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Muscle Hamster with a Mullet

Morning Chalk Up

July 1   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and happy Thursday Morning Chalk Up readers! You’ve almost made it to the weekend🙌🏽.

Today’s barbell is loaded with…

  • A jump into our time machine back to 2009 to see how the Last Chance Qualifier looked then, and now.
  • We take a look at why the number of events and style of programming at Semifinals is so vital for who qualifies for the Games.
  • And getting to know the “muscle hamster with a mullet”… we mean Colten Mertens, as he heads back to Madison, this time as an individual.
  • Plus, have you seen our new CHALKFIT shirts?! Available for pre-order until 7/9.

Crush a PR or have a story you want us to tackle? Hit us up at [email protected].

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“Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” - Francis of Assisi

  The History Of The Last Chance Qualifier  

The History Of The Last Chance Qualifier

Starting this Friday the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) stands as the final qualifying event of the 2021 CrossFit Games season, with four total spots to be decided over the course of four events.

In the minds of most fans, the LCQ presents a new addition to the CrossFit Games season that offers athletes a chance at redemption in earning their spot to the big show. For the more seasoned CrossFitter, the 2021 LCQ is a “2.0,” iteration of a competition stage that broke new ground for the sport over a dozen years ago.

Flashback: The 2009 CrossFit Games season brought on a host of new elements to the table. For the first time athletes would be required to qualify for the Games through a single stage of Regionals like the Great Basin, Dirty South, and “Hell’s Half Acre” Regional competitions.

  • The CrossFIt community was significantly smaller — the worldwide affiliate total had just eclipsed 500 for the first time earlier in the year — and with the sport in year three, organizers effectively had carte blanche to create the flow of competition for a comprehensive season foundation to build on.

In addition to the 65 plus athletes that qualified through the in-person Regional competitions, a new concept was announced late in the season that would provide a backup options for athletes that underperformed, were hurt, or were unable to compete as a part of the large contingent of military service men and women that were overseas: the Last Chance Online Qualifier.

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The #1 Reason You’re in Pain

The #1 Reason You’re in Pain

Let us know if you’ve heard this story before: You took about 20 years off between workouts, you’re going steady with CrossFit now — big win BTW — but there are still some aches and pains that are holding you back.

So you made an appointment with a doc who doesn’t workout. He told you to just “take it easy”, or “you’re too old for that,” or “take this painkiller or shot.” Basically a quick fix, get onto the next patient solution.

Sound familiar? We thought so.

Active Life is different. Instead of quick fixes, they offer long-term, sustainable solutions that focus on the root of the injury and problem.

How about skip the $20 copay and 20 minute doctor’s visit and instead watch Dr. Sean Pastuch explain the number 1 reason you’re in pain and how to get out of it.


  • Launching today at 8:00 AM PT, the Nike Metcon 7 Mat Fraser edition, available exclusively on Nike.comSneak peak.
  • Jacob Heppner secured a podium position, taking second at the Tactical Games at ETTS (the ETTS Gun range) over the weekend.
  • Rogue Fitness announced YETI as an Official Sponsor and the Official Cooler of the 2021 Rogue Invitational.
  • Spoiler: Sam Briggs is really strong.
  • Kara Saunders opened up about leaving her daughter, Scotti, at home during the CrossFit Games this year.
    • Saunders: “Leaving her behind for the Crossfit Games is one of the hardest things I’ll ever do. I’ve ugly cried HARD everyday since making the decision that is ultimately the best thing for her. It feels like grief having to wean her from breastfeeding before I leave which is another beast in itself.”
  • Bronislaw Olenkowicz extended his partnership with Thorn Fit.
  • Born Primitive released its First Responder Collection.
  • CrossFit will host a Level 1 and Level 2 seminar on July 24-25 in Madison, WI, in the lead-up to the CrossFIt Games.
  Three Big Questions About Semifinal Programming  


Three Big Questions About Semifinal Programming

Now that the first season of Semifinals has come to an end, it seems appropriate to look back and attempt to answer some of the larger questions about them.

  • Does it matter how many workouts are in a competition? And in particular with regards to this year does it matter if there are six or seven workouts at a Semifinal?

This year five of the Semifinals were programmed by CrossFit to accommodate for the fact that they had to be done virtually. That programming had six scored events. The other five Semifinals were programmed by the competition directors: four of them had seven events (West Coast Classic, Torian Pro, Granite Games, Fittest in Cape Town), while only the Mid Atlantic CrossFit Challenge had six events.

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  CrossFit Games Rookie Series: Meet Colten ‘Muscle Hamster with a Mullet’ Mertens  

CrossFit Games Rookie Series: Meet Colten ‘Muscle Hamster with a Mullet’ Mertens

After experiencing the CrossFit Games in 2018 with his CrossFit Kilo team, Colten Mertens shifted to individual competition in 2019 and immediately set his sights on getting back to Madison, WI one day. After three long years of training and competing, that day arrived for Mertens several weeks ago at the Granite Games in Eagan, MN, when he snagged the fifth and final spot to the Games.

  • Still a relative unknown to the CrossFit community, Mertens’ performance was a bit of a surprise. However, for 23 year-old who grew up working on a farm in Iowa, punching his ticket was his intention — a realistic goal he knew he could achieve, he explained.
  • “The main goal was to qualify. I competed with a team in 2018, and since then I knew I definitely wanted to get back to the Games (as an individual),” Mertens said.

Mertens’ Road to 2021: After switching from team to individual competition, Mertens placed 403rd in the world in the Open in 2019 and went on to compete at two Sanctionals events that season — the Dubai CrossFit Championship and the Granite Games, where he placed 29th and 26th respectively.

  • The following season, Mertens, who is coached by CrossFit Kilo owner Armand McCormick, made a big leap forward during the Open, finishing 109th in the world, and went on to have a solid showing at the Rogue Invitational. He placed ninth and snagged $10,000 for his event wins in the process.
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How Hard is the Tour De France

And we're looking for a more scientific answer than "very". Fortunately, WHOOP tracked Team EF across the 2020 Tour and has released their strain and recovery scores. Discover just how much the riders go through across the grueling 23 day race.



These Four Exercises for a Stronger Back

Just because you can't see it when you're flexing in a mirror doesn't mean you can ignore it. Specifically strengthening your back is the most neglected way of increasing your top-end strength across all movements. Try these four exercises and start watching the gains roll in.



The Pistol Squat

Pistols are the perfect demonstration of strength, technique, and a whole lotta balance. Master them in just three sessions a week with this simple program from Brent Fikowski and the team at Train Your Weakness.



The Poliquin Deadlift

We love a deadlift variation, and this one will burn your posterior chain like no other. Having a wide grip and a deficit creates a massive range of movement to work everything from your hamstrings to your upper back. Start low (and we mean low) on the weight and concentrate heavily on form until you feel comfortable adding more plates.


Chalk Up Highlights is our section dedicated to celebrating our community’s wins in the gym. Follow @ChalkUpHighlights and submit your highlight to [email protected] to be featured.

5/20 - 5/21: Tough As Nails (Lubbock, TX)
5/21: Luminate The Day (Grand Rapids, MI)
5/21: Hollister Showdown (Hollister, CA)
5/21: Barbells & Beers (Berkeley Heights, NJ)
5/21 - 5/22: The Halo Games (Seattle, WA)
5/21: North East Hungergames (East Windsor, CT)
5/21: Mayhem in the Mountains (Colorado Springs, CO)
5/21: SlaughterFest 2022 (Salem, OR)
5/21: Masters Of The Midway: Individual (Cary, IL)
5/21: Girls Gone Rx Delaware (Middletown, Delaware)
5/21: Code 3 Clash (Eagle, ID)
5/21: Spring Splash 2022 (Fuquay Varina, NC)
5/21: Luminate the Day (Grand Rapids, MI)
5/21: Big Impact Games – CrossFit Fox Valley – Regional Qualifier (Kaukauna, WI)
5/21: Girls Gone Rx South Dakota (Rapid City, SD)
5/21: Girls Gone Rx Arkansas (Little Rock, AR)
5/21: Girls Gone Rx Eau Claire (Eau Clare, WI)
5/21: Girls Gone Rx SoCal (Van Nuys, CA)
5/21: Girls Gone Rx Louisiana (West Elmwood, LA)
5/21: Girls Gone Rx Atlanta (Roswell, GA)
5/21: PAINKLLR Venice Beach (Venice Beach, CA)
5/21: Reload Athletics Spring Throwdown (Watertown, CT)
5/26 - 5/27: Gold Star Murph 2022 (Southern Pines, NC)
6/3 - 6/5: Northern California Classic (Sacramento, CA)
6/3 - 6/5: Atlantic Coast Classic (Daytona Beach, FL)
6/4 - 6/5: Whiplash: The Welsh Open 2022 (Same Sex Pairs) (Merthyr Tydfil, United Kingdom)
6/4: Love’Em or Leave’Em 10 (Saugus, MA)
6/4 - 6/5: Tandemonium (Palmer, AK)
6/4: Goose Games (Chicago, IL)
6/4: Average Joe’s Competition (Sheridan, WY)
6/11: Costa Rica Riptide Rowathon (Mokena, IL)
6/11: Kanna Fest (Ambler, PA)
6/11: Hi Temp Games (Albany, GA)
6/11: Battle on Bridge Street III (Phoenixville, PA)
6/11: Mind Games (Okemos, MI)
6/18 - 6/19: Best of the West (Rock Springs, WY)
6/18: Oz Fest 2022 (Junction City, KS)
6/18: Beat The Heat 2022 (Hays, KS)
6/18: Atlanta Masters Classic (Snellville, GA)
6/18: Back Lot Bout – RX, Intermediate, Scaled (Saint Charles, MI)
6/18: Wodmania (Urbana, OH)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Maryland (Dunkirk, MD)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx NorCal (Petaluma, CA)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Kentucky (Winchester, KY)
6/18: The Heat 5.0- Co-ed Partner Competition (Marysville, OH)
6/18 - 6/19: Emerald Coast Throwdown (Pensacola, FL)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Tennessee (Mc Minnville, TN)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Kentucky (Winchester, KY)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx NorCal (Petaluma, NC)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Maryland (Dunkirk, MD)
6/18 - 6/19: The CS&F Summer Classic (Cumming, GA)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx West Fargo (West Fargo, ND)
6/18 - 6/19: The Garrison City Gauntlet (Dover, NH)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx West Fargo (West Fargo, ND)
6/24 - 6/27: I Got Your Six (Charleston, SC)
6/25: Mayhem & Massacre @ CrossFit Muster Station (Sanford, FL)
6/25 - 6/26: BILT Summer Classic (Welland, CA)
6/25: Ocean State Summer Threesome (Smithfield, RI)
6/25: Summer Bash 2022 (Zanesville, OH)
6/25: Northwest Arkansas Basement Brawl (Fayetteville, AR)
6/25: Independence Games VIII at The Pit Fitness Ranch (Three Rivers, MI)
7/9: Rex Rumble at CrossFit zoo (Ocala, FL)
7/9 - 7/10: Rex Rumble 11 Double Down (Ocala, FL)

See all upcoming events

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