September 19, 2011
September 23, 2011

On most days at CFDC, with a few exceptions, you can pretty much bet that there will be at least two parts to class. The first is often a strength or skill-based workout; the second is often a met-con of some sort. Unsurprisingly, Tuesday’s class had two parts – except, this time, it was the conditioning that came first, followed by a three-part strength workout.

Death by 10 Meters

The Death by 10 Meters workout served a couple of purposes. On a practical level, it helped to further the somewhat short warm-up, as people’s exertion levels slowly ramped up as the workout went on. On a theoretical level, it helped to drive home a few points we’ve been working on in our Pose running reviews, especially body lean. Yes you need body lean as you run, but utilizing the lean as you stop and start will make a huge difference.

Check out the forward lean on the sprinters above (and, yes, that just happens to be the “World’s Fastest Man” Usain Bolt in the foreground). They’re using that excessive amount of forward lean to help them pick up as much speed as they can in the shortest amount of time possible. If Usain Bolt needs to do it, you can bet your @$$ we do, especially when we only have a scant 10M to pick up as much speed as possible (which is really only 8 meters if you factor in the fact that we need to slow up before turning around).

The key: Sink your whole body down low to touch the line, rather than simply bending over at the waist, and then explode off the line maintaining that excessive lean as long as possible. In other words, mimic that 100M start position from Usain Bolt’s picture above. The Death by 10M will give you lots of opportunity to perfect that, since by the 10th round, for example, you have 9 separate opportunities to try and get it right!

Strength #1:
3 x 10 Single Arm Over-Head Step-Ups/side

While referred to as “step-ups,” these have less to do about the legs and much more to do with core and shoulder stability. Keep the shoulders driven straight up with the elbow locked, suspending that weight directly above the mid-line of the body with the arm close in to the head. The core should remain engaged through-out in order to keep the body from leaning over as you step up. Remember, core also means low back, and includes the glutes as assistance muscles – these too must remain engaged to prevent yourself from leaning backwards and over-arching the back to support the weight.

Strength #2:
3 x AMRAP Chin-Ups

A quick reminder about using bands or boxes as assistance for pull-ups and chin-ups: be sure to give it a try without any assistance for at least one rep before switching over to your assistance. For one, this will help build up your body’s muscle patterning, teaching it what to contract, when to contract it, and how hard it needs to contract. Secondly, you might just surprise yourself, just as Stephanie did when she knocked off her first two strict chin-ups ever during her second set!

Strength #3:
3 x 10 Tempo Bulgarian Split Squats/side
& 15 Hollow Rocks

Bulgarian split squats are a great quad and glute developer. While one option for increasing the difficulty is to add weight, our choice for Tuesday night was to opt for a tempo. The BSSs were done as a group, with everyone lowering into the bottom, holding for roughly 2-3 seconds, and then rising. The hold at the bottom really forces the glutes and quads on both sides to contract.

Sebastian mid-Split Squat using some great form

Really work on keeping the chest up so that the torso is vertical, sitting directly over the hips. Use your arms if you need to for balance, but don’t forget to engage your core (for those who had trouble with balance on this, were you squeezing your abs?). Really tough when done in 10 or more reps, so after both sides had been done, everyone hit the floor for 15 hollow rocks.

Great work during a surprisingly tough class. I was really impressed with people fighting their way to fit just one more round in during the Death by 10M. Props to Ben and Jen Choi for sticking with the not-really-better scaled version of over and back side steps; that looked brutal. Also, many apologies for being late on the FGB post, I seem to be getting behind. I’m a slacker, what can I say.



  1. Steph says:

    Usain Bolt!!!! Can’t wait for the London Olympics!

    Last night’s class was fun, lots of different stuff. The death by 10m looked awful, glad I didn’t have to do that. My scaling for the run was to perform 10 single rope skips for every 1 sprint, so 10-20-30…-160. I thought it was going to be easy, but it got pretty tough once we were in the 10+ minute rounds, had some serious burn on the outside of the upper arms.

    Used a 20lb db for the OH step-ups. And yay for 2 chin-ups! After 3 years! Thanks very much to Chris and Tom for helping me with the hanging lat retractions, they’ve been helpful. Now I just need to get 1 strict pull-up, although I have a suspicious feeling that chin-ups are easier than pull-ups as you get to use your biceps slightly more.

    The Bulgarian split squats were tough, tough enough that I didn’t want to add weight. I didn’t have trouble staying in position but the legs still burned.

    CrossFit, it feels good after the burn stops.

  2. Julia says:

    Congrats Steph!!!

    “… people’s exertion levels slowly ramped up as the workout went on.” Good gosh. UNDERSTATEMENT MUCH?!

    Tried desperately to keep count during Dx10m. Then decided to just follow SBV’s lead. Then forgot, mid-round something, that I needed to do that, and just went on plugging along between the lines. On my last one, I stumbled to the line; thought I was safe (if just barely) for one more; then realized SBV was on the other side of the court; then Tom very dramatically announced, YOU’RE OUT! Like FGB – eventually all just became a(n exertional) blur.

    Nice job, Ben. Thanks, Tom and Chris. Serious work. Serious night. Not to worry; more giggling back soon.

  3. SBV says:

    Last night’s workout brought back memories of “17s,” a form of basketball conditioning where you run sideline to sideline 17 times in under 70 seconds. I appreciated the encouragement from classmates to push toward the finish.

    Unfortunately, I used up all the gas in my tank and was left to run on fumes for the step-ups, chin-ups, and bulgarian split squats/hollow rocks. Also, shout-out to Julia for knocking out a ton of chin-ups last night — very impressive!

    Lastly, a message to Ethan: Stop talking smack from the 6 o’clock class. Bring your game to the 7 o’clock class and be prepared to witness the fury.

  4. Ethan says:

    Class was a burner. I had very little left in the tank on those split-lunges.

    Sebastian: I will come to the 7pm tomorrow and bring the ruckus. Boom goes the dynamite.

  5. Ben says:

    The modified version was a tough one, walking up the stairs to my apt last night was more challenging than usual. While everyone was doing the running drill (which looked equally as hard), Jen and I were doing side-to-side box jumps. Then Chris substituted a one-armed heavy-bag carry across the court for max reps for the pull-ups.

    Really enjoyed the workout. See you on Thursday.

  6. Greg says:

    I liked this workout. The death by 10m was tougher than I thought it would be. Sometimes this class makes me feel old 😉

  7. edgy reggie says:

    Death-by-10m was a tough one (even though I arrived a few minutes late and jumped in at round nine). I didn’t have much left in the tank for the other exercises.

    I used a 35# dumbbell for the overhead step-ups.

    The split-squats were killer. My quads and glutes were burning, and I was shaking a bit from the holds.

    All-in-all, another day, another workout.

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

  8. charice ford says:

    The abdominal exercise machines is designed to give you the same level of workout, if not better, but without the stress on your body.