CrossFit Kids Camp July 8th-12th and July 29th-August 2nd! Register Today




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NEXT EVENT: 7th Annual Maltz Challenge on Friday, March 22nd at 10:30 a.m.

7th Annual Maltz Challenge on Friday, March 22nd at 10:30 a.m.

Like us on Facebook and let us know if you can make it:

CrossFit West Seattle is proud to announce that we have been chosen as the hosting gym for the seventh annual Maltz Challenge. This competition will be the first of many in which we represent Team Red White and Blue (TEAM RWB). Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to people in their community through physical and social activity. More information can be found by visiting

Information on the Challenge:

The Maltz Challenge came to life in March of 2007 as the result of the mutual desire of several DEA employees to honor Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.

The Maltz Challenge is so-named because the first honoree was Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Maltz. Master Sgt. Maltz was a Pararescue Jumper (PJ) who was killed in action along with five other PJs while attempting a rescue/medical evacuation of very sick Afghani children on March 23, 2003. Since 2007 we have honored a number soldiers, airmen, Marines, etc. Our division is honored to have Michael’s boys, Kyle and Cody, who live in the greater Seattle area, come out every year and participate in our challenge.

Who can participate: Anyone!

DEA personnel, other law enforcement personnel, military personnel, civilians of all walks of life. This literally means anyone who is physically capable, whether they are physically handicapped or not.. Common sense modifications can be made to accommodate anyone who wants to participate.

If you want to officially register and/or you would like to donate to this challenge by purchasing a t-shirt please visit

What: A memorial workout event/salute to those who have been KIA.

Why: Because of our common belief that they deserve our gratitude, and tribute.

When: The 2013 Maltz Challenge will be conducted on Friday March 22, 2013 at CFWS at 10:30 a.m.

The eight events are listed below in order and the protocol briefly:

400 meter run
50 pull-ups
100 meter Firemen’s Carry or 200 meter Farmer’s walk (50 lb Dumbbell for men, 25 lb Dumbbell for women)
50 dips
100 pushups
50 knees-to-elbows
100 sit-ups
400 meter run

Participants are challenged to complete the entire workout in the shortest amount of time possible and in the specified order.

This event will be timed (if the participant wants to judge his/her time against others). The events have to be performed in the exact order if one wants to have their time recorded for the record. Time begins the second that they take off on the first 400 meter sprint and should not be stopped for any reason until they complete the final 400 meter sprint.

For most participants this will not be about trying to have the fastest time. So, if participants are not shooting for time and cannot complete a particular event or if for physical reasons they have to modify the events or the order of the events, that is completely acceptable.

This year will mark the 7th annual Maltz Challenge.

If you want to officially register for FREE and/or you would like to donate to this challenge by purchasing a t-shirt please visit

We hope to see you in the gym to support this cause!

Please visit our Facebook event page to see and join us at an upcoming event!

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Play hard, party smart and build a stronger community!

CrossFit Games Week One Invitational Open Competition WOD Details

We are proud to announce that there will be four gyms from our area competing this coming weekend. We expect somewhere around 50 athletes and the gym opens at 8am and the first heat starts at 9am. Time to get you WOD on! Be sure to let us know if you are coming to watch or compete by clicking on the going button.

We need volunteer judges.  It’s fun and easy! Ask a coach how you can help.
See you then!!!


Find the details on our Facebook Event Page and be sure to click on “Going” if you are gonna be able to make it…

Event Page:  CrossFit OPEN EVENT Week ONE


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The Great Kettlebell Swing Debate

The Great Kettlebell Swing Debate
Written by C.J. Martin

Quite a few folks following our Competition programming have been wondering whether kettlebell swings should be performed as American Swings, Russian Swings or a hybrid. I have procrastinated an answer for long enough, so here it comes . . .
(I know, the least satisfying answer ever . . . but almost always the most accurate and best.)
Let’s take a look at the traditional American and Russian swings first, and then talk about how to determine which of those is best for you, or if there is a hybrid option that might work better.
The Russian Swing
The Russian swing starts with the kettlebell just below the groin (above the knees) and is swung to chest level – approximately a 90-degree angle to the torso. The movement is short, brisk and compact. It is a hip-hinge movement, with roughly 20-degrees (or less) of flexion at the knee. The power of the swing is generated from the hips while the spine is held perfectly stable and neutral. At the apex of the swing, the bell is at chest level, and the athlete’s glutes are contracted, quads are engaged (pulling the knees up), belly is rock solid and braced for impact, and lats are actively pulling the shoulders away from the ears. Additionally, the Russian swing should be performed with rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing – filling the abdomen on the downswing and forcefully expelling through the teeth, while bracing the belly, at the top of the swing.
The American Swing
The American swing should differ from the traditional Russian swing only in the finish position. The mechanics of the swing itself should be identical – the bell should pass just below the groin, there should be no more than 20 degrees of knee flexion, the hips should generate the power, the glutes should contract hard, the quads should engage to pull the knees up, and the belly should be rock solid. The difference is simply that the athlete will allow the force produced on the kettlebell to carry it all the way overhead so that the bottom of the kettlebell is directly over the ears, shoulders, hips and ankles. Note, athletes should not be increasing the amount of knee flexion (turning the movement into a squat), nor should they be lifting the kettlebell with their deltoids to assist it into the overhead position. The force is still generated solely by the hip drive, and if optimal force is produced by the hips the athlete will likely have to decelerate the kettlebell as it approaches its apex.
The Russian Swing Must Come First!
The first thing to understand is that the Russian swing must be the foundational movement. The American swing is a progression the builds from the foundation of the Russian swing. If you cannot perform Russian swings well, you will not perform American swings well. Attempting to jump straight to American swings without a solid understanding of the Russian swing often creates poor habits, like squatting through the movement or pulling up on the kettlebell with the traps and deltoids. So, we must start by mastering the short, concise, powerful Russian swing before attempting to move on to the American swing . . . or a hybrid.
My Hips Are Strong and My Swing is Solid . . . Can I Go Overhead?
My chief concern when training an athlete is to determine whether they can perform the assigned movements with perfect, virtuous mechanics. Without regard to the particular movement we are talking about, there are a few mechanical principles from which we should almost never deviate. Most notably, our movements should sequence in a wave of contraction from core to extremity, and we should be able to maintain a fixed (and typically neutral) posture.
Many athletes lack the mobility to achieve the range of motion required by the American swing. Restrictions in their thoracic spine and shoulder girdle often prevent them from raising their arms straight overhead with a completely fixed and neutral spine. These athletes typically compensate for their insufficient mobility by over-extending at the thoracic-lumbar junction. The example on the left demonstrates over-extension. You can see that compared to the photo on the right, Nichole’s ribcage is elevated and there is excessive curve at her lumbar spine.

The answer to the question of whether you can or should be going overhead with your kettlebell swings is not one that I can answer from afar. That answer depends entirely on whether you have three things:
The thoracic mobility to achieve the finishing position without overextending at the lumbar spine.
The midline stability and coordination to achieve the finishing position without overextending at the lumbar spine.
The discipline to achieve the finishing position without overextending at the lumbar spine.
It doesn’t take much for an experienced coach to determine whether an athlete meets the first two requirements . . . the answer to the third question will be answered once the athlete is challenged to maintain good mechanics despite gasping for air and fighting off fatigue. But just in case you do not have a good coach or training partner to help you determine if you have adequate mobility to perform American swings, here is a quick little tool to help you determine whether the overhead/American swing is right for you.
Step 1 – Lay down on your back with your chin and spine in a neutral position and your hands down at your sides.
Step 2 – Squeeze your bum and belly and at belly button level interlock your thumbs with your knuckles lined up – mimicking the position of your hands on the kettlebell.
Step 3 – Have a partner place their hand between your back and floor. (If you train alone, you can also stage your camera on the floor beside you and videotape this drill.) It’s likely (desirable, in fact) that there will be some space between your lower back and the floor. The more impressive your glute development (think Olympic-caliber sprinter), the larger that gap between back and floor will be.
Step 4 – Slowly begin to raise your hands from hip level to chest and eventually overhead until your knuckles touch the ground. Your partner will be there to determine if you change positions at any point. If the pressure on their hand decreases as you raise your arms (i.e., the space between your back and the floor increases) they will stop you. That is the height to which you should swing the kettlebell until you improve your thoracic mobility and/or midline stability.


This is a PASS at the standard Russian swing height.

This is a PASS at the hybrid swing height.

