Lately – I have come a cross a lot of students with knee pain or an expression of knee joint pain.  I therefore would like to commit this blog post to the knee joint and common injuries and what you can do to prevent a future injury.

Two things we as therapists or coaches keep an eye out for are the valgus and varus knee deformity. Valgus knee is more common among women than men. Valgus knee means that the knee “cave in” or “falls in” during a movement, ex squat, giving it a knock-kneed appearance and putting extra pressure on the outer (lateral) compartment of the knee joint.  Varus knee is more common among men. It’s what causes some people to be bowlegged. It happens when your tibia, the larger bone in your shin, turns inward instead of aligning with your femur, the large bone in your thigh.


If you have valgus knee deformity – there is a greater chance that the lateral ligament will get injured as it tries to stabilise and protects the knee from falling in. The best way to strengthen and protect your knees are to a) strengthen your vastus medialis muscle + the VMO and b) gluteus medius muscle. If you actively work on strengthening these two muscles, the likelihood of knee injury will decrease substantially.  


Furthermore – to protect your knees from injuries but also conditions as osteoporosis or cartilage damage – I would encourage you all to. improve. the strength and range of motion of the Quadriceps femoris muscle.  The four muscles are the Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis and Rectus Femoris (see picture below). Being the largest muscle group in the leg, they all sit on the front of the thigh and assist in many activities.  Having STRONG quads will not only help the knee joint, but also benefit in basic exercises such as walking, running, jumping and squatting.  













Thursdays Workout: 

Mental Toughness

For Time:

18 – 15 – 12 – 9 – 12 – 15 – 18

Front Squat (155/105)

Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)

**Coaches interval: 10/7 Cal AB**

There are lots of research and studies regarding physical therapy and mental health. Physiotherapy in mental health care addresses human movement , movement function, physical activity and exercise in group and individual settings. I would like to say that these mechanisms and tools are also something we at Oak Park very much apply in our classes and during individual sessions.


Mental health is a topic of growing interest in society. Various mental health organisations are engaged in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of people with different mental health disorders.  Unfortunately, neither physical training nor physiotherapy are considered to be a significant profession within mental health care. Reason being might be because of the role and added value it offers can remain unclear among patients and other health care providers. 


I would really like to get ahead of the conversation among health care providers and the general population as we all know that physical training with a coach and/or a supportive community can offer an extensive range of physical approaches (endurance training, strength training, functional movements, relaxation techniques like breath exercises or yoga and body awareness) and help improve mental health problems and disorders. Because these approaches are aimed at the enhancement of self-confidence, at symtom relief and the improvement of quality of life.  The core of the problem (as I see it) is the separation of mental health issues and physical movement. That the practice is being treated as two separate thing that we work on. As we sit down with all our students we talk through physical goals and behaviours. And the mental aspect cannot be separated from the physical approach.


Mental health refers to cognitive and emotional well being. It refers to how a person thinks, feels and behaves. Your mental health can effect daily life, relationships, the ability to enjoy life and even physical health. Most students I come across have some sort of physical pain, usually connected to emotions rather than physical trauma (injury). And every week I see students and community members for different reasons crying/struggling with mood/anger/frustration during a training session. I can see it in their eyes as they walk into class or to the session with me. And almost all the time – students walk out of training sessions feeling a little bit better than they did when they came. Your body responds to physical training. It will always be helpful for your mental health to train when you feel like  the least. And please – if you read this blog – try understand the absolute correlation between mental health and physical movement. They are not separate. 


Side note:

Kennys birthday workout on Saturday the 28th at the gym. 9am-12pm. Sign up for your heat! And coffee! New schedule for the women’s classes starting AFTER Thanksgiving. Tuesdays 7am, Wednesdays 8am, Fridays 8am. 


Thursdays WOD:

Aerobic Capacity


1000m Row

30 Push Ups

:30 Plank (each side) 

800m Run

30 DB Lateral Lunges

:30 Side Plank (each side)

1000m Ski


:30 L-Sit

Students, athletes, community members – here are some event that you do not want to miss out, please mark your calendars with the following: 


Wednesday the 25th of November (the day prior to Thanksgiving) there will NOT be a 5 or 6pm class, BUT we will run two classes for noon, 12pm and 1pm and I will be coaching the last class of the day at 4pm before we all head home to join our families for Thanksgiving. 


