Rest Day

Jen focused in her front-rack position

A Letter to New CrossFitters: Good Training Habits 

The original version of this article appeared on David’s blog, Inside the Affiliate. 

Below is a short article we ask all our new members to read when they graduate from our Foundations program. At CFSBK, we believe it's important to guide our members’ training perspectives early on. The sooner we can get folks thinking about how to make proactive, intelligent training decisions, the more likely they'll optimize their time under our roof.

While it's our responsibility as coaches to teach movement, program wisely, and generally take care of folks, it's your job as an athlete to listen to your body, track your workouts, and maintain a mature perspective about why you’re doing CrossFit in the first place. For some athletes, this may be completely intuitive, but most folks walking through our doors will need to be taught even the most basic components of serious physical training. Many people pursue CrossFit because they want to lose some weight or a friend does it and it sounds fun—not necessarily because they've suddenly decided to eat, sleep, and breath CrossFit. (The obsession part happens organically, after they’ve been exposed to its benefits.)

With that in mind, the commercial fitness industry’s claims of quick fixes and supposed “secrets” to success may have influenced peoples’ perspectives and expectations when they arrive at our gym, and it behooves us to disabuse them of such false messaging. Messages such as the one below are part of a larger dialogue that CFSBK is constantly facilitating, with the aim of giving our members the most accurate and honest advice about what it takes to adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

Hopefully, all of you have already read this article. But a good refresher never hurt anyone…

Good Training Habits

While it’s our responsibility as coaches to teach you movement, program intelligently, and keep you safe, it’s your responsibility as athletes to develop good training habits. Here is an overview of three great habits that will significantly enrich your training experience.

1. Be Proactive With Your Movement Prep
Everyone needs to do a little personalized maintenance on their bodies. Even 10 minutes of DIY movement prep before class can go a long way in keeping you fit and pain free. After you've signed in and changed, take advantage of the time you've got and start moving. 

Row an easy 300-500m on the erg. Get your heart rate up a little and try to get a light sweat going. We recommend holding 20 strokes per minute and rehearsing good form. 

Stretch/Foam Roll
Many of us know where our tightest areas are—they're the ones that make it difficult to squat below parallel or press a barbell overhead. Spend a few minutes mobilizing and doing some soft tissue work (foam roller/LAX ball, etc.) on your "problem areas.” If you don't know where to begin, ask a coach what you should be prioritizing and we'll help you out. We also regularly refer our members to out Active Recovery classes and MobilityWOD.com. This is great resource for folks who need simple, effective strategies to help them move better. 

2. Log All of Your Workouts
Training without logging is like driving without a road map. You don't know where you've been or where you're going. Taking notes on each training session helps you track your progress and helps us make informed decisions about how to assist you in choosing weights and scaling movements. Each day should list some quantitative and qualitative notes about your training session. Here is an example:

3 rounds NFT
5 Snatch PP (22lb bar)
5 Muscle Snatches
10 Push-ups on knees 

Move up to yellow bar

AMRAP 15 minutes:
Row 350m
12 Overhead Squats, 45lbs
4 Rounds + 320m 

Kept rows at about 2:23 splits, felt hard but doable. Don't shift forward during overhead squats.... Mid foot!

You can track your workouts in a journal or online. As coaches, we LOVE to read the details of your workout in the Comments section of CFSBK’s blog. It gives us a deeper perspective into your training and the programming in general. 

3. Start Slow and Maintain Perspective
We take our training seriously at CrossFit South Brooklyn and with that comes with a good deal of responsibility. Our movement pool uses serious strength and conditioning exercises in order to develop broad, inclusive fitness. If we don't treat these movements and workouts with respect, training plateaus and injuries are sure to follow. The best way to ensure your success and training longevity with us is by starting slowly and developing a rock-solid technical base. In fact, the first few months you start CrossFit, intensity should not be a significant concern. The movements are potent enough that just consistently performing them will create a favorable adaptation. After you feel really comfortable with most of our exercises and have a working knowledge of your weights, only then should you start ramping up the intensity. 

