The Cave

The Cave Blog

Archive for December, 2009

Rowing Technique video and Schedule announcements

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Hey guys, I scouted this rowing technique video that Mike posted on the CFO blog several weeks ago.  It seems pretty good.  Now I’ll try to figure out why Ben thinks my rowing technique sucks, even though I can row a 1:25 500M.  It is notable that Ben usually points out my deficient rowing technique when I start laughing about his Parkour vaulting technique.  CrossFit Marin LUUUVVVV. 

Like Coach Mini(um) pointed out, rowing is all about leverage and body angles.  It’s physics and geometry.  It’s also easy improvements for your workouts if you can iron away some inefficiencies in your  technique.  We still intend on posting the results for the 5k rowing homework up on the records board, so get to that if you haven’t gotten a chance to.  Rich actually got an erg from Lady Santa Clause for X-mas! 

A couple of scheduling announcements: 

Thurs Dec 31st we will have a regular schedule until 7pm.  There will be no self-defense classes Thursday night, but we will have the 5:45pm adult parkour class until 7:15pm.  The 6-7pm CrossFit class is also still on. 

The gym is closed on Jan 1st, but Nick is planning some crazy team workout that most of us are going to put ourselves through.  It will be across the GG bridge and back.  Read his blog from a couple of days ago.

Saturday I’m planning a field trip to go climbing at Planite Granite SF.  Your hosts will be Johnny Seitz, Ryan Wooley, and Myself.  Russ may also help.  It will cost roughly $20-$25 to get in and rent equipment.  You all know how much I love to climb.  I’m excited.  Take advantage, because there is going to be some quality instruction and coaching available.  We will be meeting in the gym at about 1pm, after Saturday’s trainer’s meeting and we plan on arriving at the climbing gym between 1:30-1:45pm.  Call me if you have any questions.

Injuries From Activity

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
Injury on the field of play

Injury on the field of play

If you move you risk injury. Injury through participation in sports and other physical activities range wildly from one activity to another. Some of the facts may surprise you as far as injury rates from various sports.

I have been wanting to write this post since I did some reasearch on running injuries. I was appalled at the injury rate in running. 65-80% of runners suffer an injury annualy. Let that sink in a little bit, the correlation is only 20-35% of runners make it through a year without getting hurt. This is from running. A supposedly natural activity that basically anyone can do. Improper mechanics are likely the cause of the vast majority of these injuries. Our high tech squishy shoes are generally the cause of the improper mechanics.

I have found many other references to the 65-80% running injury rate. Another way of looking at the statistic is that there are 10 injuries per 1,000 participant hours (note from below this is higher than alpine skiing). This is simply unacceptable.

Here is a list of injury rates in activities that are typical for adult fitness.

A variety of other sports are ranked below, with the number of injuries per 1000 hours of activity in parentheses (’Injuries in Recreational Adult Fitness Activities,’ The American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 21 (3), pp. 461-467, 1993).
1. Alpine skiing (8)
2. Rowing machine exercise (6)
3. Treadmill walking or jogging (6)
4. Tennis (5)
5. Dancing classes (5)
6. Resistance training with weight machines (4)
7. Resistance training with free weights (4)
8. Outdoor cycling (3.5)
9. Stationary cycle exercise (2)
10. Stair climbing (2)
11. Walking (2)

A ranking of injuries per 1,000 participant exposures for a variety of collegiate sports. The first column of numbers is injuries occurring in practice, the second is injuries occurring in competition. A few things to note. Gymnastics is a rare sport in that the injury rate in competition is not remarkably higher than that of practice, also the fact that the injury rates in elite competition for this sport are drastically lower than other competitive sports. This is the reverse for most sports and demonstrates the radical importance of a high caliber structured program for the sport.

Football    4.1    35.6
Wrestling    4.6    30.8
Taekwondo (M)   no data  27.2
Taekwondo (W)    no data 22.2
Gymnastics (W)    7.2    21.5
Soccer (M)    4.5    19.2
Soccer (W)    5.1    17.0
Gymnastics (M)    4.4    16.5
Lacrosse (M)    4.1    16.4
Ice    Hockey    2.5    16.2
Basketball (M)    4.1    8.9
Basketball (W)    4.2    8.1
Field    Hockey    3.8    8.4
Ultimate Frisbee (M)    3.5    7.0
Lacrosse (W)    3.4    6.3
Baseball    2.0    5.7
Ultimate Frisbee (W)    2.0    5.6
Volleyball (W)    4.6    5.3
Softball    3.4    5.1
Elite    Gymnastics - Women’s    no    data    3.7

(Compiled from a variety of sources)

All this being said, injuries do occur. It is impossible to completely eliminate risk, but we can drastically reduce it with proper progressions, mechanics and sensible increases in loads/skill acquirement.

The Right Way to Start 2010

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

One of my New Years traditions is to perform an epic workout on the first day of the year.  Since I started doing CrossFit, my definition of “epic” has changed into what many people might consider to be “horrendous.”

Last year, I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends join me.  I brought Jared and Peter, who had no previous CrossFit experience, and Andres came along to help keep things interesting.  We did a team version of the hero workout, “Murph,” which consisted of running across the Golden Gate Bridge, then performing a total of 400 pull-ups, 800 push-ups and 1200 squats, then running back across the bridge, all while wearing 20-lb weight vests.


I know you wish you were there....

This year, we’re going to be doing something different, but still epic.  My guess is that it will be even better than last year.  And do you know the best part?  YOU ARE INVITED!  You can also bring friends, family and anybody else who wants to kick off 2010 by performing absurd feats of fitness.  Here’s what to expect:

  • We will be starting the workout at noon on January 1, 2010, at the Viewing Park on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • The event will be grueling, but will be more mentally challenging than physically challenging.
  • The event will be team-based and, as always, scaling will be available.
  • The event will be of longer duration than many of you have experienced before.  Be prepared to see how well intense, short duration training transfers to long duration efforts.  Expect the workout to last 2-3 hours.
  • San Francisco is notorious for its weather.  Expect it to be cold, damp and miserable, making the event that much more epic.
  • Eat a good breakfast and pack a snack or a meal for after.  Make sure that you hydrate very well before the event, especially if you partied hard the night before.  It never hurts to pack your own water, too.
  • If you can, bring a pair of light-weight work gloves that you can get messed up.
  • We will probably be creating quite a spectacle, so if you’ve got a CrossFit Marin shirt, wear it and represent!

If you plan on coming, please RSVP in the comments, or send me an e-mail so that I’ll know about how many people to expect.  Hope to see you all there to start the New Year off right!

This is where some of our traceuses & gymnasts are headed.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

I just took an awesome parkour class that Aero coached tonight.  It was fun and challenging and the emphasis was, of course, on movement as opposed to fitness, although there was some conditioning at the end of class.   Nevertheless, I was reflecting on how strong, agile, coordinated and cardiovascularly fit you can get just from doing parkour and training aggressively.  Afterwards, as I happened on this youtube video, it occurred to me that we have some of our female traceuses and gymnasts may be headed down to southern California ten or fifteen years from now to pursue a similar career track.  Take a look.  By the way, I’m in love with Jessie Graff (not that I wouldn’t date the other ones).

Hopefully you won’t shoot yourself after listening to the soundtrack for almost 7 minutes.

Even if you’re not an aspiring stunt woman/stuntman, I encourage everyone to try the parkour, gymnastics and self-defense classes.  After all, they are more fun than the CrossFit classes, and imagine the things that you will be able to do!

Where is Shane Now

Saturday, December 26th, 2009
Shane working on rope climb in the old studio

Shane working on rope climb in the old studio

Some of you remember Shane Daniels. He was an interim parkour coach for us a short while ago. If you were wondering what he’s been up to. He’s headed down to tinsel town to get some work on screen. Additionally he qualified to American Ninja Warrior, traveled to Japan and competed. No spoilers here. Catch the runs on G4, or do some searches on YouTube to find him.

We wish Shane and his family the best and hope he’s wickedly successful in all his endeavors.

Shane’s first American Ninja Warrior run.

Lown-Heitz F1: Baby Fran ( & Check post for X-mas/End of the Year Party announcement)

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Ok, I have to admit, I’m totally giddy about this.  You have GOT to see this!  Meet our newest CrossFit Marin family, the Lown-Heitz, featuring David, Rebecca, Isabella & Nico.  I ran them through F1 and Baby Fran on Christmas Eve.

And now for our presentation:

Now wasn’t that just charming?

