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Wednesday Morning Barbell Club crew

My New Friend by Coach Kelly

For my birthday, Chad surprised me with a shiny new Rogue Bella barbell! I have been asking for one to add to our very small home gym so I can lift even when I’m not at the gym. I asked for a pink one to match my lifting belt. I even (sort of) joked about getting a gold one so I’d look like a gangsta. Can I really even pull that off?

Chad got me a shiny black one and I LOVE it! I was so surprised and excited! I mean, black goes with everything right? And it’s slimming so it’s going to make whatever plates I have on there look huge!

I NEVER would have imagined that one day I would seriously be asking for a barbell for my birthday. Who wants to spend money on a big piece of metal that makes your hands develop blisters and calluses and makes your thumbs hurt (hello hook grip)? Me!

If you’ve ever been coached by me, you know I always talk about muscle memory and repetition with the Olympic lifts. They do not come naturally for most so we have to train ourselves to be proficient at them. Now I can practice them whenever the urge hits.

Want to feel like a badass? Lift some weights. Want to feel like the strongest woman you’ve ever known? Pick up a barbell. Stressed? Frustrated? Angry? Take it out on the barbell. There is something totally primal, freeing and just plain FUN about lifting weights!

I am always sad when people tell me that they do not want to try CrossFit because of the weightlifting or are afraid of the barbell or “dumbbell” as some noobs like to refer to my new sleek friend. I know for most of you reading this, you’ve met my friend (well maybe not mine but a cousin or something), but for those of you who haven’t, don’t be shy. Come in and say hello!

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I want to walk on my hands!

Even though we are designed to walk on our feet! For some reason one of the very first CrossFit movements I wanted to master was handstand walks and handstand push ups.  I’m convinced this is because society has brainwashed us to think that photos of people doing handstand walks and pistols are legit athletes. This is so wrong and yet there I was dying to master the moves.

Yup, we’re that annoying couple. Hand stands and pistols…

Thank heavens I’m married to a coach because he was able to give me ALL the different progressions and just last week I did my first Rx handstand push up, and I was able to walk approximately 10ft on my hands!! Before I actually officially started at CrossFit Local I begged Bran to sneak me into the gym so we started going in the evenings on Sunday, when I was certain no one would be there to see me make a fool of myself.

handstand1

The very first part of the handstand push up is starting with your feet on a bench and trying to lower your upper body. Once you feel like you can handle this you can move to using as many abmats as you want and practicing just being all the way upside down against the wall.  Strict handstand push ups are just what they sound like and ask that you simply (mmm I don’t think this is simple) lower and raise yourself just using your arms. For me the hardest part is getting started so I think that means I still have to work on shoulder strength.

handstand2

Similar to double-unders I discovered quickly that I didn’t have the most patience (read as ANY patience) with handstands and handstand walking. I wanted to master the skill NOW and since I’m decent at balancing I wasn’t impressed with being able to kick up into one. On Saturdays I often practiced going from crow pose into a headstand and there’s a possibility that this helped strengthen my shoulders.

handstand3

Once I got comfortable with three mats under my head, I lowered it to two. Two mats is still where I’m the most comfortable, however last week during a work out I was able to complete 40 hand stand push ups with just one mat. I didn’t have any plates (which would be Rx) but it’s definitely a step in the right direction! In these photos you see that I’m in a weird upside down squat. Mr.BarBelle calls it the tripod position and basically you are balancing in this position and then using the force of your hips to throw your body against the wall. Yup, when I do it, it looks as violent as it sounds.

For me the kipping handstand push ups are all about where my hands are. It took so much practice to be able to instinctually know where to put my hands so I could go up and complete a bigger set (5-6 of them in a row).

handstand4

It’s hard to capture a handstand walk in photos and none of my videos really turned out but please oh please notice the pointed toes. This is all because Mr.BarBelle loves him some technique so when he was teaching me there was a lot of technique work involved! And me yelling at him to look away because when he watched I was totally going to mess up and fall.

