Coaches’ Corner Blog
15 Apr

Barbell Work For Bay State Athletes – Week of 4.14.14



Hey Bay State Games Athletes,

Your strength work each week will be the 3 programmed strength classes currently available Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. In addition, I will be posting an extra day of “Barbell Patterning” in which all of the exercises listed will be done with an empty barbell and ONLY an empty barbell. The point of this work is to build your technique from a neurological standpoint as many of you are new to snatching, etc.

This work can be done before or after any of your regular WOD classes, mobility classes, or endurance classes. I would NOT recommend doing it after a lifting class, but doing it before may be a good way to warm up for some of you who can get here early.

Snatch Work (~10-15 minutes)

  1. Behind-the-neck strict press: 3-4 sets of 10 reps
  2. Overhead squats (partial or full depending on mobility, keep arms locked out fully): 3-4 sets of 10 reps
  3. Behind-the-neck push jerk: 3-4 sets of 10 reps
  4. Tall muscle snatch (no leg drive, just focus on high elbows, turnover, and lockout): 3-4 sets of 10 reps

Jerk Work (~10 minutes)

  1. Split jerk footwork (NO BARBELL): 3 sets of 10 reps (jump and land in a split position)
  2. Strict press from split: 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Strict press into split (strict press to eye level, then drive under into a split to finish): 3 sets of 10 reps

This supplemental work, once again, must be done with an EMPTY BAR and is designed to drill good execution and positions. Feel free to email me any questions at

03 Aug

Remaining WODs for RCFBB Internal Throwdown

As promised, listed below are the remaining events for the internal throwdown tomorrow. I have had a number of you contact me with concerns after I revealed the first WOD, but please resist the urge to back out of the competition or try and switch divisions last minute. You will NOT have these options in a regular competition, and my goal is to prepare you for what lies ahead while having a whole lot of fun with fellow members. We will cover all standards and questions at the athlete’s briefing tomorrow morning, but any urgent questions can be directed to me at

WOD 2/3


3 minutes to establish a 1RM clean and jerk

Rest 1 minute, then

AMRAP 3 of:

C2B pull-ups (RX MEN) OR pull-ups (RX WOMEN)

AMRAP 2 of:
Snatches (145/85)

AMRAP 1 of:

Reverse wall climbs



3 minutes to establish a 1RM shoulder-to-overhead off racks

Rest 1 minute, then

AMRAP 3 of:

Pull-ups (red band for SCALED MEN, blue band for SCALED WOMEN)

AMRAP 2 of:

Snatches (115/65)

AMRAP 1 of:
Plank push-ups

Before any of you even think about giving me a hard time for the snatch weight being so heavy, the snatch is meant to be a test that I believe many of you will fail. No offense, but I wanted the weight to be impossibly heavy to force you all to your limits and to show you that you are capable of far more than you think you are. That being said, the movement standards are as follows:

Score for WOD 2 is total weight successfully lifted. Score for WOD 3 is total repetitions across all of the AMRAPs.

Athletes will start with an empty bar, two collars, and a set of weights (2x 45#, 2x 35#, 2x 25#, 2x 15#, 2x 10#, and 2x 5# or 4x 2.5# plates) and will have 3 minutes to establish a 1RM clean and jerk or a 1RM shoulder-to-overhead off of racks depending on their division. If they need more weight than what is provided, they can use their judge to assist in obtaining it, but all athletes are responsible for loading their own bars. Any type of clean and jerk is acceptable, including but not limited to: power clean, hang clean (bar must start from the ground and be picked up), squat clean, squat clean thruster, clean into push jerk, or clean into split jerk. A complete repetition requires the athlete to reach full extension at the top with knees, hips, and arms fully extended; if a split jerk is performed, feet must be brought back together before lowering the barbell. After 3 minutes are complete, athletes will be given a one minute rest and bars will be moved off to the side by their judge. They then have 3 minutes to complete as many chest-to-bar/regular pull-ups as they can (or regular pull-ups with red/blue band if competing in the scaled division). Pull-up standards require the chest to clearly come in contact with the bar at the top (or chin to pass over the bar for rx women and scaled) and full extension of the arms at the bottom. Pull-ups may be strict, kipping, or butterfly. After 3 minutes, a call of “rotate” will be given and athletes will move on to their pre-loaded barbells. They then have 2 minutes to perform as many snatches as possible at 145/85 or 115/65 pounds respectively. Any form of snatch is acceptable (muscle, power, or squat) as long as the barbell starts from the ground and the athlete shows control at the top of each repetition with knees, hips, and arms fully extended. After 2 minutes, athletes will be given the final call of “rotate” and will move to their designated wall where they must perform reverse wall climbs (or plank push-ups for the scaled division) for the final minute. Athletes must start with chests on the ground and their chest must come in contact with the wall at the top of each repetition. Athletes must also lower themselves UNDER CONTROL for each repetition to be counted. For plank push-ups, both forearms being placed flat on the ground and the athlete then coming up onto both hands in the high-plank position constitutes one repetition.

WOD 4/5


Farmers’ walk relay

(40, 50, 70, 100# DB’s for men and 30, 40, 50, 70# DB’s for women)

Athletes will walk from the beginning of the stretching room to the end of the room, run back, grab the next set of DB’s, and repeat until all sets of DB’s have been moved across the room.

* 2 minute time limit for this event, then athletes will have 1 minute to complete max repetitions of:

L pull-ups on rings

Athletes will start standing behind the series of dumbbells in the stretching room. At the call of 3-2-1 go, the athletes will grab either the 30 or 40# DB’s (depending on division) and will perform a farmers’ carry to the other end of the room. After the DB’s have been set down UNDER CONTROL, athletes will sprint back and grab the next set of DB’s. They will continue in this fashion until they have carried the 70 or 100# DB’s to the other end of the room. After the final set of DB’s has been carried to the other end of the room, the clock stops only after athletes have successfully sprinted back and passed the starting line. If the DB’s are dropped at the end of the room instead of set down under control, athletes will perform a 1 burpee penalty before sprinting back. If they fail to do so, they will need to re-do the sprint down and back before picking up the next set of DB’s (or before clock stops if they did so on the last carry). In addition, a 1 burpee penalty will be immediately assessed any time the athletes set the dumbbells down between the starting line and finish line. There will be a 2 minute time cap for this event. After 2 minutes, athletes will then jump onto a set of rings and perform max L pull-ups on the rings. For ring pull-ups, the chin must clearly pass above the bottom of the rings and the L-sit position must be maintained for the entire raising AND lowering phase of the pull-up. Kipping is allowed for the L pull-up as long as the L-sit position is maintained through the entire pulling and lowering phase of the movement. If an athlete is unable to complete the farmers’ carry event in the 2 minute time cap, they will be given a partial score of the weight successfully carried plus a fraction of a point for which marker they reach on the next carry. Six cones will be placed at even spaces between the start and finish, and the athlete will receive a decimal point for the cone reached. For example, if a male RX athlete only carries the 100# DB’s to the third cone, their score would be 70.3 for the event. Athletes who complete the event will have an official time as their score, and athletes will be ranked accordingly. Score for the gymnastics skill event is total repetitions completed in the minute. Each event (the farmers’ walk and the gymnastics skill) will be scored separately.

FINAL WOD — The Chipper

* Only the top 6 athletes in each division will qualify for the Chipper

“31 St. James” For time:


31 Box jumps (24”/20”)

31 Pull-ups

31 Deadlifts (225#/135#)

31 T2B

31 Push jerks (135#/85#)

31 Burpees

31 Double-unders

31 Hang power cleans (95#/65#)



31 Box jumps (24”/20”)

31 Jumping Pull-ups

31 Deadlifts (155#/115#)

31 Hanging knee raises (above waist)

31 Push jerks (85#/65#)

31 Burpees

31 Double-under attempts

31 Hang power cleans (65#/35#)


Only the top 6 competitors from each division will compete in this workout, and it will be performed as ONE final heat. This is a chipper style workout meaning all repetitions of each exercise must be completed before moving on to the next exercise. At the call of 3-2-1 go athletes will begin their box jumps. Athletes will only have one barbell per station. Box jump standards require each athlete to jump and land with both feet, and athletes must stand tall on top of the box with hips and knees fully extended before coming off of the box. Rebounding off the top of the box is NOT ALLOWED, but athletes may rebound off of the floor back onto the box. Athletes are also allowed to step down off of the box if desired. Upon completing their deadlifts, athletes can immediately strip their weight to 135/85 or 85/65 (bars will be set up so that plates only need to be stripped and collars replaced), or they can wait to do so immediately before beginning their push jerks. Furthermore, after completing push jerks, athletes can strip their bar immediately to 95/65 (or 65/35) or wait to do so. The clock will stop when the athlete has completed their last hang power clean. On T2B, athletes must physically touch the bar with both feet, and the heels must pass behind the bar at the bottom of each repetition (for scaled division, knees must rise above the waistline, and heels must still pass behind the bar at the bottom). A rep is completed immediately upon contact of the feet with the bar, and athletes do not need to return to the bottom under control. The deadlift and hang power clean both require athletes to be fully upright with knees and hips locked out, and elbows must be visibly in front of the bar in the catch position of the hang power clean. For the hang power clean, a pause at the top of the deadlift position must be shown before cleaning the bar. A power clean from the floor will not count as a repetition. Push jerk repetitions are only counted once the athlete has stood up after receiving the bar in the overhead position with side profile of the face clearly visible between the arms. Standards for the pull-up are typical CrossFit standards, with the chin clearly passing over the bar and arms fully extended at the bottom. Strict, kipping, and butterfly pull-ups are all allowed. An athlete’s score is the total time required to complete the event, unless the athlete does not finish all exercises within the 20 minute time limit. If this is the case, the athlete’s score will be 20 minutes plus an additional second for each repetition that they did not complete.

Good luck to all competitors tomorrow and we look forward to seeing you all throw down. As I said before, I truly believe all of you are stronger and tougher than you give yourselves credit for, and these WODs were designed to bring out your best by pushing you all to your limits. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a good meal tonight and tomorrow morning, and most importantly, GET EXCITED!


Coach Justin 


03 Aug

Recovering Between WODs at a Competition

This will be my last post regarding tips and hints for how to succeed in a competition. Tomorrow night’s post will contain the remainder of the WODs for Saturday’s Throwdown along with a finalized version of the heat times and schedule for the day. I have received many questions from those of you competing regarding recovery and repair between WODs. What exactly can you do to prevent early soreness or muscle fatigue from limiting your performance?

Nutrition for optimum post-workout recovery

The biggest question I seem to have gotten from you guys is along the lines of what meals and snacks you should bring to keep you fueled throughout the day. Immediately after each WOD I recommend you down a protein shake and eat a piece of fruit. Bananas are great for the extra potassium which will prevent cramping, and I cannot recommend the Stronger Faster Healthier brand of protein we carry enough; those shakes helped fuel me through Regionals and I felt adequately recovered throughout the day. Making your shakes in coconut water such as Vita Coco is also a great option; the taste may be a little harsh at first but it will help you refuel and recover quickly while helping you stay hydrated. The extra potassium from the coconut water is also great for preventing cramps. In between WODs and especially during the scheduled breaks, it is important that you eat a meal of some kind to keep your nutrient levels high. I would NOT eat a large meal here, you really only want enough food to refuel you without making you full. For this purpose I find a small chicken breast, some sweet potato, and a small package of mixed nuts and berries does the trick. The key is not to eat until you’re full or your digestive system will kick into overload and drain some of your energy. Not to mention, exercising on a full stomach just isn’t fun to begin with.

What else can I do to recover?

Aside from proper nutrition, there are a few other things you should be focusing on in order to recover as much as possible between WODs. Make sure you stretch immediately after finishing your events. Make a protein shake, grab a foam roller or lacrosse ball, and get in some mobility while you are consuming your post-WOD nutrition. Stretching after a workout is crucial in order to keep your muscles functioning during the later events, and post-workout mobility is more important than any mobility work you can do beforehand. If you don’t stretch after your events, you may find your muscles locking up on you and becoming extremely tight going into later events. This will certainly blunt your performance where you need it most.

In short, eat a nutritious breakfast and consume plenty of food BEFORE showing up at the competition on Saturday; the meals you consume throughout the competition should be small and straightforward. Bring some nutrient-rich snacks and stockpile on protein and bananas for your post-WOD nutrition and to help you refuel between events. There will be Vita Coco available to ensure all of you stay hydrated, but make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Stay tuned tomorrow night for the rest of the WODs and the final heat schedule!


Coach Justin

02 Aug

RCFBB Internal Throwdown WOD 1

So, as promised I decided to leak the first WOD of Saturday’s competition tonight. If you were at the competition class tonight, you got a quick rundown of the workout as well as the movement standards and how it will flow. Aside from all of your groans and complaints, I’d say it went pretty well. For the rest of you, the first workout will go down as follows:

AMRAP 5:30 of:

* 1,000m row

* Max reps of Thrusters in remaining time

The weights will be 115/75 for RX and 85/65 for SCALED

The movement standards on this one are pretty straightforward. The thruster must achieve full depth on the front squat portion with hip crease below knee and you must achieve full lockout at the top of each rep with knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows extended. The side profile of your face must be clearly visible in between your arms at the top of each rep. As someone asked tonight, squat cleaning the first rep of a set is acceptable. Your rower will be set to a damper of 5 and can be adjusted to your liking only AFTER the clock has started. On the other hand, your foot pedals and straps can be adjusted however you would like before the WOD starts. Athletes will start standing behind their rowers and, after the clock has started, they can strap in and begin pulling. Judges will make sure your monitors are on so don’t worry about that. You must maintain your grip on the handle until the rower clearly shows 1,000m completed or you will be required to re-row the distance you missed.

The clock will be set to count down from 5 minutes 30 seconds. After completing the 1,000m row, athletes will have the remainder of the time on the clock to complete as many thrusters as possible. The score for this WOD is completed thrusters ONLY, so if you don’t get any thrusters unfortunately that will be tough luck. In the event that multiple athletes do not complete the 1,000m row in the 5:30 time period, they will be ranked according to total meters rowed.

All other WODs will be posted on Friday night to ensure none of you get adequate sleep while you worry about the next day’s events. Good luck to all competitors and we will see you on Saturday!


Coach Justin

31 Jul

Mental and Physical Preparation on Game Day

So you signed up for your first competition and you are getting fired up for the throwdown on August 4th. If you read my previous tip on tapering your training and eating leading up to the competition, you are already preparing well for the physical test you will face on Saturday. There is another type of preparation that must be done prior to showing up at Reebok CrossFit Back Bay on Saturday morning; your mental game is just as important as your physical preparation leading up to the big day. A competitor with mental strength and the ability to prepare their mind to endure what the day will bring can edge out other competitors who may have more skill and strength. Many of you may have felt it in a WOD: you feel slow, tired, drained, and you let these feelings creep into your head. Excuses soon become the limiting factor in your workout, and you leave disappointed with the result of that day. You must be able to shut out the negative thoughts and maintain a positive outlook, focusing on the little details of each rep instead of the quantity of work in front of you. This post is my attempt to assist you with the mental aspect of competition that is not often addressed.

The night before

The night before, even though it is Friday, I highly encourage you to end your night early and stay relatively sober over the course of the evening. The best thing you can do before bed (while stretching after your hot shower, don’t forget) is to visualize the following day. Visualization and, more importantly, thinking about how you will win each event is extremely important in elite athletic performance. When you watched the CrossFit Games online this year, one thing is always true of the competitors; they went into each event with a clear mental plan of how they would execute the movements and they had full confidence that they could win each event. If you are strong at certain movements in an event and weaker at others, start picturing how you will quickly move through your strengths while executing your weaknesses with perfect technique. Focus on the little things, like where exactly that barbell should hit on a snatch, in order to perfect your repetitions on game day. Make sure you get to bed early and get plenty of sleep; being physically fatigued going into Saturday can lead directly to mental fatigue if you doubt your body’s ability to perform.

So it’s an hour before my heat, what do I do?

Within an hour of your scheduled heat time, there are a few things that are important to do both physically and mentally. Mobility, mobility, mobility, and more mobility should happen an hour ahead of your heat time. Foam roll and use a lacrosse ball first, then stretch out the area after you have mashed out any scar tissue in order to loosen up and elongate the muscles. When you are about 40 minutes out, start warming up the movements involved in the WOD. If you are performing a barbell movement, try hitting a couple reps at a heavier weight so that the bar feels lighter during the workout. If the bar feels lighter than it should, the WOD will be much easier mentally; a little extra physical preparation goes a long way in making your mental game easier to achieve. Within 15 minutes of your heat, it is time to focus on the mental side of your game. Stay loose and warm, but you should be performing general stretches and movements at this point and no longer need to warm up specific movements or barbell movements. This last 15 minute window is when you should start visualizing again. Go back through your game plan for the WOD and offer up some words of self-encouragement: you ARE strong enough to move that weight, you ARE fast enough to crush your opponents and, more importantly, you HAVE put in the time and energy to get better. If you go into a workout confident and focused, you will perform better 99.99999% of the time.

During the WOD

You pick up the barbell and it feels way heavier than you thought, you are rowing as hard as you can and the guy next to you has a faster split time, your kip isn’t quite there and pull-ups are slow. If these things happen, it doesn’t matter. This is where your mental preparation really needs to kick in. You need to take the voice in your head telling you it’s too hard, you can’t, you are too tired and tell it to shut the F!%# up. Stay confident and focus on each stroke, each rep, one at a time until you finish your set of work. Stop thinking about the 46 and a half reps left in this round and focus on the ONE rep you are doing RIGHT NOW. Count in your head, focus on breathing, and make each movement as efficient as possible. Too many people make the mistake of starting their WOD like a bat out of hell and fizzle out by round three; the best CrossFit athletes are able to pace each round so they can turn it up when they need to. Your biggest goal should be to keep moving forward at all costs. If you are staring at your barbell for 30 seconds longer than the guy in front of you, it really doesn’t matter how much faster you got off your rower. One of the biggest things that helps me mentally in a WOD is limiting my rest by a set amount of time; if I don’t want to pick up my bar, I take a deep breath and give myself 5 seconds before picking it up. I force myself to get my hands on the bar and get it moving after a 5 count. Limit your rest, your mind will always convince you that you are more tired than you are. Keep battling that voice in your head and stay confident, one rep at a time, until the WOD is over.

Limit your rest, control your breathing, and focus on the task at hand. This combined with adequate sleep and mental preparation in your warm-up will allow you to perform your best on game day. I will leave you with this last point: you are all stronger, faster, more skilled, and more prepared than any of you will give yourselves credit for. We are our own worst critics by nature. You have done the proper homework and preparation leading into this competition, so relax and know that you are adequately prepared! I am excited to see how well all of you do on Saturday, best of luck!



Coach Justin

30 Jul

How to Taper Training and Recover for a Competition

Hey everyone. I have received a lot of questions over the past week or so from those of you competing in our throwdown on August 4th. Most of these questions seem to revolve around how you should be training this week at the gym in order to be recovered and ready for Saturday. I wanted to address this question in a post so that it can reach all of you at once, and hopefully my response will make sense to most of you. As always, if you have any questions or something doesn’t make sense to you, simply send me an email for clarification.

When should I rest and why?

Resting before a competition is a delicate balance, more so than people seem to think or realize. If you spend too much time resting and inactive, your body will respond negatively and you will have reduced energy levels and delayed response time to the intensity of the workouts you will put it through in a competition setting. On the other hand, inadequate rest will cause you to go into a competition sore and fatigued, effectively shutting your body down from overuse. Different athletes respond differently to higher volume training, and many of you will have an idea by now of how you respond to multiple workouts in a week. Particularly for those of you who have been attending competition classes on Wednesday nights, you now know what it feels like to do two WODs back to back and how long it takes you to recover.

I can assure you that the competition on August 4th will have you performing more than 2 WODs, and many of you will need to ensure that you have proper rest to maintain energy levels but not too much rest so as to cause lethargy and fatigue. My suggestion for most of you would be to work out through Wednesday, perform active recovery on Thursday, and take a complete rest day on Friday. Active recovery could be going for a light swim, run, or bike at a sustainable and slow pace or it could be taking Thursday’s class at Reebok CrossFit Back Bay but performing the WOD at roughly 50% intensity (I know this will be difficult for many of you because you are competitive by nature). Trust me that going all-out on Thursday will NOT benefit you. While you rest Friday, make sure you do plenty of mobility. The gym is always open to members for this purpose; swing by and hop on a foam roller or lacrosse ball after work and stretch after a hot shower before bed.

Nutrition and sleep leading up to competition

If you typically cheat on your diet (Paleo, Zone, or whatever healthy eating style you follow) this week is NOT the week to enjoy the sugary treats, coffees, and pastries. You also, contrary to popular belief, do not want to “carbo load” prior to Saturday’s competition. Eat lean meats, nuts, seeds, plenty of vegetables, and some fruit. Drink plenty of water this week, particularly the few days before the competition. I realize many of you have a tight work schedule, but please try and get a reasonable amount of sleep this week. Particularly on Thursday and Friday nights, you will want to be well-rested for Saturday morning. Eat a healthy and filling breakfast before you come in on Saturday, and pack plenty of healthy, high-energy food for the day’s competition. Re-fueling after each WOD will be crucial to your success on Saturday, but it is even more important that your body is properly fueled in the days leading up to the competition.

Ensuring that you properly taper your training, eating well this week, and getting plenty of sleep leading up to Saturday will prepare you all to compete at your best on August 4th. You need to take care of your body to get the most out of it, and this is even more true when preparing for a high-intensity, multiple WOD competition. As I mentioned, if any of you have further questions please feel free to send me an email. Stay tuned this week for daily posts about competition strategy as well as some hints regarding the WODs you will encounter this Saturday. Keep training hard, and I wish you all the best of luck!

14 Apr
by: Published in Coaches' Corner

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