Author Archive Voodoo


After 16(!) weeks of the modified Quick and the Dead program, it’s time to change things up at the Area 51 kettlebell triumvirate of Swole, Meathead, and Olympus.

For our next program, we’re going to modify Dan John’s 10,000 swing workout (link). While doing 10,000 swings in a month is a worthy goal, (i) we don’t have time to do 500 swings in a 45 minute workout, (ii) we don’t have 4-5 KB workouts a week (yet), and (iii) doing 500 swings in a workout is something you don’t want to do multiple times a week without working your way up to it. As a result, we’re going to modify the program to 250-300 swings per workout, 3 times per week. Swings will be done in sets of 15 and 35 at first. As we get used to the volume, we may mix in some 10-15-25-50 rep sets.

While the main course at the workout will be the swing (the cornerstone kettlebell exercise), there will be other exercises worked in between sets. This “accessory exercise” will be selected by the Q and could be the same for the whole workout or could change for each set to give the pax some variety. We’ll finish with Mary and mix in TGUs on Saturdays at Olympus.

This new program will start tomorrow at Swole, with Mighty Mite leading the charge. Swole meets in the inVue parking lot off Carswell Lane at 0600. We hope to see you in the gloom.

The Prodigal Q

After 2.5 weeks away, it was good to get back out there with the pax to swing some bells at Meathead. I got there a little early to do some jump rope warm up with Rocky Balboa, I mean Wild Turkey. Unplugged was also out there doing some yoga to warm up the spine. We ended up being joined by a large number of pax, including site FNGs Kelly and Sweeney Todd. We also had a couple of otters in Smokey and Victoria.

Warm up:

  • SSH x 15 IC
  • IW x 15 IC
  • Windmills x 10 IC

Main Thang:

  • 2 sets of 10 swings
  • 2 sets of 10 merkins

Repeato x 5. After each round of swings, perform a kettlebell complex (swing, high pull, snatch, clean, squat, press) with your non-dominant arm. After each round of merkins, perform the same complex with your dominant arm.

Overhead carries – 1:00 out with the non-dominant arm, 1:00 rest, 1:00 back with the dominant arm, 1:00 rest. Repeato.

Mary: 1:00 each of elbow plank, hollow body holds, and glute bridges

COT: Take a knee and thanks to Wild Turkey for the take out.


  • Kirby and Strawberry Are organizing a 5k/10k around the Bull Ring on July 18th. The entry fee is $33.33 and almost every penny will go to local charities. Entry fees/donations can be sent to the SOB paypal account. Keep an eye out for a pre-blast.
  • Tomorrow (Saturday) is doubles day at Olympus tomorrow. 0700 at Calvary. Cleans, presses, squats, renegade rows, and farmer carries.
  • Bucky is leading his “so long for now” Q at Da Vinci tomorrow (Saturday). 0630 in Blakeney. Chicken- and coffeeteria will be held after, so bring a chair.


  • It was great to have such strong numbers out there this morning. Kelly is getting back into F3 and High Tide took him under his wing during the workout. Sweeney Todd, Victoria, and Smokey coordinated their attendance, helping to bolster our numbers.
  • For those of you that are new to this workout program, the goal is to focus on high quality movements since the reps are low and there’s plenty of rest. If you have a heavy bell, you can do 2-handed swings. If you have a lighter bell or the 2-handed swings aren’t challenging enough, you can switch to 1-handed swings. Be sure to focus on form and really squeezing in what is effectively a standing plank at the top of the swing.
  • As we’ve been on this program for a bit, we’re working on the next round of Swole-Meathead-Olympus program. Keep an eye out for a pre-blast in the coming weeks.
  • Thanks to the pax for posting and for following my lead. I hope to see more of you out there in the coming weeks. Stay safe and healthy!

All your favorite exercises

7 pax posted in the still-cool temperatures at Meathead this morning for a leisurely 6am start. After a little chit-chat, we got down to business.

The Thang:

  • Turkish get-ups – 5 singles per side
  • 10 snatches x 2, then 2:00 recovery for 6 total sets. Alternate sides after every 2 sets
  • 4 x racked carries for :60
  • Core: elbow plank, hollow body hold, glute bridge x :60 each with :45 rest between

Time – only about 2:00 late

COT: socially-distanced on the knee. Thanks to War Eagle for the takeout.


