Wednesday 140108

All-levels WOD/Beginner WOD:
5 rounds for time:
9 deadlifts 225/155

Competition Team WOD:

100 double unders
50 sit ups
40 lunges
30 KBS 
20 burpees 
10 jump squats
20 burpees 
30 KBS 
40 lunges 
50 sit ups
Run ground floor to top floor 

(Photo credit: Alex Robleto)

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Cholesterol levels linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s in the brain
The 2014 CrossFit Games Open FAQ
For fitness, intensity matters
Nothing focuses the mind like the ultimate deadline: Death

Here’s what’s on tap for Thursday’s classes:

All-levels WOD/Beginner WOD:
Competition Prep
For time: 1000 meter row, 100 double unders, 75 lunges, 50 pull ups, 25 box jumps 30/24

Competition Team WOD:
Part A. 18 minute EMOM: 3 TNG Power Snatches (odd) + HSPU (even)
Rest 10 minutes.
Part B. 10 minute EMOM: 5 TNG Squat Clean Thrusters
Part C. 5×3 Good Mornings


  • mike n.

    Josh had a comment last year wanting to get more discussion on the message board so here’s my attempt:

    Why once do people go through elements do we continue to teach the movements? Isn’t that the point of elements? During the metcon and/or strength portion can’t the coach go around and critique? That has to be listened to more than the group chat which sucks up time that can be used for something else or just shorten the classes to 45 or 50 minutes and get in an extra class each day. Personally I think the individual coaching goes alot further and time can be used for that. Someone is going to write that they need
    this help. The WOD’s are posted 18 hours in advance, if you see a
    movement and don’t remember it from elements, go to youtube and there will be 500 videos showing it. If you can’t do that then watch someone else do it
    or ask for help. I just think that every time we have something involving cleans, to go through the whole process each time seems like a waste, kind of like getting on an airplane. We all know how to buckle a seat belt but every time we get on a plane somebody stands up there and the whole plane checks their phones.

    Anyway, that’s it.

    • donny

      I dont imagine everyone comes out of elements being an expert in every movement. If anything the reviews help those that don’t have a hardcore weight lifting background reinforce in a safe manner the movement before you go at it. I know for a fact some people come out of elements like a deer in headlights. You need to cater to the spectrum of members.

      The ratio of coach / member is tough as it is on the coaches so I view that 5-10 minute review as a way to broadly coach the class to reinforce in a safer manner w 1-1 coaching going on when we breakup due to individual quirks and faults w the movements.

      • mike n.

        they come out like a deer in headlights….beginner class next until they aren’t so confused. CFNYC is catering to the spectrum, there are lots of beginner classes. 1-1 coaching is much better and the beginner classes will do that also. But regular classes need more 1 on 1 coaching and 5 to 10 minutes is being wasted and honestly not really cared about, I look around the room. If those 5 or 10 minutes are so important…beginner class. All morning and night, every 20 minutes.

    • That’s an excellent point, and one we think about a lot. I’d suggest that everyone could benefit from pre-movement instruction – the difficulty is that different people need different levels of that instruction. We’ve tried to solve that to some degree by breaking off beginner classes from all-levels classes. In theory, the beginner classes should involve a more ‘take it from the top’ version of things, so that newer members can remind themselves the points of performance on a movement they’ve seen perhaps only a few dozen times and haven’t completely internalized; all-levels classes should instead have more focused instruction – instead of reviewing a clean in general, say, perhaps we’d drill into the finer points of the transition between the first and second pull. To the extent that we’re not delivering on that distinction, we need to tweak things from our end.

      • Laura G.

        I don’t think the distinction is being delivered upon. People that I’ve spoken to are choosing beginner vs. all-level classes solely based on time and availability, not instruction. The classes are virtually identical in terms of time spent on breaking down movements, as far as I can tell.

    • Sean M

      In some of my all level classes I’ve experimented with splitting the group into advanced and beginner students. For the beginners I go through the movement explanation. For the advanced people I let them start warming up the movements without explanation and coach them once they’ve started to lift addressing the more advance coaching cues.

      Fundamentally, an explanation of the movements is a good refresher for most people, even those who have been doing CF for years. We as coaches don’t use the same warm-ups or movement explanations every time, and try to hit on different points depending on the WOD or lift.

      As far as the Clean and Snatch review…sometimes we combine the explanation and warm-up into one piece, so you get both info and prepped to lift at the same time.

      • BenS

        I remember Sean breaking up the class as described above and thought it was quite effective. Obviously depends on what the movements are as well.

