Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week 19 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Week 19 Day 6


1. Fast Backsquats- 5x2

2. Dunk attempts- (a lot, more than 50)

Week 19 Day 5


1. Front Squat- 7x2

2. Wall Runs

Week 19 Day 4


1. Snatch- 5x1

2. 3x 1 minute planks (front, both sides)+ 30 second L-sit+ 45 sec hollow hold

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Audience is an Athlete’s Best Friend

The goal of my workout today was a predictable one: dunk a basketball. After some preparatory fast back squats and high box jumps I headed over to the outdoor courts at Redwood High School. In all honesty I was dragging a bit today when I started to warm up my vert at Redwood. I just didn’t feel explosive; I didn’t feel fast or quick. There wasn’t anybody around, and I hate to say it, but I was just going through the motions.

After about 30 minutes of lackluster rim grabs I was about to call it a day when some kids came by and picked up the basketball that I had brought with me to eventually practice with. I told them that it was my ball, but they could play around with it for a while. They started playing a game of one on one and in between plays I went up and tried to grab the rim as emphatically as possible.

Then something amazing happened. I could suddenly jump a good five inches higher than I had been on my previous jumps. I was getting my entire hand above the rim and hanging on it. I was grabbing the rim with two hands. I just felt incredible. What was responsible for this sudden upsurge in performance? I had an audience. Simply having those kids present and within 10 feet of me and aware of what I was trying to accomplish presented me with a tremendous sense of motivation that simply was not there when I was jumping on my own. My body was producing more adrenaline and I felt like a new man.

When the kids thanked me and gave me the ball back they said to me, “You can dunk right?” I said “Not yet, but I’m almost there.”

After they left, I came very close to dunking, but did not successfully do so. Next time I head over to the court I think I’m going to have to bring an entourage, or just solicit some kids to throw me alley-oops.

Week 19 Day 3


1. 5x2 Backsquat (maintaining speed out of the bottom)

2. 5x1 Box Jump

3. Dunk attempts (50 attempts)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tips for the CrossFit Games Competitor

Games season is upon us. Many of my clients at CrossFit Marin are preparing to compete in the Northern California sectionals next weekend in San Jose. I am very confident that they will represent CFM proudly, that being said there are a few things that all games competitors should be aware of during the final week before the competition. Here is my list of the top five pieces of advice for the first time games competitor:

1. You need to realize that your performance in the Games will be a product of the training that you have done over the course of the last one, two, three or even five years of your life. Do not use this week to make up for lost time. What I mean by this is do not trick yourself into thinking that the more work (working out) that you do this week, the fitter and more prepared you will be for the games on Saturday. In fact, it is just the opposite. This week needs to be a taper week. A week in which you might do one or maybe two hard workouts early in the week and the rest of the week should be spent resting, icing, doing mobility work, and maybe doing a contrast shower or two (check out my post titled: “Recover” from November 18th for more information on contrast showers.)

2. Eat the way that you have been eating for the last two to three months. Don’t decide to change your diet this week. Ideally you have acclimated to a paleo (or very close to paleo) diet at this point and all you need to do is bring along a cooler with the types of meats, nuts, fruits and veggies that you eat regularly. If the vast majority of what you eat could be purchased at a 7/11 than stop at the 7/11 on the way to San Jose and pick up the stuff that you normally eat. Worry about changing your eating habits after the competition so that your body will be able to acclimate to a new nutritional protocol and so that you can tinker with the nutrient timing and the types of foods that you run best on.

3. Utilize relaxation techniques (see “The Mental Approach” 12/16/09 and “The Art of Olympic Yawning” 2/17/09) before your events. Bring your ipod and play some tunes that you like to get your brain producing dopamine (makes you feel good) before you compete. There are going to be a lot of people at the sectionals and I guarantee you that you are going to be at least a little bit nervous. So take deep breaths, relax, envision yourself speedily and successfully completing the workout, and have fun. Use your nerves to fuel your performance.

4. I alluded to this one in #3, but it is so important that it needs to be stated again. Use visualization to power your performance. Visualize yourself successfully completing the workouts the way in which you want to complete them.

5. Have fun. The adrenaline rush of competition is unmatched. So do not put any pressure on yourself and just have a blast.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Exercise, The Fountain of Youth

I spotted this article ("Internally Fit" by Gretchen Reynolds) in the New York Times Magazine a few months ago and held onto it because I found it so interesting. The article essentially states that exercise throughout one’s life keeps one’s cells young (or younger). Stephen Roth, a professor of kinesiology at The University of Maryland, conducted a study in which he measured the telomeres of middle-aged subjects. Long telomeres are indicative of healthy, youthful cells. His research suggests that the telomeres of active middle-aged people were longer and more youthful than those of his sedentary subjects.

Many other studies have been conducted which support this theory: running (activity) reduces the effects of aging on a molecular level. In the article Christian Werner, an internal medicine resident at Saarland University Clinic in Hamburg was quoted as saying, “to see in our study that many of the middle-aged athletes looked much younger than sedentary control subjects of the same age.” Although science is fallible and experimentation can never be proven (only disproved), the research that Gretchen Reynolds compiled in this article presents an excellent argument regarding the anti-aging effects of exercise.

Here is the link to the article:

On a side note, I will be taking a week off from intense training. So I won't be posting any workouts for a while. I've been dealing with some really wicked fatigue lately that I suspect might be related to adrenal fatigue. I am going to do a bit more research on it. Expect a post focusing on adrenal fatigue in the near future.

Week 18 Day 3


1. 30 minutes of pick-up basketball

2. 5x3 Weighted Pull-up

3. 5x5 Straight-Body Lift

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 18 Day 2


1. 50 meter Farmers walk carry (got up to 442lbs)

2. 3x 30 second L-sit+1 minute plank (front and both sides)+ 45 Hollow Hold

Week 18 Day 1

Rest Day

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 17 Day 7

Workout (10 rounds for time):

5 Push-ups
10 Squats
15 Hollow Rocks

(Starting up another adaptation week)

Week 17 Day 6


150 Burpees for time

Week 17 Day 5

Rest Day

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week 17 Day 4

Rest Day

Week 17 Day 3


1. 20 minutes of dunk attempts

2. Gymnastics class at CFM:

-Floor: Front Handsprings
-High Bar- Basic Swing
-10 minute AMRAP: Plyo Punch to dive roll, 5 dips, P-bar walk, 5 dips, 1 rope climb (hands only), 10 Straight Body Lifts

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 17 Day 2


1. Snatch- 5x1

2. Reverse Hypers- 5x8

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week 17 Day 1


1. 3x2 Back Squat @ 80%

2. 20 minutes of dunk attempts

(I'm getting very close on the dunk...hoping to throw down within the next few weeks.)

Week 16 Day 7

Active Rest Day

Week 16 Day 6


1 90kg (198lb) clean + 10 second L-sit on the minute for 10 minutes

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Relax Your Face!

Here is a little multiple-choice question for the followers of the Quest. What do you think my number one coaching cue is as a CrossFit coach?

a. Chest up, butt back (when squatting or doing any lift)
b. Neutral Head (head in line with one’s spine when lifting, particularly important on the deadlift)
c. Relax your arms! (a big issue for many Crossfitters in a slew of movements)
d. Relax your face

If you chose D as your answer you are correct. Although maintaining the proper curvature of one’s spine (chest up, butt back), keeping one’s head neutral, and relaxing one’s arms are all extremely important points of performance I do not have to reiterate those cues nearly as much as I need to tell my clients to relax their faces.
The human face has an enormous amount of tiny muscles and nerve endings that help us creating diverse facial expressions. If you scrunch up your face throughout a workout or even a single lift you will be subjecting your body to an amount of internal stress that is entirely unnecessary. Consequently, making a conscious effort to relax your face while working out will make your efforts perceivably easier and inevitably elicit a stronger performance.

The NFL combine just ended on Tuesday and I watched a great deal of it. The need to mitigate wasted energy during intense exercise became extremely evident during the 40 yard dash. The “40” is arguably the most important test that is done at the NFL combine. As some of you might know Tim Tebow’s draft stock is questionable due to his inefficient throwing motion. I watched Tebow run the 40, and his running mechanics need some work as well. The NFL network ran a slow motion close-up of Tebow’s face before cutting to a commercial break and I saw that Tebow had closed his eyes and scrunched up his entire face. He ran a 4.7 and I know that he is faster than that. I would argue that he could easily shave .2 seconds off his time if he did not waste so much energy tightening up all of the muscles in his face.

So if you are a future pro or just an average joe, relax your face and your athletic performance will skyrocket.

Week 16 Day 5


1. Rack Jerk- 1 rep max

2. Weighted Depth Jumps- 10x1

3. Max Depth Jumps- 10x1

4. Dunk Attempts- 15x1

Week 16 Day 4

Active Rest Day

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Week 16 Day 3

Workout #1:

1. Back Squat- 1 rep max

2. Standing vertical jump work

Workout #2 (Gymnastics Class):

1. Basic Tumbling

2. Back Hand Spring Work

3. Ring Work- backward roll to support and iron cross work

4. Max Dead Hang Pull-ups

5. Max Sit-ups in 1 minute

Overhead Squat PR

I hit a new OHS PR yesterday: 120kg. I'm gunning for 300lbs (136kg).

Week 16 Day 2


1. 8x1 Snatch

2. 5x2 Overhead Squat

3. Basic Gymnastics- Germans, 360 Pulls, and Backward roll to support (attempts on rings)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Week 16 Day 1


Clean and Jerk- 5-5-3-3-1-1-1

Week 15 Day 7

Active Rest Day