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]  


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]

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] 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


Rest Day

Introducing JB: CFSBK's New Coach!

David here! Please join me in welcoming Jessie Brown, better known as "JB," our new coach, to CFSBK’s staff. JB reached out to me a few months ago and said she was moving to New York and was interested in continuing to work at a gym, since she had been working at CrossFit East Bay since 2011. As many of you know, I’ve never hired a coach from outside CFSBK, but if someone has a great resume, expresses interest, and seems friendly, I’m always open to chatting. When I met JB, I was instantly impressed by her warmth and how well our interview went. She was genuine, engaged, and had a great personality.

After that, I gave her a few free classes at the gym and encouraged her to shop around, to ensure CFSBK would be a good fit for both sides. I observed her in class, engaging other members and embodying the qualities I value not just in coaches, but people in general. I had a great feeling about her and offered her a part-time position with CFSBK. 

I’m excited to bring another strong female athlete onto our staff and look forward to getting to know JB even better in the coming months. For starters, her first interview with Kate is below...

CFSBK: Welcome, JB! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, and what are some interesting things we should know about you? 

JB: I grew up in Oakland, CA and just moved to Brooklyn from Oakland at the beginning of July! I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad and graduate school (where I studied American Studies and Urban/Architectural History, respectively) and somehow managed to spend an inordinate amount of time at the gym—both working out and instructing—while earning both degrees. If you ever want to nerd out about American popular culture, nineteenth-century history, urban design, or the proper usage of over vs. more than, I'm your gal. 

When I'm not at the gym, I like to be outdoors (hiking and camping especially—which seem slightly less accessible here than in Northern California), trying new beers (other than that I eat pretty healthy, I promise!), writing (when I have time), and reading (though, admittedly, I usually get half-way through New Yorker articles before I lose focus, decide I've gotten the point, and then move onto the next one.) I can sometime take myself seriously and be a bit hard on myself (especially when competing), but, other than that, I'm usually always smiling. Seriously, I've seen pictures of myself smiling while doing burpees. 

CFSBK: What's your athletic background? 

JB: I swam competitively from the time I was eight until I was 18, but I was never great. In college, I became a bit of a gym rat, but spent most of my time doing cardio. I also briefly joined the Triathlon team, but couldn't get used to the idea of getting kicked in the face during an open water swim, so never competed. Still, I spent a lot of time on my bike, in the pool, and running. I also dabbled in yoga and rock climbing, but gave up on almost all of these pursuits up when I started CrossFit.   

CFSBK: How did you find CrossFit? 

JB: Back when I was living in Oakland, I would rock climb at a gym that ran a CrossFit program in (what I think was) its garage (CrossFit East Bay). I spent months watching all of these fit people lift weights and do pull-ups while I belayed my climbing partner, but was hesitant to try CrossFit for myself. It was actually my boyfriend at the time who signed us up for an on-ramp in December 2012. I joined reluctantly, but after my first workout, I was hooked. He stopped doing CrossFit after the on-ramp. Clearly, I'm still at it.  

CFSBK: What was it about CrossFit that compelled you so much? 

JB: There were two things about CrossFit that really drew me to it. The first was the physical challenge of it. Certainly, I'd been super active in the years before I started CrossFit (or, really, for my entire life), but, since I'd stopped swimming, I'd struggled to find something that gave me the same high I used to feel after races or hard workouts in the pool. CrossFit provided me with that intensity. 

The second thing that compelled me to stick with CrossFit was the community. I was in grad school when I started CrossFit and desperately needed to make friends who weren't constantly plagued by the stress of their imminent dissertations. CrossFit introduced me to so many amazing people---all from different backgrounds--each of whom was dedicated to living healthfully (usually) and improving upon themselves. I felt very embraced by the community immediately upon joining my box back in California, and, by the time I left, truly felt as if I'd developed an entirely new family. 

CFSBK: When did you start coaching? Were you already competing at that point? 

JB: I got my L1 Certification in January of 2013 and began a coaching internship at CrossFit East Bay immediately after that. At that point, I'd competed in the Open immediately after starting CrossFit, and participated in a couple of local comps as well. I think I knew immediately upon starting CrossFit that both competing and coaching were things I eventually wanted to try!

