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Getting Started

Feel free to drop in during scheduled class times and observe a CFO class in action.

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Upcoming On-Ramps

Get the basics so you can join in the fun of our group classes! Morning and Evening On-Ramp classes are offered at both of our locations and sell out fast.

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Our Philosophy

We believe in putting our focus and resources into our coaching quality and our community.

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Workout Of The Day

The Workout of the Day or WOD is custom-programmed for the CrossFit Oakland community and is taught in our regular group classes under the close supervision of our highly trained coaching staff.

Mar 16th, 2013

Upcoming Starting Strength Training Camps


Connie at one of the first camps I held at the Doyle Street location. Photo courtesy of the lovely and talented Kelly Powers.

I will be holding three Starting Strength Training Camps in the coming five weeks at the CFO Emeryville location. The first one on the low bar back squat occurs next Sunday. For those of you who’d like a longer introduction to the basic strength lifts, these camps are an excellent way to do it. We generally spend about five hours at each camp discussing and then practicing the various lifts in a controlled and unrushed environment. If you are interested, you can sign up through the Aasgaard Company website. The camps are below with links to sign ups and more information for each one:

Low Bar Back Squat – Sunday, March 24 – $135
Deadlift and Power Clean – Sunday, March 31 – $160
Press and Bench Press – Sunday, April 21 – $160

Each of the events start at 1 PM and are limited to eight participants to make sure that attendees get plenty of attention. The squat camp normally wraps up by 5:00 or 5:30 and the camps with two lifts will often go until 6:00 or 6:30 in the evening. I hope to see you there.

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Mar 15th, 2013

Preparing for Open Workout 13.2

Carl preparing you for 13.2

The Open workout, in case you already didn’t know, is as follows:

10-Minute AMRAP:
5 Shoulder-to-Overhead @ 115#/75#
10 Deadlifts @ 115#/75#
15 Box Jumps @ 24"/20"

(For those of you concerned about the height of the box jumps, step-ups are allowed.)

Just like last week, below are another couple of helpful links to get you in the right frame of mind, and to get your body prepared for this 10-minute challenge. 

There’s some great stuff on the Mobility WOD video on 13.2.  It’s 20 minutes long, but well worth your time.  It covers warm-up, movement prep, and strategy.

And for a ton of analysis and strategy, check out the Outlaw Way post on 13.2.

Saturday Heats

The heat schedule has been attached to this post.  Please take a look and email us if you don’t see your name on the list.  Also make a note of the judging schedule.  This is a shorter workout, so we’ll be done about an hour earlier than last week.

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Mar 12th, 2013

CrossTown Open Results: Week 1


13.1 going down

Besides the Open being a chance to qualify individuals and teams for the Regionals (the next level of competition after the Open), have a great time, and for everyone to be able to participate in really challenging workouts, there’s also an inter-gym competition going on.

As I first wrote a couple weeks ago, we’re involved in a challenge involving Open bragging rights against our fellow CFers from the other side of the tunnel, CrossFit Sweat Shop.

The competition works like this:  There are five workouts in the Open.  The gym that wins three out of the five is crowned the overall champ.

The scoring system is as follows:

  • 1 point awarded for each of the top 5 male and top 5 female scores under 40 years of age
  • 1 point awarded for the top male and top female between 40 years old and 49 years old
  • 1 point awarded for the top male and top female 50 years or older

If you’re following at home, that’s a total of 14 points.  The team that wins the most points, wins the workout for that week.  If teams end up tied 7-7, the tiebreaker goes to the team with the single best individual performance, male or female, regardless of age group.

Nabil (owner of CrossFit Sweat Shop) did a great job of writing up the results here.  He even did color-coding.  We ended up tied 7-7, with the tiebreaker going to us by virtue of Candace’s 183-rep performance.  What a close contest!

