Monthly Archives: June 2016

Scapular Control

by Andrew B

Is one of your goals to do better or more pull-ups? Whether stronger, faster, and/or more efficient, we could all improve our pullup. To develop any of the unassisted pulling skills (think strict/kipping pullup, false-grip ring pullup, butterfly pullup, strict/kipping muscle-up, rope climb, etc) you’ll need to understand how to control your shoulder blades aka your scaps. For simplicity sake we’ll cover four shoulder-specific movements:

Retraction  –  Protraction  –  Elevation  –  Depression

Controlling these movements at will allow for better ability in athletics and life!  Except you’re super stiff and lack control since you’re hunched over a computer or phone right now so practice is in order. Because this is a small movement, frequent or high volume is necessary.

The shoulder is as important for the upper body just like the hips are important for the lower body. Let’s go into the details a bit more:

1. Shoulder Retraction

Backward movement of the shoulder girdle towards the spine. Think of pulling your scaps together like the end of a ring row. You can see the shirt scrunch up between the blades. Notice how the body adopts a natural arch shape while actively pulling the bar backwards. The angles don’t reveal much of the relationship between the head and the arms, but the ears are forward of the arms. For those lacking adequate overhead mobility the arms may start to bend.

2. Shoulder Elevation

Upward movement and spread of the shoulder girdle. Think of the position demanded for a good shrug or freestanding handstand. If you contrast this with the picture above Tony doesn’t have any space between his shoulders and ears, which are in complete alignment with the rest of his spine.

3. Shoulder Protraction

Protraction is forward movement of the shoulder girdle away from the spine. Think of pushing your shoulder blades apart like the gymnastics plank. See the global hollow shape that comes in to play? The shoulder angle also decreases up from profile view, revealing the head and ears behind the arms.

4. Shoulder Depression

Depression is downward movement of the shoulder girdle. Think of holding yourself at top support after a dip on parallel bars or rings or if you do a heavy farmer’s carry. You can see that Tony has a lot more space between his ears and shoulders from the back view now.

In some training circles they’ll say “active shoulder” and show shoulder depression while hanging. When you know how to activate your shoulder in all four directions ALL OF YOUR MOTIONS are “active shoulders”. Here’s one of the many skills you can develop with complete control- the butterfly pullup:

Tony starts with small articulation of the scaps, then includes a bit of pull with the arms until full range can be achieved without breaking rhythm of the kip.

Want to learn this stuff in person and see what other control can contribute to more advanced CrossFit movements (or sustained high-cycling) come to our F.I.T.Tech classes (Pulling Dynamics 101, Pulling Dynamics 201: Advanced Applications) at 6am, 12pm, and 5:30pm.

Big thanks to Tony aka TDoggyDog aka @laulaulemon for being my demo!

CrossFit WOD

SQUATS Week 10, Day 1
back squat 1x5x60/65/70/75
front squat 1x5x60/65/70/75

AMRAP in 15 minutes:
4 strict pullups
8 pistols
12 kettlebell snatch

Fitness = Cossack Squats and 20/12kg kettlebells. Performance = Pistols and 24/16kg kettlebell dead snatches.

Post score to comments!

HellaFit WOD


5 rounds, 1 minute for each movement:
1. double/single unders
2. dumbbell thrusters
3. push-ups/bent over rows
4. lunges
5. burpees + lateral hop
6. rest

F.I.T.Tech Subject

PULLING DYNAMICS 201: Advanced Applications

(see above)


The 7 Essential Moves You Need For Function, Energy – The Seattle Times

Just over two years ago my friend and fellow Lululemon Alumni Ambassador Nicole Tsong who’s new book was just released) had a conversation about movements seen in all types of exercise. Her forte in yoga (doing CrossFit on the side), mine in CrossFit (doing yoga on the side) we both saw the crossover.

All this information remains relevant and truer than ever.


3 Things

by Andrew B

Gus air squat

Always, always, always:

  1. Feet flat
  2. Hips back
  3. Chest up

Throwing the arms up and forward help maintain balance and reinforce all three of the above.

CrossFit WOD


6 rounds for time:
24 squats
24 pushups
24 walking lunges
400m run

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Edwardo Loredo, 34, of Houston, TX, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division, based in Fort Bragg, NC, was killed on June 24, 2010 in Jelewar, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He is survived by his wife, First Sergeant Jennifer Loredo; his daughter, Laura Isabelle; his stepdaughter, Alexis; and his son, Eduardo Enrique.

Fitness = as is. Performance = If you have body armor, a weight-vest, or loadable backpack, wear it.

Compare to 18MAY2016. Post time to comments!

Barbell Club WOD: Test Week!

