Affiliate Roundup, Part 14: “Balance and Dedication”

It takes more than just a Level 1 Certificate to run a successful CrossFit affiliate. In this series, learn about the various ways affiliate owners and trainers evolve and plan as they work to lead the fitness industry.

In Part 14, the conversation continues as CrossFit Inc.’s Tyson Oldroyd talks about balance and dedication with Pat Burke of MBS CrossFit, CrossFit Verve founders Matt and Cherie Chan, Nicole Christensen of CrossFit Roots, and David Tittle of CrossFit Low Oxygen.

As an affiliate owner, being dedicated to your business is important for its success. But what happens when other things in life demand your attention?

Matt says it can be detrimental to the business to have too many high-priority pursuits—if you’re training for the CrossFit Games or splitting your time between gym ownership and another career, for example.

“You have your passions … but in reality, if you’re pouring your heart and soul into one thing, something else is going to suffer,” he says.

Oldroyd echoes that sentiment, remembering something Australian CrossFit Games Masters athlete Matt Swift said: “You can only have one most important thing.”

Cherie agrees, but she adds that striking a balance is important because life is inevitably full of many important things.

Video by Mike Koslap.
5min 15sec

Additional reading: “Dirt Rowed” by Emily Beers, published Jan. 5, 2016.

Lift to Live Well

Physiotherapist Sharon Mallia reports on the success of CrossFit-based training with 20 seniors aged 75-91.

CrossFit is becoming increasingly popular in older populations, but so far no academic studies have delved into the topic of CrossFit and older adults. I am a physiotherapist by profession and was introduced to the world of CrossFit about three years ago. Since then, I have been incorporating some aspects of CrossFit in my work at a geriatric rehabilitation hospital, and after seeing its efficacy, I decided to incorporate CrossFit in my thesis submitted as part of a master’s degree in gerontology and geriatrics.

The primary objective of this study was to test whether CrossFit principles can be safely and effectively used to improve the physical function of older adults, consequently increasing their level of independence in activities of daily living and offering them better quality of life. The second aim was to investigate the perception older adults have of this training program.

To read the full article, click here.

An Open Letter to the “Big Dogs”

Nice deadlift. What’s your Helen time?

We’re well aware of your snatch PR.

We can indeed hear you grunting as you rep out.

We know you hold the top spot on the squat leaderboard.

And yes, we know all about your big bag of supplements, your special gear, your amp-up music and your pre-lift routine.

But a great many of us really don’t care about your strength numbers.

Here’s why: You’re in a CrossFit program.

This, of course, is not to throw shade at those who are specifically training for powerlifting, weightlifting or strongman. You guys and girls are cool. We’re thrilled to watch you clean and press our deadlift PR. We’ll gladly lend our car if you need something to pull around the block. Have at that 700-lb. yoke with our complete blessing. We respect you and your goals.

We’re also down with strong guys and girls who bust their asses all week in workouts that include heavy barbell work, long runs, gymnastics and everything in between. You guys are A-OK.

The people who need a reminder are the Big Dogs—those who are part of a CrossFit program yet clearly dodge every conditioning workout, taking pride only in their lifting numbers.

Lest you miss the point, let it be stated again: There is nothing wrong with a love of lifting. Training specifically to lift heavy is fantastic. Regularly lifting heavy is also part of a well-rounded CrossFit program. Lifting to target and eliminate a weakness is fine as well. However, exclusively lifting heavy to the detriment of other aspects of fitness is ridiculous if you claim to do CrossFit. CrossFit is not just showing up to max out on heavy days.

CFJ_BigDogs_Warkentin-1.jpg Ben Smith’s lifting numbers are impressive, but they’re even more impressive when placed next to his scores on conditioning workouts.

If you only want to lift and begrudge anyone who suggests true fitness includes stamina, endurance, flexibility, conditioning and so on, you stick out like a chalk-free barbell at a CrossFit gym. We suspect you want to stick out because you believe it’s important that many other people know how much you can lift.

If it wasn’t, you’d probably be in the basement benching alone to the “Rocky IV” soundtrack.

Big Dogs generally lack self-awareness, so if you’re unsure if you’re a member of the pack, please review this list of telltale behaviors:

• Writing strength numbers on the whiteboard in larger print or in a color that stands out.
• Speaking overly loudly about recent strength PRs.
• Scaling loads up to turn met-cons into strength work.
• Justifying brutally slow met-con times by saying “but I scaled up.”
• Having a work schedule that somehow always prevents attendance on conditioning days.
• Commenting on other people’s PR videos with thunder-stealing nonsense such as, “Finally joined the 400 club, hey?”
• Grunting and over-the-top PR celebration.
• Stating “I’ve done way more before” after any submaximal lift.
• Asking other members what they lifted only so they’ll ask in return.
• Justifying poor results by mentioning soreness from an “epic squat sesh” earlier in the week.
• Claiming the most prominent squat rack so people can see what’s on the bar.

CFJ_BigDogs_Warkentin-2.jpg Top CrossFit athletes have proven that it’s possible to earn a 300-lb. snatch, a 500-lb. squat and a 20-minute 5-kilometer time.

About six or seven years ago, Big Dogs were slightly more accepted in CrossFit programs. Your strength and power were indeed impressive, so some looked past an overall lack of fitness in what might be considered the early-middle part of the CrossFit revolution—a time when many athletes were only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible.

Then something interesting happened: Athletes proved that you can get really, really strong while still improving all the other aspects of fitness.

CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman always said this would happen, but you scoffed at the thought and instead took pride in your place at the top of the deadlift leaderboard, which interestingly corresponded with your absence from the Helen leaderboard.

It took a bit of time for things to sort themselves out, but guys like Ben Smith have utterly ruined it for you. Smith’s slightly outdated CrossFit Games profile lists impressive strength numbers: 480-lb. back squat (he’s hit 500), 540-lb. deadlift, 300-lb. snatch and 335-lb. clean and jerk (he’s lifted 370).

But Smith, the Fittest Man on Earth in 2015, can also run 5 kilometers in 20:20. He can do Helen in 7:19. He’s scored 520 on Fight Gone Bad. He’s done Filty Fifty in 16:17.
Smith’s just one example. Look to the stats of just about any Games or regional-level competitor—male or female—and you’ll find an astounding blend of strength and, yes, conditioning. Fitness, in other words.

CFJ_BigDogs_Warkentin-5.jpg Sam Briggs, a former CrossFit Games champion, has a world-class engine in addition to significant lifting numbers.

It’s clear that Smith’s numbers are not the sort of thing that would put him at the top of the podium at a weightlifting or powerlifting meet contested by highly trained specialists, but they’re damn good for an athlete who trains for general physical preparedness, and they’re more than enough to take the Big Dogs out of the conversation in a CrossFit box.

This is terrible news for you, as your prized strength numbers are now often equaled or significantly bettered by athletes whose fitness allows them to be good at every single CrossFit workout from one-rep-max deadlift to Murph. Every Big Dog has his or her day, so you might beat these athletes in one or two strength workouts, but they’ll smoke you in the next nine—if you show up, of course.

You’re quickly becoming a rarity. The strong guy/girl is being replaced by the strong athlete who can run, row and bang out muscle-ups, too.

You really need to make a simple choice: train like a lifter or train like a CrossFit athlete. Either option is totally fine. If you select the former, expect us to cheer you on as you bend the bar. Bending the bar is very cool.

“It is not a character flaw. There is no value judgment. Rather, you are not advancing your fitness. Instead, you are advancing a very narrow bandwidth of a specialized capacity,” as stated in the “CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide.”

Usain Bolt has done exactly that, and no one should criticize him. Specialization isn’t bad. Specialization is what allows people to break world records. But specialization also 100 percent ensures that certain elements of fitness will be neglected on purpose.

CFJ_BigDogs_Warkentin-4.jpg If you do CrossFit, why covet a big deadlift or a great Cindy score? Why not earn both?

So if you choose to stick with this CrossFit thing, keep in mind that we’re all chasing the kind of well-rounded fitness that allows us to be good at any physical task.

That doesn’t mean you need to give up your love of lifting, and you don’t have to hide your ear-to-ear grin on deadlift day. We want to see you load up the plates and pull, and we’ll be cheering as you notch a new PR. But you do need to start showing up to conditioning and gymnastics workouts and putting in some effort. Stop ducking the 5-kilometer run or trying to do Cindy with 225-lb. squats that hide your inability to do pull-ups quickly. Quit benching after class and do some rowing intervals instead.

Read “What Is Fitness?” and realize strength and power are but two of the 10 attributes we’re training. Buy into the program.

If you’re really into overall fitness, feel free to join us for a sweet 5 by 5 of heavy back squats.

But we’re doing a 400-meter run after each set, and the workout is scored by time to completion.

About the Author: Mike Warkentin is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204.

Photo credits (in order): Chris Nolan/CrossFit Journal, Naveen Hattis/CrossFit Journal, Dave Re/CrossFit Journal, Ruby Wolff/CrossFit Journal.

The Art, Science & Psychology of Teaching Technique w/ Doug Larson – Episode 227


This week the, Owner, the Creator, The OG, Doug Larson is back on the show and we decided it was time to flip the mic and interview him.

Doug is known for his technical understanding of movements. Which is why he started TechniqueWOD. He has a great ability to break down complex movements into simple parts, making them really easy to understand and implement into your training.

So this week we thought we could pick his brain on how much time and how often you should spend on practicing “good” technique. We also discuss how too much technique work could hurt your training. After all, the point of training hard is to get better. If you’re just working really hard and not getting better, what’s the point?

Now, we all understand that ONLY doing technique work can eventually become pretty boring, so we discuss several ways as a coach (and as athletes) how you can keep clients motivated while trying to improvement their movement quality (aka unf@#$ their technique). Specifically, creative ways to add technique work into your programs, and how to communicate with athletes on why they’re doing what they’re doing. Which is, to fix movements, so you don’t continue to work against yourself or even worse, get hurt.

It was great to have him back on the show. Doug is a really, really smart dude and I love how deep of an understanding he has on training related topics. We’ll definitely do this format again.

I hope you enjoy!


For more:

We’ve got a ton of FREE videos to help you improve your technique. Check out all our TechniqueWOD videos here.

The post The Art, Science & Psychology of Teaching Technique w/ Doug Larson – Episode 227 appeared first on Barbell Shrugged.

CrossFit Lifeguard: Jeremy Magee

A big, strong back saved a retired Marine’s life after a 25-foot fall broke four of his vertebrae.

Jeremy Magee has been in combat twice: once in 2003 with the Marine Corps and then again in 2010 with the Pennsylvania National Guard. Both times in Iraq. He knows what it’s like to fear for his life.

“Not many things surprise me or take my breath away, by any means,” explained the 36-year-old air-traffic controller.

But a day in mid-October 2014 did.

Magee took his then-12-year-old son out for a typical hunting trip about half a mile from his mother’s house in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania. The borough of 2,000 people sits about 100 miles east of Pittsburgh. The area is heavily wooded and teeming with deer.

He hung two tree stands—one for his son and one for himself. Magee watched as his son climbed in and secured his safety belt. Then he stepped onto his own tree stand, leaning “very lightly” onto the same branch he had used to brace himself while on his son’s stand. Magee worked to secure his own safety belt. That’s when the branch snapped, dropping him about 25 feet onto his right side.

“Most of the impact was on my head and neck,” he remembered.

Magee was knocked out for a few seconds. He awoke to see his son descending from the tree stand.

“Are you OK?” his son asked.

Magee did a self-assessment.

“I wiggled my toes and told him, ‘Yeah, I think I’ll be all right.’”

With his son’s help, Magee got to his feet. He knew he had to get to a hospital. But first he had to get back to his mom’s house.

“That half mile was the longest half mile of my life.”

His mother took him to the nearest ER, Nason Hospital in Roaring Spring, a small facility “about the size of my house,” Magee said. It was unequipped for Magee’s injuries, so an ambulance took him about 30 miles north to UPMC Altoona hospital. There, doctors told him he had a severe concussion and four broken vertebrae; they feared damage to his spinal cord.

A slew of medical staff examined Magee, including an ER doctor and a spine surgeon. What they discovered was good news: Magee’s spinal cord was unharmed. Surgery would not be required.

“Well, sir, if you didn’t have the muscle mass that you do in your back and the strength you do in your back, I would not hesitate to say you would have died out there and at the very minimum you would be paralyzed,” Magee said one doctor told him.

Magee had started CrossFit nine months earlier.

“That muscle, that density helped protect him from just shattering his back and having no hope,” said CrossFit Hershey owner Tim Steel, who coaches Magee.

Before CrossFit, Magee’s workouts comprised traditional Army protocol: running, sit-ups, push-ups—a regimen he now calls “mundane.”

A week following his accident, Magee was back at work; an additional week after that, he was back at CrossFit Hershey. For four weeks, Magee wore a body brace that covered the length of his ribs and went up to his neck. Still, he managed to get to the box for time on the stationary bike. After two weeks of that, Steel added a load of mobility work.

“We weren’t stupid. I’m conservative with things,” Steel said. “We went by feel. He didn’t lift heavy for a while.”

Today, Magee is training to compete at next year’s CRASH-B rowing competition, aiming for a 2,000-meter time under 6:20.


And when pointedly asked whether it was CrossFit or his military training that saved his life that day in October 2014, Magee didn’t hesitate.

“I definitely would attribute it to CrossFit. … The military doesn’t, in any of the branches that I’ve been in, cover in detail the amount of physical fitness and exercise that encompasses what CrossFit is.”

About the Author: Andréa Maria Cecil is assistant managing editor and head writer of the CrossFit Journal.

Photo credits (in order): Courtesy of Jeremy Magee, Courtesy of CrossFit Hershey

Enhance Your Golf Swing Through Consistent Training

Enhance your golf swing by doing regular exercise that will help develop your game and allow you to master and become the lord of your clubs.

Enhance your golf swing with regular exercise

The game of golf is more than just hitting the ball, in fact, there are a lot of things to consider before you can make that perfect golf swing. Here are some basic golf swing tips to get you started.

Having the right form and swing is important as it determines the outcome of your game, add to that the mental activity needed to figure out how to get the ball in the hole with varying course terrains.

Indeed, golf has its varied levels of difficulty and each hole is always a test of physical endurance and mental acuity.

It starts with the swing

The swing is one of the most important parts of the game that can spell whether it be a par, a hole in one or a bogey.

But for starters, let’s begin with a quick and straightforward guide to building that solid and consistent swing.

Work your balance

Start with the balance, it means everything as you establish your form. Your hands and body compensates as you move back on your heels or forward with your toes as the club head prepares to hit the ball.

Practice your swing by allowing your body to make a circular motion of the arm. Practice your swing with a ball target to enable you to make the necessary adjustments at every location and movement of the ball.

You may also try to step on a piece of log or foam to practice your swings to get a feel of the weight of the clubs.

Hands and body in sync

Next is to practice how your body and hands go in sync as you swing, since this determines the force that you apply to the swing and how you could leverage both hands and body to deliver the perfect swing.

Always remember that the pivot of the body is critical to the force that is applied to the ball. Relying on your hands to deliver the swing could oftentimes lead to missed tee angles and the ground level.

Start moving the hands with the shoulders or the chest, as it gives you enough leeway to make small adjustments.

Develop your tempo

Practice your tempo and start slow, as swinging in tempo lets the hand and body smack the club face to the proper position. It also allows your body to shift the weight in the right way to maximize power.

Also remember that the swing is done in a tilted circle- not vertical or horizontal as this is the best symmetrical form that provides the most flexibility and power.

Off-  green exercises

Of course, you don’t play golf everyday, but you still need to make sure that your body will always stay in shape and continue to let your body retain its flexibility.

Quadruped offset hand and knee rocking – 10 to 12 reps for 3 sets.

Single leg balance with opposite lateral foot – do 10 to 12 reps for each foot.

Single leg balance with rotational foot reaches – do 10 to 12 reps for each foot.

High plank with thoracic rotation – do 10 reps for each side and complete three sets, with 45 seconds rest in between sets.

Rotation and lateral flexion of the thoracic spine – perform 10 to 12 reps for each direction and do two sets with 30-second rest periods in between sets.

Rotational lunge with bilateral arm reach at shoulder height – Do two sets with 10 reps for each side and a 45-second rest period in between.

Make sure to also practice your grip, this is key to making that good swing. Grip it at the last minute.

Ensuring that winning grip is important as it firmly secures the club to make that good hit. Use our Liquid Grip grip-enhancing lotion that allows you to secure that grip and is the best substitute for chalk and rosin without the fuss and mess.

It is formulated with all natural ingredients that are washable by water and contains surface-adhesion properties that maximize your grip power.

The post Enhance Your Golf Swing Through Consistent Training appeared first on – Best Liquid Chalk Online!

The Barbell Life Podcast: Making Drastic Changes & Your Dreams a Reality with Alex Maclin

Recently, while on a train-cation to North Carolina, I got the chance to be a guest on our friend, Travis Mash’s podcast, The Barbell Life (thanks Travis!). 

Last week, Travis released the episode and I’m really excited for you to give it a listen.

You’ll get to know a little more of my story, how I completely left my path as an engineer to pursue my passion for Olympic Weightlifting and fitness, how I got caught up with the Shrugged crew and some of my philosophies on training, life and work. 

We’ll also talk about:

  • How to be a better coach 
  • Why I hate the word “hope”
  • Making things happen for yourself
  • The power of CARING
  • Taking calculated risks to pursue your passions
  • Why making mistakes in life, work and training is a good thing

and a lot more. 

It’s just under an hour. So take some time, give it a listen and let me know what you think. 



For More:

The post The Barbell Life Podcast: Making Drastic Changes & Your Dreams a Reality with Alex Maclin appeared first on Barbell Shrugged.

Affiliate Roundup, Part 13: “Programming as Culture”

It takes more than just a Level 1 Certificate to run a successful CrossFit affiliate. In this series, learn about the various ways affiliate owners and trainers evolve and plan as they work to lead the fitness industry.

In Part 13, the conversation continues as CrossFit Inc.’s Tyson Oldroyd discusses programming as culture with Pat Burke of MBS CrossFit, CrossFit Verve founders Matt and Cherie Chan, Nicole Christensen of CrossFit Roots, and David Tittle of CrossFit Low Oxygen.

If you consistently program a strength element followed by a metabolic-conditioning workout, are your clients going to come to expect that pattern every day? These trainers say yes.

Cherie says programming should be complex.

“Programming should be more of a science … . It’s not about what you feel or what you want; it’s about what works,” she says. “It’s about results. They’re walking in your door to get the results.”

No matter what your strategy, the group agrees that the way you program will cultivate a culture within your gym.

Burke likes to mix it up.

“I do a little bit of everything … . It’s CrossFit—anything and everything.”

Video by Mike Koslap.

6min 10sec

Additional reading: “Tinkering Trainers” by Andréa Maria Cecil, published March 15, 2015.

Rack It Right

Zachary Long explains how to identify and correct flexibility limitations in the front-rack position.

Front-rack positioning can make or break the CrossFit athlete.

Poor flexibility in the front rack is one of the most frequent complaints in the gym, and without good positioning an athlete’s ability to properly perform the front squat, clean, overhead press and jerk can be significantly affected.

The front-rack position is a combination of several motions: shoulder flexion and external rotation, elbow flexion and pronation, wrist extension, and thoracic-spine extension. As with any movement or positioning fault, a better understanding of the various components will allow the athlete or coach to more effectively correct underlying problems.

To read the full article, click here.