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5 Tips To Dominate Wall Balls

Wall balls are an integral part of CrossFit. Do 150 of them and you’ve just completed Karen, one of the sport’s most notorious benchmark workouts. The idea of a wall ball sounds easy enough, right? Squat bellow parallel. Thrust the ball up to a target. Catch the ball as it comes down and repeat until you’ve completed the specified number of reps.
Easy, right? Wrong. Anyone who’s ever been smacked in the face with a med ball or thrown the ball up and completely missed the target can testify that wall balls are a lot harder than they look.

Here are five tips to practice to help you dominate the wall ball.

1. Know your distance
Keeping proper distance from the wall ball target is key in moving efficiently. Stand too close and you’ll risk throwing the ball straight up and missing the target completely. Stand too far and you’ll find yourself working harder to cover the distance between you and the target. It’s important to note that being too far from the target is usually better than being too close.

To measure the proper distance, stand under the target and extend your arms out in front of you. Your fingers should be able to touch the wall or rig. At this point, you should find yourself 20-25 inches from the wall or rig. Practice from this position and slightly adjust until you find your sweet spot. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to adjust more than five inches from the starting spot.

2. Drop low
Athletes sometimes think they’re saving time and energy by not squatting to full depth, but holding back on how low you go can actually have the opposite effect. For starters, energy is wasted in the deceleration process as you attempt to stop just below parallel. It’s actually easier to drop all the way down and bounce out of the bottom—as your body takes advantage of the stretch shortening cycle where your muscles act like a spring, driving you up, resulting in a more efficient movement.

3. Catch in place
Ideally, you want to catch the med ball so that your hands are on the underside of the ball (as opposed to the sides), as close to your body as possible, with your wrists about six inches apart. Catching the med ball on its side can cause your chest to fall forward, making the ball feel heavier and even possibly falling out of your hands.
As the ball makes initial contact with your hands, you should still be standing with your hands near the middle of you face. Begin to squat once the ball has made contact. Squatting before you’ve caught the med ball can make the impact feel heavier. Over the course of a few reps, this impact can take a toll.

4. Rest when you can
Whether or not you’re doing wall balls, holding your arms overhead can become exhausting. Every five reps or so, once you’ve thrown the ball, quickly bring your arms down and shake them out. Your shoulders will appreciate the short breaks.

5. Don’t hold your breath
Just like any other exercise, breathing is fundamental to your efficiency and endurance. Breathing in sync with your reps helps create a rhythm as you’re moving through the workout. As you begin your descent into the squat, inhale. As you spring up, exhale.

Final Word
Practice makes perfect. Focus on perfecting one or two of these techniques every time you perform wall balls. Once you’ve mastered a technique, move on to another one. With enough practice, these tips will become second nature to you!

Photo credit: Zumpano Reps/ CC BY-NC 2.0

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Don’t forget to register for the 2018 Crossfit Opens! You can register online here.

When it comes to working out there are aspects that can make or break any particular day. A lot of times it’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment and forget things during WODs. Taking the extra few seconds to reset, controlling your breathing, keeping the best possible form – all things that we can lose focus on. Just as important as it is to keep up on the physical part of our training, it is just as important to focus on the mental part. Help out your mental game and follow a few of these simple, yet effective, tips to help you get through even the toughest WODs:

Clear your mind – Stress of work, busy schedules, and even the occasional drama can take a toll on us as individuals. One of the best things to do when going to the box is leave all of that outside the door. Clear your mind of everything going on for that hour plus because it is time to focus on what’s most important – you. It’s difficult to succeed at our task at hand when we are focused on something completely irrelevant. “The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus” – Bruce Lee

Positive Attitude – Whether you have a good day or bad, one day does not make or break us, it’s what we do in the long haul that does. Simply keeping an open mind and positive attitude can make the world of a difference in how you feel. When we stop worrying about what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right is when everything will come together.

Have Fun – Ever notice how some of the best athletes around are always smiling? That’s because they are having fun. Working out is a lot more bearable to get through when you are happy. Now if you just so happen to bust out a few dance moves or sing a bit of karaoke in the process. . . . lets just say I like your style! From the words on Jon Rohn, “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”

Happy Lifting!

 

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The 2018 Opens is literally right around the corner. Although registration just opened, before we know it February 22nd will be here! For those still on the fence, here is a good repost of 7 reasons why you should sign up!

