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Rest Day

Sam Briggs wins Row Events 1 and 2 with a 2000m time of 7:17 and 1/2 Marathon time of 1:27:47.9

So Close To a Pull-Up..

Are you "So Close" to a pull-up? Do you feel like it's within reach but has still eluded you despite your most sincere efforts? Below are three things I think will help folks who are close to pulling body weight get over the bar.

Start with Chin-Ups
Chin-ups are easier than pull-ups and you're more likely to get your first chin-up sooner than your first pull-up so it's a pretty good place to start. In my experience once a couple chins have been developed the pull-up magically shows up a lot faster. That being said, both versions are totally legit and huge milestones for anyone who didn't have them before.  Chins are also easier for people to organize well. The upper arm is already rotated into a more stable position and the last few inches over the bar usually involve less neck craning and wiggling. Once you can do about 3-5 chin-ups you'll be a Lot closer (if not already there) to the pull-up. When performing chin-ups, keep your hands just inside shoulder width and imagine pulling the bar down to your chest, not pulling yourself up to it. That cue usually helps people fire the upper back and pull the elbows posteriorly during the ascent, both good things.

Keep The Reps Low
If you're struggling to get your first pull-up, your muscles experience the effort as a near maximal exertion.  You're going for something that you'll only be able to do 1 rep of (right now), so when we train to develop our first pull-up a lot of our reps should look and feel pretty similar.  Several doubles or singles with just enough resistance to clear the bar is better than high volume sets of 5 or 10 with much more assistance. If you were a 1 rep max obsessed lifter, you wouldn't spend all your time doing sets of 5 and 10, you'd perform submax singles, doubles and triples more often to get your body ready for the effort.  Here are two examples of productive training sessions:

7 sets of 1 rep with ample rest
5 sets of 2-3 reps with ample rest

"Ample Rest" could be anywhere from a minute to three minutes depending on how much you require to get another successful rep. Because this is going to be a strain, make sure to warm-up with some ring rows and more heavily assisted pull-ups. 2-3 sets of 5 reps should be sufficient.

When you're scaling workouts, use the lowest volume option possible. 20 Kipping pull-ups as Rxd on the workout might be 5 chin-ups for you. That component of the workout won't have anywhere near the same conditioning effect but depending on your goals that might be okay.

That being said, a little volume isn't a bad thing. Just remember that if you want to get a pull-up you've got to train in a way that feels similar to your goal.

Resistance Matters

While the big jump-stretch bands can be a valuble tool in this process, they shouldn't the only or even the majority of assistance you use. In my opinion, having a good spotter is ideal. Someone who knows how to give you just enough help to make you finish the rep without any jerky movement, uneven assistance or too much pushing. You've got good hands on you if you never get "stuck" anywhere in the rep but still work really hard at the most difficult positions (the very top and the first few inches at the bottom). The range of motion should be smooth and you should be able maintain good organization throughout. Another option is using a band just below what you can do on your own and having a partner gently push you through the finish. Depending on the size, height and strength of everyone involved, sometimes this is a more practical solution and can lead to better spotting. If you're working with someone who is not a coach or giving you too much/too little/weird help, tell them what you feel and work together to make it better. One major problem with bands alone is that at the top of a rep you're getting the least help since the band tension decreases as you ascend.  If you're flying solo, choose a band that helps you get all the way over the bar, not just enough so that when you reach your chin can barely make it over the bar. That's a no rep.

Hopefully these three tips can help you find some success with getting your first pull-up. Make your goal to not only do it, but do it well. If you train smart in the beginning and pay attention to your neck and shoulder positions you'll develop a solid foundation to build off of. If you make your emphasis simply getting any sliver of your chin over the bar, things will be a lot slower and less awesome for you.  To see exactly what I'm talking about, watch this MobilityWOD: Stop The Pull-Up Chicken Necking People

There are as of yet three unannounced events for this year's Games. Write a Games-worthy WOD that you think could work for this year's programming. And/Or predict what the obstacles in the zig zag sprint will be.
To see the full list of announced events, click here.

Reader Comments (41)

Does anyone have Verizon fios? If so what do you think? I have time Warner at home and have had 3 techs come out In the last two months yet still only have Internet about 60% of the time and haven't had it for the last two days. I'm done with these assholes and want to see if anyone is actually happy with their service provider and type out there.

