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Congratulations to David Saporito, Athlete of the Summer, 2017

See his feature editorial here.

Entries in kroll (27)

Coach's Corner: More With Tempo

Among other things, this has been the Summer of tempo lifts. On Tuesday we worked slow sets of 5 front squats with everyone in our constant attempt to develop more movement control - and therefore strength. Here is the last sets from the 11 am and 6:30 pm sessions.

Carter: "OOWWWWW"

A couple points of note:

Rack position. The front rack archetype is one of the fundamentals shapes our shoulder need to be able to go through, and is very prominent in things like throwing and tumbling. In the front squat, the main limiting factor for most in keeping the elbows up isn't the wrists, and it's not necessarily the shoulders (although improved mobility will help). It's actually midline strength. At the bottom I yell out "elbows up" as a means to make sure the athletes are not breaking any position of the midline. I'm sure they noticed how much harder this made the lift.

Gravity. The more I am learning about strength and conditioning, the more I am beginning to realize the role of strength: resisting gravity when needed. If we are exaggerating the skill/technique of a movement, then we are working with natural forces (gravity, muscle/tendon elasticity). But in real life, we will not always have the perfect technique to serve what nature is offering us. Or maybe we will be blindsided by a linebacker. This is where strength comes in to help us keep our position relative.

Movement control. In order to keep position, we need to control how our body moves. This is what I refer to as movement control. This can be as simple as bracing the midline, or holding the figure-4 Pose in running. When you speed a movement up, athletes can find flow that can help them with the skill/technique; when they slow it down, it helps on the other end of the movement control spectrum. The front squats in the video above are a great challenge to the athletes' position. Watch Elizabeth go through her front squats; how many moving parts are there? Is her head moving? Her arms? Her belly? Not really. Watch Crawford (with 3 years less CrossFit experience); how many moving parts do you see? Was he able to control the squat movement to the tempo of my counting? What about Kroll?

Now this is all fun for me to talk about, but the thing I really value is intensity. So when we see movements with the squat performed at high intensity, I am interested to see if this translates as well as I think it will. Just some things to keep in mind...

Guest Post: A New Hope by, Rachael Kroll

“I’ll see you in three weeks” was the fated line that left me feeling like Luke after finding his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru barbequed by Darth Vadar. Instead of getting to relearn how to walk, it was confirmed that I would not be walking for another THREE weeks. Another three weeks of no driving, no walking, constant crawling/hopping everywhere, and THE LOOKS. Yes, the gaze of the wondering eyes of every stranger whose crosses my path; the unwanted glances thanks to the attention grabbing, attractive stainless steel rods that have become my right hand (or foot). As a consolation prize, I would be able to get my foot wet and no longer have bandages, but, oh, to walk again! That’s would be bliss, a wish fulfilled by Genie, the return of simplicity to my life. I got some exercises to do to start loosening up the joints but to me, after 7 weeks of this crap, I could only focus on the fact that it would be a total of 10 weeks of not being able to walk or be independent. It felt like getting a shit sandwich with a side of a single Oreo cookie, not doubled stuffed.

Not to mention I got very sick just the day before. You know how it just feels like really bad allergies but turns out to be worse? Yep, just my luck. I had the whole sinus thing complete with water slide (in actuality, stomach pains, dizziness, and migraines). It was in this dilapidated state that I got the devastating news. Basically, an absolutely amazing week that couldn’t be topped.

So I got to spend my 4th of July weekend napping on a boat and watching people go on the Jet Ski and run amuck as I wobbled to and fro on my crutches. For two more weeks I hobbled and bobbled to work, to the gym, and back home, quietly (or not so quietly) anticipating the next appointment for hopes of losing the metal sticks that were the force behind my mobility. I daringly would place my foot on the ground and rock back and forth, just for a small smackerel of the honey pot. I felt fine. What did the doctor know, really? I am wwwaaayyy smarter, right? I knew I was ready to walk but toed the line set by the magician with surgical equipment, at least up until 5 days before the appointment.

“Finally, it’s happenin’ to me…” I got the a-okay to lose the crutches, my tormentors for the past 10 WEEKS! Oh, but I still had to wear the bulky hulk boot. Supposedly I could slowly increasing the percentage of body weight I walked on, but since I had already put one hundred percentage on my foot, I did not follow these precautions (let me note my physical therapist said the whole percentage thing was crap anyways but more on him later). I could start physical therapy and begin my recovery. Of course, I make my very first PT appointment for Thursday, two days later. Though I could have found a place closer to home, I had a mischievous scheme: by going to the PT at the doctor’s office, the over-protective cautious Fairy Godmother could check up and approve me for all sorts of goodies before my official appointment three weeks later.

I go to therapy, not really sure what to expect, and I get a foot massage and do some stretches of sorts. I realized how much mobility and ROM I lost [Not to mention Tuesday’s workout of 50s. Wall balls left me feeling in severe pain in one quad, and no fatigue in the other. The most awkward feeling in the world when you had no idea how much muscle in random areas has deteriorated]. So I had to rebuild the atrophied muscles and tendons, while also compensating for loss of bone density due to lack of use. I got very positive vibes from the PT, mostly because he said I was moving really good and would need 4 weeks, NOT 6 weeks of therapy. Hoping the good news would keep flowing, I planned on hitting the WODs at Champions Club almost e’rryday. Unfortunately, I still had not been clear to drive (though I had secretly been driving small distances just to be a rebel), so my ability to hit the gym relied on my mother not having to work or my lazy younger brother being willing to drive me (which is especially difficult due to the fact he does not want to work out and had recently injured his back). To complicate matters further, as Bubs knows, working out with a bulky thing-a-ma-jig limiting mobility SUCKS! I would squat and lean all the way to one side. I was lopsided, since the Bulk-a-thon 3000 added a good 3 inches to one leg. Every movement felt weighted due not only to the boot, but to the addition of sweat that stored itself inside the lining of the boot as if Winter WAS Coming.

I, of course, was not wearing my boot unless walking on weird surfaces,  doing my pt exercises 3-4 times a day instead of the prescribed 2 (which was totally approved by my pt, I swear), and trying to restrain myself from being completely frustrated. I still couldn’t run, jump, lift heavy weights, walk completely normal for more than a mile, drive… you get it by now. It got difficult to see everyone doing so well and being able to be so free and not be aware of it (obviously understandable. We all take things for granted until we lose it). I could take my dog for a mile walk, but couldn’t run or go much further. I walked barefoot to gain my calluses back, but the baby-bottom smoothness of the bottom of my foot left my heel and balls (of my foot) feeling very raw.  I went to Stoney to do the fitness trail, and proceeded to perform a limp-jog in a pathetic manner to the 16th station only to walk the “rest”, ignoring the stations with bees, splintering wood, and burning hot metal. I carried on like a wayward son and was walking better on the rocky downhill trails versus the smooth flat pavement, which I found ironic. Later that day, I got a searing wake-up call when I could not run through the piping hot sand. I had never been more grateful for cold water in all my life.

Now, after a week of physical therapy, I don’t really wear my boot and try to be as active as possible to work back muscle and ROM. I drove to Grand Rapids to get a ride to a bachelorette party in Traverse City and successfully walked 2 miles, biked, and kayaked to my heart’s desire (though I now have a blister on my pinky toe…payback is a bitch). I got to return to my old job so I now work two jobs, trying to get to the box 4-5times a week, study for MTTC tests and prepare for the next semester (which has brought a financial strain that I has not stressed me out in the past. It is as if there is all this pressure to do really well and people are counting on me but I just feel like being a kid and not following Dumbledore’s [I mean, wise adults] orders/advice).

I have a gnarly scar that I am trying to assassinate, along with some swelling that is still noticeable to me (probably from not wearing the boot but what mamma don’t know don’t hurt). I am hoping to be fully independent by next week. With two weeks left of pt, there are still concerns in my head: Will I get full rom back? Will I regain my lost muscle mass? Will my foot look normal? Will I walk normal, pigeon toed, or some other concoction? How soon ‘till I can run and jump without a second thought? How normal is normal, considering my track record? This is the first time I have ever wanted summer to end. I just want things to be back to how they were before, where I could go for a jog with my dog, relish the days with max effort WODs, and (pathetically) go up and down stairs without a sideways lunge type thingy. But everything works out, right? So that this process can be repeated 365 days later? It’s totally worth it…I think. At least I won’t have one old lady foot and one Frankenstein foot once this whole ordeal is finished. I wish this could all end like Mortal Kombat, with a sick “FINISH HIM” move as the half-dead opponent (my lovely genetic bunions) swagger to their doom.

New Graduate: Mrs. Kroll

Sometimes peer pressure is the best way to get things accomplished. And sometimes it's just pain old trickery, deception, and manipulation. All techniques were on display yesterday at the 4:30 session when Mrs. Kroll got on the rope fully expecting to do a half-climb. Unbeknownst (spelling?) to her, her daughter was lying in wait wth the camera on record. Then peer pressure took over. Here's what we got:

Mrs. Kroll's first rope climb! Great job kiddo!

