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October 2011

Who CrossFits?

I came across an article on a fellow-CrossFitters website that I wanted to share.  It is entitled "Who CrossFits" and I think it's an important article to read for people who are current CrossFitters or (especially) anyone considering CrossFit.

A lot of attention is given to Rhabdo, puking and community when people talk about CrossFit.  I've been doing CrossFit for almost 05 years now and never encountered a single case of Rhabdo, but I have had clients that were sore as hell for a couple days.  I honestly can say that I've never puked before, during or after a workout... but I have had people do it (thanksfully outside).  As for community - I think that is the glue that makes everything else work so well.

But... diversity is one of the real factors that makes us so unique.  We have clients that are young (<18) and clients that are "seasoned" (approaching 70); we have beginners (training with us for a matter of days) and we have veterans (people who have been with us for almost 05 years now); we have clients that are doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers, geeks, etc.  The most amazing thing about this diverse group is... they work together amazingly well - and revel in their differences.

Thanks to all of our CrossFit Koncepts clients - you make coming to work every day an adventure!

Push-ups Revisted

Baby-push-upAfter just returning from three days of intense training on bodyweight skills (Thanks once again to Pavel, Mark, and Max) I am finding myself reviewing and reassessing my own strength skills, in particular by bodyweight skills.  That's the problem with training with people who are at such a high level - they make you want to work harder and harder!

Anyway, we spent a little time at the workshop talking about Push-ups - but not a whole lot.  The reason being is that if you can't do a Push-up ( a REAL Push-up) and lots of them, then attempting a lot of the more advanced bodyweight skills will be a lost cause.  I think a lot of people shoot right past mastering the Push-up in favor of more "impressive" or "flashier" skills - to their own detriment.  Being able to perform a strict Push-up is a real skill, and will establish a strength, mobility and flexibility baseline for other skills.

BTW - this article on Push-ups is great (thanks Cristine Ceelys for pointing it out to me) and it states that when performing a normal Push-up you are manipulating 64% of your bodyweight.  I always assumed it was closer to 45%... so this brings the strength requirements for the Push-up to a new level for me.

PR Every WOD?

I think what most people (CrossFitters and "civilians" alike) don't realize is that the WODs that we do are designed to CRUSH elite athletes - no I mean really crush them.  So when you do a WOD as RX'd (or even close to it) and you can't walk normally or raise your arms above your head then it's your own fault!  Not being able to perform daily functions (walk, eat, wipe, etc.) because you destroyed yourself the day before is just plain stupid... and could be potentially dangerous.

So, how do you approach the WODs then?  Do you just not do them or do you learn how to scale them? Well, according to Greg Glassman, most if not all people doing the WODs should be scaling them in some way or another... and he's said this more than once.

CCSo how do you know that you're scaling the WOD the right way?  A good rule of thumb would be to scale the WOD to no more than 80% of your max effort, and even then, that may be too much.  Remember that every WOD is not an opportunity for a PR, but it is an opportunity to improve your overall strength and conditioning.  If you are trying to PR every WOD you are going to find yourself perpetually fatigued and potentially sick... something you don't want to do if you want to keep moving forward.

Another thing you want to think about is how the body adapts to extreme stress - like a WOD.  If you are in a constant state of stress then your body will not adapt in the way you intend it to... in other words, you will have limited muscle development, aerobic adaptation, etc.  Several studies have shown that working at 80% of your max effort will allow you to continue to get stronger without over-stressing your body.

BTW - the picture has nothing to do with this subject.  I just wanted to show what the evil box did to poor Chris!!! After we taped him up he went on to finish the next four rounds of the WOD.  Then sometime later that night he went to the ER to get 06 stitches in his right knee and the left knee cleaned up and bandaged as well!!!

Pavel - the Evil Russian

MAK_PTI just got from three days of training under the tutelage of Pavel Tsatsouline, Mark Reifkind and Max Shank.  These gentlemen presented three full days of body-weight skills to 40-plus attendees at an RKC-only event.  Each of the presenters taught us new material, or a new twist on an old one, and also chimed on to help each other when the opportunity arose.

It was a great event and I look forward to implementing some of the concepts I learned into our class structure... you're going to love the new stuff - I Promise!

