Categorized as: CF Naples

The Hook Grip

MILO and IronMind readers all know how important a strong grip is in lifting things.  Here I want to discuss how you can grab and hold on to barbells, dumbbells, and other things that require a strong, secure grip even better by using the hook grip.

The hook grip is where you push the palm of your hand tight against the bar, grab the bar by wrapping your thumb around it, and then grasp your thumb and the bar tightly with your fingers.  Most people can grab the thumb with the first two fingers while their other two fingers directly grab the bar.  This technique really helps you lift more weight off the platform, especially when you accelerate for the second pull.  The hook grip is the best grip you can have without using straps.

I don’t know who first used the hook grip, but I asked Tommy Kono—Olympic weightlifting champion in 1952 and 1956 and silver medalist in 1960—when he learned about the hook grip, and he said he used it in 1948 when he took up weightlifting.  He said he read about it in a book or magazine.  I’ve asked many other weightlifters who have been around for a long time, and they all said they don’t know who was the first person to use it, but that someone showed them and they usually can’t remember who it was.  I know I learned it in 1966 from Walt Gioseffi, many-time California state champion and record holder in the 1960s.  I can’t find any mention of it in my old books and magazines on weightlifting. Read More…

Teaching Certainty

Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling:

You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow.

The class will certainly follow the syllabus.

There will certainly be a test.

If you do well on the test, you will certainly go on to the next year.

If you do well on the other test, you’ll certainly get to go to a famous college.

After you repeat these steps obediently for more than ten years, there will be a placement office, where there will certainly be a job ready for you, with fixed hours and a career path.

People telling you what to do, and when you respond by reciting the notes you took, people rewarding you.


We’ve trained people to be certain for years, and then launch them into a culture and an economy where relying on certainty does us almost no good at all.

Broken-field running, free range kids, the passionate desire to pick yourself—that seems like a more robust and resilient way to prepare, doesn’t it? Who’s teaching you what to do when the certain thing doesn’t happen? Read More…

A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit

Starting any new exercise practice can be daunting, but entering a CrossFit box can be particularly nerve-wracking. It’s a community rife with demonstrations of hardcore feats of strength and endurance — and, worse, its members speak their own language. To better integrate you, here’s everything you need to know to begin your CrossFit life.

Are you ready to pull the trigger on a CrossFit gym membership, but the only thing you know about the program comes from 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games highlights or your CrossFit-obsessed officemate? There’s a lot more to consider, from how to avoid injuries to finding the perfect box for you, so to ease your transition, we’ve assembled this everything-you-need-to-know guide.

CrossFit’s Quirks

When attempting to integrate into any new community, it helps to understand a bit about its members and unspoken rules. Here’s a quick overview to some of CrossFit’s more unique aspects.

WOD Words

CrossFit is full of its own lingo, and none is more important than or as simple as the “WOD” (Workout of the Day). Scribbled on whiteboards in CrossFit boxes across the country every morning, the WOD is likely the first thing you’ll look for when you walk into your new gym, and it’s what your body will remember on your way out. That workout will involve “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” — the theory underpinning CrossFit that makes athletes better, faster and stronger  — and will be the focus of your training that day.

Other CrossFit words to live by:

The Girls: a series of iconic WODs, each given a girl’s name. When asked the reason, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman reportedly said: “Any workout that leaves you flat on your back, staring up at the sky, wondering what the hell happened deserves a girl’s name.” Read More…

Greet Each Day With A Smile

“I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

“It’s just one of those days.”

“I’m having an off day.”

How many times have you heard someone say this? Well, all I hear are excuses. All of these statements are merely an attempt to justify a poor attitude and outlook on one’s current situation.

You know what is awesome about being a human?

Our ability to make choices.

We have the choice to wake up every morning with a smile on our face, ready to take on what the world throws at us. We also have the choice to make one of these excuses. But why do the latter when the former leads to a much happier outlook on life?

Rather than waking up and dreading the day ahead, try simply smiling and telling yourself that you have the choice to find the positive in what lies before you.

This mindset transfers over to the gym as well.

Rather than walking into the gym and making the excuse that the workout or lift just wasn’t a good one for you, try reversing that thought and taking a positive outlook. You’ll be surprised with how much better your body will feel and your performance will be.

If we are constantly making excuses like the aforementioned, we are continuously setting ourselves up for failure. The opposite, greeting each day, each workout, with a smile, can lead to incredible success.

You have the choice to have a positive attitude! So give it a shot, but just a warning, smiling is known to be contagious! Read More…

4 Reasons You Struggle With Toes-To-Bar

Oh the elusive toes-to-bar. It seems like such a straightforward movement that any strong and fit human should be able to accomplish without much thought. However it is typically one of the last movements CrossFitters are able to achieve. Most look to lack of midline strength as the primary cause, and although it might be, I suggest there are at least three other places to look before determining that is your (only) issue. So if you’re struggling with your toes-to-bar even though it seems like you should be able to do them based on your strength and athletic prowess, then read on for some tests and solutions to help you improve upon yours.

1) Weak lower abdominal muscles is usually the first place we look for the problem and while they can be a culprit, especially in the untrained population, chances are this is actually only a small piece of the puzzle for most folks. If you have trouble with most or all abdominal/midline exercises, this is where you should first focus some attention. Test to see if this is you by hanging from a bar and performing mini-crunches. Bring your knees to waist height without touching the floor between reps. Repeat this for AMRAP in 30 seconds. You should be able to get at least 15 reps in 30 seconds. If you cannot, you might consider putting in some extra time on your abs with any or all of these exercises to strengthen your midline.

2) Weak shoulder girdle and/or lats are the other common culprits when it comes to strength deficiency for completing toes-to-bar. Guess what? The shoulders aren’t just responsible for connecting our arms to our bodies, they are the first thing to activate in the toes-to-bar (and pull-up) and should continue to be active and strong throughout the entire movement not only to protect our shoulder joints but to also provide assistance in the kipping movement on the backswing and to lessen the distance our toes have to travel to touch the bar. That first bit of shoulder activation when we hang from the bar is called a scapular pull-up and you should be able to hold that position for 30 seconds and you should also be able to do at least 10 unbroken reps of the movement. The backswing and the toe-distance lessening are mostly controlled by strong lat muscles which allow you to push down on the bar to create a bigger, stronger kip. The stronger this portion of the swing, the higher the body travels and the shorter the distance your toes have to travel to touch the bar. Here’s a test you can do with a partner to determine if you need to work on strengthening your lats (or just learn how to activate them). If you find that you are strong enough to do this test then great – you just needed to remind your lats of their role in all of this. But if you’re struggling to maintain the hollow position in this test, keep doing the test everyday until it’s easy. You should also work more pulling exercises and static holds into your routine. Ideas for pulling: pull-ups with varying hand grips, ring rows, DB rows, landmine rows, barbell rows, CrossOver Symmetry, hand-over-hand sled pulls, heck, you could even try swimming. Ideas for static holds: straight-arm hangs with scapular retraction, chin-over-bar holds, chest-to-bar holds, or get your lower abs and scaps at the same time with L-hangs. Read More…

9 Foods That Aren’t Considered Important But Should Be

We’ve heard all about foods that are bad for us. There are countless articles that list everything that we should avoid. There’s only one problem with this – it assumes that we know every food that is good for us. Yes, we all know to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid those dangerous artificial flavors and sugar from processed foods, but you’d be surprised about the good foods we simply aren’t aware of and some of the tastiest and healthiest foods seem to slip right under our noses. Below we’ve listed nine foods that aren’t considered to be important but actually are.

  1. Sardines

Sardines aren’t considered a particularly tasty food. However, this fish should be a regular inclusion in a person diet. When prepared the right way they can be delicious. Sardines also come packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. These ensure you have a healthy heart and mind.

  1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the favored breakfast for most pro athletes. It comes with around 4 grams of soluble fiber in every cup. All this fiber reduces LDL, the bad cholesterol. It is a complex carbohydrate meaning it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels, preventing your body from storing fat easily. This, in turn, helps you burn more fat during a workout, making oatmeal great for anyone looking to lose weight. Oats are also a great source of vitamin B1, a vitamin considered essential for pregnant women.

  1. Watercress

Watercress is a leafy vegetable that is similar to spinach. It is versatile and can be included in everything from a stir-fry to a salad. It is often overlooked for its more famous counterparts. However, this leafy vegetable was found to have a number of benefits. In a recent study involving more than 170,000 people, watercress was found to lower the risk of developing diabetes. Read More…