Walking on my hands hasn’t necessarily correlated to my handstand push ups (read as I don’t really know why I can do it now but couldn’t before), but my biggest weakness on my hands is the strength to keep picking up my arms. Sounds silly, but it’s true. I also often get going too fast and find myself in a sideways cartwheel. I promise when I do this move I am a-okay!

So there ya have it, this has been my journey to view the world upside down!

What about you? Do you ever try inversions or some iteration of being upside down? 

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10 Things People Say When You Wear Your CrossFit Local Shirt In Public by Coach Kelly

  1. “Can you help me move this <insert heavy piece of furniture>?” We seriously got asked to move not one, but two pieces of furniture last weekend by a random lady at a random yard sale.
  2. “Look at those legs! Are you a runner?”Capture
  3. “I have a cousin/niece/uncle who CrossFits. Do you know them?”
  4. “Do you think I could do it?”
  5. “I’ve heard about it. It looks hard. You flip tires right?”
  6. “I saw it on ESPN. Were you there?”
  7. “Wow, your legs <insert amazingly strong body party> are so strong! Way to go!” Followed by a hi five.
  8. “Oh cool, I do CrossFit too! Well, at my globo gym. They called it GetFit <insert other CrossFit-esque program name>.”
  9. “I do CrossFit too! Except we don’t use weights. And we do ours to a dance routine. In the air conditioning. Okay, I do Zumba.”
  10. “Do you eat Paleo? I’ve been trying to eat better.” Said while discreetly hiding their <insert junk food of choice> from you.
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Italian Fajitas by Coach Kelly

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Primal Cravings. Above is all the stuff you’ll need for a yummy dinner tonight!

What You Need:

Butter (preferably grassfed like Kerrygold)
1# skirt/flank steak, cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, minced (I keep a jar of minced garlic on hand)
2 tsp Italian seasoning blend (You can buy pre-made or make your own like I did with some or all of the spices below)

  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp rosemary
  • Pinch black pepper & red pepper flakes

2 bell peppers, cut into strips
1 yellow onion, cut into strips
Salt and pepper
Bruschetta salsa (I just bought some pre-made to help with time-saving)


What To Do:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of butter over high heat in a skillet and saute steak strips with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until cooked to your liking. Remove steak.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, onions and peppers. Cover and cook until soft.
  3. Mix it all together with bruschetta salsa. Bon appetite!

Want more info? Go here to download our Guide to Quickly Melt Belly Fat for FREE!

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Feel the Love by Shevonn H

I decided to sign up for the recent Rowing Clinic because I thought I had my technique down and it was free…and who doesn’t love free workouts?? I learned right away that I was not as good as I thought I was. I learned about all the parts of a rower (including the damper and what level it needs to be on), the steps for a proper pull, and even how to keep my ankles down. Coaches Matt and Emily were amazing. They would watch you individually and let you know what you need to change. With some practice, it started to feel much better than before.

I love that CrossFit Local lets the beginners get an opportunity like this. Thanks!

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Keep the Bell Ringin’ by Coach Chad

I know you’ve heard it. That bell rings at least a few times a day. Even though you’ve heard it, you might not know the detailed history of it and why it matters. Read along to find out…

First off, where did it come from? I’m sure you know Coach Kevin (who now coaches the diving team at Clemson) and how crazy that fool is. He’s a nut! He’s also crazy good at motivating people. He pushes their limits and allows them to break barriers, mental and physical. Well Kev-o decided that he wanted a way to announce to the gym every time someone set a new personal record (PR). Kinda like, “Welcome to Moe’s!” Back in 2012, Kevin was slated to move to Mongolia to serve in the Peace Corps and decided to bless the gym with a PR bell to grace it’s newly expanded space before he left. That is why the Angry Bird sticker lives on the bell. It’s kind of Kevin’s mascot and general way of living. Smash first, ask questions later.

