Author Archive Soft Pretzel


Quick recap of a great morning with 20 PAX (!!) at Firestarter + a couple of runners for COT.

The Thang:

Short mosey to let the late arrivals catch up and warm up: 20 SSH, 20 IW, 10 merkins, 10 mountain climbers all IC.

Mosey to Old Navy for storefront pain stations.  Run from Old Navy to Target stopping at every store for 10 merkins and 10 squats.  Seven stops total I think.  Mary to wait for the Six then 10 eight count burpees IC.  Coming back, same format and switch to CDDs and backward lunges.  Finish again with Mary and 10 ECBs.

Partner up and go to the small wall behind Old Navy.  P1 runs to the stop sign and back (~100 yards total) while P2 does as many wall climbs as possible.  Repeato so each guy goes twice.

Mosey to the AT&T store.  Bear crawl across the parking lot, 20 squats, bear crawl back, 20 squats.

Mosey back to the fountains to close out.  P1 runs the lap while P2 does a called exercise.  No prescribed number of reps, just each PAX focusing on form as many as possible.  Diamond merkins, wide arm merkins, dips, and merkins.

Mary and… time.

Announcements: Spots still open for F3 Dads Camp at Camp Thunderbird.  Last Call and Body Shop looking for Qs.

Strength Speed and Courage

And sweat, lots of sweat.  That would be the theme of today.  And maybe some queasy and light headed feelings.  We got after it.

Warm Up: Mosey to where there are usually bus fumes but its summertime so: 20 SSH, 10 IW, 10 merkins, 10 LSS all IC.

The Thang 1: 1 pull up/5 jump squats, 2 pull ups/10 jump squats, etc.  Go as high as you can until you can’t hit the next set of pull ups, then run a lap, start where you left off and go back down the ladder.

Thang 2: Use the covered sidewalk with posts that are about 5 yards apart.  Bear crawl with a stop at each post – 1 merkin, 2 merkins, etc. until your form breaks and you can’t get the number of reps for that set.  Brexit takes the crown on this one.  Not sure he made it to ten but maybe??  Recover with a jog to the end and Peoples Chair.

Next, bear crawl back with stops for – 2 plank jacks, 4 plank jacks, etc until you can take no more.  Midriff wins high honors as he was still fighting well into the time the rest of us were doing LBCs at the end of the walkway.

Finally, lunge walk and stop at each post for 1 burpee, 2 burpees, etc up to 7.  PAX were instructed to go at your own pace to get to 7.  This was not easy.  Respect to everyone for completing.

Thang 3: start at the bottom of Devil’s Backbone (legacy Arsenal term – look it up.)  Sprint to the top, 20 merkins or until your form breaks.  Jog down, sprint up, 15 merkins.  Same thing for 10 and 5 merkins.

Finish with three sets of dips x 10 IC alternating with Mary and 60 seconds of plank back at launch.

Announcements: Shovel flag party this Saturday at 2 p.m.  Few beers, few laughs, you should come.  Also, SIGN UP for Crane Relay or we won’t be able to do it.  Need more PAX.

Pursuit – Rain, Rain, Go Away

10 Pax – 8 ran, 2 rucked.  Route was ~6 miles and we did repeating intervals: 4 minutes at marathon or long distance pace x 2 minutes at threshold or 5/10k pace.

Stupid Shoulder Day

Cold and damp greeted the PAX as they climbed out of cars in the MRHS lot this morning.  What was waiting for them was probably much worse.

Warm up: Mosey up to the porch area with picnic tables.  Stretching, 10 IWs, 5 seal merkins, 10 man maker merkins, and 5 8 count burpees all IC with demos to show everybody the exercises for later in the workout.  20 squats IC.

The Thang: Grab a bench. 10 side step ups per side.  Then the Jack Webb of derkins and hip slappers.  Went up to 5 derkins/20 slappers before coming back down.  Honestly I can’t believe I brought this back out.  Seriously hard.  20 squats OYO until YHC could breath again.

Mosey to the back of the school.  Mary for the six and a set of Morrocan Night Clubs to loosen the shoulders up.  Then the killer… at each street light, do one 8 count burpee, 2 man maker merkins, 3 seal merkins and multiply the reps by the street light number.  So 1,2,3 then 2,4,6 then 3,6,9, etc.  We made it to 5 until it was obvious that we should not continue.  Mary for the 6.

Mosey to the globe and the next set of street lights.  This time the exercises were jump squats, lunges, and squats in the same counting format.  This one not as bad.  End at the front of the HS and Mary for the 6.  Kudos to Bottlecap here for calling some very good plank/core work that I will absolutely steal for my next Q.

Partner up.  P1 runs the lap while P2 does: 20 flutters, 20 dollies, 20 LBCs on repeat.  3 rounds.

Finish with some running and burpees.

