Rest Day

"While I was away in Spain, I visited two CrossFits, one in Madrid (CrossFit Maherit Rio) and one in Barcelona, (Reebok CrossFit BCN). Both were great and had very intense classes. It was great to see people from a different culture have the same obsession as we do. I've attached a picture to the email. I figured it would be cool to show CrossFit South Brooklyn go global!"-Bea M

News and Notes

  • There is no Yoga for Athletes this weekend as Coach Whit is away. Why not check out Active Recovery at 11 and 12 instead?
  • Don't forget about the CrossFit Total tomorrow! Class times will start at their normal hours but plan on being at the gym for around 90 minutes to complete your lifts. The previous two days of blog posts have plenty of information regarding what the CFT is and how to approach it.
  • Did you lose something? Check out the most recent photo from the lost and found bin and claim your gear!

Dude, Where's My 1RM?

By Coach Jeremy 

Everyone has had the experience:  it’s the 2nd attempt of a Crossfit total or your working up to a new 1RM on singles day, you load up the bar with a weight equal to you your existing 1RM, you get psyched up, unrack the bar, go into the hole, and......nothing.  It doesn’t come back up.  Why?  Did you get weaker?  Are you doing something wrong?  Why can’t you do what you’ve already done?


Think of a 1RM not so much as a measure of strength capacity but as an act of strength performance.  Veteran lifters will speak of owning a weight versus hitting a weight.  Owning a weight means that you can get under a bar just about anytime you want and move that weight (assuming a proper warm-up and having not done back-to-back hero WOD’s that week).  Hitting a weight is a much less reproducible feat.  It means that on a day where you felt good, were well rested, timed your eating properly, had your weight belt sitting just right, heavenly bodies were aligned properly, and you managed not to fuck anything up,  you were able to squeeze out a higher weight than ever before. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a weight that you have only hit isn’t something that you can just do on command.  It’s an act of strength and will; repeating it doesn’t just happen.  No sprinter expects to hit a PR every time they run a given distance, not in competition and especially not in training.  There is no reason to just assume that every time you get under a barbell you’re going to PR.


We should also consider that not every one's best event in lifting is the 1RM.  Consider again, sprinting.  All sprinters are fast, that’s why they are sprinters.  However sprinters have different specialties, some are better in a 60m dash, others are better at the quarter mile.  If we took a random group of sprinters and tested their best times at a series of distances, say 60m, 100m, 200m, and 400m, we would probably find that the rankings would look very similar across the events: the faster runners would tend to do well at all of them.  However, you would also expect to see some shuffling of rankings based upon the individual strengths of the sprinters.  Some are better at accelerating, some run the turns well, some finish well, etc. To bring this back to lifting, imagine a group of powerlifters from the same weight class.  If you tested their 1RM, 3RM, and 5RM squat you would see something very similar:  The strongest lifters would tend to be at the the top of each ranking, however you would also see some move up or down the leader board as the reps changed based upon their individual characteristics.  This is relevant to us because the better you are at an event, the 3RM versus the 1RM for instance, the more likely you are able to reproduce your best effort.  We should test our strength at 3RM’s and 5RM’s for precisely the same reason that Track and Field tests more than just the 100m dash as a measure of speed.


Weighlifting, Powerlifting and Crossfit Total’s are all tests of 1RM. This isn’t because 1RM’s are magical, it’s just that they are easier to quantify, they are the highest weights (and everyone wants to see big weights), so they lend themselves to being tested. All this being said there is certainly nothing wrong with going after 1RM’s and when game day comes, you want to break some records. Set yourself up for success by working hard at a good program, resting up in the days leading to the event and getting your head inside your lift when you get under the bar.  Once the day’s lifting is over, let it go.  A sprinter isn’t suddenly slow on the day they don’t PR; you’re not weak on the day you don’t either.  Allow for the fact that not everyday you try to PR is going to be the perfect day to demonstrate that amount of strength.

Ronda Rousey on her physique
Hottest Subway Stations in NYC Mapped
Scaling the Hollow Body Position\
Man buys 10,000 negative and discovers incredible street photographer from 50s and 60s


Snatch | Open Workout 14.1

Fitness and Performance
Snatch 1-1-1-1-1

Work up to a new 1RM or heavy single for the day.

