Quick Recap

AC and I have had a busy few days in California. We did some coaching on Friday evening, did the workshop in El Segundo on Saturday, drove north to Monterey (didn’t take the scenic route), got in at midnight, and then did another workshop in the morning.

I’d like to thank Ruth and Sean (again) for hosting us in Redondo/El Segundo. They are great people, have funny animals, and I’m already looking forward to the next time I get to hang with them. Now that we’re in Monterey we’re hanging with Mike Hom and Jacob Tsypkin. Jacob is a fast talking Jewish Russian (I found this out when he randomly started talking to his parents in Russian without warning). We took the coastal highway down to the beautiful Big Sur area.

We haven’t had a lot of sleep, so that’s all I’m getting into tonight. Here are some pictures from the coastal highway.


Here is something to entertain you.

Heads Up

Thursday AC and I leave for California so that we can drop kick people at three different 70’s Big Workshops. Here is where we will be, starting this saturday:

10:00 AM, Saturday August 7th, 2010 in El Segundo, CA (near Los Angeles)
Click To Register
CrossFit Intrepid
616 E. Franklin Ave.
El Segundo, CA 90245
ruth@crossfitintrepid.com | 310.465.6565

9:00 AM, Sunday August 8th, 2010 in Sand City, CA (near Monterey, CA)
To register, send an e-mail to Jacob.
CrossFit Monterey
337 Olympia Avenue, Unit B
Sand City, CA 93955
CrossFitMonterey@gmail.com | 831-920-3522

10:00 AM, Saturday August 14th, 2010 in Sacramento, CA
To register, send Ian an e-mail.
CrossFit Centurion
11300 Sanders Drive #25
Rancho Cordova, Ca.
staff@crossfitcenturion.com | (916) 207-7600

Cliff notes: We’ll be around Los Angeles Saturday, around Monterey on Sunday, and then around Sacramento the following Saturday. We’ll also be doing some coaching throughout, so if you’re anywhere in between or around these areas and want/need some help, just shoot me an e-mail.

Werner Günthör

Meet Werner Günthör, a powerful athlete from Switzerland. Günthör was an athletic shot putter who stood 6’6″ and weighed close to 300 pounds of pure 70’s Bigness (this website lists him at 130kg). His best put was 22.75 meters in 1988 in Bern — that’s about 74.5 feet. Günthör won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics as well as three world championships in the late 80s and early 90s. He also won an indoor world championship and European championship. You can find videos of Günthör training on YouTube. His training is pretty sweet, and here is my favorite video (the last sequence is the best):

How awesome was that? When I do conditioning work, it is going to be modeled after Günthör’s plyometric training, particularly sequences of jumping high and bounding. A quick note: if you play around with stuff like that, ease your way into it. Hardcore plyometrics are for more advanced trainees.

Here is another video of Günthör and who I assume is his training partner. The whole video is an impressive showing of athleticism and displays the old school mindset of including related physical conditioning to training.

Ladies will want to fast forward to 1:43.
More intense plyo training at 2:38.
3:33 is the start of a hilarious montage of Günthör doing all kinds of awesome things, including playing tennis. You can’t really get an idea of how massive this guy is until he wedges a racket in his fist. There’s another really funny part that I’ll let you see for yourself, so this would be the best part of the video if you were strapped for time.

Günthör is one of my favorite athletes because of his explosive training and awesome style.

Feedback and Kroc Rows

I received the following e-mail from Heidi, one of the owners of Amarillo Strength and Conditioning (aka CrossFit Amarillo);

I just had to write you to report what has transpired at our gym in the few days following your 70s Big Workshop. Despite the fact that only a fraction of our athletes were in attendance, word spread like wildfire concerning the importance of strength training. Even though we preach this message to our athletes on a daily basis, I think it took someone else to walk in and bring some credibility to our rant. Anyhow, in the last two days we have had some deep discussion about strength training on our blog. Damn near every person at our gym (except for a handful) has decided to begin Starting Strength or your old WFAC CrossFit Program (we dub "S&C" – we always give you credit). Males and Females alike are finally starting to get it! I just wanted to let you know that your workshop was quite effective at informing folks about the importance of strength work, as well as, dispelling the myths associated with strength work. We would recommend that any gym would benefit from hosting a 70's Big Workshop.

Thanks again,

Heidi Coffman
CrossFit Amarillo
Amarillo Strength and Conditioning

If you live in the Amarillo area, I’d check out this gym. The members are all pals and the place had a great atmosphere. Quite a few of the coaches have also attended Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Seminar, and that means they are quite learn-ed in this kind of stuff.


