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

Upcoming Events and Photo Friday!

It’s another Fine Day!  Especially when it is time for Photos on Friday.  It’s been another great week at NorCal.  We are just wrapping up week 1 of this 8 week cycle.  We are already seeing some amazing progress with Rope Climbs, Turkish Get Ups, Handstands, Skin the Cats, and many other complex movements we are working on in all levels of classes. Here are a few reminders about some of the upcoming events at NorCal: On Ramps – Start Sept. 28th.  Remember if you refer a friend or family member you both get $25 gift cards!  4th Annual NorCal Fall Team Challenge– October 10th.  We have a few spots left to fill up our NorCal teams.   And finally to the... read more

Client Recognition : Bryan A.

Hello, Hello, Hello… (In the style of Matthew McConaughey) Happy Wednesday NorCal family!  Today I get the good fortune of highjacking the gym blog (for a second time this week!!!) in order to recognize the pure awesomeness that is Bryan! Thats right! Its Client Recognition Rwednesday….For the sake of my ego I’m going to assume someone thought that ‘R’ placement was witty…ish.   Alright, Alright, enough fooling around. Coaching Bryan in the morning BSC classes has been a real treat for me.  He reminds me of something I heard about my best friend once.  If you don’t like Bryan, you just don’t like people.  In what I can only describe as quietly welcoming, Bryan made me feel right at home during my first few weeks of shadowing morning classes with his responsive and encouraging demeanor.  That ability to put a stranger at ease is a rare and unique gift, and something that I imagine endears many people to this guy.  I was so impressed that, when I was offered the opportunity to do the Client Recognition post this week, I decided to unabashedly abuse my power and send Bryan our little questionnaire.  The results?  Further proof this dude is a silent rockstar!  I strongly encourage you to check out this small portion of his story, and if you haven’t chatted with him yet during one of the morning classes, take a moment and go shake his hand.  I’ll wager, just that interaction will leave you feeling better. How were you introduced to NorCal Strength and Conditioning? My brother and his wife are friends with former NorCal trainer Natalie Taylor.... read more

One Cycle Ends, Another Begins!

Ahhhhhhhh, the end of a program cycle.  What a magical time.  PR’s have been PRed.  Weaknesses have been strengthened.  The dust settles on the battlefield…er uh gym, hopefully with everyone a little more capable…and on the horizon, a new challenge.   When we began the last cycle, Sarah wrote a fantastic post about navigating training priorities in the new cycle.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, I’ve got it right here for you!  Did you read it???  I assume you read it… Carrying on with the spirit of Sarah’s article, I wanted to take a moment and fill everyone in on some of the fun movements we have planned for you during this next training block, as well as throw in my two cents (because sharing is caring) about the total cool factor of it all.  So without further adieu, let’s dig into the primary strength movements for the new cycle. Beginning S&C – Front Squat, Deadlift, Barbell Press Intermediate S&C – Front Squat, Deadlift, Push Press Advanced S&C – Snatch Combo’s, Behind the Neck Jerk, Clean Combo’s Low Intensity – Split Squat, Single Arm Press, Deadlift MMMMmmmmm I just love the smell of front squats in the morning!  There really isn’t anything quite like them for identifying (or reminding us of) postural mobility issues.  You know what I’m talking about!  We’ve all seen it; the text neck, keyboard shoulders, ye ole dowager’s hump, and before you know it, you’re doling out poisoned apples to fair maidens in the forest asking yourself how the heck looking up got so dang hard.  Plus they tax the anterior chain (just like the posterior chain, but on the front!) in a... read more

Meet Tyler and Shelby

  Hey NorCalers, If you frequent the 6:30 BSC evening classes at NorCal S&C you’ll definitely recognize this dynamic duo: Tyler and Shelby. They’ve been apart of NorCal since January of this year and that is just the tip of the iceberg for these two. They’ve had quite the 2015. I had a chance to catch up with these two after one of the classes and ask them a few questions, check out a few secrets and not so secret things about them. 1) How were you introduced to NorCal Strength & Conditioning?                         Tyler and Shelby: *in unison* Denise! (another popular 6:30 BSC Attendee and Shelby’s Sister) Shelby: I was asking Denise about [NorCal] and she said to try it out and I liked it Tyler: I had never worked out a day in my life and now I love it! 2) Outside of the gym what do you like to do?             Tyler: We like to spend some time outdoors; hiking, camping             Shelby: Oh and take our standard poodle to the park, bike riding. KICKBALL Tyler: Also bowling, it’s been my lifetime sport. 3) What is one word that people use to describe you?             Tyler and Shelby: Sheboyle (For those of us whom are less quick with the combination names that’s Tyler Boyle and Shelby Davis put together)   4) What are 3 things we always can find in your fridge?             Tyler: Craft Beer! Shelby: We get the Chico state box so there are always veggies. Meat and… Tyler: Craft Beer & Cheese 5) Favorite place to eat in Chico ?             Tyler and... read more

Yoga For Every Body

Hi everyone! I want to officially introduce myself and share a few things – a little bit about my background and most importantly, some information about yoga. First, I’ll tell you a little bit about my background and how I came across yoga and really fell in love with all it has to offer. Most of my life I struggled with stress management to an extreme degree and lived a life riddled with anxiety and very little peace and happiness. In 2007, a good friend convinced me to go try a yoga class with her. Neither of us had ever been, and I was nervous and skeptical. It was fun, engaging, accessible, and relaxing all at the same time. Needless to say, I was hooked! Eventually I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I went from being self-conscious, anxious, and sporadically committed to my own health and well being to someone with body awareness, the ability to communicate clearly and passion to share yoga with others. Yoga was the catalyst for a complete lifestyle transformation. Some things to know about yoga: You do not have to be flexible to do yoga and you don’t need experience to come try out a class. Many of the movements we do at NorCal are common movements in a yoga practice. Dog-floss, table rocks, pike stretch, Hawaiian squats, and bottom of squat holds just to name a few. Yoga has a ton of benefits with scientific backing. Some notable benefits include better sleep, slower aging, improved stress management, increased flexibility and range of motion, reduced anxiety, increased body awareness and reduced back pain.... read more

Movement Monday!

