Crush Week | WOD 8.11.16


AMRAP 20 Minutes:

Hang Snatch 95/65
Ring Dip

The Snatches should be on the light side and are Rx'd as full squats. Only scale to Power Snatches if mobility necessitates it. If you have 5 Ring Dips at a time, then go for it. If not then scale to Push-Ups. If you complete through the 3 Ring Dips, then stop there and score time to complete.

Post rounds, reps, and Rx (or time and Rx) to comments.

Throwback Thursday: Here's our very own Coach Nick competing in the men's quadruple sculls (with boatmates Jake Wetzel, Ian McGowan, and Sean Hall) at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney

  • The second event of this year's Subway Series will take place at CrossFit Gantry this Sunday, August 14th. The action kicks off at 12:00pm, and workout info can be found here. Head to Gantry to support CFSBK's athletes!

The Sweat Spot: Balancing Precision and Intensity for Maximum Gainz

Editor's Note: We're about halfway through Crush Week, when turn up the intensity to cap off our current 8-week training cycle. So now's a good time to revisit this piece on training intensity by Coach Noah (now of CrossFit Lumos in Austin, which we can only assume is a cowboy gym). "The Sweat Spot" was originally posted on 3.30.2015.

By Noah Abbott

At CFSBK, we always tell people that from their first day of Foundations through the first month or two of group classes, their loading, pacing, and intensity should be at roughly 60-70%. Things should feel easy and athletes should leave each class feeling like they had more in the tank. This is incredibly important advice—your first few months and few thousand reps are crucial for motor patterning. Your body learns the positions and pathways you move through, and if you are assuming imperfect positions or moving inefficiently from point A to B, you will gradually condition yourself to keep repeating those patterns. You can always go back and re-learn these patterns, and to some extent they evolve over time, but starting with great positioning is key to continuing to move well as weights go up and intensity increases.

That covers the first few months, and most of our members are great at following that advice. Everything still feels a little foreign and clunky, so people are happy to stay well within safe and proper parameters while they slowly gain confidence and familiarity with the movements. However, after the first few months, many people struggle to find the proper balance between precision and intensity as they begin to develop as an athlete. Often people fall toward one of two extremes, both of which blunt performance and progress. Either they want to do everything as fast, heavy, and hard as possible, or they are so focused on doing everything perfectly that they rarely work hard enough to elicit a neuromuscular adaptation.

The Three Pitcher Analogy
This analogy was first described to me by a coach in Arizona, using three target pistol shooters as the example. Since (legal) competitive gunplay in Brooklyn is about as rare as a pair of Nike Metcons (ohhhhh snap), and since baseball season is right around the corner, I’m going to modify the example a bit, and use three baseball pitchers as our test subjects. Instead of just calling them A, B, and C, I’ll call our pitchers Alex, Bo, and Chris. 

It’s a hot summer day when our pitchers report to the practice field to throw a practice session under the watchful eye of their coach. Coach tells each pitcher to throw five pitches before regrouping and discussing what they need to work on.

Alex is up first, and really wants to impress. He rears back as hard as he can and every pitch is a flurry of elbows and knees. No two windups or deliveries look the same, Alex is falling all over the mound, but he’s throwing HARD. Half the time his cap falls off as he throws—he’s almost throwing himself at the catcher. Further, he’s rushing—the moment one pitch thumps into the catcher’s mitt Alex is already winding up for the next one. He finishes his five pitches, huffing and puffing, with sweat pouring down his face, his hair sticking up in ten different directions, one of his shoes untied, and limps to the bench, totally exhausted.

Bo is next up. Bo looks much more in control than Alex from the get-go. He’s working hard, and obviously putting his all behind each pitch, but he is taking a little more time between each pitch, and looks markedly more in control of his body. Still, you can tell Bo is working, and he audibly yells after his third pitch (“Shucks” or “Rats” or some other folksy, W.P. Kinsella-like exclamation). By the end of his session, he’s breathing hard and sweating, but still fairly composed. He walks to the bench slowly, and looks happy to rest for a bit. 

Chris is up last, and wants to outshine Alex and Bo. He’s cool and collected as he walks to the mound, and takes his time getting ready. He is smooth and controlled as he throws, fluid and easy through all of his movements, and takes a lot of time between each pitch to carefully reset his footwork, make sure all of his mechanics are correct, and that he is ready to go. Every pitch looks like a mirror image of the one before, but the catcher’s glove doesn’t pop quite as loud as for Alex or Bo—it looks like Chris is taking a bit off each pitch in an effort to be perfect. 

Here’s how their sessions look when overlaid on a batter and strike zone:

As we can see, Alex is pretty wild, with two of his pitches well out of the strike zone, and no real consistency to any of his efforts. Bo misses the strike zone once, but just by a bit, and most of his pitches are pretty consistent. Chris groups all five of his pitches very close with no misses (for sake of illustration, the pitches are probably even more scattered so they can be seen individually). 

Who Is Training Correctly?
While all three pitchers will gain something from practice regardless of intention and intensity, the athlete coach would reward with a “good job, keep it up,” is Bo. 

Alex needs to slow down! He’s wild, overthrowing, putting himself at risk of injury with undisciplined mechanics, and isn’t learning much. He is confusing unbridled intensity with hard, disciplined work. He should go back to basics, take a little longer between pitches to make sure he is set, and work on consistent mechanics and technique. 

Chris needs to work a little harder. He can obviously throw a fastball over the plate when he takes his time and throws a bit softer than his upper limit. Chris should work on throwing a little harder, working faster, and maybe throwing in some more “advanced” pitches. He won’t develop if he just keeps doing what he already obviously knows how to do. He is too concerned with being “perfect.” 

Bo is our ideal athlete, taking his refined technique and then pushing it right to the edge. He is very effective and efficient, but is working hard enough that one in every five to 10 pitches is slightly less than optimal. Note that when Bo misses, he misses small, and then can make a correction the next time to get better. Bo will grow the fastest of the three because he is pushing the limit of his ability.

In CrossFit, we call this Threshold Training.

Threshold Training and YOU
The concept of Threshold Training is as old as CrossFit, being cited early by Greg Glassman (hallowedbehisname) in one of those weird old videos where he draws stick figures on a chalkboard while Tony Budding leers at him. Simply put, the concept is similar to the Pitcher’s Analogy above, that during training athletes need to push themselves hard enough that their accuracy may slightly suffer, but not so hard that it goes totally out the window. There is a sweet spot to find in your training, and falling too far on either side will slow or blunt your progress. 

Do you go as hard as possible every workout, only to be outperformed by others who look like they aren’t trying too hard? Do you often have to strip weight or scale movements mid-WOD? Do you feel like your progress is lagging behind your intensity? If so, you might be like Alex in the Pitcher’s Analogy. You need to slow down, go a bit lighter, and focus on being more consistently accurate before ramping your intensity back up.

Do you often finish WODs without really breaking a sweat? Have you never felt that gut-punched, world-spinning feeling after a workout? Do you use the same weight all the time, or hover in a narrowly prescribed range? Do you repeat lifting exposures or avoid adding weight during Olympic lifts if you felt the lift wasn’t 100% perfect? You might be training like Chris the pitcher—you need to push a little further out of your comfort zone. Perfect practice has its place, but during work sets and WODs, a small bit of deviation is expected and encouraged. Pro football players certainly practice perfect running mechanics, but come gameday, nobody praises how perfectly a player runs with the ball, only that they get to the end zone.  

A Contextual Approach to Threshold Training
All that being said, the different training modalities, prescriptions, and resulting intensities need to be approached contextually. While we generally avoid “being Alex,” there are rare times when that approach is appropriate. Similarly, there is value to sometimes slowing things down and “pulling a Chris.” Here are some loose guidelines: 

Alex (100% intensity, regardless of technique): Last few seconds/final attempts of a competition where there is some real sort of prize on the line. Money? Prestige? Qualification for Regionals/Games/American Open, etc.? You have to decide if it’s worth it. 

Bo (90% intensity with 90% perfect technique): Benchmark WODs, Open workouts, competitions, and any WOD where you feel very comfortable and confident with the movement and you have built a sufficient base of perfect practice. Movements should feel like they are on “auto-pilot” and that you don’t need to do a ton of thinking about how to execute them.

Chris (sub-maximal intensity with 100% perfect technique): Warm-ups, skill practice, new or rarely seen movements, any movement that you don’t feel super comfortable with, are trying to iron out a “kink” from, or any time an old or recent injury or mobility restriction is taxed or bothered during execution.

Aaaaand I’m Done
Okay, enough sports analogies, this is getting ridiculous. Stay tuned for my next article, in which I create a hackneyed and longwinded analogy between muscle-ups and nineteenth-century Russian literature.

Train smart, train hard, and don’t be afraid to explore the outside edge of your comfort zone.

Yesterday's Whiteboard: Power Cleans, Double-Unders
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Crush Week | WOD 8.10.16

AMRAP 20 Minutes:

10 Power Cleans 185/125
10 Double-Unders
9 Power Cleans 185/125
20 Double-Unders
8 Power Cleans 185/125
30 Double-Unders
7 Power Cleans 185/125
40 Double-Unders
6 Power Cleans 185/125
50 Double-Unders
5 Power Cleans 185/125
60 Double-Unders
4 Power Cleans 185/125
70 Double-Unders
3 Power Cleans 185/125
80 Double-Unders
2 Power Cleans 185/125
90 Double-Unders
1 Power Clean 185/125
100 Double-Unders

The Power Clean should be on the heavy side of medium. Scale half attempts or 3x Singles for Double-Unders as needed. If you complete the 100 Double-Unders, then stop there and score time to complete. If you scaled the Dubs at all, then use the remainder of the time to practice them.

Post rounds, reps, and Rx to comments.

How is Crush Week treating you so far? Jason N. has that post-"Fran" glow | Photo by Thomas H.

  • Herondale meat CSA customers: just a friendly reminder that this month's meat pick-up is tonight from 6-8:30pm. 

The CFSBK Guide to Cues: "Pull yourself under the bar"

By David Osorio

Knees out! Chest up! Flat back! The verbal cue is one of the most important tools in a CrossFit coach's repertoire. You probably have some sense of what these commands mean, but in this newish blog feature, we'd like to take a look at some common cues. From time to time, we'll be offering these short guides to explain what these mean and why they're important. In our first installment, we discussed the ubiquitous "knees out." Now we're going to look at one that comes up a lot during Olympic lifting: "Pull yourself under the bar." What the hell does that mean? We're glad you asked...

When might you hear it in class, and what does it mean?

The Snatch and Clean and Jerk are technically demanding lifts. Most of us can relate to feeling intimidated or overwhelmed when we first started learning them. That's why we often break them down into three separate phases, each with its own set of positions and intentions.

The 1st Pull: Moves the bar from the floor to the Mid-Hang position. The intention here is to maintain balance and position while beginning to accelerate the barbell.

The 2nd Pull: Is an aggressive extension and transition from the Mid-Hang to full extension, the purpose of which is to create maximum momentum and elevation of the barbell.

The 3rd Pull: Is what we're focusing on here today. Now, this is where a lot of new lifters get confused, since the 3rd pull is a downward movement rather than an upward one. So when coaches tell you to "pull yourself under the bar," they're telling you to actively pull your body underneath the bar into the receiving position. It's not a passive "catch" but an intentional pull underneath the bar using our arms. The arms play a more passive role in the 1st and 2nd pulls as we elevate the bar. But in the 3rd pull of the Snatch, we ideally use our arms to pull under and push up, staying connected to the bar. Think of actively heaving yourself down rather than simple dropping underneath.

Why is it important?

The faster you can get under the barbell, the more weight you can move. You have to accelerate downward faster than gravity, and the only way to do that is to pull under the bar. We have a video!

In the first Snatch, I passively drop under the bar. In the second Snatch, I actively pull myself under the bar. See how much faster and cleaner it is? To Snatch efficently, you and the bar need to move as one. 

What can I do to fix it?

Drills! The following barbell drills will help you stay active and pull under the bar with proper mechanics:

The Scarecrow Snatch, the Tall Snatch, and the High Hang Snatch all demand quickness under the bar, accentuating the downward heave of the 3rd pull. You may want to try these with a PVC or a lighter barbell than usual at first. Also, if you're not doing it already, you should always use the hook grip!

What cues would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments!

Yesterday's Whiteboard: Rest Day
Handstand Obstacle Course CrossFit Motivation
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Rest Day

Dylan K. on his way to landing a Box Jump | Photo by Thomas H.

  • Searching for something? Uh, no. Not like... in life. We mean your personal belongings, of which there are many in our lost and found. Claim your stuff before we donate it to CHIPS in two weeks.

This Sunday: The 2016 NYC Subway Series at CrossFit Virtuosity

Another year has gone by, and it's time once again for an NYC affiliate throwdown: the sixth annual Subway Series! All NYC affiliates are invited to participate—the affiliate with the best overall score at the end of four events wins the Subway Series Trophy and bragging rights for a whole year! The second event of the year will take place at CrossFit Gantry on this Sunday, August 14th.

The action kicks off at 12:00pm, and workout info can be found here. Head to Gantry to support CFSBK's athletes!

Yesterday's Whiteboard: "Fran"
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Crush Week: "Fran"


For Time:
Thrusters 95/65

This is THE classic CrossFit couplet that has inspired and hooked so many CrossFitters over the years. So simple, yet so potent. The intention is for this to be brutally fast. The fastest times world-wide are completed unbroken and under 2 minutes. Scale accordingly. However, as always, there's is room to gut out Rx'ing a benchmark such as this at a load or degree of difficulty that's at the edge of your ability so you might also consider that when deciding what your "Fran" will look like today. Top athletes complete the reps unbroken and with minimal rest but your (and my) Fran might be very different. If you can do the 21 thrusters unbroken but then you wind up in a world of shit for the 21 Pull-Ups, then you should probably break those Thrusters up! Do you rest too much during the 15s? Have a strategy to minimize rest like: 3-5 breaths between sets or a controlled 3-5 count in your head. In any case, have a plan that is honest to your level of ability. Let your judge know your plan and ask them to help keep you to it. And as always, have fun!

Sub Jumping Pull-Ups or scale volume as needed. Use lighter bars and larger bumps as available to save the 10s and 15s!

Post time and Rx to comments.


Here's Morit S. Squatting 325.2 lbs at Saturday's USAPL New Jersey State Championship. Mo took 2nd in her weight class and was gracious enough to write a recap for us. Read on! | Video by Coach Margie

From Iron Maidens to the NJ State Championship

By Morit Summers

This year’s Iron Maidens Raw Open truly helped me realize that being on the platform under the bar is my happy place. So when Iron Maidens was over and I started to lose motivation, one night in May I randomly, without even thinking about it, signed up for the New Jersey State Powerlifting Championships. After I did that, I kind of freaked out and had no idea why I had done it. I had to buy and wear a singlet, which I really was not happy about, but more importantly, I had no coach.  Thanks to Margie that wasn't a problem for long!  

Unfortunately and fortunately, throughout training for this meet, I had a lot of random awesome stuff come up and my training schedule was not exactly what I would have wanted it to be. I wasn't truly excited, thinking this was going to be a disaster until a week before the meet when I had my last Big 3 day with Margie and I PR'd all my lifts!

It's funny because I kind of bombed at the beginning of Iron Maidens. I didn't listen for the commands. I could hardly hear them because I was so nervous. I think my heart rate was too loud! This time around I repeated the commands with Margie over and over again before each lift. I do not even remember lifting, because all I was doing was focusing on the commands!  Somehow it really helped keep me calm and kept my racing heart race in check.

I'm super happy with my progress and my performance, and I'm excited for more!

First CrossFit Workout? CrossFit
The First Time "Fran" Was Posted to the CF Main Site


Clean and Jerk | WOD 8.6.16

Clean and Jerk Complex

Clean Pull + Clean + Jerk:
5 x 1

Warm up to a medium-heavy load and perform 5 reps of the complex at that weight. No press outs, no misses.

Clean Pull + Clean + Jerk:
Perform singles of the complex at 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, 80%, 85%, 90% (of best Snatch)

Go up to 90%. If it's feeling good and if you feel like a PR ,then move up. If you're not feeling great today, then go back to 80% and work up from there.

Post loads to comments.
Exposure 8 of 8


AMRAP 14 Minutes:
40 Double-Unders
40 AbMat Sit-Ups
40 Lunges

Post rounds, reps, and Rx to comments.

It's almost that time of year again...

SAVE THE DATE: Fight Gone Bad 2016!

Since 2008, CrossFit South Brooklyn has conducted a yearly fundraiser in the form of a workout called Fight Gone Bad. Last year, we raised over $60,000 for the Brooklyn Community Foundation (BCF), a local organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in Brooklyn by strengthening communities through local giving, grantmaking, and community service. This year, we'll be partnering with BCF again and hope to surpass last year's donation numbers.

We'll have registration info up soon. For now, here's what you need to know!

When is Fight Gone Bad?

Saturday, October 15th, 2016. First heat begins at 9am.  

What is Fight Gone Bad?

Three rounds, AMRAP, of:
Wall Balls, 20lb, 10ft / 14lb, 9ft 
Sumo Deadlift High Pulls, 75/55 lb
Box Jumps, 20" box 
Push Presses, 75/55 lbs

In this workout, you move from each of five stations after a minute. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. When the announcer calls "Rotate,” athletes must move to next station immediately. Each of the three rounds is five minutes, followed by a one-minute rest. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point. Scaling options will be available!

Why are we fundraising?

In the past, our annual FGB fundraiser has been a great way to bring our community together to support great charities—and we chose to support the Brooklyn Community Foundation because Brooklyn has been exceptionally good to us and we want to help give back to the community that CFSBK is proud to call home. If you're not familiar with BCF, make sure you visit their website to check them out. Or if you're lazy, at least check out their list of grantees; we're sure you'll find one or two not far from you!

Yesterday's Whiteboard: Back Squat: Chipper WOD
If You Want to Bond with Someone, Swear at Them NY Mag
Olympic Weightlifting Schedule NBC
Olympic Rowing Schedule NBC


Back Squat | WOD 8.5.16

Back Squat

3 x 5 Linear Progression

Add 5-10 lbs to last week or establish a 3RM.

3 x 2

Go heavier than last week or establish a 1RM.

Post loads to comments.
Exposure 8 of 8

For Time:
270m Run
25 Toes-to-Bars
25 Burpees
25 Kettlebell Swings 32/24kg
25 Dumbbell Thrusters
25 Calorie Row

Sub Hanging Leg Raises or Hanging Knee Raises for T2Bs as needed. The swings are Rx'd as overhead. For the Thrusters, Rx the dumbbells at about 45% of your (total) bodyweight. The goal is to move quickly through this chipper and not get bogged down too much on any one movement.

Post time and Rx to comments.

Alex B. Power Snatching at last year's Subway Series event at CFSBK

Tomorrow! The 2016 Subway Series Kicks Off at CrossFit Virtuosity!

Another year has gone by, and it's time once again for an NYC affiliate throwdown: the sixth annual Subway Series! All NYC affiliates are invited to participate—the affiliate with the best overall score at the end of four events wins the Subway Series Trophy and bragging rights for a whole year! The first event of the year will take place at CrossFit Virtuosity in Williamsburg this Sunday, August 7th.

CFSBK is sending Jason C., Coach KHarpz, James A., and Brad D. to compete. The first event kicks off at noon. More event info, including the Scaled and Rx workouts, can be found here. Head up to Virtuosity on Sunday to watch our athletes kick some ass!

The 2016 CrossFit Games... Through the Eyes of a Powerlifter Massenomics
When Wellness Becomes Fitness CrossFit


Rest Day

A friend (in need of a spot) is a friend indeed | Photo by Thomas H.

This Week at CFSBK in Review

1. This Sunday, CFSBKers Jason C., Coach KHarpz, James A., and Brad D. will be competing in the first of this year's Subway Series events at at CrossFit Virtuosity! The first workout kicks off at noon. More event info, including the Scaled and Rx workouts, can be found here. Head up to Virtuosity on Sunday to watch our athletes kick some ass!

2. As you may have noticed, we're now offering RxBars for purchase at the front desk! Go here to find out why we think you should consider these as a pre- or post-workout snack.

3. Prompted by an e-mail from Paul A., we reposted a CFSBK classic: Coach Fox's "There Is No Wagon: Thoughts on Binge Eating and Dieting." It's great. Give it a read! 

4. Herondale meat CSA customers: please note that the farm has informed us that August's delivery will be delayed by one week. Delivery will be Wednesday, August 10th. The time remains 6-8:30pm.

5. CFSBK is in the process of redesigning its website (not too much!) with the help of the fantastic Chris Y. Now we're looking for a front-end web developer familiar with the Squarespace CMS to help us see the project through. Have professional services to offer? E-mail david [at] if you're interested.

6. Packer is looking for a few more people to fill out his team for the Wawayanda Lake Ragnar Race (September 30th to October 1st). Interested? Contact him directly at david.packer [at]!

Yesterday's Whiteboard: Snatch | Deadlifts, Pull-Ups
Tolerance of Smoke May Have Given Us an Edge Over Neanderthals New Scientist
Load the Squat to Increase Mobility Barbell Rehab
Fitness Blogger Proves that Weight Is a Meaningless Number NY Post