Get up… Jump up

Functional movement is the key to everything we do at CFWS.  We have stated countless times that “The Magic is in the Movements” when referring to the efficacy of our training protocols.  By embracing functional movements we choose to take an approach to fitness that is both more challenging and profoundly more effective than other, segmented training approaches.

There are many reasons why functional movements are superior to isolation exercises.  One of the great things about functional movements is that these movements are designed around locomotion.  That is if you have to get from point A to point B, you will have to use a locomotive functional movement in order to accomplish the task.  Getting up from the ground when you fall requires a skill set based on functional movement.  Walking, running, jumping and climbing are but a few more of the obvious functional movements.  Training in the CrossFit methodology allows you to become an extremely effective, efficient vehicle of locomotion.

Our goal as athletes is to increase our work capacity.  The bottom line is, when we increase our ability to do more work in less time, we are in fact increasing our fitness level.  Work requires movement.  Hopefully this is an obvious statement to all reading.  This is precisely why working through a full range of motion is not merely a suggestion at CFWS.  It should be the goal of every athlete at CFWS to accomplish full range of motion in every exercise we throw your way.

Take Samson Stretch for example.  Samson Stretch is nothing more than a series of walking lunge steps coupled with a shoulder girdle/ forearm stretch within each step.  Those who choose to perform Samson Stretch with a full depth lunge (back knee grazing the ground with each step) and the fullest expression of the overhead shoulder/forearm stretch will reap the most benefit out of this exercise.  Those who choose to only go half depth on the lunge because it requires too much effort to complete each repetition the correct way are really choosing to get less results out of their exercise session that day.  EVERY movement we do from the warm-up to the cool down is an opportunity to become more fit.  By working as hard as you possibly can throughout the entire hour, you are ensuring that you will be getting maximum results from your time spent in the gym.

Today’s workout is a combination of full body, locomotion based exercises.  The Turkish Get Up is an exercise that requires full control over the entire body (coordination), strength, balance and accuracy.  In this movement we are practicing how to safely and effectively get up from the ground while under load.  You will quickly notice why it is so important to be able to stand up out of a FULL DEPTH lunge with this movement.

The WOD is written as follows:

AMRAP in 15 minutes:

10 Turkish Get Ups (53,35)

20 Box Jumps (24,20)

This workout is great in that it requires you do the movements through the entire range of motion.  There is no other way to perform each movement – either you stand up from the ground or you don’t.  Likewise, you either jump high enough to get on top of the box, or you don’t.  By getting better at these movements, you will be getting better at locomotion, which will ultimately result in the ability to do more work in less time – now that sounds like CrossFit!


Tabata the Kitchen Sink

Metcon is the theme today at CFWS.  We will be seeking intensity over and over again by running through Tabata intervals in 5 different exercises, performed in succession.  The 5 exercises are as follows:

  • SDHP (75, 53)
  • KB Swing (53,35)
  • Knees To Elbows
  • Wall Ball (20,14)
  • Row for Calories

In all, this workout lasts 22 minutes (there is 30 seconds allotted for transition from one station to the next; 4 minutes of 20 sec “on”, 10 sec “off” is the prescribed work time at each station.)

Today’s warm-up takes about 20 minutes to complete, and there is also a strength component to today’s workout BEFORE getting to the metcon WOD at the end of the hour.  BE SURE TO BE ON TIME for today’s workout.  We will use every second of the hour today.

Many of our athletes are hitting their WODs harder than ever.  It is important to remember that working hard during the WOD is just part of what it takes to be a successful CrossFit athlete.  What you do during your recovery periods is equally as important to bringing intensity to the workouts.  The following is a list of things you must do to stay healthy while regularly working out with high intensity:

