Fran-Off Tomorrow!

Old School Fran-Off

The 2015 Fran-Off with United Barbell is tomorrow! A reminder to participants that the team draw will begin at 8am and the first match will start at 9am. Please be there early! Also, if you have not paid the $75 entry, you must do so BEFORE the competition starts. All Sweat Shoppers are encouraged to come and watch the action! The event will probably run until 2-3pm. Here are the Sweat Shoppers competing for the CA$H:

Brandon B.
Brandon H.
Adam R.

16 Sweat Shop athletes will be randomly paired up and then put into a double elimination bracket going against 16 athletes from United Barbell.  With two head to head match ups going on at a time this is a fast pace and exciting event to watch.  Finishing time overall doesn’t matter, you just have to beat the team you are matched up against to move on.  Winning team takes home $2000 cash!

See you all tomorrow!

Hydration Nation!


Hydration = better box jumps.

As the summer months roll on at the Sweat Shop and the temperature continues to reach upwards of 90 degrees, I wanted to take the time to remind everyone about the importance of staying hydrated. I recently came across a study of dehydration and its effects on exercise performance, so I wanted to share it with all of you. Feel free to give it a read here! Although the article has a good deal of scientific language, the premise is simple and I wanted to summarize a few points that I found interesting.

An individual experiencing dehydration of as little as 2% of their bodyweight will begin to see adverse effects. To put it into perspective, a 150lb person would only need to lose 1.8lbs of water to be 2% dehydrated. On a hot day, you can lose that in less than an hour. At this point, our brain begins to lose alertness, our body begins to fatigue, and our exercise performance begins to suffer. As stated by the article…

The main reasons dehydration has an adverse effect on exercise performance can be summarize as follows:

- Reduction in blood volume

- Decreased skin blood flow

- Decreased sweat rate

- Decreased heat dissipation

- Increased core temperature

- Increased rate of muscle glycogen use

So how do we stay hydrated?

Simple, go ahead and take your body weight and divide it in half. This number is the amount of ounces you require daily. Add 12-16 ounces for hot days, and add an additional 12-16 ounces if you are doing strenuous physical activity. Remember, these numbers are the minimum requirements to be sure you are not dehydrated.

Lastly, I wanted to leave you all with some food for thought. Doctors say that 75% of people do not consume enough water during the day (ie. they are dehydrated). So go ahead, drink some water. That way you won’t fall doing box jumps!

Keeping Hope Alive

I saw this short clip while streaming the CrossFit Games this weekend. While the Games is a big part of CrossFit’s popularity to the public eye, this video gives a great reminder of what CrossFit is about. Before the big sponsorships, TV deals, and Reebok, the focus was simply about improving your fitness to positivity impact your life. I’m always inspired by people, like the lady in this video, who, with a ton of health conditions can be overjoyed and re-motivated to change her life after a simple accomplishment in being able to tie her shoes again. After seeing these kinds of stories, it amazes me how society still finds ways to sway the elderly population away from doing formal fitness routines. After watching the video, you have to check out the cool modified exercises this coach has her do in this post here. They are super creative and are perfect to show some your elder folks! Plus, how awesome is it that she is wearing the ‘Merica nanos?

Competitive Strength


Allison knows a thing or two about competition.
She runs a race nearly every weekend. Here she is kicking butt at the last Rookie Rumble.


Is being a competitive person a bad thing? Some years back I took the Clifton Strengths Finder test and surprise surprise, competition was my number 1 strength. At first I was disheartened, I didn’t know if I necessarily liked my key strength to lay in competition. However, as I read on, I came to realize, it isn’t negative at all. I could use what I initially perceived to be negative and turn it into a real strength. Here’s a snippet of what Clifton Strengths Finder has to say about competition:

Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.

