Archive for the ‘CrossFit’ Category

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!

After a quick weekend trip to Vegas, the next Weekly Throwdown is here!

Last week stability work was designed to improve comfort level and stability on the rings. This week, we’ll focus on shoulder, hip, and mobility work with some dumbbells.


Double-Arm Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Double-Arm Standing Dumbbell Push Press

Double-Arm Dumbbell Sotts Press

Double-Arm Dumbbell Thruster (out of the bottom position)

Alternating-Arm Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Alternating-Arm Standing Dumbbell Push Press

Alternating-Arm Dumbbell Sotts Press

Alternating-Arm Dumbbell Thruster (out of the bottom position)


All of that is ONE round!

I’m challenging you to complete 7-10 rounds of that entire complex. The focus is NOT on increasing weight each round, necessarily. In fact, many people will be limited by their mobility in the bottom position of the squat for the Sotts Press. So if you struggle to get that arm/those arms locked out overhead safely in that bottom position, keep the weight light and focus on controlling reps.

Things to think about:

  • Pause at the top of each rep
  • Be deliberate with your breathing, exhaling as you punch/drive up
  • Rest between the double-arm and alternating arm round if you need to
  • Only increase weight if form allows
  • This is for technique, not for speed
  • Try to complete 7-10 rounds of the complex

Have fun with this one!

Unlike the first few weeks of this series, this week’s throwdown isn’t a workout at all. Instead, it’s a grouping of stability exercises that can be practiced to help improve a variety of movements we see in CrossFit.

First, the “Active Deadhang” from the high rings. With these, athletes can practice keeping their entire body engaged while hanging from the rings. Improving control in this position can lead to more powerful movements while hanging from the bar (such as pull-ups, toes to bar, or muscle-ups), as well as ring exercises as well (like a ring muscle-up, ring pull-ups, or toes through rings.)

Then, we move to the rings at “Medium Height” for a static hold. Spending time in that “Support Position” will help strengthen the core and shoulders. More control there will improve power and endurance in ring dips, and the second half of a muscle-up!

Finally, the “Ring Plank” position. Here, even more than with the other holds, the hollow position can practiced under the most control. Holding a plank with the hands directly underneath the shoulders, and that belly button sucked in tight to the spine, athletes can spend time under tension to emphasize proper engagement of the entire midsection!

This week’s challenge is to complete three rounds of a single maximum effort hold in each position. The expectation is that as soon as form starts to suffer, the attempt is over. Take a look at the video below, give it a shot, and let me know how it goes!

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

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • Snatch day included 3 singles at 83%, which for me is 205lbs. Always glad to not miss a single snatch rep over 200lbs!
    • Deadlift day called for a moderately heavy triple. I wanted to hit 405lbs with no belt and feel strong, and I did.
    • I was convinced to do the workout Triple Three with some friends this morning. That’s a 3,000m Row, 300 Double-Unders, then a 3-mile Run. My goal was to finish under 40 minutes… but I did not. Double-Unders were a disaster today, otherwise it would have happened.
      • Row was done in 11:33 (1:56.9, 1:56.9, 1:56.0, 1:54.3, 1:53.0 or so pacing by 200m), DU’s mostly in sets of 20-30, and then my run was a 22:54 (7:48, 7:44, 7:17 splits). Final Time: 40:25
  • Other
    • “Drive Time with Smashby “is a segment I used to feature on my blog years ago. With a few questions from some of you piling up that you wanted me to answer, instead of waiting for the perfect time to answer them in writing I’m going back to finding time to answer them when I can; driving from job to job! The question this week had to do with how to approach jealousy in the gym.

This week:

  • The alarm goes off just after 4am Monday through Thursday, so getting to bed earlier is going to be a must.
  • Leave for vacation on Thursday! Just need to pack and clean during my free hours this week. I cannot wait!

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

Pic of the week is of my little man, Bacon the Corgi. It feels so good to come home every night and have this little guy run up and greet me! He may only weigh 24lbs, but these judgey eyes know they really run the house. This look said, “I know you needed your second hand to take the picture, but that means that it stopped petting me for a second. Please place your hand on my back once again. Thank you very much, sir.”


The day has finally arrived! Drive Time with Smashby is BACK!!

Today’s topic: Jealousy in the gym

How can you be less jealous of others around them, and how can you allow jealous people around you to effect you less?

I’d love it if you could take a few minutes to watch my video below, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Agree with me? Great. Why? Disagree? Let’s talk about it!

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

The fifth week of “Smashby’s Weekly Throwdown” is ready to go! The goal today is to work on increasing the length of run as we decrease the amount of reps each round. Instead of crashing and burning on the final run, be prepared to bring it home fast!

Throwdown #5

Run 100m

10 Pull-Ups

20 Push-Ups

30 Air Squats

Run 200m

8 Pull-Ups

16 Push-Ups

24 Air Squats

Run 300m

6 Pull-Ups

12 Push-Ups

18 Air Squats

Run 400m


Overall Strategy- Today’s strategy for “Murph” will be geared towards helping athletes keep some speed in the tank for their final run. The first 100m run is followed by the largest block of reps for Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, and Air Squats. As the runs get a bit longer, the reps go down each round.

Runs– The goal today is to hold the same pace for all four runs. Think about what time would make you happy to run that final mile of the workout, and work backwards to find the pace you should hold. Knowing that, if you plan to run an eight minute mile to finish the workout, that puts your final 400m at 2:00. Using that equation, your 100m should take 30 seconds, 200m should take one minute, and your 300m should take ninety seconds. After your final air squat, get right out the door and hold that pace for your final run!

Pull-UpsPush-Ups, and Air Squats– For each of these movements, break down reps each set similar to how you’d plan to break them down on Murph day. The primary focus of the workout today is run pacing, so the reps should be completed in smaller, manageable sets. Just keep moving, and hitting full range of motion for everything.

Just like last week, if you plan on wearing a weight vest while completing Murph, this is a another great workout to start getting more comfortable wearing it before Memorial Day!

Five weeks of Murph prep in the books. Have you done any of these workouts? All of them? Let me know what you think!

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

Last week:

  • Fitness
  • Other
    • Saturday I attended a CrossFit competition at the gym where I work. It was run so well, the athletes were amazing, and the weather was perfect.
    • Lawn mowed, weeds whacked, free mulch for yard picked up, laundry done, floors vacuumed, finished a section in my nutrition book, bought a bicycle helmet… had a really productive weekend at home.

This week:

  • Hoping to read more out of my nutrition book.
  • No mornings off for me this week, so my goal is to get to bed earlier every night… (I write as I lay in bed on my laptop at 11pm)
  • It’s my last full week of work before vacation in about 10 days. I need to keep working hard and stay focused.

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

Pic of the week comes from the “No Gutz, No Glory” competition at CrossFit Omnia this weekend. Kyla is one of the two masterminds who organized and programmed the event. Here she is right before the Awards Ceremony. There were some amazing prizes, and it was a great way to conclude two awesome days of competing. Great job, Kyla and Rj!

The third week of Smashby’s Tip of the Week is live, and we’re continuing on to week three of my four week handstand push-up progression!

Today we’ll discuss another safe dismount from the Wall Climb position and then go from transitioning from headstands into the safe way of becoming confident progressing into a handstand. I’m always very cautious teaching athletes how to get into this position from the standing position, so please follow along with my steps in order to build confidence first before trying to make it a more dynamic movement. Plant those hands first, then get faster.

Once you can accumulate 90-seconds to two minutes in that handstand position, then you’ll be ready for next week’s session where we’ll discuss strategies for building strength, and improving your kipping for handstand push-ups!

I hope you find this information beneficial.

If you do, please share it with someone else you think it could help!

The fourth week of “Smashby’s Weekly Throwdown” is ready to go! Hoping that these continue to help prepare athletes for the big day. Keep letting me know how you do, and if you get the courage, post your times and notes in the comments. There’s a few of you out there, I promise!

Throwdown #4

6 Rounds

Run 100m

3 Pull-Ups

6 Push-Ups

9 Air Squats

3 Pull-Ups

6 Push-Ups

9 Air Squats

Rest 60-90 seconds between rounds

Goal is to keep all 6 round times nearly identical!


Overall Strategy- Today’s strategy for “Murph” will be geared towards helping athletes pace the workout more effectively. After running a short 100m distance, complete two rounds of 3 Pull-Ups, 6 Push-Ups, and 9 Air Squats. After one round is complete, rest between 60-90 seconds, and repeat. Complete for a total of six rounds of work. The goal is to complete all round with steady effort and nearly identical times.

Runs– You’ll only be running 100m each round, that’s pretty short! Keep the runs steady, and as soon as you get back in the gym start on your pull-ups right away.

Pull-Ups– Only three reps at a time. That means many of us will be going unbroken the entire time here. As long is it’s not going to destroy your grip or tear your hands, hang on and keep moving.

Push-Ups– It might be tempting to try and complete the six reps unbroken, but as I’ve said every week of the throwdown, few people will be able to maintain that throughout the full Murph. Break it down four and two, or three and three with really short rest, and keep that pacing going throughout all six rounds.

Air Squats– Remember, there are 300 air squats in Murph. Just because there’s “only” 18 reps per round, doesn’t mean you should sprint them. Find a comfortable pace and stick with it through short rests and steady breathing.

Also, if you plan on wearing a weight vest while completing Murph, this is a great workout to break it out and start getting more comfortable wearing it before Memorial Day!

Four weeks of Murph prep in the books. Are you feeling more confident? I sure hope so! Give this one a shot, and let me know how it goes!!