Father Andrew's Hot Body Gym

December 6, 2009

The Back Lever

Filed under: workouts — Tags: , , — Micah Vandegrift @ 1:38 pm

As you all know, I really enjoy the gymnastics portions of our workouts. I am always searching out good tutorials on the base level gymnastics motions. Here’s a really great step by step video of the Back Lever progression.

The Back Lever from Patrick Cummings on Vimeo.

Some key points –

– this motion will help develop your entire posterior muscle chain, increasing your capacity for deadlifts, cleans, sqauts, ect.

– the back lever is also helpful to raise your mental awareness to a variety of muscles, which can be helpful when targeting muscle groups.

– controlled movements like the back lever enhance full body fitness

The video reminded me that when doing these types of exercises, it is so important to concentrate on fully engaging your muscles, truly “exercising” them, in order to build strength and mobility. He mentions the technique of taking a deep breath and locking down your core around your lungs before beginning the lever. I think this technique could be helpful for weight lifting and other exercises also.

Really enjoying the Again Faster video tutorials. Very helpful and mostly about 10 minutes short. Check em out!


October 17, 2009

Ramping It Up

Filed under: real talk — Tags: , , , , — Mara @ 6:59 pm
Squatting the Hubby - August 09

Squatting the Hubby - August 09

I have found myself becoming complacent in the last few weeks. I have acheived the goals I had in mind for my fitness, and I was starting to get bored with the routine. It’s hard to get out of bed at 5:30 am if you’re not excited about what you’re doing, and it’s easy to coast along if you don’t have a destination in mind.

So, at my husband’s behest, I decided it was time to set new goals. Clearly, I have not acheived my potential, and there’s nothing like a public assertion to hold you accountable. One of the coolest things about CrossFit is that it provides tangible, measurable data which you can use to measure your progress. Beyond numbers on a scale or heartbeats per second, our workouts provide me with varied, comprehensive, reliable feedback about my athletic ability and overall health, feedback that I can use to set new challenges.

I decided to break my goals up into each of the three major modes that CrossFit employs, setting two goals for each, plus one combo WOD.

In his honor, Josh has been incorporated into the goals… watch out!

Goals for Jan 1


Pull-ups: 5 consecutive unassisted (can do 3 currently)

Ring dips: 1 unassisted, perfect form


1 rep Deadlift: 1.5 x bodyweight = 210 (did 165 for 5 reps on 8/31)

1 rep Back Squat: my husband’s bodyweight = 185 (did 3 rep at 120 on 8/9)

Note: I attempted to squat Josh on 8/29, but I was only able to do about half the range of motion, so it doesn’t count.

Cardiovascular Endurance

This category makes me want to shoot myself in the head – not my strongpoint.

1 mile run: 7:30 (only point of reference is that I had to run a mile in 7:50 for college soccer)

3 mile run: 27 min (no point of reference)


Grace: 95# in 7 minutes (did 85# in 7:39 on 9/22)

All of you members of FAHBG who haven’t posted goals yet…. now’s the time! And if you’re just reading this out of curiosity, I encourage you to set some fitness goals for yourself and find out what you can do in 10 weeks. I think you’ll be surprised!


October 13, 2009

Pep Talk

Filed under: real talk — Tags: , , , , , — Micah Vandegrift @ 11:22 pm


October 12, 2009

Gymnasty Day

Filed under: real talk, workouts — Tags: , , , , — Micah Vandegrift @ 11:49 am

On Saturday, Oct 10th, we were fortunate to have a new friend, and lifelong gymnast, Matt swing by FAHBG. Personally, I am very interested in adding more gymnastics to our workouts as I have always been, since childhood, an acrobat of sorts. Right before Matt showed up we discussed what we would actually like to learn; proper form topped the list, but also, as we are all working on developing the rudiments of gymnastic movements, here’s what we hoped for: handstands, dips, muscle-ups and L-sits. What we got was so much more than that. {Video coming soon!}

In the words of those who lived to tell of it:

MARA —————–

I enjoyed Matt’s gymnastics instruction because it really showed that, while I have improved on so many things, I have really only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of physical challenges. Not only could I not complete the movements he showed us, I couldn’t even begin to figure out what muscles to use and what to tell them to do! It was like trying to negotiate an entirely foreign environment – like the first fish that crawled onto land, or something. My arms are so much stronger than than used to be, yet in when I tried to do the things Matt was showing us, I felt like they had been stuck in a coma, atrophed, for my entire life. Certainly, I now need have no fear that I will run out of challenges.

I think it was also a mental challenge, because my instincts were telling me that there was no way I could even begin to do these things. I didn’t even want to try many times. But yet, when I tried (and when he assisted me quite heavily), I could indeed begin to attempt these seemingly impossible movements. It taught me not to give up so quickly, not to underestimate myself, and that anything is possible with a lot of hard work and a little courage.


This was an exciting day for me. Finally something I feel mildly confident in! While it was clear that most of us don’t have the muscle development to complete the movements, having Matt there to walk us through them, with demonstrations and practice, was awesome. The most valuable thing I took away from the lesson was to fight for the form. I think a lot of us can do many exercises that are important to our development, but our form is often off or just bad, and that is where injury happens. Taking the gymnastics movements and breaking them down into parts (i.e. the muscle-up or the back lever) really made a lot of sense in terms of training those weird, core-ish muscles that most of us never use to push and pull like never before.

I agree with Mara that it was definitely mental as well as physical. I look forward to learning more, and perfecting these core movements. Go FAHBG!

JOSHUA ——————

I second Micah and Mara on the challenges of gymnastics. It’s a whole new world of challenges, both mental and physical. This gymnastics training brings a new meaning to the Crossfit definitions of fitness, especially stamina, coordination, agility, balance, and flexibility. (If you’re new to Crossfit, or just new to a measurable, meaningful definition of fitness read more here)

However, I also appreciated Matt’s coaching. He broke down the various movements into chewable, digestible chunks and helped us put them back together into functional (and frequently assisted) movements. Matt has been coaching gymnastics for a while, and I appreciated his patience with us and encouragement of us. That’s something of which I need more.

Finally, as much as I love weightlifting, I’ve found a new love in gymnastics. The strength to body weight ratio and body control required to be a good gymnast is astounding. The movements are infinitely variable, which keeps them fun and challenging. And, let’s face it, it’s just plain cool. And the coolness factor should never be underestimated. For anyone reading…if you haven’t ever tried gymnastics, then go to Drills and Skills and read up, then find a local gymnast and get to work! Go team!!


I thought the gym-nasty day was very enlightening and challenging.  It seems as though we were all a little nervous and bewildered to what gymnastics was really all about.  So, I’m glad we had a chance to get the proper form down and now we move forward to strive to achieve ultimate core strength and to perform really cool tricks on the rings.

The movements were different and, like Mara pointed out, it was hard to consider what muscles to use.  It was weird not using tons of force to effect something and the day after I was sore in places that I haven’t yet been sore.

Thank you Matt for coaching and making sure we didn’t split our heads open!

*Post will be updated as others add their thoughts. Check back often!*

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