20 minutes to establish a 1RM snatch

20 minutes to establish a 1RM clean & jerk

Kettlebell S&C WOD

Joint mobility warm up followed by: 1 min plank, 1 min hollow body hold, 1 min forearm plank


Tall kneeling leg switches & tall kneeling (double kb) presses



From Omaha Elite KB:
– Tall kneeling leg switches & tall kneeling presses: a helpful challenge to improve your overhead pressing, core stability and posture:
– This exercise will offer a surprising challenge for your midsection, the overhead pressing will light up your upper back and the leg switches will highlight and reinforce hip mobility.
– Rack a pair of light bells that you can easily press for 10 reps, then assume a tall kneeling position with both knees together on the floor. Without swinging your leg out to the side move it forward into the half kneeling position, return to talk kneeling, then switch legs.
– If you have adequate shoulder mobility, proceed to single and double Kettlebell pressing from the same positions. Repeat for reps and stop before your speed drops or technique changes for the worse. Rest, then repeat for a total of three to five rounds.


In this short video, California Strength Head Strength Coach, Ernie Hernandez, explains how we teach our athletes and lifters to breathe during squats and big lifts. You want to take a deep breath using your diaphragm before the lift, which helps to increase intra-abdominal pressure and provide extra support to stabilize the spine and brace your core. This is in contrast to breathing with the abdominals which makes it impossible to breathe and stabilize the spine simultaneously. This will demonstrate why the back squat is one of the best, if not the best core exercises you can use in your program.

Good Morning!

by Andrew B

farmers walk km ap

Arguably one of the most functional exercises around (and one of our favorites here at FCF) the farmer’s walk is a simple but potent exercise. The last time you were grocery shopping you probably did it whether in the store, carrying bags to the car, or bringing it all back home.

The Farmers Walk puts the majority of muscles in your body under major amounts of tension for the duration of the exercise – your forearms control your grip on the implement, both biceps and triceps stabilize. Your entire upper back has to work against pulling your shoulders down and your chest crumbling, your core has to work to keep you from folding in half, your legs are need to walk and your cardiovascular system takes a beating. Performing a maximum weight or distance Farmers Walk once a week will make you stronger (especially for locking out deadlifts and staying upright while squatting), as well as massively improving your grip strength (no more straps for deadlifts), increasing cardiovascular fitness (due to the high intensity and long period of maximal exertion), while also adding full body muscle (as the whole exercise is superior for the age old bodybuilding adage, time under tension). Unlike a barbell lift, strength is required to move a dynamic load through all dimensions, leading you to use stabilising muscles that would normally be missed, and promoting greater muscle synergy (all your muscles working together at once).

Starting Strongman

It starts with a full grip around the handle of your implement, deadlifting, then setting your shoulders before you walk. Notice the “knuckle-down grip” on Kristen M and the twist of the elbow-pits forward on Arthur P. Keep these in mind the next time you have to carry heavy stuff.

CrossFit WOD

6 rounds for time:
200m farmer’s walk
50 double unders
20 push press

Use a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells that challenges the farmer’s walk, but is doable for the push press.

Post results to comments!




The Power of Good Morning with Ali Ghambari

Ghambari speaks about the power behind the words, “Good Morning.” How that impacts his life and the lives of the thousands of individuals who walk through his Seattle coffee shop on a daily basis.

Ali Ghambari is a successful entrepreneur who has discovered a different way to approach business. In a saturated coffee market, Ghambari has been extremely successful at growing his business over the last 25 years to 10 locations around the Northwest region. Cherry Street Coffee is home to the current international barista champion and his business serves thousands of customers everyday.

Spotting Positions

by Andrew B


A quick google search says that a spotter is “a person who observes or assists a gymnast or weightlifter during a performance or practice in order to minimize the chance of injury to the gymnast or weightlifter.” Sometimes that means a coach forcing you into proper positioning that you wouldn’t otherwise feel on your own ability. Above is Coach Christopher Sommer spotting Andrea V in a handstand.

CrossFit WOD

back squat 1x5x65, 3x5x75
front squat 2x5x65

Seattle Affiliate League 13.4

in pairs, as many reps as possible in 18 minutes:
50 calorie row / handstand
50 burpees / kettlebell rack (pair)
50 kettlebell ground-to-overhead / dip support

Fitness = 20/12kg, Performance = 24/16kg

One partner will hold the isometric hold while the other earns reps. You can break and switch as often as necessary, but you can only earn reps when your partner is in the isometric hold. Ground-to-overhead may be a snatch, clean, turkish getup, etc.

compare to 15FEB2013. Post score to comments!

Level 2

YGIG – yoke, zercher hold, hamstring chair walk, sled + row, rope sled, rack for any extra athletes

3 attempts to find
– heavy OHS
– heavy snatch balance
– heavy snatch


for time:
10 Handstand push-ups
250 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
25 Box jumps, 30 inch box
50 Pull-ups
100 Wallball shots, 20 pounds, 10′
200 Double-unders
Run 400 meters with a 45lb plate

running drills, head to the track, 10x straightaway sprints


Come sharpen your BACK SQUAT form (both low-bar and high-bar) at 10am


Come stretch out your body with Stef at 10am!


