CrossFit and getting the muscle up

Kenneth Dehn, CrossFit Coach and Owner of CrossFit Butcher’s Lab.

A musle up is a pull-up followed by a dip. Most crossfitters are able to to a pull-up and a ring dip, but in the muscle up, focus is on the transition when wanting to do your 1st muscle up. Naturally, a muscle up demands some raw strength and shoulder stabilisation. It is a good idea to be able to perform 5-10 unbroken strict pull-ups and 5-10 unbroken strict ring dips. Stabilisation is trained by overhead squats, turkish get-ups, skin the cat etc.

Train the following: 

1. Deep dip. Use a power band between each ring to support your knees, if you’re not strong enough to make a deep ring dip. 

2. High pull in the rings (alternative to chest to bar pull-ups).

3. Train your false grip and lock out. From a normal hanging position, hands and shoulders are turned to full lock-out og back*. It is almost impossible to make a reasonable transition without using the false grip, even though Josh Everett does pretty well in “King Kong”**.

4. Train your kip. It is in my opinion a good idea to be able to perform a strict muscle up, before starting to do kipping muscle ups. The kip in the muscle up is the same as in the pull-ups, but with rings moving, the kip in the muscle up demands perfect timing end extra stabilisation.

If you ever fall through the rings – let go immediately! 

5. Train the transition over and over. The transition is trained by lowering the rings to under your chest. Place yourself on the knees under the rings, having the rings hanging directly straight from the bar. The transition is trained with the toes in the ground, pulling the rings to your chest, and is ended by a controlled deep dip.

Hold your arms close to your body and let your elbows point forward. The rings are pulled high to the chest before finishing the transition. The legs are an important part of the transition and are placed slightly in front of the rings in order to balance the weight perfectly.

Muscle ups can be trained in a bar, as L- muscle ups or as more muscle ups continously. Try also WODs as Nate, Nasty Girls og 30 muscle ups for time. In WODs 1 muscle up is modified to 4 pull-ups and 4 ring dips.

If you lack inspiration, check out the king of muscle ups, the west German gymnast Andreas Aguilar (100 % bad ass)***.

Thanks for a great blog – and good luck to all with your first muscle up!

Still (very) few sports availabe for the Martin Rooney Seminar 5-7 March 2010, Copenhagen @ Butcher’s Lab. Read more and sign op here.

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CrossFit for “Average Joes”

Frederik Krarup, “Average Joe”, CrossFit Copenhagen.

Average Joes! This is a shout out to the CrossFit masses (all of you who work too much, enjoy junk food, booze and cigarettes).

To the guys and girls who have a competetive personality but are too tied up elsewhere to be a part of the CrossFit elite.

1. Know that you cannot loose because nobody expects anything of you!

2. Compete every time you get the chance….. nobody knows how far you kan take it on adrenaline.

3. Keep in mind that the CrossFit elite fears you  – just because they know that if they don’t beat you, they are failing. (Yes, Blair, I mean you :-)).

4. RX everything you do – it doesn’t matter how long it takes – as long as you finish.

5. If ever in doubt – put on Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher than the rest” and giv it all you’ve got.

6. Never go down on gear.

Average Joes always win!

Still (very) few sports availabe for the Martin Rooney Seminar 5-7 March 2010, Copenhagen @ Butcher’s Lab. Read more and sign op here.

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Top 5 advice – CrossFit and getting stronger

Simon Rodovsky, CrossFit Coach, CrossFit Copenhagen.

1) Get stronger! Your overall performance is a function primarily of your strength. Strength is build using the five classical lifts: the squat, the deadlift, the press, the benchpress and the power clean.

2) Focus when you lift! You need to move the bar as fast as you can. Not as fast as you think you can. Focus on your aggression while lifting – and apply that aggresion.

3) Eat more! More meat, more fat, more milk. When you get stronger your body adapts to stress. The adaption consists of structural changes. Structural changes requires a massive amount of calories and high-quality protein (i.e. protein from meat, milk and eggs.)

4) Do strict pull-ups/chin ups. Add weight when you can do more than 3×15.

5) Use linear progression to become stronger! Linear progression means that you lift more weight this time than you did last time. If you progress in a linear way you should be able to add 5-10 kg to your squat every week (for several months.)

Still (very) few sports availabe for the Martin Rooney Seminar 5-7 March 2010, Copenhagen @ Butcher’s Lab. Read more and sign op here.

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Top 5 advice – CrossFit and avoiding injuries as taught to military personnel

Ole Cosmus, owner of CrossFit the Royal Danish Lifeguards, sports instructor and first aid instructor.
Remember to warm up before working out, min. 10-12min. – and get the pulse up! 

Progress slowly and increase the amount of working out before increasing the intensity. 

It is important to know your body’s ability (the time periods) to adapt to the workouts, in order to prevent injuries by overlad.

Better results are seen 1-2 months after frequent muscle strength and muscle endurance training (4-6 x/week).
It takes 5-7 months to train joints, ligaments, bones etc.

