Just a quick thank you to our friends at CrossFit Football for using a great photo from Wolf Brigade alongside their 10/19/14 training.
“Send me their sons and prodigal daughters,
Render up to me their lost and stray.
Give lust and life to our dances, flight to our fancies,
Give me courage for my passions and my pain…”
Someone once asked me why people need to scream to get their point across in music.
“Passion” isn’t neat and clean and quiet. “Obsession” doesn’t usually play well with others and do as its told. Sometimes chaos is the only path to catharsis; sometimes making more noise than you need to is the only way to be heard at all.
Scream your fuckin’ throat red, break something that doesn’t need to be broken, push yourself so hard that your eyes go blurry; Much stranger than WANTING to or NEEDING to is never feeling the fire that DRIVES you to…
Why are volume and intensity sometimes used to articulate a point or send a strong message? If you really have to ask, you may never understand…
8, 6, 4, 2, 2, 2, 2
Weight increases each set (denoted by commas), and reps are divided evenly L to R. Today, 1 clean + 1 Thruster = 1 rep; Complete the clean (including a full stand-up), and then begin the Thruster.
Start conservatively and end as heavy as possible.
Then, 4 rounds of:
10 minutes Airdyne (3 minutes forward + 2 minutes arms-only x 2)
We have learned the hard way, and continue to learn, that we are in an era of “Do”, and much less an era of “Learn to do” when it comes to “Functional fitness”. That simple fact makes the way we operate our facility and conduct our training more of a challenge than being a growing brand in the fitness industry is in the first place.
There are right ways and wrong ways to train people, and then there are those that choose to do neither. We choose the right way. It’s not the quickest way, it’s definitely not the easiest way, and it is often not the funnest way. But it’s right. Detail-oriented training- from the beginning and day-in and day-out afterwards- leads to a strong, versatile skill set, it leads to long-term progress… It favors safety and quality over convenience, and develops the mental fortitude to endure things outside and above a haphazard conditioning workout.
For all the truly amazing things that CrossFit has done over the past 12 years, the current incarnation of it has left its bastard children to fend for themselves and fight over scraps at an overcrowded dinner table, and created a culture of mediocrity in a field that should be anything but. The ease of franchise- but lack of experience- and need for members to fill over-equipped facilities has led to an inattention to detail at the upstart level that has made attention to detail such as ours the exception, and not the rule. We’ve seen the impatience with those that just want to “Get after it”, and not learn the fundamentals… We’ve seen those that, after training other places, struggle with the basics but don’t want to slow down and hammer them. And thankfully, we’ve also taken in many that have decided details are fun, and know that there’s more to training than the time on a clock, or the weight on a bar.
We have less members than many of the sub-par CrossFit gyms in our area. Do we need members to keep the doors open? Sure. Are we willing to follow the herd, throw out a Groupon or two, let anyone with enough money to train for a month jump cold into a class that involves hard work, heavy weights, and challenging body positions, or put a diluted brand name above our door to recruit them? No.
We choose to grow the right way. It’s not the quickest way, it’s definitely not the easiest way, and it is often not the funnest way. But it’s right.
“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” James Crook
A friend of mine died yesterday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on a remote trail near his home in the Hollywood Hills. It is unfortunately not the first and probably not the last time I will see someone I knew, respected, and related to make such a choice, and will subsequently watch myself think the entire situation into the ground.
In this instance, my friend was a counter-culture pioneer. He concepted and launched wacky, underground clothing brands and grew them from nothing into something- all along the way championing, commiserating with, and even employing many of the misfits and weirdos his brands catered to. He played in great bands, he thought and operated exclusively outside the box, he was driven by discontent, and ultimately (like many of us that never have and never will walk a conventional path) was likely driven mad by it.
The groundedness and relentlessness it requires to stay balanced while constantly swimming upstream, running through the mud, and dusting yourself off after each and every fall, year after year, are lessons that he had learned the hard way times-over, and had almost certainly taken a toll.
Even in my comparatively limited capacity I can relate to the forging (as opposed to the following…) of a path as being an often dangerous game, accompanied by the potential for both great risk and great reward, and demanding a price to play that most are unable and unwilling to pay.
Only a loss of conviction and purpose can allow pain and weakness to gain a foothold; Consider discouragement and discomfort mortal enemies, think of them as a disease. Treat their entry into your life with hostility, and fight them as if they were an intruder in your home;
If you relent, even for a second, the darkness will win…
And it will hold on tight.
We’ve been asked some interesting questions since we put this site up in 2009, and felt it was time to share! We’ve compiled some of the odd ones, the informative ones, and simply the ones we had fun answering into our new Frequently Asked Questions section.
If you’re curious about Wolf Brigade (or simply wondering what people send to our contact email in the middle of the night), please give it a read-through! It will give some insight into both how we do things, and our sense of humor…
Great insight/ reminder from writer Adam Farrah. Replace “Paleo eating and living” with anything challenging that you choose to pursue, and it rings just as true… strength training, martial arts, writing, coaching…
There will forever be those that attempt to drag you down to their level, simply because they are unwilling to put in the effort needed to rise to yours… Never let it happen. -FTW-
The unique look, feel, methods, and details that have drawn so many to Wolf Brigade are products of my eclectic, turbulent, and somewhat unusual background; The weaving together of many of those pieces has created the stand-out product we now offer.
For the curious, some of those origins are narrated in words and pictures here: War of Attrition.
