Improving Thoracic Rotation From FlexibilityRx


Strength in Conditioning for Tuesday, October 20, 2015

If you have one shoulder that is more flexible than the other (asymmetry) or poor shoulder mobility – assess your thoracic rotation.  If your mid back area is locked up – improve thoracic rotation – instead of just foam rolling your lats or stretching your pecs.

When I take an athlete through a Functional Movement Screen and they have an asymmetry or dysfunctional score on shoulder mobility I first address thoracic rotation.  You can ‘google’ Apley Scratch Test or Shoulder Mobility (Functional Movement Screen) to gauge your shoulder mobility.

The thoracic spine is hard to isolate, when you rotate to one side each individual vertebrae contributes to what is called mutli-segmental rotation.  The key to spinal rotation is movement through the thoracic spine. When the hips or thoracic spine don’t rotate the low back becomes hypermobile.  This is why golfers often have low back pain – they have poor hip and thoracic spine mobility and end up rotating through the lumbar spine.

If someone has limited left rotation – improve that pattern before reassessing shoulder mobility.  This stretch will allow you to reassess thoracic spine rotation without having to isolate the thoracic spine.  You can perform a seated rotation test to immobilize the hips, knees, and ankles to zone in on rotation through the upper body.

This simple, “Test-Retest” template simplifies treatment/assessment and is a quick way to mobilize the thoracic spine.

Rotation and the Transverse Plane

Perry Nickelston (Stop Chasing Pain) likes to point out that, “Power Lives in the Transverse Plane.”  Boxing, throwing, and swinging a club or racquet all require good thoracic spine rotation.

The rib-roll exercise is an active way to improve thoracic rotation.  Pair that exercise with this passive mobilization of the rhomboid (spiral line) and thoracic spine with an active movement to lock in the movement pattern.

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ –


Agility Ladder
Kipping Pull Up Skill Work
Hollow Rock, Arch Rock, Hanging Kip Rock, Kip on Ground,
20 Minute AMRAP
Run Big Lap
Max Reps Unbroken Pull Ups
15 PVC Overhead Squats
45 Jump Ropes

Crack of Dawn Kick Off For Hell-Weekers!


Strength in Conditioning for Monday, October 19, 2015

Today a group of brave souls commit to a week long journey that will impact the rest of their lives! Hell Week starts today and that means that beginning at 5am this morning, this group got their first taste of what SICFIT Scottsdale has in store for them!

For the next week, Hell Week participants commit to two workouts a day – one at 5am (i.e…the crack of dawn!) and another during one of our regularly scheduled class times. If a Hell-Weeker is in one of your classes, give ‘em a pat on the back and a little extra encouragement to get through the workout… They might need it!

To all those participating, you have our support! We wish you luck and can’t wait to hear about all you accomplish during this week long challenge!

CrossFit Scottsdale Hell Week Bootcamp

100 Meter Easy Row
100 Meter Hard Row
…. To 1000 Meters
10 Minute EMOM
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3
SPORT: Front Squat
5 Minute Rest
10 Minute EMOM
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3
SPORT: Power Jerk
5 Minute Rest
10 Minute EMOM
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3
*Increase weight every time
**Decrease weight if needed for last set of 3

Great Challenge Inspires Great Change during SICFIT’s Hell Week


Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, October 17, 2015

Our greatest growth is just on the other side of our greatest challenges. Sometimes we need to seek those challenges out to inspire a new cycle of growth to begin.

If you’ve been feeling a bit stagnant, less-than-inspired, and like you have to drag yourself to do even the things you care about — a good challenge might be just what you need to shake things up and reignite your inner fire!

At SICFIT Scottsdale, we are in the business of presenting people with challenges. But we also give them the tools and encouragement to conquer them!

One of the biggest challenges we offer throughout the year is our Hell Week program. And it’s back, starting on Monday 10/19!

For five days, every morning at 5am participants will be challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in ways that not only test limits, but also expand them.

By the week’s end, you will have successfully surpassed many obstacles. This is the key to turning challenge into change. Once we see that we can overcome any road block in our way, we develop relentless momentum to keep moving forward towards our goals. One achievement at a time, eventually we come to see ourselves as a power-source that cannot be stopped!

To registers for Hell Week (10/19-10/23), click here!


PVC Mobility
Burgener Snatch Warmup
Movement Prep for Snatch
12 Minute EMOM
Even Minute: 1 High Hang Pull + 1 Hang Power Snatch + 1 Overhead Squat
Odd: 10-15 Weighted Sit Ups
5 Rounds
Run Big Lap
15 Overhead Squats
FITNESS: Barbell
SPORT: 65/95

Holistic Personal Training at SICFIT Scottsdale


Strength in Conditioning for Friday, October 16, 2015

How much further could you go if one of our expert coaches focused entirely on you? If you got to work with them one-on-one to achieve goals you didn’t even realize you had? Could you imagine the impact on your body? Your health? You’re life?!

The cornerstone of our personal training program is our holistic approach to both exercise and nutrition. We are committed to helping others feel better, increase confidence and self-esteem, and make positive lifestyle changes that will last a lifetime.

Working one-on-one with a coach is also you’re best bet when addressing things about your health and fitness that are unique to you and have presented challenges to exercising in group settings or on your own. Our job is to help give you the tools, knowledge, and skills to empower you to take charge of your body, health, wellbeing, and happiness. Our training helps define the course, our coaching teaches you to navigate that course on your own, and then you take over and steer the ship!

Call today to schedule a private session with a Coach (480) 922-3253.

5 Rounds
30 Second Plank
30 Second Push Up
30 Second Squat Hold
30 Second Squats
30 Second Rest
4 Rounds | Tabata Style
Tuck Hold/L-Sit Hold
Plank Hold
Ring/Box Support Hold
Handstand Hold
Dips + Burpees
LIFE: Bench Dips
FITNESS: Parallete or Box
SPORT: Rings


Calling All Level I and Level II Athlete Hopefuls!


Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, October 15, 2015

If you’ve had your sights set on the Level I or Level II band for a while now, tonight is your night! That is, of course, if you have put in the work required to achieve it!

Tonight is the first time in SICFIT history that we will host both the Level I and II test at the same time! With so many people pushing the limit of their fitness in tonight’s event, the energy is sure to be electric!

Even if you aren’t planning to test tonight, come out and cheer on your classmates who are — they’re going to need that extra support and encouragement!

The show begins at 7pm tonight. Before the evening is over we will have a new crew of LI and LII athletes sporting their bands around the gym!


Band Exercises
Glute Activation Exercises
Movement Prep
4 Sets
4-6 Box Jumps
4-6 Push Press
2 Minute Rest
*Increase Weight and Height Each Round
4 Sets
8-10 Good Mornings | 33×1 Tempo
8-10 Shoulder Press
2 Minute Rest
50 Jump Ropes + 50 Sit Ups
40 Jump Ropes + 40 Sit Ups
30 Jump Ropes + 30 Sit Ups
20 Jump Ropes + 20 Sit Ups
10 Jump Ropes + 10 Sit Ups




Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Think your fitness can rise to the SICFIT occasion? You’ll have the opportunity to find out at the SICEST Fitness Competition in the Valley – The SICEST of the Southwest IV!

We’ve been around the block a few times with this comp (four times, to be exact!) and we have learned a thing or two about how to deliver an entertaining, inclusive, and challenging test of strength, stamina, and mental determination.

From elite athletes seeking out another “W,” to those just starting out in their fitness journey looking to have some fun and challenge themselves at the same time – there is a spot for athletes of all kinds at SICEST of the Southwest IV!

If working behind the scenes and with the details is more your cup of tea, sign up as a volunteer or judge! Of course, you can always just come to sit back to enjoy the show, and cheer on you gym’s competitors.

All athletes, judges, volunteers, and event attendees can reserve their spot by clicking HERE!

Keep checking back to the SICFIT Scottsdale Blog, along with the SICEST of the Southwest IV facebook page for updates!

2 Rounds
Run Big Lap
300 Meter Row
150 Jump Rope
Rope Climbs
20 Minute AMRAP
Run Big Lap
30 Air Squats
3 Rope Climbs | Sport = 5
15 Pull Ups

Overlooked Ways of Getting Better Sleep: Sleep Smarter Book Review

The book, “Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way to Better…” is an extremely practical guide for optimizing sleep.  Many people have given up on improving their quality of sleep because they think that getting eight hours of sleep and going to bed earlier are the only considerations.  The book lists a number of helpful strategies that individuals choose to focus on.

Here are my take-aways…

Daylight sun exposure – get thirty minutes of direct sun exposure during the day to normalize your light cycles and melatonin production.

The most important factor is getting sunlight light exposure during the critical period of 6:00am – 8:30am.   A dawn simulation lamp can be used for people that cannot wake up to natural sunlight.

The programmable alarm clock utilizes gradual sun exposure over a thirty-minute period that will wake you up without a starting and disruptive sound of an alarm.  An alarm can be set as a fail safe after the 30-minute sun exposure period.

The combination of going outdoors during your lunch break and waking up to some sun exposure can do wonders for your sleep.

Avoid blue light exposure  – ninety minutes before bedtime.  Blue light emitted from computer screens and mobile devices is best avoided to ensure that melatonin is secreted before bed.

If you need to use a computer before bed there is a great program for the computer called F.lux that filters out blue light.

Set a caffeine curfew - Caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 8 hours and disturbs sleep if used up to six hours before bed.  Setting a ‘caffeine curfew’ at 2pm can greatly improve sleep.  Another strategy is to go two days on and three days off.

Stay cool – ideal room temperature is 60-68 degrees, this drop in body temperature initiates sleep.

Get to bed at the right time – The most beneficial sleep period is from 10pm to 2pm.  This explains why some people that get eight hours of sleep still do not feel refreshed.

Optimize your sleep cycles – sleep cycles last ninety minutes and repeat four to six times per night.  Deep sleep, non-REM, and REM sleep make up this cycle.  If your alarm goes off during on of the sleep cycles (90-minutes) it is more likely you will be groggy in the morning – regardless of how much sleep you get.

“If you go to sleep at 10pm set your alarm for 5:30 am (for a total of seven and a half hours of sleep) and you’ll likely find that you feel more refreshed when you wake up than if you set the alarm for 6:00am and interrupted another sleep cycle.”

Take Magnesium – magnesium deficiency is likely the number one mineral deficiency in our world today. One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is chronic insomnia.  Magnesium is also needed for muscle relaxation.  The author recommends a topical form of magnesium, but I have found that many people can benefit from a high dose magnesium powder called, “Natural Calm.”

Black out your bedroom – a blackout curtain helps remove external light coming into the bedroom.  A rolled up towel under the door can also help prevent light from coming into the room.  A good test to see if your room is dark enough (to allow for melatonin production) is to look at your hand when laying in bed – you shouldn’t be able to see your hand.

People that travel can use black electrical tape to cover phone chargers and electronic devices that emit blue light into the room.  This is one of the most underutilized methods of improving sleep quality.

Meditate before bed – numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of meditation on the body and mind. Meditation provides access to the deeper brain waves that we enter into during deep sleep.  A ten to fifteen minute practice of meditation before bed is a great start to a practice that has many benefits – including deeper sleep.

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ –

Related Resources

Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way To a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success (link)
Natural Calm (link)
Phillips Wake Up Light (link)


Single Leg + Arm Movements
Calf Raises
Arm Circles
3×10 Light Dumbbell Lateral Raise+ Front Raise
8-10 Seated Dumbbell Single Arm Press
8- 10 Seated Single Arm Kettle Bell/Dumbbell Row
8 Single Leg Step Up
Bulgarian Split Squat
*Each exercise rest 1 minute, repeat 3 more times, then move on to next
5 Curtis P’s + 1 Minute Rest
4 Curtis P’s + 40 Second Rest
3 Curtis P’s + 30 Second Rest
2 Curtis P’s + 20 Second Rest
1 Curtis P + DONE!






Hell Week is Coming…


Strength in Conditioning for Monday, October 12, 2015

In exactly one week and one day, SICFIT Scottsdale  we will be testing the spirits of those brave souls who commit to Hell Week. This 5-day course of two-a-day workouts will push you to your mental limits. The breakthroughs you experience during this intensive week will be far more than just physical. They will also teach you about discipline, leadership, spirituality, and the moral virtues of a warrior. We leave no stone unturned and hold nothing back.

Every morning at 5am sharp, participants will be challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in ways that not only test limits, but also expand them. Your success in Hell Week does not depend on your strength, endurance, or stamina. It depends on your ability to turn your mind off and JUST GO! All levels are welcome.  You can sign up at the gym, or by clicking here!

Hell Week Details

  • 5-6am Daily HELL WEEK workout
  • Additional group class each day
  • Previous SICFIT Scottsdale HELL WEEK graduates gain complimentary access to the program
  • Black SICFIT shirt/tank required as “uniform” for the week
  • All levels welcome!
  • 99$ for Members, 199$ for non members



800 Meter Run
50 Calories on AirDyne
Dynamic Stretching
4 Sets
8 Single Leg Deadlift Each Leg
6 Weighted Side Lunges Each Leg
2 Minute Rest
5 Sets to Build Heavy 1 Rep Deadlift
2 Minute Rest
Max Reps at 85% of 1 Rep Deadlift
Run 1 Small Lap + 30 Kettle Bell Swings
Run 1 Small Lap + 20 Kettle Bell Swings
Run 1 Small Lap + 10 Kettle Bell Swings


Sunday Funday Sweat & Shop at Athleta This Weekend!


Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, October 10, 2015

If you think you need to lift weights to be fit, think again! Bodyweight exercise is one of the most effective forms of training to achieve all sorts of fitness goals.

  • Increased strength and stamina,
  • Weight loss,
  • Stronger core,
  • Better balance and coordination,
  • Muscle tone,
  • Increased energy,
  • Healthier heart and lungs,
  • Ability to rehab old injuries,
  • Safe for all levels of fitness.

These are all benefits you can look forward to from bodyweight training.

SICFIT Scottsdale is bringing these benefits to the community with a FREE bodyweight fitness class at the Athleta Store at the Kierland Commons — Sunday Funday Sweat and Shop! This class will be held this Sunday, October 11th, at 11am. Bring the whole family, as this workout is suitable for all ages and fitness levels!

After the workout, ask your SICFIT coach about the bodyweight fitness classes we hold each week at our several valley locations. And if you are looking to lift, we offer plenty of that too! Talk to your coach about signing up for a free intro session!

Athleta Flyer


Roll out
5 Sets (Not for Time)
10 PVC Overhead Squats
10 Laying Leg Lifts
4 Farmers Carry Small Lap
*Each time you set it down, run small lap around to the kettle bell
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Ball Squat + Ball Slam

Take the Sitting-Rising Test


Strength in Conditioning for Friday, October 9, 2015

The sitting rising test assesses your ability to get down on the floor and back up.  Research by Claudio Gil Araujo has shown that the sit-to-rise test is correlated with longevity.

“If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand-or even better without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness, but their survival prognosis is probably better than tat of those unable to do so.”  – Claudio Gil Araujo



I have seen many patients with low back pain and inflexibility that struggle with this task.  Surprisingly, even some teenagers are unable to perform this simple test.  For the elderly population – falls and hip fractures are two of the most devastating injuries that many never recover from.

It is essential to retain the ability to get down on the ground and back up – before it’s too late for the elderly population.  Coaches should include get-back-up drills in their warmups with athletes on a regular basis.

Test Instructions

Each of the two basic movements is assessed – to the ground, and then back to standing – and scored up to five, making a composite score of ten, with one point subtracted per support used, such as a hand or knee.

Take the test here.

“Our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power to body weight ratio and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities, but have a favorable influence on life expectancy.” – Claudio Gil Araujo

Get Back Ups

Dan John in his new book, “Can You Go” discusses an effective teaching drill that helps improve the requirements for this test he calls them “Get Back Ups” or GBUps.

Here’s one example…  (The right hand is stuck to the left knee)

  • On your front (or your belly) — Get back up
  • On your right side — Get back up
  • On your left side — Get back up
  • Pushup-position plank — Get back up
  • On your back — Get back up

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ –

Related Resources

Can You Go?: Assessments and Program Design for the Active Athlete (link)
Sitting-Rising Test (link)
USA Today: Sitting Rising Test, Life Expectancy (link)

Line Drills
Deadlift 10 – 10 – 8 – 8 – 6
Calve Raise 15-20 + 2 Minute Rest Between Sets
3 Rounds
6 Single Leg Deadlift Each Side
1 Minute Max Sit Ups
1 Minute Rest
2 Rounds For Time
500 Meter Row
30 Kettle Bell Swings (35/53)
Roll Out

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