Ring Muscle-Ups || Coach Mark Grande


The Ring Muscle-Up

Today’s blog post is all about the ever elusive muscle-up.  A muscle-up is an ADVANCED complex movement that requires technicality, stability, and patience.  First, I feel it is necessary for you to know yourself as an athlete. For example, the CFA coaching staff and I recommend that an athlete should be able to perform strict ring dips and chest-to-bar pull-ups prior to attempting ring muscle-ups. However, if you don’t have ring dips or C2B pull-ups that doesn’t mean you can’t practice the subtleties of the movement.  In fact, it would be very beneficial for a beginner or novice to practice muscle-up progressions to avoid creating bad movement patterns and reinforce neuro motor control (coordination, agility, balance).  I see far too often athletes attempting to “pull” themselves through the rings or excessively swing…which leads me to my do’s & don’ts


Reinforce proper movement mechanics in all facets of the muscle-up.

  • If you feel “off” don’t keep practicing the movement because bad motor/movement patterns will keep you from efficiently executing the muscle-up
  • Perform correct progressions several times a week to create good movement habits
  • Try different types of the muscle-ups (strict, kipping, false-grip, non-false grip).  You may find that one technique works better for you or helps create better movement quality.
  • Hip, Hips, Hips! Don’t pull yourself through the movement.





Create tension in the swing/kip

(Above)This is the ideal position for creating tension in the swing, allows increased upward momentum via the hips.  Do not let the lower back hyperextend or knees flex too much.

(Below)  NO!  This position represents lack of tension in the core, and will cause the athlete to swing via the legs thus neglecting or inhibiting the maximal upward movement of the hips.



  • Success in the MU is highly dependent on a smooth transition into the dip position.
  • The sit-up/pike phase of the transition occurs prior to ever reaching the rings which will prevent one from “pulling” through.
  • Cues to think about: head over and through, violent sit-up



  • Break or lose tension in your core and posterior chain
  • Kick with the legs
  • Pull yourself through the rings
  • Practice when fatigued
  • Practice improper movement techniques/patterns


In all of its complexity, the ring muscle-up can be broken down into simpler movements that can allow any athlete to progress towards achieving their first muscle-up or stringing 10 in-a-row efficiently.  I will never forget the feeling a pure excitement the first time I got a ring MU, as I screamed and hollered for 10 seconds at the top of the rings!  I want nothing more than to see some of you all get your first MU and experience the jubilation.  If achieving a MU is a goal of yours, I strongly encourage the CFA community/athletes to get with a coach 1-on1 and attack the mechanics of the MU, as it will undoubtedly improve your performance.


Stay Strong and CFA On!

-Coach Mark

Upcoming Base Training Phase


Hopefully everyone is having a nice relaxing Sunday laying on the coaching and watching the Masters! First off congrats to everyone for a great showing during test week, not only was there quite a few PRs, but just an overall great vibe in the gym.  Now that we’ve successfully completed test week I’m here to give you some insight on what to expect the next 3 weeks. 

Once again a quick review on how we run our training cycles:

Week 1: Test Week
Week 2-7: Training
Week 8: Retest Week
Week’s 9 & 10: Transition weeks

Tomorrow we start our training period which we’ll break into to two phases:

3 week Base Phase
3 week Peak Phase

In the base phase my goals are:

  • Increase proficiency in Olympic lifts
  • Improve overall strength
  • Improve isometric and eccentric control in gymnastic movements

Our Schedule will breakdown in the following way

Monday – Olympic Lifting, lower body strength, and shorter heavier conditioning work

Tuesday – Gymnastics, upper body strength, and moderate weight length conditioning

Wednesday – Olympic Lifting, lower body strength, and posterior chain work

Thursday – Gymnastics, upper body strength, and moderate weight length conditioning

Friday – Lighter weight longer conditioning work

Saturday – Team Workouts, and muscle up skill work

My schedule recommendation is plan to train Monday through Thursday and pick either Friday or Saturday as a rest day. This schedule will allow for balanced development, and give you the full scope of the program.

Finally during the base phase our priority will be on becoming more proficient in movements and physical qualities. My challenge to all our athletes is to commit yourselves to moving well and to be precise in the skills that we are trying to develop. Prioritize your efficiency of movement over the weight on the bar or time on the clock. We’ll have plenty of time to compete during our peak phase and retest week.

Meal Prep || Coach Ben Wells

Hello All,

Preparing meals for the week is the most frequent issue I hear from athletes when it comes to eating healthy and nutrient dense meals. With that being said, I hope I can provide some helpful tips I have picked up along the way in order to save you time, money, and in the end achieve your fitness goals.

First, you must take the time to do some recon. Google is your best friend so utilize it. Typing “Paleo Recipes” or “Paleo Cookbooks” will provide you countless recipes that are bound to suit any palate. Allow yourself anywhere from 30-60 minutes in your weekend to figure out your meal plans for the following week.

In order to determine what I have time to make I make a mental checklist:

How busy is this week going to be?
Do I have anytime to cook a healthy meal during the week?
Is there variety and color (in vegetable form) in all my dishes?
Is there enough protein and starch?
What is locally in season?
Which do I buy bulk?

When you plan meals in the beginning, start off small, not extravagant so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Also, the fewer “appliances” needed to make your dishes come together the better!

With the following recipe, once prepped, you just get your portion in the morning, heat it up & go!

Breakfast Casserole of Champions

This is the kitchen sink of breakfast dishes. Anything you have left in the refrigerator can be thrown in. Obviously adjusting the size is completely up to you. I eat all of this within 5 days. With my workout and general work schedule throughout the week I need larger portions in order to keep me fueled throughout the day. Preparation is roughly 15 minutes, but could be shortened with the purchase of pre-cut veggies. If you are interested in investing in a huge time saver get yourself a Salad Shooter, especially for sweet potatoes.


24 Eggs
2 Green Bell Peppers
2 Tomatoes
1 Large Onion
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1 Serrano Pepper (optional)
1 pound Pork Sausage
1 Sweet Potato (if more complex carbohydrates are needed)


1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Add sausage to pan on medium heat. While meat is cooking, chop all veggies and sweet potatoes. Beat eggs in large bowl with salt & pepper for taste.
3. Combine all ingredients (meat included) and mix together.
4. Grease 13×9 glass dish and pour egg mixture in.
5. Cook for 60-70 minutes or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out “clean” not runny. The middle takes longer to cook so be patient.
6. Let sit for 10 minutes before eating or allow to cool completely for 2-3 hours and portion out breakfast for the rest of your week.

Fresh salsa or Cholula really brings this dish to the next level.

You are welcome for the extra sleep time you are now able to get since your breakfast is already done!

-Coach Ben

CFA Welcomes New Coach || Nole Steketee

noleFrom CFA Management:
CrossFit Austin is proud to introduce the newest member of our Coaching Staff, Nole Steketee.  We originally brought Nole on as a Coach for CrossFit Valor back in the days of our dual ownership and now we are thrilled to have him joining the CFA Team down South! Many of you already know Nole from watching him sweat it out with our Competition Team. Nole joins our team with years of professional and athletic experience! We’ll let him tell you more about himself… but we’re excited to add another seasoned and experienced coach at CrossFit Austin!  Be sure to welcome Nole to the community next time you see him!

About Nole: Nole graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and holds his CrossFit Level 1 Training certificate.  He started CrossFitting in 2011 and has been coaching for a little less than 3 years. When Nole isn’t coaching or sweating with CFA’s Competitive Team you can probably find him Paddleboarding Town Lake, or enjoying an afternoon on the golf course.  During the daytime Nole also works as a Software developer, creating Android apps for concert festivals and events all over the country.

A message from Nole: “I stumbled upon Crossfit while searching for an alternative to long grueling Triathlon training sessions.  The constant variation in the workouts was exactly what I was looking for.  I believe that the greatest aspect of Crossfit is the fact that it is not only training for our body, but also training for our mind, developing the belief that we can overcome any obstacles we may face in our everyday lives.  The thing I love most about coaching Crossfit is gettting to witness the way a simple thing like working out can have such a dramatic effect on someone’s self esteem and confidence, and getting to feel like I was a part of the process.”

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” -Bruce Lee

Contact Nole: nole@crossfitaustin.com

Spring Cleaning Competition – Benefiting Gingercare

shortspringcleaning{Register Here}

Spring Cleaning
Clean and Tire Flip Contest
Hosted by CrossFit Austin
Benefiting GingerCare

Spring Cleaning will feature two individual events.
1. 1 rep max Clean
2. Max tire flips in 1:00.

Each athlete will be scored and ranked in each workout according to total weight lifted, Sinclair Formula (weight lifted relative to body weight),  and total tire flips completed. The athlete’s with the lowest overall rankings in their respective divisions will be declared Champion!

May 9th, 2015
9 AM – Noon

CrossFit Austin
8708 S. Congress Ste. C300
Austin, TX

30 Male Spots Available [20 Rx, 10 Scaled] 30 Female Spots Available [20 Rx, 10 Scaled]

We will also be offering a Mens and Womens scaled division with lighter tire flip weights.

[Entry Fee]
$60 – A portion of the proceeds will be donated to GingerCare. We will also be accepting free will donations for GingerCare online and at the event

[About GingerCare]
GingerCare specializes in matching homeless pets with the elderly in a mutually beneficial relationship that allows for stimulation and companionship amongst both, all while providing the necessary medical care for the pet. This is to include regular visits by a veterinarian or technician whom helps to assist and educate the client in caring for their pet. When the client can no longer properly care for the animal, GingerCare aids in the intake process in order to prepare the pet for a new home.

{Register Here}

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled programming!

Happy Friday CFA! I’m here to post a quick note about our upcoming programming. We are now officially one week post open so we will begin our new training cycle on Monday (yay!).

Below you’ll find our tests for the coming week, and I’ve also included some specific scaling guidelines. We will also have a “Team Test” this cycle so find yourself a group of 3-4 people to take on Saturday’s test with you (its an old school doozie). Just a quick refresher on how our training cycles run:

10 Weeks Total

Week 1: Test Week
Week 2-7: Training
Week 8: Retest Week
Week’s 9 & 10: Transition weeks

Test Week

Monday 4.6
Test Day 1

A.1 RM Squat Clean
*Weight Recorded

B. 3 Rounds
5 Muscle-ups
10 Power Clean to OVHD @ 135 / 95
50 Double Unders
*15:00 Time Cap
*Time or reps recorded

 **Scaled Version**

3 Rounds
5 CTB Pull-ups (jumping, banded, kip or strict choose the option that is most challenging but can be completed MUST BE CHEST TO BAR)
10 Power Clean to OVHD (Choose a weight you can complete in 1-2 sets / round)
50 Double Unders or 75 DU & Singles combo or 100 Singles

Tuesday 4.7

Active Recovery Day

A. E202
BB Step-ups x8/leg x 5  @ 45/35

B. Floor Press x4-6×4 Rest :90

C. 3 Rounds
:30 Hollow Hold
:30 Plank Hold
:30 Farmer Hold
:30 Rest

Wednesday 4.8

Test Day 2

A. 3 RM Deadlift
*weight recorded

B. 10-1
Wall Balls 20/14
Power Snatch @ 75 / 55
*Time recorded

**Scaled Version**

B. 10-1
Wall Balls (Choose a weight you can do 10 consecutive UB Wall Balls with)
Power Snatch (Choose a weight you do 6-7 Consecutive UB reps with)
*Time recorded

Thursday 4.9

Active Recovery Day

A. 5 Rounds for Quality
5 Goblet Squats
5 Hollow Rock
2 TGU / Side

B. 20:00 For Quality
600 M Row
400 M Run
20 Russian KBS @ 24/20

Friday 4.10

Active Recovery Day

A. Hip Power Snatch + Hang Power Snatch x2+1×5 by fee

B. 4 Rounds for quality
6 Front Squats @ 135/95
8 Push-ups
100 M Sled Drag

Saturday 4.11

Test Day 3 – Team Test

20 Calorie Row
30 Burpees
30 Two-arm DB GTO @ 45/35lb
30 TTB
100 FT Walking Lunge @  45 / 25 lb plate

*Complete Congo Style, each teammate jumps onto the rower as soon as the teammate in front of them is off and must wait for the teammate in front of them to complete the next movement before they can move on.

**Scaled Version**

20 Calorie Row
30 Burpees (Scale to no push-up burpees)
30 Two-arm DB GTO (use a weight you can complete in 4-5 sets)
30 TTB (Complete on Rings or Complete 30 abmat sit-ups)
100 FT Walking Lunge (use a weight that you can keep extended over your head throughout the 100 FT)
*Complete Congo Style  Teammate jumping onto the rower as soon as the teammate in front of them is off.

Lastly just a quick note on all the goblet squats, russian swings, hollow rocks, and pushups you’ve been seeing. This is intended to improve our fundamental movement patterns (squatting, hinging, pushing, & bracing) the goal is to do these perfectly and with a great sense of purpose. Just like you have to practice dribbling in basketball, and putting golf you must practice the fundamental elements of CrossFit. It’s important not to just “do” these things, but try for perfect movement quality. Were playing the long game here folks, the better you move in fundamental movement patterns the more efficient you will be, the quicker you’ll pick up more complex movements, and the less likely you are to injure yourself in the gym.

Enjoy this next training cycle, and remember “If you don’t grind, you don’t eat.”

-Coach Wes

The Power of Community || Coach Erica Cuellar

The Power of Community

As the 2015 Open comes to an end, I can’t help but sit back and think of how wonderful our community is and what makes it so special. This year, I had the opportunity to sit back and observe the Open and what I witnessed was quite impressive and an honor to see. I saw our athletes stepping out of their comfort zone, grinding it out, and leaving everything they had on the workout floor all while their counterparts stood there, cheered them on and pushed them to work harder. This made me realize how lucky we are to have built the community we have.

In all honestly, when asked what’s my favorite part of CrossFit, the first thing that comes to mind is the community. I have experienced the last four years of my CrossFit journey with some amazing individuals, both members and coaching staff, and I suspect my experience wouldn’t be as great without them. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, and I’ll bet that the majority of you will say exactly the same thing. There’s just something really special about our box!!


When I think of our CFA community and what it means to me, the only thing that comes to mind is FAMILY. I truly feel that we share a bond with one another that is impossible to describe.


  • We all walked in terrified the first time we stepped foot into the gym.
  • We walked out feeling accomplished and stronger.
  • We embrace the suck together.
  • We celebrate each other’s successes and victories.
  • We have a built-in support system.
  • We have a mutual respect for everyone.
  • We are committed.
  • We are dedicated.
  • We are FAMILY!!


It’s all these wonderful things that make us unique. We happen to be an amazing group of everyday people, all fighting to achieve different goals such as getting healthier, getting stronger or just staying physically active. And, no matter what your goals are or if you are a competitive athlete or a beginner, at the end of the day we all come in to work our assess off as a family. Don’t forget to do the small things that make us special – work hard, have fun, greet and cheer on everyone in your class by name and give a high-five or fist bump to everyone at the end of class -saying job well done.  Remember, it is you guys, the CFA members, that make this place special.  Keep fighting! Keep focused! Keep being you! Keep the Circle of Awesomeness AWESOME!


Coach Erica

Hellos and Goodbyes {but only for a while}

As you know, our General Manager and all around badass babe, Adrienne, welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world this weekend {Hello Hudson Raye Davis}! After all her amazing work, she’ll be taking some well deserved time away from the gym to get acquainted with the new addition to the family. We will see her & baby Hudson again soon, but we wanted to take a moment introduce you to the “go-to” team while she is away.
  • Genevieve’s schedule is shifting a bit. Look forward to seeing her in the early AM! (6:30 – 3:30 or 7:00 – 4:00 mostly) She will be managing the gym throughout the day so consider her your go-to gal for the most part.
  • Coach Wes is back into coaching Group Classes regularly (HELLO fist pumping, jump-around warm-ups!) and will be balancing managing the gym from San Antonio and Austin throughout the week. Consider him your go-to if Genevieve isn’t around however, Genevieve will be your first call to action.
  • Coaches Tim Garland and Leigh LeGare are stepping into admin/leadership/mgmt roles for the evening throughout the week! Tim will be your go-to guy Wednesday, Thursday and Friday either evenings or midday. Leigh will be Mondays and Fridays in the evenings.


We are also welcoming a not-so-new face to the coaching team! Many of you know him already from our Competitor’s group. We brought him on as a Coach for CrossFit Valor back in the days of our dual ownership and we are thrilled to welcome Coach Nole Steketee to the team down south! Look forward to seeing Nole around in the evenings! Bio coming soon. 

Congratulations Adrienne & Aaron!

We are so excited to announce that baby Hudson is here! Hudson Raye Davis arrived at 12:45 am | Sunday, March 29 | 7lbs. 1oz. | 21 inches long | FULL head of dark hair! Mama Adrienne and Daddy Aaron are both doing great and everyone is home and loving getting to know the little Wildflower {Sully too}! Congratulations and we are so excited to meet the newest addition to the CrossFit Austin Family!

hud (2)aaron   

Logistics for 15.5


Not much by way of logistics this week folks. Just like last week(s).

  1. Sign up for class
  2. Show up on time or early
  3. We will run 2-3 groups depending on how many folks sign up for each class.
  4. We will warm-up as a group in class
  5. Don’t forget we will be cooking burgers afterward and playing 3 on 3 basketball! {Details}


Finally I’d I just want everyone to know that I’m incredibly proud of you for attacking the Open this year. There have been many firsts and so many of you have taken a step outside your comfort zone achieving things you never thought possible. So be proud of all that’s been accomplished these last 5 weeks, and celebrate those accomplishments!

Above all else, constant and relentless effort moves us forward and I’ve seen so much of that effort these last 5 weeks. Thanks to all of you for inspiring and pushing me and everyone around you to be better!

Yay Thrusters!

– Coach Wes