Training with a lifelong perspective is incredibly important. Remember that you're here to build yourself up, not break yourself down. Scaling workouts properly, listening to your body and checking your ego at the door will allow you to work out successfully for years to come. Most importantly, have fun with this stuff and enjoy the process.

Coach Fox wrote an article a few weeks ago that expands on many of these themes, called "Tips on How to be Prepared and Get the Most Out of Group Classes." Check it out!

  • This is the second day of the first week of our new cycle. If you want to see what else is on tap, check out the Current Programming Cycle link in the left sidebar

For the Love of CrossFit: Everyone's All in It Together at the Games Sports Illustrated
Coach Greg Glassman “Simplifies” the Deadlift Hella Life
Paleo Post-Workout Nutrition Stupid Easy Paleo
Artist Turns Breast Cancer Into Cause for Humorous, Boob–Themed Art Show The Cut


Bench Press | WOD 8.4.14

Work up to a heavy 5 rep on the bench press.
Use spotters. No failing. 


EMOM 15 Minutes:
1) 25 Kettlebell Swings 53/35
2) 15 Burpees to a 45# bumper
3) Rest

On the start of the first minute, perform 25 kettlebell swings, then rest until the second minute. At the start of the second minute, perform 15 burpees, then rest through the third minute. Repeat for a total of 5 cycles. 

Post loads to comments.

Our fearless Subway Series competitors yesterday at CrossFit Long Island City!

News and Notes

  • CONGRATS to everyone who competed this weekend, from our Subway Series badasses, to our gentlemen in the USAPL New Jersey State Powerlifting Championship, to Pavel M. who PR-ed his NYC Triathalon time from last year by 22 minutes, in large part due to Michael O.'s Endurance Program. 
  • There's a new bundle of Lost and Found belongings, including some interestingly-shaded towels and an Elizabethan dog collar. Could today be your lucky day? Click on Photo 1 and Photo 2 to find out! 
  • Men's Fitness interviewed our very own Samir C. about his CrossFit experience. Check it out: CrossFit Confessions: “I reject the militaristic aspects of CrossFit."
  • Happy birthday, David G.!

Wanna Flex on the Beach?

Mike B. and Greg A. are looking to put a team together to compete at the Flex on the Beach event on Saturday, September 13th. Teams of four athletes complete three WODs on, well, the beach. Each team consists of two men and two women, and the guys need two women for their team. Rx’d and Scaled divisions available. Additional details can be found here. Email Mike if you're interested in competing (Michael [at] villain-llc.com). 

So You Like Watching Soccer... What About Playing?

Coach Noah is organizing a crew of CFSBKers to play in another late summer/fall soccer league. There will be a fun kick-around session this Saturday (8/9) at 3pm to get a sense of interest level and discuss potential leagues to join. Email Noah [at] CrossFitSouthBrooklyn.com for more details if you're interested. 

In case you missed it, THIS happened last year when CFSBK's soccer team, the Fighting Tacos, banded together. They didn't have a great record (think 0-8-1), but perhaps you will be the force that changes that and elevates them to something approaching Germany's status. 

QOD: What's on your bucket list for the remaining weeks of summer?

Why Would Anyone Want to Work Out Until They Puke? The Atlantic
Stop Failing Lifts CrossFit Invictus 
The CrossFit Case for Equal Pay The Huffington Post
What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror? The Atlantic


Clean and Jerk

Hang Clean + Jerk: 1-1-1
Work up to a few singles of a moderately heavy (<90%) hang clean (from the knee) + jerk  (1+1)

18 Minutes Not for Rounds:
400m Run or Row
2 Clean and Jerks at 100% of today's weight on the complex

Post loads to comments.

Madhu the Man Beast, cleaning like a boss

Let the 2014 Subway Series Begin! 

Another year has gone by, and it's time once again for an NYC affiliate throwdown: the 2014 Subway Series! The four-part event kicks off TODAY at 9:00am at Crossfit Long Island City. All are invited to spectate, so come cheer on your fellow South Brooklynites as they compete against 12 other local gyms.

