Author Archive Voodoo

It’s like Meathead, but on a Wednesday

10 pax took the DRP yesterday and posted at Meathead instead of a lesser site, like WAMRAP. I was a little worried that some folks would get confused and post at Elizabeth Lane or show up on the wrong day or something, but I think it worked out. The Anvil pax and their fearless leader (Lorax) were very welcoming and only mildly heckled our vast selection of kettlebells. At about 5:31, they moseyed off and, after I disclaimed the pax, we got to warming up with some SSH and merkins.

The Thang:

Today was day 2 of week 1 of the SFG Level 1 strength program we’re working on. The workouts are pretty simple (not easy) and consist of 3-4 fundamental kettlebell exercises.

  • 3 sets of 5 deadlifts
  • 5 x waiter carries per arm
  • 5 sets of 5 double cleans
  • 5 sets of 5 double front squats


  • 2 x :30 of hard style elbow plank
  • 2 x :30 of hollow body hold
  • 2 x :30 hip extension

Joint COT with the Anvil pax. Thanks to Hammer for the speedy takeout.


  • Olympus rises again like a phoenix from the ashes on Saturday at Elizabeth Lane Elementary at 7:00 (by popular demand). It will be a 60 minute workout.


  • Thanks to the pax for their patience while we got through this workout the first time. We initially tried to have half the group deadlift while the other half did the carries. Unfortunately, the carries took a lot longer, so some people did extra deadlifts and there was general confusion. We eventually got it figured out and everyone got through all of the work.
  • I think the consensus is that everyone needs bigger bells. This workout (which alternates with Monday’s workout) is relatively low reps, but heavy weights. People should take this as an opportunity to challenge themselves. Quality is also very important and is something the pax should keep in mind while performing the exercises. The core should be tight and the squats should be as low as you can go (knee health dependent).
  • Going forward we’ll be doing single leg Romanian deadlifts instead of standard deadlifts because we don’t have enough weight to appropriately challenge the pax. We’ll also knock out the deadlifts first, then do the carries.
  • I hope to see you out there on Saturday!

Welcome to the (Metal) Jungle

13 pax experienced the dawn of a new day in South Charlotte yesterday with the launch of the newest gear workout and the first workout of the new strength program. As you’ve undoubtedly heard if you’re reading this backblast, there will be 3 strength workouts a week going forward: Mondays at McAlpine Elementary (Swole), Wednesdays at Cavalry (Meathead), and Saturdays at Elizabeth Lane Elementary (Olympus).

The Thang (along with recommended weights):

Single presses: 6 x (5 press ea side@ 20kg)
1H swings: 16 x (10 swings OTM @ 28kg)
Farmer’s walks: 4 x (90 sec @ “heavy”)

Thanks to Udder for the takeout in COT.


  • Aside from the aforementioned other gear workouts, I don’t recall any other announcements. #cobains Post below in the comments.

Ye Olde Moleskine:

  • First off, I’d like to thank several people. Thanks to Mighty Mite and Ickey Shuffle for agreeing to co-site Q the new Monday gear workout. Thanks to the pax for coming out to a gear workout on a relatively chilly day. It was good to see some old and new faces and to have such a strong crew. Hopefully you found the workout worthwhile and plan to stick with it. Thanks to the leadership (old and new) of F3 in South Charlotte for supporting a new site and helping think through the approach to strength workouts in the region.
  • If you didn’t come to Swole because you don’t have a kettlebell, don’t worry, we’ve got enough to share. If you’re worried that you don’t know what you’re doing or that you’re going to hurt yourself, please come on out and we’ll get you started. While not professionals, we’ve got plenty of experienced pax out there that would be happy to give you some tips. While it is certainly possible to injure yourself with a kettlebell, that’s true of just about everything we do in F3. Be smart, learn the technique, and select an appropriate weight.
  • Now for the workout: With only 3 exercises, how hard can it be? Speaking of my own experience, the presses weren’t too bad (I used a 20kg/45# bell). A rest interval wasn’t prescribed, but the expectation is that the pax won’t rush the strength work. The swings were tough due to the weight (28kg/62#) and the number of reps – you definitely feel it in the grip. I think all would agree that the Farmer’s walk finisher was the most grueling, particularly on the 3rd or 4th round. :90 is a long time to be carrying the bells. Sound off below with your thoughts.
  • Most pax seemed to enjoy (or at least respect) this straightforward workout composed of basic exercises. It’s a staple of this program, so we’ll be seeing more of it. Hopefully the pax will continue to push themselves to use heavier weights as they get stronger.
  • Wednesday will be tough with deadlifts and heavy double cleans and squats. Oh, and some overhead carries. Get your mind right!
  • Check out Slack for some kettlebell deals posted by Madison. It seems like he might be hooked…

