Join us Saturday November 2nd at Oak Park for, “Lean into Stress” with Brian MacKenzie. Proceeds support Tanya and Brian’s nonprofit, theHealth and Human Performance Foundation.

Register today at:

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Monday’s Workout

In 5:00min
800m Run + Max 20m Shuttle Sprints

5:00min rest

In 5:00min
800m Run + Max 20m Shuttle Sprints

Tuesday’s Workout

A) E2MOM X 6
1 Power Snatch + 1 Hang Power Snatch Below Knee + 1 Squat Snatch*

B) For Time (12 Minute Cap)
100 Wall Balls
50 Burpee Box Jumps (24/20

“The breath is the remote control to the brain and you can take control of your mind at any time by taking control of your breath.” – Power Speed Endurance’s Art of Breath


With the breath work that we are integrating into the Oak Park experience we are striving to give you a rich, varied experience while simultaneously equipping you with tools that you can use inside and outside of the gym to enhance your fitness and well-being. One of the tools I want to share with you today is something called “box breathing.”


Box breathing is a breath technique that you can use to down regulate (i.e. “calm down”) your nervous system and get yourself out of a sympathetic state (the up-regulated, “fight or freeze” state). It is a great tool to use when you need to quickly move yourself from an up-regulated state to a down-regulated state. Down-regulating your nervous system reduces stress, promotes calm, improves your mental focus, and can improve your mood – universally good things!


The box breath consists of an inhale, a breath hold, an exhale, and a hold on the exhale. Box breathing is so named because each part of the breath is of equal length, which gives you a simple breath cadence of 1:1:1:1 and can be visualized like the sides of a box. For example:


You inhale for 5 seconds,

You hold your breath for 5 seconds,

You exhale your breath for 5 seconds,

You hold for 5 seconds before you begin your next inhale.


Box breathing is so easy to implement. Start with 1-second sides to your box and work up to something between 4 and 7 seconds per side. You don’t have to look at the clock to time the “sides” of your box. Just count on your fingers or count in your head. Try this for 5-10 minutes before you go to bed as part of your nighttime routine. Or, take 2 minutes to box breathe before a stressful meeting at work or during a conference call with that vendor who drives you insane. Or you can begin your practice with box breathing here in the box, by practicing your box breath as you recover during the rest intervals of a CrossFit workout (today’s Competition WOD would be a perfect style of workout in which you could incorporate box breathing in the rest intervals). Whether you choose to practice inside the box or outside the box, give box breathing a try in this next week and let me know how it goes.




A) Rowing w/ Breath Gear Pyramid

B) EMOM 10:

    1 Hang Power Snatch + 2 OHS (hold bottom for 3 seconds)

C) 3 RFQT:


     2 Hang Snatch Pull + 2 Hang Snatch High Pull + 1 Hang Power Snatch

     500m Row


     3 Hang (Squat) Snatch (135# / 95#)

     500m Row



Franklin Hill Fitness Score

A) “Franklin Light Hunt”

     AMLAP 8:

     Across Down Back Up Back Across


     Max Light Posts Score

(10 min rest)

B) 2 Intervals on the 6:00

     Franklin Hill Sprint 220m

Your “Franklin Hill Fitness Score” is the total of your two intervals times on part “B” divided by your Light Post Score on part “A.”


*** Coach Matt will be leading a FREE 30-minute performance breath session from 12:00-12:30pm on Friday, working on breath techniques to prepare for the Franklin Hill runs.


By now you have probably participated in a class where the warm-up included some form of intentional breath holds while rowing, biking, or carrying kettlebells. “Why on earth would we do this?” you might ask – but since you’re holding your breath at the time you can’t ask. There is a reason behind it, and it isn’t to torture you.


So why do we practice doing work while intentionally holding our breath?


Performing work in the absence of oxygen (“hypoxia”) is aimed at causing favorable adaptations in the body in response to the reduced oxygen levels. Several scientific studies (mostly using those Bane-looking “high-altitude” training masks) indicate that there is a broad range of adaptations to the stress imposed by reducing the oxygen available to the muscles while they are doing work. The adaptations occur even on the level of an increase in the mitochondria inside the muscles cells. Hypoxic training has been shown to improve your red blood cell count and stimulate the release of EPO from bone marrow which causes an increase in the production of red blood cells. All of these adaptations result in increased delivery of oxygen to your muscle tissues.


As we head into Cycle 18, we will be focusing more and more on breathing and how it relates to performance. You are likely to see more instances of hypoxic training, both in warm-ups and in the workouts themselves. Don’t expect us to do workouts with world-record 22-minute breath holds. The breath hold intervals in our training will be short, but intense. The research seems to indicate that short, high-intensity intervals of hypoxic work produce the best results for time invested. And please remember as we experiment, learn, and develop our breathing skills that this is a practice you will have to develop just as you developed your double-unders and your muscle-ups. It is going to take time, and you have permission to fail over and over and over as your progress your skill.


On that note, if you are interested in learning more about using breath to prepare for a workout, this week I’ll be leading some breath work at noon on Friday before the 12:30pm class. It isn’t a formal class, just a chance to experiment with breath and hopefully learn about some tools you can use to enhance your performance in workouts like Friday’s “Barbara.”




Partner “Jack” (alternating rounds)


10 Push Presses (115/85#)

10 Kettlebell Swings (24/16kg)

10 Box Jumps (24/20in)




Partner “Barbara” (alternating rounds)

5 Rounds For Time:

20 Pull-Ups

30 Push-Ups

40 Sit-Ups

50 Air Squats

(35-minute cap)