The Cave
Fitness Evolved
Weight Lifting

The Cave Blog

Archive for the ‘CFM’ Category

This Week’s Happenings in The Cave!

Monday, April 14th, 2014

cave_client-bbq6_webCave Community BBQ!

The Cave is hosting a Client Appreciation BBQ event on May 3rd from 1:00-7:00PM.  All are welcome to attend, though we will be paying extra special attention to our CrossFit community! They have worked very hard this year and deserve some home cookin’ and some fun!
If you’re looking to show off your awesome paleo (or non-paleo) cooking skills, you’re in luck for this is a pot-luck event.  The Cave will provide the bulk of the food and drink, but feel free to bring a dish to share! Come prepared to participate in some fun games and contests for prizes.  Who doesn’t love an old fashioned water balloon toss or three legged race? It is important to note that The Cave will NOT be providing child care at this event, however, children are welcome to attend. We hope to see you there!

Kid’s Night Out

Next Kid’s Night Out is April 26.  It’s Sports Night, with hot dogs for dinner!  Reserve your space now by e-mailing or calling (415)927-1630. $45 at the door or $35 in advance.

CrossFit Open Masters Qualifier

Masters competitors who finished in the top 200 worldwide in their age division in the Open are invited to compete in the Masters Qualifier. The Masters Qualifier runs from April 17-21. At 5 p.m. PT on April 17, four workouts will be released. Competitors will have four days to complete the workouts and submit scores. The Cave has 5 athletes competing this weekend!   Stay tuned to the blog and our Facebook page for more information.


Summer Camps

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW as these classes fill up FAST!

Summer Camps:

Ogar Strong — The T-shirt

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

1528588_300947620052814_1530693483_nOn February 4th, The Cave participated in the Kevin Ogar WOD and participants generously raised money to help put Kevin on the road to recovery.  Kevin Ogar was paralyzed in a freak accident that occurred at a CrossFit competition.  His story is heartbreaking and his strength is equally inspiring.  Since his accident, he continues to train and he even participated in a modified version of the Open. 1613798_314835318664044_439002557_n Kevin continues to show grace with his positive outlook and motivation.

We can follow his journey through the Ogar Strong Foundation page on facebook:

Now, there is another way we can support Kevin by rocking the official Ogar Strong tee! 100% of all sales from each shirt will go directly to Kevin. Let us know if you get one so we can plan a group picture!

To Swing Overhead, or Not to Swing Overhead — the Great Debate!

Friday, April 11th, 2014

“Learn the #1 Best Exercise to Blast Fat, Boost Muscle, and Build ‘Kettlebooty’”
A friend on Facebook posted the above as her status and curiosity got the best of me.  Looking at this picture… How could you not click on it?  And what the heck is a “kettlebooty”?

With the explosion of CrossFit, I’m always concerned about the promises and accusations often associated with the young sport.  Once I clicked on the picture, I recognized the name of the Facebook page being for Pat Flynn.  I felt some relief knowing that this wasn’t  some potentially harmful information, but still giggling about the phrase “kettlebooty”.  Pat Flynn is a strength and conditioning coach, but also a Russian kettle bell challenge instructor. He believes in the power of the kettle bell and I can’t argue with that.  So, I read what the picture said and I was SHOCKED!  Here it is below:

The kettle bell swing is a body-fat reducer, a power-booster, and an “athlete-maker” all in one.

And what’s really cool about the swing is that it’s super easy to learn, and the benefits are enormous.

BUT, there are a few key points to remember:

1. It’s a hinge, NOT a squat. In a hinge, the butt goes back; in a squat, the butt goes down. In other words, in a hinge, the hips are above the knees but below the shoulders; in a squat, the hips are below the knees.