  1. Stretch, stretch, stretch… You hear it every day, but I can’t say it enough.  You need to stretch daily – once per day is a MINIMUM requirement of keeping your body mobile while hitting these workouts as hard as we do.  Stretching 3 times daily is realistically what it will take to improve flexibility in those of you that have been identified as having very tight muscles – you know who you are.
  2. Stay Hydrated! I know you’ve also heard this one before, but with the colder winter months upon us, many people forget to drink as much water as we need to be in order to stay optimally hydrated.  Divide your body weight by 2.  This is the minimum number of ounces of water you should be drinking EVERY DAY.
  3. Eat to fuel your workouts. The quality of your food is the most important thing here.  How many servings of fruits and vegetables are you getting every day?  If your answer was less than 10, that’s right 10!!!, then you are eating way too much processed junk foods.  It is unreasonable to expect your body to work as well as it should when you are constantly consuming the wrong fuel sources.
  4. REST! We should be getting 8 hours of sleep minimum each day, and at least 2 days away from the gym completely each week.  If you are following the standard 3 days on, 1 day off CrossFit work/rest ratio, you will be getting two days of rest for every 8 days that elapses.  Overtraining is a serious issue, and will ultimately result in decreased performance in the gym, illness, or injury — none of which is what we want.  Try and take a nap every day – especially on the days you workout.  Nothing triggers hormonal responses that lead to quicker recovery better than sleep; it is in the first 20 minutes of sleep that our pituitary gland triggers growth hormone to be released into the blood stream.  Growth hormone is easily the most important hormone in the entire recovery process.

By taking care of yourself outside of the gym, you will see the results of your hard work in the gym pay off quicker, with less chance of injury.  It is unrealistic to expect results from your workouts when you don’t take care of business outside of the gym.  Stay committed to the process and watch your fitness levels improve beyond what you ever thought was possible.  We are here to guide you through every step of the process; ultimately it is your Personal Responsibility to take advantage of every opportunity to increase your fitness.  Realize Your Potential.


Finish 2009 STRONG — no excuses

As we begin to wrap up 2009, it is important to reflect on the past 50 weeks and remind ourselves of just how far we have come this year.  Most, if not all, of our athletes at CFWS experienced numerous “firsts” in 2009.  How many of you got your first handstand in a loooong time?  How fit were you at this point last year?  Have you accomplished all of your goals for 2009?  Will you be setting goals for 2010?  How fit will you become in 2010?

Goal setting is a necessary part of seeking improvements in every aspect of life — including fitness.  Without goals, we have no direction; we are unable to determine whether all our effort has been worthwhile when we have nothing to weigh our results against.  In most of our workouts, the goals are implied — do more work in less time.  This goal is constant.  By increasing our average power output, we know we are increasing our fitness levels.  How we go about increasing our work capacity, however, becomes more complicated.  Increased work capacity requires improvements in our weakest areas of fitness.

If we are to objectively set goals and focus on improving our fitness levels, it is completely necessary to assess our current fitness levels across broad time and modal domains.  In other words, we will need to test each of the 10 components of our fitness profile:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Stamina
  • Endurance
  • Speed
  • Power
  • Accuracy
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Balance

With so many variables in this profile, any assessment of our fitness will have to be multi-faceted to ensure that we are being thorough.  Such an assessment has been created, and will be administered as a 5 part series beginning January 2nd, 2010.  Think of this as your own personal CrossFit Games.  You have each been entered to compete, and are expected to give it your all.  Some of these assessments are already CrossFit benchmarks and others are unique creations that purposely focus on balance, accuracy, etc.  While the specifications of the assessments are known by only one person at this time, one thing is certain…  You will be tested thoroughly. Goal setting for 2010 will not be a problem once these assessments are through.

Today’s WOD is a great preparation for the upcoming assessments.  It goes as follows:

4 Rounds for time:

  • 10 Deadlift (225, 155)
  • 20 Ring Push Ups

Of course, there is a Strength component BEFORE today’s WOD and, yes, it does involve pressing a weight overhead.  Just remember…  If it were easy, it wouldn’t be CrossFit.


Calling all CFWS Athletes

Announcing the 2010 CFWS
Random Acts of Fitness Challenge

RL and DP L-Sit

The first annual CrossFit West Sacramento — Random Acts of Fitness Challenge is here!!!

What is the Random Acts of Fitness Challenge you ask?  Just the most fun you will ever have showing how and why you love training at CrossFit West Sacramento.

RL and DP Single Arm Handstand

If you are a current CrossFit West Sacramento athlete, consider yourself officially called-out to take part in this year’s Random Acts of Fitness Challenge.  Read on for information on the rules of the challenge and the great prizes that are available to all who participate.

Random Acts of Fitness Challenge
Participant Guidelines

CrossFit West Sacramento announces our first annual CFWS Random Acts of Fitness Challenge.  This challenge is a way for you to demonstrate how exercising with the CrossFit methodology has helped you to become better at the things you enjoy doing.

