Friday 140404

Complete as many round as possible in 20 minutes:

10 Strict handstand push-ups
20 Strict pull-ups
30 Alternating jumping lunges

Post results to comments or BTWB

Skill Levels poster Friday 140404

The Levels are designed to provide a general fitness perspective, to help set appropriate goals, and to allow focus work on weak areas that result in the rewarding mastery of activities you couldn’t do before.

The 2014 Crossfit Open has come and gone and has left many of us wondering “Where do I go from here?”.  Many Verve athletes competed for the first time, others had their best year yet, and others had a fast descent into reality of some weakness they may have.  We all have probably set one common goal: TO DO BETTER NEXT YEAR THAN WE DID THIS YEAR.  How do we start setting goals to make this happen?  What skills do I need to work on to better my placement, qualify for the Verve team, or qualify as an individual?  The chart listed above courtesy of Crossfit Seattle, helps us to identify a broad, general fitness perspective to see where we excel and where we have opportunities in our training.

The CrossFit levels listed above are not an end-all-be-all or any guarantee of making the CrossFit Games if you fall into the Elite category, but it does provide us a road map of where we want to be moving towards.  First, print this chart out and see where you currently are, knowing that you may be at different levels with different modalities. Second, identify the areas where you fall into lower levels.  Third, set goals to work towards moving to the next level.  Lastly, work on your weaknesses EVERY DAY.  If you aren’t sure as to how to work on your weaknesses, talk to one of the trainers to help build a daily routine.

This worksheet is one of MANY tools you can use to start setting goals to set The Open on fire next year.  Other great resources, aside from the illustrious trainers here at Verve, are:

The CrossFit Goal Setting Youtube channel – Great videos broken into bite-size pieces to help you focus on your goals

Lululemon Goal Setting Great goal setting outline for not only CrossFit, but L.I.F.E.

Matt Chan will be hosting a Free Nutrition Workshop on Wednesday, April 9 at 7pm.  No classes at that time, but please join us for a spirited  and entertaining discussion regarding advanced Zoning.  Dial in your nutrition people!  It’s the foundation of your fitness!  Sign up on MBO.

Thursday 140403

Hang squat clean
5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1-1 reps

Post loads to comments and BTWB
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Need a lift?

“What happens to our foot when we wear traditional running shoes?”

On Monday’s post I talked about the Pose Method of running. The Pose Method is in stark contrast to heel strike running, where one reaches for a long stride and ends up striking the heel of their foot on the ground as the first point of contact per step. One of the primary causes of shin splints is heel strike running. Heel striking on a hard surface like concrete is even more causative. As a result shoe companies have added extra cushion to the heel of running shoes over the years. This cushion is meant to act as a shock absorber in an effort to prevent shin splints. Rather than look at our running technique, we are now walking around with these hefty heels on our shoes. The question becomes, “What happens to our foot when we wear traditional running shoes?” I bring to you the answer given by Dr. Nick Campitelli, a podiatrist who runs the website Dr. Nick’s Running blog and penned the aforementioned article. Click here to read in full.

“When looking at the traditional running shoe, or almost any shoe that is customary in our society, one observation becomes common- the heel. The running shoe has many origins, but many agree that athletic shoes began as a canvas top and rubber soled shoe that was referred to as  a sneakers when U.S. Rubber used the brand name Keds to sell the first sneakers in 1917.  The next major milestone comes in the 70′s when Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight created the Nike running shoe.  These early shoes had little if any cushion and for the most part had a negligible heel.  Over the next 40 years we have seen the height as well as the cushion gradually increase which inadvertently hassled many runners to adopt a “heel to toe” gait or “heel strike” when running.  This height became referred to as “drop”- the distance in height between the heel of the shoe and the forefoot.   Today traditional running shoes have a drop of 12 mm with the heel being 24 mm and the forefoot being 12 mm.  This design encourages an unnatural gait resulting in the  heel hitting the ground first, followed by a rapid “slapping” of the forefoot.

