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

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

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

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 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 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.