Archives for April 2016

CrossFit Rowing Seminar

CrossFit Flagstaff had the privilege of hosting the CrossFit Rowing seminar today and we had a great day with Jonathan, our instructor!  Thank you to all those who traveled here from near and far to participate!

IMG_2565What did we learn?

  • Rowing technique, technical error analysis and correction, and new cues.
  • Rowing physiology and proper body positioning throughout the row stroke.
  • How to structure a CrossFit rowing workout. (YAY!  Stand by for some great drills this month!)
  • How to maximize rowing power and efficiency, increasing rowing power output for better workout performance.
  • Personal coaching critiques and participation in a couple rowing workouts.
  • Damper settings and Drag Factors and how they affect the row power and speed.

IMG_9644The damper setting is not ‘the resistance’. Resistance is completely different than drag, which is what the damper setting controls. The drag mimics the weight of the boat.  You create the resistance by how hard you work.  If you rower harder, you’re going to feel more resistance.  The damper setting is a personal preference.

The greater concern is the drag factor—it increases as you set the damper higher and decreases as you set the damper lower, independent of the intensity of your rowing.

A lower damper setting and lower drag factor allow you to open your joints a lot faster. If you naturally perform best at a higher stroke rate, a higher number of strokes per minute, then you’re going to probably perform best at a slightly lower damper.

IMG_9628 IMG_9629
At the catch, you want to achieve an acute angle at the hip, whereas at the finish, you want to achieve an obtuse angle. While most rowers can achieve the angle at the back of their stroke, the front angle is problematic.  Many have their shoulders behind their hips, and it creates an initiation of pull from the shoulders rather than the legs.  Liken it to pulling a heavy deadlift with raising your torso first, rather than pushing off with your legs, then engaging the hips as the bar crosses the knees.

IMG_9641 IMG_9640 IMG_9638 IMG_9680IMG_9634 IMG_9633
Proper Order of Operations:  “Legs, hips, arms. Quick arms to turn it around. Arms, hips, legs.”  Close the hinge so you can spring it open and get that power that you needed to make the rowing stroke effective.

“Notice the rhythm: quick drive, slow recovery. Push, glide. Push, glide.”  Make sure your knees open before your hips. Keep your elbows long and loose until the shoulders are through the hips. Then you can bend the elbows.

IMG_9654 IMG_9658

IMG_9695 IMG_9694 IMG_9692 IMG_9689 IMG_9697 IMG_9698
The force-curve display in the rower’s monitor is one way to evaluate the power and efficiency of your rowing stroke.  Build the force curve from the catch, adding each piece together: the kick, the swing and then the pull.

If your force curve resembles a distant mountain range, you need to work on making your transition from legs to back to arms smoother. Multiple peaks are good for hiking…but not for a force curve.

Exploding at the catch—applying great force at the beginning of the drive— results in a sharp curve and steep drop.

A flat power curve shows a steady pressure across the pull vs an increasing velocity from the hips, passing off to the arms.

The ideal curve is peaked like a haystack or a gumdrop.

Some things to consider when trying for that “ideal” curve:
  • When initiating your drive, apply equal pressure to the foot plate and to the handle to achieve a sense of weightlessness or suspension over your seat.  Drive hard with the feet and exert pressure on the handle.   This connection between seat and hands will give you a powerful start to your stroke.  You always want the seat to move simultaneously with the handle.
  • Use your hips effectively in your stroke.  Shoot for the back angle to swing from 1:00-11:00.  Continue the power application with the arms through the finish.
  • Strive for length in the hip joint at the catch, but not by thoracic flexion (rounding the shoulders forward).  You don’t want to collapse at the thoracic or lumbar spine, rather keep a good posture with a flat back.  Think Deadlift posture.

IMG_9659 IMG_9661 IMG_9672 IMG_9653
Fast, constantly moving hands, and keeping the rower handle pushing and pulling straight out of the catch for efficiency and best use of the bungee cord pull.

IMG_9645Parting Shot workout:

2 person teams, 4 rds. each person, alternating:
3 min. to Row 500m, max burpees in remaining time

Score is total number of burpees accumulated by both teammates at the end of all 8 rounds.

