Tuesday 160517

Overhead squat 1-1-1
Front Squat 1-1-1
Back Squat 1-1-1

Post weights to BTWB

Today we are going to be doing 3 different squat variations.  A part of the body that is super important for your squat mechanics is the ankle.  Poor ankle mobility can lead to faults in our ability to squat efficiently.  Below is a blog written by one of our former coaches that addresses some common issues we see with ankles.  For those of you that never had a chance to meet Luke or be coached by him before he moved to Hawaii, his insight is great, but his comedy, well I’ll leave that to you to decide.  

The Ankle Angle ~ Luke Palmisano

The ankle may not seem very important to your well being, but for a coach with a keen eye, it’s a dead give-away for issues that you may be dealing with. Do your knees hurt when you squat? Do your knees hurt in general? Your achilles giving you issues? You got a bone spur growing on the back of your foot? Here’s the deal: We try to correct athlete’s foot position in all sorts of different movements. A common comment that we hear when we try to straighten your foot in order to derive torque and stability in other areas of the body is that it doesn’t feel nearly as comfortable as it does when your feet are out. So I fix your feet, try to put your ankle into a neutral position, and then guess what most of you do? You go right back to what feels comfortable, feet out, ankles caving. This is harmful over the long term. What happens is that one day you wake and your knees hurt. You try to squat, and they hurt more. You can’t figure out why. You say to yourself, “My knees never used to hurt while squatting.” Well, poor movement patterns are starting to catch up with you. If you stretch ligaments and tendons too much in the wrong directions for too long a period of time, adverse things will happen, and it will manifest itself by way of pain. I pity the fool!!

As coaches, we try really, really hard to help people avoid this.

So, the ankle. Why does it matter? It’s the smallest, yet hardest joint to identify issues in. It’s also difficult to correct, because it’s surrounded by a lot of ligaments and tendons, not a lot of muscles. It’s obvious when the knees are dipping in, but not as obvious when the ankle impinges. So here’s a test. Put both hands one inch away from each side of your foot. Straighten your ankle so that the space between each hand and your ankle is equidistant. Now naturally let your ankle and feet rest. If your foot and ankle caved inward, you have over-pronated feet. This over-pronated position, and the lack of ability to squat, deadlift, run, et al, in a neutral ankle position, will harm you in the long term. So, what to do? Well, first understand that the ankle is really made up of two joints: one that lets your foot go up and down, and one that helps it go from side to side. Both directions have to be mobilized. Bands are a huge help, and they’re simple to use. Observe the pictures below. One tests dorsi-flexion, or the ability to drive the knee forward and flex the ankle the same direction. The other tests the ankle’s ability to stay in a neutral position while attempting to externally rotate the leg and get the hip and knee into a stable position.

This may be hard shell to crack; some of us having even been walking with bad foot position for decades now. The benefits are clear: 1, Mr. T won’t be laughing in your face as you wake up with various unnecessary pains… and I won’t judge you. 

Kidding. Mr. T will always be with you.


Keeping the foot locked down while driving the knee out.

Monday 160516

Complete for time:
50 Calories on the rower
40 Meter walking lunge
30 Burpees over the rower
20 Kettlebell swings 70#(53#)
10 Muscle ups
20 Kettlebell swings 70#(53#)
30 Burpees over the rower
40 Meter walking lunge
50 Calories on the rower

Post time to BTWB


That’s a 505# deadlift face!

Everyone needs to get involved with the Everyday Warrior Team Battle Series.   We will be performing these workouts on Saturdays staring on June 4th and continuing for 4 weeks.  This cause is very near to us at Verve so please consider being part of it.  Here are the details:

The Team Battle Series is a winner-take-all, four-week, online workout and fundraising competition for teams of two — two men or two women. Teams will complete one workout per week beginning Monday, May 30th. Money raised through the Team Battle Series goes directly to individuals in the CrossFit community currently undergoing treatment for cancer.

2 people per team
2 males or 2 females
The team must be registered prior to June 6, 2016 (first week score submission deadline)
Competition Fee: $90 per team or $120 includes a shirt for each athlete. Don’t want the shirt? opt to donate the $30 back to the cause.

Nope! We have RX, Scaled and Masters divisions this year!
Movements/weights will be consistent with the 2016 CrossFit Open.
Masters division will follow the Masters 40-54 movement standards.
We will have more information once registration is live.
We will give away prizes to the team that raises the most money along with some serious swag to the winners of each division.

