In the realm of exercise physiology, muscle tension stands as a cornerstone concept. It refers to the extent of contraction or activation of muscles during physical exertion.

Muscle Tension: the extent of contraction or activation during physical exertion

Whether you’re lifting weights, engaging in resistance training, or performing any other form of exercise, your muscles undergo tension or force. This force leads to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. These minuscule injuries, though they might sound detrimental, are actually beneficial. They act as a stimulus, prompting muscle cells to repair and rebuild. The outcome? Stronger, larger muscle fibers.

What Determines Muscle Tension?

The effectiveness of weightlifting, a popular method to enhance muscle mass, strength, and endurance, is significantly determined by muscle tension. However, muscle tension doesn’t operate in isolation. It’s influenced by a myriad of factors:

  1. Type of Exercise: Not all exercises exert the same level of tension on muscles. For instance, compound exercises like squats and deadlifts engage multiple muscle groups, often leading to greater tension compared to isolation exercises.
  2. Intensity: The harder you push yourself during a workout, the more tension your muscles experience. This is why lifting heavier weights typically results in more significant muscle growth.
  3. Duration: The length of your workout can also influence muscle tension. Extended periods of exercise can increase tension, but it’s essential to strike a balance to avoid overtraining.
  4. Genetics: Individual genetic makeup can play a role in how one’s muscles respond to tension. Some people might naturally experience more significant muscle growth from the same amount of tension compared to others.
  5. Workout Variables: The number of repetitions, weight lifted, sets performed, and rest intervals between sets can all influence the force and tension exerted on muscles.

How to Grow Muscles and Gain Strength Using Muscle Tension

Central to the concept of muscle tension is the recruitment of motor units. A motor unit comprises a motor neuron and the skeletal muscle fibers it innervates. These units often collaborate in groups, known as motor pools, to synchronize the contractions of a single muscle. As you exercise, your brain sends signals to these motor units, prompting them to contract and generate tension in the muscle fibers. The intensity of the exercise dictates the number of motor units recruited. The more challenging the movement, the more motor units are engaged, leading to heightened muscle tension.

In essence, if your goal is to achieve muscle growth and enhanced strength, it’s crucial to focus on exercises and routines that maximize muscle tension. By understanding and manipulating the factors that influence tension, you can tailor your workouts to achieve optimal results.

Where To Start

If this all seems a little overwhelming, don’t worry! We’ve done all the thinking for you in our programs. Join Feroce Fitness for daily workouts utilizing these methods of muscle tension, or take on the 30 Day Fit & Trim Challenge where we apply all the science of muscle tension in workouts, and pair that with tested and personalized nutrition and recovery methods to ensure you get the results you are looking for — sign up for our October challenge here.


  1. Schoenfeld, BJ. (2010). [The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training]

J Strength Cond Res, 24(10): 2857-2875.

  1. Hornberger, TA., & Farrar, RP. (2004). [Physiological Hypertrophy of the FHL Muscle Following 8 Weeks of Progressive Resistance Exercise in the Rat] Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Texas at Austin*.
  2. Lee, S., Barton, ER., Sweeney, HL., & Farrar, RP. (2004). [Viral expression of insulin-like growth factor-I enhances muscle hypertrophy in resistance-trained rats]Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas

Hey there, Feroce Fitness Family!

Camille here! Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite tips and tricks to get back on track and stay on track. I hope these help you as much as they help me. 

#1 Finding Your Anchor

One of the most important things that has guided me through my fitness journey is my “anchor.” This is the thing that keeps me grounded, focused, and motivated, especially when the going gets tough. For me, it’s the relentless pursuit of being the best version of myself. What’s yours? It might be your health, your family, or even just the sheer joy of exercise. Whatever it is, cherish it, and let it guide you.

#2 Purposeful Actions, Purposeful Life

Another aspect I hold dear is the idea of doing everything on purpose, with purpose. Each action, each decision, and each thought is a stepping-stone towards your ultimate goal. This mindset has helped me stay consistent, not just with my workouts, but with my nutrition and overall lifestyle choices. Every step you take, make sure it’s aligned with your purpose.

#3 Building a Routine

Routines are powerful. They give structure to your day and consistency to your efforts. If you’re just starting out, begin with small changes. Maybe it’s a morning stretch, or a couple of minutes of meditation before bed. Over time, these small changes can build into a routine that supports your goals and fits your lifestyle.

