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Low Bar Back Squat

Work Up To A Heavy Triple
No Failing! No Bailing!
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As Many Rounds as Possible in 10 Minutes of:

20 Russian Kettlebell Swings, 45/25
10 Push Presses, 115/75

20 Russian Kettlebell Swings, 72/53
10 Handstand Push-Ups

Post rounds completed and Rx to comments.

Rosie's first day of CrossFit

Why Join a CSA?

Are you curious to know why CFSBK supports the Community Supported Agriculture model? Our very own Margie Lempert, founder of the CSA program here and currently finishing a masters' degree in agroecology at the University of Wisconsin, will approach that question from several angles in a short series of articles, starting today.

Two Faces of Agriculture: Industrial vs. Agroecological

Farming uses land in order to make food (I see you hydroponics, but I’m ignoring you for now). How we use the land varies in different systems. It’s common to think of farming as a one-directional relationship: we try to make the land conform to our goals on our terms. These terms distinguish farming ideologies, which influences the how and whether the relationship can be reciprocal.

Industrial agriculture, like any other industry, tries to achieve consistent yields so that it can scale up continuously in order to turn an increasing profit. Climate, soil, precipitation, and topography are examples of conditions that must be overcome. Given the scale and geographic reach of this kind of agriculture, its terms have to be uniform and prescriptive in order to efficiently and consistently meet demand.

In contrast, Agroecology merges agriculture and ecology by seeking to recognize, value and be part of the dynamic conditions of farming. The primary goal is still to produce food, of course, but the terms are based on dialogue rather than prescription. Agroecosytems contextualize the goal of growing food by understanding the intrinsic nature of discrete elements like soil, plants, wildlife, climate, people and economics, as well as the interactions among and between those elements. This is a holistic way of farming characterized by multiple goals, which include, but are not limited to, turning a profit. Resiliency (against erratic climate, volatile markets, personal crisis, blight and disease...) is a central tenet of the approach.

There is certainly crossover between the two systems, and lots of farms operate somewhere in between, but I’m being overly simple so we can keep them distinct in our minds.

A grazing farm is an example of an agroecosystem. The success of the practice depends upon studying and harnessing climate-land-plant-animal-human interactions in order to produce food.

This series of posts will unravel the elements and interactions of a grazing farm in order to help you understand grass-based livestock farming. We’ll focus mostly on beef production, but many of the same principles can be transferred to other livestock.

This is also an unabashed attempt to persuade you that by joining a CSA, you have a unique opportunity to be part of an agroecosystem.

Commodity and Grass-fed Beef

In the commodity beef market, production goals focus on speed, efficiency, consistency and uniformity in order to meet increasing demands for meat. (The U.S. supplied the world with about 20% of its beef in 2007.) If animals fatten at predictable rates, to similar weights, and consistent marbling, your entire production system can operate more efficiently and, hopefully, turn a reliable profit.

All beef cows start out on grass. Commodity cows are moved off grass relatively quickly and sent either to an intermediary farm where they’re fed a mixed diet of forage and grain, or directly to a feedlot. The distribution of cows is partly based on putting like with like (i.e. breed types, genetic strains) so that producers have a fairly clear idea of the process needed to reach a desirable time to slaughter.

Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are where most beef cows get “finished.” CAFOs are penned in areas, which contain a minimum of 1,000 tightly packed cows – no more than one acre per cow is allotted (that’s being generous). Food in the form of mixed rations (grain and forage) is brought to them. Because of the continuous concentration of animals, the ground is bare, exposed soil. As a cow nears slaughter, its diet becomes increasingly grain based in order to reach correct weight and marbling. This production method is intimately tied to corn production in the U.S. In fact, over one-third of our corn crop is used to feed animals.

On a 100% managed grazing farm, cows are either purchased as weaned calves, or the farmer breeds his/her own stock. In most cases, the animal will remain on the same farm for the duration of its life. The number of animals a farmer owns is tied to the size of the farm: in the Northeast, it’s typical to stock one steer per 1.5-2 acres. A decent herd size is a couple hundred head, with many at 100 or below. Farmers divide their land into paddocks and allow animals to wander within a fenced area, grazing the grass (their only food source) until the farmer feels it’s time to rotate the animals to new pasture. This decision is based on variables like precipitation, season, how hungry the cows are, or the impacts on the soil. But a key practice is never to let the animals eat the grass down to the ground, otherwise the leaves won’t be enough of a “solar panel” to photosynthesize for regrowth. Instead, grass would be forced to deplete its roots for energy, which would eventually reduce its capacity to grow. Over time, a rotational practice leads to robust above and below ground “biomass.” In other words: long roots and tall grass. Farmers in the Northeast will rotate their cows around the farm a couple of times during the growing season; it usually takes 4 weeks to return to a pasture.

So, grass-based farmers are actually growing both grass and cows by managing their relationship to each other. Cows are nourished by grass, and grass is nourished by cow manure, the physical impact of hooves, sun and water.

While both systems have the same goal of producing meat, it’s pretty clear how much they differ in terms of process. Commodity beef production simplifies and moves linearly. Grass-fed production uses guiding principles to respond to dynamic conditions.

Coming up next… animal welfare in each of these systems.

Austin Malleolo wins 14.3 for the men's division
Danielle Siddel wins 14.3 for the women's division

Jared Fleming and the Overly Strong Squat
23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Move To NYC
Kokedama: Make Your Own Living Moss Balls at the Brooklyn Brainery

Reader Comments (27)

Came in last night to do Wednesday's class with Jeremy.

Squats: 185x5, 205x5, 235x17

Accessory WOD @20kg bell, 95lbs bar: 4 rounds + 20 swings + 1 push press

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

New Adidas Adipower color . . . The red menace is under threat . . .


(Rumor has it that there are white ones on the way too).

Jay Reingold: self-appointed CFSBK fashion correspondent and Noah Abbott acolyte

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

8am class
Felt good

Performance WOD Rx'd
5 + 25
Low back fatigue was the limiter.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFox

6am with a large crew this morning. Fun to have Fox and Arturo coaching.

Did 135# - 185# - 225# on the LBBSBV* for my heavy 3. Great working with Everett and Nate. Low bar continues to be a good challenge for me; I think my shoulders are starting to get used to the pain and I feel like I can focus more on the lower body work.

Hit 5 rounds + 9 KB swings at Rx weight for the WOD. I broke up the KB swings into sets of 10 from the beginning and held that throughout. For the HSPU's, I did 5-5, 5-5, 5-3-2, 5-3-1-1. Good workout, still feeling a bit of tightness in my back from this weekend.

Also, I'm floating out the idea of running a CFSB Co-ed soccer team this summer (spring leagus are already filled up). Let me know if you're interested and I'll start keeping a list. I played in a co-ed league for the last nine years in Seattle and am dying to get back into it here in BK.

Have a great day!


March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael A.

Good stuff Margie. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen W

7am with Foxro...or Arturox. Worked up to 145# x 3 on the box squats, which felt great. I kind of love paused box squats. Focused on bracing my core (I tend to overextend) and I can definitely feel the difference. Then rxed the fitness WOD for 6 rounds plus 14 swings. I thought that the light kettlebell would be super easy and it was - for exactly one round. Then it was way harder then it should've been. Forearms were screaming. First set of push presses unbroken, then 5/5 for a few rounds, then 6/4 turned out to be a better strategy. Good day at the gym. I love coming first thing in the morning.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKH

@Michael A - SBK has had a co-ed soccer team in the past, The Fighting Tacos! We're working on messaging out the SBK league sports better but in the meantime, maybe talk to Coach Melo?

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMare

ugh, those new adipowers look even uglier than the red ones, jay.
and the lacing system looks different, everyone knows that true power comes from proper tarsal support.
then again if you scroll down and look, BigBearMeat, weightlifting enthusiast and male cheerleader from Louisiana gave it a glowing review aka i just ordered 5 pairs

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteruzef

Hey pop culture vultures! I'm hosting trivia again this Sunday night, 7 PM at 68 Jay St Bar in DUMBO. Free to play, Charlie's making the drinks. BE THERE!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Mare - for sure! I'll reach out.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael A.

Speaking of CSFBK and sports, I would like to thank David for having CSFBK sponsor a baseball team this season! I am sure that you'll see a team picture in due course.

This isn't an advertisement, registration is closed and the teams are set. This is just a thank you. We are 100% non-profit and volunteer, we keep our costs as low as possible, and we take hardship cases, so that kids get a chance to play baseball and have fun.

It's going to be great to see some little players with the skull and crossbones taking the field!

Thanks again, there are a lot of kids that we can help to play ball that don't have the resources, thanks to the consideration and generosity of community-supporting folks like CSFBK.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJR


Forgot to mention that I was so stoked to hear about your conversation about ITA!! :D Thanks for posting that.

March 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

Strength Cycle Day 1. (Last night)

I have been meaning to sign up for this for about six months and I finally did it!
So fun to hang out on the platforms with Rachel and Janelle and, of course, the redonkulously strong Serene, whom I peer pressured into joining me.

LBBS 165 x 5 x 3- this felt so heavy! I know I did this weight x 10 x 2 last week so it shouldn't have, really, but maybe I am still recovering from 14.3?
Press- 50 x 5 x 3- this felt light and probably more like I wanted it to for the first day. I had not pressed in so long.
Deadlift- 185 x 5- Very light and Jeremy noticed and commented on it looking too easy, so I suspect I will be making a large jump next time.

My shoulder hurt during the squat and press. I went for some acupuncture this morning and am going to roll the living daylights out of the surrounding areas as much as possible until this pain goes away.

Feels really strange not going to group class in the mornings but I'll get used to it! Looking forward to getting to know this little group of people better. And getting strong!!!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Transgender Athlete Sues Crossfit after Being Denied Entry in Women's Division:


March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

8am group class with Ro.

LBBS Box Squat:
(45x5, 95x3, 135x3)
165x3, 185x3
-first time low bar squatting in about 4 months so this felt weird at first. I guess it's just like riding a bike.

Performance WOD:
4 rounds rx'd in about 8:10 then called it quits.
-technically a DNF. My low back got HEATED and did not want to do anymore swings. Really thought I could complete that 5th round but it just wasn't worth it.
-Was able to do all of my HSPU's in 2 sets of 5 though, except the very last set when I came off at 4. Pretty happy about that considering we haven't done hspu's in forever.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlady fox

looking forward to reading the next installment, Margie. it's wonderful to get some insight into these ideas - I've slogged through some of the canonical popular works on the topic, but often found them rough going.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermichele

7am with Fox and Arturo

LB Box Squat - 135x5, 185x5, 225x3, 255x3, 275x3 - had some room there, but ran out of time

WOD - 4 rounds + 9HSPU. Failed on the last HSPU just as time ran out. HSPU are not a strength of mine, so I probably should have broken them up from the beginning.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan L

Margie - Thank you for this series. I'm looking forward to reading more.

6:30 class last night.

I like box/pause squats -- focusing on staying tight and not going as heavy -- and I liked the balance of strength and conditioning stimuli in the work-out. 10 minutes was long for me at this weight though. I was cruising for the first 4 minutes then it became hard to sustain.

24kg KB - 4 rnds
1st round 20, 2nd & 3rd rounds 10/5/5, last round 5/5/5/5. Front delts pretty fried -- probably also from Monday's workout

HSPUs - 3 rnds + 7
1st round 10, 2nd in 2 sets, then smaller chunks (noticed my back starting to arch)

HSPUs are fun! More upside-down stuff please.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

10am with Jeremy.

LBBS 140 X 3 which I was psyched about since my 1RM max was 130 at the start of this cycle and today's 140 was heavy but not a 1RM.

I forgot a whiteboard and lost count during the WOD. PP at 63 and used a 16kg KB. This workout killed me, just wasn't feeling 100% I guess. I am pretty sure I got 5 rounds plus 3 swings.

Good article! I do always purchase Grass fed meats but will sign up for the CSA today!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichele W

10AM class with Jeremy

LBBS box squat
45x5, 95x3, 125x3, 145x3, 150x3
Marie and I squatted to just the low metal box. probably could've put a thin plate on there, as it felt quite low. Jeremy's cue: don't hesitate at all at the bottom; that there would be a pause but not to think about putting one there. In general felt good but I have to say I'm hella sore from 1/2 Angie and had a rushed morning so didn't each much or drink a lot of water.

-tweaked my neck on Mon night so didn't want to attempt HSPU today. which is a bummer b/c I like them and want to get better at them!
-RX: 20 russian 24kg swings and 10 strict DB presses @15# in each hand.
-I don't think I've ever swung the 24kg bell in a WOD before. it was a wake-up call. grip got fried real quick. difficult, but solid. popping up with the hips, trying not to strain my neck.
-Got thru 3 rounds by about 6 minutes and then did 10 more swings, but my neck/shoulder just started to feel tweaky again so I cut it there. (unbroken, 10-10, 12-8, 10.)

foam roll/balls on lats, traps, rhomboids, pecs. hung out upside down on the pull-up bar for 20 seconds for some traction.

took a long yoga class this afternoon and got some good relief from doing a whole bunch more shoulder opening.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWhit H

Also, great to read Margie's post and I look forward to the rest.

AAAAAND Austin Malleolo was the lead coach in my Level 1 Cert in the fall, so great to watch him kick some serious a$$.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWhit H

7am with Fox and Arturo, it was nice to come in the morning after a long time!
Did 75# on the box squats, which felt a bit light, but I was out for a week and I'm never sure how I'll feel getting back into squatting, especially if its a special kind.

Super happy with how I did on the WOD today - 12kg KB, 53 on the presses but got a full 5 rounds flat, and only had to break up my last few sets of presses into two sets of 5. Progress!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMIranda B

Margie, love this information! And love that we go to a gym that 1) has a blog that posts information like this and 2) coordinates CSAs.

A rare and lovely 5:30 class tonight with Melissa and Arturo.
LBBS box squat, 45x5, 95x3, 125x3, 145x3, 145x3
Loved using the box; I feel like it helped me even out the way I bias my right leg and get weird sometimes at the bottom. Did a second set at 145 to correct my funky softness on the first set. I think I'm going to go back to the linear progression and not lift anything I can't do without a belt. The Wendler doesn't seem to have helped me make much progress, probably because I get so nervous on the rep outs. I want to be doing more volume again so I get more comfortable under the bar. Maybe?

Fitness WOD: 5 rounds + 20 kb swings scaled up to 16kg bell, PP at 73#. I told Bob afterwards that it was really fun and he looked at me like I was a purple alien.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate R


Heavy 3 @185. Those 2x10s for the past several weeks really helped me feel confident with this. 185# was my 1RM back in June at the Total.

fitness WOD: 20kg KB/95# Barbell: 4 RNDS + 20 KB Swings and 4 Push Press

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert F

6:30 class,

LBBSBS, (135x3, 165x3) 190x3, 205x3, 220x3.
Former 1RM at 205#, those damn 10x really helped.

WOD at 75# PP, 20kg KB, (went light on PP because mondays is tweak your upper back day for me)
7 rounds + 15swings, 3 rounds of unbroken PP, then sets of 5s.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPigeon

Squat, baby, squat!
45x5, 135x5, 185x3, 215x3, 225x3, 235x3
225 felt great 235 felt super heavy

WOD - 7 rnds plus 19KB swings
KB@28KG and pushups instead of pushpress (shoulder issues)

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDMak

6:30 with Melo and Ro. Worked up to 185# on the lbbsbs. Felt crisp.

Got peer pressured into using a 24kg kettlebell for the fitness wod, with 75# for the push press. 6 rounds plus 17 kb swings. Ten minutes is a long time for a workout with nowhere to rest/nowhere to hide.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Mc

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