Kevin Dalton: Spartan Tahoe Beast Finisher at World Championships

Article written by guest contributor Kevin Dalton, fellow NorCal Spartan Teammate and long standing NorCal Strength and Conditioning client.  It has been a pleasure training and racing with Kevin.  He not only is a Spartan Tahoe Beast finisher at the World Championships (hardest Spartan race to date, and did I mention his first ever Spartan!!!), but he is one fine friend, teammate, and archaeologist. At this point I am sure that you have already heard of the training and excitement, the freezing water and hail storm, and the pride and satisfaction that all of us felt as we crossed the finish line. So, I would like to share my feelings on why you should train for and complete a Spartan race. How many of you have heard of the term agōgē? Agōgē was the physical, social, intellectual and moral education required of Spartan citizens in the fifth century B.C. The objective of the system was to produce physically and morally strong individuals, but agōgē particularly emphasized the values of commitment and loyalty. My commitment to completing one of the Tahoe Spartan races began over two months ago. I have been at NorCal Strength and Conditioning for over six years and I have to say that the shift to training for a Spartan race has renewed my focus and motivation in the gym. The Spartan workouts are rigorous. For example, a week or two ago we had to complete a heavy 400 meter tire drag during one of the 20 plus minute workouts. I remember how mentally tough I felt, as I was completing this portion of the workout. Just two... read more

Movement Monday: Jefferson Curl Instructional

Monday Monday Monday! On Mondays we talk about movement. Luckily, I don’t have to do much talking- I’ll let our Videos do the work! Linked below is our Jefferson Curl Instructional Video featuring Coaches Grayson Strange and Kristen Meyer. And Below that is a Movement Monday blog post I wrote back in March…Check them out and learn some things!   Movement Monday: Jefferson Curl!    “Round your back” said no one ever…You would have rarely heard this phrase used seriously at NorCal Strength & Conditioning. But what was once a rarity is now commonplace in our Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Classes- We constantly try to improve …and stuff. What I’m referring to specifically is the Jefferson Curl. Did you say bicep curl? No Matt, I said Jefferson Curl. Let me start by taking a step back and dropping some serious knowledge about the spine. 120 muscles, 220 ligaments, 33 bones all working together to give us the Strength, Range of Motion, and Support that we ask of our bodies on a daily basis. To save time and embarrassment lets all agree that it’s slightly more complicated than *the head bone is connected to the neck bone* and move on. Being a member of the coaching staff at NorCal I see a fair share of people walking in the door with shoulder pain, hip pain, back pain…you name it, chances are I know somebody it hurts on (we fix it, don’t worry). It is so rare that we move our torso with perfect position yet we constantly train that stable, unwavering back position to avoid causing back pain. If you make every movement throughout... read more

Photo Friday and Fall Challenge!

ITS FRIDAY!!!  Yet another fine week has passed here at NorCal — check below to see photos from this week in the gym — people having fun, photo bombing and even a few folks working out. 😉 Don’t forget, next Saturday October 10th, is our annual Fall Challenge! This year we have invited a few other gyms to participate. We are excited to have CrossFit Feather River, CrossFit Gold Rush and our friends at CrossFit Level 10 join the fun.  Much like years past, the workouts will still be scaled to the level of the competitor which makes the event very interesting, but most importantly safe!   If you are in town Saturday October 10th stop by to cheer on some of your NorCal gym peeps, have some great food (Big Chico Burger) and check out our awesome sponsors! Speaking of sponsors we would like to thank Spine Chiropractic and Built For Bodywork for keeping our peeps moving well and putting some of us back together.  Both Ben and Jesse will be at the event showing off some of their magic. We’d also like to thank, Midtown Local for the awesome coffee that will keep the coaches and volunteers moving at lightning speed and The Printed Image for ALWAYS doing a great job with our event shirts! (Actually ALL of our apparel!)  We would also like to send a HUGE thank you to Luke at WOODZEE Sunglasses for providing the top 2 teams with some of the coolest sunglasses ever!  WOODZEE will have a both set up at the event so you all can check out what they have to offer.  Oh, for all the ladies…(and Grayson) lululemon athletica Roseville will... read more

Movement Monday: The Handstand

Happy Monday! Have a peak at this handstand instructional video to get the scoop on perfecting your handstand using our handstand progressions if you are not quite yet motoring along on your hands, OR if you just want to meet Grayson’s identical... read more

Pictures, Challenges, On Ramp and Friday!!!

