Monthly Archives: May 2010
May 20th, 2010

Private Time


Dawn working Sean through a Handstand Push-Up progression

Do you ever feel like you would be delighted if you were the only one who showed up for class and commanded 100% of your favorite coach’s attention??  I personally am a big fan of group classes, but the thought of 1:1 training on the weakest of my many weaknesses does smack of luxury… 

Did you know that most of our coaches are available to train you 1:1 or in small groups?  Anytime you like, you may log in to Mind Body Online and check out coach profiles and the time slots in which he or she is available to meet with you 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 or 1:4, just in case you have a friend or two you’d like to bring along.

Speaking of friends, private training is an excellent way to train with your buddies who are not interested in our group classes (shocking, I know), or who may be visiting the area.  Private training makes a great gift for birthdays, graduations, Mother’s or Father’s Day or any milestone or even just because.  Give the gift of fitness!  Ask us how – we’d be happy to work with you.

If you were given a private training session, how would you use it?  Post to comments. 

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May 19th, 2010

K-Star on Upper Body Mobility


I was on the CF Sweat Shop blog last night and came across a video Nabil had posted on lower-body mobility by CF coach and physical therapist extraordinaire Kelly Starrett (K-Star).  I will be posting that video on this blog very soon.

But tonight I wanted to post a piece K-Star did on upper-body mobility, since more of the questions I receive these days relate to how to use the lacrosse ball for upper-body issues (tightness, movement restriction, etc.).  So take the time to watch the video; you’ll see it’s pretty intuitive.  You basically put the ball on or around the areas where you have issues.  The most common problem areas are the traps, lats, and subscapularis, in addition to the muscle and fascia around the thoracic and lumbar spine.

Bottom line:  Get on that lacrosse ball and work those problem areas!

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May 16th, 2010

Low Back Pain

Low back pain can be caused by many different things–improper form when deadlifting, poor posture, a lousy chair or mattress.  Often it can come from having tight hamstrings. This week I would like to show you a series of stretches to do when your lower back is feeling tight or after a deadlift workout.

Ross low back.jpg 

Start by lying in the ground and facing the ceiling.  Pull both knees into your chest.  Keep your head and shoulders on the ground.  Hold 30-60 seconds.

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May 15th, 2010

Litlle Serge is All Grown Up Now!


Serge hamming it up

In case you haven’t already heard, UC Berkeley has decided to let Serge graduate.  He finished his last piece of schoolwork yesterday, and is set to graduate on Monday.

But we can’t let Serge just ride off into the sunset without a proper send-off.  So with that in mind, we’re going to be holding an impromptu going-away party for the Serge this Sunday night at 5pm.  We’ll be meeting at the Mallard on 752 San Pablo Avenue in Albany.

Come join us as we send Serge off to the grown-up world!

When:  5pm
Where:  Club Mallard

Club Mallard Info:

Google Map:  Club Mallard


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May 14th, 2010

Fuzz, or Why You Need to Roll and Stretch


The following YouTube clip has been making its rounds in CrossFit circles.  In fact, Kelly Starrett does a nice job writing up a piece on this very same video on the SF CF blog here:

The bottom line is that you need to take care of your mobility.  And if that isn’t made clear after this video, I’m not sure what else I can show you.

Be warned!  This video is not for the squeamish.

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May 13th, 2010

Intern Spotlight: Elizabeth


Not many of you know this, but over the past school year we have had the pleasure of hosting a high-school intern, Elizabeth.   This opportunity was offered by her teacher, Micah (of Micah and Wyatt fame).  Elizabeth attends Impact Academy – "a small, high-performing public high school which focuses on project based learning."  

I would like to think that under our wise and thoughtful guidance and surrounded by the complex inner workings of CrossFit Oakland, she has advanced well beyond her years and leaps and bounds ahead of her peers.  Elizabeth is a smart, sweet, focused 16-year old, well on her way to accomplishing her goal of attending UC Berkeley when she graduates.

As part of her final project, Elizabeth wrote tonight’s blog post.  She explains in her own words what she has learned by working at CFO:

"CrossFit has changed my opinion on what traditionally, I would consider a gym.  Unlike the gym I had in mind, CrossFit is small, the staff are friendly and helpful, and it is actually about helping you achieve your fitness goals, rather than taking your money.

From listening to and watching classes, I can tell that people are really close to one another because everyone encourages and supports each other.  It is kind of like they work as a team to achieve their goals and overcome their struggles.

The classes offered are based on your skill level, although your limits will be pushed.  Do not let this discourage you from trying CrossFit out because you will have support 100% of the time.  The class sizes are small and everyone has a good relationship with one another.

In addition, the trainers also have a good relationship with each other and the members, which I feel allows CrossFit to be successful.  It is obvious that everyone looks at each other as friends, not just work out or business partners, so bonds are built.

CrossFit is a great place for people to work out, especially if they like a small environment and actually want a good, rigorous work out or even if they just want to meet some amazing people".

Thank you, Elizabeth for all of her work in the office and gym floor and best wishes for your future!

Post questions or wise thoughts for Elizabeth to comments.

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May 12th, 2010

Steve P Sums It Up


Steve P in mid-pull-up during WOD 3 of the Masters Competition

I asked Steve P to sum up his experience at this past weekend’s Masters competition in Irvine.  He competed along with our team from CFO.

He gave me much, much more than what I expected, and went way above and beyond the call of duty, so to speak.  What follows is a little over 3 pages (pulled from a Word doc Steve emailed me), and I highly encourage everyone to read every word.  It’s well worth your time.

I’d also encourage everyone to take up Steve’s advice on testing yourself in competition every so often (3 to 4 times a year).  Ask me about ideas on how to make this happen.

Without further ado, here is Steve’s story.

(Be sure to click on the "Read More" link below and read all of Steve’s piece.)


Fitness Relativity and Quantum Leaps

Post-Regional Musings of a Master (aka “Old Fart”)

About 6 months after starting at CFO I remember commenting to Brandon one night about his incredible performance on one of the WODs. He casually (and humbly) answered “it’s all relative, man.” I doubt he gave it a second thought or realized how profound a statement he had just made. When I thought about it, I realized that our strength, skill and fitness are relative for each and every one of us. They’re relative to where we began, where we’re at and where we’re going. In the end, that’s what it’s about and what matters most.

We humans make and play games to compete with others for lots of reasons…fun and entertainment, ego, the satisfaction of pushing and testing ourselves. Many have said that the real competition is the one you’re having with yourself. The one that motivates you to put your heart into every move, focus on your form, stay in the moment and push yourself through it when that small but loud part of your brain is screaming at you to stop and rest or go home and push hard another day. Brandon’s theory of relativity is where it’s at. You go to the gym day after day, engage fully, work hard, sometimes (okay oftentimes) getting frustrated, tired and sore. And in the middle of the WOD when oxygen seems to be in short supply you think “why the hell am I doing this?!” But then someday when you look back 3, 6, 12 months later, you think “holy $#!^”, I never thought I’d be able to dead lift or clean or press nnn pounds. And before you know it, it’s “Wow, my first band-less pull up!” By the way, I couldn’t do one single chin-over-bar pull-up when I started two years ago. Now some of my favorite WODs are ones that are full of C2Bs.

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May 11th, 2010

Stretch While You Work!

If you are reading this, you are probably sitting in a chair and looking at a computer.  Many of you spend all day at a computer, so I thought this week I would post a few stretches you can do while you are at work or reading this blog.  All of these can be done sitting in your chair, and you don’t even have to hold the stretch for very long– just 5-15 seconds!

Please do these stretches with an open and lifted chest, and your feet planted firmly on the ground.  Your spine should be tall and erect.

Leka 3.jpg

First, stretch one arm up toward the sky and the other down towards the floor.  Hold for 5-30 seconds and switch sides.

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May 9th, 2010

Triumphant Return



Congratulations to Team CFO!  They worked their tails off, and after all the dust had settled, managed to move up one spot and finish second overall.

Final results for team competition:

NorCal was well represented in the end.

5 of the top 8 teams are from NorCal.

3 of the top 4 men are from NorCal.

1 of the top 4 women are from NorCal.

And the two top placing Affiliate teams were under the same Jameson tent!

We’re super proud of the team; they executed extremely well in the tire-flip-and-log workout and put in a great finish to tie for third in the heat and put in the 9th fastest time overall.

Awesome work, Candace, Manwell, Tami, Brandon, Polly, and Daniel!

And if you thought we worked hard leading up to the Regionals, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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