Category: CFJ

Posted on August 1, 2008 in CFJ


The August 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#72) is out.

Paul Eich, "All Other Things Being Equal: The CrossFit Fairness Doctrine" -CrossFit just isn't fair. As members of the community endlessly point out, workouts that require heavy lifting aren't fair to the small guys, and ones that emphasize bodyweight movements and running discriminate against heavy guys, wall ball and rowing are a bear for the height-challenged, and tall folks have to more work whenever they lift (or lower) weights or their bodies any distance, and there's no handicap for old guys, and don't even get started on the women. Right? Well, sort of. As is his wont, Paul "Apolloswabbie" Eich dishes out some tough love and puts things into perspective.

Judy Geer, "What Is an Erg?" - While you might think of the indoor rower as a Pain Machine, the literal definition of ergometer is "a device that measures work"--no small part of why we at CrossFit like it so much. In this article, Judy Geer of Concept2 talks about how the erg was developed, what innovations it introduced, and how it works to measure output.

Mike Houghton, "Mental Strength" - We all know that intense exercise develops physical strength and broad capacity, but, just as importantly, it also trains the mind and the will. Mike Houghton learned some of these lessons when he was a high school, college, and professional football player. CrossFit has brought all that back, and put a whole new, and somehow more personal, spin on it for him. Houghton gives his views on the fact that what we're doing here, really, is "training for the mental toughness to survive as well as the physical toughness to survive."

Tony Budding, "Media Tip #6: Video Equipment" (Video Article) - CrossFit's media director brings us more useful information on taking good photos and video. In this installment, 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 3 CCD camera is better than 1 CCD, and professional optics make a huge difference in quality. But rarely are those significant factors for the videos that make their way onto affiliate blogs. Ultimately, the best video camera is the one you'll use the most.

Eddie Lugo, "Outfit Your Box: An Equipment Procurement Guide" - It's no accident that the CrossFit Journal's inaugural issue ("The Garage Gym") in 2002 was all about creating a more functional--and affordable--alternative to "big-box" gyms everywhere. That issue included broad explanations of the concept and its ramifications as well as specific nuts-and-bolts advice on what to buy and why. Here, Eddie Lugo continues 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.

Mike Burgener, "Nick Hawke's Snatch Training at Mike's Gym, Part 1" (Video Article) - 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. Turns out Nick's not so bad after all...

Jeff Tucker, "Why Train Gymnastics Basics?" -We all know that learning basic gymnastics elements is a foundational part of 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 transfers broadly to other aspects of your training and daily life. You don't need an in-house gymnastics coach to get started, but a little expert guidance can go a long, long way, as Coach Tucker explains here.

Jennifer McKenzie, "Training for Special Medical Populations: Cardiac Concerns" - Jennifer McKenzie and her husband, Drew, both exercise physiologists and trainers, work with various special populations in their local community, hospitals, schools, and their own CrossFit affiliate in Savannah, Georgia. As more and more people discover the benefits of CrossFit, there is a corresponding increase in the numbers of clients with a variety of health issues and specialized needs who want the benefits of legitimate functional training. McKenzie offers some sound advice on bringing CrossFit to them safely and effectively.

Becca Borawski, "Countering the Clinch Escape" - In her previous two articles, Borawski I discussed how to enter the clinch and how to escape the clinch. But, in addition to having plenty of well-executed escapes and defenses in his arsenal, a good fighter needs to be able counter his opponent's escapes. Borawski and MMA fighter Tait Fletcher walk us through the moves.

Dave Castro, "CrossFit Programming, Part 3: The Movements" (Video Article) - In the third installment of his lecture on CrossFit programming, training director Dave Castro goes into more detail about how to construct effective workouts using various combinations of functional movements. Find out why seemingly simple couplets and triplets are the cornerstone of some of the most effective CrossFit programming. In the next video, Castro will talk about how to create and implement single modality workouts as part of your CrossFit training.

Cyndi Rodi, "CrossFit Kids: Forging Future Achievers" - At some point during their introduction to CrossFit, folks often wax wistful about how fit they'd be and how much they could have accomplished if they'd found CrossFit when they were young. Well, we may not be able to go back in our own histories and take CrossFit with us, but there is a whole program devoted to bringing the benefits of CrossFit training to new generations of kids and teens. Cyndi Rodi, who helps administer the CrossFit Kids program, talks about some of the effects and benefits of CrossFit for kids and, most importantly, claims that the positive effects are much more than a mindset or a surplus of self-confidence: "We believe," she says, that CrossFit "is actually changing the way our kids process information." Prepare to be inspired.


Posted on July 1, 2008 in CFJ


The July 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#71) is out.

Steve Liberati, "Steve's Club: A Nonprofit CrossFit Affiliate for Urban Youth" - Steve's Club is a nonprofit CrossFit affiliate in Camden, New Jersey (traditionally ranked as one of "America's most dangerous cities.") Founder Steve Liberati's goal is to build on the kids' inherent interest in athletics to engage them in a fitness program promoting excellence both in and out of the gym and sports arena. "While physical fitness is the heart and soul of Steve's Club," he says, "a sense of community, belonging, and responsibility is its backbone." See the full article for more details on how Steve's Club got started, how it operates, and what effects it's having.

Jeff Martin and Cyndi Rodi, "The Inherent Responsibilities of Training Children and Teens" - "Training kids and teens comes with a profound responsibility," remarks Jeff Martin. "It is not simply a scaled-down version of training adults." As a longtime CrossFitter and teacher, a CrossFit Coach, a father of four young athletes, and the co-owner of BrandX Martial Arts and the CrossFit Kids program, the man knows whereof he speaks. But the experience of taking two extremely high performing and hard-charging CrossFit teenagers over the past year and reining them in to focus on proper form and safe mechanics at very low loads yielded some important new lessons for him and the rest of the staff at his gym--lessons relevant not only to anyone who works with kids but to all CrossFitters and trainers.

Jeff Tucker, "Handstand Drills, Part 1: Ken C.'s Handstands" (Video Article)- This month, Jeff Tucker and his crew from GSX Athletics give clear visual demonstrations of the basics of the handstand, touching on everything from how to get into position from standing to how to execute a forward roll out of a belly-to-the-wall or freestanding handstand. They address the key concepts of being able to strike and maintain the pose: hand width, shoulder and head position, "locked and loaded" arms, and a tight "hollow" body position. Demo guy Ken C. had a "decent" handstand going into this exercise but found he still had things that a little expert coaching helped him improve on in just one session.

Christian "Mac" Ward, "A Nonprofit Affiliate in a Military Context: The Case of CrossFit Cherry Point" - As for Steve Liberati, above, the desire to provide CrossFit training to people who do not have access to it was the catalyst for Mac Ward to set up a rather different kind of nonprofit affiliate, this one aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina. Getting started on something like this may seem a daunting task, Mac acknowledges, but, as with any other affiliation venture, if you just take small steps, it will generate its own momentum, as his story shows.

Eric Devine, "Fully Alive: The 2008 CrossFit East Coast Challenge" - In the build-up to the 2008 CrossFit Games, CrossFit Albany hosted a regional two-day competition and community event this spring called the East Coast Challenge. Eric Devine was there, and his competitor's report from the inside makes for a good read. In the afterglow of the event, he may have been taken to rhapsodize on the experience a bit: "The Challenge was raw beauty. Limits were tested, barriers were broken, and camaraderie forged through shared experience and pain. It was evidence that CrossFit is like no other sport."

Tony Leyland, "Human Power Output and CrossFit Metcon Workouts" - From the beginning, CrossFit has unorthodoxly enjoined us to "strive to blur distinctions between 'cardio' and strength training." But, for university exercise physiologist Tony Leyland, that flies in the face of much of the accepted knowledge in his field and raises a plethora of tough questions. How is that "blurring" possible given that strength/power training and cardiovascular training are at different ends of the power spectrum? How do CrossFit's signature "metcon" workouts, in particular, work--and work so effectively? What are the mechanisms? Join the good professor as he continues on his mission of trying to peer under the lid of that inscrutable black box.

Chris Spealler, "Combining Wrestling and CrossFit Training" - In his series of recent CrossFit Journal articles, Speal has talked about some of the basics of wrestling such as stance, shots, takedowns, escapes, reversals, nearfalls and pins. That was all about rather specific wrestling moves. Now, he gives some thought to the broader question: How can and should wrestlers use CrossFit to complement our wrestling?

Tony Budding, "Media Tip #5: Shooting Stills" (Video Article) - CrossFit's Media Director brings us more useful information on taking good photos and video. This time, he takes a consumer-grade point-and-shoot digital camera into a random class at CrossFit Santa Cruz and narrates his process of capturing stills in a real-world CrossFit environment as the photo opportunities--and challenges--arise.

Becca Borawski, "Escape from the Clinch" - Last month, Borawski worked with Tait Fletcher, a veteran of the television show The Ultimate Fighter, on how to get into the clinch and deliver knee strikes. This month, they approach the move from the other side and look closely at one way of escaping from the clinch, a vital skill in mixed martial arts--and especially when fighting an experienced Muay Thai fighter (as anyone who watched the recent MMA fights between Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin has witnessed!).

Sue Lozinski, "From Obese to Athletic: A Success Story"
- CrossFit Watertown client Sue Lozinski has come a long way since just over a year-ago, pre-CrossFit, when climbing up the thirteen stairs to her bedroom left her out of breath. "This was no way to live. Something had to give," she says. "But, even as I started to try, the voice in my head told me that wasn't really possible." Since she started CrossFitting (and has lost seventy pounds so far), everything is different. What she's learned, in addition to immeasurable practical knowledge of effective training and nutrition, is something even more important: "I have no doubt that I will reach my next set of goals...because now I know, for the first time in my life, that I can do this."

Dave Castro, "CrossFit Programming, Part 2: The Movements" (Video Article) - In Part 1 of his lecture on CrossFit programming (i.e., putting together effective training and workouts) in last month's video article, Dave Castro explained the proper application of the principles of variety and intensity, two out of three of the foundational pillars of CrossFit programming. This month, he covers the third, functional movements, which are, by definition, those that move large loads over long distances quickly. Exercises that meet this criterion provide the meat for any CrossFit workout.

Tony Budding, "The Quest to Measure Fitness" - CrossFit produces, and bases its definition of improvements in fitness on--"increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains." But that raises an important question: How relevant is this fitness? In other words, how much do improvements in a broad ability to generate and sustain power across broad time and modal domains within CrossFit translate into real, improved capacity in the world outside the gym? Does the capacity developed in CrossFit improve capacity in the real world? And, can that improvement ever be scientifically established and measured? Tony Budding is on it, and he reports his thoughts and observations from that quest in the article, just in time for the CrossFit Games test case.

Lon Kilgore, "The Measure of a Man" - Movement, specifically technical movement in exercise and sport, is subject to anthropometric and geometric influences. And, while the laws of geometry are pretty well fixed and understood, the precise effects of anthropometry in athletic movement and coaching tend not to get their due. Professor Kilgore explains in detail how being able to see, at a glance, how an athlete's body dimensions compare to an average template helps us place that athlete (or ourselves) in correct, efficient, and safe exercise positions.


Posted on June 1, 2008 in CFJ


The June 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#70) is out.

Robert Ord, "A Day in the Life: Preparing for SOF Conditioning" - Ord wraps up his series of articles on training and preparation for special operations hopefuls with a description of the day in the life of a recruit in the Navy's Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) training pipeline. With more stunning photographs from BUDS by Richard Schoenberg.

Kaitlin Lyons, "CrossFit Kids: Dryland Training for Young Swimmers" - California swimming coach Kaitlin Lyons describes her young swim team's adoption and integration of CrossFit strength and conditioning into their training. She gives detailed information on some of the drills, workouts, and games they began with, and talks a bit about the results the kids have seen so far.