  • All SOB workouts are live again, but there will be virtual options available on Tuesdays and on an ad hoc basis for the foreseeable future to allow people with pre-existing conditions or other vulnerabilities the opportunity to continue to work out and get some 2nd F.
  • YHC will be DR for the next 2 weeks or so, but I will continue to post the workout on Slack and we will have Qs present at each gear workout. If you post and no one is Qing, step up. With a prescribed weinke, it’s not very difficult.


  • I think all of the pax agreed that this is the toughest workout of this cycle. All 3 exercises are generally not crowd pleasers. But just like eating your spinach, you know it’s good for you and do it anyway.
  • After some joking banter on Slack about the virtues of unsullied, original flavor Oreos, Unplugged was kind enough to gift YHC with a family size pack of mint-flavored Oreos. I’m not sure what food scientist thought making cookies taste like toothpaste was a good idea, but my 7 year old 2.2 thanks you, Unplugged.
  • There was a lot of talk this morning about haircuts. Most pax have taken advantage of a homemade quarantine cut, some have been lucky enough to get into SuperCuts, and others are holding out. Mighty Mite is definitely looking a little woolly and Ickey Shuffle is rocking the ’80s hairband headband look. Wild Turkey has been trimming the sides and back, but hasn’t had the guts to cut the top yet. I’m sure there will be some barbers earning their pay trying to fix all these interesting hairdos over the next few weeks.
  • Please sound off with any other thoughts on this morning’s activities.

Time to get back on the wagon

With the dawning of a new month, it seems appropriate to get back in the habit of writing backblasts for gear workouts.

After failing to set my alarm last night, I somehow (?) woke up at 4:37 and was conscious long enough to set an alarm for 5:30am. I rolled in hot at about 5:59am to find Wild Turkey (#kotters) doing some jump roping and Uncle Leo and Hoover getting their gear out. Ickey came in on two wheels and we had 5 for the main event.

Warm up:

  • SSH x 15 IC
  • Windmills x 10 IC

The Thang:

  • 4 rounds of 5 1H swings with your left hand
  • 4 rounds of 5 explosive merkins

Repeato for 4 sets of each, alternating right and left hands every set so you end up with 40 swings per side and 80 total merkins

After each set of swings (every 4 rounds), perform the KB complex on the left. After each set of merkins, perform the KB complex on the right.

KB complex:

  • 1 swing
  • 1 high pull
  • 1 snatch
  • 1 clean
  • 1 racked squat
  • 1 press

Waiter carries x 4 for :60 each, alternating hands for each one.

Finally, 2 more times through the KB complex on each side with 1:00 rest.


  • SOB/Philly virtual beatdown with CSPAN and Wild Turkey at the helm


  • After this weekend’s heat (which will probably feel downright luxurious in a couple of weeks), this morning’s cool temps were a nice break.
  • Another day of solid turnout from the pax, with Wild Turkey make his initial (I think) in-person post since the lockdown began. Gear workouts are a great way to post and still be socially distant since we’re pretty immobile and there’s not sharing of equipment. If you’re uncomfortable in a larger group with more movement, feel free to join us. Uncle Leo is becoming the latest Area 51 meathead while Hoover and Ickey have definitely been wooed into more regular posting by the later start time. Two other regulars, Mighty Mite (DR) and High Tide (IR – plantar) were not present, but both had good excuses. Thanks for coming out and allowing me to lead!
  • We’re starting week 11 of the A+A program this week and hopefully the pax are feeling stronger. It’s a different approach to a workout, but keeps you fresh so you’re able to recover for your next workout. At the same time, it builds strength and aerobic endurance. The key is to use the right sized bell so you can deliver maximum power.
  • Wednesday will be snatch day at Meathead and Hoover is already saying he wants to post-run, so plan accordingly.

April Fool’s Meathead

5 bros circled up virtually this morning over our fancy Zoom channel (thanks for setting it up, Horsehead!). 3 of us were in garages/driveways while Mighty Mite and Fallout decided to chance things by swinging their bells indoors. Blueberry (not sure what region he was from) joined for a bit, but said something about needing to be done by 6:00 and signed off before we started at 5:35 (after standard 5:00 grace period for virtual workouts).

