How many times have you looked at a workout and thought:

“But, I can’t do a pull-up!”

Too many times to count I bet. Don’t worry though, you’re not alone. For many of our athlete’s pull- ups are the one exercise that seems so far away.

To help get you closer to that first pull-up, we’ve put together a little guide to help break things down.


Every movement has three phases a concentric, an isometric, and an eccentric. For the pull-up they look like this:

Concentric: The act of pulling your chin over the bar.
Isometric: the split second where you pause with your chin above the bar before descending into the bottom part of the pull-up.
Eccentric: The act of lowering yourself back into the dead hang position.

To become efficient at the pull-up, we need to develop all three phases of the movement. However, for training purposes we are going to predominantly focus our attention on the eccentric part of the movement.

This program will not only help those looking for their first pull up, but it will also assist those who currently have a few kipping pull ups, but have not mastered the strict pull up. (Which is something we do not advise. Strict before kipping…always! Reason being your shoulder needs a lot of strength and stability for kipping – the same level required for a strict pull up! If you don’t have a strict pull up and your shoulders bother you during kipping, theres a very good chance the two are related.)


The actual pulling portion is the hardest part of the pull-up for almost everyone. But if we currently can’t pull our chins above the bar from a dead hang… how can we train this part of the pull-up effectively? The one that we have found works best is the seated pull up. By taking some of our body weight out of the equation, we are able to dial in on some of the components that give athletes the most difficulty. For example, the bottom of the pull up is where athletes tend to face the greatest challenge due to the lack of momentum or assist when initiating the pull. while seated pull ups do not start from a dead hang, they do require a dead stop at the bottom for athletes to work through. When done correctly it is a great training tool to develop strength and position!

Seated Barbell Pull up!


To train the eccentric effectively, we want to work on lower ourselves from the rig (chin over bar position) with control back to the dead hang while maintaining both proper form and a tight hollow position. This will be tough for most people at first. We recommend starting small with a 3- second descent. Once that becomes easy, athletes can increase their time under tension and increase the time domain to a 5 or even a 10 second count.

Training Plan

Now that we know the phases and what we are striving for in each, it’s time to formulate a plan of attack! Below is 5 week training plan designed to help athletes get their first strict pull up, and to help those with strict pull ups get more efficient at them & get more of them. Just because we get our first pull up, doesn’t mean we stop there – the more we can link, the strong we are! This strength will carry over and help when learning Butterfly pull ups, Chest to Bar, Bar Muscle ups, and even Ring Muscle ups!

Week 1
5-10 seconds Chin over bar hold x 3
5 Negatives – 3-5 second decent
10 Seated Pull ups x 2
Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days

Week 2
5-10 Second Chin over bar hold x 3
7 Negatives (3-5 second decent)
15 Seated Pull ups x 2
Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days

Week 3
10 Second Chin over bar hold x 3
8 Negatives (5 second decent)
10 Seated Pull ups (pull chest to bar) x 3
Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days

Week 4
5 Second Chin over bar hold 5 Second Hold at 90 x 4
10 Negatives (5 + second decent)
10 Seated Pull ups (pull chest to bar) x 4
Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days

Week 5
5 Second Chin over bar hold 5 second hold at 90 (wide grip) x 4
10 Negatives (5+ second decent)
10 Seated Pull ups (wide grip) x 4
Complete the work above 2-3 times per week on non Pull Up workout days

Follow the plan above, and we promise you that your pull ups will dramatically improve! If you do the work above, please send us an email to let us know how it went! We would love to hear about your progress!

Disclaimer: This will help 90% of our athletes dramatically improve their pull up, but keep in mind this is a general program. General programs are meant to address common issues or faults in movement patterns. If you want individual advice or something tailored specifically to you, consider setting up some 1:1 sessions with one of our coaches! To arrange a person training session, please email us at or!

Work trip? Visiting family or friends? Vacation? Traveling can wreak havoc on your nutrition goals if you let it.  Often, we hear people complain of limited or poor food choices when traveling. We also hear individuals express the desire to not be that person;  the one customizing everything or being extra selective when ordering. It doesn’t matter who you’re with, or where you are going, traveling doesn’t have to be an excuse to let your nutrition totally slip.

On the Road

Half the week I am in outside sales, working with various doctors offices. Due to the constant traveling, I frequently bring in my own snacks and lunches. Just because I am on the road does not mean I need to make poor decisions when it comes to my nutrition.  Preparation is key. By preparing ahead of time, it can help minimize the chances of making poor choices and minimize the chances giving into temptation.

