Monthly Archives: March 2013

2009 to Now

The level of athleticism in the CrossFit Games has come a long way in a short period of time.  The level of progression is probably most evident in the Olympic lifts.  It’s fun to look back and see the progression of the sport.  

Check out the top women in the 2009 CrossFit Games going for a max snatch.  But be warned, most of the technique here is pretty atrocious.

And now here are the top women from the 2012 CrossFit Games doing 30 snatches at 95# in less than 2 minutes.  Nuts!  (Skip to 14:15)

Anyone recognize the two athletes in both videos?  What a difference a little technique makes.


Intermediate Class

Skill: 3 power snatches + 3 push presses + 3 overhead squats

5 sets, increasing weight each set


For max reps in 11 total minutes:

1 minute of max burpees

1 minute rest

7 minute AMRAP of:

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

5 power snatches (115#/73# for women)

1 minute rest

1 minute of max burpees

Score total burpees and couplet reps

All Levels and Beginner Class

Skill: Push press



For max reps in 11 total minutes:

1 minute of max burpees

1 minute rest

7 minute AMRAP of:

10 wall ball shots 

7 dumbbell push presses (40#/25# for women)

1 minute rest

1 minute of max burpees

Score total burpees and couplet reps


When I’m Down…

…Sometimes I just need Arnold to pick me up by saying, “If I would had listened to the naysayers, I would still be in the Austrian Alps yodeling.”

But I don’t plan on taking his marital advice.



Power clean and push jerk


Toes to bar practice

Workout of the Day:

Open WOD 13.4:

7 minute AMRAP of:

3 clean and jerks (135#/95# for women)

3 toes to bar

6 clean and jerks

6 toes to bar

9 clean and jerks

9 toes to bar…keep adding 3 reps each round.


Tips for 13.4!

So the anticipation for 13.4 has finally come to end.  We know exactly what’s in store for us on Friday:


How fun is that?!  So here are some videos to prep you for toes to bar and clean and jerks.  Study and apply all this information.  It will make a big difference on your performance 🙂  See you all on Friday for 13.4!

Tips for Toes to Bar:

Tips for Clean and Jerks:

Thursday All Classes Skill:

Front squat
Workout of the Day (WOD):
12 minute AMRAP of:
-10 wall ball shots (20# for men/14# for women)
-Farmer’s carry from the tape line on the mat to the end of the driveway and back (try to go as heavy as possible, use dumbbells or kettlebells)


What Will 13.4 Bring?

Class Schedule – We will be closed on Sunday, March 31st for Easter.

CrossFit Open WOD 13.4 comes out tomorrow.  What will it bring?  If I had to guess, based on the previous years’ Open workouts, we can expect to see some pull-up bar movement, pull-ups or toes to bar.  I would expect a squat of some sort, probably overhead squats, but maybe front squats, and I’m going out on a limb and guessing handstand push-ups as well. 

Why handstand push-ups?  Well, because they are becoming quite common now in CrossFit competitions and they are pretty easy to judge compared to other bodyweight pushing movements like push-ups and dips.  We shall see…


Mark doesn’t care what 13.4 is, he’s ready.  Can’t you tell?

Wednesday’s Workout

Skill: Push press



10 minute AMRAP (add 1 rep each round) of:

1 push press/jerk (115#/73# for women)

1 toes to bar

1 burpee

2 push presses/jerks

2 toes to bar

2 burpees…


What a fun day of overhead squats at CrossFit Merge today!  The overhead squat is the most difficult squat we do in CrossFit.  It requires balance, flexibility, and core strength.  The combination of these 3 key factors for success come with a lot of practice, patience and dedication.   Below are a some of the athletes at Merge that are continuously working at improving their overhead squats!

1 2 3 4 5

Tuesday All Classes


800 meter run

Rest exactly 3 minutes

400 meter run

Record total time

Workout of the Day (WOD)

4 rounds for max reps/calories

1 minute of rowing for calories

30 second rest

1 minute of hang power cleans (155/103) for intermediate and kettlebell swings (53/35) for beginners

30 sec rest

1 minute of box jump overs (24/20)

30 second rest

Start at the any station and rotate in that order

Score is total reps/calories

And here’s a video of Box Jump Overs

The Unsexy Stuff

With last week’s Open workout, there was a lot of excitement around the gym about muscle-ups. And why not? The muscle-up is graceful, powerful, it is literally and figuratively elevating, as well as a great accomplishment because it’s one of the hardest movements in CrossFit. The muscle-up is cool and sexy and makes for a great Instagram moment.

But getting the muscle-up means lots of work on the less graceful, less exciting stuff. I’m talking about pull-ups (strict and kipping), push-ups, transition practice, false grip strengthening, and ring dips. This is the grunt work that many of you have to put in for that muscle-up to be possible. It may not always be fun, but it’s pretty necessary. So get with the Merge coaches if you want some extra practice on the muscle-up’s prerequisites because we are definitely expanding membership to the muscle-up club.

Monday Intermediate

Skills: Overhead squat


20 seconds of l-sit hold after every set of squats


5 rounds for time of:

7 lateral hop burpees
9 overhead squats (115#/73# for women)
12 pull-ups

Beginner and All Levels

Skills: Front squat


20 seconds of l-sit hold after every set of squats


14 minute AMRAP of:

7 burpees
9 dumbbell front squats
7 pull-ups

A Friendly Reminder

You probably know by now that we are doing CrossFit Open WOD 13.3 in class on Friday.  If you were with us last year around this same time, you probably remember this workout because it was the same workout in last year’s Open.  With that in mind, I just thought I would repost this blog entry about the difference between training and testing.  

Training vs Testing

Training should make up 95% or more of your time here.  Testing is done on rare occasions to validate the training’s efficacy; you shouldn’t treat every session as an all out grind, with nothing left on the table.  

If you’re looking to improve on your Open WOD score from last year, then this will be a rare test day.  Otherwise treat WOD 13.3 as another day of training, where your goal is to be a little better than you were yesterday.  Even though so many of you see quick results with CrossFit, the program really is about long-term health and fitness.




Kipping muscle-up and transition practice


CrossFit Open WOD 13.3

12 minute AMRAP of:

150 wall ball shots (20# to 10′ target for men/14# to 9′ target for women)

90 double-unders

30 muscle-ups

Or the scaling option:

12 minute AMRAP of:

25 wall ball shots

15 double-unders

5 pull-ups

Athlete Spotlight – Adrienne Wollman

It is such an absolute honor and privilege to introduce to you Adrienne Wollman. When 6:30 am rolls around, rain or shine, Adrienne walks into the box ready to tackle the WOD. And crush it she does!! Absolutely nothing phases her. Her WOD times are often admired and desired by several athletes that attend the later classes. Don’t let her sweet demeanor and polite attitude fool you. She’s a tiny ball of DYNAMITE!! They say best things come in small packages and with Adrienne, that is nothing but the truth. Her strength, determination, consistency, and athletic spirit is that of giants!

And here’s Adrienne 🙂



How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Just over 2 years now.

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

I knew when I moved out here that I wanted to find another CrossFit gym, so I yelped it. Merge was the closest one to where I was living at the time and I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve been hooked ever since.

What was your first CrossFit Merge WOD experience like?

I’d been doing CrossFit for a few months before I started at Merge so it wasn’t TERRIBLE…but I’d also just spent the previous 3 weeks moving across the country, attempting to find a place to live and starting a new job (while not really doing any physical activity) so my first WOD at Merge was still a swift kick in the butt…Oh wait, every WOD is.

What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

I coached diving for 5 years while I was in school before moving out to LA, so if anyone wants to learn any dives or flips, I can teach you!

What is your greatest CrossFit Merge accomplishment thus far?

Definitely being able to do un-banded pull-ups in workouts! When I first started CrossFit, I had to use the green band for pull-ups and I couldn’t even pull it down to get my foot in, haha. It was so frustrating — I distinctly remember thinking, “Alright…I just need to at least get to a band I can get my foot through!”

What is your favorite WOD and why?

Anything that involves running or box jumps. They’re fun and feel really natural to me. It’s easy to get into a good rhythm.

What’s your least favorite WOD and why?

My least favorite WOD is definitely anything with rowing. That is the one movement that makes me instantly feel like I need to vomit…Rowing is pretty much my CrossFit arch nemesis.

What advice would you give a new member?

Have fun! One of the things that I love about CrossFit is that I actually look forward to coming into the gym in the morning. We have such a great, supportive, awesome group of people here…it’s hard not to get excited about going in to the gym. Plus, if you’re having fun, odds are good that you’re going to stick with it and get better. Win/win. Also keep a journal so that you can keep track of benchmark WODs, your max lifts and see how far you’ve come.

Out of all the hours in the day (both sleeping and awake) how much time do you spend working out? Thinking about CrossFit? Dreaming it? Watching vids? etc.

It depends on how sore I am. Just kidding (sort of). A fair amount…I always check the WOD before I go in and I frequently find myself trying to apply CrossFit skills to other things.

What is your favorite movie and why?

The Great Escape! Steve McQueen is a total bada** and I’m a bit of a WWII history nerd.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and why?

If I could be anywhere in the world, I’d definitely be in Sevilla. It’s hands down my favorite city — you can just wander around the streets for hours and always find something new and interesting.

What do you like to do for fun?

Drawing, riding my motorcycle and going on adventures.

If you could be any superhero who would you be? Why?

Probably Hiro Nakamura (from Heroes) because come on, who wouldn’t want the ability to manipulate space and time?

Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

I have no idea and I’m completely okay with that. I like seeing how things unfold without planning too much. Hopefully I’ll be doing more workouts RX though!

Adrienne, we are sooooo glad you’re part of our community. You enrich our lives in more ways than you can imagine. Keep up the good work, and maybe we can have a diving class here at merge?! 😉

Thursday: All Levels and Beginner

Skill: Spend 10 minutes finding a 5 rep max box jump height.

Review the dumbbell power snatch and double-unders

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute AMRAP of:

5 toes to bar

10 dumbbell snatches, alternating arms each, 5 each arm (50# for men/30# for women)

20 double-unders

Intermediate Class Only

Skill: Kipping muscle-up practice instead of the 5 rep max box jump

Making Progress

Sage advice about making progress from Jon Gilson at Again Faster.

Crossfit is extraordinary in its breadth. The physical tasks we undertake are remarkable for their constant variation and immutable intensity.

To the beginning Crossfitter, the sheer size of the curriculum can be daunting. You’ll learn Olympic lifts, gymnastics, sprinting, kettlebell swings, medicine ball work, basic nutrition, and a hundred other things. Crossfit has combined these modalities and a good dose of creativity to develop an inclusive model of fitness programming. 

In an effort to make Crossfit a little easier to deal with, here are the things you need to know to become an elite athlete. Everything else will come with time.

1.) Virtuosity: Do every rep correctly, every time. Virtuosity is the pursuit of perfection. Become a stickler for form, and you will reap the benefits of Crossfit extremely quickly.

2.) Consistency: Get out of bed. Go to the gym. Get in the habit of showing up.

3.) Intensity: Strive to minimize the amount of time you spend resting in the middle of each workout. The less you rest, the stronger you’ll become. Your workout times will plummet, and your health will skyrocket. Go hard!

4.) Nutrition: Eat enough calories to support vigorous exercise. Not eating is not a solution. Avoid alcohol, starch, and sugar like the plague. Eat lean meats, vegetables, low-GI fruits, and good fats. Fat is necessary for athletic performance–get it from almonds, avocados, olive oil, and fish oil. The best way to maintain a good diet? Clear all the crap out of your cupboards, and never ever buy it again.

5.) Sleep: Sleep is essential to your athletic development. When you sleep, you heal. Progress is a constant give and take between breaking down and building up–exercise breaks you down and sleep builds you up. Give your body the fuel it needs to heal–lean protein and fat immediately before bed will keep you in a good physiological state to burn fat and build muscle all night long. Sleep at least 8 hours every night. Make it a priority.

6.) Rest: Don’t exercise every day. You’ll burn out. Schedule rest days after every two or three days of heavy training. You can speed up healing with ice, compression, mobility work, and good supplementation.

7.) Instruction: Spend money on quality trainers (he meant to write coaches), reading materials, seminars, and certifications. A few hundred bucks here and there will accelerate your gains much faster than advice from the counter guy at Gold’s. 

8.) Comfort: Stray from the known path. Approach new skills as an opportunity to learn, not an opportunity to fail. The best athletes in the world spend all day working on their weaknesses, not reinforcing their strengths.

9.) Goals: Write everything down. Set goals and work to meet them every day. Look back over your progress, and change what needs to be changed.

10.) Stress: Your body doesn’t distinguish between training stress and life stress. Minimize life stress to maximize your progress.

None of this is earth-shattering. Incorporate these tenets in your training, one by one. Follow them 90% of the time, and you’ll find yourself at the top of the scoreboard each and every week.


Len made some huge progress this week when he nailed a bodyweight clean and jerk, passing that item on the Advanced Test.


Intermediate Class

Skill: 1 power snatch + 1 overhead squat

7 sets, increasing in weight each set


5 rounds for time of:

7 back squats (185#/113# for women)

10 burpees

Power Hour

Skill:  Deadlift

1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1


5 rounds for time of:

7 back squats (185#/113# for women)

10 burpees

Beginner Class

Skill:  Deadlift

1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1


5 rounds for time of:

7 deadlifts (185#/113# for women)

10 burpees

This video related to anything much, I just enjoy watch this team lift.

Thank you Jane and Shirley!

Aside from the fact that we do the coolest workouts and CrossFit itself is simply awesome, CrossFit Merge is exceptionally lucky in having such an amazing group of athletes!  The community aspect of our box is just plain out awesome.  Everybody has something so integral to offer and we all end up being better athletes, friends, and people thanks to the bonds and friendships that are developed here.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Shirley and Jane for putting together such a fun event last night.  Mergers are ranting and raving about how yummy the food was, how they didn’t have to lose WLC points nor worry about what they were eating, and what fun memories they made hanging out.  Thank you Jane for opening up the doors of your aunt’s restaurant to us and making us feel even more like family and thank you Shirley and Jane for hosting such a successful event.  You guys rock!

kbbq kkbq1 kkbq3

Tuesday’s All Levels and Beginner




Rowing technique

Max effort 500 meter row test


Workout of the Day (WOD):


2 person team, 20 min AMRAP:


Partner 1: 6 pull-ups

Partner 2: 100 meter row

Partner 1: 12 wall ball shots (20 for men/14 for women)

Partner 2: 12 kettlebell swings (53 for men/35 for women)


After 2 rounds, switch roles.  Partner 1 become partner 2.  

Intermediate class skill: kipping handstand push-ups (start watching at minute 3:40)