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The Glassman Chipper by Mike Warkentin - CrossFit Journal

The Glassman Chipper

By Mike Warkentin

In Classic, CrossFit, Workouts

May 23, 2016

PDF Article

When a pegboard showed up in Event 12 of the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games, a lot of people were shocked.

That’s a weird reaction by any follower of a sport in which competitors sign up to face the “unknown and unknowable,” but it’s even weirder when you consider CrossFit’s Founder and CEO wrote about pegboards back in 2002.

In the second issue of the CrossFit Journal, Greg Glassman listed and sourced all the equipment a person would need to turn a garage into a “world-class strength and conditioning facility.” The article, “The Garage Gym,” has been sitting in our archives since September 2002, and it’s the third-most-popular of our 4,000 pieces of content. Only the “Level 1 Training Guide” and “What Is Fitness?” outrank it.

Be that as it may, a great many people missed this section of “The Garage Gym”: “Pegboards can be used to develop great back and arm strength. ... Again, we’ve plans to install pegboards on our walls soon. This is our favorite alternative to the climbing rope.”


Other early CrossFit Journal topics have influenced Games or regional events: single-speed bikes, two-person lifting, handstand walking and swimming, for example. The recent announcement of strict muscle-ups at regionals? Glassman didn’t mention kipping once in “The Muscle-Up” in 2002. He was clearly detailing the strict movement.

And then there’s “World-Class Fitness in 100 Words”—published October 2002 as part of “What Is Fitness?”—in which Glassman advised athletes to “regularly learn and play new sports.”

I have trouble thinking of many sports that don’t involve swinging an implement or throwing something, and yet people were surprised by stake drives, sledgehammer events and ball throws at the CrossFit Games.

All this is to say the CrossFit Journal archives are rich with knowledge, but a lot of people are missing out on it.


From a historical perspective, Glassman’s early articles signaled a new era of fitness, just the way the first Nautilus machines changed the fitness industry in the early ’70s, though many would rightly contend those machines were a step in the wrong direction.

Glassman wrote about topics all but banished by traditional fitness publications that were only too eager to obsess over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps yet again. By shedding new light on the disciplines of gymnastics, kettlebells, powerlifting, Olympic lifting and more—all combined in the CrossFit program—Glassman bent the fitness industry away from selectorized machines and aerobics one PDF at a time. For proof of his success, you need only look at the current widespread availability of all the once-rare equipment Glassman listed in “The Garage Gym.”

Beyond that, Glassman’s articles have stood up to scrutiny over the years: They contain the first true definition of fitness, they explain exactly why and how the CrossFit program works, and they detail everything you need to know in order to become very fit. Taken together, they’re like finding the formula for gunpowder.

Some of these seminal pieces are part of the “CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide” and are seen regularly, but many remain more obscure than they should be. We’re well aware that the Journal’s search engine isn’t ideal, and a lot of gems are hidden many clicks away from our landing page, so it’s high time we brought Glassman’s writing to the forefront again.

To make things very CrossFit, your next workout is a chipper for time, and it will challenge your mind. Glassman did, after all, say this: “The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.” Below, we’ve collected Glassman’s earliest CrossFit Journal writings from April 2002 to March 2004—38 articles published over two years. Your challenge is to read or reread them all in order.

Attention spans are short, and it’s far easier to get click-baited into a rabbit hole of top 10s and celebrity gossip, with ample distractions provided by text messages, Facebook notifications and Snapchats. Some will definitely ask “why bother?” before hitting Instagram to double-tap hearts onto a sea of slow-motion snatch videos.

I’ll answer that question with another: Why do you do Fran, Grace and Helen?

CrossFit Journal Glassman Chipper

For time, read all articles listed below from start to finish in order:

“Foundations,” published April 2002.

“The Garage Gym,” published September 2002.

“What Is Fitness?” published October 2002.

“Strategies for a 7 Minute 2K on the Concept II Rower,” published November 2002.

“The Muscle-Up,” published November 2002.

“Glycemic Index,” published November 2002.

“Squat Clinic,” published December 2002.

“Ergometer Scores and Hall of Fame Workouts,” published December 2002.

“Fast Food,” published December 2002.

“A Postural Error—A Costly Biomechanical Fault: Muted Hip Function (MHF),” published January 2003.

“The Overhead Lifts,” published January 2003.

“Interview: Coach Greg Glassman,” published January 2003.

“The Odd Lifts,” published January 2003.

“Hooverball,” published February 2003.

“Theoretical Template for CrossFit’s Programming,” published February 2003.

“Seniors and Kids,” published February 2003.

“The Push-Up,” published March 2003.

“Police Training,” published March 2003.

“A Better Warm-Up,” published April 2003.

“How Fit Are You?” published April 2003.

“The Pull-Up,” published April 2003.

“Two Training Aids,” published May 2003.

“Three Important Ab Exercises,” published May 2003.

“Beginners’ Workout,” published May 2003.

“Metabolic Conditioning Glossary,” published June 2003.

“Interval Generator,” published June 2003.

“Metabolic Conditioning,” published June 2003.

“The Clean,” published July 2003.

“Anatomy and Physiology for Jocks,” published August 2003.

“The Deadlift,” published August 2003.

“Functionality and Wall Ball,” published August 2003.

“Benchmark Workouts,” published September 2003.

“Really Cool Homemade Parallettes,” published September 2003.

“Team Workouts,” published October 2003.

“Nutrition: Avoiding Metabolic Derangement,” published November 2003.

“Handstands,” published January 2004.

“Macroclimbing,” published February 2004.

“What Is CrossFit?” published March 2004.

Post time to comments.

About the Author: Mike Warkentin is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204.

All photos: Mike Warkentin/CrossFit Journal

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6 Comments on “The Glassman Chipper”


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

This is awesome Mike. Here are my thoughts on the 2002 articles (basketball game is on now, I'll get to the rest over the next few days).

2k row – this is a great article and seems like early stirrings of CrossFit Endurance. I am coaching track right now and we use the interval protocol a lot – as well as the time priority. That makes things easier to manage with a large group

Muscle-up – man this one takes me back. I was in 6th grade when this came out (without the slightest clue what CrossFit was), but I remember my early days of CrossFit when rings were really rare. There was no Rogue and there was still the Muscle-up Club on the main site. It’s cool that we take movements like the muscle-up for granted now; that just means that CrossFit raised the standard.

Glycemic Index – we coach mostly high school and college kids at our gym, and I probably need to print out the Good vs. Bad Glycemic Index list. I don’t emphasize nutrition a lot, and I should probably fix that.

Squat Clinic – there a few things in this article that I think are a little outdated (for us at least). I believe in what Kelly Starrett says about missing range of motion as a major cause for a bad squat. But more than that is poor motor control (which the article addresses). For us, we prioritize the movement pattern and positions over range of motion and torso height. But still, great stuff in the first page as usual.

Erg scores and HOF WODs – I’ll admit I’ve never read this one. Unfortunately a lot of the links are 404 error. But it’s cool to see FGB and Jackie being brought up early on. Also, I really wish I could afford more rowers for the gym. they are truly punishing.

Fast Food – one of my favorite articles. I use this idea a lot and try to share this with the kids I coach. The deli choice is definitely a go-to. Although, nothing like a good ol’ cheat meal at the Golden Arches. It should be noted that Pat Sherwood really helped me visualize this through the Zone Chronicles where he made the best of some of the situations he was in.


Dale Saran wrote …

The problem is I didn't time myself the first time through. Damn. Now I have no comparison. :-/
Even though I've done this chipper, it's surprising how much you forget of what you've read. Even stuff you want to remember.

To wit: I was talking to Coach about training while injured one day. I was nicked up from jiu jitsu but wanted to keep working out. I was saying something dumb and he gently pointed out he'd written about the topic quite some time ago. ("Working Wounded" - CFJ #33, May 2005).

I don't want to complain about "these new kids" in CF - in large part because I suspect a lot of the Old Dogs are just as guilty - but everyone would benefit from a steady diet through the wayback machine of the canon of CF, Inc. It's all in those early CFJ articles and I'm old enough to have paid good money ($25 per annum!! lol) for my monthly download. (It used to be once a month and we would all wait for publication day to get all of that month's articles and then print them out on the work printer in full color and clip them into a binder for savoring over the course of a month.)

I'm taking the challenge, my Canadian Brother. Thanks. This is long overdue.



wrote …

I've just finished studying most of these getting ready to take the Level 3 exam, but a few of the articles listed aren't in those materials. So I will start with those I haven't read--but then I'm going to read them all again anyway. There are so many gems in the Journal to help us improve as athletes and coaches. -- My all time favorite, for coaches, isn't specifically listed (although it is a part of the Level 1 Training Guide). It is Glassman's "Fundamentals, Virtuosity, and Mastery: An Open Letter to CrossFit Trainers" from the August 2005 issue. It is not only applicable to our coaching, but everything we do in life. Every coach ought to print it out, laminate it, and tape it to their desk or wall. Paint the word Virtuosity on your affiliate walls right next to "World Class Fitness in 100 Words." -- I don't have any tatoos yet, but am thinking a symbol for "virtuosity" may go on my shoulder someday.

--Steven Wingo, CF-L3 Trainer


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

My thoughts on January-Febuary 2003

MHF – “we tell our best athletes that it will typically take three to five years to fully develop the hip’s explosive capacity where there are no sign of MHF postures or tendencies.” A great reminder that we are training for the long haul. These things take time. However, lately I have been wondering about the role of our hips on training – especially full hip extension. Topic for another discussion I guess. It should also be noted that the “good” picture was always in my head every time I did a push press and was the biggest thing I got corrected on during my first Level-1. They demanded I be more upright. Always a little confusing.

Overhead lifts – another good article I missed. I love the talk about core-to-extremity. Also, this sounds like the precursor to Coach’s classic video, “What About Abs?”

Interview – this is absolute art. I personally like the segment on one workout per day the most. When done right, one short workout leaves the tank empty, but also doesn’t destroy you for the next day. If your sport is CrossFit, and requires multiple workouts per day, some exception can be made. But I believe less is more. And I can really relate to the quote about juggling sports training and CrossFit. that’s every day that I’m coaching. It’s just constant discussion with your athletes. Take advantage of good days and be productive on bad days.

Odd lifts – funny story: GHD bench presses came up in either late 2012 or early 2013 on the main site. They were only 45-lbs. so when the kid I was training saw this, we both said we’d scale up to at least 135 and then take it from there. Welp… we did one rep with an empty bar and scaled… down to a 15-lb. bar. That movement is brutal.

Hooverball – we tried Hooverball once as a group. I think we messed up the rules. We need to try again.

Theoretical Template – I have been trying to figure out how to do a 3-on-1-off schedule for our gym for the past few years. I think I am going to just go for it for the next few weeks and see how it goes. I also have this article saved just in case something happens to the main site workout archives.

Seniors and Kids – a weight is too much if it cannot be performed with near perfect technique. well-said.


wrote …

Todo o material publicado no CrossFit Journal é de fundamental importância. O material produzido por Greg Glassman é de importância ainda maior. Porém, com o número crescente de Affiliates em outros países, poderia haver uma agilidade maior em se publicar o conteúdo em outros idiomas. No caso do Brasil o número de novas Affiliates é cada vez maior e nem todos tem tempo hábil para ser treinador, treinar e aprender um novo idioma e os tradutores virtuais na web não ajudam muito. Há muito interesse em absorver todo o conhecimento de Greg mas deve haver também uma maior consideração da equipe do CrossFit Journal para estes casos. De qualquer forma muito obrigado por facilitarem reunindo tantas publicações de Greg em uma só postagem!

Que Deus os abençoe!

Eloy Gomes Martins
Head Coach
CrossFit Guarapari

Google Translate:

All material published in CrossFit Journal is of fundamental importance. The material produced by Greg Glassman is of even greater importance. However, with the increasing number of Affiliates in other countries, there could be greater flexibility in publishing content in other languages. In Brazil the number of new Affiliates is increasing and not everyone has time for coaching, training and learn a new language and virtual translators on the web do not help much. There is much interest in absorbing all the knowledge of Greg but should also be a greater consideration of the CrossFit Journal staff for these cases. Either way thank you for facilitating gathering many Greg publications in one post!

God bless you!

Eloy Gomes Martins
Head Coach
CrossFit Guarapari


wrote …

25 days, 14 hours (rounded up for ease). Now onto Chipper #2 and CCFT Study Materials

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