Announcements: Furniture giveaway for Christ Closet.  See Shop Dawg.  Its 10-1 this Saturday.  Rice and Beans Wednesday nights.  See Centerfold.  Sign Up Genius for cooking meals for F3 Pax (whose name I missed, sorry!)

Leg Day, My Leg Day

YHC arrived at NOE this AM (ok I’ll stop) with the plan of using the variety of hills to get in a good leg workout.  Many PAX had apparently gotten one yesterday – sorry!  Anyway, off we go.

Warm-up: Mosey through the parking lot to the end.  Stop 1: 20 IW, 10 windmills, 20 mountain climbers and 10 merkins all IC.  Stop 2: 20 flutters, 10 slow dollies, 20 LBCs.

Line up at the base of the large retention hill.  Do an exercise IC followed by a hill sprint each time.  Called exercises were 10 speed skaters, 10 lunges, 10 squats.

Mosey the back of the shopping center with speed bump stops for 10 gas pumpers IC and a long lunge walk.  Finish behind the movie theater and grab some wall.  People’s chair with 50 air presses then sprint the hill.

Mosey to the Murderhorn and head to the bottom.  Go up it together alternating forward run, backward run, and side shuffles.  At each street light stop for 20 merkins: regular, seal, stagger right, and stagger left.

Mosey back past COT and around to a long straightaway.  Each time, run to the end, 15 merkins, run back, run to the second island, 10 merkins, run back, run to the first island, 5 merkins.  2 rounds with round one being diamond and round 2 being wide arm.

Finish with a “Jack Webb” of broad jumps and squats.

Mosey back, one minute elbow plank and 15 seconds of “Have a Nice Day.”

Announcements:  Please consider contributing to our collection for Roof Above.  Details and collection can come from any SOB Site Q.  New workout in Steel Creek starts this Saturday.  Udder is Site Q and you can check out his posts on Slack for details.  Snooze Button and The Appetizer have recently been very successful, especially attracting FNGs – let’s keep it up!

Moleskin:  Great to see Happy Meal this morning and others I typically miss on Thursdays.  Great group and AO as always and was honored to lead.

Better Together

17 gathered in the very chilly gloom and YHC attempted to show the 1st F virtues of togetherness.  Here is how it went:

Mosey to the Burton’s parking lot and try to forget the fact that we lost half the PAX crossing the road.  My bad.

Warm up: 30 SSH, 20 IW, 10 MNC, 15 LSS all IC and finish with five “up downs.”

Next part was a bit of an experiment.  PAX were advised to keep up to the best of their ability as YHC ran… slow at first, increasing speeds steadily and going ~200-800 meters each time in random directions around the shopping center.  We did four rounds and each time finished with Mary.  1) 20 big boi sit ups, 20 AH IC, 10 pistol crunches IC; 2) 20 Freddie Mercury, 10 side crunches each side, 10 LBCs all IC; 3) 10 dollies IC, hold 6 inches while *YHC gives a speech for like 2 minutes*, 30 flutters IC, 4) elbow plank until the six arrive.

*My speech was on the benefits of running together.  I told the story of Makeshift Marathon, when Tiger Rag ran the half with me and pushed me to a pace that was about 20 sec/mile better than my last race.  Sometimes I try to duplicate that pace on my own now and I fail miserably.  It’s a miracle really… how much more we can do together than apart.

Special call outs for Mic Check and Rousey for pushing up front and big time respect for Big Ben – the guy gave it his all and kept pace much of the way!

Next legs.  20 squats IC, lunge walk 30-40 lunges, 10 single leg Romanian dead lifts per leg, about 75 speed skaters IC because nobody was counting during the cadence, 10 broad jumps, backward lunge walk 30-40 lunges.

Mosey to the neighborhood behind the shopping center and gather at the entrance.  YHC completely misuses the word “permutation” in an effort to explain what we’re doing next, which is this: increasing number of merkins at each driveway until no PAX can do the prescribed number of reps.  We made it to 14 with Rousey taking the title of last man to tap out.  So that’s 105 merkins on the way up if you did them all.  Can’t say where everybody came in but hopefully we all got as many as we could.  Mic Check was of course hammering them and One Star as well.  The way back down the ladder was a bit of an S Show as cars and barking dogs kind of chased us off course.  We regrouped though and I would estimate another 50-60 merkins at least.

Run backwards up the hill to the rock pile and grab a rock.  OH presses and tricep extensions until the six arrive.  Then the PAX split up with half going up the hill for 3 sets of pull ups and squats, the other half staying and alternating curls and squats.  Awesome job by T1000 banging out the pull ups!  Then finish off with another three rounds of alternating OH Press and Tricep Ext.

Run back to COT with stops along the way to gather PAX.  20 peter parkers IC, then AYG dips at the fountains.  One minute late for COT.

Announcements: Time to step up for Roof Above.  Choose a site you post at and get with your site Q to coordinate your donation!