Perfecting the Olympic Snatch

The following article by Becca Borowski summarizes the findings of 3-D analysis of the Olympic Snatch technique.  In short it finds that bar speed is the least important aspect of a sucessful lift but that: speed getting under the bar, the "catch" position of the body, and the weightlifter's stability and bar position played a mjor role in a successful lift.  Read the complete article here.


A Now For Something Completely Different

I'm sure that by now that many of you know that I'm a geek that has come out of the "closet" in order to embrace my inner geek and revel in it.  So while most of you see me tossing around heavy things and sweating profusely, the remainder of the time I'm either debating the relative merits of Batman versus Batman Beyond with my boys or reading three to five books a week.  So, for me at least, the fact that Google has digitized MILLIONS of books so that you could search against them... is well, just AWESOME!  Check out the following video to get an (funny) overview of the project and how it works.


Athlete Profile: Jen Sinkler (RKC and CrossFit Athlete)

I came across Jen Sinkler by accident... I think I followed a link from a link... but I ended up on a page on Nia Shanks website entitled "Beautiful Badass Profile: Jen Sinkler".  Take a look at the page and you'll see that she is an RKC, a level I CrossFit Coach, a senior-level USA Weightlifting coach, a world-class rugby player, etc.  Pretty impressive credentials and a great story about how she came to train with both Kettlebells and CrossFit.  Enjoy!


Athletes Don't Wear Flip Flops

Kelly Starrett, from San Francisco Crossfit, has been putting out daily "Mobility WODs" for a while and I always get some great information from watching his postings.  This one, entitled "Athletes Don't Wear Flip Flops", should be required viewing for CrossFit athletes, parents with kids in athletics, or anyone who interested in the health of their feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.  Watch this video! :)


The Best Cardio Workouts You've never Tried

WomanrunningThose of you who have done "Infidel", "Risa" or "Ramona" at CrossFit Koncepts know that an intense dose of cardio (i.e. chasing Dos or Cristine up and down the street) brings a WOD to a completely new level of suck.  Or conversely, it can show you how much your conditioning has really progressed when you realize that you can perform at a very high intensity while under load (think 40 KB Push Presses with a 53 lbs KB as as "the rest" during a WOD).  IF running isn't your "thing" then look into getting good with a jump rope; it's less jarring to the joints (when done correctly) and there is enough variety in the skills to keep you occupied for quite a while.

Dan John, who you've read about here on several occasions, weighs in with some of his favorite "cardio workouts".  NOTE: they are all fast, brutal and effective... just how I like them!

The Efficiency of CrossFit and Kettlebell Training

TonyRosaFrom a good friend of CrossFit Koncepts – Tony Rosa, RKC:

“One of the latest trends in fitness involves metabolic conditioning combined with strength training. Actually, it's not new at all. Crossfit has been using this model for some time now, and I clearly remember this type of training during Marine Corps Bootcamp! Without getting caught up in jargon and terminology, metabolic conditioning and strength training, better known as MRT - metabolic resistance training - taxes various meta...bolic pathways in ways that traditional training doesn't.

For the average person seeking to achieve an optimal fitness level, MRT is the most efficient way to train. Crossfit does this by employing constant variation of exercises to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains - go faster, longer, under a heavy load!

When you add Kettlebells to this equation, you have an unbeatable system that you can use anywhere, anytime for the rest of your life. Bold statement? Well, according to many studies, properly structured Kettlebell training sessions can burn almost twice as many calories as standard weight training routines. In fact, according to a major study by the

American Council on Exercise (ACE) in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin, “The use of kettlebells has grown immensely over the past few years, as they can offer a great bang for your buck when it comes to time spent exercising and quality of results,” says ACE’s Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “A person can easily burn several hundred calories in a brief period of time using these iron orbs, which makes them appealing to those looking for time-efficient results. Kettlebell-themed workouts and kettlebell-only gyms are popping up everywhere in order to cater to the high demand of this growing fitness trend.” The full study can be found here at

Okay, so there you have it. Kettlebells produce results, period! Here's another fact you may not be aware of. Crossfitters can achieve the SAME results using Kettlebells as they can with Barbells. Yes, you read it correctly. Virtually, every lift you perform in Crossfit can be done with Kettlebells, so if you are pressed for time, or don't have the time or inclination to learn technical Olymplic Lifts, the Kettlebell is a perfect alternative. As the area's only RKC and Crossfit certified Kettlebell instructor, I will ensure you learn how to use this tool both safely and effectively.”