Prison Break

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Today’s workout:

Max Effort Squat (suggestion: box squat with bands).

Combo Catch o’ the Day: Carrie. See the combo somewhere in this video:

Prison Break

I’m sure we all remember our first prison; what we wore, our giddiness, the girl we went with. My first prison experience was a delight. I was decked out in all black, although the guards were a bit leery that I was in shorts. My ‘date’ was friend-of-Bodytribe Patti Pinkerton, who has created a (literally) life-saving diet and exercise program within the Vacaville State Prison, stories of which are told by the prisoners in respectively excited, almost awed, tones. After I put these guys through a workout, a sweaty, well built man who tackled everything I threw at him told me he was in his late 50’s and about a year-and-a-half ago was on his death bed.

See, Patti saves lives. And there’s no magic to it. She follows the three basics: train hard, eat well, rest hard. Granted, the ‘rest hard’ portion might be a given in prison, but training and eating with conviction about health is not the easiest of tasks. But these guys, sans anything resembling a dumbbell or barbell, were in darn good shape. I was able to throw some of my heavy artillery at them (hi guys, we just met, but let’s do Brick Don’t Hit Back, followed by crocodile pushups, etc.) and they ate it up. The stronger of the guys would, after finishing his sets, drop down next to some of the slower guys and start all over again right next to them, encouraging and motivating them.

So I enjoyed prison and hope to go back soon. Is that so wrong?


Chronology’s grandest annual benchmark is upon us, offering us a moment of both reflection and foresight, reviewing the tape of 2008, and loading the wish barrel for 2009. Being unguarded in an auditorium with just Patti and about 30 prisoners – 30 grateful, warm and highly enthusiastic prisoners – makes this time of year a great time to borrow some of that gratitude and release some appreciation into the universe

’08 saw a networking of the physical culture that is finally forcing the corporate fitness world to reconsider their tenets a bit. True ambassadors of movement and strength are getting their words, techniques and philosophies into peoples heads and muscles to a much greater degree, and many commercial gyms and trainers who have existed solely for profit and not for the passion of empowerment through movement have started to notice what our growing movement is about. And frankly, I see a bit of fear in their eyes.

Our examples are proving that education, spirit and desire trump machines, ‘initiation specials’ and spin class schedules.


On a selfish note, I’m a little gimme, gimme when it comes to quality information and quality community members. So while staring into the open door of a new year, I’d like to thank you for following your heart and putting forth effort that inspires and creates strength. We at Bodytribe appreciate what you do.

Let’s send a shout out for all the practitioners of the modern physical culture. We’ve met people from all over the planet this year. Garage and living room gyms in places like Michigan and LA, CrossFit affiliates from Vancouver to Australia, Colorado to New York to all over California (and let’s not forget our new friends in Austin), backyard trainers like our macebell and club buddy Kevin in idaho, warehouse iron sanctuaries like Ice Chamber in Alameda and our dear friends at Midtown Strength and Conditioning here in Sac,, powerlifting gyms like our Sacramento brethren at Super Training, Olympic weightlifting dens like Jim Schmitz’s Sports Palace, Mark Twight at Gym Jones, Steve Maxwell, Dan John and even folks stuck in a more corporate environment looking for something different, like our friends up in Arcata.

And, of course, all the Bodytribe members and extended members who have become my strange, wonderful and powerful family, including the fighters, lifters and movers who we’ve gotten to work with through the year(s).

We’ve exchanged laughs, sometimes butt heads, but ultimately progressed a community that truly empowers. Thank you all. Let’s have a super strong 2009.


Please drop by the Workshop page and see what’s coming up. From our Saturday Tune-Ups to mega-workshops, including a fighter conditioning workshop and a bodyweight certification by Steve Maxwell, we’ve got quite a bit of continuing education coming our way!!

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Showing 5 comments
  • Patti Pinkerton

    Thanks for the blog “name-dropping” (smile). The men were very sore and VERY appreciative of you dropping by to say “hi.” they are all walking a little funny and are hoping I’m not too hard on them tomorrow. I’m glad your first visit was a good one – these inmates have big hearts and big egos – put together = kick ass workout all to impress.

    Take care and come back soon!

    Patti or “Ms. P”

  • chip

    Patti, your program and the inmates involved deserve serious kudos. Keep it up. I hope to see you guys soon.

  • Brent

    Happy New Year!

  • Shane

    Happy New Years to the Body Tribe family! I’ve been checking the site daily while on vacation waiting patiently for a new post and this one came right on time.

    Way to go Patti! Sounds like you have not only a wonderful but valuable program going on out in Vacaville.

    Also great to see my Deadlifting buddy Sara in what I hope is footage from the DVD. Awesome stuff.

    A big thank you to Chip, Allyson and everyone at Body Tribe and the Body Tribe extended family for what they have given to me and many others. Hope to see you on both coasts this year Chip.

  • camilo

    keep up the great work, the physicalsubculture is now and Chip Conrad is leading the way! THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP, LET’S ALL KEEP HITTING PR’S IN 2009 ON OR OFF THE PLATFORM OR IN THE ALLEY OR @THE GARAGE!

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