Grips; and how to use them!

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I have been wanting to put together a blog on the use of grips for quite some time. I have held off because it’s a difficult thing to “type” out. Today in a couple of my classes I addressed the use of them for the toe to bar component. While there is a lot that goes into the use of grips that is personal preference, there are also a few simple points that should be adhered to for everyone. I’ll also throw in some of my personal “tips” and you can take ‘em or leave ‘em, but just things that have worked for me. Being in the midst of the Open and having week one out of the way without any gymnastics, you can bet you’re going to be needing grips more than once in the next four weeks. 


First, just so everyone knows what I am talking about when I say “grips”. I am referring to gymnastics grips for gripping the rig while performing movements there. There are all kinds of different styles out there but they all share a few common traits. First, something around your wrist to keep them in place. A Velcro enclosure fed through a buckle that you can adjust for how tight you like them. Then a piece of material extending over the palm of the hand and fingers. This is usually leather but there are some other options out there as well.  Some have finger holes in them, others have loops attached to the end to put your fingers through, while others are just a “flap”. 


Next, why use them?  A gymnastics grip is designed for two main reasons. They are designed to help you have a better grip on the rig is number one. The “flap” on them, usually leather, is made to have better stick than your hands. Second, they are designed to help save your skin!  We are all familiar with the dreaded “tears” from any volume of rug work. A grip will help prolong the life of your skin; and when used properly will all but eliminate those tears. As an added benefit, when used properly, they will also aid in your grip and help prevent fatigue from setting in so quick. More on this later. 


I am not going to go too much into “fit” of them, as that varies greatly depending on the style of grip you chose. However, a couple things to watch for. Obviously make sure the strap is long enough to go around your wrist and stay closed. You also want to make sure the flap is covers at least to the third joint on your index finger (if you have the style with holes in them for your fingers, they’re going to need to be longer than that). Any reputable source selling grips will have a full sizing “how to” on their webpage that I strongly suggest you take a read of and do the measurements before ordering.


Ok, so now that you have selected your favourite grips and they’ve shown up and you’re ready to smash your first workout in them - here’s a couple things you should know. They’re going to need some breaking in. Depending on the grips and you as an athlete and how much “torque” you apply to the grips, this might take two or three workouts. Don’t get frustrated with them until then. You may be a little slower because you’re regrouping and chalking up in the first couple workouts in them. It’s ok. I assure you, no one remembers or cares. Just like any new piece of equipment or gear, they’re going to take some time to get used to. On that note, just because you have grips, doesn’t meant you don’t need the chalk bucket. Still put some chalk on your hands “under” the grip. Then, chalk the front side of the grip that is going to be on the rig. You don’t need to go nuts with the chalk (and believe it or not, there shouldn’t be a pile of chalk  on the floor beside the bucket when you are done haha). 


When you put the grips on, the strap around your wrist should be tight. Not “cut off circulation” tight, but they should stay in place (maybe with some exception depending on the workout but that’s for another time) and not be able to spin around your wrist. Most grips are designed to have the buckle be on the outside of your wrist (again, this will be in the instructions and how-to from any good grip company). That strap that goes around your wrist is designed to be “loaded”. This is where I see a ton of people go wrong. The flap isn’t just there as a piece of material between your hand and the bar. The whole grip is meant to do some of the work for you. When you are hanging on the bar with a properly loaded grip, the strap around your wrist should be tight and pulling. This helps take a little bit of the load of your actual hand and saves some physical strength grip fatigue. In order to make this happen, think “catch high” when you grab the bar. You want to “overwrap” your hands when you jump up. You should be doing your rig work on your first set of calluses on your palm. When you jump up to “set” and load your grip, make contact with the bar at the butt of your hand keeping the flap of the grip tight on the strap. As your hand slides down into that “first callus” position, the strap of the grip should get loaded up and pull on your wrist. Now your grips are doing some of the work for you.  Simply jumping up and gripping as you would without a grip on and having that grip just act as piece of material between your palm and the bar isn’t doing yourself a lot of favours. I’ve actually snapped of couple of the plastic buckle grips from “loading” them up like this. 


That’s kind of the long and short for using grips. Regardless of the type or style or material, you can and should apply those points. One thing you might want to try out, which in my opinion, helps to properly load and benefit from grips is not putting your fingers through the holes. Again, purely personal preference here but this works for me.  When I use grips with fingers holes in them, before I jump up on the rig, I put just my finger tips (basically to my finger nails) into the holes and extend. This stretches the flap of the grip tight and “loads” the wrist strap. As I jump and catch high like I talked about in the last paragraph, I let my fingers come out of the holes. This helps to ensure the grip is set tight and loaded on my wrist. This is a very common practise and something that works well for most people. 


A couple other quick tips for grips:

  1. Let them dry!  Don’t just jam them into your bag after using them (unless you like that moldy hockey glove smell kind of thing). 

