Friday, May 24

Sometimes we see feats of strength or athleticism that seem too good to be true. In fact, every time I watch the CrossFit Regionals and Games I get this feeling, but they're doing it. 

So, what about amazing feats of dance, specifically Michael Jackson's lean in the smooth criminal video. Is that possible? Or is it too good to be true? (You can see the lean at the 7:03 mark of the video below.)

Luckily, three neurosurgeons in India are still hard at work breaking down the mechanics of this lean and how it could be possible. You can see the difference in how a normal person would bend at the hip, while Jackson bends from the ankle.


We do know the secret to the lean. It was special footwear designed by Jackson that hooked into a bolt in the floor allowing him to lean from the ankles without falling over.


The move still required a ton of ankle flexibility and strength as well as lots of core strength to hold tight through the entire body. 

Thank goodness for science! You can read the full article on the study here.

Workout for Friday, May 4
For Time:
30 Snatches (135/95)
10 min Time Cap
*Compare to 8/25/17

Heavy Object Squats
Build Up in Weight

CrossFit 616
Thursday, May 24

We have a full schedule of classes this Saturday, but just one class Monday for Memorial Day at 8:30 am. Come join us for Murph!

Also, the t-shirt orders are in, so come get your shirts if you haven't already. They are on the table in the lounge. 

Also, our first out-of-the-gym workout for the summer is coming up on Saturday, June 9. We're heading to Cannonsburg to run around and get a different type of workout in. Elements and CrossFit will be held at Cannonsburg that day. Weightlifting will be from 8 to 9 am at the gym to give us time to get out to the ski area! You will need to sign up in advance for this class in Mindbody. There's no limit on the number, but we need to know how many are coming!

Workout for Thursday, May 24
Pull Up Progressions

22 min AMRAP
Run 400m
10 DB Hang Clean and Jerks Right Arm (50/35)
10 DB Hang Clean and Jerks Left Arm
10 Burpees Over the Dumbbell


CrossFit 616
Wednesday, May 23

This Monday is Memorial Day and we have just one class Monday morning at 8:30 am for Murph! We will run one big heat of the workout. If you want to do Murph in a weight vest, please bring your own.

In June we are hosting the BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series. This is a four-week series to help new mom's begin training again.

Here's the description from BIRTHFIT Grand Rapids:

Now that you've brought a baby into the world, it's time to rehab your body, mind, and soul. This series is designed for women who are cleared for exercise following childbirth or for those looking to establish solid core and pelvic floor function. In this eight-session group training series, you will:

  • honor your postpartum body,

  • establish a solid core foundation,

  • wake up your posterior chain,

  • and enhance your posture through safe, effective functional movements that transfer into everyday life tasks.

Come prepared to move, sweat, and connect with other new moms.

Non-mobile babies welcome.

Please check out the BIRTHFIT Grand Rapids website for more information and to get registered!

This class will take place in the new gym space from 7-8 pm on Tuesday and Thursday nights from June 5 to June 28. This means the new gym space will not be available for extra work during that time.

Workout for Wednesday, May 23
Pause Back Squats
10X1 @ 65% to 75%
*Squat to bottom depth using stretch reflex,
Pause 1 inch above bottom for 2 seconds,
Drive straight up from pause, no bouncing.

For Time:
Calorie Bike
Back Squats (135/95)
Box Jumps (24/20)
*Squats are Working from the Floor


CrossFit 616
Tuesday, May 22

We excited to announce a couple of additions to our coaching staff! Jeff Decker and Emily Owen will be helping us out coaching Elements, CrossFit and more. 

Jeff has more than three years of CrossFit coaching experience with his former gym, CrossFit Rife in Virginia. He has his CrossFit level 1 and 2 certificates and we are very happy to have him put that experience to use at 616. If you don't know Jeff, I'm sure you will see him coaching one of your classes soon, so make sure you say hi.

Emily will be joining the staff to help us start a kids program here. This is something many of you have been asking about, and we've been working hard behind the scenes to put a high-quality program together that will help build strong kids that move well and have lots of fun doing it. Emily has coached in the corporate setting for four years. She also provides online coaching for clients all over the country. Emily has a degree in Exercise Science and has a background working with kids in local community programs.

We are very excited to have both Jeff and Emily joining us on staff. We know their knowledge, expertise, and positive approaches will make them excellent coaches and provide an even better experience for you all!

Workout for Tuesday, May 22
For Time:
Buy-In with 50 Push Ups
10 Rounds of
Run 1 Lap (220m)
5 C2B Pull Ups
10 DB Snatches Alternating Arms (50/35) 
10 Push Ups

CrossFit 616
Monday, May 21

Here's a quick video on shin splints and how to fix your running technique to take pressure off the shins and move it to the big, shock-absorbing calves.

