October 31, 2011
November 4, 2011

After an awesome outdoor workout on Sunday, it was back inside for Tuesday’s fun which included another healthy does of skill work. In fact, we’ve been focusing on a variety of skill work lately, and while potentially discouraging, this is not without a purpose.

It’s understandable that we aren’t often in the mood to voluntarily frustrate ourselves, to commit serious concentration to the details of our weaknesses. But that’s a mentality that will only serve to hold us back. So the next time your “favorite” skill pops-up, persevere, and devote as much attention and effort to learning new skills as you would to achieving a new 1RM on a lift. It will pay off.

Skill Work: Jump Rope

We took a new tactic on jump roping Tuesday night, with the three different variations that would, theoretically, work us up to understanding the requirements for better double unders:

3 Minutes: Jump Rope (any style of single skips)
1 Minute Rest
3 Minutes: Jump Rope Intervals (single skips with 10sec sprints every 20sec)
1 Minute Rest
3 Minutes: Double Under practice

Those proficient at DUs worked the movement for the entire three minutes. Those that are still working on achieving double unders took a different approach: to perform 3-5 single skips followed by one DU. The transition, from single to double, is marked by speeding up the wrist (similar to speeding up during the sprints performed in the preceding interval – who’da thunk it!?).

Strength: 6 x 2 Tall Cleans

The Tall Clean can really help to teach you how to get down fast, aggressively pulling yourself under the bar during a full-on squat clean. The tall clean takes the hips out of the mix, generating movement using only the shrug. This is then coupled with a forceful pull down and under the bar (as opposed to simply dropping). It can be a frustrating movement, but serves its purpose well. If you have partners handy, a good cue can be to limit the upward movement of the bar with the use of PVC pipe – this can help you to gauge whether you’re pulling under the bar as opposed to pulling the bar up and then front squatting with it.

Arbi and Ben are ready to punish Sebastian if he screws up his lift…

Once you have gotten the Tall Clean down moderately well (mastery will take a long time), a full on squat clean will seem relatively easy. Why is this important? You will be able to move a lot more weight with a squat clean than you ever will with a power clean.

Met-Con: Partner Suicide

P1 performs a 90degree handstand hold while P2 performs a suicide run (mid-court and back, full court and back). The only rule was you couldn’t start running until your partner was in the hold position. The 90 degree hold was scaled to planks (arms extended) either on the floor, or for a slight scale up, feet elevated.

Nice work. A lot of potential for frustration on Tuesday, but glad to see people really trying to apply themselves to new stuff. See everyone on Thursday.



  1. Andraea says:

    It was great to be back in class again! I always miss it a lot when I’m away.

    At first I couldn’t seem to do any double unders but I was able to few in a row. Thanks for the pointers Chris!

    On a side note, I bring my lunch in a Lululemon bag and I thought I had grabbed mine but unfortunately I picked up someone else’s and I didn’t realize until I got home and saw that these were not my containers. I will bring them tomorrow to class. Sorry about that.

  2. SBV says:

    Dude! That was my bag! Quit jacking my stuff! I’ll accept it on Thursday, along with a 20-burpee penalty.

  3. SBV says:

    I generally subscribe to the theory that, if a particular movement sucks and you don’t want to perform it, then it’s probably beneficial. Such was the case last evening with the 90-degree handstand hold. After running a suicide, the last thing on earth you want to do is hold yourself up against the wall in an uncomfortable position that makes it difficult to breath. Consequently, it was miserable, yet beneficial.

  4. Julia says:

    Rope – great to work on DUs. For me, this is definitely one skill that has required (and will continue to require) a lot of perseverence. Reggie, let’s get our DU 101 sessions back up and going!

    Tall cleans – first time doing these, I think? Funny name. Funny movement. SBV, how in the world did you pull off the PVC-guardian version with a straight face?

    Metcon – hard to say without being able to see myself, but I’m betting my 90-degree holds were more like… 135-degree sags. Not pretty. (Unlike Andraea’s – nice!! Welcome back!!!)

  5. Steph says:

    Yay, it was great having Andraea back in class. We saw your bag but wasn’t sure whose it was so left it at the gym. Hopefully it was still there this morning and Chris was able to store it away for you.

    A lot of first-timers for me last night, both the tall cleans and the 90-degree holds. I think I did the tall cleans ok, but it would be interesting to do them next with the pvcs in place. 90-degree holds felt fine, although I’m sure subbing jump rope for the sprints made the workout much easier.

    Looking forward to Thursday!!

  6. Amelia says:

    Jump roping is still tough for me and I still feel far from getting a DU. Maybe one day…

    Good to practice cleans. I had also never done tall cleans before.

    The 90 degree holds were tough on teh shoulders and by the last one I was dying for Erica to get back from teh run!

    See everyone Thrusday.

  7. edgy reggie says:

    I really liked last night’s class. Sure, there were lots of opportunities for potential frustration, but I try to see the glass half-full when it comes to self-improvement. 🙂

    Double-unders, jump rope: As others have mentioned, it is always great to work on double-unders. I keep plugging away at it, and I know one day I will have it.

    Julia (“Ms. Badass Giggles”): I’ve been waiting for you! Any time you want the “DU 101 clinic” going, I am there with you! 🙂 Just say the word. 🙂

    Tall cleans: This is some Olympic-lifting skill work (along with snatch balances, tall snatches, split squats, jerk work, etc.) that I have done on my own, and I like to perform. Thanks to Coach for the PVC correction and for the tips.

    Met-con: I liked this one. I partnered with Greg, and we completed this in about 4:50. Half-handstands are not a problem for me; I do these in Winnie’s yoga class quite a bit. In fact, I thought the half-handstands (or ninety-degree handstand holds) were the easier part of the met-con. 🙂

    It was fun to see Erica become more comfortable with the tall cleans and get a few double-unders in (you go, girl!). It was also fun to see John and Scott do well with the tall cleans after a few pointers from Coach and me. 🙂

    I had a lot of fun, picked up some good cues, and had a good workout.

    Next! 🙂

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

  8. Ethan says:

    The tall cleans were a new movement for me, and something that I did not master by any means.

    I can commiserate with Amelia, the HAMMER was doing a light jog and conversing while I was sitting there in a 90 degree hold. When you are the Hammer, you do what you want.

  9. Arbi says:

    I’m pretty comfortable with jump roping and tried to utilize the pose running we had learned during the sprints, but the clean portion of the workout was definiting the humbling(read:frustrating) part of the day for me.

    I have a lot of room for growth on my cleans, particulary the transition to the front squat. The tall cleans were a great way for me to break down the movement and they will be something I aim to use as a skill transfer tool moving forward.

    I even considered taking a pvc pipe into my office to practice, but thought the grunting with my office door shut would be all kinds of awkward.

    Met-con DWOD: 4:10

    Thanks for the great workout.

  10. Katie says:

    I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of jump rope — I have to be very careful to use my wrists instead of forearms to propel the rope. (and also keep my glutes tight, which was tough considering how sore they were from Sunday!) It was my first shot at DUs, so I was happy to just give it a try and end up with some red marks on my shin. I’ll get it eventually.

    I worked on getting the form down for cleans with Chris, using PVC. It was tough for me to be sure to wait until I’ve pushed my hips to start shrugging, and the movement just didn’t feel right to me — but it was the first time I’ve done it, so I’ll keep working at it with PVC and I’m sure my body will figure it out.

    Jen and I made it through the partner met-con! (scaling with plank holds) I’m going to keep drilling pose running until I get comfortable with that; thanks for the extra help on that, Chris.

    So it seems the theme of the night was that I’m going to keep practicing! I got a little frustrated at times on Tuesday, but mostly I’m just determined to keep at it until I get it.

  11. Tom Brose says:

    Great to have you back Andraea!

    Sebastian, you’re exactly right- and we spend a lot of time thinking about what brings those things to light.

    Julia, your posture was OK, but not 90 like the photo of Andraea.

    The Tall Clean really forces you to work on the skill- not strength, not pushing yourself to get another rep. You have to actively pull yourself down into the squat and get the elbows around fast. More weight is not going to help develop this skill, but the skill will mean bigger lifts in the long run.

  12. Erica says:

    I got double unders!! Not a lot, and not really consecutively in a row, but I GOT DOUBLE UNDERS! Hope that we can incorporate them into workouts soon, I’m revving for more…and I’m sort of glad that I got one before doing cleans because you know how I feel about cleans. I really struggled with the tall clean movement, even more than with the regular clean, so that tells you something.

    I also think I had a one-up advantage on the met-con because I wasn’t there on Sunday. Bring on Thursday’s madness!

  13. Sara says:

    I think I got the most frustrated with the 2nd part of the jump rope skill work. I could not for the life of me transition from fast back to slow. I also think 9 minutes of jump rope was a bit frustrating for me.

    It has been a while since I’ve done tall cleans. I actually don’t get frustrated with these but it would have been interesting to see how I would have done with the pvc check.

    I partnered with Julia on the metcon and I have to say I am sorry to her because I am sure she had to hold it longer than I did each round.

    After class I hit 6 sets of 2 box squats and some strict press.

  14. Ben says:

    Really enjoyed the skill work with the Tall Cleans. It was challenging, but defintely see the application. Double-unders on the other hand, didn’t enjoy so much, but one day I’ll get the hang of it.

    The met-con was fun, been a while since I have sprints. See you all tonight!