Monthly Archives: January 2007
Jan 31st, 2007

Strength Program Update

The strength Program has been plodding along for about 3 weeks now, with three weeks left to go.

The five of us, Carlo, Chad, Leo, Max and Sam have all gotten appreciably stronger, and, as expected a bit slower and heavier. Chad and I have done most of the workouts and have put on 3-4 lbs of muscle. I’ve gained a bit too much fat, which I’ll blame on my genetics (ahem *cheeseburger* ahem) Sam “The Hulk” Larson Has done ALL of the workouts and is up to 185 (from 176) at the beginning, most of that muscle. His temerity is inspiring.

It is somewhat hard to eat as much as is necessary to make these kinds of mass/strength gains, plus the feeling (and reality) of aerobic deconditioning is annoying, but once we are done with the strength phase and lean down without losing the additional muscle we are working so hard for we should, perhaps surprisingly, be able to generate increased Metabolic power. The reason is as follows: if strength is the limiting factor, say in fight gone bad, but we now have the increased strength to easily rep 75# for push-press, we will end up doing much more work in the same amount of time, also known as increased intensity. I think we are all looking forward to the relatively easy regular WODs!

We have been doing some advanced work this week (drop sets) and will move onto negatives and chains in the next few weeks. We will try and get some good tire flip pictures too!

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Jan 29th, 2007

Scott Caught On Camera


Scott in the middle of performing a push-up.

A Case for Physical Activity

For those of you who know me a little, you know that I’m an evolution nut (with more of an emphasis on nut, I’m sure).

I was recently turned on to Mark Rippetoe’s latest book (along with Lon Kilgore and Glenn Pendlay), Practical Programming for Strength Training. This is a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in strength- or power training.

Anyway, Coach Rippetoe has a nice passage in the book on the importance (even necessity) of physical training. Enjoy:

As is often the case, sports preparation can shed light on the human condition. Humans are built to move. We evolved under conditions that required daily intense physical activity, and that hard-earned genotype is still ours today. The modern sedentary lifestyle leads to the inactivation of the genes related to fitness and performance, attributes that were once critical for survival and are still critical for the correct, healthy expression of the genotype. The genes are still there, they just aren’t doing anything because the body is not stressed enough to cause a physiological adaptation requiring their activation. Heart, lungs, muscles, bones, brain, all operate far below the level at which they are still intended to function, and at which they function best. Those among us who are sedentary suffer the consequences.

–Practical Programming for Strength Training, p. 108

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Jan 29th, 2007

Our First 10K!

Jennifer, Sam, Max, Nicole, Chad & Ollie (Evelyn is behind the camera)

Congrats! to Chad Lott for taking second place in the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders 4th Sunday Run! This was our first training run in preparation for the Pendleton 10K that 15 CFO members will be participating in June 9, 2007.


Post times to comments.

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Jan 27th, 2007



CrossFit is moving! Schedule:

Saturday 1-27-07 CLOSED
Sunday 1-28-07 Regular Schedule 3300 Broadway
Monday 1-29-07 Regular Schedule 3300 Broadway
Tuesday 1-30-07 Regular Schedule 3300 Broadway
Wednesday 1-31-07 Regular Schedule 3300 Broadway
Thursday 2-1-07 CLOSED
Friday 2-2-07 CLOSED: Please help us move into our new facility at 967 Grace Ave, Emeryville CA at 5PM (beer and pizza provided).
Saturday 2-3-07 and thereafter: expanded Schedule (AM/PM), TBA 967 Grace Ave.

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Jan 26th, 2007

Horse Stall Mats Are Here


CFO’s brand new horse stall mats stacked in 35-mat piles.

Mark your calendars: we’ll be laying down the mats next Friday evening, Feb 3. I know you don’t wanna miss out on all of the fun!

We’ll be giving you the exact time as the date gets nearer. Stay tuned.


There will be no classes this Saturday, January 27.

We’ll be back in action on Sunday, January 28.

