Kane Greene: Moving Fast & Lifting Heavy

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Kane Greene is the head coach and co-owner of CrossFit Fairbanks with his wife, Laci Greene. When you own a box in a small town that has sub-zero temperatures for nearly six months out of the calendar year, it is essential to get creative with your programming. Find out how Kane is putting his name and CrossFit Fairbanks on the map with his dedication to building a strength foundation in all his athletes and his willingness to bring quality coaching and instruction all the way up to Alaska.

In the Beginning…

What is your athletic background? How did you find CrossFit, and what initially inspired you to open your own CrossFit box?
I then started accumulating equipment in my garage and one day realized I either had an expensive hobby or possibly a business. I went with the second and here we are.
Kane: My athletic background is average at best! I did mixed martial arts and played football as a teenager, but I wasn’t lucky enough to get to play a sport at the college level. I found out about CrossFit while I was active duty Navy (somewhere around 2005-2006). I was in great aerobic shape: I ran, swam, and was great at bodyweight movements. One of the first workouts I did was power cleans and dips, and I remember thinking doing twenty 135-lb power cleans was crazy. I got to three then went to 95 lbs. Later that evening, I was looking up a video and saw a chick repping out 95 lbs way easier than I did. That sealed the deal for me.

I attended a Level 1 Cert to learn more in 2008, and guys from work started training with me. On a deployment it went from my roommate and I doing CrossFit by ourselves up to 15 sailors and 5 contractors. I just had a knack for coaching. When I returned home, my job shifted to running a combat conditioning program for 250 sailors. I then started accumulating equipment in my garage and one day realized I either had an expensive hobby or possibly a business. I went with the second and here we are.

How have you worked to “brand” your box’s personality  within the Alaska CF community and in the lower 48?
Kane: We put a HUGE emphasis on strength training. I have found absolute strength is the most important aspect of fitness, hands down. What benchmark does everyone in your gym look forward to? In mine it’s not “Fran,” “Helen,” or “Murph”… It’s the CrossFit Football Total. I’ve had seven guys squat over 400lbs this year, and five women deadlift over 300. I don’t think many affiliates can say that, especially not affiliates in a small-ass town of 30,000 people.

If you’ve heard of us, then you probably know we love iron.

What were some of your growing pains when you first opened up in this small community? What are the current challenges you face?
I always felt like structured strength in CrossFit classes always ends like this: someone standing around doing a whole lot of nothing and someone else feeling rushed because they are the only strong person in the room.
Kane: The biggest challenge I have faced was how to incorporate a structured strength program, and that’s the only issue I’ve ever had; we have it nailed down now. If you are an affiliate, and you want to include strength programming… I hate to tell you this, but it’s not going to fit in an hour-long class. We open 45 minutes early for all our classes and allow members to come in and get after the strength at their own pace. I make sure myself or one of the other coaches is floating around the strength area, but that’s the best way we have found to do it. I always got stressed out having people do strength work in class.

For example, think about if you are starting a class, and number 1 on the board is to work up to a 5RM squat. Let’s say we have someone who is going to hit 415 x 5 and someone else who is only going to hit 75 x 5. The person working on 75 x 5 is going to be done and finished before 415 x 5 is even half way through warming up. I always felt like structured strength in CrossFit classes always ends like this: someone standing around doing a whole lot of nothing and someone else feeling rushed because they are the only strong person in the room.

Granted, our program isn’t just pick a random lift and do some 5’s or 3’s. Our regular affiliate program has 4 days of strength, with two separate strength programs depending on where you are in your training.

What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started?
Kane: I wish I would have known about how awesome Craigslist is! I find all kinds of things on there. Half of my rowers came from Craigslist. And iron plates, too — I don’t think there is ever a reason to buy new iron. Take advantage of people who bought really nice stuff and later realized they are lazy!

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