Wednesday 160525

For time:
15 Cleans, 135#(95#)
30 Box jump, 24″(20″)
10 Cleans, 165#(115#)
20 Box jump, 24″(20″)
5 Cleans, 195#(135#)
10 Box jumps, 24″(20″)

Post Results to BTWB.

David Afraimi making sure we know what he is about #AmericanMade

David Afraimi making sure we know what he is about #AmericanMade

I’m not going to go around giving away secrets, however this week we have a workout that will consist of a plethora of gymnastic isometric holds. At first glance these workouts sometimes elicit the response of “that’s too easy” or “I won’t even break a sweat”, however some of these pieces are very important and can be the missing links in getting that first pull-up or muscle up.

What is isometric training?
Our muscles can perform an isometric contractions. This happens when the muscle contracts but doesn’t change length. Unlike traditional strength training—where our muscles usually perform eccentric and concentric contractions through a range of motion—isometric training is done in a static position. Think about pushing against an immovable object—such as a wall—or holding a position of muscle tension without moving, like a plank, a wall sit, or holding the bottom the position in a pause squat. Typically, many isometric movements are done using body weight, but athletes can still incorporate weighted isometric positions into their training.

What are the benefits of isometric training?

Increases muscular strength
As I mentioned above, isometric training consists of the muscle contracting without changing length in a static position. As a result, the athlete doesn’t undergo a full range of movement in the ‘lift’. Some may think that this isn’t an ideal way to build strength, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Think about the beating your arms and shoulders will take when holding a heavy deadlift at full extension for as long as possible. The reality is that during isometric training the body is able to recruit almost all of its motor units. Motor units are comprised of a motor neuron and skeletal muscle fibers—groups of motor units work together to coordinate the contractions of a single muscle.

Perhaps one of the most useful applications of isometric training as it pertains to weightlifting is that it can help to build strength in movements that require large muscle contractions, and helps athletes overcome ‘sticking points’ in those movements. During a dynamic lift—such as a back squat—the muscles move through concentric and eccentric contractions. For example, say you are weak coming out of the hole in a back squat. A good isometric drill to perform would involve loading a barbell with weight and descending to a position just above full depth in the squat, and holding it for as long as possible. The musculature around the joint angle at that specific body position will undergo sustained stress for a longer period of time that could be achieved in a dynamic movement, thus providing it with greater neuromuscular adaptations.

Can help to improve body control
An athlete should look to incorporate gymnastics-based holds (such as handstand holds and L-sits) to achieve similar levels of muscle activation as can be achieved with overcoming and yielding isometrics, while also improving body control and awareness and core activation. For a practical demonstration of how these areas would get a workout, simply kick up into a full handstand against a wall (or pike press on a box) and hold that position for as long as possible. You will soon start to shake all over and have to focus your energy on maintaining a tight abdomen to keep yourself rigid and in good position.

Improves flexibility
A fantastic side benefit of isometric training is that it can help to improve your flexibility. Think about how you try to improve your hip mobility for squats. One of the drills you may perform is simply squatting down to full depth and holding that position, focusing on driving your knees out while keeping your chest up. No doubt you will feel a great stretch in your groin, hamstrings, quadriceps and the surrounding musculature of the hip joint. Well guess what? These muscles are contracted and stretched in order to keep you in that position and stop you from falling to the ground. Your body is acting as the resistance, and you are technically performing an isometric hold. Now think about adding a barbell to that position, and you’ve got a yielding isometric movement. Maintaining a low position in a squat with the resistance provided by a barbell will be a serious workout for your hip mobility, and there’s no doubt that you’ll see an impressive transformation when it comes to performing any regular squatting motion in a workout. It’s no wonder that Olympic Weightlifters and gymnasts regularly perform isometrics to improve their flexibility.

Tuesday 160524

As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
10 Pull-ups
30′ Handstand walk
10 Burpees
30′ Handstand walk

Post rounds to BTWB

New bike racks out front of Verve. Start bringing those locks as we'll be keeping the lobby clear of bikes.

New bike racks out front of Verve. Start bringing those locks as we’ll be keeping the lobby clear of bikes.

Now that the weather is getting better, at least as I type this it’s not currently raining, we are going to get more opportunities to get outside of the gym and workout outside.  I posted a blog about sprint training and the benefits you can experience and I’ve heard good feedback from that post.  Another short interval workout that can be done outside without any equipment is a hill sprint.  You do however need a hill.  BoxLife magazine posted an article on their site about hill sprints and the benefits.  Below are some of the key points as well as some workouts.  Click HERE for the full article.

Running up hills puts less pressure on the lower legs and joints in the lower legs.  Running uphill requires less impact when you land thereby lessening the impact your legs have to absorb.  Running downhill does require a significant amount of impact on the legs so the downhill portion should be done at a much lower intensity.  

When you run uphill your muscles have to work that much harder so it’s a great way to build muscles in your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.  Hill sprints can also increase your testosterone levels while not elevating your cortisol levels which is important to muscle growth.  Here are a few workout ideas to get you started from the BoxLife Magazine article.

Steep Hill Sprints
-Find a relatively steep hill (7-10% grade)
-Sprint up the hill at maximum effort for 10 to 15 seconds
-Take 2-3 minutes to recover and walk down to the starting position
-Repeat for 8-10 sets
-Add weight vest/sandbag/parachute for added resistance

Bear Crawls
-Find a moderate to steep hill
-Bear crawl up the hill for 50-100 yards
-Take 2-3 minutes to recover and walk down to the starting position
-Repeat for 5-7 sets
-Add weight vest/sandbag/parachute for added resistance

Hard Hills
-Find a trail that includes a variety of climbs and descents
-Begin by running continuously over the terrain at a light to moderate pace
-When you approach a hill, try to attack it with maximum effort
-Use downward slopes as recovery
-Complete the trail or loop back for another run

Monday 160523

Push jerk

Then, 2 x max effort shoulder to overhead @ 50% of 2RM

Post to BTWB


Pope doing Pope things…No Gymnastics class tomorrow night, so you’ll have to wait til next week to see this in person.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Finally we got to see some great weather so hopefully everyone was able to get outside and get a little sun.  I did and you’ll notice how tan I am when you see me on Monday

A few schedule changes to take note of.  First, there will be NO Gymnastic class tomorrow night.  Dan Pope is off lecturing the world on how to be better at everything, but fear not, he’ll be back next week so make sure those of you that attend spend some time practicing this week.  

A week from today, Monday May 30th, is Memorial Day.  We will have an abridged schedule with two AM classes and an AM Open Gym.  Classes will be at 8:00 am and 9:00 am and Open Gym will run from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. 

Most of you already know what the workout is.  Like most CrossFit affiliates across the nation we will be doing “Murph.”  For those of  you that have never done this workout, there is no better day than Memorial Day to do it. Anyone that is a member at Verve can join these classes, so if you have a Sprint only membership, please come join in on this WOD.   

The workout is as follows:

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run


In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

Click HERE to see the first time the WOD was posted on and read some of the comments. It will give you a reason to make sure you get up early and come in sweat with the rest of us.

Sunday 160522

7 Rounds for time:
10 Sumo deadlift high pulls 95#(65#)
10 Ring dips

Post time to comments or BTWB

Paul and Clancy taking CPR class very seriously. You should all feel much safer now.

Paul and Clancy taking CPR class very seriously. You should all feel much safer now.

Why are these brownies awesome?  Two reasons: #1 they don’t require baking so you don’t have to heat up your house on these hot summer days and #2 they are made of all natural ingredients + vegan so won’t blow your macros!  You can see the full recipe here



  • 2½ cups loosely packed pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 6 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (or raw agave)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Combine the dates, walnuts, 6 tbsp cocoa, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, water, and salt in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down as needed – It may seem dry at first, but don’t add any extra water.  Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan, or line the pan with parchment or wax paper. Transfer dough to pan and press very firmly until dough is evenly distributed in the pan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine remaining cocoa and vanilla extract with the maple syrup and oil. Stir until mixture forms a paste (this is the frosting). Spread evenly over dough in the baking pan. Refrigerate brownies for at least 2 hours, to set. Leftovers can stay covered at room temperature for a day, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge, or 1-2 months in the freezer.

Macronutrient Breakdown


  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 3.5g
  • Fiber: 3.5g



Saturday 160521

5 Rounds:

As many reps as possible in 3 minutes of:
9 Russian kettlebell swings, 70#(53#)
6 Push ups
9 Air squats

Rest 2 minute between rounds

Post rounds and reps to comments and BTWB

7:30am class soaking in some sun before their run around the block.

7:30am class soaking in some sun before their run around the block.


Over the past few weeks we have posted about several events coming up that will be hosted at Verve. This is a brief overview of all those events:

May 30th- Everyday Warrior Battle Series begins. This is an online team (2 men or 2 women) competition. One workout will be posted every week for 4 weeks. Verve will be programming these workouts on Saturdays. Click here to register.

June 11th & 12th- Cherry Creek CrossFit is hosting the Cherry Creek Triple Threat. Verve has 7 teams signed up for the competition. Come check out the action and get your cheer on! For more info about the event, click here.

June 18th & 19th– It’s Father’s Day weekend and. . . . Verve is hosting the CrossFit Football Seminar. What better gift for the dads in our lives then a weekend seminar talking all things power, speed, and athletic performance. Click here to register.

July 30th- It’s Paleo Pop-up time!! Come hang out and chat with vendors from all over Colorado, introducing various paleo products, and discussing all things health and nutrition. Click here for more info.

August 13th- Verve is hosting the ladies only team competition Femme Royale. This is a one day event that brings ladies from all over the state to compete, cheer, and inspire each other. There are 3 divisions ensuring anyone and everyone is able to participate. Click here to register. 


Friday 160520

20 Minutes to establish a 1 rep max push press
As many reps as possible in 7 minutes of:
Push press @ 60% of days 1 rep.
Every time bar is dropped or racked accumulate :30 seconds in an L hang from pull up bar

Score is total reps of push press

Post reps to comments or BTWB

Sarah shows the epitome of multi-tasking!!

Sarah shows the epitome of multi-tasking!!  She was moving pretty fast.


As you have probably heard, Dan Pope in coordination with the Power Monkey Fitness group have recently released a GREAT product that discusses issues/fixes that arise in the Olympic and Gymnastics movements; this product was the motivation for these past 3 posts.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out his product, go here. The following is directly from Dan’s blog but details can also be found in the Movement Essentials manual.


Have trouble in the front rack?  Difficulty keeping your elbows up during a front squat?  Can’t grip the bar during a thruster without wrecking your wrists?  Can’t get the bar in the right position for jerks?  Assess your front rack:

How’d you do? Did you have some trouble? Try some of these:


-Yoga this Sunday @ 11am!!


Thursday 160519

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
50 Double-unders
10 Chest-to-bar pull-ups
5 Hang power cleans, 155#(105#)

Post rounds and reps to comments and BTWB

More true words have never been spoken.

More true words have never been spoken.


Is a 5 x 5 back squat really a WOD?

In a word, yes. 

Please note that this is a post based entirely on my opinion. . . oh, and the CrossFit methodologies taught in all Level 1 seminars, and wholly supported by CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman. . . and then sandwiched again with personal opinion. 

Over the years, and in my opinion mostly as a result of the CrossFit Games and the idea that volume makes a better athlete, daily WODs have become distorted. I saw this post on Facebook, it’s author is a member of CrossFit HQ Level 1 seminar staff. The gym he is referencing is owned and operated by another Level 1 staff member. Both gentlemen I consider friends, incredibly knowledgeable in the world of CrossFit and then some, and I have an enormous amount of respect for both. When I read this post it made my heart sing, because I too believe in it’s concept. Eric and I both do. This concept was ingrained in us by Matt, Cherie, Mas, and Joylyn, and we continued to carry on with it. What concept am I talking about? The idea that a WOD does not need to have:

A) Some heavy lifting

B) Possibly more heavy lifting

C) The workout (most often called “the met con”)

D) Post workout work, often looking like a secondary, smaller workout

If you look at a gym’s programming and say to yourself, “that’s looks like a lot of stuff to fit in an hour”, guess what, it is. Don’t get me wrong, you probably can fit it all in an hour but it will be at the expense of several things, 1) a proper warm-up, 2) a proper introduction to the movements/ warm-up to each movement, 3) the opportunity to address modifications, and the most important thing. . . 4) you as an athlete being coached. Instead you turn into kittens being herded from A to B to C. In my opinion this is what leads to plateaued athletes (as they are rarely coached or helped to improve technique) and injuries.

Now some of you may be saying to yourself, “didn’t we just do 3 different heavy squats yesterday? That seemed like a lot.” Our goal for yesterday was 30-35 minutes of squatting. Boom, that’s what we got. We did not expect yesterday to be big PR days for any body, even though for some it turned into that. It was more a day of volume below parallel. Not every heavy day looks like that for us at Verve. What it definitely does not look like is a heavy lifting session everyday, followed by a met con everyday. Why? Because the concept taught in Level 1’s, the concept held near and dear to our hearts, and the last thing that will be sacrificed by constantly programming this way. . . . INTENSITY. 

Intensity is what gets you the results you want. So if you really like heavy lifting, that’s where you will put all your intensity, and then where is your intensity for that met con? If you really like the met cons and don’t care so much about the heavy lifting, the first session of heavy lifting you may choose to sandbag while you wait for met con time. The point is that you are not giving 100% effort and 100% intensity to any one thing. This leads to us not getting the results we want. I don’t think the CrossFit Games are the only thing to blame for this style of programming. I also blame inexperienced coaches that are not sure how to fill an hour with appropriate coaching and gym owners concerned that they need to make everyone happy by always having heavy lifting and met cons everyday. If it’s a heavy lifting day, lift heavy. Get scared and nervous to pick up that bar. If it’s a nasty triplet day meant to take 5 minutes or less, do it. Go HAM until you feel like your heart might burst out of your chest and when you’re done lay on the floor and sizzle like bacon. Put 100% effort and 100% intensity into the workout of the day, which includes the warm-up. 

But what about all those programs out there that are written with 4 different pieces, the ones written by games athletes and the ones followed by games athletes? Those programs are written for highly competitive athletes with a built up capacity for volume. They are also written to be done over more than an hour, sometimes over the course of two sessions in a single day, morning and evening. These programs and their volume have merit, we simply need to think about merit for whom. Who are you as an athlete? What do you need? What are the results you seek? The number one thing you need is intensity, period. We can give it to you in one hour with a great warm-up and one workout. Think you need more? Stay tuned for next Thursday when I blog about who actually needs more.


The giver of mass amounts of intensity. . . and opinions, A.K.A. Courtney

Wednesday 160518.

4 Rounds, starting a new round every 4 minutes:
Run 400 with a medball 20#(14#)
Rest remainder of time until next round starts

Post Results to BTWB.


In case you haven’t heard, our very own, Dr. Daniel Pope has released a new product with Power Monkey Fitness. 

What is this product? It’s an E-Book called “Monkey Method: Movement Essentials” and it is targeted to those who are trying to fix inefficiencies in movement with high skill gymnastics and the olympic lifts. 

Dr. Dan Pope and Dr. Dave Tilley have been lecturing at power monkey camp for the past several years in an attempt to help coaches and athletes learn how to assess movement and more accurately provide corrective interventions to improve technique.  They’ve spent the past several years troubleshooting all of the above mentioned problems and have come up with a solution.

Dave and Dan have created a system geared toward breaking down movement problems in the olympic lifts, muscle-up and handstand.  When you have an athlete standing in front of you that has trouble moving well, where should you begin?  Should we use a cue?  Do we need to do more mobility?  If so which mobility exercise?  Which joint is causing the problem? How many exercises do we need?  How long do I need to spend mobilizing? Maybe they have both a strength and control issue? It’s complicated.

If we aren’t accurately assessing our athletes, then we’re just guessing.  Chances are we aren’t being very accurate or efficient.

We created this product to help coaches and athletes learn how to assess their athletes and give them the most appropriate exercise to improve their technique.  This way we can be much more efficient and helps our athletes progress optimally.

Check out more about Dr. Dan Pope’s guide at There is a ton of valuable information here with plenty of testimonials from some of the best coaches in the fitness world. Have a look for yourself!

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