If the above mentioned adoptation period is not respected, joints etc. will be damaged and you will risk tearing your muscles from the bone inhumation 

As an example is it unwise to do kipping pull-ups, butterfly pull-ups and normal pull-ups, before having trained your arms. If you insist on doing it, there will be a great risk that you suffer from injuries by overload around wrists, elbows and shoulders. It is furthermore unwise to lift more than your body weight in deadlift before after 5-7 months of technical training. The stabalizing ligaments around your spine are not programmed for such load yet.

Place your training during the whole week and remember recovery days/super compensation. Min. 24 rest after a hard work out. 

Do variated workouts – CrossFit 🙂

Eat a healthy diet – your body’s building stones for regeneration – and drink water.

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Top 5 advice – CrossFit and coaching

Jesper Bergstrøm, Cognitive Coach and Mental Trainer – with special interest in positive psychology, CrossFit Butcher’s Lab

Dear Crossfitter,

CrossFit is probably the hardest and most functional training on the market today. Many will not be crossfitting for very long, as it sometimes can be hard motivating yourself to hit the gym when almost all workouts are so extremely hard. Luckily, there are effective mental training methods that will help you become a better crossfitter. One of the methods is to be able to work with yourself mentally.

Studies show that you can improve your results up to 27% by mental training.

Follow these 5 advice in order to become an even better crossfitter:

1. Your thoughts and feelings are controlling your performance and energy in your body. Make sure to have positive thoughts and feelings before starting to work out.

2. Have a goal with your workout before you start – and keep that focus all the way through the workout. Make sure to focus on the goal and not on what you want to avoid.

3. Visualize your workout and how well you’ll do during the workout and visualize yourself when you’re done working out and have made a great result.

4. Approach the workout with a positive mind. Remember that YOU are in charge of the workout – and not the workout controlling you.

5. Remind yourself how strong your are and motivate yourself to speak positively to yourself – and keep focus on your strengths. Believe 100% in you succeding before starting.


Jesper Bergstrøm, Coping Group, Cognitive Coach – with special interest in positive psychology

Tel: +45 51 27 16 60

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Top 5 advice – CrossFit and never been to the gym before

5 don’ts from Nikolaj “Never been to the gym before” Brandt, CrossFit Copenhagen.

1. Don’t listen to the voice inside your head
If you are not used to training hard and pushing yourself, you will soon hear a voice telling you to go easy, that you are doing well, and that you don’t need to push yourself that hard!
The voice is wrong. Ignore the voice – pain is your friend.

2. Don’t settle for 1-2 days a week
Get to the gym often. Even though it is raining, cold, and 6 o’clock in the morning – get up, get going! Find a rhythm and make it part of your routine.
If you want to build strength – persistence is key.

3. Don’t be content with your performance
Contented leads to satisfaction which leads to laziness which again leads to absolutely no improvement at all.
Find your benchmark and strive to beat them. Even though you set PR – keep striving for better.

4. Don’t lose patience
You’ll see improvements but it might feels like it is taking forever.
It does take time building strength and stamina – especially if you ignore my last advice ;0) – don’t stop.

5. Don’t go drinking yourself senseless every weekend
It will give you severe memory loss making you forget what you front squat, power clean and what have you not.
Also it’ll make you suck at the following days’ WODs.

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Top 5 advice – CrossFit for “bigger guys”

 Michael Bender, CrossFit – and MMA athlete and +100 kg guy from CrossFit Copenhagen shares his advice for the “bigger” guys in CrossFit.

1. Get the technique right before lifting heavy weights!

Even if you are a strong guy and you are able to lift the weight, you still need a good technique in order to succeed in the long run. Even if you are used to training with very heavy weights, accept that CrossFit is something different!

Sørg for at få teknikken til løftene i orden inden du smider maks vægt på stangen. Dårlig teknik i begyndelsen af ens crossfit træning har en tendens til at blive hængende. Fordi man er stærk og stor nytter det ikke noget tage meget vægt på stangen selv om man kan. God teknik vil gøre dig i stand til at løfte tungere vægte på længere sigt.

2. Do what you hate doing!

Train every aspect of CrossFit. Running, boxjumps and burpees might not be very fun when you’re +100 kg., but CrossFit is all about training your weaknesses. This is even more important if you intent on participating in challenges/competetions.  

Træn alle aspekter af crossfit. Løb, burpees, boxjumps og ligende øvelser er ikke særlig sjove når man vejer +100 kg, men det er netop derfor det bør trænes. Specielt op til konkurrencer bør der fokuseres på disse øvelser, da det er her der er størst chance for at få en dårlig placering frem for de mindre crossfittere.

3. Use your weight to get stronger!

Focus on the positive – if you are heavy, bodyweight exercises will make you really strong! Even when you get the kipping right, remember to train the movements strict sometimes to improve your strengh. And if you happen to lose some weight – just imagine what will happen to your performance!

