July 25, 2011
July 29, 2011

“If a burpee falls in the basement, and no one is around to hear it,
did it happen?”
Apparently, the answer is No. So that would mean a quick 40 burpees to start things off Tuesday night. Happy Birthday Dian (although, technically her b-day was on Monday). Miss the burpees? Well, don’t worry, there are a few more b-day’s this week…

hint, hint

Skill 1:
Pose Drills

In keeping with our increasing coverage of pose running technique, Tuesday’s class started off with a few form drills. The point of these drills is to help increase knowledge and understanding of the technique. Remember, it’s technique that determines how well you run or how injury prone you are. Fancy shoes aren’t going to make your runs faster, nor will simply taking to the roads barefoot reduce injury if you don’t have a basic understanding of running mechanics. The only way to accomplish both of those is to be as efficient as possible, and the way to do that is have a firm grasp of the technique involved.

Drill #1 – Pulling Drill (Back to Wall)

With this drill, we are simply working on learning to use the hamstrings to raise the leg, pulling the foot directly up under the body. Standing against the wall helps prevent kicking behind, forcing the foot to travel up instead of back. Another key point to work on during this drill is remain balanced – keep the shoulders down and back with glutes and abs squeezed in order to prevent sideways oscillation from one foot to the other.

Drill #2 – Pulling Drill (Leaning into Wall)

Again, the focus is working on pulling the foot up, but with this drill we are combining it with a forward lean into the wall. By using the wall, we can create a constant forward lean against a stable and static surface, which will allows us to still concentrate on proper pulling technique.

Another point to remember (among many) is to relax the pulling foot; allow the foot to hang, rather than keeping it in constant dorsi-flexion (toes pulled up). This position will really overwork your tibialis muscles, which runs along the front of the shin, thus giving you shin-splints. Also, allowing the foot to relax will help the foot land softly, rather than with a hard thud.

Drill 3# – Wall Running

Now that you’ve got the feel for pulling while leaning into the wall, the next step is to transition into a run. The closer to the wall your feet are, the smaller the pull (think a slow, marathon pace), while the farther your feet are from the wall, the greater the pull (more like a short distance run). As you will notice, the lean increases with the speed. REMEMBER, the lean is created from the ankles, not the hips. Leaning at the hips will only cause excessive strain on the lower back – if you’re getting a sore back when running, this is a primary cause.

We’ve covered quite a few drills at this point – check out our earlier drill work HERE and HERE. Much more to come however.

Skill 2:
KB Snatches

This is something we’ve wanted to work on for a while, and seeing as how we’d already started off Tuesday with some technical running work, we continued right on in to some more technical work with the KB Snatch. Before you go another step further, please check out the KB Snatch post from last August, 2010, which includes a bullet-pointed list on the technique involved as well as two multi-panel photos showing what and what-not to do.

The progression used Tuesday night to help work into the KB snatch was as follows:

– 2-handed swings;
– 1-handed swings;
– 1-handed swings with a pull at the top;
– single arm press overhead, and then lowering with elbow across the chest and KB rolling around the forearm into a 1-handed swing;
-AND finally, a KB snatch (using the same rolling motion used for the descent in order to get the KB overhead on the snatch)

Again, refer to our earlier KB snatch post for help understanding the technique.

Finisher 1:
50 Swings with Double Breathing Technique

In reality, it was a “50 or less” option on the swings. The deciding factor should be form – once your form begins to break, set the KB down. This was also a good opportunity to work on the “double breathing technique” – using two, forceful exhalations to help maintain mid-line stability while also allowing the body to generate enough momentum through the hips to move the KB.

Finisher 2:
Plank and V-Sit

Each done for a minute. Look at all those smiles – this must be a fun place to be with fun things to do…

…although not everyone may agree with that.

Each of you should’ve received an e-mail about the changes to payment that will be taking place starting next week. If you didn’t receive the e-mail, or have any questions, leave a comment to this post and I’ll be sure to get you an answer. Great work Tuesday night. Be sure to keep up with those fluids, especially as things start to get hotter this weekend!


  1. Julia says:

    I really struggled with the KB work, thanks for your patience! Tom, what was it you said? Gandhi swings? Mahatma snatches? (Translation, apparently: CHILLAX, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, OR SO HELP ME GOD I WILL PRY THE KB FROM YOUR HOT, SWEATY HANDS.) Ok, coach. Point taken.

    Oh, and a very happy birthday to Dian, Reggie, and Greg! 🙂

  2. edgy reggie says:

    I enjoyed the workout…even the warm-up birthday burpee beat-down (“triple B”) was not that bad.

    Was that hint directed at me? 🙂 Naaaaaaaawww! 🙂

    Pose drills: I’m happy that CrossFit DC will be spending some time on running drills. Though I am not a fan of (long-distance) running, I believe that these drills will help me dislike running less. I’m actually remembering the drills whenever I run (away from the police…just kidding…I think).

    Kettlebell snatch progression: It’s been a while since I’ve performed kettlebell (KB) snatches. Once I got into a groove, it was almost second nature. I used the 28kg KB for the warm-up swings, for the one-arm swings, and for the 50 swings (which I did unbroken); I used the 45# (~20 kg) KB for the snatch progression work and for the KB snatches.

    Post-class: Julia, Erica, Greg, Max, and I did our double-under practice.

    Leo (or “Leos in the house”) week: Happy birthday to Dian (July 25), Greg, Jim Bathurst, and…yours truly (all July 27). 🙂

    @Julia (“Ms. Giggles”): Thank you. 🙂

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

  3. Greg says:

    I like the drills and I like running so I’m sure they will help. The kettlebell swings I need lots more work on.
    Good to know there are lots of Leos in the house. Leos rule!

  4. Andraea says:

    I like the running drills. I do try to incorporate it when I go for a run. It brings my pace down but I notice that my calves don’t hurt as much since I have calf issues when running.

    Loved the kettlebell work! I enjoy kettlebell snatches and the progression was good to do since it’s been a while since I’ve done them. I look forward to more kettlebell workouts!

  5. Dian says:

    Happy Birthday Reggie and Greg! I’m ready for the burpee throwdown.

    I still haven’t managed to drag my ass out there to put the running drills to practical use but now I’ve got my GI Jane haircut and Fight Gone Bad in a few weeks I’m going to get running again. No excuses.

    It has been a while since I did kettlebell snatches so the progression was just the ticket.

    Thanks to all for the birthday wishes!

    Until tomorrow then…

  6. Amelia says:

    As you can tell by my face in the picture, I heart V-sits!

    Fun class last night. I definitely can benefit from the running drills and hope to put some of it into practice soon.

  7. Sara says:

    Well I sat out of the KB work due to some back and grip pain but I love KB snatches. Once you get the hang of them they’re fun.

    I did the burpees cause they were for a birthday celebration and like everyone I am really enjoying the running drills and have already put them to use. I may actually start to not loath running. Much thanks to Chris for bringing all this knowledge to us. It has made a world of difference for me since you taught us to engage our hamstrings. That is one thing I am very good at doing an I definitely have noticed the difference in running. My back is not tightening up when I am really focusing.

  8. Ben says:

    A good workout, despite the burpees. Definitely still need to work on the KB progressions. I can feel the result of not doing it correctly on my forearms. Taking it step by step helped make it a lot more manageable.

  9. Erica says:

    Happy birthday Leos!! Dian 🙂 Reggie: Greg 🙂 I’m actually a Leo too but will not be telling anyone when my birthday is because I don’t want(nor do I want others) to be punished.

    I love the running drills, although they still feel unnatural. Maybe this weekend on my brick I’ll try and remember some of what we do…maybe.

    I actually like kettle bell swings, but snatches are harder. It helped to go through the progression. I unfortunately have a bruise though as I must have bumped it at some point. I hate core but if my core will look Amelia’s (and I’M SERIOUS) I will keep doing them 🙂

  10. Tom Brose says:

    Erica, we don’t need to know your birthday. If it happens to fall on a Wednesday (maybe the 17th?), we can celebrate on Tuesday AND Thursday!

  11. Dan Samarov says:

    Liked the skill work here, looking forward to doing more of the running drills. The kb snatches were starting to feel a lot better toward the end when I started getting my hips into it and not allowing it to swing too far back.

    The swings felt pretty smooth, tried to get the breathing pattern down, getting there. When I’m able to do it, makes a huge difference.

    Great core work with the plank’s and v-sits, would be great to get some L-sits in there as well. Finished up class with some extra core work and a few sprints on the gym.

    See everyone tonight!

  12. Stohlman says:

    I thought this was a very well-constructed class. I usually like burpees, but these 40 caught me off guard a bit. The running drills were fun, I might try to get out there and put them into use soon. I struggled with the KB snatches, but I think I can get them down after this class. I do have some learning bruises on my forearm.

    Good class! I’m looking forward to the birthday burpee celebration!

  13. edgy reggie says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. edgy reggie says:

    @Erica: Thank you. I know that you are a Leo as well. Too bad Coach called you out on when your birthday is. 🙂

    @Stohlman (Max): Maybe you shouldn’t look forward to it. After all, we’re older. 😉

  15. Steph says:

    Did the birthday burpees and cheated on the planks and v-sits.

    So excited about the CrossFit Games! Clicked on Watch Live even though I knew there wasn’t going to be anything showing. Ha, I’m a dork.

    So has it been confirmed that we are going to Sara’s place on Sunday to watch the Finals or was that just an option that was thrown around? Should we look for a place that offers wifi and will let us hook up HDMI cables to their tvs? How many people are interested in watching anyway?

  16. Ethan says:

    Looks like you guys have been busy. I have been having CF withdrawal since last week. Hope you have something good tonight.

  17. Erica says:

    Crap!! Darn facebook birthday info