2. Always START and FINISH your swings from the hinge.  A strong hinge, to start, ensures a strong set. A strong hinge, to finish, ensures you don’t throw out your back.
3. The power comes from the HIPS!  When swinging, imagine you’re trying to “jump through your heels”. The power is generated by your hips, not the arms or shoulders.
4. Don’t Go Overhead. Simply, most people lack the shoulder and T-spine mobility to safely go overhead with swings. Also, overhead swings quickly turn into “squatting swings”, which defeats the purpose. Get some “float” on the bell, and put some major oomph into it, but don’t go overhead.
5. Play “Chicken” with Your Zipper.  Don’t move your hips out of the way too soon, otherwise your low back receives the load. Wait until the last minute to get your hips out of the way–and if you’re smart, you WILL get them out of the way. Playing “chicken” with your zipper teaches you how to reduce force with your hips, a fundamental athletic skill.

Did he just say, “Don’t go overhead” with my kettle bell (#4)?  This has long been a debate amongst CrossFitters, but it’s rare to hear a coach flat out say, “Don’t go overhead.”  Don’t get me wrong, he makes excellent points of performance with the swing, but his points about going overhead led me to analyze my own stance  about the debate.

Do I recommend overhead with your kettle bell? My answer is YES, eventually you should. I think it should be a goal for CrossFitters, but not necessarily the standard.  Similar to wanting to achieve a pull-up, or a muscle up, or a certain weight on a lift, athletes should want to achieve the safety of performing a kettle bell swing overhead. I’d like to thank CrossFit Invictus for this amazing article and guidance in reaching my own conclusion.

I believe a great way to begin achieving this important goal is to start with a Russian kettle swing as you learn the hip movements in order to protect your lower back..  Then,  AFTER you have achieved the following 3 points below, it is safe to move to an overhead swing.

  1. The thoracic mobility to achieve the finishing position without overextending your lumbar spine.
  2. The mid-line stability and coordination to achieve the finishing position without overextending your lumbar spine.
  3. The discipline to achieve the finishing position without overextending at the lumbar spine, especially under fatigue.

There are wonderful and effective mobility exercises that help achieve the 3 points above.  I”ll address them in future posts.

Please keep in mind,  it’s important to evaluate these 3 points above and decide your best and safest course of action BEFORE attempting any WOD that involves kettle bell swings.  Your ability and strength can vary day to day.  Depending on how much sleep I had the night before, my coordination could be off and some days I have much better mobility than others. I love swinging my kettle bell overhead, I find great joy in it.   BUT, I also hope to swing a kettle bell for many years to come, therefore, some days you’ll see me at The Cave swinging my kettle bell to my chest (Russian style) and other days I’m swinging American (overhead).

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below about swinging a kettle bell.  And what’s a kettlebooty?!!!

Martin Sizes Up the 2014 Open!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

After the extensive whining of 14.1 from the group below, Martin, our resident analyst and numbers guy began his normal research and spreadsheet making.  Thank you Martin for your diligence in looking up what we were too scared to know.  Weekly e-mails flew after 14.1…below is Martin’s summary.

After 14.1, we had three competitors (Mark, Rich and Bill) who placed well enough to be vying for a spot in the next round of competition (to qualify, athletes need to be in the top 48 in their region for individual competitors and top 200 in the world for the 40+ crowd). Now that 14.2 has finished, The Cave has seven competitors who are in the hunt for post-Open competition! I think that is an amazing number coming out of our little gym!
Amanda is in 44th place in NorCal, which is an extraordinarily competitive region, and she can only solidify her position as heavier workouts come up. Martin, Karen and Jimmy all did well enough in 14.2 to sneak them below 200th place and so they all have something to lose in 14.3 … no pressure! Last but not least, Mark, Rich and Bill improved their positions by putting in great performances for 14.2 and climbed closer to the top of the leader board.
For the most part, the competitors on this list are in the top 10% of their respective divisions, both in NorCal and worldwide. Our 40+ athletes are generally ranked in the top 20 in their respective divisions in NorCal. Let’s hope that the trend continues after 14.3 results are in!
So after 14.2, Karen was so determined to move up the rankings that she called Dave Castro at Crossfit HQ and said: “Make 14.3 work for me, otherwise I am going to be very angry”. Well, he listened and voila! Deadlifts and box jumps, nice. Karen crushed the WOD, turning in 155 for the 5th best score in the world. This was an amazing effort which moved her from 127th overall after 14.2 to 68th overall after 14.3. Of course, as is typical, she was still pouting that she didn’t complete the 5th round of deadlifts to make 160, but I have no sympathy.
For most of the rest of us, 14.3 did not help. Amanda, Martin and Mark fell outside the cutoff, although they are close enough that there is still a chance to make it back. Rich and Bill ended up marginally worse off, but cemented their place high up the leader board and are very likely to move on to the Masters Qualifier. Jimmy remains just inside the cutoff and is handling the pressure like a pro. Ehren, Shari and Ashley improved their positions, both in rank and percentile. Hopefull,y everyone is still having fun. 14.4 is coming! We are still to see muscle ups, wall balls, burpees, thrusters, toes-to-bar and clean and/or jerk … what will 14.4 bring?
As Bo predicted, they didn’t save muscle-ups for last! For the non-Masters divisions, the muscle-up requirement was a real separator. If you didn’t have at least a few, the result was that you would plummet down the leader board. The same was true for the Men’s 40-44 division — over 1,200 men got at least one muscle-up, so not having one was very detrimental. For the other Masters divisions, the important thing was to finish the cleans as fast as possible. A muscle-up after that would be nice, but not necessary. For instance, in the Women’s 45-49, only 46 women got at least one muscle-up, so not having one did not really hurt your score at all unless you were in the top 20. Fortunately for the Cave, the people that had to have a muscle-up had them, and the people that didn’t have to have a muscle-up moved fast, so it really turned out to be a win-win for almost everyone!

Notable performances:

*         Mark banged out 4 muscle-ups after completing the cleans in 11:23, good enough for #41 in the world! Overall he went from #202 after 14.3 to #145 after 14.4!

*         Karen raced through the WOD and finished the cleans in 11:05, good enough for #49 in the world! She improved her overall position from #68 to #59.

*         Amanda made 10 muscle-ups to finish #33 in Norcal, bringing her up the leader board from #50 to #47 overall, back into a guaranteed Regionals spot.

So, we are down to the last WOD.  What will 14.5 bring? Karen, Rich and Bill are almost a lock to make it to the Masters Qualifier. Amanda, Mark and Martin still have to put in really solid performances to progress to the next round of competition. We still haven’t seen burpees, thrusters or shoulder-to-overhead. Could it be bar-facing burpee Fran? Or 7 minutes of 3-6-9-12- bar-facing burpees and thrusters? Or some kind of long, medium-heavy triplet?


14.5 really, really hurt. But now the Open is over and we have one athlete going to Regionals (Amanda!) and five athletes moving on to the Masters Qualifier! Given that there are about 10,000 affiliates around the world, having that many athletes from a single affiliate moving on to the next round is amazing.

Highlights (Congratulations to you all!):

*         Amanda reached her goal of making it to Regionals and although it was widely anticipated to be a nail biter, she had plenty of buffer, finishing #38 in NorCal with 38 points between her and #48, so she has a guaranteed spot for Regionals. This is an outstanding performance as she finished in the top 1.1% of NorCal, out of a field of ~3,500.

*         Bill crushed it yet again and has a legitimate chance of going to the Games again! He finished #18 in the world, sneaking under #20 by laying it all out there in 14.5. His sweat angel is still on display somewhere. He finished top 3.5% in the world, and #5 in NorCal.

*         Karen beat her nemesis, Leka, out of Crossfit Oakland. For those who don’t know, Leka won the 2014 NorCal Masters in Karen’s age group and Karen’s excuse for not competing was “I’m not good enough”. Well, that excuse didn’t fly then and it doesn’t fly now. Karen finished #3 in NorCal (Leka finished at #5) and #53 in world, which puts her in the top 1.6%.

*         The other half of the LeFurgy power couple, Rich, finished #44 in the world and #4 in NorCal. Although outside the top 20, he still has a chance to make the Games. Top 3.9% in the world and #4 in NorCal is no mean feat either.

*         Mark and Martin both made comebacks after a poor showing in 14.3. Mark finished #125 in the world, which is top 5.4%. Martin had the worst rank in the qualifying group at #149 in the world (top 1.4%) and managed to squeak in at #10 in NorCal.

*         Despite not making it to the Qualifiers, Jimmy got close at #257 worldwide and #21 in NorCal. Ashley was in a similar position at #243 worldwide and #19 in NorCal. She kept on improving her rank every week … if only the Open had a sixth WOD!

*         Sera finished #204 in NorCal, which is an awesome effort in an extremely competitive region. Watch this young lady Amanda, she is coming for you!

There was a very obvious trend with the performances at The Cave: as a group we have a pretty good engine, but our strength (or lack thereof) is a weakness. We need to fix this!

Parting questions:

*         Does anyone have any thoughts on what the Qualifiers bring?

*         Are Amanda, Bo, Ehren, Ashley, Sera and Shari willing to be guinea pigs for the Qualifer WODs?

*         Do the athletes want to schedule heat times over the Qualifier weekend so that we can compete head-to-head (and cheer each other)?

What’s Happening This Week In The Cave?

Monday, April 7th, 2014


The following new parkour classes have officially opened:
Parkour Essentials with JB Monday 4:00-5:00 PM
Parkour Flip & Flow
with JB Monday 5:00-6:00 PM
Parkour Essentials
with JB Monday 6:00-7:00 PM

If you are interested in enrolling your child into any of the classes mentioned above, please contact Crystal at


Cave Client Appreciation BBQ — Saturday, May 3rd 1-7PM.  Stay tuned for more information!

There are still a few spots left in our Spring Break Camps!
Are you looking for some fun activities to keep the family busy during the spring break?  Our Spring Break Camps are perfect for any kid at any level!   Kids love spending extra hours with their coaches or getting to know new ones.
Spring Break Camps:

Register on-line by clicking the links above, OR call 415-927-1630 to sign up now!

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW, - these classes fill up FAST!
Summer Camps:


What’s Happening This Week in The Cave?

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Our office moved!  Read all about it here:  The Office Is Moving!

The Open is almost closed!   Great work to all the athletes that participated.  Join us for our After the Open Celebration Happy Hour next Friday, April 4th, at 4PM.  See you there! (The Silver Peso, yo.)

SAVE THE DATE:  Cave Client Appreciation BBQ — Saturday, May 3rd 1-7PM.  Stay tuned for more information!

Are you looking for some fun activities to keep the family busy during the spring break?  Our Spring Break Camps are perfect for any kid at any level!   Kids love spending extra hours with their coaches or getting to know new ones.
Spring Break Camps:

Register on-line by clicking the links above, OR call 415-927-1630 to sign up now!

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW, - these classes fill up FAST!
Summer Camps:


The Muscle Up — The Bane of 14.4

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Well, 14.4 has come and gone.   This week, I actually have nothing to complain about!  How amazing is that?  I think I finally decided to start competing…only 4 weeks into the game.  Nice, Amanda.

14.4–The Chipper: 60 cal. row, 50 toes to bar, 40 wall ball shots, 30 cleans, 20 muscle ups, 14 min. AMRAP


Ehren H. has taken the lead over Anthony of most attempts at this workout.  It paid off for him though, as 14.4.1 and 14.4.2 gave him no muscle ups, while 14.4.3 got him 2!  Great job Ehren!

Sera S. got 4 muscle ups in her second attempt.  Huge score for Sera, considering her muscle ups are a fairly new skill.  Awesome.

Mark A. apparently had seconds on the muscle ups and was able to pull out 4!

Martin H. takes the throne on 14.4 with 13 muscle ups completed!  Well done Martin!

Both Lori E. and Mark R. attempted 14.4 again on Sunday.   They improved significantly on their second go at it.

Lygia B. visited us from Outlier CrossFit in San Diego.  After getting used to our rings, she made a muscle up (almost 2) on her second attempt.

Again, so many PRs, so many epic tales.  Cavers, you continue to impress me!  Even if you didn’t make your muscle up, or you couldn’t complete the cleans, the gym performance has been outstanding.  (Some of you even competed sick.)  We’ve got one more to go, so stay in the game!

Here is our leader board:

Amanda’s recap of 14.4:

Competition Friday shaped up to be a good day.  I had planned to race Bo so that I would have someone to chase.  Most of you know about my love for rowing (it’s one of my least favorite activities, next to thrusters), so when I was informed that the chipper started with a row, my heart sank a bit. I was not going to do this alone!

After many graphs, tables, and time trials (thank you to the analysis team Martin, Ashley and Rich), I figured out that I wanted to be off the rower and started on the toes to bar at 3:30.  From there, in a perfect world, I could spend 2.5 minutes on the toes to bar, 1.5 minutes on the wall ball, and 2.5 minutes on the cleans.  This would give me 4 minutes of muscle ups.  Although this scenario was a bit ambitious, I wasn’t too far off.


I tried for the above splits.   I was slower on the toes to bar and a bit faster on the cleans, putting me to the muscle ups at 10:54.  Bo was off the rower probably 30-45 seconds before me, so I was able to chase him down on everything.  I was able to catch up on the cleans.  I tried for a set of 2 muscle ups which felt pretty good.  I was playing it smart by sticking to 2 so that I wouldn’t fatigue.  It hit fast, though, and I was able to complete 7, failing 3.  One of the fails was a fall from the top of the rings–very dramatic.   Bo completed 9.  Win for Bo.


I stuck to the same time plan.  I decided to break up the toes to bar more (because I failed some in the first attempt) and go harder on the wall ball (because I was scared of them on the first go).   I gained 20+ seconds on the toes to bar and wall balls, but used it during the cleans.  I think in the end this was a better idea so I wasn’t as winded for the muscle ups.   I ended up getting to the muscle ups one second faster than the first attempt. This time, though, I did singles.   Bo was faster here as well, having slowed down his row which made the entire workout different.  He was on the rings first getting a set of 5.  My goal was 10.  Doing singles, I was able to complete 10 with no fails and 30 seconds to go.  I went for 2 more and failed them both.  Bo also hit 10.   Tie for BoManda.  Martin still wins.

If I could change anything about my performance, I would have waited a little longer before attempting the 11th muscle up.  I most likely would have made the 11th, and failed the 12th.  I didn’t know I had hit the wall yet.  I ended up ranking 33rd on this workout which only bumped me up 3 places. I now sit at 47th. I was thinking that this would give me a better buffer, but I sit around a tight spread.  Until this week, I sit and pray for something good, but I’m pretty sure I know what to expect…not my favorites.


14.5 = Thrusters and Burpees

How to prepare:

Learn how to feel no pain, and do Tuesday’s programming!

Good luck everyone!

The Office Is Moving!

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Yes, we’ve expanded again!  This weekend, the office was moved from the “kitchen-bathroom-changing-storage-waiting-back-room area” to a space all it’s own!

Come see us at 405 Tamal Plaza, which is the entrance on the east side of the building, next
to the current pre-rec/toddler room (406). We are super excited about this great new space! You can do everything there that you did in the other “office”:  Check your invoice, sign your waiver, switch classes, get on a wait-list, register for spring/summer camp, pay your bill, and say “hi” to the amazing office staff - Crystal, Carolynn, Sheridan, Mikaela, and Amy.

Going forward, we will do our very best to steer all clients to 405 as The Cave’s new main entrance, as opposed to the back parking lot.  First, the new office space is a clearer, safer entryway than navigating the busy parking lot and entering through one of the multiple doors in back.  Second, on the business end, it just makes sense to enter the gym through the office and get everything done that needs to get done before working out (i.e. waivers signed, fees paid, etc.).  PLUS, you can do some shopping as you stroll in since the pro shop has moved up front as well!

The visibility and openness of the new space is a real plus as The Cave continues to grow. Our office staff won’t actually be hidden ‘in the cave’ anymore from new clients.  Our new space has windows and exposure to the natural light of day. Vitamin D is happiness!  We’ll get plants!  And they’ll grow!

