(Wo)man Maker

If you’re looking for an exercise which combines a lot of different movements and uses your entire body, the Man Maker (or Woman Maker 😀 ) is the right exercise for you.  This exercise is done slightly differently depending on the box you go to, but I’ve created a modified version based on the way we do it at CrossFit Singular Box.  The movement includes a cycle of:

  • Deadlift (only for the first rep)
  • Half burpee
  • Rowing with each arm while on your knees
  • Half burpee
  • Full clean
  • Thruster

I found that I needed to row on my knees because, while rowing with my good arm, I can’t stabilize my body with my Erb’s Palsy arm.

Below, you will find a tutorial from Paradiso CrossFit with a slightly different version of the Man Maker (which excludes the deadlift and uses push-ups rather than burpees), but it’s a great way to do the exercise as well!


Headstand Progress

Used an AbMat and yoga mat under my head, as well as a 10 kg. plate and dumbbell on my left side.  The headstands aren’t perfect and I have to work on keeping my core tight but I can get up there comfortably!

CrossFit Competition #2

Last week, I completed my second CrossFit competition at CrossFit Singular Box! Looking back on it, I’m really proud of myself because I held my own and competed with some really strong girls whose work ethic I admire so much.

However, this was a challenging event. Nothing was modified in the first two WODs, which made it really difficult. It meant that I had to lift the same amount of weight as the other girls, but with much less strength from my left arm. The first WOD was the hardest for me. Hang Power Cleans are an exercise that I can do like everyone else, but they aren’t easy. I don’t think I had ever lifted so much weight for so many reps in this movement. It was hardest mentally for me. I didn’t finish this workout before the ten-minute time cap and I was beyond exhausted. My hands could barely grip the barbell towards the end. I looked around the room right before the time was called and found that the other girls had already finished. I realized I was comparing myself to everyone else, something I try never to do.

This is the tricky part about competitions. Although CrossFit is all about focusing on how much you’ve improved since you’ve started; in a competition it’s only natural to compare yourself to others. I really fought to stay positive and to try my best the whole day.

But it was worth it. We all had a fantastic time. The great thing about this box is that the coaches and members are so supportive of each other. They cheer everyone on until the last person has finished. They congratulate you and tell you that you are a “super campeona” (super champion) even if you didn’t do as well as everyone else. These are the reasons why I love CrossFit. The positive atmosphere is a beautiful thing. It’s something that many people do not get to experience and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.

This day was a reminder of the importance of focusing on how much I’ve accomplished up until this point. Just the fact that I can participate in a CrossFit competition is an achievement for me. The doctors, who had encouraged me to steer away from sports, would be shocked to find out that I do this now. I have high expectations for myself and want to strive to be the best I can be and to continue improving. Sooo, when’s the next competition?!

CrossFit Competition Workouts:

WOD #1 (2 Rounds, Time Cap: 10 minutes)

CASH IN: 50 jumps over the bar
THEN: 21-15-9
Hang Power Clean 25 kg./55 lbs.
Kettlebell Swings 12 kg./26 lbs.
CASH OUT: 50 jumps over the bar


WOD #2

AMRAP for 3 minutes
Slam Balls 10 kg./22 lbs.
Deadlift 50 kg./110 lbs.
THEN: 1 minute break
Max rowing distance in 2 minutes


WOD #3 (Time Cap: 15 minutes)

Workout Modifications
50 wall ball shots (5 kg./12 lbs.) used 3 kg./7 lb. ball
2 shuttle runs
40 knee to up
2 shuttle runs
30 dumbbell snatches alternating arms (12.5 kg/27 lbs.) sumo deadlift high pull with my left arm
2 shuttle runs
20 jumping pull-ups jumped from a box
2 shuttle runs

*These are the exercises and weights that were used for the women.  Men did the same exercises at a heavier weight.

To read about my first competition in November, click here.

Diana Shafer: Motivating Others Through Martial Arts

d03b5-screen2bshot2b2016-05-012bat2b5-01-182bpmWhen I first learned about Diana Shafer, a 30-year-old woman from San Jose, California, I was immediately impressed.  Besides her awesome Martial Arts photos, one of the things I found really interesting was that she first discovered BPI in college.  When she was born, her mother didn’t speak English very well, due to the fact that she had emigrated from Vietnam. Diana’s research on Erb’s Palsy began when she was preparing for an oral presentation. She chose for the topic to be about herself so she could discuss her injury openly for the first time.

This says a lot about Diana’s self-confidence. It’s not easy to talk about something, in front of your peers, that has been a lifelong struggle.  But Diana did that and succeeded.

Since then she has gotten involved in Martial Arts and has created an Instagram account and YouTube channel.  Her motivation is to help others who deal with similar struggles and inspire them to soar beyond their dreams.

In addition to these great accomplishments, Diana is getting married this month and is a stepmother to two children.

You can find Diana on Instagram @onearmjiujitsu, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or add her on Facebook to follow her journey.


Q & A

Hi Diana!  Thanks so much for sharing your story with me.  Can you tell me when your Erb’s Palsy symptoms began and how your arm is affected?

I have had a Brachial Plexus Injury to my right arm since birth. I was injured by the doctor during delivery. My right arm has limited movement due to severed nerves. My right arm is slightly shorter and smaller than my left. I cannot raise my arm at the shoulder, but I do have the ability to raise my arm at the elbow to 90 degrees.  I do not have a strong grip in my right hand and I have minimal feeling in my hand as well. I have waiter’s tip, which is a deformity of the affected wrist. I also have Horner’s syndrome, which affects my right eye, in which it droops slightly.
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Wall Ball Shots for the Win

      One of my favorite CrossFit exercises is the Wall Ball Shot.  It may be the least favorite for some, because it’s a brutal movement that uses your whole body, but I love it.


  1. You need to use the force of your legs, hips and butt to move the ball above your head.
  2. Therefore, you can lift weight over your head without having to lift both of your arms fully.
  3. Since you need to use your entire body to do the movement, you’re building up many different muscles.
  4. They’re great for cardio.
  5. They can give you the skills you need for daily living.


     Have you ever struggled to put something overhead because your arm just couldn’t reach? This happens to me frequently.  Sometimes no one is around to help me and, to be honest, I like to be as independent as possible and not have to depend on others to lift things for me.  If it’s something that’s light enough and not breakable, sometimes I throw it up as if I’m doing a Wall Ball Shot! It works!


     Choose a medicine ball of any weight. I would start out light.  Stand in squat stance, facing a wall, and resting the medicine ball on your chest.  Go into a full squat while keeping your chest high and shoulders back and then thrust up while throwing the ball up with your arms to hit the wall at about eight or ten feet high (or as high as you can).  CrossFit gyms have lines on the walls as a target for where to hit the wall.  It’s okay if both arms don’t reach all the way up.  Mine don’t! The trickiest part is keeping control of the ball and trying to catch it on the way down as you go back into another squat.  This just takes practice!