July 18, 2011
July 22, 2011

Mr. Pacino can rest easy, however, as Mr. Helios is already taking a flamethrower to D.C. this week. And hide as you might from the heat, the inside of a gym is not exactly the place to avoid being warm. Proof: Tuesday night’s 4-part warm-up followed by a 3-part work-out.


Long warm-ups are usually indicative of the degree of difficulty of the coming workout. They can also be used to offset the impacts of taxing past workout. Tuesday night was a bit of both, prepping people for the work to come, while also working out the kinks left over from Sunday.

Pre-Workout Workout:
Supine Kipping Drill and Hanging Scapular Retractions

The Supine Kipping drill can really make a difference in the efficiency of your kipping pull-up. A kip is really just an explosive movement of the hips used to elevate the body. By practicing your kip on the floor, you can mimic the power gained from the hips without worrying about the rhythm requirements of a full kipping pull-up. Check out the following photo sequence borrowed from San Francisco CF:

Start off lying down in a supine position (1st pic) and then slowly draw your knees up towards your chest so that your hips and butt rise off the floor (2nd pic). Now, in one smooth movement, kick your legs up and over so that you land with your feet flat on the floor but hips and butt still raised (3rd pic)

Scapular retractions serve to imitate the initial movement in any pull-up, strict or kipping. We previously covered this movement a few weeks ago at the end of June. However, just for further illustration, check out the following photo sequence of Sara performing the move:
In the first photo above (left), you can see that her arms are relaxed, with the shoulders pulling up towards her ears. In the second photo (right), she has pulled her shoulders away from her ears simply by activating her back muscles in order to pull her scapula back and down. There’s no bend in her elbows, but we can see that her chest has begun to tilt up slightly putting her in a better position from which to begin pulling.

Workout 1:
Max Pull-Ups

You had to know all that shoulder warm-up and pull-up practice was going somewhere…

Workout 2:
DB Arm Rows

As prescribed, this called for 3 rounds of 8-12 reps. The weight chosen should allow you to complete enough reps within that range while maintaining good form – i.e., neutral spine (arched, not hunched or curved like a stretching cat), flat shoulders (don’t let your body roll excessively to one side when pulling, as this uses momentum more than muscle), and arm fully retracted.

Originally, the workout was written as a combo of rows and dips, but this got shortened down due to time and space constraints. However, this doesn’t negate the fact that both are extremely important to bettering your pull-up.

Workout 3:
2 x 1′ AMRAP Mtn Climbers, 1′ AMRAP Sit-Ups, 1′ AMRAP Jump Squats, 1′ Rest

Nice work – good to see some faces again that have been noticeably absent from class lately. Also great to see lots of people sporting approved CFDC-wear! Speaking of CFDC-wear, check out Ben Brown sporting his CFDC-pride at last weekends L1 cert in Reston, VA:
Be sure to take in lots of fluids this week, and, when possible, enjoy the blessing that is Air Conditioning!



  1. Andraea says:

    Nice back muscles Sarah!!

    Last night I did 2 strict pull-ups. I’m definitely happy with being able to do 2 since I remember a time when I couldn’t do one. I’ve been doing 2 pull-ups for a couple of years now, I was hoping #3 would happen last night but it didn’t. C’est la vie.

  2. edgy reggie says:

    I enjoyed this workout. Although the warm-up was a bit longer than “normal,” I found it to be quite beneficial.

    Max pull-ups: I did fifteen strict pull-ups. I was trying to go for twenty, but I gassed out at the end. Initially, I attempted the kipping pull-up on the squat rack, but I realized that it wouldn’t work for reasons I mentioned in previous comment posts.

    Met-con: This was a quick one. I used the sit-ups as a “rest.” 🙂

    Post-class: Did my first two sets of successive double-unders…twice (but not in succession). For each “set,” I was able to get two double-unders. I realize that it’s baby steps and that I still have a way to go, but I am slowly getting there. Practice, practice, practice! 🙂

    I will not be in class either tomorrow (July 21) or Sunday (July 24). However, I will return Tuesday (July 26) for the last class before… 🙂

    “Not too bad for an old man.” – CFDC’s own ODB

  3. A.T. Alden says:

    Definitely worked a sweat. This was a good workout: challenging, but allowing for recovery after a brutal Sunday (I did Barbara in 28:24).

    This is also the first time that I tried to max out on my newly learned butterfly pull-ups. I did 35, but a couple were not chin over the bar.

    P.S. Thanks for my new FB profile pic doing a dumbell row.

  4. Dian says:

    CFDC has helped me learn the importance of the warm-up. I never realize how sore and tight I am until I start the warm-up. The first round of squats last night were unpleasant but I felt good and loose by the end of the long warm-up. Thanks Chris for suggesting the ab mat for the scorpions. I know scorpions are a really amazing exercise but they are awfully hard on the tatas.

    I only got 1 strict pull-up. I got half of another. I was disappointed but I’ll keep practicing.

    I signed up for Fight Gone Bad today. I have a lot of work to do between now and September 17th.

  5. Ben says:

    This was a really good workout to get back into after a week off. Pull-ups are definitely something I need to work on too. I also liked the kipping drills- definitely helped break down the movement into more manageable chunks.

  6. Sara says:

    Thanks Andrea.

    I don’t have much to say. I didn’t really go
    Max on the pull-ups cause my hands were hurting. Should have put some bandaides on my finger caluses before trying. Then I might have been able to max out. The metcon was short and sweet.

    For the Rows I started with 55lbs and don’t remember what I finished with.

  7. Sara says:

    PS – sorry Andraea for spelling your name wrong before.

  8. Stohlman says:

    I still have trouble kipping. I was frustrated for that reason on the pullups. Not sure what my count was, but I am improving so that is pleasing to me.

  9. Ben says:

    Sounds like I missed some great workouts on Sunday and Tuesday. Very excited to hear about the additional classes coming in August. Many of you might be wondering why I am posting if I wasn’t there for the workout. Well, Chris posted my picture on the blog from the L1 cert. Not sure where that sits with the policy of no-post = lots of extra burpees, so I am going with the better safe than sorry approach. See you all on Sunday!