Archive for November, 2009

A Few Guidelines for Recovery

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 30 2009


Had some good discussions this morning with athletes with respect to recovery and wanted to add a few thoughts and links.

First, Brian’s Overarching Theory of Recovery: Get to the point where you can do all functional movement near flawlessly.

That’s it, that’s the metric. If you can do a squat clean without bending your arms early, if you can get down in that squat with the elbows high and if you can keep your midline stable (meaning your back is “strong”) as you front squat, you probably have enough flexibility to do nearly everything else pretty well. And if you’re not, it’s 50/50 that you just don’t know the movement well enough as opposed to lack of flexibility.

We only need to get over the “Suck Line” as KStarr says. You don’t have to be able to put both feet behind your head, just be able to get down in the bottom of a squat with your torso and arms nearly straight up. If you can do that, you’re above the “Suck Line”.

But if you aren’t near perfect on all these movements (and it’s nearly impossible to be perfect as we traumatize the body daily with our WODs), then here’s a baseline, a few links and some additional resources that will help you out.


As a general baseline for athletes, I’d recommend the following rotation on top of our normal PCF General Warmups, grab a lax ball and/or foam roller and a cloth strap.

2 Minute Upperbody MR
2 Minute Lowerbody MR
1 Minute Dynamic Stretching

3 Minutes Upper/Lowerbody PNF

Mix up the spots you’re hitting for MR and the muscles you’re stretching in PNF. If we scattershot initially, we’ll figure out what’s holding us back the most. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to target not only the areas that are causing you trouble generally, but also be able to give yourself specific treatments pre-WOD to improve for specific WODs.

In Detail

A combination of Mysofascial Release (MR), PNF Stretching (PNFS), and External Rotation (ER) work is the ideal. Ease into this, as I’ve found athletes have “bigger eyes than stomachs” when it comes to recovery. So you start out saying “I’m going to do an hour a day” which leads you to do nothing for two weeks until I remind you again. Set your goals small: four minutes of MR pre-WOD, a little dynamic stretchint pre-WOD, three minutes PNF post-WOD. After two weeks of this, add some more time and some ER.

Set easy to achieve goals so they become habits. Focus on the issues/bodyparts that suck the most.

Mysofascial Release
Upper Body Maintenance by Kelly Starrett, CrossFit Journal Preview – video … [wmv] [mov]

For CF Journal Subscribers, you can check out the full video here.

Joe DeFranco Agile 8

Joe DeFranco Simple 6

SEAL Quest MyoFascial 10

PNF Stretching

I haven’t found a better resource than Kelly Starrett’s Midline Stabilization Series on the Crossfit Journal. However, you can get a lot from the previews here:

Midline Stability, Kelly Starrett, Pt I …[wmv][mov]
Midline Stability, Kelly Starrett, Pt II…[wmv][mov]
Midline Stability, Kelly Starrett, Pt III …[wmv][mov]
Midline Stability, Kelly Starrett, Pt IV …[wmv][mov]
Midline Stability Part VII, PNF Stretching, Kelly Starrett …[wmv][mov]
Midline Stability: Muscles of the Pelvis, Kelly Starrett …[wmv][mov]

External Rotation

See OPTs video here for some great external rotation movements. For you athletes (guys mainly) with frequent shoulder aches and pains, this will pay huge dividends.


Pick a couple of movements that you think will fit the bill or just grab me at a WOD and talk to me and I’ll do an assessment on you. Remember, the metric is the ability to do functional movements correctly, measure your progress by that.

I’ll probably be doing a Recovery Seminar sometime in the New Year where we’ll go over this stuff in more depth. Some things to keep in mind:

1) Diet, sleep and fish oil are huge part of this. If these aren’t solid, you need to work this recovery stuff even harder. Something else you need to ask yourself is “Am I working out too much?” Crossfit WODs crush you and if you’re diet and recovery isn’t squared away, doing more than 2-3 WODs per week is going to set you back more than it’s going to help.

2) Aside from diet, this is one of the easiest ways to get better faster. This is like being good at Double Unders or Muscle Ups. Since most people suck at those, if you’re good at it, you’re advantage is huge.

3) We sell foam rollers, lax balls and straps. If you want it go here to pre-order or just let a Coach know you want one. They’ll give it to you and you can just have them charge your account or pay cash.

Helpful Links

A lot of good consolidated info is here:

Performance Menu

Prehab Thread

CA Resources

CA Warmup


Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 25 2009

So here’s the first few WODs in my MEBB Experiment:

Wednesday 20091123
Push Press
135-155-175 (f on rep 5)-175-185 (f on rep 3) – 175
Rest 5 minutes
AMRAP Bastards
3:00 (34)
Rest 1:30
2:00 (22)
Rest 1:30
1:00 (15)

Tuesday 20091124
Box Step Up
95-115-115-135 (f2)-115-115
Rest 5:00 min
AMRAP 10 Min:
7 Hang Power Clean, 95 lbs
Rounds: 10 + 7 HPC + 3 KTE

Wednesday 20091125
Low Bar Back Squat
255-265-265-265-265-265 (this felt HEAVY, but according to my PR sheet, I haven’t done 5RM Squat since August)
Rest 5:00 min
Every Minute on the minute:
1 HSPU (below the deck, had hands on plates)
4 Ring Dips
6 Pushups
At least this was the plan…. here’s what ended up happening:

1 Negative-4-6
1 Negative-4-6
Rest 1 minutes
1 Negative-3-5
1 Negative-3-5
Rest 1 minute
1 Negative-2-4
1 Negative-2-4
1 Negative-2-4
1 Negative-2-4
1 Negative-2-4
1 Negative-2-4

So I know, you’re impressed. Two actual HSPU in a WOD.

I think this approach is sound though because I’m still getting some amount of intensity by compressing the work into short time segments (most rds took between 35-50 seconds) then giving myself rest and hitting it again, which also gives me enough volume to see progress in the specific movements.

Same approach as what we tried to do in Chelsea last week – instead of scaling the load, just scale the reps and keep the load as your bodyweight with little to no assistance. I think it’s a sound way to change the stimulus in order to see positive results.

Rest Day/Turkey Day tomorrow, I’m sure my mom is going to be dissapointed that I’m not going to eat any Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, but she’ll get over it.

30 Day Goals

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 23 2009

I already started Sunday, but doing 30 Day Paleo Challenge.

Q: “What Brian, you are going to do this over the holidays?”
A: Shit ya.

I love eating paleo, I love not weighing and measuring sometimes. This is going to be cake.

Also setting performance goals though. I’m going to go ahead and hit Coach Rut’s Max Effort Black Box for 30 days in order to improve my overall performance. With the low-carb approach of Paleo (I’m going to drastically limit fruit intake, it’s basically going to be meat, veggies, seeds and nuts, nothing else) I’m not going to have the gas for METCONs over 10 minutes, so I’m just not going to do them.

The hope is that this improves my strength fairly significantly while still keeping me in the game on METCONs when I decide to get back to “normal” programming or compete.

I do have some specific performance goals though:

1) Improve Single Set Max Handstand Pushups by 20%.

I’m going to test this today, but my current PR is 7, so a 25% increase would just be 9. If I get more than 7 today, I’ll adjust.

2) Get one strict Muscle-Up.

I can hit kipping some of the time, even for multiples, cut still can’t get a deadhang.

3) Test Fran at the end of the 30 days.

Hopefully I’ll be much stronger after 30 days and performing well at high power/short time demand WODs.

4) Improve my 5×400 interval time.

Just did this last week and did it a few months prior. Figure it’s a good baseline for me right now and will give me a good idea if I’m improving my runs, both in term of skill and modal capacity.

Black Box Summit

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 21 2009

So I’m down at Crossfit Central for the Black Box Summit. We’ve got Dutch Lowy, Robb Wolf, Jeremy Thiel, Nicki Violetti, Greg Everett, and OPT among others. Day one was pretty basic stuff, but some good ideas thrown around. Did a WOD at the end of the day and ended up middle of the pack:

3 Rounds
5 Thrusters, 135 lbs
5 Shuttle Runs, 10 m
25 KB Swing, 1.5 pood
Time: 6:17

Wednesday 091118 OPT WOD

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 20 2009

Did this with Jon, pretty crushed after Monday and Tuesday, so glad it was a strength day. Problem was this is my first time with the OPT tempo training with the slow negatives. We’ll see how sore I am in a day or so.


day 1
A1. bench press @ 50X1; 6-8 x 4; rest 90 sec
A2. snatch grip dead lift with straps @ 41X1; 5-7 x 4; rest 90 sec
B1. dips @ 4010; 6-8 x 3; rest 75 sec
B2. GHD Raises @ 2020; 10-15 x 3; rest 75 sec
C1. db ext rot @ 3010; 8-10/arm x 3; rest 60 sec
C2. toes to bar; 12 reps x 3; rest 60 sec

BP 185×8
S 135×7
BP 195×8
S 165×6
BP 195×7
S 165×6
BP 195×4
S 165×7

Dips 4
Dips 5
Dips 5

DB Ext 10
T2B (strict) 4
DB Ext 10
T2B (strict) 7
DB Ext 10
T2B (strict) 6

Tuesday 091117 WOD

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 17 2009

Did this one with Jon and Mark. Rx’d was unbroken each set, I didn’t manage this for all of them (noted next to each movement):

35 Wallball, 20 lbs – Rxd
10 Handstand Pushup (HSPU) – Not Rxd
35 Wallball, 20 lbs – Rxd
20 Chest to Bar (CTB) Pullups – Rxd
35 Wallball, 20 lbs – Not Rxd
30 Pushups – Not Rxd
35 Wallball, 20 lbs – Not Rxd
40 Jumping Pullups – Rxd
Time: 19:07

Notes: Jon and Mark finished around 18:10 and didn’t do everything unbroken either. This was a really tough WOD, I was shaking for about 20 minutes afterwards. The second round of wallball was retardedly hard.

WOD Catchup

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 16 2009

Thursday 091112
Rest Day

Friday 091113
Clean and Jerk
Push Press

Saturday 091114
OPT WODs (I’ll post this separately)

Sunday 091115
Rest Day

Monday 091116
Five rounds run 400m every two minutes.
1:33, 1:35, 1:34, 1:37, 1:38
Compare to 090318.
Notes: Tried to stay consistent, POSE has been feeling pretty good lately. I just keep focusing on that quick foot strike under the body and leaning the hips forward.

20091111 WOD

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 11 2009

PCF WOD 091111
3 Rounds
10 Deadlift, 275 lbs
50 Double Unders
Time: 3:34
Compare to 20090426: 4:13

Notes: Deadlift only broken in the last set, 5/5. Double Unders broken twice first round, once second round, unbroken third round. Gamed this a little, treated it like a Games-type WOD, so didn’t rush into the Double Unders or kill myself in the deadlift pacing. Just tried to go for average speed.

Pre-hab and Warmup

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 11 2009

As most of you know, I’m pretty much infatuated with trying new warmups. Part of this is that I hate warming up, so I never want to do it and always look for something new that will click with me.

When I started I was a devotee of the Crossfit Warmup, and I still recommend that for a lot of folks that are starting out in Crossfit (first 6-9 months), with decent flexibility and no major injuries. If you do have some issues like tight shoulders or hips, I would add some basic myofascial and stretching to your warmup.

I posted this on the Potomac Crossfit comments section yesterday, but wanted to post it here as well and hopefully get some comments on what some of you think. Here’s the consolidated Prehab and Warmup post from Catalyst Athletics Forum.

I’m slowly working my way through this and so far I’m impressed at the similarity between some of Joe Defranco’s methodology and Kelly Starrett.

A couple examples are Joe Defranco’s Agile 8 (you’ll have to go to his website to see the whole thing) and Simple 6, designed to prehab the lower and upper body:

Now we can take a look at a few Kelly Starrett posts and see some of the same things:

Thoracic Foam Steel Rolling (and you thought it was tough rolling out on our dirty foam rollers, try steel pylons!)
Your Poor Lats

And for a little bonus reading/blast from the past, check out KStar’s overarching guidance on warmups.

Just want to spark some interest in prehab and warmup and if you’ve got a warmup you are or aren’t a fan of, please post to comments.

Mixing it up

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Nov 10 2009

OPT Day 2 WOD was going to crush me if I did it solo, so even though I did a lot of anterior work yesterday (including rowing) I decided to do the PCF WOD today:

20091110 PCF WOD (Happy Birthday Marines!)
Row 1k
Rest 5 minutes
Row 1k
Times: 3:27/3:34

Notes: Went out WAY too fast in the first one and diet. Second one felt like I paced much better. Still way back in the pack as far as scoring. Not surprising considering my focus was on lifting heavy and rest the last few weeks and diet wasn’t ideal the last few days. Back on strict Zoning though, so will hopefully bounce back after a week or two.