The cushioning that running shoe manufactures incorporate into the heel leads the runner to “feel” as if the shock is being absorbed by the shoe with each step. While this is true, only a small amount is actually absorbed by the shoe, and the rest of the force (2-3 x the body weight) is actually being transferred through the lower extremity. Scientists have been able to demonstrate that by running barefoot, we tend to land more on our forefoot or midfoot  to innately reduce the force that occurs to the leg. Try running barefoot and you will see that it is rather painful to land on your heel and that landing on the forefoot becomes much more comfortable.   In order to do this properly, the forefoot needs to strike the ground first in the region of the 4th and 5th metatarsal with the heel slightly off the ground. The same force that was rapidly transmitted the heel, is now transferred to rotationally force as the heel lowers to the ground thereby astronomically reducing the force that occurs to the lower leg.
Even more fascinating, is what happens to our posture when we simply stand in a shoe with a heel.  The clog by Dansko, which has become very popular among medical professionals, has an elevated heel which drastically changes normal anatomical posture increasing force to the lumbar area of the back (not to mention the 4 pound combined weight of the shoes!).
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Changes in body position with a heeled shoe.

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Neutral anatomical position

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Change in ankle joint to accommodate the heel height. Foot now resting in non anatomical position.

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Body’s position to become neutral.

To summarize, the height of the heel that is present in the traditional running shoe, not only tricks the body into feeling that the force is being “cushioned” by the shoe, but also interferes with the foots ability to naturally dissipate the force.”

Wednesday 140402

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:

10 Strict knees-to-elbows
20 One-legged squats, alternating
30 ft Handstand walk

Post rounds to comments or BTWB.

IMG 0672 475x712 Wednesday 140402

Paul working hard last week.  He looks pretty happy too.

Musings from Lisbeth Darsh.  Lisbeth is a CrossFit O.G., she is an HQ guru, and an author.  Here is a post from her site, wordswithlisbeth  

CrossFit is More Than the Games

You don’t have to like the CrossFit Games.Or the Regionals. Or the Open.

I’m fine with you not giving a damn about who’s on the leaderboard or where you rank in your region. If you decided to quit the Open (or didn’t join at all), I won’t judge you.

What? Isn’t that CrossFit blasphemy? Aren’t we all supposed to  live, breathe, eat, sleep the Games season, from Open sign-ups until the last fan leaves the stadium at the Stub Hub Center in July?


CrossFit is more than the CrossFit Games. Always has been. Always will be. Anybody who tells you differently doesn’t really understand CrossFit.

CrossFit created the Games. The Games did not create CrossFit. But the Games are wonderful.

The Games are this big, beautiful spectacle of human performance and achievement. We see so much through the lens of sweat and effort. We can see ourselves, even if we never kip like Camille or lift like Lindsey or destroy the competition like Rich. We can be inspired and thrilled and entertained; we can play too, at our own speed. And we can be motivated to practice and achieve greater skills because we saw someone else do amazing things first.

And, yes, one man and one woman and one team emerge as the Fittest on Earth.Sometimes, it all feels like a film out of Hollywood. Everyone is beautiful and fit and lovely — and that’s okay. We like the movies and we love heroes and heroines. The crowd cheers when somebody wins, and, because it’s CrossFit, they cheer for the last-place athlete too.

But what do the Games really highlight?

The CrossFit affiliates. The Games highlight people who love CrossFit. The Games highlight CrossFit.

They shine a giant spotlight on this worldwide movement that brings results to your fitness and your life and your community in ways you never imagined could come from a training program. The Games, in their own way, help all of us to help others.

That’s why the Games — and all the components, including the Regionals and the Open — are important. But that importance does not mean you have to love the Games. You can love CrossFit without loving the Games. You can do CrossFit without ever paying attention to the Games. I’m okay with that. You should be okay with that. And every CrossFit affiliate in the world is probably okay with that.

You signed up for the Open? Great. You love the Games? Outstanding. No one in your affiliate pays one lick of attention to the Games and you all still do CrossFit? Fantastic.

Because CrossFit is more than the Games. CrossFit is about making you better. The Games are just one of the paths that lead to better. A fun, glorious path if you see it that way, but we all get to find our own paths.

If you don’t love the Games, the sun will rise same as ever. Just love CrossFit and what it can do for you and your friends — that’s the really important part.


