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Reminder – No ONE wants your COOTIES!

Sooooo we have been finding crusty blood on equipment lately…. EWWWWW!!!! Barbells and pull-up bars. Please take responsibility for cleaning up your own equipment. Please remember that someone else will be using your bar, mat or band after you. Do you want to have someone else’s cooties on the equipment you use? It is coming into flu session as well and let’s keep the germs out of the gym as much as possible.

How do I clean equipment?

Barbells – use the wire brush to get rid of the chalk. If you bled on the bar, please spray cleaner on the cloth and then wipe the bar. Please DO NOT spray the barbells, too much moisture causes them to rust.
Mats – use the cleaner and cloth to wipe off ab mats and yoga mats when you sweat all over them. Remember when you are kneeling on the mats for couch stretch or doing handstand pushups, you may still have left sweat on them.
Bands – when you do pullups or use the bands to stretch and leave them wet, please wipe them off.
Pullup bars, KB’s & DB’s – please clean at your own discretion.
Ergs – Please wipe of the handle, the seat, the display and slide with cleaner.
Coaches will be handing out penalties of their choice for those that don’t clean the equipment and put it away. Once you have cleaned any blood off equipment, please put the cloth in the laundry (ask your coach where it is).

Thank you for your cooperation

Zone Team

How Short Are YOUR Hammies?

We’re lucky enough to have yet another “Muscle Of The Month” guest post by our very own Colleen Bruce!  Read on, and learn about how to treat your hamstrings right:

Seeing as this month’s skill is the L-Sit, I thought it might be appropriate to write about one of the major muscle groups that can limit your success in achieving a better L-Sit – the hamstrings. The hamstrings are actually made up of three distinct muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.

Biceps femoris (roughly meaning 2 heads of the femur/thigh bone) has two parts –one head originates off your ischial tuberosity (that bony part of your pelvis typically referred to as your “sits bones”, located around the bottom of your butt cheek) and the other head originates off the back part of your femur. This muscle attaches onto the head of your fibula (the top part of the outer or lateral bone in your lower leg). You can actually reach behind your knee and feel this ropey tendon as you move your hand toward the outside of your knee.

Semimembranosus and semitendinosus also both originate from the ischial tuberosity but these 2 muscles attach onto the upper part of the tibia (the inner or medial bone of your lower leg) –you can also feel these tendons by feeling the back, medial part of your knee.

Because all three of these muscles cross the hip and the knee, they affect actions at both joints –they help extend or straighten at the hip and they also help flex or bend the leg at the knee.  In everyday activity, we don’t often have to perform both of these movements at the same time –if you think about it, as we flex your hips, we also tend to flex at the knee or, conversely, as we extend through the hips, we also extend at the knee.  This allows our muscles (quads and hams) to function at an optimal length.  Muscles tend to work best in the middle of their range –and not so well at the extremes (super short or super long).  In addition, know that your Quads (muscles on the front of your thigh) work with your hams (but with the opposite function) to help control the movement at your hips and knees –as one group is contracting, the other is lengthening to provide smooth, unhindered movement (hopefully!).

One of the factors that make an L-Sit difficult is simply the position –we are asking your hams to lengthen over both joints and your quads to contract or shorten at both the knee and the hip, putting both sets of muscles near the end of their ranges (hams really long and quads super short/contracted).  If your hamstrings are tight, your quads have to work extra hard to fight against the tension in your hams –which is why your quads might feel like they’re seizing up during your L-Sit AND why it’s easier to hold a tuck position –shorter lever and better working length for your muscles!!  This inability of your hams to lengthen over both joints simultaneously is known as passive insufficiency whereas the inability of your quads to contract with the hips flexed and knees straight is known as an active insufficiency. Passive and active insufficiencies only apply to muscles that cross 2 joints (other examples being the biceps and triceps for your shoulders and elbows).

To stretch those hammies, you have several options.  If they are really tight, even sitting right up against a wall, with your legs straight out in front of you can be a good starting point.  Stay there until you can no longer feel a stretch.

Contract-relax style stretching is also very effective for hamstrings.  Lift one leg up into the air, knee straight and push down towards the ground (not full force) against an immoveable resistance for 6-10secs (so either against a wall/doorway, a friend, a rope that you’re holding etc), relax for 1-2 sec then try to increase your stretch.  Continue until you stop seeing improvements in range.

Flossing your hams with a band or sitting on top of a lacrosse ball (placed by your ischial tuberosity) and slowly extending and flexing your knee will also help release the tissue.

And remember that even though hamstring length isn’t the only factor that might be limiting your performance on the L-Sit, it will definitely help those poor Quads by giving them a little bit of breathing room!

As a random little tidbit, the hamstrings were given their name because these were the tendons that butchers used to use to hang pig carcasses (i.e. ham/pig string).

– By Colleen Bruce

**Colleen  is an RMT with Koru Natural Health Centre. For more information on how to keep your body limber, or for an amazing massage treatment, contact Colleen at**

Important Notice:

Classes and Intro on Saturday, June 16th will be cancelled because we are hosting a CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer course all weekend.  Keep your eyes open for an outdoor workout or a workout you can do at home.  Make sure to get your classes in before Saturday.

Today’s Workout:

Buy In – Tabata L-sit

Then limber up for cleans and front squats by spending a few minutes stretching out: calf/ankles, bottom of a squat, front rack position stretch with rubber band.

WOD – EMOTM for 20 minutes:

Clean + 2 Front Squats

* All cleans are received in a squat, not powers allowed!

* Increasing weight through the workout.  You are welcome to stay at the same weight for a few rounds before moving up.

* Starting your first round, no lower that 50% of your 1RM

Cash Out – Annie (15 min. time cap)

50-40-30-20-10 Double unders and situps

* Scale as needed

Sick Much?

When the winter weather gets cold and you tend to spend most of your time indoors, you’re also more likely to catch cold and flu viruses.  The cold and flu season can begin as early as October and usually ends sometime in April, but succumbing to sickness isn’t necessarily inevitable…   Here’s what you need to know about colds and the flu.

The Cold

The common cold is most often transmitted by direct contact with germs from the nose, mouth, or cough and sneeze droplets from someone who is infected, usually by hand-to-hand contact.  Virus particles are passed from one person’s hand to another person’s hand.  The second person then touches his or her eyes or rubs his or her nose, spreading the virus there, where the virus can start a new infection.  It is possible to become infected by touching a surface, such as a tabletop or doorknob that was recently touched by an infected person, and then touching your eyes or nose.  These viruses also can be spread by inhaling particles from the air after an infected person has coughed or sneezed.

To avoid getting or spreading a cold, it helps to clean your hands often, carefully dispose of all used tissues, and avoid rubbing your eyes and nose.  If possible, you should avoid close, prolonged exposure to people who have colds.

People who exercise regularly, especially those who exercise daily, have fewer colds per year than those who are less active.  Good news for us CrossFitters!

Although medical therapies can improve the symptoms of the common cold, they do not prevent, cure or shorten the illness.  Drink enough fluids, get plenty of rest and treat your symptoms to keep yourself as comfortable as possible.

The Flu

Thanks to recent medical advances, your options for heading off an attack of influenza have increased in recent years.

Vaccines – Vaccination can reduce your chances of getting the flu and transmitting it to others.  Vaccination each year is often recommended for all people by the medical community… although everyone has their own opinions on the efficacy and necessity of getting a vaccine.  The standard flu vaccine can help healthy people to avoid the disease or lessen its severity.  For maximum effectiveness, doctors advise getting vaccinated at the start of flu season. This generally means October or November.

FluMist – Healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 have an alternative to the flu shot.  FluMist is an intranasal vaccine spray. It appears to offer similar protection to the flu shot.  FluMist uses a deactivated live virus rather than the killed virus in the shot.  FluMist is not any more effective than the standard flu shot.  I can’t comment on this particular flu prevention therapy, as I’ve not heard much about it before, nor do I have any personal experience with it.  So do your own research!

Simple Good hygiene – The flu virus is usually passed through the air, by coughing.  It also is passed by direct contact, such as shaking hands or kissing.  Practicing good hygiene can help you to avoid getting the flu or spreading it to others.  Good hygiene includes covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands frequently.

Antiviral drugs – Antivirals are said to substantially reduce your chance of getting the flu if they are taken just before an expected outbreak.  Talk to your Doctor to see if this route is right for you.

To ease symptoms of the flu, your doctor will recommend that you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Because flu is a viral infection, unfortunately antibiotics are not effective!

It seems as though sickness is something that we all have to fight hard to avoid, no matter the healthy degree of our lifestyles!  So make sure that you’re doing your best to prevent contracting one of these pesky illnesses.  And when you do succumb to one, give yourself a fighting chance to recover by resting up and treating yourself right.

Take care kids, it’s a germ infested jungle out there!

