Rest Day

"Keep Hope Alive" CrossFit commercial with Constance Tillett from CrossFit South Brooklyn Directed by Robin C at CrossFit South Brooklyn with Constance Tillett and David Osorio. For CrossFit inc.

Here is the long format version of the "Keep Hope Alive" CrossFit commercial starring our own Constance T. A shorter version of this aired on ESPN all weekend during the CrossFit Games. A few months ago CFSBK film maker Robin C (check out his website) approached me about a video project. He said him and his colleague Joe had access to a really nice camera and wanted to know if there was anything interesting happening at the gym they could shoot. Constance's journey immediately came to mind and I invited them to drop in on one of our sessions to take some footage and do a short interview. When the finished product came back I knew it was too good to keep to ourselves. I contacted Tyson Oldroyd with CrossFit Media and he loved it and asked us to not publish it so they could make it an official CrossFit commercial and premier it at the Games. Obviously we were all very excited and holding back from putting this on the blog was the hardest part! We're excited and proud to finally show you all the full version!

The Constance Chronicles

If you follow us on Instagram, you've probably seen "The Constance Chronicles" where we show portions of Constances CrossFit workouts scaled for her needs and capabilities as well as updates on her progress. If you've missed out, here are the 6 parts we've posted so far.

Part 6: Lateral Walking and Burpees
Tomorrow is one year after Constance's knee surgery before she started training. At her last check up her orthopedist said her knee looked perfect and just listening to her talk about #crossfit made him tired. Look out for the CrossFit Constance commercial during the 2015 Games!

Part 5: Pull Downs, Rope Pulls and Step-Ups

To date, Constance has lost 43lbs, is down to only one diabetes pill and no insulin shots per day from three insulin shots and 5 pills, her blood pressure meds are down to one pill every other day down from 4 pills a day. She went from a size 16 to a size 4 in her clothing. We're impressed!!! Looks like hard work and clean eating actually works!!

Part 4: Sled Pulling
Today was @constance941 's 11th session and she is down 20lbs from when she started! She came in excited about her muscles and wasn't shy about flexing for us. 💪💪 Here she is getting some basic pulling work in with the indoor sled. In this video she says "Im gonna try out for the Fire Department"

Part 3: Sled Dragging
Sled drags are a great way to program in some basic work capacity without requiring moving through long ranges of motion, something Constance struggles with.

Part 2: Deadlifting
Due to arthritis and several joint replacements, the deadlift is one of the few classic lifts Constance can currently perform. It's functionality for her is obvious and we can start with an unloaded 15lb training bar for her first exposure. She said it felt "kinda heavy" but was up for it and excited to move a little more next time

Part 1: Medball Deadlifts, Carries and delivery over an obstacle
Here is an example of a WOD at the end of our session focusing on basic daily movements like picking things up off the floor, moving them and putting them on higher surfaces. Constance is working to regain basic motor patterns essential for independent living. We'll be showing you all how we scale CrossFit for her in this series. Get stoked!

Strong Will - Zach Krych
Tour De France Won By Rowdy, Tattooed Biker From Harley Davidson Team


Press | WOD 7.27.15

Fitness: 3x5 linear progression
If possible, add weight to last week's exposure. It's normal to miss reps this late into the cycle, aim for 3-5 reps per work set.

Performance: 5/3/1 Three week

Increase your training max by five lbs.

4 Rounds for Time of:
25/20 Calorie Row
25 Box Jumps 24"/20"

Post workout results to comments.

Congratulations to super CFSBK couple Meghan and Rich A on the birth of their first son, Teddy. Born 7/24 2:32 am. 7lbs 10oz. 21" Meghan trained at CFSBK through much of her pregnancy!

  • Thank you to everyone who came out to watch the Games last night at CFSBK! We had a great time with you! Check out a video from our instagram account!

Failing, Bailing, and Training Culture at CFSBK 

The original version of this article appeared on Inside the Affiliate.

