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The CrossFit Open and The Dumbbell Dilemma

Morning Chalk Up

February 23   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • The Dumbbell Dilemma: How will the dumbbell be featured in the 2021 CrossFit Open.
  • A few years ago Todd Kowalski was addicted to opiates and living in his car, now he’s sober, married and a CrossFit affiliate owner.
  • Competitive Female Training tailors training to the unique needs of women athletes.

We love seeing your story tips, quotes and PRs roll in. Keep sending them to [email protected].

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“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will achieve nothing in life.” - Mohammad Ali

  The History of Dumbbell CrossFit Open Workouts  

The History of Dumbbell CrossFit Open Workouts

The dumbbell is perhaps one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in the sport of fitness. Even with a single dumbbell, the number of movements possible are only limited to the imagination of the person writing the workout. Because of this versatility and the ability of a tough dumbbell workout to leave an athlete on the floor gasping for breath, it has become an important part of the Open each year.

Remind me: Since Dave Castro introduced the dumbbell to the Open in 2017, there has been at least one dumbbell movement in every Open.

2017: The 2017 Open introduced the dumbbell to the community competition in the first two workouts that year.

  • 17.1 featured dumbbell snatches in a couplet of ascending dumbbell snatches and burpee box-jump-overs.
  • 17.2 featured a double dumbbell movement with double dumbbell clean and jerks paired with gymnastics and double dumbbell lunges.

2018: The 2018 Open saw three workouts featuring dumbbell movements.

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  • Mat Fraser will join Magic Johnson, Lindsey Vonn, Ray Allen, Nick Saban, Misty May-Treanor and others as part of the USO Military Virtual Program (MVP) Champions event featuring live discussions and Q&A sessions with current and former sports stars and coaches. All members of the military are invited. Fraser’s appearance is scheduled for March 6, check this calendar for updates and to register.
  • Men’s performance-wear brand, Ten Thousand announced yesterday that CrossFit Games athletes Cody Anderson, Sean Sweeney, Brandon Luckett, Tim Paulson and Scott Tetlow are hosting a monthly virtual CrossFit competition. Called WORK, the competition is free to enter, there is no qualifier and no age restrictions. Once registered, participants will be notified when each month’s workout is released and will have six days to complete it. The winner of the workout each month will receive $5,000.
    • Tim Paulson: “The WORK events tick a lot of boxes for both professional Crossfitters like myself, and amateur athletes, too. They help keep us motivated and accountable while gyms are closed. They’re a chance to potentially earn some money during the offseason. And, they’re a way to stay connected to, and compete with, friends.”
  • ICYMI: Coach James Townsend created a vlog to follow his athlete Mal O’Brien’s training this season called “In Her Lane with Mal O’Brien.” Episode seven just dropped and centers around her training focus just four weeks out from the Open.
  • Episode three of PROVEN, A Fittest Mini-Series by the Buttery Bros drops tomorrow. See it on Patreon.
  • NOCCO USA, the no-carb beverage company released its newest, limited edition, flavor last week, Límon Del Sol.
  • NOBULL partnered with Artists for Humanity to design new line of trainers and apparel. The Boston-based organization provides under-resourced teens the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. The Artists for Humanity Collection will be released on February 26 and100% of net proceeds from the collection will be donated to Artists for Humanity, America Needs You, and the Majira Project.
  • LIFEAID is holding a 25% off site-wide sale through tonight.
  • Rogue Fitness launched their second challenge, the Cliffhanger Challenge. To win, simply be the athlete with the longest dead hang from a pull-up bar. Registration opens on Friday, February 26.
  Todd Kowalski: From Popping Pills, Living in a Walmart Parking Lot to Owning a CrossFit Gym  

Todd Kowalski: From Popping Pills, Living in a Walmart Parking Lot to Owning a CrossFit Gym

It all started for Todd Kowalski in 2007: He fractured his arm pitching and was put on painkillers. Before he knew it, he was addicted to opiates. “Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycodone, Roxycodone. Whatever I could get my hands on,” said Kowalski, now 43.

  • Over the course of the next decade, his opiate addiction slowly became a $200-plus a day lifestyle, leading Kowalski to burn through his 401k and all his other savings, and sever his relationship with his daughter.

The details: From 2007 to 2017, Kowalski spent his days obsessed with finding a way to get his next high, so he could “momentarily forget about everything,” he explained.

  • He worked his ass off, taking on whatever construction job he could, to pay for his addiction. “I would make $3,000 in a few days and then blow it in a week,” he said.
  • Somewhere along the way, he stumbled across CrossFit and quickly fell in love with it, but even his love for fitness wasn’t enough to kick his pill popping addiction.
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  Women First: Competitive Female Training Addresses the Unique Needs of Female Athletes  


Women First: Competitive Female Training Addresses the Unique Needs of Female Athletes

In a few years, Shawna Norton and Rodrick Lopez believe their months-old program, Competitive Female Training, will be a household CrossFit name. Why? Because it offers female athletes what most online training plans lack: programming created specifically for women.

One big thing: The basis of Competitive Female Training (CFT) is that “Women in the sport of CrossFit have unique needs that general programming often does not address.”