Stay tuned as we continue to acquire more real estate in the 400 building in Tamal Plaza.  Just around the corner is a parkour expansion AND the big build-out we’ve been planning for some time now.  Thank you sincerely for your continued loyalty and patience as we piece it all together.  We wouldn’t, couldn’t, be here without you.

14.4 - A Little Something for Everyone

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

The Open does it again.  This time, we have a sweet little chipper that has something for everyone!

14.4 - Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:

60 calorie row
50 toes to bars
40 wall ball shots (20/14)
30 cleans (135/95)
20 muscle-ups

This workout is a great test of fitness.  For most of us,  there is something we’re good at and something we’re not!   For me, it was the row — I felt it took FOREVER to get through 60 calories, but I was grateful to have 50 toes to bar waiting for me.

Before you tackle 14.4, make sure you warm up everything because this workout hits all our major body parts.  Be kind to them so they can deliver when you’re ready.  Warm up with good mornings, leg swings, a few hollow rocks, pigeon pose, and some jumping air squats.  Build up to your clean weight, row 200 meters, then you’re good to go!

When you’re ready, set a good pace — about 80% on the rower.  You won’t spend too much time here, but you don’t want to burn out either.  If you don’t have muscle-ups or don’t think you’ll make it to them, don’t worry too much about saving your grip on the toes to bar.   Relax off the bar a few times for there are still cleans to do.  I did 2 sets of 15 and then 2 sets of 10, chalking up after my 2nd set of 15.  Then, it was time for the wall balls.

At this point in the workout, be sure to make every rep count!   You’re tired and your form is starting to deteriorate.  There is nothing more  heartbreaking than hearing, “No rep” because you didn’t break parallel, or worse,  just missed the target line for the ball.  Inefficiency will just make extra work for you to do.

Prior to starting, decide how many reps of each exercise you think you can do before breaking.  Think about previous workouts with wall balls and decide from there.  In most WOD’s I can do 10 without breaking, so I stayed with that number and it worked well. I counted to 10 in between each set and went from there.

If you make it to the cleans, take a second to remember your form.  You don’t have to worry too much about getting a no rep.  As long as the bar starts on the ground and makes it to the front rack in one clear movement, it’s a good rep.  BUT, 135/95 is a big weight under fatigue.  Think about your set up, keeping your head neutral, getting full hip extension while the bar remains close to your body, (but not so close that you break your clavicle).  If you’re doing touch and go cleans, make certain the bar clearly hits the ground every time.  If you’re like me and you dump it after every rep, be certain the bar comes to a rest before you set up again.  If you make it to the muscle-ups, you’re my hero!

When the 14 minutes were up, I took a quick 400 meter cool down run — I wasn’t ready to stop moving.

As always, The Open doesn’t disappoint and this  time it handed us a workout that has something for everyone.  When you’re done, hydrate and do some mobility!  I’m looking forward to Amanda’s recap of our amazing Cave athletes and her inspiring performance when 14.4 is done.

What’s Happening This Week in The Cave?

Monday, March 17th, 2014


Congratulations to our Gymnastics Team for an incredibly successful season!  Several gymnasts are headed to States next week!   Stay tuned for more details.

Kid’s Night Out
Saturday, March 22, 5:30-10:00PM

Kids Night OutEnjoy an evening to yourself by dropping your children off at The Cave on Saturday, March 22nd, for Movie Night!  Children will enjoy hours of games, a gluten free dinner, and watch a PG-rated movie!
Ages 5 and up.
Register NOW for $35

Day of Event for $45

Please contact Crystal at

OR call 415-927-1630 to sign up now!

Are you looking for some fun activities to keep the family busy during the spring break?  Our Spring Break Camps are perfect for any kid at any level!   Kids love spending extra hours with their coaches or getting to know new ones.


Spring Break Camps:

Register on-line by clicking the links above, OR call 415-927-1630 to sign up now!

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW, - these classes fill up FAST!

Summer Camps: