The Foundations classes are run at 6 pm Monday -Thursday, and Saturday mornings at 930 am. You may enroll at any time, and get started immediately. Each class will focus on one topic or movement, with an emphasis on technical instruction, and then typically finishes up with a workout that involves some of the same movements.
The Foundations class rotates through 12 different topics, and you transition into the regular group classes as soon as you feel comfortable with the different movements and exercises. You may stay in the Foundations classes as long as you would like, and anyone in the regular group workouts are welcome to attend the Foundations classes as well if they would like to brush up on any of their skills.
For more information, or to make an appointment, please contact us.
We’ve been focusing on Olympic Weightlifting during this block of programming, so I thought it would be good to repost this graphic, as well as a couple of inspirational videos. We’ve got about 4 more weeks of this block, where the emphasis is on learning the lifts, and then we’re going to be incorporating the lifts during the next round of programming as well. So, look, learn, love.
Here’s a slow motion video of a World Record holder (Liao Hui). It’s long, but worthwhile. Notice on the first pull how his knees move backward, while his back maintains the same angle relative to the floor. We’ve talked about it, but this is what it should really look like. Also, notice how high the bar doesn’t get.
Here’s some full-speed video of Hui, winning the Chinese National Weightlifting Games (‘09), with a 163 kg Snatch and 195 kg Clean & Jerk. (358 lbs and 429 lbs, respectively) Oh, did you catch that he’s in the 69 kg/151.8 lb weightclass?
Trying to do a better job of keeping everyone updated on CrossFit and related events and happenings around the valley and state. Here is a partial list:
Sat, Sept 1st
East Valley Open Weightlifting Meet
East Valley CrossFit (Chandler)
Sat, Sept 8th
Rich Wenner Powerlifting Clinic
Coach Wenner is Strength Coach at ASU
East Valley CrossFit
Sat, Oct 6th
CrossFit Purgatory (Tucson)
Sat, Oct 6th
Barbells for Boobs
East Valley CrossFit
Sat, Oct 13th
The Furious 5
CrossFit Fury (Goodyear)
Sat, Nov 10th
Lift It Love It
CrossFit 480 (Scottsdale)
Sat, Dec 15th
We’ll probably be sending a few folks to some of these events, but they’re also a good time if you just want to go watch and see what one of these competitions looks like. Please let me know if you have any questions or are interested in competing.
Busy week or so around here, but I wanted to post up our Fran times from last week. Several PRs, and many more people performing the workout as prescribed (or with less scaling) than last time. Great job everyone!
Also wanted to give you a sneak peek of our latest shirts. This is a very limited edition design! Don’t worry if you miss out on this one though—we’ve got another design coming in the next week or two.
We have some changes to the way that we’re going to be doing things.
As of Monday, August 6th, we will be adding a new ‘Foundations’ Class for beginners. This class will be geared toward preparing new members to join the regular group workouts, and will be replacing the Ramp Up program. You may enroll in the Foundations classes at any time. You will continue to attend Foundations classes until you have demonstrated competency on the basic skills necessary for the group classes.
At this time, Foundations classes will be held Monday -Thursday evenings at 6 pm, and Saturday mornings at 930 am. We will likely be adding another section earlier in the day, but have not finalized a time/day yet.
For further information, please check out the information here, or contact us for further details.
Is this the real life? Is this just Fantasy (Football)?
Why? Because it’s a great song. Get over it.
It’s that time of year again! Training Camps, preseason shows, and the Cardinals looking for an Offensive Line. Besides (2 time) Defending Champion Steve White, who else is in for Fantasy Football?? Reply here or let me know in the gym. Looks like we might have 2 different Leagues this year, but we’ll see about numbers.
As you might have noticed, we have started our new block of programming this week. The focus for this block is going to be the Olympic lifts, and we’ll bring back in some more conditioning, with lots of short, intense work (look for lots of kettlebells and complexes).
Wait…can you hear that?? Sounds like voices…I think some Girls are calling to us…Fran? Is that you??
As we are inching toward another Clean Living/Paleo event, here’s a timely article from PrimalToad.com. This is essentially a rebuttal, so be sure to take a glance at the article he is addressing as well.
Interesting look at two sides of the Paleo debate.
