Friday 170512

7 Rounds, every minute on the minute, alternating:
Minute 1: 3 deadlift @ 85% of 1RM
Minute 2: 7 strict handstand push-up
Minute 3: 1 L sit rope climb

Post results to comments or BTWB


Some of us have some mobility restrictions that inhibit us from getting into the correct position for deadlifting and others just have lower back pain when deadlifting.  The video above gives you some great modifications to help both issues.  Of course, your coach can help to find a great modification that both meets your needs and the intent of the workout!!  Happy Deadlifting today!


-Don’t forget to pre-order your shirt on the Square system at the gym!!!

Thursday 170511

5 Rounds:
Row 1,000m
Rest 3 minutes

Post times to comments and BTWB

Wade warming up that clean.

Wade warming up that clean.

Volume training for weaknesses, By Courtney Shepherd and Brian Wilson of Potomac CrossFit

Several months ago a Verve athlete came to me with an article and a question about improving weaknesses. They told me they had 1 big weakness that had reared it’s ugly head several times recently during WODs, and that they wanted to find a way to target this weakness and improve it. This athlete brought with them an article from the CrossFit Journal title “Volume Training For Goats”, and wondered if this was a good approach to building their ring dips. Since that conversation I’ve had several other athletes approach me about weaknesses in both pull-ups and push-ups. I will tell you what I told each of these athletes, I think volume training is a great approach to working weaknesses, specifically those involving bodyweight movements.

At the beginning of workouts you may have even heard me make mention about volume just before discussing scaling. For example, a workout has 5 rounds with 20 pull-ups per round, making the total volume of pull-ups 100. The question becomes what volume of pull-ups are you capable of? Because if the most pull-ups you have done in a workout successfully is 50, then the idea of trying to go for 100 in the current workout is not a good one. A better idea would be to aim for a total volume of 60-65 pull-ups, split over the 5 rounds. By doing this we are increasing your volume of pull-ups and keeping you successful as well as working in the intended intensity.

That would be a way to address volume in a WOD. The above mentioned article addresses volume with additional programming outside of the daily workout.

This training technique—called volume training—has been used in various forms; it is characterized by specific and repetitive training for a weakness. It could be fielding ground balls with a backhand technique in baseball, shooting free throws in basketball, or pressing to handstand in gymnastics. The goal is to develop proprioception and endurance—defined as the ability to reproduce a movement many times over or at length—in that specific modal capacity.

Brian Wilson of Potomac CrossFit has been using volume training with his athletes, while volume training can be used for any human movement, Brian has found “that upper-body gymnastics movements (e.g., handstand push-ups, pull-ups, ring dips, push-ups, muscle-ups) see the greatest relative improvement with this method.”

Brian uses a 20 minute system, when I have used it for myself and suggested it to others, I have used a 10 minute system. The idea with either is the same: perform reps every minute on the minute, working sub-maximally (not reaching muscle failure) and to maintain a difference of no more than 2 reps from the first set to the last set. The athlete’s goal is to continue to progress in total number of reps completed per session, while still not going beyond 2 in the difference between the 1st minute and the last minute. An example of what this might look like for someone working on HSPUs using the 20 minute system, is shown below:

A five-session volume-training log for handstand push-ups.

A five-session volume-training log for handstand push-ups.

Over the course of 5 sessions, this athletes volume of HSPU has gone from 23 to 50. In the article Brian states he has his athletes do this 20 minute work twice per week. I think a better way to say that would be do a session every 3 to 4 days. This is not something that should be done every day, however going too long between sessions will hinder progress.

A key concept to remember is the athlete should work at a sub-maximal effort. This training method is designed to allow the athlete to practice the movement with near- perfect form, not to create a significant metabolic-conditioning response.

That’s right folks “near perfect form”. This type of training does no good if we are performing a movement with poor form and barely eking out reps. So if you have ever felt like your push-ups seem to stink and never seem to get better, perhaps you should drop in to an open gym time, set a clock for 10-20 minutes, and every minute on the minute perform some push-ups. While you may feel like this is silly, a good starting place is simply 1 rep every minute on the minute. . . with near perfect form for all reps. You can build from there. On that note, whichever time frame you choose, use the same time frame every time. It would be hard to track progress if every session lasts for a different amount of time.

Lastly, volume training should be prescribed for athletes who have trained regularly for several months or years but still have one or two modalities that need improvement. While this plan might be of use for beginners, it is more important to first build capacity in the general physical preparedness programming that is CrossFit. Build basic strength and capacity before worrying about isolating movements. 

For full article, click here.

Wednesday 170510

Front squat

Post results to comments or BTWB


This girls has an amazing amount of energy when you take into account EVERYTHING that she does.  Jen – you walk into the gym and the energy goes up (she’s pretty smart too!) – video courtesy of Gaby Gallou!!

Tuesday 170509

For time:
30 Snatch, 135#(95#)

At the 10 minute mark,
For time:
30 Clean & jerk, 135#(95#)

At the 20 minute mark,
For time:
100 Toes to bar

Post times to BTWB

Jackie and Hailey really enjoying their time on the rowers.

