Monthly Archives: January 2013
Jan 30th, 2013

Part 1: Bar Muscle-Up Progression


Carl Paoli has come out with a multi-part series on the bar muscle-up, and the progressions he prescribes that will lead to one.

So far, only Part 1 has been released.  Watch the video and start incorporating those simple drills in your quest for a bar muscle-up.  This is the perfect for post-workout skill work.

Comments: Comments Off on Part 1: Bar Muscle-Up Progression
Read More
Jan 28th, 2013

Registration for the Open Begins Wednesday January 30th!


Leka at the top of a ball slam during the NorCal Masters

Just a reminder…registration for the CF Games Open starts this Wednesday, January 30th.  The original announcement on the Open was published on the CrossFit Games site here:  Welcome to the 2013 Season

The Open is the first leg of the CrossFit Games season, and the most inclusive one of them all.  You don’t need to go any further than the gym (or a nearby gym…more on this in a later blog post) to do the workout.  Even better, you get to do the workouts with fellow CFOers side by side.  

We had a lot of people from CFO do the workouts last year, and I’m hoping that we’ll greatly exceed that number this year.  Ask anyone who’s participated in the Open in the past and they’ll tell you how much fun it was (even though the workouts are tough, to put it mildly).  

The format is so much fun, too.  The workouts are published once a week, each Wednesday, with the first one being published on Wednesday, March 6th.  There’s always so much anticipation (and guessing) around what the workout is going to be.  You then have until the end of the week to get the workout done, and you can do it as many times as you’d like.  Most everyone runs through the workout on Saturday morning, when we schedule heats and assign people to them.

I can’t wait for the first workout, and I hope that a ton of you will be joining me.  If you’re on the fence, just do it.  And if you have questions, just ask (either in person or via email).

We’ll be doing at least one more big blog post on the Open, and specifically how the workouts are going to be run on Saturdays this year (we have a little twist in mind).

Comments: 1
Read More
Jan 26th, 2013

Jennifer Thompson Redux

How the bench press is done

I wrote about Jennifer Thompson a little over a year ago and decided it is time to talk about her again. She’s an accomplished strength athlete who holds all of the Raw American records for her weight class (60kg/132lb) in the USA Powerlifting (USAPL) federation. She squatted 316 pounds, bench pressed 301 pounds, and deadlifted 430 pounds.  All of that was done in 2012 by this 39-year old mother of two who makes her living as a middle school math teacher and claims to be drug free for her entire career. Did I mention that she trains in her basement gym and that she almost never misses training days? Thompson is impressive.

The video above comes from the 2010 USAPL Raw National Championships and is an example of extraordinary lifting. Firstly, she bench presses 292 pounds quickly and confidently with a pause at the bottom. That is better than 2.2 times her bodyweight. Think about that for a moment.

Of special interest is how Thompson approaches the lift. She doesn’t carry on, do lots of screaming, stomp around, or otherwise turn into an uncontrolled, self-absorbed performance artist. Instead, she sits down on the bench, briefly composes herself, and then dominates the bar in no uncertain terms. Further, after completing what is an impressive physical feat, she neglects to engage in self-aggrandizement, or remind the audience that she is number one. Instead, she smiles and then thanks each of her spotters before quickly stepping off the platform.

In most powerlifting meets, the bench press is done with a pause at the bottom. You can hear the head judge issue the "start, press, and rack" commands. This is to eliminate any chance of a bounce off the ribcage at the bottom. Much like lifting your butt off the bench is a reason for disqualifying the lift, so is bouncing the bar off the chest. While not the safest of practices, using the ribcage as a trampoline is also a good way to avoid getting strong through the initial portion of the bench press.

Not only are the numbers Thompson moves on the bench press incredible, she gets style points, too. She doesn’t make a scene, she just gets the work done. There is no indulgent carrying on. She plants her feet flat on the ground and performs a lift that everyone would recognize as solid bench press without the aid of bench press shirts or other assistive gear. After the lift is done, she stands up and goes on her way. There’s an awful lot of awesome packed into the forty five seconds of that video. It is full of ideas that can be applied to training and how we approach the lifts. I’m a fan.

Comments: Comments Off on Jennifer Thompson Redux
Category: Fitness
Read More
Jan 24th, 2013

Healthy Joints = Strong Performance


Dawn working her magic at last year’s Open Sectionals

Did you know that the CrossFit Games season is almost upon us?  Mike was just saying how the Norcal Masters was a great warm-up for the Open Sectionals starting in March.  How are you all warming up?  What will your edge be against all the others in your age/gender/region – besides the exceptional coaching you receive at CFO?

How about your healthy joints?  Feeling a bit sore and creaky in those hips/shoulders/ankles? Want to know how to make them feel better and stronger?  Want to make sure you are bringing your best self to the upcoming competition season?

Our resident sports chiropractor and rehab expert, Dr Aundi Mevoli, is teaming up with our mobility goddess, Coach Dawn, to bring you a series of seminars on keeping your joints happy and healthy so they can perform better in the context of CrossFit, your fitness program of choice.

Here is what they have to say:

Dawn Miller CSCS and Aundi Mevoli, DC, CCSP®, ART will be teaming up to bring you a new seminar that focuses on getting and maintaining healthy and happy joints. Each month we will take you through one (or two) joints and teach you how to mobilize and strength/stabilize the joint. This seminar will give you tools to keep your body stretched and strong to perform all of the Crossfit programing. You will gain knowledge about anatomy, biomechanics and what happens when injuries occur. 

Details? Of course! 

Where: CrossFit Oakland – Emeryville

When: Sat Feb 16th, Sun Mar 17th, Sat Apr 13th, Sat May 18th, Sat Jun 15th & Sat Jul 13th

How long: Two Hours total, 11:15am – 1:15pm (after group classes)

Cost: $20/session

Class size will be capped at 40 participants.  You can sign up and pay online here for the first session (Sat Feb 16th @ 11:15am) which will cover the shoulder joint. 

Let us know if you have any questions and have a happy, healthy Games season! 

Comments: 1
Read More
Jan 22nd, 2013

NorCal Masters Wrap-Up


Four tired CFOers after two days of competition:  Steve P, Mini, Leka, and Lance

The NorCal Masters is a wrap, and what a blast it was!  It was a well-run event, with lots of rock solid workouts–nothing fancy, just a good test of fitness.  It was also a long weekend of competition.  All four of us were glad to be done on Sunday!

Here’s a quick summary of the competition for each CFOer.

Steve P

Steve couldn’t be stopped.  He was like a runaway freight train.  I don’t even know where to begin since his performance was so dominant this weekend.  He competed in 9 events.  His worst finish was 3rd place.  His place in each of the 9 events was distributed as follows:  five 1st-place finishes, two 2nd-place finishes, and two 3rd-place finishes.  Wow!

Although he didn’t win the second workout, which was split into two parts, I think that was his best performance.  It combined max-weight snatches and cleans with high-rep burpees and toes-to-bar.  He finished second in the snatch/clean portion and second in the burpee/toes-to-bar portion.  No one else was nearly that well-balanced (e.g., the guy who had the biggest snatches and cleans had the lowest number of burpees and toes-to-bar, and the guy who had the most burpees and toes-to-bar had the second-lowest total for snatches and cleans).

To say this was strong work by Steve is an understatement!


Leka was super nervous about competing leading up to the NorCal Masters, but it turns out it was all for naught.  She ended up finishing in 6th place overall, which is her best finish in a CF competition yet!

Her best performance was on the brutal Sunday morning chipper workout, which involved rowing, bear crawls, thrusters, box jumps, deadlifts, wall balls, and ring dips.  It was nasty.  She took 5th place on this workout, winning her heat in runaway fashion and executing a perfect game plan.  She never stopped and she never panicked.  She just got out to a lead and kept it.

And a bonus for Leka:  She was able to get Ann G, Aisha, and Beth to commit to competing next year.  So now it’s out there in the public and these four women are committed for next year!


Unbeknownst to most of you, Lance has been fighting with a bad ankle and heel for the last few months, even though in most cases you’d never know it.  As such, a lot of the events that came up, particularly those that involved running or jumping, were rough.  He toughed it out until the very end, though, until he finally had to succumb in the last workout.  It was a shuttle sprint and wheelbarrow carry that ended with 100 double-unders.  As he was motoring through the final few double-unders (one of the movements that’s normally in his wheelhouse), he heard a popping noise in his heel (which turned out to be damage to some soft tissue, but thankfully not to any tendons or joints) and wisely chose to stop.

Lance’s best performance was in the second workout, and in particular the max-weight snatches and cleans.  He finished in 3rd place, and probably could’ve won the event if I hadn’t been so conservative in suggesting what weights to use for snatches and cleans (that one’s on me).  Just goes to show that pushing your squat up to 425 pounds can have some great carryover.  Strong work, Lance!


I ended up finishing in 2nd place overall.  It was a good start to the CF Games pre-season for me (the regular season gets started with the CF Games Open).  I gotta hand it to Scott Dorrity, who finished in 1st place.  He was just better (bigger, stronger, better-conditioned, and equally as skilled) than me in just about everything.  I was briefly in first place (over the course of the first three events on Saturday) but he was just too good over the course of the entire competition.  I definitely have some work to do to get better.

My best finish in any single event was 1st place in the weighted pull-up/farmers-walk couplet (max weighted pull-up with a 3-minute time cap followed by max 10m farmers walks with 70-lb kettlebells for 1 minute).  

But my favorite and proudest moment was taking two second-place finishes in a workout (split into two separate events) involving 150m shuttle sprints, kettlebell swings, and pull-ups.  Nobody else had better combined finishes in that workout than I did.  I attribute it to all the CFO crowd support there.

It was so great competing with Steve, Leka, and Lance.  Hopefully more of you will join us next year!  And a big thank-you to all of you who came out and supported us…it didn’t go unnoticed!

Comments: 1
Read More
Jan 19th, 2013

5 CFOers Competing in NorCal Masters this Weekend!


Lance, Leka, and Steve after checking in at the NorCal Masters earlier today

Five CFOers–Lance, Leka, Steve, Patrick T, and myself–are competing this weekend at the Craneway Pavilion (mere minutes from the gym) in the NorCal Masters.

The NorCal Masters is the biggest CF competition for us older folks (40 and older) out there, with the exception of the CrossFit Games themselves.  It’s going to be a really fun, exciting, and painful weekend.

It’ll be a full day for all of us on Saturday.  We’ll be doing four workouts.  On Sunday, we’ll be doing two workouts for sure.  If any of us moves on to the finals, we’ll be in store for even more (let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though).

Steve leads off at 8:42am on Saturday, and the rest of us follow after that.

For a detailed schedule of when each of us is competing, check out the PDF that’s been attached to this post.  And thanks for Leka for putting it together (she went through 185 competitors and narrowed it down to just us five from CFO).

Also, please note:  If you’re planning on coming down and watching the competition, please be aware that there’s a $25 spectator fee for coming both days, or a $15 spectator fee for a single day.

Can’t wait to get that first workout out of the way!

Comments: Comments Off on 5 CFOers Competing in NorCal Masters this Weekend!
Read More
Jan 17th, 2013

Are You Tough Mudder Material?


The free beer at the finish line is worth all that went before

Do you love being dirty?  Dirty with a bunch of your friends?  Dirty while testing your physical limits?  Well, you might like to test those preferences at a Tough Mudder event.

Last year a bunch of us decided to give this event a shot and had a ridiculously good time.  We all decided we definitely wanted to do it again, but perhaps at a more challenging venue. Elevation, anyone?

Tough Mudder has just opened up a ton of new events for 2013, including Tahoe in September! Saturday, September 28th (same weekend as last year) in the Tahoe area.  If you sign up super early (before Jan 20th) you get the best registration rate.  If you sign up in the next 2 days you can get an additional $10 off the cost of registration by entering the code "MudderUSA2013".

If you missed out last year or want to train for something as a challenge or you want to repeat last year’s epic fun-fest, here is your chance.  

Let us know you’re interested by email, Facebook or this blog.  I will set up a CFO Team today, because I am DEFINITELY IN!  MUDKILLAS!!!!!  

Comments: Comments Off on Are You Tough Mudder Material?
Read More
Jan 16th, 2013

More Hot Air at CFO


The latest addition to our bathrooms

Just in case you haven’t yet seen, tried, or heard them, we have new hand dryers at CFO.  We’re really pleased to not have to use the bath towels or paper towels any longer (the former so that your hands will stay clean and the latter so that we can save paper).

Plus now we know when you’re actually washing your hands (kidding…sort of).

Comments: 1
Read More
Jan 15th, 2013

Food for Colds & Flus


Pete D pulling heavy at the CF Total

As the east coast gets hit hard by the seasonal flu and those of us living in the Bay brace for another bout of chilly weather, I’m sure we’re all being mindful of how not to get sick. When it comes to fighting off a cold or a flu it’s all about prevention and the best way to do this is by building up your immune system. Tonight I’ll be sharing some fortifying foods that you may want to stock up on this time of year. 

#1 Fermented Foods & Drinks

Since colds and flus are caused by bacteria and viruses invading your body, having enough healthy bacteria is paramount to strengthening your immune system and warding off the nasty critters that can take over. The Greek origin of the word "probiotics" meaning "for life", which should give you a clue about how vital it is to your health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, pickled veggies like sauerkraut, and my personal favorite, kombucha.  If you don’t like any of these foods, consider taking a probiotic supplement. You can find these in most health food stores in the refrigerated section next of the vitamin aisle.

#2 Cinnamon-Ginger Tea

Hot teas can really help alleviate congestion and soothe a sore throat. Drinking plenty of fluids such as water and non-caffeinated teas can also keep you well hydrated. One of my favorite warming elixirs for those cold winter nights is made with just two simple ingredients: ginger and cinnamon. Both are naturally spicy and when combined, can literally raise your temperature from the inside out. In addition to its warming properties, ginger root is a powerful anti-inflammatory food which can be helpful if your nose and throat are inflamed. And the natural oils in cinnamon have been used traditionally as an anti-microbial, making it the perfect addition to this ultra healing tea.

To prepare:

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • While you’re waiting for the water to boil, chop 1 medium-sized ginger root into large pieces leaving the skin on.
  • Add 3-5 sticks of cinnamon and ginger to the pot. Turn down the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. 

#3 Vitamin C Rich Vegetables

I cannot write a post about immune-supportive foods without including a word about vitamin C. This vitamin has long been an ally in our fight against the common cold. But while most people think of OJ or citrus foods as their go-to food, vegetables such as parsley, cauliflower and mustard greens have some of the highest levels of vitamin C. Mostly I think this is because oranges taste better than kale. One final word about vitamin C is that it is extremely susceptible to damage from exposure to air. For example, the flesh of a fruit or vegetable loses its vitamin C content the longer it is left out in the open air. This means you should eat your produce immediately upon slicing into it in order to get all the beneficial vitamin C from this food.

Comments: 1
Read More
Jan 13th, 2013

Work is Underway at Uptown


Justin clearing some floor space at Uptown

We’re very, very early in the process, but we wanted to let you know that work is underway at Uptown.  Look for future posts as we get closer to the open date (sometime in early- to mid-February for a soft open date).

Comments: Comments Off on Work is Underway at Uptown
Read More
Page 1 of 212