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WOD Recover Yoga for Rowing

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Catch, drive, finish and recover, better known as rowing. Functional fitness athletes know all too well the pain that accompanies rowing. Row sprints can fatigue muscles quickly and tax the cardiovascular system. Rowing for distance, like 13.1 miles, can wreck your low back and legs during, and after the workout is complete. This continuous fluid movement, which doesn’t allow for much rest, often leads to repetitive stress injuries and tightness. Low back pain is one of the most common injuries seen in collegiate rowers. If these athletes who work so hard to become a specialist in this particular movement and constantly train to improve their performance have issues, it stands to reason that functional fitness athletes will as well. And with the athletes I work with, this is very much the case. Along with low back pain, IT Band inflammation due to the repetitive motion of the catch (when the knees bend before the beginning of the next pull) is relatively common. Inflammation can be caused by tightness, which doesn’t always originate at the IT Band but in the attached muscles like glutes or quads. Stretching and mobilizing immediately after and in the days following this movement, is crucial for fast recovery.

When looking at the muscle groups targeted during the 4 phases of the rowing movement, we begin to see this is a full body movement with certain muscle groups doing most of the work. The posterior chain, quads, rhomboids, abdominals and calves work hard in a particular order and rhythm to produce this powerful movement. The yoga postures listed below stretch, release and relax the major movers of this repetitive movement.

Tips and Tricks:

*   As this is WOD Recover Yoga, it is always best to do these postures after working out. When the muscles are warm, stretching is easier.

*   Stay in the pose, breathing in and out through the nose for up to 2 minutes depending on how you feel. Allow the body some time to relax in the posture so that as the muscles relax, you deepen the stretch.

1. Thread the Needle

* Stretches upper back and rhomboids


Starting in a tabletop position with the shoulders stacked over wrists and the hips over the knees. Extend your right arm out to the right and on your exhale, thread your right are through over to the left. Bring the right shoulder on the ground. Walk the left hand over to the left and on your exhale, press through the left palm and open the chest towards the ceiling. Lengthen the left side of the torso while you twist the spine.

2. Twisted Monkey

* Stretches hip flexors and abdominals


Step the right foot forward and to the right of your hip. Point the front toes out, keep the front knee hugging into the right shoulder and the back toes untucked. Bend the back knee and grab the foot with the right hand. Allow the foot to fall into the hand to relax the hamstrings and prevent cramping. Draw the heel in towards the butt to deepen stretch in the left psoas.

3. Revolved Seated Staff

* Stretches low back, outer hips and IT Band


Start by sitting with the legs straight out in front. Grab for the outside of the right foot with the left hand thumb down. Grounding the sit bones, extend the spine and sit up tall. Begin to open the chest towards the right side placing the right hand behind you. From here, extend the right leg to your degree. You should feel an intense stretch along the outer hip and down to the outer right knee. Use each exhale to gradually deepen the twist and each inhale to sit up taller.

4. Seated Forward Fold

* Stretches low back, hamstrings and calves


Start seated with the legs straight out in front. Sit up tall, flex the feet and engage the quads. Roll the tops of the thighs towards one another. Reach the arms up and on your exhale, leading with the chest, fold forward. Grab the toes. If necessary, use a strap or band around the arches of the feet. Keep the back of the neck long. Continue to extend the chest out as you breath through this stretch for up to 2 minutes.

5. Reclined Spinal Twist

* Stretches low back and shoulders


Start by lying on your back with your left thigh over the right thigh. Shift the hips to the left and on your exhale send the knees to the right. Extend the left arm out to the left. To continue the stretch up the back of the neck, gaze over your left fingers. As you breath, you will notice your left knees will begin to drop towards the ground.  Breath in and out through the nose for up to two minutes then switch sides. * If this is too much on the back, bring the knees together and then twist.

6. Pigeon/Eye of the Needle

* Stretches glutes and low back


Starting in Down Dog, bring the right shin forward and place it on the ground. Keep the right foot flexed. The right knee should be to the right of the hip. Extend the left leg back. Roll towards the front of the left hip so the hips are square towards the ground. Depending on tightness, shift the right heel forward, but only if this doesn’t hurt the right knee. Once you feel an intense stretch in the glutes, walk the hands forward, resting the forehead on the ground or on your hands. If at anytime there is pain in the right knee use Eye of the Needle as a great alternative.

