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Oct 22nd, 2006

Measurement Matters


We’ve recently had a few of our athletes (we consider all of our clients athletes) share with us how pleased they are with our style of training and the results they’re getting.

During this conversation, they’ll share with us a particular outcome that has led them to the conclusion that their level of fitness has improved. In so doing, they share with us their criteria for evaluating their own level of fitness (although they may not think of it in those terms).

Almost always, the outcome will be something along the lines of dropping down to X pounds for the first time in Y number of years, or being paid flirtatious compliments by relative youngsters, etc. In short, the outcomes that resonate with them are almost always tied to a qualitative end.

What’s interesting to us as trainers is that almost all of these qualitative outcomes can be seen coming a mile away, so to speak. Is this because we possess some sort of weird psychic ability? Absolutely not. We know that our athletes are getting results because we measure them. And it’s been our experience that the quantitative measures we do daily (and the results tied to those measures) usually precede the qualitative outcomes that clients are looking for.

So the next time you see us walking around with dry-erase markers or poring over the workout journals we keep, understand this: there’s a method to our madness.

While we take great pride in–and love to hear–qualitative endorsements of our training, it’s nothing that we can hang our hats on. We need data, and we need to be able to quantify, analyze, and compare said data. The bottom line is that if we’re not measuring, we’re not doing our job.

With that in mind, we’d like to give you a sneak peek at our new CFO Skill Assessment Guidelines.

All of our athletes will become familiar (probably more familiar than they’d like) with this document–and the standards it defines–in the very near future.

Those of you who are familiar with the national CrossFit site (and the discussions that ensue there) will see that our guidelines are based in large part on the guidelines that CrossFit North put together (we’ve changed a few things here and there). We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for the work they did in creating the original assessment document.

CrossFit Toronto
has created a neat little graphic test based on the standards; you can take it HERE.

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Oct 19th, 2006

Six-Million Dollar Shira

Maybe if Jamie Sommers had some of Shira’s skills those pesky fembots would not have given her so much trouble!

We call this a muscle-up by the way. Not easy.

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Oct 19th, 2006

Getting Hip about Hip Flexors


I’m sure you have all heard us say "everything we do in CrossFit is a wave of contraction that starts at the core (hips) and radiates to the extremities." Well how does this work exactly?

The hip flexors or iliopsoas are a group of muscles passing through the pelvis that act to flex the hips and rotate the lower spine. Lying deep within the torso, these are some of the least known skeletal muscles.

Imbalances in the muscles of the hip can cause back and hamstring trouble. Most problems with the hip flexors (such as leaning forward in the squat), don’t originate in a lack of strength but in a lack of flexibility. If the iliopsoas and hip flexors are tight, they pull down and forward on the pelvis, which tilts the pelvis forward and rounds the lower back. We must fight to pull the pelvis back and keep it from tucking under.

This lack of flexibility also impacts the ability of an athlete to fully fire the hips in exercises such as the squat, kipping pull-up, deadlift, clean, box jump, sprint, etc. and is referred to in CrossFitese as "muted hip function."

Over time, as many of you have experienced, such inflexibility can become uncomfortable, if not downright painful–causing problems with full mobility and creating some sciatica-like symptoms. We urge you to keep working through this issue!

There are several hip flexor stretches that can be done daily to alleviate chronic issues, and should be included in a daily stretching program for athletes that are just beginning to to develop the musculature of the hip flexor.

These hidden muscles are a goldmine of power that are heavily relied upon in 95% of athletic activites and 75% of CrossFit moves!

Find those hip flexors, use them, and stretch them! We have an arsenal of stretches to help fight off hip flexor problems: talk to us if you are having "issues"…

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Oct 18th, 2006

CFO Weekend Schedule Change, FUEL Seminar and Candace’s Game

Candace TGU.jpg

This weekend there are several special events, and schedule changes: please pass this on to anyone who you think might not have read this.

Saturday: Class will be at 8AM instead of 9AM. There will be no 10AM session because we are going to Treasure Island (middle of Bay Bridge) to watch Candace and and the #1 ranked Berkeley All Blues rugby team play at 10AM. Everyone is invited to caravan with us. Bring a camera and a sweater. Directions are HERE.

Sunday: Class will be from 8:45 to 9:45. At 10:00 we are offering our Nutrition Seminar (FUEL). You must RSVP in advance if you want to attend because we are providing a meal and if people don’t let us know in advance we won’t know how much food to get!

Please let us know here if you will attend.

