Blog Archive

***Remember: No 3:30 class today***
Workout of the Day

Four Sets of:
Overhead Squats x 8-10 reps
rest 30 seconds
5 skin the cats
Rest 2 minutes
and then,
Five rounds for time of:
225/155 lb. Deadlift x 10 reps
Push-Ups x 15 reps
Anchored Sit-Ups x 20 reps
Run 400 Meters

The effects of dehydration on athletic performance are rather extreme.   A 1-2 percent dehydration of the body has been shown to decrease athletic performance 5-10 percent.  A 4 percent dehydration decreases performance by as much as 40 percent!

So how far off are you from your goals?  Better make sure you are adequately hydrated during the day so that you can attack your workouts with the energy you need.

Workout of the Day
Five sets of:
Clean Pulls x 1.1.1
(rest 10 seconds between singles – weight should exceed your 1-RM clean)
Rest 10-15 seconds
Tall Box Jumps x 6-8 reps
(as tall as you can handle for 6-8 reps, pause and reset your feet at the bottom of each)
Rest 2-3 minutes;

and then,
Five rounds for time of:
Power Clean x 5 reps
(use 75-80% of your 1-RM Power Clean)
Pull-Ups x 10 reps
(chest-to-bar pull-ups for advanced athletes)

How to fix your Clean

Lots of people have difficulty learning to oly lift with their legs, and not with their arms.  We just can’t seem to figure out how to let the legs move the weight, without curling or upright rowing the bar.    The key is a progression called the Clean Pull.   What this does is eliminate the ‘third pull’ under the bar, so all you have to worry about is getting the weight as high as you can with the first and second pulls.

This means you deadlift the bar, then, above the knees at mid thigh, you explode with your hips and finish with a jump shrug.

The picture above would be an example of a Snatch Pull (note the width of the grip) even though it was taken during a full Snatch up at CrossFit Flagstaff.  You see the completion of the second pull, and immediately upon hitting full extension through the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders, you should pull your body down under the bar and getting into the rack or overhead position, depending on the lift.

Don’t worry.  We’ll work on it in class!

Jon emailed me asking if we could do this wod today in memory of his father.  Of course.  Jon’s original email to his coach at CF Bellevue:

In early April 2010 my Dad admitted himself to the hospital with pain over his entire body and general weakness.  We thought it was due to overexertion at rehab but the diagnosis soon came back that the cancer had returned and was rampant throughout his ribs and spine.   A little under 4 weeks later on April 27th my Dad died in hospice care.

Calling my father tough would be an understatement.  Physically he was strong, but mentally he was a beast.  To this day I can count on my hands the number of people who have butted heads with my Dad and won.  There was nothing my Dad ever wanted that he did not achieve.  He raised me and my brother as a single parent in NYC and provided more for us than I could ever have asked for.  He was a dedicated father, brother, son and uncle.  Family and friends were everything to my father and he proved that every day of his life.

I will love you always dad.  You are my hero.

RIP Paul Ruskin, 11/11/1952 – 4/27/2010.

Workout of the Day


9 rounds for time:
3 double cheek touching pushups
5 parallet pushups (or 5 ring dips)
7 pistols each leg

Coaching Notes: Cheek touching push-ups are performed as follows, down to right cheek, up, down to left cheek = one. Shoot throughs are performed on parralletes and are a push-up, a shoot through without feet touching, a deep reverse dip, a shoot through back to push-up position = one. 

Workout of the Day
Four sets of:
Back Squat x 6-8 reps @ 30X1
Rest 90 seconds
Single-Arm Ring Row x 8-10 reps each @ 2111
Rest 90 seconds;
and then,
In teams of two, complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
20 Wall Ball Shots
200 Meter Run
(This workout will be conducted as a relay – Partner A must complete all 20 wall ball shots and the 200 meter run before Partner B can begin his/her wall ball shots.)

***Note our schedule changes.  We are canceling our noon Express classes and our 3:30pm Friday Class****

Do you seek out pain as a reminder you are alive?

Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist, thinks so:

My theory is that our biggest motivator is the need to feel alive, and that pleasure isn’t a sharp enough feeling to get us there. When you’re bored or lonely, you’re feeling something closer to death than life. And so you seek out pain to remind yourself that you’re alive. By this theory, the quest for pain is the primary motivator of all major life choices.

Does CrossFit remind you that you are alive?

Workout of the Day
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
135/95 lb. Power Clean x 10 reps
135/95 lb. Thruster x 5 reps
Pull-Ups x 15 Reps

Rest 4 minutes, and then:
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
20 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
30 Walking Lunge Steps
40 Double-Unders

Rest 4 minutes, and then,
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
10 Burpees
20 Push-Ups
30 Anchored Sit-Ups

It’s the last week of the CF Open, we know what the wod is (7m AMRAP, Thrusters and C2B pullups) and we’re primed to get through it!   Enjoy today’s little workout, it’s important to prep mentally for this one.


Found this little article on the NYT summarizing a study on how much sleep we need before performance deteriorates:

Not surprisingly, those who had eight hours of sleep hardly had any attention lapses and no cognitive declines over the 14 days of the study. What was interesting was that those in the four- and six-hour groups had P.V.T. results that declined steadily with almost each passing day. Though the four-hour subjects performed far worse, the six-hour group also consistently fell off-task. By the sixth day, 25 percent of the six-hour group was falling asleep at the computer. And at the end of the study, they were lapsing fives times as much as they did the first day.

So, for most of us, eight hours of sleep is excellent and six hours is no good, but what about if we split the difference?

But in the seven-hour group, their response time on the P.V.T. slowed and continued to do so for three days, before stabilizing at lower levels than when they started. Americans average 6.9 hours on weeknights, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Which means that, whether we like it or not, we are not thinking as clearly as we could be.

The conclusion?  You know when you need to get up, you need to sleep 8 hours prior to that.  HOWEVER!  That is sleep, not ‘start getting ready for bed’.   So factor in flossing, brushing your tooth, your skin care regimen, ‘extra-curriculars’, and anything else appropriately.  And get off the television, phone, or computer 30 minutes before you want to sleep.  The blue light is keeping you awake.

Workout of the Day

Your choice of:

3 rounds of:
5 Power Clean @ 145/100
rest 20 seconds
10 toes to bar
rest 20 seconds
15 Wall Ball @ 20/15 (10/9)
rest 60 seconds;
3 rounds for time of:
500m row
15 burpees.


Open WOD 11.5
20m amrap
5 power cleans 145/100
10 toes to bar
15 wall ball 20/15 @ 10/9′ high

We are excited to announce that we have agreed in principle to terms for our next location!  We will hold a gym wide meeting for all of our athletes Saturday morning, April 23rd at 10am at Cactus CrossFit to reveal the where, what, why, when, and how!   Please make it if you can, we will have pictures, video, and a Q&A session afterwards.   For all who are interested, we can go and check it out once we are done!

We believe that this is going to be a significant step forward for Cactus CrossFit and will make your experience much improved!  You will see LOTS of changes moving forward once we get into our new space for a variety of reasons.  Come Saturday for discussion!

People make it happen

The workout today is going to be a surprise.  Come on in and try it out!

What I’ve learned in 30 years

I’ve always liked posts like these, I usually learn something, and you get some insight into someone’s thinking.  So here it goes:

2. People, not things. (Thanks Ross!)  My Young Life leader in high school advised me when I was trying to make a decision that he had always made his decisions based on relationships, not on financial gain, or climbing a corporate ladder, etc.   That sounds about right to me.
3. People are going to let you down.  Let it go.  Grace!
4. Try to account for unrecognized risk in your decisions
I don’t think we do a good job of understanding the risks we take.  Oftentimes, the ‘safe’ route isn’t that safe.  I think of this typically in terms of jobs, where everyone wants a corporate job, but they don’t understand that it might not be that secure, that they may be underpaid relative to the value they bring, and that it is not a position where they can improve their skills and marketability.   Or, in relationships.  People stay in relationships that they know aren’t going to work long term because of inertia, and they are afraid of being alone.  But when you are in a relationship, the person that might work out for you can’t approach you the same way.  So you get stuck in the relationship.
5.We are all hypocrites.
6. I looked forward to being a father for 20 years, and it has been so much more fun, so much more
rewarding, than I could have imagined!
8. People notice.  Don’t think they didn’t see that.
9. Recognize the Power of Inertia in your life.   You are most likely to do tomorrow what you did today.   It takes effort and work to change the path of your life.  Don’t underestimate how hard it is to change or how easy it is to get stuck.
10. Television is a form of time travel.  Recognize it as such.
11. Geography is the single biggest factor in friendships.
12. Community and relationships are a factor of frequency of contact.
14. You are your friends, statistically.
16. Protect your downtime, and keep your regular commitments to a minimum.  Overscheduling
leads to stress and an inability to serve when and where you are needed.
17. Outflank. Direct competition is for lottery winners and suckers.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the incredible community that has grown up at Cactus CrossFit.  Each and every person has blessed me and our family, and it is a privilege to get to work with you each day.  Thanks for your support, your work, your criticism, and your honesty.   This is a great place to be.
Oh, and when you think about how I just screwed up (and I will), please keep #  3 and 5 in mind.  Thanks!
20 Apr 2011

Wod 11.5

Workout of the Day
Four sets of:
Bench Press x 6-8 reps @ 20X1
Rest 20 seconds
Toes to Bar x 10 reps @ 1010
Rest 3 minutes;
and then,
For time:
10 Ring Dips
1 Pull-Up
9 Ring Dips
2 Pull-Ups
. . . and so on, down to,
1 Ring Dip
10 Pull-Ups
Wod 11.5

The last two wods have been announced!  And…they look like fun!  Saturday’s wod is at CrossFit Magna at 2pm, email Brian if you are going to compete over there so that he can get heats set up ahead of time so things move through a little more smoothly.

As always, we will be doing the workout Saturday morning as well in case you can’t make it.

Open WOD 11.5

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 Power cleans (145lbs / 65kg)
10 Toes to bar
15 Wall balls (20lbs to 10′ target)

Workout of the Day
Five sets of:
Shoulder Press x 2 reps + Push Press x Max Reps @ 11X1
(strict press twice as heavy as you can, then push press as many times as possible at tempo)
Rest 15 seconds
Push-Ups x Max Reps in 45 seconds
(practice PERFECT plank position – no snaking or loss of midline integrity)
Rest 15 seconds
Side Plank x 45 seconds each side
Rest 2-3 minutes;
and then,
Perform 7 thrusters and 3 burpees on the minute, every minute, for ten minutes.
(Work up as heavy as you can, but don’t let your ego get the best of you. If you fail to complete your set within the minute, finish it and then rest the remainder of the minute you ran into. Note total number of rounds or reps completed.)

The Most Important Factor in your Success

The above video recreates a well known study which shows that the most important quality in ‘success’ in life is the ability to delay gratification.  That is, you have the self-discipline to deny yourself something you want today to get something you want later.

So, how does this apply to CrossFit and nutrition?  Would you eat the marshmallow?

Workout of the Day
Four sets of:
Deadlift x 4-5 reps @ 2111
Rest 15 seconds
60 Seconds of Double-Unders
(goal is to be unbroken throughout – keep track of number of times you trip the rope and try to improve it each set)
Rest 3-4 minutes;
and then,
Three sets of:
Kettlebell Swings x 30 reps
(heavy, but unbroken)
Rest 10-15 seconds
10-15 Pull-Ups
(Chest-to-bar for advanced athletes)
Rest 10-15 seconds
400 Meter Recovery Run at 70-80% effort

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