Welcome Marko & Congratulations on Graduation

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After finishing an extensive internship, Marko is now officially a coach at the Sweat Shop!  He has also just recently finished all his required course work and exams to obtain his Master’s Degree in Kinesiology from St. Mary’s College!  In the relatively short time that he has been at the Sweat Shop, Marko has displayed an excellent understanding of not only the coaching principles, but also programming, which in my opinion is one of the tougher (and extremely important) skills that often times takes years to grasp.  A month or two ago I asked him to program a workout and I gave him some parameters:  it could not be an AMRAP, it  was to be just 3 rounds, have double unders, wall balls and burpees, and take about 15 minutes.  I gave him less than 5 minutes to come up with the workout and he totally nailed it.  It was one of the tougher workouts I’ve done in a while, and thus, have not asked him to program anything for me since!  Aside from having excellent work ethic as a coach, he has experienced some huge gains as a CrossFit athlete as a result of  his excellent work ethic when he trains.  As anyone who has been at the Sweat Shop for some time knows, we are extremely selective when it comes to our coaching staff.  And while I’m sure he will continue to hone the craft of coaching, and get even better as time passes (just as James, Rene and myself still strive to do), I can confidently say that Marko is a legit coach and athlete!

You can watch him in action this weekend as he and Stephanie compete as a team (as well as JB and Taneya) at Dia De Los Beasts at CrossFit Skybox in American Canyon on Saturday.

Bat Cave Games 2014

batcave_groupYoko, James, myself, Rikus, and CJ after finishing up at Bat Cave Games

This past Saturday, while Cassie, Brianne, Elisa and Jason were competing at Battle on Sunset, James, Rikus, CJ, Yoko, and myself were competing at the Bat Cave Games at CrossFit Natomas in Sacramento.  This was a fun competition because it reminded me of how many of the local throwdowns used to be several years ago.  Good programming, which means short workouts that are spectator friendly, traditional exercises, and a relatively small competitor field which means the event doesn’t last until the late evening and, without 200 competitors and 300 spectators, my favorite part is that you can cheer on your friends from just a few feet away!  Which brings me to my favorite part of the day.  As Rikus neared the end of workout #2, which was a ladder format of clean & jerks and bar muscle ups, it became clear he would end having just a few seconds to do a few clean & jerks (which for someone like myself would be lucky to get just one rep in).  With just 10 seconds to go, we all screamed at him (in an encouraging way of course) as he held onto the barbell and linked 5 clean & jerks before time expired!  While some equipment issues resulted in them tossing out the score of the floater (yoke carry and tire flip), which would have been of benefit to Rikus and James, I’m still proud of everyone’s performance and enjoyed the day hanging out and competing alongside these guys.  Event results can be found here.

Battle on Sunset wrap up

 

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Cassie, Elisa and Brianne during the Battle on Sunset at CrossFit Antioch

Jason, Brianne, Cassie and Elisa all competed at Battle on Sunset this weekend. This was Jason’s first Rx’d comp! Congrats guys, you did amazing. As I watched the hang squat clean workout I was super proud as all of our athletes had amazing form. Great Work Team Sweat Shop!!!!

For overall standing check out the wodrocket leaderboard.

 

#FlashBackFriday

Club Muscle Up – CrossFit Sweat Shop from CrossFit Sweat Shop on Vimeo.

Here’s an oldie but goodie of our first “Muscle Up Club” video. Whenever I look back at this, it always puts a smile on my face and reminds me of how exciting it is seeing you all get your first… ANYTHING at the gym! But a first muscle up just seems a little sweeter than most! It also amazes me how much better we, as a gym, especially the Sweat Shoppers in this video, are SO much better at muscle ups than we were in 2010! Who will be next in the club?! When? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year? The CrossTown Throwdown in 2 weeks? We’re waiting for you!

Pause For Gains

10578223303_1901bc4378_kMike Barry is a strong dude.

From time to time, you may notice some “pausing” in our strength programming. Whether you are a novice or seasoned lifter, there are some real benefits to pausing. For beginners just learning the movement, pausing gives you a chance to adjust to proper mechanics and improve your range of motion when doing deep squats. For intermediate and seasoned lifters who may be stuck at a weight or who struggle “out of the hole”, the pause allows you to push through moderate/heavy loads at that given sticking point. Whether they are a part of the weekly programming or not, it’s well worth the effort from time to time to do your lifts with a pause (Don’t worry, you won’t have to ask us if you want to do them). Here’s a post from T-Nation on some ways to use the 2-second pause during training and their given benefits.

Excerpt:

Paused squatting is very effective at building leg strength and size by removing the contribution of the “bounce/stretch reflex” you get at the bottom of a squat.

Because of that stretch reflex, the actual effort of the contractile elements of the muscles is decreased during the first third of the movement. By including a two-second pause at the bottom position, just prior to initiating the lift up, you force your muscles to do all the work over the full range of motion. That’s why the paused front squat is the ultimate test of the muscular strength of the legs.

Holding a pause at the bottom of a squat/front squat is also a very effective way to improve hip mobility by acting as a form of loaded stretching. It’s not unusual to see significant improvements in squatting depth and posture in as little as one session of using paused squats.

Regardless of whether you’re using a squat or a front squat, your focus during the bottom pause should be the same: torso upright as much as possible, weight on the middle of the feet, knees out, and hips “between your feet” (I’m talking high bar/Olympic squat here).

With the front squat you also need to think about pushing your elbows up as high as you can. As you can probably see, holding the perfect posture during the pause is almost as physically demanding as doing the lift! It’s worth it, though, because it will quickly improve your squatting form and performance significantly.

Read more here.

The Paleo Lifestyle

SONY DSCThese days Paleo is all the rage

An entertaining read from an online article in the New York Times, The Paleo Lifestyle:  The Way, Way, Way Back, describes how popular not only the paleo diet, but the lifestyle has become.  In describing some of the many efforts taken by people who try and live a “paleo” lifestyle, it seems to paint their actions in an extreme light.  And while many are far from the “norm”, it made me realize that we identify many things as the “norm”, simply because it is all we know…. but that does not mean that it is indeed “normal” for us as humans, or the best thing for us (as people in general, or as modern day human beings).  For example, while eliminating all light sources from a bedroom, doing away with television or computer time in the evening hours, and waking naturally rather than with an alarm clock, seems crazy to many, I think about how great I feel when I wake up while on vacation and realize I inadvertently create a much more ideal sleep environment each time I go on vacation.

excerpt

“Most people come to the Paleo diet thinking, ‘Hey, I can lose some weight,’ ” said Cain Credicott, the editor and publisher of Paleo Magazine, which sells at the checkout counter at Barnes & Noble, next to Bon Appétit.

“Everybody recognizes now that if you eat a squeaky clean diet but are still going to bed at 1 a.m. after watching TV, waking up at 6 a.m. with an alarm clock and slathering yourself with sunscreen, it doesn’t matter how good your diet is, you’re not going to be healthy,” Mr. Credicott said.

Read full article here.

Comps this weekend

14214953913_e0a34f6945_zYoko working real hard. Get ready to see a lot of this this weekend.  

Saturday the 27th, there are not ONE, but TWO competitions our fellow Sweat Shoppers are competing in. Battle on Sunset in Antioch and Batcave Games in Sacramento. Come out and cheer on Team Sweat Shop!

Battle on Sunset

Antioch CrossFit, Antioch
401 Sunset Drive, Suite K Antioch, CA 94509

Who’s Competing: Brianne, Elisa, Cassie and Jason F

Info on wodRocket 

*Marley’s Coffee will also be there providing coffee and waffles!!

Batcave Games

CrossFit Natomas, Sacramento
1215 Striker Avenue #160, Sacramento, CA 95834

Who’s Competing: Yoko, Rikus, JB, Nabil and CJ

Info on wodRocket 

 

Congrats Allen & Martha

martha_allen

Big congratulations to Allen and Martha, long time boyfriend and girlfriend who’ve recently gotten engaged!  Not only are both Allen and Martha hard working people, as well as super nice, they’re also the type that would never talk or boast about themselves, and thus their engagement has gone under the radar for the most part.  Nonetheless, be sure and congratulate them next time you see them in the gym!

Next On-Ramp & CrossTown Throwdown Practice

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With our current one in full swing, our next On-Ramp Program will start Monday, October 13th. If you missed out on this month’s camp and want to reserve your spot in for the one starting in October, please e-mail james@crossfitsweatshop.com. For those new to exercise, or those that would like to get more experience with the fundamental exercises in CrossFit before joining the classes, this is the program for you! Click here for more On-Ramp info.
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The CrossTown Throwdown against CFO is only 3 weeks away! Now that the WODs are set and rosters are aligned, it’s time to start getting together and practicing the workouts while building that #sweatshopswag! From now until the throwdown, the competition class on Sunday’s at 9:30am and Open gym on Wednesday nights is for EVERYONE on that roster to practice. Rene, Nabil, and I will have posted WODs for the class, however, if we feel there is a workout you need to work on specifically that is not posted, we will give you individual stuff to work on. We can’t guarantee how many workouts you get, but it is best to prepare for anything!

See you this Sunday!

D.J. Back To School

D.J. (Saint Mary’s Kinesiology student, Sweat Shop intern, and very diverse CrossFit beast) is back at the Sweat Shop from his summer break and hitting it hard! I’m unsure of how much “summer reading” he got in, but by the looks of it, he definitely “studied up” on his game! Keep it up DJ!

Cues are a good thing

seth_fa8415e_bJB watching Seth’s pushups to identify any of the frequent faults

“Open those hips at the top”, “pull yourself under the bar”, “dip and drive through the heels”, “be aggressive on the jerk”, “keep that bar close”,… these are just a few of the cues I can often times be heard saying during clean & jerks and snatches.  Ocassionally they are broad reminders projected to the entire room to remind everyone of key points, however, when I’m making my rounds and giving specific pointers to individuals that apply just to them some people can frustrated or seem deflated when they receive a cue like the ones above.  Remember, a cue doesn’t mean you have failed miserably at performing the movement, it’s simply one piece of direction to helping you master the movement.  Getting coaching cues are good because without them it is very difficult, if not impossible, to master a movement.  If you never got any cues it would be the same as just working out by yourself in a globo-gym or your garage at home.

Back When

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Thowback to when we brought home the tiki and when Toovey was bald!
2012 Crosstown Throwdown 

I’m typically more of a futuristic thinker. I tend to have my eye on the next project, goal or milestone. But every once in a while, especially when coming across a photo like this, I can’t help but reflect on the past. I am reminded that Sweat Shop has been so much more than a gym to me. My life has been changed by the relationships I have formed at Sweat Shop and I am thankful to have such a great bunch in my community.

When I looked at the whiteboard yesterday, I noticed at almost all the slots for the Throwdown are filled with names. Amazing!! If you’re newer to Sweat Shop and still aren’t getting this whole Crosstown Throwdown thing check out this post by JB, or be sure ask Nabil, James or I and we’ll be happy to fill you in.

Products for Sale at the Sweat Shop?

isweat_shirtOriginal tee’s from 2009.  Shirts and hoodies are still the only retail items ever sold at the Sweat Shop

CrossFit Sweat Shop has been open for 5 & 1/2 years.  In this time I’ve focused my efforts into knowing each and every member, and delivering the best coaching possible, as well as building an intimate staff of highly educated, and well-experienced coaches that do the same.

Literally each day I’m approached by companies and individuals that want me to sell their products to our Sweat Shop members.  They stress to me that I can make money by buying these items “wholesale” and then dramatically marking them up when I resell them to our members.  Aside from many of these products/supplements being things I don’t stand behind myself, the act of being paid, simply for being a middleman, doesn’t sit well with me.  When it comes to membership dues, I feel fully justified charging what we charge for the coaching, expertise, and guidance, that myself, James, Rene, and now Marko, offer to our members.  To me, profiting by marking up some retail items is simply being an opportunist who has no real skills, expertise, or knowledge.  Also, after a class finishes their workout, I’d rather talk to people about what they thought about the workout, and give them pointers on how to perform better, rather than collect money and fetch change for some energy drink.  A vending machine would solve this issue, but the thought of something like that consuming workout space seems silly to me.  However, this have never been just about me.  I want to know what you all think.  Are there any products out there that you would like to see being sold at the Sweat Shop?  If so, what are they?  Or do you like that your gym focuses on getting people fit, rather than having a fully stocked pro shop?  Let’s hear your thoughts, use the comments section.  Thanks!

CrossTown Throwdown 2014 Event List


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                                     Jason smashed muscle ups in last years throwdown!

Here is the full list of events for this year’s CrossTown Throwdown against CFO! This year, the Throwdown is going to be held at CrossFit Oakland on Saturday, October 11th! We will need a big showing from all Sweat Shoppers alike in order to have a chance at the “Tiki”. There are WODS for every skill level: competitors, recreational CrossFitters, sprinkled in with some crazy “never-done-before-in-crossfit ones as well. As always, it will once again test which gym the fittest and has the most depth!  If you haven’t already signed up, please do so on the whiteboard at the gym or post to comments. We are compiling a list of “potential” events for each person signed up to practice. The programming will shift a little in the coming weeks, but it will be best to take advantage of Comp Class on Sunday’s and Open gym on Wednesday’s to prep!  Let’s go Sweat Shop!

CFO WODS

Touch and Go:  (3w) 
5 min to find a 3RM TnG power clean.  Scored by total of 3 lifts.
 
Pick It Up!:  (3w)
Max reps in 4 minutes of 185# deadlifts
 
Big Snatches Hurt:  (1m 1w) 
Max KB snatches in 4 minutes.  70# for man, 44# for woman. There’s one switch of hands allowed.  Only resting place is in lockout or at hang.  No resting in the rack position.  Both go at same time.
 
Butt Blaster:  (4w) 
Prowler relay with 45# + 15# on each handle.  Max trips 4 min.  40m each leg (20m up, 20m back).
 
Old (Wo)Man Strength:  (2m 1w @40+)
 8 minutes to find a 1RM back squat.  One barbell, only 1 athlete at a time.
 

SS WODS

Hellmanda:  (3m) 
“Helen”
3 Rounds 
400m Run
21 KB Swings
12 Pullups

then,


“Amanda”
9-7-5
Muscle Up
Squat Snatch 135/95

One person working at a time
Must Tag before Every transition
Split up work however, but each male needs to do 1 muscle up

Circus Girls:  (3w) 
35 Ring Muscle Ups
*Must rotate after dropping from rings*
*MUST stay in same order*
*Each Woman must do 1 muscle up*
*No muscle up, no advancing

Lightweight Baby:  (3m) 
3 Minutes to establish 1RM
Guy 1: Clean
Guy 2: Overhead Squat
Guy 3: Squat Snatch
*Score is individual lbs over body weight for each lift
*Team that scores best out of 3 lifts wins event
*Next athlete/new clock starts immediately after previous finishes
*Weigh athletes/announce winner after 3rd guy finishes

These Skillz aint Loyal:  (2w) 

Each girl does: 
8 minute clock
400m Run
50 Box Jump Overs
30 Toes to Bar
Max Reps Muscle Ups
*Score is total muscle ups between 2 women

Masters Mayhem: (1m 2w) 

40+ woman: Max Reps Wall Balls (14#) in 2 minutes
50+ woman: Max Reps Deadlifts (155#) in 2 minutes
50+ man: Max Reps Chest to Bar Pullups OR Ring Muscle Ups in 2 minutes (1 MU = 5 Pullups)
*2 minute clock starts IMMEDIATELY after previous athlete finishes.
* Winner is most REPS total across the 3 athletes.

 

NEUTRAL WODS
 
Dr. said I need a backiatomy”:   (6m)
21-15-9 Deadlift/box jump.  275# deadlift/30″ box jump. Chipper style.
 
 #DNF:  (1m 1w)
6 Minute Clock
Man does 800m Run/30 Handstand pushups/Wall Balls for reps. 
Woman does 800m Run/15 Handstand pushups/Wall Balls for reps. 
*Score by wall ball reps. 
*For wall balls to count both men and women have to do at least 1 wall ball.
 
One More Rep:  (1m 1w)
Muscle ups  + bodyweight back squats.
Each athlete does 1 unbroken set of muscle ups, then immediately followed by a max set of bodyweight back squats. 
Women first, followed by men. Scored on total reps of muscle ups and back squats.
 
Woody Harrelson?:  (m & w)  No team size limit.
High touch jump.  A target will be suspended from the ceiling starting at 7′.  It will then be raised 3″ every round until one team can no longer touch it.  Score is the combined height touched of both man and women.  Two attempts per height.  Tie breaker will be least amount of miss attempts.  Running or vertical jumps.  

  
King of the Mountain:  (4m 4w)
Teams start on opposite sides of the gym.  51 tokens are placed between the two teams.  Each team lines up 4 men, then 4 women. With men going first they must do 8 burpees/8 mountain climbers/8 burpees then grab a token from the floor and return.  Women then do the same, then men…until all tokens are removed from the floor.
There can be only ONE!:   16 (any) 
DU sprint ladder.
 
Start with 8 heats of 4 athletes.  2 from SS, 2 from CFO in each heat.  Athletes will have to complete 4 unbroken sets of DU.  After each competed unbroken set, athletes advance down the floor to complete the next unbroken set, and so on.  
 
Heat 1 race:  (8 heats of 4)10 DU – 20 DU – 30 DU – 40 DU.  1st and 2nd place finishers of each heat advance, regardless of team. 
Semi-Final race: (4 heats of 4) 40 DU – 50 DU – 60 DU – 70 DU.  First place finishers only advances to final, regardless of team.
Final race: (1 heat of 4) 70 DU – 80 DU – 90 DU – 100 – DU.  Winner of final, is the winning team.
 
Cliff Hanger: (5 any)
Speed climbing.  First team to 7 points. 
 
Schoolyard Fran: (5m 5w) 
This will be a partner Fran, doing 9-15-21 ascending reps.   
 
All participants will line up facing each other. (Face off)   5 SS men, 5 SS women go against 5 CFO men, 5 CFO women.  Coin flip decides who picks first.  Example, if CFO wins first pick they choose the SS pair to go against AND the CFO pair.  They can chose any pairing from the 10 SS players available.  The Fran match is played.  All participants line up again.  The LOSER of the match then gets to chose the pair for the next match up, And so on. Loser always picks the next match up.  Once a pair has participated win or lose, they are out of the game.   Teams get 1 point for winning a match up, first team with 3 points wins.
 
 
50 4 40:  (any) 40+, can use as many athletes as you want.  No team size limit and athletes can be substituted at any time. 
For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50  pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 back raises
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders  
 
Turn Down for What!: (4m 4w)
First to 11 points, one-on-one tug of war.  Rounds will alternating between men and women.   Team stays in same start order.  Each team will be required to be made up of one “man”  under 165, and one under 120.  Weight classes must be matched together.
 
Swing Dancing: (6w)
Kettlebell swing/box jump 35#/20″ 21-15-9. Chipper style.
 
Dia de los Muertos: (4m 2w) 
9 minutes to deadlift/ dead hang pull ups as much weight as possible. 
Every time the bar is lifted, that weight is counted toward the total. 1 bar per team, and 1 person working at a time. For every rep of deadlift that athlete goes to the pull up bar and does the same amount of  dead hang pull ups.  Men will do dead hang pull ups with 25#.  If the pull ups are not completed, then that athletes round of deadlifts don’t count.  Team order must be picked and teams stays in that rotation.  
 
Freeze Tag:  20 (10m 10w) 
10 members of the team will run 1 mile. (Around the CFO block)  The other 10 members will be inside doing 20 sit ups/10 (5 for women) push ups/20 jumping air squats for rounds and reps. When the runners return to the gym they must tag a member of the opposite team to stop them from doing more reps, and sending them on the 1 mile run.  Once each member has completed the run and metcon, they must leave the floor until all members have finished the work.  The winner is the team with the most gym reps. 
 
Knock, Knock. Who’s there?  Pain:   10 (any)   Tabata thruster eliminator.
20 on/10 off/20 on/10 off/20 on.  Bottom 3 scores, regardless of team, will be eliminated.  Repeat until one team is completely eliminated.  During the 10 seconds rest the bar can not be put down. Bar can only be put down while scores are being counted between rounds.  45# thruster women/65# thruster men. 
 
Awkward Touching: (4m 4w)
7 rounds
Teams will be in mixed pairs.  10 du man + 10 du woman /buddy carry/10 du man + 10  du woman/ buddy carry.  One pair from each team will be working at a time. 
 
Man must do 10 unbroken du, then women partner does 10 du.  Then buddy carry to other side of floor.  Then repeat unbroken du of man then women.  Then switch for the return buddy carry.  Unbroken sets of du and no drop’s of your partner in the buddy carry counts as a completed round. If du are missed then pair still has to buddy carry down and back, always switching carrying partners, but the round will not count.  If one partner drops another during the buddy carry, they must pick them back up, but that round will not count. 
 
 
Ooh Kill ‘Em:  (6m)  
30 C&J.  5 reps at 225#/20 reps at 135#/5 reps at 225#
 5 men will be matched head to head  with someone on the opposite team.  Each team will have 5 members participating, and there will be a 6th member of each team that can be substituted in at any time.  Win the majority of the match ups, you win.  If 6th member is brought in they stay in, no more substitutions allowed.
 
All Aboard the MU Train:  (??) 
Four separate muscle up contests will be scored as one. Event  1. How many different individuals can do 1 MU in your gym?  Event 2.  One man and One woman must do their biggest unbroken set.   Event 3.  4 minutes to get as many combined team MU. Event 4. Max Reps Muscle Ups w/ 20# weight vest in 1 90 seconds. Add all scores together

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