WOD 3.30.15

Headstand 101 

Post what you worked on to comments.

Every Minute on the Minute, 10 Minutes:
Even: 12 V-Ups
Odd: 12 Superman (butt tight, belly tight) 

Post what you worked on to comments.

Benson and Vesper hung out on Saturday to watch everyone crush 15.5. Congrats to everyone who competed in the Open! Don't forget to submit your final scores for 15.5 by 8pm tonight.

News and Notes

  • CFSBK's Hoopin' Tacos finished their season 12-2, and the play-offs are TONIGHT. They are playing the Stevie Knicks at 6:30pm at John Jay (on 7th Ave between 4th and 5th). Come cheer them on!
  • Join us in saying WELCOME to Back-Off Week. It starts today. Our new cycle starts next Monday, April 6th. 
  • Happy birthday, Jon W. and Jacqueline D.

The Sweat Spot: Balancing Precision and Intensity for Maximum Gainz

By Noah Abbott

At CFSBK, we always tell people that from their first day of Foundations through the first month or two of group classes, their loading, pacing, and intensity should be at roughly 60-70%. Things should feel easy and athletes should leave each class feeling like they had more in the tank. This is incredibly important advice—your first few months and few thousand reps are crucial for motor patterning. Your body learns the positions and pathways you move through, and if you are assuming imperfect positions or moving inefficiently from point A to B, you will gradually condition yourself to keep repeating those patterns. You can always go back and re-learn these patterns, and to some extent they evolve over time, but starting with great positioning is key to continuing to move well as weights go up and intensity increases.

That covers the first few months, and most of our members are great at following that advice. Everything still feels a little foreign and clunky, so people are happy to stay well within safe and proper parameters while they slowly gain confidence and familiarity with the movements. However, after the first few months, many people struggle to find the proper balance between precision and intensity as they begin to develop as an athlete. Often people fall toward one of two extremes, both of which blunt performance and progress. Either they want to do everything as fast, heavy, and hard as possible, or they are so focused on doing everything perfectly that they rarely work hard enough to elicit a neuromuscular adaptation.

The Three Pitcher Analogy
This analogy was first described to me by a coach in Arizona, using three target pistol shooters as the example. Since (legal) competitive gunplay in Brooklyn is about as rare as a pair of Nike Metcons (ohhhhh snap), and since baseball season is right around the corner, I’m going to modify the example a bit, and use three baseball pitchers as our test subjects. Instead of just calling them A, B, and C, I’ll call our pitchers Alex, Bo, and Chris. 

It’s a hot summer day when our pitchers report to the practice field to throw a practice session under the watchful eye of their coach. Coach tells each pitcher to throw five pitches before regrouping and discussing what they need to work on.

Alex is up first, and really wants to impress. He rears back as hard as he can and every pitch is a flurry of elbows and knees. No two windups or deliveries look the same, Alex is falling all over the mound, but he’s throwing HARD. Half the time his cap falls off as he throws—he’s almost throwing himself at the catcher. Further, he’s rushing—the moment one pitch thumps into the catcher’s mitt Alex is already winding up for the next one. He finishes his five pitches, huffing and puffing, with sweat pouring down his face, his hair sticking up in ten different directions, one of his shoes untied, and limps to the bench, totally exhausted.

Bo is next up. Bo looks much more in control than Alex from the get-go. He’s working hard, and obviously putting his all behind each pitch, but he is taking a little more time between each pitch, and looks markedly more in control of his body. Still, you can tell Bo is working, and he audibly yells after his third pitch (“Shucks” or “Rats” or some other folksy, W.P. Kinsella-like exclamation). By the end of his session, he’s breathing hard and sweating, but still fairly composed. He walks to the bench slowly, and looks happy to rest for a bit. 

Chris is up last, and wants to outshine Alex and Bo. He’s cool and collected as he walks to the mound, and takes his time getting ready. He is smooth and controlled as he throws, fluid and easy through all of his movements, and takes a lot of time between each pitch to carefully reset his footwork, make sure all of his mechanics are correct, and that he is ready to go. Every pitch looks like a mirror image of the one before, but the catcher’s glove doesn’t pop quite as loud as for Alex or Bo—it looks like Chris is taking a bit off each pitch in an effort to be perfect. 

Here’s how their sessions look when overlaid on a batter and strike zone:

As we can see, Alex is pretty wild, with two of his pitches well out of the strike zone, and no real consistency to any of his efforts. Bo misses the strike zone once, but just by a bit, and most of his pitches are pretty consistent. Chris groups all five of his pitches very close with no misses (for sake of illustration, the pitches are probably even more scattered so they can be seen individually). 

Who Is Training Correctly?
While all three pitchers will gain something from practice regardless of intention and intensity, the athlete coach would reward with a “good job, keep it up,” is Bo. 

Alex needs to slow down! He’s wild, overthrowing, putting himself at risk of injury with undisciplined mechanics, and isn’t learning much. He is confusing unbridled intensity with hard, disciplined work. He should go back to basics, take a little longer between pitches to make sure he is set, and work on consistent mechanics and technique. 

Chris needs to work a little harder. He can obviously throw a fastball over the plate when he takes his time and throws a bit softer than his upper limit. Chris should work on throwing a little harder, working faster, and maybe throwing in some more “advanced” pitches. He won’t develop if he just keeps doing what he already obviously knows how to do. He is too concerned with being “perfect.” 

Bo is our ideal athlete, taking his refined technique and then pushing it right to the edge. He is very effective and efficient, but is working hard enough that one in every five to 10 pitches is slightly less than optimal. Note that when Bo misses, he misses small, and then can make a correction the next time to get better. Bo will grow the fastest of the three because he is pushing the limit of his ability.

In CrossFit, we call this Threshold Training.

Threshold Training and YOU
The concept of Threshold Training is as old as CrossFit, being cited early by Greg Glassman (hallowedbehisname) in one of those weird old videos where he draws stick figures on a chalkboard while Tony Budding leers at him. Simply put, the concept is similar to the Pitcher’s Analogy above, that during training athletes need to push themselves hard enough that their accuracy may slightly suffer, but not so hard that it goes totally out the window. There is a sweet spot to find in your training, and falling too far on either side will slow or blunt your progress. 

Do you go as hard as possible every workout, only to be outperformed by others who look like they aren’t trying too hard? Do you often have to strip weight or scale movements mid-WOD? Do you feel like your progress is lagging behind your intensity? If so, you might be like Alex in the Pitcher’s Analogy. You need to slow down, go a bit lighter, and focus on being more consistently accurate before ramping your intensity back up.

Do you often finish WODs without really breaking a sweat? Have you never felt that gut-punched, world-spinning feeling after a workout? Do you use the same weight all the time, or hover in a narrowly prescribed range? Do you repeat lifting exposures or avoid adding weight during Olympic lifts if you felt the lift wasn’t 100% perfect? You might be training like Chris the pitcher—you need to push a little further out of your comfort zone. Perfect practice has its place, but during work sets and WODs, a small bit of deviation is expected and encouraged. Pro football players certainly practice perfect running mechanics, but come gameday, nobody praises how perfectly a player runs with the ball, only that they get to the end zone.  

A Contextual Approach to Threshold Training
All that being said, the different training modalities, prescriptions, and resulting intensities need to be approached contextually. While we generally avoid “being Alex,” there are rare times when that approach is appropriate. Similarly, there is value to sometimes slowing things down and “pulling a Chris.” Here are some loose guidelines: 

Alex (100% intensity, regardless of technique): Last few seconds/final attempts of a competition where there is some real sort of prize on the line. Money? Prestige? Qualification for Regionals/Games/American Open, etc.? You have to decide if it’s worth it. 

Bo (90% intensity with 90% perfect technique): Benchmark WODs, Open workouts, competitions, and any WOD where you feel very comfortable and confident with the movement and you have built a sufficient base of perfect practice. Movements should feel like they are on “auto-pilot” and that you don’t need to do a ton of thinking about how to execute them.

Chris (sub-maximal intensity with 100% perfect technique): Warm-ups, skill practice, new or rarely seen movements, any movement that you don’t feel super comfortable with, are trying to iron out a “kink” from, or any time an old or recent injury or mobility restriction is taxed or bothered during execution.

Aaaaand I’m Done
Okay, enough sports analogies, this is getting ridiculous. Stay tuned for my next article, in which I create a hackneyed and longwinded analogy between muscle-ups and nineteenth-century Russian literature.

Train smart, train hard, and don’t be afraid to explore the outside edge of your comfort zone.

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City The Atlantic 

Would you consider yourself more of an Alex, Bo, or Chris (Alexia, Bonnie, or Christina for the ladies)?




5 Rounds, For Total Time:
20 Pull-Ups
30 Push-Ups
40 Sit-Ups
50 Squats

Rest exactly 3 minutes between rounds.

Post total time and Rx to comments. 
Compare to 1.26.2014 and 2.17.2013

Things are coming together across the street! Join us next Saturday (4/4) from 2-3pm for the grand opening of 608 Degraw Street. All regularly-scheduled group classes that day will also have a special surprise. Get psyched.

News and Notes

  • Scheduling Note for Next Week: Our schedule WLL NOT change for Easter (4/5). All classes will run as normal.
  • Want to work out today at 9am and bring your kid/s? Sign your kids up at the Front Desk for CFSBK Kids Club, and learn more here
  • DON'T FORGET TO RSVP TO CLASS: Click on the Class Schedule and RSVP tab in the left-hand column (under General Information) and select the class for which you'd like to RSVP. 
  • Happy birthday, Lisa C.!

Good Guys Radiolab 


Open Workout 15.5


Open Workout 15.5 

27-21-15-9, For Time:
Row (Calories)
Thrusters 95/65

Post time to comments.

SCALED Open Workout 15.5


27-21-15-9, For Time:
Row (Calories) 
Thrusters 65/45

Post time to comments.

Juan hitting his snatch 

News and Notes

  • Come watch CFSBK's Competition Team take on 15.5! Our gym's strongest will be tackling the latest Open WOD this afternoon. They'll start warming up around 2:15 and the first heat is at 2:45pm. Come cheer them on!
  • Feeling sore or tight from all your PRs this week? Check out Yoga for Athletes at 10am or Active Recovery at 11am or noon today!
  • Want to work out tomorrow at 9am and bring your kid/s? Now you can! Sign them up at the Front Desk for CFSBK Kids Club, and learn more here
  • DON'T FORGET TO RSVP TO CLASS: Click on the Class Schedule and RSVP tab in the left-hand column (under General Information) and select the class for which you'd like to RSVP. 

Netherlands Gym Built In an Old Church (!!!)
Roller Rink Converted to a Gym 


Rest Day

Jacques D. got back from his epic ski touring trip in BC earlier this month. In response to whether CrossFit prepared him for the trip, he wrote: "Ski touring is 90% slow climbing, 10% skiing. We talk about climbing at an all-week pace. The idea is to never stop and never red-line. CrossFit helped a lot with overall conditioning—a lot of wear and tear and muscle soreness. Having strong quads and hamstrings helped a lot to avoid fatigue." If you have questions about ski touring, Jacques would be psyched to talk to you about it! Email him at jacquesdelori [at]

  • Lots of new Lost and Found items up in our Flickr, here and here. Pick up by April 9th or we're giving it away.


OUTWOD is a collective NYC group bringing together LGBT CrossFitters and allies together one WOD at a time to enjoy the virtues of CrossFit and form new friendships along the way. CFSBK proudly supports this diversity within the sport of CrossFit and invites everyone to join this Saturday afternoon WOD and post-event social. Cost is $25, with proceeds going to the Family Equality Council. 

DATE: April 11, 2015
TIME: 2:30pm
WHERE: CrossFit South Brooklyn, 597 Degraw Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
AFTER WOD SOCIAL: Post-WOD, we will head to a nearby watering hole called Threes Brewing. They will be equipped and ready for us.


We decided to go with The Family Equality Council as our organization of choice, since Ali Forney Center was a recent beneficiary. Thanks to everyone for your input!!

Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer in this country and their six million children. We are changing attitudes and policies to ensure that all families are respected, loved, and celebrated—including families with parents who are LGBTQ. We are a community of parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren that reaches across this country. For 30 years we have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families.

Canoe of War 
How You Know You Felt at 8pm Last Night 


Crush Week WOD 3.26.15



AMRAP, 20 Minutes:
2 Muscle-Ups
4 Handstand Push-Ups
8 Kettlebell Swings, 32/24kg

Post rounds to comments.
Compare to 10.31.2013


Partner AMRAP, 20 Minutes:
10+10 Calorie Row
10+10 Dumbbell Power Clean
10+10 Dumbbell Push Press 
Partners alternate 10 reps each of each movement for compete rounds for 20 minutes.

