Oct 8th


By Max Lewin
Comments Comments Off on “Man Overboard” at CFO

“Man Overboard” at CFO

Today (Saturday) we did the “Man Overboard” workout, with kudos to CrossFit NYC, who introduced this to us.

This is a circuit workout with as many stations as there are people. The person rowing serves as the “pace car” and everyone else continues the exercise they are doing untill the rower finishes and calls “man overboard”. Everyone then rotates exercises and continues without a break until everyone has rowed. After a one-minute break the cycle is repeated: in this case for 2 rounds.

Today the exercises were:

Row 250 Meters
Thrusters (Men 65#, Women 35#)
Pull-ups/Jumping Pull-ups
Box Jumps
Kettlebell Swings

Oct 7th


By Max Lewin
Comments Comments Off on “Slightly Naughty Girl”

“Slightly Naughty Girl”

Here is a scaled-down version of one of the Mothers of all Metabolic Workouts, “Nasty Girls“. (right side of page: last “WOD video”)

We call this “Slightly Naughty Girl” AKA “Sharon”.

3 rounds for time:
50 squats
7 kipping pull-ups
14 jumping ring dips
7 65# Hang Power Clean

Sharon’s time: 10:11, which is mighty speedy.

There is a six week Danzan-Ryu Jujitsu-Inspired Women’s Self-Defense class at Suigetsukan Dojo. Information at Girl Army. Classes start October 8th.

Strong Women Are Beautiful: excellent article on women’s body image by a teammate of our very own Candace Hamilton, center for the Berkeley All Blues Rugby Club. That’s her in the second photo from the left.

<rant>While I cannot fully advocate the ultra-high calorie and rather carb-heavy diet described in the above article, it is a hell of a lot better than the salad and low-fat cookie diet which has been foisted upon our nation’s women (“Snackwells” are the devil) by so-called “Women’s Magazines”. Real women need fat and protein in their diet and muscle on their bodies. We sometimes hear women say they don’t want to “have big muscles” or “get bigger”. Well we are not in the business of making you weak, and we refuse to buy into the idea that women should be weak! Perhaps you have some metabolically inert material you can remove so that you can gain muscle with no net displacement of body mass. Women need muscle mass to avoid osteoporosis, not to mention the fact that in the absence of quality muscle anyone, male or female, looks, well, weak. Is that really what you want? If so I suggest you avoid CrossFit, which will make you strong, and get a membership to a big-box, McDonald’s-ish chain gym and take some bouncy-ball arm curl and cable-leg spasm classes. You will be nice and weak even after years of it.</rant>

Oct 6th


By Max Lewin
Comments Comments Off on 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders & Sit-Ups from National WOD

50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders & Sit-Ups from National WOD

Here are the first two rounds of today’s WOD from 50-40-30-20-10 double-unders (where the rope goes under twice for each jump) and sit-ups. I have a bit of trouble hitting my stride at the beginning, but at 2:45 you can see a good example of double-under technique, with (I think) 24 in a row. Total time was 7:29.

Little better example of Double-unders: 35 in a row:

The keys to double-unders (besides practice) are hand speed, not jumping too high and keeping upright.

Oct 5th


By Max Lewin
Comments Comments Off on Sam L. 15 Foot No-Feet Rope Climb

Sam L. 15 Foot No-Feet Rope Climb

Here is a nice contrast to yesterday’s brute strength effort. Sam L. uses speed, strength, power and coordination to control his own bodyweight. This is one of the CrossFit Level 3 (advanced athlete) benchmarks. Actually it is five feet more, but we don’t have a rope that high, so we will call it close enough. Sam is right at the cusp of, or able to do, many of the level 3 benchmarks. He has put 2 years of honest effort into CrossFit, and since it is said to be a 3-5 year journey of daily, consistent effort to achieve at least some of the Level 4 (elite athlete) benchmarks, he is right where he should be. Nice.

Oct 4th


By Max Lewin
Comments 4

Justin Push-Jerks 183 Pounds (Bodyweight)

Here we have video of Justin push-jerking 183 pounds, which is a 1x bodyweight single for him. He actually did it better right after this (full lockout) but I did not get it on video. OK so it is more of a push-jerky press: did I mention this was the first time he did this lift? Someone’s gonna be a monster…

I got 180, a PR for me by 20 pounds. Next target is 200 pounds, any challengers?

On a related note, we are keeping track of various records on the white board in the back room. Check it out, and feel free to suggest any records we should be keeping track of.

Put an empty bar onto a pair of support racks and load the required amount of resistance. Stand behind the bar and take a grip just wider then shoulder width. Rotate your arms under the bar and up, so that your elbows point forward with the bar resting on your anterior deltoids and clavicle bones. Take a 3/4 breath. Hold your head erect and tighten your spinal muscles, raising the barbell up off the support racks. Step forward and plant your feet at hip width. Point your toes slightly out. Release and take another breath. Contract your deltoid muscles and take a short quarter squat dip while maintaining an upright spine. Now explode upward, pushing off the floor and driving the barbell with your arms. At the top of the extension, go up on your toes and quickly jump your feet out to the sides and back down into a quarter squat. Your stance should be shoulder width or a little wider. The bar should lock out overhead on or before your feet land. Secure and center the bar behind your head in line with your ears. Return to an upright position.