Jackie and Hailey really enjoying their time on the rowers.


We have been asked recently in person and through the suggestion box, to program more Hero and bench mark workouts.  Well ask and you shall receive.  Today we are doing 2, and really you could consider 100 toes to bar a benchmark workout, so 3 workouts today that you should be sure to log your times.  Now doing all 3 in one session might not make for the best individual times, but this is the type of workout we will program again in the future in the same order and having your times to compare will be useful.   

For those of you new to CrossFit, certain workouts are considered benchmark workouts, workouts that are popular and have been around for a long time.  Many long time CrossFitters have done both Isabel and Grace many times in the past.  If you’ve done these workouts in the past, hopefully you recorded your times, weight used, reps finished so that you can compare your past results to what you do today.  The idea is simple, record your workout results and then compare how you’ve done in the past so that you can see improvements in your level of fitness.  If you look at past results and today’s times didn’t beat your previous times, there are many variables that may have a played into this.  Sleep, diet, consistency with training, all play a part in how well you perform at certain workouts and these variables should also be tracked.  

For example, the last time I did Grace, I recorded my time, the rep scheme I used, how my diet was that day, and the amount of sleep that I got the night prior.  It looks like this; 2:09 Rx, 15, 5, 5, 3, 1,1, didn’t eat breakfast, 8+ hours of sleep. This type of information allows me to compare not just my times, but also how I was feeling that day and what I could do better.  With this type of data, you can then compare your times, but also have additional insight into how the workout went.  If you beat your previous times for benchmark workouts, great, but if you don’t it’s not the end of the world.  You’re aren’t less fit, there are other variables at play.  Be sure and record as much information as you can so you have more data than just the time you finished the workout in.  

Some of us use notebooks or logbooks, others use Beyond the Whiteboard and other online or App based products to track our workouts.  There really isn’t a perfect solution that is universal for everyone.  The best solution is the one that you can keep up with consistently.  All members of Verve receive a complimentary Beyond the Whiteboard account.  If you don’t have one and would like one, email me at and I’ll set up your account.  

Regardless of what solution you choose to track your workouts, make sure you are recording them.  We will be programming more benchmark workouts and Hero workouts and you’ll want to track as much information as you can so you can compare your results moving forward.  

Monday 170508

Every minute on the minute x 20 rounds:
1 Squat snatch

*Start at 50% of 1RM, add 5# every round

Post loads to comments and BTWB

The Sunday crew hitting up Tabata paralette lateral jumps.

The Sunday crew hitting up Tabata paralette lateral jumps.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Tonight we are having a nutrition talk at Verve. This talk will be a basic intro into why nutrition is even important to us (food is what fuels all of life’s processes). Why what we eat is important to our health (unbalanced hormones is at the root of chronic diseases). And how eating the right amount of food can help optimize our performance (weighing and measuring in Zone proportions). If you are newer to Verve or have been around awhile but have note yet heard this talk, there is no better time than now. Maybe you are not in place yet where you want to think about your nutrition, maybe right now coming in to the gym on a consistent basis is the first battle that you have chosen to fight and that battle is still raging. Maybe adding another small battle to this continual war we fight to be the healthiest, happiest, best versions of ourselves might be just too much. Coming to this talk does not mean you have to walk away and make huge changes, coming to this talk will simply give you some tools, resources, information, and the starting place for when you are ready. Our nutritional journey is much like our CrossFit journey, we are all starting in different places and to reach our goals may take some of us longer than others. But life is a journey, the goal is to live it and enjoy it as long as possible. So come learn how. 

This party starts at 8pm. There is about 45 minutes of talk and as much time as you need after for Q&A. This talk is listed in MBO, it is free to any and all who are interested, including any family or friend that is not a member of Verve. We just ask that you sing up in MBO so we have a head count. 

See you folks tonight. 


Sunday 170507

Tabata this:
Ring row
Ab-mat sit-up
Paralette lateral hops

*:20 of work, :10 of rest x 8 rounds per movement. Score is lowest number of reps maintained

Post scores to comments and BTWB

Jason laid out, trying to figure out where the weekend went.

Jason laid out, trying to figure out where the weekend went.

Saturday 170506

Working in teams of 2, as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
50′ DB front rack walking lunge, 40#(25#)
50′ DB farmer’s carry, same weight used for lunge
200m Run
*Partners alternate complete rounds.

Post rounds to BTWB




The Crossfit Kitchen is a great resource for recipes when looking for ways to spice up your palette. This savory dish from Nick Massie is perfect for a warm comfort food fix. You can watch the full video here along with the original article from the CrossFit Journal. 


  • 16 oz. wild shrimp, peeled, deveined and sliced in half
  • 3 oz. Italian sausage
  • 2 c. tomato puree
  • 1 c. light coconut milk
  • 3 zucchini, rinsed and cut into noodle-like strips
  • 3 yellow squashes, rinsed and cut into noodle-like strips
  • 1 oz. basil chiffonade, saving two basil leaves for garnish
  • 7 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste  


  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 tsp. of olive oil and all the garlic to the pan. Cook until the outer edges of garlic become golden brown.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sausage to the pan, breaking it into small chunks.
  4. Stir garlic and sausage together, add the zucchini and yellow squash, and fold all ingredients together. Turn heat to medium-high and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato puree and coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer, fold in the shrimp and cook for 60 seconds.
  6. Cut the heat, taste the sauce, and adjust seasoning to your liking using kosher salt and black pepper.
  7. Transfer to a plate, garnish with basil leaves and enjoy!
  8. You can also portion this out and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Friday 170505

2 Rounds for time:
10 Deadlifts @ 85% of 6RM
10 Muscle-ups
30 Front squat @ 45% of 3RM

Post results to comments or BTWB

When little man just wants to be close but you need to get your accessory work in!

When little man just wants to be close but you need to get your accessory work in!

THAT DARN FRONT RACK – Exerpts from Dan Pope and Fitness Pain Free (see full article here)

Are you the guy who’s pinky slips out from under the bar during a max clean and jerk?  Do your wrists kill after thrusters?  Can’t even touch the barbell to your chest during push press?

You might have a front rack issue.  

The areas that are generally limited in a poor front rack will be:

  • The thoracic spine
  • The shoulder
  • The elbow
  • The wrist

In the front rack we obviously need to get our elbows up.  This will require pure shoulder flexion.  However, we also need to get the hands out a bit wider then shoulder level.  This is going to require combined shoulder flexion and external rotation.  We also need to have a bit of scapular protraction in order to get the shoulder forward some to rest the barbell on.  Also keep in mind that if we have significant restrictions at the wrist, thoracic spine or elbow it will force more motion onto the shoulder.

Having adequate motion in the shoulder will give us a nice strong platform in order to allow our lower body to help blast that barbell overhead.  Without this, we’ll be greatly limiting our ability to transfer force from the lower body to the upper body and move big weights.

So here are three quick exercises you can use use to get that shoulder inline and improve your front rack:

Thursday 170504

As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of:
50 Double unders
10 Power snatch, 75#(55#)
10 Box jump overs

Post rounds and reps to comments and BTWB

Men's T-Shirt

Women's Tank


It’s t-shirt time!! Verve has their newest shirt on the printing block, we just need to know how many to make. 

**We will start the pre-sale process tomorrow (Friday May 5th) and it will go for two weeks (through Friday May 19th @ 5pm).**

How does the pre-sale work??
1) Go to our self serve square system or Online Store

2) Pick the item(s) you want. Shirt or tank or both and sizes for anything.

3) In this same area there is  box labeled “Notes and Quantity”, in this box we need you to type your name for the order. Why?? Because we can’t always read your signatures. :) This helps us distribute the orders when they arrive at Verve. 

4) Check out using a credit card and you are done. 

We will have a log of all the orders that will be sent in after 5pm on Friday May 19th. It may take a week or so to get the shirts printed and back to Verve, then we will happily notify you to come pick your order up. Let us know if you have any questions. 


Speaking of questions. . . . got any questions about nutrition?? (and she seamlessly transitions to the next topic)

Monday May 8th @ 8pm, Verve will be hosting a nutrition talk. We will intro with why nutrition is even important (it’s our hedge against sickness and chronic disease), why what we eat is important (it’s all about those balanced hormones), and how adding in precision and accuracy can help us find our optimal performance levels (I’m talking about the Zone). This is a basic intro to nutrition, but it is important to understand that just like CrossFit, we will be coming in at different stages in our nutritional journey. Meaning we may all be starting in different places. We can scale nutrition just like we scale workouts. So stop by Verve, get the basic info and then let’s find a way to make it work for you. 

This talk is free to anyone interested, even your friends that are not members of Verve. We simply ask that everyone sign up in MBO so we can have a head count. Let us know if you have any questions.

Wednesday 170503

Front squat

Post results to comments or BTWB

Ron working through deadlifts during the Everyday Warrior Battles Series workout.

Thank you Ron Solt, for your brutal honesty regarding your first CD!  That is why we love you!


#1 – What is your hometown? Central City, Nebraska

#2 – How did you get started in CrossFit?  My sister talked me into trying it, glad she did.
#3 – Do you have a favorite workout or movement?  All I really know about any of the workouts is that no matter what, they always win the battle.  I do enjoy rowing and any barbell workout.
#4 – What is the screensaver on your phone right now?  I have a picture of a NYC street with its buildings in black and white and the cabs are yellow; it has absolutely no meaning to me other than I like the color contrast.
#5 – What was your first CD?  I really want to lie and say it was something cool like Zeppelin or Hendricks, but embarrassingly it was New Kids on the Block. (YES!!!)
#6 – Any advice for a new CrossFitter or someone wanting to try CrossFit?  As someone who is very new and was very apprehensive, I would tell them to stop letting the fear of what could happen be the reason for nothing happening and this is true both of taking the first step to attend a crossfit session and each and every skill or movement that you do in each class.