Saturday 140628

In teams of two perform as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:
Partner 1 rows 20 calories
Partner 2 performs 1 legless rope climb,
     then as many reps as possible of Bench press 135#(95#) while Partner 2 finishes rowing 20 calories

Partners then switch.  Score is total calories and reps of Bench press. 

Post scores to comments and BTW.

IMG 0150 475x712 Saturday 140628

Sam enjoying some glute activation post WOD. 

*Parking alert*  Due to a festival happening Saturday and Sunday at 32nd & Larimer St, the Larimer St driveway and street will be closed this weekend.  All parking for Verve needs to be only in the CrossFit Verve reserved parking spots or along Blake St/side blocks.  Any cars not in Verve spaces or street parking may be towed.

Free Saturday Intro Class is happening at 8am.  Next Foundations Program begins Monday, July 7 at 7pm.  

Swimming Workshops and WODs next Saturday, July 5th at 9am and 10am at Berkeley Park pool.  Back at Verve on Sunday, July 6th with Anna.  

Get ready.  Running and rowing have  joined forces.  The result: (besides the obvious of added intrigue into your week. I mean, duh) a more cohesive endurance program for you to enjoy on a bi-weekly basis.  Nate and Maddie have joined up their programming that compliments each other modality.  If rowing is working on distance, running will be working on speed and vice versa. Will you benefit from going to one and not the other?  Of course!  Can you drop in at any time to either modality?  Double of course!  Will you get the most benefit from going both days?  You betcha!

Both rowing and running are skills, and ones that pop up all of the time in WODs.  Often we see them as places to rest, places to suffer, or places just to get through without dying.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead those were the places you looked forward to, or were the places you knew you could make up some serious time?  No matter what system we are focusing on, technique will always be at the foundation.  Our goal is to get you better at these skills; to take ownership of them; oh, and to have lots of fun usually in the wee hours of the morning…

What’s up for the next 8 weeks?

Rowing: We will be focusing on a 40 min time frame with the goal being at the end of the progression to sit on that machine for 40 minutes straight and to kill it. We’ll be building up to that goal via a series of workouts in which the intervals get longer and the total rest time gets shorter. This is a great series to build up your engine and this is a great time of year to do it!

Rowing: Thursday at 5:30AM & 6:30PM

Running: We will be working sprints and speed. Think nothing longer than 800m at a time. We will working on explosive speed via weighted sled drags and prowler pushes. Every class will have instruction regarding pose running and other tips to help improve you moving efficiently on those handy feet of yours.

Running: Tuesday at 5:30AM

Email Nate or Maddie if you have any questions! ( or

Friday 140627

Hang Snatch 2-2-2-2-2
Bench Press 3-3-3
Snatch Grip Deadlift 3-3-3

Post load to comments or BTWB

IMG 0158 475x316 Friday 140627

Either marching to the beat of their own drummer or working on that Posterior Chain?

Thoughts turn into things…..

Recently, while perusing the CrossFit Journal, I came across and article Enemy Mind by Ed Tseng.  This article resonated with me because most of us have a strong tendency to allow negative thoughts to creep into our minds and take over, ultimately affecting our performance. All of the following will be key points and take aways from this article and I encourage you to read it in its entirety using the link above.

I can’t do this“, “Be prepared to come in last because you can’t compete with these guys“, “Maybe I can’t do this?“, “I don’t want to be here“. These are common thoughts that creep into EVERYONE’S head, elite or novice crossfitter.  Ask yourself a question: Do you remember when you had a GREAT workout?  How did you do it? You probably didn’t have to think twice about it and it just happened.  Now ask yourself the last time you had a bad workout.  What were your thoughts then?  You probably thought too much about the movements you couldn’t do, feeling you had to scale too much, or the workout was filled with movements you hate.  You can probably remember more what your thoughts were when you did poorly than when you did great.  Tseng discusses why these thoughts come into our head and not trying to control them, but merely how to ignore them and not let them affect your performance.  Here are some key points listed in the article:

#1 Thinking About Thoughts – When you wake up from a nightmare and realize it was just a nightmare, do you stress over it? Nope, it wasn’t real.  Dreams are thoughts we have when we are sleeping, so if we don’t care about them when we are sleeping, why do we care about them when we are awake?  Thoughts are not reality!  Will you have these thoughts? Yep.  Do you need to concern yourself with them? Nope.  The less you concern yourself with the negative thoughts, the less they pop into your head.

#2 Doing What Needs To Be Done – There are many days for all of us when we don’t feel like training, but the greatest athletes train anyway.  IT’S THE START THAT STOPS MOST PEOPLE.  Has there ever been a time you truly regretted showing up for a workout when you didn’t want to?

#3 Pat Attention of Disregard? – Try to remember the last 10 thoughts you had.  You can’t do it because that’s how quickly they enter and leave our minds when we choose not to stew on them.  Thoughts we give attention to can consume us, but those we allow to pass through have no power over us.  Think of it like a subway: If you are waiting for the C train, can you control whether the A, B, or D train come into the station? No, but you can control which train you get on.  If you pay no attention to the negativity in your mind, it will pass through.  

#4 Mastering The Mind – Have you ever felt like the clock, a stronger more experienced member, a failure, or a teammates’ reaction is the enemy?  The truth is, none of these things affect how you feel, the only thing that can affect how you feel is your thoughts.  Imagine you are in a bad mood and the clock is running down.  How do you feel? Anxious, angry. Now imagine your are in the zone, great mood, confident, and the clock is running down. How do you feel now? Motivated to move faster and switch to a higher gear.  The clock is not your enemy, it is your thoughts that are controlling how you feel that are your enemy.  It’s not what happening around you, it’s not what’s happening to you. What truly matters is what’s happening inside of you.

When you don’t concern yourself with unnecessary thoughts, you will naturally have more productive thoughts, perhaps something like this: In the words of Christmas Abbott “I am the baddest b*$#h in this place”.

Thursday 140626

21-15-9 reps for time:
Power cleans, 135#/95#
Ring dips

Post times to comments and BTWB

hub 475x316 Thursday 140626

The Hubner Family

hub1 475x316 Thursday 140626

Elliott Richmond Hubner, born June 22, 2014.

Congratulations to Tara and Peter on the newest addition to the Hubner family!! We are happy to hear mom and baby are happy and healthy.

Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity, Oh my! As imagined by Courtney Shepherd

Hopefully everyone, at some point in their time at Verve, has heard about the idea of mechanics first, followed by consistency, and lastly adding in intensity. Good old MCI. But why pray tell is Mechanics first? It may be obvious to some but for those who find themselves scratching their heads and putting a good hard think on it, I would like to turn to Dr. Kelly Starrett and his book Becoming a Supple Leopard, to help answer that question.

Without actually using the words/ phrase Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity, Kelly addresses the importance of body positioning in the first few pages of his book. He starts first by saying that our bodies will take a ton of abuse for a really long time before it finally gives up the fight.

“Our bodies will put up with our silly movement and lifestyle choices because they have a freakish amount of functional tolerance built in. We shouldn’t however, make the classic error of confusing this miraculous genetic inheritance with a tacit rationalization for eating, sleeping, or moving however we please.”

We can move incorrectly, put our bodies through a ton of stress, and continue to get fit but to a point. That point is pain and injury. Kelly classifies pain and injury into four categories: 1) Pathology, 2) Catastrophic injury, 3) Overtension, and 4) Open-circuit faults. Categories #3 and #4 combined account for 98% of all pain/ injury we see in athletes. I would like to specifically address #4, Open-circuit faults, which is just a fancy way of saying “moving in bad position”. Examples of Open-circuit faults includes: rounded back, shoulders rolled forward, hyperextension of the lower back, feet turned out, head tilted up or down, and elbows flared out. Sound familiar? Possibly like positions we attempt to address and correct during our warm-ups and WODs?

“The problem is that the body will always be able to generate force, even in poor positions. This is not unlike being able to temporarily get away with driving your car with no oil in the engine or with a flat tire. Sure, you can do it, it just gets expensive.

Herein lies the problem: We have confused functionality with physiology. Positions that have served us functionally, like jumping and landing with feet like a duck’s, quickly become a liability when speed, load, or fatigue is introduced. Sure, you can lift heavy loads with a rounded back for a long, long time, but at some point your tissues will fail, resulting in some kind of injury.”

There is no magical way to fix this. This post will not provide a one sentence cure to bad positioning and henceforthly bring all future injuries to a halt. The key is to working on and mastering our technique/ mechanics, our good body position, without the load, speed, and fatigue. We must first start in good position, we can not have good movement out of bad set up. After addressing our set up then we can slowly add in the load and speed, all while still maintaining an awareness of our mechanics. When the mechanics breaks down, we need to take a step back. This step back does not equal failure, being weak, or losing out on the intensity of the WOD. This step back is designed to generate several future steps forward. As we strengthen our good set ups, we generate more force and power, and we can do more work. All good athletes hit a plateau, the really good athletes know they need to address their technique to continue to climb.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect permanent. Focus on the mechanics. Work to make those mechanics consistent. When the good mechanics are consistent, then let’s add in some intensity. MCI Baby, YEAH!!