Games WOD: check your email at my apartment for time

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid osorio

@DO we have had FiOS for the past year and are very happy with it. It was slow one day but they fixed it over the phone in about 15 minutes. We rarely ever have to reset the wireless which I feel is very rare. I say make the switch!

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHayley G

Hubs and I have to give up FIOS when we move into our new apartment and I have mixed feelings. I feel like we had more Internet outages than we did when we were on the UES with Time Warner, but on the other hand none of the outages lasted very long -- once you get on the phone with them, they're pretty quick to fix the problem, which I cannot say for Time Warner at all.

We're going to Cablevision -- anyone care to share war stories?

Squats 135x3, 155x3, 175x9. Thanks McDowell for coaxing two more reps out of me.

WOD 5 rounds + 4 cleans at 25#, should have gone to 30# DBs. I'm such a slacker.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella


In my opinion, just from a technology standpoint, Verizon FiOS is the way to go.

The way a Time Warner or Cablevision works is that they tap the connection for your service from a shared point in your neighborhood or building, forcing you to share the same backbone fiber optic connection that ties back to a location where their service provider equipment is stored. This is why at peak times, your connection may slow down significantly, or stop working all together.

The way FiOS works is that an individual fiber optic connection is brought directly into your home, and then is converted into a conventional cable medium (coaxial, ethernet, etc.) for your router, TV or phone. By providing your own fiber optic tie, you reap the benefits of both the cable medium (fiber optic cable has a much higher bandwidth) and you are not forced to share your connection with others, allowing a more stable experience overall.

So yeah, my suggestion is to switch.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristos

Here's a way less cogent statement than what @Christos provided (which was v. interesting and informative ) - Time Warner SUCKS IN A WAY that would be inappropriate for me to even express on the blog in the words that I'd like to use. It took 3 canceled service appointments, 6 separate reps, an indeterminate amount of confusion on their part, hours of time on the phone, and an entire week for us to set up our TV, wireless, and phone.

They were going to send a technician to the apartment where the account used to be, instead of the new address...twice. It took no less than four separate phone calls to establish our new address with them, because they kept screwing it up in their systems. They missed one service appointment because they called the landline - the line that they were COMING TO SET UP - to let us know they were close by, and when we didn't pick up, they didn't come. They couldn't figure out which apartment we were in and a technician left after being at our apartment for 5 minutes, claiming that the apartment wasn't outfitted for service, even though the rep over the phone had told us that it was. They called our downstairs neighbors three times to verify their apartment number. They told us we had to bring the equipment to a location to exchange it, even though the equipment was fine.

After a week, we finally set it up ourselves, which we initially tried to do and were told multiple times that we couldn't do. They refused to credit us for the week that we didn't have service. We'd get FiOS, except that they don't provide service on our block.

Not to use the blog as my own personal rant-space, which I kind of just did, but this Russian novel is only about half of the BS that they pulled. If you can avoid Time Warner, do it at all costs. I've never experienced a company with such miserable customer service, both technical and communicative.

On another, less-cantankerous note, looking forward to OG tonight! Oh, and also, rainbows are pretty and I really like puppies - they're neat.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney McCrankpants

I've been happy w/cablevision aka optimum. It's light years away from regular Verizon which made me want to go back to the days of dial up.

Make SURE you're getting Fios.

I wish I was at OG already and didn't have to work today. :o/ Ho hum.

July 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

Suggestions for future movie nights, space themed:

Barbarella (hey! the name has barbells in it... almost)
Jane Fonda's first major role, she's also naked in the title sequence.

w/River Pheonix and Ethan Hawke.
I loved this movie as a kid. Maybe because they used a tilt-a-whirl as a spacecraft.

July 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

Also a happy Optimum customer, once I got them to stop calling me to offer me cable (no TV in the house, kind of shocked the dude). Have never (knock wood) had a service interruption in 2 years.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

I have an appointment to set up my internet with Time Warner tomorrow morning (they're the only provider for my new apartment). And now I'm terrified.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

It's like you guys know what I need to hear on specific days. Moving to gowanus and looking for good Internet service providers!

OG tonight. Might swing by with pup for later 1/2.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGracie

I have Optimum - love it, no trubs.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJB

David, TW is the worst, but you might not have the option to get FIOS. Be careful in what you are filling out.

IMO they are all crooks. If you threaten Time Warner to leave for Fios they usually lower your bill a bit.