Today’s Workout

Buy-in: Split Jerk or Push Jerk practice – quick coach demo and tips then 5 x 3, working technique and speed under the bar

WOD:  “24-7”

7 minute AMRAP of:

  • 8 sumo deadlift high pulls (65/95)
  • 8 barhop burpees
  • 8 Knees to elbows

Zone 3:  scale sdhp to 55/75

Zone 2:  scale sdhp to 45/65, scale to double crunch

Zone 1: scale as needed

GAMES PREP:  all SDHP and KTE unbroken – broken sets do not count – rest then re-do them.

Cash-out: Group stretch

A Bit About Tendonitis

Many of you active CrossFitters have experienced at least one bout with some form of pesky tendonitis.  Therefore, based on my recent readings surrounding commonly known tendonitis facts, I felt it would be prudent to address the condition in a post.

What exactly IS tendonitis? Well, let’s begin at the beginning. Tendons are tough, flexible, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When tendons become inflamed, irritated or suffer microscopic tears, the resulting condition is called tendonitis. Tendons can be small, like the delicate, tiny bands in the hands, or large, like the heavy, ropelike cords that anchor the calf or thigh muscles. In most cases, the cause of tendonitis is unknown; but when a cause CAN be identified, the condition usually happens for one of two reasons: Overuse, meaning a particular body motion is repeated too often. OR overload, meaning the intensity level of a certain activity, such as weightlifting, is increased too quickly.

Tendonitis most commonly occurs in the shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist and heel, although it can happen anywhere in the body.  In general, tendonitis causes pain in the tissues surrounding a joint, especially after the joint is used too much during play or work. (At the Zone, we like to think exercise is included in the ‘play’ category!)  In some cases, the joint may feel weak, and the area may be red, swollen and warm to the touch.

Tendonitis ymptoms vary according to which tendon is affected:
Rotator cuff tendonitis – Usually dull, aching shoulder pain that can’t be tied to one location. It often radiates into the upper arm toward the chest. The pain is often worse at night and may interfere with sleep.
Tennis elbow – Pain in the outer side of the elbow. In some cases, the painful area extends down to the forearm and wrist
Golfer’s elbow – Pain in the inner side of the elbow
Jumper’s knee – Pain below the kneecap and, sometimes, above it
De Quervain’s disease – Pain at the back of the wrist, near the base of the thumb
Achilles tendonitis – Pain at the back of the heel or 2 to 4 inches above the heel

Depending on the location and severity of tendonitis, your symptoms may last for only a few days, or they could last for up to several weeks. If there is continued overuse or aggravation of the injured site, your pain may worsen and persist for several months. But in many cases, tendonitis can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions. Hurray!  Some helpful strategies include:

– Always be sure to warm up before beginning exercise.
– If you want to intensify your exercise level, do it gradually.
– Wear shoes that fit properly, especially if your exercise regime requires a lot of running.
– Be careful about the “no pain, no gain” approach. Listen carefully to your body to distinguish between an ache that indicates you’re building strength and an ache that means you’ve injured a tendon.
– Make sure you refer to your coach for specific guidance on technique and form, to eliminate the chance you may be performing a movement incorrectly and upping your risk for tendonitis.

If you feel you’re suffering from a significant joint problem, such as severe pain, redness or swelling, or loss of joint function, it’s time to call your doctor. Also, call your doctor if less-severe joint pain is seemingly persistent. The quicker your tendonitis is treated, the sooner you’ll recover full strength and flexibility.

With proper treatment, the affected tendon usually recovers completely. However, incomplete rehabilitation or a hasty return to activity can slow the healing process or lead to re-injury. So be sure to give your body adequate time to heal and get back to normal, before pushing your fitness threshold again!  Be good to your body, and it’ll be good to you.

Today’s Workout

Buy-in:  5 min dynamic movement (coaches’ choice)

WOD:  The Gymnast’s Routine

This workout is not for time – work on technique and strength – seek refinement not haste. 

Over the course of 30 minutes, accumulate (in ANY ORDER) the following:

  • 15 muscle ups
  • 20 pistols per leg
  • 20 handstand pushups (no kipping for guys, girls head to one abmat and can kip)
  • 30 toes to bar
  • 10 cartwheels (each way)

Zone 3 – assisted muscle ups, scaled hspu (but still inverted!)

Zone 2 – movements scaled as needed 

Cash-Out: 3 x 500m row, 3 min rest – partner up with somebody and rock it out.