"OPEN Workout 14.1"
As Many Rounds as Possible in 10 Minutes of:

30 Double Unders
15 Power Snatches 75/55

This workout has appeared twice in the CrossFit Open, most recently in 2014. The top scores in the world are are listed below. To see a side by side comparison of these incredible performances, click here.

Dan Bailey: 10 Rounds + 11 Double Unders (461 Reps)
Samantha Briggs: 10 Rounds + 22 Double Unders (472 Reps)

75 Hollow rocks in as few sets as possible

Post workout results to comments.

Flashback to the set-up for one of last year's Subway Series events held at CFSBK.
CFSBK currently has 23 athletes signed up to compete this year and there is still plenty of room left! If you've got questions about the Subway Series, post to comments and we'll do our best to answer

  • Tuesdays "Keep Hope Alive" CrossFit commercial with CFSBKer Constance T has racked up over 40,000 views in the last two days alone! Thanks for sharing everyone! It was also shared on Huffington Post!
  • We need Judges and a score keeper for our Subway Series event on 8/23! Judges are expected to monitor range of motion and reps for each workout. DO will do a session to review movement standards and protocol before the event. The Score keeper needs to do data entry on the scoring system and should be comfortable with spreadsheets. Please email David (AT) if you're interested.

Preparing to CrossFit Total

By Coach Fox

        “What are you hoping to hit for the CrossFit Total?”. When your mate asks you this question you may exaggerate a bit but when it comes time to get under a bar you’d better have a plan. Here’s how.

1- Take it easy in the gym or rest completely for a day or two prior to doing a CFT. If you were going to total on a Saturday it would be a good idea to work at 70% or so effort on Thursday, rest completely on Friday (maybe some light mobility work or active recovery type stuff) and go for it on Saturday. Make sure your nutrition is in line with your goals. Do you want to perform well on the total? Do you think that boozing it up the night before and eating offensive (for you) foods will help, or hinder, that performance? If you take your training seriously and want to better yourself then act like it.

2- Have goals. Know what numbers you’d like to hit. You can take numbers that you’ve been working at recently and extrapolate 1RMs using a nifty 1 Rep Max Calculator. Preferably you will have some rep maxes in the 2-5 rep range since the further away you get from that the less reliable the predictions become. If you haven’t been training long and don’t yet have any 2-5 rep max then use the CF Total to establish those and wait until next time around to do 1RMs. There is still so much learning to do on the lifts and hence no sense hitting 1RMs with such little experience, ego be damned.

3- Have a plan. Map out your warm ups. Today is not the day to be doing a metric ton of warm up reps. Let’s take a hypothetical lifter with a previous 1RM of 355 hoping to establish a new 1RM on the squat of 365lbs, his or her time under the bar should look something like this.

45x5, 135x5, 185x5, 225x3, 275x3, 315x1, then

1st attempt - 335
2nd attempt - 355
3rd attempt - Set a new 1RM at 365

Establishing a new 1RM of 185 with a previous best of 177.5 might look like this.

45x5, 75x5, 105x5, 125x3, 145x1

1st attempt - 165
2nd attempt - 177.5
3rd attempt - 185

This is obviously subject to change depending on how the warm ups feel and how the 1st two attempts go. Maybe you have more in you than you and the 1RM calculator thought you did, but maybe you don’t. As Rip says “Don’t be pig-headed. If your first attempt tells you that you need to lower your second, do so, without a misplaced sense of diminished self-worth. It’s a test, and it’s designed to measure what’s there, not create something that’s not. That’s what training is for.” There is a world of difference between training and testing, but that is an entirely different topic. Just remember that today is a test day.

4- Realize that the press is a finicky lift. Gains made are often small and hard won. To go from a 1RM of 85 to 87 represents a 2.5% increase. If you have been training long enough you may (read should) be thankful for this type of increase. My point is to say that you should not be greedy with the press. Instead be frugal and take small rewards. Also, don’t overdo the warm ups as this lift fatigues quickly. Usings the example above of hoping to set a new 1RM of 87, here’s a possible warm up scheme.

