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Work Out Of The Day

Tuesday • May 31, 2016
Warm Up
Coaches Choice
A: Every 3 minutes, for 15 minutes (5 sets): Seated Shoulder Press x 6-8 reps @ 2111
B: Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of: 10 Strict Handstand Push-Ups 10 Strict Pull-Ups 20 Russian Kettlebell Swings 24/16
Post Workout

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Tips for Open WOD 15.2

Posted on:March 6th, 2015    |    By:

Nicole Carroll’s Tips for 15.2
First, a good general warm-up with some extra focus on the shoulders, thoracic spine and hips will be in order here. Next, wearing a lifting shoe can help you eek out a little more mobility and stability in the overhead squat. Tape or gloves might help with tearing from the high-rep pull-ups.
Overall strategy:
If you did this last year, you know the deal so simply set your goal to do better this year—even if just by 1 rep!
You have 3 minutes to complete the work for each set, so you do not need to blow it out in the beginning. From what we saw last year, the key to going far in this workout is how one breaks up the pull-ups. We saw athletes like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet—arguably one of the strongest pull-up athletes in CrossFit—do the workout twice, and doing much better breaking up the chest-to-bar pull-up. She set the best worldwide score for 14.2 with 404 reps using a pull-up pacing strategy from round 1. Sounds like a good plan!
The overhead squat will eat up more time and energy to break up than the pull-ups because you will have to snatch it back up each time. Try to keep the overhead squats to single sets.
Overall, balance breaking up your sets as needed with moving quickly enough to get a little rest before the 3-minute mark. This will serve you well for recovery, as well as mentally. Plus, you will not be able to do it later on!
Overhead squats:
Shoulders will get taxed in this workout! If your flexibility allows, a slightly narrower grip and wider stance—to keep the chest more upright—can help take some strain off them. If these are relatively light for you, try to move through them quickly so the shoulders aren’t loaded longer than absolutely necessary. If these are heavier for you or you have flexibility issues, settle yourself in your first rep or two, then just try to move steadily. No matter your capacity, press up and keep the armpits forward, allowing the bar to stay overhead.
Chest-to-bar pull-ups:
Again, it is probably very smart to break these up from the beginning. Save the big pushes for the later rounds when you need to string them together more quickly to stay in the game. If you get to a point where you are breaking them up into singles, try to cycle them quickly—get one, drop off and hop right back up for another. Some technical help: Lean back slightly and pull the elbows back and your chest to the bar. Don’t pull too high! The rules state that you need to touch the bar just below the clavicle. You do not get bonus points for making contact with the bar any lower, so save the energy and strength; you will need it in the later rounds.
Finally: Remember, you are ready! All there is to do is bring your best effort to the table, support the best efforts of the people around you and have fun!
Good luck!

5 Reasons Why Deadlifts Are Killing Your Lower Back

Posted on:April 29th, 2014    |    By:

The Deadlift is with the Squat the most important exercise you could ever do because it works all your muscles with heavy weights. Unfortunately, Deadlifts have a reputation of being a lower back killer: many guys experience pain when Deadlifting, can’t add weight, and never reap all the benefits as a result.

But like with all exercises, if you get pain on Deadlifts it almost always means you’re doing something wrong. Here are the 5 most common reasons why the Deadlift could be killing your lower back right now, and what to do about it.

1. You’re Pulling Instead of Pushing. Deadlifts are technically a pull exercise, but you should think of it as a push. Here’s why: Deadlifting by pulling back – without engaging your posterior chain (hips/glutes) – stresses your lower back more. It’s also inefficient because you’re using less muscles to lift the weight.

So instead of Deadlifting by extending your legs first and then trying to lockout the weight by pulling it back, focus on extending your hips on the way up.

Start the Deadlift by pushing through your heels
Push your hips forward once the bar reaches knee level
Finish the lift by squeezing your glutes as hard as you can

2. Your Hips Are Too High. You can’t use your legs if you start the Deadlift with your hips high (like on Stiff-Leg Deadlifts). One, this is less effective for maximum strength. Two, you’ll stress your lower back more because it will have to do all the work. Your hips must be lower in order to Deadlift using your legs muscles.

For a guy with long thighs/short torso like me, the hips will be higher than for someone with short thighs/long torso. So it doesn’t make sense to try to copy the form of someone with a different bodytype. Better is to focus on the starting position which will always be the same regardless of the length of your limbs.

Bar above the center of your feet
Shoulder-blades directly over the bar
Bar against your shins (wear long pants)

3. You’re Rounding Your Lower Back. Everybody knows that lifting a barbell (or any other object) with your lower back rounded stresses your spine. Unless you want to suffer a hernia, you really need to Deadlift with your back straight.

Note that Deadlifting with a round UPPER-back is safe, and that many advanced lifters do this in order to Deadlift heavier weights. But since most guys won’t be able to keep their lower back straight when pulling this way, I recommend you to keep your whole upper-back neutral when Deadlifting. Here’s how:

Lift Your Chest – your upper-back can’t round if you keep your chest up. Nor can your lower back round if your upper-back stays neutral. So make a big chest at the start of each pull, and keep it so during the lift.
Keep Your Shoulders Back – do NOT squeeze your shoulder-blades together like on the Squat as this would raise the bar and make the lift harder. Just keep your shoulders back & down and your chest up.
Improve Hip Mobility – short hamstrings from excess sitting can pull on your pelvis, and make your lower back round. Start by doing 2×8 of Squat-2-stands as part of your Deadlift and Squat warm-ups.

4. You’re Hyperextending Your Lower Back. Exaggerating the lockout by leaning back is as bad for your spine as Deadlifting with a round lower back. Your lower spine doesn’t like extreme arching nor rounding, especially not when loaded. Repeatedly hyperextending your back at the top can cause hernias.

Keep in mind that powerlifters will sometimes do this to show the judges that they’ve locked the weight. But this isn’t something recreational lifters should do when training. Just lockout the weight by extending your knees, pushing your hips forward and squeezing your glutes – done. No need to lean back on top.

5. The Bar Is Away From Your Body. What’s the easiest way to shovel snow? With the blade close to your body? Or with the blade away from you? Obviously keeping the blade close to you is way easier because it gives you much better leverages. Well this same principle applies to Deadlifts: the closer the bar to you, the better the leverage, and thus the lesser the strain on your lower back.

That’s why the bar should remain in contact with your legs from start to finish on the way up of Deadlifts. Start with the bar against your shins, roll it upwards, over your knees and thighs, until you’ve reached the lockout. Wear long pants to protect your shins and legs so you don’t keep the bar from you.

Frankly, if you master proper Deadlift technique:

You will build a stronger back
You will be less prone to injuries because you’ll know how to pickup an object correctly from the floor – with a straight lower back
You could eliminate nagging back pain, once and for all

10 Tips for a Better Snatch

Posted on:April 25th, 2014    |    By:

A perfect snatch is a beautiful thing.
It seems that more coaches prefer the clean when it comes to Olympic lift variations for power production.
But I’ve always preferred the snatch and have been obsessed with it for as long as I can remember.
Before I even started lifting weights, actually.
Cleans are a great exercise but they are also significantly harder to teach/learn than snatches are.
The other issue I have with cleans is that they can lead to wrist and elbow injuries. There are certain athletes, such as basketball players or baseball players, that I wouldn’t want to risk doing cleans with. It’s just not worth the potential of screwing up their wrists with one sloppy rep.
And that’s usually what you get for the first few weeks or months… a lot of sloppy reps.
With sloppy reps comes increased lower back stress as guys start leaning back way too far as well.
Unlike cleans, snatches actually keep your shoulder healthy (provided you do them correctly and don’t go too heavy) and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles better than almost anything else.
You usually notice, after a few weeks or months of doing snatches, that your shoulders just feel a lot more stable. Everything you do seems tight and locked in.
I like snatches so much that I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with someone starting every workout they did with some type of snatch variation. There are a lot worse things you can do.
If you want a higher vertical jump and bigger traps few exercises will deliver as much bang for your buck as the snatch.
Here are 10 ways to improve it.
1) Master 1 Arm Dumbbell Snatches First

If I could only use one exercise for power development that wasn’t a jump, it would be the one arm dumbbell snatch. It’s by far and away the easiest Olympic lifting variation to learn.
Most motor morons can learn it in about ten minutes and can start incorporating it into their training programs immediately.
In the early days of Physical Culture a 1 arm snatch was a contested lift.
Arthur Saxon used to dominate that shit. So should you.

2) Always Start with the Hang Position

There’s no need to start from the floor unless you plan on competing. Learning from the hang position on a dumbbell or barbell variation will always be much easier. Stand up straight first, then bend over by flexing at the hip. Push your ass out as far as you can and go down until your hands are just above your knees, while keeping your lower back flat.
3) Finish in the Power Position

Again, there’s no reason to squat all the way down if you don’t plan on competing. Finishing in the power position of any Olympic lifting variation means a soft bend in the knees. No need to need to dip any lower than a quarter squat at the very most.
When you first introduce the bar start with a clean grip (shoulder width). That’s safer than an ultra wide grip.

You don’t have to go as low as the legendary Tommy Kono

4) Progress to Clean Grip Snatches

When you first make the move from the dumbbell to the bar start with a clean grip (shoulder width). It’s safer and is a nice progression into a wider grip snatch.

5) Don’t Go Too Wide

After getting pretty comfortable with the clean grip you can start widening it up a bit. But again, unless you’re gonna compete, you don’t have to hands to collars. Most of those cats start doing that at a very young age.
Your shoulders probably won’t be as well prepared for it.
So go no wider than index finger in the rings.
6) Don’t Do More Than 3 Reps Per Set

The snatch is a very technical lift. It’s also meant to be done very explosively. Anything that’s technical and explosive should be done for sets of 1-3. Eventually if you get good at them you could do as many as five or six reps on something like a whip snatch.

7) Do Them Often

To get good at something that requires a modicum of skill you should do it a few times per week. In this case I’d recommend starting a workout 2-3 times per week with some type of snatch.

8) Start With Really Light Weights

All Olympic lifts are meant to be done very explosively. So you never want to use heavy weights that slow you down.Keep it fast and always maintain perfect technique. One quick move from knees to lockout. No pressing.

9) Progress Slowly

It’s hard to increase the weight on snatches so don’t rush it. You have to be consistent and patient. Using the same weight for a few workouts (or even weeks) in a row is a good idea. Once you have mastered it make the next smallest weight increase or simply add another set. Fractional Plates come in handy here.

10) Jump & Shrug

When you’re in the start position keep those two cues in mind. As you start to explode up and the bar moves along your quads just think about shrugging violently and simultaneously jumping straight up in the air as high as you can.
A life without snatch is a life not worth living.
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