


A) Gymnastics Tests

A1) L-Sit (or L-Tuck) hold: For max time

A2) Forearm plank hold: For max time

B) Conditioning
3 rounds for time:
25 Toes to bar (or Ab-mat sit-ups)
50 ft Double kettlebell overhead carry
50 ft Double kettlebell overhead walking lunge

20 Oct 2018 – "Tabata This"


A) Conditioning
"Tabata This"
Tabata Row (Calories)
– Rest 1 minute –
Tabata Air Squat
– Rest 1 minute –
Tabata Pull-up
– Rest 1 minute –
Tabata Push-up
– Rest 1 minute –
Tabata AbMat Sit-up

The Tabata interval is 20 secs of work followed by 10 secs of rest for 8 intervals.
Tabata score is the lowest reps performed in any of the intervals.

18 Oct 2018 – Announcing: WOD with a Friend, Saturday 10 November

You love CrossFit. You love the banter with your fellow athletes before a WOD starts; you love the community; you love learning new skills; you love challenging yourself and pushing beyond your limits; you love the post-WOD endorphins; you love the progress you're making and the fact that you're now feeling healthier, fitter, and stronger than you have ever felt before.

So why not share the love with your friends, family and co-workers?

Do you know someone you think would love CrossFit and being part of our community?

Bring them in on Saturday 10 November for our "WOD with a Friend"!

We will be hosting a special partner WOD on Saturday 10 November in all of our CrossFit classes (9.30 am, 10.30 am, 11.30 am) and we want you to bring your friends along! The session is free for all members and their friends.

How do I sign up my friend for the session?

There are a few ways you can do this…

The best way is to send Coach Maria an email with your friend’s contact details (e-mail and/or mobile number) and the time you would both like to train. She’ll get in touch with your friend to get them set up.

The second way is to let one of the coaches at the box know that you will be bringing in a friend. They’ll give you a piece of paper to write down your friend’s contact details and the time you would like to train, and we’ll be in touch with your friend soon to confirm their class booking.

The final way is to simply bring your friend in on the day! Please make sure that you arrive for class at least 10-15 minutes before it starts so your friend can fill out the necessary forms and meet the coach leading the session.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Coach Maria.


A) Cycle 5 - Gymnastics Tests: Pull-up
1-2 attempts at a max rep set (kipping)

B) Cycle 5 - Gymnastics / Conditioning Test

20 minute AMRAP:
2 Muscle-ups
4 Handstand Push-ups
8 Kettlebell Swings (32/24 kg)


For time:
100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 AbMat sit-ups
100 Air squats

11 Oct 2018 – Reminder: Rock Climbing this Sunday, 1 pm

Don’t forget, on Sunday 14 October, from 1 pm (after classes have finished), you can join Coach Whizz for an afternoon of rock climbing at Building One+ at the Arch Climbing Wall in Bermondsey.

No prior experience is needed and there are plenty of options for everyone, from first timers to the advanced.

Entry in to Building One+ is £11, plus any kit you might need to hire (shoes, etc) and there’s no need to book on Team up, just show up on the day!


A) Gymnastics/Conditioning

12 minute AMRAP, for quality:
1, 2, 3...Pull-ups, unbroken
1, 2, 3...Handstand push-ups, unbroken

- Rest 3 minutes -

12 minute AMRAP:
40 Double unders
20 Wall ball (9/6 kg)
10 Toes to bar (or 15 Ab-mat sit-ups)

* The first 12 minutes is about working for quality.
* Only unbroken sets count. If you fail on a set move back 2 reps and continue. For example if I miss the round of 10 pull-ups, I will continue with my 10 HSPU but then revert back to 8 Pull-ups (and then 11 HSPU).
* The second 12 minutes is about pushing the intensity... get some!

11 Sept 2018 – "Nate" & "Angie"


A) Cycle 5 - Gymnastics Tests: Pull-up
1-2 attempts at a max rep set (kipping/butterlfy)

B) Cycle 5 - Gymnastics / Conditioning Test
20 minute AMRAP:
2 Muscle-ups
4 Handstand Push-ups
8 Kettlebell Swings (32/24 kg)


For time:
100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 AbMat sit-ups
100 Air squats

* Time cap: 20 minutes

10 Aug 2018 – WOD


A) Weightlifting

A1) Snatch push press + Pause overhead squats: 5 x 3 + 3

A2) Power Snatch: 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1

* Perform a set every 90 seconds

B) Conditioning

Deadlift 100/70kg
Toes to bar (or Ab-mat sit-ups)


A) Conditioning: Row

14 minutes on
- 2 minutes rest -
14 minutes on
- 2 minutes rest -
12 minutes on

* At a low rate
* Same pace as previous long distance rows

17 July 2018 – Member Appreciation Week: Day 2

For the second day of our Member Appreciation Week, the coaches will be nominating someone from each class to win a free 30 minute skills PT Session. Keep your eye on Slack to see if you won!


For time:
1 mile run, weighted 50lbs
50 Push-ups
50 AbMat Sit-ups
1 mile run, weighted 50lbs
50 Push-ups
50 AbMat Sit-ups
1 mile run, weighted 50lbs

* Wear a weight vest, body armor, loaded pack or whatever is needed to load yourself with 50 lbs for the runs.
* If you have a spare back pack bring it along and we can load you up!

01 July 2018 – WOD

Thanks to everyone who came down to our Beach Brawl!


Engine Work (9 - 10 am)

Every 5 minutess for 20 minutes (4 rounds):
15 Kettlebell swings (24/16 kg)
200m Run
15 Box jumps
200m Run

Specialist Sunday (10 - 11 am)

A) Weightlifting: Clean & Jerk

A1) Split jerk: 5 x 3

A2) Clean: 5 x 3

A3) Hang clean pull + Clean pull: 5 x 2 + 2"

Women's Only (11 am – Noon)

A) 10 minutes for quality:
5-10 Ring dip (or box dip)
30 Hollow rocks

B) 10 minutes for quality:
3-5 Strict chin-up (or red/orange band)
3-5 Strict HSPU (or 7-10 Seated Z Press)

C) 24 x 20 second on : 10 seconds off
Ring row
* Perform 8 intervals on one movement before moving to the next

22 May 2018 – "Annie"


A) Conditioning

A1) Time trial: 250m row, for time

A2) "Annie"

50-40-30-20-10 reps of"
Double under
AbMat sit-up


A) Row: Power Benchmark

A1) 3 minutes for distance @ at rate 24

- Rest 5 minutes -

A2) 250m for time

B) Row Conditioning - Aerobic

3 minutes @ rate 20
3 minutes @ rate 22
2 minutes @ rate 24
2 minutes @ rate 26
- 3 minutes rest -
3 minutes @ rate 20
2 minutes @ rate 22
1 minute @ rate 24
1 minute @ rate 26
- 3 minutes rest -
2 minutes @ rate 26
1 minute @ rate 28
1 minute @ max rate, full length