Blog Archive



Workout of the Day

For Time:

12 DL (275/155)
27 C2B pullups
12 Power Cleans (225/105)
27 pushups
12 toes to bar
12 Snatches (135/75)
27 Wall Ball shots (30/20)
12 Burpees
For those who don’t know, we create a workout for every child we have.   Reagan.  Elliot.  Now, David.   David is our third child, hence the three triplets noted above.   He was born on 12-27-12, hence the rep scheme.   Of course, there will be scaled options so everyone can try it out.
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19 Aug 2013

Test- 2k Row

Ergs at Cactus CrossFit

Workout of the Day
Five sets of:
Deadlift x 5-7 reps
Rest 20 seconds
Kettlebell Swings x 20 reps
Rest 20 seconds
Push-Ups x 15-20 reps
Rest 3 minutes

For time:
Row 2000 Meters

Here is an article on how to break up your 2k row mentally and for your best results:

How to: Pull a 2k test

Ok, here we are after the turn of the year, when most crews start testing over 2000m in preparation for sprint season a few short months away.

The 2k test became a staple in the rowing world in 1996, when the Charles River All Star Has Beenschanged the format of their little event from 2500m to 2k. Everyone can blame these clowns for the invention of the dreaded erg test in 1980. They thought it would be “fun.” Thus the erg, never very popular before, became synonymous with pain.

You see, there is a big difference in discomfort between a 6000m and 2000m test. As I’ve writtenbefore, the 6k is a test of endurance and mental toughness. The 2k emphasizes endurance, power delivery, mental toughness, and pain tolerance. The 2k hurts you, if you do it right. It hurts you a lot, and being mentally prepared for that pain is far better than not knowing what you’re walking into. So, off we go.

I loved only one thing about 2ks, and that was the feeling of the first 350m. All the nervous energy would burn off, and most people get to their target split without too much trouble. (Always have a goal or target for a 2k. Always.) After that first 350 is the beginning of the “fun,” because the rower starts to hurt.

Not a lot at first, but enough to be noticeable. Lactic acid was produced in that first 200m burn, and it ends up in the muscles where it was born, so the legs start a little complaining. The best route here is to find that goal split and concentrate on “building the piece” of as many of those splits in a row as possible. If 1:40 is the goal split, make sure every stroke is there at 1:40. An early indication of a piece in trouble is the inability to hold that goal, with the splits jumping around with every stroke.

At 1500m to go, I’d like to take a little power 10. Nothing serious, just 10 strokes to push the splits down 1 or 2 and get ready for the worst 500m of my life. Because the 2k is going to fail or succeed right in that second 500m, and the mental toughness of the athlete will decide it. Right there, I would usually think, “I can’t hold this pace. I need to back off,” because here it really starts to hurt and you are not even halfway done yet!!! But know this:


Why? Simple: The difference in power output into the machine from a 1:40 to a 1:42 is mere percentages. The athlete will still hurt just as much producing the energy for a 1:42 as a 1:40. But the mental drain that comes from “stepping off” just a little opens the door to “stepping off” a lot. Suddenly, an athlete whose goal was 1:40 and was capable of holding that split is pulling 1:44 or 1:45, gasping for breath and wondering why they still hurt so much.

The lesson, as always: RACES ARE WON IN THE MIDDLE.

Tough it out through that second 500m. The time from 1300m to go to 1100m to go will be the longest 42 seconds of any one’s life. Gut it out.

At the 1000m to go mark, it’s time to take a power 20. Why? To prove you’re still alive and attacking this test. Always attack. Suffering along is waiting for another boat to come and get you, so train the 2k test like you plan to row in the spring.

I always felt a sense of liberation as the clock dropped below 900m to go. The worst was over, it was more than halfway done and I had “held the line” of goal splits. A good piece will find the athlete still holding the goal split for a majority of strokes from 1000m to 700m to go.

Here’s where my process differs from what I’m teaching the CC novices. I would always “step” at 700m to go, dropping the split down one and holding it there. At that point, a one second difference will move the average split number after 6 strokes or so, and it feels good to be going faster than the average split number. I imagined each 1/10th of a second on that average was one seat of an opposing boat, and I needed to “walk up” that boat, taking seats. I would prefer the novices to hold their goal splits through here, saving mental energy for…..

….the last 500m. As a coach, when I’m selecting a boat, I want to know two things about an athlete’s erg test. Did they hold steady through the second 500? Did they go faster in the final 500? Yes, taking a power 20 at the 500 to go mark is great. But a power 20 that is only 1 second faster that what was being held, followed by dropping a second slower isn’t what I’m looking for in my first boat. As you can see, races are getting closer as time goes on, and that last little inch just might bring a National Championship. Is the athlete capable of being on the winning side of a race like this one?

So, that final 500m tells me a lot and told me a lot when I would suffer through this. Lift once at 500 to go, keeping whatever rating I was at, then lifting the rating and leaving whatever energy was left in the final 200m.

The key to the sprint is to stay long with the legs and not shorten the stroke, and to sit tall with the body. The athlete’s legs are in cramping, burning agony at this point, and the easy way out is to start rowing half slide and asking more of the back and body. This might work fine on the erg for a few strokes, but the back muscles aren’t big enough to produce as much output as the legs, and the splits will fall off. Plus you don’t sprint at half slide on the water.

Photo Mar 09, 9 15 38 AMWorkout of the Day
In 15 minutes, build to a heavy, but not necessarily 1-RM, Clean & Jerk

Three sets, for max reps, of:
Complete as many reps as possible in 60 seconds of:
135/95 lbs. Ground to Overhead
(snatch, clean & jerk . . . it’s all good)
Rest 3 minutes between sets


10 min AMRAP:
15 Pull-Ups (jumping pullups)
30 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lbs)
60 Double-Unders

Great efforts on 13.1!!

Saturday was an awesome class, both by the competitors who were submitting scores, as well as those who were doing the workout just for fun!  Do note that Saturdays for the next month will be a mad house, as we work the extra logistics involved in having competitors individually judged and scored.

It was especially exciting seeing athletes get their first snatch at a high weight that they may not have thought they could get.  A lot of effort, concentration, and positive self talk!   Looking at you Harrison!

Below are the best scores from Cactus:

Evan 162
Amanda 155
Mike L 152
Grant 150  14:02
Kevin 150  14:42
Tyler 147
Dan K 146
Jenna 140
Katie H. 137
Andrew 135
Sam K 132  16:45
Greg B 132  16:51
Val 134
Rhett 115
Mel 114
Robbie L  112   5:36  Masters 45-49
April H  112    7:00
Rich D  110   6:12  Masters 50-54
Destin H  110  7:06
Steve W. 109
Jason L 108
Michaela 107
Kelsey 104
Alex 102  5:45
Kyle M. 102 7:58
Harrison 101
Rob D 100 6:14
Laura B 100  6:27
Sara R 100 6:35
Rick M 100  7:14
Matt H 100 7:36
Michele B 100 7:59
Jack R 100  8:09
Jon G 100  9:00
Tara 100 9:15

Amanda knocks out some pullups

Testing Day
Take 15-20 minutes to work on Clean technique and build to a heavy-ish clean.

“Five-Minute Capacity Test”
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 5 minutes of:
5 Squat Cleans (135/95 lbs.)
10 Burpees Over the Barbell

Compare to 092611

CrossFit Games start next week!

The CrossFit Games are the sport of fitness, what lots of athletes train for all year round.  It culminates in the finals which take place at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on July 22nd to 28th, are aired on ESPN2 all year round, and which are a great summer trip every year.

The Games start with The Open, which is open to any athlete around the world.  Athletes can submit video of their wods, or have their workouts validated at an approved affiliate.   As in years past, Cactus will be validating Open WODS Saturday morning for each of the 5 wods.

The Open starts March 6th and runs through April 7th.  Once the Open closes, the top 48 athletes and 30 teams from each region forward to the Regionals.

Our Region is Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico.  Regionals are in Salt Lake City, May 31st through June 2nd.

From there, the top 3 athletes move on to the Home Depot Center.

Why compete in the Open?

The open is a chance to see where you REALLY stand, as each workout is individually judged and scored, and then results are posted online and you can compare your fitness against anyone else who submits in the world.

The workouts are fun, challenging, and always motivating!  It’s a great way to stay motivated now that the magic of your new years resolution has worn off!

Register here.



Cactus CrossFit pops at night!

Workout of the Day
Take 15 minutes and build to today’s 1RM Clean
Three sets for max reps:
135/95 lbs Ground to Overhead x 60 seconds
Rest 2 minutes

Yesterday was awesome as we got our first classes in on Indian School Rd!   Thanks to everyone for your congratulations, we sure hope you enjoy training in our new facility as much as we enjoy coaching there!  You’ve made this happen!

Final day at the old gym?

We are praying for final approval Monday morning, assuming that will happen, here is how we roll.  All classes on 5th Ave until we update here to let you know!

***Update: We are official and all classes from here forward will be at 7018 E Indian School Rd!  Thanks guys!***

Workout of the Day
Old Gym
50 air squats
400m run

You can get creative with handstand hold work or walking handstand practice to warmup.

New gym:
Workout of the Day
Testing Day
Weighted Pull-Up
In six attempts or less, find your 1-RM Weighted Pull-Up.
Rest at least 3-4 minutes between attempts over 80% of your potential 1-RM

Compare to 061312

Rounds of 50, 40, 30, 20 and 10 reps of:
Anchored Sit-Ups

Compare to 101912

A burpee must include the chest making contact with the floor!

A burpee must include the chest making contact with the floor!

Workout of the Day
Five or Six sets of:
Bench Press @ 20X1 tempo
Rest 3 minutes between sets
(use this time effectively to work on hip mobility or glute activation exercises – your coaches can help give you some suggestions)
Perform the following reps and percentages:
* Set 1 – 50% of 1-RM x 3 reps
* Set 2 – 75% of 1-RM x 2 reps
* Set 3 – 85% of 1-RM x 1 rep
* Set 4 – 90-95% of 1-RM x 1 rep
* Set 5 – 101-103% of 1-RM x 1 rep
* Set 6 (optional) – Exceed Set 5 weight

Complete as many Burpees as possible in 3 minutes.

Compare to 111312

4 sets of:
Against a 3 minute running clock, complete:
Run 400 meters
(53/35#) Kettlebell Swings for max reps

Rest 2 minutes between sets


Photo Jan 23, 7 03 06 PM



Workout of the Day

12 DL (275/155)
27 C2B pullups

12 Power Cleans (225/105)
27 pushups
12 toes to bar

12 Snatches (135/75)
27 Wall Ball shots (30/20)
12 Burpees
For those who don’t know, we create a workout for every child we have.   Reagan.  Elliot.  Now, David.   David is our third child, hence the three triplets noted above.   He was born on 12-27-12, hence the rep scheme.   Of course, there will be scaled options so everyone can try it out.   I hope you enjoy it more than David enjoyed this bath.!
Onto 2013.
It’s very common for everyone to set ‘resolutions’.  They are all over Facebook.   I don’t like them because it has always felt like a social convention, and nothing I was ever committed to.  But I do believe in goals, and the turn of the year is a natural time to look back on what you’ve accomplished and look forward on the possibilities of the next year.
Let’s start with defining what a goal is.
1) Are specific
2) Are measurable
3) Have a hard deadline
4) Are not imposed (They are yours, driven by what you want)
Obviously, CrossFit is great for goals, because our activity is measurable, so I encourage you to choose ONE thing to commit to.   It could be a skill (30 unbroken double unders/10 unbroken kipping pullups/etc) or it could be a strength movement (Double Bodyweight Deadlift/Bodyweight Clean and Jerk/etc), or it could be a PR on a specific workout (8 round Lucky 7’s)
Write what your specific goal is, and give yourself a deadline.  Write down WHY this goal is important to you.  Write what your barriers to success will be.  Recognize what you will have to CHANGE to achieve your goals.
Whether it is how you eat, or some specific skill work or practice, or scheduling time so you can make your workouts more consistently week in and week out, recognize that you will have to be INTENTIONAL to achieve your goal.
It isn’t going to happen by accident.
If you do try this exercise, please share your goals with us.  We’d love to help you achieve them.
Please note:  We are launching our Spring 2013 Paleo Challenge THIS SATURDAY!  8 weeks so you can get in shape for Spring Training.    Informational meeting right after class Saturday morning.


Test 1RM Shoulder Press

Workout of the Day
Five or Six sets of:
Shoulder Press @ 20X1 tempo
Rest 3 minutes between sets

(use this time effectively to work on hip mobility or glute activation exercises – your coaches can help give you some suggestions)
For the shoulder press, perform the following reps and percentages:
* Set 1 – 50% of possible 1-RM x 3 reps
* Set 2 – 75% of possible 1-RM x 2 reps
* Set 3 – 85% of possible 1-RM x 1 rep
* Set 4 – 90-95% of possible 1-RM x 1 rep
* Set 5 – Test 1-RM
* Set 6 (optional) – Exceed Set 5 weight

Compare to 101812

For time:
115/75 lbs Shoulder to Overhead x 30 reps
600 Meter Run
Wall Ball Shots x 40 reps

#IHTFP: How #founders always feel about their #startups

I didn’t go to MIT. From afar, it always seemed like a terrifying whirlwind of frigid temperatures, overwhelming work, and sexual frustration. As a Stanford Engineering student, I cursed whenever I had an MIT transfer in one of my classes–they were sure to wreck the curve with their obsessive work habits.

Often, it seems like the students at MIT feel similar. MIT students coined the acronym, “IHTFP” to describe their feelings for the school. It stands for, obviously enough, “I Hate This Fucking Place.”

Yet the interesting thing is that IHTFP has an alternate meaning that the MIT students also use. It also stands for, “I Have Truly Found Paradise.”
Read more ›

“I don’t think many people understand what we mean when we say that MIT is hard. It’s not just the workload.

There’s this feeling that no matter how hard you work, you can always be better, and as long as you can be better, you’re not good enough.

There’s something to giving everything and always falling short. Eventually we’ll walk out with a deep understanding of our fields, a fantastic tolerance for failure and late nights, and raised expectations for ourselves and for humankind. Someday, we’ll look back on these four years as the best years of our lives and the foundations of the kinds of friendships that can only be formed with some suffering. But right now, IHTFP. Sometimes it feels like MIT drags your self-esteem over a jagged, gravely rock face and stretches your happiness, your mental health, and the passion and energy that brought you here like an old rubber band.

I love this place. I love the amazing people I’ve met, I love watching myself grow as a scientist and a writer, and I love being engulfed in the heart of scientific progress and passion and feeling like I belong. At the same time, I’m miserable sometimes.

MIT is paradise. I cry sometimes. I love it here. My only consolation is that the salt in my tears will squelch any unsuspecting plants they land on. It’s beautiful. That’s right, unsuspecting Killian Court grass, wither. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

After reading this piece, I’ve concluded that all you have to do is substitute “CrossFit” for “MIT” and you’ll have nailed the CrossFit experience. You are always falling short. You are getting your self-esteem dragged over the rocks. You hate it. You love it. And you’ll always remember it.

Workout of the Day
Take 15 minutes to build to a heavy Back Squat x 1-2 reps

“Fall Challenge Workout”
For Max Reps:
3 Minutes of Back Squat
(Men – Adv=Bodyweight, Int=3/4 BW; Women – Adv=3/4 BW, Int=1/2 BW)
Rest 60 seconds
3 Minutes of Rowing for Calories
Rest 60 seconds
3 Minutes of Burpees

Express will substitute Front Squats for Back Squats, and loading amounts will be less.
Compare to November 5th
Daring Greatly

The phrase Daring Greatly is from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech,Citizenship in a Republic. This is the passage that made the speech famous:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly . . .”

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