Prepping for the Open 2019:  Part 2 - How much do you lift bro?

By now I am sure you have heard some rumblings around the gym about the 2019 CrossFit Open.  If you ask around I’m sure you will find a large number of people who have participated in years past.  At the same time, there are many who are considering joining the fun for the first time.

In an effort to help provide a bit more context, I wanted to chat this week about heavy barbell movements and how they generally show up in the Open.

As your coaches, we encourage everyone to participate because we believe that it’s important to embrace the spirit of competition at least once a year.  There is no denying the fact that the energy in the gym is electric on Friday nights during the Open.  I think we can all agree that having some one count your reps and cheer you on for an entire workout is also pretty cool.

A hallmark tradition of the Open and of CrossFit more specifically is the heavy barbell workout.  At some point in time, there will be a metcon that will come out requiring athletes to pick something up and put it down multiple times.  

More often than not this involves high volume, olympic or powerlifting style movements while athletes are under fatigue.  At Kingfield, we tend to shift our bias in the other direction for a majority of the year because entertaining this type of training for too long has a high risk, low reward outcome.  

Please understand that we are not saying we believe people should avoid using heavy barbells while your respiration rate and heart rate are elevated.  In fact we are saying, quite the opposite.  

We support this methodology whole-heartedly, however we want our athletes to know that just like any training modality, there is a specific time and place for that.  

Athletes should understand that our bodies operate as a system.  They are self regulating, not self optimizing.  This means that they will choose the most energy efficient patterns always unless we dictate otherwise.  Adjustments to our posture and position go largely uninfluenced unless we actively make an effort to move a certain way or physiologically we have to make an adjustment (i.e. sitting up to take a breath when exhausted).   

Inputs that play a major role in how we move are mobility, hydration, current rested state, training age, and injury history.  Once all of that data is interpreted, our bodies decide which movement pattern should be executed regardless of intended outcomes.  If you think about, we can do some pretty cool shit.

So how does this apply to heavy barbells?  Great question.  The big takeaway that we want you to understand is that a proper warm-up is vital.  We need to prime our aerobic system first (seeing that CrossFit is largely an aerobic sport) and utilize movement patterns that mimic the positions you hope to operate in.  

Listed below is a simple plan that you can follow to help warm-up your system before you jump into a workout.

Don’t hesitate to grab a coach if you need a bit more clarity.  We are here to help you every step of the way!




A.  7 minute easy row/bike - use nasal breathing only and attempt to keep the same work rate.  Hold your breath the last :10 of every minute then continue working.


A. Banded side steps: 3 x 20 per @ moderate

B. Runner’s lunge to twist: 3 x 5 per

C. BB back squat: 2 x 10

D.  BB RDL: 2 x 10

E.  BB Upright row: 2 x 10

F.  BB strict press: 2 x 10

WOD 190203

METCON: "Aerobic Efficiency: Know Your Shift 2.0"

2 Rounds For Quality on Assault Bike:




REST :30

Max burpees to 6"" target in 3 minutes **


** Round 2 is 40 burpees to 6"" target for time

WEEK OF 190204-190210

MONDAY 190203

METCON: "Aerobic Efficiency: Know Your Shift 2.0"

2 Rounds For Quality:




REST :30

Max burpees to 6"" target in 3 minutes **


** Round 2 is 40 burpees to 6"" target for time


TUESDAY 190204

STRENGTH:  Back Squat: 3 x 6-8 @ RPE 7 

Athletes should focus on control and consistent drive through the legs. The RPE has gone down from two weeks ago. Athletes should attempt to complete a higher volume of reps if possible.


AMRAP 2 Minutes:

250 ft. Shuttle sprint

Max reps sandbag to shoulder @ moderate


AMRAP 2 Minutes:

250 ft. Shuttle sprint

Max reps sandbag to shoulder @ moderate


AMRAP 2 Minutes:

250 ft. Shuttle sprint

Max reps sandbag to shoulder @ moderate




5 Rounds For Time:

55 Double unders

12 DB Squats @ moderate

55 Double unders

12 DB Push Press @ moderate

16 minute time cap!



STRENGTH:  Snatch x 1 @ RPE 8

A) From 0:00-12:00, athletes will perform multiple reps of the warm-up complex AND build to their RPE 8 weight:

Warm-up Complex:  2 snatch pulls + 2 full snatches

B) From 12:00-20:00, athletes will complete 1 rep every :90 to 2 minutes: 

1 Full snatch @ RPE 8


3 Rounds For Time:

20 Calorie row **

10 Toes to bar **

10 minute time cap!

** Athletes should chat with their coach today if the volume of the workout will deter them from the intended stimulus.  Today we are looking to challenge the midline while under fatigue.  Coaches will modify accordingly!


FRIDAY 190207

"CrossFit Open Workout 15.4”

Complete as many rounds as possible in 8 minutes of:


3 Cleans (185/125#)


3 Cleans (185/125#)


3 Cleans (185/125#)

12 HSPU 

6 Cleans (185/125#)

15 HSPU 

6 Cleans (185/125#)

18 HSPU 

6 Cleans (185/125#)


9 Cleans (185/125#)

Continue adding 3 reps to HSPU each rounds + 3 cleans after every 3 rounds



STRENGTH:  Split Squat: 2 x 12 per @ RPE 7 

Athletes should focus on knees over the toes + control through the back knee + strong drive through the front foot. Intensity will be achieved due to increased volume NOT increased loading.


** Athletes will alternate in a you go, I go fashion for the entire 14 minutes:

AMRAP 14 minutes:

5 Banded strict pull ups

7 DB Push jerks @ RPE 6 **

Sandbag hold :60 @ light to moderate

**Athletes should choose a weight that will be challenging, but will also allow them to move well for the entire 14 minutes.


SUNDAY 190209

STRENGTH:  Deadlift from below the knee

3 x 6 @ RPE 7 - FOCUS should be maintaining proper hinge mechanics at a higher load.



5 Rounds For Time:

10 Calorie Assault bike sprint

10 Russian KB swings @ RPE 5

12 minute time cap

WOD 190202


"Aerobic Efficiency: Know Your Shift"

Athletes will alternate WITH A PARTNER every 2 rounds for 10 total rounds:

12 Calories @ Gear 3 **

12 Russian KB swings @ moderate + Gear 4 ***

**Athletes may choose what piece of equipment they use


GEAR 3: Deliberate NASAL IN + deliberate NASAL EX - at the limits of your nasal capacity

GEAR 4: NASAL IN + MOUTH EX - both are deliberate and with intention

High or Low?

A lot of times we wrestle with trying to find the right cues for our athletes when coaching weightlifting movements.  As a staff we would all agree that athletes who are new to barbell movements are easier to coach because they don’t tend to have any prior movement biases or fault patterns.

In recent weeks I have found myself having the same conversation with multiple athletes about the snatch in regards to the catch position.  I thought it might be helpful to address that here with you all today and let you in on the coach’s lens that we use.

The question I often get it:  do I focus on catching high or low?  The answer:  It depends.

At Kingfield we have hierarchy of movement requirements that we want to emphasize with our athletes.  When considering how to answer this question - high or low - this is the criteria that helps our guide us to a quick and efficient answer.  

As we watch athletes move, we try and identify three main points:

1. Are they moving safely?.  Especially when it comes to olympic weightlifting,  we have found that focusing on position first, helps keep athletes progressing forward in an upward trajectory.

2.  How’s their timing?  Once an athlete demonstrates that they can achieve all of the requisite positions to move properly, we spend time helping them understand timing.  This is the secret ingredient to all high level lifters.  They have impeccable timing which allows them to move as efficiently and quickly as possible.

3. How much weight is on their bar?  Loading is the final piece of consideration when progressing athletes.  Often times this is where athletes want to start, but moving too quickly will only lead to bigger problems down the road.

I’m sure you all can think back to the time you first started weightlifting and remember how goofy it felt.  If you were lucky enough to have a Foundations session with coach Chris, I’m sure you can remember him saying, “Good!  Let’s try that again.”

Repetition is a necessary component of training. That’s why as coaches we try and hold back on progressing athletes before they are ready. We want them to develop movement patterns that are safe, stable, efficient, and strong!

This week I invite you to take a step back and think about your training.  Consider these 3 coaching points and ask yourself if you think one of these areas applies to you.  If so, talk to your coach about it.  I’m sure they will be stoked to chat.

Happy Thursday Everyone!


WOD 190131

STRENGTH: Front squat. 4 x 5 @ RPE 6 

Athletes should focus on control and consistent drive through the legs and control through the midline throughout the entire movement!


Every 2 minutes for 14 minutes:

100 ft. Shuttle sprint @ alternating **

100 ft. Sandbag carry @ moderate **

** SPRINT: Athletes will alternate 25 ft. facing forwards THEN 25 ft. facing backwards

** SB CARRY: Athletes should remember this is a DELOAD week.  Choose a bag that is moderate due to the nature of hamstring volume today!

Embrace the shift.

When I was growing up, I remember a coach of mine telling our basketball team, “Sometimes in life you have to eat a few shit sandwiches to really understand what’s going on in the world.”  

In retrospect that was probably more cathartic for him than anything (as we got the living shit beat out of us by Holy Angels), but it got the message across and that line has stuck with me to this day.  Now, how applicable that pearl of wisdom is to today’s blog is up to you.  But if you read this one all the way through, you might find out where it fits :)

By now most of you have heard (or seen) that I have made a drastic shift in my training focus the past 6 months.  In early August I decided that I would take a step back from traditional CrossFit and weightlifting (snatch/clean and jerk) to focus on a more disciplined approach to hypertrophy training (fancy way of saying bodybuilding).

My motivation was driven by the fact that I felt there was a growing need amongst our community for an alternative program that would support this kind of regimen.  For those of you that don’t know, bodybuilding is a sport - and a damn hard one at that.  But from a training perspective it can be summed up as a controlled approach to volume based periodization and nutritional discipline.  Research has shown that this type of training is quite favorable when it comes to aesthetics, and let’s be honest, we all have times that we wished we looked a certain type of way.  

I must insert here that I am not about to sell you a program that promises amazing before and after photos. - I can’t control that.  You have to do the work.  But what I can tell you is that the program I have been following (and the one that will begin in May at Kingfield) required that I commit to myself and embrace a shift.

As your coach, I believe it is imperative that I lead from a beginner’s mindset and speak from a place of experience.  In my mind there is a clear distinction between reciting information and having knowledge about something - the two are not synonymous.  So when I decided to start this program, I had to make a promise to myself that I commit to process - even if I disagreed.

I am always very open about the fact that the programs I follow (food and training) are written for me - I have two coaches.  One of my core principles of owning a gym is that I remain empathetic to my clients and put myself in their shoes - hence I pay a hefty monthly fee for coaching.  This also demands that I remain coachable and follow direction.  

Early on I had to embrace two very hard truths about this upcoming process.  First was the idea that hypertrophy training and training for maximal strength, don’t necessarily coexist.  In fact, my experience (and countless recent research studies) has shown me that they do not.  This was challenging for me because a large portion of my “fitness identity” was secretly tied to my performance numbers (which were likely going to decrease noticeably). 

The second truth that I had to embrace was the fact that my current body fat percentage was not at an optimal range to support the growth of lean muscle mass (more on that later).  This meant that I was going to have to cut weight before I was going to be able to gain mass.  

In upcoming blogs I will talk about what I have been doing specifically and what you can expect at Kingfield this spring.  But today I wanted to tell you how embracing the journey I have been on the last 6 months has been the best thing I could have done for myself in awhile.  Through all of this I have learned that training must be a dedicated process, and having a coach to guide and lead the way is imperative.

So today I invite you to reflect on your training.  Ask yourself what goals do you have set for 2019?  Consider the fact that in order to achieve these, you might have to dedicate yourself to a process.  I’m almost certain they will require you to sit down with your coach and design a plan.  I’m also certain that it won’t be easy.  But if you embrace the shift, you will most certainly surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.


WOD 190130

STRENGTH:  Clean x 1 @ RPE 7

A) From 0:00-10:00, athletes will perform multiple reps of the warm-up complex AND build to their RPE 6 weight:

Warm-up Complex:  2 clean pulls + 2 full cleans

B) From 10:00-20:00, athletes will complete an EMOM style of:: 

1 Full clean @ RPE 7



On a 4 minute clock, complete:

50 Wall balls @ 20/14#

Max bar over burpees in remianing time **


On a 4 minute clock, complete:

40 Wall balls @ 20/14#

Max bar over burpees in remaining time **


For Time:

30 Wall balls @ 20/14#

30 Burpees over the bar **

20 minute time cap!!

** Athletes should chat with their coaches about the volume of each portions of today's workout if it will prevent them from preserving intensity.  Coaches will help modify accordingly! 

Books are Rad - Episode 1: Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

I always thought it would be rad if LeVar Burton would make a resurgence and bring back Reading Rainbow.  My bias of course would be more geared towards books that would interest adults or lifelong learners, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that this could be a hit.  Unfortunately, my hope hasn’t manifested itself yet, so I thought I would start writing weekly about what I have been reading or have read.  Who knows, maybe this will allow me to become the next LeVar…

Before we get started, I will say that those of you reading this who were born in the 90’s and have no idea what I’m talking about, use the googles to search Reading Rainbow (things will make a lot more sense, I promise).  For the rest of you, my intent of this Tuesday blog is to hopefully prompted some discussion, find out what you all are reading, and hopefully share some pretty cool shit with one another!  Each week I will be brief and give a short synopsis + what I found to be a few solid sticking points from each book.  It would be great to receive some comments and find out what you all are reading currently!

Without further ado, week 1:  Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers  

You may or may not be surprised, but not all books I read have to do with fitness.  In fact, most do not.  I am drawn to storytellers or authors who take time to look deeper into certain topics.  I appreciate writing styles that are very matter of a fact, but also inspire me to think and reflect back on my own experience.

The first time I read Outliers was back in 2015.  I was drawn to it because the idea of high level achievers, those who have experienced a great deal of success or failure, has always been a point of curiosity for me.  I would often ask questions like, what do they do different than myself?  Were they born with certain abilities that allowed them to be great?  Was it luck?  Is there something I’m missing?

In this book, Gladwell does an amazing job of investigating a wide variety of subjects who for all intents and purposes are true outliers.  From professional hockey players to Bill Gates, he answers the central question - what do all these different groups of people have in common?

Now I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but what I will say is this - when you look objectively at those who have had exponential success in a specific area of their life have not only put in the time and made sacrifices to be great, but their individual circumstance (environment or otherwise), albeit different from one another, assisted greatly in their achievements and prompted them to be that way as well.  

What I appreciated most about this book however, was that Gladwell weighs the pro’s and con’s that come with great talent and great success.  He lays it out for the readers in plain text and shows them that sometimes, be great, can also be your limiter.

So if you’re ever find yourself playing the “what do they have that I don’t?” game.  Pick up this book.  You might be surprised at what you find


WOD 190129


In 18 minutes complete as many rounds as possible:

12/9 Assault bike calories**

9 DB Thrusters @ moderate

6 HSPU @ 2019 CF Open standard ***


** CALORIES:  Athletes should focus on a consistent work effort at an RPE of 8.  Athletes may choose to complete :60 of work if that will allow them to preserve the RPE directive

*** HSPU:  Athletes should pause momentarily at the top of the movement to reinforce the Open standard of full extension