The following five teams will represent CFSBK at the event:

Solid as a Hollow Rock
Lauren Snisky
Brad Devendorf
Zachariah Hodge 

Mare Lai
Michael Crumsho
Brad Kellogg 

The Wall Ballers
Kristie Flynn
Greg Allen
Jay Reingold 

Danae Mcloed
Brad Larson
Jon Shea 

CFSBK Competition Team
Coach MeLo
Courtney Salera
Alex Burrowes
Rickke Mananzala 

WOD descriptions can be found on the Subway Series Facebook page

If you are interested in competing in the upcoming Subway Series events, please contact Coach MeLo (Melissa [at] CrossfitSouthBrooklyn.com).  


Taking on the CrossFit Games: Sneak Peek ABCNews
In Defense of the Kipping Pull Up Breaking Muscle
Why We Unfriend The Atlantic



EMOM 8 Minutes:
2 Deadlifts, not touch and go
Use 80% of your 1 Rep Max.

Post loads to comments.

#sbkgoeswest to SolCity CrossFit

Dog Training Today at 2:15pm

If you signed up, remember to come train your dog today at 2:15pm with Anthony Newman of Calm Energy Dog Training. Newman was New York magazine’s pick for Best Dog Trainer of 2013, and he’s visiting CFSBK to train CFSBK's beloved dogs!

Competitions to Follow This Weekend

Get after it and make us proud, everyone!

The Great Hamstring Saver New York Times
How to Master CrossFit Double Unders Daily Burn


Rest Day

Alex C., and the hook grip in action

YOU SHALL NOT SNATCH, or, Thoughts on the Absolute Necessity of the Hook Grip 

By Noah Abbott 

Lately my coaching comrades and I have been noticing a strange phenomenon. Normally conscientious and dedicated Crossfit padawans, attempting the two toughest things we do at the gym—the snatch and clean, without the use of a hook grip. While we talk about the hook grip in Foundations, I think it may be prudent to inject a bit more philosophical and theoretical gravity into its use, to ensure that it is used every single time you Olympic lift, until you are so comfortable with it that you will feel weird doing anything else. 

What is the hook grip and why do we use it? It is simply a method of gripping a barbell, or anything of roughly barbell diameter. To secure your hook grip, follow these steps: 

1. Open your hands as wide as possible and push the bar deep into your palm.
2. Wrap your thumb around the bar as far as you can.
3. Tightly grab your thumb with your index and middle fingers and pull it further around the bar, while your
ring and pinky fingers hold onto the barbell.
4. ?????
5. PR 

The hook grip is as old as time immemorial. American weightlifting legend Tommy Kono says that when he started lifting (roughly 1945 or so) he used the hook grip, which he had seen in a book. That legacy has continued, and EVERY SINGLE competitive Olympic lifter in the world, universe, and likely in uncharted galaxies uses the hook grip. So you should too. Need more proof than every gold medal won at every Olympics, ever? Ok, fine, here goes: 

1. The hook grip is strong as hell. You are basically turning your hand into an Organic Lifting Strap (extra hipster cred for sustainability!). Want a test? Go hang from a barbell with a normal grip, then try using a hook grip—which do you want to bet lets you hang longer. In fact, you will probably quit from thumb discomfort before your hook grip actually fails. This is a test, so please don’t actually use a hook grip to do pull-ups, unless it's to win a bet. 

2. The hook grip allows you to accelerate the barbell with loose arms. Since the grip is “passive”—the bar is held by the friction caused from the weight of the barbell clamping your thumb into your fingers—you can secure a rock solid grip on the bar without contracting the muscles in your forearms. Loose arms translate to better pulls. Ever have a coach correct your early arm pull or tell you to “whip your elbows faster?” You can’t do either of those without a hook grip. 

3. The hook grip allows for proper rack delivery in the clean. This dovetails off the last point, but the passive and relaxed nature of the grip makes it easier to open your hands and deliver the bar to your shoulders with high elbows.  People who don’t hook grip and squeeze the hell out of the bar end up with their hands glued fully around the bar, a bad rack position, and subsequently FAILZ.

Ok, so I’ve convinced you, right? Well, we still get lots of complaints about the hook grip, and since this ol Crossfit thing is a customer service business, we endeavor to satisfy your complaints, or at least confuse you enough that you drop the subject. Common gripes generally fall into two categories: 

1. My hands are too small! No, they are not. Likely, you haven’t really shoved the bar deep enough into your palm, or gripped it tightly enough with your fingers. Halil Mutlu won three consecutive Olympic Golds, standing 4’11'' tall and beginning his career at 56KG (118 lbs), before beefing up to a scale shattering 62KG (136 lbs.) Dude was little, and his hands were tiny, and he hook gripped like a boss. Further, at the gym we have a range of barbells (33, 25, and 15#, or yellow, green, and white tape), which are smaller in diameter than the 20KG/45# bars. That said, they are generally 25mm diameter vs the normal 28mm, so they aren’t exactly toothpicks. Unless you are literally a baby—not a wimp, but an actual infant—your hands are just fine. 

2. It hurts! Well, life is pain, anyone who says differently is selling something. Seriously, the wisdom of Wesley/T.D.P.R. aside, discomfort caused by the hook grip is temporary, and generally lessens with familiarity. Simply using the hook grip all the time will make the discomfort vanish, replaced by the sweet caress of PRs and resultant glory. 

If you really feel tight and restricted, Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics suggests you implement this stretch: Make a fist with your thumb tucked tightly inside and ulnar deviate your hand; that is, tilt your hand away from the thumb side. You should feel a stretch around the base of your thumb and probably a little up into your wrist as well. You can also flex the wrist from this position to get an additional and somewhat different stretch. So do that. If you want to be a real badass/masochist, deadlift with a hook grip—cleans and snatches will seem like a manicure after that.  

Lastly, you can tape your thumbs before you lift, which should reduce some of the discomfort. Here’s Rich Froning talking in GREAT DETAIL about how to wrap tape around your thumb, which doesn’t seem too complicated to me, but then again, he’s the champ, and I write things on the CFSBK blog. Some people differ on their approach to taping your thumbs. The aforementioned Greg Everett, for example, says you should NOT tape over the joint, and instead tear a strip of athletic tape in half (after you’ve ripped it free from the roll, do not give Coach Fox an aneurism) and tape north and south of your thumb joint. This will allow your thumb to move a bit more freely than if it is taped like a big burrito, which Everett claims can lead to discomfort, or even a broken thumb. (I am highly skeptical of the broken thumb claim, but again, I have about 1% of 1% of his experience, or less.)

So, as per normal, I’ve covered a simple topic in exhaustive, pedantic, teeth gnashing depth. Not much left to be said, except for this: You know who wished he used the hook grip? This guy. 

News and Notes

In Defense of Times Square VICE
The State of the American Dog Esquire
The Privilege of Movement Ben Bruno


Overhead Squat | "Annie"

Overhead Squat: 5-5-5
Work up to a heavy set of 5 on the overhead squat.


50-40-30-20-10 Reps for Time of:
Double Unders
Sit Ups

Compare to 2.11.13.
Post loads and time to comments.

Zach and Joe warming up their snatch 

Ending Street Harassment: Thoughts from Janelle B.

Our latest Athlete of the Month, Janelle B., posted an article on her blog on Tuesday called “Smile, Beautiful”: My Own Story of Street Harassment and Why I Refuse to Smile. It's an important piece about street harassment, and in it, she talks about the positive role CFSBK's community played in an experience she had recently. Check it out, and share it with any friends that have wrestled with similar issues. 

2014 Subway Series: Event #1, Sunday, August 3rd 

We're looking for one female CFSBK member to join one of our 3-person open teams at the first Subway Series competition this Sunday, August 3rd at Crossfit LIC. The workout and movement standards have been released here. If you are interested in competing, please email Coach MeLo: Melissa [at] crossfitsouthbrooklyn.com.