7 Reasons To Sign Up Even If You Don’t Care About Competing

By: William Imbo

With the inclusion of the Scaled division, there are now more opportunities for athletes of all levels to participate in the Open. Even the ‘casual’ CrossFitter—the athlete who simply participates in CrossFit for their health and fitness—can be tempted to join in with the fun; the question is, why should they? The Open is a time when “CrossFit—the training methodology” and “CrossFit—the sport” merge together. Yes it’s a competition, yes it’s designed to be fun, but it’s also a great way reach your health and fitness goals. In fact, there are several reasons why anyone and everyone (including you) needs to do the Open.

1. Provides you with a benchmark of your current level of fitness
The Open contains some of the most challenging workouts you will ever be exposed to. It’s not only a measure of where you stand in your CrossFit abilities, but also an excellent test of your general physical preparedness—i.e. your current level of fitness. The toughness of each Open WOD is a great way to measure how far you’ve progressed from year to year, seeing as how it’s designed to test multiple elements of an individual’s fitness. Your strength, stamina, speed, mobility and skill will all be put to the test. You may even be able to achieve new movements and weights that you had previously thought unattainable. Once you complete the five workouts of the Open, you’ll be able to look back at your performances and know that you have set new benchmarks for yourself in all areas of your fitness.

2. Highlights your weaknesses
A major goal of the Open is to expose an individual’s weaknesses. The organizers of the Games are trying to trim down the athletes to find the fittest men and women each year, but even if you don’t intend to ever ‘compete’ in CrossFit it’s still incredibly useful to know where your weaknesses lie. Part of the process of developing your fitness and becoming a better athlete is through identifying which areas are limiting your progress the most. Participating in the Open is a great way to achieve that, because you’ll be hit with a different test of fitness from week to week. Whether it’s gymnastic skills, strength, endurance or Olympic Weightlifting, your weaknesses will become immediately apparent to you as you’ll shine in some of the workouts and likely bomb other ones. You can then come away from the Open with that knowledge and develop a plan with your coach to turn those weaknesses into strengths, and become a fitter athlete as a result.

3. Helps set goals
One of the most important aspects of having a S.M.A.R.T. goal is that you make it timely. That is to say that the goal should be grounded within a time frame—otherwise where’s the sense of urgency to complete it? Well, what better time than the CrossFit Open? Just as the Open can be used to set benchmarks and measure your progress from year to year, it can also serve as an opportunity to create and achieve various fitness goals that you have set yourself. You may want to lose 10lbs by the conclusion of the Open, eat clean for the five weeks of the competition, PR a certain weight or movement, etc. It’s a great platform with which to test your fitness on an annual basis, and the fact that it’s a unique and special competition should encourage you to use it as a deadline for achieving your goal(s).

4. Increases motivation
Everyone’s desire to workout and get fitter can dwindle. It’s hard to maintain the energy and enthusiasm for eating clean, working out regularly and spending the necessary time to become a healthier person. Every year, people succumb to the CrossFit burnout. The Open provides a change of pace to your regular schedule and can reignite your motivation to become fitter, healthier, faster, stronger, etc. You’ll know that for five weeks there will be one special workout that thousands of other athletes around the world will be attempting to complete. Use the Open to reignite your motivation to reach your goals—not just for the five weeks the Open lasts, but for long after that.

5. Promotes camaraderie
Every CrossFit workout is tough, but an Open workout is one that you get to share with thousands of other athletes around the world—not to mention the people in your box! This is a unique element of the Open, amplified by the fact that you can also post your scores from each workout online so that you can compare yourself against the other Open competitors at your box and around the globe. That is certainly something you don’t get to do every day, and as such, it places extra ‘weight’ on each one of the five Open workouts. Now you’re not just comparing yourself to other people in your gym, you get to evaluate your fitness against athletes from all over the world. And because each Open WOD is special in that sense, you can strategize with other athletes in the box to try and develop a game plan to produce your best score. You can pull tips from people who have already performed 18.1, and in turn pass on your advice after you perform the workout yourself (unless of course you want to keep those tips and tricks to yourself). This competitive spirit and the knowledge that you’re competing against thousands of other people doing the same workout helps to promote an air of friendly competition and camaraderie at the box.

6. It’s a great way to enjoy the thrill of competition
At the end of the day, the purpose of the Open is to give CrossFitters around the globe the opportunity to compete. As the CrossFit Games site states, “The intent of the scaled workouts is to allow everyone who wants to compete, to compete at an appropriate level.” As a fitness enthusiast but casual CrossFitter, perhaps you have always been apprehensive about joining your affiliate team for a local throwdown or competing in a CrossFit-style competition. But by signing up for the Open, you’ll have the opportunity to compete in the familiar surroundings of your home box, and you can fit the workouts around your schedule. I’m sure that your curiosity will get the better of you and you’ll take a look at the leaderboard to see where you stand against the other athletes in your box—and the world. Who knows? After the Open you might be so fired up from the experience that you’ll be signing up for the next local competition you can find. But of course, as with anything, you’ll only be able to experience all of this if you first make the decision to try.

7. It’s fun!
As you may already know, each live announcement of the Open is a show in itself. The Open has evolved to become a form of entertainment for the CrossFitter, with much secrecy leading up to the workout before it’s announced in front of two elite athletes and a box full of eager fans making a lot of noise. No one knows what they’re going to be hit with. It could be a couplet of movements that are right in their wheelhouse, or a monstrous metcon that makes even the most elite athletes sick to their stomachs. But for five weeks, you’ll be able to test your fitness in unique workouts, achieve some of your goals, boost your desire to become fitter, make new friends and experience the competitive side of the sport. Now doesn’t all of that sound like fun!? But there’s only one way you’ll get to experience all of that—by signing up for the CrossFit Open!

murph

Throwback to Murph 2015!

Here at Crossfit Factory Square, on any given day you can find some of the strongest people around at our box.  Every one of our members is beautiful and unique in their own way. Beauty resides in the joy and pride that we carry within ourselves. Each member unique with different strengths that they contribute to our community that we’ve built. All having physical strength, mental strength, and more heart than ever imaginable.

Physical Strength

Over the past year, it’s been fascinating to watch the Factory Square athletes grow. Shattering PR after PR, I swear some of you are physical anomalies and literally everything you touch you conquer. You don’t eat Paleo or RP – you eat PR’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s like you’re part of the Rich Froning gene pool and the rest of us cannot help but to watch in awe. You all are the inspiration for the rest of us to push past our comfort zones and add weight to our lifts.

Mental Strength

This one can be a bit tricky, but when used correctly, the odds are forever in your favor. Sure you may not even be close to lifting the most weight in the room, but you know just what to do to get to where you need to be. You play the WOD game and adapt to whatever is thrown at you. These athletes constantly are giving out tips on how to master the workout. You are all the inspiration for the rest of us to think past what we see in front of us and not only conquer the workouts to the best of our advantage, but smile and have fun while doing it.

Heart

The final main strength that can be seen in our athletes, also the most common, is heart. Our athletes have grown such a tight community, it’s hard to ignore the heart that we have behind everything that we do. It’s the cheering for people during workouts. It’s helping fellow athlete’s get over injuries, getting over a bad day, or celebrating amazing things happening in every day life. The heart that Factory Square athletes have is what keeps everything together. Heart is what keeps us from quitting. Heart is what helps push a fellow athlete through what may seem like the hardest workout of their lives. It is what makes Factory Square a family.

Although we all have a bit of each of the 3 strengths in us, it’s hard not to ignore that 1 is more dominant over the others. That’s ok, it’s what makes us us, it’s what makes us work as a community. The numbers we lift or the movements we can or cannot do does not define a Factory Square athlete, it’s the effort we put in and the passion behind everything that we do that does. Everyone brings their own strengths to the table. We are not only Crossfit Strong, we are Crossfit Factory Square Strong.

Remember to celebrate ALL your accomplishments and make 2018 yours!

 

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With the snow storm that may be coming late tonight into tomorrow, the 5 AM and 8 AM FIT Classes for tomorrow (Thursday 1/04) are canceled. We will be in touch about the 9 AM and on regular Crossfit Classes.

Please login to our “CrossFit Factory Square Members Only” Facebook page for our up to date weather and class updates.

 

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"I love the encouraging environment. You can compete against the clock, others and yourself."

Mark B., CFS Member

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Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder

"I’ve come to realize that fitness and weight management truly are journeys, not destinations. And with the help of Crossfit and all that it represents, I’ve been able to get on the road to health."

Jim D., CFS Member

If you told me I would be able to deadlift 200lbs, do 65lb thrusters, jump onto the 20in box, make my mile time the fastest it has ever been or buddy carry my best friend over my shoulders, I would have told you, you’re nuts!

Noddie, CFS Member

As a woman, I’ve never felt more empowered or beautiful! I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year will bring! Thank you CrossFit Factory Square! ♥

Leah, CFS Member