June 7, 2011
June 13, 2011

A day of moderate weight Olympic lifting (Sunday) followed by a day of gymnastics-based skill work (Tuesday)…who didn’t see heavy barbell work coming for Thursday’s class?

5 x 2 Seated Box Jumps

Starting position was jumper’s choice – either static (feet planted) or dynamic (lifting the feet and rocking back slightly to initiate).

Box jumps require you to concentrate on exploding upwards from the low squat position. Oddly enough, this is something you should be concentrating on every time you squat, and it was no coincidence that the seated box jumps preceded heavy front squats.

5 x 3 Front Squats

It’s imperative that you not initiate your front squats by bending you knees first. This puts the weight forward of your COG (Cx of Gravity), causing you to lean forward which means you will end up holding the weight with your hands, not on your shoulders. Initiate all squats by tilting the hips back first, and then sit down keeping your torso as upright as possible. Keep the knees driven out and elbows driving up at all times, and you’ll soon find yourself a master of the front squat.

Check out Dian rocking the front squat position! Dian’s flexibility has come a long way, due in no small part to her adherence to form and smart-decision making regarding appropriate weight.

Remember, flaws in your form will limit your ability to either lift more weight or lift for more reps, thus inhibiting overall growth in your strength and conditioning. Take the time to fix flaws. It’ll mean less weight for now, but more weight, more reps, and more strength later. Don’t be satisfied with insufficient form.

That’s Brendan above using bands to help stop his knees caving – bands automatically cue a lifter to drive the knees out through the entire squat. Correcting form requires cutting back the weight – don’t attempt to correct form flaws at max effort weights! It’s humbling to be sure, but it’s worth. Case in point: Brendan performed 3 sets of 3 with the band, and then 2 without, and they were some of his best front squats to date!

Not to belabor the point, but if you missed Dan Samarov’s comment from this past Sunday’s post regarding his experience at the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Regionals, read the following thoughts from an extremely seasoned athlete and competitor:

“A few quick points on lessons learned:
1. I’ll preface this with saying that neither Salty nor Tom B. have paid or otherwise encouraged me to say this… it is purely observational. Here it is: Efficiency in movement and skill. Watching some of top guys do there thing what truly separated them was amazing efficiency in every movement, from first rep to last. At a point everyone breaks down a bit, but still. More on this to come.”

This from a guy who swam for a D1 college team and has made it to Regionals two years in a row.

Conditioning: 3 x AMRAP T2B + repeats of 10 Jump Squats & 10 Alternating Lunges

Repeats = continue to do cycles of 10 and 10 until a bar opens up and you can move on to your next set of T2B (you must complete at least one cycle of the 10 and 10).

and in case anyone’s wondering: No, it’s no a coincidence that Sebastian wondered aloud about T2B before class, a movement which then magically showed up in the workout. That’s a massive hint to all you burpee-loathers – be careful about hoping for a burpee-free class within ear shot of the coach, as that’s a good way to ensure that the workout will include burpees.

Good work last night. Hope to see the majority of you tonight at Ireland’s Four Fields in Cleveland Park for the CFDC Social.



  1. Sara says:

    I love seated box jumps. Would love to one day move to the next higher box even though jumping is not one of my strong suits.

    I think I should have opted out of the front squat portion of the workout. I went up to 60kg. I took 62.5 kg off the rack and started the first squat when I realized I had had enough squatting for the week so I just put the bar on the ground.

    I did just single leg RDLs with no weight for the metcon portion. Need to do more of those and hopefully improve balance. The toes to bar felt really good yesterday. Only came off the bar so soon cause I didn’t want to create a situation where my hands might rip.

  2. Sara says:

    P.S. @Dian, what a great picture of you in the below parallel front squat position. Nice work you have come so far.

  3. James says:

    The picture I made it into actually shows my biggest gain yesterday. I have trouble getting my elbows up and out front. Sebastian, Chris and Tom were able to help me widen my grip and pull my elbows together to get proper form and it definitely made a difference.

    Also, holding my breath for the full motion on front squats kept my core stable (thanks again Sebastian).

    Seated box jumps are one of my favorites too. I just hope we do some standing box jumps soon so I can really push myself on height.

  4. Chrissy says:

    Hey guys- looks like it was a great class. Class ran late and I’m just getting into the gym to try it on my own- hopefully I’ll get through in time to see y’all for a beverage. If I miss you, I’ll see you on Sunday !

  5. SaltyHat says:

    @ Chrissy – love the dedication! hope to see you tonight (and yes, I realize that as I type this I am already late…)

    @ James – great improvement all around; those squats are looking good. Nice to have you back.

  6. mosaicman says:

    I guess I’m finally doing something right – I didn’t have any pain in my lower back after doing squats! It seems like the front and overhead squats force me to maintain more of an upright position so I don’t kneel forward as much. The recommendation from everyone to barely hold the bar with my fingers helped.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder why pushing the knees out is important for the correct form for a squat?

    I also jumped a little higher with the seated box jumps. I could probably go higher but I need to get over the psychological barrier first.

  7. Dian says:

    I have come to really enjoy doing box jumps especially since I did step-ups for such a long time. I freaked myself out in the second round of box jumps after doing my first set perfectly fine. It was actually pretty funny. I started staring at the box and I got freaked out. Sara got me back on track. 🙂

    It was great working with McKenzie and Andrea on the front squats. I can hear Tom’s voice in my head even now saying “chest up, elbows up.” I’ve been working on my form for the front squats. Thanks for the compliment Sara.

    I couldn’t quite get my toes to the bar but I’ll keep trying.

    I will be missing class tomorrow for a family brunch. I’ll try and keep it paleo. 🙂 See you all on Tuesday.

  8. Stohlman says:

    I enjoy seated box jumps, they are definitely fun. I will say that the picture makes it seem higher than it is. I did like jumping over the lower box with Chris, that added some spice to the jumps. I think we should do box jumps before every class.

    I was especially pleased with my front squats, since I felt good on my form and also did more weight than I ever have, getting 185 two legit times. I am pretty sore from that, but I look forward to the next time we do them.

    Very impressed with everyone, keep up the good work.