Here’s how the scoring went (gym in parentheses):

Open Men
Rikus Pretorious 170 (CFSS)
Scott Lipp 167 (CFSS)
Nabil Langkilde 158 (CFSS)
Justin McNulty 157 (CFO
Brandon Banks 157 (CFO)

Open Women
Candace Hester 183 (CFO)
Michelle Mahler 177 (CFO)
Rene Garcia 169 (CFSS)
Tamara Holmes 169 (CFO)
Helen Langkilde 157 (CFSS)

40-49 Men
Shane Gravitt 137

40-49 Women
Leka Dobbs 150

50+ Men
Steve Pollini 180

50+ Women
Lones Stern-Banks 155

Strong work by all!  Can’t wait to see what happens in 13.2!


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Mar 11th, 2013

13.1 Is a Done Deal!


The 13.1 Heats

As always, running the Open at CFO was such a blast yesterday!  Thanks to all of you for showing up, bringing your A game, and making the gym such a fun place to be.

Can’t wait to do it all again next Saturday!

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Mar 9th, 2013

Preparing for the Open

* Update:  The heat list has been attached at the bottom of this post (PDF file).  Please review it to make sure you’re on the list.  If you’re not on the list and should be, send us an email.  Also, please make sure you review the judging schedule, in case you’re set to judge a heat that’s earlier than your own. **

Carl breaking down CF Games Open Workout 13.1
There are several good resources out there that will provide strategy and movement prep for each of the Open workouts that come up.
There’s no better place to start than with Carl’s video above.
Another good one to check out is the Mobility WOD video on 13.1.
And if you’re looking for some strategy tips (it’s all about pacing the burpees), check out this post on the Outlaw blog.
For those of you doing the Open on Saturday, I’d strongly recommend skipping the Part B metcon and using the snatch workout that’s been programmed as an opportunity to refine your technique.  Do a few reps at 75#/45#, a few at 135#/75#, etc.  You’ll want to really focus on power snatch technique, as opposed to the full snatch we usually practice.  Work on touch-and-go and keep the volume light.  Then spend the rest of the hour working mobility.
And finally, check back on this post later this evening (or early tomorrow) for the Saturday heat schedule.


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Mar 5th, 2013

Butter vs Margarine? You Decide


A quick and dirty guide to help you decide what kind of buttery spread is right for you. Aside from his recommendation of vegetable oils in the last 10 seconds of the video, this 3 minute video from AsapSCIENCE, addresses some common questions/concerns about both such as:

  • the chemical structure of butter vs margarine 
  • the difference between saturated and unsaturated fat
  • how these fats are made
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Mar 4th, 2013

Thanks, Everyone!


Welcome to Uptown!

Thanks to all of you who came out this afternoon and made the Uptown Open House such a blast!  Can’t wait to see you in the gym training with us!

Stay tuned to this website and to the Uptown Facebook Page for all the latest updates on scheduling, on-ramps, and the like.

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Feb 28th, 2013

Uptown 411


T.Holmes ready to rumble at Uptown

CrossFit Oakland Uptown is opening its doors next week!  Here are some things to keep in mind.  Please feel free to send any questions or concerns to

Sunday March 3rd 2pm-5pm: Join us for an Open House at Uptown.  Grab a drink and a snack and demo some of our beautiful new equipment or just say congrats to Miss T. Address is 310 41st Street (at Broadway) in Oakland.

Monday March 4th:  Classes begin!  Check the schedule by clicking on the link at the top of this page.  In addition to regular group classes, Open Gym will be offered at various times. You will find these on the schedule as well as our Uptown Facebook Page.  Classes will be limited as we get started, but we anticipate adding to the schedule over the next few months.

Membership: Current CFO members have the option to try out both locations over the next 60 days, to determine which location works best. At the end of that time, you may declare your ‘home gym’.  

Uptown Girl: To get to know the new owner and Head Coach of CFO Uptown a little better, we have decided to bring back the Athlete Profile.