Get signed up HERE

Sunday 160515

As many rounds as possible in 10 Minutes of:
30 Double Unders
10 Dumbbell shoulder to overhead 40#(25#)

Post reps to comments or BTWB

We could not be more excited or proud of Emily as she goes into her last day of competition at Regionals!! NICE WORK! photo courtesy of crossfit.com

We could not be more excited or proud of Emily as she goes into her last day of competition at Regionals!! NICE WORK! photo courtesy of crossfit.com

What do you call cheese that isn’t yours??  NACHO CHEESE:)  WOW, that was a Gouda joke!
Mexican food is a weakness for me, and this would make a great lunch item.  You can see the full recipe here



  • 4 tostada shells
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese (I used Sargento)
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado (about 1 small)
  • 1 medium lime, halved
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed*
  • 1/3 cup canned drained black beans, rinsed
  • 1 jalalpeno, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cheeses.
  2. In another small bowl, combine avocado, juice from half the lime, and a pinch of salt.
  3. In one more bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, juice from the other lime half, ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper, to taste.
  4. To assemble: Layer each with 1/3 cup chicken, 1 tbsp black beans, and sprinkle with 2 1/2 tbsp cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top each with a dollop of avocado and a spoonful of the tomato salsa, jalapeno black olives. Top each with a small sprinkle of salt.

Nutrition Info
Yield: 4 Servings, Serving Size: 1 tostada

  • Calories: 299
  • Total Fat: 14.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Protein: 24g


-Emily should be competing around 11:50am and 3:35pm.  Tune in to games.crossfit.com and cheer her on!!!


Saturday 160514

For time:
50 Cleans, 135#(95#)

*Start with 3 burpees over the bar and then every minute on the minute, 3 burpees over the bar.

Post times to comments and BTWB

Verve Summer Kids Camp is coming!!

Verve Summer Kids Camp is coming!!


Got kids? Know someone with kids? Come check out Verve’s Summer Kids Camp.

What: An opportunity for kids to learn to love fitness early in a fun, dynamic, and safe environment. They will be instructed by a CrossFit Kids Trainer on good movement in squatting, jumping, pressing, and more. They will get to enjoy playing with other kids and putting all their newly learned skills into practice with fun games at the end of every class.

When: There will be two 4 week camps, the first starting June 6th, the second starting July 5th. Sign up for one or both. Each 4 week camp will have different programming. 

Kids ages 4-5 years old:
Tuesday and Friday 8:30am-9am
Parents must remain on site for entire class
$96/ 4 week camp

Kids ages 6-11 years old:
Tuesday and Friday 9:10am-10am
Parents must remain on site for entire class, CrossFit parents may join the 9am WOD
$120/ 4 week camp

Who: Verve will have a special guest trainer for the summer, Anne DeMartini. Anne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, is a college professor in sport management during the school year, and likes to shower CrossFit athletes with glitter and spirit fingers in the summers. She lives in Florida, but is very excited to get to know Denver! She is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, CrossFit Kids Trainer, and NETA Group Exercise Instructor. She’s also attended Carl Paoli’s Freestyle Connection Movement Seminar and has experience coaching youth soccer.

CrossFit Kids is meant to be BIG fun for all ages. Broad-Inclusive-General fun. In additional, consistently good mechanics also translates to physical literacy, enhanced sports performance and fewer sports injuries for kids. We want to bring health, happiness, and improved sports performance to your kids. Parents do not need to be members of Verve to sign up their kids!! 

If you are interested, please email courtney@crossfitverve.com to get signed up.


Friday 160513

As many rounds as possible in 25 minutes of
2 Strict Muscle ups
4 Strict handstand push ups
100 Meter run

Post reps to comments or BTWB

Who doesn't love some good ole' Plate OH Lunging? Don't ask Molly and Kristy!

Who doesn’t love some good ole’ Plate OH Lunging? Don’t ask Molly and Kristy!

