Monthly Archives: April 2010
Apr 30th, 2010

Rower Etiquette and the Low-Bar Back Squat


The video above is a little piece on returning the rower to its upright position after you’re finished with it.  And besides being an OCD thing, you’re actually helping to extend the life of the Concept2 rower by taking tension out of the chain when you take the handle out of the holster before putting it back on the wall.

In Defense of the Low-Bar Back Squat

I came across this great piece on the Starting Strength website on the low-bar back squat and its carryover into other squats.  In particular, the author of the article notes that the 70-lb increase in his low-bar back squat led to a 70-lb increase in his high-bar back squat and a 65-lb increase in his front squat.  So in other words, for every pound he increased his low-bar back squat, there was basically a pound-for-pound increase in his other two squats (yes, slightly less in his front squat).

Give it a read and decide for yourself what type of squat you should be doing.

Full article:

Comments: 21
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Apr 29th, 2010

Athlete Spotlight: Sam R!


Sam getting ready to pound on that poor tire

Our athlete spotlight this week turns with sadness and pride to shine brightly on Sam R who will be graduating U.C. Berkeley this Spring with a degree in History.  This is a proud time for CFO as we launch Sam into the world to seek his fortune, but sad because he will be moving back to So Cal at the end of this week to pursue a career in, well, whatever field will pay him the big bucks!

Sam is a rough and tough rugby player and a real sweetheart.  He typically comes in at Open Gym to do some crazy-ass CrossFit Football workout and it always truly amazing what he is able to accomplish.  The other thing that is ultra-fascinating about Sam is the amount of calories he is able to consume during his waking hours and the crazy ways he accomplishes that.  Ask him, seriously — it is very compelling stuff.

Sam, we will miss having you around and hope your career search brings you back up north.  Good luck and we wish you the very best during this time of commencement.

Post congratulations and calorie consumption inquiries to comments.

Name: Sam Robin
Height: 5′ 7"
Weight: 175
Age: 20

Q: How long have you been a member at CFO?
A: I dabbled in CrossFit Football starting about a year and a half ago and have been a member of CFO since October

Q: What is your day job?
A: Student at Cal, majoring in History. I’m graduating in a few weeks and I plan on going back to LA and getting a job.

Q: What is your athletic background?
A: Rugby for the last 4 years.

Q: What is your favorite strength move?
A: Dead-lifts! My short little body was made for them.

Q: What is your favorite met-con?
A:  Elizabeth? Anything under 8 minutes.

Q: What is your proudest achievement (CF)?
A: Getting a muscle-up was pretty fantastic, as was dead-lifting 405 for the first time.

Q: What is your most desired goal (CF)?
A:  300 bench/400 squat/ 500 dead-lift is definitely a goal. Maybe taking the time to learn how to properly olympic lift and row one day

Rant or Rave:  I just want to say that CFO has been amazing. I came in to this gym weak and clueless about fitness and diet. I’m just worried that I’ll never find a gym as good as CFO anywhere else I go.

Meaningful Stats:
Dead-lift 390 x5, Bench Press 225 x 5, Press 152×5…I’ve spent a lot of time lifting and probably not enough on met-cons.

Comments: 17
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Apr 28th, 2010

NorCal Open at TJ’s Gym May 15


I want to give everyone a heads-up….

TJ’s Gym will be hosting the NorCal Open Weightlifting Meet at their Novato facility on May 15 (just a little over two weeks away).  There will be some familiar CFO faces competing (Joseph, Alex, and Brian R).  I’d encourage anyone who’s on the fence, or nervous about competing in an Olympic weightlifting competition, to give it a go!

At the very least, since the event is so close by, I’d like to encourage as many CFOers as possible to head out cheer everyone on to PRs.  If you’ve never seen an Olympic weightlifting meet, this is your chance.  Additionally, if you’re brand new to the lifts, sometimes the best way to learn is by seeing others perform the lifts.

Full details on the meet can be found here:

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Apr 27th, 2010

Thanks, Justin!


Justin preparing to hang the climbing rope

A big thank-you to Justin, who put some serious time in at the gym today working on some much-needed improvements.

After it was all said and done, we now have another rope, three more rings hanging from the ceiling (bringing the total to five sets of rings hanging from the ceiling), and the good ol’ Bachar ladder back in play (resurrected from our 39th Street days). 

Let’s thank Justin in comments!

Comments: 13
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Apr 25th, 2010


First of all, I would love it if you would post any stretching related questions into the comments for today so that I can answer them in later posts. 

This week I would like to talk about the piriformis muscle.  The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in your gluteal region (the buttocks).  It, along with several other muscles, function to abduct and laterally rotate the femur (the leg).  This means that the piriformis is actively stabilizing the hips while running and walking.

The piriformis can get tight from sitting too long, training without stretching afterwards, and faulty body mechanics (improper gait, poor posture, strength imbalances, etc).  The sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis in many people, and when it gets tight, it can activate the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the lower back, the hip, and possibly down the entire leg.

Here is a quick treatment plan if you have a pain in your bottom:

First, foam roll your piriformis:


Start by sitting on the foam roller with your legs stretched in front of you.  Place your right foot on your left knee.  You may feel a stretch in the right glute.  This is the area you want to roll.  Turn on your side and roll back and forth slowly over this spot.  Use a tennis ball for greater release.

