Thursday, September 20

We have a few people competing this weekend at the GR Games at 8th Day Gym in downtown Grand Rapids. The RX division is Saturday and the Modified division is Sunday. I am sure they would love your support if you can make it down there!


The 3rd Annual West Michigan Row Raiser is coming up on October 27! Teams of 10 get together to row a marathon (42,195 m) to benefit Special Olympics Michigan. We’ve participated in this event the past two years and it has been a lot of fun and a great way to meet a lot of fellow CrossFitters and Special Olympians in the area outside of competition.

Last year there were tons of raffle and auction prizes and we helped raise more than $15,000! We will have more details soon, but get October 27 on your calendar and join our Row Raiser team. Oh, and it’s Halloween themed this year!

And, since that rowing event is coming up, it’s time to test our 5k row! This is a great test of your fitness and is for time, not a casual row at an easy pace.

Here’s a quick review of the four parts of the rowing stroke. Focus on technique and efficiency and this row will go much better and faster!

Workout for Thursday, September 20
Row 5K for Time

CrossFit 616
Wednesday, September 19

Get signed up for the inaugural Birdies for Boobies golf outing to benefit Barbells for Boobs! You need to sign up by this Friday, September 21! Please don’t wait until the last minute so we can get the info to the golf course on time. The event is on Sunday, October 14 and you can read more about it here.


Also, a new session of 616 Kids starts Saturday, October 20! This session will be four weeks and we will have class on the following Saturday mornings:
Oct. 20
Oct. 27
Nov. 10
Nov. 17
It will once again have two age groups: 5-9, 10-14. The 5-9 year olds’ class will be 9:30 to 10:15 am and the 10-14 class will be 10:30 to 11:30 am. The cost is $99 for the four week session.

Email us at info@crossfit616.com to get your kids signed up and please let us know if you have questions!


Workout for Wednesday, September 19
Back Squat
5X5 @ 65% to 75%
*Green Light Max Out Day if Missed Last Monday*

5 Rounds for Time
10 Alternating DB Snatch (50/35)
9 HSPU
Run 1 Lap

CrossFit 616
Tuesday, September 18

CrossFit shared this video a few days ago from a local Tampa Bay news station. I love it for lots of reasons - primarily because the woman featured is an awesome inspiration for everyone.

But there’s not just one lady there. This gym is full of older clients lifting heavy weights and that is amazing itself.

We know that lifting weights and other resistance training is extremely important as we age to keep muscle mass and bone density, but it is hard to convince everyone that it is safe. Hopefully, stories like this will show that it is not only safe, but it makes you feel better and keeps you healthier longer.

I also love that CrossFit gyms across the country are filled with a wide variety of age groups performing the same basic exercises.

"Our understanding is that the needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind. One needs functional competence to stay out of the nursing home. The other one wants functional dominance to win medals." —Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder and CEO

We all need to move in the same ways - squatting down, picking things up, running, jumping, etc. Just because we get older doesn’t mean we stop doing these things. Yes, the degree and intensity in how we perform these things changes, but the movements themselves are the same.

Workout for Tuesday, September 18
Pull Up Progressions

For Time
50-40-30-20-10
Double Unders
10-8-6-4-2
Deadlifts (225/155) and T2B

CrossFit 616
Monday, September 17

I listened to an episode of the Icon Athlete podcast the other day called Hurt or Injured and they discussed the difference between the two and how to know when to back off, modify, or take a break all together.

This is a really tough one for us as trainers because everyone perceives pain differently. Sometimes, it’s hard to decipher if it’s an actual injury, a sore muscle from previous workouts, or just uncomfortable because the movement is hard.

We try to figure it out by asking you a lot of questions. This doesn’t mean we’re trying to push you to do something you’re not comfortable with or could lead to injury, but we’re just trying to assess the situation so we know how to modify and adjust.

Some people have the “play through pain” mentality and others stop at the first sign of discomfort. Neither of these are right or wrong and each situation is different. So how do you know what to do? We ask tons of questions about what the pain is like, if you have felt it before, do other movements bring on the same feeling, etc… because we are trying to find the cause and fix it.

Although pain may be common for many of us, it’s not normal and we should always be looking to improve the situation. But, there’s a difference between pain and injury and discomfort.

When I do a bunch of thrusters and pull ups in a workout like Fran, my forearms and legs are very, very uncomfortable when I am done. Is it painful? Probably. Am I injured? No.

Sometimes the first squat or push up of the day doesn’t feel great. Tight muscles ache and joints may experience a little pain from not being warm and lubricated yet. Again, not injured.

But, maybe you do a pull up and there is a shooting, sharp pain in your elbow. That may mean there’s a physiological issue around the joint that needs to be fixed before doing more pull ups. It doesn’t mean you have to sit out the workout - you just have to modify the movements for the day.

Knowing the difference and knowing what you can tolerate comes with experience and paying attention to how you are feeling. Don’t push through an injury - you need to let yourself heal, but there’s usually still something you can do to stay active. But remember that pushing yourself to new limits brings results and you’ll need to get uncomfortable from time to time to do this.

So, don’t get mad at your coach if they’re asking lots of questions. We’re trying to keep you safe and trying to push you to try new things and get stronger. Sometimes we have to do some investigating to find the answer!

Workout for Monday, September 17
EMOM 4 min
3 Hang Power Cleans
Rest 1 min, Increase Weight
EMOM 4 min
3 Hang Power Cleans
Rest 1 min, Increase Weight
EMOM 4 min
3 Hang Power Cleans

6 min AMRAP
10 Push Press (95/65)
15 Air Squats

CrossFit 616
Friday, September 14

Guest blog from Annika! She’s headed to the American Open and she recaps her experience working to qualify for the meet below. Annika put in A LOT of work over the last year and more. And while there were setbacks along the way, she stayed positive and put in the work. We couldn’t be more proud of her.


I started Olympic Weightlifting to get better at the lifts for CrossFit. A few classes in, I hit my first split jerk and something sparked inside of me. Maybe it was just the tingle I felt in my foot and calf having just stomped into the floor, but I liked it and wanted more!

Over the last four years, I trained Oly a few times a week and competed in a few local meets. Even with my love of the sport, last September I found myself eating way too much, not exercising enough and lacking fitness motivation. That same month, I volunteered at the American Open Olympic Weightlifting Series 3 when it was hosted in Grand Rapids and found myself in heaven for three days. It re-lit that spark and I decided I was going to qualify for the American Open in 2018. That goal was going to be tough to achieve: I needed to lose weight, get a lot stronger, improve my form, and better my performance in the gym and on the competition platform.

In September, I was in the 90 kg weight class. The qualifying total for the AO that I could reasonably achieve was in the 75 kg weight class. Knowing I needed to drop a good amount of weight and increase muscle mass and strength, I signed up for nutrition coaching with RP Strength. I let my coach know that my ultimate goal was to compete in the AO in 2018 as a 75 kg lifter, and we got right to work. Since then, I have worked my butt off, literally and figuratively. Getting into the gym at least five days a week, many days lifting and CrossFitting, weighing in and reporting to a coach twice a week, I lost 18 lbs, 3% body fat, and increased my muscle mass and overall strength. To help with lifting form and skill, I drilled a lot, added in accessory work, had one-on-one time with the coaches and attended a weekend lifting camp. I have PR’d my weight totals across the board, with the most important gains in the snatch and the clean & jerk. (That was all so much easier to list than it was to complete.) Even though I worked HARD for months, I still had setbacks with both my body weight and training. With the support of our coaches, my nutrition coach, friends and the CF family, I kept moving forward, even if it was after a step back.

My first attempt at qualifying for the 2018 AO series was in March 2018 at the Spartan Open. I was about five pounds too heavy at that time and did a bit of a drastic cut to make weight, but I made it. My session did not go as planned. I missed weights I knew I was capable of and in the end did not get the required total needed to qualify. I was absolutely crushed. For a while after that, I lost faith in myself. I did everything right, so why didn’t things work out?!? What did I do wrong?! After talking about it with coaches, friends and doing a lot of self reflection, I figured out that both my body AND my mind were not in the right space that day. I had put an immense amount of pressure on myself, telling myself, “This is it. You will qualify today. You have to qualify today” That just wasn’t the case. I still had until August to qualify for a 2018 AO meet. I totally stressed myself out instead of enjoying the process and loving what I love to do. I knew I was going to have to learn from my mistakes and move on with the determination to not let that happen again. I got back into the gym and back on track with my diet.