**Eye of the Needle


7. Plow

* Stretches upper, middle and low back


Start by lying on your back. On an inhale, bring the feet up and over, towards the ground behind the head. If the toes don’t easily touch, draw the shoulder blades and elbows together, then grab the low back. Most of the weight should be in the upper arm bones. Breathe here for about a month and slowly; lower down onto your back.

WOD Recovery Yoga for Ring Dips

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

For any functional fitness athlete looking to improve performance, bringing themselves closer to the level of competitors, one must have a solid ring dip. Not only is this movement important for improving shoulder, lat and core strength, it is a huge part of a muscle up, a movement that separates amateur and elite athletes. Strength in the initial stages of learning the movement can be a big limiting factor, but once the strength is gained, the ability to get the shoulders below plane of the elbows can become the difference between a good or bad ring dip rep or a successful muscle up. Most people catch the muscle up at the very bottom of their ring dip, unless you come from a gymnastics background, that is how functional fitness athletes are taught. So, improving your shoulder mobility for the bottom of your ring dip will not only improve the dip as well as overall shoulder strength, but it carries over to your muscle up, which, let’s face it, is one of the highly coveted functional fitness movements.

The poses laid out below are a combination of recovery and mobility. These poses stretch all the muscles engaged during the entire ring dip movement, to encourage recovery and reduce soreness post WOD. In addition to recovery, poses like Reverse Table Top and Clasp Hand Forward Fold specifically target the anterior deltoids, opening up the front of the shoulders to begin to allow for full depth ring dips. Increasing mobility in this region will take time, so be patient. Understanding that mobility and flexibility are just as much a part of functional fitness as being able to lift heavy weight, will in the long run, improve your form which leads to improved performance.

Tips and Tricks

* As this is WOD Recover Yoga, it is always best to do these postures after working out. When the muscles are warm, stretching is easier.

* Stay in the pose, breathing in and out through the nose for up to 2 minutes depending on how you feel. Allow the body some time to relax in the posture so that as the muscles relax, you deepen the stretch.

* Props are always encouraged, so use whatever you have:  bands, PVC pipe or towels.

1. Reverse table top


Start seated with your feet on the ground hips distance, toes pointing forward and your hands behind you fingers pointing toward the heels. Slightly turn the hands out so the first fingers point forward. Extend the hips up, grounding through the heels.  Squeeze the shoulder blades together. Lift the front of the chest (sternum) up and feel the collar bones widen. Keep head neutral and gaze up.  To deepen the stretch, shift the hips forward opening the front of the chest and shoulders.

2. Criss Cross arms


Start by lying on your belly. Then, sit up onto your forearms. Thread the right arm through, under the left arm and to the left. Then walk your left arm out to the right until you’ve reached your limit. Move the body forward so you are laying more on top of the triceps.  Allow the chin to fall toward the triceps as you relax the head down. Slowly breathe in and out through the nose, relaxing the shoulders, neck and chest. Switch sides after a minute or so.

3. Gate Pose


Start in a kneeling position. Extend the left leg out to the left with the left toes pointing forward.  Keep the right hip stacked over the right knee. On your inhale, lift your right arm up, palm facing down. Lengthen your tailbone toward the ground. On your exhale, extend through the side body and lean over to the left. Turn the right side of the chest up, resisting the urge to lean forward. Place your left hand either below the left knee or above it for a light support.

