SPS Rite of Passage Recap

If you were on Facebook this weekend, you would have seen a flux of photos and videos from our 6 athletes representing United Barbell at the 2nd Annual Rite of Passage at SPS.  This is my favorite meet of the year to coach.  Watching UBers go out and face their fears of competing out in the world and conquering their first meet is always exciting.. and this year did not disappoint!  This year I had coach Sam (aka "Unlce Sam") and card master Dave H. helping me keep the team organized and focused.  To give you an idea of the experience, I asked the 6 lifters to share their thoughts...


Chris Comma:

  • Snatch: 55kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 67kg

"1) Lifting in a meet is very different than in the Box. For one, it’s you and the barbell and that's it. A crowd is watching, so for me, it was difficult finding a focal points with so many people. Focusing on the judge in front of me was the only place on which to place my gaze.

2) Having coaches and friends allowed me to stay loose. The coaching team of Jenny and Sam and having my lifting partner Dave counting cards took the guess work out of being ready. Having Brigette and others help load plates for warm ups allowed me to get settled and focus on the task at hand. The support was needed and helpful as making lifts in the warm up area allowed me to have fun. Listen to your coaches and do what they tell you as they are there to help you.

3) Lifting with team mates (Sunli and Joven) in the same heat created familiarity in that it felt like a regular sesh at UB. Also, it was fun lifting with a co-worker and my good friend Marilyn K. and Leka from CrossFit Endzone.

4) It was helpful having friends and supporters in the audience. Thank you to Jason, Manu, Gil, Sean, Max, Ruo (Original UB member circa 2012) and meeting new ones alleviated worries."


  • Snatch: 48kg (lifetime PR!)
  • Clean&Jerk: 58kg

"Don't celebrate before you're done.  Lost my focus between snatches and clean and jerks.  Someone named Jenny Werba actually warned me about that but I still let it happen.

Lift for yourself!  Don't lift to impress, don't lift for the gram, stick to what you've set out to do for yourself and do it. 

Get a team!  In alphabetical order: 

  • Max Cantor: Personal Photographer and Biggest biceps I’ve gotten close to
  • Dave Huynh: Assistant Coach and 69kg Role Model
  • Jay Itagaki: Body Work and I Want To Punch You When You Do That
  • Jason Luk: Mental Coach and Human Extraordinaire
  • Robin Guerzoni: Wife and Thanks for leaving me the entire bed for my recovery
  • Nikki Staley: Mobility Goddess and All Around Badass
  • Jenny Werba: Head Coach and Wonder Woman"
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  • Snatch: 41kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 58k

"It was really fun and also terrifying. Science says its good for your brain to try new things, so that's what I've been trying to do.

Shoutout to Jenny, Dave and Dave's assistant, Sam, for dedicating your weekends to holding our hands through our first meet. We couldn't have done it without you."




  • Snatch: 61kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 91kg

"I had a lot fun! Thanks for all the coaches and volunteers that help me with the warm up and set the 2nd and 3rd attempts weight. You guys made my life so much easier!

"Lesson": Always listen to the pregnant lady, haha ... nah, cause Jenny is just so great at coaching the lifts!

Special thanks to Sam: I definitely feel my nervous and stressed is eased with Sam's encouraging style of coaching, Sam is pretty awesome!"

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Austin I.:

  • Snatch: 92kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 127kg

"I didn't realize how important is would be to have coaches at the event helping decide numbers and helping jokey for a better position to increase time between takes. I had a goal to make 100kg snatch which didn't happen at the event. So when you guys said that you would take the reigns on the clean and jerk numbers, it was so relieving that all I had to do was go out and lift and leave the numbers game up to the coaches. Potentially if I didn't even know what numbers they were telling me to do I wouldn't have even psyched myself out with what was even on the bar. Very appreciative for my coaches guidance during the experience.


  • Snatch: 68kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 91kg (Lifetime PR)

"I would say a big lesson is that you're not alone, you have a whole team of coaches and volunteers to support you and help you think through what to do. So if you're overwhelmed by the work, know others will help bear your burdens!

Additionally, I was surprised at how huge the crowd was and at first pretty nervous and intimidated. As the afternoon wore on, it became clear that it was a very supportive group, and everyone there is scared too because all the athletes are competing for the first time. It's a safe place to try a new experience, and to fail."

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Last but not least, a note from Dave H. who was our assistant coach extraordinaire:

"Overall, coaching was a great learning experience and kind of stressful, but also very rewarding.  So happy everyone did well at their first meet with all competition PRs and a few lifetime PRs. I came into the gym Monday and Today ready to put in more work because of how motivating the experience was and the fact that I now have more teammates to train with."


Food for Thought: Thinking About Going Easy on the Big Holiday Meals? Think Again.

Thanksgiving is a time to be with loved ones and express gratitude.  But many of you have expressed anxiety to us as to how to survive the holiday food-pocalypse... which unfortunaly for many, has gotten in the way of enjoying some holiday cheer.  So to help with your game plan and mental prep, I have brought you an article from Renaissance Periodization.  Yes, I know its long... but a few extra minutes of reading is worth a stress free holiday!


Fundamentally, the upcoming holidays are about one thing: the enjoyment and celebration of life. That means enjoying special times with your closest family, friends, and yes, your favorite holiday foods.  And while no one is going to debate that those special holiday meals are some of the most delicious, they can bring some anxiety about dreaded holiday weight gain.

The big problem is that while this anxiety doesn’t actually help you make logical decisions about holiday eating, it definitely saps you of the peace of mind that’s pretty much a prerequisite for enjoying the holidays to their fullest. What DOES, however, allow you to have that peace of mind about your holiday eating is to form logical decisions that concord with your long term physique and performance goals in advance. Coming to these decisions in advance of the holidays (read: just about now) can allow you to avoid suffering through the uncertainty, doubt, second-guessing, temptation, shame and guilt that has all too often come with holiday eating. By sticking to your decisions, you can get the most out of holiday eating and accomplish the first priority of the holidays; enjoyment. And guilt free enjoyment at that.

As far as the team of expert coaches and scientists are RP see things, there are three possible logical approaches to holiday eating:

A) No Deviation From Strict Dieting

B) Controlled Deviation from Strict Dieting

C) Enjoyment of Maintenance

Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each approach so that you can choose the one that’s right for you.

Option A basically has you sticking to your strict meal plan through the holidays. No stuffing, no turkey, and no Christmas ham. By sticking to your dieting, you bypass any worries of gaining unwanted weight, but you pay for it in getting just about zero food enjoyment out of the holidays. This lack of food enjoyment is in almost every case going to carry over at least a little bit to reducing the fun you have with family and friends, so it definitely comes at a price. We’d only recommend this route if you have a serious competition coming up right after the holidays (for which you need to diet to make weight). Otherwise, this is not the top choice. But it’s not the worst choice for most people, as that one is next.

Option B sounds kind of like a win-win. You get to eat some tasty holiday foods and stay on track for your physique goals… you get to have your cake and have abs too! The big problem with this approach is that while SOME very rare people can pull it off no sweat, for most of us this is by far the worst option. Perhaps the only thing worse than no mashed potatoes with gravy is just enough mashed potatoes and gravy to drive your cravings for more tasty holiday food through the roof. For many very tempting things, “just a bit” only makes cravings worse for most people, and “not at all” is a better approach. If you really think you can pull off Option B, go for it, but we’d recommend you stay away from its illusory promises of “best of both worlds.’ You’ll likely find that its promises in reality quickly turn to extremes of temptation and cravings.

Lastly, there’s Option C, which we at RP consider by far the best. If you don’t have a competition that needs you to weigh much less shortly after the holidays, we highly recommend you choose this approach. If you do choose this route, the goal is to keep your body mass about the same through the holidays or gain just a tiny bit, while eating ALL of your favorite holiday meals and not holding back. And with just a few key tips, you can pull this off no problem.


Tips for Enjoying Maintenance through the Holidays:

  1. DO NOT Skip Holiday Meals
  2. DO NOT Skimp on Holiday Meal Portion Sizes
  3. Adjust your Non-Festive Meals
  4. Keep Training HARD!

1.) Some folks like to make deals with themselves where they allow themselves to have fun with a few holiday meals, but skip other ones so as not to go overboard on the total holiday calories and gain too much weight. But unless you’re invited to like 10 holiday parties, this is not likely to be necessary. So long as you’re eating no more than about 5-7 special meals during the season, skipping any isn’t even worth considering. A bit later in this blog post we’ll take a look at some basic calorie math to put you at ease if you’re skeptical.

2.) When you’re eating special festive meals (like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, for example), don’t hold back on portion sizes and food types and ENJOY YOURSELF to the belt-bursting fullest! The whole point of holiday eating is too indulge, so have at it! Worried that this will cause too much weight gain? Check out the next tip.

3.) Because your holiday meals will be so deliciously caloric, in order to keep your weight in check, you’ll have to adjust your non-festive meals during the holiday season. Why adjust these meals and not the holiday meals? Well, you eat the holiday meals with the specific goal of enjoying them. While you might enjoy your regular meals, you don’t exactly eat all of them specifically for maximal enjoyment, but rather to fuel your athletic performance and support your health. Why not let both meals do what they do best and modify your goal-oriented regular meals to support your goals rather than rigging your holiday meals for that purpose and losing out on their very special enjoyment value. For example, if you’ve got extra work to do and then the weekend is full of fun plans, you do more work on the week to finish up and then enjoy without worry on the weekend… you don’t just do your regular work on the week and then do extra work on the weekend… dampening your fun weekend plans. Just the same way, the holiday meals are for all-out enjoyment, and the regular meals are for physique control! So how do we go about modifying our regular meals? All we have to do is make our regular meals higher in lean protein and veggies and a bit lower in carbs and fats. That’s it. This lowers our meal calories while keeping their anti-hunger properties, allowing you to dip a bit below maintenance for your average regular non-festive meals. Your festive meals will be WAY above maintenance calories, but because they are so outnumbered by regular meals, the sum is likely to balance out and no net weight gain is usually the result! Mind you, you DO NOT have to starve yourself on every non-festive meal. Eat plenty! But by focusing on lots of lean protein and veggies and keeping the carbs and fats perhaps to 50% of their usual per-meal servings, you make a big calorie dent while still supplying your body with the fuel and building blocks it needs.

4.) If you stop training altogether or skip a bunch of training sessions during the holidays, we won’t lie to you… weight gain will be likely, and it’s likely going to be fat. But if you hit the gym and hit it hard during the holidays, you’ll not just be treading water… you’ll be building muscle! Sure, lots of cardio is not often a bad thing, and if that’s your thing, hit it hard! But the benefit of weight training is that it not only helps to burn off holiday pounds but it helps you use those very same festive meals as raw materials for building new muscle! With high volume weight training, those holiday meals are working TOWARDS your goals, not again them! That sounds pretty awesome, so when the holidays come… maybe not the day OF Thanksgiving and Christmas, but certainly the many days before and after, our advice is to hit the gym and hit it hard!

So what’s our best advice so far, summed up? Eat all the holiday meals you have planned and don’t hold back. Eat well during the regular meals that surround the special ones and don’t just fall face first off of good eating habits (high protein, high veggie) when the holidays come. Train hard, train with lots of sets and reps and enjoy growing some holiday muscle while keeping your fat in check!

.... to read the rest of the article, click here.

Some Holiday Reminders (Including our Holiday Party!)

It's Thanksgiving week!  Here are some reminders for the next couple of weeks:

Thanksgiving Schedule

  • November 22nd (Wednesday): 6:30, 7:30, AM Open Gym, Noon, PM Open Gym and a 6PM class.  No 5 or 7PM classes. 
  • November 23rd (Thursday): 9:00A Turkey WOD with Coach Jason
  • November 24th (Friday): 9:30A Holiday WOD with Coach Jason
  • November 25th/26th (Sat/Sun): Normal classes

Holiday Party


This year we will be hosting our annual holiday party on Saturday, December 2nd at UB from 6-9PM.  Casual potluck and holiday good times!  Save the date - more info to come!

Reflections from the Record Breakers 2017 Powerlifting Meet

If you recall, Brigitte, Daniel B., and Max all headed east to take on the Record Breakers 2017 powerlifting meet.  All came away with lessons learned: Brigitte found the powerlifting world less "bro-fest" and more inclusive than she was expecting, Daniel had some solid lessons in what not to do, and Max got to learn what it is to come at a powerlifting meet training as a CrossFitter versus powerlifter.  Here are some thoughts from each of them, as well as the videos from their meet:

Lessons from Brigitte:

I should start with saying that this was a much better time than I was expecting - and not just because MobilityWod had free donuts after weigh-in. I was kind of expecting a bro-fest, to be one of like 5 girls, and to be lifting first in everything. Instead, we ladies were a solid 50% of Saturday’s lifters, and everyone was exactly the same kind of awesome and supportive as the people at your average Oly meet - just a whole lot louder.

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I went 3 for 3 on back squat with a small PR at the end - it felt easy, and in hindsight, I could’ve pushed it a bit more. But leaving something in the tank and making all my lifts meant that I felt great going into the bench press - confident and energetic instead of wiped out and anxious. 

One of the bigger differences between this powerlifting meet and any Olympic lifting is the weights you can choose to lift. At an Oly meet, you can choose any even number in kilograms - which means that I can make any jump I want in 2.2lb increments. In powerlifting, bar loading goes in 2.5kilo increments - the minimum jump is five and a half pounds, which made a huge difference in how my bench press went. My second attempt was just .5lbs below my all time PR - and that meant that my next attempt was required to be at least a 5lb PR. I feel pretty confident that I could have made a 2lb jump, but 5? I was happy and surprised to get that bar halfway up!

Deadlift felt great too… until my 3rd attempt, which would also have been a PR.  I let the loud crowd get to my head a bit. I rushed my setup, wasn’t tight at all, and totally missed it. Lesson learned: I really need to get better at tuning out the audience. I need to be more patient and focus on positioning and setup, no matter how badly I want people to be done yelling at me.

Overall, it was a good day. I’ll be looking for those bench and deadlift PRs in a couple weeks. 

Lessons from Daniel:

I went into preparing for the competition way too late and not really knowing what to expect. I cut weight from 224 lbs. to around 204 within a week of the competition. I fasted for 56 hours before the weigh-ins which was a terrible idea. Weight cutting isn’t what it used to be back when I was a young buck! I was able consume the delicious Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out right before the comp (one day out) which helped out a ton. That Saturday while walking around and meeting all the instafamous people, I realized I messed up bad dehydrating myself. My legs were super cramped, and I overall didn’t feel as well as I should, given I needed to compete in 24 hours...

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As for the competition itself, I had a wonderful time! Squats were miserable since it was my first time wrapping myself and I did it COMPLETELY wrong. I still managed to get 495 up easy on my 3rd attempt. Bench went ok. I hit a 304 but couldn’t quite get 319. Was disappointed there since I had pushed it passed where I would normally get stuck. Deadlifts on the other hand felt amazing. I feel I could have probably gotten 600 had I gotten aggressive with how much I was going up. I ended at 572.5, which honestly went up easily. The knurling on the deadlift bars was intense. Something I would have to get used to. Other than that, I can definitely see myself competing again, but next time taking it much more seriously.

Lessons from Max:

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This was my third powerlifting meet but the first one in two years.  As I’ve been much more focussed on conditioning and CrossFit in the last year I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to be.  In the two weeks leading up to the meet I finally focussed on strength a bit.  However, I grew out a beard to make up for a lack of training and it seems to have compensated for my lack of strength specific training.

Squats felt great.  I got a little loose and missed my second squat which forced me to be conservative with my third attempt.  I was able to stay focussed and hit my third attempt for a small 1.5 pound PR at 506.5.

My first bench press felt great but was red lighted for a technical reason as two of the judges thought I racked the bar before the “Rack” command was given (The video is below).  This forced me to be a bit conservative on my second attempt, which I made.  For my third attempt I got pretty aggressive as the second felt light and went for a small PR but didn’t make it.

I was feeling uneasy about the deadlifts so I lowered my opener from 230kg to 225kg but apparently this never got communicated so I ended up unknowingly lifting 230kg.  237kg also felt good for my second so, again, I got pretty aggressive and jumped to 250kg for my last attempt.  I got the bar moving and was close but just couldn’t lock out.  One thing to note about SPF meets is that the deadlift bar is much easier to grip than a standard barbell.  It's thinner and has much sharper knurling.  In retrospect, I should have done more overload training using block pulls (as Coach Sam suggested) and straps.  

Like Brigitte, I had a lot of fun.  Unlike in 2015, I’m now friends with quite a few of the competitors and it was pretty cool to watch them attempting or hitting world records.  What’s even more insane is that Kristy Hawkin’s squat and deadlift openers were world records as was Stefi Cohen’s deadlift opener.  Also, Powerlifting nutrition is far more fun than CrossFit nutrition.  After weigh-ins on Saturday (you weigh in 24 hours before lifting) we went to Chick-Fil-A and had multiple chicken sandwiches with double-double’s and milkshakes at In-N-Out for dessert.  Doing this the day before a CrossFit competition would be suicide. In fact, I was pretty sure that I was feeling the after effects of the weekend’s gastro-debauchery at Tuesday night’s L2 where I just felt completely wiped and unable to move.  While the competition was fun and something I would do again, CrossFit is still where my heart and aspirational fitness goals are.  While raw strength is awesome, the meet did remind me of how much I appreciate the holistic, balanced nature of CrossFit’s constantly varied approach to fitness.


0:45:28 Brigitte 85kg Made  0:55:42 Brigitte 92.5kg Made  1:06:00 Brigitte 95kg Made

2:00:00 Max 215kg Made  2:11:42 Max 230kg Miss  2:20:20 Max 230kg Made

2:01:00 Daniel 220kg Made  2:09:40 Daniel 225kg Miss (depth)  2:18:30 Daniel 225kg Made

Bench Press

3:13:20 Brigitte 57.5kg Made   3:25:30 Brigitte 62.5kg Made  3:39:03 Brigitte 65kg Miss

4:28:30 Max 127.5kg Miss (premature rack)  4:38:20 Max 132.5kg Made  4:49:10 Max 140kg miss

4:29:30 Daniel 135kg Made  4:39:30 Daniel 140kg Made  4:50:00 Daniel 145kg miss


5:31:33 Brigitte 110kg Made  5:42:10 Brigitte 120kg Made  5:54:30 Brigitte 125kg Miss

6:58:50 Max 230kg Made  7:09:50 Max 237.5kg Made  7:21:00 Max 250kg Miss

7:02:30 Daniel 247.5kg Made  7:11:15 Daniel 252.2kg Made  7:23:00 Daniel 260kg Made

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

Name: Marek Zwick.

Nom De Guerre: Caleb

Breeding pit he crawled out of: Salt Lake City. 

Chosen path to world conquest: Software Engineer. 

A few years ago. I was exposed to a lot of lead infused paint (no carbs!) as a child, so my memory is not the best.  I've been part of UB for a year and change. 

Favorite WOD: Murph. Particularly the time I got rhabdo doing it.

Least Favorite WOD: I don't understand this question.

Favorite Workout Track By Katy Perry or Taylor Swift: Roar

Most Viscerally Hated Workout Track: Roar

How Did You First Get Exposed to CrossFit: Reading Mark Twight's screeds on the Gym Jones website back in the day.

What is an Unexpected Way CrossFit has Affected Your Lift: CrossFit and the community it fosters is foundational to keeping me grounded in life. I've developed very close friendships from doing this. I never thought picking up heavy objects would be analogous to daily positive affirmations, but for me it is. 

Favorite Cheat Meal: Gnarly amounts of indian food, heavy on the rice. 

Favorite Legit Meal: Coho Salmon, avocado, macadamias, and good olive. You know, cause ketosis is like the thing bruh. 


Support UB at the Rite of Passage This Weekend!

Doing your first "official" meet (powerlifting or oly) can be terrifying.  There are outfits and audiences and a lot of rules to follow.  Last weekend Daniel and Brigitte took on their first powerlifting meet.  This weekend, 5 UB athletes will be taking on their first Oly meet at SPS's 2017 Right of Passage:


What: In the spirit of supporting the growth of weightlifting and encouraging new lifters, SPS created a meet is exclusively for those who have never lifted in a USAW sanctioned event.  Last year 6 UB athletes took on the event.  This year we have 6 more: Alan A., Austin I., Chris C., Coryn, Manu G. and Sunli all donning their first singlets!

  • When: We have lifters both Saturday & Sunday 
    • Saturday: Manu @ 9AM ; Chris C. & Sunli @ 1PM
    • Sunday: Austin I. @ 11A ; Coryn @ 1PM ; Alan A. @ 3PM
  • Where: Speed Power Strength

2140 Livingston St
Oakland, CA  94606

Food for Thought: Performance Breathing for CrossFit, Pt.1

When speaking to athletes about bracing, I find many need to start at the beginning: learning how to breathe.  It may seem straight forward, but many people are disconnected to their breathing patterns and have been convinced subconsciously by our beauty standards to avoid proper diaphragm breathing all together.  I found a great article from WODMedic to help you check in with your own breathing.  I know, it's long... but suck it up (literally)... it's worth it!

Today’s blog is the first in a 3 part series from WODMedic Elite Facilitator, Jon Herting, DPT, CSCS.  This 3 part series will take in an depth look at the important topic of performance breathing.  As a coach this will give you a deeper insight in to performance breathing. As an athlete the recommendations given by Jon will make you a better, stronger athlete.  

Performance Breathing for the Crossfit Athlete Part 1: Position and Breathing Fundamentals

If you follow health and fitness magazines and blogs breathing has been a recent hot topic. Men’s Health recently had a centerfold article entitled, The Power of Breathing and a closer look into their archives uncovers another article entitled. The Secret to Running Faster. Once you know a topic has the attention of a main stream magazine you know that it’s important and people will finally begin to take notice ;). Those of us who are in “the know” have been preaching about the importance of breathing to improve trunk stability, generate power, improve position, improve endurance, hasten recovery and improve resiliency for thousands of years.

Other posts on this page have addressed maintaining The Four Knots and 15 Second Abs…with Loaded Carries? They have touched upon maintaining trunk control and using diaphragmatic breathing to promote good intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). I will further delve into this topic to help you understand respiration at a deeper level.

Proper breathing can influence the following:

  • Naturally and legally increasing EPO levels (Improved Red Blood Cell production)
  • Higher oxygenation levels
  • Increased oxygen being delivered to muscles, tissues, organs and the brain.
  • Increased power
  • Decreased breathlessness
  • Decreased recovery time
  • Improved recovery from injury
  • Increased performance thresholds
  • Increased composure

All of these seem good right? But are you achieving all of these positive changes?

Take two minutes right now to pay attention to how you are breathing.

  • What is the position of your tongue, teeth, lips?
  • What moves first? Chest, neck, belly, etc.
  • Do you feel stressed, anxious?
  • Do you feel like you lose your breath?
  • Do you have to sigh or yawn?

Based on your feelings and observations over the last two minutes you will be able to use the chart below to assess whether or not you are getting everything you can out of your breath which at rest.

Now it is important to note that 2/3 of your breath should be through belly before chest begins to move in last 1/3rd.  If you found that you may not be breathing optimally at rest you are most likely not carrying this over into your workouts, thus you are leaving valuable reps and power on the table. By being able to breathe properly as you enter intense workouts you are going to be better able to bring in and utilize the fuel that will keep you going as you get deeper into your workouts. Proper respiration during activity is the key, and often the missing link, to improved performance.

If you find that you are unable to breathe optimally per the chart above I would suggest the following.

First, begin to master the nasal breath through all walks of life. The first step of learning how to breathe optimally is to work on being able to breathe into and out of your nose while maintaining your tongue on the roof of your mouth, lips closed, teeth apart and lips forming an “O” behind your closed lips. You will then focus on inhaling for approximately 3 secs and exhaling for 6+. The exhale will be the most challenging for most of your but this is the most important part to improving performance and being able to influence gas exchange both while at rest and when working out. As you exhale focus on pushing your ribs down and tucking your hips under. This can be done in all positions including, sitting, standing, squatting, etc. Looking at the picture below which is going to be the more stable posture? The picture on the left depicts an “open scissored” posture where the ribs are angled up and the pelvis is angled down. This leaves a large opening in the anterior trunk and does not promote a nice cylindrical position from which to build strong inter-abdominal pressure. By contrast the picture to the right depicts the ribs in a caudal (down) position and hips tucked under. This allows for a more stable trunk and a better ability to create intra-abdominal posture to support your lift and workout. I would argue that this position also helps you to utilize oxygen more efficiently to better fuel your workouts.


Once you have been able to find the proper position and have mastered nasal breathing you can then focus on the diaphragmatic breath.


As you can see the diaphragm sits below your lungs and attaches on your ribs and low back vertebrate among many other soft tissue structures. This being said the diaphragm, along with your external intercostals, is your primary muscle of respiration. On inhale it drops to help the ribs expand to allow the lungs to expand. As this happens your belly will subtly expand and as you passively exhale you belly will return to its resting position. If you are in the proper position your diaphragm will be opposed by your pelvic floor which will help you to create that all important inter-abdominal pressure. This is why position and proper breathing patterns are so important. A proper diaphragmatic breath looks like this:

1. 3 Sec breath in through your nose as belly subtlety expands.

2. Chest rises.

3. 6+ sec exhale as your chest and belly passively return to their resting positions with a brief, comfortable pause at the end.

4. Repeat.

A proper breath will result in your belly rising for the first 2/3rds of the breath, followed by an accompanied rib expansion for the final 1/3rd of the breath.

Now that you have lots to think about and some homework look out for my next post which will address performance benefits and how to apply this to your training.

COMING NEXT- Performance Breathing for the CrossFit Athlete Part 2: Improving Performance

Plateaus Happen

How do you measure your commitment to your fitness?  Knowing that results aren't linear (otherwise we'd PR every day), we all go through periods of frustration when we feel like we aren't moving forward.  "I have been working my muscle ups EVERY DAY for 3 weeks -- why don't I have them yet!!"  Cue your favorite Miyagi moment of wisdom... and take a deep breath - where the romance of newbie PRs end is where the real work begins.  Plateaus happen.  Be patient, persistent and keep practicing.  Instead of looking at the immediate training session, you have to look at the bigger picture.  You might plateau for a week, a month, or even longer... but if you keep at it, you will break through, and it will feel like magic.  You might hit a heavier weight, a faster time, or understand a movement in a whole new light, but it will make the work worth it.  And after you've basked in the glory of your progress, the cycle begins again.

Don't let frustration get the best of you.

Don't let frustration get the best of you.

Need help reaching the other side of your current movement goal?  Ask for help!!  That's why you have coaches!!

Support UB at Sunday's SPF Record Breakers!

Cheer on UB this Sunday!


This Sunday, Brigitte, Daniel B. and Coach Max are rolling east to throw down in the 2017 Reebok SPF Record Breakers powerlifting competition!  Details will be released as they are received, but here's what we know so far:

  • What:  Record Breakers Powered by Reebok brings the world’s top powerlifters together in head-to-head competition. 

  • When: The competition runs both Saturday and Sunday, but our three UBers will all be competing on Sunday.
  • Where:  CrossFit CSA

    6400 Sierra Ct - A

    Dublin, CA 94568

  • More information: check it out here!

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

The fact that Bernardo enjoys arriving to work exhausted from the mornings workout should tell you quite a bit about his character. Bernardo is always willing to push himself and others around him, while also being the first person to cheer someone on from his collapsed position on the floor. Bernardo has a great sense of humor and is a solid guy to be around and to coach. The positive vibe he brings in the early morning is felt throughout the class. If you haven’t met him do yourself a favor and stop by the 7:30am class to meet our latest awesome.

1. Name: Bernardo P. S.

2. Nickname/Alter Ego: Bebe or Pikachu. People call me Bebe since I am 6 years old, apparently because I looked like a soccer player called Bebeto. Pikachu is because people cannot pronounce my first last name. However, since I arrived to the USA I got many nicknames as very few people can pronounce my name correctly (when ordering food I have to show my ID).

3. Hometown: Madrid (Spain!!!)

4. Occupation: Software Engineer, ankle model for many fashion brands, and professional shower singer.

5. When did you first start CrossFitting: May 2016

6. When did you first start CrossFit at UB: October 2016 I did the Onramp with Steve Wong. Luckily every workout is in english in Spain too so it was easy for me to catch up.

7. Favorite WOD: Every one that has box jumps, burpees, cleans or bodyweight workouts

8. Least Favorite WOD: Overhead Squats....,Snatches ..... Double Unders... I am getting there, watch out!

9. How did you first get exposed to CrossFit: My gym membership ended in Spain and I had 4 months before moving to SF and decided to try something new. I couldn't workout in a week after the first class, I was sore from toes to eyebrows. 

10. What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life: My friends know all my PRs and they cannot understand why I get up at 6.30 am to workout and I feel good when I arrive exhausted to work. Also now, when I meet a girl, I ask her if she dances salsa/bachata and if she workouts. Negative answer to both normally is a dead end. 

11. What is your favorite cheat meal: Cañas + Tapas, which is almost every day haha. Manchego cheese (cannot live without it) jamón ibérico, chorizo, Ribera del Duero wine... please....stop!!! I miss it a lot! 

12. How has injury played into your athleticism and mindset fortitude as an athlete: I had a very bad motorcycle accident in 2010, A car hit me head on. I dislocated my jaw, shoulder and cannot move two toes, but didn't get any broken bones. In order to recover my mobility I had to partake in very painful physical therapy sessions and workout to strengthen my bones and muscles again. After some time, and painful recovery, I am here and ready to kill it!!!