My buddy Mike has been training for years by himself, whether it be when he was deployed to Afghanistan or when he was stationed in England. One thing is for sure; he did a lot of Kroc rows. He wanted to add to the grip discussion since he has pretty decent grips attached to his monkey arms. Bur first, here’s a little vid on what Kroc rows are all about:

We mentioned Kroc rows the other day, but I think they’re worth mentioning again. I always found the most benefit from doing one set to failure with straps. If you look at what Kroc does on his heaviest set, he is using straps, and going all out until there is nothing left. Is there a sufficient amount of body English? Yes. However the point here is to train until failure and increase the number of reps and/or weight every time you do them. Some might say the straps are counterproductive, and to them I pose this question; is being able to do a set of Kroc rows with 100 for a strict set of 8 sans straps more impressive and beneficial to your grip, or is a set of 125 for 15 reps? I guarantee that you won’t achieve the same amount of fatigue in your grip or forearms as you would doing the higher weight and reps.

I would say that Kroc rows would need to be programmed into your training at the end of your session when you aren’t pulling during the following 48 hours and it is preferable to have a few days of rest afterwards. A high intensity set of Kroc rows will be draining, but they are very beneficial to a stronger grip.

I also like to use the Captains of Crush grippers — I recently let Brent borrow these, and I am also interested to see how they help his predicament. First of all, using these grippers is not like sitting on your couch using the “grip tools” you find laying around most “fitness facilities.” These are the real deal. Don’t believe me? There are RECORD BOOKS for the two highest grippers. Using these grippers will definitely develop brutal crushing strength, and certainly assist in your ability to hang onto the bar during heavy pulls. When I started, I could close the trainer and the number 1. The number 2 was so hard for me initially I scoffed at it and focused on increasing my reps on the number 1. However, I eventually was able to close the number 2, and I could rep it out a few times. I believe these also took my grip strength to another level. Before using them I recall rack pulling in the low 500’s and having some grip issues after a couple reps. After using them for a few months I had no problem in the low 500’s, up until about 550-560. I was also told that my hand shake felt a lot more powerful. I think it would be generally agreed upon that someone who is 70’s Big undoubtedly should have an overpowering handshake.


The 70’s Big Workshop was pleasantly a success. Heidi and Kevin, the owners of Amarillo SC, were fantastic hosts and Ryan, who posts here on the comments regularly, brought a grill and cooked up a bunch of 70’s Big burgers and hotdogs for lunch. The crowd consisted of gym members who all have known each other for a while, and this created an amusing and fun atmosphere.

Some topics that we covered include what 70’s Big actually stands for, how strength augments all other physical attributes, training myths, the approach different sized people will have in order to get strong, injuries and setbacks, getting into your first competition, training quirks, and programming guidelines. We actually went over time, so there is room to trim the fat on some sections and condense the material. There were questions based on longevity as well as training for the “aging lifter/competitor”; the workshop itself will evolve based on what people want to learn about.

This workshop was the first of many, and we’d like to get around to help as much people as we can with their training, so if you’re interested in hosting a workshop, shoot me an e-mail. Also, if you are hoping to attend a workshop in the future, let us know what topics you would be chiefly interested in into the comments.

The next workshop is on May 15th in Allen, TX at CrossFit FX TX (you can sign up by going to the home page and clicking on the link to the workshop). Allen isn’t too far away from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so we should have a nice crowd.

If you have any questions about the workshop(s), leave them in the comments. And don’t forget to post your TSC results in the Results Post.

70’s Big Workshop

If you live in the west Texas area, the first 70’s Big Workshop will be in Amarillo this coming Saturday (April 24th) at 9:00 AM (time subject to change if the participants at Amarillo SC want it any later). There is a good group of people from Amarillo Strength and Conditioning that are signed up, but non-gym members are welcome as well.

Topics will include:

  • What is 70’s Big? — Strength, anti-emaciation, competition, education, etc.
  • The effect of strength on other physical attributes
  • How to start or continue training in a smart, efficient manner
  • Dispelling training myths
  • Points of emphasis for different populations (male/female, small/medium/large)
  • Dealing with injuries and setbacks
  • Programming guidelines
  • Routines, Rituals, and Training Quirks
  • Food plans

Much like a physiological system, this workshop is adaptable to the questions and needs of the participants in the audience. The interactive workshop will last for 4 to 5 hours and you can register here for $85.

Post any questions you may have to the comments.