Monthly Archives: June 2013

Monday 1 July

imtiToday we have a guest post from my old friend Imtiaz Desai.  Imti was the first person I met on day 1 of my Exercise Science degree, and we've been good buds ever since.

He trained with me in the early days at CFNZ 1.0 on Pilkington Road.  When he moved back to South Africa, he did it with one goal in mind, to open a world class strength and conditioning facility and he has done just that with CrossFit Jozi.

He, along with our other international buddies, Jojo and Tim at CrossFit Barrier Reef do things right -  coaches who are always learning, amazing communities, and an intelligent, caring, no shortcut approach to programming and training.

As I've had a few people asking me about the mystical butterfly pull up lately, I thought I'd let Imti tell you all, what I've been telling them......

"The (deadhang) pull-up is a fundamental movement that should form part of the foundation of any fitness program. The inclusion of any movement in a program, however, should be based on sound function and rationale. For example, the deadhang pull-up develops upper body pulling strength, enhances shoulder stability, and when applied in high volumes can also increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

In higher volume conditioning workouts, you could argue against the use of the deadhang pull-up. When the goal of a workout is to complete the required amount of work as quickly as possible, the deadhang pull-up may restrict speed. These forms of workouts (along with all the CrossFit videos posted online!) have popularised the kipping pull-up. The kipping pull-up uses a swift reversal of hip direction from horizontal to vertical to move the torso upwards. The movement is finished with the same upper body pull as used in a deadhang pull-up. What is the function of the kipping pull-up in general? To allow us to complete more work in less time, and therefore elicit a greater power output, and to develop cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

The kipping pull-up is to the deadhang pull-up what the push press is to the strict press. As with any movement, adequate preparation is necessary to ensure safety and effectiveness. The kipping pull-up, however, is not the primary topic for this post. The butterfly pull-up is.

The sole purpose of the butterfly pull-up, in my opinion, is to serve as a competition style pull-up where the ultimate goal is to place ahead of other athletes. Let me remind you, beating the person next to you is not the goal of your WoD. When performed correctly it does look amazing, and it does get you a couple of reps ahead of your buddy. And because of that, everyone wants to learn how to do the butterfly pull-up.

The butterfly pull-up places the shoulder under undue stress. The shoulders are jarred open at the bottom of the movement, instead of progressively being stretched as in the kipping pull-up. Kipping pull-ups are no safer than butterflies when performed without smart preparation. And the risk of injury on butterflies can be reduced with better preparation. But remember that the rationale behind butterfly pull-ups is competition performance, and if anything else, to learn a new skill.

We have some strict guidelines when it comes to the butterfly pull-up at CFJ. If you want to avoid time off from training due to shoulder injury, you best adhere to these guidelines.

  • You need to have at least 6 months of solid kipping pull-ups under your belt. That doesn’t mean 6 months from when you’re first shown the movement. It refers to 6 months from the time you’re able to perform high volumes (over 40 reps) of kipping pull-ups in workouts with minimal rest.
  • You need to be able to perform 50 unbroken kipping pull-ups with no more than a 5% decrement in technique throughout the 50 reps. You still have to wait the 6 months if you get 50 unbroken reps first. Be patient.
  • One of the coaches need to teach you the movement. Do not attempt it by yourself or by one of the members ‘teaching’ you.
  • If your goal is to competitive at Regional level, then learn the skill because it may help.
  • If the latter is your goal and you learn the movement correctly, you are only to perform butterflies on every THIRD workout that has pull-ups. That means two workouts with kipping, one with butterflies.

Many of the shoulder injuries coming out of CrossFit gyms are the result of people performing butterfly pull-ups without adequate preparation and coaching. So save yourself the injury by heeding the above advice."


Front Squat

5 reps on even minutes


6-10 reps on odd minutes

5 sets


100m sled Drag 20/10kg + 10 Burpees

3-5 rounds for separate times, resting as needed. (work in a group)

 Or, Hypertrophy Circuit for 3 rounds

A1. DB Split Squat

10 reps e/s

A2.DB Rows

16 reps alternating


Max reps


DBL KB Rack Split Squat (KBs at shoulders)

6 reps per leg,

6 Pullups (band assisted,

1 superset E3M for 6 sets


100m sled Drag 20/10kg + 10 Burpees

3 rounds for separate times, resting as needed. (work in a group)

Or, Hypertrophy Circuit

Saturday 29 June

So often, new CrossFitters shake their heads in disbelief at some of the things people are doing in the gym. Yes, walking on your hands, or doing a muscle up, or a one legged squat is a difficult skill, and compared to the average human being, if you get to the level of fitness required…
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Friday 28 June

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced trainee, you should be thinking about how you lift. And I don't mean whether you are a grunter, or a grimacer; a teeth grinder or a screamer. I'm talking about the set up, the preparation, the pre-lift ritual. Every one has a different pre-lift routine/ritual. A re-tightening…
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Member Profile – Chetan Bhana

How long have you been a member at Reebok CrossFit 09? I joined about a week after ‘09’ opened in the middle of March… How did you end up walking through our doors for the first time? Was there a pivotal event that led you to us? I was looking for something new to try…
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Wednesday 26 June

Superman does CrossFit.... Had a few blokes (and a couple of ladies) ask me about gaining muscle recently. It's probably the hardest thing to change about your body, even harder than losing fat. And although CrossFit can be a fantastic way to do both things, if you get hooked on the sexy metcon, you'll cut that…
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Tuesday 25 June

WOD Snatch - 5 sets of 1.1.1 Then, 3 Power Snatch 50/35kg 5 Overhead Squat 7 Toes to Bar 9 Box Jump 60/40cm 5 rounds S+C Hang Power Snatch - sets of 3 Then, 8 DB Snatch, alternating 8 OH DB Lunges, 4 e/arm 8 Box Jumps AMRAP in 8 mins
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Monday 24 June

[caption id="attachment_1670" align="alignright" width="538"] Jakob has an interesting way of taking a lie down.....[/caption] WOD Death by Deadhang - 1 DH Pullup in minute 1, 2 Pullups in minute 2, etc, till failure to complete required reps.  Choice of then resting, or continuing by subtracting 1 rep each minute for remaining minutes. - time cap…
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Saturday 22 June

What do I eat?!?!  Such a common question from people new to CrossFit and the associated recommendation to lay off the processed grains and sugar. It's almost like there are no other foods besides those ones....... and perhaps, for some people, that literally seems like the case for them thanks to their previous dietary habits.…
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Friday 21 June

[caption id="attachment_1658" align="alignnone" width="705"] The boys looking graceful with some kettlebell windmills....[/caption] Hey folks, remember to write your scores up after your workouts!! And use the logbooks..... ok so we don't have any logbooks yet......they were faulty and have to go back to the printers... but recording your results, especially your weights and reps on…
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Thursday 20 June

[caption id="attachment_1651" align="alignnone" width="529"] Stronger every day![/caption] WOD Power Clean 4 x 1.1.1 Deadhang Pullups 4 x max reps Then, 20 Calorie row 30 Burpees 40 Two dumbbell ground-to-overhead (20/10kg) 50 Toes-to-bar 30m Overhead walking lunge (20/10kg) 200m Sprint S+C Hang Power Clean sets of 5 DH Pullups (band assist) 4 x 10-12 reps Then,…
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