Sunday, August 31, 2008

Monday Class 8 AM!!!

Hey Gang!
Just as a reminder. Monday's Holiday Class starts at 8am. There will be no evening class.

And, Coach Boz is taking pre-orders for the next small batch SFCF custom Tee.
Bring a shirt of your choice to Boz for a 10$ printing. Or buy a pre-made masterpiece at $20.

Happy Labor Day!

Coach kstar

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser Sept. 27th

Hey Gang!

On Saturday, September 27th San Francisco Crossfit is going to be joining forces with Crossfit affiliates across the country (about 130 and counting) to raise money and awareness for two very important foundations, Athletes For a Cure and the Wounded Warrior Project (below is some info on both groups). How are we going to raise this money you ask? A little exercise called Fight Gone Bad. I am sure many of you know what workout this is and are already excited, but if you don't, it will be a piece of cake.

The money raised has no bearing on your score from Fight Gone Bad so don't worry! All you need to do is spread the word beforehand and raise money through the website from anybody who is willing to support these two foundations and of course support you in getting through this workout.

If you are interested in participating, follow this link, , and the directions to register as an individual. During the registration period, make sure you join the San Francisco Crossfit team. Once registered you can edit your own webpage as well as begin to collect donations.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 as a group so get signed up!

Athletes For a Cure "is a fundraising and awareness program to assist individual athletes in their quest to raise money for better treatments and a cure for prostate cancer. Every dollar raised from the program goes directly to the Prostate Cancer Foundation."

Wounded Warrior Project "raises awareness and enlists the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women. Help severely injured service members aid and assist each other. Provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs."

Sean Murphy has been gracious enough to take the lead on this project!

Coach Kstar

Ps. Either way, you now know the next time we are Fighting Gone Badding.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aldous Huxley Had It Right..

When he said:

"Speed provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.”

It's too bad then, that typical modern gym fare has all but eliminated speed based training.

Good thing we like to train with the quick lifts eh?

Check out the PM kids getting their quick on.

Coach Kstar

And on a very sad note, SFCF is most bummed to loose one of favorite sons to some Judging clerkship in Guam. Ross Naughton, we'll miss your sword brother!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Head Faults: The Chicken Neck

The head fault comes in many flavors, sizes, styles, and brands. And this aberration of the neutral spine is best expressed by the ubiquitous "chicken neck."

When under athletic demand, we want our athlete's head to be in a position that reflects both utility (have to keep my eyes on the ball) and "best" neutral spine positioning. Deviation from neutral, straight spine can cause a whole slew of silly mechanical BS downstream (blown cervical discs, flexed lumbar spines problems, poor shoulder positioning, etc.)

Best defense? No be there.

See if you can identify the chicken neck in the movements below.

Coach Kstar

Friday, August 22, 2008

How To: Watching Weightlifting

With all the Olympic coverage available on-line (I suggest, there is now plenty of opportunity to view some top-notch weightlifting from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few of the finer points of the contest:

1) The lifters will start with the Snatch. The bar starts at the lowest requested weight. The weight of the bar only goes up, never down. Lifters get 3 attempts at any weight they want, but remember, the bar only moves up in weight. If 2 lifters request the same weight, 1st attempts go before 2nds, and 2nd attempts come before 3rds.

2) The lifter gets one minute to start the lift from the time their name is announced. If a lifter has to follow himself, due to an increase of weight that nobody else is taking or another attempt at a failed weight, they are allowed 2 minutes to start the lift. Following yourself sucks when dealing with maximal loading (more rest is better), so often times lifters will try to 'force' one another into following themselves by changing their requested weight.

I.E. Adrian just missed 100kg.

Kelly is slated to attempt 100kg and therefore lift immediately after Adrian, but instead changes his request to 101kg.

Because the bar only goes up in weight, Adrian must either follow himself at 100kg, or request a new weight that is heavier than the weight he just failed at. In addition, Kelly may get more time to rest while Adrian lifts again, if Adrian chooses to follow himself. Bastard!

3)If any other part of the body is in contact with the ground other than the feet, it is a no-lift. If the elbows contact the leg in the Clean and Jerk, it is a no lift. If the arms bend and lock-out, or press out to the locked out position (instead of locking out in one swift motion), it is a no lift. When a lift is completed, there are 3 dots that will be shown below the attempted weight on your TV. Each dot represents one judge.

3 whites=Good

2 or more reds=No-lift

The rules above are primarily for safety and are often criticized in high-level competition for being too subjective (especially the press-out rule).

Personally, I feel that if the weight makes it overhead, it should be a good lift...pressing out a heavy jerk or snatch doesn't make it any easier!

4)The Clean and Jerk comes next. Lifters again get 3 attempts. In both lifts, the heaviest completed lift is recorded. Both numbers are added together for a total. If a lifter does not succeed at least once in the Snatch or Clean and Jerk, it is often called 'bombing out' and the lifter will not total. The lifter with the highest total wins the meet. In the event of a tie, the winner is the lighter lifter.

The rules are pretty simple but there is a fair amount of gamesmanship and strategy involved in choosing your weights...How can you maximize your rest, and minimize your opponents while ensuring you aren't bluffing your way to 'bombed-out' session?

It's like a giant game of chicken.
With heavy barbells.

The competitions are usually about 90mins, so it is great to see this unfold over the march of much pressure!

Things to look for:

-Coaches getting more irate/animated than the actual athletes.
-The bait-and-switch bluffing tactics mentioned above
-Coaches who are 1/3 the size of their lifter
-Dudes that pass out after completing a 400+lb Clean and Jerk

What a sport!

So, this weekend when you're at a loss for things to do grab a few cold ones (sparkling water, right?) and fire up the ol' weightlifting contest. You might learn a thing or two and you'll definitely be inspired to go forth and lift heavy things above your head!


Adrian "I'll-take-102kg, Please" Bozman

PS Check out the new adjustable fat handled dumbells we just got. You know it's going to be a good time!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Same Same. But different.

At Crossfit, we are only limited in programming by our capacities for creativity. There is always a way to twist, tweak, modify, or change a minor aspect of an exercise or workout to elicit new adaptation. Just ask the crew which is worse.
Rowing downhill and having to pull yourself up to the catch? Or rowing uphill?
Because hey, a thousand meters doesn't suck enough.
But don't worry, we can always make is suckier. (in case you were worried)

On another note. C-Rin and Gravelly-nice were largely unaffected. See below

Mission: Post best muscle pick up line to comments?

example: "Dude, where's the tape? Cuz I'm all ripped..."

coach kstar

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Knees and Hams, Knees and Hams

While back squatting, we have our athletes strive to keep their backs straight (this does not mean straight up and down), weight on the heels, and hamstrings under peak tension. Pam Lauper below is doing a nice job here (her depth is legit be assured, the photo was taken when she was a little higher than bottom). Today let's focus on Pam's knee position.

One of our coaching cues is to have our athletes try and keep the "shins vertical" while squatting. Note that as Pam reaches near bottom in her squat, her knees track forward over her feet and her shins become less than straight up and down. As the barbell is always going to be centered over the middle of the foot to keep the human/weight system in balance, her knees have to come forward here to accommodate her personal mechanics, her strength, and her flexibility.
Is her back straight? Yes. Are her hamstrings under peak tension? Clearly. Is she in a stable, balanced bottom position. Absolutely. As she continues to develop as an athlete her shins are likely to be even more vertical. (Imagine her shins stuck in concrete up to her knee, and her femur hinging off that anchored, vertical shin.)

Now let's check out the photo below.

This photo was taken on the ascent out of the hole. See any difference in her shin positioning? You bet. In order to affect maximum hip drive, Pam has pulled her knees back while she is extending her hip. In effect, Pam is shortening her hamstrings from both ends in order to give herself maximum mechanical advantage.
The barbell is still centered over the middle of her foot, her back is still straight, her weight is through her heels, and her hamstrings are still under peak tension.

This position is critical to having a good ascent under heavy load and is actually only temporarily stable. Pam will have to ultimately bring her hips forward to support the barbell load because the enormous, peak isometric contraction of her low back is not sustainable past those few moments of forceful hamstring contraction/ascent.

A common foul in this portion of the squat is to see athletes let the knees stay forward during the ascent, versus pulling the knees backwards as Pam L. is doing above. This compromise happens because either the athlete doesn't have the mid-line strength to temporarily support the load as in the discussion above, or they lack the hamstring strength to simultaneously support a vertical shin and extend the hip.

