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Friday 4/25/14


10 min Cycle

20 Min AMRAP
12 Push Press 95/65
21 Sit-Ups
500 m Row

10 Min Cycle


500m Row
10 times through agility ladder
2 Rounds
20 Face Pulls
10 Kick Overs

5×5 Double KB Thruster
*Each set should be difficult but not a max.


5 Min AMRAP x 2
9 Box Jumps
6 Lunges 95/65
3 Strict Press 95/65

*1 Min Rest in between AMRAP’s

M1: 75/55

M-Comp: Power Snatches 135/95

Thursday 4/24/14

2 Mile Run (Time Trial)
*This is for a PR.

30 Min Partner AMRAP

A. 200m run/Goblet Squat

-one person runs while the other performs Goblet Squat then switch


B. 200m run/KB Swings

-one person runs while the other performs KBS then switch


C. 200m run/Sumo Deadlift High Pull

-one person runs while the other performs DL’s then switch


D. 200m run/Burpees

-one person runs while the other performs Burpees then switch


400 m Run
2 Rounds
10 Roll-Ups
5 Inch Worms
2 Rounds
1 Min Squat Hold w/Empty Barbell
10 Bent Over Rows

20 Reps, Stone 2 Shoulder + Squat
*Moderate to heavy weight.


10 Min EMOM
Odd: 45 second max meter row
Even: 5 Strict Pull-Ups

Back Squats Vs. Box Squats





Here’s what you need to know…

•  Teaching a lifter to quickly summon all available force from a standstill is an important training stimulus. If one can come up from a box with 405 on his back, there’s no doubt he can do so in a free squat while utilizing the stretch-shortening cycle.

•  The squat has the edge on depth. It’s easier to rocket out of a very deep squat using the stretch shortening cycle and going lower is a necessity for those who do the Olympic lifts.

•  The box squat allows you to reach back more than would be otherwise allowable at a given stance, and it can be easy to achieve vertical tibiae. This piles more work onto the hamstrings and posterior chain, which is something all squatters need more of.

•  If you need to build more muscle in a hurry, it’s hard to beat a back squat.

•  The box squat allows more measurable progress.


Which is better, the box squat or the back squat? Some coaches swear by the box squat, while others still deem it unnecessary for those who can squat to depth with good form. Looks like a powerlifting vs. Olympic lifting grudge match! Let’s take off the gloves and see who makes it out on top.

We’re going to grade each variation according to the following criteria:

Strength Builder: Is it a good tool for building elite strength?

Hypertrophy Builder: Is it a good choice for building significant hypertrophy?

Learning Curve: How easy is it to learn?

Mobility & Depth: How much mobility does it require to perform well? How easy is it to get low?

Wow Factor: Is it impressive and exciting for onlookers or for personal records?

Progressive Overload: Can you use it to make long-term gains?

All-Terrain: How well can it be performed in a poorly equipped gym or outdoors?

Technique Builder: Does it reinforce archetypal squat technique that carries over to other variations?

Safety: Is it safely performed without a cadre of spotters? How high is injury potential?

The Back Squat

Really, it’s the squat. Not a variation, not some iteration. It’s the original. And though it’s as simple as splaying a barbell across the back, it’s not really that simple. You need ample hip mobility, leg strength, back strength, and core strength to perform posteriorly loaded squats with good form at an appreciable weight. It’s easy to do, but not easy to do well. Common cues to producing a quality squat are as follows:

• Squeeze the bar to death
• Squeeze the shoulder blades to death
• Tighten the lower back (I believe in an arch; others prefer a neutral spine)
• Take a belly breath and brace the abs against the air
• Ensure that toe angle matches knee angle when taking a stance
• Sit back to start the movement
• Push out against the knees
• Spread the floor with the feet
• Push as fast as possible out of the hole
• Smile if you see stars – you’re working hard

The enemy of the squatter is both looseness and tightness. If the upper body or core gets at all loose, the weight will fold a lifter over in a hurry, risking major injury. Yet if the shoulders, lateral hips, hip flexors and hamstrings are too tight, optimal body position won’t be attainable and it’ll be hard to perform the movement well. Depth and spinal position will suffer. It becomes a ballet move, where the best squatters have great joint mobility but can produce tremendous tension where they need it.

The Box Squat

All of the cues we listed for squatting apply to the box squat. But, the box squat is a bit different.

1. The box allows you to sit back more than free squatting.
2. The box forces a dead-stop, breaking the stretch-shortening cycle.
3. The box provides an automatic depth indicator.

So, considering how similar both movements are, let’s go through our grading criteria and compare on each point.

Strength Builder

Squatting is squatting. It’s the king of strength builders, not just in the legs but the whole body. The only way to differentiate between our contenders is in the differences in muscle recruitment.

The box squat is most typically used at or slightly below parallel and the box squatter can easily attain vertical or even a slightly negative shin angle, which is ideal for building the hamstrings. At parallel, the free squat can’t quite match the shin angle afforded by the box squat.

But, the squat has the edge on depth. It’s easier to rocket out of a very deep squat using the stretch shortening cycle and going lower is a necessity for those who do the Olympic lifts. The best are amazing at using bounce to explode out of the hole.

The tie-breaker is going to rest on the stretch-shortening cycle. Athletes especially can benefit from paused-squat training like the box squat because they never encounter it in their sport; there’s always a countermovement and elastic rebound in any given movement. If we’re looking at completeness of a training program, teaching a lifter or athlete to quickly summon all available force from a standstill is an important and novel training stimulus. If one can come up from a box with 405 on his back, there’s no doubt he can do so in a free squat while utilizing the stretch-shortening cycle.

Winner: The box squat. It’s easier to achieve vertical tibiae, and most people need more explosiveness out of the hole, which the dead stop of the box provides.

Hypertrophy Builder

Breaking up the stretch-shortening cycle is an advantage of the box squat unless the lifter is focusing on hypertrophy. Sure, both variations can be great tools, but if you need to build more muscle in a hurry, it’s hard to beat a back squat. You can simply do more things – deeper squats with ease; 1.5 rep sets; combination movements; Tabatas; complexes; you name it. And, because it’s a better all-terrain choice, it’s a more available tool for the masses. Most guys looking for hypertrophy aren’t seeking a powerlifting gym where boxes are available – they’ll be in a commercial gym with a shortage of powerlifting equipment options.

Winner: The squat. Back squats are more easily made into complexes and other variations that maximize time under tension. And, they’re more available to the average Joe.

Learning Curve

I choose to introduce all of my clients to squatting first with the goblet squat, then the front squat, and finally the back squat. I like them to have a basic level of comfort and strength before moving to the more technique-intensive back squat iterations. That said, if a novice can squat a little bit of weight, the first challenge in a posteriorly-loaded squat will be getting to depth. The easiest way to judge depth is with a tactile indicator like a box. If we need to see if an athlete has the mobility to squat to depth, the box is great for a couple of reasons:

1. No guessing required – if the box is below parallel and they reach it, they’re good.

2. Measurable progress. We can use three-fourth inch rubber mats to graduate to depth. This is Louie Simmons’ first point about box squatting. If someone can squat to a 16″ box today, let’s remove a mat at a time until they reach their depth goal. Over time, their mobility increases as mats are removed. It’s measurable and repeatable.

The Winner: The box squat. Being able to measure squat depth for those who aren’t skilled at reaching it makes it a superior variation for learning to back squat to depth.

Mobility and Depth

This one is going to be close. For teaching mobility and depth, the box squat, as explained above, is a superior tool, but, for achieving very low depths like the Olympic squat, the box starts to feel clunky. For those who aren’t powerlifters, I believe in squatting as low as good technique will allow. The lower one goes, the more crucial the rebound from the stretch-shortening cycle becomes. But, when squatting well below parallel, boxes become awkward and frustrating. The lower one goes, the more one sits on his pelvis rather than the fleshy hamstrings and weights drop off significantly at such depths.

And although dead-stop training is effective, an Olympic squatter needs to use that bounce out of the hole. Milko Tokola is a great example of using bounce to produce crazy bar speed.

Winner: The squat. The box squat doesn’t allow depths below parallel as effectively as does the squat.

Wow Factor

There are no box squat meets. That said, when lifters compare their numbers, the squat is how they rank one another.

Winner: The squat. Although both lifts, done heavy, are impressive, the original will always be king – there’s nothing beneath you, so you’ve gotta’ come back up.

Progressive Overload

This one’s a stalemate – add more weight to the bar, pansy.


I’m going to save a few outdoor squatting concerns for the safety section and just focus on required equipment. Yes, you can take a squat stand, bar, and plates virtually anywhere and get after it. Or, you can clean and jerk the weight into position in lieu of squat stands.

Even poorly equipped gyms have a squat rack and barbells, but way too few gyms have plyometric boxes, rubber ballistic blocks, or rubber mats for box squat use. To really get the most out of box squatting, you need a short box (12″ works great) and an additional 6 inches of rubber mats. This will accommodate almost any-sized human at above parallel to way below. You just won’t find this at a commercial gym, though. What you might find is a few standard benches or plyo boxes that don’t fit your anthropometry very well, or don’t allow customization of different depths. It’s frustrating.

Winner: The squat. You can’t fit a squat box in your gym bag.