Then came the Michigan Summer games on June 23. I was naturally at the correct weight, and both my mind and body were in a good place. No stress, just excitement to be there and give qualifying another shot. I confidently made all 6 lifts and got my qualifying total for the AO series! I was simply elated! One of the best parts about it all was having my best friends there on the side of the platform and backstage supporting me through it. I was going to Vegas!

The AO series that I get to attend is #3, in Las Vegas! My plan, above all else, is to have fun! I am really looking forward to watching and absorbing what I can from all the amazing athletes I will be around. I plan to be excited and grateful that I get to be in the same place, at the same time, competing beside some of the greats. And, if I happen to run into Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Alyssa Ritchey, Mattie Rogers, Jourdan Delacruz, or any other of my inspirations, I hope I keep my awkwardness to a minimum.

AO3 runs Thurs 9/13 through Sun 9/16. I am one of 1,600 lifters! I will lift on Saturday 9/15. My session is #14, 76 E, starting at 10:25 AM MST (12:25 PM EST) on the Stripes platform. If you are interested in watching any of the lifting that weekend, here is the live stream link: https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Weightlifting/live


Workout for Friday, September 14
"Bear Complex"
Complete 5 Working Sets
1 Set = 7 times through Complex:
1 Power Clean
1 Front Squat
1 Push Press
1 Back Squat
1 Push Press
*Barbell cannot rest on the floor at any time*
*3 min Max for each set*

CrossFit 616
Thursday, September 13

In case you haven’t heard, Annika is heading to Las Vegas to compete at the American Open Series 3 weightlifting meet this week. She lifts Saturday morning at 10:25 Mountain time (12:25 Eastern) and you can watch her lift on the live stream linked here. She is on the “Stripes” platform the women’s 76 E session if you're looking at the schedule.

Annika has worked for a very long time to qualify for this meet and we are super proud of her. I know she’d love the support of all her friends back home!

This does mean that we’ll be a little short-handed this weekend at the gym, and the weightlifting class this Saturday will not be a coached class. It will be an open gym format and the workout will be on the whiteboard for you to follow. Thank you for understanding and letting us support our athletes competing wherever that may be!


Also, make sure to get signed up for the charity golf outing on October 14! The sign up deadline is September 21 so don’t wait. The inaugural Birdies for Boobies golf outing to support Barbells for Boobs should be a lot of fun and you’re more than welcome to play or ride along no matter your golf experience.

Workout for Thursday, September 13
7 min AMRAP
7 Hang Power Snatch (95/65)
7 Pull Ups
7 Cal Bike
Rest 5 min
6 min AMRAP
6 Hang Power Snatch (95/65)
6 Pull Ups
6 Cal Bike
Rest 5 min
1 Mile for Time

CrossFit 616
Wednesday, September 12

This article is a few years old, and I found it when I Googled the phrase “vanishing caloric density” I heard in a documentary. This article, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, from the New York Times Magazine takes a deep look into the science and marketing of processed food, and it’s a little scary.

The article is long, but if you have the time it is worth the read. I’m a big believer that we need to know what we are up against. And that is teams of scientists, marketers, and billions of dollars trying to get us hooked on salty, sugary, fatty, processed foods.

The chemists and researchers are so good at finding the right mix of salt, sugar, fat and chemicals, that our brains are nearly powerless to resist once we start eating these junk foods. In fact, they call it the “bliss point,” that exact combination that makes the taste, texture, and more irresistible.

The more information I learn about the food industry, the more easily I can reject these junk foods. It’s not necessarily their responsibility to keep us healthy, but knowing how they target poorer, uneducated populations and children makes it a lot easier for me to not support the company.

“The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers. What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.”

Arm yourself with information so you can make better choices. And if you can just resist the initial craving, you can start to break the habit and addiction these foods bring on. Hopefully, reading some of these stories will help. 

Workout for Wednesday, September 12
Single Arm DB Press - Lunge Position
5X5 on Each Arm

17 min AMRAP
15 Wall Balls (20# to 10' / 14# to 9')
7 Burpees
Run 1 Lap

CrossFit 616
Tuesday, September 11

We don’t have snatches in our training for today, but sometimes I see a technique video that I think needs to be shared as soon as possible. This video from Catalyst Athletics on how to make hip contact in the snatch and keep the bar close is something a lot of us need to see.

This is one of the major problems we see across the board and hopefully seeing this explanation in video will help you fix this problem if necessary.