#4 Sleep: The Unsung Hero of Fitness

Last but not least, let’s talk about sleep. The time we spend sleeping is when our bodies rest, repair, and rejuvenate. It’s when many crucial hormonal processes happen. Not getting enough sleep can throw these processes off balance, leading to increased stress, weight gain, and even decreased mental sharpness. So, make sleep a priority, just as you would your diet and exercise.

In a nutshell, becoming an athlete isn’t just about physical prowess, it’s about finding your anchor, acting purposefully, creating a routine, and taking care of your body, including getting enough sleep.

Remember, we’re on this journey together. You’re part of the Feroce Fitness family, and I believe in every single one of you.

Keep pushing, keep striving, stay Feroce!


I’m writing this because the new Reebok Nano 9 and Nike Metcon 5 are out. The world needs to know which of these two flagship offerings are the best CrossFit shoes.

Best CrossFit Shoes

Like a well-rounded workout partner, a good pair of CrossFit shoes can make or break a workout. There are many qualities you look for in a CrossFit shoe, and you’ll find the most-rounded shoe is also the best type of shoes for CrossFit.

Now that the Reebok Nano release date has come and gone, and tens of thousands of athletes are picking sides. In the Nano vs. Metcon debate, I wanted to weigh in with my opinion. Whether you’re a seasoned pro like me, on the hunt to find some CrossFit shoes for beginners, you can’t do better than Reebok CrossFit shoes.

The Nano 9 is a great shoe for all forms of fitness.

The Reebok Nano 9 CrossFit Shoe

While the Reebok Nano 8 was an incredible shoe, the Reebok Nano 9 is a giant leap into the future of cross-training shoes. Even if you’re an avid Nike Metcon fan and are exploring the world of Metcon alternatives. This may be the shoe for you.

The Nano 9 CrossFit shoe has the stability you want for lifting, and the flexibility you crave for your running workouts. It takes the Reebok Nano Flexweave material to the next level. It feels lighter, more durable, and more flexible. All at the same time.

Because of the reinforced structure, the light build, and flexibility for running, the Reebok Nano 9s are the best shoes to wear for CrossFit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

As a long-time competitive athlete, I’ve worn a lot of shoes and get asked a lot of questions about them. Maybe you bought those shiny new Rich Froning shoes and you’re wondering if it’s already time to upgrade. Or you’re looking for something less painful to run in. Here are some of the most common CrossFit shoe questions I get asked:

Are these CrossFit shoes women can wear?

Yes, these are still great ladies CrossFit trainers. Reebok has invested a lot of time and effort to make sure the women’s nano shoes are also the best female CrossFit shoes on the market. I wouldn’t compete in anything else.

Camille doing odd-object work in her Reebok Nanos.

I just bought the Reebok Froning 1 shoes. Should I upgrade?

The Reebok Froning 1 shoes (also known as the Rich Froning RF1) are one of the most comfortable shoes out there. But the Froning 1 shoe doesn’t have all the innovative goodness of the Reebok Nano 9. Despite being a distant cousin in design and materials.

Is the Nano 9 a good CrossFit running shoe?

Using the term “CrossFit running shoes” has been a contradiction for years. Either you get the stability and flat sole needed for an explosive lifting position, or you get the increase drop and flexible sole for running. It doesn’t say much, but these are some of the best CrossFit shoes for running.

For the first time, I could even say these are GOOD shoes for CrossFit and running. If you’re looking for the best CrossFit shoes for running WODs with no non-running activities, I would still opt for a solid running shoe.

Are these also the best shoes for rope climbs?

Some people like the Nike Metcon for the shoe’s signature rope grip. I would argue a sharper edge on the Reebok Nano 9s make them the best shoes for rope climbs. This could boil down to a preference, and many people will decide the best CrossFit shoes for rope climbing based on the technique their use on the rope.

What if I’m looking for a cheap CrossFit shoe?

Yes, CrossFit shoes can be expensive, but a good pair will last you a long time. Are you budget-conscious and on the hunt for the best budget CrossFit shoe, or the cheapest CrossFit shoe deal? We’re only a few short months away from an annual Reebok CrossFit Black Friday sale. Their deal in 2018 was half off. Something to ask for or look forward to!

Are there any CrossFit shoes with a wide toe box?

If this is your first pair, and you’re worried about CrossFit shoes with a wide toe box, don’t be. CrossFit sneakers are designed to have a roomie toe box.