If you do try running barefoot, or in a minimal shoe, please ease into it. If you are used to running in a built up running shoe, changing to a flat shoe can be rough, and will require an adaptation period. Start with very short runs and build up the distance over time. 

If you have questions, please let us know!

A post shared by MoveU (@moveu_official) on

Workout for Monday, May 21
1 Power Clean + 1 Push Jerk
- Rest 1 min, Increase Weight - 
1 Power Clean + 1 Push Jerk
- Rest 1 min, Increase Weight - 
1 Power Clean + 1 Push Jerk
- Rest 1 min, Increase Weight - 

For Time:
800m Run Buy In, then:
30 Hang Squat Clean Thrusters (135/95)
*100m Run everytime the bar is dropped

CrossFit 616
Friday, May 18

A couple of volunteer requests!

The MidSummer Meltdown is Saturday, June 23 and we have a sign up sheet at the gym for volunteers. We will need help judging, scoring, managing equipment and more. If there is a job you would prefer or prefer to avoid, please make a note on the sign-up sheet. Also, the shirts for volunteers will be a men's/unisex t-shirt, so please choose the size accordingly.

We are also helping find volunteers for the USA Weightlifting Youth Nationals coming to Grand Rapids June 14-17. We're trying to fill as many spots as possible to help load barbells on one platform during the meet. If you can help with one shift that would be great. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! We can go over how it works and there will be people on site to help too. It's a great way to see some really good weightlifting up close!
Please click here to sign up for a spot.

Thank you in advance for all you do for us and the community as a whole. We can not do these types of things without you and we really appreciate all of the support you have given us over the years!

Workout for Friday, May 18
20 min AMRAP
5 Pull Ups
10 Push Ups
15 Air Squats

*Compare to 9/22/17

1 mile Cool Down Run


CrossFit 616
Thursday, May 17

We're running a decent amount today and like everything else we do, form matters!

If you have pain when running or just don't like it, most likely your running technique could make you feel better. 

Check out this video from Good Form Running on the four points of good running technique. Try these tips and see if your running becomes more comfortable, relaxed and enjoyable!


Workout for Thursday, May 17
30 min Clock
1 Mile Run Buy In, then AMRAP of:
8 Deadlifts (225/155)
12 T2B
Run 400m

CrossFit 616
Wednesday, May 16

What is Actually Required for Success?

Alison sent me this article a while ago and I saved it to use on the blog, then forgot I had it. Luckily, I finally got back to it because it offers up some great advice on what we really need to do to get better - at anything.

Just like the Faulkner quote from the other week, it's all about doing the work. But that's not what we do.

"Why? Because it’s easier to waste time debating the last 10% of improvement than it is to just do the thing that makes 90% of the difference. It’s easier to claim that you need a better diet plan or a new workout template or different gear than it is to admit that what you really need is to not miss a workout for the next six months."

For most of us, we don't need to worry about having the right shoes or jump rope. We need to practice double unders a whole lot. We don't need to worry about which supplements we need to take, we need to eat real, nutritious food for 6-12 weeks. 

Like the article says, the little details that may push a world-class athlete over the edge are not the things that got him or her to that point. It was the years of hard work and dedication to the craft. Then, once you've mastered the fundamentals, you add in the last 10%. 

Please read the full article and don't worry about the little things until you have mastered the basics!

Workout for Wednesday, May 16
Overhead Squat - Work from Rack
Build Up with Good Lifts and Proper Depth

For Time:
50 Wall Balls (20# to 10' / 14# to 9')
50 Double Unders
25 Burpees
50 Double Unders
25 Burpees
50 Double Unders
50 Wall Balls
*Scale DU with 1 min of DU Practice

CrossFit 616
Tuesday, May 15

The CrossFit Games Regionals start this weekend and the workouts look pretty good this year (although I'm not sure how exciting the Triple-3 will be from a spectating point of view). Anyway, you can watch all of the action live on Facebook and some of it will be on CBS Sports. Click here to learn how to watch Regionals on all platforms.

Here's the schedule for the first weekend of Regionals:

Week 1: May 18-20, 2018
East Regional: Albany, New York, Times Union Center
Europe Regional: Berlin, Germany, The Velodrom
South Regional: Salt Lake City, Utah, Salt Palace Convention Center

Here's some Road to the Games to get you fired up!


Workout for Tuesday, May 15
Pull Up Progressions

5 Rounds, 1 Round Every 4 minutes
10 Burpees
15 Russian KB Swings (70/53)
Run 1 Lap
Each Round is a Sprint, Rest Remainder of Round

CrossFit 616
Monday, May 14

We hope that all of our awesome FIT MOMS had a great weekend and Mother's Day Holiday! We are so proud of the journey you've all taken with your health and your baby's health as the focus. We look forward to helping you continue your journeys to being the fittest moms possible. Having BirthFit Grand Rapids around is a blessing and has already offered an amazing source of information for our community. Keep a lookout for all BirthFit events in the future!

Our MidSummer Meltdown Competition is coming up June 23rd. We have a volunteer sign-up at the whiteboard for anyone who is willing to help us out to run a great competition. Your help allows us to have a great competition for athletes full of solid judging and a smooth running timeline. If you're available please sign up and we will find a job for you whether you would like to judge or help out elsewhere in the competition. 


Workout for Monday, May 14

In 17 min, Build to Heavy Complex

1 Clean + 1 Hang Clean + 1 Push Jerk

For Time:

50 Hang Squat Clean Thrusters (95/65)

5 Burpees Every time the Barbell Hits the Floor

CrossFit 616
Friday, May 11

Happy Friday everyone! 

This is how I think whiteboard meetings go most days.


Workout for Friday, May 11
For Time:
100 Pull Ups (7 min cap)
100 Push Ups (15 min cap)
100 Sit Ups (21 min cap)
100 Air Squats
*You must finish all 100 reps of each before moving to the next

Time Cap 25 min

Compare to 9/29/17

CrossFit 616
Thursday, May 10

In case you didn't know, USA Weightlifting Youth Nationals are coming to Grand Rapids June 14-17. USA Weightlifting is looking for volunteers to help load bars and we're hoping we can help them out. We don't have a full schedule yet, but if you'd like to be up close to some great weightlifting put this on your calendar. Even if you can help for just a couple of hours on one of those days that would be great. And don't worry, no experience necessary! I'll get more details to you as soon as I get them from USAW. Thank you!

Also, there is one more Coliseum ticket left for the CrossFit Games. This is first come, first serve with CASH. If this ticket isn't sold by June 15 I'm going to offer to people outside of 616. The ticket is $235 for all four days of competition.

Workout for Thursday, May 10
30 min AMRAP:
400m Run
7 Power Snatches (115/85)
7 Overhead Squats
7 Bar Hop Burpees

CrossFit 616
Wednesday, May 9

"Dr. Chad Potteiger maintains that over 75 percent of his patients’ complaints are simply caused by poor lifestyle choices, such as improper diet and lack of exercise."

It's about time we start curing chronic disease rather than treating symptoms. Luckily, there are lots of doctors doing CrossFit that are prescribing a healthy diet and exercise program rather than prescribing drugs that just treat the symptoms.

Watch the video - You Don’t Have to Be Sick

Workout for Wednesday, May 9
EMOM 30 min
1) DB Lat Pull Overs - 10 Reps
2) Alternating DB Press - 10 Reps Total
3) Toes to Bar - ME Unbroken Set
4) Slow Controlled Plate Twists - 10 Reps Total
5) Assault Bike Sprint - 12/8 Cal

CrossFit 616
Tuesday, May 8

No weightlifting classes this week after the max-out week. We will resume weightlifting on Thursday, May 17. These classes are open to all 616 members and you don't have to attend every week, but if you want to improve your snatch or clean and jerk then join us at weightlifting. Every week - Thursday at 6 pm and Saturday at 8:15 am!

CrossFit: The Cure for the Modern Plague

Here's another great article from the CrossFit Journal on how CrossFit is leading the charge against chronic disease. 

The fact is, it doesn't have to be CrossFit, but any sound nutrition and exercise program can keep you away from the chronic diseases killing so many people in this country.

"Historians estimate the deadliest disease in human history killed anywhere from 50 to 200 million people in the 14th century. Today, chronic disease is poised to eclipse those statistics—in the United States alone, 133 million people (almost half the country) have a chronic disease."

This problem of chronic disease is out of control, and it's going to cost us so much money that even if you're healthy, you're going to be affected in some way.

The good thing is, we know that proper diet and exercise can ward off these diseases. So, things like better food and CrossFit gym memberships may seem expensive up front, but they are so much cheaper than years and years of medical bills that come from chronic diseases. 

Please read the full article to better understand this problem and the solution. It may be hard to make great decisions all of the time, but we can be a positive force for change in our communities. And we need to fight hard against this rising tide of disease.

Workout for Tuesday, May 8
Tempo Front Squat
3X2 @ 75% to 80%
4X2 @ 80% to 90%
3 Sec Descent
Use Stretch Under Tension
Explode Up
3 Sec at Top

10 min AMRAP
11 Wall Balls (20# to 10' / 14# to 9')
11 Push Ups
Run 1 Lap

CrossFit 616
Monday, May 7

"I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning." —William Faulkner

I love this quote. I heard it the other day in, obviously, reference to writing, but applies to everything. 

If you know me you know I'm not big on inspirational quotes, pictures, videos, etc... It seems that's all I see in my Facebook feed every day, along with all the moaning about what's wrong with everyone else in the world. I wish there was more "doing" than talking about "doing."

But, this quote above is different. This is a quote to remind us that greatness doesn't come from sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. It comes from going to work every day. 

We see this every year in the Open when watch everyone hope that somehow, some way, that muscle up or pull up is just going to come to us in a moment of divine inspiration. But in reality, the people knocking out muscle ups and pull ups are the ones that were in the gym every day over the last year putting in work.

Whether it's in the gym or elsewhere in your life, don't just sit there waiting for inspiration. Go to work each day and do whatever it is you want to accomplish. Sure, some days will be miserable. But some days will be amazing, and trust me, greatness will appear at some point. 

Workout for Monday, May 7
Pull Up Progressions

EMOM 20 min
Odd: 7 Touch and Go Clean and Jerks (115/85)
Even: 40 Double Unders
*Scale DU with 40 sec AMRAP of DU

CrossFit 616
Friday, May 4

Guest blog today from Dawn! Please let me know if you'd like to contribute a guest blog any time. It's always nice to hear from someone else's perspective. Thanks Dawn!

Some of you know my story, but for those who don’t, here’s the short version. Until about 5 years ago, I had never played a sport or done anything athletic in my life. Then fate and good fortune took a hand. I ended up in one of Christian Roberts’ boxing classes. No one was more shocked than I was when I loved it. Up until that point it was the hardest thing I had ever done physically, (and to be honest, I was absolutely terrible at it,) but I was hooked. I took more classes. And I met a group of adventurous, awesome, tough people who talked me into joining them in training for a Spartan race.

One race led to another, and then another. Four of us decided to travel to Texas and do a Spartan Beast. And that is what led me to CrossFit 616. It was the perfect training for what I needed, but it also very quickly became home. There were a few problems, however. My lower body mobility had epic problems.

For starters, my years of avoiding all things PE meant that my mind-body connection was a bit… fuzzy. I simply didn’t know how to use my body. Even now occasionally a Coach will give me a cue and I have to admit I have no idea what they are talking about. (Never be embarrassed about asking - our Coaches are happy to explain!)

On top of that, I have always been a toe walker. I learned to walk on my tip toes. Today if a child did that they would likely get them to a physical therapist, but this was the wild 70s. Things were a little different back then. When I turned 13 and my mother bought me my first pair of heels, I never looked back. Ever hear the Southern expression, ‘the higher the hair, the closer to God’? That’s how I felt about my heels!

And finally, when I was a teenager I was in a really bad car accident. I ended up having back surgery for a ruptured disc. The back pain came back in my late 20s, and I spent a number of years figuring out how to deal with extreme sciatic pain. At one point I was so twisted up I wore a 1” lift in one shoe to try to straighten my back. Here’s a hint - my legs are the same length, it was my hips that were messed up. I finally figured out how to handle it without surgery, (and I still have a ruptured disc on L5,) but all those years of pain and contortion had taken their toll. My lower body was messed up.

How messed up?

I couldn’t squat. My squat looked more like a Good Morning. I had to do wall balls to 20” box. (Try that sometime, it's like doing them to a bar stool.) It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do, but my body was simply locked in place. Ity would not move. It was so bad that during my first CrossFit Open Brian had to cut me from a workout. Not only could I not meet standards by getting below parallel, but the even the scaled weight was pulling me so far forward that he was afraid I was going to hurt myself. 

So, I became determined to get my squat back.

I gave myself 6 months to give it everything I had to get comfortable below parallel. 

It took two years.

It took giving up my gorgeous shoe collection, getting dry needled, getting regular massages and seeing a physical therapist. It took two years of twice-a-week personal training sessions with Tom on my lunch hours. It took countless, countless hours of listening to podcasts while doing my mobility homework in my living room. And this is why mobility work is so important.

Look, I know it isn’t sexy. It’s the least sexy thing. Me, all I want to do is lift really heavy things. But to get the most strength, power, speed, what-have-you, you first need technique. And it order to get technique, you need your body to move well. It’s like brushing your teeth. You want to have fun and do the sexy things? Then you need to do the daily maintenance.

