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ISSUE SEVENTY-TWO

August 2008

All Other Things Being Equal The CrossFit Fairness Doctrine Paul Eich

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What is an Erg? Judy Geer

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Mental Strength Mike Houghton

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Media Tips, #6 Tony Budding

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Outfit Your Box An Equipment Procurement Guide Eddie Lugo

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Nick Hawke’s Snatch Training at Mike’s Gym, Part 1 Mike Burgener

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Why Train Gymnastics Basics? Jeff Tucker

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Training for Special Medical Populations Cardiac Concerns Jennifer McKenzie

All Other Things Being Equal The CrossFit Fairness Doctrine

Countering the Clinch Escape Becca Borawski

Paul Eich

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CrossFit Programming, #3

Of the many issues cooking on the Workout of the Day blog and CrossFit forums, few Dave Castro page 28 have generated as much heat as the butterfly kipping pull-up (BFK). The debates over this movement have been warming ever since a video of a 2:19 “Fran” performance CrossFit Kids by Brett Marshall (aka “AFT”) was posted on CrossFit.com in the spring of 2007. More recently, I remember a comment at a CrossFit event that pejoratively classified Forging Future Achievers Cyndi Rodi page 29 continued page ... 2


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AFT’s pull-ups as “snake pull-ups.” Early criticism focused on the use of the split bars that permitted those “snake pull-ups.” However, when AFT put up a second-place performance at the 2007 CrossFit Games, it was clear that his pioneering movement was not an impediment to his fitness. In the June 2008 CrossFit Journal, Tony Budding’s delightful, hard-hitting analysis in “Capacity Standards and Sport” puts the question into perspective: “Proper movement technique is nothing other than the most efficient, effective, and safe means for increasing power and work capacity.” So, what of the argument that BFKs are fast but don’t increase fitness? In my book, that would be a valid criticism if proven, and a good reason not to do only BFKs. (If we follow CrossFit’s prescription for variation, that should never be a problem anyway.) However, my sense is that the real driver for all the vented frustration over BFKs arises primarily from a completely different issue—namely that CrossFit, and specifically the sport of fitness as contested at the CrossFit Games, is not fair. (See, for example, the continuing heated discussions of the BFK—and of fairness, technique, measurement, and competition—in the main page comments on June 26 of this year, spurred by the imminence of the 2008 Games and the posting of a new 2:02 record “Fran” performance.) Don’t get me wrong. I delight in CrossFit as a means to pursue fitness. I admire and enjoy the community that has grown under Coach Glassman’s nurturing. I love how I feel as a result of the training. Still, there’s no questioning that, in the sport realm, CrossFit is unfair. I think it’s fair to say that, all other things being equal, the CrossFit Games do indeed reward athletes who have tremendous work capacity in broad time and modal domains. But that’s just the point: it is never the case that all other things will be equal. For any physical attribute related to athletic performance, life delivers to humanity a bell curve distribution of gifts. Fifty percent of us are below average in whichever attribute we decide to analyze, whether that be height, weight, speed, strength, or types of “body intelligence” such as balance, coordination, timing, depth perception, agility, etc. CrossFit is far from unique in its abject unfairness, as unfairness is a signal quality of the human condition. The very conceptualization of sport means that most of us unconsciously ignore that sport is closed off to unathletic or improperly sized aspirants. Football is extremely unfair to the short, small, slow, and weak, not to mention those with weak bones or ligaments, low pain tolerance, or a less than overwhelming desire to compete. Track is ruthlessly unfair to those who cannot run fast, throw far, or jump long. Basketball mocks those who are short, don’t have power, or lack speed and hand-eye coordination. Competitive gymnastics isn’t even possible for the tall or weak or ungainly. If we take the blinders off for a moment, there are a gracious plenty of folks we frequently omit when considering the fairness of any sport. Injury and genetic

I personally am holding out for the day when tall, over-40 guys with bad knees, a low pain tolerance, a wishy-washy attitude about training and winning, a 40-meter sprint time of 5.5 seconds or more, and a vertical jump of less than 20 inches get to go head to head just with one another. Now, there’s a class I might be able to dominate!

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stature, but completely ignored the role his stature played in the rest of his incredible performances. Such a lament also ignores the fact that all of the top ten finishers were unfairly gifted with astonishing and broad-ranging abilities (at top of the bell curve in many aspects of athleticism), and fails to note that these monsters were all 20 to 35 years of age. The same criticism—that the weight was too high and therefore the contest “unfair” for the “little guy”—was levied again after this year’s final event. It could just as easily have been said, however, that the burpees, thrusters, and pull-ups for time in the earlier events were equally “unfair” for bigger athletes. No doubt the bigger, taller folks would have finished significantly faster in the final event (30 reps of 155-pound squat clean and jerks) had they been able to do power cleans in the final event, which would let them both leverage their strength advantage and offset the disadvantage of squatting up their additional weight.

defect eliminate many contenders who might otherwise have the right skills to compete. There’s no sport I know that isn’t unapologetically unfair to those who are injured or old or fearful. And even beyond that, low IQ bars entry to most competitive sport for even those with incredible athleticism. If you don’t get my point in stating the obvious yet, here it is: CrossFit discriminates for size and athletic ability in its many expressions, just as every other sport does. If you are of above average height, you will be penalized in cycle-time events (such as pull-ups or air squats); if you are of below average height and weight, you may find it difficult to compete at the upper levels of pure strength events, unless you are extremely massive and short, in which case you will be at a disadvantage in running, a limit you will share with anyone who is of above average mass. If you don’t have athletic ability, or, more specifically, don’t have above-average athletic ability in a number of attributes, you will not be able to compete for the best of the best at the Games. Small, Spealsized athletes will have to possess an astonishing superiority in other athletic attributes to prevail, and the John Welbourn-sized competitors better hope there’s no 10K through the hills, nor too many push-ups, muscle-ups, or other bodyweight elements.

There’s no questioning that in the sport realm, CrossFit is unfair. The unfairness is everywhere, and it is exactly like all of life in that respect, so I suggest—for the sake of intellectual integrity and sanity, and for a bit of common ground on which we can all stand—that we just get over it.

Why would I bother to recite these obvious facts? I do so simply to make it plain that talk of fairness in regards to the Games, life, or anything is pointless because it ignores the glibly made points above. After last year’s Games, one impassioned blogger lamented that Speal (as Chris Spealler is generally known) won the first two events but fell out as the fourth competitor overall due to his

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The unfairness is everywhere, and it is exactly like all of life in that respect, so I suggest—for the sake of intellectual integrity and sanity, and for a bit of common ground on which we can all stand—that we just get over it.

What we should care about is whether the rules are fairly communicated, established such that athletes can comply, and adjudicated impartially, consistently, and to facilitate enjoyment of the performance. If so, that’s about all the fairness I can stand.

If you don’t like the feeling that you can’t compete for top honors at the Games because you are too this or too that, I don’t blame you. I don’t like how that feels at all. I too am seduced by the desire for the rewards reaped by those who distinguish themselves on the field of competition. But emotional intelligence demands that we deal with that desire by accepting the simple reality that life didn’t deal most of us a 99th percentile performance in anything (a possible exception being that those of us who are U.S. citizens are in the 99th percentile worldwide for standard of living). Appeals to some hypothetical standard of absolute fairness are a distraction that, from individual perspective, gives one nothing good, and in a community setting, diminishes the celebration of athletic accomplishment for no good reason.

“normalcy” for athletic competition. And sports are frequently divided into categories of gender or age to make them more “fair.” In this regard, it is possible that the Games will develop over time to offer a broader range of competitors an opportunity to distinguish themselves in the Sport of Fitness. A Masters (e.g., old guys) division, weight classes, and height and weight classes have been proposed numerous times in comments on CrossFit.com or the message board, sometimes accompanied by a suggestion that perhaps scoring based on power output rather than pure time to completion would somewhat compensate for height and mass differences. I personally am holding out for the day when tall, over-40 guys with bad knees, a low pain tolerance, a wishy-washy

As humbling as it is for me to admit this, I am not the first to notice the heart-rending unfairness of sport. Because others were on to this fact first, there are Olympics for subsets of a variety of folks who are not in a state of, for lack of a better characterization, 4


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attitude about training and winning, a 40-meter sprint time of 5.5 seconds or more, and a vertical jump of less than 20 inches get to go head to head just with one another. Now, there’s a class I might be able to dominate!

officer. In fact, fitness is a means to those ends. And, while I’ve delivered less-than-stellar results on many WODs, the day has yet to come when my execution of a WOD hasn’t furthered my goal of using CrossFit to make me more fit.

In the ideal, we may one day be able to quantify and measure every measure of athleticism and provide a competitive category for each. We could then view the winners as those who had the most courage, trained the hardest, and performed the best when the chips were down, which is the essence of what we like to like in athletic performers. Until then, we watch the Games to admire the competitors and enjoy the astonishing performances, all the while knowing that, really, it just isn’t fair.

From that perspective, I challenge all readers to join me in rising above whatever we may find to be less than ideal about this or that movement, about the CrossFit Games’ arbitrary standards, about your or my lack of world-class performance, or about our potential dislike of how CrossFit the Community may change as it grows by leaps and bounds. Let’s focus instead on the part of CrossFit that is free for the taking, benefits any who pursue it, and cannot be diminished by any other person’s performance or lack thereof. Focus on your own fitness. Find and hold on to your satisfaction in gaining fitness like you’ve never known it. Relish the pleasure of sharing the experience with any others who will pursue it with you. These states of gratitude and satisfaction exceed any outcome that may be measured by a medal. It is our gift to ourselves to be mindful that we have the power to get for ourselves—by our own will, desire, and commitment to the Workout of the Day—the best that can be had.

However, fairness is a “fair” term to apply in the context of sport. That’s why there are rules and standards and attempts to establish level playing fields. In this context, Budding’s pre-Games comments are worth repeating: “[The Games] will necessarily require arbitrary standards and rules to be established for the sake of sport. These standards are human creations, which often get reified to the status of natural laws.” This is just common sense. What we should care about is whether the rules are fairly communicated, established such that athletes can comply, and adjudicated impartially, consistently, and to facilitate enjoyment of the performance. If so, that’s about all the fairness I can stand. Later on in his analysis, Budding usefully contextualizes competition by reminding us of the key element of CrossFit, fitness: “It is at our peril that we forget the arbitrary nature of standards. Proper movement technique is nothing other than the most efficient, effective, and safe means for increasing power and work capacity.” This last is the most significant point to make, in my opinion. For most of us, the Games are something to enjoy as spectators, aspiring competitors, former competitors, and perhaps even as coaches who want to train competitive CrossFitters. However, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be distracted in the process of enjoying the Games. The distinguishing factor of CrossFit is not that it allows competition or gives those 99th percentilers a stage to show us their skills but that it provides them and the rest of us with the best means yet determined to build useful bodies—the best fitness with the least wasted time and the most satisfaction in the journey.

Paul “Apolloswabbie” Eich is a CrossFit Level-2 certified instructor. He is in his nineteenth year of service as a Naval officer and has logged over 3,000 hours in U.S. Navy aircraft. Paul trains in his garage gym and at CrossFit Memphis.

When I’m in the middle of a workout, disappointed in my performance, or frustrated by my lack of fighting spirit, I have learned to ask myself, “What are we doing here?” That’s a grounding question, because the answer for me is simply “Giving myself a great workout.” In my list of life’s priorities, fitness falls out well below being a good husband, father, citizen, and Naval

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What is an Erg? Judy Geer You may have noticed that the Concept2 indoor rower is often referred to as an “erg,” and if you’ve listened to any on-water rowers talk about it, they probably call our machine “the erg” all the time. CrossFitters have been rowing long and hard, and last month, for the first time ever; “Row 2k” was the Workout of the Day. So, it’s time to bring you into the inner circle. You’ve earned it. Call it the erg. The literal definition of ergometer is “a device that measures work,” and this offers some insight into the intentions of Peter and Dick Dreissigacker, the founders of Concept2, as they developed their first commercial rowing machine. They wanted to offer an effective, realistic training tool for on-water rowers, especially for use during the winter months. It was important to them that the device be able to accurately measure work output and performance, so that rowers could measure their speed and distance as if they were on the water and track their progress—and so they could compare their own times across different machines and also compete with other rowers. When the Dreissigacker brothers were developing their ergometer, the only other option available to rowing programs was a large, unwieldy, and prohibitively expensive machine used primarily for testing rowers. It was considered more of a torture device than a training tool. The Concept2 ergometer was a welcome improvement. It was priced right and easy to use, so rowing programs could purchase enough of them for training purposes, not just testing. It also quickly gained popularity for home use among both rowers and general fitness enthusiasts. (For a brief history of Concept2’s development, see the company’s Timeline web page.) In 1981, when Concept2’s Model A was released, it was the first wind-resistance rowing machine to use a bicycle wheel for the flywheel, with extra weight welded on to provide the right amount of momentum to simulate the feel of on-water rowing. It was simple, but it worked. Bicycle technology was also used for our first Performance Monitor, which was in fact a bicycle speedometer. The Performance Monitor has come a long way since then, but even this early version allowed athletes to get a time or score for their workouts. Indeed, the first C.R.A.S.H.-B. indoor rowing race was held the next winter (1982), inspired by the new ergometer. Participants raced a distance of 6 miles on the speedometer. The original Performance Monitor had several weaknesses regarding accurate work measurement. It did not take ambient conditions such as altitude and barometric pressure into account, and it did not have the ability to calculate and display actual work output. It showed only the speed and distance covered, which didn’t correlate well with on-water performance. In 1986, Concept2 developed its first electronic Performance Monitor (the PM1), which was introduced along with the second generation of the erg (the Model B). The Performance Monitor brought several key improvements in the erg’s ability to measure work. The monitor calculates the actual power dissipated by the flywheel, which it then uses to calculate pace, power output, calories, etc. To ensure that this calculation is accurate, the factory calibrates the moment of inertia of every flywheel to within .01 percent before it becomes part of an erg. On every run-down of the flywheel the monitor measures the speed of rotation

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and uses it to re-calibrate itself. This corrects for changes and differences in pressure, temperature, damper settings and other conditions; essentially selfcalibrating so that scores can be compared worldwide! These may seem like small changes, but they are critical. They make it possible to get an accurate score from the rowing machine, which can be compared to someone else’s score or to your own score from a previous attempt. They are what make our indoor rower truly an ergometer. These features are important to competitive on-water rowers, and they are important to CrossFitters, who thrive on measurable efforts and results and want to leave no weakness untested. Each successive generation of erg has become smoother and more comfortable, just as each generation of Performance Monitor has offered additional features and capabilities. (For more information on the various models offered over the years, see the Concept2.com page Which Model Do You Have?) The new Concept2 indoor rowers on the market are our fourth- and fifth-generation ergs (Model D and Model E) with our third- and fourth-generation Performance Monitors (PM3 and PM4). Rowers now can choose among various units for data presentation (time, meters, watts, calories, etc.), interface with heart-rate monitors, set up interval workouts, store favorite workouts, link rowers together for racing, and connect with computers. It’s rare to find an exercise machine that accurately measures your output. Most are simple revolution counters. Many that do actually measure output in some way are not self-calibrating, and thus scores cannot truly be compared from one machine to another. The Concept2 erg stands apart, and with it the sport of indoor rowing that it makes possible. Just as the CrossFit WODs need to be measurable and comparable, so the online rowing community thrives on maintaining personal log books and log cards and having access to online ranking databases and community challenges. This is all made possible by the ability to accurately and consistently measure work capacity and output. The next time you use the indoor rower, you can call it the erg. Or, if halfway through a 2000-meter effort, there are other, less savory things you want to call it, that’s OK too.

Model A

Model B

Model C

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Damper Settings The Performance Monitor’s measurements and calculations take damper setting into account, so it doesn’t matter what setting you choose. Your score will still be comparable to any other score. So, you should use whichever damper setting feels best to you and gets you the best score. The harder part is determining what that setting is for you, because it means doing a series of 2000-meter tests to find your best performance. Most experienced rowers achieve their personal bests at damper settings in the range of 3 to 5, so this is a good place to start. Lower damper settings require more quickness and rapid turnover. If you’ve been rowing at a higher setting, you’ll want to practice at the lower setting for a few workouts before attempting a 2k test. For more information, see Peter Dreissigacker’s CrossFit Journal article “Indoor Rowing: Damper Settings and Intensity.”

Judy Geer was a member of three U.S. Olympic rowing teams (1976, 1980, 1984). She placed sixth in both 1976 and 1984; 1980 was the boycott year.) Since then, she and her husband Dick Dreissigacker (also an Olympic rower and co-founder, with Peter Dreissigacker, of Concept2 Rowing) have raised three children who are national-level competitive athletes in their own right. Judy continues to train and race in sculling, running, Nordic skiing, and biathlon.

Model D

Model E


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Mental Strength Mike Houghton

Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers

“The perspective that you acquire on facing hardship makes you stronger and tougher in a lot of ways that are unrelated to that specific endeavor.” —Keith Bontrager

My work with Coach Henson eventually led to me getting a shot as a “walk on” with the San Diego State University football team; so I went to the gym at the university to start working out. I thought I had a pretty good base of strength and conditioning, seeing as I had worked out with Coach Henson so hard. Then I met Dave Ohton, the strength coach for SDSU. Things got worse.

I played professional football, which was no walk in the park, but, I tell you, CrossFit is hard. The mental demands of hitting the variety of workouts that CrossFit prescribes are as challenging as anything I’ve done. All through high school, I remember working out as hard as I could every day. It was a dreaded thing to have to work out with Coach Henson. Nobody wanted to. He worked you too hard. But one day he picked me to train with him. At the time, I thought he was punishing me. “He doesn’t make anyone else do this.” I could easily have seen this coach as a jerk, and I could have seen myself as a victim.

The rest of the summer that year was spent sweating and feeling like I wanted to quit and forget about playing football. I clearly remember my first day of really working out. I was in the weight room for two full hours. It seemed like it would never end. The workouts were bad enough, but then I had to do the running part.

I actually started out feeling that way, but the workouts began to affect me. I became stronger mentally. I was very young and naïve. I didn’t realize that he was trying to do the best thing for me. I just knew that nobody else had to work as hard as I did. It didn’t seem fair. As it turned out, he was specifically trying to get me a shot at college football.

When all the other high school seniors were out having a grand old time, I was lying on the floor, trying to regain enough strength to do something productive with the rest of my day. Was I physically exhausted? Sure, but even more than that, I was mentally drained. I had already given my all. I had to struggle mentally every single day to get up and go back for some more. Now, this sounds 8


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Mental Strength

Photo by Jordan Gravatt of CrossFit by Overload

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something like what CrossFitters do on a daily basis. We know how hard something is going to be, and that we are going to be laid out on the floor afterwards, but we do it anyway.