Technique Builder

The box squat allows you to reach back more than would be otherwise allowable at a given stance, and it can be easy to achieve vertical tibiae. This piles more work onto the hamstrings and posterior chain, which is something all squatters need more of. The box also provides a nice boost of confidence and security – “there’s something beneath me in case I miss.” This helps mentally blocked or timid lifters push higher weights.

Of course, there’s a tendency in all box squatters, not just novices, to relax the lower back and rock back on the box. This is a major no-no and an injury risk. I’ve found that unless constantly monitored, nearly 100% of new box squatters will relax their core and back once they touch down and often roll their pelvis posteriorly. It’s an instinct, after all. When in nature does one sit down and attempt to stay as tense as possible? Unfortunately, we need to override this.

Although the box squat is great for reinforcing a rear-reaching descent and does a fantastic job of boosting confidence, it often makes me nervous with newbies. Sure, if they learn to stay tight on a box, they’ll learn to stay tight while free squatting, but if they can’t get it, it quickly becomes an unsafe, inappropriate exercise and it only takes one bad rep to injure a disk. Back squats are much easier to maintain the same allover tightness from start to finish.

Winner: The box squat. Learning to sit back is crucial. Though there’s an injury risk in relaxing on the box, those who have above average focus and good coaching can quickly overcome this. And, if you can stay tight on a box, you can stay tight in any other squat.


I’m steadfast in requiring safety spotter bars, just below desired depth, for all back squat variations. You just never know when you’ll get stapled forward or tweak something and go down unexpectedly. Yeah, I know that Olympic lifters use squat stands, but, they’re also experts in ditching the bar and in general squat with a much more upright posture. Even then, if a hamstring pops, who knows what happens?

Last year, one of our strong 14 year olds was on his second set of 185 for 6 reps, which is a hell of a feat at 130 pounds. His form was great and I was spotting him. On rep four, he tweaked his hamstring coming out of the hole. There’s no way to catch a 185-pound bar that unexpectedly free-falls. He went down, forward, but the safeties caught the bar just 6 inches later. Had they not been there, I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t even want to think about it.

The safety issue makes the squat a somewhat uncertain all-terrain choice. I don’t ever feel safe with a bar on the back and nothing beneath me. So, if squatting without safeties, the box squat is safer because if you can’t get out of the hole, you’re still sitting on a box, or you can sit back down to it. As long as you stay tight, you can sit there a bit before shedding the bar backward, but box squatting in a parking lot or grassy area isn’t safe either, because the box needs to be very stable, flat, and well-built in the first place. One could say that the only safe way to box squat is indoors, which eliminates those outdoor variables of lumpy ground or pavement.

Winner: Box squat. If you choose to squat without safeties, the box gives you a layer of protection should you miss a rep. Sit back down and wait for the cavalry.

Final Report Cards

Grading The Squat

Strength Builder: A
Hypertrophy Builder: A
Learning Curve: B
Mobility & Depth: C
Wow Factor: A
Progressive Overload: A
All-Terrain: B
Technique Builder: B
Safety: C

Grading The Box Squat

Strength Builder: A
Hypertrophy Builder: B+
Learning Curve: B+
Mobility & Depth: B+
Wow Factor: B
Progressive Overload: A
All-Terrain: C
Technique Builder: B+
Safety: B

And the Winner Is…

This one is narrow, but my vote is the box squat. There’s a lot of utility in teaching dead-stop explosiveness, having a depth meter and safety net beneath you, and being able to squat easily with a vertical shin angle to build the hammies. Tell me if I’m dead wrong in the comments below!

Wednesday 4/23/14


Front Squat
Clean and Jerk


300m Row & 400 M Run
3 Rounds
10 Sumo Deadlifts High Pulls w/Light KB
2 Wall Walks


10 Good Mornings w/Empty Barbell
10 Strict Press

Deadlift, 5×5 reps (Find a 5RM)

Then, 3×10 reps @ 70% of 5RM

3 Rounds
10 Wall Balls 20/14
5 Toes 2 Bar

The Wrongfully Hated Butterfly Pull-up

by jalberga | April 22, 2014 12:00 am

The Wrongfully Hated Butterfly Pull-up[1]
Because you’re reading this blog, I’m making the bold assumption that you are a CrossFit enthusiast, or at least have a partial appreciation for what CrossFit is (whether you love it or hate it) and its many layers of modern fitness. If you’re at all like me, you’re also probably used to its criticism and the bottomless finger-pointing made by those who refuse to set foot in a box.

[I]f you use butterfly pull-ups as an argument as to why you don’t like CrossFit…you may be a bit misled as to their function and purpose.

Usually, depending on the source of this criticism, it’s best to just roll your eyes and move along. But, as a level-headed pursuer of all things fitness and the forward progression of unfiltered, unbiased exercise science for the every-man, I take all legitimate arguments under consideration and develop conclusions based upon my own accumulation of information.

One of the most common hates put on CrossFit that I think can be easily rebutted: butterfly pull-ups. This write-up is intended to address this issue and this issue alone.

Here’s the deal: if you use butterfly pull-ups as an argument as to why you don’t like CrossFit, I strongly suggest you reconsider; you may be a bit misled as to their function and purpose (or you’re an ignorant hater. In any case, read on, and acquire some knowledge).

Why Athletes Use Butterfly Pull-ups

Why Athletes Use Butterfly Pull-ups[2]
CrossFit does use strict pull-ups[3] — as in the pull-ups you’re used to seeing, without a kipping motion[4]. In fact, I dare even say they exist in our training just as much, if not more, as anyone else’s (bring it on). At CrossFit DownRiver[5], and at hundreds of other affiliates throughout the world, strict pull-ups are used voraciously in strength training. We do them with weighted vests, weighted belts, with assistance bands for those who are still training to get there, and we pound them out straight for sets and reps. They are one of the most functional compound bodyweight movements performed for strength building, and we acknowledge them as such. Just because you don’t see them when you Google-search “CrossFit pull-ups” shouldn’t lead you to start hating mindlessly.

Butterfly pull-ups and/or kipping pull-ups, however, are not designed for strength training[6]. You do get stronger in different avenues by becoming proficient with them, but that’s not the focus of this write-up.

Butterfly pull-ups exist to perform several reps throughout a circuit or evolution. They are a tool for metabolic conditioning: to exercise your cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscular endurance. Not only that, but they require and exercise agility, coordination, speed, and explosiveness[7]. Yet many people outside of the CrossFit world see an athlete fire off 80 reps straight and have the audacity to throw up their hands and claim that they’re not real and they’re “cheating.”

[Butterfly pull-ups] are a tool for metabolic conditioning: to exercise your cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscular endurance.

That is wrong. Bluntly, that is ignorant, thick-headed, and simply naïve. As stated previously, butterfly pull-ups are an advanced tool of metabolic conditioning. It’s used in the same avenue as sprinting. But when a hater sees an athlete utilizing sprinting in a training circuit, rarely do I see them claim that it’s a cheating version of jogging, or rant that it’s no way to build leg strength. Of course it’s not a cheating version of jogging; it’s a different bloody exercise. And you know what? It’s harder. It requires more endurance (cardiovascular/respiratory/muscular), more agility, more speed, and more explosiveness.

A Different Kind of Power Requirement

A Different Kind of Power Requirement[8]
The same goes for the butterfly pull-up. Do 20 butterfly pull-ups require less strength of your biceps and lats than 20 strict pull-ups? Absolutely. It does NOT, however, require less production of power. And that is what haters fail to acknowledge.

The power for butterfly pull-ups is drawn from all over the body, as opposed to just biceps, lats, and delts. The chin still must move over the bar, and the only tool the athlete is allowed to use to achieve this is his/her body. It will, of course, have a different effect on the athlete than the strict pull-up would. A DIFFERENT effect, NOT a useless one… not even close. Because the source of power is spread more throughout the body, more reps can be performed, and in doing so, a cardiovascular and respiratory endurance challenge will ensue.

Specifically, I’m speaking of the entry into glycolytic and oxidative energy pathways of the body. These are the be-all end-all of endurance training, and it will forever go un-denied that these pathways must be exercised and trained to produce endurance and stretch the VO2 max. Furthermore, to continue to challenge these pathways, varied methods simply MUST be utilized.

This is what running[9] does. This is what plyometric training does. This is what the elliptical kind of does in a much, much less efficient way. Why, I ask of the haters, should endurance be so limited to running? Why must endurance only be performed on a treadmill, a track, a prowler sled, or a spin bike?

Do 20 butterfly pull-ups require less strength of your biceps and lats than 20 strict pull-ups? Absolutely. It does NOT, however, require less production of power.

It shouldn’t. And to think otherwise is asinine. Before you hate, remember it best to fully understand exactly what it is you so despise. Not only is it fair to those who use it, but you owe it to yourself to be well-versed in a topic about which many claim to be so passionate.

I could end here, but there’s still the most compelling response to the butterfly pull-up hatred:

You do it. Fire off 80 butterfly pull-ups and tell me it was easy and cheating. Do just five. If you can’t, spend a month trying. Still can’t? Spend 3 months trying. Still nothing? What’s that telling you? Possibly that you lack the agility, coordination, speed, and/or explosiveness. Ask a CrossFit athlete who can pound out 80 straight butterflies to pound out 20 perfect strict pull-ups; odds are you’ll see it happen, mi amigo. And many of us will do it with a 45 lb. plate hanging from our waists.

Tags: Joseph Alberga[10], CrossFit DownRiver[5], pull-ups[11], strict pull-ups[3], kipping pull-ups[12], explosiveness[7], running[9]

  1. [Image]:
  2. [Image]:
  3. strict pull-ups:
  4. kipping motion:
  5. CrossFit DownRiver:
  6. Butterfly pull-ups and/or kipping pull-ups, however, are not designed for strength training:
  7. explosiveness:
  8. [Image]:
  9. running:
  10. Joseph Alberga:
  11. pull-ups:
  12. kipping pull-ups:

Source URL:

Tuesday 4/22/14

1 Mile Run


6 Rounds

1 Min Lunges
1 Min Push Press w/Empty Barbell
1 Min Rowing
1 Min Sit-Ups

*1 Min Rest


500m Row
2 Rounds
1 Min of Single Unders
1 Min Lunge & Twist
1 Min of Leg Swings (Both Legs)

Double Unders  

800 m Run
20 KB Swings Red/Yellow
800 m Run
20 Burpees
800 m Run
50 Double Unders

M1: Blue/Green
M2: Yellow/White  

*Colors pertain to the tape on handles of KB’s not color of KB

In Defense of CrossFit



Here’s what you need to know…

•  Even with its questionable programming, often under-trained coaches and loudmouthed leader, CrossFit has greatly improved the field of fitness.

•  CrossFit has helped grow every aspect of the fitness industry, from training equipment and gym ownership to workout apparel and book sales. That’s good for all of us who love training.

•  Women, once turned off by images of steroidal female bodybuilders, are now embracing free-weight training in droves, largely thanks to CrossFit.

•  The CrossFit Games is fun to watch, and because of that, CrossFit, despite its flaws, is here to stay.


I Invented CrossFit

Around the year 1995, I came up with the idea of CrossFit. I just forgot to name it and build a brand around it. Every Sunday I’d meet my training partners at Chuck’s house. Chuck had a big garage and all sorts of dangerous toys for us to play with. We had farmer’s walk implements made out of old railroad tracks, tires to drag, sandbags, med balls, kettlebells before kettlebells were really a “thing”, and a slew of old Olympic lifting gear.

The idea was this: we’d randomly come up with a workout of the day with the main focus being on conditioning, plus we’d do all those uncommon lifts we couldn’t do in our weekday commercial gyms. We’d do some type of Olympic lift, immediately go for a farmer’s walk, then do bodyweight squats and take a run around Chuck’s back field. Sometimes we’d compete and do this against the clock for time. I even published some articles about this stuff in the late 90s.

CrossFit wasn’t founded until the year 2000. So, Mr. Glassman, where’s my Reebok money? Where’s my 50% cut of all that cash you make printing reams of certifications? Can I at least hang out with Rich Froning? Because he seems like a standup guy.

No, I’m kidding. Greg Glassman deserves all the credit. He took a bunch of training ideas that had been around for decades, combined them into one modality, established the defining principles, hurled a few lawsuits and threats when needed, and worked hard until CrossFit blew up. Good for him. He tapped into his gymnastics background, renamed circuit training, and made it his own. That takes a lot of smarts, a little luck, and a single-minded sense of purpose that only the very determined and/or the bug-shit crazy possess.


But as a “co-inventor” of CrossFit (along with Dan John, Herschel Walker, my 7th grade football coach, the Muscle Beach crowd in the 1930′s, and dozens of others), I’ve been able to follow its development closer than most people. I wrote the first article about it for T Nation in 2008. I’ve actually traded a phone call or two with Glassman, and I work with several coaches who’ve been on the inside of CrossFit, at least before they removed themselves from its inner workings (often fleeing in disgust if truth be told.) So what’s the verdict on CrossFit? Well, as painful as it is to say, CrossFit is pretty awesome.

Thank God for CrossFit

It’s easy to bash CrossFit. The dubious programming and exercise order of the WODs, the butterfly kipping pull-up abortion, the sometimes under-trained “coaches”, the sloppy form, the fact that Glassman has very, very strong opinions about how to perform certain lifts even though he’s not able to do them himself and (some have surmised) has never actually done them… Yeah, all that is low hanging fruit. And past T Nation articles have covered these drawbacks in depth. But the truth is that CrossFit has done us all a world of good. And thank God for it.

Newbies Keep the Market Alive

Back in college I worked at a knife store. Being an aficionado of high quality edged weaponry, I complained to my boss about the “knife newbies” who’d come into the store only interested in the cheap movie-knife replicas, like knockoff Rambo bowies. Ray took me aside and explained to me that those crappy knives were the best thing that ever happened to the knife business. They attracted new people and brought them into the store for the first time. “Sell them what they want,” he told me. “Later, we’ll introduce them to the really good stuff. Let those junky replica knives bring them through the door and we’ll teach them about quality blades when they’re ready.”

Do you see the analogy here? CrossFit has pulled people into fitness and hardcore lifting that would’ve otherwise never walked through that door. Some people were never turned on by bodybuilding and, since they weren’t competitive athletes, they weren’t drawn to performance training either. CrossFit filled a void: lose fat, build some muscle, and look and feel more athletic… no shaving your ass and standing on stage required. No spending hours and hours a week preparing for marathons, one of the few challenging sports widely available to weekend warriors.

When one area of fitness does well, other segments of the industry do well too. CrossFit created new consumers of gym apparel, sports supplements, and workout equipment. Jobs were created, not because the government passed some backhanded bill, but because the demand occurred organically.


Coaches from narrower fields, like pure barbell strength training, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and mobility, were suddenly filling up their seminar schedules and selling more books. Physical therapists, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, and soft tissue specialists saw a rise in business. That’s partly due to the fact that thousands of new people were exercising hard. And yes, it’s also partly due to the fact that more people were hurting themselves with questionable WODS and competitions.

Savvy equipment makers created new products to sell to the 9,000-plus new “boxes” cropping up all over the world. T-shirt makers threw the words “WOD” and “snatch” onto their shirts and sold out. The Olympic lifting shoe market, once less profitable than the hacky-sack shoe market, was suddenly having to ramp up production. Barbell makers profited. Kinesiology tape makers prospered. Owners of commercial warehouse spaces were filling their leases. The gymnastics market boomed as practically overnight everyday fitness enthusiasts wanted a set of rings in their garage. Thousands of people began to push their bodies to the limit and realized they needed a better diet and better supplements to fuel their performance and recovery.

Just as those Crocodile Dundee knife replicas grew the knife business, CrossFit was growing every part of the fitness industry. And if you like to train, this is good, even if you don’t do CrossFit. You have more choices now, better products competing for your dollar, and maybe even your standard commercial gym – feeling the hurt of losing members to CrossFit boxes – added lifting platforms, heavier kettlebells, pull-up bars, good rowing machines, and better med balls. Gyms got better because they had to get better. Competition, customer service, and capitalism… for the win.

Hardcore Mass Appeal

CrossFit boxes weren’t “gym gyms” either. These weren’t ridiculous group fitness classes full of bad Columbian dancing and faux martial arts. Compared to that pablum, CrossFit was hardcore-looking stuff. It pulled the housewives out of Zumba and Combat Yoga because of the simple fact that it didn’t look so house-wifey. It put barbells into the soft hands of people who hadn’t touched one since high school. It was brutally hard, but still looked fun, and it still incorporated the best elements of group fitness by creating a sense of community and compliance.

Also, CrossFit brought many retired high school and college athletes back into fitness. CrossFit is competitive, and though timing every workout or shooting for more reps or load for time has its drawbacks, it also has a very wide appeal, especially to former athletes. It gave them a new “sport” where they could compare themselves to others and set PRs. Humans will, after all, compete in anything (see competitive cheerleading and lawnmower racing), and CrossFit tapped into this natural instinct in a way that reached out to athletes, couch potatoes, and weekend warriors. North America is less fat because of it.

CrossFit Works

Let’s rephrase that. Weight training works. Metabolic conditioning works. Olympic lifting works. Training hard works. Cleaning up your shitty diet works. These things have always worked and CrossFit uses them all and provides an atmosphere that pushes you to push yourself. And a lot of people need that.

In the early days of CrossFit, the joke was that CrossFit makes women hot and men small. The first part of that statement is definitely true, not because CrossFit is magically effective for female physiology, but because it gave women “permission” to lift hard and heavy, something that bodybuilding largely failed to do.

Sure, bodybuilding for women has always been around, but steroid usage and images of man-faced females did a lot of damage. This is where all the myths originated, like “lifting makes women big and manly.” It didn’t matter how hard we on the hypertrophy side of fitness tried to dispel these myths. One image of Kim Chizevsky from the 1990s dissuaded more women from hitting the iron than we could have ever hoped to convince otherwise, though we sure tried. Where bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, and powerlifting failed to recruit women, CrossFit succeeded. In fact, it kicked our asses.

