Friday 171006

With a 4:00 clock
3 Rounds of
12 Deadlifts 95#(65#)
9 Hang power cleans 95#(65#)
6 Push jerks 95#(65#)
With remaining time row as many calories as possible

Rest 4:00

With a 4:00 clock
2 Rounds of
12 Deadlifts 135#(95#)
9 Hang power cleans 135#(95#)
6 Push jerks 135#(95#)
With remaining time row as many calories as possible

Rest 4:00

With a 4:00 clock
1 Rounds of
12 Deadlifts 155#(105#)
9 Hang power cleans 155#(105#)
6 Push jerks 155#(105#)
With remaining time row as many calories as possible

Score is total calories each round

Post results to comments or BTWB


Have you ever picked up your child off the ground and you get a wrenching pain in your back?  Lifted a barbell off the ground and felt a painful “tweak”?  Back spasms can happen after lifting really heavy things or during the most mundane task.  This post will not dive deep into why these spasms happen, because there are several different reasons why and what may have led up to it; it will discuss what to do immediately after you get a back spasm to help alleviate the pain at that moment. This video and supporting article comes to us courtesy of Tabata Times, you can see the full article here

“If your back is spasming, you can help your back muscles elongate and relax by lying in the following position for ~15-20 minutes: Place an ab mat under your lower back with the thicker end toward your lower spine and another ab mat underneath your head. Then elevate your legs on a chair or a box until they are approximately 90 degrees. Your back muscles are tightening up during a spasm, so the goal here is to combat that by lengthening them in a resting position as much as possible.”


Thursday 171005

On the minute for 24 minutes
Minute 1 = Muscle ups
Minute 2 = Double unders
Minute 3 = Toes to bar
Minute 4 = Rest

Post numbers to comments and BTWB

Squat party!! Partners anxiously waiting their turns for two minutes of max reps back squat.

Squat party!! Partners anxiously waiting their turns for two minutes of max reps back squat.

Following today’s workout there was some post WOD work regarding max length L sits. While going through a warm-up and progression that can be used to build up the L sit, I mentioned how huge of an ab exercise the L sit is. It requires parts of our abs that are not often addressed in other ab work, especially crunches. It involves strength in our hip flexors as well. I often get asked questions about the L sit when someone has trouble performing them, “I’m I just not flexible enough?”, “I think it’s because my hamstrings are tight, maybe?” The truth of the matter is, it’s a lack of strength in the two areas I just mentioned. We lack the strength in the lower abs and hip flexors to support the weight of our legs extended out straight ahead. A natural tendency is to quickly bend at the knee and bring the feet in closer, this is our body’s natural response to lower the weight, decrease the load. It’s like scaling a workout with an RX weight that’s too heavy. Someone eventually asked, “What can we do to make these better? Is there some other exercises that can target these areas as well?” I’m sure there are but the truth is more simple, do more L sit work. CrossFit describes the L sit this way:

“We not only contend that the L-sit is functional but that it is the most functional of all abdominal exercises.”

That’s right, the MOST. The CrossFit Journal publish an article in May 2003 (yes, you read that right) titled “3 Important Ab Exercises” By Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit. Here is what he had to say back then about the L sit:

This exercise is remarkable from several perspectives. It is isometric, functional, and highly effective. Relatively unknown outside of the gymnastics community this exercise may be the most effective abdominal exercise we know of!

The L-sit is performed by supporting the body entirely by the arms and holding the legs straight out in front. The body forms an “L” thus the name L-sit. The exercise (we can hardly call it a movement) is isometric, i.e., it involves no joint movement. Being isometric, we quantify its performance not in reps but by time.

We not only contend that the L-sit is functional but that it is the most functional of all abdominal exercises.

Our justification for this contention lies in our view that the dominant role of the abdominals is midline stabilization not trunk flexion. Though trunk flexion is certainly important, midline stabilization is more important both to everyday living and athletic movement. The leg’s posture in the L-sit places an enormous, if not unbearable, moment or torque about the hip that must be counteracted by the abdominals to keep both the legs up and the spine from hyperextending.