While I agree with the above view of competition, I also think there is a piece missing. For me, that missing  piece is the competitive drive that comes from within. The need to compete with myself is what truly fuels me. Sure, hitting a nasty WOD with my peers lights my fire, but my ultimate competition is myself. Can I get one more rep? Can I push a little harder? Can I pick up that bar a little faster? These are the things that excite me. If you consider yourself to be a competitive person, don’t shy away from that. I invite you to take a closer look at what aspect of compassion fuels you. Is your competition intrinsic or external?

2015 Fran Off This Saturday

fran_off2009 throwback – Connor and Aaron

**** There will be no classes this Saturday ****

Event Description

Fresh off the excitement of the CrossFit Games, we’ll be hosting Fran Off this Saturday at the Sweat Shop!  16 Sweat Shop athletes will be randomly paired up and then put into a double elimination bracket going against 16 athletes from United Barbell.  With two head to head match ups going on at a time this is a fast pace and exciting event to watch.  Finishing time overall doesn’t matter, you just have to beat the team you are matched up against to move on.  Winning team takes home $2000 cash!


Athletes participating please pay your registration fee this week. Please give your $75 cash or check to any of our coaches this week.  Thanks!


Confirmed Athlete List:

Brandon B.
Brandon H.


Jacqueline Finishes 9th At The CrossFit Games!

IMG_9614 (2)
Congrats to Jacqueline on her performance this week at the CrossFit Games! She earned the title of the 9th fittest women in the world for the 50-54 division! While making it to the Games in only her first year of CrossFit was an unprecidented accomplishment, cracking into the top 10 was a bonus! She crawled and scraped through each day which had both ups and downs but managed to make comeback performances that landed her in the finals! You’ll hear from her in a later post, but here’s a rundown if you couldn’t follow on FB.

Days 1 and 2 were mirror images. Both had plenty of gut-check moments testing her composure. Each started out with one of Jacqueline’s weaknesses: chest to bar pull-ups. Although she was comfortable with the movement in training, we knew doing them in fast-paced and longer grinding workouts was going to be tough for her, and it showed, placing 18th in both of them. Jacqueline sucked it up and used it as fuel for the later events which had her strengths. She fought back on day 1 taking 1st in the 1RM thruster event wowing the crowed with her strength, and a 5th place finish on the snatch sprint workout…even with running an extra 20 yards forgetting to touch the line. On day 2, she fired back with a 4th place finish in the clean and jerk/double under event showcasing her stellar lifting technique and moving through the double unders with ease.

Going into the final day was a bit unknown: a nasty chipper and a final TBA WOD, which only the top 10 got to do. On paper, the first workout looked to be one of the nastiest workouts I’ve seen. And it was! 80 Calorie Row, 40 Shoulder to Overhead, and 80 deadlifts. Jacqueline paced well on the row, but had her cheering section nervous as she was 2nd to last off of the rower. She stayed calm, stuck with the plan and crushed the shoulder to overheads and deadlifts making up time and passed her opponents. While in complete “WOD drunk mode”, she sprinted to the finish line in 10th, which was just enough to make it to the finals. I know for sure our little cheering section all lost our voice immediately watching that workout go down!

We knew the final would have muscle ups. Castro brought all the masters in the tennis arena and announced that it was “Amanda”, a tough WOD with snatches and muscles ups. The perfect final test for Jacqueline. While in previous posts I’ve stated she could do muscle ups, in actuality, a month leading up to the Games, Jacqueline was struggling and went for several weeks without hitting one and at one point, we stopped working on them in hopes they would click at the Games if needed. Welp, she needed them and yes they clicked! She was able to get 6, taking 8th in the final, even beating the overall winner of the competition, Cindy Kelly.

Many folks view top finishes as the only source or sense of accomplishment. Heck, the same is true for some coaches. However, what is most fulfilling to me is witnessing your athlete fight back at the sight of adversity and shining when the chips are against them. It’s the stuff that we can’t really help with. We may have a plan, but the only person who handles the ups and the downs of the competition is the athlete. At the Games, Jacqueline handled the struggles like a true champ and never let it discourage her, rather, used it as fire to crush the rest of them and proved to herself that she belonged there. Seeing her do this on the grandest CrossFit stage along with seeing fellow Sweat Shoppers and friends like Mark, Jen, CJ, Meg, T, MJ, Mel, and the Gilmores make the long trip down to support her, was my favorite part of watching the Games.

Great work, again Jacqueline! You made all of us at the Sweat Shop proud to call you our athlete. Can’t wait to see what next year has in store! You can check out more photos on our FB page here and watch her highlights and view results on the Games site. 



During the first few months of CrossFit, beginners will usually see significant improvements in their conditioning, skills, flexibility, and strength. In specific, we usually see huge improvements in our olympic lifts. Stuck at that pesky 1RM for some time now? Then it may be time to break down your mechanics and fine tune your movement in order to break through that plateau. Snatching or cleaning from the blocks makes for some good accessory work that may help improve certain areas of your lift.

Performing your lifts from the blocks is a good way to work on and improve certain parts of your pull, finishing your pull, or catching the bar. The most common training positions are from the first position, right above the knee, or right below the knee. If you’re like me and have a tendency to cut your hip extension short and rely on the drop under the bar to complete a lift, then you might give training from the first position or right above the knee a try. For the past month or so, I’ve been adding in some block work every week to try and improve that certain part of my lift. As a result, I have seen significant improvements in a fairly short amount of time.

Now how does lifting from the blocks differ from the hang? First off, when we perform the lifts from the hang (pick the bar up from the ground, then lower the bar down to above the knee) most lifters get a little extra movement in their hips, back, or legs to help complete the lift. Also, it is difficult to lower the bar to the same spot every repetition and thus we are starting from varying positions each time. On the other hand, from the blocks we start from a dead stop and the same position with each rep. As a consequence, we are forced to begin accelerating as soon and as fast as possible in order to complete the lift. In other words, we are forced to finish our pull before receiving the bar in the catch position.

Lifting from the blocks is a great tool to help improve your lifts and break through that plateau. Give it a try at open gym sometime and see what happens. I recommend doing 4 or 5 sets at about 70% to 80% of your 1RM and performing 2 or 3 reps each set. Be safe and happy lifting!

Jacqueline Day 1 and 2


We couldn’t be more proud of our Jacqueline as she wraps up Day 2 at the Masters CrossFit Games. Jacqueline tied for 1st in the Thruster workout Event 2.  Here’s what JB had to say after coaching Day 1:

She fought back today through tough pull-up workout, jitters… Her first ever crossfit comp… Then crus1hed the thruster ladder got tied for 1 place then fought off 4 people on snatch wod and took 5th on that. Currently 5th going into tomorrow.

Day 2 consisted of the Long Chipper The Double Hanger. Jacqueline finished strong with a 4th place finish in The Double Hanger, landing her in 7th place overall after Day 2! Great job Jacqueline!!! One more day! Good luck out there and have fun!

Masters CrossFit Games Events

As you all know, Jacqueline will be competing in the CrossFit Games next week! You can watch her live on the CrossFit Games website link here, or like a few, travel down to cheer her on! The workouts have been announced and they shape up well for Jacqueline. She will be competing all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Below are the events listed on the respective days. Crush it Jacqueline!

——DAY 1—— JULY 21

EVENT 1- Triplet
For time:
24 GHD sit-ups
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups
50-meter sandbag run (80 / 40 lb.)
18 GHD sit-ups
9 chest-to-bar pull-ups
50-meter sandbag run (100 / 60 lb.)
12 GHD sit-ups
6 chest-to-bar pull-ups
50-meter sandbag run (120 / 80 lb.)

EVENT 2- 1RM thruster

3 rounds for time of:
10 snatches (95 / 65 lb.)
200-meter sprint (4 x 50 m)

——DAY 2—— JULY 22

EVENT 4- Long Chipper
For time:
 1,000-meter run
25 sandbag ground-to-shoulders (100 / 70 lb.)
25 box jump-overs (24 / 18 inch)
25 chest-to-bar pull-ups
50 wall-ball shots (20 / 14 lb.)
25 chest-to-bar pull-ups
25 box jump-overs (24 / 18 inch)
25 sandbag ground-to-shoulders (100 / 70 lb.)

EVENT 5-Double Hangar
3 rounds for time of:
100 double-unders
7 hang power clean and jerks (165 / 105 lb.)

——DAY 3—— JULY 23

EVENT 6-Sandwich

For time:
80-calorie row
40 shoulder-to-overheads (135 / 95 lb.)
80 deadlifts (135 / 95 lb.)

Event 7: TBA

Hammering Home Position 1!!!


Position 1 of the Snatch.

In any clean and jerk or snatch session, you will probably hear Nabil, JB, Rene, DJ, or myself talk about positioning. Also, you may have heard us reminding you to finish your pull, let you know that you are jumping forward in your catch, or to be patient. With that being the case, in this post I want to focus on the First Position, or sometimes referred to as the Power Position, which is a position that may help alleviate some problems and improve your lifts. As JB is demonstrating above, the first position is the point where the lifter’s torso is straight up, knees slightly bent, feet flat on the ground, shoulder’s peeled back, and core engaged. To those that want to make improvements in their snatch or clean and jerk, it is important to understand why this position is key in a successful lift.

Practicing the first position can be a drill that allows for improvement in your clean and jerk or snatch. In essence, it allows us to be in the best position possible to complete our hip extension, explode through the ground, and it allows us to properly prepare ourselves to land in the best receiving position that follows. I recently read an article that discusses the importance of the first position and its relationship to center of gravity that I thought was pretty interesting…

Considering your body and the barbell a single unit, the center of gravity will shift towards whichever is heavier, you or the barbell. Practicing the Power Position will keep you from letting the center of gravity shift further towards the bar, and keep you from pulling forward as the weight gets heavier.

Makes sense right? Basically, if we let the bar win, it will travel out in front of us and more likely than not result in a missed lift.

Now what are the consequences of failing to utilize the first position? Well what can happen is that the bar will pull us forward, leading to a decrease in bar speed and power output. In turn, may result in an early bending of the arms and ineffective timing and ability to receive the bar in the correct position.

How does this effect the lift when we take it from the ground you may ask? Remember, it is always important to keep the bar close to the body at all times, and using the first position is an effective way to ensure this is accomplished. Not utilizing the first position will almost guarantee the bar is left out in front of the body when pulling from the ground. Again, the first position should be the last position before we complete our hip extension, explode through the ground, and pull ourselves under the bar. This means that we must effectively hit all of our positions from the ground in order to reach the top and have a chance at a successful lift.

I encourage those that have yet to complete a lift from just the first position to give it a try for a few weeks or so. A few drills I have found effective are EMOMS or doing 4 to 5 sets across of 1 to 3 repetitions at about 60% of your 1RM. You may surprise yourself in the near future with a PR, happy lifting! Also, look forward to a breakdown of the second and third position, as well as the catch in the near future!

Next On-Ramp!

Our next On-Ramp kicks off Monday, August 17th!

As always, it will run each Monday and Wednesday night at 6:45pm for 4 weeks. If you have been hesitant to give CrossFit a try, or think you might not yet be ready for regular classes, the On-Ramp is a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with what we do at the Sweat Shop. The On-Ramp starts out slow and covers the fundamentals of the movements you will be doing most often with us. It is also a good opportunity for those in the class to “Ramp-Up” their conditioning before starting the regular classes.

If this sounds like something for you, hop on board!

To reserve your spot, or for more information on the program, please e-mail me at The class is capped at 8 people. Don’t wait too long!

Click here to access our On-Ramp info page.

Drop It Drop It Low


Have you ever noticed how toddlers comfortably sit in a perfect deep squat? It is a natural position as babies, however, as adults we find ourselves having to go through great lengths to insure this position. What gives? I found a person with a similar question on Marks Daily Apple. Check out the question and response below.

Hi Mark,

Did Grok have to work on Mobility and listen to KStarr?

I’m 45 year old male who loves to lift heavy stuff (crossfit, strongman, oly lifting etc). I have not perfected my Grok lifestyle by any means but I was laying on the mats in my garage gym the other day, working mobility to prep for a workout, and thought to myself, did Grok have to do this? I mean I would be lost without working on mobility….

Was Grok always sore? Did he have to roll on lacrosse ball sized rocks to get ready for the days activity?

Thoughts/feedback as I wonder if it ever gets better?



Ha! Great question. Hilarious imagery.

I picked the brain of my buddy Angelo dela Cruz, of PrimalCon and VitaMoves fame, for his perspective and advice. In addition to being a great massage therapist, body worker, movement coach, and personal trainer, Angelo is one of those dudes who’s just “always on.” At the drop of a hat and without any real warmup, he’ll do a backflip, deadlift twice his bodyweight, or scale a building – because he’s always peppering his day with movement to stay limber. Anyway, here’s what he had to say:

We’ve created the need for mobility work, just as we have created the need for learning how to run barefoot or sit, stand, or walk with good posture. For most of us, our modern lifestyles don’t engage our muscles, connective tissue, & joints to a diverse set of movements that encourage a great level of mobility (or movement capability).

Chronic tightness and decreased ranges of motion could be regarded as deficits of the body. Whatever has happened to your body up to now has contributed to a “negative balance” in your mobility account. You can imagine mobility work as a type of investment. The more things you do that make your body feel tight on a consistent basis (activities, nutrition, emotional states), the more mobility work that your body may require to balance out or “get in the black”.

Will you always need to foam roll and do mobility work? You can think of that question to be similar to “Will I always need to brush and floss my teeth?”

As long as you’re alive and want good hygiene on the inside, movement will always play an important role in a human’s ability to enjoy life. However, if you don’t like foam rolling, I’d suggest finding more enjoyable ways to gain mobility and ways that you can get more bang for your buck. For me, that means breaking up the monotony of regular life with regular, easy, yet deliberate movement, or VitaMoves. I’ll start the day with a minute or two. Anytime I start feeling “stiff,” or realize I haven’t done anything in awhile or have been sitting for too long, I’ll get up and move. Most times, I devote a minute or two, so it doesn’t feel like work, but as a result I’m always ready to work out, lift, run, jump, or play without much warming up.

Like Angelo’s, Grok’s mobility account was in very good standing. A lifetime of good credit. Yours may not be, because you can’t (and haven’t been able to) spend your entire day moving around like a hunter-gatherer, rarely sitting (and never sitting in a chair with a keyboard in front of you), and your most comfortable position of repose being a full squat. You also exercise differently than Grok, who rarely engaged in repetitive motions for reps and sets. Ancient hunter-gatherers weren’t really setting aside 45 minutes out of the day to cram in 3×5 deadlifts or Tabata clean and jerks. Even if you use perfect technique, your tissues need more recovery after tons of reps simply because of the repetitive stress being applied to them.

All that said, informal systems of movement therapy have likely always been around. Early humans had the same brains as we do. They touched each other, they gave back rubs to loved ones, they figured out that having your thighs rubbed after a tough hunt helped recovery the next day and felt really good. Neanderthals were treating bone fractures and wounds and amputating limbs at least 130000 years ago, and it’s likely other early humans had at least rudimentary systems of medicine and “physical therapy.” They certainly used medicinal herbs. It’s not as if we just gave up and died en masse at the slightest hint of an injury or illness before modern medicine arose.

For the most part, though, I think formal mobility work is the product of and a reaction to a society that promotes and enables poor movement. It’s also kind of necessary if you’re going to work eight hours a day and then go to the gym. It can be annoying, but five minutes a day of movement work is way easier than dealing with a torn meniscus.


Read more:

Dog Days of Summer – Wrap Up


Great work to all five of our Sweat Shop teams that competed this past Saturday at CrossFit Danville’s Dog Days of Summer Throwdown.  With male and female teams competing head to head in the same category, two of our Sweat Shop teams ended the day tied for 5th overall.  Helen & Bri, as well as Rikus & Patrick.  Most impressive in my opinion was when Patrick stepped up with zero notice and filled in when after the first workout, Nick, who was originally paired with Rikus, had to pull out of the competition because of an injury.  Comps are hard enough when you’ve mentally prepared yourself and practiced the workouts, Patrick jumping in last second, on the spot, reminded me of the CrossFit early days when workouts of competitions were never announced until the day of, which is a stark contrast to the present day where rarely do you go into a competition having not practiced all or some of the workouts!  Much respect to you Patrick!

Check out full results here.

Jacqueline Is Games Ready!

Image (2)

While this year’s Open and Masters Qualifier may seem like ages ago, our Masters Games Athlete, Jacqueline, has been training her tail off in the months since in preparation for the Games! I thought I would give you an update on her training as she has made huge strides and is peaking at the right time. In only 10 days, she’ll be doing her first ever, LIVE, CrossFit competition. It so amazingly happens to be at the CrossFit Games!

Jacqueline started CrossFit with us last October with an almost a blank slate. I say almost, because having an elite level Olympic lifting background does make some things easier starting CrossFit. However, lifting alone can’t get you to the Games! Over the past 9 months, Jacqueline has basically reduced her narrow weightlifting program to gymnastics training and a ton of work on developing her metabolic conditioning.

With gymnastics, while it will always be one of her more challenging pieces, she has fine-tuned her technique a ton given the short time she has had to work with. While doing singles will be her forte on toes to bar and pull-up workouts, she now can string them together with rhythm and is able to do them with much more ease than when she started which will be needed at some point in the Games. It’s taken some growing pains preparing for Games-like situations, but she’s doing a great job of balancing the fundamentals with advanced drills like going from boxes on muscle ups to jumping up with no help.

Jacqueline’s biggest improvement has been in her metabolic conditioning. Nabil and I could tell early on she had the athleticism but she needed a more work and exposure to the important elements of conditioning you see in seasoned CrossFit competitors. While just developing the gritty engine to push through painful workouts has been a big chunk of her training, just as important was her learning able to pick up the competitive strategies like moving fast through short barbell workouts and understanding how to pace and conserve energy during longer, higher-volume workouts. This piece is super dialed in and she has demonstrated it better and better with each training day. During Tuesday’s WOD with thrusters and pull-ups, she strung all beefy thrusters and chest to bar pull-ups and was a couple seconds off of our Regional athlete’s times!

With the performance stuff aside, what’s impressed me the most is how she has approached the process mentally and emotionally. It’s very rare to leave a sport you DOMINATE and muster the patience to not only learn a new sport but to not let the “beginner struggles” bring you down. She’s been tough! A lot of folks have been asking her what her goals are or where she expects to place. She told me, “a lot of people think that when I don’t have the ‘podium’ in my expectation, that it is somehow me being negative of myself. I don’t think like that. I DO believe in myself! I am going to go out there and do me, JJ, to the fullest and, with that, I’ll be happy, wherever I stand.” Sounds like someone who has been there before ;) I couldn’t agree with her more. I can’t wait to watch her show it on game day!

As her coach, I want to thank all the Sweat Shop community who have been helping Jacqueline through this long season especially in these last couple months. From her training buddies Helen, Bri, Ali, T, Marko, to Nabil with help with programming, and MJ doing the dirty work on Saturdays for hill runs, you all kept her going strong! We will keep you all posted on Jacqueline’s Games status within the next two weeks. Don’t forget, the masters Games athletes compete on Tuesday July 21 through Thursday July 23. You can watch her and find out more info on schedule and WODs on the Games Website. Be sure to give your positive vibes to Jacqueline when you see her! Go Jacqueline!

Getting Started

Next On-Ramp Begins August 17th

What We Offer

Most Popular Video


Caveman Bowls

Search CrossFit Sweat Shop