As an aside, nearly all of the patella pain and torn menisci I see in my physical therapy practice occur because of this knee-forward bottom position during squat ascent.

So, knees are OK to come forward as long as hamstrings are under peak tension. Just don't leave them forward when you stand up.

Coach Kstar

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beyond the Obvious Lower Half Squat Blah, Blah, Blah

Butt back.
Knees over ankles.
Back straight.
Weight compressing through the heels.

Check. And if you are one of our athletes, chances are you've heard this mantra once or twice. But let's take a second and look at the upper half of a couple of our athletes with solid squatting lower halves.

Remember, paying attention to set up details and less obvious upper body positioning and mechanics can set you up for better success in a heavy squat by taking potentially distracting elements off the table.

The first athlete is Katherine B. (aka. Diesel Kitty).
The bar is resting right above the spine of her scapulae. This is a good position. Some serious squatters will lower the bar further but DK's set up here is good one.
The bar is even on her shoulders and her grip is even on the bar. (Obvious right? Hold this thought when we check out the next athlete.)
Kitty has opted to grip the bar with a "closed grip". Rippetoe et al. suggest that holding the thumbs on the other side of the bar creates more relative supination of the forearm and subsequently more relative external rotation of the arm that further tightens up the upper back.
We coach the open grip espoused by Rip and the Gang, but here Kitty is managing good tension in her upper back with here relatively narrow hand grip. She probably likes this closed hand position better as it psychologically doesn't feel as if she is as locked into the bar as much should she need to step forward and bail.
Her head is up a little creating minor cervical extension and less of a neutral spine.
Her minor head up position does create opportunity to for her pelvis to rotate posteriorly (rounded low back) and triggers potential anterior knee translation on her ascent (both of which she doesn't do because she's badass).
Her back is straight and she looks solid.

Our second athlete is Catherine Gravelle. (aka. Gravelly-nice) Catherine is one of our stronger female athletes and also happens to be six feet tall.

Take a look at her upper body set up for a second and see what you notice before we talk about her below.

Take a look at her upper body set up for a second and see what you notice before we talk about her below.

Start with bar placement. Note how the bar rests a little higher on her shoulders. This is known as more of a high bar position. Note how the bar position appears to affect her neck. Catherine is strong enough to be able to squat with relatively straight up and down back so she is relatively unaffected. We'd still like to see the bar a little further down on her shoulders.

How about bar even-ness and grip symmetry? A little off right on both accounts right?

We love her open grip, tight upper back and, note also how her elbows are pointed at the ground. She has set up a pretty solid frame work through her upper body, and not surprisingly she handles the load well.

Your goal is to continue to develop your coaches eye for small details. Remember that what goes on upstairs is almost as important as what goes on at the knees and hips.

Coach kstar

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Heavy on Heavy

Lifting big, heavy things is an important skill to develop. Taking the time to set-up well can make the difference between a successful lift and a never-gonna-budge-stuck-to-the-floor lift. This preparation is physical (stay tight with a good position!) and mental (I think I can)...there is a certain level of self-trust that can only be discovered by experiencing such uncomfortable loading.

Post your 'Mental-Setup' to comments.

Have a killer weekend,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Horizontal Displacement

Carry the load!

When one is called to demonstrate feats of strength outside the CrossFitting Arena, it is not often that one is allowed the luxury of simply picking an object up and placing it back down. Typically, the object must be moved vertically (the lift) and then horizontally (brought/thrown to another location). This is a skill that can and must be practiced not only for it's practical application, but for the unique training stimulus it provides.

Commonly, implements like sandbags, medicine balls, sleds and tires are used for this purpose, but there's no reason that dumbells and barbells can't be used for the same end. The crew at SFCF today experienced a little of that horizontal mojo.

See you at 6,

Monday, August 11, 2008


Hey Gang,
It is my pleasure to introduce Caroline Starrett! (aka. The Hammer)
Caroline joined us August 2nd after quite some business. She was a chubby 5 lbs 8 oz.
Mom and baby are doing well and Juliet has set the house record for number of transfusions in a 4 day period.
Callie was born early into her 34th week of growth and subsequently has had the pleasure of hanging out in the neonatal intensive care unit for the last 9 or so days.
I would be remiss if I didn't say she's killing it. We hope to her sprung from there in the next 5-7 days. This would still put her home while she was still pre-term! Thank god she takes after her mother.