*Quoted portions of this post were taken directly from Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett.

Wednesday 140626

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
Wall ball shots, 20#(14# )
Toes to bar
Row for calories

Post time to BTWB.

paleo chx tetra e1403550435774 475x475 Wednesday 140626

Mine never looks quite this good, that’s for sure. Thanks Robyn!

Paleo Chicken Tetrazzini

- borrowed from and modified to zone quanitity


  • 1260 g (~8 large) zucchini, peeled and spiral sliced {zoodles} (5CHO)
  • 2 lbs chicken tenders/breasts  - chopped into chunks (32PRO)
  • 1 Tbl kosher salt
  • 1 Tbl black pepper
  • 252 g (~1 large) yellow onion, finely chopped (3CHO)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 176 g sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbl fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 12oz chardonnay {or any other white wine/vinegar} (3CHO)
  • 8 TBSP coconut cream or (full-fat coconut milk, use just the thick cream off top) (16FAT)
  • 268 g bagged frozen peas (4CHO)
  • 48 g almond flour (16FAT)
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • optional thickener: 1 Tbl – ¼ cup arrowroot (I used ~1 tsp in 2 TBSP water)
  • chicken or veggie broth


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large sauté pan over high heat, add a little broth. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook in broth until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. In the same sauté pan using a little more broth or spray oil, wilt the onions, garlic, and mushrooms together. Add the thyme, wine, and coconut cream and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until thick.
  4. Optional: If the gravy doesn’t thicken to your liking, whisk between 1 Tbl and ¼ cup arrowroot flour with a small amount of water and add to the pan.
  5. When gravy is at desired thickness, add the frozen peas and take off heat.
  6. Mix the zoodles with the chopped chicken and gravy until well combined. Pour into a large casserole dish (I had to use a lasagna pan, or use a 9 X 13 cake pan).
  7. Sprinkle almond flour on top of mixture (to make a better crust on top you could cut fat blocks with grassfed butter to make a dough like topping that would back a little more crispy)
  8. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Let cool, plate, and top with the fresh parsley.
  10. Prep Time: 30 minutes
  11. Bake Time: 30 minutes


Zone Quantity: Dish total = 32PRO, 16CHO, 32FAT (total weight around 2,680grams)

84g = 1PRO/0.5CHO/1FAT

252 g = 3PRO/1.5CHO/3FAT

Competitors Class Days and Times.

Thank you to everyone that has signed up for the Comp Program.  For those of you that are still considering joining, the class times will be;

Wednesday 6:30 am and 7:00 pm 

Friday 6:30 am and 6:00 pm

As discussed, we will have our first group meeting “chalk talk” next Wednesday evening, 7/2/2014, to fill out the assessment sheets so we have everything ready to go for the following week after the July 4th holiday weekend.  

Email questions to

Tuesday 140624

Hang clean below knee 2-2-2-2-2
Back squat 3-3-3
Clean pull 3-3-3

Post weight to BTWB.

The Long Game Part 2: the missing chapter from Delve on Vimeo.

In this day and age we are always looking for instant gratification.  When we see complex movements being performed in CrossFit most of us feel that we should be able to master said movements quickly.  We get frustrated and down, but the truth is that much practice is required.  I found the above video really interesting.  Now it’s not everyday Leonardo da Vinci is a topic on a CrossFit Blog, but the video tells the story of some of the great artists of history, including da Vinci, and how they struggled for many years before being recognized for their greatness.  The title is a little misleading but the video is very good and worth a watch.

Do you see the correlation with CrossFit as well?   Some of the more complex movements and skills take months to figure out and years to become fluid in.  Many of us have been trying to get butterfly pull ups, muscle ups, or handstand push ups but haven’t quite mastered them yet.  Or how about double unders?  Seems like a simple task but takes a lot of practice to get really efficient at them.

My point is that many difficult movements take time and practice to master as many great artists of the past struggled for many years, so to do we with CrossFit exercises.  Keep practicing and working on your technique have patience and they will come!  Even da Vinci struggled for many years before becoming the da Vinci we know today as one of the greatest artists to have ever lived.  

Watch the video and leave comments if you enjoyed the video or have some thoughts of your own.  You can also navigate to part one of the video series as well to watch the beginning. 