4. Clasp Hand Forward Fold


Start with the feet hips distance. Clasp the hands by the low back.  Squeeze the shoulder blades together, keeping a slight bend in the elbow. On your exhale fold forward. Bring the hands up and over the head focusing on the stretch in the shoulders. Breathe in this stretch for up to a minute, allowing gravity to slowly open shoulders, modify if needed.

crossFIXE Muscle Paste – unicorn horn dust in a jar

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Thank you Sandy Shepard for sharing this wonderful product write up!

crossFIXE_MUSCLEI’m not easily impressed.
Well, that’s not totally true – I’m super easily impressed by the awesomeness that always surrounds me daily at Crossfit – but when it comes to products . . .
I’m not easily impressed.
Over “Black Friday/Cyber Monday,” WOD Superstore was having a sale, and so I decided it was high time to get me some voodoo floss bands. I threw a little tub of CrossFIXE muscle paste into the package, because with the new Crossfit/Krissy Mae Cagney “Sexy Sculpt” routine, muscles I didn’t even know existed are hurting.
childI used the Muscle Paste last night after a particularly punishing morning “Upper Push” session that took nearly 2 hours and left me unable to even do Child’s Pose with my arms (truth). Push Press, Bench Press, Plate Raises, Cleans, Tricep isolations, Pushups, Dips . . . you know the drill. My elbows, triceps and shoulders were killing me when I went to bed, so I slathered on some of this stuff and went to sleep. Didn’t smell too bad – a little herbal – and this is important because my husband can’t stand sleeping next to me if I have on a “smelly” balm of any kind. (Poor guy lived through enough of that when I did the Ironman to last several lifetimes.)
My elbows seem to always be hurting. I am fairly “loose limbed” (uncharitably referred to as “gangly” in my youth), and though I really watch my form in Crossfit, some of the lifts just seem to push that particular joint to the limit.
I woke up this morning and . . .
I got nothin’.
As in – for the first time in what seems like forever, my elbows don’t hurt in the slightest. I even did a couple of Billy Blanks-esque boxing moves (remember him??) and . . .
I got nothin’.
The product contains blueberry extract (antioxidant), coffee extract (stimulant), sea buckthorne oil (skin repair), coconut oil and the like. The antioxidants and stimulants supposedly help support blood flow and promote healing to sore skin, muscle, and connective tissue.
All the ingredients are “food-grade” and natural, which I suppose means that you can eat this stuff (though I wouldn’t recommend it). When compared to something like your usual Ben Gay-ish product with a fistful of unpronounceable chemicals, this is a bonus . . . especially because the product seems to work.
I’ve tried arnica-related products with limited success – I have also used Traumeel - which has a number of actual medical studies pointing out that its homeopathy often works better than NSAIDs, without the NSAID issues. Traumeel is, however, homeopathic – meaning it uses diluted botanical/mineral extracts to address inflammation – so while it has been medically shown to have actual long-term anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it’s not an “overnight” thing.
Interestingly enough, the company that makes CrossFIXE also has a product line calledRIDICULOUS! – which even includes a “pain spray” and a bath soak. The ingredients on that one (I don’t have it – I’m looking at it online) say:
Coconut oil, organic sesame oil, green tea oil, blended with a special sauce of organic ingredients to soothe tension, soreness, tightness, etc. caused by lifting weights, running, cycling, Cross Fit, mad strength trainers, crazy marathon runners, etc.
Gotta tell you, if you are getting something from WOD SuperStore and you want to tuck a little extra in, I would certainly give the Muscle Fixe a try, given my own experience with it.
I might even give the RIDICULOUS! line a try – especially as (from the advertising on their site, mind you) it seems like this is an amped up version of Muscle Fixe.
Oh, and . . .
. . . NOPE, I did not get paid to write this review. And who knows, maybe the unicorn horn dust will wear off ten minutes from now – but until that time, I am blissfully unaware of my poor overused muscles and constantly aching elbows – and for that, I am immensely thankful!Ya gots any products that contain “unicorn horn dust” for you? Let me know! I’d love to try them!

Sandy’s Original post can be found here.

7th Annual Epic Bridge Run and Holiday Hours

Monday, December 8th, 2014

1519644_658991764151515_1753589945_oBe a part of The Cave History at The Most Known Bridge in The World

Start off the New Year right by performing a series of challenging workouts on both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is the 7th Annual Epic Bridge Run, and like the previous four, details of the workouts will not be released until the day of the event. We have survived the zombie apocalypse, rescued friends and gathered supplies in a disaster scenario, formed tribes, hunted game and carted back the supplies for the village, and expressed our inner hero. Join us to find out what this year is all about.
Register here:
Start Time: Jan 1, 2015 09:00AM -End Time: Jan 1, 2015 12:00PM
Event Location: Golden Gate Bridge1534799_658991830818175_1370890418_o
Member cost: $30.00
Nonmember cost: $40.00

Christmas and New Years:
The Cave will be OPEN for all regularly scheduled classes (in all disciplines) on December 23rd(Tuesday) and the morning of December 24th (Wednesday), as well as January 2nd (Friday) andJanuary 3rd (Saturday).
We will be CLOSED Christmas Eve (from 2:00pm on), as well as December 25th (Thursday) throughJan 1st (Thursday) - ALL classes cancelled.
(To be clear: December 24th morning classes include CrossFit, Preschool and Mommy and Me.)
If you have any questions regarding holiday hours, please contact Amy at

Challenge WOD 5:

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Challenge WOD 5:
21-15- 9 of
RX: OHS 43/30 KG and Toes 2 Bar
Scaled: 30/15 OHS/ knees to chest
Movement Standards:
Overhead squat:
This is a standard Overhead squat.  A full squat snatch is permitted, but not required, to start the movement if the standard depth is achieved. The hip crease must be below the knee at the bottom. The hips and knees must fully open at the top with the barbell locked out overhead.
Toes to barIn the Toes to bar, the athlete must go from a full hang to having the toes touch the pull-up bar. The arms and hips must be fully extended at the bottom and the the feet must be brought back to behind the bar, not out front. Both feet must touch the bar together at some point. The arms can be bent or straight.
Knees to ChestIn the knees to Chest, the athlete must go from a full hang to having the knees come into the chest, above the hip crease. The arms and hips must be fully extended at the bottom and the the feet must be brought back to behind the bar, not out front. Both feet must touch the chest together at some point. The arms can be bent or straight.
3,2,1, GO….. This WOD begins with the barbell on the floor and the athlete bringing it to the over head position.  A full squat snatch can be used anytime the athlete needs to return to the OHS position, and counted as a rep if full depth is achieved. Time is called when the last toes 2 bar or knees to chest is achieved.

Challenge WOD #4 has been extended!

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Because of the holiday, I know it was difficult to find time to take on challenge WOD #4. So, we’ve decided to extend it until this Sunday!!
it’s only 7 minutes, making it easy to find time before or after class to attack it.
Challenge WOD #4 is a 7 minute AMRAP
RX: 50 double unders and 15 handstand push ups, or
Scaled 100 single jumps and 15 dumbbell push press. (35/20 lb)
Challenge WOD is a great way to push yourself, practice for upcoming competitions, cheer on your friends, and don’t forget there are great prizes for top and/or consistent competitors.
Sam R has been crushing all the workouts, and Margo is showing a great performance as well.  Amanda and Bo consistently post the time to beat but Chelsea is showing strong, too. It’s been great to see Roya and Heather take on the scaled options, both with great numbers, too.  I wonder who rises to the top with Challenge WOD #4.
So let’s keep the momentum going and give Challenge WOD #4 a try!
Who’s in?

This Week In the Cave

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Kids’ Night Out This Saturday!

Parents, don’t forget to sign your children up this Saturday for Kids’ Night Out! This Kids’ Night Out will be Ugly Sweater Night.

The Cave is now offering yoga by Stephanie Ring on Thursday from 4:35-5:25. We hope to see you there!

The Cave is now selling Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut water! YUM! Come to the office to try it out and give us your feedback!
Click here to Reply or Forward
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Challenge WOD #5 and December Monthly Skill Challenege

Monday, December 1st, 2014

December Monthly skill challenge is:
Handstand shoulder touches.
These can be done against the wall or free standing.  This is for total max touches in one handstand.For against the wall: 2 shoulder touches = 1 rep, free standing with a spot 2 touches = 1 rep and freestanding without any help 1 touch is one rep.