The Thang:

  • 4 sets of 5 x left-handed swings every :30 with 1:00 recovery after all sets
  • 4 sets of 5 x merkins every :30 with 1:00 recovery after all sets
  • 4 sets of 5 x right-handed swings every :30 with 1:00 recovery after all sets
  • 4 sets of 5 x merkins every :30 with 1:00 recovery after all sets
  • 2 sets of 10 x left-handed swings every 1:00 with 1:00 recovery after all sets
  • 2 sets of 10 x merkins every 1:00 with 1:00 recovery after all sets
  • 2 sets of 10 x right-handed swings every 1:00 with 1:00 recovery after all sets
  • 2 sets of 10 x merkins every 1:00 with 1:00 recovery after all sets

Next, we did 4 rounds of waiter carries. Walk out for :30 on one arm, then switch arms and walk back for :30. We finished up with core work:

  • 2 x :30 hard-style elbow plank with :30 recovery
  • 2 x :30 hollow body hold with :30 recovery
  • 2 x :30 glute bridge with :30 recovery


  • If you’re not already on it, join the #virtual_1stF channel on Slack for details about workouts that are being held while we’re #sociallydistant. There are also similar channels for 2nd F and 3rd F activities. Stay engaged during this weird time in our lives!
  • Vevlar will be bell-focused on Friday. Check Slack for details and join Horsehead and his merry band of misfits.
  • There will be an SOB virtual bootcamp on Saturday at 6:00 or 6:30 – check Slack for details. Join us for Olympus at 7:00 where we will do double cleans, presses, and squats with some farmer carries.


  • I think this virtual workout thing is really catching on. We had double the numbers from Monday until Blueberry dropped. If anyone knows Blueberry, tell him we hope he comes back and stays for the workout next time. If you’re going to be up that early, you might as well get swole. Horsehead said my music scared him off, but that can’t possibly be the case. I wasn’t playing Pat Boone.
  • Thanks to the pax for joining and participating in the workout. While the conditions are obviously not ideal, it’s great to get the accountability and see everyone. I’ve found that keeping the morning routine going makes things a little more normal. I also don’t find myself trying to squeeze a workout in later in the day when I should be working or spending time with family.
  • Worst lighting award goes to Rock Thrill, although he said it was intentional so we wouldn’t mock his bell size.
  • Most sophisticated award goes to Horsehead, who had airpods on. That was a great idea and allowed him to hear all of the wonderful tunes and to catch all of the mumblechatter. You can tell this was at least his 3rd virtual workout.
  • Biggest bell award goes to Mighty Mite, as usual. He was swinging/carrying a 70+# bell.
  • Nicest workout area award goes to Fallout, who was in his family room/kitchen. Thankfully, he didn’t lose his grip on his bell or put it through his ceiling on the waiter carries.

Socially Distant

Most of the Area 51/SOB pax apparently took Governor Cooper’s advice and decided to keep their distance from Olympus on Saturday morning. Their loss. High Tide, Retread, and YHC posted at Elizabeth Lane for the usual workout.

Warm up: YHC ran a 10k for a warm up. Once the actual workout started, HT and I did 5 TGUs per side while Retread took the waiter carry option.

The Thang: Today’s prescribed workout was pretty brief, so we supplemented.

  • 5 x 20 2H swings with a heavy bell with :30 rest (HT and I shared the 44kg bell, so got more rest than called for)

Head over to the jungle gym for:

  • 5 pull-ups, 10 merkins
  • 4 pull-ups, 10 merkins
  • 3 pull-ups, 10 merkins
  • 2 pull-ups, 10 merkins
  • 1 pull-up, 10 merkins

Return to the parking lot for:

  • 5 sets of 5 double cleans
  • 2 x :30 of hard-style elbow plank
  • 2 x :30 of hollow body hold
  • 2 x :30 of glute bridge


COT – not really due to coronavirus fears.


  • This backblast is late, so you are probably aware that formal F3 events (1st F, 2nd F, 3rd F) are cancelled until further notice. We will post the workout for each of the gear workouts, to be performed OYO.


  • It was good to have some dedicated pax out on Saturday to swing some bells. I’m not sure why today’s workout was relatively light (on exercises, not weight), but it was good to get some bodyweight work in. Clearly, I needed it because I was sore!

Road Trip

7 pax showed up at South Charlotte Middle School to join the convergence for the retirement of Death Valley, one of the original Area 51 sites. While it would have been fun to join the rest of the pax (50+ of them) for the boot camp, we have a program to run here.