Pics of the Week: Bubs Being Bubs

Coaches will always have favorites because human beings have favorites and coaches are humans. My favorites fall into two categories: 1) are very low-maintenance or 2) play basketball.

The second criteria is an obvious bias, so whatever. But the first is, to me, the best kind of athletes to have in the gym. Bad stuff happens to everyone; the ones who don't whine and complain and extend their misery to ethe people around them are athletes I want on my Champions Club team. Luckily, we have a lot of them. But since 2010, I can't think of one non-parent who has been more low-maintenance than Bubs.

And this is why Bubs is Bubs...

She makes the best out of whatever situation she happens to be in at the moment. We have quite a few athletes with injuries at the moment. Follow Bubs's example and you will be in good company. In fact, I'm sure Kroll will have a similar post sometime next week...

The Most Tragic Day That Was Almost Never Meant to Be

by, Rachael Kroll

Friday, April 21st, a day that will live in infamy…for the most part. For the past month or so, I had been working out hard, focusing on developing new skills to the point of annoying Chris for more open gym time. I even created a chipper wod, but ended up doing the workout on a Wednesday, almost flying solo. Nerves and Anxiety followed me everywhere since the beginning of the year. Due to poor genetics, I had bunions, a condition where the metatarsal grows weird. By February of 2017, the pain from these wonderful growths was getting to be unbearable. I could barely walk, let alone run. Collapsing in my seat after walking half a mile to class brought me to the reality of the situation: it was time to get them chopped off.

Friday, April 21st, started off with a wake-up call of 4:30am for an hour drive out to Novi. I still felt unprepared but was not gonna let my mind play tricks on me.  One hour nap later, my mom, my dad, and I saunter into the operating center. 5 minutes later, we find out that my doctor was ill and could not perform the surgery, kindly informing the staff only 30 minutes prior to our arrival. At that point, I felt slightly disheartened. I was not quite prepared for the surgery, but I felt like I just wished it was over at that point as I reflected on my less then exciting morning on the hour drive back home. 

After a weekend of doing as much as I could outside and on my feet, I looked forward to a call from the doctors that Monday. As I walked into CrossFit on Monday morning, I saw a clear look of disgust from Chris’s face: Bridge had arrived, had been working out for at least 8 days straight, could not run to save her life, and did not disappear for two months like she promised. I could tell he wanted to apparate. So, burnt-out and tired, I worked out for two more days. The fateful phone call later on Monday informed me that Wednesday, April 26th was my new doomsday.

Wednesday, April 26th started out just like the fateful day five days earlier, except for the fact that I actually got to go into the operating room and get pumped full of drugs in order to not remember the next five hours. After nearly passing out as the nurse inserted the I.V. (but in my defense, there was a heated blanket on top of me. I believe they were asking for it and those that know me would agree), the last thing I remembered was talking gibberish to no one in general.

Blackout drunk, I arose from my slumber with a gigantic cast on my right foot, a foot that I could barely lift or move from my intoxication. I was shivering and shaking as I tried to drink some water and eat some animal crackers to bring back life into my body. One wheelchair ride and an hour drive in a car later, I hobbled up to my room and immediately fell asleep. I was now the Bionic Woman, with three screws holding my metatarsal together.

The next two or three weeks was a repeating cycle of sleeping, eating, taking meds, coloring, reading, watching movies, and degrading into a lifestyle that was less than desirable. I had to eat full meals at specific times because of the medication I was taking. It was frustrating trying to eat when one was not hungry and when mother dearest (doing her best, I might add) would bring me food and water regardless if I was going to consume them. I refused to take the pain medication because I stayed up the whole night the first time I took them. Despite this fact, the amount of pain I was in never rose above a six. Instead, I had to fight boredom and the realization that the recovery time I predicted was way off course.

Let us just say that someone, cough* me cough*, who is used to working out at least 2-3 times a day, regardless of what others say, is now immobile and had to spend the first 2-3 weeks strictly lying on their back because that was the most comfortable position. An ice bag that refused to stay in place, the constant hopping to do the most simple tasks that degenerated to me crawling on hands on knees (with built-up callouses on my knee-caps, I might add),  and the inability to drive anywhere to see anyone or doing anything was beginning to take its toll around week four. The simplest of tasks would bring exhaustion as if I was an 80-year-old decrepit woman. A forced lifestyle was brought upon me and I felt helpless. Working out seemed like an impossible task since I relied on not only my single leg, but also my arms for livelihood. What is the point of working out and obtaining muscle fatigue if I would be literally unable to move the next day?  The only source of entertainment I received, besides from the glowing tube, came from a doodle that I drew: a pterodactyl eating a taco. After moping about for another week and receiving a very flexible timeline regarding my cast and recovery time, I decided it was about damn time I did something to fix my situation.

Now entering the next phase of my recovery: the point in time where I began to be slightly reckless. I spent a lot of time hopping to sun tan by my pool, using the diving board to prop up my cast because I had to keep it elevated. I began to do a mini wod that included dips off of my desk chair, pushups on my knees, sit-ups, and at least ten minutes of yoga to start moving again. This pitiful excuse of a wod helped to get me moving and not focus on the fact that I couldn’t do much. I began to slightly regret my decision even though it would benefit me in the long run, and contemplate whether the other foot is even necessary to cut up. Nearly passing out each time I look at my foot was embarrassing, but nothing equaled the pain of getting stiches removed. I now have an atrophied calf, an inflamed ankle, and raw armpits from the crutches. Was it all worth it?

A new day that would live in infamy: Wednesday, June 7th. As the nurse sawed through the cast and killed not only my pterodactyl and my personified taco, but all the other caricatures that helped me survive the past six weeks. That was followed by some positive news: the top joint had fused and I would get new fashionable footwear that I nicknamed the hulk. I was relived until the words “non-weight bearing” were uttered. Fudge, I would still have to use the crutches and crawl around everywhere. But I was on the road to recovery! The next morning, I surprised Chris and showed my miserable face in the box. It had been six longs weeks without Lil’ Kroll, something that seemed unimaginable to me. As the hobbit hobbled out of the car, the biggest smirk appeared across Chris’s face and I knew deep, deep, deep, deep, deep down, there was excitement that the shortest member of the OGs had returned home.

I have been working a desk job so I can afford school in the fall, but have had a few adventures here and there. This past week, I have done more CrossFit-type of workouts at my house in an attempt to slow down my body turning to mush. I just try to keep focusing on the next fated day, June 20th, a day where I learn if I can walk. 

State of the Website Summer 2017 + Schedule Reminder

The schedule for this weekend is as follows:


9 am (kids team workout)*

11 am (babies)

*open to parents from 9-11 for mobility on their own



10 am (mobility)

11 am (parents team workout)


There will be a few new features coming up on the website starting next week: First, VJ has the next installment of his Published Paper Politics mini-series - this one about the peer review process and motivation. Also, I am excited to announce that Rachael Kroll is doing a mini-series on her training with her foot thing. The first part has been emailed to me and I am pleasantly surprised both with how well she writes and how honest she came off. Look for that on Monday.

Every Saturday we will post our Athlete of the Week sometime in the evening. The prize for this award is a few words from me and jealousy and envy among your peers. As with most things, this is heavily based on attendance, so show up!

Athlete Profiles and the Exercise and Demos pages are almost up to date. I'll do a post on those soon, but Bubs has been coming up big for me on those!

Finally, in previous Summer's we've done anywhere from 2-3 posts per day most of the time. We'll probably back off that a bit, as I'm sure you've been able to tell. If you could manage to pick up the comment game - especially on the new kid/new graduate posts - that would be appreciated. I'll work on getting good posts up that are discussion worthy like the Polls or some theory stuff to help this along. Any time we have new people I always take them through a tour of the website and encourage them to keep up. Put yourself in their shoes: if you are brand new and see a video of your first rope climb on the site along with 7 or 8 people showing their appreciation, it would definitely make you feel more at home. Plus with the babies, this will be going to their parents.

So again, if you guys can make an effort for that, it would be appreciated. As an incentive, here's a naked picture of Jacob.

Mystery Athlete Might Be Obvious

Got this DropBox picture last week.



  1. This athlete just had a successful surgery to remove a lovely bunion from her foot and it on pace to make a full/healthy recovery.
  2. This athlete has withstood the pressure of conforming to the smart phone culture and retained her sliding Motorolla thing.
  3. This athlete has been known to box jump her height.


The next picture comes from this morning's 8:30 am session. Saporito did not write his workout time on the board because his gingerness didn't feel the need to follow directions. So he made one of the moms do it for him. The only question is: which mom spelled his name "Divid?" Was it Mrs. Kroll, Mama V, or Mrs. Fitz?

If the nickname "Div" doesn't stick I'm going to be very disappointed. Post your guesses to comments.