New hero

New Info on Elements Workshops:
#47 & 49 are both SOLD OUT!
#48 has just 2 slots left!
#50, #51, #52, #53 (NEW!), #54 (NEW! 7am!) all have availability…

#6 & 7 (NEW!) both have availability…lock in your spot now
Remember you only have to put down a $125 deposit to lock in a Manhattan or Brooklyn Elements Workshop of your choosing–don’t get shut out! (This morning Elements #48 went from have 3 slots left to being sold out–it’s hard to predict what will sell out when.) Questions? Email me at allisonATcrossfitnycDOTcom.
Tuesday 090414 (68) (10)
Five rounds for time of:
155 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
155 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
155 pound Push jerk, 6 reps
Post time to comments.

In honor of USAF SSgt Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on February 20, 2009 supporting operations in OEF when his vehicle was struck by an IED. Timothy is survived by his wife Megan and one-year old son T.J.
CFE tonight @ Central Park, Columbus Circle 6:30pm
and tomorrow morning (Wed. 4/15) at Black Box (26th St.) 6:45am

Rest Day Dinner this Friday. Who’s in?

Run a 5K, win a trip to Mexico

“The End of Overeating” plus some “everyday doses” of knowledge
What CAN’T bacon do?!?

And while you’re at it, go ahead and eat all those eggs!
Hot chicks doing (dead-hang) pull-ups
How many push-ups would you do to help an autistic child? (via)
Ability and potential


  • Scaling options for today’s workout, courtesy of the CrossFit Brand X forums:
    Big Dawgs:
    As Rx’d
    women – 105#
    The Porch:
    Three rounds for time of:
    155 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
    155 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
    155 pound Push jerk, 6 reps
    women – 105#
    Five rounds for time of:
    95-115 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
    95-115 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
    95-115 pound Push jerk, 6 reps
    women 65-75#
    Three rounds for time of:
    35-45 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
    35-45 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
    35-45 pound Push jerk, 6 reps
    Three rounds for time of:
    pvc-25 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
    pvc-25 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
    pvc-25 pound Push jerk, 6 reps

  • Alexei

    Subbed 105# everything…
    24:14. Should have subbed 100# or 95#, but didn’t know how low to go.
    Thought push jerks would be the hard part of this workout… Turned out to be grip (my fingers are sore), and hang cleans.

  • Aram

    95# 17:53 (67,30)

  • Davi

    I do not have the time to write about it now, but I have some thoughts/questions regarding the blog article on potential to which Allison linked.
    Also, I’m wondering, is there anywhere to try on weightlifting shoes in the city? I’m a women’s 6.5/7.

  • Jeff

    rest day Friday meet up @ Radegast
    it’s a german beer hall 1 stop out from Manhattan on the L at Bedford Ave (a five minute subway ride from Union Square)

  • Hari

    I call BS on the notion that relatively low-ability people who have realized their potential should be held in greater regard than high-ability people who have not.

  • Erik

    Anyone else find that holding the grip with the hang power clean was the hardest part of this workout? Especially since my hands were still hurting from the 120 pullups from two days ago.

  • Jess

    I feel certain it was never said in the blog that low-ability people should be held in greater regard than high-ability people.
    I think what was said is that we all have a different level of potential that can be reached and that each person should be helped and encouraged to reach their personal highest ability, not someone else’s. That we should judge each person and in fact, ourselves, individually and not against others.
    That’s one of my favorite things about CF, that we’re constantly competing with ourselves for the most part. And that I gain so much inspiration from other people’s times and abilities, but don’t get discouraged when I don’t match up to them … yet.
    I’m pretty sure the blog was about learning that ‘we can all achieve ‚Äúequally‚Äù by rounding out our own potential’.

  • Hari

    “He explained that, while I might be the better fighter, have better technique, and more knowledge than this woman, she should actually be of higher rank than me because her ability was closer to her potential than mine was.”

  • Rickke

    Subbed 95# to focus on sustained good form. I’ll try 115# next time.
    Thanks Keith and Jacinto for great form tips and encouragement.