Tuesday 140401

For time:

20 Power Clean 155#(105#)
Run 400m
20 KB swings 32kg(24kg)
Run 400m
20 Overhead Squats 115#(75#)
Run 400m
20 Burpees over the bar
Run 400m
20 Chest to bar pull ups
Run 400m
20 Box jumps 24″(20″)
Run 400m
20 Squat Cleans 115#(75#)
Run 400m

Post time to BTWB.

IMG 0679 475x712 Tuesday 140401

Ann smiling through 14.5. Honestly I don’t know how because I was definitely not smiling.

Well another Open season has come to an end and per usual I was blown away by the performances and attitudes at Verve.  Our athletes not only excelled in hitting amazing athletic accomplishments, but the camaraderie displayed during the past 5 weeks is what was most special to witness.  

We all know that the CrossFit community is super supportive.  Whether it’s rallying behind a charity or simply cheering on your fellow athletes while they finish a workout.  This was completely evident during the past 5 weeks as athletes partnered up and judged and cheered on their fellow athletes.  This past Saturday was extremely special to witness and I’m glad that everyone that participated was able to experience that type of atmosphere.

During the past 5 weeks, we have also been using the Tuesday workouts as an in house qualifier for the Verve regional team.  We’ve tried to make the workouts as fun and competitive as possible.  The Open workouts this year did an amazing job of testing athletes and we’ve tried to continue that with our Tuesday workouts as well.

Today’s workout is the last team qualifier workout.  We should know the athletes that will be invited to participate on the Verve team by the end of the week.  A few of you still have a few workouts to make up so please try to finish all the workouts and give us your scores by the end of the week.  If you have a workout to do and are having issues finding the time to complete it, please email me @ and I’ll figure something out.  Also if you have any questions please email me.  As of the writing of this post we are in 25th place in the region and the top 30 teams receive invites.  

Once we’ve established who the athletes are, we will begin talking about next steps.  Great job by everyone over the past 5 weeks.  

Post your experiences about the Open in the comments section.  We’d love to hear all your thoughts about the experience!


Monday 140331

For time:
Row 2,000 meters

Post times to comments and BTWB 

Pop Quiz: Pose running or not? 

11 300x187 Monday 140331


52 200x300 Monday 140331


2 300x200 Monday 140331


31 300x200 Monday 140331


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What is “Pose Running”?

The Pose Method was developed by Dr. Nicholas Romanov in 1977. Romanov was a coach in Russia, heavily involved in athlete training. At a time when the focus was on improving mileage and speed through simply increasing an athlete’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems, Romanov used physics to evaluate overall running technique. 

Romanov proposes one universal running technique for all runners, regardless of speed or distance, a sprinter runs with the same underlying running technique as a long-distance runner. The pose running technique is also designed to prevent undue strain on the joints. The distinguishing characteristic of the pose running technique is that the athlete lands on the midfoot, with the supporting joints flexed at impact, and then uses the hamstring muscles to withdraw the foot from the ground, relying on gravity to propel the runner forward. This style is in clear contrast to the heel strike method that can be seen with most runners. The runner should fall forwards, changing support from one leg to the other by pulling the foot from the ground, allowing minimum effort and producing minimum braking to this body movement. The idea is to maximize the use of gravity to pull the runner forward.
Quite possibly easier said then done, especially for those of use who have been running one way our entire lives. But if you are someone who has ever suffered from shin splints or knee pain as a result of running and therefore HATES running, I would say making an attempt to learn the Pose Method may result in a new found joy for taking a jog around the block. 
Pose running technique principles in summary
1) Raise your ankle straight up under your hip, using the hamstrings
2) Keep your support time short
3) Your support is always on the balls of your feet
4) Do not touch the ground with your heels
5) Avoid shifting weight over your toes: raise your ankle when the weight is on the ball of your foot
6) Keep your ankle fixed at the same angle
7) Keep knees bent at all times
8) Feet remain behind the vertical line going through your knees
9) Keep stride length short
10) Keep knees and thighs down, close together, and relaxed
11) Always focus on pulling the foot from the ground, not on landing
12) Do not point or land on the toes 
13) Gravity, not muscle action, controls the landing of the legs
14) Keep shoulder, hip and ankle in vertical alignment
15) Arm movement is for balance, not for force production
pose 300x171 Monday 140331

The Pose Method

Running with a heel strike is one of the primary cause of shin splints. In an effort to alleviate this problem running shoe companies have been adding more cushion to the heel of running shoes. Over the years these “shock absorbers” have increased in height. The question is, what are these heels possibly doing to the rest of my body? Stay tuned for some answers in Thursday’s post.

*The information in this post came from the article “Pose running technique: a beginner’s guide” found on the PoseTech website. Click here for the full article.

**Post your 14.5 scores!! They must be posted by 6pm tonight (Monday). Click here.

Sunday 140330


Complete as many rounds as possible in 25 minutes:
11 Chest-to-bar pull-ups
2 Deadlifts, 315# (205#)
10 Handstand push-ups

Post rounds completed to comments and BTW.

photo 31 475x475 Sunday 140330

Watch out world. MC is in her first year of CrossFit, first CrossFit Open and finished off her Master’s season RX with 43:15. We are so proud of this lady!

A huge THANK YOU to Progenex for throwing an incredible End of the Open Party at our home Saturday.  We had a huge turnout of athletes, spectators, tons of delicious BBQ, beers, and paleo desserts from ZaZa Desserts.  Everyone worked hard and left their hearts out on the floor during every heat.  We couldn’t be more proud of each and everyone of you.  Good movement, strong effort, and determination filled our walls at Verve.

 This has been a challenging 2014 CrossFit Open season.  Over 200,000 people have participated around the world.  Over a third of our athletes at Verve signed up, and nearly everyone participated in some capacity in the WODs on our FUN Fridays, during Open Gym hours, and finally our Progenex End of the Open party.   We welcomed a ton of visitors and drop-ins each week, which was a blast to meet you all and judge, coach, and cheer you through your workout with us.  We saw you get your first double-unders, first power snatches, first chest-to-bar pull-ups, first toes-to-bar, and push yourself to go RX and finish out a long grinding workout.  We saw you do what was previously unthinkable, we saw you grow as athletes, as a community, and as the kind of people we love to welcome everyday.  

And we can’t wait to see what you accomplish this next year.  Training starts now.


Saturday 140329

Workout 14.5

21 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 9 – 6 – 3 reps for time of:

Post time to comments and/or register and submit your results as part of the2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.

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Please join us Saturday for 14.5, food, drinks, prizes and community fun.  Progenex is in town and they are throwing a bash for us to celebrate all our accomplishments over the past 5 weeks. 

We will be running heats to better organize and plan so please check out MBO and sign yourself up for one of the heats.  We are opening the Verve doors to the entire CrossFit community for FREE so if you’ve been doing the Open and want to come celebrate another successful start to the season, please stop by.

No drop in fees, no need to participate, but stop on by for some fun.

Here is a link to MBO to sign yourself or a friend up.  

If you can’t make it in on Saturday then please schedule time during Open Gym on Friday, Saturday, or Monday in order to get your workout judged and validated.  

Friday 140328

On a 7 minute clock (8min clock)
Row 1000 meters
with remaining time complete max reps power cleans 95#(65#)

rest 5 minutes

On a 7 minute clock (8min clock)
Row 1000 meters
with remaining time max reps med ball cleans 20#(14#)

Post reps to BTWB

Crossfit Verve 475x614 Friday 140328

14.5 going down with a bash tomorrow!

Alight ladies and gentlemen as many of you have heard or maybe you have seen the flyers around the gym, but we will NOT be doing Open workout 14.5 tomorrow in the classes.  We have a special celebration in store for 14.5 and it will be taking place on Saturday.  Progenex will be in town and the are planning a bash for us to celebrate all our accomplishments over the past 5 weeks.  Saturday will be the day to come in get your 14.5 on.

We will be running heats to better organize and plan so please check out MBO and sign yourself up for one of the heats.  We are opening the Verve doors to the entire CrossFit community for FREE so if you’ve been doing the Open and want to come celebrate another successful start to the season, please stop by.

We will not be charging drop in fees and we are hoping to get as many local CrossFitters as possible to come and participate.  The first heat will begin warming up at 9:00 am so please be on time as we are going to try and keep things running as smoothly as possible.  Come join us to sweat, cheer, and celebrate!  Free food, drinks, prizes and schwag.

Here is a link to MBO to sign yourself or a friend up.  

If you can’t make it in on Saturday then please schedule time during Open Gym on Friday, Saturday, or Monday in order to get your workout judged and validated.  

Again NO Open Workout 14.5 on Friday, instead a special BASH to celebrate on Saturday.  Hope you can all make it and please leave comments if you have questions.

Thursday 140327

3 Rounds for time of:
Run 800 meters
Rest 2 minutes
Post times to comments and BTWB
 Thursday 140327

Getting under the bar.

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?
CrossFit hurts! Now I don’t mean in the sense that we’re getting injured all the time, rather I mean that the expression of our efforts equates to a very uncomfortable sensation in our bodies. What’s interesting is that this self induced sensation is what affords us such a desirable outcome – an increased work capacity across broad time, modal and age domains.
Many times, the biggest obstacle isn’t the load, the duration, or the movements. . . it’s what’s between our ears that limits our potential. Our thoughts and words set the stage for our actions and habits, which ultimately create our character and define our destiny. With that in mind, how often do your thoughts and words take a turn for the worse. . . before the workout has even started?!?
I’m not going to pretend that this is something I have mastered. In fact, there are many times I will look at a WOD and think “man, this is going to suck.” Right off the bat I’ve set the tone for negative self talk to creep into my mind and affect my workout. I then mope around, thinking negative thoughts about what’s in store. In Man’s Search For Meaning, Victor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
In the realm of CrossFit workouts, we can (and should) monitor our thoughts and words at a few very specific times. A half hour before our workout, we should begin to forge a positive mindset for the events to come. During the workout, we must use positive thoughts and words only! After the workout, we then need to reaffirm the positive thoughts and words we used during the workout to set the tone for our next workout.
Here’s a couple of tools that can be used to stay out of the dark. Use memories and anchor points of past athletic achievements that make you happy to feed your positive energy. For example, I think of being under the lights during “Amanda” at the 2010 CrossFit Games. Also, use positive affirmations like “I CAN do it!” or “Keep pushing!”  Refrain from using phrases that contain negative connotations, such as “Don’t stop” or “Never quit”. Remember, your efforts are always successes on your path to fitness. Walk away from each WOD with a positive mindset and affirmations.

Wednesday 140326


10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 reps for time:
1 1/2 body-weight deadlift
Body-weight bench press
3/4 body-weight clean

Set up three bars and storm through for time.

Post time to comments and BTW.

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Dean supporting weight over his head and improving his fitness.

Well, the 2014 CrossFit Games worldwide Open is nearly over.  This week is the final of 5 weeks of competition with yourself and CrossFit athletes around the world, all testing their fitness program.  It’s like a giant, awesome experiment to put yourself into for the duration of the Open.  See if your training over the last year has prepared you well for life and the constantly varied movements we come across on a daily basis.  Are you faster?  Stronger?  Improved stamina?  Better coordinated?  Are you better emotionally and mentally prepared to push yourself when life demands it?

Even if you are new to CrossFit, logging your workouts whether online via Beyond The Whiteboard (free with your Verve membership) or in a logbook is the way to go.  It’s just like inputting your scores into the Open each week.  You can set benchmarks, realistic goals and plans to crush them in this next year.  As coaches, we love to sit down with athletes focused on improving their health, whether it’s dialing in your nutrition, getting your first pull-up, or snatching your bodyweight.  Have questions?  Ask us, schedule a time, and let’s get to work.

On that note, it’s also time to celebrate your fitness and commitment to improving yourself.  So please join us on Saturday for free 14.5 WODs every 30 minutes.  Progenex will be on hand and throwing an awesome party with free food, drinks, paleo treats and prizes.  Free to the community and all local CrossFit fanatics, you can sign up on MBO.  Friday WODs will not be 14.5, however if you are unable to join us Saturday to complete it please email us to set up a time during our Open Gym hours.