At CFSBK, we discourage members from failing slow lifts—squats, presses, and deadlifts—on a regular basis. Of course, failing is an inevitable part of training for experienced CrossFitters, since we want to push our limits and really discern our capacity. But the key is that it’s inevitable for experienced CrossFitters. We particularly encourage new members at CFSBK not to hit failure on their lifts for at least four to six months of consistent training, since they don’t have a solid enough foundation to be working with training maxes. We believe that how we approach hitting failure on lifts strongly correlates to our gym's culture, safety, and training appropriateness. 

How we handle and teach failing is related directly to the intentionality of our programming and our overall culture of how to train well. For more information about CFSBK’s programming, check out previous ITA articles “Effective Programming Strategies at CrossFit Affiliates” and "The Benefits of Leveled Programming," which address how we program and offer our members different options based on training age and goals. In this article, I want to focus more on how failing should happen only within certain programming contexts.  

Training Versus Testing, and Its Impact on Gym Culture
Failing lifts too often can be seriously taxing on the central nervous system and frustrating for athletes—in addition, it adds psychological stress and creates negative expectations when approaching lifts. To prevent it from occurring too often and to gain control over teaching our athletes to fail well, CFSBK works testing our lifts into our programming macro cycles. For more experienced members, testing new rep maxes at the end of our cycles is an acceptable and inevitable part of serious training. But every day is not a limit test and we don't want anyone maxing out to failure with any regularity. Our day-in, day-out workouts should be considered training, and an opportunity to go a little bit heavier or hit prescribed percentages without reaching absolute limits.   

Teaching the difference between training and testing significantly impacts the culture of a gym, since training intelligently enables athletes to learn when to push through a difficulty instead of giving up. If an athlete is trained to think, "Okay, when things get hard, I've got an easy escape route in bailing," they learn to give up more often and expect missed reps to be a regular part of their training routine. Missed reps should be meaningful as an indicator of one’s current capacity, not simply the norm. When missing reps and failing become the norm, the experience can subtly undermine an athlete’s self-expectations and the mindset with which they approach their lifts. 

We teach our advanced members to respect heavy weight, and teach that when it comes time to work, you should grind. Of course it should feel difficult and it should feel heavy! You should expect to fight for lifts! But just like in real life, you don't start fights you don't think you can win—especially on a regular basis. A skilled athlete doesn't need to constantly miss reps to know their potential on any given day. A mark of real skill and intelligence in training involves developing an innate sense of one’s capabilities, and knowing when to call it quits. Missed lifts should be considered learning experiences for an athlete’s physical capacity, psychological outlook, and technique, and they always should be put into the broader context of the intended training stimulus for that specific day. 

Why Novice Lifters Should Avoid Failing Lifts
Having novice lifters attempt rep maxes on their lifts is both dangerous, inappropriate, and an ineffective use of training time. All our new members should start out with weights that feel "too light" and then gradually add weight on a weekly basis and as your technique warrants (better technique equals more weight). Over time, you'll develop the requisite motor patterns, soft tissue integrity, and experience to handle heavier weights and test your limits. But before that, the proper foundation needs to be established. Remember, literally anything will "work" if you haven't been training. You could squat on Day One, take a Zumba class on Day Two, run five miles on Day Three—and then a week later, test your squat and see some improvement. So the key is optimizing your novice training stage in a way that sets yourself up for long-term success. 

Long-term success happens through progressive overload and good coaching. As coaches, we want to provide you with the appropriate stimulus for your strength and experience, and most novice athletes have a pretty low baseline for what’s required to stimulate an adaptation. Having someone walk off the street and attempt a 1RM deadlift is well in excess of what they need to produce a meaningful adaptation. If you have no deadlifting experience and sit behind a desk all day, why not work up to 75lbs (which may feel "light" to you) for a set of five and focus on being perfect at the movement? The next time you come in, you can try 85lbs, and so on and so forth until you're gradually moving some significant weight with the confidence, experience, and consistent form that you need to get stronger.    

An overarching goal of our programming is to teach you how to train responsibly with longevity in mind, so you learn how to slowly approach gaining strength and competence with the required lifts. That's why we start you slow and let you know that just because you could go a little heavier today doesn’t mean it's optimal for you. If you focus on going a little heavier each week, you keep pushing the ceiling of your potential a little bit higher—instead of slamming into that ceiling and having nowhere to go but back down. When we see you missing reps out of the programming context, we'll probably pull you back and have a conversation about training versus testing. 

How to Fail Well 
Proper spotting and bailing techniques need to be taught and initially supervised—the same as anything else at CFSBK—so that when it comes time to test training, you are prepared and safe. Spotting technique for the back squat and bench press can be found in Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training (Third Edition), pages 62-64 and 172-172 respectively, if you're curious. All other lifts require teaching proper bailing technique through demonstration and practice at sub-maximal weights. If people are going to potentially miss reps, it's important that the area is clear of loose plates and other athletes that could make a good bail go bad. 

At CFSBK, we seek to address your needs at the various stages of your development—so listen when a coach tells you to temper your loads to be safe, and also when you might need to put more weight on the bar to get better.

What did you think of this years CrossFit Games? Here is an event list to jog your memory.


Clean and Jerk | WOD 7.26.15

Clean and Jerk 90% x1x5
Perform 5 Clean and Jerks at 90% of your heaviest load on the C&J Complexes from this cycle. Aim to be consistent on all of your heavy reps.

Clean and Jerk 80-90%x1x3
Clean Pull 115%x3x3

Post loads to comments.


3 Rounds for Time of:
270m Run
20 Air Squats
5 Power Clean and Jerks, 185/125

This workout should take around 8-12 minutes. The barbell movement is programmed such that it's heavy but doesn't require breaks over :10 or so to get through. If you're using a lighter load and working on technical issues, you can increase the reps to 7 per round. Keep the air squats clean and fluid.

Post workout of the day results to comments.

Great shot taken by Jessica B of Team CFSBK at yesterday's team completion at CrossFit 718. CFSBK Super duo Coach Melo and Alex even took first place overall yesterday! If you competed yesterday, post thoughts and results to the comments section! You can see a few more pics on our Flickr page.

  • Do you have a regular movement practice dedicated to optimizing tissue integrity and recovery? If not, check out why so many people love Active Recovery. Today at 11am with Coach Fox!
  • We'll be streaming The CrossFit Games during Group Classes today and at OG tonight! Come on by if you want to check it out with other folks or while you train. Will Ben Smith hold on to his narrow lead over Mat Fraser? Can a country with just over 300,000 people have TWO of the fittest women on earth?

The Second ever AntiGravity Class today!

Is your kip krap? Are you muscle-ups more like muscle downs? Are your pistols mere pop guns? Coaches Noah and Arturo have designed Anti-Gravity: an hour-long gymnastics strength, skill, and conditioning class.

The class will focus on the gymnastics skill and strength components that are most commonly demanded in CrossFit workouts, using a variety of skill exercises, progressions, weighted and strict practice, and other techniques to teach, develop, and perfect your bodyweight movements. Our goal is to improve not only skill, but gymnastic work capacity and muscular endurance. 

When: Tuesdays at 7:30PM and Sundays at 2PM (Today!)
Cost: This counts as a regular group class

Each class will consist of skill work, strength development, conditioning, and flexibility training. Every class will include dedicated strength work and a WOD, so its intention is to be a complete workout of the day on its own.

What if there was a black hole in your pocket? Kurzgesagt
Are we really 99% Chimp? Minute Earth


Front Squat | WOD 7.25.15

3 x 3 Linear Progression 
Add 5-10 pounds to last week's exposure.


5 Rounds For Max Reps:
1:00 Row (for calories)
1:00 Max Reps Push-Ups or Ring Dips
1:00 Max Kipping or strict pull-ups or Ring Rows
1:00 Rest

Post workout results to comments.

Coach KHarp Cleaning Up

  • Watching the CrossFit Games? Keep an eye out for the CrossFit commercial featuring Coach DO and Constance T!! Huge thanks to CFSBKer Robin R for setting up and shooting it!
  • Want to try something other than Group Class today? Check out Yoga for Athletes at 10am, Active Recovery at 11 and 12 or Open Gym from 2-4pm
  • CFSBK will be screening the finals of the CrossFit Games during OG on Sunday night

Soda's Diabetes Problem: The Non-Obese at Risk, Too


Rest Day

Coach Jeremy competing in the 2008 CrossFit Games at "The Ranch" in Aromas, Califorina.

The Little Things

Here are some little amenities and services you may not know we have.

Loaner Bike Lock and Bike Pump:
Got all the way to the gym and forgot your lock? We've got a Kryptonite U Lock at the gym you can use to keep your wheels safe. This is not a substitute for bringing your lock consistently! Also if you've got a flat tire there is a pump by the roll-up gate.

Hair Ties: Need to tame your locks? There are free hair ties for members available at the front desk. We got you!

Stickers: Rep CFSBK! Grab a free sticker or two at the front desk. Tom S has been notoriously tagging ski reports around the country with the old skull and bones.

Tape: Need to wrap your thumbs for snatching or wrists for everything? There is always athletic tape at the front desk. Ask a coach regarding how and why to use it if you're curious.

Espresso: There is a Nespresso machine on the kitchenette in 597. Nespresso pods are $1 each, there is a small red bucket to throw a buck in. Caffeine is an ergogenic aid!

Shower stuff: There is soap, shampoo and conditioner available in the showers as well as body lotion on the counter. We've also got a hair driers and towels. <GYM PSA> The towels are for shower use only, please do not bring them onto the gym floor. Also no human being needs more than two towels AT MOST.

Things for your Kids: At the couch area in the front there are Legos, cards, Jenga, coloring books and paper, crayons, markers and educational kids books about art, history and science. They'll probably just be on their ipads but.. we're just saying they're there.

Finally, not an amenity but did you know we post the following day's workout as the first comment on rest days? #knowledgeispower
Here are the weighted vests Games athletes will be wearing for "Murph"

Here is what Nike parked in front of the Stubhub Center
Annie Thorisdottir as Drago
A Beginners Guide to CrossFit by Greg Glassman CrossFit
A Brief History of Timekeeping SciShow


Snatch | Snatch Balance | Burpee Chipper

Fitness: Snatch Pull + Snatch
Work up to a medium heavy load on the complex, aim for a few pounds heavier than last week.

PerformanceSnatch: 80%-90% x 1 x 3-5
Warm up and perform 3-5 singles between 80% - 90%. 


Snatch Pull: 3 x 3
Pull more weight than last week.
For more information about the snatch pull, check out this article and video.


Snatch Balance: 1-1-1-1-1

To learn more about the Snatch Balance, check out this article and video.

For Time:
50 Burpees

Post workout results to comments.

Steph M going to work on Pull-Ups

CFSBK at CrossFit 718's Summer Games

The following teams will represent CFSBK at Crossfit 718's Summer Games this Saturday, July 25th.  The first workout is scheduled to kick off at 12:45pm, all are encouraged to BYOB and BYO beach chair and cheer on our teams!  More info can be found here

Swole Patrol: Coach Whit & Brendan N.
Quad City: Coach MeLo & Alex B.
Snatch & Jerk: Lauren S. & Alex N.
Coach Fox & Coach Lady Fox
South Brooklyn Terps: Coach K-Harpz & Jason M.

Good luck teams!

Why compete?

By Chris Fox

As a youth I was not very involved in competitive sports, so I can’t speak to that angle on why competition is a healthy aspect of training as an adult. Sure, I’ve played some pick up football, basketball, rugby, baseball, etc...but the consequences were only week to week, never having long lasting meaning to me. As an adult I have found new meaning in what training and testing mean to me. I’ve trained with intention and set performance goals for more than a decade and found Crossfit within the past 6 years. Crossfit was the first time that I had ever really tested my performance in a competition setting. The beauty of Crossfit, and the related fitness sports that go along with it like powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman/women, adventure races, etc... is that while you are ‘competing’ with the people you’re sharing floor/track/trail/platform space with, you must also compare your performance to your own previous performances. Sometimes the goal may be to only finish an event. First time out? Just get through it with success. Other times it may be to best your previous years placement or possibly to achieve a top place in an event. In my case the goal is to get better as an athlete and to not slip backward as the competitive environment gets more and more, well, competitive.

