November 30, 2011
December 5, 2011

After our little dressage reference on Tuesday, I thought the title of today’s post was pretty appropriate, especially considering the start to Thursday’s programming.



After the warm-up, which paid specific attention to getting our respective scaps warm and mobile, class reviewed the two extreme positions of the kip – while still on the floor.

Hollow Position Review: Shoulders up with the hips tucked forward and low back pressing into the floor to create a rocking-chair shape while on your back.

Arch/Hyper-Extension Position Review: Shoulders up and thighs raised with the hips tucked back and abdominals pressing into the floor to create that same rocking-chair shape while on your stomach.

After reviewing each position, class then took to the pull-up rig to re-create these same two positions while hanging from the bar.

– 2×3 Hollow & Arch Holds;
– 1×3 Smooth Kipping; and
– 1×3 Kipping Transition

Check out this same progression, along with accompanying pictures, when we ran through it at the beginning of November. Skill review over with, it was time for the day’s fun.


KarAnnie Gone Awry

(weird name, awesome workout)

Stay with me for a second, as I walk you through the progression of how this workout came to be:

Karen = 150 Wall Balls for time
Annie = 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders & Sit-Ups
(for us math challenged, that would be 150 total reps of each)
Annie Gone Awry = 50-40-30-20-10 Side Hurdles and Supine Windshield Wipers

and thus was born the amalgamation that was dropped on class for Thursday:

KarAnnie Gone Awry = 50-40-30-20-10 Wall Ball, Side Hurdles, & Supine Windshield Wipers

It’s not often that wall balls show up in our workouts in such high numbers, but there is definite value to this approach. Anyone who has ever done “Karen” in it’s original form knows how much endurance, both cardiovascular and muscular, that’s required to do high reps of wall ball in any time domain. Maintaining good form throughout the movement is key. Keeping the ball high on the chest (like the front rack of the front squat) while keeping our weight on our heels from top to bottom of the squat will help delay muscle fatigue by keeping us as efficient as possible throughout the movement. Yes, I realize, it’s relatively easy and straightforward to say, but another thing entirely to perform during 150 reps.

Speaking of straightforward, the whole point of this sideways-version of Annie is to avoid going straightforward…literally. A lot of exercises require us to move in a linear fashion. That is, forwards and backwards. Our goal Thursday night was to add both (A) lateral motion (the side hurdles), and (B) trunk rotation (the windshield wipers) to the workout.

Lateral motion aids in developing our kinesthetic awareness (sensing where our body is in space). It’s this awareness that tells us where the box is for box jumps and how high we need to jump to land on it. It also tell us where the hurdle is, and how high and far we need to jump to clear it. To gauge your level of kineshetic awareness, ask yourself this question: where were you looking last night when hurdling? Were you looking straight ahead, “feeling” your way over the hurdle, or were you looking down at the hurdle to make sure you cleared it each time? The first builds kinesthetic awareness, which in turn helps build proprioception (the ability to control our body, and pattern our movements, and important ability when learning complex, compound movements such as the Olympic lifts). The second, looking at the hurdle, circumvents kinesthetic awareness. It also, in the case of the side hurdles, often causes us to break at the waist, disrupting our midline, making it even harder to control our bodies and increasing muscle fatigue.

Trunk rotation is especially important for building core strength. Any movement which utilizes trunk rotation demands balance and stability, mobility and flexibility, as well as power. Of course, trunk rotation also adds power, via a strong core. Think of any sport, and you’ll find trunk rotation embedded in it’s foundation. Baseball is probably top of most people’s lists, with both throwing and batting, but there’s also tennis, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, martial arts, football/rugby, skiing, swimming, and even golf. The ability to keep the body stable through rotation allows us to impart more muscle capacity to whatever movement we are performing. In short, more power. Imagine discus throwers at the Olympics. Without a stable core, they would lack the ability to adequately control the pre-throw spin. Less control means a slower spin, and a slower spin keeps them from maximizing the power they put into the throw.

Apologies for another lengthy post with lots of information, but the intent is to help explain why we do some things; for instance, both the lateral movements and trunk rotation have clear carry over to our daily lives, which is the essence of ‘functional movements.’ Additionally, this is just another way for us to encourage all of you to seek out ways of adding such to functionality to your daily lives on your own. In other words, GO OUT AND PLAY!

It was awesome to have John join us while he was in town from NY. John’s a true CrossFit journeyman, having worked-out at San Francisco CF (with the now infamous Kelly Starret), CF Oahu (from whence longtime CFDC-friend Katie Heinrich originally hails), and now CF Virtuousity.