What are the best CrossFit shoes with arch support?

One of the most common questions I get when it comes to shoes is what are the best CrossFit shoes with arch support. The Under Armour Tribase Reign spent a short period of time with the best arch support. Yes, there are Under Armour CrossFit shoes!

Now that it’s released, I can say (hands-down) the Reebok Nano 9 has the best arch support in the business.


Burpees are one of the most useful movements in fitness. Against the grain of a trend-based industry, this movement has been a fixture for decades.

The simple four-count burpee is the creation of Royal H. Burpee. Royal was an American physiologist. He first wrote about his famed exercise in his Columbia University thesis.

As the United States entered World War Two, American armed forces adopted and popularized the burpee. They used it as a method of assessing the physical preparedness of their recruits.

Today, burpees have grown to somewhat of a pop sensation. Tee shirts boasting “Burpees? I thought you said Slurpees!” fly off the shelves. At the same time, a “burpees suck” hashtag is never far from trending on Instagram and Twitter.

So, here’s the big question: How do you get good at burpees?

You Have to Start Somewhere

Before you start Googling something like, “what are the best shoes for burpees,” consider this:

There is no magic pill for burpees. There is no magic fix for fitness. The best way to get better at burpees is to start doing them.

This is why I decided to write this guide. I’m going to help you find a starting point, and set goals for how you can grow. Ready? Go!

Burpees for Beginners

When Royal Burpee first conceptualized the exercise, he broke it down into a simple four-count movement. This became known as the four-count burpee, or basic burpees.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet demonstrating a burpee.

1. From a standing position, lower your upper body into a squat position. Your hands should lead your downward-motion, planting themselves on the ground. COUNT 1.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet demonstrates the second step of a four-count burpee.

2. Kick your feet back, moving your body into into a plank position. Your arms should stay extended, with your hands supporting your upper body. COUNT 2.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet demonstrates the third step of a four-count burpee.

3. Pull your feet back into your squatting position. Count 1 and Count 2 should be a quick, seamless motion. COUNT 3.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet demonstrates the final step of a four-count burpee.

4. Return to your standing position, rising out of your hands-down squat. COUNT 4.

There are over eighty variations of the traditional burpee. Some of these burpee modifications scale it to make it easier, and some enhance it to find additional difficulty.

This is my burpee. There are many exercises like burpees, but these burpees are mine. 

My burpee is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. 

My burpee, without me, is useless. Without my burpee, I am useless.

My Burpee: The Creed of a CrossFitter

Modified Burpees (Scaled)

Are you looking to complete your first burpee? Well then, this section is for you. I’ll introduce you to a few burpee scales, which will help you with anything from a heavier body type to working around bad wrists or knees.

Modified Burpees for Bad Knees

There are two points in a burpee which put extra stress on your knees:

  • The downward (squat) movement
  • The jump to and from the plank position

Your goal should always be to push yourself to complete as close to the correct movement as possible, but be smart.

The Squat: Knee pain during the downward motion of the burpee results from bad squat form. The usual suspect is when you don’t hinge from your hips as you lower your body.

In simple terms? Stick your butt out as your first motion. One of the best indicators that this is a problem is if you feel your body weight in your toes. Your weight should be in your heels.

SOLUTION: Practice air squats before you start your burpees. As you build muscle memory, it will transfer into your burpee movement.

The Plank: Your knee houses a complex system of ligaments. Sometimes, injuries or neglect can add up to a not-so-simple case of knee pain. If you feel pain when you’re jumping into and out of the burpee plank:

SOLUTION: Remove the hop from the movement. Without the hop, you can walk your feet back to the plank position, walk them back up to your hands, and stand up. This will reduce most of the pressure on your knees.

Modified Burpees for Bad Wrists

The most common form of burpee wrist pain comes from the impact of landing on your hands during each rep. Because of this, you can ease the impact by reducing the distance you’re dropping your body. Try doing bench burpees. These involve keeping your body elevated (somewhat) on a bench, instead of dropping to the ground. This is a more wrist-friendly angle, but still takes you through the majority of the movement.


Half-burpees are much like a mountain climber. Picture the four-step burpee with the standing part removed. Keeping your hands planted on the ground, jump your feet and knees under your body, then back out into a plank. Repeat.

These can also help with knee pain, as you’re removing the squat from the movement.

