Spanked, my brethren!

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Max Effort Deadlifts

Squat Rows. 2 sets of 15.

New Challenge: Wittgenstein. You’ll need: a heavily loaded bar on pins and a pair of lightish DB’s. Here’s how it goes: Heavy deadlift from high pins (hand-and-thigh style, only a few inches of lift)/1-arm DB snatches (6 per side)/bent rows (6)/DB swing (with both DB’s, 6 reps)/squat press (6). 4 times, and, of course, time it.



Words with power we might not expect.

Remember the South Park episode (Chef Goes Nanners) involving Chef’s anger at the city’s flag depicting 4 human figures, which were white on the flag, standing around a lynched figure still hanging from the noose, which was brown in color. He was in an uproar that such a racist flag would still be flying in this day and age. The town folks couldn’t understand his anger, which infuriated him even further. Finally, he realized the town didn’t understand his anger because the town was so completely colorblind that it didn’t see white folks hanging a black man, they just saw people hanging a person (and killing folks in South Park is so common it doesn’t raise an eyebrow). So they decided to change the flag and have people of all colors hanging a person of random color, and the town, including Chef, was happy (and Kenny died from eating 60 antacid tablets and drinking water).

Sometimes we use words in a similar fashion. Although having no understanding of the malignant power of a word may not be an excuse to make it a common part of one’s vernacular, it sometimes does explain a word’s useage. For being such a stickler for my attempts at language art, usually demanding power from the definitions of words, my slip ups need to come back and bite my ass, as one recently did.

We like strength and the pursuit of it. Gender plays no role, nor does it shift our training. Whatever factors we need to work with or around when modifying a training program, what sex you are is not one of them. I’d like to consider Bodytribe blind to gender in terms of training. It’s not a point of pride simply because we can’t boast about what should flow naturally. But we’re accountable for our screw ups (and in this case, when i say ‘we,’ I am pointing the finger right at my own deflated chest). Sometimes, from this place of base equality, our ‘lynching flag’ might come out, and since our very nature doesn’t incorporate misogyny, we don’t instantly understand that our ‘flag’ might offend. Whether it be through word or action, what might be meant as casual play might be misconstrued, but that doesn’t quite absolve us from guilt, does it?


Case in point? From my days of doing small town summer theater, certain terms crept into my vernacular that have yet to leave. For about 3 years my post high school summers were spent with friends creating live theater in the California foothills, which was surprisingly well received. These friends were often studying theater in college during the rest of the year, returning from distant cities so full of skill that at some point I felt silly being on stage with such talent. So I eventually stopped joining their productions, vowing that I wasn’t going to drag down the quality of one of their productions again.

One wrote several plays,went on to become a Blue Man, and now teaches theater at our old high school. Another, also a play write, has done theater both in New York and now Chicago. A third has been in both LA and Sacramento Theater Company productions, and a fourth had a fairly successful TV commercial career for a while. Why on earth should I have been on stage with these people, unless I was playing drums, which I wasn’t.


But we had a blast and I learned a lot of Shakespeare, which has stuck with me for the past 20 years. A word that is often appearing from the depths of my lexicon is ‘brethren,’ which, in my casual use, meant ‘of my tribe or family.’ In the real world it has STRONG chauvinistic tones, especially from folks who might have encountered it through exclusionary organizations like fraternities or religious orders, where the word is connotative of the gathering of the men folk. ONLY the men folk.

Now my little trainer brain can’t even imagine a situation where I’d want to hang out with ONLY men folk. Since neither gender has a stranglehold on either brains (or the lack of) or humor, the picking of friends, co-workers or training partners has nothing to do with what naughty bits and hormones they have. There are criteria, to be sure, but anatomy and reproductive ability ain’t it.

So, bruthas and sistas, is Bodytribe free of all gender bias? Is anyone? Heck no, but we’ll keep working on it. Otherwise my mom would kick my ass. I shan’t be casually throwing around ‘brethren’ in the future, though, since my sisteren are often preferred company.

Now is it sexist to post a video of my weightlifting crush Julia Rohdes? At the Olympics she sounded more like an Anime character when she screamed before her lifts, but in this video is has a bit of a Godzilla sound to it. And so what if she misses two out of three attempts…


USAW Club Coach certification, October 4th and 5th. 2 days of working with Jim Schmitz learning the art of the Olympic Lifts. Maybe he’ll bring us some pictures of his visit to Beijing for the Olympics.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Chris

    Julia is pretty cute in her weight lifting outfit. Her pre lift noise is sexy, huh. She looks a little different in her bio picture…….
    At 19 years old I can understand your crush !

  • Erica

    Just catching up on the past week’s discussion, specifically re: Chip’s speaking engagement, and I wanted to throw some additional commentary into the mix.

    The most broad and transformative cultural shifts are not ignited by Walk to School days or other events generated by non-profit or governmental agencies that are generally devoid of real meaningfulness to the populations they purport to serve. Cultural shifts happen when there is a spark, an ignition somewhere along in the chain, and a movement grows and morphs catching fire and taking on a life of its own. There is a magical combination of elements which begins with the introduction of something new and fresh and exciting.

    In the 1970s, urban youth, essentially cast aside as worthless, created and evolved an entirely new artform encompassing both movement and music. The artform evolved as a positive means of self-expression and self-empowerment, giving youth (predominantely poor youth of color) a sense of identity and interconnectedness at a time when they had been disconnected and left behind by the dominant culture. But, first there was a spark. It had its roots in Jamaica and was transported to NYC via one young man exploring a new idea.

    Promoting walking as some kind of first step is interesting. But, it may be a step that never gets anyone excited to do much of anything. What we do at Body Tribe, on the other hand, is for many of us new, fresh, and exciting. And we know that the high we get from it could never have been acheived simply by joining an organized group walk. And some of us suspect that the passion we feel is contagious. So, I hope that folks will continue to explore creative ways of sharing what we do. I think the coordinator of the speaking event did great to include Chip on the panel and maybe it got some of the organizations rethinking their own approaches.

  • Craig


    Thanks for posting this. I really am leaning towards the position that the people who won’t be mobile, you may not be able to get their attention. Whereas the folks that are perhaps doing something (shape, muscle and fiction or mens health) but not seeing change sometimes need to see the options.

    In my case, when I found Gym Jones and Crossfit videos, they pretty much blew my mind. The light bulb went on and I had the old ‘aha!’ moment where I realized I needed to work harder, smarter, and ask more of myself. I’m not by nature ‘driven’ either. I’m pretty chill, not competitive…but I knew what I wanted when I saw it! Add somehow getting across the idea that you can see serious, even radical improvement, even if you never end up ‘part animal, part machine’. Because it does take discipline and willpower, which means you have to want it. And you have to know it’s out there, and that you could have it, to do any more than want it. But if you can see it (and the beauty of the videos is this) you can see it in action, you can see the struggles, you can see the fun, you can see the sense of something tough accomplished… well that’s really something, to me.

  • Erica

    Thanks, Craig. I’d like to tie gender back into the equation, too. I think it important to explore ways to reach out to young women. As I grew up, lifting heavy things was for guys. My brother and dad had a bar and a rack and lots of heavy weights which were clearly part of the father-son male bonding scheme. But, as a woman and mom, it is incredibly exciting and empowering to be learning how to lift. When I told my bro he immediatly asked how much I was deading and snatching. Whatever. I feel mighty, and I can now pick up my 50 pound daughter without getting hurt!

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