Also, we have a X-mas/end of the year party at Rosanna’s place at 12 Pepper Ave., Corte Madera at 8pm tomorrow night.   (Trainers under 21 may come but will not be allowed to drink.)   Bring something to eat/drink as well as your best swing dancing shoes.  Please post here if you plan on attending and what you inted to bring.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays everyone,


OSTN on Christmas Day

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Hey Crew,

We are having OSTN tomorrow for FREE.  So you can come in and hang out with us.  OSTN starts at 1pm and is scheduled until 3pm.  You can work on whatever you want.  We may even play the dice game and I’ll run some workouts for people who wish me to do so.  (Maybe Helen, if we are not playing the dice game.)  Ben is planning on workint out as well with Carlos, Russell and others.  He may come in towards the end, in which case the gym will be open later still.  Call me if you are interested in coming.  Four One 5.  200. seventy-eight-seventy-four.

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

-Draidle (That’s what Ben calls me.)

Progressive Overload

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
1 95lb squat clean not so bad. 90 of them is a different story

1 95lb squat clean not so bad. 90 of them is a different story

One of the funadmental principals of training is progressive overload. Take what you are capable of and add a little bit at a time to increase capacity. There are a few ways to do this. Heavier weights, more reps or mechanical disadvantage. We use all three in our training regularly. We often do high rep lifts at moderate weights. An example would be one of our Saturday morning workouts which involved 3 800m runs, 90 squat cleans and 90 ring dips. Often we see technique improve on the squat cleans mid-workout simply because you start to fall into the grove of the movement. Try to feel these moments and remember so you can program yourself for this efficiency.

Evidence-Based Fitness

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

In CrossFit, we do a lot of things that other people in the fitness industry think are insane.  We mix weight-lifting with “cardio,” we use the kip to “cheat” when we do pull-ups, we put heavy weight overhead, we run on the front of our feet and we eat high-protein diets, among other things.  Much of our training is contrary to what the mainstream fitness model says is healthy, safe and productive.

The problem is that the mainstream fitness model is more interested in perpetuating itself than in creating fit individuals.  That’s not to say that you can’t get fit following the mainstream model, just that the industry itself isn’t interested in making you fit.  In many ways the modern fitness industry actually prevents people from reaching their fitness potential by making them believe the best way to be fit is to follow a carbohydrate-rich diet, do isolation movements on expensive machines and run in fancy shoes that should be replaced every 6-months.

Sadly, the standard fitness model (like a lot of things) is rich in speculation and testimonies, but lacking in actual evidence.  Just saying something doesn’t make it true, you actually have to prove it through experimentation and other evidence.  In the CrossFit model, we measure and record every workout so that we can look back and see if our program is actually working.  You’ll know that you’re on the right track when you see your times decreasing and the weights you can lift increasing.  When you change your diet or sleeping patterns or dial in your technique, you’ll feel it in your workouts and it will show in your numbers.


The Athletics Log: a great place to gather evidence!

At the same time, we’ve got to be aware of genetic variation.  Everybody’s built just a little differently, so we’re not advocating a one-size-fits-all approach, unlike the aforementioned modern fitness industry.  There is no age-based target heart rate that you should strive for and we don’t care about the ratio of your weight to the square of your height or other meaningless metrics.  Similarly, we don’t always care whether you do a high-bar or low-bar back squat, so long as you are lifting a lot of weight without putting yourself at undue risk.  Of course, we’d like you to learn and practice both methods so you can use the one that is most effective for you.

Looking at your training from this perspective will help you to avoid what I call “mixed-message-induced apathy.”  When we hear several different opinions that seem to contradict each other, it’s easy to get confused and not know what to believe.  The result is often to stick to the status quo and not change anything.  However, that is a trap that will impede your progress.  When a coach suggests changing your technique, diet, etc., try making the change and looking at the results.  Run the experiment, collect the data and go from there.  You are your own life-long fitness experiment, so be a good scientist!

Newest Member of The CrossFit Marin Family

Monday, December 21st, 2009
Logan Resting After His Ordeal

Logan Resting After His Ordeal

Logan Asher Harrell was born at 10:13am this morning. All went well and mother and Logan are doing great. He weighed 8lbs 7oz (3802g) and was 21″ long. I’ll be in the gym when I can be, see you soon.