Heavy-Body Burpees

Doing burpees while carrying some extra weight around can be tough. The most common scenario is difficulty bringing your knees to your chest for a transition to and from the standing position. You’re not the only one to have this frustration. The first step is JUST that: the stepping burpee. This is the same scale we recommend for individuals struggling with knee pain.

Don’t drop down, jump your feet out and back, and pop back up. Slow down, and make more decisive movements:

  1. Lower yourself down in any method you feel comfortable. You can use a box, bench, or chair to assist you. COUNT 1.
  2. Step your feet back and extend your body. Keep your hands planted on the box/bench if needed. COUNT 2.
  3. Walk your feet back under your body, using the box/bench/chair as support. COUNT 3.
  4. Work yourself back up to a standing position. COUNT 4.

If this is your first experience with burpees, it’s important you embrace that it is a process. Nothing will come overnight, but being consistent will get you the results you want.

Jumping Burpee Modifications

There are many modifications to the burpee which involve an added jump at the end. Most commonly, CrossFit burpees require both feet to clear the ground for a burpee to be counted as a rep.

Bar-Facing Burpees

Also known as barbell-facing burpees (or “bf burpees”), the bar-facing modification involves a jump over a barbell:

  1. Facing the bar, squat until you can plant your hands on the ground. COUNT 1.
  2. Kick your feet out, landing in a plank position. COUNT 2.
  3. Hop your feet back to your hands. COUNT 3.
  4. Pop up and over the bar. COUNT 4.

Bar-facing burpees typically require you to jump forward over the bar, without any lateral (side-to-side) motion. You’d then rotate your body to face the bar and complete another repetition to return back over the bar.

Burpee Pull-Up

The burpee pull-up is a modification to the traditional burpee which adds a fifth motion for pulling. As you stand up, out of your burpee, you jump to a pull-up bar and complete a pull up, before dropping down and returning to Count 1 of a basic burpee.

Other Common Jumping Modifications

  • Burpee Jump
  • Burpee Broad Jump
  • Lateral Burpees
  • Lateral Barbell Burpees
  • Lateral Erg Burpees
  • Burpee Box Jump

Burpees with Weights (Weighted Burpees)

If you’re finding burpees to be a little too easy, one of the best modifications you can make is to start doing burpees with weights.

The two most popular (and safest) forms of weighted burpees involve a weight vest or dumbbells:

Dumbbell Burpees

Adding dumbbells to your burpee is a simple modification. In this, you’re going to grab two dumbbells.

In Count 1 of a dumbbell burpee, you place the dumbbells on the ground and rest your weight on them. After kicking out to the plank and back, deadlift the dumbbells back up to your standing position. This modification adds a degree of difficulty without adding weight to the plank or push-up.

Weight Vest Burpees

The only thing that changes in a classic four-count burpee when adding a weight vest is the vest itself. You’re still going to follow the full burpee process, but do so with the extra weight of the vest. Doing this adds weight to both the up and the down part of the movement.

Other Common Weighted Modifications

  • Kettlebell Burpee
  • Medicine Ball Burpee

Burpee Workout Options

Here are three common burpee workouts. Just be glad I’m not suggesting the CrossFit Open 12.1 workout. It was seven minutes of burpees, for as many reps as possible.

Burpee Workout for Beginners

The Roxanne CrossFit workout is often used by gyms as a warmup, but is a great way to get you started down your burpee path.

The idea is simple: do jumping jacks while listening to Roxanne, the classic hit by The Police, and do a burpee every time Sting croons, “Roxanne.”

If the jumping jacks catch up to you, there are a few scaling options, which include high knees, running in place, and butt kicks.

Burpee-Only Workout

There isn’t much strategy to this, but complete 100 burpees for time. Many high-intensity challenge-seekers turn this into a thirty-day challenge. Can you complete 100 burpees per day for 30 days?

Best Burpee Workout

If you’re looking to push yourself and feel like you have burpees under control, here’s a workout for you. The Burpee Mile takes the burpee broad jump to the next level. For time, complete burpee broad jumps the entire length of a quarter-mile track. Four times.

This movement is a special add-on to a four-count burpee. As you pop into the fourth portion of your burpee, launch yourself forward in a two-footed hop as far as you can. This “broad jump” helps your explosiveness and should earn you as much forward distance as possible. When you land, you can start directly into your next burpee.