July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDH3

We don't have the option for FiOS, Dan dislikes this. We have TW. It's fine, I think our Optimum service was better (ie cheaper for same speed we have now). The TW box is better than our old optimum box (TV WISE).

They're all MEH.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterasta

I hate Time Warner with every Fiber Optic in my being. The company is run by zombies (in a bad way). Switch if you can. I'm now inspired to see if we can get FiOS so that we can liberate ourselves from the TW tyranny.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay R

Been with FIOS for 3 years. Never had a major issue. The handful of times the internet went down, I just called them and a representative triggers a reset on my line and the issue goes away in 10 mins.


July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave Fung

less cable talk, more workout talk.
can someone post some numbers please. ;)

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrystal


here are some numbers:

1-888-591-6076 - Verizon FIOS - call to install
1-877-419-2147 - Time Warner Cable - call to cancel


July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave Fung

Any FIOS promo codes for a good deal?

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlan C

Also adding numbers:

110 Signatures for my petition to keep the Bklyn Eagle sign. (Many sbk members have signed) mad love for you all.

1- Interview with DNA info (thx Matt Katz)

2- Conversations with NYC councilmen. (brad lander & stephen levin) thanks Rebecca C.

Keep signing people. Even if we can't save this sign the petition will be used to help understand how we can landmark the Kentile floors sign. Y'all are all part of Brooklyn now. Ive been here my whole life, and those signs make our neighborhood what it is. SIGN IT.


July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDH3

Was planning on going back to the 6am classes today. Went to sleep at 11pm. Woke up at 12:30am. Fell back to sleep around 3:30am. Didn't make it to class...

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle B.

FiOS is not available in my building apparently.

UGH. Maybe Optimum? I don't know anymore..

I went Climbing this afternoon with Todd and a few other folks. It was a great time, hoping to make it a regular part of my Fridays for a bit. We finished with a game of ping pong. Amazing!

I kept trying to think of another Games workout but couldn't. BLAH!

July 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

Sorry for this, Crystal...

@Dave Fung: I was dying laughing when I read your post. I also used both of those numbers to cancel Time Warner and set up with Verizon.
@DO: The reason Verizon told me they didn't service my building before was because I gave them my mailing address instead of the building's physical address. You probably already know the difference (or maybe there isn't a difference with yours), but that allowed me to figure it out with them today.

I feel like I just dodged a bullet that would have hit me over and over again. Bless all of you and your convincing hatred.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

Anybody been to the crossfit on Martha's Vineyard? I've never been to another box and I'm scurrrred.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterInka

Holy shit Khalipa is a beast! I'm really pulling for him to keep this up. Psyched to see him and Ben smith both killing it!

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

Lovely noon class with Jess!

Snatch at 42 lbs. with Lylliam still needs lots of attention. Press with Bianca and Lauren feels good at 49 lbs.

Opted for the 2k row cash-out, as I wanted to see how I've progressed since starting at CFSBK. My first class ever was a 2k row in February, and I'm happy to see 44 seconds shaved off that time. Not blowing any minds with my time, but I'm thrilled to see the progress.

Also, if anyone out there is interested in home-brewing kombucha, I have a ton of extra, healthy SCOBYs that I would love to give away. I've been brewing for a while and have way more than I need. It's really easy and a huge money saver to brew your own. Hit me up! lvs3h (at) virginia (dot) edu

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLily

Burden run was BRUTAL and a really exciting event to watch. Kalipa is putting on a clinic!

July 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

Rings club, can one of you let Ken know I can't make it tomorrow? Out of town again.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlan O'D

This is about as funny (and relevant) as it gets re Time Warner: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2205680/Patrick-Stewarts-battle-Time-Warner-Cable-saps-live.html - but nobody is exactly perfect in this space...

Second, @Crystal/Plankton, and others, I have been testing my 1RM's in strength cycle, and have some fun results. Since my last total in December, I added 95 pounds, from 750 to 845, distributed thusly (old 1RM in parens):
Squat 315 (265). My favorite lift - I was hoping to break 300 this year, so I am very happy with 315.
Press 145 (140). My goat - and the numbers don't lie.
Deadlift 385 (345). I failed at 405, but I am going to get it sooner or later… Jeremy scooted me that 4th wheel and we were both unwilling to discuss it, just loaded the bar. Sort of like a no-hitter. Next time.