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  Women First: Competitive Female Training Addresses the Unique Needs of Female Athletes  

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Banded Squat Holds to Fix Hip Pain

If you have a hip shift in your squat, chances are you have hip pain too. Over time and after many reps, that hip shift will create compensations and ultimately discomfort. This video from Squat University shows you how you can begin to fix the shift using banded squat holds. Descend to a squat depth that is pain-free – as you go through you can even drop a little further if it feels okay. If you are doing these right your glutes will be on fire, and it will not spark the pain.




Become a Professional Nutrition Coach

These free training videos by Working Against Gravity will teach you everything you need to know about becoming an online nutrition coach. From landing your first clients and marketing yourself to getting people amazing results and helping them change their mindsets, Adee Cazayoux covers it all.



How Setbacks Can Become Springboards to Success

Mindset training is receiving a ton of attention as we head into the Open and the CrossFit Games season. Check out this post from Gameplan A on how to use life's setbacks to propel you on to greater things, whether you are an athlete, business professional or anyone with goals and aspirations.



Take Advantage of this ButcherBox Flash Sale

Today through Thursday, February 25, ButcherBox is having a flash sale and putting free salmon and sirloin in every box for new members. Sign up today.



Honey Cinnamon Almond Butter Energy Bites

These delicious honey cinnamon almond butter energy bites seriously taste like a cinnamon teddy grahams! They're made without oats and are packed with fiber and protein from creamy almond butter, flaxseed meal, chia seeds and your favorite protein powder. It's the perfect no-bake snack!


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.

9/29 - 10/1: MACC FEST (Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Festival) (West Friendship, MD)
9/29 - 9/30: Iron Anchor Throwdown (Batavia, OH)
9/29 - 10/1: 2023 Masters Fitness Championship (Fort Wayne, IN)
9/30 - 10/1: Sango Games 2023 (Clarksville, TN)
9/30: 15th Anniversary and Birthday Brawl (York, PA)
9/30: Barbell Brawl VIII (Kennett Square, PA)
9/30: No Weak Links: Cuff Links (Marcy, NY)
9/30 - 10/1: Southie Showdown (Boston, MA)
10/6 - 10/8: Marbella Championship (Marbella, Spain)
10/7: Babes with Barbells (Huntington, WV)
10/7: KJ Classic (Longmont, CO)
10/7: Pitness At The Mill (Canton, GA)
10/7: 2023 KJ Classic (Longmont, CO)
10/7: FitoberFest (Prairie Village, KS)
10/7: Battle of Branded One at Redstone CrossFit (Littleton, CO)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Crash Crucible (Spartanburg, SC)
10/14: T-Town Throwdown (Toledo, OH)
10/14: Triple Threat Terror 2023 (Forney, TX)
10/14: Oscar Mike Challenge (Lakeville, MN)
10/14: Babes and Barbells (Asbury Park, NJ)
10/14: Scream & Clean III (Danbury, CT)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Canada: Belleville (Bellevile, Canada)
10/14: Best Babes West Fargo (West Fargo, ND)
10/14: Best Babes Columbus GA (Columbus, GA)
10/14: Best Babes Illinois (Byron, IL)
10/14: 8th Annual Kilo CrushFest Competition (Hampton, VA)
10/14 - 10/15: 059 Classic (Modena, Italy)
10/14: Strength and Speed (Feasterville, PA)
10/14 - 10/15: The Vanguard (Lakeland, FL)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Mesa (Mesa, AZ)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx DC (Alexandria, VA)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Sedalia (Sedalia, MO)
10/14: Best Babes Massachusetts (Beverly, MA)
10/15: Kares CrossFit October Showdown (Georgetown, Guyana)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/21: Festivus Games – Pairs (Savannah, GA)
10/21: Barbells For Bullies: Portland (Hillsboro, OR)
10/21: 401 Fall Throwdown (Smithfield, RI)
10/27 - 10/29: Oslo Throwdown (Oslo, Norway)
10/27 - 10/28: Star City Fittest (Roanoke, VA)
10/28 - 10/29: The Ghostly Games (Fayetteville, GA)
10/28: Wodtoberfest (Owosso, MI)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – NASH (Nashville, TN)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – BHAM (Birmingham, AL)
11/3 - 11/4: Florida Grid League Championship (Orlando, FL)
11/4 - 11/5: Costa Barcelona Fitness Challenge (Vilanova i la Geltrú, Barcelona, Spain)
11/4 - 11/5: Hold Fast Competition Individual (Gerenzano, Italy)
11/4: Sunshine SmackDown (Bedford Hills, NY)
11/4: Witch City Throwdown (Salem, MA)
11/4: Barbell Babes Lorton (Lorton, VA)
11/11: Freakin’ Gauntlet (Pembroke Pines, FL)
11/11: The Meadowlands Classic (Carlstadt, NJ)
11/11: Barbell Massacre 8 (Dahlonega, GA)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)
11/18: Best Babes Dallas (Dallas, TX)
11/18: Best Babes Philly (Philadelphia, PA)
11/18: Best Babes Iowa (Mason City, IA)
11/18: Girls Gone Rx Salt Lake City (West Haven, UT)
11/18: Teams Of The Midway: 2 Person Teams (Cary, IL)
11/18: Friendsgiving (Ambler, PA)
11/18: Turkey Bash (Chatham, IL)

See all upcoming events

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