Tony Budding, "Media Tips #4: Buying a Camera" (Video Article) - CrossFit's Media Director gives some tips on buying a digital camera and lenses suited to the needs of affiliates and others who want good shots of CrossFit-type action. He talks about various styles and prices of cameras on the market, from relatively inexpensive small and medium-size point-and-shoot models up to "prosumer" digital SLR models, and weighs the pros and cons of the features of each.

Lon Kilgore, "Certifiable Knowledge" - Professor Kilgore offers his two cents on the state of fitness certifications nowadays. He ponders what certifications are good for, what they actually mean, which ones are worth the time and money, and how trainers and the public ought to use them. Caveat emptor.

Becca Borawski, "Entering the Clinch" - After a foray into broader discussions of the world of jiu-jitsu training in the past several months, Borawski returns to detailed examinations of individual moves used in mixed martial arts. This time, she describes--and Ultimate Fighter Tait Fletcher demonstrates--getting into the clinch effectively and offensively.

Tony Budding, "Capacity, Standards, and Sport" - With the 2008 CrossFit Games coming up in July, Tony Budding waxes philosophical about the relationships between standards for "correct" technique, work capacity, the rules of competition. It's a topic that comes up frequently in CrossFit discussions. While exacting standards are relevant and necessary within the artificial realm of sport, "in the real-world pursuit of maximal fitness and capacity," he argues, "there is no reward for achieving some established 'technique' outside its support of a measurable accomplishment of work."

Brian Jolda, "SWAT vs. Fran" - When a link to "Firefighter Fran"--a video of two firefighters doing "Fran" in full bunker gear and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)--was posted with the Workout of the Day on on May 4, 2008, the spirit of competition awoke in a couple of our Connecticut police officers and SWAT team members. So, here's the video and discussion of their experience doing "Fran" in full SWAT gear and gas masks.

John Hovey, "A Lighter Take on 'Fran'" - Seattle CrossFitter Hovey offers a humorous tale of his ill-fated experience with trying to show the college kids a thing or two about real fitness. You just know it's not going to go well...

Dave Castro, "CrossFit Programming, Part 1" (Video Article) - In this video from the beginning of a lecture on CrossFit programming, Dave Castro talks about the proper application of CrossFit's principles of variety and intensity (he'll cover the third pillar, functional movement, in a future video). Variety is about more than just changing up which exercises you do, and intensity comes with some caveats and prerequisites. Dave explains what that really means for us, in the most practical terms.

Chris Spealler, "Working for Pins and Near Fall Points in Wrestling" - This article picks up from the basic breakdowns and escapes Speal presented last month to talk about how to finish off your opponent with a pin or devastating lead in points. He looks specifically at the half nelson, crossface cradle, and corkscrew, with video demos of each.

Jeff Tucker, "Pull-Up Bar Drills, Part 3: Going Further" (Video Article) - For the third month, the crew from GSX Athletics continues their coaching session on pull-up-bar drills and techniques. In this video, they look at some more rarefied powerful pull-up variations. They work mostly on "dynos" (hopping between different-height bars) but also have some fun with clapping pull-ups, one-handed kipping pull-ups, and other monkeylike tricks.

Alex Dunne, "Race to Your Potential: How to Pace an Indoor Rowing Test" - Having the right race plan--and sticking to it--makes a huge difference both for your performance and for your enjoyment of indoor racing. In this article, Alex Dunne of Concpet2 Rowers talks in detail about how to construct a race plan and avoid making costly mistakes. He uses the 1000-meter distance as an example his discussion (in part because at the CrossFit Games next month there will be an opportunity to win an indoor rower by taking part in a 1000-meter race), but the same basic principles apply to any race distance.

Buddy Lee, "Jump Rope Basics, Part 3: Intermediate Phase" - In the first part of the intermediate phase of Buddy Lee's training progression for learning to jump rope, he talks about how to progress safely from the 500 jumps we built up to at the end of the preparation phase to the five minutes of continuous jumping that we'll aim for this time. We'll also learn some new moves and expand our repertoire from the basic bounce step and the alternate-foot step discussed in his previous articles to include the side straddle, forward straddle, skier's jump, and bell jump.


Posted on May 2, 2008 in CFJ


The May 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#69) is out.

Jeff Tucker, "Pull-Up Drills, Part 2: Moving Toward Levers" (Video Article) -This, the second video article in a series demonstrating CrossFit-oriented gymnastics drills on the pull-up bar with Jeff Tucker and Jason Malutich from GSX Athletics, gives hands-on demonstration of some progressions and drills almost anyone can use to work toward front and back levers. Coach Tucker works with some regular CrossFitters, starting with beginning inversion on the bar and progressing closer and closer to a full lever. Plus some good information on safety and spotting techniques.

Jason Dougherty, "The Hard Routine" - Dougherty talks about the general applicability of the idea of the "hard routine" that originates in special operations communities, where mental toughness, determination, and discipline are required for success and, often, survival. There is a lesson here, he says, that applies to all of us, even in far less dire circumstances, as a powerful catalytic agent for change and success of all sorts.

Mikki Martin, "A CrossFit Kids Class" (Video Article) - If you've ever wondered how the incomparable Martin family and staff, of BrandX Martial Arts/CrossFit Ramona manage to train so many kids so effectively and with relatively little chaos, this video is for you. It follows Coach Mikki Martin as she and her assistants put a whole CF Kids class through their paces, from the beginning introduction, through warm-up, skill demos, workout circuit, and a follow-up game time, keeping them working hard and fully engaged throughout.

Chris Spealler, "Wrestling Escapes and Breakdowns" - Speal's articles in the past couple months have gone over a small set of basic wrestling movements from the feet, but what happens when you get on the mat? This month, he talks about the bottom position for escapes and reversals as well as breakdowns from the top position. With photo and video demos, as always.

Michael Rutherford, "Running a One-Trainer Business" , & Andy Petranek, "Balancing Act" -
In a pair of related articles, Rut and Petranek tell their stories of how they've managed two very different CrossFit-affiliate training businesses, dealt with some of the hurdles they've encountered along the way, and how they've gotten themselves to where they are now--to their current point (not of stasis or perfection by any means, but) of greater balance.

Tony Budding, "Media Tips #3: Tripod vs. Handheld" (Video Article) - The third in TonyB's series of media tips or CrossFitters and affiliates addresses the benefits and drawbacks of shooting video on a tripod versus filming free hand. Ultimately, how you choose to shoot, as with most everything in photography, is all about the purpose of your video, the subject of it, and the conditions under which you are working. Budding walks us through some of those choices and trade-offs here.

Tyler Hass, "Scaling Up CrossFit Workouts with Rings" - In an earlier article,'s Tyler Hass talked about ways to scale down CrossFit workouts for beginners by using rings. This month, he goes in the opposite direction, showing how to use rings to scale up the difficulty of workouts for advanced athletes.

Greg Hammond, "Rowing Corrections, Part 3" (Video Article) - In this installment of his rowing lesson and technique troubleshooting, Greg Hammond of Concept2 works with an audience member on the finer points of an already-strong stroke, focusing on teaching him to keep a slow but powerful and consistent stroke rate, maintain good head and elbow position, move the handle and seat in sync, and so on. He goes on to address the technique for starting from a dead stop to get up to speed quickly and safely and how to determine the damper settings for various kinds of rowing pieces and body types.

Mark Rippetoe, "Low-Bar vs. High-Bar Squats" - Rip is back! In this piece, he delves deep into another one of his favorite topics: why the low-bar back squat, with its emphasis on hip drive, is "the best strength exercise there is"--for CrossFitters, for Olympic weightlifters, and for anyone who wants to be strong. In particular, he explains the intricacies of its advantages over the high-bar, or "Olympic-style" squat.

Becca Borawski, "Succeeding in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" - In the last article in Borawski's series on getting and staying into Brazilian jiu-jitsu she brings together her panel of experts on BJJ to discuss the issues of how and how often to train, how to avoid and cope with injury, what to do about burnout, and the whether competition is necessary.

Lon Kilgore, "Dissecting the Fish: Plotting Progress in Multi-Mode Training" - Professor Kilgore takes another look at his and Mark Rippetoe's model of how the body's adaptation to training stress drives programming for barbell training, He looks here at what happens when we apply that model to CrossFit's comprehensive fitness programming and what all that means for integrating more specialized barbell training with CrossFit. See what he finds when he tries to peer into the black box a bit.


Posted on April 1, 2008 in CFJ


The April 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#68) is out.

Matt DeMinico, "National Champion Under Development" - DeMinico, of Motor City CrossFit, introduces us to 13-year-old future Olympic speedskating hopeful, and CrossFitter, Andrew Astalos. His story is a testament not only to the effectiveness of CrossFit training but also to the role of commitment and balance in training (especially for kids) and the importance of excellent coaching.

Phil Savage, "Hand Rips: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention" - As a gymnastics coach, Savage knows the importance of maintaining the health and integrity of the skin on the hands to allow sustained training, But he also sees plenty of torn calluses and skin rips, which are part of the territory for any physical exercise that uses the hands intensively--including high-volume kipping pull-ups and ring work as well as kettlebell and barbell training, to name a few. Here he presents an illustrated practical guide to callus maintenance and rip prevention and treatment that we can all use.

Chris Spealler, "Wrestling Set-Ups, Takedowns, and Finishes" - Following up on last month's article on the fundamentals of wrestling, this month Speal explores some basic options in offense. He gives step-by-step instruction for some key set-ups, double-leg and single-leg takedowns, and finishes. With photo and video demos.

Jeremy Thiel, "Youth Strength & Conditioning Programs" - CrossFit Central's Jeremy Thiel is back, this time with his story of developing and running successful CrossFit-based summer strength and conditioning programs for high-school athletes (and eventually translating that into an ongoing adult "boot camp" program). In addition to getting kids into better shape, the program emphasizes team cohesiveness, accountability, leadership skills, and learning what it takes to be a champion both on and off the field.

Adrian Bozman, "Training the Pistol" Adrian Bozman, "Training the Pistol" (Video Article) - Bozman, of CrossFit San Francisco, covers the basic pistol (one-legged squat), modifications, and assists, as well as weighted variations. He teaches several progressions and tactics for working toward success at the basic move, as well as some increasingly difficult weighted variations.

Tony Budding, "Media Tips #2: Framing" (Video Article) - In the second in his series of practical instructional tips on taking good photos and video in workout contexts, CrossFit Media Director Tony Budding gives some good pointers on framing your subject to produce more professional, appealing, and useful media.

Andrew Thompson, "Characteristics of a World-Class Trainee" - There is a lot of discussion out there about what makes good leaders, teachers, and coaches, but less about the qualities required on the other side of that relationship--about what it takes to be a world-class trainee. Thompson looks at the some of the consistent characteristics that distinguish these folks from the pack, both in and out of the training environment.

Jeff Tucker, "Pull-Up Bar Drills, Part 1: L-Pull-Up" (Video Article) - Gymnastics coach Jeff Tucker and assistant Jay Malutich takes us through the intricacies of the L-pull-up and progressions for developing the strength and skill to execute it, as well as showing some more difficult variations such as V-ups and weighted versions, for those who have already mastered the basic L.

Becca Borawski, "Surviving in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" - Following up on last month's article on how to choose a Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy, Borawski asks this month's panel of experts to talk about how to navigate the social and logistical landscape of the BJJ world once you've got started--how to deal with everything from cauliflower ear to what to wear under your gi and how not to alienate your teammates.

Mike Burgener, "Pat's Oly Workout: Clean and Jerk" (Video Article) - Coach Burgener continues coaching CrossFitter Pat Barber through an Olympic lifting session. Last month, they worked on the snatch, ending with a new personal-record lift for Pat. This month we see how Coach B gets him up to a PR in the clean and jerk as well.