As I creep up there myself, I always like to find articles written by those who have stayed active and healthy into more advanced ages. ”The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban" is a collection of archived articles, from the ’30s and ’40s to the ’80s and beyond. It’s interesting how the advice and programs of yesterday are enjoying a new round of popularity today. Circle of life and all that, I suppose.
As noted, ”This article is aimed primarily at bodybuilders, but its main message can be intelligently applied by those whose goal is strength."
You’ve put in the hard work, now it’s time to start seeing it pay off! We’re beginning to retest some of our benchmarks this week. First up: The CrossFit Total. In case you’ve forgotten, here are the numbers from our last go-round.
Almost everyone has PRs across the board. Good work!
More news is out that sitting is, you know, “bad” for you.
The latest studies include this one, which found that sitting for 3 hours a day can trim about 2 years off of your life. Or this one, where it’s estimated that every hour of watching television (after age 25) shortens your life by about 22 minutes.
Do we really need science to tell us this? C’mon folks, it’s not that hard—get off your duff and DO something once in a while!
(You knew it was coming—click here for the infographic!)
The Ramp Up class that is beginning this evening has reached capacity. If you are interested in attending, but have not already reserved a spot, please contact us immediately. We may be able to add a coach and take everyone, but please let us know ASAP so we can plan ahead.
If you have already pre-registered, please let me know ASAP if you change your mind and won’t be attending.
As we celebrate our Nation’s birth, I am eternally grateful that I live in a country which allows it’s citizens the freedoms that we enjoy. And having been involved in CrossFit for as long as I have has given me the opportunity to meet many men and women in the Armed Forces. Through the past 7+ years, we’ve had members and guests representing every branch of Service—Grunt, Infantry, and Airman up to Ranger, Force Recon, and SEAL. I hope we’ve helped in some small way to help them do their jobs and stay safe, and to thank those whose service is behind them.
So on this day when we think about Fireworks and Barbecue, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the CFSW Friends, Alumni, and Members who have served, or are currently serving in the Military. This list is incredibly incomplete, but Thank You to Ben, Dan, Trish, Eric, Andrew, Bart, Bill, Nate, John, John, Robert, Reuben, Patrick, Josh, and Jason.
Just for kicks, a few of us went into the Wayback Machine, and found ourselves a little MetCon from July 4th 2007. It’s done as a group:
We will have Open Gym from 9 am - 11 am on Wednesday, July 4th. All other classes are cancelled for the day. Please keep in mind that we will be closing around 11 am—plan your arrival time accordingly.
There will be no other changes to the schedule this week.
Some people will tell you to look straight ahead as you squat. Some will tell you to look at a point five or ten feet in front of you on the ground. I’ll tell you where you should be looking when you squat: into your soul. Into the depths of the fire inside, where pain and promise are one. Look into the place where hardcoreness resides.
It’s a quick and humorous read, with minor NSFW language. I haven’t had a chance to read too many of the posts, but it looks like it might be worth a look.
-I hadn’t seen this blog until tipped off by CFSW Alum Soren “I row really fast” Peterson. Thanks Soren!
"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." ~John D. Rockefeller
Just a quick post to catch up on a few things that have been rattling around in my brain:
As the 5x5 programming has progressed, you will have noticed that the last set(s) is getting hard. We’re pushing into PR territory every day, and people are digging deep and moving some big weights (which is awesome to see). You’ll also notice that our off days are becoming more and more ‘off’—we’re focusing on mobility and recovery, lots of skill work, and a little bit of conditioning. To steal from Dan John, “remember that the goal is to keep the goal the goal”. We’re trying to maximize strength, and that is where the bulk of your efforts should be directed.
The intent with this programming is to essentially create a wider base upon which to build more specific performance. Becoming stronger enables you to practice more complex skills longer and harder, leading to improved performance. You would be hard pressed to find a measure of physical performance that will not be improved by becoming stronger, up to a given point. It’s true that eventually you will reach a point of ‘strong enough’, where additional strength will not increase performance for a particular activity—but I don’t think many of us are at that point.
A few people are already starting to realize the benefits of all this hard work. Just off the top of my head, we’ve had a few people in the last week or two that mastered new skills: John M. is hitting muscle ups now, and Chip held a 10 second static handstand. It will be fun to see how things look when we transition back to more conventional CFSW programming in a few weeks.
One girl who’s putting her strength to good use is Firewoman Extraordinaire Sara. Along with her brother, she took 2nd place in the Toughest Competitor Alive competiton last weekend at the US Police and Fire Games Championships. PRs across the board including 11 strict pullups and a sub-26 min 5 k! Nice job Sara!
And finally, huge congratulations are in order for CFSW’s long-time dentist in residence, Dr. CJ Metz. Some of you might know CJ more for his hair (or the time he snatched a barbell into his forehead), but he’s also been busy growing a successful practice in Mesa, and making some big changes in his personal and professional life. If you haven’t seen CJ for a while, you’ll be in for a shock the next time you see him. He looks great (and well-groomed), and has created changes in his life that almost defy belief.
I’ve known CJ now for more than 5 years, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the perseverance and dedication that he’s put into his personal transformation. But, you can judge for yourself:
CFSW house videographers Rob and Nate put together this video, which was submitted for a national contest. The Grand Prize was a Lamborghini—currently on it’s way to Mesa, AZ. Hopefully CJ will swing it by the gym sometime.
As many of you are beginning to notice, this 5x5 programming starts to get significantly more challenging along about week 4 or 5. Because of this, our alternate day programming is beginning to emphasize mobility and recovery to a larger degree. Many people are choosing to completely skip the gym on their off days.
I applaud the idea of listening to your body, and taking recovery as needed. Allow me, however, to put forth an idea. Anyone can do this, but especially for those of you who would normally be in the gym—take that workout time, and use it for food preparation. Plan some meals, go shopping, pre-chop, pre-cook, whatever. But take that time you’ve already allocated for CrossFit, and put it to use doing something that will benefit your workouts (and overall health).
Resistance training improves cardiovascular fitness
via Conditioning Research
Even more proof of the importance of being strong: researchers in the UK have published a review of the available literature concerning the effects of resistance training on markers of cardiovascular fitness. Please feel free to read the entire paper here, but allow me to hit the highlights.
Research demonstrates resistance training produces significant improvement in cardiovascular fitness (VO2 max, economy of movement). This paper attempts to outline the underlying physiological mechanisms for this improvement. Of particular interest is the effects of intensity on these physiological mechanisms.
Acute (short term) metabolic and molecular responses to resistance training to momentary muscular failure “do not differ from traditional endurance training.” Myocardial and vascular function are maintained.
Chronic responses to resistance training include several things which are associated with improved cardiovascular fitness: an increase in mitochondrial enzymes and mitochondrial proliferation (you grow more of your cells’ “powerhouses”, and they function better); a conversion of muscle fibers to a more “fast-twitch” IIb fiber type, and increases in capillary density.
So basically, performing resistance training at high intensity produces many of the same physiological changes that are traditionally associated with cardiovascular training. Pretty cool stuff.
Possible schedule change for Ramp Up class beginning tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/5)
This is just a reminder that our next Ramp Up group introductory class is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 5, at 6 pm. Please see here for more details.
Also, there have been a few people that were having trouble with the Tuesday/Thursday format. Would Monday/Wednesday be better? Please reply to comments or contact us with feedback.
We will still meet Tuesday at 6 pm! Any changes to the scheduled time/days will take place after the first meeting.
We're making you better looking AND smarter (and stop looking at food porn!)
A couple of quick articles that shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anyone:
Exercise makes your brain healthier, too. You’re not only tightening your tush, you are also improving the health of your brain tissue. Exercise causes nerve cells to multiply, protects them from damage, and essentially prevents (and even reverses) brain decay.
Another take home: sugar suppresses the activity of BDNF, a hormone that, among other things, causes new neurons to be created and protects your neuromuscular system from degrading. So, a low sugar diet combined with exercise will keep both your body and mind healthier and younger.
And you thought CrossFit was just about the Abz. Looking at pictures of food makes you hungry. More specifically, those food photos stimulate the production of Ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone. When Ghrelin is administered to rats, both food intake and body weight increase. Now take a minute to think—is it even possible to get away from images of food nowadays? Maybe there are some implications to be drawn re: the obesity epidemic. At the very least, anyone trying to curb their food intake should be careful what they spend their time looking at.
I just wanted to post this story, because it’s awesome. This is the type of thing that keeps me going some days.