Thursday and Friday the 26th and 27th the gym will be CLOSED for Thanksgiving.


Saturday the 28th – Please come and join us/my husband, our dear Kenny Kane for his 50th (!!) BIRTHDAY workout celebration. Kenny has composed a long, tough, fun workout  that he will do with the community and anyone that wants to join can participate and scale appropriately.  It will be at the OUTDOOR SPACE at the gym between 9am-12pm. After we will do a potluck picknick so if you just want to come by and join us for some food please do so (bring your own food for covid safety) We will have our favourite barista, Louis, from Primo Passo Coffee provide the best coffee on the west side to anyone who comes to celebrate with us.  Kenny’s actual birthday is on December 1 – but this is the day he will officially (covid safe) celebrate with the community and his friends. DONT MISS OUT! 


Sunday the 29th – 8am start – Coach Jamie will lead the community through an epic outdoor training session and run through all the stairs and canyons in Santa Monica. It will be a 90min longer endurance piece and different groups divided into speed and ability. 


The new winter class schedule will start the week after Thanksgiving weekend. The biggest change and news will be the added women’s class, we will now provide three classes a week- women only. They will be the following days and times: 

Tuesday’s 7am (at the gym)

Wednesday’s 8am (at the gym)

Friday’s 8am (at the gym) 


We will also start hosting seminars for our community. A lot of people have questions and want to learn more about nutrition, basic anatomy, breathing, stress, postpartum and sleep improvement.  We are looking into providing the community with roughly one seminar a month where we as a group discuss and talk about a specific topic that month. Stay tuned! And if you have thoughts or subjects you would like to learn more about or host the seminar around – please let us know. 


Stay safe,

Coach Char 


Thursday’s Workout: 

Context: Competition 

For Time:

15 – 12 – 9

Assault Bike Calories

DBALL Squat Cleans (100/70)



On Oct 31 – many places and countries around the world celebrate/honor/remember the people that have left this life before us. (A day similar to the US Memorial Day). In Sweden, this day also falls on Oct 31 and most people make their way to the cementry to light a candle for a beloved and missed family member.  I saw this note as I left the cementary after lighting a candle for my grandparents and wanted to share it with you. Also – a beloved Oak Park member lost her younger sister last week and I wanted to send extra love to her and her family. 


It is okey to be afraid. 

It is okey to be sad. 

It is okey to feel broken inside. 

It is okey to feel that you don’t have more to give.

You will give more than you think you can. 

In the end you will collect the pieces of yourself.

You always have. 

Despite everything going on. You have always collected the broken pieces of yourself and dragged yourself up.

Despite every hurdle that have come your way.

Despite every heartache, every failure, every tragedy.

And you will pull yourself together this time too. 

I promise. 

It will be painful. 

But you will also experience good moments. 

Beautiful moments. 

Moments worth saving. 

I want you to experience those beautiful moments. 

I want the sun to shine on you.

I have got your back. 

I will sit with you when you need me. 

I will give you the hope you need. 



Thursday’s Workout:

“Casper” 6 Rounds

1:00 On / 1:00 Rest

Row Cal


Double Unders


*Go ALL out on each movement. Do not game it.*





I would like to introduce little baby girl Emerson to the world and to the Oak Park Family! Most of you know the parents – Shannon and Vince and we cannot wait to meet the newest  addition! Baby Emerson was born in Las Vegas at 8.26am on October 18th.



 I asked Shannon and Vince if I could write about their baby journey and Shannon wanted to share it with you guys, so here is a small fraction their birth story. Baby Emerson is Shannon and Vinces’ biological child and for those of you who do not know –  she was born with the help of a surrogate. (Surrogacy is when a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to bear a child for another person or persons who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth).


Shannon shared with me that the journey has been long with lots of ups and downs but having her daughter here in this world now made all the hard work worth it.  Shannon and Vince are so brave for walking this path and I encourage all women (and men) that are  seeking to have a baby to talk to Shannon for guidance if needed. Please send the parents big congratulations and welcome this baby girl to the world because she – and Shannon!! – are worth it! 


Thursday’s Workout


3 Hang Squat Cleans (135/95)

6 Weighted Pushups (45/25)

9 Back Rack Stepups (each side) 20″/16″









Today I visited the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC. It is an amazing building located here in Santa Monica. If you don’t know what the Ellison Institute does I recommend you take a look at their website, but here is a short quotation of their mission:

“The Ellison Institute of USC draws collaborators from across conventional health and wellness fields, as well as from a broad range of other disciplines such as physics, biology, math and engineering to study cancer and potential ways to prevent, detect and treat the disease.”  


I have worked with Dr. David Agus for about a year and he is truly an amazing, humble and outstanding person. I am excited for this opportunity and to see what our Oak Park Team of coaches can do to help staff members, doctors and patients at this institute to improve their wellness, health and fitness. Feel free to donate, all donations will go to cancer research. 



Thursday’s Workout 


Aerobic Capacity


Run 500m Row

1.4 Miles AB

How much do you really know about your own body? Do you understand why something is bothering you and do you listen to the signals the body sends you? Your body and brain are insanely S.M.A.R.T. And they will keep you alive to every price. Have you ever reflected on how many breaths per day you take? Have you ever reflected on the fact that your heart will keep beating for years and years and you don’t have to do anything to make it beat. It is self regulated. Have you ever thought of when and why you have to pee and how you just know how to walk?


I am fascinated, overwhelmed and amazed by the human body. There are systems for everything in your body. And then systems within the systems. You have a skeletal system (skeleton and bones) that can be subdivided into the articular system (joints and related structures). You have a muscular system that includes the skeletal muscles which move the skeleton, you also have the cardiac muscle of the heart walls and the smooth muscle of the walls of viscera and vessels. Furthermore, you have a cardiovascular system that consists of the heart, arteries, capillaries and veins conducting blood to the tissues and importing and exporting nutrients to the every cell in our body. You have the lymphatic system, which is a system of vessels assisting vessels in recovering the bodys tissue fluids and returning them to the heart. The lymph nodes filter lymphs throughout the body. The most fascinating system of them all is the nervous system (or at least I think it is the most amazing system due to its brilliant and complexity). I wrote about the nervous system last week so you should have a brief understanding of what it is. You have probably heard of the endocrine system, which is a system that consists of glands that secrete hormones into the tissue fluids and blood. They are under the control by the hypothalamus and will help metabolic functions, sleep and much more. Last but not least, you have the integumentary system, which consists of the skin, sensory receptors, layers of cells that will protect your body from environmental factors that are harmful to the body. 


Who came up with this? And planned it so extremely well? Is it evolution? I believe in science. 100 percent. But sometimes I do think to myself, is it only science and evolution or something much bigger behind the human body and life?


Thursday’s Workout:

20 Rounds 

Row :20 Max Effort

:40 Active Recovery

– Set damper between 7-10 to add more of a strength-building component.

Organizatin of the Nervous System


What you are looking at is a schematic picture of our amazing and fascinating nervous system. I am deep into neurology in medical school and I get more fascinated by the day. I will argue that this is the most complex system that exist. It is so well organized and it is amazing that so many of us actually do function so well.. 


I am going to shortly describe what you are looking at: 

The nervous system is divided up into the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous system (PNS). The brain and spinal cord make up the CNS, while the PNS is made up of any nervous tissue outside the brain and spinal cord, including 12 pairs of cranial nerves, 31 pairs of spinal nerves, and peripheral sensory receptors. The PNS can be further subdivided into the ANS and the somatic nervous system depending on which type of muscle it innervates and whether or not it is voluntarily controlled.


The ANS can be subdivided into sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It is the sympathetic branch of the ANS that is responsible for the “fright, flight, or fight” response elicited by the encounter with the bear. Symtoms will be that your heart rate will increase, you might start to hyperventilate, and you definitely would have no desire to eat. A sympathetic response can also occur during illness or physical trauma, from anxiety, or pretty much any stressful situation. Such a response is characterized by increased heart rate and blood pressure, goosebumps, mydriasis, bronchiole dilation, and increased blood flow to cardiac and skeletal muscles.

The parasympathetic division on the other hand, is responsible for energy conserving (“rest and digest”) activities, including decreased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, miosis, increased secretions and peristalsis of the digestive tract; and increased urination.