The imagery and social media presence of CrossFit did what traditional resistance training could not. At the very least, it helped shift the tide. (Figure and bikini divisions of physique contests played a role here too.) CrossFit girls – women who lift weights, do metcon, and train aggressively, largely without using steroids and other drugs – are sexy. They aren’t posing and flexing, they’re performing, and generally looking damn good doing it, at least at the higher levels. Women who would never call themselves bodybuilders, or even Figure athletes, wanted to look like the prototypically memed CrossFit girl: lean, tough, super fit, athletic and with enough muscle to look very “toned” in the words of the general public, without looking “manly.” It wasn’t okay to be a bodybuilder in many women’s mind, but it was more than okay to be an athlete. Annie Thorisdottir, two-time CrossFit Games winner, was featured in Vogue magazine. A strong woman in an anorexic fashion mag? Game, set, and match.


Again, God bless CrossFit. Women in droves are lifting weights, squatting, deadlifting, climbing ropes, sweating, and building beautiful bodies. In an increasingly unfit world of sloppy cows and praying-mantis legs, CrossFit helped redefine sexy and gave women the green light to do what they should have been doing all along to look their best. Your wife or girlfriend, once content with lifting pink dumbbells and running on a treadmill, took one look at Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet and magically became interested in setting PRs, building thick, muscular legs, and learning to clean and jerk. Maybe she even bought a pair of bootie shorts. Thank you, CrossFit.


The Sport of Fitness

We know the jokes and we’ve heard the criticisms. Who competes to be the world’s best exerciser? And why does one paunchy old fart get to decide what parameters define “fittest on earth”? Fair enough, but I love how the CrossFit Games has evolved. And you secretly do too.

Here’s a bunch of very good athletes competing in all the things most of us probably do: lifting, sprinting, climbing, running, even biking and swimming. It’s exciting to watch. It’s easy to get drawn into a competition that contains all the elements most of us do on a daily basis. As the other old joke goes, CrossFit would be pretty cool if it wasn’t for all the CrossFitters.

At the very least, watching the women compete is inspiring and yes, titillating. And the top men are slowly erasing previous criticisms of CrossFit: they’re big, strong, and powerful, and many top CrossFit athletes could easily step onto a bodybuilding stage and do very well. Make fun of CrossFit all you want, but you’d be lying if you said you didn’t admire the physique of Jason Khalipa.


Do the guys in the CrossFit Games truly reflect the results of standard CrossFit programming? Not really, but do they inspire people to lift hard and diversify their training? Are they incredible athletes you want to see compete? You bet. As a bonus, the Open, Regionals, and CrossFit Games take place during baseball season, which means you can watch people compete on ESPN without dying of catatonic boredom.

CrossFit Is Here to Stay

After 14 official years, CrossFit is still rising. Its champions are becoming stars in their own rights, getting big-name endorsement contracts, book deals, and gracing the covers of magazines. Will it level off? Sure. Will CrossFit survive the eminent heart attack of Greg Glassman or its first public performance enhancing drug scandal? Probably. It survived Glassman’s ex-wife’s lawyers, after all. It may not always be the attention-getter it is today, but like World’s Strongest Man, Ironman triathlons, and the Olympia, it’ll always be around. For the greater good of fitness, I’m glad.

In 2014, nearly 210,000 people signed up for the CrossFit Games Open – an event that only began in 2011 – almost six times as many that signed up for the Boston Marathon. On March 26th, people paid $20 a pop for one of the 4,000 seats at Kezar Pavillion in San Francisco to watch other people exercise. It was workout 14.5 of the Open and featured five CrossFit Games champs going head to head. Now, really think about that a moment. That is a powerful testament to the newly minted sport of fitness, and if I have to start the slow clap I gladly will.

CrossFit has its faults. Many of these problems will, I believe, be ironed out over time, just as the UFC had to do before becoming a multi-billion dollar business and powerful influence on fitness and sport. Do I want to join a CrossFit box and enter the next Open? No. But do I respect what CrossFit has done for a field I’m very passionate about? You bet your bootie shorts. Overall, it’s great to see the rise CrossFit. After all, I invented it.

Monday 4/21/14



25 Cal Row
2 Rounds
20 PVC Pass Throughs
6 Wall Squats


10 Back Squats w/Empty Barbell
10 Front Squats
10 OH Squats

6 min EMOM
2 OH Squats 80%

“Tabata Something Else”

8 round of max reps in :20 with :10 rest of:

Pull up
Push up
Sit up

Lowest Reps Completed for each movement.

Athletes Have More Mental Toughness – In and Out of the Gym

Contributor – Psychology and Research

Mental toughness has been described as one of the most important characteristics of success in athletic endeavors.However, defining mental toughness is a bit more difficult. One of the first definitions came from James Loehr in his classic book on mental toughness.


He described it as a psychological edge that has the following seven dimensions:self-confidence, attention control, minimizing negative energy, increasing positive energy, maintaining motivation levels, attitude control, and visual and imagery control.


Loehr’s work was unique and it led to many athletes trying to improve on those seven dimensions. Meanwhile, other researchers attempted to determine whether those were actually the correct dimensions. A long literature has continued adding or subtracting dimensions to the model of mental toughness (I have seen models with three to fourteen different dimensions; in academics these disputes can play out like the Wild West until one model becomes law). Furthermore, no one has yet determined which of those factors are most important to sports performance.



Mental Toughness in the Non-Athletic World

Recent research has been conducted on one of the models to determine whether athletes and non-athletes differ on mental toughness.3 It is an important question as one of the many reasons we have kids participate in sports is that we believe it will give them more mental toughness that they can apply in other areas. Furthermore, mental toughness has mostly been tested in the sporting area. Thus, do the same dimensions apply to mental toughness in other areas (e.g., the business world)?


The researchers asked almost 1,900 adult athletes and non-athletes questions related to mental toughness. The non-athletes had never been involved in sports training or competition. The sample consisted of a balance of men and women and represented 34 different types of sports (team and individual). All the athletes were actively involved incompetitive training.


The researchers had two questions:


  1. Does the structure of mental toughness stay the same for athletes and non-athletes (i.e., is it made up of the same components)?
  2. Is the level the same for the two groups (i.e., does one group have more mental toughness than the other)?


For the first question, the researchers found that athletes and non-athletes did have similarcomponents that make up mental toughness. That is, there did not seem to be any differences in how mental toughness was defined. These components were:


  • Hope (I might rename this factor as it seems like it relates to the knowledge that one can handle him- or herself in tough situations; example question: I can think of many ways to get out of a jam)
  • Optimism (example question: In uncertain times, I usually expect the best)
  • Resilience (example question: I do not dwell on things that I can’t do anything about)
  • Perseverance (example question: I am often so determined that I continue working long after other people have given up)


Perseverance and hope (belief in the ability to get out of trouble) seemed to be the most important factors in determining a person’s mental toughness.


As for the question as to whether athletes and non-athletes differ on the amount of mental toughness, the researchers found a big difference – with athletes having much greater amounts of mental toughness. That is, athletes had about five times more mental toughness than non-athletes (my rough conversion of their effect size to an odds ratio). This effect is very large and says a great deal about mental toughness in athletes.



What We Can Learn From This Study

One potential issue with this study is that athletes were asked questions about their mental toughness. Completing a questionnaire is much different than being in the middle of a stressful competition. Athletes may not be the best judge of their own mental toughness. As Willa Cather said, “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.”1 Filling out a questionnaire in the calm could be different from what happens in the storm.


Furthermore, as mentioned above there is still quite a dispute of what makes up mental toughness. The four areas tested by the researchers were identified in previous research, but there might be constructs that were not measured (e.g., Loehr originally described attention, which is not included in this study).


On the surface, it seems that participating in sports has some effect on mental toughness as there is a strong correlation between the two. However, this correlation does not equal causation as people with more mental toughness might be drawn more to sports.


In an upcoming article, we will examine what factors are thought to lead to more mental toughness and whether it is a characteristic that can be developed. Please feel free to comment below on whether you think it can be developed and what are the most important components of mental toughness.



1. Cather, Willa.. “Song of the Lark.” Radford: Wilder Publications, LLC. 2003.

2. Gould, Daniel, Ken Hodge, Kirsten Peterson, and Linda Petlichkoff. “Psychological Foundations of Coaching: Similarities and Differences Among Intercollegiate Wrestling Coaches.” Sport Psychologist 1 (4). 1987

3. Guillén, Félix, and Sylvain Laborde “Higher-Order Structure of Mental Toughness and the Analysis of Latent Mean Differences between Athletes from 34 Disciplines and Non-Athletes.” Personality and Individual Differences 60 (April): 30–35. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2013.11.019. . 2014.

4. Loehr, James E. “Mental Toughness Training for Sports: Achieving Athletic Excellence.” New York: New American Library. 1986.


Photos courtesy of CrossFit Empirical.

Sunday 4/20/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit Peeps!


Have you found success in CrossFit but not nutrition? Sign up for the Whole 30, 30 day challenge by Bladium CrossFit and Green Plate Kate. You will lose fat AND pr your deadlift!! Be sure to check out all the details in our Nutrition Challenge tab on the right hand side of the website.


For more details contact…

Contact Caleb or Alex at
303.320.3033 /

Contact Katie Garces AKA. Green Plate Kate / 303-641-4955


Whole 30 Header

400m x 4

*1:1 Work Rest (Rest for as long as it took you to run)


Coach Scott Olson’s Mustachio Bashio

2 Min Rest….


In teams of 3 or 4

30 Min AMRAP

1 Sand Bag Carry (Yellow 2 Yellow)*
1000m Row
60 Front Rack Walking Lunges 75/55
60 KB Press (Switch arms every 5 reps)

*Partners may break up reps as much as they needed.

** Sandbag MUST travel there and back as many times as there are partners in the group. For example. Team A has 3 partners, the sandbag will be carried down and back 3 times. Team B has 4 partners, 4 Times down and back…

*** Sandbag is encouraged to be carried by 1 person unless said person is physically incapable of moving the sandbag.

10 Things I Know About Protein That You Don’t

Guest Contributor
I work in the supplement industry and have for the past decade. If you’re saying, “Big deal, me, too,” then you can stop reading right now. For the rest of you, I’m betting that I can tell you ten things about protein that you don’t know.


1. There’s No Such Thing as Undenatured Whey Protein

Here’s a fact: all whey protein sold in the United States needs to first be pasteurized. Even at the lowest temperature, that means subjecting the whey protein to a level of heat that will cause changes in some of the fractions. This doesn’t mean that the protein is useless or won’t give you all of the benefits you see touted in advertisements and studies. It just means that undenatured is a meaningless concept when we’re talking about whey protein sold legally in the United States. So unless you’re clued into the whey protein black market or some whey protein-selling crime syndicate, you’re not getting undenatured anything.


protein, whey protein, aminos, hydrolized, grass fed, GMO, cold filtered


1.5. If Your Favorite Brand Sells Bioactive Peptides, Find a New Brand

Bioactive whey peptides are protein fractions that cause a measurable biological response in the body. Maybe it’s enhancing the immune system or increasing pumps (for the gainz). Those peptides come from protein. They come from the protein you buy from that same company.


See, every pound of protein might sell for $5 at the manufacturer level, but it also might contain $10 worth of peptides in 1/10th of the weight. So they strip all of those awesome peptides out, thereby losing .50c from the protein itself, but in the process they earn double the money from the sale of the peptides they removed. You get the completely denatured protein (stripped of every biologically active peptide they could mine), and they sell you back the peptides in another product (or in the same product, claiming that they have “added peptides”).


2. Cold Filtered Whey Is Still Heated

“But my whey can’t be denatured from heat, it’s cold filtered,” I hear someone saying. That’s nice. But cold filtered is the actual filtering process that concentrates the whey into the final percentage of protein (typically +80%). The filtering has nothing to do with the fact that most manufacturers who “cold filter” their whey are still flash pasteurizing it at the highest possible temperature beforehand. Why? Because it only takes fifteen seconds to flash pasteurize whey and it takes fifteen minutes to pasteurize it at the lowest heat levels. So you can produce more whey if you only take 1/60th of the time at this stage of processing.


3. GMO/Grass-Fed Laws Are Stricter Overseas

Oh, so your whey comes from New Zealand, and you’re bragging about it being non-GMOand free range and all that good stuff? Guess what? All whey from New Zealand is going to be non-GMO and free range. Their laws are far stricter than the ones in the good ol’ United States, so it’s a bit redundant to talk about how great your New Zealand whey is when every gram of dairy the country produces is just as good. I lived in Auckland, New Zealand, and I’ve been to the dairy farms, and you’re from Maine, so you’re probably going to have to take my word on this one.


4. No Studies Ever Compared Grass-Fed Whey to Grain-Fed Dairy

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that grass-fed dairy (and beef for that matter) is superior to grain-fed. But there are no direct studies comparing them in athletes or in an exercising population. There is tons of evidence showing grass-fed animals (and their meat products) are healthier, but none on dairy in athletes. It makes a much bigger difference with meat, where the fat content can be radically altered by diet, or even with whole fat milk. But with a good whey protein, we’re talking about a gram of fat per serving. So while I still prefer grass-fed (everything), this is based more on inductive reasoning than hard and fast studies that examine these parameters in athletes.


protein, whey protein, aminos, hydrolized, grass fed, GMO, cold filtered


5. A 100% Hydrolized Whey Protein Doesn’t

I’ve seen studies that use thirty to forty percent hydrolyzed whey and spoken to the authors. It’s inedible. The reason for this is the fact that breaking down (hydrolyzing) protein is exactly what happens during the digestive process. Protein that has been 100% broken down will not stay together in any form (think about it, what would a slab of steak look like after your stomach has digested 100% of it – now imagine it as a powder). Those “100% Whey Protein Hydrolysate” jugs you see at the local nutrition chain are actually a lot lower. The “100%” claim comes from the fact that the entire jug contains hydrolyzed whey protein (no other types of protein or whey), and that protein itself has been hydrolyzed 2% (or 5% or whatever). So it’s all (100%) hydrolyzed – but only by a few percent.


6. Your Amino Acids Probably Come From Dead Kittens

Ok, I’m exaggerating – but not by much. The most popular form of amino acid production is through the chemical synthesis of keratin, which requires far fewer steps (and is therefore less costly) than other methods. Keratin is abundantly supplied in hair, nails, claws, and fur. Short of staking out every hair and nail salon in China (where most aminos are sourced), producers instead make them from animals whose pelts are not good enough to use for clothing. So maybe the pelt was damaged in the slaughter process or some other horrific industrial accident. That pelt is worthless as clothing, but can still be used to synthesize leucine (or whatever). I’d estimate 95% of manufacturers are using this process or a similar one, and I’m really good at estimating horrific, awful, stuff like this.


7. Twenty Grams of High-Quality Protein Is Usually Enough

Selling more protein makes the manufacturer more money, and having a huge protein-grams-per-serving count on the label helps them win fans in the bodybuilding community. But nearly every study that looks at a decent protein source, like egg or whey, usually concludes that the additional stimulation of myotropic (muscle building) or recovery factors isn’t greatly enhanced after twenty grams.


8. Worthless Aminos Are Often Substituted for Expensive Proteins

Within the industry this is known as protein spiking. Cheap aminos like glycine are used to pad the protein content of otherwise expensive whey. So if a pound of whey comes in at $6, and a pound of glycine is a $2, maybe two to three grams of the latter are put in the former. Since it’s an amino and not a whole protein, it’s providing those grams at a much lower cost, and doesn’t appear on the label as another protein form, thereby allowing the manufacturer to still (legally) claim “100% whey” or “100% casein.” I know of one brand that uses creatine (technically an amino) to spike their protein, which as a bonus is super-easy to flavor. Their protein is delicious. Now you know why.


protein, whey protein, aminos, hydrolized, grass fed, GMO, cold filtered


9. Twenty Grams of Protein Usually Isn’t

Protein bars are notorious for under-dosing protein and overstating the amount on the label. This is a bit of an open secret in the industry, and although powders are better, they’re still under-dosed in a lot of cases. Naturally, the yummy carbs are the exact opposite – you’ll find far more in the bar than you see on the label.


9.1 Twenty Grams of Protein Usually Isn’t (Part Two)

Hydrolyzed collagen is technically protein. But it doesn’t build much muscle, and it has a biological value of virtually nil. I’m talking about the stuff we’ve been seeing in gels and goops for the past decade (allegedly, there are some recent forms that aren’t useless, however it’s unlikely that your favorite brand is using them). Gels are obviously the worst offender here, but those little protein shots are pretty bad also.


10. Most Protein Comes From the Same Place(s)

If you were to walk the aisles of your local supplement retailer, you’d see dozens of different brands of protein. But if you were to see the actual manufacturers of the protein itself (the people all of those brands are buying it from), you’d see far fewer companies. There are probably ten major players in the field of powdered protein, and that’s being generous. They’re not just huge; they own other companies that we think are huge.


Glanbia, for example, produces a lion’s share of the dairy products in Ireland. They’re a billion-dollar company, they own BSN as well as Optimum Nutrition, and they do contract manufacturing for tons of other companies, both big and small (well, medium). So, when you see Brand X Casein and the store house brand and BSN and ON, all sitting next to each other, there’s actually a good chance that the protein in the jugs is identical. And Glanbia is the manufacturer behind the most popular protein brand(s) in the CrossFit world, if we’re keeping score at home.


Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

Saturday 4/19/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit Peeps!


Have you found success in CrossFit but not nutrition? Sign up for the Whole 30, 30 day challenge by Bladium CrossFit and Green Plate Kate. You will lose fat AND pr your deadlift!! Be sure to check out all the details in our Nutrition Challenge tab on the right hand side of the website.


For more details contact…

Contact Caleb or Alex at
303.320.3033 /

Contact Katie Garces AKA. Green Plate Kate / 303-641-4955


Whole 30 Header

Capture The Med-Ball

In Teams of 4
Row 2000 Meters
150 Wall Balls
100 Power Cleans 135/95
50 Pull-Ups
Prowler Push 185
* Each Partner Must Push Prowler 50 Steps

11 Reasons Why I Take My Shirt Off When I CrossFit

by bencrookston | April 7, 2014 12:02 am

11 Reasons Why I Take My Shirt Off When I CrossFit[1]

1. My Shirt Chokes Me During Tiring Met-cons

When I’m in the 5th minute of a WOD and I’m kipping and snatching[2] my brains out, the last thing I want to be thinking of is the tri-blend shirt-noose that’s aggressively massaging me into asphyxiation. To be sure, I enjoy breathing. I also prefer exercising intensely with a maximal amount of oxygen coursing to my cerebrum. Tossing the shirt into the bleachers makes keeping the ol’ trachea highway traffic-free just a bit easier.

2. You Have to “Go Hard” When Your Shirt’s Off

If you take your shirt off in the gym, you’re gonna draw looks. Period. Maybe because you’re smelling like last night’s tamales, maybe because you have the curious body type of a conehead, or maybe because you suddenly are storming around wide-winged like Jax from Sons of Anarchy[3] – regardless of reason, the eyes are on you.

While many struggle with motivating themselves and getting amped up enough to put their best effort forward on a daily basis, a shirtless individual cannot relate to these struggles. A shirtless individual’s most lackluster effort resembles a shirted individual’s personal storming of Normandy. It is relentless, passionate, and sometimes even over-bearing.

Simply put, when the t-shirt goes to the ground, you may as well be throwing down the gauntlet. Game on. Time to PR[4]. Doing a casual set of bicep curls or air squats is simply out of the question. You’ve just made a public service announcement that you’re going to workout till you pass out. Bystanders be at the ready — this dude is going HAM!

3. I’m a Devout Practitioner of Shirtless Meditation

3. I’m a Devout Practitioner of Shirtless Meditation[5]
As an unofficial leader in the neo-transcendental religion of shirtless meditation, I find it my daily duty to remind possible parishioners of how liberating and sacred it is to bestow your skin whilst in the throes of deep training practice. The shirt, it seems, is yet one more barrier between our souls and the Mighty One above. Simple removal of your top layer of fabric is like instantly climbing a few steps closer to nirvana. It’s like a cheaper version of tithing with an ancillary benefit that you get to see where your money’s going.

If you’re interested in learning more or joining this shirtless movement, click here[6].

4. It Helps Me Strike Fear into the Barbell

A heavy barbell can be a daunting thing. Load 300+ lbs onto some iron and a perfect storm of self-doubt and defeatist thinking is liable to start brewing inside your loins.

By taking your shirt off and bearing it all, you’re letting the barbell know that you are not intimidated by its placid, faceless mocking. While some people may scoff at this personification of a barbell, I assure you those people have never encountered and/or experienced a heavy clean & jerk crushing their spirit and landing on top of and perpendicular to their windpipe.

In fact, they’ve probably never even done a clean & jerk.

Maybe they’ve never seen a barbell.

Then again, it’s not about them. It’s about the barbell.

Take the shirt off, make the bar whimper.

5. Going Shirtless Keeps Me Young

I was born naked and free. And, as every minute passes in my life, society tries to dress me up, smite out my childish spirit, and dampen the joy naturally effervescing from my pores. Tossing my American Apparel to the wind allows me to reconnect with the infinitely optimistic Power Ranger inside me and channel their rainbow super strength to dominate in my workouts. Just as the application of some moisturizing creams are advertised to “take 10 years off your face,” stripping your bod of shirtly bondage immediately takes 20 years off your mind.

Be youthful, my friend. It’s Morphin Time!

6. I Care About My Shirt

6. I Care About My Shirt[7]
Somehow, a couple years after college, all of the disgusting, sleeveless-down-to-the-nip shirts I used to wear to the gym were thrown out. Whether ex-girlfriends discarded them or they disintegrated into sweat-drenched dust, they’re gone. And in their stead are a bunch of new shirts. Pearly white shirts. And Bounty bright shirts. These shirts I don’t want to ruin. These shirts are perfectly good as casual wear that can be dressed up and worn into semi-trendy establishments in the evening. These shirts were not cheap.

By removing my shirt pre-workout, I am simply adding life to the longevity of the threads in my shirt and being a diligent and considerate young professional. This way, when I’m in the club and my hands are touching the sky to Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love,” the dancers adjacent to me will not be wondering if I rubbed my armpits in a cocktail of formaldehyde, urine, and G2.


7. Going Shirtless Increases Testosterone

Unofficial early statistics have reported that removal of the shirt prior to intense exercise increases free testosterone in the body by at least 34%. This means Hulk-style gains as soon as that v-neck comes off. And, while these studies are in their nascent and inconclusive stages, the preliminary evidence is quite compelling.

If you’re looking for more anecdotal proof of this phenomenon, look no further than the CrossFit Games[8] as an example of what taking off your shirt in a workout can do for you. Notice anyone on the podium wearing a t-shirt? Didn’t think so. The only things on that stage are washboard abs and high-volume intensity. Booyah.

Apparently, ripping your top off is about as effective as taking a regular trip to Balco – minus the tabloid scorn, expensive and exhausting legal hearings, and unsightly needle marks.

Mr. Rodriquez, sorry this news didn’t come out earlier.

8. Shirts vs. Skins: The Game of Life

8. Shirts vs. Skins: The Game of Life[9]
In my view, every day at the gym is a game; like any semi-organized pick-up game, there are two teams. In order to most cost effectively separate the two opponents, we establish alliance via our uniforms – shirts vs. skins.

For some reason, I’m always on the skins team and we always win.

If you’re interested in joining our squad, we’re recruiting. In fact, our warm-up uniform was just released to the public!

**Important features about your new uniform:

  • Their blue magic brings out the blue…brown, green, hazel, or gray of your eyes
  • They’re perfectly comfy and the supple cotton is tailored to look and feel amazing on bods of all types
  • They safely and securely cage the animal inside so you don’t peak too early in an inappropriate environment causing undue attention in the streets
  • Most importantly, they’re patently engineered to come off easily so you can get your He-Man on when you need to

Look forward to seeing you out there, Champ!

9. Going Shirtless Avoids the Loathsome Wet Rag

I have no stronger peeve than an un-wrung rag nestled in the bottom of the sink. It turns out that wet cotton has a witch-like property to conjure up the smells of fermented goose droppings blended with mothballs. This stench could put down a rhino.

A sweat-soaked Dri-FIT is just like that un-wrung rag.

Think about putting that shirt in your dirty laundry. Think about the mold that will grow as it rests on the bottom of your bin. Think about when you go on vacation and accidentally leave that shirt in the bottom of the laundry baking into a cesspool of bacteria and bile. Think about the diseases you’re unnecessarily bringing into your home…

It’s like living in Contagion[10], but Matt Damon is not here to save you.

10. Going Shirtless and Living Dangerously

10. Going Shirtless and Living Dangerously[11]
Taking off your shirt while you workout is another way of saying, “Danger is my Middle Name.” In a gym world where MRSA inhabits 70% of possible surfaces, the shirtless exercise enthusiast is a renegade warrior throwing the middle finger to the air. You’re practically Rambo plowing your way through the jungles of Vietnam, laying waste to everything in front of you.

No bulletproof vest needed when you have a natural plate of armor hiding underneath your shirt.

11. Going Shirtless: Because I Want To

In all honesty, keeping my shirt on in a workout would be an act of self-loathing. I love myself and I was raised to love myself. If I kept my shirt on, I not only would be deferring my self-love, but also offending my mother who worked so hard as a parent to imbue me with such confidence and self-belief (thanks Mom!).

While I believe one need not rationalize their shirtless gym antics, I will offer up this airtight logic for any affronting party:

I love my mother, thus, I take my shirt off when I workout.

How’s that for an argument, Mr. Descartes?

Well, I think that pretty much sums it up. If you have any additional reasons for donning your shirtless chassis mid-workout —post to comments. If you have a special someone (or three) in your life that could benefit from these knowledge nuggets, please remember: sharing is caring.

“11 Reasons Why I Take My Shirt Off When I Workout” first appeared at[12]. Follow Ben and his team on Twitter at @TrainHeroic[13].


  1. [Image]:
  2. snatching:
  3. Sons of Anarchy:
  4. Time to PR:
  5. [Image]:
  6. click here:
  7. [Image]:
  8. CrossFit Games:
  9. [Image]:
  10. Contagion:
  11. [Image]:
  13. @TrainHeroic:

Source URL:

Copyright ©2014 Tabata Times unless otherwise noted.

Friday 4/18/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit Peeps!


Have you found success in CrossFit but not nutrition? Sign up for the Whole 30, 30 day challenge by Bladium CrossFit and Green Plate Kate. You will lose fat AND pr your deadlift!! Be sure to check out all the details in our Nutrition Challenge tab on the right hand side of the website.


For more details contact…

Contact Caleb or Alex at
303.320.3033 /

Contact Katie Garces AKA. Green Plate Kate / 303-641-4955


Whole 30 Header

500m Row


2 Rounds
10 High Pulls w/ Light KB
10 Good Mornings w/Light KB
50 Face Pulls W/Band

Hotshots 19″

6 Rounds
30 Air Squats
19 Power Cleans 135/95
7 Strict Pull-ups
Run 400 meters

M1: 115/80
M2: 95/65

4 Common Kettlebell Swing Errors Made by CrossFitters

by cfwhrob | April 9, 2014 10:00 pm

4 Common Kettlebell Swing Errors Made by CrossFitters[1]
The kettlebell[2] is a common tool in the CrossFit arsenal. Every box has a collection of them, and I suspect any garage CrossFitter[3] has a few lying around as well. After all, they are a “hand-held gym” with many versatile options. Sadly, this ancient strength tool and its common exercises are often overlooked, underestimated and quite often sloppily performed. The most widely used kettlebell exercise used in CrossFit is the swing. Unfortunately, however, the swing is very often performed inefficiently, which limits the benefits and ultimately can lead to serious injury. Many CrossFitters and CrossFit coaches quickly see the complexity of Oly lifts, but consider the swing to be a simple movement. However, as they say in within the RKC Community[4], the swing is an inch wide and a mile deep.

Many CrossFit boxes and coaches use American swings as their default kettlebell movement or exercise. While much has been written about the safety and/or validity of this exercise, for the purposes of this article, I will not get into that debate.

The problem with only introducing the American swing is the lack of proper progression. The coach or athlete is missing out on prerequisite movement which the athlete should be able to perform: a proper KB Deadlift first, proper Russian swing second, then proper Hybrid swing (which is a forehead high swing).

From a coaching perspective, the athlete has mastered these swing progressions before they progress to the American swing. And of course, that is provided they can demonstrate good thoracic mobility[5] and proper core stability[6].

Below are some common mistakes with corrections that can be applied to any swing variation.

Quadzilla Swing

Quadzilla Swing[7]

[M]any CrossFitters will turn their swings into a quad dominant, “squatty” swing. The quads are secondary movers in the swing.

The kettlebell swing is a hip hinge just like a deadlift[8]. It is maximal hip flexion with minimal knee flexion. The squat is maximal knee flexion and minimal hip flexion. However, many CrossFitters will turn their swings into a quad dominant, “squatty” swing. The quads are secondary movers in the swing.

We must load the glutes and hamstrings for a proper powerful swing. To correct this common error, regress back to the KB deadlift to groove the hip hinge. Or you can do a wall reach: stand with your back to the wall, then shuffle forward an inch or two. Reach your hips back to the wall and just touch the wall with the butt. Shuffle farther forward and repeat, making sure to keep your feet fully planted for each wall touch performed.

Happy Feet Swing

Power begins with connection to the ground. Many athletes, when swinging kettlebells, do not properly “grab” the floor with their feet. The resulting visible errors are the toes and/or heels coming off the ground. Perhaps even worse, the feet may physically move around.

To correct this, envision driving your feet flat into the ground. Your heels, toes and balls of the feet should be connected to the ground. You should feel like you are going to leave footprints an inch deep on the mat. Create a much more powerful and efficient swing by “jumping” into the ground.

Meat Head Swing (Front Raise Swing)

Meat Head Swing (Front Raise Swing)[9]

The work of the kettlebell swing is the extension of the hips; once that happens, the bell then floats into place.

Early arms occur when an athlete pulls the bell upward prior to full hip extension. The arms and shoulders become too active trying to pull the bell to a desired height. You can also observe the bell drooping rather than being an extension of the hands. As we say in CrossFit, this creates a core-to-extremity violation. Understand that the hips drive the bell. The goal should be to extend the hips powerfully prior to the arms moving. The work of the kettlebell swing is the extension of the hips; once that happens, the bell then floats into place.

To fix this, delay your arm movement by keeping your elbows on your ribs through the hip extension. Imagine that your arms are tied to your trunk. And again, practice the kettlebell deadlift: place the bell between the heels, hinge hips keeping arms on your trunk, grab the bell and stand up without letting your arms come off your trunk.

Uncommitted Swing

All the power from the swings should come from the hips, making the full extension of the hips and knees critical. The hips and knees should not be soft at the top of the swing. Think of it as a vertical plank.

To fix, stand up hard by driving feet into the ground. Make certain that at the standup position the knees are pulled up, abs are braced for a punch and butt is pinching a penny. To help train this, do a kettlebell deadlift, making sure that you are standing tall and all the above are engaged. Commit to standing tall and strong.

Video yourself and see if you are doing any of these things in your swings. Apply these corrections and you will see that you can become more efficient and powerful, and you may just find that you could apply some of these tips to other movements as well. Remember that movements are an inch wide and a mile deep! Swing away!

Tags: Rob Exline[10], CrossFit West Houston[11], kettlebell[2], garage gym[12], RKC Community[4], thoracic mobility[5], core stability[6]
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Thursday 4/17/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit Peeps!


Have you found success in CrossFit but not nutrition? Sign up for the Whole 30, 30 day challenge by Bladium CrossFit and Green Plate Kate. You will lose fat AND pr your deadlift!! Be sure to check out all the details in our Nutrition Challenge tab on the right hand side of the website.


For more details contact…

Contact Caleb or Alex at
303.320.3033 /

Contact Katie Garces AKA. Green Plate Kate / 303-641-4955


Whole 30 Header



400m run x 2
1:1 Work Rest Ratio

Rest 2 Minutes…

Deck of Cards
Grab a deck of playing cards.
The suit represents the exercise. (i.e. Hearts=Burpees)
The number represents the reps. (Jack=11 Queen=12 King=13 Ace=14)

Jokers=5 reps of each exercise
Hearts: Push-ups
Diamonds= Kettlebell Swings


300 M row x 2 (Sprint)

3 Minute Goblet Squat Hold

2 Rounds
10 Russian KB Swings
3 Wall Walks

4×4 Bent Over Row
*Find a heavy 4 rep

Odd: 10 Front Squats 135/95
Even: 10 Ball Slams 40/30

M1: 115/80
M2: 95/65
M-Comp: 185/125 & 50/40

Free Money: Fitness Through a Financial Lens

by Kristy Parrish | April 11, 2014 12:30 am

Free Money: Fitness Through a Financial Lens[1]

My hope is to endure an experientially rich life with a level of fitness that transcends the gym and health that transcends our healthcare system.

The title says it all for this article. Fitness and health are free money. They’re out there for you to take, and all you need to do is have the discipline to grab them. I often tell clients and patients that the more physically capable you are, the more opportunity you have to enjoy life at a higher level. Much like the more money you have, the more opportunity you have to enjoy certain things in life that you couldn’t if you had less money. The more your body can adapt to its surroundings, the more interesting you can make your surroundings. The bottom line is that people who develop themselves physically open themselves up to a world of possibilities and experiences.

However, there is more to this article than just the motivational component to obtaining fitness. This article is also meant to provoke thought and action in creating a sustainable, long-lasting revenue stream of health and fitness.

My Life Change

My Life Change[2]
Fitness has transformed my life, re-shaping me physically, mentally, and emotionally, and it continues to do so as I continue to expand my landscape. Fitness – specifically CrossFit — has put me in races that I never thought I would run; taken me to summits of mountains that I never thought I’d see, on top of rocks I never thought I could climb, surfing waves I never thought that I could surf; and helped me take on so many other physical challenges that would have never been possible without the time I have spent in the gym.

However, that’s only one side of the coin of impact that fitness and health has had on my life. Fitness has also connected me with people whom I never would have known and opened my eyes to a community[3] that has sustained me.

The physical and mental pain has armed me with compassion. The moments of intense fatigue have given me the energy to smile confidently when my former self would sink in defeat. Learning new skills and being crushed by workouts has granted me humility, self-awareness, and the ability to solve problems in the face of duress.

The moments of silence after a brutal workout have introduced me to self-reflection and introspection. Most of all, my experiences of self-conflict during challenging workouts have eliminated a fear of adversity from my life.

The riches of sustaining a fit and healthy life are many.

Since early 2008, I have trained and coached in CrossFit. I have cashed in on many of the gifts that fitness and a health-centric lifestyle can bring. My personal mission, and the aim of this article, is to create sustainability to this lifestyle — or “fitness financial plan,” if you will. My hope is to endure an experientially rich life with a level of fitness that transcends the gym and health that transcends our healthcare system. I hope the next few paragraphs can allow you a different vantage point from which you can view your own journey through life and fitness.

Assess Your Plan

Assess Your Plan[4]

If we take precautions when dealing with our finances, wouldn’t it make sense to do the same with our health?

What does your fitness financial plan look like right now? Is it sustainable long term or are you going to go broke through chronic or acute injuries[5]? Who’s in charge? If it’s a CrossFit coach[6] – do you trust him/her as much as your accountant? Do you ever ask him/her why they plan things out the way that they do or if they even have a plan?

If we take precautions when dealing with our finances, wouldn’t it make sense to do the same with our health? If you don’t take the time to figure this stuff out and make sure your fitness and health are straightened out – take a wild guess where those finances are going…


Are you running low in your savings account? Do you even have a savings account? We all need to start somewhere; today is your day to start accumulating fitness funds.

Shame, insecurity, and excuses put zero dollars in your pocket. These things will not put any fitness or health in your life. Humility, determination, and perseverance are the avenues to sustainable success.

Oh, and also – consider chronic and acute injuries a depletion of your savings account. These things in excess can lead to bankruptcy and are the complete opposite of what we are trying to do through a training program. Injuries happen, yes, but they should not be an expected commodity of your fitness facility. If you’re going to get hurt, at the very least have it be while you’re doing something cool — kipping pull-ups[7] and rounded-back deadlifts[8] are not cool enough to permit injury. Plan your training accordingly.

Become a Fitness Capitalist

Become a Fitness Capitalist[9]
How are you spending your fitness? Do you have any goals outside of the gym?

I think we could all agree on how sad it is to watch someone who is so fixated on gaining financial wealth that they completely miss out on what life is really all about – the journey, the friends, the family, the experience. Are you just accumulating more and more gym-constrained “fitness”? Have we warped fitness into a checkbox or quota of workouts for the week, time on a treadmill, body fat %, “Fran” time, or back squat[10] PR? Is there a point to that? Are we just working out to be better at working out? Or is it to expand our horizon of experience through real application?