Nice work everyone. Definitely a bit of a grinder, but really happy to see people push all the way through with good form (including quite a few self-assessed “no reps” – to quote Peter last night, “this new ‘no rep’ rule sucks!” Very true, but because of it, none of you will suck, and, really, isn’t that the point!?

Also, the date for the CFDC Holiday Get Together has been decided as December 18th (by way of the popular vote). If you got the evite, please be sure to RSVP; if you didn’t get the evite, please let Tom or Chris know so that we can add your address to the e-mail list as soon as possible. See you all on Sunday!



  1. Steph says:

    Oh man, look at my belly hanging out!

    Nice picture of Ethan keeping the weight centered on the lateral jumps though!

    And lengthy posts are fine as long as they are informative, and these are definitely very informative! Thank you Chris! And thank you Tom and Chris as always for the attention to details in your coaching. (Maybe I have been reading too many job applications…)

    On to last night’s workout! I love grinders!! Didn’t think I was going to like this one as I am not a huge fan of wall balls. Last night was my first time attempting wall balls after a 2-year hiatus. Not being able to use the hip fully meant that I had to jump each time to get the ball up to the target line. And I concur with what Peter said, “no rep sucks!” I had to discount about 12 reps when the ball went up but didn’t touch the wall. I do have to say though, it is a great feeling knowing you did every rep legit, especially on a 150-rep wall ball workout! I went light on the weight and only used a 10lb ball. It was awesome to be next to Sara who pushed through with a 16lb ball.

    Had to sub mountain climbers for the lateral hops, and I feel like I cheated. Looking forward to the day when I can do those so I can do this workout again.

    I did the windshield wipers with my knees bent for most reps.

    It was a great workout. Can’t wait to do another grinder! In the meantime, looking forward to some squatting time tonight! Remember, Chris is subbing tonight so feel free to join me!

    Have a great weekend everyone! See you all Sunday!

  2. Ethan says:

    This workout was very intimidating when you read it, and it did not disappoint. Tom was right when he said that after you finish the 30 wall balls its all downhill from there.
    My glutes and quads are just on fire today.

  3. Sara says:

    No apologies for the lengthy posts please. I thing these great informative posts are what make the CFDC blog the best blog out there. Tom & Chris do such a great job helping all of us understand our own body movement better.

    I got to class a couple minutes late but since I knew what was coming I still jumped in for the 6pm. I still struggle with holding a hollow position when on the ground but I am very comfortable with the position in the various movements such as push-ups and Kipling pull-ups. I just seem to have a more difficult time eliminating the space between me a the ground when on my back. I had similar difficulties with this when I use to take pilates.

    I had some mixed thoughts on the metcon. I was happy to have the wallballs broken into sets as opposed to doing 150 straight. With that said there were still 150 wall balls. I had to no rep only about 5 which tells me I have come a very long way since my first attempt at 10 foot targets during the 2009 hopper. As Steph said I used a 16lb ball and was very happy to finish in the time limit (23:17). I jumped over the lowest hurdle mostly because I was concerned about hitting the med ball and then it rolling around. Most of the time I would jump looking straight forward but every once in a while I would look down because i would think I was starting to jump to far from the hurdle. This would instantly cause me to break rhythm and I would have to reset.

    Well done everyone. This was a tough workout.

  4. Andraea says:

    When I first read through this workout I thought there was no way I would come out of it alive especially having not worked out in 2 weeks. But it was a great workout and I felt really good having completed it. Definitely was sore in the quads on Friday. I went light with an 8lb medicine ball, next time there are wall balls I hope to go up to 12lb. Side jumps were rough, I could only do average of 3 before I would have to stop and reset. Those need work.

    Great job everyone on a tough grinder!

  5. Julia says:

    Really, really appreciated this gut-check. It was one of those “I may not crush this, but I refuse to be crushed” kind of workouts. I didn’t worry about the clock, or how many wallballs it all added up to; just tried to chip away one rep at a time, and do my best to finish strong.

    Nice work to the guys pushing hard around me – Jon and Ethan – and welcome back Mackenzie!

  6. Erica says:

    Late posting, but tried and it didn’t record.

    I too am a fan of grinders. I had struggled a few weeks back with the 14Lb ball and getting the ball high enough, but bumped down to 12# and reached the line (practically) every time. I too had to keep my knees bent. My abs were killing me from the Tuesday before. I’m thankful we did a modified Karen because it sounds, to quote Tom, demoralizing.