Always think “Up!” We’re never throwing the hips forward in to the bar. And, like he says in the video, there will always be some horizontal movement, but it needs to be minimized. I hope this video helps you see what we’re talking about and makes it easier to put into practice.

(Don’t let the monotone narration distract you from the great points made.)

Workout for Tuesday, September 11
"DT"
5 Rounds
12 Deadlifts (155/105)
9 Hang Power Cleans
6 Shoulder to Overhead

CrossFit 616
Monday, September 10

We are testing our one-rep max back squat today for those of you that have built up to it. Some of you are just starting your strength training journey and still need some time to build a base before loading your body with maximal weights. That's why we have a beginner strength program. 

You get to build a base of strength, refine your technique under sub-maximal loads, and give your connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) time to strengthen along with the muscles. We never want to rush this process because you open yourself up to injury and you may create bad habits.

For those of you that are ready to test a max, it's important to remember that max loads will cause your technique to break down. And when technique breaks down, the risk of injury goes up. Which is a big reason we don't test maxes very often, and want you to stay within certain ranges on non-testing days.

It is important to test where you are from time to time and this can still be done in a safe manner. Knowing when you have reached your limit is important. Also, have a coach or your squat partner watch your heavier attempts to make sure things are looking good. Don't be afraid to ask for a spotter, especially if you are not comfortable dumping the bar off your back (see video below).

We prefer to find a technical max, which means you're lifting as much as possible for one rep, without technique breaking down, but no one is perfect so please be smart. If your last attempt got a little sketchy, whether it was 95, 98, or 105%, don't push it. It just might not be there that day, especially if you have been lifting for years and years.

Also, be happy with a PR. One, five or 20 pounds over your previous best is awesome and you should be happy about it!

And finally, you don't have to max out if you're not feeling it. Build up to a heavy single for the day and know you got a little bit stronger than yesterday. 

We're looking forward to seeing you test, and remember to trust the process and your coaches. Stay safe, get stronger and enjoy it!

Workout for Monday, September 10
Find 1 Rep Max Back Squat

Pull Up Progressions

CrossFit 616
Friday, September 7

Happy Friday! Remember, just weightlifting class Saturday at the gym. All other classes are at the track at Briggs Park at 9:30 am.


Weekly Roundup!

1. This is what powerful hip extension looks like! If you can powerfully open your hips you can clean and snatch a lot, you can propel yourself into a pull up or muscle up and you can jump really high. And you'll probably be pretty athletic and be able to pick up most things quickly.


2. These are not the overhead squats you're looking for...


Workout for Friday, September 7
Press Complex
5 Strict Press + 10 Push Press
Complete 4 Working Sets

5 Rounds for Time
5 Deadlifts (275/185)
10 Burpees

CrossFit 616
Thursday, September 6

We have such an amazing community here at CrossFit 616! If you need anything from a haircut, a house to buy, or physical treatment, someone has you covered. 

When we expanded earlier this year we built a treatment room and it is currently being shared by a few different pros. 

Annika, a massage therapist, takes appointments on Mondays through her business Back to Better Massage. You can contact her through her website to set up an appointment or email her at hello@backtobettermassage.com

Dr. Theresa Graff of Flow Chiropractic is now taking appointments here on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 6:30 pm. You can make appointments with Theresa by emailing info@flowchiro.com

And physical therapist Dr. Joe Hanisko of Top Bar Physical Therapy and Sports Performance will be taking appointments on Thursdays afternoons/evenings and you can book with him by email at joehan@topbarpt.com

Workout for Thursday, September 6
9 min AMRAP
3 Power Cleans (115/85)
3 Front Squats
3 Back Squats
6 Bar Hop Burpees

Handstand Practice
HSPU, HS Walking, Bear Crawls Etc.

CrossFit 616
Wednesday, September 5

The track meet is this weekend and we have the events planned. You'll find everything out when you get there, but there will be a mix of individual and team events. Don't worry, you won't have to run anything super long and we're going to have some fun with everything. 

There's also an unofficial Beer Mile taking place at the end. You don't have to do this unless you want to and you'll have to provide your own beer. Here are the official rules if you're interested. 

Briggs Park is right across the river from the gym - see the map below.

Also, Elements members are invited to join us at the track. This is for everyone. We will still have weightlifting in the morning at 8:15, but we'll close up immediately following to get to the track. No Elements class at the gym and no Extra Credit.

Workout for Wednesday, September 5

In 20 minutes

Run 800m
Rest 2 min
Run 400m
Rest 2 min
Run 1 Lap
AMRAP in remaining Time:
5 DB Hang Clean and Jerk Right Arm
5 DB Hang Clean and Jerk Left Arm
10 T2B

CrossFit 616
Tuesday, September 4

Ever since I posted about Jocko Willink last week, Andy has been sending me my daily motivation from Jocko himself. These shorts clips are a great way to start your day and they come from his book Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual. 

And while I'm sure the book is great to read, there's something about listening to this former Navy SEAL read it to you that makes you want to jump out of bed and run through a brick wall. I hope you find it motivating and inspiring too.

You can find the full playlist on Youtube here.

Workout for Tuesday, September 4
Back Squat
2X2 @ 80%
2X1 @ 85%
3X1 @ 90% to 95%
*Get a Full Recovery on the heavier sets, 3 to 4 min*

For Time:
50-40-30-20-10
Double Unders
10-8-6-4-2
Burpees

CrossFit 616
Monday, September 3

Only one class Monday at 8 am! No need to sign up in advance and there's no cap on the class. Come get your Labor Day started with a great workout and honor some real heroes.

On June 20, 2013, nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team tragically lost their lives while fighting a fire in Yarnell, Arizona. This workout was created to honor them and raise money for their families. You can still donate to them here.

Workout for Monday, September 3
"Hotshots 19"
Six rounds for time of:
30 Squats
135 pound Power clean, 19 reps
7 Strict Pull-ups
Run 400 meters

CrossFit 616
Friday, August 31

A few of you have asked so I want to make the schedule for Saturday, September 1 more clear:

8:15 am - Weightlifting and Elements

9:30 am - CrossFit - we will be doing the Saved by the Barbell fundraiser workout in this class. You do not need to donate or register on the CrossFit site to come workout, but if you'd like to donate and get a t-shirt you can do that here. You do still need to sign up through Mindbody. Proceeds from The Saved by the Barbell workout will support the development and growth of CrossFit programs for kids in schools, recreation centers, and communities everywhere. Your efforts will fund training for teachers, put new equipment in schools, and support the health and fitness of thousands of children.
And because this workout is for CrossFit kids programs, please bring your kids! We will run a heat of the workout just for them!
If you don't understand any of this, just sign up on Mindbody like normal for the Saturday 9:30 class and we will take care of the rest.

10:30 am - Extra Credit


And here's Stefi Cohen smashing a world record squat of 419 lbs. at 121 lbs. bodyweight. She already deadlifts four times her bodyweight and now she's on her way to squatting it. CRAZY! Just proof that you don't need to be huge to be strong and that hard work pays off. If you're not paying attention to her, you should be. She is one of the greatest powerlifters of all time and keeps getting better!

Workout for Friday, August 31
20 min AMRAP
2 - 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12...
Burpee Box Jumps
DB Snatches (50/35)
Calories on Bike

CrossFit 616
Thursday, August 30

Most of you probably heard about the changes coming to the CrossFit Games, and although we haven't heard an official statement from CrossFit HQ, we know the company is shifting its focus from competition to health. HQ wants to be known for making a real impact on the health of our society, rather than finding the fittest on earth.

CrossFit Health was recently established to investigate "the ills of modern medicine and the wilful abuse of the public’s trust in science. What would motivate such an inquiry? And what are our qualifications to put forth on the subject?" But CrossFit Health is about the health and fitness industries, not about your individual health. Your health can be taken care of by CrossFit - proper nutrition and exercise.

And while I love the Games as a fan and enjoy watching the sport of CrossFit, we know that the real impact we can have on individuals and the community is by promoting healthy diets and exercise. So until we hear officially about what the CrossFit Games and Open will be, I'm not worried about it.

But I am worried about the health issues facing our community. I want to reach more people with the message that eating the right foods and doing constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity can change and save lives. 

I'm excited to see the media CrossFit will produce in the upcoming months and years. We should see more stories like the one below that will inspire and motivate people to make positive changes. We should see more stories of people getting off the junk food and the couch and showing that it is possible to lose the weight and get healthy. 

Workout for Thursday, August 30
Pause Front Squat - 2 Sec Pause in Bottom
7X2 @ 60% to 70%
*The Focus is on maintaining the best position and bracing possible. 

For Time:
21 Thrusters (95/65)
9 Pull Ups
15 Thrusters
15 Pull Ups
9 Thrusters
21 Pull Ups

 

CrossFit 616
Wednesday, August 29

A post shared by Robert Hand (@robert_hand) on

I haven't read this book yet, but it keeps popping up so I guess I'll need to read it soon. Anyway, Extreme Ownership from Jocko Willink teaches the valuable lesson of taking 100% responsibility for everything in your life.

So, how do you do that without getting completely overwhelmed? Prioritize and Execute.

This lesson comes from Jocko's training as a Navy seal - "Relax, look around, make a call."

We ALL get overwhelmed by life at times. There's so much happening with work, school, kids, parents, diet, exercise, etc, etc, how can we possibly take it all on? But we do, and some are more successful in handling the stress of multiple tasks than others. 

If you struggle with feeling overwhelmed, relax, look around, make a call. Prioritize and Execute. 

It's impossible to tackle multiple tasks and the same time (if you want to do them well), so don't force it. Take one task at a time, do your best, and move down the list. Prioritize and Execute.

Hopefully you can put this into practice and feel a little less stressed and a lot more in control.

(Thanks to our former weightlifting coach Robert Hand for the post!)

Workout for Wednesday, August 29
Single Leg KB Romanian Deadlifts
5X5 on Each Leg

EMOM 16
1) Max Reps Sit Ups
2) Max Reps Burpees
3) Max Calorie Bike
4) Rest

CrossFit 616
Tuesday, August 28

This Wednesday is Wednesday FriendsDay! Bring a friend to any class time Wednesday to try CrossFit for the first time!


Guest Blog from Coach Jeff!

Brian has graciously allowed me to share something with all of you that I hope comes in
handy.

Just about everyone has torn a callous off of their hand or had a bad blister pop up during a workout that ruins the next few days of training, not to mention making everyday life harder. While some might think of this as a badge of honor or rite of passage, there is nothing good about tearing your hands. Chances are that it is going to happen to you at some point, but hopefully I can give you some insight into preventing it as much as possible and recovering as quickly as you can. No one wants to wash their hair with a big open wound on their palm. No one.

 Don’t be this guy (from Copperhead CrossFit)

Don’t be this guy (from Copperhead CrossFit)

Most of us started Crossfit with pretty soft hands, and all the pull ups, kettlebell swings, and barbell movements (just a few examples) can exact a hefty toll on the mitts. It’s going to take some time to toughen up, so being smart with your grip during workouts is key. This is a good video on gripping the pullup bar: https://journal.crossfit.com/article/gymnastics-course-pull-up-grip

Once those callouses start to form, it’s important to keep them under control. If you can pinch the callous up into a small peak on your hand, it’s time to go to work. Personal preferences vary, but I recommend buying a callous shaver (https://smile.amazon.com/Tweezerman-Power-Callus-Shaver-Rasp/dp/B000KEOOQ2/ref=sr_1_7_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1535066566&sr=8-7&keywords=callous+shaver  your local pharmacy should have something similar) and using it regularly. I find the best time to shave your calluses are on rest days after showering or doing the dishes while your skin is soft. Be careful to not cut too much off, as creating an open wound during hand maintenance defeats the purpose. Change the blade regularly, and keep in mind that the fresh blade is going to cut a lot deeper and a lot easier than that old one. Take the first few swipes a little easier than normal with a fresh blade. A pumice stone or Pedegg (https://www.amazon.com/Pedicure-Foot-File-Colors-vary/dp/B00113FENI) can be extremely helpful in cleaning up the rough edges. Some people find that those tools can be enough on their own, and others use a double edged razor, and some people go as far as using a dremel (yes, that’s extreme. No, I don’t recommend it). No matter what tools you use, be careful.

The other important part of taking care of your hands is keeping them moisturized and soft. Regular washing and all the chalk we use in the gym can dry your hands quickly, so get some quality lotion and keep your hands soft. This will greatly decrease the likelihood of your hands cracking and/or tearing. By regularly shaving my callouses and keeping my hands moisturized I have been able to avoid tearing (with one exception in the last year).

One of the biggest causes of tears is using too much chalk. I know you’ve all heard someone say that chalk makes you stronger, and if you’re going for a 1RM deadlift, clean, or snatch, by all means, chalk up. This is too much chalk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHwDYW8Rmzw . If you’re doing pull ups and can see the white chalk on your hands, you’re using too much. I know you’re thinking, “but Jeff, I sweat a ton and will fall off the bar otherwise”. Well newsflash, it’s been a hot and humid summer, and we all sweat too much, but that doesn’t change the fact that you don’t need to coat yourself in chalk. Wrist bands work great to keep sweat from running down onto your hands and give you a convenient place to dry your hands mid workout. Then you should use just enough chalk to keep your hands dry. I mean pat the loose chalk in the container, rub your hands together, and get moving. Don’t be afraid to keep a towel around to dry the bar and your hands, and don’t worry, those extra 15 seconds are worth being able to grab the steering wheel on the way home.

Now what happens when you do tear? First and foremost, wash your hands well with warm soap and water as soon as you can. It’ll be painful, but worth it. Some people swear that the best thing to do is grab some hand sanitizer, take a few deep breaths to prepare for the pain, and rub away, but I think soap and water works just fine. The next steps depend on you and your tolerance for pain, but there are several options. Many people swear the soaking a tea bag in warm water and then holding it in the hand with the tear helps healing. Others use vitamin E or some fancy cream. Me? I use neosporin and a bandaid to keep it covered and usually heal up within a few days. Just don’t let it dry completely out and crack, that won’t help. The other decision you have to make is
what to do about the lovely flap of skin hanging out. I prefer to trim most of it off with scissors or nail clippers, but others like to leave it as a cover to the wound until the healing starts and the flap completely dies, but that really is up to you. The only thing I would recommend avoiding is just ripping it off, as this will likely cause a larger hole. Don’t try to trim all the way to the edge initially, I’ve found this to make it more painful and take longer to heal, so I trim off whatever is loosely flapping around, and as skin dies take care of the rest of it.

If you tear and are worried you won’t be able to workout at all for a few days, just ask a coach about substitutions or ways to get around the grip issues. While it might prohibit you from doing the wod as prescribed, you’ll still be able to get some work in. One of the biggest things I can say is make sure it is fully healed before trying to do any significant work with your hand, as many people struggle with a tear that just won’t seem to heal because they keep reopening the wound. Take the time to work on some weakness not involving grip while you heal, and remember to take better care of your hands next time. Lastly, if you’re in the middle of a workout and you know your callous is about to tear, stop. Talk to the coach, cut back on the portion of the workout that is causing the issue, and live to fight another day, especially those of you that work with your hands. Gutting through a workout just to say you finished isn’t worth the time off the bar, and a few more pull ups doesn’t make up for the potential lost, or lower quality work you’ll end up
with when you can’t function like normal. Unless it’s Memorial Day and you’re doing Murph. Then finish it with pride, wash it off with a cold beer when you’re done, and be grateful you have the opportunity to workout.

Workout for Tuesday, August 28
Pull Up Progressions

"Triple Two"
For Time:
Row 2,000 m
200 Double Unders
Run 2 Miles

CrossFit 616
Monday, August 27

A post shared by Jason Ross (@drjasonross) on

The above is from The Performance Cortex and is a good reminder to all of us that it's not just about what you're born with.

It's easy to chalk all greatness up to innate talent, and that mindset lets us off the hook. If it's just about what we are born with versus hard work, then we have all the excuses not to even try.

Sure, if you start something late in life, you may not have enough time to practice enough to be truly great, and developing certain skills while young may give you an advantage, but there is always time and room for improvement.

If there's something you want to be good at, put in the time to practice and work that skill. 

Remember, effort is a choice and it takes many forms. If you believe this and put it into practice, you can be successful!

Workout for Monday, August 27
5 Rounds for Time
5 Hang Power Cleans (135/95)
5 Shoulder to Overhead
5 Front Squats
- Cash Out with 800m Run -

CrossFit 616
Friday, August 24

We are taking apparel orders starting next week for some fall and winter gear (and t-shirts and tanks). Sign up sheets will be at the gym and you'll have through September 7 to get your order in. There will be CrossFit 616 and West Michigan Barbell (our USA Weightlifting club) choices available.


Meme of the week!

Workout for Friday, August 24
Pull Up Progressions

15 min NFT
5X50' Hand Over Hand Sled Pulls
5X5 Heavy Object Squats

5 Rounds for Time
7 Cal Assault Bike
15 Wall Balls (20 to 10 / 14 to 9)

CrossFit 616