Having a strong core can help one become a better athlete, healthier human, and a more independent human being. Today, I introduce a couple of drills that can help strengthen the “hollow body” position in an athlete, and also work on improving shoulder stability and grip strength.

There are countless modifications to make this more or less challenging, so feel free to ask if you’d like to discuss any of them.

Give these a shot, and let me know what you think!

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I love dogs.

No, I mean I REALLY love dogs.

To prove it to you, I’m about to show you pictures that my wife sent me while I was coaching last week to brighten my day.

Yep, those are our babies. 😍

Even though I work in gyms, I can’t take my fur babies to work with me, and there are a few reasons why. While most people love them, I’m sure not everyone would. Besides, the Corgi’s “SUPERBARK” would echo through the gym so much that a few members would probably go deaf. I don’t want that to happen.

In the video below, I share a bit of my perspective on “gym dogs” and the different policies I’ve seen used at the many gyms I’ve visited/worked in a decade of CrossFit. This is not an exhaustive list. I don’t even touch on things like people who are simply scared of dogs, or those who may have allergies to dogs, for example.

Instead, this post is simply create constructive dialogue over a topic that gets a lot of people really fired up on both sides of the issue.

My stance is that everyone involved should be hyper-aware that the worst case scenario of something going wrong is a pretty bad scenario. So whatever you do as an owner or an athlete/member, just be careful. No one wants a human or dog to get hurt, or to have any property damaged.

What are your thoughts on gyms allowing dogs? Let’s discuss!

This week I decided to combine my Weekly Throwdown and Tip of the Week posts. Here’s why:

Most of the time, I think when people start a working out, they put their brain on cruise control and don’t really think. The difference between muddling through a workout and moving with purpose can be powerful, however.

As I demonstrate in the video, crashing down into every air squat versus being deliberate about core tension, breath control, and foot placement, can lead to vastly different results over time.

As they say:

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes progress.

I think we should do our best to get the most out of all of the time we spend in the gym.

Check out the video below, and let me know what you think, please!

Believe it or not, sometimes I just don’t feel like working out. I typically spend all day trying to motivate others to improve their lives through fitness, so when the gym clears out and it’s my turn, I can struggle to get inspired to do it myself. Today was one of those days. I was sore, I convinced myself there were too many other things I needed to do instead, and I was a few minutes away from throwing in the towel.

At that moment I stopped and asked myself what I would tell one of my athletes if they told me they didn’t feel like working out. The first thing that popped into my head was, “the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.” While that’s SO cheesy, and definitely in line with things I say every day, I also think it’s true!

As long as you’re not injured and your body isn’t begging for a rest day because of over-training, I feel that we can almost always be productive with our time in the gym. Scale back weight or reps! Focus on technique if the assigned percentages feel too heavy! Spend that hour stretching and mobilizing if you’re too wrecked!

But if you have the time to go to the gym, and it doesn’t get in the way of anything else…. Go! Go and be productive, have some fun, say hi to some friends, and realize that you’re likely better off for having gone.

Should you still go to the gym if motivation is low or if you’re sore? Most of the time, yes.

Yes, you should.

What do you think about that advice? Do you agree or not? Let’s talk!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a Status Update, but here we are again! Two weeks ago I was on vacation, and last weekend was Memorial Day, so I spent next to no time on my computer. It was nice!

Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • Did the CrossFit Hero Workout Murph on Memorial Day Monday. Over 90 athletes came and threw down. What a great atmosphere! I then proceeded to be so sore for the rest of the week that I could barely move. My shoulders are still sore almost a full week later. It’s crazy what a few hundred weight push-ups can do, even when you do prepare for it in the weeks leading up to the big day!
  • Other
    • We went out for Asian-esque food four out of five nights in a row. Between sushi, poke bowls, and pho, it was a delicious week of food. All other meals were during the week were meal prepped, so we felt justified in our decisions!
    • Socially, it was a great weekend! Friday night was a baseball game, Saturday night a concert, and after my swim lessons that I taught on Sunday morning, the rest of the day was spent working on the gym at the house.

This week:

  • Plan is to pick up something this weekend to make the home gym all but complete!! I hope next Sunday I can show you what it is and brag about the little space we created in our garage!

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

Since Bacon got the spotlight during my last Status Update, I figured it was only fair to give his sister Dakota the next one!

DakotaBear

May 2018

Fitness- Nothing too crazy this month. May really rocked my world with scheduling conflicts. I’m trying to get better at making my workouts a higher priority than work, but to be honest, a lot of the time I don’t see them that way. As long as I move a few times per week, but I’m productive in a professional capacity, I feel that’s where I should be right now. If I had to share my best gym highlight, it would be hitting 300lbs for a Hang Clean. I haven’t done that for a few years.

I also did the workout Murph this year on Memorial Day, and threw on a weighted vest for it. I was so sore for the entire rest of the week. Should have done more push-ups leading up to the event, but always glad to show my appreciation for those who lost their lives protecting me here at home.

I’m a little bummed that I didn’t have a “first-ever” class that I attended in May, but I’ll try to hit two in June! The plan was to go to my first-ever Orange Theory class, but I couldn’t coordinate schedules with my friend who coaches there. I’ll make it happen this month, though!

House- As springtime quickly seems to turn into summertime, that means lawn care is in full effect! Typically, the lawn will get mowed twice a week, weed-whacking follows, and lots of little things here and there. The more fun project, however, is the constantly evolving garage gym we have. I don’t work out there often, but Em does, and it’s great to continue to create a space that we can escape to whenever life gets too busy!

Other- One of the music festivals we go to often happened this past month, so we spent a few days in Las Vegas attending EDC! It was held a month earlier than last year, and that meant the weather was PERFECT. We had an absolute blast!

Over the last month or so, I’ve started a few new segments on my blog. The first is my Weekly Throwdown, where I share quick workouts and exercises to keep you practicing skills and have some fun! The second is my Tip of the Week. In those videos, I’ll try to share tips and tricks on how to move better, and get more out of your time in the gym. Finally, I’m slowly reviving my “Drive Time with Smashby” videos. Since I’m always running all over town, sometimes the car is the only time where I have uninterrupted blocks of time to answer questions some of you ask. If you’ve checked out any of these videos, I hope you enjoy them!

What’s going on with all of you? I’d love to hear some of your accomplishments in May, or goals for June!

Murph2018WeightVests

Instead of talking about a way to improve how you do a single movement, this week I talk about some of the best ways to move our most expensive pieces of equipment in the gym: Rowers and Bikes.

Athletes can sometimes be careless when it comes to moving them, but when a brand new rower costs nearly $1,000, it’s a really good idea to take care of these things that we use almost every day in the gym.

Check out the video below, and please pass it along to someone who you think could benefit from it!

Happy Monday! Want to hang out?

Working on hanging in different positions help a lot of aspects of your fitness. Not only can it help identify mobility imbalances between shoulders, it can also help improve overall shoulder and grip strength, while allowing you to work on breath control through both passive and active shoulder positions.

Give these drills a try, and let me know what you think about them!

An athlete asked for my advice to help them plan their “return to sport” after some time out of the gym. Whether your training stops due to injury, illness, surgery, or just vacation, it can be really unsafe to push too hard after you’ve been out for several weeks or more.

My advice for most athletes in this context is fairly simple and consistent, regardless of the circumstances: “Build back slower than you think you should.”

A lot of us are Type-A, chargers, achievers, and go-getters. Lifting lighter weight, scaling back reps or rounds in a workout, and taking more rest days can feel like torture. But at the end of the day, I think the big picture needs to be taken into account. If you “Rx” a workout before your body is ready, the recovery time can be extended exponentially, and old injury could be aggravated or made even worse, or new imbalances could be introduced due to overcompensating. Give yourself time to recover fully. Reestablish healthier and safer movement patterns. See and feel how your body reacts to training at 50% for a few days, then 55%, then 60%, and so on. In many cases, slowing down more than you want can lead to a strengthening of movement that actually will help you come back even stronger than before.

As always, I’ve got a lot more to say on the subject, but I tried to keep the video to around four minutes. If anyone would like to continue this conversation, leave a comment and let’s keep it going.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, friends!

There is so much discussion and debate out in internet land about the proper way to do a kettlebell swing. Is Russian (eye level) the proper end range of motion for a rep, or should one go overhead (American) each time? Good news, I don’t care!

This episode is instead going to address my favorite way of setting up for the first rep of every set; regardless of the height you plan to take your kettlebell.

Take a look, let me know if you like this strategy, and have a great weekend!