Tom Bohrer, "Smoother Rowing for More Power" - Rowing coach Bohrer addresses some of the common issues with the "catch" in indoor rowing. This transition moment from the recovery phase to the drive is crucial to rowing efficiency and safety, but it is fraught with problems for many folks. Bohrer examines those problems, explains the right way to do it, and offers some simple tools and techniques for routing out improper mechanics and teaching correct ones.

Robert Ord, "Pre-SOF Training, Part 5: 'Land'" - The fifth article in our series describes the fourth and final phase--the "Land" phase--of U.S. Tactical CrossFit's program for building the physical and mental fundamentals that prospective special operations forces recruits will need to make it in SOF training. The focus of this phase is on rucksack work and preparation for moving on to an SOF training pipeline. Plus attention to the logistics of fitting and packing a rucksack and caring for the feet.

Brian Jones, "Sandbag Training: Part 2" - In Part 1 of his series on sandbag training (in our January 2008 issue), Jones discussed the rationale behind sandbag training, explained how to make a sandbag, and walked us through some of the fundamental sandbag lifts. This month, he presents more useful lifts and talks about integrating the sandbag into workouts and training programs.


Posted on March 1, 2008 in CFJ


The March 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#67) is out.

Robert Ord, "Pre-SOF Training, Part 4: 'Water' " - The fourth article in our series describes the "Water" phase of US Tactical CrossFit's program for building the physical and mental fundamentals that prospective special operations forces recruits will need to make it in SOF training.

Nicole Carroll, "Nutrition: The Teeter-Totter" (Video Article) - The simple CrossFit nutrition prescription-"Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar"-will deliver you from metabolic derangement (i.e., hyperinsulinemia, Syndrome X, etc.) and keep you generally well. It's all about balancing your body's internal teeter-totter, where the interdependent levels of "good" and "bad" hormones pivot on the food you take in. For maximal output and truly elite fitness, however, you need to be more precise than that. In this lecture excerpt, Nicole Carroll makes the case for why.

Greg Glassman, "Technique, Part 2: Q & A" (Video Article) - This month's Glassman video captures some of the key points from the question and answer session following the lecture excerpted in last month's Technique video. Here, Coach Glassman elaborates on a number of questions that get at some of the finer details of the relationships between technique, intensity, functional movement, and performance that he raised earlier.

Mark Eaton, "Good Coach, Bad Coach" - A brief collection of some elementary wisdom from the common body of knowledge on coaching, to serve as an opportunity for personal reflection on how we behave as coaches and trainers. These tidbits were originally assembled for coaches of adolescents, but they apply just as well to coaches and trainers of all ages and levels of clients, athletes, and teams.

Doug Chapman, "Mobility in Design: A Portable Pull-Up Structure" - What if you could have pull-up bars that are sturdy, allow full kipping pull-ups, and accommodate a large of people at once-and can be moved wherever you need them, including outdoors, with a minimum of fuss and muss? Well, it's not just a pipe dream. The folks at CrossFit Ann Arbor/Hyperfit USA have exactly that and explain how you can have it too.

Tony Leyland, "Good Hormones, Bad Hormones: The Energy Balance Equation" - Gary Taubes's fine new book Good Calories, Bad Calories is dedicated to demonstrating that nutrition for good health and weight control "is not just about the calories, Stupid." In this fine analysis, Leyland shows that the same is true, if under-recognized, on the opposite side of the energy-in/energy-out equation. When it comes to exercise, like diet, the important thing is not just quantity; what matters most is not simply how many calories you expend, but how you do so.

Becca Borawski, "Getting Started in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" - Becca frequently fields questions from CrossFitters about how to get started in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (or any martial art). So she's pulled together a panel of successful jiu-jitsu players/MMA fighters to address some of the common questions about how to find a school and instructor, what to expect, how to prepare, how to combine martial arts with strength and conditioning training, and how to get better.

Tyler Hass, "Scaling Down CrossFit Workouts with Rings" - Tyler Hass, who is dedicated to bringing the benefits of basic ring training to non-gymnasts, presents a number of ways to modify CrossFit workouts to make them more accessible for beginners, or to help intermediate CrossFitters develop their ring skills in preparation for somewhat more advanced moves, or just to make more travel-friendly workouts.

Mike Burgener, "Pat's Oly Workout: Snatch" (Video Article) - After working on his own for a few months, Pat, the subject of the last two months' video articles on the fundamentals of the snatch, visits Mike Burgener for a coaching session on heavier snatches and tries for a new PR. It's an informative fly-on-the-wall look into an experienced coach's real-life session with a relatively new lifter.

Special Section: "On the Safety and Efficacy of Overhead Lifting" - This month, we bring together folks from a variety of disciplines to respond to the oft-heard conjecture that lifting overhead is inherently dangerous-i.e., that it is destructive of the shoulder. The central essay is a collaboration by expert lifting coach Mark Rippetoe, exercise physiologist (and lifter and coach) Lon Kilgore, and Ph.D. physical therapist (and lifter and coach) Kelly Starrett that debunks the standard myths. Their information is backed up by brief testimonials from sport physiotherapist Daniel Crumback and orthopedic surgeon (and strongman) Paul Benfanti. The next time you hear some "expert" tell you "overhead pressing is bad for the shoulders," you can just file that in the same dustbin as "deep squats are bad for the knees."

Tony Budding, "Media Tips #1, Light Positioning and Capture Settings" (Video Article) - In the first of a series of practical instructional video articles on the difficult task of taking good, clear action photos and video in workout contexts, CrossFit Media Director Tony Budding gives hands-on explanations of some basics of the art of capturing light on "film" (or, rather, the digital equivalent).

Chris Spealler, "Speal on Wrestling: Stance, Shot, and Handfighting" - Wrestling helps practitioners develop an amazing work ethic, solid body awareness, good strength to weight ratios, and the ability to transfer their skills into other athletic arenas. In the first of a regular CFJ series of articles on the wrestling, CrossFitter and wrestler Chris Spealler introduces some of the most basic skills that wrestlers require: the stance, the shot for a takedown, and handfighting.


Posted on February 2, 2008 in CFJ


The February 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#66) is out.

Kelly Moore, "CrossFit-Powered U.S. Kettlebell Victory" - In November 2007, longtime CrossFitter Kelly Moore (one of the earliest and most impressive posters of workout scores back in the early days of the WOD) was the first U.S. athlete to earn the rank of Master of Sport World Class in kettlebell sport competition. She tells the story of her path to that achievement, built on a broad and extremely solid base of CrossFit-developed strength anf fitness and facilitated by a specialist coach with the right emphasis on fundamental mechanics and good technique.

Tony Young, "You Can't Lift What You Can't Hold On To" - Although CrossFitters do our share of both heavy slow lifts and Olympic lifts, where grip plays an important role, grip is usually not a specfic training focus. But it is no less important to CrossFitters than to full-time powerlifters, Olympic lifters, strongmen, or grapplers. In fact, our broad training approach means that we need hands and multi-dimensional hand strength even more than most sport-specific athletes. Young presents an overview of grip training both for building stregnth and for rehabbing some wrist, forearm, and elbow injuries.

Robert Ord, "Pre-SOF Training" - The third article in this series on preparing potential military special operations forces recruits describes the "Assessment" phase of Rob Ord's program for buiding the physical and mental fundamentals of what takes to make it in real special operations forces training.

Brian MacKenzie, "The Time Trial as a Training Tool" - Time trials define the endurance sports. They also, says ultra-runner and mutlisport endurance coach Brian MacKenzie, help define you as an athlete and how successful you are in training. He details how to integrate time trials and interval work into a training program for any distance sport.

Mike Burgener, "Coach Burgener Teaches the Snatch, Part 2" (Video Article) - In Part 1 of this instructional video, last month, Coach B worked with Pat, of CrossFit Virginia Beach, on some basics of footwork and positioning for the snatch. In Part 2, they walk through a progression of preparatory skill-transfer exercises and then into the snatch from the high-hang position-all still with just PVC.

Greg Glassman, "Technique, Part 1" (Video Article) - Glassman elaborates on the relationship between technique and functional movement, power, and fitness that underlies some of CrossFit' most basic principles and goals. Technique, he explains-like its cousins mechanics, form, and style-is not at odds with intensity but is in fact essential for maximizing power and thus fitness.

Robin Lyons, "Hammer Time: Throwing Drills" - From the specialized world of track and field, accomplished thrower Robin Lyons brings us some basic throwing moves and drills that anyone can use to build the power, coordination, accuracy, and balance inherent to the sport of hammer throw.

Tom Bohrer, "Use Your Feet for Stronger Rowing" - The role of the feet in indoor rowing technique is seldom dicussed; however, as rowing coach Tom Bohrer argues, it can have a tremendous impact on your form and your efficiency-and therefore your speed and power output.

Greg Hammond, "Row Corrections, Part 2" (Video Article) - Greg Hammond of Concept2 continues the rowing lesson he started in last month's video article. Here, he offers tips on efficiency and troubleshoots a full slate of common technique problems.

Greg Hammond, "Why Indoor Rowing? A Quick List" - A short take on the benefits of rowing, to address the question, "What makes the indoor rower any better than other forms of equipment for metcon (metabolic conditioning) training?

Becca Borawski, "Rear Naked Choke" - Becca Borawski and world-class grappler Valerie Worthington walk us through two versions of the rear naked choke, one of the popular and recognizable grappling moves and the one "most feared whenever a competitor gives up his back to his opponent."


Posted on January 6, 2008 in CFJ


The January 2008 CrossFit Journal issue (#65) is out.

Featured CrossFitter: Jolie Gentry - The journal's first featured CrossFitter, Jolie Gentry, is a California police/SWAT officer and the winner of the 2007 CrossFit Games. She talks in this interview about her background, her introduction to CrossFit, and her take on being a woman in the worlds of elite fitness and law enforcement.

Becca Borawski, "Double-Leg Takedown for Submission Wrestling" - Becca Borawski teams up again with world-champion grappler Valerie Worthington to describe in detail (and in photos) the how-tos of the double-leg takedown that Brazilian jiu-jitsu has borrowed from wrestling.

Brian Jones, "Sandbag Lifting" - The guru of sandbag lifting himself, Brian Jones, discusses why sandbag lifting is so useful, explains how to make durable bags for your garage or gym, and shows how to lift them properly once you've got your hands on them.

Brian MacKenzie, "Endurance Training: Decreased Training Time & Increased Work Capacity" - Endurance sports coach Brian MacKenzie challenges the "more is better" dogma that pervades endurance training circles, offering in its place an argument (and experiential support) for smarter, safer, more varied and more broadly functional training-and less of it, in terms of time and volume. When his athletes train stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, and balance in addition to cardiovascular endurance and speed, he attests, they make much larger gains in work capacity for their specialized sport, and with a much more positive effect on their overall health and fitness. He includes a detailed sample program-that incorporates CrossFit workouts and principles-for the last five weeks of training for a 50-mile race.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Coach Burgener Teaches the Snatch Part 1" (Video Article) - We pulled Olympic lifting coach Mike Burgener aside during the lunch break at a recent CrossFit certification seminar to start to teach Pat, of CrossFit Virginia Beach, to snatch. He gets through some basics on footwork and positioning, plus the Burgener warm-up, in this month's video. Next month, part 2 in the series will continue the lesson.

Andrew J. Thompson, "Tribute to a Coach" - Many of us have a coach or teacher who has changed our lives and inspires and drives us to be better, both in the moment and in retrospect-and all of us who are coaches or trainers ourselves surely hope to have that kind of impact on our athletes. CrossFitter, trainer, and U.S. Marine Andrew Thompson pays homage to his U.S. Naval Academy football strength and conditioning coach, Phil Emery, whose impact still inspires him (and us).