The Thang:

  • 5 sets of press ladders (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) – recommended weight is 28 (YHC couldn’t handle that weight for all of it, so switched to a 24 for the higher reps)
  • 20 sets of 10 1-handed swings with :10 rest – recommended weight is 32
  • 4 sets of farmer carries for :90

COT: Circle up with the Death Valley pax for COT. Thanks to TR for the takeout.


  • High Tide is hard at work in his evil laboratory preparing our next strength program. The plan is to focus on core exercises (swing, merkin, squat, pull-up, snatch, carries, TGUs) utilizing some of the Quick and the Dead methodology. Stay tuned for more details.
  • April 24 – some dudes unaffiliated with F3 in any way (and certainly not wearing any F3 t-shirts) will post at SCMS for a beer mile. Hop on the Slack channel if you’re interested in joining.


  • The workout seems simple. Mighty Mite even thought we’d have extra time (well, he did). Instead, we had to cut off the carries after 2 rounds. That volume of presses (75 per side) just takes a ton of time. Unless you’re Mighty Mite, who pressed a 70# bell for sets of 15 reps. Child’s play.
  • The swings were also a crowd pleaser as the rest was insufficient. You basically put the bell down, stand up, bend over and pick the bell up again. At least it was only 10 sets.
  • Finally, the farmer carries. I think everyone is getting tired of them, but it’s like eating your vegetables – you know they’re good for you. We’ll keep them in the new program as well.
  • Thanks to the pax for coming out and following my lead. It was good to see so many #kotters and OGs at the DV convergence. For those of you that haven’t been posting, I hope this reminds you of what’s special about F3 and why you should be coming back out. The workouts continue to evolve, so there might be something you’d like that wasn’t around before. If there’s something you’re looking for that doesn’t exist, find some like-minded pax and start it. These workouts are not intended to be permanent and they will run their course. What keeps F3 going is the creative destruction of new workouts forming and serving a need that wasn’t apparent before.

Snatch Test Time

When YHC arrived at Elizabeth Lane Elementary about 5 minutes early (seriously), I noted MAD’s car in the lot. MAD had threatened to attend a gear workout earlier in the week, so it was nice to see him making good on his word. High Tide joined a few minutes later and we got the bells together.

Disclaimer: YHC and High Tide knew what we were in for, so the disclaimer was more personally applied to MAD, especially with his return from injury.

The Thang: (workout #3 of week 9 of the SFG I prep program)

Main Event:

  • 5 sets of 1, 2, 3 presses – MAD and I opted for doubles while HT plowed through the reps doing singles
  • 5 x 10L/10R snatch with :10 rest – MAD opted for some burpees and swings
  • 4 x farmer carries for :90


  • 2 x hard style elbow plank for :30 with :30 recovery
  • 2 x hollow body hold for :30 with :30 recovery
  • 2 x glute bridge for :30 with :30 recovery


  • It was a small, but strong crew this morning. It was good to see MAD again and hear about his journey back from injury. He modified the workout where necessary and worked with a couple of different weights.
  • Well, today was the day we’d been dreading. The main exercise was the SFG snatch test – 100 reps in 5:00 with a 24kg bell. We had been inching up on it for the last couple of weeks, dropping the rest between sets from :20 to :15 and finally :10. Last week, I finished in a little over 5:00 with :15 rest, so I knew if I kept with the prescribed rest, I’d get it done. High Tide had similarly barely missed earlier in the program and knew it was within reach. I ran through the 5 sets as described above while HT decided to do 10 snatches every :30, switching hands at the top and bottom of each minute. Both of us got it done and then laid on the ground for a few minutes while MAD looked at us. Good times.
  • Farmer carries after smoking the grip on the snatches was a lot of fun, too. We keep doing the carries and they just don’t get any easier. I guess we’ll have to keep doing them.
  • With the current program set to wrap up in a couple of weeks, High Tide has taken the lead in developing our next program. The goal is to continue working on some key KB and bodyweight strength movements, but with more of a metabolic conditioning focus. Think explosive reps with sufficient rest to allow for recovery. If you’d like to learn more, buy a copy of The Quick and the Dead.
  • MAD’s got some good ideas to promote safety within Area 51 and beyond. Hopefully he’ll keep pushing to roll them out. Ask him about them if you’re working out and would like to learn more.

Back in the saddle

10 pax posted at Meathead this past Wednesday for the second installment of week 9 of our 11-week strength program.

