From Our Blog

Weightlifting in CrossFit: Better Combination than Peanut Butter and Jelly?

Weightlifting in CrossFit: Better Combination than Peanut Butter and Jelly?


Heather, who is coached by Jordan, lifting at CrossFit Greenbay on 01Oct16. She walked away with 1st place in her weight class and hit a personal best (meet) in both snatch and clean and jerk.

It is no secret that successful CrossFit athletes, ranging from every day average box goer all the way up to professional Games athletes, are at least decently proficient at weightlifting. Well, maybe it was a secret, but I just spilled it, so it’s not a secret anymore. If you want to make workouts easier, improve times, move more efficiently, or put up more weight in just about everything, becoming more familiar in weightlifting is something you should add to your goals list. When I refer to weightlifting, note I am referring to the sport that is Olympic Style Weightlifting and all the training methodologies that go with it: basically anything that helps improve either your snatch or clean and jerk.

So why is weightlifting so good at developing a more complete CrossFit game? There’s a lot of reasons, but I’m mainly going to focus on hip extension, core strength, and explosiveness.

“All good things in life start with violent hip extension” is something you will read on some Oshkosh Weightlifting shirts scattered on various athletes around the gym, myself included, or you may hear me quote the Happy Gilmore mantra “It’s all in the hips!” repeated over and over again by Chubbs. All jokes aside, the effective application of force from violent hip extension is something that is an integral part of being a weightlifter and is one of the three things (along with knees and ankles) that help propel the bar upward in both the snatch and clean. In fact, if one mistimes their hip extension, does not do it efficiently, or straight up completely neglects it, maximal load lifts cannot be completed successfully. Ever bang the bar off your quads, miss a snatch or clean forward, and wonder why? Mistimed and mis-directioned hip extension is the culprit here. Guess what also uses hip extension to help complete movements effectively and efficiently in CrossFit? I’ll give you a clue. It rhymes with everything. Kipping/butterfly pull ups, muscle ups, kettle bell swings, sumo deadlift high pulls, rowing, burpees, box jumps, etc. etc. etc. you get the point…All these movements use the hips to some extent, when being done correctly.

I think it goes without saying, that, athletes at the pinnacle of the sport of CrossFit all have ridiculous mid sections. Let’s use one of my favorite athletes, Annie Thorisdottir, as an example. Sometimes I feel like I get hit in the face by Annie’s abs when I watch her on TV. Those things are nuts. Guess what Annie is also really good at? Weightlifting. She actually competed at the International Weightlifting Federation Worlds Competition in 2015, she’s that good. The main components of each lift, when you break them down, involve some kind of core stabilization: snatch/overhead squat, clean/front squat, jerk/supporting a ton of weight overhead. Contrary to what a lot of mainstream fitness would have you believing, the core’s primary functions are for force transfer and stabilization. This means that things that utilize both of these features (i.e. squats, pulls, presses, jerks) are much better at developing the core than just about anything else. The core, is not just abs though. It exists in three dimensional space around your spine from your chest to your mid thigh. All of these muscles do significant work when the body performs both the snatch and the clean and jerk. Lower back strength helps with positioning, abdominal strength helps support weight in both an overhead squat and front squat, diaphragm strength helps support maximal loads in the clean, hip flexor strength helps in the deep parts of the squat and bouncing out of the hole, and the muscles of the mid/upper back help with load stabilization in both the snatch and clean and jerk. Proper gymnastics positions, heavy squats, deadlifts, kettle bell swings, double unders, wall balls, thrusters etc. etc. etc. (at this point you’re probably sick of me listing off every CrossFit movement known to man) all require at least a decent amount of core strength to complete as well. Moral of the story, work on your Olympic lifts, develop your core, and succeed in all other realms of CrossFit.