Many of you have met my client Bette. She comes in driving the big Lincoln on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 0930. I’ve been working with Bette for about 9 years now, and she’s followed me from 24 Hour Fitness, to a private training studio, through the various incarnations of CFSW. The main reason that we started training initially is that her doctor wanted her to get a hip replacement, and she wanted to try to avoid it, or at least put it off as long as possible. She finally went ahead with the surgery last year, about 7 years after the doctor said she would need it, and she was back in the gym about 4 weeks later.
We have done all sorts of different types of training over the years—at one point she could deadlift about 130% of bodyweight, she’s got a pretty solid kettlebell swing, we even played around with getting her to do an unassisted pullup by her 70th birthday (really close, but never quite got there). In any case, she embodies the whole notion of scaling the exercise to what’s appropriate for the individual.
In any case, over the weekend Bette asked her husband to hang a shower curtain for her. He didn’t get to it until later at night, and she dozed off on the couch waiting for him to finish. So, she wakes up around 11 pm, and realizes that he is still in the bathroom. It turns out that he had been standing on the edge of the tub to hang the shower curtain, lost his balance, and fallen into the tub. Fractured and dislocated shoulder, and a pretty good knock to the head. He was a little disoriented and wasn’t able to move without pain, and hadn’t been able to get himself out of the tub.
Keep in mind, this is a 110 lb woman, with a total hip replacement last April, who will turn 75 years old next Tuesday. Does she call 911 and wait for EMS to show up? Nope. She “got down in a good deadlift position”, hooked under his good arm, and lifted her husband to his feet and out of the tub. They then took a cab to the hospital (where he stayed for a few days).
How freaking awesome is that??
No muss, no fuss. Let me just pick you up out there.
That, folks, is why we train. Gym performance is nice and all, but I want to be able to pick up a loved one in an emergency. (Or lift a car off someone-that would be pretty sweet.) Be strong. Be functional. Be able to do stuff. That’s what’s important.
Oh, and she also went back and hung the shower curtain herself.
You’ve probably all seen them. You may have even commented on them. Perhaps you even are one: The Shaker Bottle Guy.
You know, that guy who finishes his exhausting workout of curls and close-grip-pinkies-out-Czechoslovakian-decline-press, and immediately starts downing a protein shake. I mean, he’s basically Cartman, right?
Well, not so fast. Shaker Guy might be on to something. I came across this study recently, and what with our new Strength cycle, it seemed to be an appropriate time to post.
I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank You to everyone who’s been coming in and doing work this week! It was incredible to look around the room tonight at 6 and see nothing but barbells and big weights! You guys are starting this off right!
Everyone should have their 5 x5 spreadsheet filled out by now, and your workout destiny should be mapped out for the next several weeks. Now make it happen.
So, there have already been a few questions thrown out vis-a-vis the 5x5 program that we’ll be following. I’ll attempt to answer them briefly here, but please feel free to email or ask me in person for greater explanation.
We will be completing a common warm up every day, and there may or may not be a ‘finisher’ at the end of the workout.
1. If you have your 1 Rm/estimated max for the Squat, Bench, Row, Deadlift, and Press, you can go to this link and input it into the spreadsheet to create your next few weeks worth of workouts. If you do not have all of the lifts recorded, you may wish to enter what you have for the first workout, but hold off on printing until you have the rest of the sheet filled out.
2. If you do NOT have all of the estimated max numbers for those lifts, we will use the first workout(s) for you to establish them. Afterwards, refer to #1 above.
3. Again, there will be an alternate workout provided on most days for those of you who are not scheduled to or choose not to do strength.
4. The goal is to complete 3 strength days per week (for convenience, referred to as days 1, 2, and 3). You may complete them on any day. Day 1 consists of Squat, Bench Press, and Row. Day 2 is a light Squat, Press, and Deadlift. Day 3 is a heavier day for Squat, Bench, and Row. Ideally, try to take at least 1 recovery day between each strength workout. If this does not work for your schedule, talk to me about how to arrange things.
Please let me know if you have any other questions (and I’m sure there will be).
There. I said it. Strength is King. (This should come as a huge shock to just about anyone who’s ever heard me speak about training…or not.) I’m not even going to bring in all of the studies and science—generally, if you get stronger, good things happen.
That being said, we are going to make our annual foray into summer strength training. It’s too hot to be running around all the time!
So, here’s the basic plan:
We’re going to take all of those numbers we just established (max squat, deadlift, bench, press, row) and we’re going to plug them into a modified Bill Starr 5x5 program. [If you are already familiar with this program, you can skip to the end and prep your spreadsheet.] We’ve played around with some different programs in the past (5,3,1, etc.), but I think this is a very solid, versatile program. You’ll notice (if you check out the link) that this is what’s known as a ‘Linear Progression’ program—which means that every week you’ll be performing the same lifts with more weight. Your goal is to keep increasing the weight incrementally, week in and week out, for as long as possible. We’ll be shooting for about 8 weeks worth.
Because everyone has a different schedule, we’re going to have to do some modifications to the way we run classes. Basically, every person will have 3 days per week of the strength work already lined up. So, on those days, you’ll warm up with the group and then hit your strength work. There may or may not be a short ‘finisher’ for that day. For everyone that is not doing the strength program that day, we’ll have another workout prepared. This ‘off day’ workout will have a heavy emphasis on mobility/recovery, corrective strength training (e.g., unilateral work, core work), and conditioning.
I strongly encourage everyone to commit to at least these 3 days of strength work for a few months. If you aren’t able to make it in to CFSW for one of the days, you will have your exercises and weights to be able to do it at the SRC, while travelling, etc. In theory, if you chose to not be strong, you could show up and only do the ‘off day’ workouts. But who wouldn’t want to be more of a badass??
Here is a link to a spreadsheet which will allow you to calculate the workouts for the next several weeks. Notice that you can not only enter your 1 rep max (if you happen to know it), but also use a multiple-rep max to estimate. So everyone should be able to generate at least a pretty fair idea of their numbers.
Take a look at the program, enter your numbers on the spreadsheet, and then save it! Print it. Email yourself a copy. Save it on your phone. Leave it here. But have a way to access that sheet during your workouts.
We’ll be starting this next week (5/14), so come prepared!
In all their glory, here are the max numbers for the bench press.
REMINDER: You will need to have at least a ballpark idea of your (1-5 rep) max for the following lifts: Back Squat, Press, Deadlift, and Bench Press.
If you need to make up a workout from this week to get said numbers, we will be doing a ‘Cinco de Make Up’ day tomorrow (Saturday) during normal class times. Come in, do the CF Total, Filthy 50, Bench Press/Lynne, or just pick and choose the lifts you need. If you’ve been here and don’t need to make up anything, there will be a normal Saturday workout provided as well. \
Just digging through the CFSW archives a bit, came across this CrossFit Total entry from ‘07. (Apparently May is CF Total month.) Notice that it took me 5 years to add a monstrous 11 pounds to my press. And note Matt D’s 275 deadlift! I keep telling you guys, there’s hope! And, upon consultation, we decided that Matt’s squat was actually 265, not 365. Big difference…
Some of you have met Andrew (he sent us the Ranger banner in the front room), most of you know Will and Matt. Kind of fun to look at what we were doing back in the day.
Posted on Monday, May 14th, 2007 at 12:00 am.
warmed up with some PVC movements: Dislocates, OHS, FS, BS, Sotts, rows, DL, etc.
CrossFit Total tonight. 1 RM of Deadlift, Strict Press, and Squat. Warm up as necessary/desired, and then 3 attempts to hit a max.
PRs were falling all over the place tonight! I think everyone hit at least 1 PR, a couple people hit 3, and everyone ended up with a PR for the Total. Strong work all around. Although, Andrew was a little disappointed that he didn’t add more carefully.
(Results listed as Deadlift, Press, Squat, Total)
Andrew 356, 131, 312, 799 total. Bummer. 1 pound…
Will 290, 145, 235, 670 total.
Matt 356, 150, 275, 781 total.
Patrick 336, 181, 332, 849 total.
ken 376, 181, 344, 901 total.
Coral* 95, 50, 55, 200 total. *first time in, kept weights down.
Yep, several people were asking for it, so we did a quick Filthy 50. Some good scores there! But…I did note that we’ve been remiss in teaching/enforcing the double unders. You really can’t call it a Filthy 50 unless you complete that unholy trifecta of Wall Ball/Burpee/Double Unders to finish.
So guess what we’re going to be working on for a month or two…