Jeff Martone, "Double-Kettlebell Push Press and Jerk" - Jeff Martone walks us through the intricacies of the clean, push-press, and jerk as done with two kettlebells. As he points out, the important thing is to master the movement, regardless of the tool (whether barbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, sandbag, or what have you), but there some specifics of the KB that make this article an invaluable how-to for everyone.

Greg Glassman, "Productive Application of Force" (Video Article) - True, useful strength is not merely the muscles' ability to generate force but the ability to productively apply that force. The missing link in so much mainstream fitness programming is the neuromuscular component of this application of strength-in particular, the development of coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. Omitting them from one's training necessarily results in only partial fitness, partial expression of one's genetic potential, and a decreased threshold of maximal capacity. Coach Glassman makes the point persuasively, in his characteristic engaging, no-nonsense style.

Robert Ord, "Pre-SOF Training" - Part 2 of our view into the workings of U.S. Tactical CrossFit's program for preparing potential military special forces recruits for entrance into one of the U.S. military's elite training pipelines. This month, he details the "Indoctrination" phase of his program's instruction in the physical and mental fundamentals of what takes to be in special operations forces.

Matt Swift, "Partnering with a Martial Arts Dojo" - One of our affiliates from down under, Matt Swift of CrossFit Brisbane, offers firsthand advice and personal anecdotes on the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of running a fledgling CrossFit affiliate out of someone else's gym-in this case, a martial arts studio. There can be drawbacks and stumbling blocks, but, as Swift has found, if your situation and gym-owner are right for it, there can be some pretty compelling advantages too.

Greg Hammond, "Row Corrections" (Video Article) - Greg Hammond of Concept2 Rowing works with two quite different CrossFit athletes in front of an audience to demonstrate rowing fundamentals and correct their mistakes. The point is clear: Faster rowing doesn't come from faster movement (i.e., higher stroke rate). It is the result, rather, of more power transfer and increased efficiency. In short, better, faster rowing (i.e., increased output) comes from better technique.

Keysha McClenton-Benzing, "Form for Runners, from Head to Toe" - Strength and conditioning coach, Olympic lifter, and badass runner Keysha McClenton presents a detailed guide to proper running mechanics, from head to feet. While running style is necessarily individualized, she walks us through the universal biomechanical positions and functions underlying efficient, powerful, safe running.

Jeremy Thiel, "Corporate Wellness" - Thiel, co-owner of CrossFit Central in Austin, Texas, explains how he and his staff started a CrossFit-based corporate wellness program for bringing training and education into local businesses and corporations. What might seem to be a huge undertaking really is quite manageable, he says. This article helpfully gets into logistical specifics about the structure, pricing, and positioning of the program, and the successes Thiel and company have had with it to date.

Michael Collins, "Where is Your Body Weight? The Key to Efficient Movement" - To be successful in endurance (and other) sports, Collins attests, you need to learn how your body weight can be your primary movement force and use your muscles to "service" your body weight instead of the other way around. The key to this is understanding where your body weight is supported and how forces such as gravity, ground reaction, torque, and buoyancy (in the case of swimming) affect your control of your body as it moves through space (or water). Triathlete Collins gives concrete examples from the sports of running, swimming, and cycling.

Posted on December 1, 2007 in CFJ


The December 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#64) is out.

Robert Ord, "Pre-SOF Training" - Robert Ord, a former Navy diver supporting SEALs, and the current Director of Training at the U.S. Tactical CrossFit Training Center just outside San Diego, gives an inside view into the design and efficacy of the program that they have implemented to train, motivate, and mentor potential recruits before they enter into one of the U.S. military's elite special forces training pipelines.

Michael Collins, "Efficient Running: The Pose Method" - In the running world, the main focus tends to be on training harder, longer, or faster, and people seem to think you just "naturally" learn to run correctly by merely doing a lot of it. Triathlon coach Michael Collins counters that with an argument about the importance of using safe, efficient technique that harnesses the natural physical forces at play in running.

Brian MacKenzie, "The Basics of Pose Running Techniques" - Endurance athlete and coach Brian MacKenzie outlines some of the basic principles of the Pose technique that Collins introduces. In every sport, he points out, the elite all have some things in common: they use gravity to their advantage; they are compact in their movements; and everything is done with almost an effortless approach. The articles on running technique in this issue will get you started in that direction.

Michael Collins, "Intro to the Pose Method for Distance Running" (Video Article) - In a video companion piece to the articles by him and MacKenzie in this issue, Collins explains and demonstrates how to work with, rather than against, the natural forces at play in non-sprint running.

Tony Leyland, "Why a 10K WOD?" - What's up with all this (relatively) long distance information and interest popping up in the CF world lately? Professor Leyland responds to questions about the rationale for Workouts of the Day such as "Run 10k," and takes it as an occasion to delve into a discussion about the safety, efficacy, and wisdom of such endeavors.

Becca Borawski, "Gi Guard Pass from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" - Regular fight correspondent Borawski gets world-champion grappler Valerie Worthington to demonstrate one Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique for getting yourself out of the guard and into a more offensive position.

Tes Salb, "The Mental Marksman" - In the first of her contributions to the CFJ, athlete, marksman, and Shooting Sports magazine editor Tes Salb focuses on the mental aspects of training and the importance of visualization and concentration in any challenging physical endeavor. In future articles, she'll also examine the role of physical training in successful shooting.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Supplemental Olympic Lifting for CrossFitters" - Coach B and Tony B present a sample program for committed CrossFitters who want to continue to train hard-core CrossFit while they also work on getting better in the Oly lifts. They offer an eight-week daily plan for improving your lifts that won't interfere with your standard CrossFit workouts and accommodates the three-days-on/one-day-off cycle of the WOD. Also featuring an index of past CFJ articles on Olympic lifting topics by Burgener and Budding.

Greg Glassman, "Evidence-Based Fitness" (Video Article) - In this excerpt from one of his talks at a recent CrossFit certification seminar, founder Greg Glassman discusses the methods and rationale of CrossFit. Fundamentally, what we are about, he explains, is evidence-based fitness. Here he breaks that statement down into its constituent parts and explains the logical, scientific basis of the CrossFit system for advancing human performance.

Buddy Lee, "Jump Rope Basics, Part 2: More Preparation Phase, Plus Double-Under Tips" - Jump rope guru Buddy Lee gets us deeper into the first of the four phases of his system for learning safe, effective, efficient rope jumping. And he speeds ahead in the progression to give some timely instruction and tips on double-unders, a favorite of many CrossFitters.

Andy Petranek, "Sign on the Dotted Line: Affiliate Membership Contracts" - When Andy Petranek, owner of CrossFit Los Angeles, took a hard look at the question of the best way to structure gym memberships to support both the development and growth of students and the development and growth of his business, one of the answers he came up with seems anathema to many affiliates: long-term contracts. He explains how and why he did it, and what his results have been.

Jeff Glassman, "Conjecture, Hypothesis, Theory, Law: The Basis of Rational Argument" - Evaluating the validity of scientific models and criticisms, whether about cosmology, or climatology, or physiology and the efficacy of CrossFit, requires an understanding of the terms conjecture, hypothesis, theory, and law. Jeff Glassman follows up on his video discussion of these in the November issue with a fuller written explanation of how these play into rational discussions of often-contentious topics.

Mark Rippetoe, "Back Squat Geometry, Part 2 (Video Article)" - This video article continues Rip's discussion of lifting mechanics from last month's journal issue. Taken together, the two videos offer a clear, down-to-earth explanation of how and why the principles of force, physics, and human physiology determine the positions that constitute good-safe, effective, and efficient-form for the barbell lifts.

Judy Geer, "Indoor Rowing Races" - The folks from Concept2 bring us information on the sport of indoor row racing and techniques for setting your race pace and preparing for a competition or PR attempt.


Posted on November 2, 2007 in CFJ


The November 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#63) is out.

Rob Miller, "Zone on the Rocks: Fueling Performance" – If eating within the parameters of the Zone can be done on a vertical camping trip up the side of a cliff with no cupboard, fridge, or grocery store, than surely it can be done within the convenience of your day-to-day life. Perhaps it could convince you to try it for two weeks.

Becca Borawski, "Jiu-Jitsu Journey: How Valerie Worthington Found CrossFit and Won the Gold Medal" – Becca Borawski chronicles the journey of grappler Valerie Worthington as she traveled across the country in search of jiu-jitsu training, stumbled across CrossFit in Los Angeles, and went on to win gold in her weight class at the 2007 Grappling World Championships in Turkey.

Tony Leyland, "Spine Mechanics for Lifters" – Professor Leyland gets into the nuts and bolts of what happens in the lower spine when you lift weights. A little bit of anatomy, a little bit of the physics of force transmission, and some computer-modeled comparisons of deadlifts done with both extended and flexed lumbar spine add up to a lot of useful information about why form matters.

Mark Rippetoe, "Be Alive. Be Very Alive." – Rip tears into the watered-down version of "wellness" that the Establishment propounds as the standard for fitness and health in the U.S. In a lively discussion of how serious work in the gym carries over into other important parts of life, he argues that " physically—and mentally—difficult tasks are normal and natural to our existence; they have been since the inception; and this is the reason they make us healthier."

Greg Glassman, "Nutrition Lecture: Part 2, Optimizing Performance" (Video Article) – Part 2 of Coach Glassman's discussion of nutrition (with a cameo appearance by badass CrossFitter Eddie Lugo) addresses the refined dietary needs of the athlete and what's required to optimize your performance. If you want elite physical output, you must be precise about your intake: "There's a 1:1 correspondence between elite CrossFit performance and accuracy and precision in your consumption."

Brian MacKenzie, "The New World Order for Endurance Training" – Ultra endurance athlete and trainer Brian MacKenzie talks about his approach to training for long-distance work and how CrossFit changed his approach, improved his performance and health, and altered his coaching protocols.

Tyler Hass, "Training the Front Lever on Rings" – Ring training guy Tyler Hass has written what just may be the best article we've seen on training up to a front lever on the rings, a challenging but attainable goal for many non-gymnasts. He offers a multifaceted approach to building the required strength and technique, giving thorough progressions that rely on leverage, range of motion, and momentum, respectively.

Pat Sherwood, "Beyond the Garage Gym: Starting or Expanding a CrossFit Affiliate" – "It happens to every affiliate after a while: they run out of square footage." It's a good problem, but not always easy to navigate. CrossFit Virginia Beach co-owner Pat Sherwood provides a lot of helpful tips and some personal anecdotes from his own experiences.

Mark Rippetoe, "Back Squat Geometry, Part 1 (Video Article)" – Proper lifting mechanics are about understanding the relevant bits of human skeletal anatomy and principles of force and physics. These are what determine the most efficient, strongest, and mechanically sound body positions for all the lifts and these are what we, as lifters and trainers, need to learn to recognize and analyze. In this video article, he explains the skeletal geometry that is the basis for the back squat.

Jeff Glassman, "Science and the Rest Day Discussions (Video Article)" – Retired engineer, scientist, and frequent rest-day discussion participant Jeff Glassman talks with Tony Budding about argument, logic, science, and his reasons for engaging in the rest-day discussions.

Michael Rutherford, "Dr. Tabata and the Dumbbell" – Coach Rut offers up his template for a set of Tabata sequences with dumbbells that makes up a very effective CrossFit interval workout.


Posted on October 2, 2007 in CFJ


The October 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#62) is out.

Phil Savage, "Bucket Circles" - Gymnastics coach Phil Savage explains how to use a simple bucket-and-rope contraption to allow the Rest of Us to train like gymnasts. Working the ability to perform circles on the floor (as male gymnasts do in competition on the pommel horse) with the feet supported and rotating around the body provides excellent strength and coordination work that carries over to all sorts of endeavors.

