Thursday Make UP and Announcements

Hello CrossFit Flagstaff!

Just some updates and invitations!
#1. 6:30 pm class has been low to zero attendance for quite some time.  We are going to try shifting it to 6:00 pm to see if that helps it grow to being cost effective enough to keep it.  As of next Monday, May 1, the schedule will show 6:00 pm CrossFit WOD and 6:00 pm Foundations at the same time.
#2.  As most of you know Amanda is at Phoenix Children’s Hospital with her daughter, Preston, who is sick with an infection and type 2 heart arrhythmia.  We are all sending her our best thoughts for a speedy recovery.  Laura‘s son also took a spill off of the garden wall outside the gym right on to his head and broke his arm badly, so we had a bit of excitement with the paramedics coming into the gym to take care of him.  He will need surgery, but will be ok, thankfully!  Thank you to everyone for your support, concern, and patience with all of the varied coaches covering Kids and Young Athlete’s classes while these 2 are taking care of their families!  We have a meal train set up in the form of donations to help Amanda and her family with eating out and hotels while they are in Phoenix.  That link is:  There are some dates on her meal train, but we aren’t sure when she will be home.  We will update those dates for actual meals when we know more.  For now, please just use the donations application.
#3.  John has also been hospitalized for his back injury from his car accident a couple weeks ago.  He is now discharged and carefully walking and getting physical therapy.  We have started a meal train and donation train for him for the next couple of weeks to help him limit his need for driving and moving around too much.  Here is the link to sign up for a meal a day, or shooting him some cash for some take-out meals.  You can drop meals by the gym and we will get them to him.
#4.  HUGE thanks and kudos to Sam, who has been interning on her own accord the last couple of months.  With all of our trainer upheaval these past 2 weeks, she has really stepped up to the plate and taken on some classes for us in our time of need!  Talk about being thrown into the deep end!  Sam has put in a lot of time and self-initiated effort into outside education in gymnastics courses, mobility and injury recovery, and observing coaching and learning from many great coaches, without even knowing if she would have a job with us.  She takes the time to create her own clinics to share her knowledge and make herself better, as well as others.  These efforts of taking the initiative to see a need and jump in and take care of it, and her growing technical knowledge in coaching and managing classes has not gone unnoticed.  We will be bringing Sam on to our already awesome team for the Summer!
Thank you to all for your support and understanding!!
Lisa and Tara

Practice and Training

PRACTICE technique and good positions, timing, and awareness of our body in space.
Strict gymnastics The following is not for score. It is for quality.

Minutes 0:00 – 5:00: 1 Wall Walk 3 Pausing Strict Pull-Ups (pause for 3 seconds with chin over bar)
Minutes 5:00 – 10:00: 10 Second Ring Support Hold 5-10 Horizontal Ring Rows (feet on box for those that are able)
Minutes 10:00 – 15:00: 6 Strict Toes to Bar, 3 Inchworms to hollow hold

TRAIN by stressing the body and tissues with good form:
CrossFit WOD – “BOAT RACE”

3 Rounds For Total Time and each Round:
Row 500 Meters
Run 400 Meters
Rest 3:00 between rounds.

High intensity is a crucial component to CrossFit, naturally. The majority of our workouts fall within the mid-range time domain, of 8-15 minutes. Although “Boat Race” will total 15-20 minutes of “work”, it’s potency is in the intensity of each individual round of 3-4 minutes at a time. Let’s bring the intensity today and live inside those windows. Note your total time stops after your third run, but also record the time of each individual round. The 3 minutes rest in between each round is recorded and part of your total time. Aim to keep each individual round with in 5-10 seconds of each other.

Modify distance to 400m Row/250m Run if 500m Row pace is 2:07+/Run pace is 10+ min mile.


Stop Trying to Win


I was a multisport athlete growing up and played four years of Div. I basketball. In all of my years of athletics I never once won a practice. I’ve been trying to find someone who has. I’m still on the hunt for that person. Many of our athletes that are coming in are experiencing their first real exposure to any sort of training regime.  For some athletes CrossFit Rife is their first and only exposure to any sort of physical competition. Not everyone played sports in their youth. Not everyone understands the intent of training and what “practice” means. Admittedly I can understand how the environment you may walk into could pull you in and suddenly have you competing to have the top name on the whiteboard.   Peer pressure is a real thing.