  • Alexei

    I think individuals cannot be judged by any one criteria, no matter how much thought you put into what that one criteria is. Noone in their right mind will hold someone in amazing shape in high regard if that individual sells drugs to kids. However, on relatively equal footing, you cannot deny the awe-inspiring power of someone coming closer to their potential.
    If you call bullshit on the notion that people with less ability that have realized more of it are more admirable than someone with more ability who has realized less of it (if I understand what you mean correctly…), you are essentially calling b.s. on the accomplishments of many female crossfitters (because lets face it, RX women’s weights are lower for a reason…). Not to mention the whole crossfit kids program…
    To illustrate my point – should a man deadlifting 400 pounds be held in higher regard than a woman deadlifting 380? I don’t think so… Does this mean that the man shouldn’t be held in regard? Of course not, that’s a very impressive amount of weight. But be honest, which of the two deadlifts in question is more impressive?
    What it all comes down to is that you really have to accept that not everyone is created equal and marvel in the ability of individuals to perform feats that are unlikely, whatever they may be, however trivial they appear to you.
    Is this the only thing that matters in life? Of course not. Noone is saying that it is. But I do agree with the author of that article that it is one of those that is undeniably huge.

  • Reagan

    RIP SSgt Timothy P. Davis.
    As Rx’d: 39:14 As a general rule I refuse to scale down hero WODs, out of respect for the fallen; but boy do I wish I could have scaled this one. Love bodyweight HPCs and PJs.
    Black Box (78,78)

  • michelle

    Davi- I saw ur muscle up post from snday. i know u take gymnastics at chelsea piers. when you have Zak as a teacher ask him to show u great muscle up form and exercises . he is the best -he does about 200 a day after he works our for four hours. hell teach u to do it with no kip at all.

  • Brian

    reminder CFE tonight @ central park, columbus circle 630p
    tomorrow morning at CFNYC 645A

  • juan

    25:39 135#
    nice job brendan, ….one day devil nuts, one day.

  • Jess

    Right, the author was quoting what was said to him. And then he goes on to say that that ‘idea’ helped shape his own views on potential and what kind of teacher he strives to be. Which, I think, was the whole point of the post.
    ‘As I train people of every conceivable fitness level and athletic ability, I strive to always understand the relative potential of each person who enters my box or dojo. And I always try to keep in mind that it is really the effort, not the performance, that truly marks a person.’
    I think that, students that train with a coach who has really thought about what kind of leader he/she wants to be, how to get the most out of their athletes in an individual and positive way, will have the best possible chance to succeed. Regardless of level.

  • Sara

    Used 135# for dl, 95 for cleans and push jerks… Don’t know if using different weights is allowed, but my deadlifts are a lot stronger than cleans and push jerks so didn’t want to use 95 for them.
    Jess and Hari:
    What I take issue with is the statement that everyone has a limit to what they can do… I feel that no matter how fast or strong or how good your endurance is you can always get better, the gains will just be smaller and less noticeable. I agree with jess that we should recognize and appreciate these improvements and a person’s ability no matter what their potential may seem to be. I hate the word potential!

  • Zach Singer

    In response to the debate on the potential and ability argument, I think it’s important to note that this is being weighed and measured in “an age when men no longer settled differences with 3 feet of steel,” (although I’m not saying that wouldn’t be effective and downright badass). Given this condition, I find fault with use of the term rank here and all that it signifies. I don’t disagree that we should recognize people’s individual potential and that as Crossfitter’s we should be chasing our times and our own maximum potential, but I completely disagree with the notion of coddling someone through bequethal of a higher rank, in this case belt color, simply because they have reached something closer to what is perceived as their maximum potential (which as Sara points out can be someone insulting as a notion on its own).
    If I go into battle, I’ll be damned if I want to fight next to someone who is there merely because he’s close to maximum potential, but perhaps not on par with the other soldiers on the field that day. High rank should signify a level of raw strength and ability. Sure, your drive and desire and gut and gumption and all that should play a part, but not to the point that raw ability is sacrificed. There is a reason that elite groups are elite — heart is undoubtedly necessary to make it, but so is a level of skill and aptitude that cannot be overlooked.
    So when training clients, bear in mind their individual abilities and potential. When looking at rankings, don’t sit there and tell me number 5 deserves to be number 1 because he wanted it or is close to max potential — because number 1 sure as shit wanted it too and was simply better.

  • Lindsay


  • torch

    11:06 Rx’D

  • Alexei

    “strength” is an amorphous term that means more than can be expressed in pounds lifted, and the ability to dig deep and reach your maximum potential is definitely one of the definitions.
    The old man that gave the black belt to the middle aged woman clearly considered her “strong” by his definition of the word…
    Number 5 doesn’t deserve to be number 1, because clearly number 5 is number 5, and not number 1. However, consider if number 5 was at a huge natural disadvantage over the rest of numbers 1-20, but still managed to be number 5. How would you feel about number 5 then? I’d be impressed. Does this mean that number 5 is better at the task at hand than number 1? No, rankings are rankings.
    However, I completely agree with you that the best possible candidates should fill the positions, so to say.

  • Hari

    “I think individuals cannot be judged by any one criteria, no matter how much thought you put into what that one criteria is. Noone in their right mind will hold someone in amazing shape in high regard if that individual sells drugs to kids. However, on relatively equal footing, you cannot deny the awe-inspiring power of someone coming closer to their potential.”
    I am not making the argument that people should be judged solely along any single dimension to the exclusion of any or all other dimensions. I am not arguing that the Special Olympics are not inspiring. And I am certainly not arguing that female athletes who cannot accomplish the exact same feats as male athletes are less impressive. (I have written elsewhere on this blog that I hold in higher regard a woman who can do a given WOD faster with the women’s weight than a man doing the same WOD with the men’s weight.)
    What I am saying is that I am far more likely to prefer the work of a great athlete, actor, muscian, writer, or teacher functioning at 3/4 his or her potential to that of someone mediocre performing at his or her full potential.

  • Rickey

    18:36 85#
    First time really doing Hang power cleans. I have to say todays wod was quite painful.

  • Davi

    Thanks Michelle! I haven’t been able to get to Chelsea Piers for a little while, but I hope to return and train again regularly soon. I will ask Zack for his guidance – he’s great!
    Today’s WOD. Holy shit. Cleans are still elusive. Lost a lot of time on those. Went with 83#.
    Do we have any Zone superstars in the house? How do I figure out block proportions for the soup I made last weekend? I am going to search around for some broth guidelines.

  • Brett_nyc
  • Davi

    Thanks Brett – I have that PDF. I’m a pretty zealous cook, though, and this recipe does not adhere to any of the Zone prescriptions. It’s mostly water, some wine, olive oil, a lot of turkey remnants that steeped for a long time, some carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic. And a shitload of herbs. Yumyum.
    Allison had some for dinner last night. How many blocks do you think it is sans matzah balls, A? 😉

  • Mike

    Simply put, I think that potential is dynamic, especially in athletic ability, and will continually be increased as more of it is acheived.
    What I mean is that by a low-ability person acheiving what was once viewed as their max potential, they have most likely as a result increased what they are now capable of and therefore set themselves a higher bar for what they will need to do to achieve utilize their newfound potential.
    Now, of course there are limits which will be imposed by overall size, raw strengh/ability, or other physiological factors which will prevent many from acheiving elite status in any specific pursuit, but no matter what your level, actually acheiving maximum potential is almost impossible. No matter how good you get, you can always get a little better, faster, stronger, more skilled, more knowledgable, etc. It doesn’t stop once you get to where your potential once was.

  • Sara

    Well put Mike!!! Pre-crossfit (love using that word, and it was only about a month ago!), I thought I had come close to reaching my “potential” on a lot of things. Over the past month I’ve already made incredible gains in a lot of areas I had hit a plateau on, thus completely changing my perspective on “potential”.
    Don’t you think if someone is performing at a mediocre level at their maximum potential that perhaps they simply aren’t working hard enough or in the right way?
    Michelle and Davi:
    I want to take gymnastics!!! Can I join you?

  • torch

    Sure is a lot of theory zooming around the blog today. I thought the rest day was yesterday

  • Levi

    sub 115#

  • Brett_nyc

    Davi, maybe next time just weigh everything before it goes into the pot . 🙂

  • Davi

    My principal objection/question with that blog article has to do with:
    1) the notion that potential is some fixed or pre-determined thing
    2) the possibility of a coach – or anyone else – accurately assessing that potential
    3) the value – or, as I see it – possible detriment of someone else articulating for YOU what your potential might be (and I realize that the blog author is not advocating doing this…but it’s reminded me of some things I’ve witnessed)
    I will address number 3 primarily. This is something that comes up in my artistic life from time to time. A director, for instance, may say to a performer, “Okay, what if instead of climbing up and walking down the ladder, you scaled it and then jumped off?”
    Now, the performer may or may not be able to accomplish that task. And said performer has a responsibility to herself – and the ensemble, director, and everyone else involved in the production – to take care of her body and avoid injury. But nothing kills creativity and human potential like a director deciding in that moment that the performer doesn’t have the capacity to accomplish that task. Put it out there – say what you want – and then leave the performer to figure out how to execute it. This is collaboration. I have been in situations – within in a theatrical training context, mind you, NOT a professional production – where the director has said, “I don’t think so-and-so can handle that text here” or “I don’t know if we can play this naturalistically because so-and-so doesn’t have the chops” or “Can you really do that?” And then turn right around and ask those same things – often things of a less hazardous nature than jumping off a ladder – of another performer in the room without expressing a modicum of doubt or skepticism. It kills morale, it kills possibly, it creates tension, and it inspires no one (most of the time).
    I have seen directors decide – through some combination of observation, potentially accurate information, guesswork, and whatever their own agenda is that they bring to the task of collaboration – FOR their actors what those actors are and are not capable of.
    Potential is limitless.
    With certain athletic undertakings the indices of success are clear – either you accomplished the task or you did not or you did some other thing that was not the prescribed thing, according to your ability. The same applies to certain technical aspects of training as a performer: you either completed the pirouette or you did not. You walked at the same rate of speed, initiating the movement from your center, or you did not. But it is in the doing, the attempt – and I believe to some extent the perception of limitless potential – that one becomes stronger and more mindful.
    I derive so much more from imagining that my potential is unbounded then from believing in limitation. That might be me tricking myself.
    I have teachers and students of yoga who are very advanced in their practice. By which I mean the rigor and gentleness, the attention and care, and zeal and calm with which they approach the practice of yoga is cultivated, is attended to. They may never be able to execute certain asanas because of strength/flexibility/injury/whatever. Thankfully, yoga is its own reward. There are no black belts or markers of proficiency or accomplishment (unless you’re a Bikram person and you compete in the Bikram championships or what have you … but that’s a whole other thing). And as a teacher, it is not my job to reward anyone. It is my job to facilitate my students’ growth and pursuit of their own intentions. To create the space for them to try new things safely, to embrace possibilities they may not have even known were there.
    Anyway, this turned into a bit of a ramble…but I think, ultimately, what the author of that article is saying I agree with:
    it’s the process that counts, not the outcome in absolute terms (I mean, hello, that’s the whole premise of scaleability in workouts, right?)
    This is why you can watch people with significant movement limitations train the way I train with my cohorts for performance and find them utterly mesmerizing. And you can watch a perfectly able-bodied youngster thinking they’re stomping the shit out of the floor and find no point of entry, no spark, no impression on the space, no focus in their work.
    But in those cases, I am just the audience. I am not the arbiter of potential. People surprise me and I hope to surprise myself all the time.
    I wonder if the author – and perhaps I should attempt to condense this into something coherent if I were to inquire – is concerned about pushing his trainees too hard or being insufficiently encouraging? And that is why he describes his need to evaluate the ‘relative potential’ of each person?
    Declaiming the limitations of someone else’s potential is perilous.
    hope that made some sense
    Sara, yes, come tumble. I am trying to get back on a regular schedule at CP.
    Brett, yeah, I know. I just ate 2 2/3 cups of the stock. It was scrumptious. I am just a Zone drone these days.

  • Davi

    Read that post.
    Post time here.

  • Zach Singer

    Davi — I don’t hit DNF’s very easily, and to this day can only recall 1 of them.
    I’ll gladly take that post as number 2. 😉
    Back to work here.

  • jim

    Davi – Yeah, but are they LOCKED IN?!

  • Davi

    Jim – That’s the first thing I teach ’em.
    Also perilous – a night off from rehearsal.
    CFNYC blog readers beware!

  • Hari

    “Hari: Don’t you think if someone is performing at a mediocre level at their maximum potential that perhaps they simply aren’t working hard enough or in the right way?”
    No, not given your premise that the person is “performing at their maximum potential.”
    What I think you’re really asking is whether I agree with you when you write, “What I take issue with is the statement that everyone has a limit to what they can do… I feel that no matter how fast or strong or how good your endurance is you can always get better, the gains will just be smaller and less noticeable.”
    I do not agree. I think people have very real limits that are a function of genetics and ability. I agree that most people never come close to realizing their limits, but that is a separate issue, independent of the fact that people have limits. Sadder still, in most areas, those limits decrease with age.

  • george

    that better not be a stab at me ’cause i’m pretty Locked IN right now.
    I got back in the gym today – baby steps – did this WOD with 115lbs in 12:30
    – been eating healthy
    – and just got back from bed, bath and beyond where i purchased both a food scale and a human scale!

  • Hari

    “I derive so much more from imagining that my potential is unbounded then from believing in limitation.”
    Perhaps you can see how a less talented individual than yourself might not find this approach to be as effective. Similarly, people who are in charge of getting things done subject to time and budget constraints typically do not find the notion of deferring to each team members’ sense of infinite potential to be an optimal strategy.

  • Tony T.

    14:25 75lbs

  • Hari

    18:54 Sub 115 lbs
    (68,54), (7,1)
    Overestimated my ability to handle the weight.

  • Sara

    Point taken… that was not a well-worded question. If someone is performing at a mediocre level, I choose to not believe that is their “maximum potential” and they need to work harder or in a different way. I have been thinking about this all afternoon (opera rehearsals are boring!) and I definitely think you are correct that we all have limitations. Age, injuries, genetics, and ability are all big ones. These are things that we cannot change, but I believe we can work around them and still strive to better ourselves. I feel as though I can better myself in every aspect of my life, and every aspect of exercise, and I seriously doubt I will ever feel that I have reached the maximum of what I am capable of. Perhaps the better question is “how does one define maximum potential?” I’m going to stop writing now before I get confused…. musicians should not try to philosophize.

  • Davi

    This stuff is always, in my experience, better discussed over a cuppa tea than a message board. It’s certainly faster.
    Hari – I’m not sure where/how to discuss talent in the context of all of this … or what the implications of the word are to you. But I’ll take it to mean “innate aptitude”…”talent” is such a tricky word.
    I recognize that there are differing psychologies involved. Just like some people respond more effectively to positive cue-ing and others are more motivated by instructions on what NOT to do or what bad shit might come their way if they don’t do things in the most efficient, aggressive, sensible, etc fashion. I know that I really appreciated it the other day when Keith said to me, “Put down that [whatever weight it was – I can’t remember now] KB or you’re going to be really unhappy. That’s a really bad idea.” I trust him and I trust that he knows what he’s talking about and he knows, through observing me, something about what I’m capable of at this moment in time.
    It seems to me that the blog writer was inspired by this interaction he had years ago – he says as much – and he is drawing connections between that experience and his own responsibility to recognize the limitations or – put another way – the different qualities and capacities of each of the people he trains. Fair do’s. Something about the anecdote he told reminded me of some other stuff. And a lot of that stuff is way more subjective and not measurable in the same way as straight up athletic performance for time or lifting for maximum poundage, though there are some parallels. So off on my tangent I went. And I was LOCKED IN. 😉
    If you’re training to win a marathon and you know that the winning time from last year was 2 hrs and 5 minutes, you know that in order to win, you probably need to run at least that fast. And, yeah, if I were coaching a first-time marathoner who’s 65 years old, I wouldn’t encourage them to believe that they were going to win. I don’t suggest that coaches delude or plant false hope in their trainees. That’s not a good strategy for anything, really.
    When I’m spotting people in handstands and whatnot, I don’t assume that they think they can do them or that when they try, they are secretly imagining themselves performing in Cirque du Soleil (i.e. “defer to their sense of infinite potential”…though who knows, maybe that’s exactly what they’re imagining?!). Thankfully, there’s actual practicable technique to help them get better at doing handstands, rather than just their imaginations.
    Also, with respect to certain kinds of physical training for performers, they are not mastery oriented. As one of my teachers said, “Train [for] the voice you want, not the voice you have.” So there is never a point when you’ve reached your full potential or, maybe, you are always working at your full potential and if you’re not, you had damn well better call yourself out. You just keep finding ways to make it harder or keep examining different things you hadn’t examined before and returning to the basics to see where you’ve slipped. The “better” you become at the form, the harder and more elusive the training can be because it’s not really about how well you execute the forms. It’s about … something else … presence, possibility, choice-making as an artist. And maybe that’s where talent – or at least hunger – comes into the picture again.
    Hari – did you rely too much on your sense of infinite potential when you selected your weight? Yikes! 😉
    Sara, I like your alternative question.

  • Mike

    18:33 rx’d
    Note to self for next time, use a mixed grip for the deadlifts to save more grip for the cleans… definitely wasted a lot of time and energy putting the bar down to re-grip.

  • Brett_nyc

    9:50 rx for SSgt Davis

  • Alexei

    On a lighter note, anyone else catch the cameo by Jacinto in the video in the post about tomorrow’s workout on HQ site at 0:33?

  • Brendan

    DNF at around 12:30. I completed 4 rounds plus deadlifts before succumbing to a strained abdominal. Regardless, there’s no excuse for such a poor performance.
    Torch, Brett–Seriously? Those are downright absurd times for this workout. I guess it’s all that overhead strength. One day, freaks…one day.

  • Hari

    I think you’re asking all the right questions.

  • Jeffrey B.

    Pack Workout, 95#: 10:28