Overcoming Doubt

Overcoming Doubt

Our Tuesday WOD at Arena Ready is a CrossFit.com main site workout, which reminded me of an old blog post I wrote a few years ago...


Fred Frey, 70 Years Young (Photo courtesy of CrossFit.com)

CrossFit posts pictures to their main site every day - some of them I really like, some of them I really dislike, and most are somewhere in between.  A while back they posted the picture above of 70-year old Fred Frey performing a box jump, and it made me smile.

I can't tell you how many newbies we've worked with - from all ages, and with varying degrees of athletic and/or fitness background - who've had doubts about what they can accomplish in their training.  Some folks who start out at AR haven't lifted a weight, ever.  Some have never done a pull-up or push-up, or even come close to either.  We often see the doubt in their eyes, and the tentative nature in their movement, when they're attempting something they either: a) haven't done before; b) haven't done in a while; or c) feel they'll never be able to do.

A simple box jump is something many individuals new to CrossFit must work through in order to overcome self doubt, hesitation, and even fear.  And often those who are tentative about the movement seem embarrassed that they cannot wrap their head around jumping onto something that looks so harmless.  How can such a simple task instill so much unsure energy, or cause one to be downright terrified?  We tell these folks that it's not uncommon to feel that way (because it's not, trust me) - that many people who are starting out have reservations, and sometimes a fear, of jumping onto the box.  Because for many newcomers, it's been a long time since they've explosively jumped up onto anything.  Or perhaps, in some cases, they've spent many years of their life doing things they thought were getting them fit, but at the same time these same things were taking away from any explosive power they once possessed.  

We're still talking about box jumps, right?

And it's an explosive movement indeed, the box jump.  It requires strength, balance, coordination, power, speed, and agility - and sometimes experienced athletes take for granted how much goes into getting on top of that box, let alone doing it dozens of times throughout an intense workout.  But we don't, because we see the doubt nearly every week - and we understand that it takes some courage, and some dedication, to overcome that doubt.  For something as simple as a box jump.  

But hey, how you do one thing is how you do everything - so it's not surprising when we see individuals who overcome the box jump apply the same process (read: success) to other movements in their training - and even to other parts of their life outside the gym.  Overcoming doubt as a process of improvement and self-discovery, whether it be jumping onto a damn box or jumping into a new life endeavor, is pretty fucking cool.

So yeah, I liked this picture.  

Sorry, dear, for the swearing. 

WOD For 10-17-17:

For Time:

60 Pistols (alternating)

50 Wall Balls @ 20/14 lbs to 10/9 ft

40 Box Jumps @ 24/20 in

30 Deadlifts @ 185/125 lbs

20 Power Cleans

10 Front Squats


(Workout courtesy of CrossFit.com)

40+ Back Squat PRs!

40+ Back Squat PRs!

Congratulations to the dozens of athletes who set new 1-Rep Max PRs on their back squat this past weekend.  Starting with Friday classes we had over 40 new PRs and saw an overwhelming majority of members hitting new, BIG numbers -- several others added their PRs at Open Gym on Sunday morning, and remotely during their travels. 

Great work everyone, and kudos to those of you who followed it up by coming in on Saturday for that seemingly simple, yet soul-crushing partner WOD!  Monday classes will see a break from the barbell for a day, and then we're back to it on Tuesday with several barbell movements rolled into a CFHQ Mainsite chipper WOD.

Hope you had a great weekend!   


WOD For 10-16-17:

4 Rounds For Time:

21/15 Calorie Row

18 Hand Release Push-ups

15 Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups

12 Kettlebell Swings @ 70/53 lbs 




Weighted Plank Hold:

3 x 0:45 (Rest 1:15 Between Efforts)

Bay Area Rainbow Symphony: Saturday Oct 14th

Bay Area Rainbow Symphony: Saturday Oct 14th

Our very own Diego is not only a fit & strong dude, he's a respected physician, and a talented musician as well.  Check out his message to our community below regarding an amazing concert he's performing in this Saturday evening!   

Hey there Arena Ready CrossFitters!

Looking for a heady Saturday night activity? Come check out the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony this Saturday at 8 PM (at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music). This concert celebrates Amy Beach's 150th anniversary (click to be linked to the concert's Facebook Event page), as well as works by Barber and Brahms.

Because your brain needs exercise too!!!

Do we say "break a leg, Diego!"??? 

Happy weekend, friends!

WOD For 10-14-17:

With a Partner, 3 Rounds For Time:

40 Calorie Row

40 Burpees Over The Rower

40 Sumo deadlift High Pulls @ 95/65 lbs

40 Thrusters @ 95/65 lbs


Only one athlete working at a time. Reps do not have to be split evenly. 

Row calories are adjusted as follows for teams:

Male-Male Teams = 40 Calories Per Round

Female-Male Teams = 35 Calories Per Round

Female-Female Teams = 30 Calories Per Round

Back Squat 1RM Test Day

Back Squat 1RM Test Day

Here we go!  The culmination of 8 weeks of targeted back squat training is upon us!  If you've made all 15 of the previous back squat sessions, used accurate calculations on your loading, consistently made your sets and reps, and regularly worked out in the times between squat sessions, then chances are you have earned the right to attempt some new PR weights on Friday.

A few words of advice, if I may:

1) Confidence is key.  If you did all the things I listed in the paragraph above then you're physically ready for a new 1RM, no question.  But testing is different from training, and sometimes the numbers can get into an athlete's head.  Remember that your technique and training got you here, and that you've been under heavy weights for a while now - so trust the training, and be confident in your strength.  If you're mentally ready to make a new max, then your body can express what it's already physically capable of doing.

2) Don't be greedy.  Warm-up much like you've done the last 3 weeks during the "intensity" phase of the program.  Don't go changing things up too much or trying new stuff on game day.  Once you're through those warm-ups take your old 1-rep max for a single and feel how easy that bullshit is now (I'm probably going to swear at you a little in the gym on Friday, so get over it and see #1 above about confidence).  Then be smart about your jumps in weight thereafter - don't leave pounds on the table because you took too big of a jump.  Expect that you'll have more than one shot at a new PR, and ask a coach if you want another opinion on what weight to take next.  

3) Safety first.  Getting pinned or pancaked is not an option.  Use the safety bars/arms if needed, or get a spotter (or spotters) who knows how to spot and is strong enough to spot you - and remember that if you're being spotted KEEP STANDING UP NO MATTER WHAT.

Like I said at the beginning of this program I need new videos of badass PRs, so put those lucky shorts/pants/tank tops on and be ready to make some heavy weights!

WOD For 10-13-17:


A) From 0:00 - 12:00

"Partner Baseline" 

For QUALITY, Split Evenly With a Partner:

1000m Row

80 Air Squats

60 AbMat Sit-ups

40 Push-ups

20 Pull-ups

Partners split the reps evenly, with only one partner working at a time. This is FOR QUALITY not for time, so move with a purpose but prioritize movement to prepare/warm the entire body for the back squats.


B) From 12:00 - 15:00

Mobility/Activation Drills, Shoe Change, GET FIRED UP!!!


C) From 15:00 - 45:00

Back Squat (Week 8, Day 2):

Find Your New 1-Rep Max

Throwback Thursday: Ring Muscle-ups

Throwback Thursday: Ring Muscle-ups

#TBT to that awesome video Brian C. made in the Spring of 2015 of Open workout 15.3 at Arena Ready.  Still one of my favorites of all time...

It was awesome having a couple more folks get their first ever ring muscle-up in class on Wednesday, even though we didn't start the sessions with a skill focus piece as we sometimes do.  Shout out to Gary T who hit his first MU immediately after the 6am class with an encouraging crowd cheering him on (after he had already worked out and with just a few quick cues)!

WOD For 10-12-17:

Hang Squat Snatch:

10 Minutes To Establish a Double (NOT a 2RM)




AMRAP 12 Minutes:

20/15 Calorie Row

20 Box Jumps @ 24/20 in

20 One-Arm Dumbbell Snatches @ 50/35 lbs (alternating)

20 Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups

The Cheap DIY Standing Desk Life Hack

The Cheap DIY Standing Desk Life Hack

Increase your ammunition against desk shoulders and office hips!  You work so hard to reclaim your mobility so that you can get into good, safe positions that allow you to train in the gym - so make your workstation set-up something that helps you in your battle against bad posture, tight hips, and poor shoulder range-of-motion. 

Is your company dragging their feet on the standing desk you've already asked for?  Are you sick of the hoops you have to go through to get a proper desk set-up?  Well, take matters into your own hands, spend $31 at IKEA, and take 20 minutes of elbow grease to get it done yourself - check out this link for materials needed and assembly instructions.

Your back, hips, and shoulders will thank you later.   

WOD For 10-11-17:

3 Rounds For Time:

400m Run

7 Ring Muscle-ups

11 Clean & Jerks @ 165/115 lbs

Squat Program: Final Week

Squat Program: Final Week

It's the final week of our 8-week squat program and Tuesday brings with it your final 6x2!

WOD For 10-10-17:

On a Running Clock...

A) From 0:00 - 12:00

3 Rounds for QUALITY:

200m Row (easy, medium, fast)

12 Good Mornings (pick load)

9 Kettlebell Swings (pick load)

6 KB Goblet Squats (pick load)


B) From 12:00 - 30:00

Back Squat (Week 8, Day 1):

6x2 @ 80%



C) At 32:00

For Time:


Double Unders


AbMat Sit-ups


Kettlebell Swings @ 53/35 lbs


(Compare to 05-31-16)

Columbus Day: Full Class Schedule

Columbus Day: Full Class Schedule

We're open with a full class schedule on Columbus Day (Monday, October 9th) - so come on in and get your power snatch on before we hit the final 6x2 of our 8-week Back Squat program on Tuesday.

Hope everyone had a great, sunny weekend! 

WOD For 10-09-17:

2 Snatch Pulls + 2 Power Snatches:

10 Minutes to Build to a Top Set (NOT a Max)




Against a 10-Minute Clock For MAX REPS:

40/30 Calorie Row

40 Toes-to-Bar

40/30 Hand Release Push-ups

40 Walking Lunges

MAX REPS Power Snatches @ 115/80 lbs

Coach Lisa's Letter To Drop-Ins

Coach Lisa's Letter To Drop-Ins

Last Fall Lisa shared an open "Letter to Drop-ins" via her Stilettos to Snatches blog.  Check out the post in its entirely below (thanks so much for sharing, Lisa!):

As someone who has dropped in to many gyms in California, the United States, and internationally, CrossFit gyms are always uniquely special.  Each gym has their own personality, culture, and set of core members.  It’s something I’ve always loved about CrossFit, especially as I got around to visiting gyms while abroad on vacation. I’ve touched on what to do and how to be when visiting, but what about when you’re visiting my gym? For today’s Fitness Friday post, I’d like to write you a brief letter on what you can expect when coming to my gym, Arena Ready. This Fitness Friday post was inspired by Joe, a recent drop-in from Southern California. After spending a few minutes with him after class, it inspired me to think about what to expect when dropping in to my gym. 
Dear Arena Ready Visitor,
First of all, thank you so much for choosing to come to my gym.  There are a number of well-known CrossFit gyms in San Francisco and the Bay Area to choose from, and I’m honored you chose my gym. We’re not all over Instagram or Facebook, we don’t play host or showcase our gym through social media, and we don’t advertise. So thank you for finding us, or thank you to the person who directed you to us.
Whether you’re here for a few days or a few hours, there are a handful of things you can expect when you’re at Arena Ready.  Our community is small, but we are indeed, quite mighty. From doctors to company presidents to stay-at-home moms to independent business owners, we’re a mixed bag of personalities. That being said, there are a few things you can rely on whether you’re at our 6AM class or our 7PM class:
It’s funny, but “SHE” and “she” are real things at Arena Ready.  The first SHE, is Sarah Hopping Estrella.  You’ve probably seen her as part of your due diligence.  You know, the NPGL's San Francisco Fire powerhouse, 6x CFG Regional Athlete, and 7x National USAW medalist.  Sarah, however, is also a coach.  She’s someone who wants to help each member improve their capacity.  Sarah will also give you feedback and make sure you move well.  And then there’s the other “she.” If you’re in any of our classes, the female athletes are the workhorses.  No disrespect to my male friends, but the female contingency at Arena Ready really kicks ass.
The question of the day that’s asked before class. It is probably the one thing I rely on to get me going early in the morning.  Each class has a question of the day.  If you happen to have Rob Estrella as your coach, you’ll get some AWESOME questions.  It’s a great ice breaker, and it helps you get to know who we are.  Like I said, we have a bunch of personalities, The Q.O.D. helps showcase our quirky stories, restaurant suggestions, or how many shoes we own.
Finally, we want to help.  We want to make sure you don’t run up the hill for our warm-up, that you know there’s another side to the gym to grab equipment from, where to do your handstand push-ups against the wall, and where you can buy your snacks from.  We also want you to know that you’re welcome here, and will offer your high fives, fist bumps, or hugs after a workout. We’ll cheer for you until you finish the workout, and afterwards, we’ll both lament how hard those chest-to-bar pull-ups got or how heavy those squats were.
So after all of that, I again want to thank you for choosing my gym.  You won’t find some of the typical CrossFit clichés at Arena Ready.  Most of us keep our shirts on during workouts and avoid celebrating finding “Pukie” after a workout. But we do care about our guests, and want you to feel part of our little family when walk in.  If you’re at the 6AM class on the weekdays, I know it seems like we’re not all awake, but we’re trying! If you have any plans to visit San Francisco, please contact me directly. I’m happy to answer any questions about my gym or CrossFit too.
-Lisa G (Stilettos to Snatches)

WOD For 10-07-17:

"Loco Moco v2.0"

With a Partner For Time:


Then, BOTH Athletes Complete...


