The Cave

The Cave Blog

Thank you to all who served and sacrificed for our freedom

May 25th, 2015 by Dana


WOD Repair Lotion

May 20th, 2015 by Dana

note_3_last_upload_463__349081429745570451416Did you know that we carry WOD Repair lotion in the Pro Shop at the Cave?
What is WOD repair lotion ?
WOD Repair Lotion is an all natural skin care product that can be used to heal the plague of ripped hands, dry skin and achy calluses. WOD Repair Lotion helps keep calluses under control when working out or training hard.
Here at WOD Repair Lotion we know that calluses are important for grip strength but often get neglected and turn into painful, thick calluses that rip open. We like to promote healthy calluses which allow you to keep your grip strength. Keep your calluses in check by using WOD Repair Lotion on a daily basis for maintenance. WOD Repair Lotion not only gives you healthy calluses but also heals serious rips and burns! 
How it works:
There are only FIVE ingredients in WOD Repair Lotion and each ingredient on it’s own can heal your skin. Nothing to dilute down the healing power so all you get are results. WOD Repair Lotion heals from the inside out because the beeswax creates a barrier between your skin and the environment allowing all the ingredients to go through the epidermis (outer layer of skin and callus) and into the dermis (inner layer of skin and callus), thus healing from the inside out and giving you healthy calluses.

Completely safe to put on an open wound such as a ripped open callus or freshly scrapped shin because both beeswax and coconut oil are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so it will help kill off any bacteria that may be present. You won’t need neosporin anymore!
Apply anytime post WOD as your post workout skin recovery

Whether you are just working out or training in Olympic Weightlifting, Functional Fitness, Gymnastics, or anything in between, WOD Repair Lotion is the product for your skin recovery!

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

May 19th, 2015 by Dana

3/4 pound(s) parsnip(s), peeled and grated
1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) onion salt
1 slice(s) bacon
1/2 pound(s) zucchini, sliced
1/4 pound(s) mushrooms, white button, cremini or shitaake, sliced
1 medium celery stalk(s), diced
1 teaspoon(s) coconut oil
1/2 medium onion(s), red, finely diced
11/4 pound(s) turkey, ground
2 medium onion(s), green, sliced
1 tablespoon(s) Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon(s) celery salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) black pepper, freshly ground
8 large egg white(s), divided
1/2 cup(s) parsley, fresh, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Peel parsnips and grate with a cheese grater. Mix with onion salt and olive oil, and set aside.
3. Cook bacon slice in a large saute pan over medium heat. Save bacon fat and leave it in the pan. Cool bacon slice, crumble, and set aside.
4. Add zucchini, mushrooms, and celery to the pan with the bacon fat and saute until slightly softened.
5. Heat a separate pan over medium-high heat, and add coconut oil when hot. Add onions, ground turkey, Italian seasoning, celery salt and black pepper to taste. 6. Saute until turkey is fully cooked.
7. Combine meat and vegetables in one pan and mix thoroughly. Let cool 5 minutes.
8. Combine 4 egg whites with parsley and stir into the meat and vegetable mixture.
9. Combine the other 4 egg whites with parsnips.
10. Coat an 8×8 baking dish with olive oil.
11. Add meat and vegetable mixture, cover with parsnip mixture and top with crumbled bacon.
12. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the top begins to brown.

The Sumo Deadlift High Pull

May 12th, 2015 by Dana

The Sumo Deadlift High Pull (SDHP) is one of the 9 essential CrossFit movements, but many question if it should be. There has been much debate about the compromised position of the shoulder at the top of the movement.

What exactly is the SDHP?

The SDHP is an explosive compound movement that develops tremendous power in the posterior chain.  When performed correctly, it primarily strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and upper traps.  The SDHP is also a known assistance exercise to improve your pull during the clean, along with full-body coordination and explosive power.  This core to extremity lift starts much like the deadlift, but with a wider stance and narrow grip. The weight is accelerated using your legs and hips to drive it to a top position directly under your chin. This movement is fast and moves the weight a long distance, therefore making the power output very high.

Why do we do it?

In addition to the reasons above (strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and upper traps), SDHP is a useful movement for learning proper progressions for power generation.  Especially, the athlete learns the need for a triple extension of ankle, knees and hips before the arms ever bend.  The SDHP is also a useful exercise progression which prepares new athletes for the barbell clean by utilizing an explosive extension of the hip and a strong arm pull to elevate the load.

Why should we not do it?

SDHP-graphic.jpgAt the top of the SDHP movement, the athlete’s arms are actually in a similar position used by professionals to test for shoulder impingement. But, instead of the professional adding pressure to the arm during the test, the athlete is to perform high reps with a weight hanging from it.  As the athlete gets tired and her form deteriorates, the likelihood of injury due to bad form increases to a much greater extent.

The Hawkins-Kennedy impingement test (pictured above) is a test for supraspinatus tendinitis and the resulting subacromial pressure and inflammation that is common for rotator cuff injuries. This test mimics impingement by pushing the supraspinatus tendon against the anterior surface of the coracoacromial ligament and coracoid process.  In simple terms, this position forces your most commonly injured rotator cuff muscle between two bones - a position similar to the top of a perfectly executed, loaded SDHP.

The overall concern is centered around the high pull up the top and the possible impingement of the shoulder. However, when done correctly, the SDHP is not a high pull at all. The explosive opening of the hips is what is supposed to impart momentum on the bar and carry it upward. The arms will just bend to accommodate that vertical travel, they should not be actively pulling the bar up at all. The problem is while this is great in theory it is very often not what happens in practice once fatigue and repetition set in.

So, should you do a SDHP?  It does turn up in our programming, and we’ve often received questions about its safety.  Most questions sound something like, ” I hear it’s bad but I don’t know why” or “Some authority I know said not to do it, so I won’t”.  This is why I’ve written this blog, to help you understand the benefits and risks of SDHP, so you as athletes can decide, and we as coaches can help you.

To put this in perspective, one could argue that most of the movements we do carry some amount of risk to them.  Something as basic as running or squatting could put you at great risk when performed incorrectly.  Does that mean you should avoid them?  Obviously not, and I’m being a little extreme here, but hopefully you get the point.  Like any movement, including the SDHP, we as coaches are trained to ensure your safety by keeping our eyes on you.  However, knowledge is power and I encourage you to decide for yourself how you feel about this movement.  Either way, we are here to help you perform it safely or find a great substitute movement if necessary.

Some tips to help perfect your SDHP:

Deadlift Phase

  • Begin with your feet in a wide “sumo” stance, with your toes pointed out at about a 30 degree angle

  • Your hands should take a narrow grip on the bar, inside your legs

  • The bar should start at rest on the ground, touching your shins

  • Keep a neutral spine and keep tight throughout the movement

  • Keep your chest up and facing forward

  • Keep your weight on your heels

  • Your shoulders should be slightly ahead of the bar

  • Generate peak tension throughout your body before you start to pull

  • There should be no slack in your arms and you should not jerk the bar off the ground

Shrug Phase

  • At the top of the deadlift, perform a powerful shrug with straight arms, which will generate momentum on the bar

Pull Phase

  • Your arms should remain straight until after the shrug

  • Your arms finish the movement by pulling the bar up to your chin

  • The transition between the deadlift, shrug, and pull should be seamless

  • Your elbows should be high at the top of the pull


  • To return the bar to the ground, release your arms, bend your knees and keep your chest high and facing forward

Lemon Honey Rosemary Chicken

May 8th, 2015 by Dana
  • 2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4-5 rosemary sprigs
  • spinach, to garnish
  • chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle salt on top of all chicken thighs. Arrange chicken thighs in an 8×8 baking sheet.
  3. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, pepper and red pepper flakes. Pour mixture on top of chicken, pressing the chicken down into the mixture to cover as much as possible.
  4. Press rosemary sprigs in the dish throughout.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until no pink remains in chicken.
  6. Eat with some spinach or arugula. Garnish with fresh parsley

The Mental Side of Athletics Injuries

May 5th, 2015 by Dana

1010234_673068209386082_549566797_nThe mental challenges you endure after an injury can often be more frustrating than the physical pain. Recently, I wrote a post challenging our community to avoid injuries. Injuries can still happen, however, so this post focuses on the mental challenges of having them and the process of channeling their effects productively.

You’re injured. Even with the best training, strategies, and perfect form, it happens. You can’t change it; you can only move forward. But how?

For me personally, moving forward begins with patience, determination, and valuing what I have. Focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can’t. Injuries can feel like nightmares, because most are not easy to cope with. They can be constant reminders of our new weaknesses, naturally leading to feelings of anger and frustration. However, once you refocus and take control of your overall outlook, you will already have taken a huge step in making the most of your recovery.

Have patience with your body, but also have patience with your mind. It’s okay to feel sad. Allow yourself to mourn and feel whatever loss you are experiencing. While feeling is an important part of the healing process, it’s also important to stay as positive as possible. Be patient with the process while maintaining your determination to become better and stronger. Use this opportunity to rebuild the foundation of your body and strength, and come back even better than before!

I strongly believe your mental attitude is everything when dealing with an injury. When positive, your attitude can speed up the healing process and lessen your emotional pain. I also firmly believe that negativity will slow down the rehabilitation process, making you miserable. (I don’t have any scientific research to quote here, just my own experience.) As a lifelong athlete with more than my share of sports injuries, believe me when I say that it’s all up to you. Negativity about your situation will only bring you down and possibly worsen your symptoms, while patience and determination will reward you every single time.

Practice your skills and/or routines mentally. On a daily basis (only 5 to 10 minutes at a time), use mental rehearsal to see, hear, and feel yourself performing in your sport, executing each movement flawlessly with perfect timing. Regular mental rehearsal of your skills will keep your neuromuscular connections activated, ensuring a quicker and easier transition back into your sport when you are able to actually begin physical practice again.

Similarly, try daily to spend 5 to 10 minutes imagining your body beginning and continuing to heal. “See” in your mind’s eye a healthy supply of red blood cells surrounding the injured area and facilitating the mending process. Again, I can’t scientifically prove that this will speed up your healing. I can promise, however, that you’ll feel less helpless, more in control, and much more positive. These attitude changes in themselves will speed up your recovery.

Lastly, please be conscientious about your physical therapy and follow your doctor’s advice closely. Your physical therapy will actually work in conjunction with your mental recovery. Remember that healing is a process, so don’t cut corners, looking for the quickest exit. Work just as hard during your rehabilitation as you do in your training. You’re still an athlete.

And don’t forget to talk to us, your coaches and your community. We are here to help.

New Classes, WOD Recovery Book, and a Final WOD Send Off for Ian

April 30th, 2015 by Dana

Hi Athletes,

We have some big changes in May!  Our new 9 and 10 am classes start this Sunday.  Please note that this also means we will no longer have the 3:30 and 4:30 class.  May also brings a new Tuesday morning 5:15 class with Coach Ron. Your feedback is important to us so please, e-mail me with any comments, I love to hear it all.

As many of you know, we have been finishing each class with WOD Recovery Yoga programmed by our resident yogi, Stephanie Ring. The yoga programming is designed around each workout to optimize recovery, maintain and increase mobility and prevent injuries. Up until now, the only way to use this yoga programming was at the end of class. Available now to purchase and download is the WOD Recovery Yoga eBook for Functional Fitness Athletes. This eBook contains 70 yoga postures, from child’s pose to savasana, sequences for the top 20 CrossFit movements and lists of poses by muscle group to help you target the areas you need most. This is a great resource if you need an active recovery day with lots of mobility work, or you can’t make it into the gym but need to stretch.

Click for more details about the eBook. Type in this discount code CFMarin2015 to receive $10. off the $24.99 price.

Join us this Saturday at 9 am for a final WOD send off for Ian N.  Ian is a long time member of CrossFit Marin, and due to his move, he will be training elsewhere.  But we can’t let him go without a proper send off!  Good luck Ian!

A huge congratulations to our Master’s qualifiers that competed this past weekend. These athletes placed in the top 200 in the WORLD in their age groups and continued an amazing showing this weekend.  Martin, Mark, Rich and Michael are the perfect examples or athleticism, hard work and dedication. Congratulations on your finishes, and watch the blog for the final recap!

I’m continually humbled and inspired by our strong community which wouldn’t be what it is without every one of you.  Thank you all for being a part of it, and let me know if you need anything!


The Best Homemade Ranch Dressing Ever, and it’s Paleo!

April 27th, 2015 by Dana
  1. 1/2 cup Paleo mayo (see below)
  2. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  3. 1/2 tsp onion powder
  4. 1 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1 tsp dill
  6. Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Whisk all ingredients together to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Mayo recipe
  1. 1 egg, room temperature
  2. 2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  5. 1 cup light olive oil*
  6. In a tall glass (if using an immersion blender) or a blender, place the egg and lemon juice. Let come to room temperature, about one hour. Add the salt and mustard. Blend ingredients. While blending, very slowly pour in the olive oil. Blend until it reaches desired consistency. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  7. *It’s important to use a light olive oil, not full flavor, for mayonnaise. You could also use almond or walnut oil instead.

Good luck this weekend to our Masters

April 24th, 2015 by Dana

e4-handstand_riser_bottomThe second stage of The CrossFit open has begun w/ The Masters qualifier. The Masters Qualifier asks the top competitors in each age division to complete four events in just four days. The workouts were announced yesterday and scores are due no latter than Monday at 5 PM.  The WOD can be fully read here:

At CrossFit Marin, our 4 masters athletes got to work right away and  took on the 1RM snatch and all 4 hit their PR’s!  Thank you to our athletes that have offered to be guniea pigs and tested these workouts to help their fellow athletes.
It’s going to be an exciting few days watching our athletes get after it!
Good luck Masters.

“So what exactly is Tabata and why is it called that?

April 21st, 2015 by Dana

Well, the story starts with the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating Team. In 1996 team trainer and scientist Izumi Tabata conducted a study analyzing the effectiveness of a specific High Intensity Training program that the head coach had developed specifically for his athletes. The team was divided into different groups. The first group trained on ergonomic cycles at moderate intensity for one hour, five days per week, for a total of six weeks. The second group completed four-minute, high-intensity workouts on ergonomic cycles four days per week for a total of six weeks. The program that group two followed is what has come to be known as Tabata training:

Eight rounds

One round: 20 seconds of ‘all-out’ work, followed by 10 seconds of rest

Tabata describes the desired intensity of work at around 170% of an athlete’s VO2 max—their maximum rate of oxygen consumption. At the conclusion of the six weeks of training, Tabata found that group two had experienced a 28% increase in their anaerobic capacity, as well as a 14% increase in their VO2 max. When summarizing the effect of the study and the HIIT program, Tabata writes that

“moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems”.

This was a significant finding, as most authorities had regarded the two pathways—and training for them—as compartmentalized. Aerobic training was largely long slow distance (LSD) work, and anaerobic training was typically regarded as some hard-to-measure dark component left to the explosion sports.

Dr. Tabata examined several different protocols but settled on eight sets of twenty-second work intervals alternating with ten-second rest intervals as the most effective interval times for improving VO2 max. In the original study the intervals were performed at a quantifiable 170 percent of VO2 max. (Just think max effort.) In the field, where measurements are more subjective, the effort should be such that on the eighth set the trainee is nearing exhaustion. In the original study, the test subjects doing 4-minute “Tabata” intervals saw greater VO2 max improvement than the control group that did 60-minute sessions of moderate-intensity exercise.

Dr. Tabata’s research tested subjects on stationary bikes, but in the CrossFit world his protocol is applied to all variety of functional movements. The Tabata protocol is applied to exercises including squats, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, rowing, and, in my practice, dumbbell moves. We generally score Tabata intervals based on the lowest number of reps completed in any one of the eight twenty -second work intervals.


Tabata training increases the metabolism and heart rate immediately, the ability to produce work will lower as you go through the sessions.  The body will burn fat for up to 24 hours, because the metabolism will stay at the high levels after the workout.  Tabata training will increase cardiovascular fitness as well as core and strength gains depending on the workout.  It is a fast paced exercise routine that is very time efficient, all you need is 4 minutes.

Also, these high-intensity efforts produce this dramatic aerobic benefit without the muscle wasting brought about by endurance training.


  • The Tabata routine is not for beginners, it is easy for the intensity to become overwhelming for beginners.
  • There is a greater risk of injuries since it is high impact exercise.
  • Muscles fatigue quickly, that could lead to mental fatigue and depleted motivation.

Typical Tabata workouts (try a new one):

  • Push up (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Body Weight Squats (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Medicine Ball throw downs (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Jumping rope (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Mountain Climbers (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Sit ups (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Sprints (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Stairs (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Bench press (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Calf raisers (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)