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"The Games is the least important thing that happens in CrossFit. There is nothing less important than The Games."

- Coach Glassman

Entries in from the vault (85)

New Graduate: Josh Sinagoga Moving Up the Ladder

Summer 2013 was a really great season in Champions Club lore, and one of the ring leaders for that was my cousin, Josh. He was entering his final year as Northwood University's backup quarterback and decided he wanted to come and train with us while he was home for the summer. The bonus for us was that be brought in 3 of his teammates to join in: Ryan "Buzz" Spicuzzi, Cam Jackson, and the infamous Alex Faust.

After his playing career concluded, Josh worked his way onto Central Michigan's coaching staff, first as a "quality control" coach, then as a grad assistant where he worked with the receivers. Through a bunch of connections and other interwebs through various coaching trees, Josh landed himself an interview at the University of Iowa last week. He called me tonight to let me know that he got the job and is headed Iowa City as we speak!

Josh is officially a B1G coach!

As far as I know, he'll be working with the receivers again, and working under the Offensive Coordinator. Not sure what the protocol is about travelling to games or recruiting, but I guess he'll find out when he gets there.

Aside from being my cousin, I love hearing about people who are okay with the grind for as long as it takes to get where they want to go. I think with his work ethic and dedication, Josh is going to be a Power-5 Offensive Coordinator 10 or 15 years from now. Keep it going lil bro!

Bonus footage: Josh vs. Buzz, 21-15-9 deadlift and squat. Summer 2013 (also you can spot Jay and Shannon there as well)

From the Vault: The Takeover Goes to Sparta

One year ago on this day Coach T and I made the trek out to Michigan State to speak at their annual Football Strength Clinic. To this day, this is probably my best non-Champions Club coaching performance, and Coach T can probably say the same for himself as well. We hit on everything we were hoping to, drew the most interest and participation from the crowd, and also acquired a good amount of follow-ups who looked for mentoring and collaboration after the clinic.

For a full review, see Reflections of a Dropout on Sparta.

Theme Workouts from the Vault

Around this time of year, the Champions Club has traditionally done two of our school-year theme workouts: Super Bowl and Valentine's day. For the second year in a row, we did not do the Super Bowl workout, but once we get the numbers back up we will be sure to bring it back. It will be difficult, however, to top the classic 2014 Super Bowl workout during the prime years for The Freaks. We had a crazy tiebreaker, a fishing battle, a chick-fight with Amy and Bubs, and the only sin Aaron Augustyn has ever committed was caught on video.

Later that month we did Anita Partyka's Valentine's Day Heartbreaker - a workout where teams are given cards to play on their opponents. Highlights from the last round can be seen below.

This one is not out of the running yet for this year. Stay tuned..

From the Vault: Lifts 4 Gifts

Aside from the fundraising and community building, Lifts 4 Gifts gives athletes a great opportunity to pr on their lifts. The Champions Club, in specific, doesn't really compete in any CrossFit events, so with Lifts 4 Gifts they get to experience a HYPE setting that gets the adrenaline going. Here's a few prs from the vault:

Mrs. Carey - 2015

Mr. Z - 2014

Brian the Trainer - 2011

Remember guys, Saturday at 9 am. Our gym.

From the Vault: Tim on the Rings

I think it is reasonable to say that gymnasts are, pound for pound, the strongest athletes in the world. Naturally, there are many gymnastics elements embedded in the CrossFit program. Actually owning a pair of rings was not common in the early CrossFit days, but thanks to Rogue and other suppliers they are readily available and affordable for anyone. And thank God for that because things change once athletes get on the rings. Back in 2015 I wrote a post about that after watching Tim go through Fundamentals.

Connection on Pushing Things

The article sums it up pretty well, and the only thing I would add would be that even doing a static hold in a plank position would be very beneficial for shoulder strength and stability. Push-ups and the like are a bonus. So yes, the rings can be awkward and difficult, but just remember that my main job is to expose you to things you are not good at. Doing something as simple as taking away a stable point of contact (the ground) goes a long way to challenge any movement.

From the Vault: Hero Workout, 2016

Summer 2016 was definitely the hottest one we have ever witnessed at the Champions Club. It was also the Summer that Katie Shakes asserted herself at the top of our ranks. She was part of the small 9 am session on June 16 of that year, along with Sabal, Elle, and 2013 Athlete of the Summer, Katie Bromm.

It is not often we extend workouts past the 20-minute time range, but on this day we blew past that with the hero workout "1775". This one included cleans, squats, and the infamous running with plates/bars, and lasted for 40 minutes.

Here's the highlights from that session.

Seeing the CC Difference

For all the shortcomings of our gym - warehouse look, homemade equipment, Arlene, the roof.. wait... we have a roof I think! - one thing you cannot really argue against is how well we move as a whole. I have been told by a very well-respected and well-known coach that it is between us and some gym in Europe that house the best "movers" in the business.

That's all you guys! Lots of coaches know as much as I do, or Shannon, or Murley, but not every coach has a group of athletes that accept those standards day-in and day-out for the long haul. One session? Sure. One week? Maybe, if they're in a deloading cycle. Years? No chance. And since around December 2010 when I decided our form was crappy (including mine), we have been on a constant, endless pursuit to move better than anyone we see. I mean, Jacob will probably volunteer and claim he has the worst form in the gym, and his push-ups on burpees look like this:

Alan! Fix your freaking head position!

What I've been noticing over the years is stories from you guys about seeing people move in other settings that don't look like Elizabeth, or Mrs. Carey, or Conor. Rachael was talking about one the other day working out in OU's rec center (if I recall correctly), Lindsey commented on a few out at Saginaw Valley, Shannon dropped by another CrossFit gym and was talking about bad box jump landing, and Crawford was squeeking on about some push-ups in one of his building trades classes (if you're confused, welcome to Crawford).

Yesterday I was talking with a coach who had his baseball team training with us last year, but switched to a different CrossFit gym this time around because the parents wanted somewhere that was not a half hour drive each way. Understood and no hard feelings. The first thing out of his mouth was:

"Brotha! I miss you guys! They don't teach technique over there like you."

This is a tough one for me, obviously. One one hand, I don't like the downtalking of another coach or gym (especially a fellow CrossFit gym). On the other hand, it does make me feel good that we have set a standard so high for movement quality that anything less is unspeakable and cringeworthy. When you see the difference, you know it. And it is evident when I have people like 8th-grade Maddy Wesner telling me her doctor was telling her squatting is bad, then showing her a squat with knees forward. Like learning how to do basic mobility work on yourself, good technique needs to be obvious to everyone, from 6-60 years old.

When you see something that doesn't look like how we move now, there are two things that should go through your mind:

1. Be humble

Don't forget, we used to look like this:

It's just a stage of a progression. Or they might emphasize a different area of the affiliate: intensity, weight, facility, revenue, etc.

2. Be proud

It took a lot of work to get from where we were in 2010 to now. Hours and hours of undoing bad habits, teaching new ones, then unteaching those when we found something better. You guys really do hold yourselves to very high standards of working out, and not everybody has that goal. Enjoy it!