Clean and Jerk 1RM

IMG_9622CrossFit WOD

Clean and Jerk
1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps

Compare to: 1RM Apr 12, 2016, 1RM December 2013,
3RM (typically about 85-87% of 1RM) Feb 2016, EMOM C&J Dec 2015 (Good reading here)

CollageItDuring the Clean, focus on the second pull. Strive to have the hips fully extend, the arms straight, and the shoulders shrugged before moving to the receiving position. Try to maintain the same mindset during the Jerk. Receive the bar below parallel with the elbows high, in the Clean.  Split receiving position in the Jerk is strongly recommended.  Use each rep as an opportunity to practice the mechanics while under increasing loads. The first working set should be approximately 80% of an already established 1-rep max. If there is no previous 1 RM, use the sets to establish a 1-rep max taking careful note of mechanics along the way.  Log the loads lifted for future reference!!

IMG_9465 IMG_9565IMG_9617 IMG_9545

Beginner Athletes:
Hang Squat Clean and Push Jerk 3-3-3-3-3 reps
The reps are increased to allow more practice of these 2 complex movements. Pulling from the hang position can allow the athlete to focus on achieving full hip extension. Practice pulling the body under the barbell quickly. Receive the bar below parallel with the elbows high. Stand up to full hip and knee extension. Bring the feet under the hips for the Push Jerk. Focus on an aggressive hip opening by squeezing the glutes and jumping through the heels. Land in a partial overhead squat with arms and shoulders relentlessly pressing up into the bar. Return the bar to the shoulder, lower it to the hip and then to just above the knee to begin the next rep. Do not increase load if there are significant deviations from the mechanics described. Log the loads lifted for future benchmarking.

IMG_9558 IMG_9538IMG_9535 IMG_9571

IMG_9626Strength Focus

A. Press + Push Press + Push Press-
Build to a tough complex in 12 Minutes

B. Weighted Chin-Ups-
4x 4-6, R60-90s

IMG_9455 IMG_9461Welcome Karen to her first class, and Hope’s mom, Mary is getting stronger every day!  Watch out Hope!  Mom is coming for you!

IMG_9456 IMG_9520Karry has “Rest Technique” dialed down!

IMG_9517 IMG_9508 IMG_9492
Welcome to our visitors, Joost from Holland and James from East Valley CF!
IMG_9471 IMG_9463 IMG_9525

Stuff to cheer about:  LOTS OF PR’S today!  Great job, improving on your technique and getting under those barbells everyone!

Make Up Thursday

Deadlift    “Maupin”   Death by Pull Ups


IMG_9428 IMG_9421

IMG_9424 IMG_9418 IMG_9417

Death By Pull Ups

With a continuously running clock IMG_9416

do one pull-up the first minute,

two pull-ups the second minute,

three pull-ups the third minute… continuing as long as you are able.

Use as many sets each minute as needed.
Post number of minutes completed

Strength Focus: Power Clean-
Build to a tough TNG set of 3 in 12 Minutes



How to Improve Your Pull-ups  by: Tabata Times

One of the biggest developments in the fitness industry within the last decade has been the popularization of the kipping pull-up, as it has become more common with the rise of CrossFit. With its faster cycling time and development of core-to-extremity movement, the kipping pull-up is definitely an effective movement for developing athletes. Furthermore, what about the strict pull-up? What is its role in the grand scheme of training? Is one kind of pull-up superior to the other? How else can I improve my kipping pull-ups (and shave precious seconds off my Fran time)? Let’s take a closer look.

Definition of a kipping pullup

The kipping pull-up is a little more sophisticated than the deadhang pull-up. Done correctly, it involves a hip snap that radiates up the spine and into the arms, effectively lifting the body with minimal upper body pullingJohn Sifferman

Within the context of CrossFit, Greg Glassman advocates for the importance of the kipping pull-up:

Kipping is whole-body, athletic, and demands coordination and agility. It is plyometric, requires flexibility of the shoulders, allows for rapid cycle time, and in totality represents an essential, unique, and powerful core to extremity motor recruitment pattern.

Do More Work Faster

Josh Newman of CrossFit NYC presents several advantages of the kipping pull-up.

On the training side, kipping pull-ups allow people to do a greater volume of work than they might with dead hangs alone. They also allow people to do that same work faster, increasing power output. And they form the basis of more advanced movements – like clapping pull-ups and muscle-ups – that are initially much harder to learn from just the strict pull-up, and that we think are hugely beneficial training stimuli.

