Bent Over Barbell Row

Dragon is ready for Barbell Rows. Are You?

Most of our day to day activities tend to pull our posture forward. Think about the way you drive, type on the computer or simply stand. Chances are, if you are not cognizant of your posture, you are being pulled forward. It can be easy to over develop our Anterior Delt and Pec muscles with all of the pushing activities in our day to day, along with the many pushing exercise available in CrossFit. With overdevelopment comes the possibility for injury. So before we get to that point, let’s talk one of the many exercises that, when done correctly, can greatly strengthen your back and lead to injury prevention.

The Bent Over Barbell Row is on the docket for tomorrow. It is not programed in a Metcon for a specific reason. These should be done for quality, not quantity. Barbell Rows can easily be “cheated” by not retracting your shoulders back and down. You should feel your lats and traps activated during the entire movement. Keeping your back flat is key as well as being slow and controlled. Remember, these are for quality and save the grit for Part B.

Nutrition to Increase Testosterone

greyson_splitAt just 20 years old, Greyson doesn’t need to worry about his testosterone levels dropping off anytime soon.  

Aside from gainz in the gym.  Healthy levels of testosterone are important for men to feel their best.  While I’ve heard of several of these nutrition points, there were a few, including the first one, which I had never heard before.

Keep in mind that I do understand that just because something has been posted on the internet, that does not mean it is scientifically proven.  But at the same time, just because something has not yet been scientifically proven, doesn’t mean that it does not work.  Also, while I post this, it doesn’t mean that I fully believe all the content, rather, I’m offering it up for review and discussion.

Nonetheless, here is the one I found most interesting:

1. Eat More Cruciferous Vegetables

Why: We want to keep testosterone and estrogen in a certain balance. When that balance heavily favors estrogen in men, it is a sign that testosterone is being aromatized (converted) into estrogen, which is not good.

How: Eat cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, radishes, kale, watercress, bok choy, broccoli, and cauliflower. When these foods are ingested, they release a phytochemical that helps the body with estrogen metabolism11 and clearance.

Read the entire post here.

Masters Qualifier Recap

Big congrats to ALL of the Sweat Shop masters athletes who completed the CrossFit Games Masters Qualifiers this past week! This is the second-to-last stage of competition in that the top 20 in each division move on to the CrossFit Games in July. While the structure is similar to the Open, the workouts and competition are kicked up a notch. The qualifiers include the top 200 athletes IN THE WORLD for each age division. We couldn’t be more proud than to have EIGHT masters athletes representing this year! All of the athletes did amazing, setting huge PR’s and having impressive performances in a very tough set of workouts filled with skill, stamina, and strength.

Lones 42nd (60+), got another chance to show her freakish strength! Like she did at the Games in 2014, she killed the deadlift, finishing with 297lbs which was top 5! Although she had to battle through pneumonia, she also placed very well on the ring dip workout after a ton of burpees and overhead squats!

Helen 46th (40-44), who had to battle through a nagging shoulder injury did awesome in her first qualifier! Yes, she’s a master this year ;) After finishing 71st in the Open, she made up almost 30 spots in great performances in the row/thruster and muscle up events! Crazy impressive was her pulling massive 307lb deadlift at only 130lb!

Charlie 67th (55-59), moved up almost 40 spots from the Open! The gritty “old guy” pulled a crazy 402lbs on the deadlift at 160lb body weight! Charlie also crushed event 4 with bar facing burpees and overhead squats unbroken and killed the ring dips with ease. That placed him 23rd in that event!

Jim 86th (55-59), had a wonderful season! After finishing 77th in the Open, he got to showcase his engine some more doing well on the pullup/double under/hang clean event placing 58th and 41st on the ring dip event.

Melia 97th (60+), did Melia moving up almost 60 spots from the Open! In each past year during the qualifiers, there has always been one skill that she could not perform, not allowing her to post a complete qualifier score. This year, she said, “the hell with that” and worked on ring dips all year! Sure enough, they were in event 4 and she killed it completing 12 ring dips after 55 burpees and 34 overhead squats! In true Melia fashion, the ring dip workout, her old weakness, ended up being her best performance of 45th!

Jen M. 139th (50-44), had a huge qualifier. She PR’d her deadlift at 247lbs and placed 27th on the muscle up event! Only 28 of the women in this division completed the workout and Jen was only 2 reps short finishing with 19 muscle ups. She took 29th on the event. Double unders, which used to be Jen’s kryptonite, were no problem as she completing 156 of them!

Joe 165th (55-59), did great on his deadlift hitting 325lbs at 145lb BW! Joe’s best workout was the double under/pullup workout which are in his wheelhouse, however, most impressive was finishing 34 overhead squats at 75lbs!

Jacqueline 5th (50-54), crushed the qualifiers for the second year in a row and punched her ticket to her second consecutive trip to the CrossFit Games! Her best performance was on the row/thruster event crushing thrusters not just unbroken but with lightning speed! After a year of working on muscle ups and not getting to show them off in the Open, she took 9th crushing the Muscle Up workout in 14 minutes!

Again, we can’t say enough of how proud we are of you all! Be proud of yourselves and the work you’ve put it. It’s truly special to see all of you placing top in the world!

Lunge Away


Oh lunges, how you never fail to make me sore the next day….

Besides making us sore as heck the next day, there are plenty of benefits to incorporating lunges into your workout routine. I wanted to discuss a few with you today!

Functionality. If you want to talk about functional training, lunges are probably one of the most functional movements you can perform. Think about walking up stairs, walking in general, taking big steps, or even bending down to pick something up. Adding in lunges are a great way to directly train and improve your performance of natural, everyday movements.

Symmetry and Balance. Lunges are a unilateral exercise, meaning they train one side independently of the other. Training one side at a time is great way to improve our balance and coordination. Although squats and deadlifts are excellent exercises in imporving overall strength. Working with lunges are a great way to eliminate any imbalances from one side to the other. Ever wonder why you may be sore in one glute more than the other? In doing so, you’ll be able to eliminate any “weakness” that may be holding you back from that PR.

Glute Activation. The general population suffers from deactivated glutes from sitting all day, which we know can lead to an abundance of nagging pains or injuries in the long run. The lunge allows us to put our body in a position to isolate and activate the glutes.

It is importance to ease your way into performing lunges if you haven’t done them before, this way you’ll be able to maximize the benefits while reducing the chance of injury. Go ahead and start with a static lunge (next to a wall or a post for stability/assistance purposes) to see if there are any limitations to the movement. It’s ok to begin with quarter lunges, or limit the range of motion until you build the balance and full range of the movement. Progress to stationary lunges where we step back or forward in place, again you may want to perform these next to a wall or post until you can successfully perform the movement. Lastly, adding load once your foundation of lunges is built is a great way to continue the progression. Feel free to ask Nabil, JB, Rene, DJ, or myself for any other modifications are progressions in your journey for lunging prowess.

Happy lunging!

Anterior Knee Pain and Gluteus Medius

13082512_1610342909291455_8205229566138271991_nJake “the Snake” and Lennox despise anterior knee pain.

Got glutes? Specifically, got glute medius? If you’ve had a squat day at the shop, you’ve probably done the popular glute-activation exercises: the banded hip abduction “dance“, the partner clamshells, or the sexy solo “Baywatch pose” clamshell. While these exercises may look silly, tedius, and can take a while to kick in, they are probably one of the more important parts of your warm-up. As a matter of fact, with the exception of bench days, you should do them in EVERY warm-up. Period. The gluteus medius is the muscle on the top/back/side of your hip. It’s responsible for stabilizing the hip and in deep squatting like we do almost daily in CrossFit, it keeps healthy torque around the knees/thighs by keeping them from caving in and allowing excess movement.

As you might know, more current research on nagging pains of joints like the knee have been shown to be a direct result of a weak gluteus medius. In research done by Mike Boyle, almost 100% of nagging anterior knee pain was associated with a tender and weak gluteus medius. A remedy for the tightness is simply soft tissue work such as massage, LAX ball smashing, and stretching. However, for those who possess decent mobility but still have nagging anterior knee pain, it is likely a problem of weak hip stabilizers like glute medius. If you suffer from these, try this simple routine: 1.) do a general warm-up like jogging, assault biking, or rowing for 5-7 minutes 2.) Smash the glute medius with a LAX ball for 3 minutes each side, then 3.)Baywatch clamshell for 30-50 reps per side. After the WOD repeat step 2.

I hope to see more of a clamshell following in the near future at the Sweat Shop!

Cited Research Below
Br J Sports Med. 2013 Mar;47(4):207-14. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-090953. Epub 2012 Sep 3.
Gluteal muscle activity and patellofemoral pain syndrome: a systematic review.
Barton CJ1, Lack SMalliaras PMorrissey D.


Is that Gluten free?

I actually laughed out loud in the middle of Target while watching this video. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been this person on a few occasions. One time in particular comes to mind. After either an open workout or a hard Saturday WOD (I can’t remember), a few of us headed to Sunrise Bistro. I was starving! I ended up going next door to “Nothing Bundt Cakes” for a Gluten Free treat. I couldn’t wait to eat it! I sat there scarfing down my bundt cake and then asked our server to make substitutions for the bread. I will never forget the look she gave me. Any how, long story short, the manager ended up coming over to help me. I felt so bad and I’m sure they didn’t get why a girl who was inhaling a bundt cake was so adamantly against gluten in her scrambles. I don’t have celiacs, but do choose to keep gluten out of my diet. Watching this doesn’t change my mind about gluten, but I sure got a good laugh out of it! Thanks Toovey for sending this to me!

Being Patient


Patience as demonstrated by Melia this morning.  Super important for getting the bar in the correct position, BEFORE you explode.  Good job Melia!

Welcome, On Rampers!

IMG_0142 Eric, Jeff, Robynn, and Ralph all smiles after On-Ramp graduation day!

Congrats to our latest group of On-Rampers who finished up our 4-week program on Wednesday! Eric, Ralph, Robynn, Jeff, and Karen did awesome and are excited to join you all in the regular classes! Be sure to give them a warm welcome when you see them! Great work everyone! Keep a close eye out for our next On Ramp date which will be announced next week!

Ghost Ride the Assault Bike


“I sure wish we had an Assault Bike!” – Mel

Don’t worry Mel, you’re wish has come true! By now you’ve probably seen multiple people use the Assault Bike as a warm up or a substitute for rowing or running in a workout. The bike adds another dimension to working out and I encourage you all to give it a whirl the next time you step into the Sweat Shop. I wanted to give you guys a few warm up/workout ideas to get you guys started, so here you go…

Warm Up

1) “Rise n’ Shine”

2:00 nice easy pace (keep watts between 100-200)

:30 increase watts to 250-350

:30 nice easy pace

:30 increase watts to 250-350

:30 nice easy pace


1) “Death by Assault”

Start with 2 calories for the first minute, add 2 calories at the top of each minute until required calorie goal can not be completed.

2) “Ridin’ Dirty”

30:00 AMREP

Max Rep Calories

3) “You Go, No…You Go.”

With a partner….

20:00 AMREP

Max Rep Calories

Switch every :30, allow for a :10 transition time between partners.

4) “Chef Curry with the Shot”

For Time:

50 Calories

- Rest 3:00 -

40 Calories

- Rest 2:30 -

30 Calories

- Rest 2:00 -

20 Calories

-Rest 2:00 -

50 Calories

5) “60 Never Looked So Young”

For Time: 60 Calories

Complete 5 Burpees at the top of each minute, start with burpees.

6) “Switch-a-Roo”

10:00 Clock

You and a partner have 10:00 to accumulate max calories on the Rower and Assault Bike. One partner starts on Rower, and one partner starts on Bike. Switch every minute until time is up.

7) “Triple B – Burpees, Bike, there goes my Breakfast”

19:00 AMRAP

Grab a partner and alternate rounds through….

10 Burpees

15 Cal Assault Bike

Thank You Adam!!

assualt_bike_2Rene, happy and excited to bike…everyone else… not so sure.

I’m once again overwhelmed with the generosity of Sweat Shop members!  Adam R. recently purchased another Assualt Bike for the gym!  Check out tomorrow’s post as Marko will be posting some really good workouts involving the bikes.  If you get a chance to punish yourself on one of these bikes, be sure and thank both Adam and Marcus for the recently influx of Assualt bikes!

Finding Themselves Through Fitness

Throwback to when little Maddie was just a babe.

This is an exciting time for youth in the sport of fitness. I love scrolling through social media and catching videos of kids doing CrossFit workouts to emulate mom or dad. As a new mom, I am even more aware of the pressures kids and teens face growing up. While Camille is years away from her teenage years,  I can only hope that growing up around strong, goal oriented individuals will shape her to have a strong sense of self worth. I am looking forward to our Sweat Shop community growing due to our recent baby boom and can’t wait to see them explore their fitness along side us.

CrossFit games recently put out an article about Haley Adams and Vincent Ramirez, two youth games bound athletes, check it out below:

Haley Adams walked through the congested hallways of her high school, clutching her textbooks as students streamed around her. She heard a low snicker to the side, and braced herself. A group of male students shot a string of questions her way.

“Do you even lift?”

“Are you going to the CrossFit Games?”

“They don’t mean it in a nice way, either,” Adams said.

One boy grabbed Adams’ bicep in mock awe.

“Girls aren’t supposed to have muscles,” he said.

Adams shrugged him off. The constant taunts about her chiseled arms and devotion to training at College Hill CrossFit in Greensboro, North Carolina, used to bother her. But not since she won the Teenage Girls 14-15 division of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Open. After 10 months of CrossFit, she earned her spot in Carson, California, with two first-place finishes, never placing outside the top seven worldwide.

Read full article here

CrossFitting in the 70′s

Starting CrossFit can be super intimidating, much more so now than a few years back, due to the CrossFit Games, which showcases the most elite CrossFit athletes making it’s way to mainstream television.  Here’s an inspiring video about a 70 year old grandpa and his CrossFit experience.

Weighted Rope Pull-up Challenge

IMG_0114Brianne getting in on the challenge moving weight!

Got grip? Got lats? We are testing both in a “Weighted Rope Pull-up” challenge this month. This challenge is open to all sweat shoppers and we will have prizes for the top male and female for open folks (<39 years old male and female) and for masters (40+ male and female). Winners in each division will receive a voucher for Hiroshi’s Catering which can be claimed at the Sunday Farmer’s Market in Walnut Creek!

This will be a 1-Rep Max Weighted Rope Pull-up. The standards are that the hands must start above the rubber wraps of the rope handle. You must start in full extension of the arms and at a dead hang. The chin must touch the rope above the knuckles. No kipping allowed! A coach must be present to validate authenticity ;)

Deadline will be May 1st!

Let’s do this Sweat Shop. What do you got to loose?



Joint Distraction Exercises

Joint distraction stretches are an effective way to improve your mobility, yet I don’t see many people utilizing this method of mobility to improve overall functionality. First off, what are joint distraction stretches? Joint Distraction is a method we use to create more “space” in the joint. Our joint’s have what is called synovial fluid in them, and this acts as lubrication between the moving surfaces inside the joint. When we are too tight or we have poor movement mechanics, this can cause the moving surfaces inside the joint to be compressed together. When we lose the “space’ inside the joint, we can start to have problems. The moving surfaces inside the joint begin to sheer away at each other unless we take the necessary steps to make sure there is enough room in the joint for movement. In essence, compressed joints create an environment where the moving surfaces cause damage to each other and limit mobility.

So what is a joint distraction exercise? Essentially we use a resistance band, foam roller, or any other object to create force that acts as a wedge to create space in the joint structure. With that, more space is created within the joint which reduces the amount of friction and allows for much more fluid motion.

We do a few joint distraction exercises in our warmups, but check out this article for a few more to add to your book of mobility movements. There are detailed descriptions and videos on there as well. Add some of these into your daily warm up routine and see what you think!


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