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Dogtown Rows the boat
The rowing clinic saved me from drowning in 18.1 (like what I did there?) It opened my eyes to a few things.

1. Even if you have done a movement to completion in the past, it does not mean you have done it right.

2. Efficiency is sometimes more important than speed.

3. Always sign up for a clinic when DogTown offers it.

Let me share this with you. I have been doing CrossFit for 6 years and rowing has always been my nemesis. Whenever a coach would tell me to “use more legs”, I would get frustrated at not being able to figure out how. I was pulling like a madwoman without making gains. Two minutes into taking Zohar’s rowing clinic, I realized that height and weight for me are a major disadvantage. I also realized I have literally been rowing all wrong all these years.

I will defer to Zohar, the resident DogTown expert, on rowing technique but the points are these.

Now after just one hour of a clinic, I kid you not, my rowing has done a 180. I am not necessarily going any faster but I am by far more efficient. In 18.1 I went into it knowing that I would spend the most time on the erg. I was able to though be efficient and make it like 80% legs which saved my arms for the movements that most needed them (toes to bar and clean and jerks).

18.1, for me, was about efficiency and that is something I encourage everyone to think about during any workouts. We easily lose sight of efficiency in CrossFit because we associate being strong with being fast and explosive. 

Think of double unders for another example. Sure, you can jump to the sky or tuck jump. You may string a few together but you are taxing your entire body and engine much faster than if you get can manage to get your jumps to be shorter and staying more erect.  (I know, easier said than done…)

Little tweaks to movements you do can make a world of difference. Listen to your coaches when they give you technique cues. We sometimes just keep repeating what we know to do because it is familiar even if it is not the best way to do it. Sometimes it takes those little cues to reprogram your brain and body to perform the same movement differently (but improved!) CrossFit really is about the small details.

And lastly, next time Zohar has a rowing clinic, GO! Next time anyone offers a clinic at DogTown, sign yo’ ass up!!!

Dogtown Member - Missy Berkowitz

Hey DogTown! I am new to your box and super excited to be part of this community (and equally pumped to be blogging for you from time to time!). I’ve been CrossFitting officially for about 6 years and about 1 year many moons ago unknowingly. My trainer at the time was Level 1 certified (I just never realized!) It is a new year so let’s all crush it together!
 
I have legit been wanting to take a dedicated CrossFit gymnastic class my entire CrossFit life. I would have joined DogTown regardless if they offered just regularly scheduled workouts, but seeing the gymnastics on the calendar for Thursday nights was like the cherry on top. It is a rare gem to find around L.A. Plus extra bonus points having Dusty to coach it as his reputation in the gymnastics world is no secret.

I know for many CrossFitters, the focus is on lifting and being lightning fast, but gymnastics is as much of the equation as anything else. Gymnastics teaches us body awareness and really concentrating on engaging the right muscles at the right time. Getting stronger in lifts helps with gymnastics and vice versa. When you conquer a skill like a pull-up or pistol, it will be as euphoric as when you back squat twice your body weight.

I took my first gymnastics class and it was AMAZING. I have wanted to add a muscle up to my bag of tricks for ages, and I really believe it actually will happen simply by committing to one extra hour a week.

Gymnastic skills can be very technical.  When you are doing gymnastics in a WOD, you are most likely focused on getting through the reps versus thinking about form and technique.  You absolutely can practice them in regular class (and you should), but having that extra dedicated time will make a world of difference. Being able to break movements down and doing skill work are the details that will take gymnastics to the next level. Plus, it is much less of a pressure situation which only increases your success with being all gymnasty.

I know that for many, gymnastics can be intimidating or terrifying.  For example, the idea of doing a hand stand is scary. “What if I fall?” The truth is, you probably will, but it is really not a big deal. The fear of falling is worse than falling itself. Trust me. I’ve collapsed doing many drills and have had reps where I have not been able to push back up on an HSPU (and consequently toppled over). Practice makes perfect though, and the more comfortable you get with being upside down and being aware of how your body is moving (or should be moving) will get you to do things you never thought you would. Which is the beauty of CrossFit.

And for anyone who is intimidated to go to Gymnastics class, well, there is no need to be. Everyone seems to be at different levels with different goals. It was a fun, relaxed, supportive group and the perfect safe space to be getting upside down and all around.

I plan to make it my regular Thursday night and I hope to see you all there!

When you become a member at DogTown, you become family.



The excitement of a new training stimulus and community is typically overwhelming for the new member. Very quickly, we are introduced to the whiteboard and the data driven training in the gym. It is often difficult in your early days to not look at the whiteboard and see the enormous numbers of veterans and extremely fast times of others and feel intimidated or inadequate. Stated and reiterated by the coaching staff is the importance of staying in your lane, and focusing on doing your best in each moment. We try and make this as easy as possible for the newbie.

As you see results in the early days you learn to push intensity for the sake of getting fitter, or de-stressing or for intensity’s sake (merely wanting to see how far your body can go). Then, as we travel along a year or two, we hit the wall. PRs slow down and the real work begins. We are human. Our ego takes a hit, and the body starts to hurt a little more.

However, it can’t be at the price of credibility within reps and workouts. Sometimes along the way we lose sight of what is most important for various reasons. Maybe we are tired of chasing endorphins, or struggle with counting (laugh but its true) and stop listening to coaching. Quite possibly at some point you just don’t care anymore. However shaving reps or ROM(Range of Motion) in workouts and then blurting out a ridiculously fast time or not at all pulls us so far away from the point of exercising and training as a community it renders it pointless. 

Ultimately, training is a personal journey and your successes and failures you must own, but you must respect this institution, the coaches and your peers. If you are one of these people, just stop. Stop and think about what training means to you, and why you do it. Why you started. I always return there every day. You need to understand the why!

Start with your why!

Do:
  • Think for yourself
  • Be a Great Teammate
  • Be held accountable
  • Be proud of your hard work
  • Understand that nobody is perfect but we strive to always do our best
  • Support others as they support you
  • Be honest with yourself 
  • Realize you may never know what someone else is dealing with and that’s ok
Stop:
  • Showing up late
  • Not signing in ahead of time
  • Leaving your equipment out after class
  • Shaving Reps
  • Shaving ROM (Range of Motion)
We care because mediocrity affects the entire gym as a place of business and a community. We care because this is our family. Let us continue to coach you. You pay for it. We are really good at it. Trust me.

--Coach Dusty