Seven PAX emerged at the 0515 point to meet a sharp wind and the endless opportunity of pain that is Cuthbertson HS/MS!  Here is how it went:

Warm-up: Mosey down to the basketball court and circle up for 25 SSH, 20 IW, 15 Moroccan Night Clubs, and 10 low slow squats all IC.  YHC receives “situational awareness kudos” for no hands on the wet ground.  Thank you and you’re welcome.

The Thang:

Start under an overhang in between the picnic benches.  15 merkins/15 big boi sit-ups (single count).  Run as a group down the hill and circle for 15 squats.  Run back up the hill to repeat OYO four times, each time subbing out the merkins as follows: diamond, wide arm, stagger right, stagger left.  The hill provided some good cardio and kudos to Gerber and Dasher for pushing the pace.

Mosey to the traffic circle for a one leg burpee fest.  5xright leg, run around the circle to the other end, 5x left leg and repeat for a total of three sets.

Mosey down to the big parking lot and line up across with each PAX in his own parking space.  10 speed skaters IC, sprint to the second light, mosey back.  50 high knees OYO, sprint to the second light, mosey back.  Then side shuffle one way, flapjack, run backwards.  Finish with 10 jump squats, sprint to the second light.

Mosey back up to the school for old school Jack Webb.  Then mosey around to the long hill for new school Jack Webb.  Pause for three rounds of PAX choice Mary.  New School Jack Webb = 1 merkin, 4 paces of bear crawl, 2 merkins, 8 paces, etc.

Head back toward COT and stop at the benches.  Another three rounds of PAX choice Mary, hard lap around the traffic circle, then 20 derkins/20 dips, 15 derkins/15 dips, 10 derkins/10 dips.

Mosey back to COT in time for wall sits and donkey kicks and…. “have a nice day.”

Moleskin: Chastain lead us for COT and various announcements were made.  Morning turned out awesome after some initial weather concerns.  YHC is not a regular at Swarm and am thoroughly impressed by the PAX each time I post!  A real honor to lead – thanks Dasher!

Fresh Set of Eyes

Because of the faithfulness of one Das Boot, YHC was given the opportunity to Q the Body Shop this morning on a V post to the site.  Arrived with all the usual nervousness: did I get the time right? (yes), am I in the right spot? (not exactly but close enough to see One Star’s car pull in and move), did I get captured by the security cameras last night driving slowly around Rea View Elementary as I was preparing a workout? (maybe, time will tell), etc.

But apparently my newness let the PAX see some different parts of the AO than usual and they weren’t totally sorry I was there.  So without further ado…

Warmup: Mosey through the lot with some high knees, butt kicks, and karyokes.  Circle up for 10 merkins IC and the customary stretches (customary more to Waxhaw than SOB – a good idea to model).

Mosey down to playground A and partner up.  P1 does 1 pullup, 4 merkins, 2 pullups, 8 merkins, etc. while P2 runs ~25 yards out and back w/ 10 jump squats.  Flapjack and repeat so that every PAX goes twice trying to see how high up the ladder he can get with pullups/merkins.

Mosey to the hill at the bottom of the soccer fields.  Perform an exercise IC, sprint the hill and jog back.  Exercises were 10 speed skaters, 10 eight count burpees, 10 mountain climbers, and 10 plank jacks.  YHC was so gassed from these that we stopped for Mary halfway through and did 20 flutters, 20 dollies, and 10 LBCs IC.

Mosey to playground B and partner up.  Same format as last time but substitute squats for merkins and donkey kicks for jump squats.

Head to the small track for “Catch Me If you Cans” with 5 jumps squats/run/bear crawl repeat all the way around the track.  Finish with AYG pullups.

Back to the hill.  P1 holds elbow plank while P2 sprints the hill twice.  Flapjack and repeat.  Repeat again with six inch plank.  Mosey to the front of the school for H2H x 10 and pistol crunches 10 each leg.  Then a hot lap that is about 300 meters.  Then 20 BB sit ups, 10 LBCs IC and 10 Fred Mercuries IC.  Mary complete.

Finish the workout with alternating peoples’ chair and 10 broad jumps.  2 rounds.  Done.

Moleskin: Loved all elements of the workout this morning but by far my takeaway was the words offered by Long Haul during “the six” in COT.  LH talked about his first post and shared how at the time he was commuting weekly to Charlotte and didn’t know anybody.  He spoke about the men who came up to him after the workout and made him feel welcome.  He says this more than anything kept him going with F3.  That was seven years ago!  Since then he has paid it forward, keeps paying it forward, and encourages others to pay it forward.  Think about the impact!!

