***INVICTUS SCHEDULE – CrossFit Invictus will be closed on Saturday. Our coaches will be at a retreat learning how to provide even better coaching and service. We hope our members will attend the Miguel Flores Memorial WOD at CrossFit San Diego at 9:00 a.m. Please let us know if you plan to attend so we can let CrossFit San Diego know how many to expect. Thank you.***

Workout of the Day:
Thrusters
3-3-3-3
and then,
Three rounds for max reps of:
30 seconds – Thrusters (135/95 lb. or 80-85% of 3-RM)
30 seconds of rest
30 seconds – Burpees
30 seconds of rest
30 seconds – Hang Power Cleans (135/95 lb.)
30 seconds of rest
30 seconds – Pull-Ups
Rest one minute

From our Coast Guard friends in Sitka, Alaska - makes for a chilly WOD, but the view is hard to beat.
From our Coast Guard friends in Sitka, Alaska - makes for a chilly WOD, but the view is hard to beat.

The Chalk Conundrum
Written by Mike Hom

It began as an off-handed joke.  It progressed into semi-serious statements.  It evolved into full-blown declarations.
“Chalk is overrated.”

Pro-Chalk

I used to be pro-chalk.  I used to believe dusting up my hands to a coat of pearly, bleached white would ensure victory in my workouts and help bring about improved performance.  I would clap my hands and kick up white dust to provide self-encouragement.  My “breaks” would give me an opportunity to re-chalkify.  I avidly thought chalk was the reason I could do more pull-ups.  I thought chalk was the reason I could pull more weight.  Chalk was the driver to help me press more weight overhead.  Running with chalk on my hands would get me in and out the door faster.  Chalk was the hero of my work out.  Chalk drove me to success.

Then something happened.  My hands started tearing more.  I spent more and more time letting my hands heal.  Chalk slowed me down from the constant re-application.  A friend gently told me I was using chalk as a crutch to rest more.  After hearing that, I tried my hand at a few benchmark workouts while forgoing chalk.  My times improved.  I tore my hands less.  I attributed my success to giving up chalk.  Thus, this began the No-Chalk Era.

No-Chalk

I used to be no-chalk. I used to think chalk was unnecessary.  I would avoid using chalk at all costs, even if there was a legitimate need for it.  I thought chalk was something newbies used as a means to sneak in more rest.  Chalk made people tear and bleed.  Chalk was a downright detriment to performance gains.

Then something happened.  With sweat coming down my forearms to my wrists one day, I was performing muscle-ups in my workout.  Just another set until I was back out the door.  Just another rep.  Roll my shoulders over the rings, dip, and lock out.  And then my right wrist slipped and my armpit met the ring.  I lost control and let go of the left ring.  Bless my moderate reflexes for saving me from any permanent damage to my limbs.  After some rapid introspection, I chalked up my wrists (and just my wrists) and finished my workout.  But, I began to re-think my position on chalk.  Thus, this began my most pragmatic era, the Some-Chalk era.

Chalk is great when used responsibly.

This means using the minimal amount of chalk necessary to help with certain exercises–mostly pulling exercises.  Some people, however, take chalk-use to the extreme and use it for EVERY exercise, which is completely unnecessary and creates additional clean-up work.  Is it really necessary to chalk up when doing push-ups?  How about squats?  Push presses?  The fact is, some people view chalk not as a tool but as a habit.  These are the ones creating a dust storm around them by over-chalking and then clapping their hands to get rid of the excess.  This not only accelerates the consumption of chalk for those that genuinely need it, like those who sweat excessively, but it also simply annoys those around you.  A crime scene is not a look we’re going for at the gym.  I know the rebuttal is that we at CrossFit Invictus are not a globo-gym and chalk usage is one of the appeals for some people.  But let’s be candid for a moment.  If you don’t get sweaty hands, how much chalk do you need to get through your workouts?

How To Chalk

Chalk serves the purpose of drying hands to assist with grip issues.  It is not magical fairy dust that will make your grip hulk strong.  A little bit can go a long away provided you understand where the chalk needs to go.  The only part of your hand that needs chalk is the part that will be in contract with the bar, ring, or other apparatus you are utilizing at that moment.  The back of your hand does not warrant chalking.  The next time you chalk up, understand where your hands are making contact. Take a bit of chalk and rub it in that area.  You don’t need a lot, just a light coating.  Take your other hand and rub it against the chalked one.  Carry on with your bad self.

An Alternative

If you are part of the population that depends on chalk, let me present an alternative: wrist bands.  You may see some people in the gym using them already.  They are great for the primary reason of soaking up sweat that would otherwise run into your hands.  Barring the obvious swagger you gain from wearing them, the wrist band will help control your chalk usage and possibly eliminate your need for it.

In closing, let me reiterate that chalk is a great tool when used responsibly.  Over-do it and you run the risk of doing more damage to your hands than good, as well as annoying your fellow CrossFitters.  Do yourself and your CF family a favor, use the chalk responsibly.

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Estelle KinderCJ MartincourtlandETlizzle Recent comment authors
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Estelle Kinder
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Estelle Kinder

Learning bodybuilding from the broscience is like learning about sex from pornos. You might get the basic idea, but you’ll miss a lot, and get some strange ideas. Better to talk to someone who’s done it, and done it well.

courtland
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courtland

Rippetoe says that if your gym doesn’t have or allow chalk, you should consider another gym.

M
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M

It was great to see so many Invictus faces in the photos from the McFlurry WOD today! You guys are awesome!!

ET
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ET

For those of you who don’t know Miguel AKA McFlurry, his face may actually be familiar to you, he is the third person from the left on the Invictus “Building Communities” photograph. Hope to see you there.

lizzle
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lizzle

I am so glad they are doing the McFlurry WOD! I did it in the Bay Area last year and it took my breath away when I drove up to the Diablo XFit and the earlier class was doing McFlurry.
Word on wrist bands. I have sweaty hands and forearms and I have come to depend on my wrist bands.
Perfect combo- light chalk dust on hands and wrists, seal it with a wrist band.

joe
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joe

We are planning on going to the Mcflurry wod at CFSD on Saturday. Here is a video of last years Wod http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitByOverload_McFlurry.mov It is quite moving and really captures the crossfit community. Hope to see you there.

Ken from NIMITZ
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Ken from NIMITZ

Without generous use of chalk, how am I going to make that paste I used to eat in kindergarten? Great post Mike…I am one of the usual suspects that depended upon chalk to get through any WOD with pulling exercises for the main reason that it helped me maintain my grip, and would allow me to complete more consecutive pull-ups or other exercise without loosing my grip. I know a big part of this is based on grip strength and that is something I have been working on since starting CF, now over 2 yrs ago. However, in my experience… Read more »

M
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M

I know a lot of chalk monsters!

FAQ - Workout of the Day (WOD)

What does WOD mean in CrossFit?

WOD stands for Workout of the Day. Most CrossFit gyms post one workout each day for their members and online followers to complete. Invictus currently offers THREE free programmed WODs each day (shown above)... and even more personalized and online supplemental programs through Invictus Athlete.

Which program is right for me? Can I move between them?

One thing that sets Invictus apart from other CrossFit gyms and online training programs is that we recognize everyone has different fitness goals, abilities and needs. Be sure to pick which programming is right for you so you can get a great workout that meets your needs.

What does 30X0 mean? (How to read the WOD)

Another thing you might notice that’s different about our programming is that we use ‘tempo training’ - almost always in the Fitness programming and in various cycles for the Performance and Competition programs. Those extra numbers (ex: @30X0) might seem confusing at first glance but you’ll totally get how it works and why we like to use it after reading this. Trust us, you’ll soon witness the many benefits firsthand. Learn more about tempo training.

I need help with some standard movements and warm-up ideas!

Whether you’re new to CrossFit or have lots of experience with the WOD, our coaches will help you get the most out of every workout. It doesn’t matter if you struggle with a particular movement or if your goals are pushing you toward the higher skilled and more elusive movements, our professional coaches support everyone with advice and feedback.

They have worked with all athlete levels and know what it takes to get people moving to the best of their abilities. Whether it’s burpees, double-unders, muscle-ups, or tips for the Assault Bike - we’ve got a coach who can help you.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your warm-ups covered, too. Our coaches are constantly learning from other modalities and love to use what they learn in innovative warm-ups focused on both preparing for the workout at hand and maintaining the body for a pain free life. Check out this full body routine to keep your joints functioning and free of inflammation. We also post warm-up suggestions in the Workout of the Day for each of the programs that are tailored to that day’s movements.

Workout on your own and don’t have much time for your warm-up? Here’s a couple of quick and simple ones for your shoulders, squat day, deadlifts, and everyone’s problem area, the thoracic spine.

What if I can’t lift the weight or do the movement as prescribed?

Scaling is part of the beauty of CrossFit because it enables workouts and programming to be tailored to anyone’s ability. When it comes to weight, you can and should ALWAYS scale the weight down if it is unsafe for you to lift it, or if it changes the intended stimulus of the workout.

Here are some rules of thumb for scaling weight in metcons (lifting for time). For gymnastics movements, there are some simple scaling solutions as well. If you are unsure, reach out to your Invictus coach! We are here to make sure you get the safest and best workout possible - proper scaling allows for that.

How many days per week should I train? / How many rest days should I take?

At Invictus, we offer programming 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday and we realize not everyone’s schedule - or training needs - are the same and therefore, you must use your best judgement and listen to your body when it comes to deciding how often to take a rest day.

If you have been doing CrossFit for a while now, you recognize that our program excels due to the high intensity component. With that being said, one thing you have to keep in mind is that you can’t sustain that high intensity every single day; otherwise your body ends up breaking down.

You can learn more about how often someone should take a rest day in this article.

What does EMOM stand for?

EMOM stands for Every Minute on the Minute. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does AMRAP mean?

AMRAP means “As Many Rounds (and Reps) as Possible” in a certain time period. For example, the workout might say...

AMRAP in 10 minutes of:

30 Double-Unders
20 Pull-Ups
10 Thrusters

So you would keep going through the cycle of those three exercises until the 10 minutes is up. Your score is the number of complete rounds plus any extra reps you did. So if you did four complete rounds plus 15 Double-Unders in the fifth round, your score would be 4+15.

What does OTM mean?

OTM stands for “On the Minute” and is the same thing as an EMOM. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does NFT mean?

NFT stands for “Not for Time” and means that you shouldn’t rush or try to go fast, but instead, focus on technique, skill, form or whatever you are working on for that movement.

How heavy should my first set be?

You might also be wondering where to start your first set if, for example, the workout of the day calls for 5 sets of Deadlift x 5 reps. Is the first set a warm-up or is that the first working set? Here’s our recommendation for how to properly build to your starting weight and what we consider warm-up sets and working sets.

How can I figure out my 1RM?

We frequently use percentage references in prescribing the number of reps to perform, so it’s essential that you have a good idea on most of your maxes.

Let’s say it’s been awhile since you have attempted a 1RM; maybe you had an injury a few months ago, or maybe you just somehow keep missing the 1-RM test days, or maybe you just forgot to write it down in your log book. If you have a multiple-rep max, you’re in luck. There’s actually a simple equation you can use to calculate an estimated 1RM based on the max number of reps you can do at a given weight.