I’m not down playing the value of competition in any way. There is arguably no way to reach your peak potential without some degree of competition. Without it we would undoubtedly fall well short of our best effort. The trick is dialing in when we “compete” and when we “practice”. Competing every day is unsustainable in any sport. There should be a disproportionate amount of practice vs. competition. Too much competition can lead to burnout, CNS and adrenal fatigue or potentially higher rates of injury.

So how do you address this and start teaching yourself to practice?


First and foremost an athlete should determine what the intent of the training session is. Is it technique? Is it to hit certain sets or reps? Or is it just to not think about winning? If you are having difficulty with the concept ask yourself what it is that you are winning? If you aren’t in a league or competing for money then there is no record or prize to compete for. So just be content with training and not having your name at the top of the leaderboard or having the best IG post.

If you are trying to win everyday, you are losing. The best athletes in the world know themselves better than anyone and they target their training sessions to improve the most mundane skills or seemingly simple tasks. They aren’t trying to win practice everyday. They are simply trying to move the needle even the slightest bit.

Here are a few tips to help rid yourself of the desire to “win” everyday:

-Determine what the goal is. Set a quantifiable goal and put a timeframe on it.

-Define what “winning” looks like based on the goal you set.

-Start setting a daily intent for each training session. Don’t try to move the needle too much.

Stop trying to win your practice sessions everyday. Set you sights on winning whatever your game day is.

If you don’t have a specific event to train for or a competition, then pick a day in the gym to compete. Your mindset and intent on that day will look and feel very different than your training days. And it should!

Keep training hard and hit those weaknesses.

Embrace the Suck!  It hurts, but… DID YOU DIE?  No!  You got BETTER today!

Sunday Post-OPEN

Sunday’s are Make-Up days and through the Open season it’s a chance to get in the workout or re-do it for a better score.

Several of our athletes have been taking advantage of the higher levels of oxygen down in the Valley and performing the Open workouts with great success down there!  Big thanks to CrossFit Chaparral and Wildfire CrossFit for welcoming our athletes and helping them reach their goals!

Huge rounds of applause to Tara, Jay, George, and Sam for their stellar performances in these workouts!  They have trained hard, supported each other as well as so many others in the gym, and have shined in their efforts!  Congratulations on an incredible showing in the 2017 Open, representing CrossFit Flagstaff well!

And with 17.5 in the books, the CrossFit Open comes to a close. While we had a GREAT time these past 5 weeks, those DU’s may have left some mental scars…. Many would like Dave Castro to know that their jump rope joined the empty BBQ tins in the trash! 😉

Filthy 50th Birthday

In honor of a long-time friend and athlete of CrossFit Flagstaff – one of the OG’s! – we celebrate 50 years of amazing life with Bruce Hungate!  Happy birthday and best wishes to another 50 years of thriving!

CrossFit Benchmark WOD – “Filthy Fifty” [wmv][mov]
Chipper For Time:  

  • 50 Box Jumps – 24″ Box
  • 50 Jumping Pullups 
  • 50 Kettlebell Swings – 1 pood
  • 50 Walking Lunge Steps 
  • 50 Knees-to-Elbows 
  • 50 Push Press – 45 lb.
  • 50 Hip Extensions 
  • 50 Wall Ball Shots – 20# M/14# W
  • 50 Burpees 
  • 50 Double Unders

Compare to April 2016



Thank you for all who came out and helped Bruce celebrate being alive for half a century – and working out to his choice of classical music! 😉

Open 17.5

Workout 17.5

10 rounds for time of:
9 thrusters
35 double-unders

Men use 95 lb.
Women use 65 lb.


THEN, we “Close-the-OPEN” with an after-party!

WHY the Open?  Why have we pushed our athletes to participate?  The Open is the first step in determining the fittest on earth and it leads to finding the 20 athletes in a region that will go to Regionals. The top 5 athletes from each of the Regionals goes to the CrossFit Games. The best part is this first step is for everyone, and that’s what we love about it. It’s a chance to compete. It may only be for five weeks, but just like me, you too can sign up and test your fitness against your friends at CrossFit HellBox or around the world. You can see where your numbers stack up against the best athletes on the planet no matter how far back you might end up.