Name: Tamara Holmes

Height: 5’9"

Weight: 79kg

Age: 38 years old 

How long have you been a member at CFO? Going on 6 years

What is your day job? Oakland Firefighter

What is your athletic background? Highschool: Basketball/Volleyball, College: Volleyball, USA Women’s Baseball

What is your favorite strength move? Power clean

What is your favorite met-con? Anything under 5 minutes

Proudest achievement (CF)? Getting to the gym consistently

Most desired goal (CF)? Getting to the gym consistently

Spirit Animal: Crickets (The sound you hear when you’re asking me weird questions like this)

Stats: 100…The amount of times I beat Mike in any athletic endeavor. Favorite stat is my 10-minute mile.

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Feb 26th, 2013

Handstand Push-Up Progression, Part 2

Carl breaking down the handstand push-up

In case you missed it, Part 1 of Carl’s handstand push-up progression video is here.  Please watch it before you jump ahead to Part 2 above.

Carl’s progressions are rock-solid.  Anyone who’s watched his videos or had the opportunity to train with him live and in-person knows his penchant for getting people into mechanically sound positions, whether it’s something a little more advanced like the handstand push-up, or whether it’s a building block move like the push-up or ring row.

The video above is ideal for anyone working on getting that first handstand push-up, or refining the handstand push-up further.

But the video above is really just part of a larger conversation.

The bigger point is this (and one I’m going to flesh out a little more in tomorrow’s post):  CrossFit training requires practice.  If you’re not committing to refining your movement (over and over and over again), you’re missing the point (and benefit) of our program.  Yes, we want you to track (and chase) some strength numbers and some conditioning numbers.  But if you’re broken, or going to be broken in the future, it’s all for naught.  The numbers don’t matter if you’re not able to get into mechanically sound positions (and eat right, for that matter).  More on this tomorrow.

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Feb 23rd, 2013

More About Belts


Back in the fall of 2010, I wrote an article on the use of weightlifting belts. I would encourage those interested in the topic to read it when you get a chance. I won’t repeat the entire article today, but will remind readers of a few points.

The belt is an external aid to lifting weights that increases the rigidity of the torso. It does this by providing the abdominals an external resistance against which they can contract. When combined with a strongly held breath using the Valsalva maneuver, your torso can more efficiently communicate the force generated by the lower body to the bar. The second sentence in this paragraph is important and bears repeating. The primary purpose of the belt is to provide your abdominals something against which they can brace. A belt is not designed to support the back, at least not directly. If a trainee cannot keep their spine from overextending, flexing, or otherwise wiggling around, a belt will not save them. A trainee must be able to lift properly before introducing a belt into the proceedings.

When a trainee first begins lifting, most of their energies are spent on learning the gross motor patterns of the movement. There is plenty to keep track of and any additional variables, such as a belt, serve as a distraction instead of an aid. As training progresses and technique begins to solidify, the musculature is forced to adapt to handle heavier loads. During this time a belt is still probably best left out so that a trainee can learn to effectively engage the trunk musculature and hold the spine in proper extension throughout the movements. If a trainee is just learning the movements, or has not started to handle heavier weights, it is best lift without a belt.

What are heavier weights? That varies based on age and bodyweight, but some generalities can be made. Realize that these numbers are not set in stone. If you are a woman and your work sets on the squat are around 150 pounds, or if you are a man and your work sets are somewhere near 300 pounds, then a belt would not be out of place. These numbers get revised downward the older a trainee is, the lighter they are, or if they have a back injury.

Above I wrote that a belt is not designed to directly support the back, yet I suggested that those who suffered a back injury may want to lift with a belt. A belt doesn’t prop anyone up and it will not substitute for proper form. However, if a trainee can use their abdominals properly in a squat, the belt will amplify their ability to utilize the trunk musculature to keep the spine from moving under a load. The spinal erectors in conjunction with the abdominals keep the train on the tracks. The belt provides an extra layer of support to hold everything in place. If you hurt your back, this is a good thing.

Belts are wonderful. They are a popular and essential piece of gear in the strength training arsenal. They should not be used in the early phases of a trainee’s career because they will primarily get in the way. After getting some experience and strength and once proper form has been established, then a belt can be considered.

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