Hey everybody! It’s Monday and that means we have another movement to give you a few tips on.  We have been seeing the dumbbell hang power cleans in the programming lately and they are one of the more difficult movements that we have thrown your way.  My biggest tip on performing this movement would be to not over think it, let your body just flow and pretty soon they will feel as natural as brushing your teeth.  Once you have mastered this movement with dumbbells, you can graduate to the barbell!  Heres a walk through of how to complete this movement, along with a video:   -Stand Tall with Glutes/Midline Tight -Screw Feet into Floor and Bring Shoulders Back and Down -Hold Dumbbells at Sides -Reach Hips Back and Bend Knees Until Dumbbells Reach Mid-Thigh -Keep a Tall Chest and Neutral Spine -Explode Through Feet -Onto Toes with Straight Arms to Full Hip Extension -Shrug Shoulders then Pull Dumbbells Up By Sides By Bending Elbows -Quickly Bring Elbows around to the Front Rack while Pulling Body Down Into Partial Squat -Receive Weight in Partial Squat with Dumbbells on Shoulders and Chest Tall and Stand Tall Now grab some dumbbells, throw this all together in one fluid motion and you’ve got one of the most powerful and in my opinion most fun exercises there... read more

Photo Friday!

Hello Hello NorCal Family! As I’m sure you are aware, it’s Photo Friday!  I have been patiently waiting a long, long time for my chance to take a stab at presenting the finest photographic evidence of NorCal’s bestest health aficionados and it’s finally happening.  We got some real gems in here, most notably from the recently kicked off NorCal Kids and NorCal Teens workshops, as well as the increasingly popular Spartan classes.  Last but not least Ruth Guzley has returned to the gym after a 3 month break, so please give her a hearty welcome back next time you see her! You know, the nice thing about getting to do this blog post is it gives me a way to reach all of you at once.  I have the floor, or rather your screen for the moment, and I’m going to totally take advantage of it.  I noticed after my short journey east for a certification, that upon my return many of you took a moment to welcome me with a smile and a inquiry of my travels.  To be frank, I am touched.  Throughout the week I was constantly reminded of how powerful of a family you all have crafted here at NorCal Strength & Conditioning, and I feel truly blessed to be a part of it. Thank you all for another amazing week!  As promised, here are the pictures. Kids High Five Bear Crawl! Tire Flips! and Jumps! NorCal Teens Teen Prowler Pushes Cat…er uh Teen herding… #warmup Spartan SlamBall Toss Lunge Retrieval! NorCal... read more

Get to Know…Bret Crowe

Whats up NorCal?  Most of us know Bret Crowe as the guy that shows up to the gym 30-40 minutes early to mobilize and get ready to move…okay maybe thats just the coaches. 😉  Bret is a long time client that like many, continues to improve.  He has made his health and wellness a priority and it shows.  Since joining NorCal Bret has made HUGE improvements in strength, technique and overall ability to move efficiently.  He has also continued to grow outside the gym by becoming the owner of J.J. Lares which is a professional duck call company.  Bret definitely knows his way around the duck calling world, in fact he won The World Live Duck Calling Championships in 2012 and 2013.  Needless to say Bret prides himself in hard work inside and outside the gym and we are very happy to have him at NorCal!  Below is a little Q&A we did with Bret to give you all a chance to learn a bit more about him.  Oh, and if you have the chance ask Bret about his run in with a shopping cart. 😉 1. How were you introduced to NorCal Strength and Conditioning? I learned about Norcal SC and their strong reputation for quite awhile, prior to joining. Ultimately, it was my brother that finally convinced me to join.  He had been a member for a year or two before I made the switch.   2. What was your first impression? My first impression of the gym was how incredibly positive and welcoming everybody was. The coaches as well as the fellow members. I immediately felt at home... read more

Movement Monday

Hello NorCal family!  It’s that time of the week again, and that means another new movement, or in this case, lack of actual movement…hopefully.  If you have been following our Intermediate or Advanced Strength & Conditioning programming, or coming to classes, you have been upside down a lot lately.  You probably guessed what I’m talking about, right?  Handstand holds!  You all read my mind for sure. The handstand hold is a fundamental gymnastics skill, and incorporates a huge level of muscular control, flexibility, and balance.  For those of us who were not small gymnasts, a handstand can be sort of the holy grail in the gym.  While developing a solid handstand hold will take hours and hours of practice, there are quite a few ways to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck, no matter what level you have achieved in a handstand. Whether you are trying to break your best freestanding hold, or just learning how to get upside down against the wall or on a box, shoulder position is one of the most crucial factors.  To truly get into a stable inversion, your shoulders need to able to get into full flexion, meaning that you can hold your hands directly over your head without arching your back or lifting your ribcage.  If your curious where your shoulder flexion stands, take our little test.  Lay on the floor face down with your arms straight out over your shoulders. Keeping your abs tight and head neutral, try to raise your arms up off the ground.  Can you do this easily without arching your back?  If... read more

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