Then, stretch the muscle:


Stand in front of a box that is level with your hip (this box is a little tall for Polly).  Place your leg on top of the box as shown above.  This may be enough stretch for you.  If not, bend forward towards the box, keeping your chest out–don’t round at the shoulders.

Or, do this yoga pose:


Begin on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips, and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders. Slide your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist; at the same time angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee. The outside of your right shin will now rest on the floor. Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee and descending the front of the thigh to the floor. Lower the outside of your right buttock to the floor. Position the right heel just in front of the left hip.  From here there are many variations–relaxing over your leg, as Connor is demonstrating is the easiest variation.

Comments: 8
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Apr 24th, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nicole!


Saturday is Nicole’s birthday.  Let’s wish her a happy birthday in comments (hopefully she’ll check in from Copenhagen and see the CFO love)!

Comments: 26
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Apr 23rd, 2010

Reminder: Community Day This Saturday April 24 at 11am!


Just a quick reminder…

We’re holding our once-a-month free Community Day Workout this Saturday, April 24, beginning at 11am.  Whether you have any experience with CrossFit Training or not, and regardless of your current fitness level, this is a workout for you (and for the fit ones out there, we can scale it up to make it plenty challenging!).

The one-hour session will include a warm-up, instruction on some of our basic movements, a workout utilizing those movements, and a cool-down.

Friends and family are welcome, so get the word out!

Comments: 33
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Apr 22nd, 2010

Athlete Spotlight: Jen P!


Jen Pope is our athlete spotlight this week.  She typically works out in the morning, but you can catch her on the weekends and the occasional evening class.  Jen and her husband John recently let us in on a bit of good news – they are expecting their first child this fall.   Not surprising to anyone who has met her, Jen is not going to sit on the couch and eat bonbons as she awaits this epic arrival.  Instead she plans to continue hitting the WODs with as few adjustments as are necessary.  When I asked her about continuing to workout she said: "YES!!! Look how it worked out for Dawn. She’s my CFO idol."

In addition to being the cutest little lady with child since, well, Dawn — Jen is also strong and very determined.  Do NOT tell her she cannot do something.  She is quiet, yet ferocious as an athlete and it is really a joy to watch as she has continued to make steady and impressive progress in her strength and technique.  I am sure that ferocity will continue as she gets closer and closer to welcoming her new son or daughter.

Post congratulations and baby advice to Jen.

Name: Jen Pope
Height: 5′ 3.5"
Weight: Normally 117, these days 121+
Age: A few days older than Mikey

Q: How long have you been a member at CFO?
A: Initial classes in February 2009, member since March 2009

Q: What is your day job?
A: Fire Apparatus Engineer, soon to be Domestic Engineer

Q: What is your athletic background?
A: Non-existent!  I was on a soccer team and a softball team as a kid – but I wouldn’t actually say that I played either sport.  I ran a marathon once – but didn’t train for it.  I enjoyed mountain biking until I put clip-in pedals on my bike.  I got tired of falling so now I don’t ride my bike.  I took a snow board lesson the other day, but I didn’t want to fall too hard so I stuck to the bunny slopes. I come from a long line of not very graceful, coordinated people – maybe the next generation will break that cycle!!!

Q: What is your favorite strength move?
A: Bench press, shoulder press, that kind of thing

Q: What is your favorite met-con?
A:  Anything less than five rounds!

Q: What is your proudest achievement (CF)?
A: Getting John to not just pay gym dues, but to actually use the gym on a regular basis (and not just to shower after a run along the Embarcadero)

Q: What is your most desired goal (CF)?
A:  Body weight bench press, muscle ups, chest to bar pull ups, explosion with my cleans, … should I continue?

Rant or Rave: Rant: i wish CFO was closer to my house; Rave: I’m glad CFO is so close to the Doyle Street Cafe.  Yumm!!!

Meaningful Stats:
I don’t have my journal with me and don’t know any numbers off the top of my head.  i haven’t done fran or FGB before.  185 for a 1RM DL sounds about right – is that decent?

Comments: 17
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Apr 21st, 2010

Where’s the Beef?


A few of you have asked about placing another order for more Prather Ranch beef, so let’s do a quick poll via comments.  I haven’t yet checked in with Scott from Prather Ranch, but we generally need about 15 or so people to make it happen.

When we get enough people, each person ends up with a 40-lb box of beef of varying cuts (not just ground beef) for about $6/pound.  This is a great price when you consider you’re getting multiple cuts, and the beef is organic and grass-fed. 

Although 40 lbs of meat sounds overwhelming, most everyone will be able to fit all of the meat in a standard freezer.  In addition, if 40 lbs still sounds like too much, you can split it with another person (this is the route many CFOers go).

So who’s in?  Say so in comments.

Comments: 18
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Apr 20th, 2010

NY Times Piece on Load and Rep Schemes


Moses channeling Bad Brad

Dawn forwarded me this NY Times article recently, and I thought it was worth sharing.  Although the article’s angle is centered around development of muscle tone (a somewhat nebulous concept, if you ask me), I think it’s nice to see that the light-weights-for-high-reps scenario is being refuted in the popular press.  The article does a nice job of pointing out that even if your goal is to lose weight (fat), you’re better off lifting heavier weights for fewer reps; this scenario has a greater metabolic cost than the light-weights-for-high-reps alternative (lifting heavier weights will do a better job of disrupting homeostasis).

Read the article yourself and draw your own conclusion(s):

Comments: 9
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