On a way too personal note, Long Haul’s words touched a nerve for YHC.  Truth is, I was never very good at doing the very thing he spoke of: simply welcoming men to F3 and taking the five minutes post workout to be a friend.  I very well may have been at Long Haul’s first Bagpipe seven years ago and I can’t say for sure if I was one of the guys he was talking about.  That stings a little and it should!  I will do better.  Thank you Long Haul for getting to the heart of F3 and sharing a thought that should linger with all of us.

Announcements:  New Workout  Friday’s at Marvin Ridge High School 0600.  Last Call is the name.  Come out tomorrow and support.

Children’s Laughter… Silenced

Don’t worry that title is purely ironic.  Please read on.

6 men gathered for the winding odyssey that is the Brave.  Here is a brief summary with commentary.

With disclaimer given and Kirby’s gear in place, we head east on Ballantine Commons.  Left on Meadows run and head toward the playground at the bottom of the Murderhorn.  Stops along the way as follows (all IC): 5 merkins, 5 squats/10 merkins, 15 merkins, 10 merkins/10 squats.

At this point YHC gives the instructions for 5 rounds of pull ups and dips and points vaguely toward the playground.  PAX begin to move when we see that… the pull up bars have been taken out!!!  What sick, twisted maniac would do such a thing.  Anyway, no pull ups.

Consumed by rage because I really wanted to do pull ups, YHC begins barking out whatever comes to mind on the picnic benches.  10 dips IC, 5 jump ups, 5 decline CDDs IC, 10 jump ups, 10 dips IC, 15 jump ups, 5 decline CDDs IC, 10 jump ups, 10 dips IC.

Run to the top of the Murderhorn, which is fun.  Briefly circle for the Six with planks and 6 inch planks.  Then continue to Stonecrest movie theater and the “mini-Murderhorn” grass hill.  Line up facing the hill for three rounds of: 10 speed skaters IC, sprint the hill, 5 jump squats at the top.

Back down the Murderhorn. 10 reps each leg of single leg romanian deadlifts, then run backwards to the first lanp post, which is kind of far.  Repeato.  Run up the Murderhorn to the top, which is fun.  Circle for the Six then start the long trek home.  Several stops to keep the PAX together included: flutters, planks, LBCs, and everyone’s favorite, the 8 count “Man-maker” burpee.

With about four minutes left, we tried a new approach to Mary.  Line up a breast and do 5 inch worms forward then roll to your six and do a called exercise. Repeat until time called.  Need more time for this next time.

Announcements: Blood drive.  Collections for Escobar.

Moleskin:  Pleasure to lead as always and great effort by all.  Thanks!

Accountability Monday

With my enthusiasm for 2021 having worn off, but my desire for mental and physical health still in tact, YHC tried to think of ways to stay “on track” as a new week kicked off.

For me, one of the most important F3 concepts I have picked up in the last couple years is that of “guardrails.”  If we make commitments to each other ahead of time, we won’t slide off the road later when we suddenly don’t feel like it anymore.  With my commitment to Q Firestarter this morning, YHC hit a guardrail I’m very thankful for it.

This morning’s partner exercises were my way of bringing the accountability concept to the workout and I encourage everyone: sign up for Qs, take challenges with each other, either over time or even within a workout.

Accountability doesn’t mean 6 posts a week, 52 weeks a year.  That is more like perfection, which YHC has never been very good at.  But if you put guardrails in the right places in your life, hitting your long-term goals gets a lot easier when you stay on track and don’t end up in the ditch.

The Thang.

Warm up with a 3-4 minute Mosey and circle up for 20 SSH, 15 IW, 15 merkins, 10 low slow squats.

Run to the rock pile up the hill and partner up with a PAX who will push you, someone of equal to better speed and endurance.  Run with your partner, comfortably down the hill, uncomfortably back up. It’s about a half mile round trip.

Round 1: group one runs while group two lifts.  Exercises are 10 reps of curls, presses and tricep extensions, repeated until group 1 gets back.

Round 2: same thing but the exercises are 10 romanian deadlifts and 10 thrusters.

Mosey back down to the “half wall” in back of shopping center.  Partner up with different partners. P1 does five wall clinmbs while P2 holds a 6 inch plank.  Repeat four times.

From here, the arms and chestal region were feeling a little smoked so numerous rounds of merkins were in order.  Typically civilian count to 10 or 20.  I’m thinking we got 6 sets in on the way back and in between other stuff.

Mary: 20 flutters, 20 dollies, 20 LBCs, run the stairs and then 20 H2H.

Mosey back to the fountains and with time remaining: 10 dips IC, 10 jump ups OYO, 10 dips IC, 5 jumps OYO, 10 gas pumpers, IC.  Done.

Moleskin: Great to see this Monday bootcamp take off and maintain good numbers.  Thanks Teddy and Wingman for your leadership and great job to all the PAX who are consistently posting here.

Announcements: Big Tuna turns “respectable” aka 50 with a Q at Bushwood tomorrow.  Congrats Big T!