2018 Spring *Partner* Throwdown

spring '17 throwdown group shot 2
The CrossFit Open is officially behind us, summer is right around the corner, and that means it’s high time for an in-house Throwdown, Partner style! You’ve been grinding hard, getting stronger and fitter week in and week out, so it’s only right you and your partner put your collective fitness to the test against your fellow athletes.
The Throwdown will take place Saturday, May 12th from 9:00am-1:00pm. There will be ~4 events with a little bit of everything mixed in, from max effort strength tests to pure bodyweight conditioning to skills based challenges. Stay tuned for clues as to what will be included but it is all movements we have been practicing and emphasizing in class! Same-sex teams will be required to sign up for either the Rx or Scaled divisions so everyone will be able to participate. Sign up online here!
There will be a $20 buy-in per team that will go to a charitable organization chosen by all the participating teams. On the sign up sheet we are asking for 1 recommendation per person for a worthy charity who will receive a donation. Keep an eye out for a follow up email as we get closer to the event to narrow down the list and determine which charity ultimately receives the donation.
Weather permitting, we’ll be doing a cookout immediately following the Throwdown 1:30-3:30PM. We will be setting up on the roof and everyone is invited to attend, regardless of whether or not you are able to make it to the Throwdown. The sign-up sheet for the cookout will be posted on the whiteboard so please make sure to sign up as soon as possible so we can figure out what everyone is bringing.
Mark your calendars and assemble your squad for what is sure to be a great afternoon of fitness and fun competition. Once you’ve got your partner, don’t delay – get your team registered ASAP. Now is the time to showcase all the effort and progress you’ve made here at the gym and to set new goals moving forward! More details to follow in the coming weeks.

CF Open Gear Recommendations

With the CrossFit Open right around the corner, here’s a few gear recommendations to help you hopefully perform better and make it through the next few weeks unscathed. You don’t need to get any of these items to participate, however each item has its benefits and may come in handy on certain workouts.
1) Wrist Wraps (18”)
There will be undoubtedly be overhead/front-rack barbell work, handstand push-ups, burpees, and other movements that will place a strain on your wrists. These are great for improved wrist stability and reducing the chance of soreness & sprains.
2) Gymnastics Grips
Rogue Fitness Grips & Victory Grips
The Open will have pull-up bar work. Think Pull Ups, Toes to Bar, Muscle Ups, and everything in between. They will probably show up in multiple workouts and potentially in very high volumes. Ripping your hands is a surefire way to ruin your workout and your week, so consider investing in a pair of these. The Victory Grips, while more expensive, are the best you can get.
3) Knee Sleeves
Rehband Knee Sleeves & Hoogkrip Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves provide warmth and compression when lifting, helping the overall health of the knee and preventing knee trauma. If you’ve ever injured your knees or if they’ve got some miles on them, invest in knee sleeves and thank us later.
There are two types you can look at. The Rehband knee sleeves provide more cushioning, compression, and warmth; the hookgrip ones are primarily for warmth and better for everyday use. If you need help deciding what you need please feel free to ask a coach for advice.
4) Weightlifting Belt
Remember the workout with 55 Deadlifts? Or when the one with a 1-rep max lift? That’s why you need a belt, enough said. And this simple, easily adjustable Valeo belt is quick on and off so you can always grab it or lose it mid-WOD without wasting precious time.
5) Jump Rope
Don’t complain about not having double-unders if you haven’t even taken the step of getting your own rope. Having your own rope helps immensely! With YOUR rope you can better get the timing and pacing needed for DUs while practicing away from the gym. You also wont have to worry about someone grabbing your “favorite” because you’ll have a jump rope specifically fitted to your preference.

2018 CrossFit Games Open

It’s that time of year again! The CrossFit Games season officially kicks off this week with the start of the CrossFit Open. The Open is an online competition hosted by Crossfit HQ spanning the next 5 weeks. Each week, for 5 weeks, a new workout is released online that can be performed anywhere so long as a judge is present to count reps and validate the athletes score. Workouts are released Thursday evening and all scores must be submitted by the following Monday evening for them to count. The Open is a great way to test your fitness, measure your performance against yourself and others, and step outside your comfort zone surrounded by friends.
CrossFit Silver Spring will host the Open workouts for the 6th year in a row. Every Friday night at 6PM we will perform the workouts here at the gym, starting this Friday, February 23. Everyone can compete and we are encouraging everyone to participate as long as their schedule allows. We had a great crowd last year and we are hoping to have even more people competing and showing support to our fellow gym members. The atmosphere is electric and everyone really needs to experience it for themselves.
Crossfit HQ offers both scaled and masters divisions in order to make the Open inclusive to every athlete, not just those with higher competitive aspirations. All RX’ed scores will be ranked above Scaled scores but everyone is able to compete against the CrossFit community as a whole. What this means for you, the competitive and recreational CrossFitter alike is: THERE IS NO REASON FOR YOU NOT TO SIGN UP!!
Here’s the link: CrossFit Games Open registration
Make sure you enter Crossfit Silver Spring as your affiliate. It’s going to be a great time and we don’t want you to miss out!

2018 Cupid’s Undie Run Recap

This past Saturday, Team CFSS braved the cold and the rain to run victoriously through the streets of D.C. in our underwear for Cupid’s Undie Run ’18! Now that the dust has settled, here’s a quick rundown of our performance.
As a team, we were able to raise an amazing $18,124 this year in support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, bringing our 5-year fundraising total to a whopping $78,619! For the second year in a row, we took home the Top Gym award, as well as #3 fundraising team in the DMV and #16 nationwide. In D.C. alone, Cupid’s runners have raised over $186,000 for this years race. These numbers are a testament to the unbelievable support and generosity of you, our CFSS family, as well as everyone else who supported this great cause. Thank you again to all of our runners for your efforts to spread awareness and raise money for research, and to all of our donors for your contributions.
If you missed out on this year’s event, don’t worry, there’s always next year! Keep an eye out for links to photos and videos from the race later this week.

Cupid’s Undie Run ’18 + In-House Fundraiser!

As I’m sure you’ve most of you have heard and seen at the gym or on the blog, a large group of CFSS athletes will be stripping down to nothing but our underwear and running around the streets of DC Saturday February 11th for Cupid’s Undie Run in support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF). Last year alone, Cupid’s raised over 3.5 million for this worthy cause. CTF helps kids battling a terrible neuro-degenerative disorder called neurofibromatosis (NF). Since there are no current treatments, we’re doing our part (including braving the elements in nothing but our undies) to help them find a cure. As a group, we’ve all been working hard for the past few months to raise money for these kids who desperately need our support. This our 5th year taking part in Cupid’s, and each year we’ve significantly increased our fundraising totals due to the generous support of the rest of the gym, as well as friends, co-workers, and family. Last year we were able to raise over $18,000, and we’re hoping to match that total this year.
While helping kids battling chronic disease is its own reward, this charity is of particular importance to CFSS because it was actually founded by one of our very own members, Brendan Hanrahan. We want to support the efforts of his foundation through their signature event, Cupid’s Undie Run, by reaching out to our social networks and fundraising as much as we can. Even if you can’t do the run, you can all do your part to support the team and this great cause by going onto our Team Page (click here!) and donating directly to one of our team members. A $25 donation is a great starting point; remember – all donations are tax-deductible, and you get all the benefits of giving back without having to freeze your butt off running around in the snow half-naked. Making a donation will ensure access to all the hilarious and surely embarrassing photos sure to be amassed from the event! Don’t delay, donate now and spread the word!
Additionally, all Monday’s (5 Feb) classes will be dedicated to the Undie Run and supporting our team’s fundraising efforts. We are humbly encouraging a nominal cash donation to help support the team, although it is by no means required! We will be providing post-wod beer after the 12PM, 430PM, 530PM, & 630PM classes for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, we will be raffling off 1 t-shirt in each class; everyone that donates will be entered into the raffle. Additionally, if you donate tomorrow or at any point these next two weeks, you’ll be entered into a raffle for more Cupid’s related prizes. Let’s pack the house next week, see you then!

2017 CFSS Holiday Party / Potluck Extravaganza!

Mark your calendars! The annual CFSS Holiday Potluck / Party goes down Saturday, 16 December @ 7:00pm. Please bring a dish / adult beverage of preference to share with the group. If the last 6 years are any indication, there will be no shortage of amazing homemade baked goods, delicious paleo dishes, and an abundance of alcohol of all varieties. Dress to impress and please leave the kids at home! Sign up sheet will be on the whiteboard; more details to follow. If you have any pressing questions / concerns that simply cannot wait, talk to Katie Weddle at the gym as she is planning the party. Trust us, you’re not going to want to miss out!

Thanksgiving Schedule

With Thankgsiving fast approaching, here’s the schedule for classes next week so you can plan your workouts accordingly. We’ll be performing a special benchmark lifting workout on Saturday (11/25), The CrossFit Total (CFT), for those of you who will be in town for the holiday. The CFT is comprised of 3 attempts to hit a daily max Back Squat, Press, and Deadlift and hopefully set some new records in the process! In the meantime, be sure to go for new turkey, mashed potato, & pumpkin pie consumption PR’s, as well as ample naps to prepare yourself for success!

Thanksgiving Schedule:


No 630PM WOD

Thursday & Friday



8AM Kettlebells | 930-1130AM “CrossFit Total” (1RM Squat, Press, Deadlift), No Barbell Club!

Mark your calendars:

The annual CFSS Potluck Holiday Party Extravaganza goes down Saturday December 16th here at the gym. More details to follow!

Sunday Yoga Update!

As you all are aware, we offer Yoga classes every Sunday at 930AM with our Yogi extraordinaire, Chad Byron. Previously, these classes were offered as a standalone punch card. In an effort to increase regular attendance and streamline our membership policies, we’ve decided to roll Yoga into the fold of regular offerings to go along with 6AM Kettlebells, CrossFit WODs, and Barbell Club.
What this means is that Yoga is included with your regular monthly membership or punch card and will count towards your total classes in the same way that any other class does, no need for a separate additional Yoga Membership. If you’re interested in adding something new to your weekly routine, or to incorporate some dedicated recovery work on Sundays, grab your mat and your kombucha and come try it out!

Movement Patterns > Tools

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A common pitfall we routinely observe athletes falling into is the belief that there is something inherently magical about the barbell as a tool for getting stronger, as compared to the kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, etc. The logic goes roughly as such- I’ll spend a few weeks getting the basics down with these simpler tools so that I can prove I’m ready to graduate to the mythical barbell like all the rest of cool kids in the gym who have been training longer than me. Sound familiar? It should, because if you’ve spent any significant amount of time in the weight room, you’ve probably thought these exact thoughts. Maybe you are still currently trapped in this way of thinking.
There is nothing magical about a barbell. Nor is there anything magical about a kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, medicine ball, or any other piece of equipment in our gym. They are all tools with varying benefits, drawbacks, and degrees of utility. What’s crucial to understand as an athlete is that tools are always subordinate to movement patterns and training principles. Our express goal is to train all of the major human movement patters as frequently as possible, ideally with as much movement variety and diversity of stimulus as possible. If we accept the premise that squatting is important, we will then recognize that air squats, barbell front squats, kettlebell goblet squats, single leg squats, etc., are all equally valid and necessary means to help us accomplish our goal of squatting frequently.
Unless you are a strength athlete who competes in barbell based sports (weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman), there is no need to obsess over the barbell when it comes to performing strength work. The barbell will certainly allow for the greatest amount of weight to be lifted. However, we do not need massive weights, and the associated compression on our spine and stress on our joints and connective tissues in order to get very strong. Look at gymnasts for example – they hardly lift, if at all, and possess some of the strongest upper bodies and midlines imaginable. Additionally, absolute strength doesn’t correlate 1:1 with athleticism. If the strongest athlete in a given contest were always the best athlete, the NBA, MLB, NFL, etc. would be dominated by recreational powerlifters and weightlifters. The reality is that you need to be strong enough for your given sport or athletic pursuit in order to perform at a high level without getting hurt. Strong enough doesn’t equal as strong as possible.
Understand that every tool has a purpose, a role to play in our quest to help you build yourself into a more robust, resilient, well-rounded athlete. We choose the tools we use based on what will best help the athlete improve given their build, experience level, goals, limitations, strengths, etc. If you’re > 6’3”, chances are you’re probably going to deadlift with a trap bar or off blocks and not from the floor. If you’ve got a significant shoulder mobility asymmetry or strength imbalance, get ready for a steady diet of single arm presses until we resolve the issue. The tools are a means to help us move better and accomplish our goals; think of the tools as interchangeable and unimportant. A well-rounded athlete has mastery of all the tools in the weight room, not just the barbell. Look no further than this years CrossFit Games Regional events, which featured 0 barbell workouts, instead relying heavily on unilateral dumbbell based workouts. The most complete routinely spend time building and maintaining skill and capacity on the various implements we utilize. Lastly, a resilient athlete isn’t one heavy back squat away from a knee injury, or a max-effort deadlift away from 3 months of physical therapy, one 400 meter run away from plantar fasciitis.
When a coach tells you to perform a lift with one tool instead of another, it’s neither a punishment nor a regression, simply a better alternative for you at this time. The right to lift with a barbell is earned, not given. Once it is earned, however, always remind yourself that it is simply one of many tools in the arsenal to aid us in the path to getting better, fitter, and stronger.

Memorial Day Weekend ’17 Schedule!

With Memorial Day Weekend around the corner, here’s the rundown on the class schedule here at the gym so you can plan your workouts accordingly:

Friday 5/26 – Regular Schedule
Saturday 5/27 – No classes (rest up for Monday & be patriotic!)
Monday 5/29 – 8 AM & 9 AM Memorial Day Murph!
Tuesday 5/30 – Regular Schedule

If you haven’t done “Murph”, here’s a brief etymology of the workout and American Hero whose namesake it is derived from. Lt. Michael Murphy was killed by the Taliban on a combat operation in the mountains of Afghanistan. His story, and the story of his Navy SEAL team’s actions are chronicled in the book “Lone Survivor”, by teammate Marcus Luttrell. The CrossFit community does Murph every memorial day as a symbolic gesture honoring the sacrifice of all of our service men and women made on our behalf. This workout really is a rite of passage, and we’ll worth the ensuing soreness and fatigue the results from undertaking it.
“Murph” is fittingly an ass-kicker of a workout:
For time:
1-mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1-mile Run
To make this achievable, most of you will be doing this workout in teams of 2, with a bit less volume as well as scaled back movements as needed. Whether you are doing “Murph” solo or with a partner, you’re going to want to be plenty rested, which is partly why there won’t be classes on Saturday. If you are going out of town for the weekend or simply cannot make it in on Monday to do Murph, don’t fret- we’ll be doing an encore presentation the following Saturday as well for anyone who was unable to attend the first go round!