Northeast Tennessee

Lean On Me, The Circle Of Encouragement (and pain)

Northeast Tennessee Johnson City Iron Horse (Founders Park)

36° and 22 PAX for a Thursday morning experiment and a healthy dose of legs, arms/chest, and abs.




  • Side Straddle Hops 55 IC
  • Merkins 10 IC
  • Squat Jumps 10 IC
  • Merkins 7 IC
  • High Knees 20 IC
  • Merkins 5 IC
  • Run One 1/2-Mile Outside Loop

The Thang
My last couple Qs have had the PAX working at their own pace, or so fully engaged in AMRAPs that there hasn’t been much opportunity or time or for mumble-chatter so — I wanted to bring things in a bit today with something I’m calling “Lean On Me (The Circle Knee-Jerk).”

We had the PAX line up with the tallest man in the middle, extending out to the shortest man in either direction. Once they’re in line, have the shortest PAX (should be at each end of the line) close in to form a circle. The goal being that like-heighted men are next to one another. Close in tight. We’re going to lean on one another.

  • Once we’re in a circle, count off 1s and 2s. 1s and 2s will alternate exercises, either placing their body weight on their neighbors shoulders to support them while they work OR supporting the body weight of their neighbor while they do work. Note: If we have an odd number, the Q will opt-out and count/lead from the center. (Quick prayer, as I hope this sucks in a good way.)
  • 1s: Place your arms on top of your neighboring 2s shoulders and lift your knees to your chest as a starting position. Once there, we’ll do 10 knee lifts in cadence, counting “down” as we lower our legs, and counting the appropriate # as we lift our knees to our chest again. On the final lift, we’ll hold in the up position for a 10-second countdown.
  • Switch arms so that the 2s are on top. Rinse. Repeat. Four times. Two for each group.

Back up into a big enough circle to allow individual work.

Part 2 of The Thang was a cycle of six exercises (two leg, two arm/chest, and two ab) that we did in cadence, in decreasing number of reps, starting with 8, down to 1 (Surprise! Instead of 1, we did 10 to finish up, because we’re studs.)

We started each round by turning to the brother on our left, then to the one on our right, and saying one of the phrases below (one for each round). Hence, the “Circle of Encouragement.” After encouraging one another, we worked hard. Hence, “(of pain).”


  • Squats 8 IC
  • Squat Jumps 8 IC
  • Merkins 8 IC (hold last one)
  • Plank 8 Seconds
  • Big Boy Sit-Ups 8 IC
  • Boat/Canoe Crunches 8 IC (hold last one)
  • Canoe Plank 8 Seconds
  • Recover (prep PAX on next thing to say)

Encouraging Words:

  • Round of 8: You’re a stud.
  • Round of 7: You look good for your age.
  • Round of 6: You look strong.
  • Round of 5: I work harder because you’re here.
  • Round of 4: I love you, man.
  • Round of 3: If you’re not climbing, you’re slipping.
  • Round of 2: I’m putting in the work.
  • Round of 10 (again): Someday we won’t be able to do this, but today is not that day.

Rinse and repeat the six exercises, reducing the count by one each time.


  • High Knees 20 IC
  • Merkins 10 IC
  • Plank For 10 Seconds

Circle Of Trust

Count-a-rama with 22 in attendance.


Prayer for Honcho’s family, and the loss of his niece last week.


  • Shout-out to Sweaty Palms today, for having the center position in our Lean On Me circle, which meant he had to support the two biggest guys in the PAX. A double-helping of respect to you, sir. You are a stud.
  • One of my biggest takeaways from the “Freed To Lead” book is from a section where they dispel the myth of a plateau, rejecting the idea that once you’ve attained what you were seeking or met your goal, that you could then rest on your laurels or coast. There is no point at which you’ve lost enough weight, accomplished enough things, or done enough Merkins. Every day is a challenging uphill climb and if you’re not climbing, you are slipping. That’s a good word, and a reminder to put in the work — physically, spiritually, emotionally, practically (in our jobs) — every single day.
  • For the record, I intend to hold the record for most reps of Side Straddle Hop. Previously, I did a warm-up of 51, but since Chum did 54 on his birthday Q on Tuesday, I had to one-up him with 55 today. I intend to defend my title. Take that as a warning or challenge. No matter what the number. I’ll go one more.


  • There’s a PARTY at Pythagoras’ house tomorrow (Friday). Donatello will email his address and complete info.

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