Post rounds and Rx to comments.

The new space is opening very soon across the street, so we wanted to post this #tbt video of what our current space looks like with barely anything in it. 

News and Notes

  • 15.5, the final 2015 CrossFit Open WOD, will be announced TONIGHT at 8pm! Follow along here
  • Congrats to Danae on passing her oral examination yesterday and earning her PhD in philosophy!
  • Happy birthday, Steph M.!

All the PRs This Cycle

Last week wrapped up our 8-week cycle of bench pressing, back squatting, snatching, front squatting, deadlifting, and cleaning. Yet again, we saw a landslide of impressive personal records. If you posted on the blog, we recorded it below (in no particular order). Congrats, everyone.  

  • Christian A.: Deadlift at 255#, Back Squat 3RM at 210# and 1RM at 215#, Bench 3RM at 155#
  • Shawn: Deadlift at 315#, Clean at 185#, Hang Snatch at 125#, Back Squat at 225#, Bench at 205#
  • Jason M.: Clean at 286#, Deadlift at 464#
  • Charlie: Clean (from the hang, full squat) at 133#, Front Squat 3RM at 170#
  • Allie B.: Deadlift 3RM at 145#, Bench at 80#
  • Coach K HarpZ: Snatch 120#
  • Lauren S.: Clean 125#
  • Mrav: Power clean at 195#, Bench at 245#, HBBS at 305#
  • Ben L.: Bench at 250#, Squat at 330#, 
  • Sarah M.: Mile run at 8:40
  • Sean: Back squat at 125#
  • Matt K.: Bench at 356#
  • Joel W.: Back Squat at 415#, Bench at 240#
  • Coach Lady Fox: HBBS at 270#, Bench at 155#
  • Amanda Mc: HBBS at 145#
  • Colleen: Back Squat 3RM at 135#, Bench 3RM at 75# (best quote: "3 reps is like a party!")
  • Ruth: Back Squat at 235#
  • KH: Bench at 110#
  • Laura: Back Squat at 195#
  • Kate R.: Back Squat at 225#, Front Squat at 165#
  • Ryan L.: Back Squat at 265#
  • Jenny M.: Bench at 105#
  • Michael A.: Bench at 280#
  • BK: Bench at 210#
  • Michael C.: Clean and Jerk at 215#
  • Coach Whit: Bench at 135#
  • DH3: Back Squat at 375#

If you PR-ed one or many of your lifts last week and haven't posted yet, post in the comments today to let us know!

The Strange World of Felt Presences The Guardian
Science Versus Music Nigel Stanford 

What are you hoping to see revealed as the final Open workout tonight?


Crush Week WOD 3.25.15

For Time:
550m Run
21 Back Squats @ Bodyweight
400m Run
15 Back Squats @ Bodyweight
270m Run
9 Back Squats @ Bodyweight 

Post time and Rx to comments.

Joe getting up during Death by Burpees on Monday night

News and Notes 

  • GET FIT OR BE HACKING UPDATE: We've added a "Scaled" (i.e., no coding!) option for non-coders (or those who won't want to code competitively)! Check out the updated event page for more info and register today on CrowdRise. We hope to see you all on May 2nd!
  • There are still a couple spaces left in Ken's Gymnastics Skillz class, on Sundays from 2-3:30pm, March 29, 2015 through May 3, 2015. Register here before it sells out!
  • Happy birthday, Jared K.

2015 CrossFit Open Leaderboard: Team CFSBK

The results for 15.1, 15.1a, 15.2, 15.3, and 15.4 are in, and here are our team's leaders! Congrats to everyone who has been pushing themselves the last couple weeks with these tough workouts. We can't wait to see the final workout when it's revealed on Thursday...

1. Coach MeLo
2. Coach K HarpZ
3. Coach Lady Fox
4. Coach Whitney
5. Lauren B. 
6. Ellie M. 
7. Steph M.
8. Coach JB
9. Lauren S.
9. Kate R. (tied with Lauren)


1. Alex B.
2. Coach McDowell                
2. Alex N. 
4. Matt K.
5. Coach David
6. Coach Noah
6. Pierre D. (tied with Noah)
8. Zach H. 
9. Bob S. 
10. Jason M.


1. Joy M.
2. Mare L.
3. Asha B.
4. Colleen M.
5. Christina L.
6. Micheline D. 
6. Barbara K. (tied with Micheline)
8. Shawn C.
9. Francine D. 
10. Bree P.

