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Archive for January, 2012

Big Competition Weekend For Cavers

Monday, January 30th, 2012

As many of you know Jacqui M. and Jill S. competed in the Nor Cal 40s today. First off I commend the staff and volunteers from TJ’s gym. The event was run very well. We really appreciate all involved in helping to make events like this happen. We know how much work is involved.

The competition was one long day. A long sequence of many workouts kept athletes working hard throughout the day. Jill came into this competition as reigning champion from last year so had a lot to prove.  Jacqui came into this as her first public competition (she participated in the open at our facility last year). Both athletes performed well. Jill S. finished 5th and Jacqui finished 18th. Several Cavers showed up to lend their support. It was a ton of fun. Who’s in for next year?

Another competition was going on this weekend that few were aware of. Our youngest CF certified trainer was competing in a youth CF competition. Seraphina S. was one of two girls in the “Varsity” category competing. Sera finished second, but against quite an athlete. Many other athletes were in the competition but were in a different category being unable to performed the workouts with prescribed loads and movements.

CF Games Open Participation

Sunday, January 29th, 2012
The 2011 Games Were Big

The 2011 Games Were Big

So you’ve probably noticed the big ol notice on the blackboard about the CrossFit Games open coming up here in about a month. So if you’re not a top competetor why should you care? If you are training with us then you should participate in the open. You are going to end up doing the workouts anyway because they will be integrated into our regular programming, and participating is not very expensive ($10 last year). The open is a ton of fun, and last year a bunch of folks stepped up their game to perform some of the workouts.

The open is going to be 5 workouts spread over 5 weeks to test CrossFit athletes and determine who goes to regionals. The format could be the same as last year, or different. We won’t know until they fill us in. We had a regional qualifier in Jill S., and a master’s games qualifier in Bill B. who went on to rank 18th in the world. The level is even higher in the gym now, so lets see how we can do. Even if you don’t think you stand any chance at all of making regionals you should participate. Its fun to just see where you fall in this world of crazy fit people.

Sign ups start on Feb 1. We will let you know how you can register and be a part of our facility team.

Standards for the Nor-Cal 40’s

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Here are the standards for the Nor-Cal 40’s that are taking place on Sunday at the Craneway Pavillion.  So far the hardest movement that’s come up in the known workouts are fairly heavy squat snatches.  (125# for men & 85# for women).  Both Jacqui and Jill have been practicing these as well as the other movements in the workouts.  (Unfortunately Noah has an aggravated achilles tendon and will not be able to attend.)  Their first workouts start at 10am for Jill and 10:15am for Jacqui, as they’re in the later heats.  Come by to cheer on our girls and support the regional Bay Area CrossFit community.  You’re sure to meet some really great people from up and down the west coast.  Cost for attendance is $5 and there will be food for sale as well.  If last year was any indication this promises to be a fantastic, well-run event.

Please post some encouraging comments to our two lady athletes or let us know if you plan on swinging by.


Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Here’s a couple of my favorite youtube videos of people doing things many of us would consider impossible.  Seriously, these guys must be mutants.

We’ll start off with Rob Orlando’s one-arm Fran.

One dimension of physical fitness that we frequently exclude from CrossFit is accuracy.  This guy, Bob Munden, has a surplus of accuracy.

What are your favorite videos of mutants and/or crazy human abilities?

Gymnastics Seminar Feb 11th

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Discussing Shoulder Angles

Discussing Shoulder Angles

On February 11th we will be running the first gymnastics seminar as The Cave. The last seminar we ran was was in April of 2011. With all of the growth and other things going on the seminars were put on the back burner for a while.

We split the seminar day into two segments. The Trainer’s Seminar focuses on teaching how to teach the gymnastics elements in the CrossFit program. With a detailed look at key movements trainers will learn how to improve their craft and spot bio mechanical flaws. Safety and proper progression will be covered so that trainers can better aid their clients in learning these elements. Many will find how to improve their own movements as well.

The Athlete’s Seminar will focus on how to perform the movements most efficiently and effectively. Key progressions and approach will be covered in detail to put together plans on improving skills or acquiring new ones.

With the CrossFit Games coming up a little efficiency in a few movements could make a huge difference in placement. Last year a couple reps on some of the workouts resulted in moving up hundreds of slots. Come to this seminar to get these movements dialed in.

Contact us to sign up.


Saturday, January 21st, 2012
The Consequences of a Lot of Pullups

The Consequences of a Lot of Pullups

We keep track of a lot of things. Number of rounds or times, loads used, scaling for various movements used, etc. Why do we care? Its a bit of trouble to write results on the board, work hard to make sure standards are adhered to and then get those results out to you so you can log them in the AthleticsLog. Why would we go to this trouble? Because it matters. Here is why it matters.

1. If you know your numbers we can better plan your workouts. We are frequently asked “What load should I use for this?”. Well, we will generally follow up with asking you what is your max on a given lift, or what was your time with what load the last time you did this workout, or something similar. If you don’t know these numbers we have to estimate based on known performances on other things which will reduce the efficacy of the present workout.

2. We have something by which to compare today and tomorrow. Most workout plans and gyms do not keep track of anything. (well possibly bodyweight) So there is no real objective way to know if their program is working for you. We want you to keep track of everything because we know it will show you how much you have progressed. It will also help you determine if you are truly at a plateau or just having a rough week, or things feel harder today. Look at the data. It doesn’t lie.

3. The more people that we have data for the better we can tweak the whole program. We can see in the data where the program is working well and where it could be improved. This also allows us an objective look at the overall program.

4. It motivates you. We all push harder when there is something at stake. Even if it is just to beat the person next to you, you will push harder. If you know your previous score from a workout you will work a little bit harder to try and beat it.

5. Metrics can be fun. For example. On the pull up ladder day on Jan 13th our gym performed a sum total of 3, 398 pull ups in one day.  We had two people that exceeded 200 pull ups individually. Lawrence B. will be thrilled to learn that he was 1 rep shy of 200 pull ups… Yup, 199 Lawrence, 199. When we run some of these numbers as total work performed by one person in a workout, or the total work by the whole gym in a day the numbers can be pretty staggering.

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Nor-Cal 40’s 2012 Coming up on Sunday January 29th at Craneway Pavillion

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

The 2012 edition of TJ’s Gym’s Nor-Cal 40’s is coming up next on Sunday of next weekend.  We have a little team of three attending with our own defending Champ Jill Sprague ready (sort of… she’s never really ready) to defend her title as last year’s Female Champ!  Jacqui Miranda is joining her on the women’s side and Noah Guyot is competing is representing the Cave men this year!  I wanted to let all you Caver’s know in case any one is interested in coming to support our little team.  Last year Big Bad TJ’s Gym put on an AWESOME event.  It was very professional, fun, and the workouts were brilliant.  All of the info for the 2012 Nor Cal 40’s is here, in the Nor Cal 40’s page, of course.  The event will be held at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond.  Competition begins at 8am.  Here’s a snipet of the info off of the NorCal 40’s website:

Check-in time is 7:00am
Competition begins at 8:00am
Location: Craneway Pavilion (
Free parking
There will be food for sale, provided by Craneway, that is protein friendly but not all paleo. You ARE allowed to bring your own food into the facility.
There will be a full bar, also for sale by Craneway.
There will be a $5 spectator fee (kids 15 and under free).

Here’s a little video from last year’s competition for you to enjoy:

Here’s another one.  Terri Rivero is an athlete from CrossFit Petaluma coached by Sarah Pierce.

Sarah Pierce and Dan Schmieding, are owners of CrossFit Petaluma and CrossFit Sonoma County respectively and are long-time friends of The Cave, formerly known as CrossFit Marin.

And here’s another one of our favorite beast-mom:

Lastly I would like to give a special thanks to Joanna Sapir, founder of CrossFit Santa Rosa for coaching Jill during last year’s Nor  Cal 40’s finals when I could not stay due to work back at the gym.  Thank you, Joanna for all your help and support!

CrossFit/Reebok Commercial During Packers-Giants Game

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Today a commercial for Reebok/CrossFit aired during the Giants-Packers game. Last June CrossFit hit national TV for the first time with the CrossFit Games being aired on ESPN 2. To date that was the broadest exposure CrossFit had ever received. Due to the games being the show then either people were watching it because they knew it was on, or came across it while looking for something to watch. Now, we’re in a whole different category. A commercial aired during a playoff game. This puts CrossFit in front of an enormous audience.

What do you think of the commercial? What do you think about CrossFit becoming more and more mainstream? Is this good or bad for CrossFit? Is this good or bad for The Cave?

CrossFit started out as a grassroots fitness revolution. There was a time when I knew almost everyone doing CrossFit. I certainly knew everyone that was doing CrossFit in any sort of professional capacity. Now, that would be truly impossible. Heck, I keep running into people in my own gym that I haven’t met. It is truly astounding to see how much this thing has grown in just a few years. Greg Glassman told us all in the early days that CrossFit was going to take over fitness training worldwide. At the time that seemed an overly optimistic call to action from an incredible motivator. Now, it seems somewhat inevitable.

From us here at The Cave, regardless of what happens globally with CrossFit, you will receive top notch training. You will be coached by people who truly care about your progress. You will have people come along side you and push, prod, comfort and join you. We’re just getting started.

We have migrated our Facebook page to the new name. Log in and “like” The Cave:

How Are Your Basics?

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Often times when someone is failing a highly difficult skill, it really has nothing to do with that skill, but the setup and basic structure leading to that skill. This video is a great example of this. Clearly this guy is a good tumbler. He has great power, and good air awareness. Unfortunately his basics are pretty sloppy. His round off is off line, shoulder angles are limited in many of the parts and he doesn’t set well.

The set is the take off into the big skills. When he attempts the triple back off the tramp his arms are low, he’s not fully extending out of the back handspring and he rushes the tuck. If he were to clean up these basics he’d make the triple easily.

This is very common. We’ll see people miss heavy cleans, snatches, muscle ups, pull ups because of flaws in their basic movements. Pay attention to the little things. Every rep of every exercise you should be focusing on doing it as well as you can. Down to the smallest detail you can mange. With this mindset the big lifts and skills will happen. Your efficiency and power will increase. Focus on the small things and the big things will happen.

Breaking Muscle Programming By Yours Truly

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

About a month ago I was approached by the editors at They invited me to be a featured coach and to provide three weeks of programming for their audience. We posted it on Facebook a few days ago, but I wanted to put it out there for those of you not on FB. Take a look: