October 28, 2011
November 2, 2011

With the gym having been taken over by the Church for their celebration of All Saints Day, CFDC took things outside for a chilly change of pace.

The big focus of the day was on squats, especially dialing in technique. Class worked through one round of pause-squats (pausing at the bottom) as a group before moving on to a rotating warm-up of pause-squats and push-ups. A noted new addition to the squat repertoire were squats with the front of everyone’s feet hanging off the edge of a curb(now dubbed “curb squats”). This was to force everyone to center the weight back into the middle of the foot – often cued as “from the heels.” This centers a lifters weight, as opposed to raising up on the toes which pitches the body forward, and thereby helps the lifter recruit the maximum power available from the glutes and quads.

After a few rounds of the warm-up cycle, class moved on to pistols. The basketball court at Mitchel park doubles as volleyball court, and the two posts in the middle of the court served as excellent assistance for those still working with balance and range of motion issues when it comes to pistols. Jim Bathurst (pictured above) has a really good article he wrote a while back entitled the ONE LEGGED SQUAT (THE PISTOL), which includes a number of alternate scaling options. Check it out and then report back in the comments section as to thoughts.

Of course, this was all skill work, and class was in need of some good ole’ fashioned body weight strength training. The result was a 300m uphill lunge, done on S. St. from Mass. Ave. all the way to the stairs into Mitchell Park at the top of the hill.

To finish the day off, everyone worked through three sets of Paloff presses (the bands having been attached the previously used volleyball poles) and upright band-resisted crunches. And since we were in a squatting mood and coming up with new squat variations, howabout a few Fireman’s squats with a partner:

Great work by everyone who came out and joined us in the cold. Tom made a side comment on Sunday, pointing out that we’ve been forced outside every year for at least 5 years running, and each time we were lucky enough to have some great weather, albeit a little bit warmer in the past. Tuesday will be back in doors, just about the time the weather starts to warm up around here.

And congrats to MacKenzie for surviving her first ever marathon!



  1. SBV says:

    I really enjoyed Sunday’s class. It’s always good to address basic squat technique, as that movement serves as the basis for so many other movements in CrossFit. Plus, after over three years of CrossFit, I did my first pistol! As for the lunges, I’m convinced that Julia was just taking really big steps and not actually doing lunges. She was moving so fast!

    There’s something extra-special about doing CrossFit outdoors. It allows for more creativity and forces your body to adapt to different environments. Plus, I’ll never have another excuse for not being able to back squat while traveling. I’ll just pop MC up on my shoulders and rep out a set of 10. So cool!

  2. Steph says:

    I concur with Sebastian. Sunday’s class was a lot of fun! It was a nice surprise when the weather warmed up quite a bit by the time the 10am class got underway.

    The form check on the squats at the beginning of class felt really good. Holding at the bottom briefly actually helped open my hip-flexors up.

    I did about 50 pistols per leg between the 9am and the 10am. I actually quite like them. I find them much easier when the squat is controlled. And like I told Sebastian, reaching out to the toes really helped me when I first started doing them.

    I don’t think I’ve ever done that many lunges in one day! I counted and it took me 243 lunges to get to the top. Talking with Amelia after class, we both had the thought that Julia was going too fast out of the gate and we were both waiting for her to slow down so we could catch her later on. Ha! That never happened!! I tried to keep up pace with Sebastian and I think my pace stayed pretty consistent from beginning to end. Legs aren’t too sore yet, but I’m usually more sore the 2nd day after so we’ll see what tomorrow feels like.

    And of course, it was so much fun watching the fireman’s squats, especially when Chris squated Tom! Next up, partner OHS? 🙂

    Congrats to MacKenzie on finishing your first marathon!

    See everyone Tuesday!

  3. Amelia says:

    It was so fun to be outside!
    Nice to be in the sun and all bundled up.

    Personally, I can always be improving my squat technique so that was helpful for me.

    Let’s just say that I can hardly walk today from the lunges up the hill.

    And fun to watch the boys squat each other and even be used as weight myself and test out the weight vest.

  4. edgy reggie says:

    Congratulations to MacKenzie!

    Sunday’s class was a good one. Even though it was cold initially, that all changed once the workout began.

    I liked the squat work. On each set, I could feel my hips opening up more.

    For the pistol squats, I initially felt a little tight (in the quads) from performing snatches on the previous day. But at the end, I was able to do a pistol squat while standing on my left leg. I was close to getting one while standing on my right leg, but I still have work to do there.

    “Jimmy B.” does have some interesting variations with the pistol squat. Some of these I have done in a previous CrossFit DC class, others I have performed at Jim’s “Beast Skills” gymnastics seminar, and others I have not done at all (but I am willing to try).

    For the walking lunges, I kept telling myself that all of these lunges will help me with my split jerks. That and the fact that I was able to pass Kofi and “Easy E” (Ethan) kept me going (ego safely in check). 🙂 But once I was done, I was paraphrasing Rockmaster Scott and the Dynamic Three: “My quads, my quads, my quads are on fire!” (for you non-old-school-hip-hoppers out there, the song is “The Roof is on Fire”).

    I was glad that no one attempted to pick me up and perform a Fireman’s squat. 🙂

    Thanks to Coach Salty for letting me use his weighted vest at the end of class (it’s been a while since I have worked out with a weighted vest). I did two rounds of five competition-style burpees. My takeaway from that experience: Never get fat! 🙂

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

  5. SaltyHat says:

    Pistols definitely take a good dose of strength mixed with balance and flexibility. Like all unilateral movements, they can really help diagnose imbalances and weak points. Congrats to all those who nailed their first pistol on Sunday, including Sebastian. If I missed seeing any, don’t worry, you’ll get the chance to show off as I have a feeling they’ll be back again in the near future. And Reggie, those long legs can be a hindrance sometimes, but I think we’ll need to work on the depth of your lunges before you go doing too many victory dances.

    For me, the Pause squats plus pistols plus the lunges were a killer recipe; was feeling it yesterday and still a little today. And if I’m feeling it, I can’t imagine how Katie, Kofi, and Steph must feel, having preceded the 10AM class with a 9AM which included 50meters worth of lunging for warm-up, a few rounds of elevated single-leg squats and floor touches for practice followed by a met-con which included 5 rounds of 10 single-leg squats. Ouchy.

  6. Tom Brose says:

    After Saturdays bleakness, Sunday turned out to be a really nice morning. Its great to deal with a group that looks at the building being closed as a great opportunity to get a change of workout environment.

    Good work on fine tuning the squat, and working on the Pistol. As Chris mentioned, we do have a workout with Pistols in the pipeline, and will have scaling options as well. One of the things we want to do with the skill moves (Pistols, Muscle ups, double-unders, HSPU etc.) is set a standard progression, and keep people sticking with it. To go to “RX’d”, you will need to demonstrate the full movement (ie give me a full ROM HSPU). We have a nice skill based session coming up, maybe will include the option to “test out” on some of these.

    Congrats to Mackenzie (now please focus on strength).

  7. Ethan says:

    Really enjoyed Sunday’s workout as well. I run over by that street sometimes, and I probably will never look at that hill the same way again.

    See everyone tonight.

  8. Ben says:

    Sunday’s class was fun, although I never thought that I would see the uphill lunge workout again. The pistols were a challenge for me and something that will definitely need more practice. Glad to hear we will be working on them in the future.

  9. Mackenzie says:

    Thank you CrossFit DC for all of your support and incredible training leading up to the marathon. Unfortunately my wicked strong legs weren’t able to compensate for a faulty knee, which gave out at mile 3. My time was not what I hoped for but the experience surpassed all expectations. It was incredible to be around 30,000 motivated people…reminded me a lot of working out with you guys! Looking forward to focusing more on strength this winter once I am back on my feet! Thanks again guys, you are the best!