Oct 4th


By Max Lewin
Comments 2

Wake Up So Early in the Morning and… Do Medball Drills?


A little haunted medball action at CrossFit Oakland due to the early hour and funky camera setting.

The Med Ball is a great tool for developing speed, strength, power, coordination, agility and accuracy. That’s six out of ten of the major physical skills, and I am sure if you were resourceful you could find a way to work flexibility, endurance, stamina and even balance: overhead Med Ball Slack Line walks anyone??

Oct 2nd


By Max Lewin
Comments 2

CrossFit Oakland: Soft & Cuddly :-)


Lest you think CrossFit is only for burly thugs with bald heads and a propensity for grunting, one of our bedrock principles is universal scalability. Here Annie is in the top position of one of our foundational moves, the front squat. The bar setup she uses mimics the size and feel of Olympic bars and plates, but the whole assembly is a manageable 35 pounds, and allows her to practice her form before moving on to heavier weights. The workouts can always be scaled to accommodate the needs of any athlete (usually scaled down, but sometimes up).

“The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.

“The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.”

-Coach Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit

Sep 30th


By Max Lewin
Comments 2

CFO Team Spotting Method for Heavy Squat


Here we see a nice spotting method for squats, assuming four people of reasonably close strength are working together.

Spotters shadow the bar up and down and assist if athlete fails in the bottom of the squat.

The third person watches the athlete from below and calls “go” when the athlete breaks parallel (when the fold of the hip crosses below the knee). On the call the athlete goes back up.

Pictures are of Jonathan, Franklin, Max and Sam doing the WOD from the CrossFit National Site.

Max Lifts:

Franklin 255×2 (1.2x bw)
Jonathan 255×2 First time with no belt (1.2x bw)
Max 235×2 (1.25x bw)
Sam 235×2 PR (1.4x bw)
Sharon 110×2 First time heavy (.8x bw)
Nicole 110×2 First time heavy (.8x bw)

Note that the weights don’t tell the whole story, pound for pound Sam has significantly more power than anyone else. He has much less inert metabolic material than anyone else in this lineup too.

The next goals for each athlete, taken from the CrossFit North Standards List, are as follows:

Franklin, Jonathan, Sam, Max: 1×1.5x bw (level 3: advanced athlete)
Nicole, Sharon: 1x1x bw (level 2 intermediate athlete)

Since these were doubles it is conceivable that at least Sam might be able to pull this off: He needs 252 pounds.

There is an interesting tradeoff here: for Me, Sharon, Nicole, Jonathan and to a lesser extent Franklin, getting rid of metabolically inert material (fat) with no other adjustments is going to put us pretty close to this goal. For example, if I go from my present bw of 188 down to 175 I only have to put another 27.5 pounds on this lift to meet the standard (262.5 pounds).

On the other hand, Sam has no (or very little) fat to lose, so it is possible he might need to go up in weight to meet the standard, perhaps getting 255 pounds at a bw of 170.

By the way, the Level 4 standard (elite athlete) is 2x bw, or 420 pounds for Franklin and Jonathan at the weight they are at now. Achieving this standard for any of us would be a 3+ year undertaking and would involve having more muscle, less fat (except Sam) and vastly increased neuromuscular efficiency and technique (skill). And, of course, to truly be in the CrossFit elite we would need we would all need a five-minute mile and a bunch of other stuff too. I for one am looking forward to pushing towards these goals.

Some minor form notes for real geeks:

Picture one, top left: bar is slightly too high on back, lordotic curve too shallow (Max).
Picture two top right, bar is much too high on back, almost on neck (Sam).
Picture three bottom left, not bad, do it like that! (Jonathan)
Picture four bottom right: feet too wide (Franklin)

Sep 29th


By Max Lewin
Comments 1

Get That @#$%^& Camera Out of My Face!


James does his best Sean Penn as I annoyingly snap photos of him right after Fight Gone Bad. He’s got a reason to be knocked flat on his back: 276 reps @ 65#! Nice!

Sep 28th


By Max Lewin
Comments 2

These Guns are illegal in 50 States!! FGB @ CFO


Shira, perfect form in top of push-press: active shoulders, full elbow lockout, full hip extention.

Workout: Fight Gone Bad
# = poundage for Push-Press and SDHP (65 and above, used 20 lb Dynamax ball, Nicole used 14 lb Dynamax ball, others used 11 lb med ball).

* = First time doing workout

1st Max 250 75#
2nd James 276 65#
3rd Carlo 241 65#*
Joe 219 35#*

1st Candace 221 65#
2nd Shira 210 65#
3rd Nicole 256 55#
Sharon 312 35#
Megan 248 35#*
Kerry 232 35#*
Joanne 230 35#*
Aminta 220 35#*
Melissa 214 35#*
Pat 225 10# db* (2nd week of CrossFit, awesome!)

World Record 435: Greg Amundson 75#

CFO Record 327: Mike Minium 75#
2nd Place: 287 Max Lewin 75#
3rd Place: 236 Sam L. 75# (pretty sure he got shortchanged about 20 seconds)

Women’s: Too hard to calculate because of the variable weights that have been used. The “official” Women’s weight is 55# for PP and SDHP and a 14 lb Dynamax ball. Candace, Sharon, Shira and Nicole all have respectable scores. Sharon probably has the best score so far, 267 w/ 55#. We will have to put them head to head with the correct weights. The 14 lb Dynamax is in the mail.