Category: Equipment

Posted on September 5, 2007 in Equipment


Stall bars are an excellent tool for developing strength, conditioning, and flexibility. A set of stall bars looks like a wide ladder, typically about three feet wide and eight feet tall, with round steps, mounted to a wall. Good stall bars are heavy and robust, and they are made to handle any person or activity without failing. They are valuable to athletes, gymnasts, physical therapists, military and police personnel, martial artists, weightlifters, and to anyone who wants more function than the “all-in-one” fitness machines can provide. Over 100 years ago, stall bars were common equipment in YMCA and college, high school, and private gyms, but their popularity waned during the middle of the last century. However, growing health consciousness, along with the popularity of gymnastics, has brought about a renewed appreciation for stall bars.

In the late 1700s to early 1800s, the word gymnastics was used to mean physical education and development generally, rather than to describe a specific sport. Johann Guts Muths, who is sometimes called the grandfather of modern gymnastics, started a new movement in physical education for school-age boys and young men in Germany and published a book titled Gymnastics for Youths in 1793. He built a 20-foot-high wooden frame outdoors for climbing, and suspended climbing ropes, a rope ladder, and a climbing pole from it. He had a wooden ladder that was used to climb to the top of the frame when needed.

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Posted on August 15, 2007 in Equipment


Parallettes training is fun and highly developmental. Without gymnastics training we opt out of the most potent neurological training (coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance) available to an athlete, and parallettes training is essential to your gymnastics development.

We hope our fervor for parallettes training specifically and gymnastics training generally will inspire all of you to get hold of a pair of parallettes and begin your gymnastics training in earnest.

To that end we offer this month step-by-step instructions for building a great set of parallettes out of PVC pipe available wherever building supplies or landscaping materials are sold.

Four things inspire this project: 1. They’re dirt-cheap ($10-20), 2. ANYONE could make them, 3. They come out not just good but fantastic – you couldn’t ask for better parallettes; we’re shocked at how nice they are, and 4. It was a lot of fun building them.

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Posted on July 23, 2007 in Equipment


It has long been said that necessity is the mother of invention and this month we give support to that adage with two exceedingly simple inventions. Both devices address problems that have long plagued our training efforts.

The first problem in dire need of remedy was how do we bring the pull-up to people who've never done one? Our first and easiest solution was the use of an assisted pull-up device like our favorite, the Stairmaster Gravitron, and we have long made regular use of the Gravitron with all our pull-up initiates.

There are several aspects of the Gravitron, though, that make its use problematic. First, the Gravitron is outrageously expensive. At nearly $3,000 after shipping, few pieces of gym equipment come even close in price. The steep price is perhaps particularly foreboding to someone relatively new to serious strength and conditioning training as are most people working to develop their first pull-up. Imagine if your first weight set had to be an Eleiko; there'd be a lot fewer weightlifters!

The second major problem with the Gravitron and all other assisted pull-up devices is that they are about as portable as your kitchen refrigerator.

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Posted on June 4, 2007 in Equipment


Plyo boxes are very popular in CrossFit gyms. They're great for all kinds of workouts—or for just sitting on after a good workout with your head cradled in your hands waiting for the room to stop spinning. However, commercial plyo boxes can cost as much as $100 to $200 each, plus shipping. Homebuilt equipment—a favorite CrossFit brand—can be constructed with quality at least equal to that of the best commercial designs and at significantly lower cost. Square boxes and open-sided boxes take a bigger toll on the shins from missed jumps, and slant-sided boxes are stackable, so they require less floor space for storage. So this month's journal brings you the do-it-yourself CrossFit custom plyo box with slanted sides. Your friends, relations, workout buddies, and clients will be sore impressed! Or just plain sore after a hard workout on one of these babies. Total cost for this project should be in the neighborhood of $40-60 per box or less, depending on the size and your bargain-shopping abilities

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Posted on May 23, 2007 in Equipment


There is actually very little personal equipment that is absolutely necessary to take to the gym. But it is surprising how much stuff some people carry with them. As a general rule, some equipment is useful, some equipment is most definitely not useful—and in fact is a bad idea—and some is just absurd. In order of most useful to most silly in the gym bag we have squat shoes, chalk, a lifting belt, lifting straps, knee wraps or knee sleeves, wrist wraps, elbow wraps or sleeves, gloves, devices such as a “Manta Ray” or a “Sting Ray” that hold the bar for you, and anything you intend to use to shave anything but your face.

I had a member named Lonnie a while back. Nice guy, lovely wife (whom he met there in the gym), and strong under the bar, but with a few annoying habits. One day I walked out of the office and saw him doing incline leg raises on the incline sit-up board, holding on to the bar behind his head with his hands strapped to the bar. I, of course, approached him to question this behavior. He said that he was using straps so he could concentrate on his abs better, which is, of course, very important in an ab exercise. I made fun of him for several weeks...

This entire article is available in the CrossFit Store.

Posted on May 3, 2007 in Equipment


Hardly a week passes that I don’t hear someone say, “I hear you opened a gym. That must have cost a fortune.” My usual response is, “No, not really. You would be surprised at how small the start-up costs are relative to mainstream commercial fitness facilities.” Typically, their eyes glaze over at this point, their eyebrows wrinkle, and I suspect that they walk away thinking, “Yeah right, no need to play it down. There is no way you can own a gym without spending a bundle.” Well, there is.

Part of the start-up process is not only to plan gym layout but to prioritize equipment purchases by determining which are required for the exercises that are most important and used most frequently—the staple movements that make up the core of our core.

You would be surprised at how small the start-up costs are relative to mainstream commercial fitness facilities...

In my analysis, the core movements boiled down to the pull-up, squat, handstand push-up, and running—all things that require no significant cash outlay and are enough to establish an initial client base around. For the items that do require fairly large expenditures, there are often creative work-arounds, what I like to call the circumnavigation of retail purchases.

This article is essentially the story of how we at newly opened CrossFit San Diego effected such a circumnavigation and managed to open our doors with a minimum of cash outlay–and a minimum of construction aptitude.

This entire article is available in the CrossFit Store.

Posted on April 14, 2007 in Equipment

The CrossFit Journal was launched in 2002 with an issue titled “The Garage Gym.” In that premier issue we decried the lack of efficacious programming in commercial gyms and proffered a solution with the promise that “you can build, rather inexpensively, a world-class strength and conditioning facility in your garage!”

Now we revisit the CrossFit garage-gym concept to report on the successes of what may be hundreds of CrossFit start-up gyms and the aspirations and motivations of the people behind them.

CrossFitters are holding court in London, New York, New Brunswick, Puerto Rico, Baghdad, Afghanistan, and Qatar. CrossFit crews are convening in public parks, garages and carports, basements, barns, deposed tyrants’ homes, commercial gyms, storage lockers, martial arts academies, and universities, under bleachers, and on military bases.

Three years ago we saw the CrossFit movement as an alternative to the prevailing commercial gym establishment and its signature “big-box,” machine-based, bodybuilding approach to fitness. We promoted the garage-gym notion in large part to provide refuge for our more athletic programming, which couldn’t find quarter in the commercial gyms.
Today we see ourselves as part of a wider war between the big-box franchises such as Gold’s, Bally’s, and 24-Hour Fitness and the small-box facilities of which the Curves chain is the best-known example.

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Posted on August 15, 2006 in Equipment

Eugene Allen's Garage Gym

The Need

The ideal gym would be located close to home or work, well equipped, clean, and manned by knowledgeable helpful staff. Our ideal gym would also not be overly crowded yet available to friends and family that we'd like to workout with. An ideal gym would be supportive of hard-core fitness, a la CrossFit. As long as we're dreaming it might also play only the music that we want to hear.

Many of us are blessed with gyms we love dearly. If that's your situation, great! For the rest of us our gyms are very different. Often the drive to the gym is 20-30 minutes coming and going, the music is worse than annoying, the staff are less than worthless, the place is packed with selectorized equipment for which we've no use and the few pieces of equipment thatyou want to use are in near constant use...

Read the full issue here.

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


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» 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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