Author of the article, Jordan, competing at the Granite Games in 2015

One of CrossFit’s biggest selling points (to me at least…and it should be for you too) is, that, it uses science and physics to back it up. In many workouts, the goal is to complete the most amount of work (force*distance) possible. When this is done with the goal of completing the most work in the least amount of time, we increase our power output. (Power = work/time). Contrary to what each sport is named, powerlifting actually isn’t all that powerful compared to Olympic lifting. This is not a dig at powerlifting. I occasionally like watching dudes squatting over 1000lbs, but I love weightlifting. It’s my thing. Some people have powerlifting as a thing, and more power to them (no pun intended). But I digress, if one watches an athlete perform a snatch or clean and jerk, one of the first things that they might see is how fast the whole thing is completed and subsequently over with. These athletes move heavy loads, over significant distances, very quickly. Remember your math and poof! High power output. Athletes that are capable of producing a lot of power in these movements are often referred to as “explosive”. Explosivity is good. You won’t blow up or implode, but you will run faster, jump higher, move weights faster, and PR your Fran time. Guaranteed.

So what does all this babbling with how awesome weightlifting is really mean? Well, hopefully it has inspired you to pursue your own path in the iron game. It can be as in depth as you want it to be, can occupy every waking moment of your existence or it can be something you do just for warm ups, but one thing I can promise you is that it is worth the time and effort to learn. Happy training!

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What Is Next?

20160916_083837We have spent the day chest bumping personal bests in the deadlift.  It was a great way to cap off a week of personal records for over 93% of our members!  It is awesome to watch all of the hard work pay off for everyone, but this is not the end, there is more to come.

Coming up we will be moving back to the floor for our Olympic lifts.  Over the last few weeks we have been working on moving our bodies around the barbell and not the other way around.  We will be adding snatch and clean pulls this time around to further strength and positioning.  The Olympic lifts will not be our only area of focus.

Over the last few weeks we have been working strength in the strict press but you will see work in the push press and back squat over the next few weeks.  We will be alternating between heavy and speed work for squatting.  It is essential to focus on driving out of the hole as fast as possible during the speed focus training otherwise the session will be inadequate and ineffectual.

Our energy system training will involve traditional CrossFit conditioning pieces and interval work.  We will be touching on all major energy systems and maximum aerobic power.  What should you take away from all of this information?  Over the next seven weeks you will end up more fit than what you are now!  This is what our program designed for, increase your overall fitness on every level.  If you  have any questions or are interested in finding out how you can get involved in our program please do not hesitate to send us a message  We can’t wait to see the results over the next few weeks!

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Nutrition Challenge

Starting Septemberpaleoplan 19th we will be hosting a six week nutrition challenge.  Included with this challenge is a cook book that guides you through the entire six weeks, with recipes, shopping lists and a detailed meal plan.  All participants will get a digital copy of this cook book, with hard copies available for purchase ($15).  You will also be receiving two InBody scans, one pre and post challenge.  Entry into this challenge will be $75.

Obviously diet is a huge part of living a healthy lifestyle but we also can’t forget about exercise.  With this said, attendance will also be factored into the challenge.  For every week you attend five group CrossFit classes, we will add a half of a pound to the final weigh in total.  This means you have the chance to add three pounds to your total weight lost just by showing up!

If you are not a member yet and wish to participate in this nutrition challenge, we are offering a package deal of five initial training sessions and entry into the challenge for $275.  The only requirement is to finish the five training sessions prior to September 19th.

Last but not least!  There will be PRIZES for the top male and female winners.

If you have any questions or wish to register for this program, feel free to email me at <>

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Change: The Method part 2

Change:  The Method part 2

Asking for what you need: Help

We already know adaptation is part of who we are, but what happens when the change is so great we feel we cannot succeed?  If a person is in the process of change, either the initial thought or into the actual event, the change can seem insurmountable.  A moment of clarity in this should be knowing he or she is not alone.

Guess what?  You are not a snow flake (this was stated in a conversation this morning and stuck with me).  What I mean by that is someone out there has dealt with whatever it is you are going through.  Someone can empathize with everything you are feeling right now.  Someone has been debilitated with an even greater challenge.  But that is all beside the point; change is a part of life.  If a person wants to change, there is a reason and acknowledging that this is the first step.  Frankly, the reason for change is irrelevant, knowing one needs to change is the lock and finding someone to lean on is the key.  Ask for help.