CFSBK: Tell us about your move to Brooklyn? How's it going so far? Need any recommendations for the best place to creep on cool architecture? 

JB: So far, my move to Brooklyn has been great! Besides spending a couple of months in Providence and Washington, D.C., this is my first time living outside of the Bay Area, so it's pretty exciting! I'm still getting settled and definitely trying to explore as much as I can, so yes, recommendations for cool architecture, museums, restaurants, bars, and other activities are all welcome! 

CFSBK: Any hidden talents, weird things, or bizarre parts of your life history we should know? Since we're going to be family now and all.

JB: Hmm. Nothing too crazy. I am left-handed, have an identical twin (she lives in Oakland and doesn't CrossFit), and have webbed toes. I've also never had a growth spurt. That's about it.

Please join us all in welcoming JB to the CFSBK family, and give her some good NYC recommendations in the comments! 

Check out this hilarious (and true!) article that JB wrote for Bustle: "Is Crossfit Worth It? You Bet Your Fine Glutes It Is: 37 Things Only Crossfitters Understand." 

Also, serious props to Asta for yet another stunning photo!

5 Things I Know to be True About Running a CrossFit Gym Inside the Affiliate


Push Press | Back Off Week

1) Push Press 5-5-5-5-5
Work up to a heavy, but perfect 5 rep push press. Start at or near your 5 Rep Max Press weight, or 80% of your 1 Rep Max Press.

2) Farmer Carry
5 x 50 meters. Work with a partner or two and rest as needed. Go heavy. 

Post loads to comments.

Rich Froning and Camile Leblanc-Bazinet are the Fittest on Earth!

News and Notes

  • Happy birthday, Alex K.!
  • Ron W.’s friend is doing a comedy show on Thursday, July 31 at 8pm at Littlefield (right across from CFSBK!) to support an animal shelter. Check it out! 
  • LAST CALL TO PLAY SOFTBALL WITH THE CALAVERAS! CFSBK's team still needs a couple people for their game TONIGHT at 6pm, at the Red Hook ball fields. Pitching softball experience a huge plus! Email Dan H. if you're interested, dhalioua [at]

2014 CrossFit Games

The CrossFit Games concluded last night with these workouts:

1) For time: 4 rope climbs and 3 overhead squats at 245/165 lbs
2) For time: Double "Grace" (60 clean and jerks at 135/95 lbs)

Despite a not-awesome performance on Friday, Rich Froning kept climbing back and claimed the title of Fittest Man on Earth for the fourth consecutive year. IT WAS AWESOME. Check out the footage and highlights on the CrossFit Games website

Claim One of the Last Spots in the Next Strength Cycle

The following two cycles still have a couple openings. Both cycles culminate in a CrossFit Total on Sunday, September 14th. If you have any questions, contact Jeremy at Jeremy [at]

B cycle: Tues/Thurs at 7PM and Sun at 10AM | Tues July 29th - Sun Sep 14th
Cont Ed/D Cycle: Mon/Wed at 6PM | Mon July 28th  - Wed Sep 10th 

3x Week: $260 paid upon registration and then another $260 at the halfway point
2x Week: $175 paid upon registration and then another $175 at the halfway point


Could Your Dog Use Some Lessons in Obeying You?

Anthony Newman of Calm Energy Dog Training was New York magazine’s pick for Best Dog Trainer of 2013, and he’s visiting CFSBK next Saturday to train your beloved dog.

When: Saturday, August 2, 2014, at 2:15pm
What: a 90-minute workshop will meet at CFSBK and include obedience exercises in real-world situations, techniques for calm city walking (including a packwalk down to the local dog park), and followed by a Q&A
Where: Your favorite gym
Cost: Specially-discounted cost for SBK: $55 per person/dog

This event is open to CFSBK members and their friends and dogs of all sizes, provided they are basically social and non-aggressive. Email Mare at mare [at] to sign-up, and include any specific topics you would like to see covered. 

QOD: Did you watch the Games? What was your favorite part?

Hidden Miracles of the Natural World TED
How the Other Half Lifts: What Your Workout Says About Your Social Class Pacific Standard
Where Do Burpees Come From? (Spoiler Alert: Not Hell) Greatist
The Secret to a Tattoo's Permanence: The Immune System The Atlantic