The CFWS Random Acts of Fitness Challenge works as follows:

  1. Locate one of our signs around town.  (click here for map of sign locations)  — there are also two signs available for check  out at the gym — signs will be loaned on a first come, first served basis.  There is a 3 hour limit on loaned signs.
  2. Photograph or video tape yourself performing your favorite CrossFit West Sacramento inspired activity (this could include exercises you do in the gym such as burpees and pull-ups, or it could include novel activities that demonstrate your fitness level.)  — See the sample pics/videos above for inspiration — Click on the picture and you will be taken to a short video of CFWS trainers RL and DP doing CrossFit based movement in public.  Your media must have the posted CFWS sign in the frame — the more visible the sign is, the better.
  3. Write a brief (500 words or less) essay about how training at CrossFit West Sacramento has changed your life.
  4. Submit your media content (pictures and/or video) along with your essay with the words CFWS Random Acts of Fitness in the subject line.

The coaches at CrossFit West Sacramento will review all entries that are received no later than midnight, January 31st, 2010.  The top three entries will receive the following prizes:

1st Place Entry:

  • 1 Free Month of Unlimited CrossFit Classes at CrossFit West Sacramento

2nd Place Entry:

  • Half off February Dues for Unlimited CrossFit Classes at CrossFit West Sacramento

3rd Place Entry:

  • One item of your choice from the CFWS apparel catalogue

Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Photographs and/or videos must take place in a setting where an approved CrossFit West Sacramento sign is posted; the CrossFit West Sacramento sign must be visible in photographs and/or videos for the content to be eligible for entry.
  • Capturing the attention of bystanders/ spectators will be highly rewarded in the scoring criteria.  If you can get a bystander to do, let’s say, burpees with you — even better!!!  The goal here is to demonstrate your enthusiasm for CrossFit West Sacramento in the most public way possible.  Scream it from the mountain tops!!
  • Functional movements must be utilized in photographs and/or videos.
    • The relevance of these functional movements to daily life must be either implied in your visual media or specifically stated in your essay.
  • Essays must demonstrate how utilizing CrossFit has allowed you to become better at the things you enjoy doing in your life (ie. Mountain biking, running, increased sports performance, taking care of your grandchildren, etc.)
  • Have fun with this challenge — the more creative and passionate your entries are, the better!

All participant entries will be rewarded with a CrossFit West Sacramento window decal like you see on JP and RL’s rigs for you to sport around town.  Get creative, have fun, and step up to the challenge!  All eligible entries will be posted on our website for you to share with the world!

CFWS Strength Day

Today will be a strength day at CFWS.  We have stations set up for the following exercises:

  • Bench Press (when was the last time you did this exercise?)
  • Back Squat
  • Strict Overhead Press

We also will have the parallettes and GHD’s available for core strength training.

The Workout will go as follows:

Warm Up

  • Samson Stretch 1 fwd/bkwd
  • Spiderman Floor Crawl 1<–>
  • Low Skip 1<–>
  • Side Shuffle 1<–>
  • High Knees 1<–>
  • Butt Kickers 1<–>
  • High Skip 1<–>
  • 10 x Shoulder Pass Throughs
  • 10 x OHS w/ PVC @ wall
  • 10 x Burpee

Strength Component

  • Back Squat 8,5,5,5
  • Bench Press 8,8,8,8
  • Press 8,5,5,5
  • GHD Situps 10,10,10,10
  • GHD Back Extensions 10,10,10,10
  • Parallette Shoot Throughs 10,10,10,10
  • 60 Seconds Cumulative — L-sit

This WOD can be completed in any order; there should be at least 2 minutes of rest between each set of strength training.  Coach JP and coach Porter, D. will facilitate your workouts.  Feel free to drop in between the hours of 4PM and 6PM today for your WODs.

Have a great workout today — GET STRONGER!!!


Snatches and Pullups

Today at CFWS, we will be tackling a couplet WOD (a workout with just two exercises in it.)  As most of you have already learned, couplets have a tendency to be some of the most challenging WODs ever.  The simplicity in the programming is often matched only by the intensity of the workout itself.  Today’s workout fits the bill perfectly…

AMRAP in 15 min

  • 10 Snatch (135, 95)
  • 10 Pull-ups

The common sentiment “It’s only been three minutes!!!??!!!” has resonated through the gym more than once today, and has likely crossed the mind of every athlete that has done today’s WOD thus far.

If you have somehow missed the email AND the posting on the Home Page, here’s a reminder about the scheduling for the next 4 days:

Those of you who have been coming to WODs and Foundations Classes this week have already heard the news that CFWS will have a modified schedule for the end of this week through Monday of next week.

The schedule will be as follows:

  • Friday 12/11/09  — Strength Day 4PM to 6PM with JP
  • Saturday 12/12/09 — 8AM WOD with JP
  • Sunday 12/13/09 — Closed
  • Monday 12/14 — Benchmark WOD 4PM to 6PM with JP

WODs and Foundations Classes will return to the normal schedule on Tuesday 12/15.  Also, keep your eyes peeled for a scheduling survey in which you will be able to give us valuable feedback regarding the days and times you would like to see additional WODs in our schedule of classes.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and look forward to seeing you all either later today, or on Tuesday when I return.


Patience Grasshopper

CFWS Athletes did a great job performing Tuesday’s WOD – which turned out to be the third very demanding WOD in as many consecutive days.  The WOD went as follows:

5 Rounds for time:

  • 30 Double Unders
  • 20 Overhead Walking Lunges (40,30)
  • 10 Knees to Elbows

As always, the penalty for doing Single-Unders instead of Double-Unders was 4 for 1.  A couple of people tried to make the argument that Double Unders only pass the rope under the feet twice, and therefore there should only be a 2 for 1 penalty for those doing singles. I guess I can’t blame them for trying this argument, but here’s the logic behind doing double unders.

Double Unders pull from the gymnastic component of CrossFit’s triad of Fitness Training Realms.  Double Unders help us to improve our coordination, balance, accuracy and agility – all neuromuscular components of fitness that are not easily trained.  In essence, a Double Under is a highly coordinated series of accurate jumps and rope swings.  It seems easy enough to just jump higher and swing faster in order to turn the standard Single Under into a Double Under, but like any movement, once the intensity of a movement is amplified, flaws in technique are also amplified.  This is why doing Double Unders is more than 4 times as hard as doing Single Unders.

It is very important to practice jumping rope with a purpose.  Whether we are doing Single Unders or Double Unders, there are a few tips that help us to become more efficient with our movement, and therefore, more likely to accomplish the goal of completing Double Unders in a timely manner in the next WOD that has this exercise in it.  Watch this videoas a guide for practicing your Double Unders.

It is easy to become frustrated with this movement when we are first learning how to gain proficiency in the exercise.  Be assured that this is a learning process that takes multiple, distinct attempts at learning and correctly achieving the movement pattern.  The development of neuro-muscular coordination is a process that takes time and practice.  If we practice with bad habits, however, we will be reinforcing the flaws in our technique and will ultimately be wasting our time.

There is also a great CrossFit Journal entry that depicts Greg Amundson’s run in with Double Unders that ultimately cost him the right to compete in the 2009 CrossFit Games.

Follow this link to the CrossFit Journal:

You will have to pay the annual subscription fee and then log in for the link to work.  The subscription to the CrossFit Journal is worth every penny and is considered required reading for novice CrossFitters and seasoned veterans alike.

CFWS will continue to challenge you to improve ALL aspects of your fitness profiles.  We have all the resources for you to achieve your goals – all you have to bring is the will to succeed and an insatiable work ethic every time you step in the door at CrossFit West Sacramento.  Patience and hard work will take you a long way in CrossFit.

Keep up the great work!


Mr. Grizzly meets Mr. Burpee

Fresh out of Skills and Drills week, the athletes at CFWS hit a monster WOD yesterday including a barbell complex called the Grizzly, with some burpees sprinkled in for good measure.

What is a Grizzly?  I’m glad you asked…

The Grizzly is a movement introduced to me by my colleague, Scott Middleton, of Driven Fitness and goes as follows:

First, approach a barbell as it sits on the ground.

  • Power Clean the barbell to your shoulders
  • Do a Thruster (Full Depth Squat to Overhead Press – locked out over head)
  • Safely lower the barbell to Back Squat position on your shoulders
  • Do a Back Squat
  • Press/Push Press/ Push Jerk the barbell from your shoulders to locked-out overhead again – just get it locked out overhead with any technique you feel most confident with.  *Many of us chose to perform a second Thrusteresque movement out of the Back Squat in order to preserve the momentum that was already placed on the barbell, therefore not wasting any energy* (or just to get the damn movement over with already!!!)
  • Drop the Barbell to the floor.

Congratulations!!!  You have just completed one Grizzly!

As you can see, it was very important for our athletes to have established proficiency in no less than five distinct movements in order to properly do the Grizzly.  The improved technique that our athletes acquired during Skills and Drills week showed up immediately as our athletes worked through the lifts almost flawlessly.  Skills and Drills week was definitely needed and without a doubt was worth while.

The repetition scheme for yesterday’s WOD went as follows:

  • 10 Grizzlies (115, 80)
  • 2 Burpees
  • 8 Grizzlies
  • 4 Burpees
  • 6 Grizzlies
  • 6 Burpees
  • 4 Grizzlies
  • 8 Burpees
  • 2 Grizzlies
  • 10 Burpees

…  For Time

While JM, RL and JP posted the three top Rx’d times of the day, it was definitely MUCH MORE impressive to watch Dan Porter complete the entire workout at the prescribed weight (which was just 7lbs shy of his own bodyweight!!!)  Porter – you are a beast!

Everyone worked very hard at CFWS on Monday – Effort WAS NOT Avoided…

The WOD for today is as follows:

5 Rounds for time:

  • 30 Double Unders
  • 20 Overhead Walking Lunges (40,30)
  • 10 Knees to Elbows

Today’s WOD rewards skill in the double under as well as a good base level of metabolic conditioning.  It will be great to see our athletes attack this WOD as this is the first time walking Overhead Lunges has shown up in a WOD since the now infamous PSYCHO WOD back in October.

See you all out at CFWS today!!


Lumberjack 20

CFWS has wrapped up a week of skill building in basic lifts such as the Back Squat, Front Squat, Overhead Squat, Deadlift, Press and Push Press, as well as some more advanced lifts such as: Push Jerk, Split Jerk, Hang Power Clean, Hang Clean, Power Clean and Clean, not to mention a healthy dose of gymnastics based movement and yes, even a little bit of hand to hand combat technique.  This week has resulted in marked improvements in multiple lifts for all of our members, which is exactly what we set out to do.  I applaud each of our members who made a very strong effort to attend class more than usual in order to get all of the instruction available on skills and drills week.

Saturday’s WOD provided an immediate opportunity to put our newfound skills to the test as CFWS participated in the Fort Hood memorial WOD — Lumberjack 20.

This WOD Rx’d at heavy enough weight that most of our athletes had to scale the load just to attempt the WOD.  This was one big workout with 140 repetitions and almost two miles of running.

Here’s how the workout looks on paper:

Lumberjack 20

20 Deadlifts (275lbs)
Run 400m
20 KB swings (2pood)
Run 400m
20 Overhead Squats (115lbs)
Run 400m
20 Burpees
Run 400m
20 Pullups (Chest to Bar)
Run 400m
20 Box jumps (24″)
Run 400m
20 DB Squat Cleans (45lbs each)
Run 400m

Like I said, this WOD was not for the light hearted; in a solid showing of support for Fort Hood, our athletes stepped up to the plate.  Check out our video of CFWS athletes attacking this workout with everything they had..

Kickin’ It at CFWS

As promised, CrossFit West Sac is keeping things constantly varied in Skills and Drills Week.  We have learned the importance of finding and holding the correct bottom positions in many different lifts, including the squat, deadlift and pushup positions to name a few (is anybody sick of the new timer yet???)

Today’s skill work will be led by coach Jeff as we convert our box into a dojo, lose the shoes and socks and learn how to properly throw a round kick.  It will be increasingly important to learn basic striking skills as these skills will begin to show up in CFWS WODs in the very near future — keep your eyes open for our version of Fight Gone Bad.

We look forward to seeing all of our members in attendance today as we learn brand new skills for many of you.  It will be nice to get a break from the barbell for a day after what you all have been through the first three days this week.  Don’t underestimate today’s workout, though.  You will be surprised at how much work throwing a kick can be.   Oh, and WE ARE using the timer again today!!