1. Pierre D. 
2. Bob S.
3. Peter M. 
4. Coach Fox
5. Michael R.
6. Andy M. 
7. Chris P. 
8. Carlos G.
9. James K.
10. Bjorn B.

The Physics of Droplets The New York Times 
What It's Really Like To Be a Male Ballet Dancer Shape 
How To Voodoo Floss Your Own Shoulder 


Rest Day

Congrats to DH3 who PR-ed his squat on Sunday at 375#! 

  • Happy birthday, Rebecca GC and Betsy S.!

All The Good Reps, and Only the Good Reps

By Chris Fox 
Originally published on 1.12.2015 

We’ve almost all been there before. You’re tired, it’s your 50th pull up, handstand push up, power snatch, or whatever. You sort of, kind of, maybe executed full range-of-motion—but then again, maybe you didn’t. Then, you maybe even tried to squeeze in another (no) rep! Coaches see this, your fellow athletes see this, and you see this.

With a judge in front of you—whether it’s a regular group class, during the Open, or at a local throwdown—you’ll have a harder time getting away with garbage reps. I’d suggest that you shouldn’t let yourself off the hook in your daily training either. Your continued progress over the long haul is the ultimate goal. You want your movements to be truly quantifiable. If you count reps where sometimes your chin gets over the bar and sometimes it doesn’t, then you’re left comparing apples to durian fruit.

At CFSBK, we strive for virtuosity—the principle that you should aim to perform even the simplest movements exceedingly well. With effort and practice, your 300th squat in “Murph” can and in fact should be a mirror image of your first. Be honest about your reps and if you’re not 101% sure, then don’t count them. It sucks, yeah, but don’t be that person who moves really fast but really poorly. Don’t be the person who the next class coming in looks at and says “Uh uh... that’s not a rep.” Be the person with whom you’d be impressed, even if it slows you down a bit. Consider that you may need to scale WODs sometimes. The Rx isn’t for everybody, and even if you do some or most of our WODs Rx’d, there may be some that you should scale load and/or volume. Then, even when you really, really tried to do a good rep but didn’t, resist the urge to count your effort as execution. Only count the good ones.

Crush Week began yesterday. Remember: all the good reps, and only the good reps!

Tonight at 7:30pm: Pilates with KH (a.k.a. Cage)

Have you ever been told by a coach or PT that you have a weak core? Are you not sure what "keep your ribcage down" means? Do you suffer from a tweaky lower back after lifting heavy weights? Help is on the way! The Pilates Method can be great "accessory work" for a Crossfitter, not only because it improves flexibility and strengthens the abdominal and back muscles, but mainly because it can help you figure out HOW to use these muscles properly. Come join Kristin Hoesl (KH) in CFSBK's first ever weekly Pilates class. We'll go over neutral pelvis, engaging the transversus abdominis (say WHAT?), stabilizing the rib cage, and finding good shoulder girdle positioning. So if any of this sounds intriguing to you, come drop in on!

Schedule: Tuesday nights at 7:30pm upstairs in the CFSBK Annex
Price: Individual classes and 5-packs can be purchased here, or you can use your regular CrossFit group class membership to attend 

Learn more about KH in our interview with her, called "'Mad Abs, Yo!' How Pilates Complements CrossFit, and Getting to Know Kristin H."

Want To Improve Your Gymnastics Skillz? 

Join guest gymnastics coach Ken H. as he takes you through four weeks of gymnastics strength training. This 1.5 hour long class will incorporate different facets of body weight strength training and movement. Specifically, each class will be composed of three to four distinct areas, such as: warm-up and active mobility, rings skill work (muscle ups, levers etc), body weight strength conditioning, balance (on hands and feet), and flexibility. Students will be asked to have a goal or intention to focus on for the next six weeks. Students can then focus on that goal outside of class.

When: Sundays from 2-3:30pm, March 29, 2015 through May 3, 2015
Price: $120 for 6 Weeks
Cap: 8 Participants
Pre-Req: previously attended rings class, or 1 pull up for women, 3 for men 


Fastest Star in the Galaxy Got an Unusual Start The New York Times 
How CrossFit Became a $4 Billion Brand Forbes 
An Open Letter From Your Horrible Facebook Friends The New Yorker 

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