massTraining Strategies For Protecting Muscle Mass

Bob LeFavi, Ph.D.,

Don’t get nervous. We know you intend to use your muscles for what they were designed for — i.e., moving. But in order to achieve maximum performance, you need to maintain maximum muscle mass. In the last issue, we looked at nutritional strategies to help maintain the muscle tissue you’ve developed over many grueling WODs. In this issue, we look at the other half of the equation: training strategies for maximum muscle maintenance.

Why are we going on and on about this? Well, remember, CrossFit requires an athlete to excel in strength (low-speed muscle force), power (high-speed muscle force) and aerobic conditioning (met-cons). While we accept this statement as fact, it’s also often framed as a warning — the implication is that excelling in one will naturally limit another.

Case in point: Consider muscle-mass development. Many CrossFit athletes, particularly women, have more muscle than they ever had in their lives. And that’s great — it’s called into use every time you get out of bed, stand up from your chair or walk into the box. However, is that muscle mass limited and at risk because of other aspects of CrossFit training? In other words, does doing “Nancy” limit performance in “Fran”? The answer is yes, it can, if you’re not careful.

Naturally, the next question is: How can CrossFitters train to maintain the muscle mass they develop? The answer lies in borrowing training concepts from other fitness communities. Continue reading here.

WOD (10-Feb-2016)

21-18-15-12-9 reps for time of:
WB (20/14)
**50 DU after each round**

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box step downBox Jumps: Step Down if You Like Your Achilles

by tabatatimes

A growing number of CrossFit coaches are programming only “jump up-step down” box jumps in their training sessions. Why? Achilles tendon tears happen way too often in high-rep box jump sessions, making it one of more dangerous exercises in CrossFit – especially if you are a guy. The male to female ratio for Achilles tendon rupture varies between 7:1 and 4:1 across various studies.

Step down vs. Jump down

CrossFit Snohomish covers the basics of the jump up-step down box jump:

The jump up-jump down method in my opinion should really be reserved for those looking to be competitive in the sport of CrossFit and even at that, should possibly be saved for game day performances.

This method trains the explosive component of the movement that is the hallmark of the box jump. While providing the power and coordination of the jump, it also minimizes the risk on the descent back to the ground. It lacks some of the coordination and agility of our final option, the super speedy jump up-jump down version of the movement. This type of box jump is by far the fastest and I believe has the most potential to train the physical abilities that we are shooting for on the box jumps. It also has the most inherent risk due to the potential to get out of control and due to the rapid and forceful stretch/contract sequence in the calves and Achilles during the quick bounce off the ground. Continue reading here.

WOD (9-Feb-2016)

3RFT of:
10 Burpee Pull-Ups
15 Front Squats (95/75)
20 Box Jumps (24/20)



Posted in | Leave a comment imageDate: april 2, 2016



8am – 5k

9am – 1k Fun Run


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9 Exercise Tweaks for Strength, Size, and Mobility

After I competed in my last powerlifting meet, I felt the need to explore new directions in my training. After about six weeks trying out various strategies, these nine significant changes have helped me improve my weak spots.

Lower Body

Quads: Atlantis Hack Squat Machine – I do these with slow tempo, weight focused on forefoot, and no lockout. As soon as my leverage starts to improve on the concentric phase, I switch direction and go back down for the next rep. This means I’m generating constant tension throughout the exercise. I’ve never had a quad pump or quad soreness after doing these, but I do feel significant strain on the muscle, so that’s a start.

Calves: Two Second Pauses – I’ve started training calves regularly for the first time in a long time. Okay, I’ve never really trained them consistently. There, I said it. If for no other reason than curiosity, I’m going to train calves twice a week and see if I can get them to respond. I’m using standard equipment, but inserting two-second pauses at the top and bottom of every rep. The ankle-Achilles mechanism is such an efficient spring. You have to find a way to override the stretch return and pauses do the trick. Continue reading here.

WOD (8-Feb-2016)

AMRAP in 15 min of:
5 T2B
10 Hand-release Push-Ups
15 Wallballs (20/14)


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rest_2-t2CFV is closed on Sunday’s, get some rest.

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OPEN GYM – Every Saturday


All CFV members are encouraged to come out the box every Saturday morning and take advantage of the Open Gym. This simply allows you to work on some gymnastics, strength or Olympic weightlifting, row/run, do a Girl/Hero WOD. You may want to catch up on a WOD missed through the week, pick your poison.


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jerkWhy You Keep Missing Your Jerks

I was fortunate to recently witness the IWF Senior World Championships in Houston, Texas with colleagues. As lifting nerds, this was a perfect opportunity to compare notes on technique and training. You name it, we analysed it. As I mentioned in my last article, one thing we noticed was that champions often harbor the same flaws as lower-level lifters. The only difference is that they are a hell of a lot stronger.

We also noticed the different ways lifters approached their jerks. Famed lifting writer Bud Charniga noted that more lifts are lost in the jerk than in the clean, even though the jerk requires less energy. The reason for this seemingly odd situation occupied our between-lift analyses. Here are our three main conclusions.

