Squat mobility sequence
Mobility is an important and often overlooked facet in all of our training.

The fact is compounded when we add something like a strength program to our normal training.

To maintain healthy joint function, progressively improve ranges of motion and help prevent injury in your squat program I recommend beginning your 5x5 Back Squat sessions with the following mobility circuit.

Squat mobility circuit:
A. Standing hip circles, x5 each direction, each leg
B. 90/90 hip rotations, x10
C. Knee pushes, x10-20 each leg
D. Squatting, thoracic rotations, x5 each side
E. Duck walk, x48ft

This circuit will only take you 10 minutes.

It will dramatically increase your takeaway from the squat program.

Do it. Do it now! :-)

5x5 Back Squat Program
Barbell Club is back!

Beginning this Thursday we will meet each week at 6:00am and 5:30pm on Thursdays to develop your technique in the snatch and the clean & jerk. Whether you are completely new to Olympic weightlifting or have prior experience, these classes will absolutely improve your ability and help increase your strength and power production. If you are free on Thursdays, this is where you want to be. ;-)

Classes will be coach-led and focus on one of the major lifts each session.

This class is FREE to all members and open to ALL LEVELS.
The Arizona CrossFit Affiliate Competition is an exciting event. It fires me up that we have 20 Free Rangers signed up for 2016!

Competition has always been an integral part of CrossFit. The beauty of a competition is that it becomes the proving grounds for our fitness. A specific time and place to test what we have been training. And, if we go into the event with the right mindset, we will learn a lot about ourselves and where we can further improve our game.

In an effort to help us get the most of this competition, I would like to explore three training concepts with you. Consistency, intensity and training weaknesses.

I recently listened to an excellent podcast during my weekly gym-scrub-down-cleaning-day. In the discussion, they shared an insight that struck a chord with me. People tend to overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year. I believe one way to restore an appreciation for what can be done in a year is focusing on consistency.

In our training, consistency is the sum total of hundreds of little decisions we make each day. These simple actions add up to something substantial in our training months later. Our warm-up, mobility, and movement mechanics are key contributors here. Extending our elbows on every push press rep. Focusing on the quality of each of our "tea cups." Trusting in a progression for developing a skill. These quality decisions help build performance and, more important perhaps, they become habits. As the saying goes: "How you do anything is how you do everything."

Let this event challenge us to look at how we spend your time and effort in (and outside) the gym. We have three months until the event. What positive, consistent habits can we build (or refine) by then?

We'll chat Intensity and Weaknesses later this week!
5 years of Free Range
1500+ WODs. Countless PRs. An incredible community.

There is a lot you can say about CrossFit. It is a workout, a community, a lifestyle, a sport. Above all else, though, it represents a philosophy centered around a daily challenge to step outside your comfort zone. This is no easy task. The kind of character and camaraderie that this forges is something special. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to share this daily challenge with so many of you over the years. It's amazing to watch the transformations - large and subtle - take place every day. Thank you for helping me grow as an individual and a coach, and for walking this path with me!

Here's to many more challenges, Free Rangers. Happy 5 year anniversary!

Structuring YOUR strength program
The goal with our Summer strength program is to introduce an individualized strength approach in our group classes. This means that everyone will have a slightly different prescription but that we are all working toward a similar goal: to make improvements in the fundamental strength metrics outlined in our band system.

To see how to structure YOUR strength program, use the instructions below.

Lower body prescription:
1) If you haven't ever completed a full 5x5 squat program, begin with the Basic Strength Foundation lower body routines. This program is simple and INCREDIBLY effective at getting you stronger.

2) If you have completed a 5x5 program to completion, then the intermediate/advanced Summer program lower body routine is for you. Make sure you have a max for your back squat and deadlift and follow the 5/3/1 instructions.

Upper body prescription:
1) If you are working toward achieving the blue band pull-up and push-up standards, use the Basic Strength Foundation upper body routines.

2) If you have completed the blue band pull-up and push-up standards, use the intermediate upper body strength routines to develop your green band strict pull-up and strict ring dip metrics.

3) If you have strict pull-ups and ring dips, use the advanced upper body strength routines to develop your muscle up and strict handstand push ups.

I hope these instructions enable you to come in to class on Monday fired up and ready to make some serious strength improvements!
Summer ’16 strength program
Beginning June 6th we are incorporating a structured strength element to our daily WODs - dubbed the Summer '16 strength program. This program challenges beginner, intermediate & advanced athletes alike through its relative approach.


The prescription is simple: on days when the WOD recommends lower body strength, perform the lower body strength routine, and on days when the WOD recommends upper body strength, perform one of the upper body strength routines.

These strength routines will be incorporated into the regular group class.

This approach allows each athlete to develop a foundation in the movements that are appropriate for their current fitness level. You may also notice that many of the strength goals and prescriptions center around the fundamentals we have outlined in our Free Range Band system.

Consider these routines as "jumping off points" that will be tweaked to fit each athlete. Talk with a coach about the best starting point for the lower body & upper body strength routines for you.

We are excited to dive into this program with you all!

Beginner (yellow/ blue/ green bands):
Visit: Basic Strength Foundation

Intermediate (blue/ green/ red bands):
Lower Body Routine #1:
A1. Back squat, 5/3/1
A2. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A3. Upper body mobility drill
Use the rep scheme outlined in the 5/3/1 approach at the gym.

Lower Body Routine #2:
A1. Deadlift, 5/3/1
A2. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A3. Upper body mobility drill
Use the rep scheme outlined in the 5/3/1 approach at the gym.

Upper Body Routine #1:
A1. Bench press, 5/3/1
A2. Strict pull up, @ 3103 tempo, x3-5 reps
A3. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A4. Lower body mobility drill
Use the rep scheme outline in the 5/3/1 approach (plus two additional sets for A2-4)

Upper Body Routine #2:
A1. Ring dip, @ 3103 tempo, x3-5 reps
A2. Skin the cat, x3
A3. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A4. Lower body mobility drill
Complete 5 working sets

Advanced (green/ red/ black bands):
Lower Body Routine #1:
A1. Back squat, 5/3/1
A2. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A3. Upper body mobility drill
Use the rep scheme outlined in the 5/3/1 approach at the gym.

Lower Body Routine #2:
A1. Deadlift, 5/3/1
A2. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A3. Upper body mobility drill
Use the rep scheme outlined in the 5/3/1 approach at the gym.

Upper Body Routine #1:
A1. Bench press, 5/3/1
A2. Rope pull up, @ 3103 tempo, x3-5 reps
A3. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A4. Lower body mobility drill
Use the rep scheme outline in the 5/3/1 approach at the gym (plus two additional sets for A2-4)

Upper Body Routine #2:
A1. Wall-facing HSPU, x3-5 reps
A2. Front lever hold, :10-15
A3. Daily WOD warm up drill(s)
A4. Lower body mobility drill
Complete 5 working sets

Memorial Day Murph
Memorial Day (5/30) Schedule

We will be performing the hero workout "Murph" as a group at 10am on Monday.


1 mile run
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 air squats
1 mile run

There will be several scaled variations for all levels of Free Rangers. Be sure to check the WOD page for more details. See you there!
Wim Hof Method workshop recap
First off I wanted to thank all the Free Rangers for allowing us to take over the gym this past weekend for the Wim Hof Method workshop. We had a solid group (seven of which were Free Rangers) participate in what can only be described as a total sensory investigation and it was a great experience! I wanted to post a follow up with some information on Wim Hof and his method, as well as give a recap of our weekend here and share some of my experiences.

wim hof method

Wim Hof (pronounced "Vim") is commonly known as the "Iceman" for his impressive feats involving the cold. He has the world record for ice endurance standing fully immersed in ice for 1 hour and 52 minutes. He has completed a full marathon above the arctic circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F), dressed in nothing but shorts - finishing in 5 hours and 25 minutes. Some of his other physical accomplishments include running a full marathon in the heat of the Namib Desert without water and (working under the observation of doctors/scientists) deliberately injecting a endotoxin into this body while trying to (and succeeding) control his immune response.

If you interested in learning more about Wim Hof I have included a couple of resources below:

(Here is a blog post outlining the method as well as a sample breathing workout.)

I was first introduced to Wim Hof and his method after a conversation with one of our members here at Free Range (thanks, Casey!). After watching the above podcast and reading several articles about the breathing techniques I was certainly impressed by his physical accomplishments but wanted to see if these were anything more than just cool "tricks." Come to find out I have a friend, Chris, who was trained in the method by Wim himself and that he and his partner Jared were already hosting workshops sharing this method around the country. They agreed to come to Free Range and coach us through a weekend intensive and that was that! Funny how things fall together sometimes.

