Rest Day

CFSBK's Calaveras softball team after their win on Friday

The Underlying Philosophy Behind Programming at CFSBK

By Chris Fox 

At CFSBK, we program for long-term health and fitness utilizing strength training, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and mostly CrossFit-style couplet and triplet conditioning work. While some days look a bit different, a routine day at CrossFit South Brooklyn looks like this: DROMs, Warm Ups, Lifting, WOD prep, followed by a WOD. Let’s look at some of the reasons why we structure and program this way in terms of what each segment offers. 

DROMs: A general, light, dynamic warm up of joints and soft tissue will get your heart rate up a bit and help you enter a training mindset. It starts to get the sleep out of your eyes or the emails in your inbox out of your head. It also offers time for the QOD [LINK], which can lighten the mood and let you get to know a bit about the people you’ll be working hard with. 

Warm Ups: You need to be warmed up properly to move well and help prevent injury. Standardized warm ups move you through a wide range of motion, get you sweaty, and give you an opportunity to develop some strength in basic gymnastics and barbell movements you’ll regularly see in classes. Focused barbell drills review the positions and intentions of the lift you’ll be working on that day. We structure the drills so that you also get warm as you’re doing them.

Lifts: You need to be stronger, as strength is the physical adaptation with the greatest carryover to the rest of your training and to life in general. You may have noticed that we squat twice each week. We’ve been programming this way for years and for good reason. I can’t say it any better than Mark Rippetoe so here’s a quote from the man himself:

“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that provides the level of central nervous activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.” 

We agree. 

The Olympic lifts train power, strength, coordination, flexibility, and overall athleticism. If you can throw a heavy weight overhead, catch it in a rock bottom overhead squat, then stand it up (PR bar slam optional), almost all of the other things we do will be easier. As far as the other lifts go, the bench is the best upper body strength developer and is simply fun. The press is another great upper body strength developer—it keeps the shoulder girdle healthy and works the muscles that stabilize your trunk extremely well. Every few cycles we’ll program an upper body gymnastics movement as a strength developer, as this allows us to have some fun and vary the stimulus a bit. The deadlift will get your back stronger like no other exercise can, and it’s almost always the lift where you’ll be able to move the most weight, automatically making it pretty cool. The average lifter should be able to deadlift more than they can squat. If that's not the case for you, we recommend coming in on days when we're pulling weights off the floor. 

WOD Prep and WOD: We discuss the intent of the WOD at the whiteboard, along with scaling options and strategies. The WOD is where we get our conditioning and develop the ability to work at high intensities for longer than a set of squats can take us. As stated above, we use mostly mixed modal couplets and triplets. Our conditioning tends to range from short, high intensity three- to seven-minute efforts, to medium intensity eight- 15-minute efforts on most days, with a lower intensity 20-minute-plus WOD thrown in once a week or so. 

Even when the total time is above 15 minutes, we’ll often use interval work so that intensity stays high, given that high intensity (anaerobic) training has positive carryovers to low intensity (aerobic) training and offers other benefits. High intensity training can develop and preserve muscle mass, whereas long slow distance training can cause you to lose it if used exclusively. High intensity training creates EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption), which sets your metabolism up to burn slightly more fat after exercise compared to endurance-type training—a boon if you’re looking to lose extra fat. Plus it’s time effective. If you can get the same or better benefit metabolically with shorter high intensity training, then the only reason to do the long slow stuff is if you don’t want to work that hard. 

Consider that maybe you don’t need more “cardio,” but actually need to work harder. I’d argue that hard work will also make you stronger in non-physical ways. We throw something like “Murph” at you a few times each year since we know you secretly love it and it’s cool to see that you haven’t lost your ability to go that long in spite of all your gainz. If we programmed hero type WODs all the time however, we'd likely have an oft-injured population with a narrow scope of fitness. Time and intensity have an inverse relationship in that the longer you work, the lower the intensity must be. By intensity, I mean power output. I know a marathon can be an intense experience, but you’re not working as hard on those miles as you would be while doing 800m repeats. Furthermore, the longer you go, the more reps you’re going to be doing and the more fatigued you’ll be. You don’t move better on the 69th deadlift compared to the 9th, trust me. Remember: we’re programming for our general population to be fit for the long term—not to crush a week’s worth of hero WODs followed by six weeks of PT. 