Cost is $50.00

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Oct 15th, 2006

CrossFit… Goes Hollywood? Yep, it’s True! Scary…

CrossFit is getting a huge bump into prime time due to the following upcoming blockbuster movies featuring CrossFit protocols either as training methods, or actual plot elements:



I’m not exactly sure what I think about this. While It is great to get more people to do effective workouts, I do like the “undergound” aspect of CrossFit. Paradoxically, I am annoyed with Mark Twight, the “300” trainer, who is doing straight CrossFit, and makes it seem, by omission, that he made it all up on his own.

Here are Mark’s “stats”

Deadlift: 365#
Clean & Jerk: 165#
Snatch: 115#
Overhead Squat: 155#
Front Squat: 195#
Pull-Ups: 40
Weighted Pull-Ups: +106#
500m Row: 1:28:2
2000m Row: 7:05
5000m row 18:51

Pretty sweet: I’m hoping to beat these times/scores within the next year (as far as Mr. Twight’s Alpine times all I have to say is: whoa.).

Please post your opinions to comments, we are interested to know what you think!

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Oct 15th, 2006

The Superiority of the Kipping Pull-Up

Here we see Charles (white shorts) and Justin (red shorts) going head to head on yesterday’s WOD:

With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute… continuing as long as you are able.

Use as many sets each minute as needed.

These are two relatively evenly matched athletes, but Charles has learned to strongly recruit his hip power. You can see Justin fall apart starting in round six as he tries to do it all with his upper body. There is a strong strong corollary in almost 100% of athletic activities: power is generated by a wave of contraction that starts at the core (hips) and radiates to the extremities.

Today’s Workout:

Tabata Squats

Jonathan: 16
Franklin: 14
Connie: 15
Ann: 11
Sharon: 19
Megan: 15 (to 6″ target)
Max: 17 (to 6″ target)
James: 19
Peter: 18

WOD #2 (done back to back with the above)
3 rounds
10 Kangies
10 Thrusters
10 Kb swings

Jonathan:4:44 75#/1.5P
Franklin: 5:03 20# db/ 35#
Connie: 5:16 12# db/ 25#
Ann:7:39 15# / .5P
Sharon: 4:25 20# db/1P
Candace:6:50 75#/45#
Megan: 4:51 25# db/25#
James: 3:18 35# db/ 45#
Peter: 5:03 30#/55#
Max: 5:43 92.5#/1.5P (absolutely brutal, I was in intense distress from the third rep and wanted badly to quit untill about halfway through)

Comments: 15
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Oct 14th, 2006

F.U.E.L. Seminar at CrossFit Oakland Coming 10.22.2006

Oh yeah baby: CrossFit Oakland is featured on the top page of!


CrossFit Oakland will be offering our first annual seminar on using nutrition as fuel to drive athletic performance on Sunday October 22, 2006 from 10AM to 1PM for CrossFit Oakland athletes at CrossFit Oakland, 3300 Broadway, Oakland Ca. The cost will be $50.00 and an RSVP is required as we will be providing a meal for everyone who attends and need to know how many people we are cooking for. All affiliate athletes may attend for $50.00. CrossFit Affilates and Trainers may attend for $25.00. Non-athletes may attend at a cost of $75.00.

We will be offering information on changing body composition (both weight gain and loss) and the appropriate micronutrient and macronutrient ratios to facilitate increased athletic performance.

There will be no “diet” or faddish ideas discussed: we will provide you with sensible, balanced and scientifically sound concepts for lifetime fitness and health. However, as you might expect from CrossFit, there will be some ideas that fly in the face of conventional wisdom, and are light-years ahead of conventional thinking about food.

Some of the topics we will cover:

Strategies for healthy eating in the real world
Foraging in the urban jungle
How to eat “in the Zone”
Fat is not the enemy
The real deal on carbs
Real women eat real food
Top Fuel eating for serious athletes
Adult Beverages 101
Paleo/Zone (the ultimate fuel for athletes)
Hormonal effects of food
Disease prevention with food


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Oct 12th, 2006

Enough About Me, Let’s Talk About My Clothing…

Sorry folks, I did not get any other good videos or pics today, so it’s gonna have to be me doing 30 (not 35 as it says in video, I miscounted) double-unders. Plus I’m an only child, so you figure it out…

Building on the competition discussion from yesterday I compete against myself in double-unders (which I never heard of before CrossFit) and also against Mike M. who has 52 (I got it on video, but erased it, argh!). It’s good for both of us, because if I get 53 he is sure to figure out how to get 75, and so on…

Also I sure would like to equal this guy!

Check “The Bad Boys And Girls Of CrossFit Oakland” on the national site! We’re world famous. Scroll down to October 7th.

Also check out this utterly amazing display of strength, coordination, balance, and just plain skill!

Comments: 4
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