Social Styles

Every season has it's optimum time to train. In Santa cruz, the evening is the perfect time to train during the summer.  Come 5 or 6pm, it is warm and light, no morning marine layer and no mid-afternoon heat.

Every season has it's optimum time to train. In Santa Cruz, the evening is the perfect time to train during the summer. Come 5 or 6pm, it is warm and light, no morning marine layer and no mid-afternoon heat.


For her post tonight, Jocelyn talks about social interaction and personal characteristics.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and open gym at the box was hoppin’ with firebreathers.  The echo of heavily loaded barbells being tossed could be heard bouncing back from the neighboring gymnastics building across the lot.  Our newest live wire, Chris, was working some heavy clean technique after finishing his first Helen in just 8:32.  Juggernaut had just finished King Kong in 8:53 (Golden you killed those cleans!). Kyle- Queen Kong in 2:58 and was now contemplating his second workout.  Desmond was helping Julie with her OH Squats and working some technique of his own.  Sam was in the corner doing his keggles on the yoga mat, periodically cueing his athletes to tighten up their mechanics in one way or another (Ha, I just love saying that.  But that’s because it’s the nature of my social style.  Plus, I know Sam appreciates my tendency towards being a wise ass.)  And when I realized that it was already almost 2 o’clock and I had yet to start my Caity Matter workout, I was overcome with a tad of anxiety, so in a mini panic I summoned Sam to start the stopwatch for me.  After all, I had been anticipating this workout for 2 whole days. 

Days like this I love sitting back and watching the interaction between everyone.  It’s the little things about people’s actions that intrigue me.  Desmond, for example, is very quiet.  He seems to slip in the door without drawing much attention to himself.  He will sit and patiently watch the others complete their workouts and with a raise of the eyebrow and a nod (this indicating that he was, in fact, impressed) he will turn his attention to the benchmark workouts written on the board.  As he studies the WODs, rubbing his chin between his thumb and forefinger, a look of consideration will take over his face.  It reminds me of a person choosing out a movie at the rental place. Various people will call out their opinions about which “Girl” he should attack, and after a few minutes of deliberation he will quietly begin to load up his barbell.  But then there is the countdown, 3,2,1, go! The stopwatch starts and suddenly a burst of utter intensity is unleashed. 

Then there is Golden–the Juggernaut.  Golden is not exactly the quietest of folk.  At CrossFit West, we have grown to count on him for a regular good laugh.  Golden is basically the strongest person we have at the box, a hell of an athlete, and is starting to have good form on most lifts.  In fact, he no longer plie squats with his toes pointing outward at 180 degrees in either direction, but actually gets those toes and femurs to about 30 degrees, lowers his hips deep into the hole while maintaining a (mostly) flat back.  He makes fun of himself (and others) about bad form.  He jokingly asks us coaches to take a look at his donkey kick just to be sure he’s getting it right and works hard to see if he can do a box jump without moving his head vertically at all, really reaching for minimal hip extension, and is genuinely upset if he can’t mimic a terrible jump.  He finishes his 500+lbs deadlifts with a calf raise and practices bodybuilding poses for everyone during class. Golden is a goofball.  But he is also an animal.  And when he completes his first 3 squat cleans at 250lbs during King Kong (previously his 1RM) you can see the excitement and pride in his eyes.  And even though he will only make jokes about it later, you can tell he is incredibly stoked.

Kyle, one of the 1st ever members of CrossFit West back when Sam first started a year and a half ago, is quite modest.  Most people around here have either witnessed or heard about Kyle’s transformation.  I, myself, have only seen pictures.  Pictures that brought me to tears, collapsing to the floor in laughter.  As the legend goes, Kyle was overweight and un-athletic when Sam twisted his arm to start CrossFit.  He would only be allowed to work a specific job (one that only Sam could get him) if he would try CrossFit.  This job was very important because there was a special girl who worked there, so he decided to give it a shot.  According to Kyle, on his first day of CrossFit, Sam was not in the best of moods.  While he was attempting ring dips, he vividly remembers Sam saying, “Kyle, you look like you have epilepsy.”  [Sam’s note—I have no memory of this and seriously question it’s validity.]  But he kept with it.  He had a deep burning desire to be better, and just as most people experience, it started to have that amazing domino effect in all areas of his life.  Now Kyle is on his way to becoming a competitive CrossFit athlete.  He holds many records at CrossFit West, and at the young age of 22 finished in the top third at the NorCal Qualifiers.  But even so, Kyle is very humble.  He doesn’t draw much, if any, attention to himself when he is preparing to workout.  In fact, Kyle tends to be in a zone of his own most of the time.  He spends time analyzing various workouts from different affiliates and then creates his own based on a wide array of information he gathers from books like Starting Strength, Olympic Lifting, internet sites, Ed, Sam, and other coaches and athletes.  He’s got a sort of scientific approach to the way he does things and unlike many CrossFitters, does NOT thrive on not knowing what the day will hold workout wise.  He comes with a plan.  And you only realize that he’s about to start his WOD when he sneaks over and quietly asks the first person available to start his timer.  But just like all of the great athletes here, when the timer starts, his power is unleashed.   

I tend to notice stuff like this all the time and recently I got to thinking about an interesting book I read a while back about Social Styles.  It’s about the four basic personality types and what their tendencies are.  It then goes on to explain how to identify the different types, as well as understand the way in which they interact, etc.  Kind of goofy, I know, but interesting none the less.  But then I started to think about these social styles and how they show up in CrossFit.  When I first started to coach softball years ago, my dad told me, “Joc, you gotta figure out what makes ‘em tick.”   It was some of the best coaching advice I ever got and I try to use it to this day, even in CrossFit.

Understanding personalities is useful in any group setting really.  Whether you are an athlete or coach, part of a team or not, having good relationships with the people around you will always be important, especially when we have such a unique community like ours here at CrossFit West.  Having said that, take a look at the list below.  It’s fun to see where you and others fall.  There are four basic social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Amiables, and Expressives. 

Analyticals- The Technique Specialists

Analyticals are precise and they are experts in the area of technique.  Analyticals have a strong sense of duty and obligation.  They are driven by a forceful work ethic, and play does not come naturally to them.  They are natural givers and often take on the role of parent or guardian for other people and organizations. 

Analyticals have a tendency to take on too much responsibility.  They see themselves as conservators tend to worry.  They will save and store for the future, believing they cannot save too much.  They are steadfast, reliable, and dependable. 

Drivers- The Control Specialists

Drivers are obsessed by strong compulsion to perform and be in control..  They take pleasure in almost any kind of work because it involves activity.  Idleness will destroy drivers.  They desire to control and master everything they do.  They speak with precision and little redundancy. 

Drivers like new ideas, challenges, and competition.  They have a passion for knowledge.  They are constantly searching to answer the whys of life.  They can be overly forceful and may require too much from themselves and other people.  Drivers are haunted by the possibility of failure.  They are self controlled, persistent, and logical. 

Amiables- The Support Specialists

Amiables are very likeable people who support others.  They work well with other people and promote harmony.  They are found wrapped up in causes.  They like to work with words and often influence large groups through writing.  They sometimes place unrealistic expectations on themselves and other people.  They will often romanticize experiences and relationships. 

Amiables like to have direction.  They often observe people and seek deep meaning in relationships and experiences.  They prefer interaction to action.  Amiables are very compassionate with others who may be hurting.  They are patient, good listeners, and are filled with integrity. 

Expressives- The Social Specialists

Expressives are very impulsive people who love to socialize.  They like to try the new and different.  They enjoy wandering and it is easy for them to break social ties.  They like to live for the here and now.  Expressives struggle with commitment and follow through. 

Expressives have happy and charismatic spirits and can endure hardships and trials easier than the other social styles.  Discomfort is just a new experience that they know will pass.  They love to reminisce and enjoy belonging to social organizations.  They are friendly, giving, and easy going.

Where do you think you fall on the social style list and how do you think it shows in CrossFit?  How do you like to be coached?  Please post thoughts to Comments.

End Note: According to the book How to Deal with Annoying People, Analyticals are most compatible with Drivers and Amiables.  Drivers are most compatible with Analyticals and Expressives.  Amiables are most compatible with Analyticals and Expressives.  Expressives are most compatible with Drivers and Amiables.  Do you find that consistent with your list?


5 sets of 5 reps in the clean pull.  Use a weight 10 pounds heavier than your 1RM clean. Really jump the bar high.  Be sure to shrug the shoulders to the ears.


5 sets of 3 reps in the bench press 

Your 3rd set should be 3RM, maintain that weight or try to increase it for the next 2 sets.


15 deadlifts.  Add 100 pounds to the weight used for the clean pulls. Take some breaths between each rep, even stand and shake out your grip, but don’t dawdle and don’t walk away from the bar.

Post WOD completed and score to Comments.