Hiring Front Desk Staff 

CFSBK is looking for new talent to staff the front desk. Responsibilities include handling inquires from walk-ins, managing basic membership issues, light cleaning/organization, and other miscellaneous duties. Ideally, we'd like to hire from within so that candidates are already familiar with CrossFit and CFSBK, but we are open to talk to new folks if they've got good people skills and are committed to joining the gym. On top of an hourly wage, FD staff will also receive a comped membership. We are looking for people who can devote at least 2-4 days of their week to FD and can commit to 6 months of work with us barring extenuating circumstances. 

We will be interviewing in early August, training in mid- to late August, and you will begin working in September. The shifts we are looking to fill are below, so before applying, please make sure these openings fit with your schedule. 

AM: 5:45am-9:15am (Monday-Friday)
Late AM/afternoon: 9:45am-1:15pm (Monday-Friday)
PM: 4:15pm-9:45pm (Monday-Thursday)
OG: 5:15pm-8:15pm on Fridays, 5:45pm-8:15pm on Sundays
Weekends: 7:45-11am or 11am-2:30pm on Saturdays; 7:45am-12pm or 12pm-3:30pm on Sundays 

Email info [at] CrossFitSouthBrooklyn.com to inquire and include Front Desk in the subject line.

Stone Soup: How the Paleolithic life style got trendy The New Yorker
Spinning From Both Wrists in the Double-Under with Matt Lodin CrossFit
Running 5 Minutes a Day Has Long-Lasting Benefits New York Times
Volleyball Player Sabina Altynbekova’s Beauty is Called “Too Distracting” The Star


Rope Climb | Back Squat

1) Rope Climbs
Perform 5-10 ascents on the rope 

2) Back Squat 3 x 1
Fitness: 3 singles at your 3 Rep Max
Performance: 3 singles at 90% of your 1 Rep Max

Post notes and loads to comments.

Sun's out, guns out for the former PM cyclers of CFSBK's new Olympic Lifting program 

News and Notes 

  • Happy birthday, Lyssa H.!
  • In case you missed it: Coach David has a new post over on his blog Inside the Affiliate, called "5 Things I Know to be True About Running a CrossFit Gym." Check it out, share it with your CrossFit friendz!
  • Did you know that there is an American Kettlebell Alliance? Did you know that they have competitions? There's one coming up in NYC on August 23rd! Check out the deets on the event's Facebook page!

CFSBK's Olympic Lifting Program

The first cycle of our Olympic Lifting Program with Coach Frankie Murray went so well that we've brought it back for a second round! But there is only ONE space left in the PM cycle and a few spots left in the AM cycle, so SIGN UP NOW!

What: An 8-week Olympic lifting cycle meeting twice a week with Coach Frank Murray and/or Heather Farmer in addition to TWO Open Gym or group classes per week.
When: 2 options beginning the week of 8/4/14 
Price: $300 for each 4-week period, $600 total. The first bill is due at sign-up and the second bill will charge automatically to the card on-file 4 weeks later.

AM Cycle
8/5/14 - 9/25/14
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am to 12:00pm
Register Here! 

PM Cycle
8/4/14 - 9/29/14
Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30pm to 10:00pm
Register Here! 

Each cycle is capped at 10 athletes. Learn more here and sign up now to secure your spot!

Coached by Frank Murray, "participants can expect to build a strong foundation focused around proper technique, mobility, and attention to individual weak points. Building this foundation will not only help lead to higher lifts, but also set the base for continued and consistent progress. Moreover, by developing proper technique, mobility, and focusing on weak points, participants will become more confident, less prone to injury, and more consistent lifters. All of this giving you the tools for a longer, healthier, stronger career with the Olympic lifts." —Next Level Weightlifting

An Illustrated Guide to CrossFit Exercises for Beginners Funny or Die
How the Internet Puts You to Sleep New York Times
Burnout: The Enemy of Sleep The Atlantic 
What CrossFit Athlete Are You? Buzzfeed