Absolutes for Effective Programming

Effective programming is represented by an increase in overall fitness, not just gains in a single area. As athletes, we are greedy.  We don’t just want to be strong, fast, good at gymnastics or weightlifting, or short or long tasks, but we want to be good at everything. Programming for general physical preparedness means that as athletes, we are ready for whatever task life can possibly throw at us. All of our capacities should be on the rise together.  Therefore finding the right balance, and hitting all sides of the spectrum can be a daunting task for a programmer. The best way to make sure we are spreading out the love so to speak, and chasing “fitness”, is by playing with the stressors (workouts) that we are exposing people to. The adaptations (results) correlate to the type of stress you are putting on the body. Here are some absolutes for getting the most “bang for your buck” out of G.P.P. programing.

Pair Complementary Movements Together in Workouts in the Form of Couplets or Triplets

Pairing two or three movements that do not contain the same movement functions (ie. hip mediated movements with shoulder mediated movements, or pushing with pulling) allow the athlete not to be limited by the localized muscle fatigue in workouts (ie. “my arms just can’t do another pushup”), but rather it are taxes metabolic engine that fuels the activity( ie. “I can’t breath, my whole body is aching”).  The point is to develop theses energy systems that create a molecule in the body called ATP, that fuels life’s efforts. Athletes that continue to move, transition, and do work will express higher intensities. For example it is not so much that the athlete lacks the muscle stamina to perform another rep, but it is the ability to effectively utilize oxygen or sugars at such an intensity that causes the overall “awfulness”.  It is the high intensity efforts that allow athletes to develop a more efficient metabolic engine, yielding positive systemic adaptations.

Keep Most Workout to 15 minutes or Less, Alternate Weights and Modalities

Keeping most workouts between 5 and 15 minutes and alternating loads allows athletes to get results on both sides of the fence, both aerobically and anaerobically. Aerobic work is that which requires oxygen as the primary source of fuel. It usually means longer efforts with lesser power output and load ie. 5k run. This results in increased endurance, reduced body fat etc.. Anaerobic work doesn’t require oxygen as fuel but rather uses sugars, lactate, or phosphogen to provide energy. These efforts are usually shorter with higher loads ie. barbells or explosive efforts. This results in good stuff like increased muscle mass, bone density and strength and muscle stamina. By utilizing strategies that alternate modes and efforts through the application of high intensity intervals, athletes can get stressors both aerobic and anaerobic in the same workout.


In 2003, coach Greg Glassman wrote the article titled: “A Better Warm up” in the CrossFit Journal. This article drew conclusions on the potential benefits of practicing functional movement patterns as an alternative to traditional cardio warm ups in a steady state. The increased benefits of this warm up includes the following:

  • Raising the core temperature of the body and increasing the heart rate
  • Added stretching of the major joints
  • Developing functionality and capacity in some of the basic movements
  • Working the entire body
  • Preparing the systems of the body for the rigors of the workout

The Original CrossFit Warm up Includes:

  • The Sampson strength (opening the hip flexor in a lunge)
  • The Overhead Squat (done with a PVC or empty barbell)
  • Sit-ups (on an ab-mat)
  • Back extensions (On a GHD)
  • Pull ups (strict/kipping or banded)
  • Dips (on a dip bar or rings)

You may re-call some old CrossFit tee shirts that say “our warm up is your workout” and to many people who are new to functional training the statement might be true, but this is not meant to be the case. This warm up is instructed to be done “Challenging, but not unduly taxing” By picking appropriate scales for the movements that fit this criteria, both in assisting the movements or lowering the reps, anyone should be able to do this without an issue. Originally this warm up was prescribed for 3 sets through of 10 reps each movement with parameters that it should take no longer than 15 minutes under low-moderate intensity, the same heart rate you might jog on a treadmill with.

The beauty in this warm up is its simplicity and effectiveness. It works hip with leg functions, trunk with hip functions, as well as flexion and extension of the joints. By practicing the very basics daily athletes can expect to improve positions and efficiency of the foundations. One of the more impressive benefits is the neurological “greasing of the groove” in the motor pathways. This is also a great way to silently build capacity with intensity or muscular damage you might encounter from the workout, an added bonus.

