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Our Philosophy

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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.

Apr 16th, 2012

Happy 40th Birthday to Mike!!

Bday Card.jpg

Just because Mike is out of the country with no access to a computer (at least that is what he told me), doesn’t mean we can’t wish him a very Happy Birthday as today, April 15th, is his actual, real-life birthday. 

Yes, it is also Tax Day, so consider this a friendly reminder to get those income tax returns into your friendly government collections center.

But back to Mike’s birthday… This one is SOOOOO big, that in addition to a huge party last Saturday and this celebratory post, Dawn put together a lovely gift from all of us.  It is a large photo frame mat, signed by as many of you as humanly possible. 

If you have not yet had a chance to sign the mat (pictured above), it will be available to you this week at the gym so that you may add to it your best birthday wishes for Coach Mini.


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Apr 15th, 2012

Rowing Technique

Here is a great video about rowing technique that Mike has posted in the past. I thought it would be a good refresher after the workout today.

This video from Concept2 goes over the most common technique errors seen with the rower.  If you find progress on the rower to be challenging, check out the video and see if you are doing something wrong.  Tomorrow is a great day to practice your technique.  There are also a few drills posted on the most recent MobilityWod.

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Apr 13th, 2012

Great Seminar for the Masters Athlete


Mara, Melissa, and Brian C at CFO last Saturday

Since I’m now a part of the Club, I wanted to pass along this great opportunity for the 40+ athletes out there to learn from some of the finest CrossFit coaches out there.

TJ’s Gym is holding a 2-day training camp on June 9 & 10, known as the Masters Class, and it’s designed for anyone 40 or older who is looking to improve their CF skill set.  The list of CF coaches there (Kelly Starrett, Carl Paoli, Jesse Burdick, and Mark Bell, to name just a few) is impressive.  The cost of the seminar is $399, which may seem steep, but I’ve worked with some of these coaches and believe me, this is a bargain (in fact, many of their 1-day seminars are usually $500 and up, and for two days it can be twice as much).

Just to repeat, this is only for those CrossFitters who are 40 and older.  I’ll be attending for sure; hopefully some of you will be joining me.

For full details, and to register, go here:  www.tjsgym.com/masterclass.html

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Apr 12th, 2012

You look amazing! What does that mean…?


On any given day, I am witness to the vast array of beautiful people that frequent our little establishment (see above).  Seriously, we don’t spend a dime on marketing — you are all just stunning examples of what can happen when one has the courage to walk through our doors.

Perhaps CrossFit simply attracts foxy girls and guys or perhaps it is something more.  Maybe your beauty is a function of hard work, achievement and success and the confidence that comes from these.  Possibly that special glow is the empowerment derived from overcoming failure, frustration and disappointment. Or maybe it is just all the flippin’ testosterone in the air. 

Regardless, as a group you are all ridiculously attractive.  So what does that mean?  Is that important?  Is that why you come to CFO day after day knowing you are just going to suffer and sweat?  If so, is that ok?

How important are aesthetics and what does your appearance say about you? Check out what Ashley Judd has to say about the way the media treats her appearance.  What do you think?  How about this story about a plus-sized, former anorexic model who could find herself out of work because she is now a ‘normal’ size? 

What is wrong with wanting to look great?  If it is so wrong, why does it feel so good when someone tells you how fantastic you look?  Is it ok to put value on our looks?  Or does that make us closet misogynists?  

I have to admit, Ms. Judd’s words definitely got me thinking….Would love to hear your thoughts.

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Apr 11th, 2012

Rack Position for Cleans, Jerks, and Push Presses

150-lb Liao Hui clean-and-jerking 435 pounds

We spent a lot of time (some might say too much time) in group classes today hammering home the point about proper rack positioning for the clean, jerk, and push press.  They’re all racked in a remarkably similar way, with the only real difference being that in the clean the elbows are pointing forward and just the fingertips are in contact with the bar, and in the jerk and push press, the elbows are pointing down more than forward, and the bar more toward the base of the palm rather than the fingertips.

In both cases, the bar is racked on the shoulders, the elbows are angled straight ahead (elbows are not angled inward), and the hands are well outside of the shoulders (not even close, really).

Liao Hui, the lifter in the video above, demonstrates the rack position for the clean and the jerk perfectly.