      • ToddMorris

        I was at one of the sunday classes when you broke up the group as you just mentioned. Part of the group followed you to go over C&J basics and the rest were allowed to warm up on their own. I remember being really relieved that we would not have to start with the very basics and could get going.

        That was also a C&J PR day for me! Coincidence?

    • Laconic Man

      I like the part where you compare buckling a seat belt to the clean. Good comparison. Also I’ve seen your clean…5 years in and still pulling early with your arms. Nice work.

      • Adam Hill

        FINALLY! We were having a nice, intelligent discussion on this board for like the first time in history without any petty, bullshit arguments. Thank you for bringing the board back to the way it used to be, and the reason people stopped posting on it

      • Zing!

        As much as we have a long and illustrious history of people making anonymous personal attacks in the midst of conversations about how to improve the gym, perhaps we can hold off on that this year at least until February.

        While I don’t agree with everything Mike is suggesting, I hugely appreciate his willingness to step up and suggest how we can improve the box. Shouting him down keeps more similar conversation from happening in the future.

        And, on a related note, if we rule out comments from people who arm pull, it’s going to be very, very quiet in these parts.

      • mike n.

        I like the part where you don’t use your own name. I actually clean so infrequently because of my back I’m surprised you noticed. And after 5 years there’s still lots of things I stink at…such as learning not to respond to nonsense. But in the spirit of competitiveness, come over introduce yourself and we’ll schedule a clean-off. Probably be entertaining for someone.

  • ben

    Mike-even in the most advanced classes coaches still go over movement standards. Every coach is different though and has a different way of going about this so maybe try someone else’s class if you think one particular coach spends too much time going over things you think you already know well. But take the snatch for example. People spend years (some spend many) learning the proper form . Such difficult moves cannot possibly be taught to perfection in 6 elements classes. I think elements is just to get the basics but these are very difficult lifts that take your body a long time to learn properly and a good coach will relentlessly hammer home good form. That’s just my perspective!

    • mike n.

      I’ve been a member of CFNYC for 5 years. The number of different people’s classes I’ve seen is a fairly large number, this isn’t a personal thing. Everyone instructor does it. If you need additional instruction go to a beginner class. Why should people who have an understanding or just want to shorten their time in the gym by not listening to the same speech over and over again be slowed by people who would benefit more from more personal instruction and getting out of there a little quicker. If you want the broad strokes beginner classes seem to be a better way to go. If you need fine tuning then the regular classes would be better, there’s only so much time. Take the more advanced people, put the warmup on the board, they know what to do. Tell them they have 30 minutes to complete the strength portion, they can set up bars and get going when they feel like it. I just don’t see why we all gather around to watch someone do the move every single time in a class where people should know how to do the move and if you don’t go to a beginner class.

      I’m sure over the next day or so I’m going to get a whole bunch of responses that basically say the same thing where people are saying that they need to refresh the movements. If you don’t understand how to do a clean or double under and you’ve been at crossfit for 3 months or 3 years, you’re a beginner. Plain and simple. There are over a dozen beginner classes a day and one every 20 minutes. Go to one of those. If you can only go in the middle of the day then I understand you’re concern and that should probably not change but mornings and nights, beginner classes are all the time. And if you see muscle ups come up one day you may have to go to a beginner class that day even though yesterday you knew how to snatch so you went to the regular class. Be self aware.

      • ben


        I think your most recent comment makes more sense to me because you made the distinction between “regular” and “beginner” classes. In your original post it sounded as if you were bunching all class types together. From my experience, the regular classes do indeed spend less time on the BASIC movements of everything while still always spending time at the beginning refreshing the movements, sometimes even with PVC pipes. As Josh said in response already, there should be a distinction between the “regular” and “beginner” classes though and if that is what you are noticing then I could see a point of contention.

        • AndyK

          I agree there should be a difference between the two, from my experience (been here 1 year and attended both types of classes), there is no real distinction. I find that it comes down more to the individual coaches than the class designation. I would love to see more advanced technique work – 1st pull, 2nd pull, etc. For me the issue is that every morning class before 6:30am (the only ones I can go to and still get to work on time) are “Beginner”.

        • mike n.

          Yes, I can see why my comments could have been taken that way. I should have been more clear. Also, in all honesty I didn’t know we had so many beginner classes, I thought it was more evenly split in the morning and at night. The fact that people who are new have so many more options than veterans only bolstered the argument to me that all level WODs don’t need a group review each time since by the time people are ready to move on from beginner classes they basically feel comfortable, if they don’t why are they moving on. It can’t be because of schedule, there seems to be a beginner class whenever there are all levels WODs except midday.

          • AndyK

            Kyle’s classes at 6am and 7am used to both be All Level at 26th St. They were consolidated into the 6:30. The 6am all level used to be great, rarely more than 10 people and some good 1-on-1 instruction. This past week, the 6-am beginner has had at least 18 in every class.

  • AndyK

    Mike N. great topic to bring up. I think that it should bring some good commentary, hopefully from Josh and some of the coaches as well.

    I agree with Josh that the movement instruction is necessary – everyone could move better. I have yet to see anyone at CFNYC with the mobility that is described by mobility guru K-Star ( That being said, I agree that it should be shorter at the beginning and more individualized (basic movement vs. tweaks that will help get PRs). Unfortunately, at least in the crowded morning classes, it is clear the class sizes at CFNYC greatly limits this and makes it difficult for coaches to spend time with individuals during the movements. Everyone has different issues that need to be addressed, and with 18-20 people per class it is impossible to do.

    Josh – one thing you mentioned this morning is that we will be getting more space at 28th street in the coming months. Is there a chance that more space (compared to 26th), could mean additional classes (possibly even 2 at the same time on different floors during peak hours), and bring the total class size down to something more manageable?

    Josh – I can also tell you that I have seen very little difference between “All Level” and “Beginner” classes. At lot of the instruction comes down to the coach, some are much better than others. Additionally, I believe that most people choose classes based on schedule, rather than ability. Again, having more space at 28th could mean running a 6am “Beginner” and a 6am “All Level” that is open to people with a certain level of comfort.

    Finally, as the “biggest affiliate in the country”, we could learn a lot from some of the smaller affiliates across the country and even in NYC. So many boxes offer their members weekly mobility classes, olympic lifting classes, and other specialized offerings. Obviously with so many members this is a challenge, and there will always be people who can not make the given times/dates, or they will fill up to fast for everyone to attend, but it would be great to see at CFNYC.

    • Quan Yoon

      On the last point–even just having an open gym would be nice.

      • AndyK

        It would be, but again with the size of membership, it would have to be an “Open Gym” that is limited in size. Plus, it would probably not be feasible to have 18 people all working on different things in such a small space.

      • mike n.

        Crossfit Prague actually had a great system in a space that was worse and smaller than 26th street. People came and went all day and started the WODs when they felt like it. Coaches were there to time (if operating a stop watch on your own is too much for you) and to coach movements, but they put the warm up and WODs on the board and everyone took care of themselves and if they wanted help it was there. This allowed a constant rolling of people. Can we do this at 26th street most of the time…probably. For the filthy 50 and FGB probably not. Busy days it might handle flow better since not everyone is arriving and leaving at the same time. It would be nice to try out one day when the WOD is simple. It basically keeps the crossfit workouts but combined with a less rigid structure which once you’ve been here for a certain period of time you don’t need anymore. I think we’re all adult enough to workout without being told what to do every 15 minutes like we’re on a carnival cruise. Might also help with retention of members.

        • FWIW, we ran much closer to this model at various points in the past. In short, our basic experience is that our members were injured more, moved less well on average, and made less progress. Also, it definitely, definitely doesn’t scale. Same with open gym. Fine at small size, but total shitshow (in terms of logistics, member experience, liability) at our current size or even a good fraction of it.

    • Over the last 18 months, we’ve actually hugely reduced average class size; we definitely intend to keep doing so, especially at peak times, when that downward class size trend has been constrained by lack of space. Remedying that is a big focus for us over the balance of the year.

  • michael saterman

    #RoadtoRecovery – Day 3:
    3:57. dropped the weight from 225# to 185# and subbed pushups for HSPU.

    • Brad Hoover

      I saw you yesterday at 28th st as you were finishing up your 21-15-9 workout. Then your class ended and I didn’t see you. Then my class started and I saw you again from a distance. Then I had a brief rest period between warmup and strength, but I did not see you. But I was totally going to say “HI MICHAEL!!” So consider this your hello and fist #

      • michael saterman

        Translation: “Holla”

        Happy New Year!

  • I actually disagree. Having watched this WOD go down all day thus far in all-levels classes, there’s A LOT we can and should be telling people at a more advanced level in prep for this WOD. Five minutes on tension load ordering in the DL setup, and another five on external rotation for shoulder girdle stability in the HSPU would go a long, long way to faster times and athletes who look less like crap by the end of this WOD.

    That said, consensus appears to be that we’re not hitting that kind of stuff, and are still too much “dumbing down” the instruction portion of all-levels WODs.

    Duly noted, and something we’ll be working on fixing, stat.

  • Doug S.