Hang Squat Cleans @ 135/95 lbs

Burpee Box Jumps @ 24/20 in



***Both partners must run together for the 800m buy-in, and the round of 10 Hang Squat Cleans cannot start until both partners are in the door.  

***Both partners must complete the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sequence, with one partner working at a time to complete a full round before the other partner starts their full round (e.g. Partner A performs 10 HSCs and 10 BBJs, then Partner B performs 10 HSCs and 10 BBJs).  

***The 800m buy-out can be split in any fashion the team desires with only one partner running at a time, and time is called when a total of 800m has been completed. 

Heavy Friday

Heavy Friday

Happy Friday, friends!  Time to get after some HEAVY back squats!

WOD For 10-06-17:


A) From 0:00 - 7:00

7 Minutes For QUALITY:

30/25 Calorie Row OR 25/20 Calorie Assault Bike

30 Box Jumps @ pick height

30 Wall Balls @ pick load to 10/9 ft

This is FOR QUALITY not for AMRAP or time (but continue back to the start if you complete one full round), so move with a purpose & prioritize movement integrity in order to prepare/warm the entire body for 3x3 back squats.


B) From 10:00 - 37:00

Back Squat (Week 7, Day 2):

3x3 @ 95%




C) At 40:00


30/25 Calorie Row OR 25/20 Calorie Assault Bike

30 Box Jumps @ pick height

30 Wall Balls @ pick load to 10/9 ft


Start fast, go fast in the middle, finish fast.

Shake & Fold

Shake & Fold

The other day someone in class made reference to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and so naturally I was "Shaking and Baking" people all day thereafter:

"It rhymes. They're both verbs."

Coincidentally it was also the regular date when we order (among other supplies) paper towels for the gym.  Who says owning a CrossFit affiliate isn't glamorous? 

"Shake and Bake" reminded of "Shake and Fold" which (starting a few years ago) actually changed my behavior when using paper towels, so I figured this was a great day to re-share the concept.  It's pretty cool when such a simple thing, when performed daily, can make a huge impact on the grander scheme of things. 

Shake & Fold!

WOD For 10-05-17:

For Time:


Power Cleans @ 185/135 lbs

Deficit Handstand Push-ups @ 4/2 in

Midweek Inspiration

Midweek Inspiration

In CrossFit we're surrounded by sources of inspiration - fellow athletes who push us to be better, a community that supports our constant quest for improvement, coaches who guide us to be stronger and faster.  Inspiration can just as readily come from non-fitness related sources as well, and in today's case we wanted to share a little gem from journalist and author, Hunter S. Thompson.

From a recent post titled "Hunter S. Thompson on Finding Your Purpose":

In April of 1958, a 22 year-old Hunter S. Thompson wrote a letter on the meaning of life when asked by a friend for advice. What makes his response all the more profound is the fact that at the time, the world had no idea that he would become one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Therefore his beliefs about purpose were hypothetical—they were statements of faith.

But if it’s true that our beliefs really do become our reality, then there’s no better example of a life fully realised than the one of Hunter S. Thompson. Let his perspective inspire you...

Click here for the full article courtesy of yourfriendshouse.com.


Tuesday's WOD was intentionally lower intensity and Wednesday's workout is much the opposite.  This four-round sprint interval variation of the classic benchmark "Helen" may make some athletes think "I'll scale up and make it harder with a heavier KB and some chest-to-bar pull-ups"... but that would defeat the purpose of the stimulus for most.  To paraphrase Pat Sherwood, "intensity is unpleasant" -- but it's supremely effective when applied correctly.  In today's age of CrossFit most experienced athletes are doing these KB swings and pull-ups unbroken without issue, so the only way to go faster in this workout is simple: run harder than you want to. That, friends, is intensity.

WOD For 10-04-17:

4 Rounds, Go Every 5 Minutes:

400m Run

21 Kettlebell Swings @ 53/35 lbs

12 Pull-ups


(Workout courtesy of CrossFit Linchpin)




Weighted Plank Hold:

3 x 0:45 (Rest 1:15 Between Efforts)