Below are my top 3 tips for staying on track while on the road:

  1. Meal prep and Pack a cooler! Panera bread, Wegmans or most gas stations have microwaves available for travelers to use. There is no reason to eat a cold lunch!
  2. ALWAYS have snacks on hand.  Even if you don’t need them, it is better to be safe than sorry. That being said, don’t feel like your NEED to eat something just because it’s packed.
  3. Share your nutrition and fitness goals with those around you –  your colleagues, travel buddies, family, etc. Some might roll their eyes and not understand, but sharing your goals helps to hold you accountable. Your results and determination by also help to inspire them to make healthier decisions.

In the Air

The other morning I found myself up at 4am and Ubering it to BWI for an early morning work trip.  At the airport, food is ALL around us, but it’s not always the food we want. Airports have a lot of pizza, candy, fast food, fried food… etc. Most have very few decent options, if any. The way to combat this is with bringing your own food.

Did you know that you can bring a cooler with frozen ice packs through TSA?  Sure, it’s one more bag to carry but we CrossFit. A small cooler is nothing compared to a loaded barbell. Just make sure not to pack any liquids and you usually good are to go! (Honesty, you can bring almost anything through TSA.  They do not always like nut butters and yogurt is often a no go but I have brought hummus in the past with no issue!)

As I passed through security and made my way to the gate, I must have passed 8 fast food restaurant stations and maybe 1 or 2 restaurants.  All of which had limited options, and some of which offered false nutritional promises.

So instead of falling into temptation, below is what I typically will pack:

  • Breakfast for while I wait at my gate.   Hard boiled egg whites, steamed broccoli and a side of fruit
  • Lunch: Chicken Breast, sweet potatoes and green beans.  
  • Hard boiled eggs (enough to have them at breakfast each day I’m away)
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Sliced Peppers
  • Protein Powder to make shakes
  • Protein Bars for when I’m in a bind
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Casein Protein


At the beginning of the day, do a self assessment – what do you have going on that day?  Do you know where you will be eating? Do you have any say in what you eat?

If you answered No to one or more of the above questions, you may want to consider meal prepping and planning ahead. For me, bringing breakfast and snacks helps me balance the day, especially during work trips when I know we will have buffet style lunches and dinner functions, where there will be more options available. (Pro tip for buffels: do a lap to see what your options are & then go back and make a plate!)

Just some food for thought for the next time you travel!!!
-Coach Brittany

If you want to schedule a free call with Coach Brittany to talk about your goals just schedule an appointment below!

Hey team! We are bring back the committed club! Each month we will be recognizing any Industry Athletics member that attends (and signs into!) 20 or more classes in a given month. Stay tuned for more information, but in the meantime keep signing into classes and working towards those goals! Eligible classes include: Crossfit, Open gym, Capacity classes, DRIVE, Diapers & Dumbbells, Barbell club & DASH! ALL athletes should be signing into class.

Congratulations to our March Committed Club Members! Each of these individuals showed a solid commitment to CrossFit and, more importantly, to their own personal goals. Keep up the good work!

Anthony Napolitano20
Fernando Elizalde29
Jaclyn Sienkiewicz22
Jane Clauson20
Jessica Konigsberg22
Joseph Dizon20
Kaitlyn Elizalde21
Liz Kasemeotes20
Mallory Beck22
Matt Metzger20
Ross Moody20

Ever wonder why your elbow wings out on muscle ups? Or why it’s so tough getting that extra 10 kilos to sit pretty during your overhead squat? We got you covered — FX Physical Therapy is here to help!

  On Thursday, April 11th, FX Physical Therapy will be offering FREE movement screens for all Industry Athletics members. Our Doctors of Physical Therapy will be analyzing fundamental movement patterns to discover underlying mobility and stability deficits. Our goal is to help identify movement limitation and dysfunction, reduce your risk of injury, and help you move more efficiently while enhancing your performance!

  Sorry, we #nerdout when it comes to all things PT! In not so scientific wording… we’re going to help determine why you’re not picking up heavy things fast enough (or pretty enough), and what we can do to prevent injury so you don’t have to take time off from being a part of IA’s community!

  This event is open to all members, but will take place at CrossFit Federal Hill. FX will be at all of the evening classes on the 11th (4:30pm-7:30pm) and assessments will be first come, first serve. If you are unable to make it to CFH, please use the contact information below, or see one of the coaches for a business card to email about your FREE movement screen.

Mackenzie Chrisco, PT, DPT,

It starts with your feet –  running, jumping, starting, stopping, and balance. When you think about it, almost all movement begins and involves our feet.

Over the last three weekends I have been busy continuing my education: Two weekends of yoga teacher training & one weekend of the Crossfit Olympic Lifting cert. Both very different and yet they both seem to share the idea that what happens at the ground level, has repercussions throughout your entire body.

Ground level, regardless of if an athlete is performing a yoga pose or a lift, tends to be our feet. They are our base, our foundation, and due to the last three weekends, they are something I have become super aware of.

Unlike the bricks that make up your typical Baltimore city row home, our foundations (our feet) are mobile and move in many directions. In fact they are closer in relationship to the wheels of a car, than the foundation of a home… and yet most of us take better care of, and put more energy into our cars than we do our feet and the movements they accomplish.

We drive cautiously down the side streets of Baltimore, careful to avoid potholes and making a wrong turn down a one way street.  But when it comes to our lifts, we don’t always put the same level of consideration into the path we take. There are moments, where we unconsciously create our own bumps in the road, jumping excessively forwards, backwards or out. These bumps often result in the barbell being unstable, or in an athlete failing the lift completely.

“90% of failed lifts is often due to an error in footwork.”

– Crossfit Weightlifting Seminar

When we have a flat tire, we are quick to get it patched or replaced… and yet we aren’t always quick to replace our shoes. Take a look at the soles of your shoes –  are they worn down? Is there an excessive wear on one side? The best way to check whether the “tires” of your body are true and balanced is to check the treads. Are you favoring one side of the body? The tread on our shoes can also help to indicate when it’s time to replace them and get new ones, as well as tell us a little bit about some of the muscle imbalances or discrepancies we may have within our body.

It’s also important to note that different conditions may call for different tires. In the winter, some drivers may opt to get snow tires to help them brave the potential weather; while others stick with what they have. The same can be said about crossfit  – When athlete’s first join, they might start out using regular running sneakers. That’s fine. However, like some weather conditions… there might be a better alternative to suit the activities you are doing and the sport you are practicing. This is especially true if you are experiencing pain or discomfort during a workout! (Crossfit shoe review coming soon!)

Lastly, we care about the alignment of our car, and make a point to schedule an occasional adjustment for the suspension. Proper alignment ensures that the angles of the tires are just right in order to make contact with the road. If your foot isn’t in alignment during a standing pose in yoga, you may be unable to balance. If your toes aren’t aligned with our knees on squats, it could result in knee problems down the road.

It’s time we start treating our feet more like we do our cars. Schedule yourself a paint job…. I mean pedicure…. and dedicate some time to working on your footwork, placement, and alignment. I promise you it will pay off!

-Coach Nicole

Last September Industry Athletics started up Diapers & Dumbbells, a fitness program designed specifically for the postpartum female. The course, like most of our crossfit classes, is centered around functional fitness but also makes a point to incorporate pelvic floor awareness, core stabilization, and breath work. Since September, we have had a number of dedicated and strong moms partake in the program in some capacity. We are proud to introduce you to the Moms of IA and share with you what they have to say about Diapers & Dumbbells!

Emily Orlins, Elementary School Teacher

Throughout her pregnancy, Emily stayed active in Crossfit with some modifications. She started attending Diapers and Dumbbells about 6 weeks postpartum, after having her beautiful baby girl Marley.

“I took six weeks off of serious exercise after birth.  I was nervous but determined to get back into CrossFit. Diapers and dumbbells has been the perfect transition for me. Brittany has taught me how to be aware of my breath and how to protect and strengthen my pelvic floor. The workouts are healing and invigorating!  I’m so thankful for the classes! It is a warm community and a great workout. Marley always got a solid nap during the workout. When I attend the regular CrossFit classes, I keep in mind what I’ve learned at diapers and dumbbells. I am thankful to Brittany and CFH for this awesome opportunity for moms!”


Nicole Aiken-Shaban, Lawyer

Prior to pregnancy Nicole lead a very active life.  She had been Crossfitting for 3 years, played rugby in college,  and prior to that was a 3 sport ( track, soccer, and tennis) athlete in high school.  She continued with her workout routines (with modifications) up until her delivery. Baby Zayne was quite cozy with Nicole and arrived about 10 days post due date. She joined Diapers and Dumbbells about 2 months postpartum.

“I have seen an increase in my pelvic floor and core strength since starting the class and doing some of the “take home” exercises.  It is also a great opportunity to connect with and learn from other mothers about parenting and life “after kids” as we all work out together. We worked to modify various movements while my core recovered and the separation in my abs decreased. “


Anna Leming, Former lawyer

Joined Diaper and Dumbells at 9/10 months postpartum. Prior to her beautilful baby girl Charolette, Anna was active in fitness.  She typically did her own thing at the gym. Her workout routine consisted consisted of running, spinning, and light lifting. She planned her workout day to day, and didn’t have any real guidance or coaching.

Diapers and Dumbbells has given Anna the ability to get out of the house for an awesome workout, while knowing Charlotte will be in great hands with our on-site baby sitter.

“ It has helped me get back into a routine with fitness and back to focusing on taking better care of myself, so I can take better care of my family.”  


Jess Deleon, Photographer

Active through both pregnancies (Mother to 2 amazing boys! Jackson, 5 & Lincoln, 1), Jess participated in Crossfit (with modifications) up until her delivery.  However, post pregnancy due to her schedule, she took a good amount of time off after having Lincoln. Eager to get back into the gym, and back on track with her fitness, Jess jumped at the opportunity and joined Diapers & Dumbbells when she was 11 month postpartum.

“I love to be able to work out with other women in a non judgmental but encouraging environment WHILE knowing the babies are right there if they need us but well cared for is a game changer.  It fills my bucket for the day! Also, I’ve struggled postpartum finding healthy but challenging workouts. Due to life right now, I can’t workout as much as I wish I could. Being able to work HARD when I get the chance and challenging by body at the level I need is what I’ve found unique to this program.  The workouts are all scalable to your current level and the movements are not harmful to postpartum/healing bodies. Incorporating movements to strengthen core and pelvic floor is so unique! I love it. Thank you for offering this program!”


In the next few weeks we will be launching our FRESH START CHALLENGE at Industry Athletics.  This is not an add on for current members, but we are asking for your help with it.   Fresh Start is a 5 week challenge that we will be running at both our Harbor East Location and Federal Hill Location.  The goal is to get a group of people who are looking to change and help them make that happen. This challenge is meant to target those who usually would never step foot in a CrossFit gym. 

Over the next week we will spreading the word and working on requirement for the challenge and there are two things you can help with…

1.Tell your friends! All the info to get started is in this link- Fresh Start Challenge LINK Everyone interested in the challenge will book a 15 minute interview to come see the gym and learn more about the program to see if it is a good fit for them.

2. If you have a friend who is interested, they can fill out an application here! We are only accepting a handful of people so have them schedule an interview soon!

Federal Hill Application

Harbor East Application

3. If nothing else, please be friendly and welcoming to any new faces you see.  I will post on the blog when the class officially starts.  These classes will be separate from the regular class (like a our foundations program).  But remember how intimidating it was when you started?
A smile & hello both go a long way. 🙂

Training Cycle Dates: W 3/27/19 – W 5/9/19
Test Week: W 5/9/19
Transition Week: Will be the first week of the following cycle, starting Th 5/10/19


We are coming off the Crossfit Open: 5 weeks of workouts that test our fitness, skills and strength. It was another great year! Full of highlights (if you missed any of the highlights, check out the update shows on our youtube channel!) and inspiring moments.

With the Open behind us, it’s time to focus on a gym favorite: the clean and jerk! How much weight can you lift up to your shoulders and then throw of your head. At the beginning of the cycle, athletes will find and establish a heavy 1 RM, which we will then work to improve over the course of 8 weeks.  This will be accomplished through the use of Clean work and Split jerk work. We encourage all athletes who have been with us longer than 6 months to use this time to focus specifically on their squat clean. While, all newer athletes should focus on finding a heavy power clean.  Below is the breakdown of what you can expect to see over the next 8 weeks:

Will be a flex day. We will either go long or use it as a day to plug in some extra strength work that may not be directly related to the clean and jerk. Our focus will be to start the week off right and differentiate from what we did on Saturday .

This will be our skill/gymnastics day. We will give the barbell a break and focus on some gymnastics skills work. We wanted to plug this in after the open because everyone is always exposed when it comes to bodyweight movements. We will focus on strict work and building strength in positions.

Clean and Jerk day! We will do some form of clean and jerk or work that directly relates to getting better at this lift.

Coming of a big barbell day this will be a longer flush type of workout that will not involve a barbell very often. It is almost running season! So get ready.

Clean and Jerk day 2! It is such a big compounding lift that we will need two days to focus on this lift.

Metcon Fun! A mix of lifts and gymnastics to get the heart rate going and keep the fun rolling

Rest or come in for open gym to make up any work you missed!

Chipper for a Cause is 90 minutes of fitness! Each year we will be selecting a new cause to support. Our first event will be Saturday May 11th and this year we have decided to support the OUTWOD Foundation. This is a no thrills comp. We are keeping the price low and donating all profits to charity. No swag bags, podium finishers, or medals. Spectators will provide a donation in order to come cheer on their friends. T shirts will be extra and available to purchase before the event. We will have a limited run of them at the event also.

Chipper for a Cause is 6 Workouts completed in 15 minute windows. 90 minutes and you are done for the day. Teams of two, same sex partners. The workouts will have weightlifting, gymnastics and endurance components. There will be an RX, Scaled and Masters Division. You receive a start time 5 days from the event that will be somewhere between 8:30am and 4:00pm. Every team will compete the workouts in the same order and have their scores recorded by a judge who follows them for each workout. All scores will go live once the last team is finished so it is not a disadvantage to go first. When registering you will be able to pick a morning or an afternoon time slot. We will do our best to accommodate the time preference.

Take 90 minutes out of your day to come support a great cause! Click HERE to register and HERE to rsvp on facebook! 🙂