200 Calories

I came across this cool link (cool to me, at least, which I guess tells you I’m not that cool) on Art De Vany’s blog, which shows pictures of various foods in the amount that would be needed of them to get 200 calories:

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Jan 23rd, 2007

The Last Push!

Charles, Cathy and Connie giving it their best!

I M P O R T A N T ! I M P O R T A N T ! I M P O R T A N T !


We will, however, be offering move-related WODs to all those willing to lend a hand (and get dirty):

Sunday, January 28th @ 12p.m.–Plyo Box Painting and Misc Tasks

Thursday, Feb 1st @ 7p.m.–Tabata Moving of Equipment and Tabata Floor Cleaning

Friday, Feb 2nd from 9.a.m. to ?–20 (or so) Rounds of Horse Stall mat Installation (100#’s each)

New Location: 967 Grace Avenue
Telephone: 510-595-9348 (XFIT)

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Jan 23rd, 2007

The Miracle Move For Correcting Your Olympic Lifts

Sweet shot of Peter and Coach B. on!


The tall snatch in action

Tall Cleans & Tall Snatches

We’ve recently been hitting the Olympic lifts hard. During this time, I’ve observed a trend of people power cleaning (or power snatching) the load up, catching it high and then riding it down into a full squat.

Take a look at the video that was recently posted at

What I’m seeing a lot of people do is the middle of the three video sequences (the “Pseudo-Squat Clean”).

In a legitimate clean, you never actually bend the arms during the extension phase of the clean. Instead, you jump the bar up without leaving the ground, fully extending at the ankle, knee, hip, and shoulders. This move gives you more than enough room to get under the bar, and also gives the bar more than enough upward momentum so that it will stay weightless just long enough for you to dive under it with all you have.

The problem with power cleaning is that you’re ultimately limiting yourself to only being able to clean as much as your arms can pull. This is great if you’re looking for an upper-body-oriented exercise, but if you care about maximal loading of the hips and legs (and you should care a lot about this since the musculature of this region of the body is where athleticism is developed and expressed), you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by only doing power cleans.

You need to catch those cleans and snatches in a full squat.

And in order to practice and become comfortable with moving under the bar and catching it in a full squat, there’s no better move than the tall snatch or tall clean.

Here are two descriptions of the tall clean/snatch (the sequence is the same for tall cleans and tall snatches, only the grip width and finish position are different), one from CrossFit and one from Masters Olympic lifting champion Gary Valentine.

From CrossFit:

The “tall snatch”, starting from triple extension and then shrugging and dropping to the catch, is a workaround for pulling before full extension.

From Gary Valentine:

Then, with empty bar, Clean from Full extension.

Stand with bar in clean grip, arms straight, shoulders shrugged, bar touching upper thigh, standing up on balls of feet. Stop here. THIS IS THE START POSITION for this drill. You must understand and believe that the bar is higher off the ground at this point than it is in the bottom position of your front squat.

Your task is to drop down as fast as possible from this full extension to the front squat, just lifting feet into squat position, whipping elbows under, almost racing the bar down, don’t pull it up. Just race it down whipping elbows under.

Do not curl it – very difficult from this position anyway, that’s the point. Arms should not bend first at elbows, which is what will probably happen to someone whose power cleaned a lot. So it’s crucial to learn the timing of this, because this is the position you’re trying to achieve from the floor. Arms must be straight, big explosive shrug with full extension of body.

N.B. 1: Careful readers will note that the CrossFit version of the the tall snatch has the lifter initiating the move with a shrug of the shoulders, whereas Valentine’s version has the lifter begin with shoulders already in the shrugged position. Don’t get hung up on this small point. Practice and become proficient at both methods.

N.B. 2: I have to give credit to Tony Budding from CrossFit Santa Cruz for first turning me onto the tall snatch as the “miracle move” for curing early arm pull in the Olympic lifts.

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Jan 22nd, 2007


Check out our very own Peter on Peter is now a CrossFit Certified Trainer. Nice Job Brother!

I think this deserves a spot on CrossFit Oakland.


By Henry Rollins


I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class.Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say shit to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was

When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr.Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

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