Bonjour! Bonjour! (I’m practicing my french) So there I was, getting instructed by the leader of MovNat, Erwan Le Corre, when suddenly, and without warning, my phone started ringing like the bells of Notre Dame.  Red in the face with shame, I quickly lept to my bag (utilizing my new dive rolling technique), snatched up the phone, and silenced the infernal contraption.  Little did I know, I had been flooded with a plethora of photographs from my faithful comrades back home.  Later on I would discover evidence of daring do via triumphant rope climbs, fond memories of the joy shared during a group wall sit, an ocean of barbells, some wild hikers in their natural environment, and a sunrise so beautiful I’m pretty sure I would have gotten something in my eye had I seen it in person.  Luckily for you all, technology brings us together.  You’re going to get a chance to see these pictures yourself, and without the embarrassing ringtone! Made it! SO. MUCH. AWESOME. Spartan Hikers Weighted planks…like coffee, only better. Told ya it was pretty… BOOM!  Wasn’t that awesome.  Just makes me want to fly home and get in on the fun.  Alas, my schooling must continue so that I can bring back some high quality goodies for my Norcal family. Oh, and speaking of goodies, a new On Ramp will begin October 12.  Thats right folks!  In just three weeks you can give the gift of health to a friend, loved one, stranger, acquaintance, bosom companion, chum, bestie, partner, spouse….you get it the idea.  On Ramps are the perfect vehicle for introducing folks to the... read more

Wild Wing Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday! One of my favorite appetizers is wings! That’s right, chicken wings! So I thought I would spice up your Wednesday by sharing two of my favorite wild wing recipes. Also, just an FYI that Costco is currently carrying organic chicken wings which work perfectly in both of these recipes. My all time favorite is really very simple. Season your wings with a little salt and pepper, drizzle a little olive or avocado oil on top, then place on the grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes then flip the wings. Add your favorite GF and low to no sugar BBQ sauce (Stubs makes a good one), cook for another 4-5 minutes then flip again. They are done when they have reached your desired crispiness. Remember these wings are small so be sure to keep a close eye on them or you might end up with extra crispy wings. My second go to wing recipe is done in the slow cooker. For crispy wings you can put them on a baking sheet and crisp them under the broiler for a few minute. This takes longer but is a perfect way to set it, forget it, and finish it later. Place the chicken wings in your slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low for four to six hours. Cooking time will vary depending on how full you fill your slow cooker with the chicken. Be sure to check on the meat every few hours to avoid over-cooking. You want them to be cooked through but not completely falling off the bones. Once the chicken wings are fully cooked, cover the wings... read more

Movement Monday: Cossack Lunge

Hello NorCalers!  It’s a brand new week and things are already looking awesome!  This week on Movement Monday we are going to go over the Cossack Lunge!  Fortunately for us it’s been programmed today for Beginning and Low Intensity Classes.  Watch the demo of Coach Carlascio below from our YouTube channel and then we will go over a few strategies to attack these from a mobility stand point. Ok, from the looks of it Coach Carlascio has great adductor mobility and range of motion through his hips.  This is a tough movement to hit bottom end range.  Biggest thing we are looking for from a coaches standpoint is “are you feeling the stretch in your adductor muscles (groin area).”  You want to take a wide stance with this movement, depending on height and length of your legs this varies.  A good range is between 3-4 ft.  A few more things to be conscientious of when moving from side to side is flat back position and an upright chest.  If you go back and watch the video again you will notice that Coach Carlascio keeps his chest upright and his back stays flat (the opposite of a camel’s back…there’s no hump…in case you were wondering…). Depth is not the upmost importance, the stretch is.  So, if your groin/adductor area is tight, your range near the bottom position may be limited.  This is ok, it just means that you got some work ahead of you to achieve end range.  Can’t hit the end range and want to get there faster…take a Mobility class with Coach Carlascio on Tuesdays @ 7 AM or... read more

Happy Friday!

