Physical Therapy at Roots! 

Overhead Squat
One max set of handstand push-ups.
This is a yearly Skill Benchmark.

Charlie Merrill, in the hat on the right, traveled to Salt Lake City with Roots' 2014 Regionals team.  He treated the team before, during, and after each day of competition.  He was instrumental in the team's ability to perform well.

Charlie Merrill, in the hat on the right, traveled to Salt Lake City with Roots’ 2014 Regionals team. He treated the team before, during, and after each day of competition. He was instrumental in the team’s ability to perform well.

Manual Physical Therapy at Roots!

We are pleased, honored, and excited to welcome Roots athlete, Charlie Merrill, and MPerformance to the Roots offices…

Hello Roots.

I’m Charlie Merrill and I want to help you get better in the CrossFit gym and to be a more healthy human being!  I’m a Manual Physical Therapist and long time Roots member.  Along with Nicole, I have big plans for improving the movement and health of Roots members as well as the community at large. Starting November 1st, I began treating all of my clients at Roots!  While Merrill Performance will continue to operate independently, my ability to treat Roots members, as well as people from outside the gym, will be greatly enhanced.  I’ll be treating clients at Roots Monday through Friday in both an excellent new private treatment room as well as in the gym.  Watching athletes move “real time” in a gym setting is so valuable to me and to my clients.  In case you don’t already know who I am, here’s my story.

From the beginning of my career as a Physical Therapist, I felt like a black sheep in my own profession.  I was always disillusioned with the status quo and even with the future direction of my profession.  As I entered the mainstream clinical world, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings with a wide variety of patients.  Everything from sports medicine to serious neurological issues to organ transplants to burns to work injuries!  In doing so, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly with regard to how care was delivered.  The high volume, standardized, low critical thinking model of how to treat an injury made me cringe.  I’d always planned to avoid this by specializing in manual therapy and so decided to learn as much as I could about these often obscure Osteopathic techniques.  The realization that I could learn so much from those outside of my profession opened the door for me to learn amazingly useful things from all kinds of experts.

As time went on, I started to appreciate that there was a major change happening in the world.  Not only were people learning from those in their respective professions.  But, there was a huge amount of crossover between related and even seemingly unrelated disciplines.  This sharing and adopting of knowledge between diverse sets of people was and still is very exciting to me.  It shows up in high tech where phones become a way to process credit cards.  It shows up when skiers learn how to base jump and use parachutes to create a whole new experience.  And, it showed up in my work as a Physical Therapist where this excellent “new” sport called CrossFit opened up a new way of thinking about what it means to be move well and be strong.  While the opportunity to learn new things from a CrossFit coach might be overlooked by many in my profession.  I feel very strongly that sharing information between disciplines is the “next logical step” that will shape the progress of health in the future.  We all have so much to learn from each other.

After 3 years as a CrossFitter, I’ve discovered (and lifted) a ton about myself as an athlete.  I’ve also seen how CrossFit can quickly expose people’s limited movement.  This allows me to treat people more effectively and ultimately making my clients more fit and durable.  I’ve integrated much of this knowledge into my practice every day and I feel it’s given me a unique perspective on injury patterns and how to best treat them.  For example, seeing how a stiff ankle can create low back pain.  Or, how a stiff mid back can create shoulder pain.  Discovering CrossFit has become one of only a few paradigm shifting moments in my career where I felt my skills advanced to a whole new level.  And now I want to share that with as many people as I can, beyond just treating individuals one on one each day.

When Nicole invited me to move my practice to Roots, it instantly felt like the perfect marriage of healthcare and fitness.  It marks a significant point in the progression of health where the most powerful form of fitness (yes, that’s CrossFit) combines with the latest manual therapies and corrective exercise techniques.  Working more closely with the coaches to combine our knowledge and understanding of movement will advance all of our understanding and make us all better at what we do.  I plan to better leverage Shane’s strong massage therapy skills as well.  He and I think a lot alike and enjoy problem solving together.  In working with Shane, we’ll be better able to keep athletes healthy and progressing in their sport.