On the building block side, we think the kipping pull-up is simply a more athletic movement, and can be better applied in real world contexts, where efficiency matters. It also reflects what we find to be a general principle of effective movement: generating power in the stronger, larger muscles in the middle of the body, then extending that power out towards the extremities.

Improving Your Kipping Pull-up

Two themes emerge from these gymnastics experts: maintain a hollow body position and control the kip with your upper body, not your hips.

When in doubt, check a gymnast – or a gymnastics coach – out for tips on how to perform kipping pull-ups safely and more efficiently. As with any gymnastics movement, doing kipping pull-ups well requires a combination of coordination and strength (thus the importance of developing foundational strength through the strict pull-up).

  • Jeff Tucker presents an excellent instructional video on kipping pull-ups. He teaches the kipping pull-up from “a gymnastics purist” perspective, “without the introduction of angles created by a violent hip drive.” Instead, he teaches initiating and controlling the momentum of the kip by using the upper body.

 Carl Paoli and Kelly Starrett look at the kipping pull-up in terms of the athlete’s ability to maintain a neutral hollow position from head to toe while moving. As Carl performs a kipping pull-up at medium speed and then accelerates to a high rep, high cycling movement, he uses less leg movement and more upper body movement to maintain the kip. They note that athletes tend to suffer shoulder and elbow problems when they are unable to maintain a neutral hollow position.

How to Improve Your Pull-ups

  • In CrossFit Journal’s “Pull-up Virtuosity”, Laurie Galassi of CrossFit Santa Cruz presents a series of videos which break the kipping pulling down into 2 basic positions: the arch and the hollow position.

In part 1, Laurie presents some cues regarding setup and points of performance for the arch and hollow positions. For the arch position, she emphasizes the butt being tight while the chest is open. For the hollow position, she has her athletes lie on the ground and maintain the hollow position through the chest while keeping the legs tight to maintain tension throughout the body.

In part 2, Laurie stresses the importance of timing to a kipping pull-up. On the pull-up bar, the athletes practice the transition between the arch and hollow position. The transition, or “weightless moment,” that occurs after an athlete snaps back from the arch to the hollow position, only happens if s/he stays tight and maintains good rhythm for the kipping pull-up.

Strict pull-ups make your kipping pull-up better

Definition of a strict pull-up

The strict pull-up is a fundamental gymnastic bodyweight movement, as described below

The strict, deadhang pull-up is a bodybuilding-style pull-up in which the purpose is to maximally contract the muscles of the back and arms – mostly the lats, biceps, and forearms. The rest of the body is meant to remain in enough tension to maintain a rigid structure. With the deadhang pull-up, the body should not move except for those joints which are required to perform the movement itself, the elbows and shoulders. All other joints should remain relatively stationary, as they shouldn’t contribute to the force production required to execute the exercise. This is the classic exercise that people think of when they hear about pull-ups.

Strict pullups act as an assistance exercise for the kipping pull-up

In an article by, Joshua Newman of CrossFit NYC and Drew Baye from Drew Baye’s High Intensity training give their views of the strict pull-up and their place within their respective training methodologies.

According to Newman, one advantage of training and practicing the strict pull-up is that it add variation to the athlete’s training. He encourages “changing the grip, changing the equipment, even changing the level of fatigue.By doing this, the athlete is testing how “gym strength” translates into the real world.In a sport like rock climbing, for example, it is often impossible to kip because of the rock face itself; in this case, having the ability to perform a strict pull-up is essential.

The strict pull-up is “both a training tool and a movement building block.” Once an athlete can perform a certain number of kipping pull-ups, s/he is no longer building strength, just endurance. Strict and weighted pull-ups, therefore, become “an excellent tool for training limit strength.”

Strict pull-ups are often safer from a performance aspect and still as effective as kipping pull-ups.

Strict pull-ups or chin-ups are safer for the joints involved and more effective for increasing the strength of the arms, shoulders and back. As long as an appropriate load and duration are used, due to the continuous tension they will produce a comparable metabolic demand to a set of kipping pull-ups involving more mechanical work.

In short, the strict pull-up provides variation, trains limit strength, and applies well in real-world situations. Additionally,the safety and effectiveness of developing a strict pull-up builds strength in the arms, shoulders, and back. Some boxes even make the ability to perform one strict pull-up a prerequisite to learning kipping pull-ups.