As for efficacy, the L-sit may have no peer among abdominal exercises. We make this claim not on the basis of our position on abdominal muscle functionality but on the simple observation that athletes who have developed their L-sit to the point where they can hold it for three minutes subsequently find all other ab work easy. The gymnasts’ unrivaled capacity at hip and trunk flexion is in large part due to their constant training and practice of this exercise.

We mentioned early the ubiquitous phenomenon of the ab class instructor with the lower abdominal pooch – they cannot hold an L-sit. In fact, if you test the ab class instructor with the lower abdominal pooch for hip flexion strength you’ll find they are super deficient in this regard. You can perform a simple hip flexion strength test by asking the subject being tested to stand on one leg and raise the other knee to hip level while you press down on the knee to see how much, or little, force it takes to push the knee back down. Individuals with the lower abdominal pooch always have super weak hip flexors. We can drive their knee down with one finger. Try this test with someone who has developed the L-sit and you’ll find that they will tip over before the knee will drop. You will not find a three minute L-sit and a lower abdominal pooch in the same person, yet the world abounds with people who can perform thousands of crunches and sit-ups and still keep the pooch. It’s that simple.

Practice of the L-sit is for some very tough – they just can’t seem to find the muscles that raise and hold the legs. The key is to keep trying. Two successful approaches for working up to the L-sit include hanging from a pull- up bar and raising locked legs as far as possible and holding or working the L-sit by holding one leg at a time alternately in the L posture.

Though the L-sit can be performed from nearly any horizontal surface we recommend parallel bars, parallettes, and the floor as platforms for this exercise. The L-sit is hardest from the floor because the floor comes up quickly as the legs sag even a little bit. We use the parallettes for the very reason that it allows practice at less than perfectly horizontal leg position for the beginner, but measuring and competing at the L-sit should be done from the floor.

Measure your progress in the L-sit in 15-second increments. Give your self one point for every fifteen seconds you can hold the “L”. Twelve points is your goal and with regular training and practice you should be able to get to 12 points, or three minutes, within six months. During warm-up and cool-down is the natural place to play with this movement although the dedicated gymnast will find uncountable surfaces and opportunities to play with this superb exercise.”

Want to hear more about the other two important ab exercises, click here for the full article. 



Wednesday 171004

As many rounds as possible in 18 minutes of:
Row 250(200) Meters
15 Medball cleans (pick your own weight)
15 Russian kettlebell swings 53#(35#)

Post results to comments or BTWB


Nope, this is not a scientific look into whether or not food can be on the floor for less than 5 seconds and not pick up any of the floors’ nastiness (FYI – food picks up that nastiness nanoseconds after it hits the floor); this is an amazing video portion of a Ted Talk given by Mel Robbins.  Robbins discusses the short amount of time between an idea in your mind and acting upon it, and if we let this time period go on too long, we are very unlikely to act on it.  The video above is a short snippet, her whole talk it amazing.  Take 5 minutes to see if the 5 second rule is something that will work for you!


Tuesday 171003

5 Rounds for time:
Run 400 Meters
10 Single arm push press (R) 40#(25#)
10 Single arm push press (L) 40#(25#)
10 Burpees

Post time to BTWB

Mick, Nicole, Nate

Mick and Nicole all smiles after the Team Series workouts. Nate happy for another reason, that the other two will soon find out about.
















After Friday’s workout that had a lot of different types of pull ups in it, a few people asked me about how to build their grip strength.  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.  If you need another example of grip strength from a past workout we’ve done, think back to last week’s workout of hang power cleans and shoulder to overhead.  Once your grip goes, it takes a while before it comes back so building your capacity will make grip intensive workouts a lot easier.   Below are a few exercises to help develop grip strength.  

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 171002

In 15 minutes build to a heavy 1 rep back squat

Rest 5 minutes, then:
As many back squats as possible in 2 minutes with 80% of today’s heaviest lift.

*Bar has to remain on back the whole time and a consistent pace must be maintained for all 2 minutes

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Level 2 Certificate Course is coming to Verve.

Level 2 Certificate Course is coming to Verve.