I’ve no illusions of winning any powerlifting meets, olympic meets, the Crossfit Games, or even any of the local throwdown style events. Does that mean that my participation is silly? Hell NO! I get to hang with some cool folks, push my limits, and measure where I lay not only in comparison to my fellow athletes but also in relation to my previous self. As a (very) soon to be 40 year old male, society would have me believe that my best days are behind me. I respond with a resounding “NOT” and strive year after year to be a bit better that the me from the year before. I enjoy the process, the goal setting, and the satisfaction of knowing that I prepared for an event as best as I could. Or, in learning what I might do differently  the next go around.

We test ourselves day in, day out at CFSBK. There are metrics to be recorded for sure, and you should be tracking them regularly. I encourage you all however to step outside of your comfort zone once in awhile and and test your performance in those not so cozy places where the others are. You might find out that you hate it, but you might also find out that it inspires you to be better or at least have some outside of the box fun. At the very least you’ll have learned something about yourself.
Understanding Volume JTSStrength
Have you ever had a dream like this???


Back Squat | Assistance Work 7.22.15

Fitness and Performance: 3 x 5 Linear Progression 

Athletes will have 20 minutes to get through their squat session. Use the running clock to ensure you get adequate rest between work sets.

Post loads to comments.

Perform Five Rounds Not For Time of:
3 Dead start Deadlifts
5 Strict Handstand Push-Ups
3 Strict Chin-ups, add weight or use assistance as necessary

Deadlifts: Work up to a heavy triple, maintain back extension.
HSPU: If 5 is easy for you, add a deficit, if 5 is too hard, minimize range of motion, if HSPUs are too challenging perform 5 strict dumbbell presses

Post workout results to comments.


The Intention of Warm-Ups and a New Format for Group Classes

Classes at CFSBK often start with one of our "standardized warm-ups" which consist of three movements performed for 2-3 rounds not for time. Below is a description of the intent of these warm-ups and a new format we're experimenting with to better accomplish these goals.

Intention of a warm-up
  • Provide general joint and soft tissue movement prep via mobility drills and full range of motion, non-ballistic total body exercises.
  • Increase heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature.
  • Allow time for development and refinement of fundamental calisthenics: Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Lunges, Handstands, kipping movements etc.
  • When appropriate, allow for rehersal of exercises that will be seen later in the workout.
  • Provide some variance and fun

Previously, we had our standardized warm-ups preset which we would occasionally edit. If you've been in the gym the past two days, you've seen that the board has changed and instead offers three movement pool lists:

Upper Body Push
8-12 Push-Ups
8-12 Dumbbell Presses or Push Presses
4-8 Handstand Push-Ups or Wall Kick-Ups

Upper Body Pull
5-10 Strict or Kipping Pull-Ups
5-10 Ring Rows
5-10 Strict or Kipping Toes-to-Bars

Lower Body
16 Total Lunges, add extra load if desired
5-15 Barbell Front or Overhead Squats
16 Kettlebell Swings

With this format, the athlete can choose one movement from each pool and create their own standardized warm-up based on how they feel that day. As always, the coach may suggest a particular triplet or assign a specific warm-up including elements not included on the base pools to provide more variance or workout specific movement prep into the warm-up. Give the new format a shot and let us know what you think!

Pavel M wants you to check out his startup

Hey everyone, fellow CFSBKer Pavel M Here. I wanted to let you know that the startup I've been working at Jet.com has finally launched to the public! You may have read about Jet in the past few months. It’s truly a disruptive new approach to online shopping that results in shoppers saving 10-15% on average versus any other online shopping destination by allowing merchants to bid on your shopping basket in real-time, behind the scenes, ensuring you always receive the very best prices from the most efficient source.

I’ve gone ahead and made the promo code “CROSSFITSBK” for everyone in CFSBK, which is good for anyone who enters it at checkout until 8/4/2015. And for an entertaining glimpse into how Jet works, check out the video we made with Portlandia and Silicon Valley actor, Kumail Nanjiai. Click here!

Are you an SBKer with new projects or exciting announcements you want to get the word out about? Email David (AT) CrossFitSouthBrooklyn.com for blog consideration!

Our Warm-Up is Our Warm-Up Cathletics

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