Cool Down: This portion is largely up to you, but you really don’t need us to babysit while you run, row an easy 1000 meters, or spend some quality time with a foam roller. 

To wrap up, CFSBK’s programming is designed to give you the most training value. We do these things because they are effective, not because they are in vogue or even because our members demand that we do things a certain way. We’ve withstood a few silly fitness trends in favor of what science and experience says works and will continue to do so, evolving as we learn. Training here is hard, it’s consistent, and it isn’t always exciting or sexy, but it works. We’re lucky to have so many of you who seem to agree and are willing to put in the hard work!


  • Come get mobile tonight with Coach Fox at 6:30pm for Active Recovery. Why do we run AR classes at CFSBK? Coach David wrote a whole article about it over on his blog, ITA. Check it out!
  • Check out Pilates with KH at 7:30pm tonight, but remember that next week's session is canceled. 

Chad Vaughn, 315 pound Clean and Jerk in Slow Motion CrossFit
Why I Hate CrossFit The Box Magazine
Losing Weight May Require Some Serious Fun New York Times
Ballet Dancers' Toughest Moves, Explained In Slow Motion The Hairpin 


Press | WOD 6.9.14

Fitness3 x 5 Linear Progression 
Start at about 70% of the recent 1RM exposure, or light enough to add weight for the next five weeks. If there’s still time on the clock then do an additional set. 

Performance70% x 8 x 4
Rest two minutes between sets.  

Post loads to comments.

Partner AMRAP 20 Minutes:
20 KB Swings 72/53
10 Burpees
5 Toes to Bar or 10 V-Ups

Packed house at CFSBK last Memorial Day

Yoga for Athletes and Pilates Canceled Next Week

There will be no Pilates or Yoga for Athletes this Saturday through next week, as Coach Whitney and Kristin H. will be out of town. This means the following classes are canceled:

6/14 Yoga for Athletes with Coach Whitney
6/17 Pilates with KH
6/19 Yoga for Athletes with Coach Whitney
6/21 Yoga for Athletes with Coach Whitney 

Get your scoop and bend on this week with Pilates on Tuesday at 7:30pm and Yoga for Athletes on Thursday at 7:30pm. 

News and Notes 

CrossFit and GPP CrossFit Journal

WOD 6.8.14

Farmer Carries

Spend 20 minutes alternating 30m carries with a partner. Go heavy. 

20 Minutes Not for Rounds:
400m Row
30-50 Double Unders (about a minute) OR 10-20 Pull Ups. Choose which skill you need the most work on.
:20-:30 L-Sit

The pull ups can be strict or kipping, but should be sub max effort. 

Because at CFSBK, we're inclusive of all ranges of skills, personalities, and ages

Still Interested in the Veggie CSA?

The first delivery is Wednesday, but you can still sign up. Sign-up directions, pricing, and FAQ can all be found here. If you want to split a share with someone or have questions, email mignyc [at] gmail.com. 

Born to Be Mild CrossFit Journal
Parenting Against the Grain: Going Furniture-Free SlowMama



20 minutes to work on: 

3 Position Snatch (Mid-Hang + Knee + Deck) 

2 Position Snatch (High Hang + Knee) 

These should be crisp, sub-max reps today. Don't use it as a max effort day.

Oh heeeeey, Mel L.

  • Happy birthday, Roosevelt M.!

Bend, Stretch, Mobilize, and Flip

  • Yoga for Athletes with Coach Whitney at 10am
  • Active Recovery at 11am and 12pm with Coach David
  • If you signed up for Ken H.'s back flip class, remember that you're meeting today from 2-3:30pm

An Open Letter to the Songwriters of “Let It Go” McSweeney’s
Subway Hero Rescues Wedding Ring New York Times
The Scientific Reason Why Tetris Is So Addicting Shape


Rest Day

The birthday mama-to-be kicking ass at "Murph"

Why We Love to Blog at CFSBK 

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

At CFSBK, our blog is an essential tool for communicating with our members and cultivating an authentic, exciting community. There is a psychosocial element built into our business philosophy that recognizes that people don’t just walk through our doors to get fit, but also to be part of something larger than themselves. We believe we have an enormous and meaningful opportunity not just to facilitate athletes connecting deeply with the CrossFit program, but also with other likeminded people. And of course, that connection does nothing but make our business more exceptional, by encouraging retention, loyalty, and investment. 