I've had some quality thinking time in the hospital of late and should elaborate on a few things I've been thinking about.

1) I'm always blown away at the generosity of my friends. They step up to cover my classes, bring my family food, and make sure we've got what we need. Thanks to everyone that has gone out of their way to bring over amazing food.

2) Expect "Hammer Fest" when Caroline comes home from the hospital. Rager.

3) People in the hospital have been blown away at: How fast my wife has recovered, how well she did when her Hematocrit was 21 (literally less than half of mine), and how long she was able to carry Caroline. I'm like, "she trains really hard for this shit, I'm not really not that surprised." Juliet is officially the most bad ass human being I know. I'm going to state for the public record that she is the best athlete in the family (and toughest).

4) Sometimes we all could stand to harden the eff up. See below for reality check.

I'm grateful that for the second time, I didn't loose both my daughter and my wife to childbirth.
And I'm very grateful that Caroline has been born into such an amazing family of stellar SFCF aunties and uncles.



ps. My pet theory is that Caroline sensed that she needed an 8 week head start on her older sister Georgia. Not a bad idea actually.

Pump Up the Jams

Alright SFCF-ers, the time has come. The request for music is a difficult one to fill, as everyone always wants something different. Add to the fact that satellite radio sucks (in my not-so-humble-opinion), and we've got a problem...let's take a page out of the book of Camacho. Crossfit One World's Freddy Camacho, that is( Here's the deal:

In the comments, request two (2) songs that make you want to fight, feud and wake up at the zoo (or at least fire you up to go workout). I will download those songs from itunes and create a SFCF playlist that we can crank during workouts. Everybody wins!
The catch is that the song must be available on itunes and you MUST post your name along with the song if 'Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Post of Life' comes up when you're trying to hit a PR, you know who to thank.

Dial, not to be outdone by that rogue, Lucas, strikes a pose of his own.


PS there are still a few spots open for SFCFers to take advantage of the group discount at the Catalyst Athletics O-Lifting Seminar coming up this October. Drop me a line (adrian AT if you're interested.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sleep Check!

OK athletes, time for yet another gut check. This time we are talking about sleep.
So the last few days have found me with very little sleep, and because I'm obsessed with such things, I felt the need to discuss it with you.

Here goes: Sleep is important. Check.
Obviously brain function is slightly (ironic tone) decreased with missing sleep. But how smart do you really need to be?

The real reason sleep matters is because all of the good hormones and growth factors that are released during the deep sleep, stage 3 and 4 periods. This is your body's time of peak anabolic activity (build muscle, burn fat, repair tissues, etc.) and occurs throughout the night but with diminshing efficacy.

If you aren't getting enough of this deep, quality sleep, chances are you aren't optimizing recovery or performance. You are in fact creating stress hormones that are trying to kill you. And you face book and addicts, I'm talking to you.

Your body treats lack of sleep like a direct stressor, the same as starving, or being chased by a lion. So quit being so cavalier about your late nights and crappy sleep.

The goal is to get as much stage 3 and 4 sleep as possible. To this end, here are a few sleep hygene guidelines.

1) Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.
2) Avoid coffe and alcohol before bed.
3) Sleep in the blackest, darkest room possible.
4) Sleep in a cool room.
5) Treat your sleep as importantly as you treat your workouts and protein blocks.

Think of sleep as recovery. And recovery completes the exercise and nutrition trifecta.


Keep a sleep journal for a week. Track hours slept/bed time/awake time/ and note when and how much caffeine/alcohol was consumed before sleep. Also note how your performance was during the day. See any patterns? Are you trashed by the weekend. How much "blue time" are you serious about getting in the chart above.

Sleep rules

Coach SleepyKstar

Friday, August 01, 2008

Act Now!

As promised a few days ago, we have been in Contact with Greg Everett of Catalyst athletics regarding the upcoming olympic lifting seminar in Chico. Greg has reserved 10 spots for SFCFers at a discounted rate of $400. If you are interested in attending (details a few posts down), please email adrian AT for details.

Have a great weekend,


Starrett so close to the ever elusive 300lb clean: