Bon Voyage Ryan M!

One of the snags of living in San Francisco is the transient nature of our city by the bay.  Many flock here to chase their next chapter.  Then, after some time, their next great adventure leads them on and away. 

All of that said, this summer we will parting (hopefully only temporarily) with a couple of our regular morning residents.  They are flying the coop to pursue their dreams.  Today, we say farewell to Ryan M..  

Ryan first walked through our doors back in January, 2015.  Since then, he has turned into one of our most diligent, determined athletes.  Ryan chooses a goal, and then stops at nothing until he gets it - be it getting his first bar muscle up, handstand walking, or hitting a snatch PR.  Ryan's unwavering smile and work ethic inspire both coaches and athletes alike.

Ryan is on his way back to school in Chicago so he can maybe get his hands dirty on the operational side of the high tech biz.

Killing it, strict style, in class

Killing it, strict style, in class

To commemorate his final week at UB, Ryan set a 15# PR in his snatch. 

To commemorate his final week at UB, Ryan set a 15# PR in his snatch. 

Don't be a stranger, Ryan!  We wish you luck at CrossFit E-Town and look forward to hearing about your latest CrossFit accolades the next time you visit!

Fall Schedule & a SWOD Announcement


UB Prom

WHAT:   Do you ever look back at life-events and wish you had a do over?  Or maybe you had so much fun you wish you could do it all over again?  For our 6th anniversary, we are giving you the chance to revisit and rewrite a moment from high school years.... that's right, we are hosting prom!

WHEN:  August 13th,  8-11PM

MORE DETAILS:  Check back Friday for our theme and benefit announcement! 


Shirt Contest

WHAT:   Help us grow our epic shirt collection!  In a couple weeks we will be asking for your best CrossFit/fitness slogans and/or your best shirt ideas.  Then, the community will vote on the best slogan/design and your concept can go down in UB history!  Start thinking now.  Pressure is on! Past winners have included:

  • United We Stand, In Barbells We Trust (Submitted by: Matt E. W.)
  • Make It Spicy, Keep It Spicy (Submitted by: Andrea S.)
  • The Ubicorn (Submitted by: Andrew M.)
  • The Octopress (Submitted by: Anita H.)

WHEN: Submissions will be collected the first week of August

Ultimate Lift Off

WHAT:   The ULTIMATE LIFT OFF is coming! Bring your gains and get ready to rumble!  It's UB's 6th year of getting our super totals on (Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Bench, Deadlift).  Who's game? 

This is out biggest competition of the year, complete with medals for winners and PRs for everyone -- so mark your calendars and get excited!

WHEN:  Saturday, September 10th

MORE DETAILS:  More details to come in the coming weeks.

SWOD Announcement

Speaking of PRs, we have a quick announcement regarding all SWOD classes.  To better serve our varying SWOD community, we are trying a little experiment in programming style.  Read all about it here.

Classes will still be open to community athletes who have been CrossFitting for 6+ months.  

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

This is what you need to know: The process is never ending, growth is lifelong. That sums up Chris. He's been at it since the "OG" days but still treats everyday as a learning opportunity. When class ends, Chris can be found doing extra credit skill work and cool down mobilizing in the back. This in my book, is what makes Chris awesome. Chris' hunger to learn and improve is eternal. Cheers my friend.

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Name: Chris Haire

Nickname / Alter Ego: My wife calls me "Pookie Bear" :P

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Occupation: CTO of LiveCanary, which I recently co-founded with 2 colleagues from a former job.

When did you first start CrossFitting?: Summer of 2009

When did you first start CrossFitting at UB?: July 6th, 2015

Favorite WOD: Helen

Least favorite WOD: Kalsu

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? When my wife and I started dating, we were looking for a gym that we could work out together at. I had heard of Crossfit and found group personal training a great way for me to get to the gym already. Conveniently between my work and my wife's house was a Crossfit gym, so we gave it a shot. I worked out there until we move to Baltimore and after an injury, stop Crossfit until starting back at UB. A friend talked me into doing a marathon and that finally got my off the couch and back to training.

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? It's made a morning person... I use to struggle to wake up before 9am, and now, I really enjoy the mornings at the gym before work and life gets crazy. I really enjoy working out with the coaches and regulars in the morning at UB. I also never thought much about gymnastic movements and mobility, and now have a new-found respect for them.


What is your secret talent? My cooking skills... I won my wife over with raspberry red wine sorbet.

Pick a super power you would like to have: If I could have the powers like the Bradley Cooper has in "Limitless", that would be pretty awesome. I'll settle for being able to do a muscle-up, though.

Favorite shower song: Anything from Kanye West or Jay-Z

Biggest phobia: Spiders

Favorite cheat meal: Beer... definitely enjoy a good IPA

UB Prom - Help Us Celebrate!

Do you ever look back at life-events and wish you had a do over?  Or maybe you had so much fun you wish you could do it all over again?  For our 6th anniversary, we are giving you the chance to revisit and rewrite a moment from high school years.... that's right, we are hosting prom! Join us on August 13th from 8-11PM for UB Prom!

This event will be both anniversary party and benefit.  But before we can give you more details, we are asking for your help!  Please take a minute to vote on our prom theme and help us decide which organization will get the proceeds!

Name *
How would you like to see the gym decked out?
Where would you like our proceeds to go? Read below to learn more about the following organizations.

Adaptive Athletes

Crossroads Adaptive Athletes Alliance is a nonprofit leveling the playing field for adaptive athletes. They are fighting to create interactive, collaborative communities nation-wide, providing tips & best practices to increase inclusion.  Check out their mission on their facebook page or on their website.

Westside Athletes

WAA is a not-for-profit organization founded by and comprised of members sweating right here alongside you in the United Barbell community including Chris C., Jon S, Jason L, Nikki S, Joanna G, and others. 

We're dedicated to transforming the lives of teenagers by making functional fitness programs available in local schools, and supporting healthy lifestyle habits.

Food for Thought: The Power of the Wee

This is a quick & quality read from the folks down at Invictus.

3..2..1… “Wait I Gotta Pee!”


Ever wonder why nature comes knocking at the sound of “3…2…1…GO”?

Just when you are about to bust out your muscle dance, your bladder decides to butt in and throw off your fitness schedule. Ugh! Such a pain.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you have a little “immediate onset anxiety-wee” (IOAW).

It’s not really a condition, I just made that up; however your anxiety can really make you feel like you need to use the John. This is simply because when your body goes into “fight or flight” mode certain functions are seen as less important to control by the brain. Keeping your pee in isn’t exactly super important to your brain if you are being chased by a lion or bear for example.

Your brain will say, “AH! Run! Leave everything behind!” This is essentially what is happening when your coach starts the clock. You know you are about to enter the pain cave and your anxiety triggers a fight or flight response in your brain.

So next time you have a case of the nervous wiz, never fear! Your fight or flight response is probably just super on point! But if your fear stems from something else – peeing in the middle of the workout, then check out Double-Unders and Peeing: The Power of the Kegel by Invictus Coach Nichole DeHart on how to combat that separate issue.

In the meantime, you might check out this underwear which could come in quite handy!

Summer Slam 2016 - In the Books!

The Summer Slam has come and went!  Every athlete that participated put up a great fight!


Thank you to all of our athletes, staff, friends, Anthony of PureWOD and Tao Tao of Power Supply who all made it down to support the event!  I am happy to report that it was one of the best events we have held to date!  The day was full of firsts... In our first in house CrossFit competition, several got their first taste of competition, a couple got their first handstand push ups, a few had their first podium performance... and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

And now for the standings!

Scaled Ladies: 1st - Alex P., 2nd - Zara, 3rd - Stephanie

Scaled Ladies: 1st - Alex P., 2nd - Zara, 3rd - Stephanie

Scaled Gents: 1st - Brian R., 2nd - Austin S., 3rd - Mike C.

Scaled Gents: 1st - Brian R., 2nd - Austin S., 3rd - Mike C.

RX Ladies: 1st - Hayley, 2nd - Tao Tao, 3rd - Anita

RX Ladies: 1st - Hayley, 2nd - Tao Tao, 3rd - Anita

RX Gents: 1st - Jason L., 2nd - Joe D., 3rd - Andrew S.

RX Gents: 1st - Jason L., 2nd - Joe D., 3rd - Andrew S.

Thanks again everyone, for making the day great!  Looking forward to our upcoming fall events:  UB Prom (August 13th) and The Ultimate Lift Off (September 10th)!

Summer Slam - Day Details

Hey y'all!  Are you excited to get your Summer Slam on? 

Here is the what you need to know for the day....

The Schedule:

Athlete Briefing: 8:30

All athletes participating need to attend the athlete briefing.  We will be reviewing all movement and judging standards as well as answering all other questions at this time.  All athletes who are participating will also be judging an assigned heat.  See below for details.

Event 4:  11:00A - 12:10P

(See below for athlete/judging heat schedule)

Events 1,2,3:  9:15A - 10:25A

(See below for athlete/judging heat schedule)

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Floater WOD: Athlete's Choice

The floater WOD can be completed at any event time during the day (9:15 - 10:25, 11:00 - 12:10).  Each athlete must decide when to complete the workout and secure a judge for the 3 minute WOD.

Prizes & Shwag:

Prizes for top placers will include prizes from Power Supply, PureWOD, Rogue, and United Barbell.  Additionally, we will have Dr. Gustin of PureWOD as well as the awesome people of Power Supply setting up booths for athletes and spectators to enjoy!

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

One of the coolest things about being a coach at UB is watching you crazy kids grow as athletes over time.  We coaches say to each other "remember when so-and-so couldn't do such-and-such?  Look at them now!"  

I feel that way about this week's Awesome.  I've witnessed Shalva come to UB with impressive consistency for a while now, and it shows.  He brings a quiet, positive attitude to evening classes, SWODs, and holiday WODs.  His mobility has improved dramatically, as has his strength and confidence with the movements.  So give the man a pat on the back next time you see him, and get to know a little more about our friendly neighborhood Georgian:

Name: Shalva K. 

Nickname / Alter Ego: Shalvinator, Shako, Shalvinsky

Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia (not the state :P) 

Occupation: Product manager in fintech

When did you first start CrossFitting? I started doing 3-4 workouts per week in Aug 2015. I keep my count from there. 

When did you first start CrossFitting at UB? UB is my first CrossFit gym. All started with an on-ramp with coach Kristin. 

Favorite WOD: Murph, because I knew about it for a long time. When I finally did it this past Memorial day, it meant a lot. Generally, I prefer longer workouts with steady pace. 

Least favorite WOD: Anything with handstands / inversions, they still weird me out. 

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?
I hadn't done anything athletic in my life. Then at grad school I had all this free time and decided to get serious about fitness. I read about CrossFit, downloaded WOD apps, watched YouTube, and tried to teach myself back squats. Didn't happen. So I stuck with bench presses and curls for couple of years, but was always on a lookout for a good crossfit gym. 

One of my best friends is quite a CrossFit monster on her own, talking to her helped make the jump. 

(Bench press still feels relatively easy to me. Thank you 24hour fitness!)

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? I discovered that I can run, and that I even enjoy it for short distances :) 

What is the first song in your favorite playlist right now?
Really liking Blink-182's new album 

What is your favorite cheat meal?
Mango Key Lime cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, or strawberry shortcake from Whole Foods, or Sexy Brian Bar from Hot Cookies, or this, when I'm back home. 

A Food for Thought for the Ladies

Ladies!  Ever wonder about lady-specific issues and advantages when it comes to the barbell?  Check out this article from Lift Big Eat Big.

Are female bodies really that different to male when it comes to the mechanics of lifting weights?


We already know how differences between male and female strength athletes affect our training style and adaptations.

Generally speaking, females tend to respond better to higher training frequencies than men. This is probably because we aren’t as physically strong, so are less likely to place max demands on our nervous system and muscle tissue as a result of workouts. Higher training frequency is not just possible for us, but can often be the best course of action. Plenty of women thrive on a training frequency that would cripple a lot of guys. Full body workouts, or upper/lower and push/pull splits can be a great way for women to strength train (rather than traditional body part splits).

And, of course, female athletes have much lower levels of testosterone than men (even men who don’t train), and our levels of oestrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone rise and fall pretty dramatically during our menstrual cycle.

If you look at a male and female skeleton side-by-side, there are very few differences. The main one (and certainly the main one which would affect lifting) is the structure and width of the pelvis and hips.

So what about the structural and mechanical differences between women and men? What are they and how do they affect how we train and compete?

Wider Q-Angles

We wrote about this in an earlier article, but basically women tend to have a wider angle between points on the quadriceps and patella tendon. This won’t necessarily lead to any problems when lifting, but can be a factor in knee injuries, valgus collapse (medial knee displacement), and hip internal rotation. It’s certainly worth being aware of this mechanical difference if you like to squat!

Lower Body Strength

In general terms, women tend to have greater lower body strength compared to upper body strength, and less of a hamstring/quad strength ratio. This is just one good reason to pay particular attention to strengthening and stabilizing the entire posterior chain.

Greater Flexibility

And women tend to be naturally more flexible than men, which means they can stand to do more stability work in their routines. Don’t neglect flexibility and mobility work altogether, but tip the balance in favor of more stability and activation work. Working through full range strength exercises will train your strength and stability, whilst encouraging your natural flexibility. And be aware that at certain points in your life, you may experience unusual levels of joint laxity, so be sure to program your workouts accordingly.

Hyper-Extension Of The Lower Back

Pay attention to your low back when you lift. Some women tend towards over-extension of the lumbar spine during compound lifts, and body weight movements like push ups and plank holds. Spend time learning how to control your core to prevent hyper-extension.

Get Inspired

Have you signed up for the Summer Slam yet?  There are plenty reasons to do a CrossFit competition.  Just ask our four athletes who absolutely killed it at the Battle Royale Competition at Skybox this past weekend! 

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Hayley, Joanna, Max and Steve L. traveled up to American Canyon (along with a thick cheering/coaching/pit crew) and snatched, clean and jerked, bar muscle upped, and biked-rowed-ran their way through a grueling (and fun) day of competition.  At the end of the day they walked away in 8th place with some epic representation in WODs, lifts, and spirit!  Way to go team UB!  #UBstrong

Inspired?  Register by tomorrow for the Summer Slam!