Verve has a few seminars in the books over the next few months. These seminars are open to anyone interesting in furthering their knowledge in the world of CrossFit, programming, training, etc. These seminars are put on through CrossFit HQ and have varying registration fees. Verve is happy to provide the facility to host these courses. Here is what we got coming through Verve’s doors in the next few months:

Sport Specific Application Course, October 14th-15th

The Sport-Specific Application Course is designed to equip coaches and athletes with the tools necessary to train for performance in specific sports.

Participants will spend two days with 10-year NFL veteran John Welbourn and his team of performance coaches as they detail a range of topics including strength development for sport, programming for known domains, eating for performance and effective assessment tools.

Participants will experience drills that include effective warm-ups, sprinting and agility work, and strength- and power-oriented barbell movements, and attendees should be prepared for a highly charged, supportive environment that helps create the mindset necessary for unlocking potential. 

For additional information and to register, click here.

Level 2 Certificate Course, December 9th-10th

The Level 2 Certificate Course is an intermediate- level seminar that builds on the concepts and movements introduced at the Level 1 Certificate Course. 

This course is ideally suited for any CrossFit trainer serious about delivering quality coaching. Students enhance their understanding of the CrossFit methodology, program design and implementation, and they advance their skills while coaching others in movements and workouts. Students need to come prepared to be heavily engaged; each leads individual and small-group training sessions, and classroom sessions are discussion-based. Peers and instructors provide feedback and evaluation.


For additional information and to register, click here.

Verve will have abbreviated schedules  both weekends we host seminars. Please check MBO for class times in the mornings and stay tuned to blogs for continued updates.

Sunday 171001

10 Rounds for time of:
10 Burpees to a 6″ target
10 Meter handstand walk

Post times to comments and BTWB

#SexyFaceSunday??? When you forget your workout shorts and have to back squat in pants, there are certain risks that will be assumed.

#SexyFaceSunday??? When you forget your workout shorts and have to back squat in pants, there are certain risks that will be assumed.


Saturday 170930

Woring in teams of 2 with a 20 minute clock perform as many reps as possible of the following:

Partner 1 rows 3 Calories and performs 1 power clean 135#(95#)
Partner 2 rows 3 Calories and performs 1 power clean 135#(95#)

Round 2 =
Partner 1 rows 6 calories and 2 power cleans
Partner 2 rows 6 calories and 2 power cleans

Round 3 =
Partner 1 rows 9 calories and 3 power cleans
Partner 2 rows 9 calories and 3 power cleans

Continue adding 3 calories and 1 power clean each round

*One person works while the other rests
*Must reset the rower each time partner gets on

Post scores to BTWB












A healthy take on spaghetti and meatballs to satisfy those pasta cravings!


1 Spaghetti Squash

1 Jar marinara/tomato sauce (look for low sodium and sugar content)

1 Package ground turkey

Spices galore!  Whatever you like and goes well with the meal.


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Cut your spaghetti squash in half, scrape the seeds out and lay both halves in a cookie sheet or pyrex dish with approximately 1/2″ water in it
  • Bake squash for 45 minutes, flipping it halfway
  • When the squash is done, scrape it into a bowl and marvel at it’s fun, craziness–save for later
  • Meanwhile, mix a bunch of fun spices into your ground turkey meat.  Think pepper, Italian seasoning, onion, or red pepper flakes to name a few
  • Measure out 1.5 oz, make into meatballs and place on baking sheet
  • Bake meatballs approx 20 min (throw them in when your squash is about halfway done)
  • Meanwhile again, empty your marinara in a saucepan to heat through, and spice it up with some fresh garlic, oregano, basil, or thyme.  Doctor it up!
  • When your meatballs are done, throw them into the marinara and let simmer!

Alright people!  Now you are ready to serve this up….here are your measurements if zoning:

1 cup spaghetti squash = 1 C

3 1.5 oz turkey meatball = 3 P

1 cup marinara = 2 C

To make sure that you get a complete meal, either add some fats by tossing some olive oil into your squash (1 teaspoon = 3 F) or have them elsewhere like with your dessert!


Friday 170929

For time:
100 Double unders
60 Wall balls 20#(14#)
30 Pull ups
75 Double unders
40 Wall balls 20#(14#)
20 Chest to bar pull ups
50 Double unders
20 Wall balls 20#(14#)
10 Bar muscle ups

Post results to comments or BTWB

Paul dropping some knowledge bombs in the first installment of his nutrition lecture series.