ASSESSING MOBILITY ISSUES – The Overhead Mobility issue

I cannot tell a lie, Mr. Dan Pope DPT, CSCS is the motivator for this round of posts regarding assessing and correcting improper movement.  Dan has done some amazing work with the Power Monkey Fitness group lately and shared some of it with the coaches here.  In the information, Dan and his co-authors discuss the dysfunctions in movement and how to correct them.  While I can’t just cut and paste the content into this post, I can refer back to an article Dan wrote about assessing and correcting Overhead Mobility issues.  Next week I will touch some of the squatting issues.  You can see the full article and his blog here

“So a while back I wrote an article on how to assess overhead mobility.  Since then I’ve been meaning to put together a little video guide on not only how to assess overhead mobility but a few of my favorite videos on how to correct these issues once you find them.

As you are all aware, having full range of motion overhead is incredibly important for shoulder health.  This is especially true if you’re going to be regularly putting weights overhead.  If you’re a coach I’m sure you’ve had several athletes who have difficulty here.  One thing I like to reinforce is having your athletes be able to pass this screen before doing overhead lifts.

I know this is a bitter pill to swallow for most new trainees who want to jump straight into crossfit programming.  I know it’s also challenging for coaches to find modifications for these athletes.  However, if your primary goal is promoting health and longevity then you’ll be well rewarded to correct these issues before throwing some weight overhead.

As a side note I’ve found several very high level athletes with overhead restrictions who are actually very functional and strong but also have a history of nagging shoulder pain.

Without further ado, here is one of my favorite assessments for overhead mobility:

Lastly, it’s important to distinguish between a true flexibility or stability / motor control issue.  This is beyond the scope of this article but will improve your efficiency with corrective exercises if you know what you’re dealing with.  If you’re interested in learning more you can always consult a local expert who utilizes the Selective Functional Movement Assessment.

Mobility for days,

Dan Pope DPT, CSCS”

P.S. If you enjoyed this article then sign up for the newsletter to receive the FREE guide – 10 Idiot Proof Principles to Crossfit Performance and Injury Prevention as well as to keep up to date with new information as it comes out via weekly emails.

-Verve is hosting some youth CrossFit camps this summer!!!!  Whether you have kids or not, tell your friends that have kids.  This is open to any kid, not just a members’ kid.  This is great for kids or youth sport teams.  Check out this link for more details and share the love of CrossFit with the kids that you know!

Thursday 160512

In 10 minutes work to a heavy shoulder press
Then, 3 sets of 5 reps at 60% of 1 rep
Rest 90 seconds between efforts

After shoulder press. . . 

In 15 minutes work to a heavy deadlift
Then, 3 sets of 5 @ 50 % of 1 rep with a tempo of 2020

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Saturday Funday of practicing Regional Team workouts.

Saturday Funday of practicing Regional Team workouts.


It’s Regionals time and I’m ready to stand on my soap box. By Courtney “false grip till I die” Shepherd

Who’s got two thumbs and is excited to watch the first weekend of Regionals kick off this Friday??

This girl!!!

If you aren’t a giant CrossFit geek like myself you may not completely know what I’m talking about, but remember that crazy weekly workout we did every Friday during the month of March and we made you judge each other? We did that for the 2016 CrossFit Games Open, a world wide competition to start to find the fittest man, women, and team in the world. Well Regionals is step number 2 in the process. The top men and women from the Open will compete over the next 3 weekends in their individual Regional in an attempt to earn a trip to the 2016 CrossFit Games. Verve’s own Emily Yates is one of those athletes that qualified to compete at Regionals an she will be competing this weekend in Dallas, TX. The Regionals is, in my opinion, an awesome opportunity to see some great competition between so many amazing athletes. We get to see the top men and women in the sport of CrossFit really go head to head, and just like any good sporting event, you will be amazed at what can happen. The upsets, the underdog rising to the top, the record times and record weights lifted, the failure, the triumph. . . seriously I love this stuff.

As in years past, the workouts the athletes will be competing in have already been released. And just like in years past, Dave Castro did not disappoint. Dave Castro is the director of the CrossFit Games and the mastermind behind all the workouts programmed from the Open through the Games. Mr. Castro continues to bring new ways to test fitness to the table, some make people happy and some do not. This year Dave Castro sent social media a buzz when he announced a workout with strict muscle-ups. For years people have said we would never see handstand push-ups in an open workout. . . that changed in 2015 when they made an appearance. People said we would never have strict handstand push-ups at Regionals. . . in 2014 they were a highlight. It’s a known fact that to be a truly competitive Regional athlete you better be able to walk on your hands, as that movement has now been at every Regional since 2014. In 2015 we saw a high percentage of Regional athletes perform 15 kipping muscle-ups unbroken. For people to be in such disbelief, shock, and awe at the appearance of strict muscle-ups this year is actually what is the most shocking and aweing (I know that’s not a word). As a whole, the athletes that treat CrossFit as their sport are in fact getting more fit, they can no longer be tested the way they were 3 years ago.

So what’s the big deal with a strict muscle-up? If you are so fit and can do 15 kipping muscle-ups unbroken, why can’t you do a strict muscle-up? Two words: False Grip. The strict muscle-up is made up of 2 parts strength and 2 parts skill. We need to have the strength to do a chest to bar pull-up and the strength to do a ring dip. The 2 skill parts involve being able to transition from below the rings to a position above the rings and. . . . the false grip. The false grip, much like the hook grip in Olympic lifting, is not comfortable, it takes practice and patience to get use to, and it can add difficulty to the movement when all you simply want to do is grab the rings and go. They have a saying in Olympic lifting about the hook grip, there are those that hook grip and there are those that don’t care about ever lifting heavy weight. Well there are those that false grip and there are those that don’t care about ever doing strict muscle-ups. 

The strict muscle-up is discussed during Level 1 seminars. I once worked a seminar where a woman there would not try using the false grip. She literally said, “I don’t false grip”. When I asked her how she does strict muscle-ups she said, “when would I need to do strict muscle-ups?” Well if she were a Regional Games athlete, I guess the answer to that would be pretty darn soon. I know we are not all Regional Games athletes, however why would we purposefully choose to eliminate a movement from our arsenal? Why would we choose to make something and henceforthly keep something a weakness? Sure, maybe we aren’t busting out strict muscle-ups all day, every day. . . but what if you wanted to? Do you have any dreams or goals to be a highly competitive CrossFit athlete? Well highly competitive CrossFit athletes are not in the habit of reveling in weaknesses but rather eliminating them. 

While this rant was about the false grip, it really transfers to any thing we don’t like or find uncomfortable. I don’t like wall balls. If someone asked me about wall balls and I said “I don’t wall ball”, CrossFitters would look at me sideways. Do I squat? Uh, yeah. Do I push weight overhead? Duh. So then why don’t I wall ball? Because I don’t like it? That is the argument of a 4 year old. It doesn’t matter the kind of athlete we are now or the kind of athlete we want to be, if it is a weakness do not run from it but attack it head on. Attacking any weakness makes us stronger over all. And if we made it to Regionals, attacking a weakness would mean we don’t get eliminated on the first day of competition. 


Wednesday 160511

5 Rounds for time:
21 Wallballs 20#(14#)
15 Ring rows
:30 Second L sit on rings

Post Results to BTWB.

Mike Cain waiting patiently to hit the perfect hollow position.

Mike Cain waiting patiently to hit the perfect hollow position.

Everyone walks into a CrossFit gym for a different reason. Some people are searching for a program that will enhance their life, some are looking for a competitive edge in their respective sport and some just plain and simple want to look a little better naked.

Often people walk in to the gym searching for something in particular and then after a certain number months, they find a shift in not only their goals, but also their priorities.

It’s very rewarding to get to watch as people transform into something they thought was never possible. With these changes it’s important to keep track of your initial goals while you start pursuing your new goals. If your very first goal in the gym was to look a little better in a bathing suit, then down the road you may have trouble rationalizing wanting to perform better if you still don’t like the way you look in a bathing suit. Remember that it’s completely fine to change your goals, however our true priorities will always reign through. 

It’s important to understand why we do the things we do. If your goal is too look better in a bathing suit, that’s awesome. If your goal is to go regionals, that’s great. If your goal is to pick up your child off the ground without pain, fantastic. However, when it comes down to setting your goal, the only thing that matters is that you are happy with it. The only person you ever have to justify anything to is yourself.

Typically, no matter how bad we would like to change what we are looking for, our initial goals will always come up as we prioritize. There is no right goal and there is no wrong goal. Every one is different and everyone is looking for something different. Keep that in mind as you grow into the athlete you become.