Okay so we’ve established where it came from, but why is it so important? In many ways, it relates back to the psyche of the athlete. We know that CrossFit is very goal- and community-based. Without these two things, we become just another gym. These two things matter immensely and set us apart from the pack. For the athlete, ringing the bell signifies progress. It gets the snowball rolling and allows us to build speed while progressing towards a better and fitter future. For the community, ringing the bell is a call to action. It is your responsibility to support your fellow teammates and let out a loud yawp of encouragement. If the athlete doesn’t smile, you did it wrong 🙂

So yes, the bell matters in a huge way. Ring it with pride!

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Patience in Olympic Weightlifting

 Written by Bryce Smith for CrossFitInvictus.com

Olympic Weightlifter Lauren Fisher from CrossFit Invictus in San Diego

Olympic weightlifting has become a huge part of the CrossFit world. The sport of Olympic weightlifting, which was unappealing to many athletes prior to the evolution of CrossFit, has grown immensely and has tons of participation from athletes around the world. With growing participation in the sport along with the growth of social media, videos and photos circulate every day of someone’s new personal record in the clean and jerk or the snatch. With more and more people striving to lift more and more weight, some common faults are accentuated, such as the early arm pull shown in the photo on the left.

I like to think of the Olympic lifts in a very simple manner:

1)   Hips

2)   Shoulders

3)   High Pull

4)   Fast Elbows or Punch

These four steps sum up the basic sequence of the snatch or the clean. Obviously there are a world of cues out there; but to simplify the two lifts, we are basically jumping and landing. The hips extend, the shoulders shrug, elbows come high and outside as we begin to pull ourselves under the bar (versus pulling the bar up to us). For the clean, we have fast elbows as we catch in the front rack; for the snatch, we have a rapid punch as we receive the bar overhead. Although we practice the high pull as a skill transfer drill, it shouldn’t actually happen during the snatch or clean and jerk. The “high pull” is actually the beginning of the athlete pulling themselves under the bar and NOT them pulling the bar to their shoulders or overhead.

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of the two lifts, let’s get to the point of this post.

In order to be successful and efficient in the Olympic lifts, we must follow those four steps in order. The sequence is very important! However, the most common fault we see is that the “pull” is taking place before the hips extend. Knowing this, the best cue in Olympic weightlifting is PATIENCE!

Here is an analogy I will throw your way. In football, when a running back receives a handoff from a quarterback, very rarely does he simply run forward. This would be like gripping and ripping a barbell off the floor. Running backs are usually smaller athletes who are very fast, agile, and strong, but not as strong as the lineman they are running behind (this is the musculature of the upper body). The running back must wait for the big, strong lineman to get a push and/or develop a hole for them to run through. Once this happens, THEN they can accelerate and gain some yards.

The same holds true for Olympic weightlifting. We must wait for the legs to push into the floor and the hips to violently extend before we begin to pull on the bar. As the amazing Coach Burgener says, “When the arms bend, the power ends.”

So next time you are practicing your Olympic Lifts, let your big strong legs work first, be patient and THEN pull on the bar. Patience goes a long way in Olympic Weightlifting.

Here are a few things you can do to allow yourself to be more patient.

  1. Flex your triceps and allow your arms to remain long.

  2. Practice pulling the bar into the body with the lats rather than with the biceps. This is known as sweeping the bar and can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZR2tolczAo

  3. Practice halting clean and snatch deadlifts. The halting clean deadlift is a pull variation that stops short of full extension at the top to strengthen and reinforce the position of the lifter over the bar during the pull of the clean. An example of this lift can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OP2ZoOXfvsw

Good things take time and if you are looking to lift more weight and hit new PRs, patience is an absolute must. Get out there and give these exercises a shot and see your Olympic lifting reach new heights!

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Mental Preparation by Coach Kelly

While watching the CrossFit Games last weekend, a couple people asked if I did anything mentally to prepare for a WOD or if I just sort of made it through.

For me, I try to have some sort of game plan. It’s not always anything elaborate or that I stay up the night before plotting out and losing sleep over. When I look at the board, I generally look at the times of those who are in my skill level and break that down to see how many minutes per round, for example, it would take me to beat that score.

