Movement Monday: Tuck Ups and V-Ups

Today on Movement Monday we are going to talk about V-Ups and Tuck Ups.  These have both been in our current cycle of our Beginning and Low Intensity programming in the gym and on our Online Training programming on Train Heroic.  V-Ups and Tuck Ups are both great abdominal exercises to incorporate in any core training routine and will help strengthen the hollow body position. Let’s start with Tuck Ups.  This movement is basically a fast sit up with your legs off the ground.  Ok..ok, it’s more complicated than that.  There is definitely some balance and core stability in this movement and a lot of people have trouble getting their low backs off the ground when finishing the tuck position of the movement when pulling their knees towards your chest.  Let’s watch Cindy nail the tuck up in this YouTube video: Here are the steps for nailing your Tuck Ups: Lay on your back in a fully extended hollow body position Place arms in a “T” position with palms facing down or you can extend your arms overhead with palms facing upwards Press through palms as you slide hands towards your legs or if your arms are extended overhead pull arms towards your legs Tighten midline and pull knees into chest as you pull your low back off the ground Sit up onto your butt with a tall chest Keep abs engaged as you slowly lower your arms and legs back into a fully extended hollow body position and repeat Once in your training you are able to complete 3 rounds of 10 repetitions you are generally ready to start tackling the next progression…V-Ups.  V-Ups... read more

Photo Friday!

You made it! It’s Friday and we all know what that means-photos for the NorCal Blog. Before we get to all the photobombs let’s talk about a few of the new classes and upcoming events at NorCal. This week we had our first yoga classes coached by the latest addition to the NorCal Team- Erica Wiggins. Make sure you give the classes a shot, they run Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am and Sunday (Yes, Sunday) at 4pm. ON RAMP! We have a morning and evening On Ramps beginning August 17th at 7am and 6:30pm… As usual spots are filling up quickly so this may be your last chance to surprise a friend or a loved one with the gift of exercise! Click Here to learn more Alright, no more messing around- Check out some photos from this week at... read more

Overcoming Obstacles.

Obstacles.  We all have them.  They seem to get in our way no matter how well we plan to reach our goals and dreams.  You can either choose to let them hold you back, or you can tackle them one at a time.  Jenny Skibo (owner of Passion for Life Photography) chose to take the plunge and trust in herself that she too can overcome many obstacles that come her way.  Continue to read on about one of the many obstacles Jenny chose to take on and overcome, the Spartan Sprint at AT&T Park: On July 18th, I completed my first Spartan Race in San Francisco with a huge group of fellow NorCal’ers. We did the “Sprint” course traversing through 3 miles of stairs and obstacles at the AT &T Stadium. It was a surprisingly amazing experience! Even now, a month later, I can’t believe I did it! Growing up, I was never much of an athlete or competitor. I’ve only been exercising for a little more than 2 years now, and don’t even consider myself in good enough shape to compete legitimately.   In the months prior to signing up for the Spartan race, I was in a tough spot. I was bored with my training, skipping classes consistently (only going in once a week verses 3 times), and letting my nutrition slide. All of that inconsistency was causing my depression and anxiety start to rise up, and things just snow-balled from there. By signing up for the race, it gave me a purpose for my training. The first Spartan class I attended at the gym totally kicked my butt! I... read more

Movement Monday! Instructional Video : The Turkish Getup

Günaydın! Günaydın! Or rather ‘Good Day! Good Day!’  But more on that later.  It’s that time of the week again folks.  That special moment you’ve been waiting for all weekend.  Movement Monday!! Somehow I don’t think my enthusiasm for Monday’s is matched….but alas the show must go on!  As promised we have another amazing instructional video for you, this time covering the Turkish Get-Up.  Coaches Grayson and Cindy do an incredible job breaking down the movement into its individual components, and providing a couple of often overlooked cues that could very well be the key to saving the world as we know it…or at least helping you PR…which is sort of like saving the world, RIGHT?!     Just by watching that your PR went up 5%, pretty cool eh?!  But WAIT, there’s more!  I remember getting asked several times in the gym this week for a little bit of an origin story on these movements which have an ethnic specific prefix.  So I did some history digging for you (Indiana Jones style) and it turns out that the TGU is indeed of Turkish origin, just like the greeting phrase ‘Günaydın‘.  In fact, the infamous Turkish wrestlers of the 19th century used to require that a man be able to do a ‘get-up’ with a minimum of 50% of his body weight held overhead before being permitted to participate in any wrestling training.  Even today some wrestling coaches still use it as a GPP (general physical preparedness) tool, because of the impressive level of coordination, midline stability, and trunk strength it requires. Alrighty back to the actual business of moving.... read more

Happy Photo Friday!

Another fabulous week has flown by here at NorCal Strength & Conditioning!  It is so much fun watching everyone get stronger throughout the weeks.  One of the best parts about our gym is the variety of classes we offer.  If you are looking for new ways to strengthen your mind and body, come check out our new yoga class starting next week on Tuesday/Thursday at 10 A.M. and Sundays at 4 P.M.  Make sure you get outside and be active this weekend.  If you’re feeling extra feisty, come participate in our Power Hour on Saturday at 10 A.M.  No matter what level you are at, we can guarantee you a good time and a great start to your weekend!  Oh yeah….. Did we mention we also have a napping class coached by Grayson Strange?  Just kidding 😉... read more

Who’s Who: Michael Cooper

Meet Michael Cooper! You might recognize Michael as the quiet guy in class as he tends to keep to himself, but don’t let this fool you…this man is motivated! This past year Michael participated in the NorCal 90 Lifestyle Program and made significant progress. Even more impressive is that he continued his hard work and focus for another 90 days! Amazing! Check out this Q & A and learn a little more about Michael. Enjoy! How were you introduced to NorCal Strength and Conditioning? A friend from work had joined and was impressed with the gym, he recommended I join so I gave it a shot. Been at NorCal for over a year now. What was your first impression? I was surprised by the wide spectrum of age groups and fitness levels at the gym. It was encouraging to know that it wasn’t just a “hard core” gym but rather a gym that caters to all. One word people use to describe me… Quiet Outside of the gym I like to… Hunt, golf & hang out on the lake. Three things you would ALWAYS find in my fridge: Eggs, some sort of meat and coffee creamer. Something nobody knows about me or would be surprised to know about me: I like wine and enjoy wine tasting. Favorite physical activity outside of NorCal Strength and Conditioning: Golf (if you consider that a physical activity) & water skiing/wake boarding. Favorite place to eat in Chico: There’s a few but probably Sicilian Cafe. Song that gets me pumped up for a workout: Sail by Awolnation Proudest accomplishment: Birth of my son last... read more

Movement Monday! Instructional Video: The Pull-up

Happy (or not) Monday, everyone! As happy as a Monday can be, how’s that? For those of you visual learners out there, we’ll be rolling out a new series of instructional videos every Monday and we chose a classic for this week: the pull-up. But here’s a little extra something on the pull-up just in case you like to read a little with your coffee or not get busted watching videos by your boss, or wake the newborn sleeping on you… she is kind of my boss, so I guess that’s almost the same thing. These are my favorite 2 points Grayson and Matt make on the pull-up in this video, and why: #1 Scapular movement- your shoulder blades hug down and inward to start the movement and they release all the way up at the dead-hang point of each rep. The pull-up’s a great exercise to practice and improve scapular movement and control when done properly. I previously recommended keeping the shoulder blades fixed on the back during pulling (thanks to my old Pilates training) but after rubbing elbows with a few gymnasts, came to realize that most people I meet CAN’T move or control their shoulder blades- keeping them fixed is like telling your lazy kid not to get up after you’ve already answered the door. Movement is good. Strong, full-range movement is really good. Set those babies free!! #2 Ab activity- keep your belly on! Why? Because otherwise your lats go crazy and take over, possibly leading to some shoulder or low back issues down the road. Lats are (or can be, they sure as hell... read more

Friday is for Fotos

Welcome back, It’s Friday and Fridays are for photos! Thanks for checking in to the NorCal Blog. Before we get down to the photo biz, let me remind you of the upcoming On Ramps we have going on beginning August 17th at both 7am and 6:30pm. These spots are expected to fill up quickly. Also, if you’re an employee of you’ll have the opportunity to attend our summer work camp on Monday August 3rd or August 10th- We’ll discuss how to combat poor posture in the workplace and proactive maintenance in and out side of the gym. Lastly, NorCal is FINALLY offering Yoga courses beginning August 11th. For more information visit our online schedule HERE   Here are the... read more

Recipe: Summer Spirooli Salad

Spirooli, Spiralizer, Noodiler or whatever you want to call it, it’s what makes summer veggies fun and interesting! You can buy one here on and turn veggies or any variety of potatoes into noodles or curly fries.  Last night I made a yummy side dish that took only minutes to prep and a few more to prepare.  A good friend of mine came over with tons of veggies from their garden. I lightly steamed the zucchini and yellow squash or you could definitely sauté it as well.  I then topped it with the remainder of cut up veggies.  I drizzled the warm salad with a homemade Balsamic Vinegar and Jalapeño Infused Olive Oil with lots of salt & pepper and paired it with a pan seared Italian Herbed Chicken.  Dinner is served!      ... read more

Movement Monday: Walking Lunges

Hello NorCalers!  Today’s Movement Monday is Walking Lunges.  This posterior chain movement if  performed correctly is a great tool for building up beautiful and strong legs.  Watch here to see what I mean: One thing to particularly note when you watch the video is Cindy steps out far enough so that when she comes down in the bottom of her lunge her front and back leg are making 90 degree angles.  This is super crucial because if you don’t hit these angles  you will miss working out most of your posterior chain.  Needless to say, hitting the anterior side of the leg is also important, but if you want to use this movement to tone and curve your butt and hamstrings, achieving the correct 90 degree position is super important.  Here are a few common cues for getting into correct walking lunge position: Stand Tall With Tight Midline and Glutes Screw Hips into Floor to Create Tension in Hips Step One Leg Forward (Right Foot at 1 o’clock and Left Foot at 11 o’clock) Lower Body Down by Bending Both Knees (Front Shin Should be Vertical at Bottom Position) Goal is for Both Knees to Be at 90 Degrees and Torso Over Hips Stand Up by Driving Through Center of Front Foot and Back Foot to Front Repeat on Other Side Moving Forward Each... read more

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