[A]pplying skills, strength, and endurance outside of the gym has amplified the significance of the time that I have spent training.

Maybe those checkboxes will fulfill you and that’s completely fine. But in the last couple of years of my life, I have realized that I developed the most satisfaction with my training when I began shaping it around my life experience through incorporating new sports, skills, adventure, and exploration. Previously, I had designed my life around my training – feeling like a failure if I missed a workout, didn’t hit a PR, or wasn’t progressing in gym-specific athletic challenges.

Workouts in the gym have no doubt had a tremendous impact on shaping who I am as a person. However, applying skills, strength[11], and endurance outside of the gym has amplified the significance of the time that I have spent training. After all, is that not what CrossFit is all about? Real function. Real application.

Root of Happiness? Nah.

Root of Happiness? Nah.[12]
Much like the truth that our society has seen over and over again – money is not the key to happiness – there are a lot of miserable rich people in our world. However, neither is 6% body fat, or eating zero carbs, or even putting up a PR or a great time in a workout. Those things are awesome and can be huge components of living a happy life; however, if you’re placing your worth as a human being in those things, you’ll end up very lonely, confused, and frustrated — wondering why no one seems to be looking at your abs or WOD times. Most often, that’s when people start posting “selfies” and lifting pics to make sure everyone sees their hollow progress towards a goal that they don’t even really understand themselves.

Happiness is a product of healthy living. While fitness is a pivotal component of healthy living, it is just that – a component. If you are overly focused on your own physique or athleticism, you might be missing the other, equally important pieces to the puzzle of health and happiness. One of the biggest pieces of that puzzle is community. If you’re so caught up in the competition against other gym members, or your own self-conflict because you are not at the fitness level you want to be and end up isolating yourself, you are missing the point of CrossFit. The journey, the learning, the application, and — most of all — the people are what CrossFit is all about. Not your PR.

Take Action

If you were to write down life achievements that you would want engraved on your tombstone, do you think any of them would have a dollar sign next to them? Unless you have been listening to way too much Jay-Z, I don’t think so – or at least really hope not. How about life achievements pertaining to physical experiences?

[I]n the last couple of years of my life, I have realized that I developed the most satisfaction with my training when I began shaping it around my life experience through incorporating new sports, skills, adventure, and exploration.

I recently did this exercise and oddly enough, even after I have spent thousands of hours training, competing, and coaching in and out of CrossFit gyms, none of them had anything to do with weights, PR’s, or strict muscle ups. I understand that there are many people who want to compete in CrossFit. I’m not discouraging that in any way – all that I’m saying is that you need to take a long look at what your real aspirations are. If you happen to write down “Become the fittest man or woman on earth,” then you better chase that – as fast as you freaking can. But, for those of us who are aspiring primarily to enhance our lives through fitness, it may be time to start re-evaluating our fitness financial plan and make the necessary adjustments to move forward with a more effective and sustainable line of action.

Tags: Matt Smith[13], community[3], injuries[5], coach[6], kipping pull-ups[7], deadlifts[8], back squat[10],  strength[11]

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Copyright ©2014 Tabata Times unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday 4/16/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit Peeps!

Have you found success in CrossFit but not nutrition? Sign up for the Whole 30, 30 day challenge by Bladium CrossFit and Green Plate Kate. You will lose fat AND pr your deadlift!! Be sure to check out all the details in our Nutrition Challenge tab on the right hand side of the website.

For more details contact…

Contact Caleb or Alex at
303.320.3033 /

Contact Katie Garces AKA. Green Plate Kate / 303-641-4955

Whole 30 Header


You guys are doing so many things….


1000m Row
3 Rounds
10 Lunge and Twist
Tin Man walk end of court and back
10 KB Sumo Deadlift High Pulls Light KettleBell

3×6 Back Squat @ 75%

For Time
50 KB Box Step Ups (25 R/L) Yellow/Green
50 HR Push-Ups
100 Double-Unders

Tuesday 4/15/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit Peeps!

Have you found success in CrossFit but not nutrition? Sign up for the Whole 30, 30 day challenge by Bladium CrossFit and Green Plate Kate. You will lose fat AND pr your deadlift!! Be sure to check out all the details in our Nutrition Challenge tab on the right hand side of the website.

For more details contact…

Contact Caleb or Alex at
303.320.3033 /

Contact Katie Garces AKA. Green Plate Kate / 303-641-4955

Whole 30 Header

10 Min EMOM
Shuttle Sprint
*Yellow 2 White AND Yellow 2 Yellow

With a running clock

12 Min AMRAP
10 Wall Balls
10 Push-Ups

2 Min Rest

12 Min AMRAP
10 Pull-Ups
10 Sit-Ups

Parking Lot/Field/Court Sprint x 2

2 Rounds
5 Wall Squats
10 Leg Swings /Leg


15 Strict Press w/Empty Bar
15 Push Press
15 Push Jerk

15 Minutes to complete

5 Walks w/yoke
10 Stone 2 Shoulder
20 Fat Bar Deadlifts

*This is a day to discover and play with these new movements. You will need to figure out weights that you can do but are challenging.

10 Min AMRAP
15 Thrusters, 75/55
12 TTB
6 Calories Row

M1: 65/45

3 Common Myths About Personal Training

by J. Humenay | April 13, 2014 10:00 pm

3 Common Myths About Personal Training[1]
Unlike peddling away for hours on an elliptical machine, giving the person next to you a run for their money on a treadmill, or developing a good sense of rear rash from spinning or rowing[2], HIIT training[3] requires significantly more brain power (as well as physical effort). In fact, that’s one of biggest reasons many would-be-athletes let fear get the better of them and never set foot in a CrossFit box, much less attempt to figure out what all of those movements are referenced in Googled WODs. But with the right match of coach[4] and client, the sky is the limit.

But what if you’re not new to the HIIT world? What if you get your rear in gear at a CrossFit box several times a week and can recite Fran and your times for her without a second thought? Surely you’d have no use for a trainer.

Myth #1: “It’s Too Expensive.”

No matter how great your class is, it’s still a class, and the coaches need to spread their attention wider than the person who has eyes on you.

Now, it’s true. Hiring the eyes of a professional to go one-on-one with you isn’t the least expensive option when it comes to training. That said, injuries[5] are more expensive. Accidents are even more expensive. Getting into a bad habit with some of the CrossFit required lifts can not only be detrimental to your lifting capacity, but also your health. HIIT training is a serious sport and one of the biggest complaints and fears is of injury. While not all injuries can be prevented, having a set of eyes that will completely focus on form and pick out flaws to work on can be extremely helpful in avoiding injuries. Even with the best medical insurance on the planet, a serious injury can have long lasting effects beyond the gym floor. While “no pain, no gain” is true, not all pain is necessary. Avoiding injuries that could inhibit your ability to enjoy life is a worthy investment. 

Coaches can also be very helpful in rehabbing an athlete from an injury or illness. The temptation is always to dive back in and push too hard. Sometimes it’s handy to have someone else holding the reins. No matter how great your class is, it’s still a class, and the coaches need to spread their attention wider than the person who has eyes on you. Most trainers also offer at least one free meet-and-greet type session where you can see if you are a good match. We always tend to find ways to work out funding for things that we see as invaluable to us. For athletes (budding or experienced), a good coach is platinum in the bank.

Myth #2: “All They Do Is Yell at You.”

Myth #2: "All They Do Is Yell at You."[6]
Maybe you’ve watched The Biggest Loser[7] one too many times, but most teachers don’t get anywhere with yelling — even if it’s a second grade teacher. Unless, of course, that’s the personality type you need.

Most valuable coaches and trainers are in the business because they are inspired to help people on some level[8]. Find a trainer who wants to help you reach your goals.

Just like it’s valuable to have that second set of eyes on your form when lifting, it’s equally valuable to have that resource in your corner when you don’t think you have another round in you, or when you need to ask questions to clarify movement standards. The right coach is part educator, part personal cheering squad. 

Myth #3: “If I Hire a Trainer, I’ll Magically Reach My Goals.”

Myth #3: "If I Hire a Trainer, I'll Magically Reach My Goals."[9]

Don’t overlook the value of an outside set of eyes, whether you’re new or experienced.

Um… no. Writing a check doesn’t make you any more fit. You can’t buy fitness, no matter what your goal. You can buy plastic surgery and fake it, but actual “fitness” is not for sale. If you’re new to the HIIT training world, hopefully gaining confidence in the movements will translate over and you’ll be able to do the work outside of sessions, either on your own or in a group setting[10]. Maybe the results will inspire you to do even more and reach even higher. Goals change all the time. If you’re not new to the workout world, then there is a good chance you have a goal already that you’ve been working towards. The guidance of a coach might make it more attainable, but you have to put in the work. 

Trainers or personal coaches can be a great resource when you’re on the edge of burn out. The accountability is beyond that of a workout buddy, and often times they have heard of events or competitions you haven’t yet that might just get that spark going again.

Don’t overlook the value of an outside set of eyes, whether you’re new or experienced. After all, you’re investing in your future[11].

See more of J. Humenay’s writing on her blog,[12]. 

Tags: J. Humenay[13], rowing[2], HIIT[14], coach[4], injuries[5], community[15]

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Copyright ©2014 Tabata Times unless otherwise noted.