Why do I say all of that? What does it have to do with CrossFit? Mentally, CrossFit is hard. Physically too, of course, but I think that part of the reason so many people don’t do CrossFit is because of the mental toughness it takes to complete a workout. Most guys in college would cheat through the workouts, skipping sets and reps here and there. Then they would bitch and moan about how their strength wasn’t improving. Well, I quickly found out that if you cheat the system, you cheat yourself. Mentally, they weren’t tough enough to make it that intensely in a workout. The same goes with CrossFit. If you cheat yourself, you suffer. When I started doing CrossFit in August of 2007, I could do two pullups. I ran my 3.4-mile course in 36 minutes. I was pretty good at jumping rope, but nowhere near what I am now. I weighed 310 pounds. At the peak of my strength, I could squat over 500 pounds, bench press 465, and power clean over 300.

That spring brought early morning workouts on the track. I woke up one morning crying. I was crying in my sleep because I was so nervous and stressed out about how hard the running was every day. I weighed over 300 pounds, and the worst workout was when we had to run eight 200-meter sprints. I know what you’re thinking, that I couldn’t have been going very fast because I was a big guy. Each effort was less than 34 seconds, which may be slow by sprinter standards but is certainly a fast run for a 300-pounder. Somehow, by the end of spring, I didn’t dread the running so much. I felt like I knew it was going to be tough, but that I would make it and be a better athlete because of it.

I went down to talk to my strength coach just recently. He knew about CrossFit. He thought it was great that I was so into it, but he gave me a warning: “That shit is hard.” He was right. He also explained that a lot of the running and working out we did in college had less to do with gaining physical strength than with getting mentally stronger. “When you’re out there, and you’re ready to quit during a game, the work you put in during the offseason will determine whether you give up or push through,” he said.

This attitude change is a kind of shift that most of us go through with CrossFit. We all dread the workouts every day for a while. Then, our brains hit a point where we think, “Well, it will be hard, but fun.” Who ever thought that we would find something sadistic, exercise-wise, to do to our bodies and enjoy it? I never did, but after a couple of months of CrossFit, I started finding myself looking at which workouts looked the hardest, and wanting to do them. 9


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Mental Strength ...continued

If I apply this to CrossFit, he’s absolutely right. When I first looked at the website and saw people doing hundreds of pull-ups, I refused to believe that it was possible. I talked to my buddy and we discussed how people said that the “300” workout was not very hard. We just thought people were talking out of their asses. The same thing happened with workouts like “Murph.” Run a mile, then do all that stuff (100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats), and then run another mile? Yeah, right.

Eventually, the workouts started to look less hard. I knew they were just as hard as ever, but I no longer looked at it and asked whether I would be able to finish. The question now was just how long it would take. I knew without a doubt that I would finish a workout, no matter which one came up. it, though, they begin to change their mentality. They may begin to see that 50 pull-ups are not really that much. I think that the reason some trainers push their clients so hard and sometimes rhabdomyolysis rears its ugly head is because of this—because the trainers get used to it and can forget how hard CrossFit really is. They see “Fran” and say “Yeah it’s hard, but it only takes a few minutes and you’re done.” Other people see 45 pull-ups and 45 thrusters and say “Oh my god, that’s hard!”

I kept telling myself how I was too big to do these types of workouts, how I would injure myself. I felt myself making excuses for why I shouldn’t try it. I firmly believe that the background I had in sports—and in training for mental toughness—is what pushed me forward to try it finally. I was the first at my the middleschool campus where I teach to try CrossFit. I remember taking more than a half an hour to complete any workout. It was hard. But I just kept going with it, no matter how tired I was. People would see me after a workout and say, “You’re crazy.” During this same time, I was adjusting my diet. I lightened up on how much I was eating, and cleaned up what I was eating. I heard from many people in my life how I didn’t need to lose weight, how I was wasting away to nothing, etc.

How does this mental toughness relate to life? Everything in CrossFit is about functionality. Perhaps it’s been covered, but I believe that the mental toughness that comes out of CrossFit is also functional. Mentally, you become more fit. And, as Mark Rippetoe says in Strong Enough?, “Strong people are harder to kill.” Mentally strong people are harder to kill too. It has become very clear to me that we are training for the mental toughness to survive as well as the physical toughness to survive. The will to do that last push-up, that last pull-up, that last squat before time runs out is the same will that drives us to run one step farther if we’re being chased, to pull up and jump over one more fence, or to hit that attacker just one more time to get him away from us. In fact, is there anything in life that doesn’t benefit from this mental and physical strength?

As I moved along with the program, I started looking at the workouts like they weren’t so bad. I just recently did 20 kipping pull-ups in a row. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t getting tired! I have lost 45 pounds and now weigh around 270. My 3.4-mile time is at around 28 minutes or so. I can row 5000 meters in 17:51, and my 2000-meter row time on the Concept2 is 6:50. My deadlift, which I had never done before CrossFit, recently maxed out at 475 pounds. And, oh yeah, I can do muscle-ups. I did the “30 muscle-ups for time” workout in 20:03. Sure, this isn’t the greatest time, but it’s still pretty good for a big guy. I can climb a rope, which I could never do even as a little kid. It really is possible for a big heavy guy to do these things—and to be better and fitter as a result. It seemed like all of a sudden one day I woke up and started thinking about what workout I could do that would really hurt. This is bizarre thinking. But it’s also what I think most CrossFitters start doing when they really get into the program. I started lying in bed at night thinking about fixing my kip. I remember one night sitting up and saying to myself “Got it.” The next workout, I had the kip. I had become obsessed. Why this change? It’s not just the results. Don’t get me wrong: the results are great. But the results are not the reason that the workouts started to look less hard. I knew they were just as hard as ever, but I no longer looked at it and asked whether I would be able to finish. The question now was just how long it would take. I knew without a doubt that I would finish a workout, no matter which one came up.

Mike Houghton played high school, college, and professional (Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, and Carolina Panthers) football for a total of 11 years. He is the co-owner, with Sean Murray, of CrossFit951 in Menifee, California. He is also a high school offensive line coach and a middle-school history teacher and runs a fitness club based on CrossFit principles at the middle school.

Mentally, I have become an animal. I have always been mentally strong but CrossFit enhances what you already have. If someone who quits easily tries CrossFit, they may just quit. If they stick to 10


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Media Tips #6 Video Equipment (Video Article) Tony Budding

Online Video

Video Article

(10:26)

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitJournal_Media-Tips6.wmv http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitJournal_Media-Tips6.mov

CrossFit’s Media Director brings us more useful information on taking good photos and video. In his sixth tip in the series, he talks about various traits of video cameras. The bottom line is that for most CrossFit uses, cheap and convenient is best. You do get what you pay for, so a three-CCD camera is better than one-CCD, and professional optics make a huge difference in quality. But rarely is that a significant factor for the videos that make their way onto affiliate blogs. Ultimately, the best video camera is the one you’ll use the most.

Tony Budding is the Media Director for CrossFit HQ.

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CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Outfit Your Box

An Equipment Procurement Guide Eddie Lugo

What you can afford: Visualizing the box

It’s no accident that the CrossFit Journal’s inaugural issue in 2002 was titled “The Garage Gym” and was all about creating a more functional—and affordable—alternative to “big-box” gyms everywhere. That issue includes broad explanations of the concept and its ramifications as well as specific nuts-and-bolts advice on what to buy and why. Here I want to build on that tradition by providing an updated guide to outfitting a box, whether it’s a personal garage or basement gym, a portable equipment cache for outdoor workouts, a 5,000-square-foot CrossFit affiliate, or anything in between. The training potential that comes with wider adoption of the garage-gym concept is enormous.

The first step is to identify a realistic budget. And, if you will be outfitting an affiliate or training groups, you’ll also need to visualize your anticipated class size six months from now. Don’t just come up with a number, though; actually try to imagine yourself training groups and what that will look like. What do you need, how much, why, how will the space and workouts be organized, what can be shared, and at what point will you need more based on increased numbers? For instance, if you run any of CrossFit’s benchmark workouts with a group of ten, determine how many of each equipment item you’d need to do that properly. Then determine whether you can afford that much and where you can compromise on equipment without compromising the experience.

In June 2006, I wrote a article in the CrossFit Journal on “Strategic Shopping” that was more about circumnavigating costly purchases than about locating inexpensive gear. In this article, I’ll revisit a few points from that article and talk about a bunch of new items. As always, I concentrate on value. (If money is no issue for you, then you can stop reading here. Go forth and purchase wantonly.)

Think also about which items are must-haves, what you’re willing to “make do” with, whether you’ll have time and money later to revisit the shopping and purchasing process to upgrade or add to your inventory, and whether you’re open to used or homemade equipment and how much time, expertise, and patience you have for custom fabrication or do-it-yourself projects.

What should I buy? How do I go about it? Why should I buy those particular items? How do various models and brands compare? When do I need to purchase my own stuff? These are more great questions that will have different answers according to your personal preference, timeline, experience, and budget.

A key point is that there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach that will work for everyone. The gear recommendations you’ll find in this article and elsewhere will make a lot more sense if you go in armed with these visualizations and understandings of your needs. 12


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What you need: Priority hierarchies

A smart way to think about it is to concentrate on the items that offer the maximum returns—that is, the tools that produce the greatest fitness benefit per item (our version of the most bang for your buck), that provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people, or that serve a unique purpose that can’t be otherwise duplicated or approximated.

I think of the world of CrossFit equipment as a set of concentric circles, with the innermost circle consisting of the most necessary and useful items, and each larger ring adding the next set of priorities.

For example, think about everything that you can do with a barbell set (bar, bumper plates, change plates, and collars). Here’s some of what comes to mind: power and squat clean, power and squat snatch, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, sumo deadlift high pull, thruster, back squat, front squat, overhead squat, press, push press, bench press, Sots press, push jerk, split jerk, rack jerk, good morning, bent-over row, Turkish get-up and the “odd lifts,” and so on. So, a barbell set may not be cheap, but it allows a whole lot of fundamentally important, varied, functional training for a lot of people.

The way I break it down, the core of every garage gym or affiliate contains the following staple items:

• • • • • • • • • • •

Pull-up bars or stations Adjustable squat stands Men’s and women’s Olympic barbells Bar collars Rubber bumper plates Small metal plates Rings Medicine balls Dumbbells Small metal “change” plates PVC pipe or wooden dowels

If you want to go a bit nuts thinking about return on investment, you could even go the lengths of calculating the cost of per exercise for each piece of equipment. For the barbell set, we’ve listed 22 different exercises above, so if you divide the cost of the set ($410) by that number, you get $18.63. That’s pretty good. In comparison, a glute-ham developer yields more like $106.25 per exercise (four GHD exercises—back extension, hip extension, glute-ham sit-up, and glute-ham raise—at a cost of $425).

Working our way outward, my second ring of essentials comprises the following items:

• • • • • • • • • • •

Glute-ham developers Light training barbells (10, 15, 22, or 25 pounds) Concept2 rowers Plyo boxes Flat benches Kettlebells Jump ropes Parallettes Climbing rope Rubber flooring Rubber stretch bands for assisting bodyweight exercises

How much you need: Size and population For some, this breakdown won’t help much. Another way to think about is in terms of the number of trainees (or potential trainees) that need to be served. I use a simple rule of three. Multiply the number of equipment items by three to get a rough estimate of how many people you can train (of course, your programming competence and creativity is a huge factor in this). For example, a decent starting barbell count for a small affiliate is six (four men’s 20-kg bars and two women’s 15-kg ones). According to the rule of three, this will accommodate 18 people.

My third rung contains “premium” items. These are things that you can get by without for a long time, but, when you have enough basic equipment to comfortably support a wide range of group workouts and when your budget allows, you might consider seeking out some of these items:

• • • • • •

Or, you might just keep it simple and think in terms of whether you are outfitting a small, medium, or large facility. In my reckoning, small is up to 1500 square feet, medium is 1500 to 3500, and large is greater than 3500 square feet. Of course, the numbers of trainees in the gym both through the course of a day and at any one time—and how those numbers fit with the square footage numbers—are just as relevant.

Power cages or half racks Platforms Punching bags Parallel bars Stall bars Bikes (stationary or not)

At the Garage Gym Store, we’ve set up packages based on affiliate size, to keep things simple. Whether or not you might buy any of these packages, these equipment lists can help guide your thinking about what items you need as well—just increase or decrease quantities according to comfort, usage numbers, and budget. We have three different levels of CrossFit affiliate packages, for various size gyms (155 square feet or less, 1500-3500 square feet, and over 3500 square feet), plus three different garage gym packages.

As I said earlier, this hierarchy is fluid and might change a bit according to your needs and budget. Different trainers and gym owners might order their lists a bit differently. And, of course, there are always more things you could add to the list. 13


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The affiliate packages contain various quantities of the following kinds of items: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Standard (“men’s”) barbells Women’s barbells Lighter training barbells Bumper plates Smaller metal weight plates Weight clamps Medicine balls Rings Glute-ham developers Squat stands Jump ropes Plyo boxes and boosters Concept 2 indoor rowers Climbing ropes Dumbbells

Locally manufactured pull-up bar at CrossFit San Diego

When you need to expand: Growing up At what point do you need to purchase more equipment? The best answer to that is, “When you can’t afford not to.” Do you find that clients are constantly waiting on bars during WODs? Are there workouts and training that you can’t do because you don’t have a GHD? Do you run out of medicine balls when you do med ball warm-ups or try to run a group through “Karen”? Buy more. Why? Clearly you have the demand (more people than equipment). As a gym owner, it is your responsibility to see to it that neither the stimulus nor the training experience is adversely affected by inadequate gear. At the point when you know you could provide a better service and create better athletes if you had more or better equipment, do what it takes. Especially if taking that next step is as simple as adding some additional pieces of gear.

Which items you want: Particulars Pull-up bars Unless you’re in a personal garage, you’ll likely need a pull-up station that accommodates multiple users at once and not the typical chin/dip station that will fit only one person. Unfortunately, a pull-up station like this isn’t mass-produced, yet. We’ve identified a manufacturer who can build to suit, but the shipping costs are likely to divert your interest. Local steel fabricators are best suited to assist you here. Above-right is a photo of CrossFit San Diego’s structure, although multiple affiliates have since improved upon our design (see, for example, details about CrossFit Ann Arbor’s version in Doug Chapman’s “Mobility in Design: A Portable PullUp Structure” in CFJ 67 [March 2008]).

Custom pull-up bar at CrossFit Eastside

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A full or half cage works but not everyone welcomes the bulk and it doesn’t help allow multiple simultaneous users. Barbells Barbells may be the equipment purchases people are most finicky about. There are a variety of features, variations, manufacturing specs, materials, prices, and other factors to consider. There is much to say about barbells (including the nitty-gritty details covered in the article “Where Barbells Come From” in CFJ 60 [August 2007]), but we’ll stick with the basics here.

Locally manufactured wall-mounted pull-up bar at CrossFit Eastside

Wall-mounted pull-up bars work great, but a few things must be present: solid concrete walls, strong wood studs, and a comfort with additions to your walls. Additionally, even a seven-foot length of bar takes up a large “footprint” along the wall (though it has the converse advantage of not having supports come up from the floor). Standard, mass-produced wall-mounted pull-up bars typically don’t accommodate the kipping pull-up (although custom ones that will do so can certainly be fabricated, either locally or by select equipment manufacturers).

A men’s bar in the Olympic lifting community is one that meets International Weightlifting Federation specs (figure 1). Some of the basic identifiers are a shaft diameter of 28 mm, a weight of 20 kg, and an overall length of 2200 mm. A men’s barbell in the powerlifting world is the same weight and length but has a shaft diameter “not to exceed 29mm or be less than 28mm,” according to the Technical Rules Book of the International Powerlifting Federation, with 29 mm being the norm (figure 3).

If you are in a garage, you could just purchase a doorway pull-up or chin/dip station or Studbar or use a power cage, if you have one. A doorway pull-up bar can also be hung between exposed rafters (use caution here if you do). At 250 pounds, this is my preference for my personal garage gym. The chin/dip combo station works well with strict movement, but not with dynamics of the kipping pull-up, and it takes up considerable floor space. If you can tolerate it, weigh it down (sandbags, weights, etc.) and see if that will support kipping (especially if you or your clients are relatively light). It helps, but there’s no guarantee it’ll remain perfectly static.

A less well-known but also important type of barbell is the women’s bar. IWF specs dictate that this bar be 25 mm in diameter (figure 2), which is better suited to smaller hands. It’s also lighter (15 kg) and shorter (2010 mm). Training barbells are simply lighter bars (anywhere from 10 to 22 pounds). They allow any segment of the population to learn proper mechanics and practice barbell movements with lighter loads. They’re a great transition between PVC or dowels and fullsize barbells.

Men’s bar - Figure 1

Women’s bar - Figure 2 15


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Figure 3

Figure 4 16


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Bumper plates Unavoidably, people will throw, or drop, dumbbells to the floor, either by accident or in exhaustion (and hopefully not due to anger). If you have uncovered floors, rubber-head dumbbells are a must. And even if your floors are protected, they’re a hedge against damage to other objects or limbs. However, they are more expensive than cast metal dumbbells, and the heads are typically screwed onto the handles in a way that can cause them to loosen temporarily (which is probably not dangerous but can be annoying, and can make them harder to stack neatly).

Bumper plates allow you to drop weight to the ground without fear of damage to uncovered (no mats) floors or the lifter. For a thorough review of some of the varieties of bumper plates available, see the accompanying video and feature comparison chart (figure 4).

Online Video

Video

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitGarageGymStore_BumperReview.wmv http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitGarageGymStore_BumperReview.mov

Metal plates, a.k.a. “change” Small metal plates, commonly referred to as “change” plates, commonly come in 10-, 5-, and 2.5-pound denominations. (Metric change plates, in 5-, 2.5-, 2-, 1-, and .5-kilo denominations are also available, but, unfortunately, they’re considerably more expensive, at least in the U.S.) As you and your clients get stronger and closer to your maximal lifts, the margins by which you will increase your lifts get smaller. As a result, smaller-denomination plates become increasingly important. They’re also useful for gradual incremental loading for smaller or weaker beginning lifters. Some would even go as far and say wherever they’re absent the facility lacks maturity.

Kettlebells

(Note: When you use rubber bumper plates and metal plates together, a good rule of thumb is that only one pair of metal plates should be on the bar at a time. Loading more and more change plates on top of a single pair of bumpers puts additional wear and tear on the barbell. For instance, if you have 205 pounds set up (a pair of 45-pound bumpers a pair of 25-pound bumpers, and a pair of metal 10s) and then want to increase the weight to 225, don’t do it by adding an additional 10-pound plate to each side. Instead, take off the 25s and 10s and replace them with 45-pound bumpers. Dumbbells

There are numerous kettlebell manufacturers out there. As the popularity of this tool has grown immensely in the past few years, so have the numbers of manufacturers and brands available, with subtle but important variations in materials, adjustability, handle diameter, size and shape, texture, color—and, of course, price. As with all equipment, even these relatively low-tech tools have enough variability to make it somewhat confusing to balance value, durability, usability, and personal preference and style. For a review of four of the readily available brands, see the accompanying kettlebell video review.

Online Video

Video

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrososFitJournal_GGKBReview.wmv http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrososFitJournal_GGKBReview.mp4

In order to maximize usable space, affiliates frequently avoid storage racks. Hexagonal dumbbells allow you to stack them as high as you’re comfortable and will generally house more dumbbells in the same cubic space as a storage rack (or less).

Medicine balls Light, medium, and heavy medicine balls are necessary items. Nearly every exercise that can be done with a barbell set can also be done with a med ball, including others that you can’t do with the barbells. They’re great for clients who struggle with the bar, for large groups, for a somewhat different stimulus, and for all kinds of ball-specific drills and exercises. We prefer a soft, large-diameter medicine ball. While you can find traditional soft medicine balls (think boxing), we like ones with a large, biomechanically functional diameter. Currently, the only one that meets these two criteria is the Dynamax ball, which is 14 inches in diameter (although Powermax is supposed to soon 17


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Outfit Your Box ...continued

launch its own version at a fraction of the cost). This type of ball is forgiving when it comes in contact with your hand, body, face, or clients, and the larger diameter enables ideal body positioning.

at an approachable price. Imported steel is inexpensive and can be delivered custom cut. And every town has steel workers who welcome the extra income.

Where we go from here: A future vision for equipment fabrication and supply

Even where custom work or specialty parts are required (GHD pads, spring-loaded pins, custom webbing, and other non-stock parts), these items can be purchased separately from local or overseas manufacturers. For instance, instead of importing entire GHD units, split pads, foot plates, and guide rods can be purchased in bulk and sent to the appropriate fabricator for assembly. This is fundamentally no different than what’s being done at a company such as Dell (engineering and design takes place in one place, different parts are made in different countries and delivered to a final assembly and location). The aim is to outsource what can be done cheaper, faster, and hopefully better by others and concentrate on what you do best or are best suited for. Only in this case, it could look like this: standard equipment blueprints could remain open source (peer developed and reviewed) or purchased if patented, and then equipment could manufactured locally, powder coated on site, and picked up at the shop or delivered at a fraction of current costs.

Every time I imagine my equipment manufacturing utopia, the term “steel curtain” comes to mind. This label may conjure up images of an impenetrable 1970s Steelers defensive line for you, but, as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to make high-value functional fitness equipment available to CrossFitters everywhere, for me it has an altogether different meaning. It describes my dream of a network of local steel fabricators, unified under one aim, company umbrella, and set of production standards, that can serve our community and augment the production of exercise equipment by existing reputable manufacturers. I’ve spent the better part of a year trying to reduce the price of equipment for the customer (actual equipment cost plus freight charges), whether by reducing manufacturing costs and product prices or by strategizing purchases to reduce freight costs. Yet, no matter how far product prices are driven down, freight costs continue to rise and are difficult to influence (and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon). I have a handle on the first part, but freight, even after sales engineering, can’t be eliminated, or even satisfactorily controlled. Or can it? How do you eliminate the need and associated costs of transporting heavy objects? You manufacture them locally. Many affiliates already turn to local fabricators to construct everything from small to colossal pull-up stations, as well as a variety of things like dip stands, squat racks, parallel bars, stall bars, flat benches, cages, peg boards, wall ball targets, weight trees, bar and dumbbell racks, and GHD frames made locally. Typically these kinds of shops—whether large or small, or just small, independent welding operations—can create just about anything made of steel. (Larger shops may even have in-house design and engineering services you can draw on.) Now, if only an abundance of CAD or drafted equipment designs, a portable powder coating machine, access to product stickers, inexpensive materials, and “hungry” steel workers were readily available, we would be one step closer to freight elimination. Guess what? That “if” is becoming a reality. Online services such as Odesk.com or Elance.com will find you a CAD designer for $7 to $15 per hour. The Xiom 1000 and 5000 are portable powder coat machines that are currently available

18

Eddie Lugo and Lisa Lugo own and operate The Garage Gym Store, an online equipment supplier dedicated to offering the lowest possible prices, providing expert advice and guidance to individual buyers and gym owners, and enabling wide adoption of CrossFit. The Lugos are also the founders and owners of CrossFit San Diego.


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Nick Hawke’s Snatch Training at Mike’s Gym Part 1 (Video Article) Mike Burgener

Online Video

Video Article

(6:16)

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitJournal_InMikesGymNickSnatch1.wmv http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitJournal_InMikesGymNickSnatch1.mov

Ever wonder what it would be like to train in the gym with of one of the world’s best weightlifting coaches? Here’s a glimpse. Nick Hawke went to Mike’s Gym thinking he’d never be able to snatch well. This video is the first set of highlights from his snatch session with Coach B.

Coach Burgener teaches the snatch and the clean and jerk, plus supplemental lifts and learning progressions, at CrossFit’s two-day Olympic lifting certification seminars, where you too can get some of what Nick gets here.

Mike Burgener, a.k.a. “Coach B,” is the owner of Mike’s Gym (a CrossFit affiliate and USAW Regional Training Center), a USAW Senior International Coach, former junior World team (1996-2004) and senior World team (2005) coach, and the strength and conditioning coach at Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista, California. He teaches CrossFit’s two-day Olympic lifting certification seminars. This month, his son Casey Burgener will be competing in weightlifting at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

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CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Why Train Gymnastics Basics? Jeff Tucker

Questions I constantly hear from folks out there in the world of CrossFit are: Why should I train gymnastics? Why should I, of all people, attend a gymnastics certification? And what exactly will I learn that will be useful? This sentiment, expressed by a woman from Texas, is common: “I mean, all I can do is a mediocre handstand and I can’t tumble. I always wanted to do gymnastics as a kid but I just never got into it for one reason or another. I just feel like I would suck at it and I really don’t know what I would get out of [attending a clinic]. It looks so hard! Are you sure I should attempt such tricks?” This is a natural response from those out there who aren’t sure how to begin incorporating gymnastics into their training or ponder what cert to experience next as they weigh the benefits of such knowledge. We all know that learning basic gymnastics elements is a foundational part of your CrossFit training and development. Their relevance for training strength and body control are obvious, but they offer much more than that. The ability to move one’s body weight effortlessly and with confidence will transfer in strengths across the board in your training and daily life.

My personal experience bears this out. Throughout my twenty years of service with the Fort Worth (Texas) Fire Department I had one constant on my mind; I knew I was more agile, stronger, and a more confident firefighter than those I worked with simply because I had been trained as a gymnast. I knew my body’s limitations and strengths as I was trained in my youth to use my entire body and to do so with strength, speed, endurance, and utmost control. Gymnastics prepared me for the toughest career of my life to date and I still retain many of those skills at age 45. You need to know how to move your body. You also need to know that you can do the movements required for CrossFit WODs with confidence. All you need do is listen, apply maximum effort, and practice diligently. Whenever I stop by a CrossFit gym or someone comes into to GSX Athletics (my gymnastics facility and CrossFit affiliate in Fort Worth), I invariably end up teaching something from my days as gymnastics competitor and coach—whether it’s getting someone to understand how to stretch their glutes and hamstrings for better L-sits or how to position the rings for better stability in a muscle-up, or the basics of getting into, or holding, a solid handstand. Knowing the nuances of form and some fundamental mechanics from basic gymnastics will allow you to excel.

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CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Why Train Gymnastics Basics? ...continued

Getting yourself some gymnastics training means acquiring important knowledge about the basics of how to spot, support, and cue the forms, both for your own training and for coaching others. Safety needs to be a major part of any teaching progression. We have a saying at GSX “small moves bring great rewards,” and we mean it. For example, you’ll learn things like hand placement for handstand push-ups, how to be hollow and what advantage it offers when doing handstands, how to do handstands specifically for parallette work, how to come out of a handstand safely, how to spot safely, and how to know when your body is not responding properly so you can correct your form. All these points are extremely important. You will learn how to break down these teaching transitions and not rush to the next progression until you (or your trainees) are adequately prepared to do so. This approach applies for work on the bar, parallettes, rings, and ground; for flexibility, strength, core, and control work; and so much more. Learning to train using static apparatus such as stationary dip bars and pull-up bars versus the dynamic plane provided by rings will allow you to come to know your body through stabilization and strength and thus develop the areas you are weakest in. Positioning yourself in a dynamic environment like the rings requires remarkable strength, focus, and attention to the details of proper form. Accordingly, the benefits are immeasurable. You will learn that there are many ways to skin a cat and become fit and well-rounded, and that there are many ways to scale these progressions to make them gradually accessible to almost anyone. 21


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Why Train Gymnastics Basics? ...continued

“If you insist on basics, really insist on them, your clients will immediately recognize that you are a master trainer. They will not be bored; they will be awed. I promise this. They will quickly come to recognize the potency of fundamentals. They will also advance in every measurable way past those not blessed to have a teacher so grounded and committed to basics.” —Greg Glassman, “Fundamentals,Virtuosity, and Mastery”

The scalability question concerning gymnastics is one I am often asked. Just how do you scale and train gymnastics transitions and elements? It all seems so complex and difficult and foreign in the beginning. The short answer is that it is easy to scale gymnastics and even easier to instruct beginning moves for muscle-ups, ring work, bar variations, handstands, handstand push-ups, parallettes, and ground-based skills—if only you know the cues and training methods for developing strength and core control. Give me a couple of power bands and a pull-up bar and I will have you doing several gymnastics moves unassisted in 60 seconds—all of them scaled to your ability level. Another salient issue in teaching and learning gymnastics elements is knowing when to say when. Sometimes you need to pull back (or pull your clients back) and show them that they have yet to master the intricacies of a skill they are training, even when they seem to have the basics under their belt. In my opinion, teaching people to accept repetition and gradual progress in training these skills is one of the hardest ideals to impart to people. Everyone wants the skill right now. (Greg Glassman decries this “novice’s curse” in his inspiring essay “Fundamentals, Virtuosity, and Mastery.”) Clients and trainers alike need to know and learn that gymnastics elements take time and practice, lots and lots of practice. Lots. This especially applies to the fittest CrossFitters— those who are accustomed to pushing beyond normal endurance levels, who sometimes go until they drop. Yes, mastering this stuff takes hard work, but you can’t bring it into being by sheer force. It also takes patience and incrementalism. It’s OK to take a break to analyze and work out issues in your head before attempting moves that you have yet to master. And it’s OK—unavoidably necessary, in fact—to build gradually, mastering one step in a progression before rushing on to the next one.

