What Are the Benefits of Barbell Rows?

Lats Are the New Biceps

The barbell row is one of the most effective exercises for developing a strong back. The prime mover, which is the muscle responsible for completing the movement, is the latissimus dorsi. The lats are one of the biggest muscles in the upper body and are instrumental to an impressive physique. In addition to substantial latissimus activation, the barbell row works all three areas of the trapezius with very high activation in the upper and middle traps. The rhomboids — a key postural muscle — is called upon heavily as well. It’s safe to say that the barbell row is a top exercise for packing on size and strength in the back muscles.

Jaw Dropping Boulder Shoulders

Shapely, balanced deltoids are immensely important for one’s physique. There are three separate parts to the deltoid muscle: front, middle and rear deltoids. The majority of exercisers have well-developed front deltoids from doing pushups, bench presses and military presses. They often have balanced middle deltoids from doing dumbbell lateral raises. But few exercisers focus on the rear deltoids, which takes away from the round, defined appearance of the shoulders. Barbell bent over rows are the best exercise for this often neglected area of the shoulder. Also, the rear deltoids are increasingly activated when performing barbell rows with an overhand grip compared to the underhand grip.

Stability, It’s a Full Body Thing

With all of the upper body benefits it’s easy to overlook the full body stabilization effect of the barbell row. The bent over barbell row requires strength from the hands all the way down to the feet. The feet, legs, hips and core have to work just to maintain a stable position throughout the exercise. Of course, more muscles working means more calories burned, so by activating an array of muscles the barbell row turns into a fat-burning exercise as well. Read More…

Take the Father’s Day Challenge

By Kirk K.

Happy Father’s Day to all of our fathers!
Father’s Day is the day when daddies are spoiled with their favorite things. Some dads go out on the boat, some will drink their favorite beer all day, and some will just do whatever they want to do all weekend long. 
There’s nothing wrong with receiving praise and getting some relaxation time – but is that what being a father is all about? 
I’m challenging all fathers this weekend to be the best father you can be. Give the greatest gift you can give your children and spouse: quality time.
Spend your weekend with your children, do things that THEY like to do. Treat your wife or partner with the utmost love and reverence. Father’s Day shouldn’t be just what your family can do for you, but more importantly, what can you do for your family.  

If you’re not a father, make sure to tell your dad how much he means to you. If that’s not possible, reach out to a close friend or family member and wish them a happy Father’s Day. 
What does this have to do with your physical health? EVERYTHING….
We wouldn’t be here without fathers (mothers too of course). We wouldn’t have life without them, whether they were a good dad or not, you owe them at least the gratitude for the breath of life. 
I hope I was able to connect with everyone this weekend: whether you’re a dad or not, whether your dad was there for you or not, or whatever your relationship is to your dad. 
Happy Father’s Day weekend and fathers, don’t forget your responsibilities. 


The Top 10 Mistakes Made by Crossfitters

Crossfit first came onto the fitness scene about 5 years ago, and at that time, most people thought this was an exercise fad that wouldn’t last. Little did they know that Crossfit would become one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide. Today there are over 13,000 Crossfit affiliate gyms (also know as “boxes”) in 142 countries across 7 continents. With those kinds of stats, it’s fairly safe to say that Crossfit is here to stay.

This fitness regime, which combines functional movements with olympic lifting and weight training has gotten a bit of a reputation for being pretty hard-core, even dangerous. It’s true that the work-outs (or “WODs” in CF lingo) are physically challenging and are meant to test your limits and maximize efficiency and with this kind of challenge comes increased risks and can leave participants prone to injury. There are of course steps you can take to minimize these risks, like knowing these ten common Crossfit mistakes…

1. Not Starting Small

When you first start Crossfit, it’s important to build a solid foundation on which you can build your skills. This is still important even if you’re coming from another fitness routine or consider yourself an athletic person. Read More…


I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical when I first heard of occlusion training. Also known as “blood flow restriction training” (BFR), the method involves using bands or wraps to restrict blood flow to an extremity. The wraps are applied tight enough to restrict venous return but not so tight as to prevent arterial blood flow to the muscles. The most common methods involve wrapping your upper arms or upper thighs and then performing exercises at 20-30% of your 1-rep max for 3 to 4 sets [1]. I know it sounds a little wacky but the scientific research thus far is promising.

What Does The Research Suggest?

Research has found that using BFR can increase gains in both size and strength. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research found that NCAA Division I football players increased their 1-RM bench press by 7% and squat by 8% in a 3-week period when using BFR in conjunction with traditional strength training compared to a control group that did traditional training alone [1]. A follow-up study published in early 2014 found that a 7-week BFR training program had similar results with 1-RM squat increasing as much as 12% [2].

Just to put things in perspective, a 7-12% gain in 1-RM strength is HUGE. An athlete with a 400 pound back squat could potentially increase their 1-RM by about 30 to 50 pounds in less than 2 months of training. And keep in mind these two studies were performed on trained, collegiate-level strength athletes. It’s likely that these findings would apply to other athletic populations such as CrossFit competitors, powerlifters, and Olympic weightlifters. Read More…

How to establish a Healthy Monthly Tradition

By: Kirk K. 

Do you have any monthly traditions?

Monthly traditions can be a great tool to stay motivated. They can keep you excited and best of all mentally, socially, spiritually, and physically healthy.

My wife Cassie and I have made a couple monthly traditions lately that keep us looking forward to our exciting time together. One of our monthly traditions is going to the beach on the first Saturday or Sunday of each month.  

Below I list a few things that can get your imagination going on what you can do for YOUR monthly tradition. These recommendations will be in different categories positively affecting your overall health.

  1. Participate in a monthly 5k/10k. These can be a lot of fun while improving your health and fitness. You can also do these with friends to work on your social health!

  2. Go on a bike ride with friends and family

  3. Take your significant other on a dinner date. Make it healthy; lots of veggies, low carb, no desserts or alcohol.

  4. Work on your spiritual health and go to church or meditate on the beach. Many of you already do this more than just one hour a month, but if you aren’t it will give you some peace, clarity, and direction.

  5. Attend ROMWOD or Barbell Club at least 1x a month.

  6. Donate your time and energy to a non-profit organization helping those in need.

Make sure to always consider the health implications of your choice. Don’t choose monthly “ladies night”, drink too much, and sabotage your health. An alternative would be a  “girls day out” and have a healthy lunch followed by a mani’s and pedis. Fellas, likewise; don’t have a golf outing where you throw back a 6-pack on the front 9 as you drunk drive off the cart path. Instead, choose to walk the course drinking water. 

There are endless monthly traditions you can establish. Pick one that you can maintain, brings you and others joy, and ultimately makes you a healthier person.

The Conditioning Tool You are Probably Not Using with Aaron Guyett

When was the last time you did a conditioning piece that you actually enjoyed? Chances are you don’t find long spouts on the air dyne or rower all too fun. There is value in those tools, but this week we are talking with Aaron Guyett about a tool that is often over looked when it comes to metabolic conditioning. We are talking about the battle ropes.

Aaron is the master instructor for Onnit Academy’s battle rope program, and runs a facility in CA called Innovative results. We met up with him at his facility to talk about how you can use battle ropes in your conditioning workouts.

When it comes to using battle ropes, most of us just know one or two exercises that we saw on Instagram. In this episode, Aaron dives into all the different movement patterns and practical applications that battle ropes have including grip strength, power, and the ability to train all 3 metabolic pathways. Read More…