Monthly Archives: May 2007
May 31st, 2007

General Physical Preparedness


“Optimal physical competency is a compromise, a balancing act; a compromise between not only conflicting but perfectly antagonistic skills. The manner in which you resolve this conflict defines the quality of your fitness and is the art of exercise prescription.”

–Coach Greg Glassman, Co-Founder, CrossFit

“Unfortunately, many of today’s athletes ignore the importance of GPP. This problem runs rampant across the sporting world, not just with combat athletes. In essence, all athletes can benefit from improved GPP.

“After all, if you were able to work harder and more frequently, you would realize improvements in all aspects of training, not just strength and conditioning, but also skill work. Have you ever worked through a vigorous strength or conditioning routine, and then felt ‘flat’ during the following day’s sparring session? Improved GPP would enable you to quickly recover from the previous day’s workout. You would enter the ring feeling fresh for the sparring session.”

–Ross Enamait, from his book Infinite Intensity

[Ed Note: Ross is referring to combat athletes in his quote, but the applicability to all athletes is evident.]

“Develop the capacity of a novice 800-meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you’ll be fitter than any world-class runner, gymnast, or weightlifter.”

–From CrossFit Journal #2, “What is Fitness?”

The Bottom Line on GPP

There’s often a great deal of confusion surrounding general physical preparedness (GPP) in general, and CrossFit’s brand of GPP in particular. This post is an attempt to stimulate conversation over what GPP is, and hopefully in the process, clear up any misunderstandings over what we do and how we train our athletes.

When defining a word or concept, it’s often useful and highly instructive to discuss what something is not before jumping into what it is.

GPP is not training for a set of skills germane only to a particular sport or physical activity. We’d no sooner adopt the training program of a marathon runner than we would a sumo wrestler (both have relatively narrow, highly specific needs for their sport of choice), assuming GPP is the goal of the training program, as it is here at CrossFit Oakland. GPP is not about putting your eggs in one basket and focusing on a single aspect of training, or a single general physical skill such as endurance, stamina, or strength.

GPP, and specifically CrossFit’s brand of GPP, is about, quite simply, increasing an athlete’s work capacity across broad time and modal domains (thanks to Coach Glassman for coining this phrase). This means that one can do well in any endeavor, whether it’s of long duration, short duration, high power, or low power (although what’s the point of being good at low-powered activities–they’re so boring!), and whether it involves one’s own body, external objects (e.g., barbells, dumbbells, and throwing implements), or any combination of these two modalities.

Problems occur, though, when athletes and coaches try and fuse GPP with sport practice. What happens is that both aspects of training suffer. This type of fusion usually results in ill-conceived concepts such as practicing the swing of a (tennis) forehand while using the cable pulley machine. Not only is the use of the cable pulley a colossal waste of the athlete’s time, adding little if anything to his off-court strength-and-conditioning base, the carryover to actually hitting a forehand on the tennis court is nonexistent, and can even cause the tennis player’s forehand skill to erode.

(As an aside, the reason the scenario above doesn’t work for the tennis player is because swinging a tennis racket weighing between 12- and 14-ounces and swinging a cable pulley, which offers significantly more resistance than a tennis racket, cause different neuro-muscular firing patterns; thus there’s no carryover and it can actually be detrimental to the development of a forehand.)

It’s far better to keep GPP and sport practice separate. Use the GPP program to allow the athlete to become supremely conditioned and, at the same time, free the athlete up to devote more time to practicing his or her sport.

Post to Comments any thoughts you have on the purpose and benefits of GPP training.

***Gymnastics Clinic Postponed***

We’ve canceled the Gymnastics Clinic that was scheduled this Saturday, June 2. We’re looking to reschedule the clinic for some time in mid- to late June but we need at least 10 participants to make it happen. Stay tuned for a future post or two on the new date and time for the clinic.

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May 30th, 2007

Final Call: Gymnastics Clinic June 2


This is the final call for the Gymnastics Clinic with Roger Harrell that we’re hosting at CFO this Saturday, June 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We’ll be covering tumbling and acrobatics, hand balancing, and ring work over the 3-hour period.

The cost of the clinic is $75. We need a final count by the end of day on Wednesday, May 30. You can confirm your spot by posting to Comments on this entry, by sending an email to, or by calling us at (510) 595-9348.

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May 29th, 2007

How is Your Midline Stabilization?

It is probably clear to most of you who did today’s WOD why midline stabilization is an important element of the overhead squat. Actually midline stabilization is essential to most core to extremity, multi joint, functional movements CrossFit exploits to produce some of the most profound workout experiences. The key to midline stabilization is understanding how to use your muscles and connective tissue to hold your spine, hips and head inline irrespective of your body orientation, standing, squatting, pulling or pushing. The clip above illustrates how midline stabilization allows these athletes to support and control significant weight overhead while completing an overhead squat to finish the snatch.

Post your favorite overhead squat issue to comments

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May 27th, 2007

Joe’s Girls

Christal, Patricia, Melanie, Jenny, JoAnne, Joe, Robyn, Aminta, Rita, Sharon, Monique and Andrea

Joe is our hero! Not only has he weathered the estrogen influx like a champ, but he also pushes himself to such intensity that it can’t help but rub off on all of the troopers in the 6AM class! Just one example of this below:



We will be running a weekend schedule tomorrow–Memorial Day–
9 and 10 am only

Also, if you are planning on taking the Gymnastics Seminar with Roger Harrell on Sat, June 2nd–11 to 2, please R.S.V.P The cost of the seminar is $75.

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May 27th, 2007

Epigenetics and Physical Activity


The double helix

Epigenetics, which roughly translates to “in addition to changes in genetic sequence,” is a relatively new field of study (it was actually first bounced around over a century ago but has only recently picked up steam in terms of scientific research) that suggests that certain genetic signals, or switches, can be turned up or down based on lifestyle behaviors.

From an article titled “Code 2” by Anne Mcilroy:

“Scientists are still deciphering what has been described as the second genetic code. They know, Dr. Szyf said, that a number of chemicals in our bodies act like dimming switches and determine whether every gene in each cell produces a lot of a particular protein, very little or none of it.”

You may be wondering, if you’re still awake after reading the first part of this entry, what this has to do with anything related to your fitness goals.

Well here’s the kicker, again from “Code 2”:

“As for our modern lifestyles, exercise is good, but not just for burning calories. It may reprogram our genes, Dr. Szyf said.

“Fat may do more than add extra body weight and clog arteries; it may also switch a number of genes on and off that in the past were helpful in preparing humans for a long winter without much food.

“Epigenetics may revolutionize medicine, said Dr. Szyf, and it also could change the way we think about daily decisions like whether or not to order fries with a meal, or to go for a walk or to stay in front of the television. You aren’t eating and exercising for yourself, but for your lineage.”

So what does this mean? Besides being a radical change in the way traditional science has viewed the role of nature vs. nurture, this means that you control, to a certain extent, how strong the “good” signals are going to be and how much you can dim the “bad” signals (at least those where physical activity–CrossFit–plays a role in amplifying or dimming the switches).

And not only does it affect you, but it can potentially affect your children and their children (science has a little ways to go, proof-wise, with this, though).

The full text of “Code 2” is reprinted below, and here’s the link to the article, along with a few more:

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May 26th, 2007

How are you using your horsepower? Part 1

Both of these films demonstrate application of raw horsepower to sport, the point is that one is more functional than the other. So as all of you work through all these max weight WODs please note at CrossFit we are more interested in functional applications of strength not demonstrations of maximal attainable strength with a loss of functionality.

Today’s WOD



Post your loads to comments

Feel free to post which application of horsepower you think is more functional.

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May 25th, 2007

Yet Another T-Shirt Voting Post


It’s been a while since we discussed this topic.

We’ve narrowed it down to six finalists, based on your votes:

Namaste, M@therf*cker
The cure for the common workout
Prepare for the Apocalypse
There’s fit. Then there’s Crossfit.
No mirrors. No machines. No egos.
We will Clean, Jerk and Snatch your Ass!

Please vote for your favorite slogan (one and only one slogan). Also, if you’d like to order a t-shirt, include your t-shirt size and the style you’d like to order (e.g., standard t-shirt, girly t, etc.).

Also please keep in mind that although we love the Namaste, M’fer slogan, it’s probably not the most publishable of slogans.

***Reminder 1***

The FUEL Seminar is tomorrow from 12 to 2!

***Reminder 2***

We’ll be running our weekend schedule on Memorial Day (Monday, May 28) and running classes at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. only.

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May 23rd, 2007

Welcome Jolie Gentry-CrossFit Oakland Trainer!


We would like to welcome CF Trainer, Jolie Gentry to CFO. Besides being an amazing CF athlete, Jolie is also a certified Pilates Instructor, ACE Certified Trainer, and a SWAT Fitness Specialist (Jolie is also a SWAT Team member). Jolie also teaches CF at:

****Please note that we will be running a weekend schedule on Monday, May 28th (Memorial Day)*****


Last chance to sign up for our Nutrition Seminar being held Saturday, May 26th from 12 to 2p.m. R.S.V.P. at

What did you think of the new Skills Day/Active Rest Day at CFO? Be honest, we love the feedback!

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May 22nd, 2007

Congratulations to Kandace


Kandace after today’s WOD of pull-ups, dips, and squats

CrossFit Oakland athlete Kandace Martin is extremely busy these days. Not only did she just graduate from UC Berkeley at the tender age of 21, she’s already been accepted into Berkeley’s Ph.D. school-psychology program (set to begin in the Fall of 2007). On top of that, she’s getting married on June 30.

Congratulations on everything, Kandace!

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