Competitors Program Note:

We’ve had a great response so far and many people have signed up.  If you have any questions, please email  If you are interested in signing up, please do so by Thursday June 26th.  We will have our first chalk talk the following week to hand out assessment sheets and talk about filling them out.  Time and date to follow.  

Monday 140623

In teams of two, complete as many rounds as possible in 30:00 minutes of:
Run 200m
15 Thrusters, 95#(65#)
3 Rope climbs, 18′

Only one partner may work at a given time, while the other partner rests.

Post scores to BTW.

lee zink ohs 475x315 Monday 140623

Verve’s Own Lee Zink – 2013 MLL Defensive Player of the Year – Using his fitness outside of the gym. Pretty solid overhead squat.

8 Things You Can Do Outside the Box to Become a Better CrossFitter

Check out the original post here.

I’m all about striking a balance between training and life. And I LOVE training.

From the thrill of checking the WOD the night before, anticipating the workout all day, and then finally the feeling of immense accomplishment once the madness is finished, I really enjoy investing my physical and emotional energy into training.

But, like all things, it’s possible to do TOO MUCH. The blog post linked above shares some great insight into obtaining some much needed balance in our lives.

Check out the blog post here - #6 is a piece I think we could all use a little more of!

Sunday 140622

Off-site WODs today at 9am & 10am only today, see directions below.

For time:

5k trail run
Matthews/Winters Park — Open Space

Post time to comments and BTW.

 Sunday 140622

Swim WOD fun on a beautiful Saturday. Next Swim WODs on July 5th.

Directions here to meet us  1103 County Highway 93, Golden thumb img exit disclaimer Sunday 140622
From I-70 or U.S. Highway 40, go south on State Highway 93 approximately 0.1 mile and turn at the park entrance on the west side of the road. An alternative is the Stegosaurus Park-n-Ride Lot on the east side of the road, south of I-70, allowing access to the Dakota Ridge Trail.

Next Foundations Program begins this Monday, June 23 at 7pm.  Questions on how to get started?  Sign up on MBO or email  We can’t wait to meet you!

July 4th Denver Outlaws game, with an awesome fireworks show.  Purchase tickets here.  Promo code: Verve 
Only 40 tickets reserved, all tickets must be purchased by midnight on Sunday, June 29th.

Next Verve Happy Hour is June 27th @ 5:30pm at Interstate Kitchen and Bar.  

Saturday 140621

Off-site WODs today at 9am and 10am, see directions below.

Swimming drills, then for time:

Swim 200 yds
50 Push-ups
100 Squats
Swim 100 yds
25 Push-ups
50 Squats
Swim 50 yds 

Post time to comments and BTW.

IMG 0093 475x712 Saturday 140621

Welcome Amy! She’s very “hoppy” to be here.

Swimming Workshop and WODs off-site of Verve today.  9am and 10am classes held at Scheitler Recreation Center at Berkeley Park.  Address is 5031 W. 46th Ave., 80212.  See map below.  This is an outside pool, so bring your swimsuit, goggles, swim cap, and enthusiasm for vitamin D with friends.  You are welcome to hang out after the first class and enjoy some pool time as well.  Next Swimming Workshop and WOD will be Saturday, July 5th.  Sign up on MBO.  

Outside WOD on Sunday will be at Matthew Winters Open Space Park.  See blog Saturday evening for directions and fun.  

Friday 140620

For load:

Hang Snatch 2-2-2-2-2
Bench Press 3-3-3
Snatch-grip Deadlift 3-3-3

Post load to comments or BTWB

IMG 9446 475x316 Friday 140620

Look at those beautiful clean organized wall balls!


We love our gym, we are comfortable here, we have friends, and this is our home away from home for many of us.  Just like in our home with roommates, we can create some habits that are less than desirable like leaving dirty dishes in the sink, random socks jammed in the couch, dried toothpaste in the sink, etc.  The same bad habits can happen at the gym but now we are talking about equipment, cleanliness, and bodily funds.  Verve has some great equipment (some of the best available) and prides itself on being one of the more clean and organized boxes out there.  Boxlife Magazine recently posted a great article on some general guidelines for keeping friendly with our housemates.

Rule 1: Put. Your. Crap. Away.
Seems obvious enough, right? I assume you all clean up your own dishes when you’re done eating at home—you wouldn’t wait for someone else to do it for you. There’s nothing more infuriating for a box owner and coach to see plates left out or a stray band tied round a pull-up bar after class. Space and time is often a premium for a CrossFit class, and no one wants to waste it by cleaning up someone else’s shit. So do everyone a big favor and take pride in your box by putting your gear away. It’s really not that hard. If you want to take it a step further, help your fellow athletes clean up too. Many hands make light work.

Rule 2: Don’t drop the barbell when you’re stripping the plates.
When you are cleaning up, save your coach from a brain aneurism and strip down your barbell properly. This means you should lift the barbell and slide the plates off of it, then place it back on the floor—don’t just let it crash to the ground. This is how they get damaged, and as your coach will tell you, they’re not cheap to replace. The bars in our gym range from $200 to $500 per bar.  Each bar has it’s own intricate bearing system that allows it to spins easily and when dropped naked on the ground, will seriously decrease the life of the bar. IF YOU GET NOTHING ELSE FROM THIS POST, PLEASE LET THIS BE YOUR TAKE AWAY!!!

Rule 3: If you’ve sweated on the equipment, bled on the equipment or cried on the equipment, wipe it down.
Aside from being on obvious point of hygiene, it really isn’t a pleasant sensation to grab a wall ball that’s wetter than a new born baby, or sit your ass down on an abmat that might as well have been placed against the bare skin of the person before you. Grab a paper towel and disinfectant, and take the 30 seconds to wipe down your equipment. Please do it—for everyone’s sake.

Rule 4: Don’t steal other people’s equipment.
When you’re setting up for a chipper (or any WOD that requires numerous pieces of equipment), you try to set up your area with the gear in such a way to make everything easily accessible as you switch from movement to movement. And this can even extend to the pull-up bar—especially if you need to attach a band. So when some fool takes your wall ball or steals your bar in the middle of a WOD, you have every right to feel upset. It’s a CrossFit faux paux that should NEVER, EVER happen.

Rule 5: Don’t be late.
Maybe a minute or two is ok for some boxes, but I know there are some gyms that have burpee penalties for a late arrival, and others that simply turn an athlete away if they turn up 5 minutes after class has started. Remember, the box isn’t a globo gym—you can’t turn up whenever you please (unless it’s Open gym). Classes run in a box, and people pay good money to attend them and get their hours’ worth of fitness and instruction. There are few other things more annoying than watching a straggler turn up and think they can just jump into class as if nothing has happened. Hell no, son. Go home, and have enough respect for your classmates and coaches to arrive on time.

Rule 6: Check in/Sign up for class.
This applies both to drop-ins and regular box attendees. If you are a member of a popular gym, and you know that classes get pretty full, give your coach a heads up by signing up online. We’ve all been through WODs that have had to been altered significantly because there wasn’t enough equipment/space to go around, and it’s not fun. There are class caps for a reason, so save your coach the trouble of having to change the WOD around and just sign up. If you do not sign up or are wait listed and cannot join a class at another time, please be prepared to have a modified workout as people that were able to sign up have priority for equipment.  If you can’t make a class, please don’t forget to cancel so your fellow gym mates can take your spot.

Rule 7: Pay attention when the coach is giving instruction.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing CrossFit for 1 month or 5 years, it’s disrespectful to have your own private conversation or do your own thing when the coach is trying to give instruction to the class. You may know how to perform each movement off the top of your head, but not everyone does, so just be patient and quiet and let everyone get the full benefits of the coaches’ knowledge. Besides, you might learn something new about the lift that you would have otherwise missed!

Rule 8: Don’t have a conversation with someone in the middle of a workout.
If your “short” conversation is going to force me to warm up again, then you might want to save it till after the workout.

Rule 9: If you ask to borrow an athlete’s gear—give it back when you’re done.
Have you ever had someone ask if they can borrow your roll of tape, only to find that they keep passing it off to every single person who suddenly needs to wrap themselves up like a mummy? And you’ve always had a suspicion that someone else might have conveniently ‘lost’ those wrist straps you lent them a few weeks ago. Don’t be a jerk, if you borrow some gear, give it back when YOU are done with it—not the entire class.

Rule 10: Don’t move the chalk bucket mid-WOD.
I believe that chalk, much like PEDs, are essentially to an athlete’s success in a workout. The buckets containing this white gold are usually tactically placed so as to be easily accessible to as many people as possible in the midst of a WOD. If someone decides to move it to their area, then all hell breaks loose. At least for me. Hell hath no fury like a Brit denied his chalk.

Rule 11: Respect an athlete’s space.
This is crucial for safety purposes, as well as the focus of the athlete. If someone is preparing for a major lift, don’t walk behind them, in front of them, or anywhere close to them. If they need to bail, the last thing a coach wants to see happen is the bar strike an athlete standing too close, or worse yet have an athlete fall back on to someone else’s equipment.

Rule 12: Try to avoid ghost riding.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ghost riding refers to the phenomenon of dropping barbells, kettlebells and all manner of equipment from overhead, regardless of the situation or weight. This is important because dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells with thin plates can bounce when dropped from overhead and ricochet into yourself and other athletes. While it is very satisfying to hear the crash of the weights against the floor, try to reserve the sensation for the strictly heavy lifts.  We got some new pretty 10# and 15# plates that are already starting to explode at the seams.  This phenomenon happens when bars are dropped from the top when only those plates are on the bar.  Make an effort to drop the bar from no higher than the hang and the coaches heads’ won’t explode.

Rule 13: Introduce yourself to newcomers.
Hopefully your coach will take the initiative and announce a drop-in or a new member when you turn up for class. That’s the first step. But you should view it as your duty as a member of your box to make sure that the new athlete feels welcome in a new environment—especially if it’s their first taste of CrossFit. Furthermore, the new member will probably give a positive review of your box to their friends, which will bring in new business for your coach and help the community grow.

Ververs – we appreciate you and everything about you that makes our gym what it is, but following these few simple guidelines make this operation smooth like butta!!!

*** The Lean & Mean Nutrition Winners Are As Follows….

Grand Prize: Kent Kansala & Amanda Parker – Pretty incredible transformations!

 Friday 140620

Amanda Parker


kent kansala before and after 475x241 Friday 140620

Kent Kansala

Most Points Scored – Individual: Danielle Dangoia

Most Points Scored – Team: “The Zone Rangers” aka Team Anna!

Most Bodyfat Lost: Kent Kansala, 7.7% in 6 weeks!

Congratulations everyone! Please come to the office in the next few days to collect your prizes!

Thursday 140619

3 Rounds for time of:
Row 15 calories
10 Burpees
*Jump over the rower on each rep of the burpee

Post times to comments and BTWB

CrossFitRoots ToestoBar 555x348 475x297 Thursday 140619

CrossFit Roots demoing body angles needed for better Toes-To-Bar.

Toes-To-Bar in Pictures By CrossFit Roots 
(Click here for link to CrossFit Roots blogpost)

The toes-to-bar is often thought of as an abdominal exercise. While the abs are definitely used in the movement, the shoulder plays a large, if not the largest, role in enabling an athlete to do toes-to-bar.

Success in the toes-to-bar is rooted in the kip. The ability of the athlete to close the shoulder angle makes it easy for the athlete to then reach their toes to the bar and allows for efficient and consistent movement.

In the first photo (left), you’ll see Nicole is at the very back of her kip as her toes reach to meet the bar. By closing the angle of her shoulder to this degree (almost 90), she shortens the distance her feet and legs must travel to reach the pull-up bar.

In the second photo (right), you’ll see that Nicole barely closes her shoulder angle in her effort to reach her toes to the bar. This means that her abdominals and hip flexors must do more work to lift her legs to the bar. She may be able to sustain this for a number of reps, but eventually her legs will be too heavy for her abdominals to lift them that distance consistently.

If you look at the height of her hips in each photo you’ll see that in the first photo, her hips are much higher and behind the bar. In the second photo, she is mostly hanging under the bar with her hips to the left of the bar she is hanging from. In the second photo, she has to close her hip more to reach her toes to the bar – again using her abdominals and hip flexors a lot!

Development of toes-to-bar starts with a strong kip (and it helps kipping pull-ups a ton as well!). When you’re tired or trying to figure out what to work on, go back to the kip and try to close your shoulder angle as much as possible.

*Toes-t0-bar is a pulling movement that requires pulling power through the shoulders and lats. As we work to build the kipping swing we can also work to build our pulling power. Examples of great exercises to increase pulling power include, but are not limited to, ring rows, supine ring rows, rope climbs, legless rope climbs, strict pull-ups, bent over rows, banded lat pull downs, bent over sled pulls, and seated sled pulls. 

Don’t forget about our swim WODs this Saturday at 9am and 10am @ Berkley Pool. These WODs are free to Verve members, it is a $20 drop in fee for non members. (Directions to pool will be posted on Saturday’s blog)

Verve’s next Happy Hour is Friday June 27th @ 5:30pm at the Interstate Kitchen and Bar. Be there or be a giant Happy Hour hatin’ square.