People want to help.  I firmly believe, even in the age of selfies, that there is an innate goodness in man and a willingness to help.  People want to help other people and sometimes all a person needs to do is ask.  An example of change gone wrong is the fitness ‘New Year Resolution’ crowd.  With the best of intentions, these resolutioners attack the gym with reckless abandon.  In the end, they often only make it a short time and then fall back into old habits.  It is not because they lack the motivation, but they lack the knowledge, and support of a group to be successful.

This last portion is what brings people into CrossFit.  Every box is a support group and I promise there is at least one person which can empathize with what you are feeling.  The coaches are there to guide and implement workouts, while the other members are there to lean on when things get rough.  Everything a person needs to be successful is provided here, but sometimes they need to take the initial step and ask.  Changing habits is tough in any realm, but if a person refuses to ask for help than they may be missing the one thing which can make the change a success and not just another attempt.

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Change: The Method

Change: The Method

Part 1 of ?

change socratesChange is something which can cause anxiety and emotional torment.  CrossFit Oshkosh (CFO) has eclipsed three years in the community and a major barrier people have to fitness is…change!  A person can show up three to 5 times a week, for an hour each time, but this is the easy part.  Everything is done for you: the warm up, strength, skill, and conditioning.  It is what you do with the other 163 hours in your week (which are not at our facility) that becomes the tough part.

Nutrition is the biggest contributing factor to an overall healthy lifestyle.  From my personal observation, your diet will play a larger role in your success than the few hours a week we get to see your smiling faces!  It is your adaptation to a “healthier” lifestyle which will generate a new you or, unfortunately, cause you to be unsuccessful.

Our nature is to adapt.  One can look back at history and see the amazing adaptations made by humans to overcome unsurmountable odds.  Necessity spurs all change and now, more than ever, we live in an age where change is required (in regards to health).  It is not just a change in one’s activity level which is needed, however.  Walking around and capturing creatures on a phone will, at the least, cause someone to move but if one is doing this while in route to his or her favorite fast food establishment, it is a moot point.

I have had the pleasure of watching the transformation of many people in multiple scenarios.  People who felt they were being crushed by insurmountable odds but through perseverance they overcame those odds and completely overhauled their lifestyle.  One takeaway from this experience is it is never easy.  There are always bumps in the road, but it is how a person adapts and navigates these obstacles which will contribute to or hinder his or her success.  Sometimes all a person needs to do is ask for help, which I will discuss in the next installment of “Change:  The Method.”

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More Than Just Your Weight: The Inbody Scan

270-testHave you noticed the futuristic piece of equipment, which has recently arrived at the gym, and wondered what it could be?  This is our new Inbody analysis tool.  This innovative machine has many capabilities, which include an accurate measurement on:  weight, total body water, dry lean mass, lean body mass, body fat mass, skeletal muscle mass, body mass index, percent body fat, segmental lean analysis, and basal metabolic rate.

These numbers will help us assess the progress of an athlete and allow us to focus more on the changes to an athletes body composition, compared to just a number on the scale.  This tool is open to members and non-members alike.

Single Scan Three Scan Package
Member $25 $65
Non-Member $30 $75


*This fantastic tool is included in our personalized nutrition program, at no extra cost.

For more details or to set up your first scan, please email

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How being IN the box can get you to think OUTSIDE the box:

I am not sure what book I was reading or what I was doing which made me develop this idea.  I can tell you, though, that it is not totally original. I cannot, however, tell you what the source is, but I can tell you when coupled with the idea of CrossFit, it changed my view on life in general.  

From past posts, maybe you have come to the realization I was a “meat head” at one point in my life. I won’t deny this.  I was the guy in the gym doing curls in the mirror, headphones blasted, and not paying attention to a soul.  I was a person lifting among objects, which included other gym goers.  I lived my life this way, not selfishly; just oblivious to the needs of the many compared to my own needs.  I guess that sounds somewhat selfish, but take a deep look into yourself and decide if you do the same.  Here are some examples:

Do you take up more space than you need to avoid people sitting near you?

Do you leave your towel, water bottle, or other personal items on a piece of equipment while you do something else so that someone doesn’t jump in?  

Do you sit in the front seat of a bus, plane, or other form of public transportation instead of filling in from the back?  

The examples could go on but I do not want to make this post too long.  Here is the basic premise of this non-original idea: Are you a person living among objects or a person living among people?  

I remember walking into a CrossFit gym or “Box” for the first time.  At 6’3” 250lbs and lean, I was pretty large. I started questioning my decision.  Questions like: What if I can’t do it and what if I look stupid?  Were on repeat through my mind.  On the outside my shoulder were depressed and my scaps retracted. I was all that is man out the outside, but inside I felt like a child.  It was one of the scariest experiences I have had. I was putting aside my previously conceived notions of CrossFit.  I was disregarding all of my previous lifting experiences.  Little did I know I was about to have a life changing experience, an experience which changed my perspective, and an experience which made me a person among people…possibly for the first time.

CFO Christmas Wrapping Party

CFO Christmas Wrapping Party 2015

Before this moment, I had never done a group class. I had never lifted with more than two people, and even with those two people, talk was minimal.  The first thing I noticed in the class was no one wore headphones, people were talking, high fiving, laughing, and seemed genuinely happy.  There were no scowls, downward eyes, mirrors, or judgement.  I was introduced to everyone and was met with gazes of understanding and openness.  Empathy to a point I have never felt before.  I felt like every single person could see past my outward expression and knew exactly what was going through my mind.  This was the first step to being a person among people.  

The class did not go well for me.  Overhead squats would become my demise.  Years of lifting had left me with a lack of mobility, to the point that it was embarrassing.  Something happened mid WOD (the high intensity portion of the workout), an older woman told me I was doing great and to keep going.  I had already scaled to a PVC pipe for the overhead squat, and I was still two rounds behind everyone else. My lungs were on fire, and I started to smile.  Smile?  In a gym? What the hell was happening to me?  Right then all of my preconceived fears were washed away.  I was not an object to the other gym members. I was a person.  I was not an obstacle in their way, I was someone who needed support, and they saw this and provided it.  

This was my first step in a journey to my current outlook.  I am now someone who has changed his perspective on life because of stepping into a “Box.”  Everybody has needs, wants, fears, and regrets.  Everyone feels the pain of self-doubt when starting something new.  Everyone is a person plagued with the rocky road of life and it took me stepping into a “Box” to think outside of the box.  I will fill the bus from the back, I will leave a seat open next to me (your choice if you want to sit there), and I will donate my time, money, strength, shoulder, viewpoint, ear, or anything else to help a fellow person out.  I will even share a story about my jaded point of view in the past, my fears, and how much CrossFit has changed my life to anyone willing to read or listen.  No one is perfect and it is a constant struggle to be a person among people and is a goal that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Not a goal which should ever be given up on, and one worth every uncomfortable moment.  

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How I Ran a Half Marathon with No Formal Training

Today I completed my first (and also probably last) half marathon. My knees, hips, ankles and shins hurt, but I did it. Finishing with a decent time of 2 hours and 34 minutes.

FB_IMG_1461541237870If you would have asked me to run 13.1 miles 3 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. I hate running. Running any distance over a mile was (and still kind of is) a struggle, to say the least. Both physically and mentally.

So how did I do it? I didn’t train for months before hand, far from that. The longest distance I’ve ran within the last 6 months was a little under 2 miles. I didn’t even know that I would be running a half marathon until the day before, when a texting conversation with a friend talking about the event turned into “heck, let’s just do it”.

I have CrossFit to thank for all the training I needed. Through participating in CrossFit classes at CrossFit Oshkosh consistently, I built up the strength and endurance needed to run a whole 13.1 miles.

I also have CrossFit Oshkosh to thank for helping me build up the mentality needed to run a half marathon. What I learned today is that running a half marathon is almost as much as a mental task as it is a physical one. You have to have the right “I’m not going to give up” and “I will push through the pain” mentality to get through running such a long distance. Having some great friends by my side definitely helped me push through the race, but I know for a fact I wouldn’t have the same mentality I did today if I hadn’t been for training in CrossFit for the past couple of years. CrossFit has taught me to never give up and to always push myself to the next level, to get out of my comfort zone. Running the half today was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I did it!

Throughout my years in CrossFit, there have been so many “Wow, I never thought I would be able to do this” moments. CrossFit Oshkosh isn’t the gym to just go burn some calories. It’s training for life, it’s pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, it’s building a whole new mentality that many wish they could maintain! It’s also becoming a part of a very supporting community and watching yourself become the best person you can be.

So, if you want to be able to run a half marathon without the months of daunting training before hand – join CrossFit Oshkosh!

Written by Mary W.

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What Your Athlete May Need More Than Weights

Memory flash back:  the year is 1997.  I am a six foot, gangly, curly haired kid walking into a new school.  This school is small, but sports reign supreme.  Luckily, I was ok at football, but I wanted to be better.  So, I was going to live in the weight room, I was going to have traps like Goldberg and arms like the Ultimate Warrior.  I was going crush souls on the football field next year, and I was going to be all that is football.  Let’s go bend some iron!

DSC_3746Walking into the weight room they had all of the standard equipment you would expect.  The school had one measurable to be put on the wall, your 1RM bench.  There was no program to follow, no guidance, and nobody there to enforce movement standards.  So you do what any other underclassmen does, which is follow what the older guys are doing.  This means you bench press Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, sprinkle in some curls and lat pull downs (I also did dumbbell shrugs because I wanted those traps!!) On Tuesday and Thursday you hit up the squat machine (not even free weights), leg press, and some isolation leg movements.

The concept here is, you do not know what you do not know.  What you’re doing may seem like the right thing to do. When I was in the weight room, doing what the older guys did seemed it would make me stronger.  I saw marginal strength gains over two years, but these gains are laughable now when looking back.  Was I going to be the next Reggie White?  Never, but could I have been better, there is no doubt in my mind.

Present Day:  Many schools are still using this archaic method to lifting, not because they do not want you or your child to be the best possible, but because they do not know any better.  Is your school having kids curl and do a great deal of isolation movements on muscle groups?  If so, you need to look into the program.  A program for high school athletics needs to have a foundation in strength.

The high school athlete may only have one chance to build the base strength which will propel them to the top of their game by the time they are a senior.  The athlete requires a program based around the back squat but includes the deadlift, bench press, and power clean.  A program which drives strength adaptation through power lifts and open chain movement patterns.  Enough about lifting though, because it is actually secondary in any well rounded program.  The base of any program, which many people fail to identify as the most important part to any athletes evolution is nutrition.

We tell our clients nutrition is at least 70% of what you do and the same holds true for the student athlete.  The nutrition protocol we assign a high school athlete is going to be altered from what we tell a fitness client to adhere to or follow.  This is where we can really help.

Food is fuel for your student athlete.  Their nutrition should be performance based, meaning it is nutrient dense and promotes gut health.  Your athlete should be drinking about ½ of their body weight (fluid ounces) in water daily.  There are different protocols if you want your athlete to gain, maintain, or lose weight, which are gender specific.  Yes, this is not just addressing the male athlete.  We are addressing male and female athletes from all sports, hockey to football, soccer to lacrosse, rugby to baseball.

There is a ton of information out there (some better than others), so we invite you to attend our FREE Athlete Nutrition Seminar on Sunday, May 1st at 2pm.  There is limited space so please email me at to reserve your spot.  We will be covering how to properly fuel your athlete so they can get the most out of their time in their sport(s).

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Founder’s Club

Become a Founding Member of the New Gym!

Get in on the ground floor of a NEW gym in Oshkosh.  From now until April 10th we will be offering our Founder’s Club to the first 31 new clients.  We will be closing applications for this club at the end of our Grand Opening celebration.

What is Founder’s Club?  When you sign up for our beginners program you will know you were in on the ground floor of the new gym!  You will also receive two free personal training sessions ($140 value) and a nutritional development plan ($50 value) to be used within your first twelve months of membership.  We are opening this up to the first 31 members who sign up for our initial training.  For more information fill out the form below.

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