Work on your body weight skills with the new Performance Series Cycle!

The Performance Series is back!

The 2018 CrossFit Open is coming to a close.  Perhaps the Open’s mad mixture of movements may have exposed certain certain gymnastic weaknesses in your fitness. Or maybe there’s a new movement that you want to learn to perform this year. Or maybe you just love being upside down on a tumbling mat. Whichever it is, worry not because we’ve got you.  The Performance Series is getting ready to kick off its next 10-week cycle.

The Skill Cycle will take place between April 14th and July 7th. Our focus will be to improve our athletes’ body weight movements through an appropriate mix of targeted skill drills, volume training and accessory work. These body weight movements include but aren’t limited to pull-ups, handstand pushups, toes-to-bar, bar muscle ups, ring muscle ups, pistols and rope climbs. Regardless of your current level, L100 or L200, the Skill Cycle is intended to meet you where you are.

Every athlete in our Skill Series will get to:

  • Benchmark their abilities

  • Spend ample time on drills that serve their individual goals and needs

  • Build the strength required for stability and control while moving in space

  • Get workout analysis and real-time coach feedback

  • Be able to log your work and measure your progress in a special Performance Series programming track in SugarWOD.

Participants in the Skill Cycle will meet on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 11:30 AM for 75 minute sessions. To ensure we can provide the detailed feedback necessary to help each athlete grow, space in the cycle will be limited to 12 athletes for this 10 week period and available to all CFSA members. If you are ready to take kick off your skill development journey, sign up here. Don’t wait!

Track your performance with SugarWod!

It’s a workout tracking app. It’s a social network platform. It’s SugarWOD!

At CFSA, we believe that to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been.

When a workout is written up on the board, how do you decide on how to approach it? How do you figure out a good weight to load on the bar for those 5 sets of 3 back squats? And how do you make sure you’re addressing your weaknesses and constantly improving on where you were yesterday, last month and last year?

Logging your workouts is a proven approach to truly getting the most out of your training. It allows you to develop a sense of what is easy for you, what is ambitious and what is that sweet spot that challenges you while giving you a good chance to be successful.

SugarWOD is an app that provides an easy and intuitive way to log your workouts. It makes it simple to look up previous scores and to properly measure your progress.

On top of that, SugarWOD offers the option to see your friends’ scores and celebrate their success with a Fist Bump or comment. Your coaches will also be better able to see your progress. They will be in a position to understand your needs and challenges better, so that they can provide more effective guidance in class.

From a programming standpoint, knowing how our members are doing enables us to adjust our daily training for maximum value. Last but not least, we believe that you’ll soon discover that logging your workouts is one of the best ways to stay consistent.

Don’t just take our word for it, try it out:
1. Download SugarWOD on iOS or Android
2. Create an account and select CrossFit South Arlington as your gym
3. Start logging!

Starting today, the CFSA L100 and L200 programming will be published into the app so your main screen will show you the day’s workout. We will still be publishing the weekly programming on the blog in parallel to SugarWOD.

Get started today! Got questions? Email us at and we’ll be more than happy to help you.

CFSA Bright Spots – Lauren Manns-Clegg


We’re turning the spotlight on Lauren Manns-Clegg this month — athlete, mom, wife, attorney and all-around badass!


What was your first impression? How has that changed?

First impression of CFSA was that it was super busy and full of people, but somehow everyone seemed to know each other.  I came from a much smaller gym, so it was surprising that the community was so strong at CFSA despite its size.

I don’t think my impression has changed all that much!  I have moved houses and changed jobs, taking me farther away from Crystal/Pentagon City, but I have never found another CrossFit home.  I love knowing that every work out includes hanging out with solid people and sharing some laughs.


What was your first “bright spot”?

This is hard! My first full rope climb (plus high fives from Coach Conor) and the first time I put three toes-to-bar together (plus back slaps from Adam Deitch and Rishi N…) were proud moments. I remember Sarah Stars asking if I wanted to be her partner and I was pretty proud of that too 😉 I will never forget a hug Siddharth Sawkar gave me when I was going through a hard time. I think every single member of CFSA gave me love and encouragement last year while I was working out pregnant… no matter how sluggish I felt, everyone made me feel like I crushed it in the gym that day 🙂


What’s your favorite CFSA memory?

I have many good memories at CFSA, but my favorite might be when Rishi N….and I did half Kalsu together during a noon class.  After we were done I understood why no one else showed up that day–it was a grind!  Rishi absolutely killed it, even though the only person he was competing against was a pregnant lady trying to do a hero workout in the August heat.  I think Coach Bobby was proud of us too, and that’s always a good feeling! There was also a night at the Phillips’ household that involved flambongos that was pretty epic.  We need to bring that back for the 2018 Open 🙂


What are you working on now?

I am about four months postpartum so I’m working on establishing a strong foundation again, especially in my trunk.  I realize now that so much of what we do in CrossFit requires a strong trunk (it is trunk, not “core,” right Coach Bobby?)! I have a few more weeks of specialized programming and then I’m hoping to start building strength and performing gymnastics again.  Doing CrossFit during my pregnancy really helped me to bounce back well, but there is still some hard work to do!


Intramural Open – Week 2 Recap

The second week of the Open is in the books and everyone who took part in it crushed it.

Here’s a recap of Week 2:

  • 18.2 was a leg bruising workout of DB squats and bar facing burpees, following by a 1-rep max Clean, all within 12 minutes. Holy leg combo, batman. (See workout details here)
  • Intramural Open scores for individuals and teams are up. You can check them out here. Team Little Finger Big Muscle is still in the lead after Week 2, but by a hair. Team Valyrian Steel came up big in the team outfit and energy department and snatched those 5 Team Presence points. They are trailing LFBM by 1 point right now.
  • In a much anticipated re-match, Coach Dipo and Coach Spandy faced off Sunday night for 18.2. We had it all LIVE for you on Facebook here (need to be part of the CFSA private facebook group to watch it). If you missed it, punch yourself in the face. The battle was epic: Spandy won the couplet by almost 90 seconds, but Dipo came back to crush the Clean with 225lbs, that’s 30 more lbs than Spandy lifted. The head-to-head score now stands at 2-1 for Dipo. The level of intensity in these matchups has now reached peak drama. They both face off for round 3, as part of the Coaches’ heat, on Friday evening at 6:30pm. Be there.

What’s coming in Week 3:

    • Open 18.3 is coming. Word on the street is that it’s going to involve some CrossFit movements. That’s hard.


  • Kelli Sil from Remedy & Relief Massage is stopping by again to give everyone free massage work this Friday evening 6:30pm – 8:30pm.She’s also offering discounts to CFSA members on her in-home massage services. Check out the details here.
  • We are not going to release any heat schedule this week until we find out what the workout is. Look for it late night Thursday!


In other news:

  • Dr Perez-Duran is back at the gym this Saturday March 10th at 8:15amfor more free soft tissue services.

That’s it for this week, folks. Happy training!


Enjoy these special deals on massage therapy with Kelli Sil



Come get your soft tissue worked on by Kelli Sil, LMT, this Friday March 9th at CrossFit South Arlington. She’ll be offering free short massage sessions (10-12 mins) from 6:30pm until 8:30pm, during our evening Open 18.3 heats.

We’re also very excited to announce that CFSA members can now enjoy these special deals on her in-home services:

  1. 15% off your first massage
  2. Buy 4 sessions, get 1 free

Book an appointment with Kelli here, and don’t forget to mention that you’re a member of CFSA!

Kelli is a local massage therapist who travels to homes and offices in the Northern Virginia area specializing in pain relief and general recovery. With a heavy background in athletics and sports medicine, Kelli uses an evidence-based approach when massaging. This, combined with her focus on individual needs, makes a session with her stand apart from your typical Swedish massage. She offers 60, 75, and 90 minute massages. See her website here.

Happy recovery 🙂

The Open is this Week!

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This week is the first week of the CrossFit Games Open and we predict that it is going to be lit. At least at CFSA it will be.

But before we get into any of that, an announcement: We are adding new Open Gym times! Starting this week, Open Gym schedule will be extended to also include Saturdays 9:30 to 11:30 AM. We hope this will provide an opportunity to further practice some skills, especially for folks who can’t make it to Open Gym in the evenings before 6:30pm. If you’re not already familiar with our Open Gym rules, make sure you review them here.And now, back to our regular Open programming …

First, an important note: starting this week and for the duration of the Open (5 total weeks), there will be no L100 vs L200 classes on Friday evenings. All evening Friday classes are merged into evening heats (every 30 mins, see the schedule here). If you happen to not be signed up for the Open, we still would appreciate you signing up for a heat, although you’re not required to find a judge.

For all Open participants, here’s what to expect this week:

1. Watch the LIVE announcement. On Thursday night at 8pm EST, the first Open workout, named 18.1, will be announced LIVE on On the site, you will have access to information about workout details and movement standards. We highly recommend you go through that info (and the accompanying video) before you come in for the workout.

2. Sign up for a heat. Our heat schedule is here, please make sure to sign up for a heat. We would like to ask that you find a person to be your judge and that you add their name alongside yours. Please also try to be a judge for someone else in a different heat (ideally, it’s that same person who judged for you). We understand this is not always feasible for some, so all we can ask is that do your best on this one. Helping each other out is going to make for a much smoother Open experience for everyone!

3. Do the workout!  When you come in on Friday, your coaches will lead you through class and provide you with any necessary information for judging and filling out scoring sheets. We recommend arriving 20 minutes before your heat begins so you have plenty of time to change clothes, hit the WC, and get ready.

4. Log your score. You do that by logging in to your account on and entering your score. You have until Monday night at 8pm EST to do this. Don’t forget this step — it is how you contribute 1 point towards your team score internally at CFSA.

Friday Night Lights
Each week of the Open, we will be embracing a theme for Friday Night Lights:
– Week 1: Military & Veteran Appreciation
– Week 2: Coaches Throwdown
– Week 3: Competitors’ Ball
– Week 4: Parents Against The Clock
– Week 5: Top 5 Dead or Alive

This week, join us for the 6pm or 6:30pm heats to show your support for those who sacrifice for our freedom and the safety of this nation.

Bring your spouse, significant other or friend along as spectators. And feel free to bring any food and beverage you’d like to consume or share.

Have questions? First check out our Q&A blog post here.
Still don’t have an answer? Email us at

CFSA Bright Spots – Doug Fischer

Doug Fischer and his son Max

There are stories that we really think you should hear. Doug Fischer’s is one of them. We tracked him down and asked him a few questions this week.


What brought you to CFSA in the first place?   

I had started taking fitness and health more seriously about a year earlier after letting myself go a bit in my first few years out of law school. By that time, I was looking for a change of pace from running, P90X, and globo gyms. I had a friend who was super into CrossFit and had been seeing it around. So I came in one Saturday and Megan kicked my ass (wall balls, box jumps, and burpee pullups). I was hooked.


What was your first impression of CFSA? How has that changed?

Two things–1) I loved that everyone was  friend and there was a sense of community;  2) I was intimidated by seeing all these crazy movements I didn’t know and some badass athletes squatting a zillion pounds. #1 is still 100 percent true – it’s awesome training with people who are all there to help themselves and each other be better.  #2 isn’t true anymore, but it really never should have been my impression in the first place. Sure this stuff is difficult, but everyone truly wants you to get better at it.


What was your first “bright spot”?  

Hard to even remember because there have been so many. My first strict muscle up possibly. Another one that really stands out is a day we were doing Whitten (5 rounds of 22 KB swings, 22 box jumps,  400 m run, 22 burpees, 22 WBs). If anyone remembers Tim Anderlonis, he had always amazed me at 0600 and I thought I’d never be anywhere near his level. I kept up with him through the first two or three rounds of that workout.  Even though he ultimately crushed me, I remember being so happy at my progress and realizing that I could hang with anyone if I just kept working at it.


What’s your favorite CFSA memory?

I’m going to cheat and give two. First is 17.5 last year. I had been sick for two weeks, work was kicking my ass, and I had slept like 3 hours the night before. I came in expecting to suck at the workout and boy did I. But I felt prouder for just making myself grind it out in that workout than I did for a lot of PRs I hit. Felt so great to finish it and have Bobby hand me a cold one.  

Second was the summer of 2015 (I think that was the year). That summer Nick, Seamus, Sam, Jonathan Lee, and myself were all super consistent and every freaking day at 0600 was a competition. No one wanted to let anyone else win and we were all so much better for it.                                      


Doug and his wife Amanda live in South Arlington with their son Max and fur baby Ziggy. Doug has been mastering his fitness at CrossFit South Arlington since October, 2013. These days you can catch him in the wee hours of the morning working on his flips and tricks.

The Open is around the corner!

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Are you signed up yet?

The CrossFit Games Open is just around the corner and we imagine you have questions. This email has answers.
What is the Open?
It’s a yearly competition, open to all CrossFit athletes all over the world. It’s comprised of 5 workouts over the course of 5 weeks in February and March. Athletes sign up online and enter their scores online, but they perform the workout at their respective gyms. Read more here.

Is CrossFit South Arlington participating?
Yes! Go to and sign-up for an account. During registration, you get to choose the gym you belong to. That’s us!

Can anyone do the Open?
Absolutely! In the Open, there is a Scaled and an Rx’d division.

When is the Open happening exactly?
The first workout (18.1) is going to be announced on on Thursday, Feb 22nd at 8pm EST. All athletes will have until the following Monday at 8pm EST to log their score online. The same cycle (Thursday night announcement, Monday night scores due) repeats for a total of 5 weeks.

When do I do the workout?
At CrossFit South Arlington, our Workout of the Day each Friday will be the Open workout announced the night before. That’s when you do the workout.

Is the class schedule the same?
For the most part. Morning and noon classes will run on the same schedule; evening classes will run every 45 mins starting at 4:30pm.

What’s different about Friday classes during the Open?
When an athlete performs an Open workout, they require a second person to be a judge. The judge ensures that movement standards are met and reps are counted. This means that all of us will need to pair up: one person works out, the second person judges, then we switch. For this, we will use a Heat Sign-Up Sheet available here. Please try to find someone to be your partner and judge, and sign yourselves up before Friday each week.

How do I submit my score?
We will use score cards at the gym. Judges will fill in the number of reps and/or completion time of the workout, along with other pertinent details. You will get a copy, and the gym will get a copy. Then you go to the website and you submit your score there before the following Monday by 8pm EST. The final step is for your score to be validated by CFSA staff. Usually it takes a day or two (i.e. Wednesday) for your score to show up online as validated.

If I’m going to do the WOD in a heat can I still judge?
Absolutely! In fact, we would appreciate it tremendously. If you’re working out in one heat and you’re available to judge in another heat, please add your name as both an athlete and a judge in the Heat Sheet.

If I’m not signed-up for the Open can I judge?
Yep! In fact, that’s how some nervous athletes in the past got their first taste of the Open. The next year, they were athletes and judges.

Can I judge an athlete from another intramural team?
Yep! We trust everyone knows to remain fair whether judging their own teammate or members of another team.

Can I ask to judge or not judge a specific athlete?
Yes. Some veteran judges are requested by athletes too. As long as their isn’t a conflict of interest (ie. judging your partner) we can make it happen. If you’re ever nervous about judging an athlete just let us know and we’ll cover it!

Can I judge more than once?
Absolutely. In fact, we would very much appreciate that! There’s almost always someone looking for a judge and having folks volunteer to judge makes for a much smoother experience for everyone. Thank you!!

What if there is something I’m unsure about in that week’s workout?
No problem. We’ll be going over the rules with each heat’s judges and you can always check-in with any Coach on the floor about your question(s).

What if I can’t make it on Friday, can I make up the workout?
Yes. This year, we will have a special Sunday evening class at 5:30pm. If you miss the Friday workout, you can attend the Sunday evening class. However, this class is not part of your membership and will cost $15 to drop-in. Alternatively, you can buy a 5-class punch card, exclusively for the Open on Sunday nights, for $55. No other times will be available to make up an Open workout. Email open@crossfitsoutharlington for more information.

Can I re-do the Open workouts?
Yes. See our answer to the question above.

What if I’m traveling, can I do the Open workout at another gym?
Yes. First, CrossFit Open etiquette dictates that you email that gym to check with them whether they are running Open workouts and whether they accept drop-ins. If you perform the workout there, you should submit you score online and specify that gym as the location where you performed it, not CFSA. It will be their staff, and not CFSA staff, that will validate your score. No worries, your score will still show up under CFSA in the leaderboard.

And how do we score points for our teams internally at CFSA?
Each week, you contribute:
+1 point towards your team by submitting your score online
+3 points towards your team by placing in the top 3 of your category (Men Rx, Female Rx, Men Scaled, Female Scaled — Masters are combined with Scaled)
+5 points towards your team by helping your team be the loudest, funnest team in the building that week!

I have more questions, where do I ask them?
You can now email us at to ask us about anything Open related. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Programming for the CrossFit South Arlington Athlete (Part 2)

In this second-part of a two-part series, we talk about the main ideas behind CFSA programming year-long and, specifically, for the next few months. You can find Part 1 here.

In the first installment of this 2-part blog series, we discussed some of the history of CrossFit programming and the importance of a strength-bias in any gym’s training plans. So how does CFSA incorporate strength work for its members? Well, the easy answer would be to make sure we have strength work, 5 days a week, year round. But that’s not as sustainable as we’d like.

First, anytime we have strength work on the whiteboard, we end up with less time left over for the metcon*. Having short and fast workouts is great and an essential component of a comprehensive training strategy; but at some point in the year, we also need to target medium and long time-domain workouts in order to build a complete athlete.

Second, around late February, the CrossFit Open comes around. It is an opportunity for thousands of CrossFitters around the world, including us, to test themselves at the sport of fitness. It is an important milestone for any box, especially for gauging the fitness improvements of its members. For those of you who have done the Open, you know that those 5 weekly workouts thrown at us by CrossFit HQ do not involve very heavy weights; instead, they are medium to long range workouts with a bias towards a high volume of repetitions. What does that have to do with strength training? It means that, in the 3-5 months leading up to the Open, we cannot afford to focus solely on strength. Other fitness skills such as stamina, cardiovascular endurance and gymnastics in higher volume (to name a few) become the main target of our efforts.

So we have a need for a strength bias, but we cannot sustain it all year. What’s the solution? It’s simple and you probably have guessed it already: the training year starts out right after the Open with plenty of strength development and continues that way during the summer. In some instances, training might take the shape of a defined cycle (e.g. 3-month long) with progressive loading and a peaking/testing week at the end. In other instances, training might gradually shift into a phase of frequent strength work plusshort metcons, then gradually shift out of it toward the end of summer. The former is what we all saw this past summer: a well defined strength cycle with a performance week.

As we move forward through 2017 and early 2018, what you’ll see is a combination of longer workouts, higher repetitions and increased gymnastics volume. You will still see strength work 2-3 times per week, the purpose of which is maintenance of the gains you made over the last few months. You will also be hit by another day or two of Olympic weightlifting (snatch, clean or jerk.) One technique that allows us to pack more training into the hour is to superset movements, i.e. to alternate between two movements so that we’re working on one muscle group while another rests. Look for supersets in your training during the fall months.

One last thing: CrossFit as a fitness regimen is great at developing General Physical Preparedness (GPP). At any point in time, it makes you ready for anything: you can go for a long hike, carry heavy groceries or help a friend move furniture. This is how we want you to be year-round; always ready for the known, unknown and unknowable in life. For that, we have to keep the stimulus constantly varied, at a high intensity, using functional movements. Even when we’re favoring strength work, we won’t completely give up on the conditioning. Conversely, when we’re going into “Open season”, we won’t give up on the strength work. The CFSA athlete is a complete athlete who is just as capable inside the gym as they are outside of it.

* metcon = the Metabolic Conditioning piece of the daily workout (it typically comes last)

Programming for the CrossFit South Arlington Athlete

In this first-part of a two-part series, we talk about the history of CrossFit programming and the ideas behind planning out programming for a crossfit gym year-round. Next week, we will discuss the main training focus of the next few months at CFSA.

Most of you have just completed our summer strength cycle, crafted by Coach Bobby and designed to develop peak strength and power. You went through progressively more challenging strength work, five days a week, for a good 12 weeks, culminating in the explosive performance week where you got to test out all your new strength gainz (we hope you PR’d!).

This leaves you wondering, what’s next? Is the strength work going to end? Are you going to lose out on your hard earned contractile potential? Will all workouts going forward be just jumping jacks and mountain climbers led by coach Spandy? The prospects are terrifying. In this post, we hope to clarify what comes next as well as how we got here in the first place.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Back in the Paleolithic age, Man used dumbbells made of chiseled stone to do Push Presses and Snatches. Just kidding, we’re not going back that far. We’ll just rewind time back to the mid-2000s. Bear with us, it’ll make sense in a second. Back in 2005, only 13 CrossFit affiliates existed worldwide. All programming happened on, everyone used it, everyone called it the “main site”. This main site followed the original pure CrossFit formula “constantly varied, functional movement, executed at a high intensity”. It evenly targeted all 10 general fitness skills: Strength, Speed, Power, Endurance, Stamina, Agility, Balance, Coordination, Flexibility, Accuracy. One day you would see Fran posted as the WOD, the next day would be a Deadlift 1RM and the following day would be a 10K row. It was 3 days on, 1 off, with not much more design beyond that. No cycles, no training focus, not even for a few days. Everyone thought it was the sh*t.

(Actually, the main site still follows the same formula to this day and it is adhered to by thousands of athletes. Don’t let this blog post fool you, the programming there is still a gem and one could be a successful crossfitter for a very long time just following the main site workouts. Check it out.)

Fast forward a few years to the late 2000’s. By now, a few dozen or hundred gyms exist, several of which have been experimenting with their own programming for a while now. One thing seems to become clear to many: strength matters. It doesn’t just matter like all the other 9 fitness skills matter, it matters quite a bit more. Why is that? Two reasons: First, strength has numerous benefits: increased force production (obviously), weight loss, bone density, cardiovascular health, injury prevention, combating aging, diabetes, you name it. Strength also supports almost all other movements in crossfit: Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, running. Yes, even running. Mark Rippetoe once famously quipped: “Stronger people are harder to kill … and more useful in general”. What better reason do you need to be strong?

The second reason for investing in more strength training is simpler: building strength takes time. Weeks and months of blood, sweat and tears. It needs so much time, in fact, that you probably need to find a way to incorporate it throughout your entire year of programming as a CrossFit box. Because, if you ignore it for a while, you’ll need a long time to build it back up. We hear you asking: isn’t that the case for all the other “domains” of training? Actually, not really. Strength endurance, cardiovascular endurance, stamina, volume gymnastics, all of these can deteriorate quickly but can be re-built fairly quickly. Don’t believe us? Skip working out for 3 weeks, then come back and do 3 rounds of 400m runs, 20 thrusters and 15 pull-ups. Let us know how it goes. In the meantime, however, we would bet you your deadlift will not get weaker. Actually, you might unexpectedly PR on your first day back! Lost your wind and need to get it back? Give us 4-6 weeks of CrossFit couplets and triplets in the 5-15 min range and we’ll get you all sorted out.

The point is: a CrossFit gym’s programming needs to prioritize strength. How do you do so? We’ll talk about that in next week’s post. Stay tuned!