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February 2012

House Rules

The following was "borrowed" from CrossFit Virtuosity (Thanks!).  I've been thinking about putting something like this together for a while and I still might end up printing this out and posting it at the gym. Maybe the people who are not following the rules will read this and straighten up before I have to post this... we'll see! :)

  1. Be early.  If you’re not early, you’re late. Give yourself enough time to sign in, change, and warm-up before class starts.  Those of you with smaller bladders (ahem-Juan) may also want to reserve some time for a bathroom trip. Most likely that means showing up at least 10 minutes prior to class.
  2. Check your ego at the door. Somewhere a high school kid is warming up with your PR.
  3. Clean up.  Put away your toys. Clean up your sweat, blood and puke.  We wish we didn’t have to say this, but don’t spit on our floor.  Ever.  Pick up your used tape, pens, notebooks, scrap papers, chalk, band-aids, water bottles and sweaty clothes.  Pack it in, pack it out, as they say.  Put away all the equipment you used back where it belongs.  Stack the boxes neatly, put the bars in the racks, stack the plates in order, hang up your jump ropes.
  4. Respect our equipment.  Drop as a last resort. Put things down gently.  Dropping weight should be a necessity, not a convenience.  Bumpers are designed for emergency dropping, not dropping every rep of Fran.  ALWAYS keep your weight under control.  NEVER drop an empty barbell.  NEVER drop a kettlebell or dumbbell.  Our equipment was expensive, and the more we have to replace it, the more we’re going to have to charge you.
  5. Bring things to our attention. If you notice that equipment is broken, lights are out, there’s no toilet paper, bring it to our attention so we can do something about it.
  6. Try hard.  Effort earns respect. Work hard.  Don’t drag people down with a bad attitude.  Be optimistic, have fun and push yourself and those around you to do better.
  7. Go heavy or go home. The only way to get stronger is to increase the load.  Always strive to go a little heavier and a little faster.  Never say, “I can’t.”  When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.  Push your limits.
  8. Don’t cheat.  No one cares what your score was.  Everyone cares if you cheated. Be honest with everyone else, and be honest with yourself.  You know what full range of motion is, so there’s no excuse for shoddy reps.  If someone calls you out for doing something wrong, listen to them.  The person standing around watching you work out has a much better perspective on what you’re doing than you do.  They’re breathing gently and probably experiencing a restful glow and a sub-60 heart rate.  You’re halfway through Fran.  You’re biased, trust us.
  9. Learn how to count. If you lose count, the next number is always 1.  If you know you have trouble keeping count, ask someone to count for you.  If you want to get on a leaderboard, you MUST have someone count for you.  If no one saw it, it didn’t happen.
  10. Come to class. For newbies, make sure you’re staying consistent.  For old hands, don’t start thinking that it’s okay to just do your own thing whenever you want to.  There’s a myriad of reasons we have class — for starters, you’re less likely to bias yourself towards the things you’re good at; you’ll get some competition; and no matter how experienced you are, you still need coaching and you can still stand to work on the basics.  If you have extra things you’re working on, there are special times right before or after class to work on them.  The gym is not open except during the times posted on the schedule.
  11. Take ownership. Be responsible and respectful and take pride in your gym.  Don’t let others get away with things that are bad for them or bad for the gym.  Remind people to take their clothes with them and pick up their water bottles.  If you see someone doing something that you’re pretty sure will hurt them, tell them to cut it out.  We don’t care who it is — if Sam or Keith is deadlifting with a rounded back, you can call them out!  Safety first!

CrossFit Games Open Workout 12.1

The following CrossFit Athlete is 70 years old and did 71 Burees in 07 minutes:


This CrossFit Athlete is in the Masters Division (45-49 years old) and did 113 Burpees:


These two CrossFit athletes are past Open competitors and get 128 and 107 Burpees; this video also explains the parameters for performing this WOD:


Kettlebells and Hell

As many issues that you see online with videos about CrossFit you see as many, if not more, about Kettlebells.  Listen folks, there's a reason why the RKC is so hard and the standards are so high.  I'm not saying that it's perfect, but if you tough it out, and practice what you've learned, you will at least come away with a good baseline understanding on how to use them.

Do not look for this workout anytime soon at CrossFit Koncepts...


Unilateral or Bilateral?