When we do breath work with you in class – we either try to stimulate a sympathetic response or a parasympathetic response depending on context. Meaning, if we are trying to down regulate you we will use breath work supportive of this or recovery movements. If we are trying to prep you for a tough competition workout, we do the opposite. Upregulatory breathwork or even “CNS prep” as we call it. If you are stewed and overworked and suffer from chronic pain – that means that you’re constant in upper regulatory state. This is not good as your body will respond to neurotransmitters like adrenalin or glutamat putting you in a “stress like state” causing more stress and pain. The pain receptors will react to the stimuli (ex glutamat)  caused by stress and create more pain (more pain stimuli that reacts with the receptors). It is a tough circuit to break but can be done. 


I suffer from chronic back pain and I have done that for years. Understanding how to break the pain circle is key. The stress has no mercy on your body so ask for help if you need and can. 


More about the nervous system next week! 

And please ASK ME QUESTIONS about pain, pain related symptoms and what we can do to help you. 



Coach Char




Thursdays Workout: Mental Toughness 

~Build Your Aerobic Capacity~

2 Rounds

Row 10 Minutes

Rest 5 Minutes

…After 5 Minute Rest of 2nd Round…

2 Rounds

Row 2 Minutes

Rest 1 Minute



Practice – Treat today as an ‘active recovery.’ Work on consistency per round. Nasal breathing.Get some movement in and get your body feeling super sexy going into OP 20.2!

Competition – Work on max meters on each interval (nasal only). Score will = total meters. – **Coaches: Have students set intervals up on rower before starting the workout.**

Mental Toughness – Nasal only the entire workout including rest & ‘active recovery’ between intervals. BAD ASS MOFO – Competition + Mental Toughness…BOOM!!

Hey guys! 


Hope you all had a great weekend. I spent it in Washington DC with my son Thor. We had to fly across the country to go to the Swedish Embassy to renew our passports. Covid-19 and everything with it, made it impossible for us to travel to Sweden during the summer and  the consulates are still closed here in California. So that said, we flew to D.C. 

If you have never been there – I truly recommend you to travel to the Capital. What an AMAZING city. Gorgeous, green, fresh air and reminds me of Sweden and Europe a lot. And as much as this pandemic has caused stress and negative things, it has also created new opportunities, travels and change to our lives that we may not have experienced if we had been stuck in our old patterns. 

In addition to promoting D.C I also want to promote Coach Shirley’s simple 7 warmup. Check out the video below. And don’t forget retest weekend is coming up. SQUAT BATTERY Friday and Saturday. 



Coach Char



Thursday’s Workout

10 Rounds – Row

:30 Max Effort

:60 Recovery

*Set the drag factor between 120-140.




Los Angeles’s air pollution is among the worst in the United States, both for PM2.5 and ozone. PM2.5 It is widely regarded as one of the most harmful pollutants to human health for its prevalence at dangerous levels. Exposure to PM2.5 has been linked to health effects such as heart disease, respiratory illness, and premature death.


For PM2.5, the greater Los Angeles county contains 9 of the 15 most polluted cities in the United States, according to the 2019 World Air Quality Report. According to the 2019 State of the Air report, which compared data across 229 metropolitan areas, Los Angeles has the worst ozone air pollution in the United States. Ozone is a gas pollutant formed when sunlight reacts with nitrogen oxides and organic substances. Vehicle exhaust contains both the nitrogen oxides and reactive organic substances needed to form ozone, so traffic is frequently identified as a leading source. Like PM2.5, ozone can cause health effects ranging from respiratory infections and inflammation to premature death.


Together, PM2.5 and ozone form the smog that Los Angeles is often known for. The summer months of June, July, and August tend to be more polluted than other months. This is because of drier conditions, less rainfall, higher temperatures, and a higher frequency of wind-blown dust and wildfires.


The air quality has been extremely bad the last 10 days. We need to understand that climate change is real and we as a community are directly exposed to these negative changes. I really want us all to work for healthier and cleaner air. What are some things we can do as a business to work for a better climate? What do you do to make a change? Please let us know and also reflect on your own behaviour. 


Be safe and breath through that nose of yours! 

Coach Char 


Thursday’s Workout 

Gym Peeps – “The 300”

For Time:

25 Pull Ups

50 Deadlifts (135/95)

50 Push Ups

50 Box Jumps

50 Floor Wipers

50 Alt. KB Clean & Presses
25 Pull Ups