“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat” – Mark Rippetoe

Do you want to increase your squat? No one wants to be the guy who has a huge upper body and can bench 3+ wheels but can’t duplicate or even come close to his/her body weight on the squat. If this sounds like you DON’T PANIC! Maybe you’re just missing that one key cue to take your squat numbers through the roof! Over the next few weeks I will be writing an article a week on different cues that I’ve found to be helpful not only in my own training but for others as well.

Let’s start with tip #1: The Body follows the eyes “Head Placement”

Have you ever heard this saying before? Maybe you’ve heard it on the playing field growing up playing sports. Maybe you heard it when you were a young kid trying to learn how to run for the first time. Well this is just as important to think about when lifting weights, particularly when you’re squatting. Often times I see the squatter focusing on a plethora of cues, involving knee positioning, breathing, the walkout but the placement of the head/eyes are overlooked. Where you’re looking is just as important if not even more so than the others. Often times this is teller of whether or not the lifter will successfully complete the lift, and more so do so safely.

How can your head/eye placement make or break your squat you ask?

Envision this. You are under the bar about to squat something heavy, (the weight doesn’t matter, but for the sake of this let’s pretend it does) you unrack the bar, walk it out and begin to start your descent. On your way down your head/eyes are looking straight down at the floor in front of you (not a neutral spine alignment)(see picture above). Now you’ve hit your desired depth, you begin to stand up with the weight only to have that weight start to fold you in half as your center of gravity/barbell carries you forward, your chest caves down right where you’re looking at and ultimately you fail the lift or complete the lift but in an unsafe manner. Now there could be numerous reasons as to why the lift wasn’t completed, but a good spot to start especially if you know the lifter is strong enough is with his/her head/eye placement. You see if you are set up with the bar and you are looking down your body will more often than not naturally follow the eyes resulting in you tracking forward with that weight on your back.

The fix?

Now you wait 5-10 minutes cue your lifter to change the positioning of their head/eyes, (I teach to envision yourself on a stage of a sold out audience, you want to be looking out just over each one of their heads. This will keep you in a proper neutral spine alignment and best position to execute the lift) and do everything else the same way. They hit the lift safely and now learned what could have been causing them issues in their squats.


  • Keep head and eyes in a neutral position from the time you unrack the bar till the time you rack the bar.
  • Make sure your “logo” on your chest can be seen. Avoid caving that chest downward. If this occurs re check your head/eye positioning
  • Squat BIG weight SAFELY!

Zach Kotecki, NSCA-CPT, TSAC-F, USAW-1

Earlier this month Coach Hanley, Coach Zack, Lisa DPT, and I spent 8 hours talking shoulder health at Eric Cressey’s Shoulder Assessment, Corrective Exercise and Programming Seminar and we are excited to bring what we learned to Motiv Athletics.

Working off of the idea that the scapula interacts with 17 muscle attachments we should take shoulder health into consideration especially with all of the overhead pressing, pushing, and pulling we do on a day to day bases. There is no one size fits all quick fix and the truth is that shoulders vary on individual bases. Some of the individual factors that come into play are joint laxity, reactive changes (bone spurs), injury history, training history, scapular size, and muscle bulk. Over the next few minutes, I’ll go over some reasons for movements and their variations in the programming, or correctives you may see in the future from our coaching staff.

If you are having nagging shoulder issues take The Law of Repetitive Motion into consideration.


I= Insult/Injury to the tissues
N=Number of Repetitions
F=Force or tension of each repetition as a percent of maximum muscle strength
A=Amplitude of each repetition
R= Relaxation time between repetitions (Lack of pressure or tension on the tissue)

Say you are working a desk job and find yourself sitting with poor posture every day while at your computer you are adding a high number of reps with low amplitude and lower relaxation time to your day. No need to worry though resistance training can be extremely effective in correcting problems quickly.

All of that is without taking into consideration overuse, poor range of motion, scapular stability, poor technique, restrictions etc.

More Free Scapula pressing can work in your favor when at the gym i.e push up variations, landmine presses, or possibly alternating dumbbell press. We want sufficient scapular upward rotation on overhead pressing for long-term shoulder health benefits. Key exercises for getting this movement pattern down are Wall Slides at 135 Degrees, Serratus Wall Slides, 1 arm bottoms up Kettlebell Waiters Walks, Bear Crawls, Inchworms, and Hand Switches.

Be on the lookout for a shoulder assessment day where we will assess, correct and educate on what to do moving forward to get the most out of your workout and get those shoulders healthy!

Coach Cory

Tara’s MOTIV Story

hanley —  February 12, 2018 — Leave a comment

At my heaviest I weighed 268 lbs, and at that point in my life, my medical history was longer than the resume of a seasoned CEO approaching retirement. Multiple tumors and cysts, cancer, borderline pre-diabetic diagnosis, cholesterol levels were high, and severe allergies kept me indoors in summer months. I was depressed and felt awful every single day. I had to make a change.

I knew I was prone to growths in my body so I started looking at how to reduce tumors with diet. A common factor I read in tumor growth was glucose. Sugar – a main staple in my diet up until this point. Upon further research, I found the Whole 30 diet and started August 1st, 2015. At the end of the 31 daysI  had lost 15 pounds. Unfortunately, the holidays got the best of me and I slipped back into my old eating habits, gaining that 15 back.

April of 2016, I was halfway through my second round of Whole 30 for the year when I came across a low carb high-fat diet. I stuck with that for 3 months before transitioning to a ketogenic diet, which is a little more strict on quality of ingredients. I can say, without a doubt, this way of eating has changed my life drastically. My allergies disappeared and I was able to get outside more. I fell in love with hiking and being active. Then something happened. I wanted more.

Enter MOTIV.

After listening to a couple of work friends talk about CrossFit, EVERYDAY (like we do), I started working on my husband, Eric. CrossFit sounded fun and something inside me said this is what we needed in our life. I was relentless like wives are, and finally, after a month of listening to me talk about it, he finally agreed to try it. Our first class was bring-a- friend day January 2017. I remember Hanley telling us you don’t have to go full out just go through the movements to get a feel for it. Eric and I laugh about it now but we don’t have a “go easy” mode. We went full out and were so sore for the next two days. We were hooked.

I can see the pieces of my life coming together and our gym is a huge part of that. I have made several new friends, been on an AMAZING trip (shout out to the Patagonia group), and overall been in a much better place mentally and physically. I can see doors opening up for myself that I never considered, or thought I could walk through. My only hope is that I can inspire someone else to make a change in their own life, that leads to the happiness and fulfillment that I have had in the last year.

Thank you to the coaches and everyone at the gym. I am truly grateful to be apart of such an amazing community.

From a size 22 to a 10
Down 90 lbs and loving life.

Skyler’s MOTIV Story

hanley —  February 6, 2018 — Leave a comment

I’ve generally always been a yo-yo kind of weight loss person… and it only got worse after college. Up for a year, down for eight months or so, up heavier, then back down and so on and so on. When I moved to Indy, I was doing well at keeping weight off but, as it usually does, life got in the way with stress from work, relationships, etc. I let excuses lead me into bad habits. When I was mentally ready to get at it again in 2016, I went and fractured my ankle in October. OCTOBER!!! You know, just before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of the tasty holiday treats – and I’m Southern, so all the food is rich and plentiful during the holidays. By January 2017 I was up to nearly 280 lbs., and I felt miserable. But, I made a commitment to myself that I can be better and feel better, so I started healthier habits. I began making healthier eating selections and trying to do some fitness on my own. March came, which brought a business trip to New Orleans, and I didn’t do horribly with food!! But, let’s be real for a minute, it WAS NOLA, so we know food, drinks, and lack of sleep were all present! From running a conference, going out with friends, and the travel on top of it all, I was feeling oh so sluggish. I was laying on my bed thinking, “How do I not let that week throw me off on the 20 or so lbs that I had lost since February?” And what do you know, there was a Facebook ad for the “New You Challenge” at a gym that also offered CrossFit. I’ve trained with personal trainers most of my adult life, but by no means got the athletic ability of my parents and was terrified that I’d end up in a gym with a bunch of super competitive people that would make me feel as if I couldn’t do it. I was afraid I would hurt myself because they wouldn’t teach me what to do. To my surprise, I found the exact opposite. I found a gym that taught me nutritional and fitness skills that worked for me. They helped keep me going every moment, even when I wanted to say, “Screw this!” or, “You can take that next rep and shove it!” I started in the “New You Challenge” at 250 lbs., and by the end of it was at 220 lbs.

When I moved to Indy three years ago, I was 218 lbs. I’m standing proudly today at 207 lbs., and honestly, I’m a little teary-eyed as I think about it. I know some days seem as if they don’t work and there are days we look at ourselves and don’t notice the differences. I hated taking the before pictures because I was incredibly unhappy with being the heaviest that I’ve ever been. But seeing that picture reminds me of how far I’ve come.

I was at another gym the other day and ran into an old neighbor who almost walked by me because he barely recognized me. Those are the moments that bring it all together and show me how much progress I’ve really made. One my best friends, who I only see on FaceTime as she currently lives in Bahrain, said, “I love you and your fitness family.” Then it hit me; this isn’t just a gym, it really is a family that offers encouragement and pushes us when we need it most. I’m thankful for the collective care that happens from the environment that Hanley has built with an excellent team of Erin, Cory, Justin, Audrey, and Andy as our healthy living experts. Thank you for being the place I call my fitness home!

On any given day, just over 1 in 5 American adults are actively trying to lose weight. An additional 50% have tried dieting for some length of time, but have retreated to old routines while getting the courage to try again. Fads come and go. Confusion and frustration are tops. And failure is common. Long-term weight loss requires a hard look at your habits around food. For most people, this is no easy feat. You must change your lifestyle. Not sure how? Just ask for help.

This is the face of habit change. So good.

Dejorie’s MOTIV Story

hanley —  November 2, 2017 — Leave a comment

1 Month @ 99lbs vs. 6 Months @ 112lbs

I’ve always struggled to maintain a healthy weight, even when I’m active and eating decently. Strength training and CrossFit have shown me that my body can make big muscle gains by committing to a workout regimen with some small modifications to my diet.

180 Days Later

hanley —  October 25, 2017 — Leave a comment

Akbar has definitely put in the hard work over the last 6 months. Watching those carbs and doing burpees for days.


When we began the CrossFit Hud journey in 2012, we were inspired by the high intensity, fast as possible, crush-yourself-workout approach that promised fast results and elite fitness.

What we found along the way is that being a CrossFit affiliate doesn’t tell our entire story anymore. Over a half-decade of experience and lots of education, we have evolved into more than just CrossFit.

We are heading in a new direction where CrossFit becomes a program – still affiliated – we offer and NOT who we are.

We decided to change the name to Motiv Athletics. And with this new name, we aim to make a real difference by giving people better options and better choices. We want to shift the paradigm, moving from the pure group model to a hybrid model (more on this later) where we can offer individualized and supplemental services to help people reach their goals.

Where’d the name come from? Motiv is from Motive, which by definition means – causing or being the reason for something. What’s your Motiv?

We are energized by this name change, and we will be focusing that energy on continuing to serve you the best we can: running a solid fitness program.