Paul dropping some knowledge bombs in the first installment of his nutrition lecture series.


The shoulders are a tricky beast; they tease us with their mobility and range of motion then punish us with injury if we don’t use that range of motion and mobility wisely.  In the video below, Dan Pope and Dave Tilley explain why we incur some of the shoulder injuries seen in CrossFit  and show us some accessory exercises we can sue for injury prevention.

Thursday 170928

Bench Press


Post loads to comments and BTWB

So much mobility being done by the guys at 5:30am.

So much mobility being done by the guys at 5:30am.

The 3 Lies of Fitness By Jon Gilson of WholeLife Challenge

Right now, you’re being lied to. 

The magazines are lying, your friends are lying, and the morning talk shows are lying. They’re telling you where fitness comes from — and they’re dead wrong.

It’s time to set the record straight. We’ll do it for the sake of our friends, our loved ones, and our own health. We’ll do it because fitness can only be enjoyed when the truth is known. We’ll do it in the name of sanity.

Here are the three biggest lies you’re being told. See them for the folklore they are, and follow my advice instead. Do it faithfully, and fitness will be yours.

Lie #1: The Scale

Perhaps the most insidious of the half-truths propagated by fashion, fitness, and your friends — that your scale weight indicates your health.

While this may be true in some limited circumstances (such as genuine obesity), relying on your scale weight to determine your health is like trying to determine your mile run time by measuring the circumference of your calves — it simply doesn’t tell the whole story.

Rather than worry about your scale weight, focus on your body composition. This is a much more comprehensive measure of your health, one that takes into account the underlying components of your weight: how much of your body is fat, how much is muscle tissue, and how much is bone, water, hair, and the like.

By focusing on body composition and working to reduce your proportion of stored fat to muscle, you’ll look leaner, you’ll be fitter, and you can safely ignore the scale. Here’s the rub — you may find you weigh more as you develop favorable body composition. You may even exceed your physician’s body mass index chart. Pay this no mind. When your diet and exercise are in order, muscle begins to replace fat, and your density actually increases, leading to a higher scale weight despite improved biomarkers.

This is where many fitness adherents, especially women, go off the rails. They dial in diet and exercise, they lift and run, and they find their scale weight stays the same (or increases), leading them to believe they’re not making progress.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Clothing sizes may decrease as body fat vanishes, but the scale doesn’t necessarily follow suit — and once you’re healthy, it never will.

The Lesson: Stop relying on the scale. Get a caliper test from a qualified trainer. Do a DEXA scan. Rely on your tape measure. Just don’t believe a thing the scale tells you, and stop trying to please the weight gods — they’re the wrong deities, and they live in the wrong church.

Lie #2: The Comfortable Workout

There is an entire industry built on this lie — the idea that you can work out at moderate intensity, repeating a single stimulus, and achieve results.

This is the lie of the casual daily walk; of the long, slow run; of eight-minute abs. This is the lie of every device you see marketed at 3:00am. It is the lie of three-pound dumbbells and Shake Weights. It is the lie of routine.

Improving your fitness requires difficulty. You must run faster than before, you must lift more than before, you must do more work in less time than before. This fact follows from a fundamental principle of exercise science known as SAID, or specific adaptation to imposed demands.

Stated differently, SAID says you’ll get precisely the physical adaptation your workout demands of your body — and no more. Jogging three miles per day at a pace of ten minutes per mile will result in a body capable of precisely that, three miles in thirty minutes. It will result in a body-fat percentage, muscle mass, and aerobic fitness consistent with that pace. Once that adaptation is achieved through repetition, there will be no further gains.

And so you must push. If you want to get fitter, you must go faster. You must lift more. You must include variance in your “routine,” finding new ways to impose demand on your body. You must run short distances quickly. You must lift weights that push your capabilities. Above all, you must do things you don’t normally do, varying activities, rep schemes, loads, and distances to create new adaptations.

The lesson: There is no such thing as a comfortable workout that works. If you want results, you must seek the discomfort of new demands  — and beware of anyone who persuades you otherwise (especially if they have something to sell).