Our blog has racked up 2,100-plus blog posts over the last six years, with almost every single post highlighting gym members and in-house events. We average about 15-30 comments per day with some 40+ days and bizarro 100+ days. Our daily page views total about 3,000 on average, a number that slowly crept up over time through our dedicated commitment to blogging. 

While all CrossFit affiliates are required to have and maintain a blog, many prioritize other forms of social media, such as Facebook, in providing information to members. In my opinion, blogging is a better medium because it allows us to curate the tone more, whereas with Facebook, you’re entering a space with pre-existing norms for what’s appropriate. There is already an abundance of good (and not so good) information and attitudes on the Internet, but we don’t want to underestimate how important our individual and collective voice can be. That being said, below is a bit of the rationale behind why we do things on here the way we do. (So meta!) 

We feature photographs on each post, so that means that over 2,000 times, someone has clicked on the blog and gotten excited to see themselves or one of their friends on the site. Having new and interesting pictures from and of our affiliate is an invaluable feature of the blog. How many websites have you visited and never returned to because they didn't stimulate your eye? Not only do photos enhance every post with something new and visually appealing to look at, but the images themselves help build community by putting faces to names on a daily basis. 

In the early days of CFSBK, I used to take pictures from each class, but I eventually started bartering with members who happened to be excellent photographers (offering them discounted memberships based on their workload). We currently have a few different photographers that shoot for us—both at normal group classes and at events—and then upload their shots directly to our public Flickr account (which is also quite popular). Each of our photographers stands out because of their eye for movement—and that they're not too intrusive to folks working out. A good photographer should be able to capture candid and interesting moments that flatter their subjects, since we know everyone doesn’t necessarily look their sexiest when sweating under a heavy barbell. 

Workout of the Day
It’s perhaps obvious that a CrossFit blog should post our WODs, but we also use the blog to provide additional notes about the day's programming and workout before you guys arrive at the gym. Reading the blog beforehand gives you an opportunity to start thinking about how you’ll approach the day's training, and advises you of the programming’s intent and objectives. Of course, we always review the workout in detail at the gym, but the more information we can provide ahead of time, the better. 

General Content
Our staff writes regular content for our blog, and we also share various events in which our members participate (such as volunteer work, art shows, and classes they might be teaching), and keep up with our wider community in Brooklyn. Additionally, our blog has been a critical component in running successful events at our gym, serving as a central hub for information and planning details. 

In addition to engaging our members about their training, we also often pose a direct question in the vein of our Questions of the Day. Sometimes these questions still relate to training but are more general (i.e., How do you establish pre-lift confidence?) and sometimes they don’t (i.e., What was the most beautiful thing you’ve seen recently?). These non-training related questions enable members and coaches to get to know one another even better, and readers often look forward to these comments just as much the blog’s content.

The Comments Section
As we talked about in “Starting Class with Introductions,” we prioritize having an on-going, continual conversation with YOU. We consistently request that members post numbers from their workouts, and any debriefing thoughts, to generate conversation. The online dialogue generated from these comments provides an invaluable asset for coaching. Reading the training notes of people taking group classes gives us feedback about how people are responding to our programming. It also provides insight into the specifics of how our members’ training is progressing (or not progressing). In the end, we both benefit from learning more about your experiences. 

Concluding Thoughts
The blog ultimately serves as a digital scrapbook for our affiliate—providing plenty of photographic ammunition for loving jokes about peoples’ hairstyles in years to come, and offering members a permanent, written archive of their past workouts or experiences. Ultimately, our blog chronicles all the successes, events, and tribulations of our members and gym as we continue to grow, while also contributing significantly to that growth. If you don’t already post regularly, there’s no better time than RIGHT NOW.

So, tell us: If you were blind for the rest of your life, what would you miss seeing the most?

