The Russells Blog Review

Blog: The Russells

The Russells is a blog created by Russell Berger and Russ Greene, two employees of CrossFit, Inc. The blog is as defined by the Russells as a: “blog (that) documents our work defending the CrossFit brand from misinterpretation.” The bigger a brand grows, the more other brands who are in competition try to discredit it. The CrossFit brand has taken steps to ensure it remains on the path towards revolutionizing the fitness industry; and in my eyes the Russell’s are an integral part to keeping CrossFit, CrossFit Inc’s property.

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Russ Greene (left) and Russell Berger (right). Also of note, that is literally the only picture of Russ Greene on the internet.

My Relationship With CrossFIt, Inc:

Before I start writing about my view of a blog that is tied to CrossFit I want to make this clear. I have no relationship to CrossFit, Inc. I have met neither Russ or Russell and am in no way affiliated with CrossFit, Inc.

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How I heard about The Russells:

I began following Russ Greene on Facebook near the beginning of their starting of the blog. At first, I followed Russ because someone had told me he was the ultimate troll in the CrossFit Kingdom. Well, while many would perceive him to have trollish capabilities (lots of them), he brings up great points of discussion and from my recollection states mostly facts. That’s why when him and Russell Berger, CrossFit Seminar Staff Member got together to create a blog defending the CrossFIt brand I was excited to follow.

Quality of Content:

The quality of the content presented on the blog is professional. While you can often find the Russells on Facebook trolololing, on the blog they are all business. The Russell’s present facts, and one that is often stated is that many organizations that see CrossFit, Inc. as a competitor have expended effort in trying to discredit the effectiveness and safety of CrossFit as a program methodology. Even ones who claim to “support and disseminate research-based knowledge and its practical application to improve athletic performance and fitness” to do things that would seem out of character for such organizations. These articles sum up problems CrossFit, Inc. has had with the National Strength and Conditioning Association:

The topics discussed range anywhere from current lawsuits to inspiring stories such as this one about A 75-Year Old CrossFitter named Jacinto Bonilla. There’s more drama, hi-res photos, and people with their shirts off than you can shake a stick at.

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My Favorite Article:

Although there are many articles on the blog that I’ve enjoyed reading, my favorite by far is The Flexible Definition of Mobility. Russell Berger delves into the question that I’m sure many CrossFit athletes have asked themselves and that is, “What does the term mobility mean?” I’ve had this discussion with many people– when I first started CrossFit I found the blog MobilityWod. MobilityWod is an awesome blog and Kelly Starrett has done fantastic work in regards to helping people become more fleximobile (not a word.) That being said, I began hearing people use the word mobility vs. flexibility and I even once commented on someone’s flexibility by saying, “wow, you are very flexible” to which they replied, “I’m more mobile, not really that flexible.” To me there was no difference, and I don’t think the lady I was talking to knew the difference either, mobility was just the new, cool word used in the CrossFit world. In the Article written by Russell Berger he explains that there hasn’t been much of a difference and that it is important to have clear definitions. I completely agree, a lot of which because CrossFit has defined fitness, something others had not, and has built their brand on that definition.

affiliate-names

The Russells Blog is for you Affiliate Owners. (On a side note, these are real affiliates.)

Who Do I Think the Blog is For?

The Russells is great for anybody within the CrossFit community. Most notably, I think the blog is especially important for CrossFit Affiliate Owners to read and support because these guys are defending the brand for the Affiliate Owners. It’s an interesting business strategy CrossFit, Inc. has employed using social media to defend a brand so strongly, and I think it’s something other brands will be using in the not so distant future.

So, this blog is for:

  • CrossFit Athletes
  • CrossFit Affiliate Owners
  • People who enjoy drama
  • People who enjoy business
  • Anybody who benefits from CrossFit, Inc. doing well
  • Anybody who benefits from CrossFit, Inc. doing badly

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Rich Froning (Because every CrossFit blog post needs a Game of Frones Picture)

Final Thoughts:

There are a lot of blogs in the strength world. I don’t plan to review them all, but I do plan to share the ones I enjoy to help my readers weed through the crap that is in the strength world blog universe (there’s a lot of it.) The Russells are intelligent guys who are passionate about what they do. It shows in their writings and I suggest everyone who even thinks they might enjoy it to check it out. CrossFit, Inc. is doing something that I haven’t seen, attempting to keep the sport and methodology of CrossFit, the same as their brand name CrossFit, Inc. It has a lot of people frustrated because they think it should be be like football and the NFL or hockey and the NHL, but they don’t want that to happen. And in my mind it’s because they want control of it’s direction, as well as profits (I completely agree with this strategy.)

Finally, I vote they change their name from THE RUSSELLS to RUSSELLING JIMMIES.

Train On,

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JerkFit Nubs Thumb Sleeves Review

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Small Yet Powerful

In CrossFit and Weightlifting tape is very important. It was a daily ritual for me. I would brew my coffee, step into my garage, crank the metal ( \m/ ), and tape my thumbs in preparation for the upcoming training session. I enjoyed the ritual, but hated having to go through so much tape, it reminded me of my hockey days. However, JerkFit has come up with an alternative for the ole’ trusty cloth tape and it is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

What is it for?!?!

When doing a lot of repetitions in CrossFit or Weightlifting there is a technique for holding the bar called a hook grip. Anybody within CrossFit or Weightlifting knows and uses the hookgrip extensively. The problem with a hook grip is it destroys your thumbs–that is if they aren’t wrapped in tape or now in the JerkFit nubs.

Nubs

Construction:

The JerkFit Nubs are made right here in the good ole’ U.S of A  of a latex-free elastic material. They are stitched together and with some pulling go right onto your thumbs. I’ve been test driving them for about a month now and they hold up to the test.

In Use:

Everythig else aside this is where a product makes or breaks it. Going in I was a lititle weary of trying these out. I felt that due to the thickness of the elastic material it would hinder my feel of the bar. Also, one reason tape works so well is it can be chalked up and dug into the knurling of a bar, in my mind, the Nubs would not. However, I was wrong. In practice, the Nubs work the same way. The only con I found to the Nubs is they slide, but only a little bit. They remind me of knee sleeves. For the most part they stay on, but every once in a while you have to give them a tug, whether its a nervous reaction or they actually need it.

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Hookgrip in Progress

Final Thoughts:

For the price you honestly can’t go wrong purchasing these. If you buy them and don’t like them, just keep them in your gym bag as a back up for the day you run out of tape. But chances are you will find yourself using them more and more till finally, you stop using tape altogether, like I did.

Price: $9.95

Where to Purchase:

JerkFit

Amazon

Train On,

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RPM Fitness Speed Rope 2.0 Review

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There are a million and one companies clamoring for your hard-earned dollars in purchasing their latest, greatest, fastest, qualitiest (not a word), and spinniest (again, not a word) jump rope on the market. I have a lot of jump ropes, too many in fact and I am going to review each an every one. For my first installment I am going to review the:

RPM Fitness Speed Rope 2.0

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The Handles Come in a Variety of Colors, Gold Being my Favorite.

Looks:

Although CrossFit Athletes don’t seem to care what they look like, and are only about performance (yeah, right…) but you want your gear to look rad. Rad is the exact word I would describe the RPM Fitness Speed Rope 2.0 (from here on out referred to as RPM Jump Rope.) You can only make two sticks of metal and a rope look so cool, but RPM has done a great job of combining anodized aluminum in eye-catching colors with a bare metal rope to create a very cool looking jump rope. RPM Fitness also gives you the option of having your name printed on the handle which looks pretty great and keeps somebody at the gym from stealing your rope “accidentally.”

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Knurling Similar to a Barbell

Feel:

Many who tryout the RPM Jump Rope will notice a feeling very familiar and that is the feeling of metal knurling. RPM uses a knurling that is similar to a barbell. This allows your grip to really set in when combined with chalk, similar to a barbell. The handles are light in hand and the rope is a bare steel cable that does not feel good when it meets your bare skin. However the rope does whip through the air.

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Complex Made Simple

Construction:

The RPM Jump Rope is built out of quality materials. One way you can tell a good manufactured product from another is in the amount of parts. A complex design made simple is what sets apart the best manufactured products from the lot. The construction of a jump rope may seem like an easy thing to get right, it’s a rope and two handles, but when speed is the name of the game things get more complicated. The RPM Jump Rope combines a hollow anodized aluminum handle, with a top cap, and a plastic ball that cinches down on the bare steel cable to allow it to look and feel seamless.

Function:

The spin is not as I thought though. I was thinking it would spin quickly while holding the rope to test its spin like many of my other ropes that use bearings. However, the RPM Jump Rope barely spun. At first, I thought how could they call this a speed rope, however when in use the RPM Jump Rope spins like a dream and if you can’t string together many double-unders, its your fault, not the ropes. The bare steel cable works great on my rubber stall mats, but the cable will absolutely shred on concrete, so I advise to only use it on rubber gym flooring.

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The Hollow Handle

Final Thoughts:

The RPM Jump Rope is excellent. Its high quality, looks great, and is highly functional. I will be using this rope I imagine for years to come.

Where to Purchase:

Rogue Fitness

RPM Fitness

Train On,

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DIY Climbing Peg Board

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There are so many options for Do-it-Yourself Equipment it amazes me that more people don’t take advantage of making their own equipment on their way to fitness dominance. The Climbing Pegboard is something that I have never used until I made it. I saw it online and was like I have to have that! A quick search online took me to a couple retailers offering a Peg Board for way more than I wanted to pay so I created my own that in my opinion looks and performs as well as any you could buy.

What You Will Need:

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Tools

Supplies:

  • One 8′-10′, 2″ x 8″ Board
  • One 8′, 2″x 4″ Board
  • One 1 1/4″ Dowel Rod
  • One Thin Sheet of Plywood
  • Elmer’s Wood Glue
  • One Box of 1″ Wood Screws
  • One Box of 3″ Wood Screws
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Wood Stain (optional)

Tools:

  • Power Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • 1 1/4″ Spade Bit (A Forstner Bit would also suffice)
  • Miter or Circular Saw
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Total Price: ~$35

Instructions:

First off these instructions are for one 4′-5′ long Peg Board, if you’d like longer, or would like to make another (say one vertical, one horizontal) like I did you just double the instructions.

  1. Cut 8′-10′, 2″x 8″ Board in half using the Miter or Circular Saw
  2. Measure out your hole pattern. For mine I drew three lines each 2″ apart. Then every 6″ I made a mark for my pilot holes.
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      Marking the holes

  3. Drill holes using 1 1/4″ Spade Bit where you made your marks
  4. Place 2″ x 8″ board on plywood and sketch the edge using your pencil
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      Sketching out cutout for the back of the Peg Board

  5. Cut out sketch using circular saw
  6. Glue cut out plywood to back of the 2″ x 8″ board with the pre-drilled 1 1/4″ holes.
  7. Screw plywood into the pegboard using 1″ Wood Screws
  8. Cut 2″ x 4″ board in two 2′ pieces
  9. Screw 2″ x 4″ boards at top and bottom of the peg board perpendicularly. This will allow you to screw into multiple studs distributing the weight.
  10. (Optional) Sand and Stain for fresh looking gainz.
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      Board, plywood, board, drywall

  11. Find studs in the wall and mark where you’re going to mount the peg board
  12. Using 3″ Wood Screws, screw the pegboard into the studs in the wall
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      Perfect dowels

  13. Cut dowels based upon your hand plus 2″ for it to go into the Peg Board.
  14. Stand back and admire your work, or like me do some climbing.
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      Hi Mom!

Here she is in action:

Workout Examples:

  • Climb to top hitting every hole
  • Climb down hitting every hole
  • Every two holes do 2 pull-ups
  • Hang for max effort time.

Final Thoughts:

A Peg Board is a piece of equipment that I believe should be in every gym in America. Its practicality, price, and strength building properties make it a very under-appreciated piece of gym equipment. The project takes a little longer than some projects but it is well worth. Go to Home Depot, get your materials and build your strength.

Train On,

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Born Primitive Snatch Shorts Review

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Born Primitive Snatch Shorts

Many times after a volume intensive Olympic Lifting session my pubic bone will feel bruised. I’m certain I’m not alone in this as there is now a company who creates a pair of compression shorts with a flexible pad over the pubic area. This company is Born Primitive and the product is called Snatch Shorts.

Construction:

The shorts are just like any Under Armour Compression Shorts that many already wear. They wick away sweat, are light, and stretch allowing your quadzilla’s to not feel constricted. The seams are all heavily stitched, along with a heavy duty waist band and a good looking graphic of a guy who definitely eats Paleo on the left thigh. The main selling point of these shorts though is the pad that makes your junk look larger (and protects your pubic bone.) Born Primitive obviously did some research in this area because its not just a piece of foam. The pad is made of little octagon looking pads that connect and are firm, yet have enough of a give to feel comfortable.

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Flexible octagon padding and rad block lettering on the waistband.

Looks:

Lets be honest, nobody likes looking like an idiot, whether you train in your garage or you train in a gym. Granted I wear different things when I’m by myself then when I’m in public; for instance, when training in these that’s all I wore and its nice having that freedom. That being said, most who will be wearing these don’t have a training castle connected to their residence, so from the perspective of being worn under shorts they look great. In fact you can hardly notice them, and in reality for the men out there these will give the impression to others around you that you have large feet (if you know what I mean 😉 .)

This was an epic battle, and Scott almost caught up due to the way he cycled the bar. With the Snatch Shorts he would have felt less pain I’m sure.

Do They Actually Work?!?!

Actually, yes they do. It’s interesting because I don’t have a hard hit off my hips, but rather a brush. Still with my technique the shorts allowed me to do more volume, with less pain and that is the intention of the shorts. In fact the slogan of the brand is “PR Without the Pain.” One area that I find these shorts to be the most helpful in would be high rep hang cleans and hang snatches. The reason is shown in the video above. If you bump the bar off the top of your hips instead of bringing it down to your knees you can cycle much faster. In fact, Scott Panchik almost beat Rich Froning in Nasty Girls of the 2014 CrossFit Central East Regionals even though he started his reps after Froning. With the padding on the Snatch Shorts, you could cycle the bar in this way without much pain.

Final Thoughts:

Would I suggest you purchase these? Yes, based on these conditions: you do a a lot of snatching, you have pain in your pubic area from snatching, or you would like to cycle the bar faster in hang cleans and snatches by bouncing the bar off your hips. If you don’t meet these conditions I don’t think these would be of a lot of use to you. Although they are priced very competitively at only $40, which is similar to the price of other compression shorts without the added benefit of the pad.

Where to Purchase:

Born Primitive

Wod Outlet

Wod Superstore

Train On,

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Again Faster Home Pull-Up Bar Review

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The Again Faster Home Pull-Up Bar

A garage gym is not a gym without something to hang and pull-up on. The pull-up is just as essential, in my opinion, as a squat rack or barbell. There’s many options out there for pull-up bars whether it mounted to the wall or ceiling, or just hanging from your door frame. This review is over the Again Faster Pull-Up Bar which I chose for many reasons that I will list below.

How it was acquired:

I began searching for a pull-up bar when my wife decided she wanted to workout with me. I wanted another place to do pullups and decided on a bar I could mount to the ceiling that would allow me to do everything from strict pull-ups to bar muscle-ups. During my search I found all kinds of pull-up bars for sale and all were very similar. I chose the Again Faster Pull-Up Bar mainly because of price. It is currently listed for $80 not including shipping which is one of the most reasonably priced pull-up bars on the market, especially for the quality.

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Strong upright and great logo placement

Upright Construction:

The pull-up bar comes in three pieces. Two uprights that bolt to the studs in your wall or ceiling, one 1.25″ diameter bar, and mounting hardware. The uprights are heavy. Which in my opinion represents quality, and the uprights on this product are scream quality. There are two options on the uprights for mounting the bar based upon the height of your ceiling, allowing for customization. Once bolted to the ceiling or wall (correctly, don’t screw this up) this thing is ROCK SOLID!

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Bright Zinc coated bar

Bar Construction:

The bar used has a 1.25″ diameter  that is the standard among pull-up bars used in CrossFit. The main difference though is the coating on the bar. Again Faster does not powder coat their bars like Rogue Fitness or many of the other companies. Instead Again Faster uses a Bright Zinc coating that grips well, but is does not have an aggressive feeling like powder coated bars. This causes fewer hand rips, and also looks pretty cool. This was one of the other main selling points outside of the price for me.

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The pitting is on the bottom of the bar in the center, basically where my hands never touch.

Durability:

I like to put my gear through the wrecker for a while before I give a definitive review and I’ve had the Again Faster Home Pull-Up Bar for about 9 months and it has seen daily use. It is still holding up just as well as the day I bought it. The only slight complaint I have, that really isn’t even a big one is the bar near the middle is showing some pitting. This could easily be prevented if rubbed down with 3 in 1 oil so it’s mostly my fault, but this would not happen with a powder-coated bar.

Mounting Pull-Up Bar:

This instruction video is for the Stud Pull-Up Bar but is the one I used for mounting the Again Faster Home Pull-Up Bar

 Final Thoughts:

In my opinion this bar for the money is the best value out there. The Rogue bar’s are special and have a lot of combinations but they’re also more expensive. If I ever need to buy another pull-up bar I will be heading back to Again Faster.

Where to purchase:

Again Faster

Where to find alternatives:

Rogue Fitness

Stud Pull-Up Bar

Train On,

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