Time flies when you’re having fun and it’s already Friday again…. which means we’ve survived another fun and fabulous week in the gym!  Along with the change in weather, we’ve had a changed in strength cycles recently and you are all off to a strong start!! Keep up the good work everybody  Friday means we have pictures for you and also a shoutout to our sponsors on the upcoming 4th Annual NorCal Fall Team Challenge, which will be taking place on October 10th. This years sponsors are Woodzee, Pasion for Life Photography, Built for Body Work, Spine Chiropractic, The Printed Image, and Midtown Local. If you are not competing, I would highly recommend being there to cheer on your fellow NorCaler’s, it’s guaranteed to be a fun day!  I hope you all have a great weekend and can’t wait to see the progress continue next week!... read more

Client Recognition: Mark B.

Hey NorCalers’!!!  It’s that Wednesday time again, and that means it’s time to meet a new client, well not new exactly.  He’s actually an old one (no pun intended, although Mark may disagree). If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Mark Burns yet, next time you see him in the gym make sure to say hello.  You won’t meet a nicer or more genuine guy, oh and you also will probably get a couple jokes out of him too.  As you’ll read below, Mark has been at the gym for quite a while, and his training has gone through a few transitions.  From starting to workout to get in better shape for his daughters wedding, to now training for his 3rd Ironman, this time in Kona Hawaii on October 10th for the world championship.  You could say he’s come a long way…insert awestruck imoji with a sarcastic tone.  I say that because if you don’t know what the Ironman Triathlon is, it’s well, kind of a big deal.  Starting with a 2.4 mile swim, into a 112 mile bike ride, and finishing up the day with a nice little 26.2 run (also called a marathon).  Actually it’s a pretty nice little Saturday (Frank The Tank anyone??).  For most, including myself, I think of doing a couple 800M runs in a workout as running a long distance.  Mark will do multiple 800M repeats for miles, then round out the day with a 3 hour bike ride.  It’s definitely a different kind of training!  When it comes down to it, the kind of mental toughness that one needs to train... read more

Movement Monday: Rope Climb

Imagine with me for one moment: There you are, clinging for your life on a cliff’s edge. Regardless of how you ended up here, the more important question is how will you get out of this sticky situation? A rope! Thank goodness help is here. But before we rejoice in our rescue we need to answer a couple simple questions. Can you climb the rope? Can you hold on? End scene. Thank you for entertaining my “application of a rope climb” intro. It may be a bit wild in the imagination department but it’s a scenario worth reviewing, after all we are focusing on the rope climb a ton in this cycle. So beside a situation in which we may actually HAVE to climb a rope to save our life, how else does it apply to our “Strength & Conditioning”. Just like in a regular Pull up, we’re moving our bodyweight in space using our Lats, Biceps, etc (All the upper body pullers) but on the rope we get a little extra bang for our pulling buck. GRIP STRENGTH. For most of us the limiting factor is our grip strength, and that’s okay to admit! Holding on to that rope is dang hard. Thus we use of the Rope Lower, a slightly easier version (although still very challenging) of rope pulling without ever leaving the ground. It’s a great alternative to the climb if we’re still developing our grip and upper body pulling strength. You’ll be seeing sets of 2, 3 and 4 in the following weeks but don’t be intimidated! If you can’t climb the rope that’s no biggie,... read more

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