Brug din vægt til noget positivt. Hvis du vejer meget så kræver det ekstra styrke at være god til PU, MU, HSPU osv. Sørg for at få god kipping teknik – men husk også at træne strict nogle gange. Hvis du vænner dig til at kunne stricte din egen kropsvægt i de forskellige øvelser – når du f.eks vejer 90 kg – tænk så hvad der sker med din performance når du pludselig en dag kun vejer 80 kg.

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Top 5 advice – CrossFit without a gym

Blair Morrison
Anywherefit (unaffiliated)
Finished 7th at the CrossFit Games 2009
Top 5 things you need to train without a gym, in order of importance and versatility:

1. elevation: stairs or a hill
-If you have stairs, a hill, or any type of elevation to the top of which you can move your body, you have a workout. You can sprint up it and down it, crawl up it and down it, carry things up it and down it, jump up it and down it. All of these activities will build incredible cardio vascular conditioning, lower body stamina, and core strength. The possibilities are endless in variation and limitless in benefit.

2. a sandbag
-It’s the easiest and oldest way to fashion yourself a set of weights. Dirt is everywhere and no one will to miss the 50 kg you relocate in a double thick hefty bag. Try carrying this around the block or up the hill. Ouch. Clutch it to the chest, over the shoulder, do presses, burpees, or cleans. You will build core strength, power in your grip, and, most importantly, remind yourself what it would feel like to be a few kilos overweight.

3. a rope
-They’re a little harder to come by, but so worth it when it comes to devising WODs outside of the gym. With a little ingenuity, you can tie it up almost anywhere. Tree branches, bannisters, cement pillars, you name it. You can climb for speed, for repetition, or as part of a bigger workout. The grip and upper body benefits are obvious, but you’ll also build balance and coordination off the ground that, if you someday find yourself in an action film dangling for your life, may come in handy one day.

4. a wall
-Preferably at a height a few feet out of your reach. This is NOT hard to find if you take peel your eyes away from the strip of pavement directly in front of your feet. You can use it for handstand practice, handstand pushups, wall walking, wall climbing, wall muscle ups, overhanging situps, and many other creative enterprises. An exercise as simple as doing repeated climbs for time is really tough on the lungs, arms, and abdominal structure. This is one reason why kids are such parkour beasts, they love climbing stuff.

5. a car
-Borrow a car, find a stretch of clear road, put it in neutral, and push. Or pull, since you already have a rope. I’m convinced that pulling cars is one of the most complete exercises you can do. You’re engaging every muscle in your legs (especially if you pull up a slight hill) and your core is completely tensed the whole time. Then, you can turn around and pull the car towards using a deadlift/rowing motion. For the ultimate version, think World’s Strongest Man: there’s a harness around your shoulders and a rope extending out in front tied to some secure post some 50 meters off. Now you’re pulling the car with your arms while dragging it with your legs. TOTAL EXHAUSTION. Doesn’t get much better.

Be fit anywhere!

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Top 5 advice – CrossFit and Olympic Lifting

Anders Knudsen

Former olympic lifter

CrossFit Butcher’s Lab

1: Don’t expect results too fast – the exercises are difficult.

Forvent ikke resultaterne for hurtigt, idet øvelserne er svære.

2: Mental preperation before a new PR is underestimated in CrossFit.

Mental forberedelse inden man skal sætte ny PR, helt klart noget, der er undervurderet i crossfit (store løft).

3: Correct starting position – and to be able to find it yourself without having others helping you.

Rigtig startposition – og at man selv kan finde den, uden andre retter én til.

4: Lifting the bar from the floor and not tearing it. EXTREME important to control the bar. This can not be reached if the bar is lifted from the floor too fast.

Løfte stangen fra gulvet, og ikke flå den. EXTREMT vigtigt at man har kontrol over stangen, dette opnås ikke, hvis man løfter den for hurtigt fra gulvet.

5: Devote 1-2 days weekly to learn the classical lifts. The lifting comes in 3 phases, learn the technique, learn the lift, learn to lift. Important not to ship a phase (lie, crawl, walk).

Hellig dig 1-2 dage om ugen for at lære de klassiske løft. Det kommer i 3 faser, lær tekniken – lær løftet – lær at løfte tungt. Vigtigt at man ikke springer en fase over (ligge, kravle, gå).


Top 5 advice – CrossFit and endurance

Kenn Samuelsen
Crossfit instructor and 3 times Ironman finisher
Crossfit Training Center – Køge

– If you’re an endurance athlete (e.g. triathlon) and want to improve full body strength and prevent injuries – Crossfit training is the optimal way.

Crossfit trains your muscles in core body, legs, arms and shoulders – most important areas of the body in swimming, biking and running.

The explosive training in Crossfit will increase your muscle fibers, which enables your muscles to transport more oxygen for a longer time and therefore prolongs time to fatigue. At the same time you will get more speed in your swim, bike and run performance.

– Crossfit done with high-intensity improves your aerobic endurance capacity and stimulates the metabolic responses which again improves the capability to work with high intensity in endurance sports.

– Use our already excellent endurance capacity to work with high intensity and get some fast WOD-results in Crossfit.