If you love to compete, than it’s a chance to compete across the whole CrossFit world. It’s also a forum to test your fitness and make sure you are getting more fit and becoming a more well rounded athlete.  I know not everyone loves to compete but everyone should love the fact that they have proof they are improving their weaknesses. Another reason I love the Open is because of the atmosphere it creates in all the affiliates.  Everyone is focused on the same tough workouts, sharing their struggles and accomplishments, and reveling in their fitness.  Yes, the open workouts are tough, really tough. Not because they are super intricate but because they are simple tests of fitness covering a certain core group of movements in perfect combination. CrossFit always prides itself on the “unknown and unknowable” element of competition, and that aspect remains true today just as it did in 2007 at the very first CrossFit Games.

One of the greatest things about the Open is that every year people post videos of themselves getting their first pullup, or muscle up or handstand pushup, that amazing accomplishment is always pushed by competition.  Here in our own community we saw MANY break-throughs and PR’s this year!  The power of the Open and of the strength of community drives this!

HUGE congrats to these 3 for their persistence and subsequent break-throughs on Double Unders!!

Almost every workout is designed as an AMRAP with the majority of them being short, 10 minutes or less, to the longest at 20 minutes. Almost every year a workout is repeated from a previous Open, what better way to see how much you have improved than by repeating the same workout a year or 2 later?

Parents are competing alongside their children, our young athletes are growing in their skills and PR’s alongside the adults, through the Open, further deepening bonds and the love of a strong work ethic and shared adversity.

My opinion is that everyone should do the Open. I know there are a lot of reasons that people do the Open and don’t do the Open. One I hear quite a bit is that they “aren’t ready” or “haven’t been doing CrossFit very long.” That’s not a great excuse, in fact, with all the workouts for the Open being scalable (as are all CrossFit workouts), there is no level of experience that anyone needs to have in order to participate. If your excuse is you can’t afford it, than your lying! $20 dollars to enter a worldwide competition is nothing compared to the $40 or $50 or even more it costs to enter your local 5K. Why pay $20 to enter the Open?  It creates value and buy-in and lets you see your results up against everyone else. Could you do the Open workouts on your own in your box or affiliate? Sure. Could you go run a 5K on your own around town? Sure. But paying to be a part of the official experience and to put your scores out there for the whole world to see cultivates a vested interest in the process.

At the heart of it all is community.  Every week, we aired the live announcement when the workout was announced and gathered to watch, be inspired, and cheer on our favorite professional CrossFit athlete, and then watch our friends and coaches do the workout Thursday nights and as the WOD on each Friday for 5 weeks. I hope you all saw the value in proving your fitness and committing yourself to the 5 weeks of the Open and felt the wave of excitement and possibility.

From here, we go forward and grow – ready for another year!

Snowy March Thursday

Come in from the cold, surprise snow storm!  Make up a workout you missed this week, develop your core, hang with your friends, or do the final Open workout!

Bottoms Up, Chins Up!

When you work on skills and positions…..SUCCESS!

1st swing at 17.5!  POWERFUL THIGHS in play!

The beauty of community – smiles, chats, camaraderie, sillies, laughter, and supportive cheers!

Take a moment to appreciate the successes you have had through the Open this year – then go out and crush this last one!

Don’t forget – we are having a Close the Open party tomorrow night after the final 5:00 grand finale class!  Come and throw down, bring a side dish, and grab some BBQ!!!  Let’s celebrate the END of the Open and all of the successes, PR’s, and incredible efforts we saw over the last 5 weeks! 

Make Up and Some OPEN Tips!

Thursday Make Up Day – make up a workout you missed, strengthen your core through the Core Development workout, or work on a skill you need some polishing on!

Kathleen is a strong new mama, squatting 85% of her 1RM Back Squat for 3 reps!!

Ryland has some rowing tips for tomorrow. Get LONG!

Great job to Katie and getting some Double Unders today!!

Strategy Tips for 17.4 tomorrow!

Back Squat 5×3


Back Squat

Proper Squat Depth

Squat down until your hips are below your knees. This moves your body through a full range of motion. It strengthens your leg muscles evenly and uses the posterior chain musculature. Thighs parallel to the floor isn’t low enough. You must break parallel so the top of your knees is higher than your hip crease. If you can’t squat below parallel, ensure your heels are shoulder-width apart and toes about 30° out. Now squat while pressing your knees out over your small toes. This will move the femur out of the way and open up the hip join, allowing the torso so slip into that space and you’ll squat deeper.

Many people do learn to squat by doing partial squats. They only squat a quarter or half the way down. This makes the weight easier to squat because it moves over less distance. You can squat more weight. But partial squats primarily work your quadriceps and put a lot of pressure on the knee. They don’t strengthen your hamstrings and glutes which are important for knee health. Many people think partial squats are safer. But they create muscle imbalances which often cause knee injuries.

Other people like to squat deep. “Ass-To-Grass” Squats involves squatting down until your butt touches your ankles. This works your muscles through a greater range of motion and can develop greater flexibility. But it also decreases how heavy you can squat since the bar moves further.  Most people lack the flexibility and neurological development to squat that deep without their back rounding. I recommend you break parallel then stop in a strong, open hip position. No need to squat deeper to gain strength and muscle.

So many PR’s today!  Great to have Madison join us from Ironwood CF (PHX) while she is in town for the month!  Welcome!
Holli rang the bell today for a new 3RM as well as a new 1RM!  Holli is a long time athlete of CrossFit Flagstaff, having come with us from the old gym, and continues to grow and get stronger all the time!  Awesome job!!!!

Technique development, beauty, and grit all make for incredible heavy days!!!  POWERFUL!

Technique Sunday

Sundays are rest days, make up what you missed days, and a good time to focus on technique – proper positions, timing, and core stability work.  All of that happened today!

work on technique and strength.

This isn’t done by going to a max or a PR everyday. In competitive weightlifting it’s well known that you develop quality lifting (technique and strength) by doing a lot of volume with 75-85% of your 1RM.  Yes it’s important to use heavier weights than that, but most of your work should be spent in the 75-85% range for sets of 3 reps.

Being in the right place at the right time is necessary to allow more weight to be lifted.  Much time needs to be spent with light to no load in the best position for the job.  This will develop flexibility, postural strength, muscle memory, and proper timing.  You need strength to pull the bar, but rate, direction of force, and proper timing to get it where you want it to go.  The greater the load, the greater the demand on the neurological components of the movement.  Spend time in practice, not just in heavy lifting.  There is more to be gained in being in the right position at the right time than in continuing to go up in weight with poor mechanics.  This is just continuing to practice poor form.  You will get better at what you practice.  If that is poor form, then your poor form will continue to grow and will continue to inhibit your gains.

Welcome to Scott, visiting us from Phoenix!

A strong core is a strong foundation.  All movement is core driven.  If you can’t stabilize the spine, the weight won’t move – or at least in the right direction.

Fast Twitch – Slow Twitch

Front Squat For Load


Run 1 Mile For Time

During aerobic exercises such as running or swimming, slow-twitch fibers are the first to contract. When the slow-twitch fibers become tired, fast-twitch fibers begin to take over.

There are significant benefits to working to the point of temporary fatigue—and therefore making sure fast-twitch fibers have been recruited. For instance, if you’re looking to increase muscle mass, and improve strength, using fast-twitch fibers is the only way to do it. On the other hand, aerobic exercises, those that mainly use slow-twitch fibers, can increase stamina and the oxygen capacity of your muscles, allowing the body to burn energy for longer periods of time. A high proportion of slow-twitch fibers has also been associated with low blood pressure. (

Welcome to Josh and Bridget, visiting us from Albuquerque. Strong showing on those squats today!

When muscles are forced to work differently and you get out of your comfort zone, you get a better workout response. This is the constant goal of CrossFit training.  Keep mixing your workouts up to recruit all types of muscles fibers.  Be able to lift heavy, run fast, jump high, swim long – variance is key!