Mobility work can be boring (although I am happy to share my podcast list.) It’s tedious - do you know how many hours I have spent just trying to get 1 more degree of movement out of my right ankle? It hurts. (Cramps, so very many cramps.) But the important thing is - it pays off. It keeps you moving. It gives you the ability to do more. You don’t have to say, “I can’t do X” because your shoulder doesn’t move right or your hips won’t open. There are solutions. Talk to your 616 Coaches, take one of the mobility clinics. Learn what you can do to move better - and then do it, every single day. You won’t regret it.

Workout for Friday, May 4
3 Rounds for time:
Run 400m
21 KB Swings (1.5/1) 
12 Pull Ups
*KB Swings are Overhead*

Handstand Practice
Handstand Push Ups, Handstand Walks and Holds, Handstand Progressions

CrossFit 616
Thursday, May 3

I posted last week about some of the upcoming events, and I promised there would be more to come! Here are some more dates to get on your calendar:

Saturday, June 9 - All Saturday classes will be held at Cannonsburg Ski Resort. Come tackle the mountains with us!
Saturday, July 14 - Fresh Coast Games - Let's spend the day on the beach cheering on our competitors in this competition in Muskegon
Saturday, August 4 - Tubing Trip! Let's float the river after the Saturday morning classes
Saturday, August 18 - Babes and Bros competition at CrossFit Grand Rapids
Saturday, September 8 - Track and Field Meet! All classes will be at the track.

More details to come on all of these, but we wanted to get the dates out to you so you can get them on your schedule. Hope to see you there!

Workout for Thursday, May 3
Snatch Practice - Every 1:30 for 15 min
1 Power Snatch + 1 Squat Snatch
Build up with Good Lifts

Mullet Squats
1 Mullet Squat = 2 Front Squats + 4 Back Squats
5X1 @ 80% to 90% OF FRONT SQUAT MAX

Beginner Strength - 5X5 Front Squat

CrossFit 616
Wednesday, May 2

We are excited to announce that Annika will be taking massage appointments at CrossFit 616 starting next Monday, May 7.

A lot of you already know how great she is and if you have a specific nagging muscle that won't relax or if you just want to relax with a full-body massage, Annika can help!

Please give her a call at 616-202-1458 to set up your appointment!

Workout for Wednesday, May 2
Press Complex - Work from Floor
3 Strict Press + 6 Push Press
12 minutes to Build to Heavy Complex

3 Rounds
21 Sit Ups
15 Clean and Jerks (115/85)
9 Ring Dips

CrossFit 616
Tuesday, May 1

I'm so glad we all found CrossFit to do real, functional fitness that actually works. 

It's easy to get lost in the sea of hokey fitness trends out there, but when it comes down to it, hard work pays off. There is no easy way, as Kevin Hart and Bill Hader found out on this episode of What the Fit. They tested a bunch of As Seen on TV stuff to see if they really work. Guess what, they don't. But it's pretty entertaining to watch them try.


Workout for Tuesday, May 1
Bar Muscle Up and Kipping Pull Up Practice

20 min AMRAP
30 Air Squats
5 Bar Muscle Ups
20 DB Snatches (50/35)
Run 400m
*Sub BMU w/ 2X of most difficult Pull Up option*

CrossFit 616
Monday, April 30

Mitch Z. told me to listen to this episode of the Joe Rogan podcast on sleep with Matthew Walker and it is eye-opening!

We've talked a lot about the base of CrossFit's fitness pyramid is nutrition, but I think sleep needs to be right there with it. It may be more important than what we eat when it comes to certain body functions.

For some reason, our society looks at getting very little sleep as a badge of honor. I'm not sure how this started, but it is completely ridiculous. EVERY study on sleep shows that we ALL need 7-9 hours of quality sleep to function properly. 

I can't tell you how many times people have told me that they're just fine on 6 hours or less of sleep. You are lying to yourself. 

If you are not sleeping, your brain isn't functioning at 100%, your hormones are out of whack and your exercise is all for nothing because you're not recovering and growing stronger or fitter properly. You make all of your "gains" while sleeping.

Also, the science is clear that those that don't sleep enough are much more likely to get cancer, Alzheimer's and other fatal diseases.

I really hope you listen to this episode, or check out Matthew Walker's book. Sleep is such a natural normal thing and possibly the easiest thing we can do for our health. Stop making excuses and start getting enough sleep!

Workout for Monday, April 30
Power Clean Technique Practice
10X1 Building to 80%
*Pause in Catch Position for 2 seconds*

5 Rounds for Time
Run 1 Lap (220m)
7 Power Cleans (185/125)
22 Push Ups


CrossFit 616