Mark Rippetoe, "Bad Form" - So, what's really so bad about bad form? Why should we care so all-fired much? As you might imagine, Rip has a thing or two to say on the topic. With a few digressions into the supernatural to boot.

Jeff Martone, "The Kettlebell Press" - Pressing weight overhead has been one of the classic tests of strength for centuries. Martone focuses on the kettlebell in particular, but, regardless of the implement used, the tips and techniques he offers will increase your strength and safety while pressing your implement of choice. The difference is in the details.

Tony Blauer, Video Article: "Combatives Fitness, Part 2: The Workout" - Combatives and self-defense expert Tony Blauer presents part 2 of the scenario-based conditioning lecture and demo that we left off with in the August issue. In part 1 he talked about adapting some of the basic functional movements we're all familiar with to the tactical environment to create a warm-up designed with defensive training in mind. This month, Blauer presents a fuller scenario-based workout for training the mind and body for "functional fighting fitness."

Greg Glassman, Video Article: "Better Movements: The Jerk and Kipping Pull-Up" - In this lecture from a recent CrossFit certification seminar, Greg Glassman looks at the differences among the shoulder press, push press, and push jerk and compares them to the differences between strict and kipping pull-ups. The advantage of the "better" movements (jerk and kipping pull-up), he explains, lies in the power they express. They are consistently farther along the almost every continuum that matters: athleticism, power, intensity, skill, and utility.

Greg Glassman, Video Article: "Nutrition Lecture, Part 1: Avoiding Disease" - In this first of a two-part lecture excerpt, Coach Glassman explores some of the science behind nutrition and the body, particularly the role of insulin in health and disease. "Syndrome X," the "deadly quartet" (obesity, glucose intolerance, high blood pressure, high triglycerides), and coronary heart disease, he claims, are largely avoidable through dietary means.

Lon Kilgore, "Specifically Speaking" - We know that a certain amount of specificity in training is useful, and that the body adapts in ways that are specific to the kinds of demands we impose on it (one of the reasons CrossFit is so committed to variety). But specificity frequently gets carried too far and taken to the point of being wrong, Prof. Kilgore argues. So, how much specificity is useful, and in what contexts?

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Fixing Loopy Lifts" - Coach B and Tony B take on a common problem in Olympic lifting-especially for folks who typically do only sub-maximal lifts-namely, slow loopy movement. This is not an efficient way to lift, and it creates a bad habit that is hard to break when speed and aggression are needed most. Four online videos give clear demonstrations of the loopy movement vs. good, tight lifts, as well as the supplementary exercises they recommend to help remedy the problem.

Becca Borawski, "Striking from Side Control" - One of the benefits of strong wrestling abilities in mixed martial arts is being able to achieve good ground positioning on an opponent. From a good position, a fighter can capitalize on his ability to minimize an opponent's movement and his own ability to land strikes. This month, Borawski describes two on-the-ground striking techniques executed from side control, with step-by-step photos featuring professional MMA fighter Traver Boehm.

Tony Leyland, "Variable Resistance: Nature or Design?" - Prof. Leyland explains the logic behind variable resistance machines, explores the role variable resistance plays in resistance training of all types, and expounds on his reasons for eschewing the machines.

Michael Rutherford, "Large-Group Workout Solution 2: Snatches and Squats" - Coach Rut brings us another simple but effective and adaptable dumbbell-based workout suitable for large-group scenarios.

Buddy Lee, "Jump Rope Basics, Part 1: Preparation" - The first of a series of articles by jump rope guru Buddy Lee lays the groundwork of solid basics for successful jump rope training. Jumping rope may not be rocket science exactly, but starting off on the right foot, as it were, makes all the difference. Lee walks us through the fundamentals, from rope selection and training environment to progressions to teach you the two most basic jump steps that all future fancy footwork will be based on.


Posted on September 2, 2007 in CFJ


The September 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#61) is out.

TJ Cooper and Phil Canto, "CrossFit Training for Law Enforcement" – For over five years now, Officers Cooper and Canto have been CrossFit-training police recruits at the Florida Police Corps and other Jacksonville agencies. Here they talk a bit about their successes and, more importantly, explain how they've implemented and sustained their program. A great resource for others trying to bring CrossFit training into institutions.

Michael Rutherford, "A Large-Group Workout Solution" – Coach Rut talks about managing and effectively training large, varied groups and offers a simple couplet of one dumbbell exercise and one bodyweight exercise as an example of a functional fitness workout for the masses.

"CCT Joey," "Basically Barbells: The CrossFit Basic Barbell Certification Seminar" – Our correspondent, outspoken on the WOD comments blog, gives a first-hand report on the many things he learned, unlearned, and relearned at CrossFit's new two-day seminar on the fundamentals and finer points of barbell training. The deadlift, back squat, press, bench press, and power clean are core parts of CrossFit programming, and this seminar, led by Mark Rippeote and Lon Kilgore, addresses not only how do the lifts properly but how to recognize and correct technique errors and teach others.

Tom Arcuri, Video Article: "Close Quarter Form" – Tom Arcuri describes and demonstrates Blauer Tactical Systems' combat/defense drill known as the close quarter form, or CQF. Each move in the drill sequence is a response to some aspect of a real fight, and, as a whole, the exercise is designed to assist in visualization, muscle-memory, balance, target selection, and tactical flow—tools you can use in actual confrontations.

Robert Smith, Video Article: "Human Weapon System" – Doc Smith, of the Direct Action Medical Network, explains the tactical and safety benefits of training the body as a "human weapon system"—of training in ways that engage natural abilities and hard-wired instincts and integrate medical and physiological knowledge. You have to train the way you're going to fight: with intensity, and in accordance with the body's natural functions of perception, reaction, and response.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Assistance Sequence for the Snatch" – This month, Burgener and Budding shift their focus a bit from teaching the fundamentals of the Olympic lifts themselves to talk about how to address specific issues and weaknesses individual athletes might exhibit. In this article, they describe a sequence that helps remediate one of the most vexing issues for many lifters: strength and stability in the receiving position of the full snatch.

Becca Borawski, "Sokoudjou's Inside Trip" – Becca Borawski gives play-by-play descriptions as mixed martial arts fighter Thierry Sokoudjou goes back to his judo roots to demonstrate an inside trip takedown that can be used on an opponent who is pushed up against the fence or ropes.

Tyler Hass, "Ring Row Variations" – Even if you only have the space for low rings, there's no shortage of strength moves you can work on. Ring training guy Tyler Hass walks us through a series of unusual variations on the standard ring row that you can do just about anywhere.

Mark Rippetoe, "Strong Enough?" – Mark Rippetoe reflects on a topic dear to him: Why physical strength is so important—both in athletics and in life in general. Not to be missed.

Gant Grimes, "Strength on the Mat" – Grimes offers a specific take on Rip's thoughts with his comments on strength and technique as they apply in the world of judo.


Posted on August 1, 2007 in CFJ


The August 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#60) is out.

Marty Mitchell, with Mark Rippetoe , "Where Barbells Come From" - This article could be subtitled "Or; Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Barbells." There are so many types and grades of bars for sale; if you've ever wanted to buy a bar for yourself or your gym, you know it can be confusing trying to determine what sort you need and which features and ratings are most important. The authors walk us through barbell varieties and variations and give a virtual tour of the careful process of manufacturing a high-quality bar.

Dale Saran, "The First CrossFit Games" - CrossFitter Dale Saran and recounts the recent first-ever CrossFit Games from the perspective of a participant. It's not the same as being there in person, but you can vicariously experience the unfolding of events as Saran sets the scene, draws out the characters, and describes the action.

Dave Castro, "Reading Between the Lines" - Once this year's CrossFit Games were over, at the beginning of July, CrossFit HQ guy Dave Castro got intrigued about the commonalities and differences in the experience, performance, and training of the competitors. So he did some digging and analysis to try to answer questions like "What does it take to compete with these three? What are some constants in their performances? And, are there certain benchmarks workouts and exercises that act as indicators (and predictors) of broad fitness and capacity across diverse domains?"


This issue introduces video articles, a new regular feature in the Journal. These are longer, more in-depth online videos than you see elsewhere on, featuring a variety of coaches, trainers, and experts from across the CrossFit spectrum. We'll bring you at least one each month.

Tony Blauer Video Article: "Combatives Fitness, Part 1: The Warm-Up" - The work of combatives and self-defense expert Tony Blauer is based on the principle that an effective combative/protective system must work with, rather than against, the body's natural movement patterns and instinctual responses to attack and fear. He has put this kind of training and mindset together with CrossFit principles to create training regimens that develop true functional combative fitness. In this video article, he demonstrates how he adapts some of the basic functional movements we're all familiar with (squat, push-up, sit-up, etc.) to the tactical environment. Part 2, in next month's issue, will present a full scenario-based workout.

Greg Glassman Video Article: "On Being a Trainer" - In this 15-minute video, Coach Glassman gives an inspiring talk about what it means to be a good trainer and why it matters. How successful you are—how good you are—he argues, is entirely up to you. While competency in the mechanics is essential, one of the differences between good and great trainers is passion. Passion for movement, for people, for spreading knowledge. It is not about marketing strategies or a great "business plan," or having the perfect space, or any of the other accoutrements. It's about loving what you do, caring enough to do it right, and, ultimately, sharing your knowledge as broadly as possible.

Jeff Martone, "The Turkish Get-Up, Part 3: Overhead Squat Variation" - Martone ratchets up the difficulty of the Turkish Get-Up he has discussed in the past two months with this exploration of an overhead squat variation. It's is not for the inflexible or injured, perhaps, but it is challenging and effective for developing balance, strength, stability, and flexibility all in one package.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Teaching the Jerk, Part 4: Skill-Transfer Exercises" - This month brings the last piece of Burgener and Budding's four-part series on teaching the jerk, in which they present four valuable skill-transfer exercises that help develop different aspects of jerk proficiency.

Becca Borawski, "Wrestling with Dan Henderson: Simple Takedown" - Borawski and Olympian wrestler Henderson bring us another fully illustrated approach to the takedown.

Lon Kilgore, "Genetic Potential" - As a fitting counterpart to Castro's article in this issue, Prof. Kilgore explores what it is that makes great athletes great. Is it mainly natural talent or mainly hard work? How much is it both? And what does that mean for the rest of us? How do we train to maximize the potential we have? " To be truly fit to survive, fit to live, fit to work, and fit to play," Kilgore argues, "we need to drive across-the-board adaptations, and we need a system of training that activates every performance gene in its path."

Tony Leyland, "The Stretch-Shortening Cycle and Plyometric Training" - Prof. Leyland explains the mechanics behind the physiologic stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) and clears up some of the questions frequently asked about "the stretch reflex," "eccentric contraction," that "bounce" at the bottom of a squat, and why it's so much harder to jump without dipping the hips and knees first. With video footage of various kinds of vertical jump testing and discussion of how they do or don't involve a SSC.

Michael Rutherford, "An Explosive Combination" - With a full video demonstration of the drill, Coach Rut describes his combination of powerful dumbbell moves and the classic agility drill known in football conditioning circles as the "pro agility" or "5-10-5" drill. Check this one against the "10 General Physical Skills" [ck1] list—yep, it's got many of them covered.

The Grinder, CrossFit FRAGO #13, "SHORTY" - The final "Grinder" in the series of workout operations orders has the soldiers using austere equipment to do rounds of deadlifts, overhead squats, and thrusters.


Posted on July 1, 2007 in CFJ

Jun07 CFJ

The July 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#59) is out.

Becca Borawski, "Greco-Roman Takedown: Wrestling with Dan Henderson" – Being a strong and skilled wrestler is all well and good (very good, in our opinion), but you gotta be able to get your opponent to the mat. For this month’s article, Becca Borawski spent a day with two-time Olympian wrestler Dan Henderson and his fighters at Team Quest MMA Fitness Center Temecula, California, working on (and photographing) technique for the Greco-Roman takedown.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Teaching the Jerk, Part 3: Split Jerk Drills" – In the May and June issues, Coach Burgener and TonyB covered the two most important aspects of the split jerk separately—the jump (dip-drive), as performed with the barbell on the shoulders behind the neck, and then the proper landing position. This month’s article, the ninth in their series on teaching the Olympic lifts, shows how to put those together and gives some progressions that help develop a strong and confident clean and jerk.

Steve Cotter, "A Performance-Based Comparison of Kettlebell Methods" – Steve Cotter analyzes the efficacy of two contrasting kettlebell lifting styles—what he calls the "rigid style" that has predominated in the U.S. kettlebell community, on the one hand, and a more recently recognized (and more effective, he argues) "fluid style" preferred by gireviks such as Valery Fedorenko, on the other. Not to be missed.

Paul Eich, "My First CrossFit Certification Seminar" – Naval Aviator, athlete, and family man Paul Eich, whom you may know as "Apolloswabbie" if you are a regular reader of the WOD comments blog on, attended the recent CF certification seminar in Vancouver, BC, and has a lot to say about it.

Judy Geer, "From Rowing Indoors to Rowing on the Water" – Most CrossFitters know and love (and sometimes hate) the Concept2 indoor rower. Judy Geer, wife and sister-in-law of Concept2’s founders and a former U.S. Olympic team rower in her own right, does too, but she also knows the unique beauty and power of the real deal, on the water.

Lon Kilgore, "The Most Powerful Human Being In the Entire Universe" – Here at CrossFit, we never tire of talking about power—that point where work and speed come together to create intensity. Prof. Kilgore helps refine the concept by getting specific about two flavors of power athletes need to understand—what he calls burst power and sustainable power.

Tony Leyland, "Principles of Physiologic Conditioning" – Prof. Leyland evaluates the traditional principles of exercise programming and adaptation—overload, specificity, reversibility, and individual differences—in the light of CrossFit’s principles and results. The two models shed useful light on one another, and the upshot bodes well for both.

Mark Rippetoe, "Silly Bullshit" – A broad-ranging, rip-ranting review of some of the sources of fitness misinformation and general silliness out there, from medical professionals who think they are also exercise professionals and academics actually in the field to muscle magazines, advertisers, Internet fitness sites, and the mainstream media. Rip in fine form.

Michael Rutherford, "Dumbbell Conditioning for Rotational Strength and Health" – The Dumbbell Coach presents his steps for improving rotational strength and health. With video clips demoing each of the moves he describes.

Kelly Starrett, "Hamstrung" – Kelly Starrett is a physical therapist, accomplished athlete, and CrossFit trainer, and he has therefore seen a lot of tight hamstrings. He knows you probably don’t like to stretch, but it is his mission to fix that. Here he explains how hamstring restriction impedes performance and function, tells us how to identify tight hamstrings with a few simple assessment tools, and, explains how to address the problem.

The Grinder, CrossFit FRAGO #12, "PALMER" – What if you wanted to do "Fight Gone Bad" with a whole mess of soldiers in an "austere" environment—i.e., no fancy rowing machines, no Dynamax medicine balls or wallball targets (or even walls), no barbells? This month’s Grinder has got you covered.


Posted on June 2, 2007 in CFJ

Jun07 CFJ

The June 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#58) is out.

Michael Rutherford, "The Dumbbell Bear" - This month's "Dumbbell Coach" article offers up a tough workout modeled after the barbell complex known as the Bear. The dumbbell version is a bit more accessible, more scalable, and better suited to group training than the barbell version, and Coach Rut suggests a few different models for Bear-based workouts that are challenging and measurable.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Teaching the Jerk, Part 2" - Burg and Budding present a detailed progression for learning (or correcting) the landing position for the split jerk, from determining the dominant foot to fine tuning and troubleshooting the landing footwork in the split.

Lon Kilgore, "Physics, Physiology, and Food" - A practical look at the ins and outs of nutrition and the realities and requirements of dietary composition in the light of common-sense principles of physics and physiology. "Diet" is not just about weight or appearance; it's the foundation of physical training. As Prof. Kilgore puts it, "Exercise is about adaptation. Nutrition is about the support of that adaptation."

Becca Borawski, "Ground and Pound Sequence" - Ring Girl goes to the mat for this article on controlling and striking an opponent once an MMA fight ends up on the ground. The sequence she illustrates draws on techniques from boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu for its effectiveness.

Jeff Martone, "Turkish Get-Up: Part 2" - Martone follows up last month's introduction to the Turkish Get-Up with some variations on the move and substitutes for the kettlebell. As difficult as it can be for a hardcore kettlebeller to be without his bells, Martone demonstrates that all you really need for these moves is something you can get a one-handed hold on and press overhead-from rucksacks and barbells to not-so-small children. (Really.)

Tyler Hass, "Ring Row: Beginning Pulls on the Rings" - The ring row is essentially a face-up inversion of a push-up, with the body held in a tight plank, the heels on the floor, and the shoulders and arms pulling the body up from full arm extension until the chest reaches the rings. It is useful for athletes with varied strength, proficiency, and goals. It is an accessible substitute and developmental exercise for those still working toward their first pull-ups to more advanced athletes beginning to train for a front lever.

Greg Glassman, translated into French by Matthieu Dubreucq, "Fitness de Classe Internationale en 100 Mots" - If you ever wanted to know how to say "Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar" in French, here you go.

Mark Rippetoe, "Training for the Aged" - Coach Rip is not really that old, but he likes to kvetch about it sometimes anyway. His article on training for masters-age lifters is, as usual, both highly entertaining and full of useful information, as he wends his way to "the rather inescapable conclusion that the older men get, the more like older women we become, hormonally speaking."

The Grinder, CrossFit FRAGO #11, "LEGER" - If you ask me, the combination of running, thrusters, and pull-ups in this month's "Grinder" workout looks like the cruel mistress you might produce if you could cross Jackie with Helen and Fran. Yow.


Posted on May 1, 2007 in CFJ

The May 2007 CrossFit Journal (issue #57) is out.

Lon Kilgore, "Putting the Physical Back into Education" – From his opening statement that "public school physical education stinks," Kilgore makes his position on the systemic failure of PE in the U.S. school system pretty clear. He talks about what got us into this boat, why we're still in it, and how we might begin to get out. Are the schools the next territory for a CrossFit insurgency? Imagine what that would that do for our kids!

Jeff Martone, "Turkish Get-Up: Part I" – Who doesn't love the Turkish get-up? In addition to building overall strength, flexibility, and body control, Martone argues that the TGU constitutes effective shoulder therapy (rehab & prehab). Martone does it with a kettlebell (of course) and breaks down the move into a simple progression of steps that just about anyone can follow.

Jon Gilson, "Implementing CrossFit at East Fork Fire" – The trials and tribulations of implementing CrossFit for some more of the folks who need it most.

Michael Rutherford, "Dumbbells from the Plank: How to Energize Your Push-up Training, Part II" – Coach Rut builds on last month's basic plank and push-up moves with dumbbells to offer some more challenging variations this month—including one his athletes have dubbed the "Stupid Rut Trick." See it—and all the moves he describes—in the video clips that accompany the article.

Becca Borawski, "Kicking" – In the final installment in her series on striking, Becca Borawski teaches—and Bridgett Riley demonstrates photographically—the push kick and roundhouse kick.

Tony Leyland, "Why You Should Sprint Train" – Prof. Leyland builds on his points about interval training from last month to make the case for regularly mixing short sprints into your training, for the particular benefits it offers in terms of energy pathway training, muscle fiber activation, and power development.

"The CrossFit Games : 3-2-1-Go!" – Coach Glassman has been known to claim to specialist athletes that well-developed CrossFitters "do your stuff nearly as well as you do; you can't do ours very well at all; and we do everything that we both don't do much better than you can." The first-ever CrossFit Games this summer (June 30-July 1) is a chance to put that statement to the test.

Mark Rippetoe, "Sex, Appearance, and Training" – It will come as no surprise to most CrossFitters than women and men both respond best to training that focuses on functionality and performance—despite the pop fitness industry's claims to the contrary. Rip rips on the silly nonsense often perpetrated in the name of gender difference and "training" for aesthetics and then talks about the few actual physical differences that do need to be taken into account in creating successful training programs for both sexes.

Mike Burgener with Tony Budding, "Teaching the Jerk" – Burgener and Budding's series on the fundamentals and finer points of Olympic lifting have taught us that the clean is essentially the same, technically, as the snatch. Now they make the same point about the jerk, explaining the hows and whys and breaking it down into a workable teaching progression.

Tyler Hass, "Applications of the Support on Rings" – The maker of the portable Elite Rings used by many CrossFitters lays out some moves for developing and extending skill in the support position on gymnastics rings and goes into detail on the proper way to do that CrossFit staple, the ring dip.

Greg Glassman, translated into Spanish by Pavel Saenz, "Fitness de Clase Mundial en 100 Palabras" – Coach Glassman's classic summation of the basics of effective fitness programming has always been inspiring in English. Pavel Saenz, proprietor of CrossFit Santiago in Chile, broadens the audience to the Spanish-speaking world. (Stay tuned in coming months for other languages.)

Angela Hart, "Rowing Workouts" – You've got your rowing technique dialed in, you know the classic CrossFit benchmark workouts that incorporate the rower—now what? Angela Hart, the director of the Concept2-affiliated Indoor Rowing Training and Certification Institute (and a CrossFitter herself) puts together some combinations that might not have occurred to you.

The Grinder, CrossFit FRAGO #10, "NOLAN" – This month's Grinder sends the soldiers on a pull-up and thruster combo that stretches the moves of "Fran" into a whole different time domain.


Posted on April 2, 2007 in CFJ

The April 2007 CrossFit Journal issue (#56) is out. No fooling.

Tyler Hass, "Support Strength on the Rings" - Tyler"s first article in a series on the details of gymnastics ring training fundamentals, with the intent of making ring training accessible to non-specialists and a part of broadly varied functional training. He starts at the beginning with a discussion of the support on rings.

Greg Glassman, "Understanding CrossFit" - Coach Glassman presents a concise statement of principles for CrossFit: aims, prescription, methodology, implementation, and adaptations.

Lon Kilgore, "What is Meaningful" - In thinking about how training results are accorded validity by both researchers in the lab and practitioners in the field, Prof. Kilgore explores the "deep chasm between the real world of training for peak performance and the ivory tower of exercise and sport science." This article helps sort out some of the questions about the gap between research and practice.

Steve Cotter, "The Crane Dip and Other Pistol Variations" - A how-to and why on the crane dip and other variations on the one-legged squat from kettlebeller and pistol master Steve Cotter.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "From the Snatch to the Clean" - Over the past several months, Coach B and Tony B have been walking us though the snatch in progressive pieces; this month they apply those lessons to the clean"an easy transition, based on precisely the same principles.

Becca Borawski, "Body Shots" - While kicks to an opponent's head and one-punch knockouts might make for great fight highlight reels, an opponent can be just as devastated by less-dramatic-looking punches to the body, such as the liver shot and uppercut to the body, examined closely in this month"s fight training article.

Tony Leyland, "Rest and Recovery in Interval-Based Exercise" - If you've ever wondered how long you should rest between sets or exercises in your workout, whether it's short sets of heavy lifting, multiple timed sprints, or any other organization that includes rest intervals, this is the article for you. The answer varies depending on the structure, content, and goals of your training; Leyland helps us understand how to sort out all the variables.