This is a FAIL at the American swing height.


The Hybrid Swing (Russican?)
I hope and assume that you all are able to pass chest level without losing a neutral spine position. But I am also guessing that not all of you got to the overhead position before you started to hinge and compensate with your spine. That point between Russian and American just before you start to lose your stable midline and neutral spine position is your unique version of the hybrid swing.
In our group sessions at Invictus, we will often suggest that most of our athletes swing the kettlebell to eyebrow height. This hybrid swing allows us to provide a common standard that can be met by the vast majority of our athletes. If the coach can see the athlete’s eyes under the bell, they’ve met the standard. It’s a compromise position that we have taken in group coaching, but for athletes training for competition, I want to see them swinging the kettlebell as high as they can without sacrificing good movement, a neutral spine and stable midline.
The Quick and Dirty Conclusion
You all might have a slightly different swing height for TRAINING. I am ok with that. If you’re training for health and fitness, determine which swing better fits your training goals for the given day, with the understanding that whichever method you choose must be performed with perfect mechanics.
For athletes out there looking to compete in the sport of CrossFit, I suggest swinging to the height that makes the most sense for you and your possible mobility restrictions until just a few weeks prior to the competition season. It will not take long to make the adjustment to American swings, and you will have enjoyed many months of training good mechanics. You will also buy yourself many months to work on your mobility so that when the competition season comes around you can repeat our little test and hit the full range on an American swing with perfect mechanics.

Watch the Members of Crossfit West Seattle Open Their Hearts on Valentine’s

crossfit ws shirt

Happy Valentine’s Day, Crossfit West Seattle!

Thanks to so many of you for sharing with us your thoughts on CrossFit, how put your heart into a WOD, and how heart health has impacted your life.

Please enjoy this short video and join us every Saturday between March 9 and April 6 for the 2013 Crossfit Games Open.

This year we want to make the open about more than just competition and barbells. Help us support those in our community who are personally impacted by heart health.

Crossfit West Seattle, Open Your Heart!

Be sure to buy an “I Heart CFWS” t-shirt! All donations and proceeds will go to the UW Medicine – Regional Heart Center.

Gym Etiquette and Lingo


1. Be early. If you’re not early, you’re late. Give yourself enough time to sign in, change, and warm-up before class starts. Those of you with smaller bladders may also want to reserve some time for a bathroom trip. Most likely that means showing up at least 10 minutes prior to class.

2. Check your ego at the door. Somewhere a high school kid is warming up with your PR.

3. Wipe down anything you touched and put away the gear. Put away all the equipment you used back where it belongs. Stack the boxes neatly, put the bars in the racks, stack the plates in order, hang up your jump ropes.

3. Double check that you have all of your belongings. Pack it in and pack it out as they say.

4. Bring things to our attention. If you notice that equipment is broken, lights are out, there’s no toilet paper, bring it to our attention so we can do something about it.

5. Try hard. Effort earns respect. Work hard. Be optimistic, have fun and push yourself and those around you to do better.

6. Go heavy or go home. The only way to get stronger is to increase the load. Always strive to go a little heavier and a little faster. Never say, “I can’t.” When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Push your limits.

7. Don’t cheat. No one cares what your score was. Everyone cares if you cheated. Be honest with everyone else, and be honest with yourself. You know what full range of motion is, so there’s no excuse for shoddy reps. If someone calls you out for doing something wrong, listen to them. The person standing around watching you work out has a much better perspective on what you’re doing than you do.

8. If you lose count, the next number is always 1. If you know you have trouble keeping count, ask someone to count for you.

9. Come to class. For newbies, make sure you’re staying consistent. For old hands, don’t start thinking that it’s okay to just do your own thing whenever you want to. There’s a myriad of reasons we have class — for starters, you’re less likely to bias yourself towards the things you’re good at; you’ll get some competition; and no matter how experienced you are, you still need coaching and you can still stand to work on the basics. If you have extra things you’re working on, there are special times right before or after class to work on them.

10. Take ownership. Be responsible and respectful and take pride in your gym. Don’t let others get away with things that are bad for them or bad for the gym. Remind people to take their clothes with them and pick up their water bottles. If you see someone doing something that you’re pretty sure will hurt them, tell them to cut it out. We don’t care who it is! Safety first!

11. Greet new members. We all were the “new guy” or “new gal” at one point. Take the time to greet your new gym mates. After all, these are the people that you are going to shed blood, sweat, and tears (maybe) with. A CrossFit gym can be very intimidating, especially when watching some fire breathers go at it, so a warm and friendly introduction can really settle some nerves.



CrossFit Lingo and Acronyms

Deadlift bars ready to roll out
CrossFit is filled with TLA (Three Letter Acronyms) and plenty of confusing terms that seem to blend together, sound the same or just cause a blank look when reading the whiteboard. Here’s a guide to the most common:

  • AMRAP: As Many Rounds (or Reps) as Possible
  • BS: Back squat
  • BTWB: Beyond the Whiteboard. A website for tracking your WOD’s.
  • BW (or BWT): Body weight
  • CFT: CrossFit Total (A best of three attempts at a 1RM of (Press/DL/BS)
  • CF: CrossFit
  • CFHQ: CrossFit Headquarters
  • CFWU:CrossFit Warm-up
  • CLN: Clean
  • C&J: Clean and jerk
  • C2: Concept II rowing machine
  • DFL: Dead F’ing Last
  • DL: Deadlift
  • DNF: Did Not Finish
  • EMOM: Every Minute on the Minute
  • FS: Front squat
  • GHD: Glute hamstring developer. A device that allows for posterior chain exercise, such as a hip extension, sit-up or a back extension.
  • GPP: General physical preparedness, aka “fitness.”
  • HC: Hang Clean
  • HSPU: Hand stand push up. Kick up into a handstand (use wall for balance, if needed) bend arms until nose touches floor and push back up.
  • HSC: Hang squat clean. Start with bar “at the hang,” about knee height. Initiate pull. As the bar rises drop into a full squat and catch the bar in the racked position. From there, rise to a standing position
  • IF: Intermittent Fasting
  • KB: Kettlebell
  • KTE: Knees to elbows. Similar to TTBs described below.
  • MetCon: Metabolic Conditioning workout
  • MU: Muscle ups. Hanging from rings you do a combination pull-up and dip so you end in an upright support.
  • OHS: Overhead squat. Full-depth squat performed while arms are locked out in a wide grip press position above the head and in line or slightly behind the ears.
  • PC: Power clean
  • Pd: Pood, weight measure for kettlebells
  • PR: Personal record
  • PP: Push press
  • PJ: Push Jerk
  • PSN: Power snatch
  • PU: Pull-ups, possibly push ups depending on the context
  • Rep: Repetition. One performance of an exercise.
  • Rx’d; as Rx’d: As prescribed; as written. WOD done without any adjustments.
  • RM: Repetition maximum. Your 1RM is your max lift for one rep. Your 10 RM is the most you can lift 10 times. (Commonly found in WOD’s as 1RM/3RM/5RM etc.)
  • SC: Squat Clean
  • SDHP: Sumo Deadlift High Pull
  • Set: A number of repetitions. e.g., 3 sets of 10 reps, often seen as 3×10, means do 10 reps, rest, repeat, rest, repeat.
  • SPP: Specific physical preparedness, aka skill training.
  • SN: Snatch
  • SQ: Squat
  • Subbed: Substituted. The CORRECT use of “subbed,” as in “substituted,” is, “I subbed an exercise I can do for one I can’t,” For example,if you can’t do a HSPU, you subbed regular push-ups.
  • TTB: Toes to bar. Hang from bar. Bending only at waist raise your toes to touch the bar, slowly lower them and repeat.
  • WO, sometimes W/O: Workout
  • WOD: Workout of the day
  • # : Symbol for Lbs. or Pounds
  • ” : Symbol for Inches

Other Terms:

    • The “Girls” : A series of benchmark workouts created by CFHQ that are universally known among the CF community. 
  • The “Heroes” :  A Hero workout is a tribute workout in honor of a fallen CrossFitter (either Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Firefighter, Police officer) that died in the line of duty. They are tough and among the most difficult of WOD’s. There are sadly too many of them. Read here for a great explanation of them.
  • Tabata Interval: A workout of 8 intervals alternating 20 seconds of max rep work with 10 seconds of rest. Total is 4 minutes per exercise. Score the lowest interval rep count.
  • Paleo and Zone: Types of diet and nutrition protocol commonly found in the CF lifestyle.