Over the course of my 15 year career, I’ve treated the best cyclists, runners, triathletes, rock climbers, and CrossFitters in the world!  But, regardless of whether I’m treating a CrossFit Games athlete or a Roots newbie, my belief is that strong critical thinking and manual therapy skills are critical.  These make the difference between living with limitations and overcoming them and progressing.  Here is a list of the skills I bring to Roots as a Manual Physical Therapist:

Joint mobilization/manipulation
Trigger point needling
Soft tissue manipulation, trigger point, and myofascial release
Active Release Technique (ART)
Corrective exercise
Movement reeducation and joint stabilization
Medical Bike Fitting
Custom Orthoses (not that most of you studley paleolithic athletes are likely to need that)

Here is a link to my website with descriptions of my skill set.

I also wrote a blog post on my philosophy on evaluating and treating injuries here

I look forward to seeing you all in the gym more often, hopefully healthy and crushing the daily WOD.  But I’m here for you if you need some guidance and hands on help with your high performing body.  Catching issues early is critical to keeping you working out consistently over time.  And consistency with any skill is what results in the best progress.  So please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some help.

Charlie Merrill, MSPT
Merrill Performance, LLC
2406 30th St, Boulder, CO 80301

The CrossFit Invitational 

9-7-5 reps for time of:
225-lb. front squats
Bar muscle-ups

The CrossFit Invitational began in 2012.  Photo:

The CrossFit Invitational began in 2012. Photo:

The CrossFit Invitational

The 2014 CrossFit Invitational went down last night in San Jose, California.

Four teams made up of two female and two male athletes battled it out on the stadium floor over five events.

The teams were comprised of the top Games athletes from four regions – USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

Click here to view the live feed and watch the events. 

Butcher Push! 

Open Shop tonight from 6-8pm.

In team of four, each member completes three rounds of:
50m butcher push (45/25)
25 overhead walking lunges
20 slamball (30/20)
400m run
Teams follow the leader through the rounds.
200m low push as a team

Butcher low push at Rogue.

Butcher low push at Rogue.

Butcher Push!

Ever pushed the butcher from close to the ground?  Come see what it’s all about!

Meet at Centennial Middle School Track at 9:30am.

Track Workout Saturday! 

Today’s workout is at the Centennial Middle School track.  We don’t get to use the track that often for workouts.  Come see what it’s all about!

AMRAP 20 minutes:
Run 400m
Rest 1:00
Score is total distance traveled.

Track Workout Saturday!

Meet at the Centennial Middle School track for a fun twist on 400m runs.  This one is sure to leave you feeling the burn!

And don’t forget to follow it up tomorrow with the weekend sled workout!  Come push a butcher…

Click here for a map: Centennial Middle School.

Fall Apparel Sale, Online Too 

21-15-9 reps for time of:
115-lb. snatches


All tees and tanks are $10 off now through November 14th.

Fall Apparel Sale, Online Too

Help us make room for the new!  The fall apparel sale starts today and runs through November 14th.

Hoodies – 30% OFF
Socks – 30% OFF
Clearance Bin – $8.00

Tanks – $14.00
Tees – $14.00
Baseball Tees – $20.00

Purchase online here.

How Sleep Affects Performance 

For time:
Run 400 meters
50 pull-ups
Run 400 meters
50 push-ups
Run 400 meters
50 sit-ups
Run 400 meters
50 squats

How Sleep Affects Performance

Just in case you missed the last sleep post. Doc Parsley is back to discuss how sleep affects our performance. It turns out sleep is a skill that we can hone just like any other skill. Hone your sleep skills!


Easy Potato Hash! 

Front squat

Hailey making her way up the ropes!

Hailey making her way up the ropes!

Easy Potato Hash

I love sweet potatoes and eggs.  Check out this awesome sweet potato hash recipe that’s easy to make while you’re prepping dinner.  Make a bunch and have it ready for the week!

2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed OR shredded in Cuisinart  
2 tablespoons fat
1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced

1. Mix first five ingredients and set aside
2. Saute sweet potatoes until they begin to brown on the sides or soften if shredded
3. Remove potatoes from pan and set aside
4. Saute onions and garlic in pan until translucent
5. Add spice mixture and combine with onions for one minute
6. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are done

Harvest Hoedown Slideshow 

Push Jerk
3-3-3-3-3 reps
Skills Benchmark Test
1 max set of toes-to-bar


Created with flickr slideshow.

Harvest Hoedown Slideshow! 

Click the slideshow above to view the pictures from the Harvest Hoedown competition!

Thanks to Lisa Prodonovich and Andrew Mills for being our competition photographers!

Full album available here.

Pull-ups and How to Read the Workout 

With a continuously running clock complete 5 thrusters every minute.
From 0:00-5:00 use 75 lb.
From 5:00-10:00 use 95 lb.
From 10:00-15:00 use 115 lb.
Continue adding 20 lb. every 5 minutes for as long as you are able.

Pull-ups and How to Read the Workout

At Roots, we do many different kinds of pull-ups. The most common are kipping pull-ups, chest-to-bar kipping pull-ups, strict pull-ups, weighted pull-ups, and L pull-ups. Below is a run down of each. When reading the workout, “pull-ups” ALWAYS IMPLIES that the pull-ups required are kipping pull-ups.  Any deviation from this will be detailed accordingly in the workout.  For example, if strict pull-ups are required, it will say “strict pull-ups.”

Kipping Pull-ups

The kipping pull-up incorporates the gymnastics kip and the pull-up. The required range of motion for this exercise is chin over bar at the top of the pull-up and elbows coming to full extension at the bottom of the pull-up. This pull-up can be scaled with bands.  It is CrossFit’s default pull-up because it blends power, strength, and speed to create an exercise that challenges both your strength and breathing capacities.

Chest-to-Bar Kipping Pull-ups

The chest-to-bar (or C2B) kipping pull-up is very similar to the kipping pull-up described above, except that the required range of motion is more difficult. In the chest to bar pull-up not only does the chin have to clear the top of the bar, the athlete’s chest (clavicle and below, not neck) must make contact with the bar. This pull-up can be scaled with bands.

Strict Pull-ups

The strict pull-up, also called a deadhang pull-up, requires the athlete to pull their body from a hanging position to chin above the bar with no momentum, kicking, or kipping.  It is a pure strength movement.  The relationship between a strict pull-up and a kipping pull-up is comparable to a strict shoulder press and a push-press.  This pull-up can be scaled with bands.

Weighted Pull-ups

Weighted pull-ups simply mean that the athlete is adding weight to the pull-up by wearing a weight vest or holding a dumbbell between their feet. Weighted pull-ups can be incorporated as kipping pull-ups or strict pull-ups depending on the workout.

L Pull-ups

L pull-ups are based on a strict pull-up. There is no momentum or kip involved. In the L pull-up the athlete holds their legs out in an extended position (making their torso the upright portion of an “L” and their legs the horizontal portion) and pulls their chin over the bar.

So remember, anytime the workout at the shop says “pull-ups” it is implied that they are kipping pull-ups. Any other pull-up used in the workout will be specified in the text of the workout on the whiteboard.

Second Food Chalk Talk and Dunk Tank Today! 


For time:
Run 1 mile
155-lb. clean and jerks, 21 reps
Run 800 meters
155-lb. clean and jerks, 21 reps
Run 1 mile

Rowing in circles...

Rowing in circles…

Second Food Chalk Talk and Dunk Tank Today!

The second PR Your Life Food Challenge Chalk Talk is today at 10:30am at the shop.

Also, the dunk tank will be at Roots today.  If you signed up for a time please remember to arrive a few minutes before your assigned time and bring a form of payment (cash, check, or credit).

To view the time you selected, click here.