Monthly Archives: January 2007
Jan 10th, 2007

More on Muscle-Ups

The sequence below of Nicole Carroll (CrossFit HQ) is probably the best photo sequence I’ve seen in terms of displaying the proper body positions one has to get into in order to nail a muscle-up.

(Click on the image to see the full-size version of the photo.)

So what to do in order to get the muscle-up? You simply need to swallow your pride and drill the basics. So how do you do that?

1. Get lots of pull-ups and ring dips.
2. Do the drills in the video below.

Muscle-Up Progression Video

Although the video is geared to kids, the drills are suitable for everyone.

So get to it!

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Jan 8th, 2007

Back to Basics

Kathleen Finnerty, CF Trainer, Krav Maga Instructor does an Overhead Squat

Let us not lose sight of the basic accessory movements that are key to developing a strong foundation!

The “OFFICIAL” CrossFit Warm-up:

3 rounds of 10-15 reps of
Samson Stretch (do the Samson Stretch once each round for 15-30 seconds)
Overhead Squat with broomstick
*Note that for a workout that’s dip or pullup-centric, you might want to sub another exercise

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Jan 8th, 2007

A Fresh Start & Some Jump Rope Tomfoolery


We don’t wanna jump the gun because there hasn’t been a final deal struck yet, but what you’re looking at above just might be the new 1,800 sq ft home of CFO in the very near future.

Stay tuned!

Fun With the Jump Rope at CFO

Below is an example of the type of play that we engage in at CFO. Forget about the muscle-ups, Candace’s next step is to join the double dutch professional circuit.

The Stiff-Legged Deadlift Is Not a Romanian Deadlift

Just to clear up the debate that has been going on at CFO, and because it’s easier to just go to the links for the descriptions and videos of each of the two exercises, check these links out:

Stiff-Legged Deadlift

Stiff-Legged Deadlift Video

Romanian Deadlift
Romanian Deadlift Video

Because the difference between the two lifts is subtle (although critical), it’s best to let the two videos play to completion (each is only about 10 seconds long) and observe the difference in finish positions.

The Romanian deadlift has the lifter keeping knees bent throughout the lift (he’s basically doing a deadlift with an Olympic lifting “scoop” at the end of the pull). The stiff-legged deadlift is nothing more than a deadlift with straight legs throughout the lift (no “scoop” at the end of the pull).

(Candace, I like medium Americanos with no room.)

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Jan 6th, 2007

Lean Mass

We have had quite a few questions lately about how to measure lean mass. There is an excellent Wiki entry on the subject. The Bod Pod is the most accurate way to determine lean mass

Here is an interesting website with pictures of what men look like at various lean mass levels. Note that he makes the point that at higer lean mass percentages he was sometimes weaker. Note especially that at a “buff” looking 188 and 90% lean mass he could only deadlift 200 pounds! That is really pathetic! It makes the point that lean-ness and performance are not alway correlated. There is also a picture of him at 178 and 92% lean mass with a claimed 415 pound deadlift. Now that’s awesome. By the way he also says he achieved this on a vegan “style” diet. This website inspired me to take pictures of myself as well.

Here is a picture of me, pre-serious crossfit on 12.12.05 at 210 lbs 145 lean mass, 65 lbs fat, 69% lean mass.

Here is a picture of me on 12.12.06 at 181 lbs 146.5 lean mass, 34.5 lbs fat, 81% lean mass.

You can see that on average, I only lost about a half a pound a week, but thinking long-term, you can see that it is a good, and sustainable improvement. I also maintained all of my lean mass, even putting on a pound or two. My performance in almost every parameter has gone up at the same time. It is also worthwhile to note that this process is not linear (the holidays put four pounds back on), nor is is it speedy, but that is OK, just as long as you are moving in the right direction. I would like to eventually get to 175 with around 155 lbs lean mass, about 20 lbs fat and lean mass of 87-89%.

Another good website for information on lean mass (and fitness in general) is I quote:

“To build on #2, people have naturally varying levels of body fat. Human biodiversity is normal and desirable. Assuming that naturally skinny people are inherently healthier and fitter is a mistake. While there is a healthy range of body fat levels, above or below which is associated with negative health consequences, it is a range, not a single number. Some women may look and feel cruddy at 15%, while others may be happy and healthy. Same with 30%. Body fat is not the only variable of fitness or health, and there are many women with much higher body fat levels than me who can outlift me, outrun me, and generally kick my ass. Each person ideally has a level of body fat which is appropriate to their genetics, gender, age, training goals, and general state of health. Fitness and fatness are not incompatible.

Below are bodyfat recommendations from the Wiki.


Some body fat percentage levels are more culturally valued than others, and some are related to better health or improved athletic performance.

According to Health Check Systems[2], The American Council on Exercise[3] has categorized ranges of body fat percentages as follows:

Description Women Men
Essential fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14–20% 6–13%
Fitness 21–24% 14–17%
Acceptable 25–31% 18–25%
Obese 32%+ 25%+

It is unclear whether any of these body fat percentages are better for your health than any other, but there are definitely enhancements in athletic performance as you near the ideal body fat percentage range for your particular sport. The leanest athletes, bodybuilders, typically compete at levels of about 5-8% for men, and 10-15% for women[4]. Getting to this level usually requires specific and carefully monitored variations in sodium and fluid intakes. It can be dangerous to maintain a body fat percentage at the low end of this range for more than a few days or a few hours.”