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The 17 commandments of rowing

Friday, November 28th, 2014

1402357_10151923022080853_158321450_oWhy am I smiling in this picture?  Because I WAS DONE ROWING!  The rower and I don’t get along well, I’m more of a burpee girl.  However, I’m always working on my technique and perhaps one day I’ll smile like this when I get on the rower, not off.
My friend Becca recently shared this list with me that has some great tips to remember.
The 17 commandments of rowing:
1. Don’t grip too hard – Don’t hold on so hard to the handle. Keep enough grip to not lose the handle, but also not so much that you wear out your hands, have achy forearms, and tear up your palms.
2. Drive with your legs – Rowing is mostly about your legs. Despite your natural instincts, your legs are far stronger than your arms and should be doing the vast majority of the work. Your quads and booty should be toasted after a hard rowing workout.
3. Imagine you’re doing a clean – If you don’t know how to perform this lift properly, don’t imagine this. Imagining doing a clean won’t help in that case.
4. Legs, hips, arms, arms, hips, legs – This is the sequence of rowing. If you reorganize this list, it doesn’t work.
5. Drive straight back – If you feel yourself lift off the seat, or tragically, you pop off the seat and land on the rail, it is because you are pushing UP instead of back. Push straight back.
6. Don’t let your butt go solo – Don’t shoot your butt back first. Keep your core engaged throughout the stroke; the angle of your back should not change as you drive with your legs. Said another way, the handle should travel in sync with your seat for the initial leg drive portion of the stroke.
7. Don’t pull with your arms – Keep your elbows straight as you drive your legs. It’s about your legs, not your arms. As soon as your arms bend, you’ve lost the ability to translate power from your legs.
8. Keep your elbows relaxed – Don’t lift up your elbows at your sides. Don’t artificially tuck them in, either. Keep them relaxed at a natural angle and don’t make chicken wings.
9. Don’t shrug your shoulders up – Don’t pull your shoulders UP into your ears as you drive back in the stroke. Instead, imagine you are pulling your shoulder blades together behind you.
10. Pull the handle to the bottom of your ribs – For the ladies, you want to pull the handle to the bottom of your sports bra. For the men, pretend you’re wearing a sports bra.
11. Sit up tall at all times – Hinge at the hips and keep good posture, like a good morning or a deadlift. Lift your chest up. Don’t let your lower back or shoulders collapse. Be relaxed, but with good posture.
12. Imagine your upper body like a pendulum – Okay, maybe an upside down pendulum. More like a needle ticking back and forth between 11:00 and 1:00 on a clock face. At the “catch” or beginning of the stroke, right before you drive back, you should be leaned forward at the 1:00 position. At the “finish” or far end of the stroke, when your legs are fully extended, you should lean back to the 11:00 position.
13. Feel the connection through your feet – The whole way through the drive you should feel a solid connection between the balls of your feet and the footplates.
14. Don’t re-bend your knees too soon – As you start to return forward in your stroke, your knees need to remain straight until the handle is above your mid-shin. Hinge at the hips, sit up tall, and wait (just like with a deadlift) until the bar has passed your knees to re-bend them.
15. Don’t slam the seat into your heels – As you continue to move forward and return to the start of the stroke, you should stop when your shins are perpendicular to the ground and your heels are curled up off the footplates, but your seat should never run into your feet.
16. Breathe properly – Exhale as you drive back; inhale as you recover forward.
17. Focus on consistent steady movement – You are the master of the numbers on the computer screen, not the victim of them. Steady consistent movement will be more efficient. Remember you are on the “water” – smooth movement is rewarded. Smooth movement is fast and efficient. Jerky movements make waves and flip boats.

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“The Don”

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

“The Don” donmarler_th
U.S. Marine Corporal Donald M. Marler, 22, of St. Louis, Missouri, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, California, died on June 6, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He is survived by his mother Susan, his father David Sr., his sister Jennifer Pupillo, and his brothers David Jr. and Jacob.
For time:
66 Deadlifts 115/85
66 Box jumps 24/20
66 Kettlebell swings (1.5/1)
66 Knees to elbows
66 Ab Mat Sit-ups
66 Pull-ups
66 Thrusters, (55/35)
66 Wall balls (20/14)
66 Burpees
66 Double-unders (264 Singles)

May Dan’s Family find comfort and as he Rests In Peace.

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