You Have to Clean It First

The supposedly easier jerk can only be performed after the more difficult clean. It’s one thing to jerk big weights when taking them off a rack in training. It is quite another to try the jerk after you have fought with a heavy clean.  Continue reading here.

Schedule reminder: No 7am or 8:15am today

WOD (5-Feb-2016)

3RFT of:
15 KB Swings (70/53)
30 Cal Row
45 Double Unders (4:1)

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postureThe Way You Stand Is Damaging Your Body

Today I want to talk to you about a posture I call “The One Leg Booty Pop.” Technically called “hanging on one hip,” it is where the entire body weight is shifted onto one weight-bearing leg. This posture causes the pelvis and hip to be in a position of adduction, and it is wreaking all sorts of havoc on you and your body.

Take a look at this picture. I’m sure many of you recognize it as a stance you adopt frequently – on a water break at the gym, while holding your kids, or simply after standing a long period of time. Physical therapists look out for this posture when we are assessing someone for back, hip, knee, and pretty much all other types of pain.

All Bone, No Muscle

Let me put it in perspective for you. You know how when your friend is standing tall, you can sometimes hit the back of their knee and it buckles? And then it takes them a moment before they catch themselves from falling?

If you manage a successful takedown, it is because your friend has locked out the knee joint and is resting simply on ligaments and bone. In other words, he or she is not using any active muscular control at the knee joint. This is why the knee buckles and why it takes a second before the muscular control kicks in to prevent a fall. The same thing happens when you hang on your hip. Instead of using your muscles, you rely on the ligaments, hip capsule, and bones to support your body weight. Continue reading here.

Schedule notice:

Friday Feb. 5th, no 7am or 8:15 am classes, sorry for the inconvenience.


WOD (4-Feb-2016)

AMRAP in 20 min of:
5 Strict Pull-Ups
10 Box Jumps (24/20)
15 Back Squats (115/85)

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Calories of CFHow Many Calories Does CrossFit Really Burn?

Hurricanes and CrossFit workouts have one thing in common: Some of the most brutal ones are named after women.When scientists at Kennesaw State University studied Cindy, one of the fitness brand’s benchmark timed workouts, they found that this routine can burn 261 calories. Keep in mind that Cindy has to be completed in just 20 minutes.

“The entire workout contains just three bodyweight exercises,” says Brian Kliszczewicz, Ph.D. and lead study author. “But because the exercises incorporate all your muscles and you do them intensely, the workout is impressive in terms of caloric expenditure.” Continue reading here.

WOD (3-Feb-2016)

Squat Clean 1-1-1

Bench Press 2-2-2

OH Squat 3-3-3

Followed by a quick metcon, to be determined.

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mindsetFixing a Fixed Mindset: For Athletes and Coaches


As a coach, I see every WOD as an opportunity for my athletes. That opportunity may be physical, as in practicing skills they have not mastered or getting stronger or faster. That opportunity may also be mental, as either a test of sheer mental toughness or as part of the process of evaluating and improving an athlete’s mindset.

Mindset can be defined as a set of beliefs about oneself and others, and developing a positive mindset will make the difference between plateauing in fitness or reaching our potential. While there are many facets of mindset, in this article we will only discuss fixed and growth mindsets.

Dr. Carol Dweck, a social psychology researcher at Stanford University, discovered the growth and fixed mindsets through decades of research. She defines the fixed mindset individual as someone who believes that talent, intelligence, and other abilities are fixed traits: you either have them, or you don’t. The growth mindset individual, on the other hand, believes that their basic abilities can be developed through effort. Continue reading here.

WOD (2-Feb-2016)

21-15-9 reps for time of:
Power Cleans (135/95)
Ring Dips

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IMG_20150911_082150605Why You Shouldn’t Set Your Rower to 10


You don’t go grab a barbell and load it up with your 1RM and start your workout there, do you? Of course not. So why do so many people set their erg to 10 and set off to row? Good question, huh? Read on and find out why setting your erg at 10 is almost never a good idea.

How the Rower Works

For starters, let’s discuss briefly how indoor rowers work, because I’m an engineer and this is my chance to be nerdy. When you think of rowing, you think of boats and rowing on the water, right? Guess how much water is used in the operation of these Concept 2 rowers? That’s right — none! (Well, unless you are sweaty like me, then things might get a little damp. But I digress.)

Indoor rower doesn’t sound as cool as calling it an erg. Erg comes from the word ergometer, which simply means a device that measures the amount of work being performed.

You knew there was no water involved, but do you know what provides the resistance with each and every pull you make? Here’s a hint: you breathe it. Yup, air! Good ole air provides all the pulse quickening and pain inducing you could ever want, and yet always leaves you gasping for more air. Air is a tricky character sometimes. Continue reading here.

WOD (1-Feb-2016)

For Time:
“Filthy Fifty”
50 reps of each of the following:
Box Jumps (24/20)
Jumping Pull-Ups
KB Swings (53/35)
Walking Lunge Steps
Back Extensions (abmat)
Wallballs (20/14)
Double Unders (3:1)


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