And so it begins

The new strength program is starting tomorrow at McAlpine Elementary (9100 Carswell Lane) at 0530. We’ll continue on Wednesday at Meathead (at Calvary) and then Saturday at Olympus (at Elizabeth Lane Elementary). Here’s the plan for the week:

Session Exercise Notes
Single presses: 6 x (5 press ea side@ 20kg)
“OTM” means swing on the minute, so there will be just over 40 sec (:40) rest between sets of 1-hand swings, alternating sides. 90 sec farmer’s carries are hard; use as heavy a weight as you are able.
1H swings: 16 x (10 swings OTM @ 28kg)
Farmer’s walks: 4 x (90 sec @ “heavy”)
Deadlifts: 3 x (5 lifts @ 155lbs)
These deadlifts are a relatively light weight; about 70% of 1RM. Alternate sides with the waiter carries. Double clean and double front squats can be done as a complex, or in separate sets.
Waiter carries: 5 x (1 carry ea side @ 32kg)
Double cleans: 5 x (5 cleans @ 24kg)
Double front squats: 5 x (5 squats @ 24kg)
Single presses: 10 x (5 press ea side @ 20kg)
Larger volume of presses, but the weight is still light. Swings also relatively light, but a long session.
1H swings: 20 x (10 swings OTM @ 28kg)
Farmer’s walks: 4 x (90 sec @ “heavy”)

If you have multiple bells, please bring them. You’ll need one you can press for reps and another (heavier) for swings. The farmer’s walks will be with a bell in each hand, as heavy as you can handle for 90 seconds. We will likely partner up for the doubles on Wednesday.

While it would be great to make all of the workouts, please join when you can.

See you in the gloom,



Everybody gets a strength workout!

happy oprah winfrey GIF

As a new year dawns in South Charlotte, it’s time to announce the establishment of a new series of strength workouts, including new days of the week and new locations. Pay attention so you know where to be starting on Monday, January 6th:

  • Mondays at 0530:
    Name: TBD
    McAlpine Elementary (former site of Day Zero), 9100 Carswell Lane, Charlotte, NC 28277
    Site Qs: Mighty Mite and Ickey Shuffle
    Note: this will be a joint Area 51/SOB workout


  • Wednesdays at 0530:
    Name: Meathead
    Calvary Church (site of Anvil), 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte, NC 28226
    Site Q: Voodoo
    Note: shared COT with Anvil (think Bagpipe/Swift or Hawks’ Nest/Fast Twitch)


  • Saturdays at 0630:
    Name: Olympus
    Elizabeth Lane Elementary, 121 Elizabeth Lane, Matthews, NC 28105
    Site Q: Open (Voodoo for now)
    Note: this will be a 60-minute workout

Please note that Skunkworks will be unaffected by this change. Funky Cold and Tulip will continue to run that site at Covenant Day School in Matthews on Tuesdays at 0530.