As athletes build capacity it may be appropriate to add some volume or increase the difficulty of some of the movements. Below is a graded progression for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level athletes:


Done for 3 rounds (as capacity increases, raise all reps to 10, no scales)

  • Samson stretch 1 minute
  • 10 PVC overhead squat
  • 10 ab-mat sit-ups
  • 10 back extensions
  • 5 pull ups (with or without bands)
  • 5 Dips (with or without bands)


(Done for 3 rounds)

  • Sampson stretch
  • 15 pvc overhead squat
  • 15 sit ups
  • 15 back extensions
  • 15 pull ups
  • 15 ring dips


(Done for 3 rounds)

  • Sampson Stretch
  • 15 PVC overhead squat
  • 15 GHD sit ups
  • 15 Barbell good morinings
  • 3 rope climbs
  • 10 handstand push ups
  • 5 muscle ups

All of this is very individual and ply-able. Balance the capacity of the athlete with a somewhat challenging volume and movement difficulty that allows them to get something out of the warm up without going nuts. From a macro perspective, if athletes are moving better, progressing in skill, and slowly adding capacity to the warm ups, you are headed in the right direction. This is a garnish to your program, an added value in an unlikely place that can accelerate athletes’ progress to their goals, and beyond.  


Segmented Training produces segmented results. Separating cardio, from strength, from gymnastics training doesn’t provide nearly the same type of results as mixed modal workouts under intensity. If you think you can get your cardio in the morning, then do your strength work in the afternoon and truly be prepared for life, you are mistaken. Just think about it, in life is it usually one or the other for all that can be thrown at you? Consider a first responder, athlete, fighter, or military operator…they need to be strong and fast simultaneously. If a fire fighter can pick you up, but is too gassed to take you anywhere that’s not effective, nor is the firefighter who has all the cardio in the world but is not strong enough to lift his victim. Life and sport require multiple skills at once, so segmenting them is not practicing how you play or live. So why do athletes like to segment stuff?…Because it
just doesn’t hurt as much or require as much neurological demand. Practicing thrusters then practicing pull-ups will never pack the same punch as the workout “Fran” (21,15,9 thrusters and pull ups). When the skills are mixed, when your are expected to lift heavy and be coordinated under a high heart rate there are adaptations that take place that we don’t understand. But the result is capacity, and a level of fitness and adaptability that is hard to recreate any other way. Consider these three CrossFit name benchmark workouts and the different skills they require. They are fantastic tool for training and evaluation:


4 Rounds for time of:

  • Run 400 meters
  • 21 Kettlebell swings
  • 12 Pull-ups

Skills Required: Cardiorespiratory endurance, Muscle stamina, Upper body and grip strength, basic gymnastic competency



  • Deadlift 225lbs
  • Handstand Pushups

Skills Required: Lower body, core and grip strength, Muscle stamina, balance, flexibility, coordination, intermediate gymnastic competency, cardiorespiratory endurance



  • Squat Clean 135lbs
  • Ring Dips

Skills required: Complex barbell competency, flexibility, Upper and lower body strength and muscle stamina, and cardiorespiratory endurance


Virtually any method of strength training will illicit a response in a novice, detrained or untrained lifter. A program with any significant level of intensity, weather it be lifting soup cans, P-90-X, INSANITY, CrossFit, or Westside Barbell’s conjugate method, will enhance the strength of an individual in just a few months. For this reason it can be very deceiving or misleading to interpret the data shown by the exposure of training protocols on novice athletes as a qualification of a programs efficacy and efficiency. We see this all the time on TV in the form of the Shaker Weight, Tony Little’s Gazelle training, The Perfect Pushup and Zumba. Something is always better than nothing but what does this breed?…  relatively inexperienced coaches with a minimal amount of knowledge or development having initial success with clients, attracting more people to programs that requires minimal coaching. So how do you differentiate yourself and your program from others? Here is the best suggestion I can give you:

Take the Time to set a Good Foundation of the Basics

When dealing with a new athletes take the time to restore the range and correct pattern of basic movements. Anyone can slap weight on a barbell. It takes skill to teach someone how to move with virtuosity. Setting this foundation will raise your athletes ceiling in the long run…increasing their potential, decreasing the risk of injury and ensuring them a more fruitful and productive athletic life. Here are some basic concepts of movement.

Core Strength

The ability to support and maintain a neutral position of the spine as you move about the hips, knees, shoulders and elbows. This position evenly loads the vertebral discs of the spine…reducing shear and creating a safe and effective transmission of forces.

