Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Perfect Squat

Can you ever squat too well?  Probably not.  

The air squat, a foundational movement in CrossFit, the first movement one learns at the CrossFit certification, demands constant improvement and diligence.  That torso can always be a little more upright, lumbar extension can always be better, the knees should always track out over the toes and never cave in, and you should reach proper depth each time.  It won’t ever be perfect, but that should be the goal.  

Practice, practice, practice the squat.  Squat well and you’ll be surprised at how well you’re able to do many other physical movements both in CrossFit and in life.   


Squat therapy

Bottom to bottom Tabata squats

Workout of the day (WOD):

3 rounds for time of:

75 double unders

30 overhead squats (75#/55# for women)

12 ring dips

Elements WOD:

15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

15 squats

15 lateral hops

15 sit-ups

Post times and rounds to comments

Burpee Mike in the 6:30 am class with Chris and Brian?  WTF?

Cristina looking good on her overhead squat during the workout.

A little hip preparation and mobility before the squats.

The Elements gang moving in a hurried blur.


Why Olympic Lifting?

A reminder that on Monday, July 4th, we will just have one class that day starting at 10 am.  Get your workout on early and set off some fireworks of your own with a sick WOD!

On Tuesday we practiced one of the Olympic lifts, the clean.  Why practice the Olympic lifts?  After all, they’re hard and very technical lifts that can create a lot of frustration.  So why take the time to practice them?  

Taken from the terrific CrossFit Foundations article, here is why every athlete should practice the Olympic lifts.  

“There are two Olympic lifts, the clean and jerk and the snatch. Mastery of these lifts develops the squat, deadlift, powerclean, and split jerk while integrating them into a single movement of unequaled value in all of strength and conditioning. The Olympic lifters are without a doubt the world’s strongest athletes.

These lifts train athletes to effectively activate more muscle fibers more rapidly than through any other modality of training. The explosiveness that results from this training is of vital necessity to every sport.

Practicing the Olympic lifts teaches one to apply force to muscle groups in proper sequence, i.e., from the center of the body to its extremities (core to extremity). Learning this vital technical lesson benefits all athletes who need to impart force to another person or object as is commonly required in nearly all sports.

In addition to learning to impart explosive forces, the clean and jerk and snatch condition the body to receive such forces from another moving body both safely and effectively.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the Olympic lifts unique capacity to develop strength, muscle, power, speed, coordination, vertical leap, muscular endurance, bone strength, and the physical capacity to withstand stress. It is also worth mentioning that the Olympic lifts are the only lifts shown to increase maximum oxygen uptake, the most important marker for cardiovascular fitness.

Sadly, the Olympic lifts are seldom seen in the commercial fitness community because of their inherently complex and technical nature. CrossFit makes them available to anyone with the patience and persistence to learn.”

Olympic lifting session at its best



Hang Clean

3 – 3 – 3

Thruster (Elements) 

3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

4 rounds, with 1 minute rest between rounds, where each round consists of:

3 min AMRAP of:

3 power cleans (135#/95# for women)

6 pull-ups

9 squats

Elements WOD:

4 rounds, with 1 minute rest between rounds, where each round consists of:

3 min AMRAP of:

3 ground to overhead with dumbbells 

6 pull-ups

9 squats

Post scores for each round to comments

2011 CrossFit Games competitor Pat Barber working the Olympic lifts early in his career with Coach Burgener, a classic CrossFit video.

Your Daily Links

Here are some health, fitness, and fashion links/sites that can easily get you in trouble at work for spending too much time on them.  Read, listen, and enjoy at your own career risk.

Early Farmers Were Sicker and Shorter Than Their Forager Ancestors

Weightlifting Shoes on the Cheap  

What being strong is teaching me 

The Iron – Henry Rollins 

Robb Wolf Podcast 

Jorts?  Yes or No? 



3 max sets of true push-ups (elevated feet and chest drops below the parallettes)

Workout of the Day (WOD):

For time:

Run around the large block, then 3 rounds of:

21 burpees

15 kettlebell swings (53#/35# for women)

9 goblet swings (53#/35#)

finish with another run around the large block

Post times to comments

A varied warm-up.

Sal getting his push-ups going.

Kendra, she just has no quit in her. CrossFit Glendale Gym CrossFit 818 642 7270 CrossFit Los Feliz, CrossFit Silver Lake, CrossFit Atwater Village, CrossFit Los Angeles, CrossFit Eagle Rock

Weekend Action

Heavy thrusters, toes to bar, hundreds of pull-ups and push-ups, and of course some running…nothing boring about the weekends here at CrossFit Merge in Glendale.  Yeah, we got way busy this past weekend.

On Friday we rocked some heavy thrusters on the minute for 10 minutes.  Then a good little finisher with some push presses and toes to bar just to open up the airway.

CrossFit and Paleo eating…it seems to be working well for Isaias.

Work out then hang out with your friends.

Saturday was all about a woman named Barbara.  5 rounds of:

20 pull-ups

30 push-ups

40 sit-ups

50 squats

rest 3 minutes between rounds

A benchmark workout and then some.

Just like the jungle gym during recess at elementary school.

Then on Sunday we laced up the running shoes and worked in some front squats.

Sunday’s WOD:

2 rounds, each 6 minutes long of:

800 meter run, then max reps of front squats (135#/95# for women) for the remainder of the round.  Rest 2 minutes between rounds.

Awesome work last week. 

Stayed tuned to the blog because we have lots of events planned for both inside and outside of the gym in July. 

CrossFit Glendale Gym CrossFit 818 642 7270 CrossFit Los Feliz, CrossFit Silver Lake, CrossFit Atwater Village, CrossFit Los Angeles, CrossFit Eagle Rock


Paleo Wrap Up

Reminder that this Sunday we will have our Paleo Wrap Up lecture/discussion/question and answer with Coach Rane.  

Whether you participated in the Paleo Challenge or not, or are just looking for more information on Paleo eating and health, swing by CrossFit Merge this Sunday, June 26th at 12 pm to see what it’s all about.



Snatch balance + 1 overhead squat

Perform 5 sets, trying to move up in weight each time.

Kipping pull-up practice (Elements)

Workout of the Day (WOD):

3 rounds for time of:

Run around the short block

16, one arm, alternating dumbbell snatches (40#/25# for women)

12 burpees

Elements WOD:

3 rounds for time of:

Run 400 meters

20, one arm, alternating dumbbell snatches

Post times to comments

Michael working on his speed and balance with the snatch balance.

New members Chris and Brian get very familiar with the dumbbell squat snatch.

Agility ladder, it’s not just for the legs.

Breathing 101

“Unrack the weight.  Set the feet in that stable squat stance, shoulder width apart at the heels.  Take a big breath in the belly and hold.  Now squat.”  

If you’ve ever done heavy barbell lifting at CrossFit Merge, you’ve probably heard me give these cues.  It seems simple enough, but what’s the deal with holding the breath.  Does that really matter?  Yes, it matters a whole lot.  

Filling your thoracic cavity with air, thus creating a more rigid and stable midline, during a squat, deadlift, or press is called the Valsalva Maneuver.  

CrossFit Hoboken has a great write up on the Valsalva Maneuver.  In short, the softer my midline, or core, the weaker that link is in the chain of my body.  A good rule of thumb during strength training is to only breathe when the barbell isn’t moving.  So there you have it. 



1 mile run 

Workout of the Day (WOD): 

For time, complete 21 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 9 reps of:

Deadlifts (225#/155# for women)

Kettlbell swings (53#/35#)

Elements WOD:

10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

5 push-ups

10 deadlifts

Post times and rounds to comments

Benny, Kevin, and Morgan, doing what used to be called the “Health-lift”

Very strange.  Everyone in the 7:30 pm class lost a contact lens at the exact same time.  

CrossFit Glendale Gym CrossFit 818 642 7270 CrossFit Los Feliz, CrossFit Silver Lake, CrossFit Atwater Village, CrossFit Los Angeles, CrossFit Eagle Rock


First Reaction

When you walk into CrossFit Merge and march directly toward the blackboard so see the WOD, what’s your reaction?  Are your reactions anything like Melissa’s?  Do you walk in hoping for a certain movement like pull-ups or box jumps?  What on the blackboard totally crushes your spirits?  Is it double-unders, or maybe it’s running?  What’s your feeling when that 12 movement, 25 minutes if I’m fast,  chipper is on the board?  Excitement, fear, I should turn around and leave right now.  Post your WOD at first sight reactions to the comments.



Front squat + push press/push jerk

2+1, 2+1, 2+1, 2+1, 2+1

Front squat

5 – 5 – 5

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute AMRAP of:

12 wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)

Suicide sprint with the medicine ball

Post rounds to comments

Fred setting up for his push jerk.

Burpee Mike.  He made it in for the 12:30 class, but not without owing some burpees for running late.  

Cory and Ryan chasing each other the whole time during the WOD.  Community, it’s the fourth tenet of CrossFit.

Running with an awkward object, just another way we keep it constantly varied here at CrossFit Merge.

…He’s a Machine

It just felt like a Rocky IV training montage kind of day. 

I think Rocky’s double-unders could use some work, however.



Press 5 – 5 – 3 – 1 – 1

Workout of the Day (WOD):

For time:

30 – 20 – 10 reps of:

Sumo deadlift high pulls (95#/65# for women)

Burpee box jumps (24″/20″)

Sub regular burpees for Elements

Post times to comments

Kendra’s strict press.

Mina and Cristina doing the burpees as Cory provides them with some motivation.

Weekend of CrossFit

If you didn’t make it into the box this weekend, first off, what’s up with that?  Because here’s what you missed.

Friday was a crusher.  

7 rounds of:

15 kettlebell swings (53#/35# for women)

15 power cleans (95#/65#)

15 box jumps (24″/20″)

And Elements didn’t have it any easier.  But they of course took it in stride.

3 rounds of:

Run 800 meters

30 overhead squats

30 pull-ups/ring rows

Dan gutting out 1 of his 90 overhead squats at 65#.  

Saturday brought us the Lumberjack 20, a tough but fun and motivating Hero WOD.

20 deadlifts (275#/185#)

Run 400 meters

20 kettlebell swings (70#/53#)

Run 400 meters

20 overhead squats (115#/75#)

Run 400 meters

20 burpees

Run 400 meters

20 pull-ups (chest to bar)

Run 400 meters

20 box jumps (24″/20″)

Run 400 meters

20 dumbbell squat cleans (45#/25#)

Run 400 meters

Kendra putting her no quit attitude on display.

Then on Sunday we hung out with our favorite ‘Frenemy’, Mr. Double-under.  If you have smokin’ double-unders, then they can almost be a rest for you during the workout.  If not, well…

4 rounds of:

50 double-unders

15 kettlebell swings (70#/53#)

15 burpees

Got double-unders?

Heavy Squat Thursday

Wow!  People were squatting huge numbers yesterday.  Weights that were previously 1 rep maxes were now 3 rep maxes, for three sets.  How can you argue with progress like that?  Great job CF Mergers.


Back Squat

3 x 3 (same weight)

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

5 burpee pull-ups

10 wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)

Elements WOD:

15 minute AMRAP of:

14 jumping pull-ups

14 wall ball shots

Row 14 calories

Post rounds to comments

The intensity of a heavy back squat.

Michael made the 255# look easy.

Nooners Jon, Burpee Mike, and D1

Cristina and Michael wrapping us their day the best way possible, with a CrossFit WOD.

CrossFit Glendale Gym CrossFit 818 642 7270 CrossFit Los Feliz, CrossFit Silver Lake, CrossFit Atwater Village, CrossFit Los Angeles, CrossFit Eagle Rock