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Why Train Gymnastics Basics? ...continued

When we teach a gymnastics certification seminar, our primary emphasis is on everyone learning to repeat moves safely and properly once they return home. We want everyone to walk away with the idea that gymnastics training will not be taught or learned overnight. It may come easier for some and harder to learn for others, but we all strive toward good form and control in these strength and control skills. Whatever the individual starting point, virtuosity is always the goal. So much can and will be gained from training gymnastics elements once you master the basics; then, you can push your mind and body toward more difficult progressions and higher-level gymnastics transitions. More importantly, trainees can help other like-minded people around them to learn the importance of training gymnastics elements for CrossFit. Success will come with small moves, and the rewards for such training are waiting around the corner. You just need to take the first steps.

CrossFit.com instructional videos and demos by Jeff Tucker

Online Videos: Core Control Basics , Part 1 ..................................... [wmv] [mov] Core Control Basics , Part 2 ..................................... [wmv] [mov] Core Control Basics , Part 3 ..................................... [wmv] [mov] Core Control Basics , Part 4 ..................................... [wmv] [mov] Developing the L-Pull-up Part 1a (CFJ Preview) ...... [wmv] [mov] Developing the L-Pull-up Part 1b (CFJ Preview) ...... [wmv] [mov] Handstand Drills (CFJ Preview) ................................... [wmv] [mov] Handstand Drills Part 2 (CFJ Preview) ...................... [wmv] [mov] Pull-up Bar Drills (CFJ Preview) .................................. [wmv] [mov] Pull-up Bar Drills: Moving Toward the Front Lever (CFJ Preview)......... [wmv] [mov] Pull-up Bar Drills: Moving Toward the Front Lever, Pt 2 (CFJ Preview).. [wmv] [mov] Playing With Handstands ........................................... [wmv] [mov]

Jeff Tucker (just “Tucker” to most folks) is a retired 20-year member of the Fort Worth Fire Department, where he served as a firefighter and arson/bomb investigator. He was head coach and director of Texas Christian University’s gymnastics/cheerleading programs from 2001 to 2006, and he holds a multitude of degrees and certifications. He currently owns and operates GSX Athletics in Fort Worth, Texas, which specializes in Tae Kwon Do, gymnastics, CrossFit, and private athletic instruction.

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CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Training for Special Medical Populations Cardiac Concerns Jennifer McKenzie We all have those exercises that we hope won’t pop out of the hopper. Mine include heavy thrusters and Tabata pull-ups. Why? Because they test my abilities and highlight my weaknesses— they’re hard! If you gathered your potential clients into a hopper, are there some you’re hoping you won’t have to deal with? Maybe you dread getting a call from that client with heart disease because you have less experience or the challenge is risky. Training the unfit or sick is hard. It can test our abilities not only as a trainer but as a person.   Working with special populations is a new challenge for many CrossFit trainers. As more and more people discover the benefits of CrossFit, we will see a corresponding increase in clients with a variety of maladies such as coronary arterial disease, multiple sclerosis, lymphoma, and cancer. CrossFit can uniquely benefit these patients who struggle for health. Every client who walks through our door has a purpose: to get better. Every workout, every rep, every grueling second is all about getting better.   Trainers walk a fine line  when  they work with  clients who  are medically fragile. A common thread with cardiac and pulmonary patients, as well as many other types of special populations, is that the client’s capacity to do work is often greatly diminished. Furthermore, they  are typically being told by the medical community not to push themselves beyond what feels good. As a result, they suffer a lack of confidence in their ability to do anything physically demanding. The CrossFit approach to performancebased measurements  is a great tool  for assisting clients who, in the end, just want to see an improvement in their quality of life.    Heart disease can vary drastically from client to client, even within the same client over a period of time. There is no doubt that training a client with a heart condition will be more demanding of your time and knowledge as a trainer. Being an effective coach for this type of athlete requires a lot of preliminary work, including research and an in-depth discussion with the client and his or her medical team. You may find yourself learning new skills and doing things you never thought you’d do, like taking blood pressure before, during, and after exercise. You should also familiarize yourself with the medicines your athletes are on and how they affect the body. You don’t need to be an expert in cardiology to work with a client who has heart disease, but you should have an up-to-date understanding of your client’s condition and how it is affected by exercise.    A very real challenge when working with clients with heart disease is knowing which limitations are self-imposed (and can be pushed for the client’s benefit) and which limitations are real and potentially dangerous to push beyond. Talking to the client’s physician will take a lot of the guess work out of training your client. Ask for specific, concrete limitations such as a maximum blood pressure or heart rate. More often than not, the physician will give his patient no restrictions at all. Your client is your next 24

best source of information about his or her condition: after all, they’re living with it. Listening to your clients will provide you a number of insights, including what limitations they perceive they have and what coping methods they have been using. Once you know their real vs. perceived limits, you will be more confident and effective in coaching them through a CrossFit workout.   You can alter rather than completely rewrite programs to suit cardiac patients and other special populations. To do this, you need to know how to appropriately scale the workout and how to judge when you can progress. The universal scalability of CrossFit is what makes the program work for any clients who are willing to push themselves to get better. Lifting a wooden dowel off the floor with perfect form and then pressing it overhead is where we start with all of our clients, with or without heart disease, so that we get the mechanics correct. Once clients can consistently perform basic movements, we add weight. When they are comfortable with weight, we can begin to gradually increase loads and/or add the elements of time and reps to reap the benefits of intensity. With cardiac patients, this progression doesn’t change. We still start with form and mechanics, and then work on consistency and add intensity as tolerated. As with healthy clients, the rate at which cardiac patients progress is widely varied based on their condition. Some of our athletes will never experience the lactic acid burn and heart rate pound of a three-minute “Fran,” but those clients they can still experience the joy and fulfillment and challenge of performing functional movements at a relatively high intensity.  


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Training for Special Medical Populations ...continued

The best gift we can give our medically challenged athletes is the knowledge and ability to perform their daily tasks with more efficiency. All the weightlifting exercises CrossFit advocates can be used with clients who have a heart condition. The squat and deadlift are perfect movements to start with. Monostructural exercises such as running, swimming, biking, and rowing can be scaled to the patient’s comfort zone. Gymnastics exercises help increase not only strength but also body control and awareness. Push-up mechanics and stimulus can be modified nearly indefinitely, from pushing the body away from a wall while standing at a slight incline against it to doing full handstand push-ups. Pull-ups variations can be performed without the feet ever leaving the floor, at various inclines, using bands, or with a spot. Overhead presses are useful unless the patient has had recent open heart surgery. The progression overhead for those who have had open heart surgery—who have had their chest muscles cut and their sternum cracked—will take a lot longer than most, and some clients will never get there. (Weakness, inflexibility, and phantom pain from this surgery can last for years.) The most appropriate place to begin with these patients is range of motion exercises before adding any kind of weight. Again, the actual mechanics of movements don’t change at all. Scaling exercises up and down to fit the needs of a client is an art practiced by CrossFit trainers. For cardiac patients or others with medical conditions, it just requires additional attention to the specifics of their situation.     As mentioned above, this population often suffers a lack of confidence in their abilities to perform physical tasks. In the CrossFit setting, with the input of competent trainers, our athletes receive immediate, positive feedback. Medical measures of markers such as cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, and blood pressure are all important, but it may take months for clients to see positive changes in these variables. Statistically, more than half of  new exercisers quit their programs before enough time has elapsed for them to see these positive results. CrossFit’s reliance on performance-based  measurements allows clients to immediately see the progress they are making. Learning to squat on the first day is a huge success. Every workout is an opportunity for accomplishment and improvement. The majority of cardiac patients that we see have already completed a twelve-week phase II cardiac rehabilitation program. Phase I occurs while the patient is still in the hospital and consists primarily of education and working to get the patient out of bed. In a few weeks (if their doctor prescribes it and insurance pays for it), clients generally begin twelve weeks of phase II cardiac rehab. Most phase II programs include three days per week of  medically  supervised low-intensity endurance activities monitored by EKG. This program avoids any stress on the heart and focuses on allowing the patient to become comfortable with being active again. The patients also receive continuous education and support from clinicians and each other. A minority of programs will include some element of strength training. The goal of a cardiac rehabilitation program is to help the patient regain some strength and ability to move, prevent their condition from worsening, and

prevent future heart problems. Although I highly recommend a phase II cardiac rehabilitation program, twelve weeks of this kind of therapy isn’t enough for many patients to close the gap between what their work capacity is and what they need it to be to have a fulfilling life. My goal as a trainer is close that gap.   One man I worked with came to me with acute congestive heart failure. Most physicians would not clear such a patient for exercise, but he got the okay to begin walking. I secretly planned to squeeze in a few squats at various increments along the way. I quickly learned that working with cardiac patients requires flexibility in programming. On our first session, he walked out his front door and to the corner of the next block before wheezing and calling it quits. I also learned that every client progresses differently. The next day, he walked three blocks to the park before heading for home. Within the month, he was walking around the park (about a mile). Although jogging was beyond his limit, he completed the mile walking  forward, backward, and sideways, with lunging and squatting at various intervals. When he went to see his doctor again for the next round of blood work, EKG, and other tests, the doctor told him that, on paper, he shouldn’t be able to walk across the room. Sometimes the medical variables don’t improve with cardiac patients, yet sometimes they do. Either way, this client still succeeded and gained back some of his quality of life.   When I train clients with heart disease, the completion of the workout (no matter how scaled down) is the goal. Workouts are given task priority. Yes, they can complete a scaled “Fran.” We may not use a clock, they will probably use a dowel and some bands, but they can do “Fran.” And most importantly, they are stronger and more capable as a result. Every workout has a purpose and offers a chance for growth. My success as a coach is affirmed not only in my star athletes’ performances in competition, but also in the small improvements and increasing capacities of all my athletes, both inside and outside the gym, on a daily basis.

Jennifer Marder McKenzie owns CrossFit Hyperformance in Savannah, Georgia, with her husband, Drew McKenzie. They met at the local hospital, where Drew was working as an exercise physiologist when Jennifer’s CrossFit workout caught his attention. Both have earned master’s degrees in exercise physiology as well as CrossFit level-1 certifications. Drew maintains his CSCS certification and coaches wrestling for his high school alma mater. Jennifer is an ACSM Clinical Exercise Specialist, extending CrossFit methods to various special populations. 25


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Countering the Clinch Escape Becca Borawski The Muay Thai clinch is a dangerous position. It presents a variety of offensive opportunities in the form of punches, knees, and elbows, and it can quickly lead to a knockout. The clinch, sometimes also called the “plum,” consists of one fighter controlling the head of his opponent, using weight and gravity against him, while delivering strikes to his head and body.

Photo 1

In previous articles I discussed how to enter the clinch and how to escape the clinch. A good fighter not only has escapes in his arsenal, but also knows how to counter his opponent’s escapes. For that reason, this third and final article in the clinch series addresses how to counter an opponent’s clinch escape.

Photo 2

To begin,Tait Fletcher (with shaved head and tattoos in the photos), a veteran of the television show The Ultimate Fighter, and demo guy Andy Petranek are in the clinch (photo 1). Tait has his hands clamped on the back of Andy’s head and is keeping his elbows in tight like a cinch on Andy’s head. By grasping the back of Andy’s head and not his neck,Tait is better able to maintain leverage over Andy and also prevent Andy from posturing upward. By keeping his elbows tight and pushing against Andy’s collarbones, he can prevent Andy from moving forward.

Using the technique discussed in last month’s Journal, Andy escapes the clinch by first reaching out with his right hand and pressing it against Tait’s face and chin. Andy then stiff-arms Tait’s face by pushing against him and then locking out his own arm (photo 2). At the same time, Andy steps back and around to the side. The end result is that both Andy and Tait are facing forward on the same plane (photo 3).

Photo 3

Photo 4

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CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

Countering the Clinch Escape ...continued

Photo 5

Photo 6

Keeping his face up,Tait then stands up, bringing Andy’s knee up with him, and pinches Andy’s lower leg between his own knees (photo 6). He now has Andy off balance and can execute a takedown.

Here is where Tait’s counter to Andy’s clinch escape begins. The first thing Tait does is to drop his level. Dropping level means he will lower his center of mass but keep his weight centered and in balance. He does this by bending his legs and pulling his hips downward, not by leaning forward (photo 4).

Once Andy’s leg is trapped, Tait lowers his level again, turns in toward Andy, and dumps him on the ground. He does not drive straight forward, but instead gets Andy off balance by moving at an angle—back and to the left—with the intent of putting Andy down behind him (photos 7 and 8).

Tait then steps in toward Andy and reaches with both hands for Andy’s leg. He grasps his hands together around Andy’s leg, just below the knee. Tait’s head is up and he is looking in the direction he intends to move (photo 5).

Photo 8

Tait Fletcher trains MMA with Greg Jackson in New Mexico and is a veteran of the television show The Ultimate Fighter. He has been training in mixed martial arts for approximately eight years, earning his brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from Eddie Bravo.

Photo 7

Having achieved the takedown, Tait can then easily move into half guard or side control to begin to execute his submission game. A recent example of the clinch in action took place on EliteXC Saturday Night Fights on CBS. Shayna Baszler and Cris Cyborg put on an exciting match, pairing up Baszler’s slick submissions against Cyborg’s Chute Boxe style Muay Thai and wrestling.

Becca Borawski, CSCS, teaches and trains at Petranek Fitness/CrossFit Los Angeles in Santa Monica. She has a master’s degree in film from the University of Southern California and a background in martial arts training. She has blended these skills to produce DVDs and build websites for professional fighters. She currently trains Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Rey Diogo, a Carlson Gracie affiliate. 27


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

CrossFit Programming Part 3 (Video Article) Dave Castro

Online Video

Video Article

(8:13)

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitJournal_DaveProgrammingLectUre3.wmv http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitJournal_DaveProgrammingLectUre3.mov

In parts 1 and 2 of his lecture on CrossFit programming (i.e., putting together effective training and workouts) in the last two month’s video articles, Dave Castro explained the proper application of the principles of variety, intensity, and functional movements. This month, he goes into more detail about how to construct effective workouts using combinations of functional movements. Find out why seemingly simple couplets and triplets are the cornerstone of some of the most effective CrossFit programming. Next month, Castro will explore how to create and implement single modality workouts as part of your CrossFit training.

Dave Castro is a Director of Training for CrossFit HQ.

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CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

CrossFit Kids

Forging Future Achievers Cyndi Rodi

How can we predict which of our kids will be successful? Those who are bold? Those who are confident? Those who are willing to take risks? There is no foolproof formula. But if you were at the CrossFit Games this year, you may be inclined to venture a guess.

finalists, even after she took a scary spill. Mariah pumped out deadlifts and burpees like her life depended on it. David suffered a severe asthma attack and refused to give up. Josh pumped out clean and jerks with good form right up to the second the clock ran out. Their efforts inspired all of us who saw.

While I was there, I witnessed strength of character and a level of poise I had thought might be missing in this generation. I saw the best of our future.

We shook our heads and wondered, “How do they do it? What makes them so tough?” But for them, their performances weren’t extraordinary or even remarkable.They simply did what they went there to do—complete the events and compete.

Teenage CrossFitters like Josh, Connor, Kallista, Mariah, and David were simply amazing. Surrounded by world-class competitors who have years of training and experience on them, these kids walked into the arena ready for battle. No fanfare. No expressions of selfdoubt. In their minds, their ability to perform was as good as the next guy’s, even if the next guy was bigger and stronger.

I suspect Coach Glassman foresaw this scenario when Jeff and Mikki Martin began to develop a CrossFit Kids program. Now well established, CrossFit Kids programs are profoundly changing the lives of children and teens around the world, in the gym and beyond.We’re cultivating a group of kids who are better equipped to face whatever life brings them. It isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about character building and defining success in a positive manner.

I’ll never forget the scenes. Connor gutted through Sunday’s event next to an NFL player. Kallista stood tall next to the highlighted 29


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

CrossFit Kids ...continued

CrossFit Kids are working from a different paradigm than most of their peers. They view themselves as competent and capable. Appropriate risk taking and weathering the storms of life come more naturally to them. They’re disciplined; they know how to persevere; they have learned to accept delayed gratification. CrossFit Kids no longer look at obstacles as blocks to their progress. They see them as opportunities to apply themselves and succeed. It is rarely a question of whether they can do something. It’s a question of when they will do it. For example, young Keegan wanted to do a front flip. For several weeks he pulled out the tumbling mat and practiced for hours. At first, he would under rotate and land squarely on his backside. Everyone watched and kept their fingers crossed. We encouraged and congratulated him on his progress. Finally he completed a perfect front flip. Only a few weeks later, Keegan was filmed doing an amazing front flip/ burpee combo. This was not a unique experience for Keegan. At the CrossFit Games, he was determined to win the Indo board contest. For two days, he kept a close watch on the contest standings.Whenever someone improved on Keegan’s time, he climbed back on the board and bested that competitor’s effort by 10 to 15 seconds. He is now the proud owner of the prized Indo board. It never occurred to him that he wouldn’t win the contest. Just like his quest for a front flip, Keegan knew if he continued to persevere, he would be successful.Through his CrossFit experiences, Keegan has come to believe he can do anything he puts his mind to. We concur. Unusual? Not for CrossFit Kids. These kids are confident in their abilities and experience successes because they are willing to take risks and because their experiences have repeatedly reinforced the fact that they can complete tasks once thought to be too difficult. We have seen shy children who once hid in the back of the class become eager to demonstrate movements. We have witnessed kids with little confidence who used to hide behind long hair and hats step into leadership roles to coordinate a CrossFit Kids project.A child who cried and left the workout floor every time something new was introduced now hangs with a trainer until she learns the movement. We regularly see kids step up to stacks of tires that stand as tall as their shoulders and just…jump! No doubt, no negotiating process about the possibility of failing, just a jump. CrossFit is changing our kids’ willingness to try, and sometimes to fail—and it’s teaching them to weigh the risks and understand the relative importance of different kinds of risks and failures. Justin was a cautious, quiet child who would rather miss out on the fun than risk embarrassment. Day after day, he held back from difficult tasks, not out of laziness but from fear of failure. CrossFit dodgeball was a glaring example. At first, Justin would stand at the far corner of the mat, head down, hoping no one would see him and throw the ball his way. Through his CrossFit Kids experiences, Justin has overcome this fear and become a child who faces tasks head on. He is no longer embarrassed by failure. He now realizes that failure is sometimes the inevitable byproduct of the noble art of “trying” and that the occasional failure determines his overall success and self-worth far less than his former reluctance to ever throw his hat into the arena in the first place. This newfound confidence has spilled over into other areas of Justin’s life. His willingness to try new things, to allow others to witness his attempts (successful or not), and the peace he feels about the outcome of his efforts have had big effects on his relationships and endeavors. He won an award in his elementary-school class this year for asserting himself to include and welcome others, especially new 30


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

CrossFit Kids ...continued

kids. His parents report a level of independence and emotional resilience that once eluded him. Justin’s beliefs about himself and his ability to navigate the world have been indelibly altered through hard work applied and “risk for reward.” For CrossFit Kids, working hard is a matter of course.They have learned to gut out even the most difficult of workouts. As a result, they have discovered something universally valuable about themselves. They are able to rise above adversity to a level of achievement they did not previously know they could grasp, crashing through boundaries they once viewed as insurmountable.They learn to appreciate not only their own abilities but also those of their peers. They possess a unique understanding of the intrinsic value of a job well done. “Sloppy” doesn’t exist in their vocabularies. They do the work, going after it again and again until they get it right, thereby grasping the concept of delayed gratification. Achieving the seemingly impossible is a regular occurrence, and these experiences are beginning to permeate other aspects of their lives. As the daughter of a CrossFit Brand X trainer, McKenna spends a good portion of her time in the gym. From the age of six, she desperately wanted to do a kipping pull-up. She watched quietly as her siblings and older friends celebrated their first successful pull-ups. For two years, McKenna would leave her friends in the “kid’s area,” skip over to the pull-up bar, and make her best attempt at a kipping pullup. Every time she failed. But she did not become discouraged and wonder if she would ever achieve a kipping pull-up. She just kept trying. Her experiences in CrossFit Kids had shown her that her physical abilities were limited only by her willingness and dedication to try. Four months ago, McKenna finally got her first kipping pull-up.What a celebration! Kids and adults high-fived and cheered. And, as of last week, McKenna can now do 15 consecutive kipping pull-ups. Her story isn’t just about kipping pull-ups though. McKenna has learned she can overcome the difficult circumstances of her life and that good things come to those who work hard, even if it takes time. At age eight, she is teaching herself to play piano and guitar (with a little help from her brothers). She spends hours a week practicing her writing. Her cartwheels, once downward tumbles, are approaching perfection. When some older boys began to bully her at school, she stood up to them with the confidence and fierceness of a warrior. (The bullies don’t bother her any more.) McKenna has learned to manage these situations not because she has an extraordinary level of discipline (though CrossFit Kids is cultivating that in her) but because she believes she can handle life’s situations. She can prevail. Rewiring the brain We recognize this as more than a mindset or a surplus of self-confidence though.We believe CrossFit Kids is actually changing the way our kids process information. The brain is said to be “plastic.” It can change and adapt in relation to its environment. Scientific studies demonstrate that experiences and behavior alter the structure of our brains, the way our brains physiologically function, and the way we interpret information. (We discuss all of this in greater detail at the CrossFit Kids Certification Seminars.) It is our belief that involvement in CrossFit has caused these kids to cognitively and physically respond to challenges in a different manner than they once did. Motor activity can alter the function and efficiency of the brain. Studies have shown that learning new motor skills actually changes and strengthens connections 31


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

CrossFit Kids ...continued

We’re cultivating a group of kids who are better equipped to face whatever life brings them. It isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about character building and defining success in a positive manner.

(synapses) in the brain. Exercise has been demonstrated to improve brain function, as measured by data including higher standardized test scores, increased capacities in advanced reasoning and executive functions, and a countering of the negative effects of stress and depression.These are significant changes in the way the brain processes and responds to stimuli. Experiences too can change the structure of the brain. Most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of blind people possessing acute hearing. There is actually a physiological basis for this. Studies of the blind have demonstrated the visual cortex may remain stagnant or actually shrink due to lack of stimulation. At the same time, those areas that are compensating for the inability to process visual stimuli, such as the auditory regions, grow larger. A map of this brain would deviate from the “norm” simply based on its response to the experience of blindness. In like manner, behavior can change the structure of the brain. Consider, for example, a blind person who reads using Braille. It has been documented that the areas of the brain that are responsible for sense of touch grow larger in response to the repeated stimulation caused by use of this sense. The brain physically changes because of the individual’s behavior. Kids’ brains, then, must be constantly being restructured in response to their experiences and behavior. All evidence points to this possibility. Our experiences can change the way our brains “fire.” A comparison of children with post-traumatic stress disorder and non-traumatized children showed that the brains of the two groups functioned differently, responding to the same test stimulus with activity in different cerebral areas. Their brains were actually operating differently. Concurrently, and possibly as a function of their brain activity, the traumatized children outwardly responded to said situations in a different manner than non-traumatized children. Could our kids’ brains be functionally changing because of these experiences? We believe so. There is no denying the extraordinary demands of a CrossFit workout. The mental and physical capacities required to complete one of these workouts goes beyond the average modern human experience. We are seeing our kids begin to respond to these challenges in a manner that deviates from the norm. 32


CrossFit Journal • Issue Seventy-Two • August 2008

CrossFit Kids

®

...continued

Our experiences can determine the way in which we interpret situations.A study comparing Eastern and Western cultures asked participants to interpret photographic scenes. The interpretations were consistent within cultures. However, between cultures the scenes were interpreted in completely different ways. Just as the experiences of each culture were similar, so were the ways in which each culture interpreted a given situation. CrossFit is a culture all its own. It has its own language (Anyone else understand “WOD” or “AMRAP” or “the girls”?) and standards for behavior and achievement (“I PR’d Helen today”). No one “gets” a CrossFitter like another CrossFitter. Our kids are learning to interpret situations and challenges based on this culture and their CrossFit experiences. Their responses to any given situation are colored by what their participation in CrossFit has taught them about themselves and the world. Our laboratory is a CrossFit box. Here we rely on observable, measurable, and repeatable data to formulate our theories and CrossFit Kids programming. As with everything CrossFit, we are working with the empirical and measurable, without full knowledge of

We believe CrossFit Kids is actually changing the way our kids process information.

the mechanisms at work inside the black box. We observe that our kids are experiencing physiological and cognitive changes in their brains as a result of their participation in CrossFit. While we are unable to definitively prove many of our theories at this time (in part because of a lack of access to some very expensive and highly technical medical equipment), we find the possibilities more than just a bit intriguing. Besides, a lack of medical equipment has never stood in the way of CrossFit progress. We don’t need academics or scientists in lab coats. Our kids are continuously proving the plausibility of our theories. At CrossFit Kids certification seminars, we talk a great deal about how to best equip our kids with the greatest number of life tools. We are trying to fill their tool boxes with experiences and skills to physically, emotionally, and cognitively navigate their futures. Do the stories told here guarantee that Keegan, Justin, and McKenna will become great achievers? Will Connor, Mariah, Kallista, David, and Josh be our future leaders? There is no way we can make those predictions. What we can do is continue to encourage their participation in those activities that develop their confidence, determination, and strength offer them the greatest chances for long-term success. CrossFit is an important part of that plan.

Cyndi Rodi has a research-based background that includes working as an assistant with the UCLA-Camarillo Neuropsychiatric Research Program for schizophrenia research and as a behavioral therapist designing and implementing behavioral change programs for children with disabilities. She has a B.A. in psychology and has experience teaching public and private elementary school classes. She is a CrossFit level-2 trainer and a CrossFit-certified barbell, Olympic weightlifting, and gymnastics trainer who teaches at CrossFit Brand X, and she is an integral part of the CrossFit Kids program.

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The CrossFit Journal is an electronically distributed magazine chronicling a proven method of achieving elite fitness. Subscription information and back issues are available at the CrossFit Store at http://store.crossfit.com If you have any questions or comments, send them to feedback@ crossfit.com Your input will be greatly appreciated and every effort will be made to answer e-mails. Publishers Greg Glassman Lauren Glassman Editor Carrie Klumpar Project Manager Eddie Lugo Design/Layout Otto Lejeune Advisors Brian Mulvaney Lynne Pitts Media Tony Budding Circulation Deana Dinel

www.crossfit.com ©All Rights reserved 2008 ®CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.

CFFairnessDoctrine  

ISSUE SEVENTY-TWO Mike Houghton Becca Borawski Tony Budding Mike Burgener Dave Castro Judy Geer Eddie Lugo Jennifer McKenzie Cyndi Rodi Paul...

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