Posterior Chain Engagement

Teach athletes to access the biggest most powerful muscle groups in the body…the glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors. This can be done by initiating movement with the hips, balancing weight in the heels, turning over the pelvis to stretch the hamstrings and maintaining a strong lumbar curve of the back.

Move in Proximal to Distal Patterns

High levels of power are generated from the center out. This happens in a wave of contractions from the high force low velocity muscles of the core to the low force high velocity muscles of the extremities.

Restore Full Range of Motion

Athletes should be moving through their anatomical full range of motion. Partial range of motion results in partial strength and partial flexibility. To ensure good muscular balance and enhance muscular recruitment require full range exercises. This should be the first plan of attack…DO NOT WAIT!! Your athletes won’t learn to go full range once they develop a 400lb quarter squat.

Anyone can use intensity to get people in shape. It is the knowledge of movement and mastering an appropriate prescription in strategic doses that will ensure the continued athletic development of clients. Use these principles to differentiate yourself and your program from others.


The jump rope is a great tool for aerobic conditioning. It allows for a potent, sustained cardiovascular effort that will provide a challenge in any workout. Using the jump rope also requires and develops many neurological skills such as coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. That is why fighters love using the jump rope as a tool to practice being coordinated under fatigue. In CrossFit the common use for a jump rope is the “double under” (two revolutions of the rope per jump). This movement takes a slightly higher jump than the single under, and adds increased coordination between the upper and lower body.

The jump rope can be taken anywhere. It is essential equipment for the fit traveler to use for “hotel wods”. Combine this exercise with dumbbells, Push-ups, or burpees for a quick burner after the plane ride. Here are some tips for developing the double under…

Double Under Tips

  • When starting skipping rope hold the hands at 10 and 2 o’clock at the waist height with the hands slightly in front of the hip. Revolve the rope from the wrists not the shoulders.
  • Practice single unders until you are smooth and efficient, then try throwing some doubles. Just jump a little higher and whip the wrists twice. Keep the jump smooth and soft on the ground. You can begin with 2 singles into 1 double to acquire the skill.
  • When picking a rope make sure to start with a length that allows the handles to reach just beneath the armpits with one foot holding the rope to the floor.

Double Under Workouts for the Road

Workout #1



  • Double Unders
  • Sit-Ups

(Do 50 DU, then 50 sit-ups, 40 and 40 etc.)

Workout #2

10 Minute AMRAP

  • 30 Double Unders
  • 15 Push Ups

Workout #3   

5 rounds for time of:

  • 21 Dumbbell Thrusters #45
  • 50 Double Unders

Workout #4

5 rounds of:

  • 20 Alternating DB Snatches #70
  • 30 Double Unders
  • 15 Burpees

Workout #5

15 Minute AMRAP

  • Run 800 Meters
  • 50 Dumbbell Swings #50
  • 100 Double Unders

90% of people that come in the gym don’t need a specialized program. They need fitness. There is no magic formula or complex algorithm that is the key is success, in fact it is quite simple: practice full body high powered functional movements, push yourself to your mental and physical limits, and change up the duration, loading, and tasks your perform. This will give you big results in many different areas, setting a strong base of general physical preparedness. And it is likely that for most these results will continue to improve for a very long time, before they plateau as long as the consistency and intensity are there. But lets say that you reach that plateau and find that while many areas of your fitness are strong, you have identified some weak spots that are not congruent to your other capacities. It is possible to work on those weaknesses while maintaining your overall fitness within your program. Here are some ways to fix that chink in your armor.

Method #1

Add extra work in this area in the warm-up or cool down of your workout. For example if you struggle with pull-ups you could warm up with some kipping pull-up skill, or you could cash out of your workout with a finisher of 2 sets of max strict pull-ups 3 times a week. If you struggle with the Olympic lift you could work on positions and skill with a barbell in the warm up or add some short extra lifting work after the workouts 3 times a week.

Method #2

You could program the capacity you lack more frequently in your workouts. 3 days a week could be a workout focusing on this area. For instance if you need your strength, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays could be just dedicated strength days with your other two training days focusing on overall fitness, not just strength.

Whatever it is you choose to specialize in remember, the goal isn’t to be a specialist. Specialists are not fit. It is easy to fall in love with one area and loose site of the overall picture. After a period of time evaluate whether what your have chosen to focus on is better, and when it is time to become a generalist again…because generalists are freaking FIT!