Lie #3: A Calorie Is a Calorie

Another lie with commercial underpinnings. We’ve been sold on the idea that we can eat whatever we like (and favorable health and fitness will result) so long as we stay within our predetermined calorie count.

This idea is the driver behind dietary abominations such as Diet Coke, Snackwell’s low-calorie cookies, and Breyers fat-free ice cream (low calorie foods with nonetheless horrific health consequences) — and it’s nonsense.

A calorie is not a calorie.

A calorie from chicken breast has a fundamentally different hormonal effect in our bodies than a calorie from M&Ms. A calorie from yogurt has a different hormonal effect than a calorie from avocado, and a calorie delivered via fruit juice precipitates a different hormonal effect than a calorie delivered via pistachios. These differences in hormonal effect render calorie count nearly meaningless.

In simplified form, here’s how it actually works:

  • There are three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Each plays an essential role in hormonal balance and the subsequent regulation of blood sugar, and you need all of them. In my examples above, chicken is a protein source; M&Ms, yogurt, and fruit are carbohydrates; and avocados and pistachios are fats.
  • When you consume carbohydrates, your blood sugar rises. This provides energy for immediate use, with sugar being used first at local muscle sites and within the brain, with any remaining sugar then stored as body fat. Storage is accomplished via insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas.
  • When you consume protein, stored body fat is mobilized to provide energy. This is accomplished via glucagon, another hormone secreted by the pancreas. You can think glucagon as a counterbalance to the insulin storage mechanism.
  • When you consume fat, you slow digestion and increase satiety (the feeling of being full). In practice, fat consumption slows the rise of blood sugar in your bloodstream caused by eating carbohydrates, thereby slowing insulin release and limiting fat storage while simultaneously signaling that you should stop eating.

Generally, we want storage (via the carbohydrate/insulin mechanism) and mobilization (via the protein/glucagon mechanism) to be balanced. Too much storage, and you get fat. Too much mobilization, and you won’t have the energy reserves necessary to sustain daily activities. Further, we want to take in significant enough amounts of fat to curb our appetite and slow the entry of sugar into the bloodstream.

Notice that none of these effects are calorie dependent. Rather, they are determined by hormones.

It follows that it is not excess calories that make us fat, but rather a preponderance of storage resulting from repeated and unchecked rises in blood sugar. Therefore, the source of each calorie is profoundly important in determining body composition — and a calorie is (never, ever) just a calorie.

The Lesson: Forget calorie counting, and learn to balance your macronutrient intake, consuming proteins, fats, and carbohydrates at every meal. Aim for consistent protein consumption and eat low-glycemic index carbohydrates (such as fibrous fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens), and if you’re consistently hungry, increase your fat intake.

Three Truths of Fitness

Following the three lies of fitness, here are your countervailing truths. Follow them, and fitness will be yours:

  1. Ignore your scale. In fact, throw it away. You should worry only about body composition (your ratio of body fat to lean tissue). Improve that ratio, and fitness will follow. Of course, understand that the ideal body-fat level is not zero, and pursuing that end can be as bad for your health as worrying about your scale weight.
  2. Avoid comfortable workouts. Effective workouts are not easy. You will need to vary your distances, loads, and times. You will need to push yourself. You will need to lift, sprint, climb, and run long distances to create new adaptations, and you’ll need to avoid routine at all costs.
  3. Pay attention to your macronutrient intake. Health, fitness, and favorable body composition result from a balance in your storage and mobilization hormones, borne of a blood sugar level that is low, level, and steady. This can be achieved by eating high-quality fats, proteins, and carbohydrates at every meal. Forget you ever heard of a calorie.


Wednesday 170927

3 Rounds for time of:
Row 500 Meters
25 GHD Sit ups
Run 400 Meters

Post results to comments or BTWB

We are always looking for the next great Podcast.  This next recommendation comes courtesy of Matt Chan who suggested we start listening to CLEARED HOT by Andy Stumpf. Andy Stumpf is an incredibly interesting man himself, but he chose to start a podcast to interview other people that he found interesting.  I (Anna) wanted to start you off with a great podcast in which Andy interviews Brian Chontosh.  I was enthralled with the stories these two shared and some of the advice related to life and training.  Enjoy!  And thank Matt for the awesome recommendation.