The method essentially explores methods for impacting your autonomic nervous system, which as its name implies, is usually considered to be involuntary or unconscious. The autonomic nervous system is broken into two branches: the sympathetic nervous system, which can be considered your "fight or flight" system; and the parasympathetic nervous system which can be considered your "rest and digest" system. One of the core tenets of the Wim Hof Method is that we as a culture spend A LOT of time in the "fight or flight" state (sympathetic) without the natural slow times of the "rest and digest" state (parasympathetic). The method aims to mitigate some of the potentially damaging affects to our health and wellbeing by providing a gateway to break this cycle and allow you to bring back some natural rhythm to your life.
< /NERD>

Our weekend here at Free Range was divided between sessions of instruction, breathing, group reflection and cold water submersion. The breathing sessions involved very deep, intense efforts for 20-90 minutes in a row. Yes you read that correctly, our final session of the weekend involved breathing deeply and perhaps even aggressively for 90 minutes. (HOLY SMOKES THAT WAS INTENSE). Then, after reflecting as a group on the range of physical, mental and sometimes spiritual experiences that we encountered during these breathing sessions, it was time to prepare for the cold. We had three separate cold water dips over the weekend during which we submerged ourselves up to our necks (and sometimes completely under water) in 30-40 degree water chalked full of ice. We're not talking nice 30-40 degree Winter days up in Flagstaff either; we are talking 10,000 miniature daggers all trying to take your breath away 30-40 degrees... Yikes!

Initial reactions/ take-homes/ experiences from the workshop:

  • The cold can't be faked. There is something refreshing about having to completely lower your guard around your peers and the ice baths had a great "leveling the playing field" affect that did just this. It didn't matter if it was your first or 50th ice bath - your reaction to the experience was completely genuine.

  • Find a balance between control vs surrender. There were multiple times during the breathing sessions where I found myself letting my ego guide, quickly turning the exercise into something that needed to be endured rather than explored. Only after I was able to let this feeling go was I able to begin to appreciate the effect this was having on my body.

  • Take ownership of the development of your personal practice. This weekend was full of organic learning, where every step was not, and could not be, fully illuminated by an instructor alone. The process is in a constant state of evolution based on direction, personal exploration and reflection. I found this to be one of the more rewarding take-aways and one that I feel we can all be reminded of from time to time. The more we decide to be participants in whatever we are pursuing, the more value we add to the experience and the more we can take away.

  • Conscious breathing has many affects on your body: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Aside from the immediate physical sensations (feeling charged or euphoric), I found that for many hours after the exercises my overall patience and empathy seemed to be much more robust. Sleep has also come very easy in the night since, with what seems like more dreaming (although I can't always remember them ;) ).

  • These are more than party tricks. After my initial skepticism (and the usual gut-shot reaction of 'well, is it supported by science') I let myself fully open up to what we were exploring. As we dug a little deeper I started to appreciate the bigger picture. Wim is using these extreme examples of what the human body is capable of as a vehicle for raising awareness for the true message he is trying to spread: your health and happiness is something you have control over and that you can improve both of them through something as simple (and free) as your conscious breath.

All in all, this was a very eye-opening weekend. One full of many insightful group discussions, intriguing methods to add to my daily practice and personal discoveries. I am very grateful for Chris and Jared's excellent instruction and primer on the Wim Hof Method. These guys speak from experience. You can tell their instruction comes not only from a great education from the creator of the method, but from a deep understanding of themselves and how they have included it in their personal practice. I hope to continue to work with them and their growing company Be Jaya at Free Range in the future!

As I incorporate these breathing methods into my personal practice I will report on the findings and experiences I have. For anyone who attended the workshop or who has played with some of the breathing workouts online, feel free to comment on this article with your personal experiences/ questions/ comments. I plan to "return to the cold" with a follow-up ice bath day in the next month for anyone that would be interested in following up their workshop experience or any Free Rangers interested in exploring cold water submersion. Stay tuned!
Workouts of the week
Last week we transitioned to our new workout tracking system: Free Range Athlete.

Each week will be posting the WODs here - the same system we use to track our scores and maxes in the gym, as well as the bands.

You can view tomorrow's WOD at 7pm the day before by clicking the 'Workout of the Day' link at the top of this page or visit the Free Range CrossFit WODs site.

If you log in to Free Range Athlete, you can also view upcoming workouts for the week.
WOD 160502
Skill/ strength work
A1. Power snatch, x3
A2. Row 150/125, FAST
Complete 4-6 rounds over 13 minutes.

Start light and add weight every other round on the snatches.

Workout of the Day - May 02, 2016

Four rounds, starting every 6:00, for total time:
Row 500/425m
Walking lunges, x10 each leg
Toes to bar, x12

Beginner WOD - May 02, 2016

A1. Wide grip, Romanian deadlift, x5
A2. Knee raises, x5
A3. Row 200/150m
Complete 4-6 rounds over 13 minutes


Four rounds, starting every 6:00, for total time:
Row 425/350m
Walking lunges, x10 each leg
Knee raises, x10

Competition WOD - May 02, 2016

A1. Squat snatch, x3
A2. Row 150/125m, FAST


Four rounds, starting every 6:00, for total time:
Row 500/425m
OH walking lunge, 45/25, x10 each leg, UNBROKEN
Toes to bar, x15, UNBROKEN
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