33x5, 53x3, 63x2, 73x1, 77x1

1st attempt - 81
2nd attempt - 85
3rd attempt - 87

5- The deadlift will be largely warmed up by the squat and will not need a lot of warm up reps on it’s own. Here’s an example of the above 365 squatter hoping to establish a new 1RM of 405 with a previous best of 395

135x5, 225x3, 315x1, 365x1

1st attempt - 385
2nd attempt - 405
3rd attempt - Go for it, it’s the last rep of the day!

6- You need to rest between attempts (possibly 3-5 minutes) and if you are doing the CrossFit Total in a group class, you also have time constraints. During the warm ups is not the time to dilly-dally and wonder what you should load on the bar next. Having a plan allows you and your rack mates to move smoothly through the warm ups and into the reps and allows time to rest between attempts. If you don’t have a plan you will also cost your rack mates valuable time...don’t be that guy or gal.

The CrossFit Total should be a fun day where you get to move some heavy weight around but that doesn’t mean don’t take it serious, too. Approach each lift with intent, unrack each squat from the uprights with authority and readiness, set up with a BIG BREATH for all your attempts today. And if you don’t 1RM but gave your all, then celebrate that as well and live to lift another day. You’re a TFBA for showing up regardless.

An interesting look at the Games programming from The Outlaw Way
The Timmy Brothers: Water Makers


Back Squat | WOD 7.15.15

Work up to a heavy triple, 5-15 lbs heavier than last week's 3x5. Use this number to help plan your attempts for this Saturday's CrossFit Total.


As Many Rounds as Possible in 7 Minutes of:
14 Kettlebell Swings
7 Burpees

This is a workout many of you did in Foundations as it's used at the end of class three. If you've been a particularly pious note taker you could look back and compare performances! Pick a kettlebell load that allows you to perform unbroken or 2 sets on the swings. Move consistently but push the tempo. This workout pace should make you feel like seven minutes can't come soon enough.

Finish with an 800m Row or Run

Post workout results to comments.

Bonjour CFSBK,
Pierre D. and I (Bob S) happened to both be in Paris at the same time so naturally we met up to wod together at CrossFit Original Addicts in Paris. This photo is taken with Sammy the head coach at the box right after 12 minutes of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off of burpees.

CrossFit Total this Saturday

Don't forget that we'll be running the CrossFit Total this Saturday during group classes. Class start times will remain the same as usual however each class will take about 90 minutes to run. Lifters will have 30 minutes to squat and 20 minutes each for the press and deadlift. Try to get to the gym early to do some DIY general warm-ups so that we can hit the ground running. We'll have more information tomorrow about how to make the most of your CrossFit Total, but for the time being we recommend you read the PDF below to see exactly what the Total is, what the rules for each lift are and some context to make the whole enterprise more rewarding.

The CrossFit Total by Mark Rippetoe

Still time to sign up for the 2015 Subway Series!

Another year has gone by, and it's time once again for an NYC affiliate throwdown: the fifth 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!

Event Schedule
Sunday, August 2nd, 9am: CrossFit Queens
Sunday, August 9th, 12pm: CrossFit Virtuosity
Sunday, August 16th, 12pm: CrossFit Long Island City
Sunday, August 23th, 12pm: CrossFit South Brooklyn 

Scoring will work "Open-style": top 3 male and top 3 female athletes from each affiliate will score based on their place finish in each event. Athletes may score in any event regardless of attendance at other events. 

The ultimate series winner will be the affiliate with the least points after all 4 events have been completed. In the event of a tie, a 5th tie-breaking event will be held. 

As last year, an Rx division and Scaled division trophy will be awarded. 

All athletes MUST register for each individual event in advance via EventBrite in order to participate. Each event will be capped at 100 total participants, so we strongly advise you to register ASAP. These events sell out quickly. 


If you have questions about the Subway Series, email Coach MeLo at Melissa [at]

Road to Conviction Episode 1: It’s Almost Symbolic CrossFit


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

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