Also, I am competing in the RBC Decathlon on Sunday, and the event is to raise money for Memorial Sloan Kettering's pediatric cancer program. The cause is just, and 100% of everything donated goes to MSKCC, and is tax-deductible. Here is a link: https://www.thedecathlon.org/donate/make-donation/?teamid=17 - if you are at all inclined, thanks in advance. And, a fun thing - due to a fundraising challenge I threw out this morning, I am going to carry a 1 pood kettlebell with me everywhere I go on Monday. So I have that going for me. Which is nice.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

@Tom - Caddyshack shoutout wins the day.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney McCrankpants

Noon with jess and McDowell. Finally hit 115 on the snatch! It felt ok, I'm sure I should get lower or whatever but that was my goal for this cycle, and the OHS felt fine. Also did press 3x5 @86.5, I love the micro weights for press because going up 5 pounds is too much for me...

I kind of want to try the 13.1 mile row, I can't be the only one?

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPckr

Watching CFG while in the vets office...sorry I'm not sorry. @jenstop basically yelling IS THAT JASON KHALIPA? Every screen shot. Dude is nailing the games. I love...alas, he's too short for me...oh and married. Darn.
Dude...Lindy Wall...I want to be her. NBD. #girlcrush.

@nancy @jenstop "what's a pood anyway"?

Getting Verizon package for my new apt due to all this lovely information about TW/VZ, thanks CFSBK fam. Good lookin out.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGracie

Sheiko week 4 day 3



DB Press


Good Morning

Weighted Sit-ups

Done with Sheiko. Went really easy on the accessory work, upper body is trashed. Glad to be done and not lifting for a few days

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

NOAH! I have my tickets to Point Break Live at the Bell House for next Friday. Go ahead and cross me off your list. 'Fanks!

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJB

Went to the YMCA in Bar Harbor, ME.

Barefoot squats: up to a few sets of 5 @ 245. I felt a little uncomfortable with the rack situation and didn't try anything heavier. Dumbbell presses: worked up to four sets of five @ 45#. Surprisingly hard. Pullups: four sets of five in between squats and presses. Cash out: CURLS (in front of a mirror obviously).

Finally, the locals seemed cool with my handstand practice in the middle of the gym :)

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlan O'D

Our building is not on the FIOS network for some reason, so I can't weigh in on the debate. When it is, I'll switch based on the overwhelming response. We have TW and although the installer needed tons of my help to get things set up, it's really not been all bad. We've been here three years and service has been fine.

Noon with Jess - For me, just showing up to a day of overhead work (snatch complex & press) is improvement from last summer. My shoulders are stuck, immobile, stiff, whatnot and I can't organize much.

But I had fun on the 2k row. I haven't been rowing much but I easily beat my PR by about 15 seconds. I'm determined to get below 8min before next February (CrashB in Boston is my goal this winter). And although I will miss Nick's clinic next week - here's hoping management schedules a second one in the fall (?).

July 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterRichard G


Squat: 345x1, 385x1 (ties PR) and 345x2x2
This was harder than I wanted or expected. Last set was the most solid. 385 was way too grindy.

Bench: (All 1st reps paused) 225x1 (PR for paused bench), 205x3 (close grip), 215x2, 215x2

Deadlift: 365x1, 410x1 (PR), 385x2c2
These were hard, but there's definitely room there.

July 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterRob Is


Power clean+Hang squat clean+front squat+jerk


July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

This legless stuff is CRAY

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGracie

OG mellow session.

Clean and Jerk
95x1 135x1 155x1 175xf,1,1,1,1,1

Failure was just bad footwork on my part.

Front squats, 185x5x3

GHD sit-ups w the 5kilo plate behind my head, 3x5

May have overdone it with the climbing this morning. Gotta eat a second dinner soon.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

So much fun at open gym with so many great peeps. Delightful to bench with JBails. First squat at 195x5x3. OOF!! Had been pretty afraid of this session and with a very view exceptions the reps were all smooth like buttah. Woot. Bench @ 135x5x3, a bit grindy but they moved. Then 6x2 pull-ups. Oof once more.

Then max rounds NFT of being chased by a boy and his birthday shark. Thanks for all the Linus love, everyone--hard to believe he's 4 today.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

@Jake @Joel, GHD sit-ups are all wrong... HERE is how you work your "upper abs."


July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

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