  • Happy birthday, Ellie M.!
  • Sunday is coming, and that means Stella Z. is hosting pub quiz again! Check out Smart in DUMBO trivia, 7pm, this Sunday night, 68 Jay St Bar in DUMBO. 
  • There's a new treasure trove of Lost and Found items, displayed on our Flickr. Claim your thingz by June 15 or we're giving 'em away. David is also lost and needs to be found, so feel free to claim him along with your wrist straps/fancy kicks/t-shirts/flip-flops, etc. etc. 

WOD 6.5.14

20 minutes Not for Rounds:
1-3 Strict Muscle Ups
3-6 Strict Handstand Push Ups (deficit if you can)
6-10 Pistols

Rest as needed between movements. 

20 Minutes Not for Rounds:
1 Wall Walk with a :10 hold
5 Ring Dips or Push Ups
10e Goblet Deficit Lunges

Rest as needed between movements. 

Elijah Muhammad crushing it at the South East Regionals last weekend 

Join Keith F. at the Out Fit Challenge 

Keith F. is running in the Out Fit Challenge on Saturday, June 21st, in Tuxedo, NY. This is a LGBT 5K mud-run with post-race free beer, and Keith is looking for more teammates! If you want to join, you can sign up for his team by viewing his team page here. It's about $60.00, with processing fees and insurance included. He's got a team of seven now, and would love to add more CFSBKers! Feel free to email Keith for more info at keithrfr [at] gmail.com. 

Upcoming Programming Cycle

Our next cycle starts on Monday! In case you missed it last time, there is a new link in the new left-hand column, called Current Programming Cycle. The page includes the dates of each component of the cycle, the template, the programming plan per movement (such as the percentages or whether fitness is doing a linear progression), and any competitions or athletic events happening during the cycle. Many of you requested that the information on that page be more readily available and here it is!  

Health Experts See Benefits in Push to Cut Pollution New York Times
Are You Addicted to Dining Out? GQ
Some Surprising Things VSauce
Sleeping: Neck, Shoulders, and Pillows mobility|WOD


WOD 6.4.14

A: Turkish Get-Up 101

B: TGU/Swing Partner Couplet

With a partner, alternate the following work for 15 Minutes:
3 Turkish get-ups, right arm
30 Kettlebell Swings
3 Turkish get-ups, left arm

Go heavy on this. One person should always be working.

C: Chin-Up/Weighted Plank Couplet

With a partner, alternate the following work for 15 Minutes:
:45 Weighted Forearm Plank
6 Strict chest to bar Chin-Ups with a :02 hold at the top

Focus on a mature finish position on your chin-ups.

Foraging in Prospect Park with "Wildman" Steve Brill

Let your natural hunter-gatherer come forth and take your Paleo diet to the next level as we join naturalist Steve Brill for one of his foraging tours right in our backyard in search of seasonal edible and medicinal wild plants and mushrooms. The tour will be on Sunday, June 22, meeting at Grand Army Plaza at 11:45am. $20 suggested donation for the four-hour tour. RSVP to Mare by Friday, June 20 at mare [at] crossfitsouthbrooklyn.com if you'd like to join.

Have you ever wanted to learn to do a standing back flip? 

Now is your chance. Join guest gymnastics coach Ken H. THIS SATURDAY as he takes you through various progressions leading up to doing standing back flips.

Buy-in: Power clean your body weight
Time: Saturday, June 7th, 2-3:30pm
Cost: $20 

The class is capped at 8 participants, so don’t think twice! Register Here! 

Ken Haller's Bio
Ken was a nationally competitive gymnast in Newton, MA and at the University of Michigan. After graduating, Ken coached for eight years at Capital Gymnastics in Northern Virginia where he coached regional and national champions. His students have gone on to be NCAA champions and members of Cirque du Soliel. In searching for an activity to replace gymnastics, Ken filled the void with rock climbing and yoga for the past ten years and recently found CrossFit to round out his training.

Meat and Fish CSA Pickup Today

Pickup is 6-8:30pm! Be there or be square. (Note that the vegetable CSA will be next Wednesday, June 11.)

The American Dream Is Alive—and It's Really, Really Tiny The Atlantic
Running Streak of 16,438 Days Will Set American Record Los Angeles Times
Do Things You Can Sustain James Clear
A Tattoo That Completes a New Breast New York Times