  2. Close the velcro strap up when not using them. This helps the world’s lint supply stay free from captivity on it and makes it actually work like it’s supposed to.  

  3. Don’t store them folded seven times or crumpled up and rammed in the corner of your bag. Try to keep them as close to how you were them as you can. Hint: I hang mine on a carabiner on the outside of my bag. 

  4. Don’t be afraid of chalking them up. We talked about that above but chalk the inside and outside of them “before” you start a workout to save time during. 


That should about cover it. If you are unclear on anything I have tried to make sense of here, track me down at the gym anytime and I’d be more than happy to help show you what I’m talking about. I’ll also say, there is a difference in an entry level “get by” grip and an actual good set. Before you invest some money in a good pair, ask your friends at the gym to try theirs. See what you like and what works for you. Again, feel free to track me down and ask for some advice here; I’ve tried a ton of different ones. I also have three or four different ones of my own at the gym you can take a look at. 


While there’s a lot more to grips than just “that piece of material that goes between your hand and the rig”, hopefully this helps a little bit with using them correctly. Knock on wood, I can say that I have not torn my hands in two plus years!  With any luck, you will be able to say the same thing in two years time. 

Not always as planned

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So there it is.  For those of you who hit up 306 after I have gone for the day, I’ll be doing this for each of the five weeks through the Open.  I will dissect the workouts released as best I can beforehand for you and give you all the strategy, tips and “hacks” that I would look at for myself to help you get after the workout as best you can. I don’t presume to be an “expert” at this at all, so take it for what it’s worth but I do usually do a fairly good job of breaking them down and coming up with an effective strategy. 


Now I’m going to get real “real” with you. Today I missed it. I didn’t miss it for 99% of the people in the gym. All the advice on the board for today is sound and in my humble opinion, will set you up for the best possible score. On our Instagram story this morning I posted it and said it was for 99% of the people and that the very top 1% of members in the gym it would look a little bit different. I won’t go into details here about why simply because it’s a lot to explain but if you are curious, track me down and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts. Anyways, for my abilities right now, I missed it for me.  I was wrong in “my” strategy. 


I went through the workout and did not finish it. For my fitness level, how training has been going and just where I am at, I should have. I am lucky to get the opportunity to see a ton of people do the same workout. I see thousands upon thousands of the same reps from all kinds of different people. That allows me to be very aware both as a coach and as an athlete of how my abilities stack up to a particular workout.  Today I screwed up on my execution and planning. I get really discouraged with myself when that happens. Not because I want to beat anyone else or because I want to place three places higher in my 498,174th placing in the Open but because I didn’t perform to what I know I am capable of. 


You know what?  That’s ok. It’s ok to get discouraged and be frustrated. It’s ok not to execute your best every single day. I’ve seen it over and over, the cliche of “it’s not a failure, it’s an opportunity to learn”. It does have a lot of truth in it. While I a lot of times roll my eyes when I see that, in this case it’s true. We have the opportunity to redo an Open workout. We learn from our first attempt and get better. In real life, we quite often aren’t going to have that opportunity and I get that. Inside our small bubble of “Crossfit” though, learn from it and do it again! We have another four weeks of the Open to go, and you may not always perform to what you expect yourself to do. Don’t let it discourage you. Most certainly, don’t let it affect you. At the end of the day, it’s some fitness that no one will remember (including you) and no matter how you “think” you performed, you will be a healthier and better version of yourself.


Just wanted to throw out a quick blog on it. It’s by no means a “whoa-is-me”. Quite the opposite in fact. It’s meant to encourage you, and me, that even the best thought out execution isn’t always right and we aren’t always at our best. We’ll take it and get better. 


Until Monday when I redo, I get to think about smashing what I did today!  Happy Open, everyone. Go get it!

And So it begins!

It’s “Open Eve”, y’all. Like I mentioned in our last blog, we’re starting something new this year with the great “306 Class Open Showdown”. I’m going to throw it out there right now, that this is for fun to fuel the community through a rough five-weeks worth of Open workouts and help push each of us to be our best selves. 


Now that we have all those warm and fuzzy “disclaimers” out of the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes here. The man behind the keyboard (that’s me, Coach TJ) is torn between the classes he coaches and the class he participates in to pick for a clear winner of the whole thing. 


Team “Six On The Beach...and Maybe 7”. First, we have the people of 6am. For the rest of you out there, yes, the gym is open at 6am and there are living souls in the building (sort of; fuelled by caffeine and oatmeal). These people make it to the gym while the rest of you are dreaming about what evil scheme #JCainTrained has cooked up for you later that day. From there, all be it small, the 7am class is mighty. The familiar and friendly faces who grace this class like to start their day off on the right foot but aren’t quite as insane as the people who get up at 6am. They manage their time wisely and stay for coffee in the lobby “after” the WOD so they can sleep for that extra 6 and a half minutes. 


Our second team, “That’s My Spot” is made up of our FitOver50 and 10am classes. For a lot of the FitOver50, this will be their first Open appearance. They are fierce and feisty and as competitive amongst themselves as any class. I won’t mention any names but “their spot” needs to be closest to the bathroom yet that bathroom door needs to be closed (with no one inside it) before any physical fitness is allowed to commence. Don’t ask. The 10am class still hasn’t quite clued in that the Open starts tomorrow. They didn’t listen to that part of my classes for the last eighteen weeks. While they might not be in the loop yet; trust me, once they find out it’s the Open, the competitive level gets set to 11 and their ain’t no way anyone is out working them, out cheering them, or outdoing them. If you want to see a special class (I mean like “really awesome”), come on in for a 10am workout and find out for yourself. They’re amazing!


Next, the noon class or “#CEO”.  As a participant in this class, I have to say I’m not too sure where the name came from. Before it was even noon on the day naming took place, the class coach chucked that up on the board. No one in the noon class even bothered to notice because we work too freaking hard. Nuff’ said. This team has some serious potential, provided they can show up for class before the Open is over.


The people at 3 and 4pm, or Team “Jay’s Favourites” (there’s a “U” in there) are hoping to put together a very strong performance this year. They are also lead by the fearless leader of our gym who promises to talk a very big game (from a very small package). While some of the people like to make guest appearances at other times of the day, I’m predicting the allure of victory will be enough to keep them together as a solid wolf-pack to post some very good scores. 


At the 5pm class we have Team “Shawn’s Angels”. I am not sure who this Shawn guy is but I’m fairly certain Beyoncé already sang that song. I also have to address, I am not sure if there were ever any male “Angels” as part of that franchise. While Shawn promises to be a fierce competitor posting some monster scores throughout, I feel the other men who show up at 5pm may start a mutiny as a result of the label. I see this not working out wonderfully for the team dynamic. There’s also the potential for the surplus of flowing long hair, blushing eyelashes and bootylicious music to distract and derail their performances. This is a wildcard team!  Stay tuned. 


Lastly, right around the time I go to bed, the 6 and 7pm classes hit the gym. Team “P’s New A-Team” are what they chose to call themselves. The verdict is still out for sure on who (or what) “P” is, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s for “Coach Polina”. Bold move going with simply a “P” as the abbreviation (double unders anyone?). The community is strong with this team, boasting members of all ages and multiple different family elements to bolster the team atmosphere. While the families have potential to bring an amazing group dynamic to the competition, their is also the possibility of sibling rivalry and feuding to throw things out of whack. Ultimately, I feel the allure of victory will be enough to keep them working as a complete unit and no one will have to sleep on the couch at the end of it. 


So there it is.  If nothing else, the promise of five awesome weeks of friendly competition and banter are about to begin.  I look forward to hanging around the gym and watching all the teams put together their best efforts. That is, after all, what its all about. Our amazing community is built on the people that grace 306 with their presence throughout the week. Let’s keep it going and see what we can do throughout the Open. I’m looking forward to a very good “Friday Night Lights” finale on November 8th. Details to come on that one. 


Best of luck to everyone!  Lend that extra bit of encouragement and love. See everyone on the floor! :)

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306 “Crossfit Open” class showdown

Thursday, October 10th. It starts. The 2020 Crossfit Open!  If you are not familiar with the Open, it has traditionally been a five week journey of testing your fitness while being able to compare against thousands of people in your demographic across the world.  It’s a great opportunity to get feedback on how your training has gone the past year, while getting a glimpse of areas you can improve for next year.  You do not, by any means, need to be a competitive athlete or having any motivation for training beyond living a healthier, longer life or looking better naked.  It’s just a lot of good fun. 


This year marks the beginning of the new “Crossfit Season”.  The Open is the now the first way elite level athletes will be able to qualify for the Crossfit Games; our “world championships”.  Up until now, the Open has been held in February or March. October 10th marks the new beginning of the new format.  For now anyways, it will be in October and into November each year.  


So, here is what is going to be happening at Reebok Crossfit 306 for the 2020 Open. It promises to be a whole lot of fun and generate some good interest and friendly rivalry throughout. 


First thing, we need some teams!  The rivalry is a lot more fun when we have our peers on our team and we can support and push each other. Here they are: (creative and epic names to follow!)


  1. 6am and 7am Classes

  2. FitOverFifty and 10am Class

  3. Noon Class

  4. 3pm and 4pm Classes

  5. 5pm Class

  6. 6pm and 7pm Classes


Now that we have some teams laid out, we need some format.  You do not need to be “signed up” for Open.  Each week when the Open workout is released on Thursday, it will be programmed for the gym on Friday. Everyone will do the workout, just the same as regular day of programming in the gym. Coaches will address scaling to make sure the workout is appropriate for everyone. From there, we will track every score from each team.  We will throw away the best and the worst score from each workout in each class. The average of the scores will be calculated from there. Each team will get an average Rx score and an average scaled score. Best scores win the week!


Some details. You do not need to do every workout. Ideally, we would love it if you can make it in to support your team and contribute a score while getting a good workout in. If you can’t make it one week, don’t worry!  Your score just won’t be a factor. You also do not need to be in the same class each week. Whichever class you show up to, will be where your score is calculated. If you have some really fit friends, this may be an opportunity for some contract talks. I know for a fact that this coach LOVES donuts and could be easily persuaded with some Nutana Bakery. Just sayin’.  


Just like in years past, on the fifth week, we will host our Friday Night Lights events. We will get the gym set up and ready to rock and roll for one final workout. We’ll have heat sign ups so you can compete head to head with your friend or fri-enemy from a different class. We will have some food and some drinks before and/or after and just have a great evening in our community. After the heats have all finished up, we’ll calculate the team totals and announce a winner. Some serious bragging rights and maybe some prizing goes to victors. 


So there it is!  I am looking forward to having some fun, talking some smack, and doing some fitness with some good people!  Look forward to seeing everyone on those Friday mornings!  


#TJtrained for the win

#JaeCaneTraynd who

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Recognize Where You’re At

Recognize Where You’re At

Here’s the thing; regardless of who you are, if you are reading this, you want to be better physically. What that looks like differs for each person but we all want to more fit and healthier. We wouldn’t be interested in Crossfit or members of our amazing community if we didn’t want that.  In order for us to move forward on that journey, we need to first acknowledge where we are at. 

Ready To Compete?

Ready To Compete?

Here we go again; its the “week of”. The annual Reebok Crossfit 3 On 3 is this Saturday.  Last year I did a blog post prior to the competition entitled “Competition Day Hacks” (September 25th 2018). Have a look back in the blogs for some good detailed breakdown on competition day specifically. In this one, I’m going to address the week leading up and what I recommend that looks like. 

Why “Rx” Exists

Why “Rx” Exists

At Reebok Crossfit 306 we operate under “one program” for everyone who walks in the door. We don’t have a “scaled” option, just the same as we don’t have a “competitors” option.  The workout is designed as it is wrote on the whiteboard for our top athlete. Don’t worry though. We have “you” covered too.

The Open Already?

The Open Already?

…In 2019, we actually get two Opens.  The first one happened at the usual time in late February and early March.  This isn’t news to any of us. What might be news to some of us, and maybe a bit of a shocker, is that we have another Open starting October 10th.  That’s right!  A little over a month from now and we will be in the midst of “The Open” yet again…

#KRhodeTrained

#KRhodeTrained

At 306, we are extremely luck to have amazing human beings take the lead every day and be our “coach”!  We pride ourselves on having great coaches lead great workouts to great athletes in our great community.  Kelsey Rhode is one of those coaches I am talking about. She started training at Reebok Crossfit 306 in August of 2015. A little less than a year after that she started coaching. For the past three years she has been one of four full time coaches and a pillar of our staff. 

Community Competing

Community Competing

Regardless of where you are at in your fitness journey, I would encourage you to sign up for a competition if you feel the “itch”.  Don’t worry about not being able to do a single pull up. That’s what bands are for. Don’t worry where you are going to finish or how long an event might take you. Do it for the enjoyment of it!  Get a little bit uncomfortable and you will be surprised just how far you are able to push yourself. 

It’s Good To Be Back

It’s Good To Be Back

Getting away is just that and it is a good thing.  We need to reset once in a while.  I hope for everyone out there, that they are able to to step away from routine and the daily grind to change it up.  Stepping away is ok and I encourage you to do it.  Regardless of what holidays look like for you, they are good for the body and the mind. To be able to get some rest, do things you enjoy doing but might find hard to get time to do otherwise or to get some tasks accomplished that need to be done.  These are all good and should be done.  

Preventative Medicine

Preventative Medicine

I would like to introduce you to this amazing human. This is Elaine and she just completed her 6 week transformation. What does that even mean? Well, she came in after really enjoying retirement over the past 6 months. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She realized that she was also pre-diabetic, experiencing hip and knee pain and her blood markers were not going in the right direction…

Not Right Now!

Not Right Now!

In society, we are set up for as much “here and now” as possible. We have drive-thrus. Not only drive-thrus but drive-thrus with mobile ordering. We have high speed internet and LTE+ cell phone coverage because “normal” internet makes us wait. We have microwaveable dinners and precooked chickens because we need to eat “right now” as we run out the door to something else.  We have “super size” because that makes us full and more is better.