Archive for May, 2014

Skill Comes From Practice

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
May 30 2014

I was watching some videos last week from the owner of CrossFit Oahu (where Maria came from) by Coach Bryant Powers and he had a great summary of what we try to get across to athletes all the time: “you can’t condition to be skilled, you have to practice”. This is a big component of our programming, and it was heartening to see other CrossFit gyms doing and believing in the same thing.

For some reason a lot of folks don’t think this is the case. They think that they can either just jump into a WOD and crank out 50 Handstand Pushups or 50 Clean and Jerks at 135. Usually this is because they are inexperienced, but that inexperience doesn’t stop them from arguing with the coaches to let them try it.

Regardless of what we do as human beings, practice is what makes us better. Whether it’s speaking German, playing the violin, or performing Kipping Pullups, practice is what makes you better.

[Originally published Potomac CrossFit 130604]

Outside of Training

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
May 29 2014

We spend a lot of time and effort in creating programming and a gym environment that dramatically improves your fitness.  However, there’s a lot of work that has to happen outside of the gym for you to get the greatest return on investment.

Just like you can’t “out train a bad diet”, you can’t out train drinking, smoking, sleep deprivation, poor hydration, sitting at a desk all day, and constant suffering from non-hormetic stressors.

Everything supports or hinders everything else.  To sum up: if your lifestyle doesn’t support your training, your training won’t support your lifestyle.

[Originally published Potomac CrossFit 130521]


Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
May 28 2014

Our brains tend to look for patterns. Taleb has talked about this a lot and his first book, Fooled by Randomness, is a long treatise on this phenomenon.

Aaron PCF had a great comment the other week about the fact that running doesn’t make you skinny, but skinny people tend to run. Most folks look for “runners” who are skinny and conclude that to get skinny, they need to run. This is about as thorough an empirical examination as saying: “Volleyball players are tall. I want to be tall, so I’ll play volleyball.”

A lot of people play to their strengths. If you come to CrossFit with more of a strength background, you tend to get drawn to weightlifting. Same goes for gymnastics. The principle I’m trying to draw out is empiricism. Don’t believe any of what I just wrote, try whatever you want to try. But don’t argue with the results.

[Originally published Potomac CrossFit 130514]

Cafeteria Style Fitness

Uncategorized | Posted by Kayla Castro
May 27 2014

“My subject is liberal education, and today more than ever the term requires definition, especially as to the questions: What is a liberal education and what it is for? From Cicero’s artes liberales, to the attempts at common curricula in more recent times, to the chaotic cafeteria that passes for a curriculum in most American universities today, the concept has suffered from vagueness, confusion, and contradiction.” –Farewell Speech, Donald Kagan

“The primary indication, to my thinking, of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company. Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere.”Letters to a Stoic, Letter 2, Seneca

I think folks that align their “goals” (even though I hate that term) with their actions with respect to fitness get the best results. While CrossFit is a “general, inclusive” program and we should be able to do a random amount of fitness stuff, those that spend time doing spin, yoga, pilates, jogging, etc, are not going to get the same results as someone who digs in and goes hard at just CrossFit.

[Originally published Potomac CrossFit 130610]

Nutrition and the Paleo Challenge

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
May 23 2014



Nutrition was the hardest nut for us to crack as a gym. We had problems both getting people on board with what they should be doing and helping those that needed help.

The Paleo Challenge helped that a lot. While it was tough to help everybody exactly when they wanted to get help, the group setting, the financial reward, and the mostly somewhat passable when sober advice got us some good results.

With the abundance of information on the interwebs these days, a lot of people can help themselves. They find the Paleo/Primal deity that they like the most, worship at that temple for a while and if it works stick to that one and if not embrace Paleo/Primal pantheism.

Coaches are always ready to answer a quick question in class, but the blog is really the best place to ask questions if you want to get started with Paleo or have a more in-depth question. If you got some, go ahead and ask.

[Originally published Potomac CrossFit 130513]

Linear Progression and Periodization

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
May 22 2014



Our strength programming is built around both linear progression and periodization. Our progression on the power lifts: squat, deadlift, and press, is linear. More experienced athletes (lifting/training regularly for at least eighteen months) should be adding 5-10 lbs across all sets every time they do these lifts, hitting a plateau, backing off 5-15% (depending on how much their lifting, diet, training frequency, rest, etc, i.e., talk to a coach) and then working their way back up.

For experienced lifters and the olympic lifts (Snatch and Clean and Jerk), our progression is built around periodization and the simplest periodization method is the Prilepin table. So on oly days you’ll see 4x3x70%, 5x2x80% and 4x1x90%. These are based off your one rep max (1RM). With these you would add 5-10 lbs to your theoretical 1RM every cycle, meaning after you succesfully complete 4x1x90% and the next workout for that movement is 4x3x70%.

Like we mentioned last week, we’ll be cycling through lifts more frequently than Patriot’s programming, but following the same baseline plan: squat on Monday, upper body push on Wednesday, pull off the ground on Thursday. Post any questions to comments.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 130506]

Common Beginner Static Gymnastic Positions

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
May 09 2014

Most of the static gymnastic positions (what Coach Sommers calls the Fundamental Static Positions, or FSP) that we use at Potomac CrossFit are programmed to support upper body and core strength. We use them because we believe they are a great upperbody strength developer to compliment what you generally see in CrossFit: high volume bent-arm strength such as pullups, rope climbs, muscle ups.

Here are the beginner gymnastic moves we use most frequently:

Bar Tuck Front Lever
Ring Tuck Back Lever
Band Assisted Handstand
Hollow Hold
Roll to Candlestick
Bridge Up
Ring Tuck Planche
Skin the Cat

These are also very helpful if/when you’re programming for adaptive CrossFitters who are missing parts of their lower body.

Lost more here and here. Also some discussion on straight arm versus bent arm strength here.

Hello world!

Uncategorized | Posted by RJPDOTCOM
May 09 2014

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