Dec 25th


By Max Lewin
Comments 1

The Knee


Injury to the knee

In balloon sports such as wrestling, basketball, competitive swimming, American football, Australian rules football, skiing, volleyball, soccer and hockey or other sports that involve great stress to the knees, it is common to tear one or more ligaments or cartilages. The anterior cruciate ligament is often torn as a result of a rapid direction change while running or as a result of some other type of violent twisting motion. It can also be torn by being extended forcefully beyond its normal range, or as a result of being forced sideways. In such cases, other structures will incur damage as well. Especially debilitating is the unfortunately common "unhappy triad" of torn medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments and a torn medial meniscus. This typically arises from a combination of inwards forcing and twisting.

Fortunately, CrossFit is not likely to cause such acute injuries, however unsound mechanics in running, squatting, deadlifting etc. can cause injuries as well.

Knee pain occurs for a variety of reasons, but the following tips generally help prevent or reduce pain. Check with your physician for specific recommendations for your situation:

Increase Training Gradually

Doing too much too soon, is one of the major causes of sports injury. Knee pain is particularly common in runners who increase training mileage quickly. The best way to avoid this is to follow the 10 percent rule. This simply means that you should limit your training increases to a maximum of 10 percent each week. That cane be time, load, mileage or any other parameter.

Strengthening Exercises

Muscle weakness or imbalance is one of the first things physical therapists check for when evaluating knee pain. Such an imbalance can be the source of pain. In addition to specific muscle strengthening of the muscles that support the knee (quads, hamstrings, calf), building core strength improves overall stability which may reduce the risk of injury.

The balance of quadriceps to hamstring strength is not 1:1; but closer to 3:2. In general healthy hamstrings can lift 60 – 80% of what healthy quads can do.

More about Conditioning Exercises.


Athletes who are less flexible than average may benefit from flexibility exercises. This is more critical in athletes involved in stop and go sports or those that require quick cuts and turns. Improving flexibility in the quadriceps, and the hamstrings are helpful. For specific stretching information, also see Flexibility Links.

Skills Training

Coordination drills and proprioceptive training have also been found to be helpful in protecting the knee from injuries. More about Proprioception.

One of the best programs for preventing knee injuries, particularly ACL injuries, has been seen in the Santa Monica ACL Injury Prevention Project (PEP). This program, designed based upon the results of a research project, involves a specific routine of exercises and skills training. While designed to address the increase ACL injury rates in female soccer players, the exercises can be used successfully by anyone who wants to avoid knee injuries, as the core concepts are the same for all knee injuries.

Appropriate Footwear

Finally, using the correct footwear is helpful to control excess ankle motion (pronation and supination). Prescribed orthotics may also help with this.

Dec 25th


By Nicole
Comments 21

Camp Pendelton 10 K Mud Run June 9, 2007!

It is time for CFO athletes to take the world famous Mud Run by storm! Registration opens Jan 1, 2007 and will be sold out quickly, so in order to secure our spaces we need a confirmation of CFO members that are going to participate. Once we have a head count we can form teams (5 people each) and then choose Team Captains. Team Captains will be responsible for making sure that everyone in their group is registered–all team members have to register together. Registration is $50 a person.

The Mud Run is a challenging 10K run with hills, tire obstacles, river crossings, two 5-foot walls with mud on both sides, tunnel crawl, slippery hill climb, and the final 30-foot mud pit. All team members must cross the finish line together!

We will provide information about training and coordinate meetings to help all CFO athletes prepare for June 9th…

For full details and course map:

Photos of Mud Run:

Post today if you intend to take part–then we can choose captains!

We are also going to need a t-shirt representing CFO, any graphic designers willing to take a stab at it?

Dec 24th


By Mike Minium
Comments 1

Come Train With Us!





Get With The Program

In a way, I guess we’re bowing to social convention with this entry, but alas, we are social creatures.

As the end of the year approaches, it’s only natural to look back at what’s occurred and ahead to what one thinks, or hopes, will happen in the future.

We’ve displayed just a small piece of our recent past in the photos above. We think it’s a pretty good visual representation of the fun work and serious play that characterize our style of fitness training. And most importantly, you get to see some of the people we are fortunate enough to train on a daily basis.

As for the future, we want more of you to start training with us!

To that end, we’re providing the following incentives:

1. Any new/prospective CFO member gets to train with us for 1 week free of cost.

2. Any existing CFO member who brings in someone new (and that person signs up for at least 1 month of training) gets 3 months of training at a 10% discount and gets to attend one of our seminars (nutrition, climbing, olympic lifting, etc.) free of cost.

Happy Training!

Dec 23rd


By Max Lewin
Comments 3



As you know by now, CrossFit builds fitness across 10 interrelated physical capacities: endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

Strength can be increased by improving neuromuscular efficiency. For example if 1500 muscle fibers are needed to perform a movement and a muscle has 1600 such fibers, but your mind can only tell your body to fire 1000 of them, you cannot do the lift but you have a lot of untapped capacity. So if you are at the beginning of your weight training career, increasing the mind-body connection is probably the best way to increase strength.

If, however, you are experienced at lifting, you may be firing 1500 fibers and be able to do the lift, but have very little capacity to increase the poundage. The solution? More muscle fibers, also known as hypertrophy, or increasing muscle mass.

For those who wish to pack on some additional mass, I will be offering a six-week modified class schedule focusing on building quality muscle starting January 16th. We will be focusing on the big three slow lifts: The Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press, with some work on Overhead presses and other Dino/Retro/Diesel training methods (pushing Mike’s Truck, Heavy object carries and lifts, etc.). Secondary focus will be on building grip strength. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that most of you have not seen.

I will post the schedule when we get closer to the 16th. There will be some additional classes, including Sunday at 11AM-1PM and possibly some evening classes if I can figure out how to work that.

All CFO members are welcome. The Sunday and possible Eve. Classes will have a $5.00 drop in fee for members and a $20.00 drop-in fee for non-members. Classes offered during regular hours will be free for members and $20.00 for non-members.

I am asking that anyone interested in doing this be able to do the following: deadlift 1.25x your bodyweight, bench press .75x your bodyweight, squat 1x your own bodyweight. If you cannot do this but would still like to participate call me or email me directly. Everyone who is going to do this should attend the first class, so we can talk about:

eating for mass
how to modify WODs to focus on strength
why aerobics and strength building don’t mix (except when they do)

One additional caveat: in order to really focus on strength, you must realize your metabolic capacity will diminish a bit, and you may gain a pound or two of fat, but putting on 2-4 pounds of quality muscle mass will make a big difference in your athletic ability in the long run, and it will be easy to lean out get your metcon back when the strength phase is finished.


Post questions, dino/retro/diesel training ideas and links to resources under comments.


BTW, ever wonder what firefighters do when they are not putting out blazes or blazing through FGB? Apparently they… decorate!

Dec 21st


By Nicole
Comments 20



Grip can be the weakest link in your muscular chain. Here is an explanation of your options when lifting heavy (or light):

Closed Grip- The fingers are wrapped around the barbell with the thumb positioned along side the index finger. This is the grip that comes naturally to everyone and is therefore the most common. Under submaximal loads it works just fine, but will not withstand maximal lifts!

Hook Grip- For clean and jerk/snatch- The thumbs wrap around the barbell first and then the fingers wrap over the top of the thumb. This means that the thumb is applying pressure to the barbell and the fingers are also applying pressure to the thumb and barbell. Athletes who use this grip can lift heavier than athletes who use the closed grip. Begin using this now for long term development of grip strength!

Initially this is not the most comfortable grip, but over time the discomfort will pass and your body will adapt to the effects of the grip. You’ll be amazed at how solid your “pull” off the floor will be when using this grip mode.

more on hook grip:

Alternated/Mixed Grip-
For deadlift. One palm faces towards the body and the other faces away. Generally, this is stronger than a closed grip and is similar to a hook grip in terms of the amount of load that can be lifted before grip failure.

CrossFit London’s Grip Training:
Diesel Crew and Grip Strength Expert Jim Smith’s website:

Dec 21st


By Mike Minium
Comments 13

Charles Flips Out at CrossFit Oakland

Today Charles all of a sudden felt like trying a back tuck, even though he hadn’t tried one since high school (ten years ago).

It’s not the prettiest thing but he gets the job done.

Now if he can just get some lessons from Shira…

Getting Old Ain’t So Bad After All

(special thanks to Carl Close for passing along the article)

Dec 20th


By Max Lewin
Comments 26

“Mice Gone Bad”


FGB Mice by Evelyn Rodas. Dry erase on white board.

Post scores from FGB and ideas on how to improve scores. Also critique the form of the mice in the picture. Be nice, they are only mice. Bonus points for mouse haiku.

Dec 18th


By Nicole
Comments 19

Christmas Day Community Workout!!!


Monday, December 25th at 10 a.m.

We will be meeting on Christmas morning for a FREE community workout in the park across from Gold’s Gym on Grand Avenue. Please invite friends and family–the more the merrier!!! Dress for the cold and be prepared to get dirty…the CrossFit elves have something up their sleeves!

Dec 18th


By Mike Minium
Comments 11

Coffee Is Your Friend


Coffee Does a Body Good

OK, I admit it, I love coffee and the link to the research paper below is likely nothing more than a desperate attempt to rationalize my coffee habit, but I thought I’d pass it along in case there are other habitual coffee drinkers like me out there.

The study finds that among beverages (including green tea, which seems to be the darling of many health and well-being circles), coffee far and away has the highest total antioxidant capacity (TAC).

A couple of interesting excerpts from the study:

"Among the beverages analyzed, coffee drinks were the most effective, regardless of the assay applied, with espresso having the greatest antioxidant capacity."

"The removal of caffeine from the espresso coffee led to a decrease in TAC values of ~25–30%, likely due to the antioxidant capacity of caffeine."

So drink your coffee and get your antioxidants!

Link to study:

Link to table displaying total antioxidant capacity (TAC) values for the beverages analyzed (the higher the number in the table, the better):

Things That Make You Say Uhhhhh…

Finally, for your reading pleasure, I thought I’d pass along the link below. Those high heels really work the core, I guess.

Dec 17th


By Max Lewin
Comments 4

Ongoing Precognition Contest @ CFO!


Here is a new contest at CrossFit Oakland for your amusement. The rules are simple:

1.Guess the exact WOD which will be posted on the national CrossFit site before it is posted.
B. Post your guess to CrossFit Oakland.
3/3. Guessing "rest day" does not count!

Winners will get a free CrossFit T-shirt!

Hint: the WOD design is not random, and the template can be found in the CrossFit Jounals.