Please note the above states ideal bodyfat for your sport. for overall fitness we recommend being not leaner than the top of the athlete scale for both men and women. this is because being “shredded” or “ripped” while, perhaps, culturally desirable is likely to lead to decreased strength. in general men should not try to get under 11% bodyfat and women should not try to get under 18% bodyfat. clearly we are not recommending being overweight either. In fact the author could stand to lose a bit of inert metabolic material. There are some rare times it might be appropriate to try and get somewhat under the above percentages, however, we believe that it is not possible to do so in a manner consistent with improved performance unless you are willing to eat in a near-perfect manner, a-la Greg A. or Nicole C., that is to say strict zone-paleo.

Ultimately, for overall fitness and performance, you want to be the right weight for your strength. Let performance be your guide: if your athletic performance across multiple parameters increases, you are moving in the right direction. If your deadlift goes up and your run times get slower you may be putting on too much weight. If your run times get faster and you get weaker you may need to pack on a few pounds.

Pay no attention to “height and weight charts”. They are meaningless for athletes. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the peak of his power would have been considered severely obese by this measure. Instead go by photographs, measurements and above all PERFORMANCE!

Post thoughts on cultural ideals vs. actual benefits of various body compositions (from Ultra-marathoner to Sumo).

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Jan 6th, 2007

CrossFit Oakland Mud Run Teams

It’s official, we have 3 teams registered!!!

Training Schedule

All trainings will take place @ 9.a.m.

January 28th-
5,10 or 15 K run around Lake Merritt (benchmark time)
Meet: Boat House at Lake Merritt
check out the following website for more info about Lake Meritt
Joggers and Striders

February 11th- 1 Mile Hill climb
Meet: TBD

February 25th- 10 K around Lake Merritt w/ LMJS

March 11th- 5K Sand run at Ocean Beach
Meet: TBD

March 25th- Trail Run @ Joaquin Miller

April 8- 10K around Lake Merritt w/ LMJS

April 22- Hill Repeats

May 6th-
5k Mock run with obstacles, hills, sand and mud
Meet: TBD

May 20th- 10 K Lake Merritt with wet clothes
Meet: Boat House @ Lake Merritt

June 9th : Race Day!!

***Check your email for more info–we have created a Yahoo Group to keep all team members up to date. Team configurations are posted there.***

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Jan 4th, 2007

Park Benches Can Be Fun


We captured video footage of some random dude jumping over a park bench earlier today.

Pay attention to the three methods he uses to get over the bench. We think they’re rather Parkourish.

In Jump Sequence 1, the random dude uses a combination of arms and legs to get over the bench. This requires a little technique, not much timing, and is the least athletic of the three jumps.

In Jump Sequence 2, the random dude again uses a combination of arms and legs, but this time only uses his arms to get past the last part of the bench and propel himself forward an extra few inches–just enough to clear the bench. This requires some technique, a good deal of timing, and is slightly more athletic than the prior jump.

In Jump Sequence 3, the random dude uses no arms at all; he simply hurdles over the bench. This requires some technique (only a basic understanding of launch angle at takeoff), a good deal of timing, and is the most athletic of the three jump sequences.

CrossFit Santa Cruz 2007-lb Challenge

Check out the following post on the CrossFit Santa Cruz site:

Max attempted this earlier today and clocked in at 1:21. He power snatched 67 lbs for 30 reps.

Give it a try and play with different rep/weight schemes. Multiple attempts at this challenge using different schemes will give you a nice understanding of the difference between muscular failure, cardiorespiratory failure, and systemic failure (muscular failure and cardiorespiratory failure combined, or at least in close proximity to one another).

Post your strategy and results for the 2007-lb challenge to Comments.

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Jan 3rd, 2007

Rest Does the Body Good


In CrossFit, or any other training program, it is important to use what Robb Wolf calls “intuitive moderation” to regulate your training load. In other words, you approach each WOD prepared to give it your all but also know when it is time to back off and allow your body to recover.

If you are training daily over long periods of time without sufficient rest, your body cannot regenerate and your performance will plateau. If the imbalance between excess training and insufficient rest continues, your performance will decline. Along with that comes a host of other, more insidious symptoms, among them,fatigue, moodiness, irritability, altered sleep patterns, decreased immunity and depression.

Three days on, one day off will generally keep you out of trouble, but it’s also advisable to take more time off every 6 to 8 weeks. A few days off will not diminish your progress, you will not lose the pull-ups or push-ups that you’ve been working for, in fact, with adequate rest and periodical breaks (3 to 5 days) you will find that you are stronger all around!

More on overtraining:

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Jan 2nd, 2007

EV First Rope Climb @ Crossfit Oakland

CrossFit Oakland Athlete Ev R. gets her first rope climb!

This is one of our benchmarks from our CFO Skill Assessment Guidelines. The rope climb is a Level ll (intermediate) benchmark, and is Ev’s first intermediate target hit. She is now a solid well-rounded beginner and ready to go onto bigger, faster, stronger things!

We have posted the skill guidelines on the main page for easy reference (look to the left of this post).

Post comments on skill guidelines.


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Jan 1st, 2007

Jan. 1 Birthday Girl (oops, woman), Ann K. Performs “Nancy” @ CFO

Happy 29th Birthday Ann! (Born Jan. 1 1978)

Ann K. is one of our most dedicated athletes. She has an amazing attitude and is a true pleasure to work with. She has come a long way in a short while, and we expect big achievements from her!

Post New Year’s/Ann’s Birthday Resolutions & comments to comments.

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