If it’s a rep scheme like 21-15-9, I might break up the round of 21 into 11 and 10 so I’m over halfway on the first one or into 7-7-7 because less than 10 reps seems doable. It is a numbers games so that mentally the reps seem reasonable. Many of you know that I run two 200m laps instead of one 400m lap – same distance, but for me, it makes a difference mentally, and that’s where it matters.

Some of it is knowing your limits and some of it is learning what your limits are. Most of us don’t really push ourselves as hard as we can but what if we did?

What if you go faster than you thought you would? Or use more weight than you thought possible? What if you succeed? But what if you don’t? Either way, you’re getting your sweat on, having fun with your Local buddies and finding out what you’re made of.

If you’re in my class, I’ll be happy to help you strategize. Give it a shot this week!

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We are always so thankful that we get to work with each of you special guys and gals every day. It is so fun to help you achieve your fitness goals, get that first pull, a new back squat PR and see you give it your all! We are setting aside the entire first week of April to focus on YOU, where you get to feel our appreciation for being part of the Local family.

So get ready to Feel the Love with all the freebies & activities that we have in store for you this week! Mark your calendars, set your iPhones, or whatever you need to do so you don’t miss out on one second of love!

Monday April 3 – Coconut water and SFH protein samples

Tuesday April 4  – Perfect Bar samples and Massages in the evening (there will be sign up sheets to reserve your time)

Wednesday April 5 – Natural Calm samples, Massages in the morning and FREE Rowing Clinic with Coach Matt at 6:30 PM

Thursday April 6 – Discount adjustments and ART with Dr. Kim (8-10 AM and 4-6 PM) and Free Coffee Kill Cliff samples

Friday April 7 – Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness movie with popcorn and ice cream at 6 PM! BYOB for Coach Chad’s Birthday!

Saturday April 8 – Bring Your Friends to Guns & Sticky Buns with coffee from The Root Cellar and cinnamon buns from Bun Buzzed

BINGO Giveaways!

**To win prizes: Get a BINGO card from your coach, complete activities (have initialed by a coach) and redeem your BINGO card! First person to get a horizontal, vertical or diagonal bingo wins $10 to the proshop. First person to get an ALL blacked out BINGO gets a half hour PT session!

Thank you, as always, for being one of our ‘locally grown athletes’!!!

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Standard Kipping Ring Dips

Coach Nichole of CrossFit Invictus in San Diego

Written by Nichole Dehart for crossFitinvictus.com

In a previous article, I discussed the nuances of the butterfly ring dip. In this post we will go over the standard kipping ring dip.

As stated before, I encourage people to try both styles of ring dips and play around with each one for a while to get a feel for which one flows best. For some, the butterfly ring dip simply doesn’t click and they are much more comfortable with a standard kipping ring dip. There is less coordination involved with this style of ring dip, which can be appealing to some, but it can also be a bit slower then the butterfly ring dip depending on how quickly the athlete can master the cycling.

For those who would like to master the kipping ring dip, check out the steps below:

Step #1 – Lower yourself to the top of the rings, where your deltoids touch.

Step #2 – Drive your knees straight up towards your chest to help propel you out of the bottom of the ring dip. Think “‘up” with your legs instead of kicking down with them.

Step #3 – Immediately drop the legs back to a semi straight leg position once you’ve locked out at the top of the ring dip.

Step #4 – Continue this pattern, keeping your feet directly underneath you.

This standard style kip keeps the athlete in a more vertical position and doesn’t require a circular motion with the legs, like the butterfly ring dip. When doing this style of ring dip, make sure to focus on driving your knees up instead of kicking down.

A common fault I often see with this movement happens when an athlete doesn’t bring their knees high enough to their chest. Make sure to drive the knees up as close to the chest as possible; otherwise the legs will drop down too soon and pull the athlete down instead of propelling them up.

Both styles of kipping ring dips take practice. Try out each one and see what feels best for you! Just make sure to stretch your pecs when you are done practicing to prevent your chest from becoming too tight.