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Back Squat | WOD 9.24.14

Fitness and Performance: Work up to a heavy triple on the Paused Squat.
Have a partner count out "1 one-thousand, 2 one-thousand" before rising. No missed reps, use spotters if you're not 100% sure you'll make all three reps. Rerack if you think you might miss mid set. 

Fitness Transition: If you've been doing Fitness programming and have cleared a full Linear Progression, find a heavy single to use for the upcoming programming cycle.

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20 Minutes, Not for Rounds of:
Run 400m
16 Unbroken Kettlebell Swings (go heavy)
3, 6 or 9 Strict Pull-Ups (add weight if desired) 

Post notes to comments.

September Athlete of the Month: Michael Crumsho

By Chris Fox

September's Athlete of the Month has been sitting in the wings for almost as long as he’s been a member. I must confess that the first time his name came up as a potential AOM, my response was an emphatic, “Let’s let him be a member for while!” Mike has since proven to be a diligent, coachable athlete who has trained consistently since Foundations. He has in fact been around for a while now, and here’s our chance to get to know him a bit better.

Fox: Mike, how did your journey to CrossFit South Brooklyn begin?

MC: It actually began somewhat begrudgingly, and long before I’d heard of CrossFit. To start way back, I turned 30 years old and decided to get in shape. At a recent doctor visit, I weighed in at 297 pounds with a fasted glucose level of 155. Needless to say I was in need of change. It was around then that I started lifting weights, with my long time college buddy Todd C. paving my path. He introduced me to Starting Strength and I followed that and then eventually 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler with lots of assistance work. During that time Todd had started at CFSBK and I was hating on it. I had all the standard arguments against it, from it being for shirtless and mindless bros, to a lack of thought or purpose in programming. I was making pretty good progress with the lifting and Todd was a completely non-assertive influence, though after seeing some of that years Fight Gone Bad photos, I decided to give CF a shot. Camille and I joined a Foundations class in October of 2013, a little less than a year ago.

Fox: Glad you decided to join us! 297 is a big weight for you, I can’t imagine it. Where are you at now? And what really was the deciding factor in joining CF after lifting on your own? 

MC: I can’t say I truly enjoyed lifting on my own, and I’d developed my fair share of gym “enemies.” Ask me about the Jeff Van Gundy look alike who would occupy the squat rack for an hour to do dips and curls... the final straw was when I hurt my back in June of 2013. I suffered an L4/L5 herniation, likely while deadlifting, that sidelined me. Looking back I believe I had unrealistic goals regarding my training and I recognized that I really needed to just listen to someone else and have eyes on me. I needed to take a few steps back and focus on the things that mattered, like moving well, and also to work on some more complex movement patterns that would increase my movement pool overall. You (Fox) and Ro showed me right away that I would in fact have eyes on me and also that I had a lot to learn.

Fox: What is it about CFSBK that keeps you coming back?

MC: CFSBK appeals to me for a variety of reasons. There’s a level of intelligence in programming with consistent exposure to movements. There’s the vibe in general with the (usually) good music, the inclusive atmosphere vs the solitariness of the Y where I used to train, and the balance that’s struck between a DIY approach and personal training. There are a bunch of things that I still need to get better at, including HSPUs, double unders, and muscle ups. Overall though the tangible progress I am making is a large enough reason to keep coming. My first squat exposure was 55x5x3. I ended this last cycle at 275x5x3, and hit a 1RM of 305. It’s still a bit off from my historical 1RM, but mentally it feels like I am back in the game, with better form to boot. After my previous injury I was scared of deadlifts, now I’m comfortable with the them and hit 390 for a 1RM the last time we worked on this lift. I see myself developing in a very positive and quantifiable way.

Fox: Tell us about you outside of the gym. Were you athletic as a kid? What do you do outside of nerding out on your training? 

MC: I’m from outside of Philadelphia. I played football and swam as a kid, and focused on basketball in high school. I never really gave much of a thought to rowing until I got to CFSBK, which is a little strange given that my high school was pretty well-known for its crew team. I guess the “henley and Penn cap” lifestyle conflicted with the whole “eat mushrooms, listen to My War” thing I was trying to cultivate at the time. Anyway, I gave up sports in college to basically become captain of the bong team and hang out at the radio station. During my time at at NYU, between 1998 and 2006, I was a Music Director and DJ on a couple programs—The New Afternoon Show—and I also started a program called Outside that played weirder, more experimental stuff.

My longstanding passion has been music. I’ve always been a pretty avid collector, and have a few thousand CDs and LPs in our apartment—if you don’t see me show up in class for a few days it will be safe to assume that I have finally been crushed under the weight of them. I have played synthesizers and “sang” in a few bands. I’ve also written as a music journalist for outlets such as The Voice, the AP, and The Baltimore City Paper. I consider myself to have a strong punk ethic but my ear ranges from Minor Threat all the way to electronic, jazz, psych rock, and folk music. Arthur Russell, Alice Coltrane, and Fela Kuti are a few of my faves at the moment. I recently discovered that Windhand are one of the LOUDEST live bands out there...

I really just simply love good music. In fact I met my partner, (Front Desk superstar) Camille, through the music scene. We were on the same punk and hardcore forums and connected through there. Aside from music I’m pretty tame. Career-wise, I am a brand/product manager and content strategist that develops digital products like apps and websites. For the past seven years, I’ve focused on the medical education and point-of-care side of things, helping to steer a publishing company out of books and into the interwebs. I like to chill out and watch movies and TV shows, I’m a huge Trekkie but I won’t force that on the readers. Really, cooking a good meal at home and maybe watching a movie is a great night for Cam and I. 

Fox: Great stuff, Mike. Last stock question: What should we look for in a future AOM? 

MC: Someone whose demeanor is the same whether they’re first or last to finish. You know, to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. When I bit off more than I could chew and tried "Angie" Rx’d a couple months ago, I remember and appreciate the people like Jason and Pierre who stuck around and cheered even though they were finished. Finally, someone who listens. You’ll get something out of simply coming to a CrossFit gym and being exposed to cool movements at high intensity, but you’ll miss the point if you don’t take the advice and cueing of your coaches. Being a humble, coachable athlete is important. 

  • Happy birthday, Coach McDowell! 
  • We begin our new cycle next week. If you want to see what's on tap, check out the updated Current Programming Cycle link in the left sidebar

Are You Authentic? Wisecrack
Battle of the Ants BBC Earth
Cat Performance Review McSweeney’s
Walk Off Depression and Beat Stress Outdoors Science Daily

Reader Comments (34)

Thanks Fox for the bong hyperlink.

Congrats Crumsho! Mike is an all-around stud of a person...I really enjoyed doing the Subway Series events with him and Cam. Mike and I are always sharing/comparing tall people strategies and will continue to do so...the struggle is real. Go Mike

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Yeah buddy! Congrats!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

Crumsho!!!! Rock on, Tomato! Congratulations.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterariel c

congrats mike!

nice article fox!

happy birthday mcdowell!

wednesday's work last night at 6:30p with whit

first off i'm awarding myself 100 points for dragging myself into the gym when my mind and body was resisting.

paused squats: wasn't really sure where i was going on these since i'm still building my squat back up, but i ended up with 145#x3 on these which i was happy with. i ended the last lp at 135#x3x5 so hopefully soon i'll be back to where i was pre-injury and then to infinity and beyond and all that.

wod: so yogging is something that i hadn't thrown back into the mix since i wanted to rebuild some strength after my little knee thing before pounding the pavement. i decided to test it out here since i could take them slow and it felt not awful. kb swings 20kg and green+red x6 on the pull-ups. 3 rounds.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterginacatto

i'm hoping to redeem my points at the prize desk soon for a pack of zoo animal shaped erasers!

@mgmt suggestion box: prize desk, think about it.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterginacatto

Happy bday, Coach McDowell!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris Yun

Congrats Michael! To go from 297 to wherever you're at now is one hell of a transformation.

Pause squats 185x3, 190x3. We did these in strength cycle so I was probably the only person in 7 AM who knew exactly what weight to go for before starting.

4 rounds + a little running of the WOD, using a 24kg KB and 3 strict chinups per round. I have gained some weight so these are harder than they used to be, especially right after swinging that kettlebell.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Congrats Mike, HBD McD,

7am with McRo,

Decided to make the switch to a high bar squat after a year + of low bar. Very good cues from Coach Ro on placement of bar and grip location. Went for the paused 3x and got up to 205, and it didnt feel terrible.
There was some running involved after that i think.

PS: dont be lazy, when we have pull up work, get your own black box to reach the bar, we can share if we are in the same bay or 1 bay over, and if you are nice.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPigeon

6am. HBBS: worked up to 245# for a paused triple. Felt good, though I had a small twinge in my left ankle. Same one I sprained about a month ago. Not sure what that was about. 4 rounds of the NFR work with a 32KG KB and 8 strict pull-ups per round.

I'll echo Stella, getting fit from a 297# starting point is impressive. Congrats, Michael!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Happy bday McDowell

David O and crew, upcoming programming cycle looks P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Psyched to go for performance squats this cycle.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJacques

Congrats Mike!! Mike was my teammate for one of the Subway Series and he has such a positive can-do attitude! Great pick!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMare

look at that AMAZING AOM! my favorite person in the world! whoever this cam character sure is a lucky lady!! so stoked!!!

after reading this interview, i was reminded about how close it is to our one year anniversary here and how much growth and awesomeness that has happened since the day i accidentally threw an empty barbell in the air while learning push presses during foundations! NEVER FORGET, RO. thank you guys for being such a fun, amazingly intelligent, and supportive community for us!

:D brad!!! you are such an excellent teammate! was glad to be on a competition team with the towers of power!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

and HBD MCD!!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

Happy Birthday, McD!

And congrats, Mike! I've really enjoyed getting to know you (and Camille) the past couple of months, and you're an awesome athlete to coach! I loved reading your interview. :)

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLil JB

@Camille you are too much haha, I laughed out loud.

& I totally feel you on the push press mishaps.. I recently push pressed that bar right into my chin lol. I think the whole gym heard that iron to bone sound. embarrassing.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJenny M

Jenny, oh crap! I hope you didn't get a nasty chin bruise!!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

Happy Bday to my man McDeez!

Pleasure to interview MC, great dude and an easy piece to write. Had to leave a few great hyperlinks on the table.

10am class
Back Squat
Low bar, prepping for the Strength Total at CF Gantry in Oct. First time using the low bar position in 2+ years!

4 rounds
400m row
16 Russian Swings @ 36 then 40kg
3 Chins 25-50-70-45

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFox

Congrats Michael C. Great interview!

10am with Jeremy.

Squat- I've decided to try high bar this cycle. I've spent so much time on low bar, I figured it's time to switch things up a bit and see what all the fuss is about.

45 x 5, 95 x 4, 135 x 3, 165 x 2, 185 x 1, 205 x 1, 215 x 1. I think that my previous high bar PR was around 160 pre- Strength Cycle, so yay! It felt weird and different but somehow it was easier to feel when I was at the bottom.

WOD- 4 rounds plus 400m run. First round 20kg American swings, second round- 24 kg 6 x American swings and then I somehow managed to bail the KB from above my head and behind me. Yikes. I just kind of felt myself losing tension so got out from under it, I knew that I had space to do this but it was still a really scary moment and I felt silly. I went back to Russian swings after that but stuck with the 24kg bell. 3 x strict chin-ups every round.

Tried some DUs afterwards but they were not happening today.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Congrats Mike! Nice work. Man, that is some bong. Hats off.

Worked up to 215 for a paused triple on the HBBS. Pleasure to lift with Matt and Charlie.

WOD: 4 rounds @24 kg. Bunch of pull-ups at 20 lbs.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Hurray for Crumsho! He's definitely impressed us and just seems to be an all around nice guy!

10am class:

Pause Hbbs:
(45x5, 95x3, 135x3)
165x3, 185x3, 200x3
-should have just done 205 as these weren't really a struggle.

-3 rounds total
-first round of kbs at 24kg American, 2nd at 28kg American, and 3rd at 32kg. Only 9 American then switched to Russian.
-3 pull-ups then 3 chin-ups each round.

Pigeon, that seems a little critical on your classmates especially during a NFT during back off week. Perhaps there was a better way to approach this...

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlady fox

@lady Fox, agreed, it was just a rant, i sat and waited like a good person, but sometimes I get the stink eye when a third person is trying to get on the box and I am trying to get it back where I have my bands setup and it sounds silly to explain what happened.
Sorry if it came out too bitchy.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPigeon

Just the other day, I was thinking there should be a new AOM announcement. And of course another great person is chosen. Well deserved, congrats.


September 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterk2h2

Crumshow is the man! Him and Cam have been a great addition to the community and Im stoked to have him as our AOM! Anyone who listens to Windhand is A-ok in my book. Looks like I could learn a few things about music from mike.

Happy B Day MCD

Also there were some comments in purgatory, sorry if your comment got held up the last couple days

September 24, 2014 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio


Nooner with McRo:

45x5, 95x3, 135x2, 155x1
165x1, 175x1, 185x1 FAIL, 185x1 FAIL!

Ended LP at 160x5x3. Relatively happy with how this turned out. Felt a little grindy in the warm-up. Right hip flexor has been bugging me for over a week. Think the quads and everything on that side are just really tight and locked up. Did a bit of mash on it, but definitely could feel a bit of strain in it during the heavy reps.

175 was pretty darn smooth. First 185 had a decent bounce, but got stuck somewhere around parallel; think my ass went back instead of hips up/through. second attempt kinda the same. getting a bit soft at the very bottom... could be thinking of coming up on the way down more.

Thanks to McD and Ro for your confidence and spotting!!

This took a bit of extra time, so only did 2 rounds of the NFT work... 20kg american and 3 pull-ups each time. Then...

Muscle Up work:
4x5 transitions (red). band lower on thigh, more hollow/layback position, slow pull to hip.
4x5 ring dips (red). slow down, power up
4x kip swings (3-4 each). taped my wrists this time, but managed to tear the heel of both my hands. BOO.

this is all feeling GOOD and strong!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWhit H

Oh that Mike.. I remember this one time we were partnered on a bar.. KIDDING. I can actually walk UNDER his bar with good posture when its racked. C'mon peoples. Anyway, he's awesome and this was cool to see this morning. I also agree that the Cam mentioned is pretty dope. She leaves me metal articles on my Facebook. Very much two awesome peoples. Also Windhand is only truly loud if you don't wear earplugs. Mike I have an extra set of HearOs in my tote for the next show as your gift for being ATOTM.


September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOG JB

Congrats Mike! Awesome guy. Always positive and smiling.

Happy birthday McDizzle!!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave Fung

Congrats Mike! I had no idea just two nights ago that I was riding the bus home with an emerging AOTM!

Happy Birthday McDowell!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNeal P.

Samir! It was a pleasure lifting with you guys too! Thanks for your encouraging words.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Ah, it makes sense now. I congratulated McDowell today (didn't mention why, since he just had a kid, duh) and he accepted it very readily. And then I said, "tell your wife too!" and got a very puzzled glance in response.

I'd also be puzzled if people wished my wife on my birthday.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManu

Yea McD!

HBBS 80%x3x5


This was complete misery for a solid 20 minutes afterwards, which included some vomiting.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

Thanks for the love, everyone! And thanks to everyone at CFSBK for being so welcoming and inspiring to me and Camille over the past year. I have never encountered a group of people and a place as amazing as this, and I am very lucky to be a part of it.

And HBD to McDowell!

7:30 class with McD, MeLo and JB
Pause squats feel really weird and awkward to me - like I may never actually get out of the hole. Did 2 reps at 255, then cut it off as it just felt like I was grinding too much. Dropped down to 245 and hit all 3. Ended up getting 4 rounds (minus one run) on the accessory work, doing American kb swings at 32kg and pull-ups in sets of 6.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

Congratulations Michael C!

I'm having a hard time getting my left hamstring to repair itself. Otherwise, things felt really good today.

HBBS - 2 second pause with Nick and Joel
45x5, 95x3, 125x2, 145x3, 150x3
I didn't think much about where I should end up based on my 1 rm (190) I just arbitrarily picked 150 and it felt like the right place to stop.
People often say after not squatting in a long time that it felt really good to squat. I agree.

Ended up with 4 rounds plus the run on the 20min piece.
400 m, 16 kb swings overhead @20kg, 3 pull-ups

Super couch stretch for my always tender hip flexors. It was suggested to me recently that the hip flexor issue is because I'm "quad dominant." Sounds like a fair assessment, but I'm still insulted.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Manu, that's awesome. HBD, McDowell!

Congrats, Mike. Loved your interview.

The only workout I did today involved driving a 2000 Toyota MR2 convertible around Cleveland and taking lots of photos. Not complaining.

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

Congrats Mike, it was fun chasing your weights on the squat rack last cycle!

Wednesday is still my favorite evening of the week. 8:30 with MeLo and JB. Glad I got to partner with Joe who got me to go up to 265x3 hb pause squats. Wouldn't have tried otherwise. Heavy but still doable. Really looking forward to next cycle.

NFT very not-for-time but I did 3 rounds of unbroken American swings at 32kg which was pretty hard... Subbed 9 db press at 30# for pull ups because my elbow is messed up. Still a great night overall!

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdave p

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