Warm up: arm circles (big, small)

The Thang:

Waiter carries: 5 x (1 carry ea side @ 32kg)
Double cleans: 5 x (5 cleans @ 24kg)
Double front squats: 5 x (5 squats @ 24kg)
2H swings: 5 x (20 swings @ 40-48kg, rest :30)

COT with the Anvil pax, where Point Break took us out. Happy birthday, PB!

Announcements (courtesy of the Anvil backblast):

  • PLEASE READ: Two of our brothers have recently been laid off. Please check out their LinkedIn profiles below and socialize them across your networks. One of the great things about this group is the opportunity to support each other in these times of need. If you know of an opportunity make sure to reach out to them.
  • Beer Mile (Unofficial): April 24th – Check the Slack Channel (#beermile) for more info


  • Thanks to the pax for posting. We’ve got a strong core kettlebell crew that’s been powering through the current strength program. There’s a little turnover/shuffling depending on the day and week, but we’ve been experiencing great numbers. Your site Qs appreciate it.
  • After weeks of travel that took me away from my regular posts, it was good to be back out there in the gloom. It’s not the same doing the workouts with dumbbells in a hotel gym (although it’s better than not doing them at all).
  • There were a lot of strong performances out there: Mighty Mite swinging the 40kg bell, High Tide swinging the 44, Unplugged with the double 24s, Hoover with the double 28s, Ickey with the double 28s. The list goes on and on. It’s clear that the pax are experiencing mad gainz from the regular KB workouts. If you want some of this, you’d better start posting.
  • On Saturday (tomorrow at the time of posting this BB), we will be doing the presses, snatches, and farmer carries. The snatches will be tough with only :10 rest between sets, which should be sufficient to get you to 100 reps in 5:00 if you keep the rest strict. If performed with a 24 kg bell, that is sufficient to complete the SFG Level I snatch test. Push hard!

Has it been an hour yet?

4 pax met up at 0630 (+/- a minute) and headed off for a pre-Olympus run along the Spamrunner route. When they returned, they were joined by another 4 pax. After some mumblechatter, we got down to business.

The Thang:

  • 10 RDLs per leg with moderate weight (doubles or singles)
  • 5 x waiter carries – out to the last island on the left with one arm, then switch and head back
  • 5 sets of 5 double cleans
  • 5 sets of 5 double squats

That was the prescribed weinke, but we still had about 20 minutes left, so we killed some time with pax suggestions:

  • 5 sets of 5 snatches per side
  • 5 sets of 10 merkins on the bells
  • 5 sets of 5 thrusters + 10 swings

COT – thanks to Stone Cold for the takeout


  • Please keep Madison and his family in your prayers as they await answers on his daughter’s MRI.
  • Please keep Doc McStuffins in your thoughts as he recovers from heart surgery earlier this week.
  • Please keep Noonan (from F3 Naperville) and his family in your prayers as he passed away suddenly on Friday.
  • Swole will be starting at 0515 on Monday to allow sufficient time to complete the workout. If you join at 0530, be prepared to jump into the workout. Wild Turkey will be the Q.


  • 2 bell workouts in 1 week for Spackler and he even joined for the pre-run. Solid. Alas, Bananas did not show.
  • Everyone put in some work this morning and enjoyed relatively warm weather once the sun came up.
  • Next week will be week 5 of the workouts. Here’s what the weinke holds for each day:
Session Date Exercise Notes
1 2/3/2020 Single press ladders:  4 x (1, 2, 3 press ea side @ 28kg) Moving up a weight in presses and moving to ladders:  1L, IR; short rest; 2L, 2R; short rest; 3L, 3R; longer rest; repeat 4 times.  Mix in the lower weight as needed, if unable to complete with the heavier weight.
1H swings: 30 x (10 swings OTM @ 28kg)
Farmer’s walks: 4 x (90 sec @ “heavy”)
2 2/5/2020 Single leg RDL: 3 x (5 lifts per leg – light) Use a heavier weight for one or two of the waiter carries, if feeling up to it.
Waiter carries: 5 x (1 carry ea side @ 32kg)
Double cleans: 5 x (5 cleans @ 24kg)
Double front squats: 5 x (5 squats @ 24kg)
3 2/8/2020 Single press ladders:  5 x (1, 2, 3 press ea side @ 28kg) Allow adequate recovery between press ladders.  Recovery between sets of swings may be improving now.  The farmer’s carries will give you a good cool-down.
1H swings: 30 x (10 swings OTM @ 28kg)
Farmer’s walks: 4 x (90 sec @ “heavy”)