    There are fewer “all level” classes vs beginner classes at peak times. I choose classes based on the time that works best with my schedule, not the skill level. If you offered different level classes at the same times I think there would be more separation of beginners vs intermediate/advanced (probably cant do this given space issues). Choosing a beginner class vs all level that is separated by 20min might seem trivial, but 20min is material

    • AndyK

      Couldn’t agree more with this. If you work out first thing in the morning in order to get into work on time (or to get to the gym based on subway/train schedules), 20 minutes is very material.

    • Joe F

      The gym experience and attendance of different classes seems to be
      driven by a number of factors:

      1. Coach

      2. Time

      3. Location

      4. Class Type?

      1. Coach

      It seems fairly common for people to make attendance choices based upon the coach that is scheduled. I’ve seen athletes migrate from one class to another as Coach’s schedules change. I’d imagine an analysis comparing the ratio of class spots utilized and wait list activity for any of Michael’s classes at 28th street would support that argument. Personalities click and clash and this is nearly impossible to work around.

      2. Time

      People are busy and the CFNYC schedule may only enable people to attend certain classes. I don’t think the gym can do anything about this. Considering there are classes every 20 minutes or so during peak times, we should be pleased as gym members.

      3. Location

      Convenience again is a factor. 28th St. has a bulk of the classes and
      significantly better amenities as compared to 26th St. and 67th St. (currently…not sure what is planned but from posts and quotes in publications I imagine it will more closely resemble 28th St.)

      4. Class Type?

      People seem to make their schedules work for the Comp team and I could see something similar happening for an all-levels WOD as well. As pointed out, there is currently little difference between an “all level WOD” and a beginner WOD. Were there to be a clear differentiation between the two classes in terms of volume, coaching style, movements, etc., I think athlete attendance might change (contingent upon the points 2. & 3. above) and this could be good for all athletes. It would create more engaged classes allowing beginner classes to be geared toward high level instruction and more advanced athletes could receive more subtle individual cues that may be overlooked when coaches cater to athletes that may be moving in a way that could cause injury. It would also allow the programming of more advanced maneuvers such as a muscle up (citing one complex movement although I recognize there are others), which is part of the programming maybe once a month.

      While there are many positives to separating the classes, I do not necessarily believe that there needs to be a distinction between the two types of WODs. I do not know if this is the case, but to the extent that programming decisions are commonly made on a least common denominator basis then perhaps it is appropriate to have a differentiation.

      One really innovative way to work around this issue of catering to different levels of ability was the solution at my old gym in Philadelphia. There was a set of warm ups that we did (dependent on the strength and WOD portion) and there were different levels of proficiency. Beginners received instruction, while advanced people got their individual folders and started doing their similar but more challenging warm up. Once a certain level of proficiency was reached, an athlete would “test up” with a coach and then move on to the next level. This structured warm up fostered continual engagement and gave athletes the sense that they were improving. I would really like to see something similar implemented here. One other helpful thing that the coaches did there as they went through specific oly lifts or basic technique was to quiz the class on positions and terms. The further engaged the class so that when, for example, the WOD involved 5 hang-power cleans, everyone knew what that meant and why it was different from 5 hang cleans without having to go over everything again.

      Conclusions / Recommendations

      Option 1 (preferred)

      Offer beginner / all level differentiation through warm-up and coaching

      Option 2

      Create tangible differentiation between all-level and beginner WODs

      Diversify location of classes by type- currently no all level WODs in the morning at 28th St. until 9am

      Ratio of all-level to beginner classes should reflect membership composition (This may already be the case on the whole although a disproportionate number of beginner WODs take place between 5:20 – 8:30am)

      Create regular skill specific sessions (mainly Oly) – ability to work on specific skills could potentially alleviate the need/demand for open gym hours, which seems to be entirely off the table

      Final Note
      While I think it is possible to improve the CFNYC experience by
      making structural changes, each class gives athletes the opportunity to learn
      and push themselves to the extent they want to be.

      Happy to discuss further if anyone would like.

  • ben

    And now on to an even more important topic…can there please be a re-stock of the hoodies? the old design/color of hoodie was great i just missed out before they were gone…

    • AndyK

      Same, missed out on the size L’s – they went fast!

  • Annie

    Just a reminder: it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been Crossfitting. Your basics aren’t perfect; they simply aren’t because no one here is Kendrick Farris. Go to any Crossfit competition (composed of people who have been “doing Crossfit for awhile” and are “advanced and shit”) and you will see rounded backs and knees forward. It’s hilarious to even suggest that ANY of us doesn’t need to review the basics.

    • JonnyHK

      I could not have said it better. Especially with my holiday slack the refreshers in the All Level classes are extremely welcomed. Gone are my big improvements but 2 years ago I barely put up 85 on my snatch right after new years 1 month out of elements in 2012. Fast forward to yesterday’s All Level 6:45 with Brian and I put up 135 for a 3 rep snatch pr. Two days ago Josh gave major pointers to the group about the extent of the max heigh needed for a squat clean pull and I PR at 185. As much as I understand the need to workout and work hard and work with intention…I recognized that the big gains are gone (except for me losing weight…hellow 2014 resolution :>))…however there is major significance in tweaking my form to continue to experience the 5-10lb gains. The only way for me to tweak my form is to find the parcels of wisdom the coaches at CFNYC share with us when they introduce the workout and instruct the group. I find that there is always something in the intro that will pertain to the beginner as well as the experienced Crossfitter.

    • mike n.

      You and Jonny both make excellent point about how great crossfit is, how good our trainers our and the importance of working and reviewing. I’m not arguing that. I’m saying that there are people out there that feel that they are better served by time spent more on non-group chat. Telling me how good the review time is in a group setting…I’m sorry, after all these years I don’t see the value. I do see value is having someone watch me lift and point out things. I don’t see the value in repeating fundamentals to a bunch of people who aren’t attending beginner classes. In you are attending an all levels WOD my impression is your saying you want more time spent on details and less time spent on fundamentals. If you disagree then what is the point of beginner WODs and what is the difference between the two. There should be a difference otherwise then why call them two different things.

  • Matt C

    Mike N – please post a video of your clean and snatch. I want to see what ones form looks like when they no longer need instruction on the “basics”.

    • Adam Hill

      When you focus in on one tiny argument being discussed and ignore 75% of everything else being said in favor of attacking someone does that make you feel like you’re being witty?

      • Matt C

        It was a joke. Calm down.

    • mike n.

      yeah, its a joke (sort of) but its not constructive. My clean and snatch stink. Happy. All my lifts stink. My pull ups stink (they really do). They all stink. I need the basics, I am terrible at everything. None of that is relevant to this discussion. If insulting me brightens your day just a little, I’m fine with that and know the feeling. After all the years of crossfit I’m fine with being mediocre or worse. What concern is it of yours if I do Fran poorly and do 19-12-6 for reps. How does this impact you? How are people who aren’t good at crossfit making it worse for you? And to that point what about the guy who comes in looking to lose weight and improve their health and life and now they have to wonder if somebody is judging them. This whole conversation has slowly turned into we all need the basics and that’s not what its about. It’s really about what is the difference between All levels and beginner classes and I still don’t know. And yes, I’ve attended beginner classes.

      • Matt C

        No one is judging or attacking. The world isn’t out to get you buddy. Chill out.

        • mike n.

          No one is judging or attacking? You wanted a video of my lifts to see how “good” I am. You comment was nothing but judging or attacking. Most of the people here are having a civilized discussion, only you and one or two other people elected to go the nasty route. When you say something idiotic and back off when its expedient it makes the comments gutless. At least you used your own name.

          And the world is out to get me?….we’re having a discussion on a gym chat board, the world and I are just fine but thanks for the confirmation.

          • Matt C

            trust me, i didn’t actually want a video of you lifting.

          • mike n.

            yes, I’m aware, I got the sarcasm from the beginning. It’s the implication I was addressing not the absurdity.

  • Guest

    I need more cowbell
    bench press!!!

  • Chad Kindred

    I am fairly new to Crossfit – 8 months and going strong. The main thing that I have noticed is that all movements are not created equal. Some are easier to pick up than others based on strength, mobility, etc. For me, I will always be working on my overhead movements, especially snatches and overhead squats because of my limited mobility. The problem this causes in scheduling my personal class schedule is that these movements could be scheduled on same day as something that is easier for me. Also, some of my days are busier than others and I just don’t have time to check the site everyday to see what the workouts are in order to change my class times. And even if I had the time, once I know the workout, the class might be full. I can’t begin to understand how to coach these classes, but I’m sure someone will be able to figure out how to split an individual class into people who need additional help on that day’s movement and those that would like advanced training.

  • Jared_h

    I agree with Mike N. There’s little to no distinction between the beginning and ‘all-level’ classes.

    I believe that sometimes – not all the time – we could have room for more strength training time (which often means having the time to actually finish ALL your sets with adequate rest, which is difficult given class size sometimes), more flexibility time, or more metcon time. Too often, I believe we don’t use the full hour as efficiently as we could. Too much time is spent on group instruction when what’s most helpful/constructive is having a coach come critique me with weight on the bar. Unfortunately, the proactivity of the coach when it comes to personal instruction varies – some are great at making sure they see everyone in the class, others are not.

  • Matt D.

    Based on all this it sounds like there is demand for the all levels classes to be more distinctly separated from the beginner classes. Like some others have said, I don’t really see a difference between them right now and choose classes based solely on my schedule (an arrangement that quite honestly, I’m perfectly content with).

    It’s up to management to decide if a change is feasible, if there is enough demand, and how they would go about doing this. My suggestion would be to require instructor approval to attend a new “all level class”‘ much like the competition team. Not going to make everyone happy bit with so many members it hat is impossible.

    This would cater to more advanced/experienced members who can’t or don’t want to take the competition class, while providing coaching geared to the general skill level of that class.

    Based on the success of the competition class it seems like this would be feasible? But things like this have been tried in the past w mixed results.

    • AndyK

      I can’t imagine that the management would be against something like this. The biggest issue that impacts it is space and class size. Hopefully with additional space at 28th street coming, this could be a feasible change.

    • Kyle J Smith

      While management decides if a change is feasible, I encourage the experienced CrossFitters who are chatting right now (don’t you all have jobs?) to make the most of the classes you’re currently taking (I’m sure many of you already are.)

      Take for instance the class I lead today: The first part of the warm up was row for 5 minutes. Most did their thing for 5 minutes and just broke a sweat. As an experienced CrossFitter you could purposefully do the first minute at 15-18 strokes/minute, minutes 2 & 3 at 23-25 spm while focusing on returning the arms first during the recovery and breathing, minute four you’re back at 15-18 s/m while tossing some cues to the beginner beside you who looks like a “monkey humping a football” and for minute five kick it into high gear to see if you can last a minute near a pace where you’d like to do your next 500m test.

      The next part of the warm up was stay on your hands for five minutes. Most switched between planks and bear crawl for the duration. As an experienced CrossFitter you could start in a handstand facing the wall and focus on a tight hollow position then do some side planks because you don’t do them very often then try a free standing handstand then do a bit of crab walking because your shoulders are tight and finally perform a few clapping push ups whilst resting in upward dog.

      While the coach takes a few minutes to review the dead lift and HSPU most people stare with their mouths agape but you as the experienced CrossFitter could stretch out your tight IT bands and decide what you’re going to focus on during the WOD. Last time you did HSPUs they went to shit real quick… what rep scheme will allow you to perform near perfect reps while keeping things moving?

      I could go on but this is already too long and I think you get the point… CrossFit is infinitely scalable both down and up. And remember, by taking group classes you’re saying, “I want to be a part of a community exercise experience.” What you provide to the group is just as important as what you get out of it.

      • ToddMorris

        I definitely agree with Kyle. At the end of the day we are responsible for our fitness progression.

        I went into that row with a goal of keeping a split time of 1:40, which I did. This allowed me to row twice the distance of the person next to me (Keep your eyes on your own screen!)

        I am also always looking for opportunities to scale up warm-ups. I will do 30″ box jumps vs 24, I will do pistols vs air squats, I will do handstand pushups vs handstand holds, C2B vs pull-ups or I will increase the amount of reps performed.

        I have never had a coach tell me not to scale up. The only downside to scaling up is that you might appear to be a show-off to other people in the class because they don’t see it happen that often (it’s been said to me.) At that point, you have to decide if your fitness, or what other people my think. is more important to you.

      • Matt D.

        Kyle, what you’ve described is what I (and I assume others) do now. I choose a class time that works for me and try to tailor the warm up to my goals/weaknesses, and try to quietly do my own thing during the movement review.

        That leads me to three points. By doing your own thing/strategizing/stretching during the movement review you are missing out on coaching. The coach has to focus on the review bc that is just how things are set up, but it still means the coach isn’t around to offer cues/pointers for approaching the wod, or pulling to soon, full extension, etc.

        Second this leads to a degree of self coaching/programming, which is destined to fail.

        Finally crossfit is infinitely scalable, yes. However different groups at different places in their training would benefit from classes that gear to them. I.e. Fundementals-beginner/all level – XXX – competition.

        • Kyle J Smith

          “Second this leads to a degree of self coaching/programming, which is destined to fail.” I disagree. To call this strategy self-anything is a misnomer. All the coaches are happy to help their regulars and old hats make the most of their hour of fitness. None of these strategies or others like it are detrimental to the group- that’s the key. I’m not suggesting anyone have an open gym in the middle of a class, instead simply make the most of every opportunity. As Andy suggests below, I will do my best to throw these ideas out with more frequency.

          I hope your XXX class does exist someday. To some degree I agree with the undercurrent of today’s conversation- the most underserved stratum of membership at CFNYC is the “experienced CrossFitter” who is not able to or interested in the competition team. That being said, there is only so much the Box can do. So… love the one you’re with.

      • AndyK


        Great points, and probably something we should all do more often. I would only ask that as coaches, some of these recommendations are thrown out at that time. My brain does not work at 6am, so thinking of alternate exercises or approaches is always welcome!

    • ToddMorris

      Well, here is one more voice supporting:
      1. I see little, if any, difference between the All Levels and Beginner Class
      2. I pick classes on time available vs. type of class
      3. I would like to see some sort of class that, while not necessary doing a quick review of some basic moves (perhaps as part of the warm up) gives you a chance to work on more advanced part of the technique. (or ring & bar muscle ups, handstand walking, additional ring work ect.)

      Here is my perspective. I took elements in April and got hooked from day 1. When I got out of elements I knew that I had a lot to learn, but I also wanted to have a goal to work towards. At the time the schedule had Black Box classes, which I was lead to believe were intermediate level classes. I asked Kyle how you knew you were ready for them and he told me that if you are able to consistently read the board and be able to perform the warm ups and WODs without having to ask questions you would be good.

      I thought it was a simple response and yet it gave me a goal to work towards. Sadly those went away and my only goal now is to go for the Comp Team, which is another topic.

      How it works, I am not sure, but I believe that a subset of classes not for everyone gives new folks a focused goal to work towards and allows intermediate folks a chance to take their performance to the next level in an hour.

    • Talia

      Another possible issue with this suggestion is you may be more advance with certain movements and can easily do in advanced/experienced class but can’t do another movement very well so you may need beginner class. So how could each instructor approve the member? the logistics may be too much… There are just too many different movements…
      That’s why we love crossfit. Everyday it’s something different. But interesting idea.

  • Moritz

    the idea of having all-level classes works in a normal crossfit box. By normal i mean less than 20 ppl per class (with only one coach). If you have 10 beginners, 6 medium to advanced and 4 ppl who are really experienced, it doesnt work. well its works, but only for the beginners. I posted it before, i really think there should be advanced classes, which require sufficient skill/ experience and focus more on advanced techniques, as not everyone wants to commit to the competition classes or has the flexibility time wise. That does not mean refresher on olympic lifting should be left out (quite the opposite), but i agree that is annoying to go through every single movement every time you go to a class. I also havent been to a single class in 2 years where we focused on more difficult stuff like muscle ups, kipping / freestanding handstands etc.

  • Hari Singh

    I believe we can designate the following WOD’s as “Experienced WOD’s” or something similar:

    Weekdays 6:30 AM at 26th Street
    Weeknights 5:45 PM, 6:45 PM, and 7:45 PM.

    At all of these hours, there are at least three Beginner WOD’s running during any given hour. This would create 19 WOD’s per week (no 7:45 PM on Fri) that would run under the assumption that everyone present has at least six months of CrossFit experience.

    Would that begin to address most of the concerns expressed here? Based on experience, I am reluctant to move too suddenly in any direction, so to the extent that this might seem too small of a move, I’d like first determine that this move addresses the problem.

    • Adam Hill

      I’d love to see this tried out

    • AndyK

      While helpful, it leaves very few options for the many people who can only attend classes between when doors open at 5:20 and need to be out the door just after 7am (6am class) for work purposes. Right now 5:20, 5:40, 6:00, 6:20, 6:40 are all “beginner” level and some of the most crowded of the day.

    • mike n.

      I think that’s a great solution and one that really isn’t going to change things alot but enough. Basically after the warm up, people set up bars if there is a strength portion. For the metcon, same idea, people just move to get ready to act. Shouldn’t change coaching, should increase personal coaching. The whole point being people there are saying we understand the basics and movement standards, review isn’t necessary. This doesn’t mean everyone there is an expert, it just means they’ve heard the speech before enough and take a small amount of personal responsibility. Yes, there will be people there that do a clean badly, they’ll get help or find a beginner class which as Hari pointed out, is at the same time.

    • Matt D.

      I think this is a perfect solution.

    • Joe F


      Thanks for your engagement on this issue.

      I posted a lengthy response to Doug S below that I think has some thoughts that should be considered (maybe you read it but it is kind of buried at this point). I don’t think it’s necessary to go this route but acknowledge it does have merits. Whenever I travel, I drop into different boxes and I’ve never seen this beginner/advanced/comp team format having traveled to about ~10 different boxes, each with members of varying abilities. I understand each box has its own unique issues to deal with and as the largest gym in the country.

      If we are going to go this route, I think there would need to be some sort of further structural changes for this to be effective (see other response). I’m not sure that renaming an “all-level WOD” to “Experienced WOD” differs substantially from the current set up? If we are talking about skipping a small amount (3-5 minutes?) of fundamental review with the intent of using that time to increase coaching during the strength portion, I’m not sure it’s a big enough differentiator to drive attendance change. As someone who would fit into the 6 -12 month plus experience and regular 6:40am class attendee who showers at the gym before work, I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice the location for slightly more coaching. As others have correctly pointed out, there are ways to scale up and get more out of each session if you want to.

      In my opinion, one of, if not the biggest constraints on time is the multiple heat format.

      • ToddMorris

        I also believe that the suggestion for some immediate changes is great, and some more structural/longterm-focused changes on the intermediate athlete will have a bigger impact.

        Joe’s suggestion on his other post to have scaled warm ups is an interesting one.

      • AndyK

        Agree, not sure changing the name really gets the job done without significant changes. I think a lot of the time constraints boils down to class size. Not enough time to get through all strength rounds – probably because we are sharing equipment across 4 people. 18 people in a class, not enough room, so need two waves. All of this eats up time that could be used for everyone’s benefit (better warmup, individual instruction during strength exercises, cool down / mobility work).

    • Russ K

      Without regurgitating prior points, I would also like to see intermediate/experienced level classes offered (something between all levels/beginners and comp team) that cuts down on basic instruction and frees up more time for mobility, advanced skill work, etc., and perhaps has it’s own programming some days to incorporate those skills. Kudos to mike n. for raising the point as this is something I have thought about previously as well. Would be great to have a class like this offered once an hour during the mornings and evenings and see what the turnout is. I too currently choose my class based on my morning schedule but would certainly adjust by 20 minutes to take such a class, and I bet those on here requesting a similar class would willingly make that change as well.

  • Craig Bagno

    I suspect that a large percentage of the commenters here are seasoned crossfitters. i’m new. a little over six months. as a new guy, i’ve got to say that i *do* see a difference in the depth of instruction (not quality, just depth) from the beginner to the all levels classes. i’ve found it incredibly helpful to take the beginner classes. when i started i didn’t even know what i didn’t know. i’m still pretty inept. but radically less inept than i was this summer.

    that said i do find it incredibly helpful to have the option to be able to take an all levels class when scheduling requires it. i’d hate to have instructors require approval for the all level classes, as someone suggested here.

    also, most instructors seem to teach both kinds of class. and i’ve seen the difference in the way that they coach a beginner workout versus an all level workout (again depth – not quality). i don’t think i’m imagining that.

    one semi-inept guy’s opinion. 😉

    • lauracton

      As another new member (graduated elements in October), I have some vivid memories of watching the competition team train while going through my first pathetic attempt at Fran. While I love having the more advanced members in the beginners WODs, there’s also something to be said for being separated. The aspirational affect (“one day I’ll be good enough for the competition team!) of working out beside those athletes is real. Also, sometimes it’s intimidating to be in a “beginner” WOD and be struggling with some of the more basic moves while others are crushing them. Just my two cents!

  • Shannon

    Might as well add my 2 cents since I have been a member for about 5 months now. I agree with most, the major difference I see is with the coach who is in the class, not whether it is “beginner” or “all level”. To give the coaches credit though, I have seen plenty of them tailor their instruction based on how many faces they recognize in the class. All new people? More instruction needed. Recognize everyone and been in my class for 6 months? You’re good (unless I see you do something stupid). That is what I love about the box. Or you can ask. I have never seen a coach turn down someone who asks for feedback.

    I do agree, however, it would be nice to have some kind of middle ground class to work towards (competition team is wayyyy above my head at the moment) so people do not plateau. For me, that is what I have used the endurance WODs for to focus more on stamina and less on strength. Would like to see some kind of “open gym” time to work on specific skills, maybe sunday afternoon you show up to work on pull ups, or Sunday is snatch work day, whatever works. I dont often find I have time to work on specific skills and might get in someone’s way if I try before or after class.

  • Jim S

    TLDR: “It’s complicated.”
    A: Ran 1 mile 6:45
    B: 185lbs, elevated feet pushups (shoulders are close to back, but don’t want to push it with HSPU’s): 6:49
    24 degrees in the garage tonight. Can’t wait to get back to the box where it’s warm, and I get coached.
    p.s. +1 to Coach Kyle’s comments.

  • Just wanted to thank all the commenters on this; you guys make a slew of great points, and we really appreciate the feedback. We’ve grown to this size mainly by responding as best as we can to our members’ input, and we’ll definitely be doing that here, too.

    Give us a few days to kick this around with our senior coaches, and we’ll circle back with a plan to test out.