Peter Dreissigacker, "Indoor Rowing" Damper Settings and Workout Intensity" - A full explanation of what the damper on the Concept2 indoor rower is, how it works, and why it matters for your workout. From a man who should know-former Olympic team rower and Concept2 founder Peter Dreissigacker.

Michael Rutherford, "Dumbbells from the Plank: How to Energize Your Push-up Training" - Coach Rut combines some of the most versatile tools with some of the most basic functional movements in his article on dumbbell push-up and plank moves that you can do just about anywhere.

Jeff Martone, "Kettlebell Clean Combinations" - Martone follows up last month"s treatment of the KB clean with some variations on that move and some combinations and drills.

The Grinder: CrossFit Fragmentary Order #9, "GIROUARD" - This month's grinder brings together deadlifts, thrusters, and push-presses in a team workout format.


Posted on March 1, 2007 in CFJ


If you're a subscriber, the March 2007 issue (#55) of the CrossFit Journal should have arrived in your inbox on March 1. If you're not—look what you're missing!

Lon Kilgore, "Putting Out Fires" – When some CrossFitting firefighters noticed that they were smoking the competition at firefighter challenges and using less oxygen to do so, they thought that was pretty cool. We think it's momentous. Prof. Kilgore instigates an astute qualitative discussion of the physiology of how that can be and why it matters.

Eva Twardokens, "Perception: The Commander of Our Movements" – The incomparable Eva T. revisits and applies some research done by her father, George Twardokens, Ph.D., a research exercise physiologist, skiing coach, and author of popular and scientific ski training articles. They take a close look at the role of perception and response and reaction times in athletics and offer ways to incorporating that information into CrossFit workouts.

Michael Rutherford, " The Suitcase Deadlift, Dumbbell Style" – The title says it all. Coach Rut is carrying around some real baggage these days when it comes to dumbbells.

Doug Chapman, "The Business of Guerilla Fitness " – For a guy who goes around saying things like "I don't want everyone as a client" and who once scotch-taped a sign on his gym door that read "If you are committed to being the best that you can be, please enter. If not, leave. Save yourself the embarrassment of quitting," Chapman actually has a lot of smart things to say about CrossFit as a revisionist model for business as well as fitness.

Tony Leyland, "Performance and Health" – This time, it's personal. Prof. Leyland reflects on why lots of folks who don't have any career-driven or immediate survival-based need for "elite fitness" do difficult CrossFit training—and why they should. What it comes down to, he demonstrates, is that performance and health are not separate aspects of fitness, as the conventional wisdom would have us believe. No matter who you are, "your training is limited only by your imagination and a mainstream fitness industry that doesn't have any imagination to begin with."

Josh Everett, " UC Riverside Women's Basketball Strength & Conditioning" – Last month, Coach Everett gave us the inside scoop on the CrossFit-infused strength and conditioning training he devised for UC Riverside's baseball team. This month, he offers all the details of an entire year of S & C for the university's women's basketball team, currently in first place in their NCAA conference. Whether for training a team, leading group workouts, or just compiling some programming ideas, there's a wealth of information here (including pages and pages of downloadable spreadsheets of virtually daily workout plans).

Judy Geer, " Using Worldwide Erg Data to Fine-Tune Your Training" – Olympian rower Judy Geer explains how you can use the data collected in Concept2's Online World Ranking database of indoor rowing times from around the world to improve your own training. Learn what information is there, how to mine and interpret it, and what it means for you.

Mark Rippetoe, "Popular Biomechanics" - Once you get Rip thinking on a broad and fruitful topic—such as identifying objective criteria for identifying proper form in the basic barbell movements—he can really run with it. "There are many ways to screw up the lifts," he helpfully reminds us, "but an understanding of what we should be looking for at crucial places in the movements reduces the number of ways we are likely to do so." It also helps focus those annoying debates on lifting form that generally devolve to "yeah, well, that's how I was taught" as a basis for argument.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Pulling Positions for the Snatch " – Burgener and Budding continue their detailed analysis of each phase of the Olympic lifts. This month they get into the intricacies of the pulling positions for the snatch and the clean. With video clips.

Becca Borawski, "The Left Hook" – This month's fight training article offers a step-by-step how-to on the left hook. With full-color photo demos by former world-champion boxer and kickboxer Bridgett "Baby Doll" Riley.

Jeff Martone, " Kettlebell Clean" – Our kettlebell guru keeps things firmly in hand this month (for once), describing, demoing, and troubleshooting technique for the kettlebell clean.

The Grinder: CrossFit Fragmentary Order #8, "SHANE" – If you've been following the grinding monthly operations orders for CrossFit workouts documented military-style, you'll want to get in on the inverted burpee action in this month's group workout, dubbed "Shane."


Posted on February 1, 2007 in CFJ


The February 2007 issue (#54) of the CrossFit Journal is out! Thirty-six pages of no-nonsense writing by some of the brightest lights in functional fitness, direct to your inbox.

Josh Everett, "UC Riverside Baseball Fall Strength and Conditioning" – The head strength and conditioning coach at UC Riverside reveals all the particulars of his CrossFit-infused training plan for the university's baseball team. See exactly what he's had them do, how he balances their training with their sport and their academic schedules, and how CrossFit has taken them to a new level of fitness and competitiveness. And if you like this one, be sure to tune in next month, when he gives a similar look into his work with the women's basketball team.

Tony Blauer/Yael Grauer, "Fight Training Fitness" – Grauer grills Blauer (hmm, both rhyme with power) on how to train for real-life fights. "The reality is," Blauer maintains, "that you can't practice real fighting; at best, you can simulate it." Check out the interview learn about what that means for fight training and how Blauer organizes his training to address that issue.

Becca Borawski, "The Jab and Right Cross" – Ring Girl starts throwing punches this month. With detailed instructions and full-color photos.

Mike Burgener, with Tony Budding, "Snatch Assistance Exercises" – Coach B follows up on last month's article about his eponymous warm-up sequence with a review of the four primary skill-transfer exercises for the snatch: the overhead squat, pressing snatch balance, heaving snatch balance, and snatch balance.

Tony Leyland, "The Myth of the Fat-Burning Zone" – There is no shortage of fitness myths to debunk, and this month Professor Leyland sets his sights on a central tenet of pop-fitness dogma on heart-rate-zone "cardio" training. Yet another one of the technical arguments for intensity, made crystal clear.

Peter Dreissigacker, "Row Fast: How to Prepare for an Erg Test" – Whether you've set a new year's training goal to hit a new PR on a rowing distance, want to improve your times on WODs that include rowing, or are just looking for programming and training ideas for specific events or competition on the rower or off, this article by Concept2 founder and competitive rower Peter Dreissigacker has something for you. A perfect companion piece to Coach Glassman's classic take on " Strategies for a 7-Minute 2K on the Concept II Rower" in the CrossFit Journal archives.

Jeff Martone, "Kettlebell Skills: H2H Tapping Drills" – Demonstrating that it takes more than strength and power to manhandle big Russian balls of iron, KB juggler and hand-to-hand guru Martone lays out a progression for also developing coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance by throwing your weights around.

Michael Rutherford, "The Dumbbell Snatch" – Coach Rut likes to throw his weights around too. This month, he puts some power behind his bells, elaborating on the virtues of three dumbbell snatch variations. Plus, he looks cool in sunglasses. (Or does he? Post your thoughts to comments.)

Jesse Woody, "Indoor Parkour Training" – What happens when you combine our own Monkey Boy Jesse Woody, weather that reduces the appeal of leaping off tall buildings, and his own brand new indoor gym? You get Parkour off the streets, of course. It's more accessible to those of us who haven't escaped the ties of gravity and so much fun that you (or your kids) might not even notice you're getting a darn good workout in the process.

Mark Rippetoe, "Conventional Wisdom and the Fitness Industry" – Mark Rippetoe gets downright polemical in his intelligent tirade on the silliness that pervades the fitness industry. The medical profession, the media, Joe Trainer at GloboGym, the world of academic exercise physiology, and embroidered polo shirts—all are fair game when Rip gets on a roll.

The Grinder : CrossFit Fragmentary Order #7, "DYER" – This month the soldiers get ground down by a series of runs and a descending ladder of calisthenics. No equipment required. You can get some anywhere, any time, with any size group.


Posted on January 2, 2007 in CFJ


The January 2007 issue (#53) of the CrossFit Journal is out!

Jeff Martone, "One-Arm Swings & Beyond" – Martone builds on his previous articles on improving your swing by taking it to single-arm and beginning "H2H" (hand-to-hand) moves. With instructional photos, of course.

Lon Kilgore, PhD, "Removing Interference" – We all know there can be some transitory bodily pain associated with CrossFit workouts, but Professor Kilgore also says "CrossFit makes my brain hurt." Here he puzzles over how CrossFit so effectively flies in the face of the conventional "wisdom" that strength training and aerobic endurance training must be done separately or they will interfere with one another. Why, he asks, can CrossFit-trained people get strong and aerobically fit when they regularly do strength-enhancing and VO2-max-enhancing work in the same workout?

Mike Burgener with Tony Budding, "The Burgener Warm-Up" – If you don't already know the Burgener Warm-Up, you should. Coach B and TonyB lay it out step-by-step, with photos and videos for each part of the sequence.

"Evidence-Based Fitness: Rest Day Discussion" – CrossFit founder Greg Glassman takes a rest-day discussion from the WOD blog as an opportunity to elaborate on the empirical basis of CrossFit and the necessity for legitimate evidence-based fitness: "Until human performance data is made available the comparison of CrossFit to other programs is a debate not worth having." The posts by Glassman ("Coach"), "René," "BOA," and Michael Boyle, go to the heart of the debate over safety, efficacy, and efficiency in fitness programming and the need for an objective basis for evaluating competing fitness claims.

Scott Hagnas, "Bike Control Basics Part 4: Applying Freestyle Skills" – Scotty draws on his experience as an expert rider (and competitor) to bring moves from BMX freestyle to the rest of us and shows how they can be part of functional rides as well as showy ones.

Mark Rippetoe, "Training Advancement and Adaptation" – Rip teases us with an article about adaptation, the principle of diminishing returns, and how to design strength programs that actually work for different people. The tease is that this is just the conceptual tip of the more practical iceberg that he explores in his brand-new book Practical Programming for Strength Training.

Michael Rutherford, "Dumbbell Vertical Press" – "The Dumbbell Coach" goes back to basics, describing the vertical (overhead) press and why both double- and single-arm versions should be a regular part of your programming.

Becca Borawski, "Big John McCarthy's Ultimate Training Academy" – Ring Girl takes us inside the new Southern California dream gym of MMA fighter/trainer and preeminent UFC referee Big John McCarthy—which is also the home to new affiliate CrossFit Valencia. With tips for fighters from Big John himself.

Tony Leyland, "Body Composition: Not the Holy Grail" – After knocking the wind out of VO2 max testing last month, in this issue Prof. Leyland sets his sights on body fat measurement, questioning both the accuracy and the relevance of the numbers. What is the relationship between body composition and fitness anyway?

"The Grinder: CrossFit Fragmentary Order #6, GOMEZ" - This month's "Grinder" gives a detailed operations plan for a team workout of thrusters, pull-ups, and running that can be done in any environment, from the luxurious to the austere.


Additional Resources


Category Archives

» Seniors and Kids, by Greg Glassman - February 03
» Beginners' Workout, by Greg Glassman - May 03
» Virtuosity, by Greg Glassman - August 05
» Foundations, by Greg Glassman - April 02
» Killer Workouts, by Eugene Allen - May 05
» Why Fitness, by Greg Glassman - July 04
» What is Fitness?, by Greg Glassman - October 02
» CrossFit PT, by Greg Glassman - December 04
» The Lifting Shoulder, by Greg Glassman - September 05
» Breakfalling, by Tom Crubaugh - March 05
» Skill-Based Warmups for Groups, by Tony Budding - September 06
» Weight, Velocity & Volume in Medicine Ball Training, by Jim Cawley - October 06
» Metabolic Conditioning Glossary, by Pukie & Greg Glassman - June 03
» Performance & Health, by Tony Leyland - March 07


» January 2007 CrossFit Journal
» February 2007 CrossFit Journal
» March 2007 CrossFit Journal
» April 2007 CrossFit Journal
» May 2007 CrossFit Journal
» June 2007 CrossFit Journal
» July 2007 CrossFit Journal
» August 2007 CrossFit Journal
» September 2007 CrossFit Journal
» October 2007 CrossFit Journal
» November 07 CrossFit Journal
» December 07 CrossFit Journal
» January 08 CrossFit Journal
» February 08 CrossFit Journal
» March 08 CrossFit Journal
» April 08 CrossFit Journal
» May 08 CrossFit Journal
» June 2008 CrossFit Journal
» July 2008 CrossFit Journal
» August 2008 CrossFit Journal


» CrossFit North's Annual Championship, by Tyler Hass - November 04
» Pullup Challenge, by Greg Glassman - November 04
» Reading Between the Lines, by Dave Castro - August 07


» What is CrossFit?, by Greg Glassman - March 04
» Understanding CrossFit, by Greg Glassman - April 07
», by Greg Glassman - December 05
» The Business of Guerilla Fitness, by Doug Chapman - March 07
» Interview: Coach Greg Glassman, by Greg Glassman - March 03
» Ergometer Scores and Hall of Fame Workouts, by Greg Glassman - December 02
» How Fit Are You, by Greg Glassman - April 03
» Tabata My Job, by Joshua Newman - November 05
» Theoretical Template for CrossFit's Programming, by Greg Glassman - February 03
» Forging Mental Fitness, by Jim Decker - November 06
» Evidence-Based Fitness Discussion, by Greg Glassman, et al. - January 07
» On Being a Trainer, by Greg Glassman - August 07

CrossFit Games

» Reading Between the Lines, by Dave Castro - August 07


» The Garage Gym, by Greg Glassman - September 02
» Garage Gym II: The Revolution, by Greg Glassman - July 05
» Strategic Shopping: Outfitting a CF Gym on the Cheap, by Eddie Lugo - June 06
» Personal Equipment, by Mark Rippetoe - October 06
» Plyo Boxes, by Lincoln Brigham - September 06
» Two Training Aids, by Greg Glassman - September 03
» Really Cool Homemade Parallettes, by Greg Glassman - September 03
» History and Use of Stall Bars, by Larry Harmsen - April 06


» The Muscle-up, by Greg Glassman - November 02
» The Overhead Lifts, by Greg Glassman - January 03
» The Pullup, by Greg Glassman - April 03
» Three Important Ab Exercises, by Greg Glassman - May 03
» The Slow Lifts: Bench Press, by Mark Rippetoe - June 06
» The Power Clean, by Mark Rippetoe - August 06
» Medicine Ball Cleans, by Greg Glassman - September 04
» The Kettlebell Swing, by Greg Glassman - September 04
» The Slow Lifts, by Mark Rippetoe - March 06
» The Dumbbell Lunge, by Mike Rutherford - October 06
» Suitcase Deadlift Dumbbell Style, by Mike Rutherford - March 07
» Calisthenics, by Roger Harrell - May 06
» The Push-up, by Greg Glassman - March 03
» The Odd Lifts, by Greg Glassman - January 03
» The Clean, by Greg Glassman - July 03
» The Glute-Ham Developer Situp, by Greg Glassman - October 05
» Kipping Pullups, by Greg Glassman - April 05
» Functionality and Wallball, by Greg Glassman - August 03
» The Deadlift, by Greg Glassman - August 03
» Swingers and Kippers, by Tyler Hass - April 05
» Dumbbell Vertical Press, by Mike Rutherford - January 07
» On the Safety and Efficacy of Overhead Lifting, by Rippetoe, Kilgore, Starrett, et. al - March 08
» The Dumbbell Bear, by Mike Rutherford - June 07


» Metabolic Conditioning, by Greg Glassman - June 03
» Metabolic Conditioning Glossary, by Pukie & Greg Glassman - June 03
» Putting Out Fires, by Lon Kilgore - March 07
» What About Recovery?, by Greg Glassman - January 05
» An Aerobic Paradox, by Lon Kilgore - December 06
» Anatomy and Physiology for Jocks, by Greg Glassman - August 03


» The Back Handspring, by Roger Harrell - July 06
» The Swing, by Roger Harrell - August 06
» Ring Strength, by Greg Glassman - July 04
» Gymnastics & Tumbling, by Greg Glassman - February 05
» The Freestanding Handstand Pushup, by Roger Harrell - June 06
» The Handstand, by Greg Glassman - January 04
» Stretching and Flexibility, by Roger Harrell - January 06
» Gymnastics Hurdle, by Roger Harrell - November 06
» The Front Handspring, by Roger Harrell - December 06


» Kettlebell Clean, by Jeff Martone - March 07
» Kettlebell Basics: Drills for Improving Your Swing, by Jeff Martone - November 06
» Improving Your Swing Part 2, by Jeff Martone - December 06
» One-Arm Swings and Beyond, by Jeff Martone - January 07
» Kettlebell Clean Combinations, by Jeff Martone - April 07
» A Performance-Based Comparison of Kettlebell Methods, by Steve Cotter - July 07
» The Turkish Get-up Part 1, by Jeff Martone - May 07
» The Turkish Get-up Part 2, by Jeff Martone - June 07
» Swingers and Kippers, by Tyler Hass - April 05


» Police Training, by Greg Glassman - March 03
» Combat Calisthenics, by Tony Blauer - July 06
» The Grinder: CrossFit Operations Order #1 "CHAD", by Greg Glassman - July 06
» The AOFP CrossFit Austere Program, by Greg Glassman, Wade Rutland, JT Williams - August 06
» Canadian Infantry School Austere AOFP Program Results Briefing, by Wade Rutland, JT Williams, Jeff Bird - August 06
» A Concept for Functional Fitness, by USMC - January 07
» The CrossFit Insurgency, by Scott Satterlee - July 06
» CrossFit, Stoicism, and an American Prisoner of War, by Andrew Thompson - December 04
» Monster Mash, by Capt Andrew Thompson, November 04
» Training in Austere Locations, by James Decker - March 06
» The Grinder: CrossFit FRAGO #8, "SHANE", by Greg Glassman - March 07


» Working Wounded, by Greg Glassman - May 05
» CrossFit Shoulder Therapy, by Tyler Hass - October 05
» CrossFit Induced Rhabdo, by Greg Glassman - October 05
» Trigger Point Therapy, by Christian Lemburg - September 05
» On Recovery, by Robb Wolf - January 05
» The Yin and Yang of the Back, by Michael Rutherford - December 06


» The Triangle, by Becca Borawski - November 06
» The Left Hook, by Becca Borawski - March 07
» McCarthy's Ultimate Training Academy, by Becca Borawski - January 07
» CrossPit Basics, by Tony Budding - April 06
» Fight Camp, by Becca Borawski - December 06
» Surviving in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, by Becca Borawski - April 08


» Glycemic Index, by Greg Glassman - November 02
» Fast Food, by Greg Glassman - December 02
» Fit to Eat: Pick of Summer Dinner, by Benjamin Sims - August 06
» Getting off the Crack, by Nicole Carroll - October 05
» Fit to Eat: Spring Dinner Menu, by Benjamin Sims - May 06
» Fit to Eat: Summer Picnic Menu, by Benjamin Sims - June 06
» Fit to Eat: Spicy Summer Barbeque, by Benjamin Sims - July 06
» Fit to Eat: Autumn Dinner, by Benjamin Sims - October 06
» CFJ Issue 21: Zone Meal Plans - May 04
» CFJ Issue 15: Nutrition -Avoiding Metabolic Derangement - November 03

Olympic Lifts

» Learning the Olympic Lifts: The Stance, by Mike Burgener & Tony Budding - November 06
» Pulling Positions for the Snatch, Mike Burgener with Tony Budding - March 07
» Skill Transfer Exercises, by Tony Budding - May 06
» The Scoop & The Second Pull, by Greg Glassman, January 06
» The Burgener Warmup, by Mike Burgener & Tony Budding - January 07


» Parkour Basics: A Compendium, by Jesse Woody - November 06
» Tic-Tac & Wall Run, by Jesse Woody - August 06
» Parkour Part 3: Jumping, by Jesse Woody - July 06
» Parkour, by Jesse Woody - March 06
» Underbar and Gate Vault, by Jesse Woody, October 06
» Parkour Basics Part 1, by Jesse Woody - May 06
» Basics of Parkour: Environmental Awareness and the Roll, by Jesse Woody - April 06


» A New, Rather Long Analysis of the Deadlift, by Mark Rippetoe - November 06
» CrossFit & Powerlifting, by Jason Bagwell - May 05
» Popular Biomechanics, by Mark Rippetoe - March 07
» Slow Lifts 5: The Deadlift, by Mark Rippetoe, -July 06
» The Deadlift, by Greg Glassman - August 03
» The Slow Lifts 2: The Squat, by Mark Rippetoe - April 06


» On Being a Trainer, by Greg Glassman - August 07

Rest Day/Theory

» Science and the Rest Day Discussions, by Jeff Glassman - November 07


» Strategies for a 7 Minute 2K on the Concept II Rower, by Greg Glassman - November 02
» Rowing Technique, by Angela Hart - October 06
» What's Your Power IQ, by Angela Hart - December 06
» Using Erg Data to Fine-Tune Your Training, by Judy Geer - March 07
» Rowing Workouts, by Angela Hart - May 07
» Row Fast: How to Prepare for an Erg Test, by Peter Dreissigacker - February 07
» Indoor Rowing: Damper Settings & Intensity, by Peter Dreissigacker - April 07
» Ergometer Scores and Hall of Fame Workouts, by Greg Glassman - December 02

Special Populations

» A CrossFit Grandma, by Mary Conover - October 04
» "The Girls" for Grandmas!, by Greg Glassman - October 04
» High School Phys Ed., by Tony Budding - October 04

Sports Applications

» UC Riverside Baseball Fall Conditioning, by Josh Everett - February 07
» Why Swimming is Different, by Terry Laughlin - March 05
» Slacklining, by Michael Street - November 04
» Bike Control Basics: Static Skills, by Scott Hagnas - October 06
» Inside-Out Breathing, by Terry Laughlin - December 05
» Speed Development, by Karl Geissler & John Baumann - March 06
» U.C. Riverside Women’s Basketball Off Season Conditioning, by Josh Everett - March 07
» Recovery and Regeneration Interview with Carl Valle, by Tyler Hass - January 05
» Swingers and Kippers, by Tyler Hass - April 05
» CrossFit to Go, by Lindsay Yaw - June 05
» Bike Control Basics Part 3, by Scott Hagnas - December 06
» Hooverball, by Greg Glassman - February 03


» Science and the Rest Day Discussions, by Jeff Glassman - November 07
» On Being a Trainer, by Greg Glassman - August 07


» The CrossFit Total, by Mark Rippetoe - December 06
» Interval Generator, by Greg Glassman - June 03
» Fooling Around With Fran, by Greg Glassman - March 05
» The New Girls, by Greg Glassman - November 04
» Ergometer Scores and Hall of Fame Workouts, by Greg Glassman - December 02
» Benchmark Workouts, by Greg Glassman - September 03
» "The Girls" for Grandmas!, by Greg Glassman - October 04
» Team Workouts, by Greg Glassman - October 03

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