The preponderance of the resistance work that we do at CrossFit Koncepts is with Kettlebells.  I'm not saying that we don't toss around the Olympic Bar from time to time, because we do, but we focus on the Kettlebell because in my opinion it is a tremendously effective tool to build strength, mobility and power.

One of the reasons that I feel comfortable saying this, aside from using Kettlebells on a daily basis for over a decade, is that I quickly found that by developing unilateral strength, meaning that I am loading one side at a time or even both sides with seperate tools (i.e. Kettlebells), that my real world strength far exceeds that of someone who trains bilaterally (i.e. with a bar or a machine).

If you've been to any of my workshops at a military or law enforcement facility you've seen me drive this point home standing side by side with some tough, strong and (considerably) younger hombres.  What do I do?  I load an Olympic bar with 135 lbs and ask for three volunteers to come up and clean and press the bar for five times. Once they've done it I'll do it as well - what's fair is fair.  Then I have them try to clean and press two 54 lbs Kettlebells the same amount of times.  What happens?  Well, the guys who could actually press the 135 lbs bar can't clear the two Kettlebells from their shoulders, and if they can, it usually looks something like an epileptic fit and I have to stop them before they hurt themselves.  I'll then grab the two Kettlebells and press them both, press them one at a time, and then See-Saw press them.  What happens with the Olympic Bar?  I Snatch it one handed and carry it off to the side...

NOTE: I'm not writing this to brag or sound tough; anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not into BS or posturing - I'm more of a "put-up or shut-up" kind of person.  This is just an example of what Unilateral training, in this case dedicated training with Kettlebells, is all about. Ask anyone who has trained with Kettlbells for a while and they will tell you the same thing - Kettlebells will make you stronger in a shorter time (and be more functional and versatile) than using a bar.  Don't believe me?  Try it out for yourself...

BTW - need a little science to back the Unilateral vs. Bilateral claim?  Check out this article by Charles Poliquin about optimizing the anabolic response with unilateral training.

No Deadlift For You!

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You all know that I'm a fan of Gray Cook and the phenomenal work that he has done with the Functional Movement Screen.  In episode 23 of Grey Cook Radio he talks about the relationship between the ability to touch your toes, shifting your weight, and your ability to do a stable, safe Deadlift.  Listen and learn - you will be surprised at what he says!

Gray Cook Radio Episode 23

Bob Harper's Mens Fitness CrossFit WOD

Bob Harper, trainer from "The Biggest Loser" and a CrossFit Level I trainer, is on the cover of Mens Fitness ethis month.  In the issue he talks about CrossFit and how he sees it as the cutting edge of fitness.  He also talks about his passion for the WODs and even posts one of his own:

  • 05 Kipping Pull-ups
  • 10 Hand-release Push-ups
  • 15 KB American Swings
  • 20 Burpees
  • 25 Double-unders or 50 Singles (Jump Rope)

Check out the following video for his commentary and to see three people do the WOD.  NOTE: we're going to have to do this one and post it online so that people can compare execution styles of the same workout.  Should be interesting to hear the commentary.


Strong... Really Strong!

I met Stina Albin at the Dragon Door Bodyweight Workshop in 2011 and was immediately impressed with her bright and cheerful, amazing flexibility, and her awesome strength.  We've become pretty good friends and catch up weekly on Facebook - and are planning on putting together a joint workshop here in Maryland in the near future.  Take a look at the following video of Stina snatching the 53 lbs Kettlebell ten times at a bodyweight of only 130 pounds - strong work from a very strong lady!


The Big Three


Michael Boyle is a strength and conditioning coach that is considered among the best in the industry.  His website gets tons of hits and his speaking engagements are always packed.  In other words, when he talks people listen.  He recently wrote an article for T-nation titled "Exercises Saved From the Dumpster".  In it he takes a second look at exercises that he abandoned at one time but now (due to various inputs) looks at in a completely different light.

NOTE: all trainers have techniques and methodologies that they accept, adopt and abandon... and some for good reason.  In some instances you end up going back to something because it's simple, effective, and there's nothing else out there even close.  I've found this to be the case a number of times throughout my training and I'm sure it will be true in the future as well.

BTW - what are the "Big Three"? Turkish Get-ups, Farmers Walks and Deadlifts. Those should all be familiar to every CrossFit Koncepts client... and if they aren't then they will be! :)