Rest in Peace to one of the greatest athletes of all time: Muhammad Ali, ‘The Greatest of All Time’ Dead at 74 – NBC News

Athlete Spotlight: Michael R. (1/3)

Get to know Michael


Where are you from/where do you consider home?

I live in Renton and actually own one of the original farmhouses there (built in 1900).

What do you do for work?
I am an SPD sergeant at the East precinct. I have spent my entire career working the streets in one capacity or another. I was a DUI Officer for years and have unknown hundreds (thousands?) of driver arrests under my belt.

Seems like somewhat of an intense job, what has been the craziest thing you’ve seen (if you can share)?
The craziest thing I’ve seen (at least recently) was being the scene commander for the body dump in April. That was something else….

What does a typical weekend look like for you?
A typical weekend is a little more difficult to explain as my days off constantly rotate. But sometimes it’s nice that my “Saturday” is a Tuesday since the hiking trails will be empty and there won’t be lines at the movie theater.

Tell us about how you got into CrossFit!
I got into CrossFit for the same reason everybody does: wanted to get into shape! But I chose CrossFit because I was over the gym scene, I just did not enjoy it. I love the variety of CrossFit and the community or team aspect of the workouts. I find it very motivating. And, no I do not look at the WODs before coming in – I like to be surprised. And yes I have changed my diet: I am eating way more of everything!!!!

When & where did you take your last vacation?
I went to Maui this last March – my first time on that particular island. And yes, I did CrossFit twice while there. I don’t know how I squeezed the classes in between the snorkeling, hiking and drinking…. I don’t necessarily have a favorite vacation spot but I love road trips. So anywhere I can drive to I’m down.

Favorite place to eat?
Easy: the Melrose Grill in Renton. For those of you who don’t know it, Google it and go. You will not be disappointed – best steaks around.

Top three favorite movies: Heat (the Al Pacino one, not the Sandra Bullock one, but hers was a good movie too), LA Confidential (I’m sensing a theme) and of course Raiders of the Lost Arc. Wait, can I consider all of the Star Wars movies as one big one???

Any fun facts about yourself that your gym-mates don’t know about you?
I grew up in Wyoming. One of my jobs (way back in the day) was monitoring the Soviet withdraw from East Germany. I like balut. And my alter ego is Homer Simpson. Which leads to my quote to live by:

“Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”

I know I know, I’m a donut loving cop – and I am soooooo ok with it.

Properly Racked?

by Andrew B


Stance and grip determine the success of most lifts and it’s no different in the thruster.

Notice that Amy C is using a stance that is slightly wider-than-shoulders and her grip-width allows the hands to be outside of the shoulders so that it’s undeniable that the bar rests on the shoulders. This way you can save your grip for the other exercises paired with the thruster (think of workouts like FRAN, etc).

CrossFit WOD


10 rounds for time:
10 thruster, 43/29kg
10 ring pushups

Fitness = 35/25kg and hand-release pushups, Rx = 43/29kg and ring pushups.

Army Sgt. Keith Adam Coe, 30, of Auburndale, Fla., assigned to the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., died April 27th, 2010, in Khalis, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an explosive device. He is survived by his wife Katrina Coe, two sons, Killian and Keith Jr., and daughter, Klover.

Post results to comments!

Barbell Club WOD

– 3x3x80 or 2-5kg heavier than last week!

– 4x3x80 (of 1RM BS) or 2-5kg heavier than last week!

– 4x2x60 CJ 1RM or 2-5kg heavier than last week!

3 rounds
10 single-arm row/side
10 db push press
10 “db” situps


The Weekly Dose of Awesome – United Barbell (feat. former FCF athlete Tomoki)

What makes a great gym a great gym? Is it the equipment and space? The classes and the programming? The coaches? The life-changing results from the work you put in?

It’s all arguable, but it’s become apparent in the day and age of fitness that what separates good gyms from great gyms is the community. The accountability of friends and training partners can help motivate people to keep the ball rolling, to try harder, and to (most importantly) have fun!

Points of Contact

by Andrew B

2016 Jan Foundations-11

Multiple points of contact with the medicine ball make wall ball a bit more efficient. Next time try putting your hands on the ball at 7-8 at 4-5 o’clock, elbows under the ball, and chin on the ball.

CrossFit WOD

from 0:00 to 10:00
15 wall ball, 20/14#
10 row (calories)

from 15:00 to 27:00
20 bumper russian twists
10 dips
20 burpees

then at 30:00 complete a waiter’s walk around the block for time

Post time to comments!

HellaFit WOD


8 min AMRAPs, 8 reps each:

– burpee
– Cossack squat + press
– weighted hip thrust

– squat jacks
– windmill
– lunge + twist

– goblet pause squat
– renegade row
– situp + press


Power Athlete Diet FAQ: