Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Know You Wanna

Now Available:


You have until the 8th of February. Put your name on it or it won't be counted. Go Team!


PS I will try to get a Mug-Shot posted of each nominee before the week is out.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cast Your Vote!

The public has spoken! Here are the fine-folks that have been nominated to represent us in the CrossFit games this July:

In no particular order:

Aaron (Dial)
Matt T.
Michael (FilthyBrit)

Catherine G.

Voting will be open until Sunday the 8th of February. A ballot box will be down at SFCF along with ballots containing the names of all the nominees. To vote, write you name on a ballot, circle the 3 men and 3 women you would like to represent us and place your ballot in the box. Only one vote each (hence the names on the ballots)!

In other news, give a pat on the back to Sean the next time you see him. Sean recently attended a CrossFit Level 1 seminar and survived to tell the tale! Part-time SFCF member Ben (who visited us over the holidays) was also in attendance. Nice job fellas!

Also in other news, Catherine competed in her first Weightlifting competition on Sunday January 18th. She placed 6th with a total of 114kg after deciding to compete about a week prior to the competition. Awesome!!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Hawthorne Effect?

When performing within a team workout context, we dare you loaf. You simply can't. Really. You will drive yourself well beyond of what you think you are capable. Why?
Can you recall psych 101? Here's one explanation: The Hawthorne Effect

The Hawthorne effect is a form of reactivity, and describes a temporary change of behavior or performance in response to a change in the environmental conditions, with the response being typically an improvement.

Defined: a short-term improvement caused by observing worker performance.

The definition has ultimately come to mean that people's behavior and performance changes following any new or increased attention.

So sure, maybe a little Hawthorne effect leads to a faster 500m row split.
Maybe it's just more fun to go for broke when your friends are cheering in your ear.


Feburary Changes Are A-Coming

Hey Gang,

We just wanted to take a moment and update you on some SFCF changes that will go into effect on the first of February.

First: We are shifting away from paypal and are using a new scheduling system called MindBody that will help us to better serve our athletes. This killer new system will allow us to perform revolutionary tasks like enabling our athletes to pay for drop-in or monthly fees with, a credit card. Also, we can now offer our athletes long-term contract pricing and the flexibility of a 10 class pass.

Starting February 1st, our monthly athletes will need to log into MindBody through our new website (online payment link) and create an account to purchase a membership or a contract.

Second: In an attempt to better serve our veteran athletes, and better prepare first time Crossfitters for the rigors of regular group training, SFCF open classes will only be accessed after completing a short series of private training sessions or two weeks of "on-ramp" classes. Both avenues will be geared toward teaching the new athlete our program foundations and essentials. Details to follow on the re-launch of our website.

Third: We are very excited to announce that SFCF will now offer on site, performance-based physical therapy services. Whether you need rehab for ACL reconstruction, have some old nagging orthopedic injury from college, need help with your tight hamstrings, or just need some new space in your shoulder capsules to chase that Jerk PR, we can help. Scheduling and availability can also be accessed through the new site on Feb 1.

Fourth: Keep an eye on the schedule for some new Strength and Olympic Lifting based classes.

(ps. There is no actual devil worship going on at SFCF. Although if you've trained with Coach Di, the Skull Staff of Power is a fitting talisman.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

End Range Deranged

Most muscle pulls and strains typically occur when an athlete is attempting to generate a large amount of power at the end ranges of their available flexibility. Think for a moment when you last tweaked a hammie or pulled a hip flexor. Chances are you were making your poor little muscles over exert themselves in less than ideal ranges (IE. The End Range). Your muscles are set up to be able to generate peak power and force at typical mid ranges of motion. The ideal "length-tension" relationship of the muscle occurs when the fibers that comprise that muscle are in the best overlap/best fit position. (There is an optimal line of pull/lever arm piece too, but ignor that for now) This occurs in the bicep at about mid-range through flexing your arm for example. When muscles are stretched to their end working ranges, little overlap of those muscle fibers occur. A muscle at peak stretch is susceptible to injury because it can't develop sufficient force to protect itself. Your nervous system knows this too, and will blunt motor unit recruitment in these working ranges to keep you from taking your muscles to their end ranges too far and too fast.

But, we can always game the system. Here's how.

Getting a little quality end range static work is just what the doctor ordered.
Taking a muscle to it's end range safely, and making it do a little static hold work will work greatly to your favor.

1) You will signal your nervous system that you do in fact spend time at these end ranges and not to panic when you max split jerk and end up here.

2) You will signal your body to reinforce the quality of the the muscle fiber overlap in these extreme ranges.

3) You might actually get stronger in these bitter end posts of movement. (Think Siberia for your hip flexors)

4) You might accidentally signal your brain to make your muscles longer (stretching).

5) You will decrease the likely-hood of creating tendon-bone interface problems by strengthening the attachments of those tendons at the strange end range angles they encounter.

Sounds good right?

Mission: At the end of your workout. Place a foot on a box behind you and jump out with your other leg as to create a pretty good hip extension on the trailing leg.
Keeping your front shin vertical, drop into a big lunge placing as much weight as you can on the back foot while keeping your belly firm and your back straight.

Hold until you simple cannot. Then switch.
Then repeat the cycle two more times.

It works. It's sucky, but so is your end range.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scaling UP!

Much talk is given to the concept of scaling in CrossFit: We want anybody, regardless of age, ability or fitness level to be able to workout with a high level of relative intensity. Weight can be reduced on weightlifting movments, mechanical advantages can be given for challenging bodyweight movements (think band assist etc.) and distance can be reduced on monostructural activities. No news here.

For the beginning CrossFitter, scaling is most likely a necessary step. The goal here is to introduce some quality movements at a level that is appropriate for 'ramping-up' your work capacity. After a few weeks or months, the question of 'how-do-I-take-my-shit-to-the-next-level?' must be addressed. There are several issues to consider...

...the most important of which is mechanics. As long as your mechanics are maintained at a safe level where the best ROM possible (range of motion) is achieved, you are good to go. Struggle is to be expected here. It is OK to struggle when scaling up to a more difficult variation or weight, as long as the struggle is safe. This concept is often overlooked. The trainee is too quick to assume the new weight or movement is inappropriately difficult. This comparison is a mistake, as the old weight or movement is being used as the reference point and logically, the new step will be more challenging. You can't fall into this mind-trap! These workouts and movements are hard and you can expect to have to break up sets into bite-sized pieces. It might not seem apparent, but what you are experiencing is improvement!

Now that the technical concept of 'it-will-be-harder-but-that's-the-point' is understood, let's talk specifics.

The first step is learning to identify what is an appropriate load for a given workout. The rep scheme will be your best road-sign.

If a workout has a relatively low rep count (in this case 10 or less), feel free to go a little heavier. It will be expected that a set of 10 or even a set of 5 will be broken up...maybe even several times! If you fly through a set of 7 every round for 5 rounds, it's time to step it up. Keep this in mind.

If a workout has a relatively high rep count (10-30), pick something that will allow you to keep moving. If you are breaking things up into 2s and 3s during a set of 30, it is too difficult.

For bodyweight movements, ask your coach about the next step up. Here's an example:
In a recent workout we performed a lot of ring dips (in the Rx'd or as written version of the workout). Ring dips are hard, even for the strong. That being said, in order to mimic the demands of the workout, you must choose a difficult variation, even if you are scaling. Here's a theoretical hierarchy from the top down:

Ring Dips--->Bar Dips--->Feet elevated pushups--->Pushups on parallettes to increase ROM--->Regular Pushups--->Knee pushups.

Notice there are many degrees here. Don't get stuck just defaulting back to your plain-jane standard.

Now, if you are a person who typically performs knee pushups for most of your work during high rep workouts, this would be a good time to do the lion's share of your reps as regular pushups. You will have to break them up. This is ok. The dude (or dudette) who is chipping away at the ring dips is doing the same thing.

Things are a little easier when we are talking weightlifting or monostructural activity. Simply put more weight on the bar (have your coach check your mechanics) or get out the gate faster on your rowing or running. Again, don't worry if you have to break things up later or you burn out halfway through. Your gym, filled with your compatriots, is the best place to experience this 'blowing-up'...they won't let you pack it in while facing adversity.

Now get out there and challenge yourself! This is what improvement feels like!!

-Adrian 'Technical_Terms' Bozman

PS Get your nominations in by Sunday! We will be voting soon!!

PPS if you would like to help out by volunteering at the regional qualifiers to be held in may, please email austin AT crossfitunlimited.com.
The website is up and running here:


Class schedule tomorrow will be business as usual.

Monday, January 12, 2009

...To the Future!

(Above: Friday's Death-By-Diane)

So...it's been almost two weeks. Right about now the regular gyms are seeing their attendance drop back to normal. At this point, the habit has most likely been set, or been broken.

...but you don't have that problem. If you're reading this, you are probably pretty set in your daily fix, (read: exercise habit) so case closed, right? Not necessarily.

We all have some aspect of our physical nature that we would like to improve. If you don't, well, kudos to you Zen-Master. We all know the things we suck at. Now's the time to start addressing these points of potential improvement head on. What feels better than knowing you've gotten better? And what areas have the most potential to get better? (Hint: The Things You Suck At)

Now there should be some thinking outside the box here. Sure you should stretch your hammies more, but what else? Maybe this is the year you master the snatch (zing!). Perhaps taking up, or getting back into, a sport is something you've been considering. The possibility may exist that you'd like to develop some superior body-control a la Coach Carl. Think about it...

I'll start. I'm going to get back in the habit of developing/maintaining some of my acrobatic skills. I'd also like to start playing squash again every once-in-a-while. I currently suck at doing anything outside of a structured workout.

Post 09' Physical goals to comments.

(Notorious P goes for speed this morning. Must be ze zpeed shoes.)

-Adrian 'used-to-play-squash-every-damn-day' Bozman

PS only one week left to nominate your fellow SFCFers to represent you at the CF games this summer. Email me: adrian AT sanfranciscocrossfit.com

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Your Tight Hips Betray You

The Couch-Stretching Series: Part 2

Your hips need help. They really do. Hips should be supple and have nearly no passive drag as they move through their available ranges. We consistently have to cue our athletes to keep their knees out in the deepest ranges of their squat. Forget adductor/glute strength, some of these athletes simply don't have the available hip capsule range of motion to externally rotate their femurs (keep the knees out) at full hip flexion (the bottom of the squat).

This couch stretch is a doozy and one to check out often. This looks a little like that pigeon yoga stretch, but 1) yoga could never yield elite fitness, 2) you can't watch TV doing yoga, 3) we don't apply a gapping force on the lateral collateral ligament of your knee as is prone to happen when doing pigeon on the floor, and 4) Eff Yoga.

Wind up your hip on either the side or the back of the couch. Adjust your hips/butt position so that you have the side of your knee supported by the couch. There should be no knee off of the couch (this will gap and stretch your precious knee ligaments.)
Try and keep your back straight as you fold forward to apply the stretch. The tendency is to round your lower back to ameliorate the tearing that is going in your hips. Don't give in.

Remember: Test, re-test. Try your squat before and after you do this stretch. Notice anything hotshot? And, 90 seconds 2x day gets you a C+ (I know you are just a C+ Crossfit student right?). Try your contract-relax techniques here as well.

Coach Kstar

Monday, January 05, 2009


The New Year is here! There are always a host of activities that accompany this time of year, so lend an ear and you might find something you are looking for:

#1) The Bad-Girls Open Weightlifting Competition , Jan. 18th.

If you're a lady and you've ever had the slightest thought about entering a weightlifting competition, this is the event for you! It was designed to offer a casual-competitive environment for women new to the sport. Click the link for more info. (I was a little late posting this, but you should still be able to register if you contact the folks on the link).

#2) Freddy C's Fish-Game tournament at CrossFit One World in Union City, Jan. 31st.

The fish game is found in the 'games' section of the C2 rower display. It's simple. You pull harder and the fish rises to the surface. You slack off and the fish sinks to the bottom. You have to dodge the big fish and eat the little fish. Last time around, this was a good time: A title was on the line, a new champion crowned, and many beers were consumed. Freddy's gym has a great community and I would highly suggest taking a trip over!

3) The CrossFit Games!, July 10-12th.

If you are the competitive type, this is the event for you! There are only 5 slots available from our region to go to the games this year. Qualifiers will be held in Aromas, CA (just south of Gilroy) in May.

We will be sending a team for the affiliate challenge this year as well. The team will be elected by you! The team does not have go through any qualification process to compete, so we are leaving it in your capable hands. Teams of 6 will be competing in the games, with 4 people actively involved in any given workout (there will be several over the course of the weekend). We must have at least 2 women on the team and we will not be sending any SFCF open-class-coaches.

What we need from you is nominations. Email me (adrian AT sanfranciscocrossfit.com), or give a piece of paper with your nominations to your coach now until Sunday the 18th. Once we have all the nominees compiled, we will have a vote. The 6 people with the most votes will represent SFCF in glorious battle this summer!

This could be you, but in the dust with your team-mates during the Africa-hot weather of the summer repping for SF!!

#4) Have you seen Diane's new dog yet? Aaaahhhaaahhhhhh!!!

Adrian "Social-Coordinator" Bozman

Friday, January 02, 2009

100 Burpee Cookie

We are pretty Paleosexual around our house these days. What? You don't know what Paleosexual means? Well, roughly defined it's adhering to a lifestyle based around Gluten-Free Paleo/Zone eating and short, intense Crossfit style exercise. (It's also pretty much the inverse of eating low-fat and training to be a triathlete.) Even my three year old daughter asks for her daily fish oil dose at breakfast.

But alas, once in a while we do want ourselves a bit of the WHITE DEATH. And once we've had even a little taste, we are like a den of those creepy zombies in "I Am Legend."

What are we to do?

My wife Juliet hatched the idea of going absolutely sugar free (no sweet, cake, cookie, ice cream, etc) till the end of April (her birthday).
She has even started a Facebook group called "Jesus Hates Sugar". (He would you know.)

The out? You can PRE-pay for one sweet item on the same day you plan to indulge by performing 100 consecutive burpees (with a jump and clap over-head at full extension).
The Pre-Payment shame has to be done on the day of, and cannot be credited to a day in the future. The burpees expire at midnight.
You also can't spread the burpees out over the course of the day in an attempt to ameliorate their heinousness. Burpees done at a Crossfit workout also don't count.

I tested the burpees for cookies system yesterday and have to tell you that in order not to become fiercely sweaty, you should plan on at least 15-20 minutes to complete the task.

Was it worth it? Let us know. It's about an even trade. Two cookies by the way? That would be 200 burpees.

Are you in? If you are, skin that pony and post to comments.

Happy White Death Free New Year!

Coach Kstar