“The strict pull-up develops the baseline strength and stability in the shoulder girdle required of the kipping pull-up.”

Still not convinced? Consider the following advantages of developing a strict (non-kipping) pull-up:    

  • Improving raw, upper body vertical pulling strength (e.g. strongman competitors)
  • Preparing for a bodybuilding competition
  • Increasing muscle hypertrophyin particular, the lat and bicep muscle
  • Getting started with basic gymnastics (beginner level)
  • Improving general rock climbing conditioning
  • Preparing for any sport that requires upper body vertical pulling strength

According to Justin Guzman of CrossFit Brea, training the strict pull-up develops the baseline strength and stability in the shoulder girdle required of the kipping pull-up. Training the strict pull-up becomes a fundamental building block to developing the kipping pull-up.

Double your trouble for maximum benefits

Deciding whether to focus on strict pull-ups and/or kipping pull-ups will depend on your goals. If your goal is overall athletic development,then the kipping pull-up is a very effective tool. Given the volume of pull-ups that are often part of CrossFit workouts, the kipping pull-up allows for performing higher reps at a greater efficiency rate. On the other hand, if your goal is to build strength to assist your development of the kipping pull-up (and/or increasestrength beyond what the kipping pull-up can itself develop), then the strict pull-up is a necessary part of training. Learning how to perform both movements effectively will only benefit your athletic progress overall.


Hero – MaupinIMG_9328
4 rounds for time of:HERO-MattMaupin
Run 800 meters
49 push-ups
49 sit-ups
49 squats

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Keith “Matt” Maupin, 24, of Batavia, Ohio, disappeared on April 9, 2004, when insurgents south of Baghdad attacked his convoy with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. His remains were found on March 20, 2008. Prior to his disappearance, Maupin served as part of the 724th Transportation Company in Bartonville, Illinois.

He is survived by his mother, Carolyn; father, Keith; a brother and sister; and many other friends and family members.


IMG_9318 IMG_9323 IMG_9291IMG_9288 IMG_9269 IMG_9317 IMG_9324 IMG_9256 IMG_9286

1RM Deadlift and 2K Row

CrossFit WOD – IMG_9244
1)     Deadlift
                1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps
2)     2k Row

Strength WOD –
1)    Bar Kips- 4 x 6-8IMG_9246

2)    Free Standing Handstands-
Accumulate 40-60s

3)    Back Squat-
Build to a tough set of 3 in 10 Minutes, 30×1

IMG_9235 IMG_9196 IMG_9209 IMG_9208 IMG_9205 IMG_9199 IMG_9198 IMG_9232 IMG_9203

Sunday Fun Day


Strong(hu)man Saturday

CrossFit WOD –

IMG_9174Strongman Rule review: 1) protect spine, 2) don’t drop heavy stuff on self or neighbors, 3) don’t destroy equipment.

WOD – “Inverted Oxygen”

Partner up for the WOD – 1 partner works, the other helps transition & records calories & distance (partners need not use the same weight or height on yoke)

Row 1 minute for max calories
     15 seconds to transition to yoke
Zercher-carry yoke for 1 minute for max distance
     15 seconds to transition to rower
Row 1 minute for max calories
     Rest a MINIMUM of 3 minutes, then repeat (you can wait until after your partner goes)

Record both rounds: cal.,dist,cal. // cal.,dist.,cal.

IMG_9162 IMG_9164 IMG_9168 IMG_9169 IMG_9167

Strict Dips, Strict Pullups, Turkish Getups

CrossFit WOD – IMG_9156
3 rounds for time of:
20 strict dips
20 strict chest-to-bar pull-ups
10 barbell Turkish get-ups, 75 lb./55 lb.*

Strength WOD – IMG_9158

 EMOM for 20 Minutes:
          Odd minute = 3x push jerk (No touch and go and work up to a max for the day.)
          Even minute = 10m seated sled pull (AHAP)



IMG_9061 IMG_9140 IMG_9117 IMG_9114 IMG_9097 IMG_9096 IMG_9094 IMG_9055 IMG_9119 IMG_9104 IMG_9085 IMG_9075 IMG_9091 IMG_9059 IMG_9058

Thursday Makeup Day

Grace or Isabel