Tuesday 160510

2 Rounds for time:
10 Ring Muscle-ups
5 Power clean and jerks (pick your own weight)

Rest 5 minutes

2 Rounds for time:
10 Bar Muscle-ups
5 Power clean and jerks (pick your own weight)

Post time and weight to BTWB

Edie and Walter working through some partner deadlifts

Edie and Walter working through some partner deadlifts

Grip is so important in many exercises we do.  From pull ups to kettlebell swings and anything that requires us to hold on to the barbell for long periods of time, grip is sometimes the deciding factor to being able to continue working or having to take a rest.  Below are a few exercises to help develop grip strength.  You can see that we’ve been programming a few of these in our post workout accessory training.

Plate pinches 
As the name suggests, this is a great exercise for developing pinching power and your pinch grip. Grab a pair of 10lb. plates (the steel kind, not the bumpers) and place them together, with the smooth side facing outwards. Wedge them into your palm and use your fingers to pinch them together. Keep a log of how long you can hold the plates together, and always try to grind out a few more seconds each time you try the exercise. If it starts to get easy, add another pair of 10’s and go from there.

Farmer carries
train grip_farmer carry
Pick your equipment of choice—be it a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, etc.—and place them by your side, close to your feet. Deadlift the weight up, taking care to ensure that your arms and back remain straight, and that your head is held in a neutral position. Pinch your shoulder blades together and lock your upper torso into a tight position—no rounding or wobbling. Taking short, choppy steps, walk in a straight line to your target destination. Drop the weight, and repeat.

Bar Hang
train grip_hangJump up to a pull-up bar and hang there until you fall off. If you can hang for over a minute, increase the difficulty by putting a dumbbell between your ankles, wearing a weight vest or using a dipping belt. If you’re up for a real challenge, try hanging with only one arm.

For these and a few more examples, please read the full article from Box Life Magazine HERE.

Monday 160509

For time:
Row 2000 Meters
100 Double unders
Run 1600 Meters
100 Double unders

Post time to BTWB

I know I’m probably late to the party on this, but I’m getting more and more into podcasts.  My interests range from fitness related podcasts to business podcasts as well as general pop culture podcasts, although the last one I’m not too proud of.  I know way to much about certain celebrities than I should.  

Our very own Paul Buono has launched a new podcast with his friend Angelo and a lot of behind the scenes help from Paul’s brother.  The podcast is called; Not All About Fitness.  The above video is a quick glimpse into the type of content the podcast will feature. 

New episodes are released Thursdays.  Make sure to follow them on all their social media platforms.  The topics range outside of just general fitness and these guys have access to some pretty prominent people in the fitness industry as well professionals in other walks of life.  

For the website with video podcasts click HERE 

Below is a video of some outtakes from their trip back east.  Basically it’s Paul being Paul except he has a shirt on.


Sunday 160508

For time:
50′ Handstand walk
10 Toes to bar
40′ Handstand walk
15 Toes to bar
30′ Handstand walk
10 Toes to bar
20′ Handstand walk
15 Toes to bar
10′ Handstand walk
10 Toes to bar

Post time to comments of BTWB

Breakfast burritos!!!

Breakfast burritos!!!

I and many other people at the gym are on the perpetual hunt for the perfect breakfast burrito!! (if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments).  Since we are adults and can’t go someplace different every day to find it, we must learn how to make one on our own!  The recipe below, from fitfoodiefinds.com would be great for a Sunday prep day, throw them in the freezer and pull them out when you need one.  You can see the full recipe here.

**For those tracking your macros, the fat is pretty high. Easy ways to get it down would be to use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon and 2 egg whites instead of one full egg.**

  • 8 eggs, large
  • splash of milk
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 red pepper, finely minced
  • ½ red onion, finely minced
  • 4 piece of thick-cut bacon, cooked until crispy
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 Flatout Flatbreads (Multi Grain with Flax)
  1. Place EVOO and minced garlic in a medium sauce pan. Turn to medium-high heat and cook until oil is heated. In a large bowl, whisk 8 eggs and a splash of milk. Set Aside.
  2. Add in red pepper and onion to the pan and sauté for a few minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent. Then, add in eggs and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until cooked.
  3. Place ¼ of the egg mixture and a piece of cooked bacon.on top of a Flatout Flatbread. Then, sprinkle with cheese. Wrap tightly. EAT.

Servings (makes 4 burritos)
Fat: 20g  ***substitute
Protein: 25g
Carb: 22g
Fiber: 9g