The goal is for these three sites to work together on a coordinated strength program during certain parts of the year (similar to Bratwurst’s 1-month rotations at Swift). If you joined us for the Total Tension program earlier this year, it will be like that, but with a few different programs being run throughout the year. During a strength program, the site Qs or weekly Qs will lead the prescribed workout and post a backblast. When there’s not a strength program in effect, they will function like a traditional gear site with weekly Qs leading workouts of their own design (and also writing up backblasts).

The first strength workout is a modified version of a prep program for the StrongFirst Girevik Level I certification. I recommend reading the original post, which can be found here. I have modified this plan (see here) to reflect a few things:

  1. 3 weekly workouts instead of 4 and elimination of the last week of tapering for the certification
  2. Replacement of the TGU with the waiter carry (since none of you were going to do them anyway)
  3. Increase in weights to account for the 24kg “standard” bell size for men per StrongFirst – modify this as needed! If you modify, try to keep the various steps up/down during the program consistent (i.e., if the program says to use a 28 instead of a 24, you should use a 24 instead of a 20).
  4. The author of the article says these workouts last 60-90 minutes, so we will likely run out of time. Don’t focus on completing everything, just do what you can in the 45 minutes you have.

I am excited for this new chapter in strength workouts in South Charlotte. I’m hopeful that some new locations will make these options attractive to more men from both Area 51 and SOBland.

See you in the gloom,


It’s not too cold once you get used to it

3 pax met up at Elizabeth Lane Elementary for an intimate episode of Meathead. 2 of us pre-ran individually. I got started late, so I only did 2.5 miles. Purell started later and probably finished 5. #faster

We met up in the old gathering spot, driving the joggers over to the other side of the parking lot and away from our historic stomping grounds.


  • SSH x 15 IC
  • 2H swings x 20
  • Halos x 5 each direction
  • 2H swings x 20
  • Prying squat x 3

Main Thang:

Single arm pyramid

  • 1H swings
  • Snatches
  • Cleans
  • Presses

Complete 2 per side, then 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2

Partner doubles pyramids

  • Swings
  • Cleans
  • Squats

Complete 1, 3, 5, 3, 1 of each exercise before moving onto the next exercise


Finish up with :30 each of the hardstyle plank, the hollow body hold, and the glute bridge.

COT – YHC with the takeout


  • The big announcement is that we’re going to make some changes to Meathead in the new year. More details to come in a pre-blast, so keep an eye out.
  • Sign up for the Jingle Bell Run – see Wild Turkey for information.
  • The weather is getting cooler, but that’s no excuse not to post. Pre-runs are a great way to warm up, but doing ballistic kettlebell exercises will have the same effect.

A Case of the Mondays

8 pax rolled into Elizabeth Lane on a chilly (mid-30s) November morning to attack round 12 of the Total Tension Strength program. We started week 5 with our press pyramid.


  • Hard style elbow plank – 2 x 0:30
  • Hollow body hold – 2 x 0:30
  • Glute bridge – 2 x 0:30

Main Thang:

  • Double clean x 1
  • Double press x 1 (going up by 1 rep per round until you get to 6-8 reps without sacrificing form)
  • Double front squat x 1
  • Renegade row x 1 per side

Chaser: 100 double swings in sets of 10-20

Cool-down: hard style elbow plank x 0:30


Sign up for the holiday party!!!


  • A solid crew for the coldest morning we’ve had in a while at Meathead. The bells (and Hoover’s barbell) were ice cold, but the workout provided plenty of heat.
  • Purell ran a sub-7:00 pace pre-run, which is just absurd. Tiger Rag is nursing some shoulder/collar bone issues, so he opted for a 7+ mile run to and from the workout (also at a sub-7:00 pace). He did join us for the warm-up, but I think that was just so he could heckle Header and Chin Music. #religiousintolerance
  • Without Tiger Rag or Horsehead, the mumblechatter was lighter and tended to stay within the pairs. That’s not always a bad thing when you’re holding 70-100 pounds over your head.
  • Speaking of which, most of the pax I spoke to (YHC included) had a bit of a case of the Mondays. The weights felt heavier and didn’t go up as easily. I think Purell ended up doing half my reps for me with some timely spotting. Hopefully we can shake off the cobwebs in time for Thursday’s squat pyramid.

A Macabre Meathead

An unlucky 13 met at the Meathead Inclement Weather Location (or the MIWL), a/k/a the tennis shelter at Covenant Day School on Halloween 2019 for the 11th installment of the Total Tension program. As usual, Tiger Rag took the reins and led the pax through the following:


  • Hard style elbow plank x 2
  • Hollow body hold x 2
  • Glute bridge x 2

Main Event:

Pax partner up for the usual exercises (all performed as doubles):

  • Clean
  • Press (pyramid to 6-8 by set)
  • Squat
  • Renegade rows (plank on one bell, row the other)

Perform 100 double swings in sets of 10-20.

Cool-down with the same exercises as the warm-up.

Announcement: sign up for the Holiday Party. Migthy Mite and others have put a ton of work into it, so sign up and sign up early. It’s always a lot of fun (at least the years I’ve been able to make it).


  • It was really dark this morning, but I lifted with Young Love and Purell. Those are two strong dudes. Young Love did the whole cycle with the double 28s, which was crazy.
  • Thanks to Tiger Rag for leading us through the program this morning. The idea behind the program is simple, but the accountability provided by the Q and the pax makes a huge difference – trust me, I’ve had to make up a few workouts on my own and it wasn’t the same.
  • Tiger Rag also provided this morning’s music, the highlight of which was Hillbillies in a Haunted House by the Austin Lounge Lizards. If you’ve never heard it (who has?), you should look it up on your favorite streaming service (or YouTube). I think Horsehead lost some family members during the course of that song.
  • Extra credit for the 4 foolish pre-runners: Stone Cold, Horsehead, Purell, and Tiger Rag. To hear Purell tell it, it was Tiger Rag’s fault they ran that fast. Tiger Rag sort of agreed.
  • I’ll be at GWL on Saturday, but there should be pax at Elizabeth Lane at 6:30 for the 12th workout (plus some of TR’s other fun gear).

Giving the Q the business

10 pax circled up in the gloom yesterday (yes, this backblast is posted over 24 hours after the workout, the horror!). 5 (YHC, TR, HT, Header, and Chin Music) chose to pre-run the #SpamRunner route starting as early as 0450.


  • SSH x 20 IC
  • 2H swings x 20 OYO
  • Merkins x 10 IC
  • 2H swings x 20 OYO
  • Prying squats x 2-3

Main Thang:

Single arm pyramid:

  • 1H swings
  • Snatches
  • Cleans
  • Presses

Do 2, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2 reps of each exercise

Perform various carries to the second island and back (suitcase, racked, overhead, bottoms-up).

Partner doubles pyramid:

  • Swing
  • Racked squat
  • Presses

Do 2, 4, 6, 4, 2, reps of each exercise and rest while your partner works.

Bodyweight time-waster (yeah, I said it):

Mosey down to the kitty litter (unless you’re TR or HH) for 1 round of:

  • Pull-ups x 5
  • Merkins x 10
  • Lunges x 15 each leg

Return to the parking lot for 10 snatches per arm, then 5 snatches per arm.

Thanks to High Tide for graciously accepting my invitation to lead the take-out.


  • Various 5Ks are coming up with Speed for Need (including Isabella Santos Foundation tomorrow in Ballantyne and the Komen Race for the Cure. If you can push, please let Tolkien or Gypsy know as they are always looking for pushers for the track commanders.
  • Chelms is collecting coats for Westside Ministry during the month of October. Meathead is participating, so please bring your coats starting next week. The drive ends on 11/2.


  • Apologies for the lack of originality yesterday morning, but I prefer the basics and there’s only so many ways to mix those up. Some singles, some doubles. I meant to do more carries, but forgot. One of these days, we’re going to violate the #0.0 nature of the workout with 45 minutes of carries. I know High Tide and Tiger Rag would enjoy that. Bulldog and Horsehead not so much. I guess it will have to be a surprise.
  • The music-related heckling of my Spotify KB Mix shuffled playlist started immediately with unkind words about Rob Zombie and his version of “I’m Your Boogieman.” TR said he preferred the original version performed by KC and the Sunshine Band, but we all know that’s not acceptable music for Meathead. And who doesn’t like a little rage music when their working out? We can’t just listen to Pat Boone and Debbie Gibson/Tiffany every Thursday. For good measure, we also mixed in some Audioslave, Foo Fighters, and AC/DC. #MHstaples
  • If anyone is looking for a few miles before the workout, there’s a pretty reliable crew meeting at 4:50 (okay, that’s just TR and sometimes me) and 5:00 (Header and Chin Music). High Tide also joined us this morning, but ran his own route. #lonewolf
  • Thanks to the pax for posting and following YHC’s lead. Leading my fellow man isn’t something that comes naturally and I don’t get a lot of opportunities at work, so I appreciate being given the opportunity to work on that skill with you in the morning. Yet another gift given freely at F3. Make sure you’re taking advantage of it by raising your hand when someone asks for leadership.

Gorillas in the Mist

15 pax arrived at Calvary Church this morning for my Q. When contemplating my weinke yesterday at work, I wasn’t sure which direction to take it. With Flipper’s manifesto no longer providing the minimal guidance of light days and heavy days, I had complete latitude. As they say, too many choices can be paralyzing. Might as well go with an old standby – gear.

After a brief disclaimer and a welcome to our FNG (Rupert S., accompanying Boerewors), we moseyed around the parking lot to make Gummy happy. After that, we circled up for a little COP:

  • SSH x 20 IC
  • Mountain climbers x 15 IC
  • Low, slow merkins x 10 IC
  • IW x 10 IC

The Thang:

Split the pax into groups of 2. Group 1 performs a called exercise while group 2 carries various implements (large kettlebells, sandbags (40-80 lbs.), a tree limb, a keg). Each group gets a turn on the bells and a turn on the carries.

  • Presses (1-handed or 2-handed)
  • Swings (1-handed or 2-handed)
  • Cleans
  • High pulls
  • Goblet squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Teabag squats
  • Merkins
  • Plank
  • Protractor

We broke it up a bit with 3 laps around the parking lot. Finally, we did two sprints, which were made more exciting by the slippery asphalt (I didn’t think it was possible to miss the cheese grater parking lots we usually find at our AOs). Gummy accurately called these out as time-killers.

Finally, we circled up for some Mary:

  • Heels to Heaven x 25 IC
  • Box-cutters x 15 IC
  • Plank for ~35 seconds

Time. Thanks to Gummy for the takeout in COT.


  • Labor Day convergence for the launch of F3 Waxhaw, our 3rd South Charlotte region. Details can be found on Twitter, Slack, and the web.

Skinny moley thing:

  • After a late night with the M, I woke to the tintinnabulation of my alarm at 6:30 this morning. Less than 6 hours of sleep, but I knew there was a nap in my near future. I got the gear in the car and headed out the door. The shovel flag was planted and the pax were ready to go.
  • It was good to get out to RockZero this morning and see some pax that I don’t see too often. Like most people, I tend to post at the same workouts every week, so it’s good to mix it up and signing up to Q is definitely a great encouragement. Thanks, Hoover and Geraldo!
  • I appreciate the pax’s willingness to do a gear workout. RockZero tends to be a boot camp, maybe with some rocks or something. All gear for 60 minutes is a little different, but the pax took to it with alacrity. Snatches were also on the menu, but I decided that snatching wet kettlebells was a recipe for disaster and we bagged that.
  • Thanks to High Tide, Geraldo, and Hoover for bringing out gear and to the pax for their help in setting up and cleaning up.
  • Boerewors brought out his brother or brother-in-law, Rupert, who’s visiting from the North Island of New Zealand for a few days. He kept pace with the regulars and appeared to have a good time. It’s a heck of a commute to Area 51 from New Zealand, but you’re welcome back anytime, Hobbit!
  • Cheese Curd did the double pre-run, but left before the workout as he nurses an abdominal strain and tries to keep it together through BRR. Horsehead also did a run-by on his way to 11 miles this morning. Great work by both of you!
  • Please feel free to sound off with any other recollections, suggestions, etc. below. Gummy, I’m looking at you!

Light crowd for heavy work

5 pax posted at Meathead this morning for some kettlebell work. For some reason, numbers are light these days. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s all the running with BRR around the corner, maybe it’s the pax taking some vacation during the last gasp of summer. For whatever reason, they weren’t there and they missed out.

Chin Music, Header, and YHC met up at 5:00 for a 3 mile pre-run. They were kind enough not to dust me, but I definitely outsweated the two of them combined.

We circled up and YHC provided a legally airtight disclaimer. Seriously, Young Love would have been proud.

Warm up:

  • SSH x 20 IC
  • Merkins x 10 IC
  • IW x 10 IC
  • 2H swings x 20 OYO

The Main Event:

Singles work #1:

  • 2H Swing x 15
  • Clean & Press x 5+5
  • 1H Swing x 5+5
  • Clean & Squat x 5+5
  • 1H Swing x 10+10 or 20 alternating
  • Snatch x 5+5
  • 1H Swing x 5+5

Partner up for doubles work (Unplugged went solo and might have done some extra work):

  • Clean & Press x 3
  • Clean & Squat x 3
  • Clean & Press x 3
  • Double swing x 3
  • Clean & Press x 3
  • Single KB Snatch x 5+5
  • Clean & Squat x 3
  • Double high pulls x 3
  • Clean & Press x 3

Singles work #2 (try not to put the bell down during swings):

  • 10 swings, 1+1 overhead press
  • 15 swings, 2+2 overhead press
  • 25 swings, 3+3 overhead press
  • 50 swings, 4+4 overhead press – YHC made it to 35 swings before the hands gave out

Pax choice: repeat doubles set from above

We had a few minutes left, so we did some pax-called Mary:

  • Voodoo – LBC x 25 IC
  • Unplugged – Back scratchers x 10 IC
  • Chin Music – Heels to Heaven x 10 IC
  • Header – Louganis x 10 OYO

Time. Circle up for COT and a solid take-out by Header.


  • Convergence on Labor Day (9/2) for the launch of F3 Waxhaw. See Slack, Twitter, etc. for details.
  • YHC on Q at RockZero on Saturday. Dora on Q at Meathead next week. You don’t want to miss either one. I have no idea what I’m doing on Saturday and fairly certain that Dora is in the same boat.


  • Welcome to our site FNG Pee-wee. He was cruising the lot at Elizabeth Lane a few Saturdays and got flying EH’d by Spackler of all people. He posted the following week at the Saturday gear workout, then came to join us at Meathead for his first legit, on-the-books workout. Although he has a kettlebell, he left it at home. #facepalm
  • Good to meet Unplugged, who joined us from Union County. He posted a few weeks prior, but YHC was out of town and missed it. He modified as needed to protect an old back injury. However, modified does not mean he didn’t crush it. He was doing deadlifts and extra reps the whole time. #strongwork
  • Chin Music and Header are regulars at Meathead. Header is coming off a plantar fasciitis injury, but seemed to be running well. Chin Music partnered with me on the doubles and swung the double 20s (that’s kg, not lbs). Nice work. #coffeetalk
  • Please sound off with any comments. Thanks for coming out this morning.