Skip ahead to the 25-second mark in the video if you don’t want to hear the preamble from the CNN news reporter.  And then simply replay the video, making a mental note of the relationship between shoulders, elbows, hands, wrists, and barbell.

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Apr 10th, 2012

Zatsiorsky, Scaling, and Power


Katie and Michelle at the party this past Saturday

Here’s a nice piece, and an even better reminder, on one of the chief goals (if not the chief, after technical proficiency) of our conditioning workouts:  power output.

As a plus, it’s by Robyn’s favorite CrossFit thinker and writer, Jon Gilson, of Again Faster.

Zatsiorsky, Scaling, and Power

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Apr 9th, 2012

The Paleo Diet Budget Shopping Guide

Learn how to more effectively implement Paleo eating from the world’s leading Paleo expert, Robb Wolf. Hot off the presses, The Paleo Diet Budget Shopping Guide is a practical how-to book for those looking to save time and money on The Paleo Diet. In this e-book, Robb lays out some helpful shopping and cooking tips, weekly meal plans and even provides readers with links to instructional videos. Read more and download a copy here.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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Apr 8th, 2012


 Mike and Pinata 012.jpg

A big thank you to all of you who came out to celebrate Mike’s birthday today.  It was great seeing most of you dressed up as Mini!  Thanks to all of you who helped put things together–Daniel for Music, Heidi for drinks, Ann and Zeke for setting up, and of course, Robyn for planning and organizing the whole shebang.

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Apr 7th, 2012

Getting Tight


Scheduling Update: In honor of Easter Weekend and to make sure that there is plenty of time for celebrating at CrossFit Oakland, Strength Saturday will take place on Sunday, 8 April from 4:00 PM  to 6:30 PM. There will be no Strength Saturday class next weekend, April 14th.

Reminder 2: Come to the party on Saturday, 7 April at 4:00 PM at CFO. Yes, you. A good time will be had.

Today’s installment will be a short reminder on the importance of keeping the spine stable under a load. A frequent cue that is given when lifting weights is “Get Tight.” This is an important concept and one that is often sacrificed when fatigue sets in. When handling a heavy barbell, the musculature of the trunk and limbs needs to be held in contraction as much as is possible. Obviously, in order for joints to flex and extend, muscles must contract and relax, but the degree to which this occurs is important here.

Let’s consider the squat, which, in my opinion, should be nominated for the most important lift of all time. If a trainee allows themselves to fall freely into the bottom of the squat, chances are that the back will round, the knees will buckle, and other grievous sins against the gods of gravity will be committed. It is Easter weekend and upsetting the gods is probably not a good idea. Flexing, extending, or twisting the spine under a load is a good way to incur a back injury. The spine likes the relationships between the various vertebrae to be maintained when squatting 500 pounds. Instead, if the hypothetical trainee above controlled their descent and kept the musculature of the trunk and legs in contraction, good positioning could be obtained, the lift could go forward, and great glory be obtained.

How does one get tighter in a lift? The first thing to do is hold your breath, also known as the Valsalva maneuver. The second is to actively contract the musculature involved prior to moving. This will slow down the movement slightly, but will allow for a better lift. As a trainee’s skill increases, the squat, or whatever lift is being performed, can be done at higher speeds while still staying tight. Therein lies one of the paradoxes of lifting, contract the muscles, but move quickly. So, cease dive bombing into the bottom of the squat and save your back at the same time. Sounds like the highly coveted win-win situation to me.

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Apr 6th, 2012

There Are No Throwaway Movements

K-Star connecting the dots between jumping rope and the Olympic lifts

The video above is a nice little synopsis of proper body positioning in the double-under (a dreaded movement for many).  The bigger point of the video, however, is that in your training there are no throwaway movements.  Think that double-under isn’t all that important, or the burpee is just about getting it done no matter what it looks like?  Think again.

If you’re struggling with the double-under, don’t compound the situation by piking or kicking your heels behind you (known as donkey kicking).  Why?  Because then you’re creating a default movement pattern that will be really, really hard to undo after a few hundred reps.  Focus on proper positioning, and then repeat that positioning under time, load, or with speed thousands and thousands of times until the right way to do a movement becomes the default way.  If you do it wrong, stop immediately, take a step back, and slow it down so that you can get it right.

And finally, don’t dismiss these simpler movements; they often serve as gateway skills toward more advanced movements (particularly when it comes to trunk stability, or midline stabilization, if you prefer).

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