Our group path is fitness, strength & conditioning, and the achievement of a mindset that allows us to transfer the physical and mental skills we earn in training into our day-to-day walk through life. We’ve all found our way here by different road, and we all take different things with us when we leave.
If there is one take-away that transcends previous background or current application, it is simply the acknowledgement that our character is what defines us, while our pursuit of physicality simply assists its development. Training is our vehicle, not our destination.
Greg Walsh, 2014.
Common sense is a dinosaur, public courtesy seems not far behind.
All we can do is look back and laugh.
Well, that’s not all we can do…
There is a truth to pain that few other things in the world can tell;
The self-realization it inflicts in beginning, the humility and gratitude it grants at the end.
Real pain is both truth serum and intoxicant; Both poison and antidote.
It shows the best of the good, and the worst of the evil.
Sometimes it covers you like a blanket, sometimes it pours like water. Sometimes it burns, like fire.
In its hex you feel most human, under its lure you feel clear and sharp, and now it is yours.
In the context above, “low-level variables” include diet, mood, ego, location/ equipment, frustration… All which can be used as convenient excuses to derail or delay progress, and all of which can and must be controlled and navigated properly to move past the beginning stages of physical and/ or mental progress.
A simple way of approaching it is asking “What can and will I accomplish when the situation is ideal?” vs. “What can and will I accomplish when the situation is stacked against me?” Ideal is easy, the other is not.
Making excuses is easy; developing expertise is… not. In answering the two questions above, refer to the concepts a little further above. What you view vs. what you DO… and how often and attentively you do it.
There is no such thing as “Moderate relentlessness”.
There is no value in being “Partially unstoppable”.
High-level progress requires a limiting of low-level variables.
Max reps @ 50-60% of 1RM
Rest as needed between sets, and pause as needed during with weight locked out in the top position. Set ends as soon as failure occurs or bar returns to rack.
Accumulate as many quality reps as possible in 10 minutes, adjusting weight down every 2 minutes of work.
(Ex. Set 1: 79lb., Set 2: 62lb., Set 3: 45lb., Set 4: 35lb., Set 5: 25lb)
Start as heavy as you can, rest briefly as needed, and switch arms as desired. If less than 5 weight adjustments are available/ possible, perform 2 sets each with 2 weights (to make 4), and a single lightest set at the end.
And then, with a partner:
Plot a strategy and complete as quickly as possible (600 total reps). Both partners may work at the same time, but not on the same movement. Focus, hustle, and communicate.
“Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.”
7 reps @ 60% of 1RM
5 reps @ 75%
3 reps @ 90+%
Rest as needed between sets.
Then, 6 rounds of:
8 Box step @ 3/4 BW
4 L-pull-up/ L-chin-up (or :20 sec. L-sit + 4 attempts + 4 negatives each round)
Box step: Demand upright posture and lots of tension- Drive through the hip and up (not forward) in each step. Today, before scaling weight, change the height of the stepping platform- chosen height should not put the knee above the hip.
7 reps @ 60% of 1RM
3 reps @ 85-90% of 1RM
Rest as needed
Use designated weight until position fails, or sets are interrupted.
If needed, make as minor an adjustment as necessary to continue safely.
Then, 8 rounds of:
Change grip and/ or implement as desired (bar, rings, ropes, handles).
And then, 2 rounds of:
Rest as needed between sets, and adjust weight as needed; If designated weight compromises TGU or arm-bar stretch, scale down immediately.
And then, read:
Switch arms early and often during Turkish Get-up. If designated weight creates/ forces a compromised position, make an immediate adjustment. There is no designated rest between pieces- If needed, keep it short and specific.
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty,
nor weakness weakness.”
Henry David Thoreau (American essayist, poet, and philosopher)
5 Hang power clean @ 75-80% of 1RM
:30 sec. rest
Then, 3 rounds or 15 minutes- whichever comes first:
Goal is completion of the 3, not running out the clock at 15.
Then, 1 Tabata interval (20 sec. work/ 10 sec. rest x 8 ) of:
Today, count total revolutions for score.
And then, immediately, 1 Tabata interval of:
Alternate movements each round (4 rounds each), and work to maintain consistent, high-quality output.
To consider and remember:
In here, speed is never a substitute for form.
We are not interested in getting away with substandard form in favor of “winning” a workout.
(With effort and patience) form and technique will refine, speed will follow, focus and dedication will be the glue that holds it all together.
A focus on composition (over simply completion) creates a strong foundation and paves the way for lasting progress.
The benefit of such mentality will be shown when form, speed, and intensity are required to operate as a unit to overcome an obstacle- whether it be in real life, in competition, or during any physical challenge that presents itself to you.
In true physical culture, shortcuts are most often used by those without the patience or conviction to tread the real path.
In my opinion the song below does so, and I wanted to share it.
The world we’re living in is toxic, and unless you’re willing to stand for something, you’ll fall for anything…
Linked above, and also HERE.
“I don’t wanna live in a world where I can’t keep my children safe.
Sometimes I lie awake in the dark cause I can’t stop thinking about it.
I’m surround by lunatics and racists always trying to test me, trying to test my patience…
I know how hard this life can be. It can be lot harder that it was for me.
What’s the point in trying? Is there and point in trying if you really can’t change a thing?
When I take a look at life I got the answer, it seems quite clear to me.
I don’t wanna live if I can’t be with the people I love and the friends I’ve made.
So let it be known if I die today y’all mean the world to me,
if I die today did I say all the things I had to say?