December 5, 2011
December 9, 2011

Grinder workouts. Long, laborious undertakings which often involve lengthy time domains and persistent repetition of exercises, and always involve an abundance of determination. Determination to stop, to not pause and catch our breath for endless seconds, but, most importantly, to not give in to sloppy, spastic form or insufficient movements. Grinders have their value in teaching us how to push through excessive volume, “grinding” through the work while still adhering to our strictures of form and performance. They test our endurance, both physically and mentally. They don’t show up often in our programming, but this is what I’m hoping everyone will focus on when they do.

Pre-WOD Mobility:
Partner-Assisted Bully Drill & Sampson/Sampson-Plus Stretch

For the Bully Drill, lie on your back, press your hips up into the air, and then fold your arms and slide your hands, palms down and overlapping one another, behind your back and as high towards your neck as you can, before slowly lowering your hips. Your shoulders will, most likely, pull away from the floor, but your shoulder blades should remain pinched together as much as possible. This position in itself is a good stretch, but having a partner slowly and gently apply pressure to the front of shoulders, pushing them back down towards the floor, really serves to increase the intensity.

For the Sampson-Plus, instead of raising your arms over your head, reach back and grab your foot, pulling it off the floor towards your butt, then push the hips forward towards the ground.

20 min AMRAP of 1+ DB Bear Maker and DB Suicide

A single Bear Maker = push-up, renegade row, renegade row, stand-up, power clean, single arm press/push press, single arm press/push press, thruster. Done with dumbbells totaling anywhere between 1/4 to 1/3 of body weight.

The “1+” designation indicates the addition of a full Bear Maker complex each round. So, perform 1 Bear Maker the first round, 2 in the second round, 3 in the third, etc. (adding a round means another single Bear Maker, as opposed to increasing the reps of each movement).

DB Suicide = to mid-court and back, and then to the far end of the court and back, with the dumbbells. One, and only one, DB suicide was performed each round, and you could carry the DBs however you wanted (farmer’s style, on the shoulders, etc.)

A quick 20 minutes, and it was all over. However, with everyone’s shoulders really nice and warm, it seemed an excellent opportunity to revisit the bully shoulder mobility with our partners.

Post-WOD Mobility:
Partner-Assisted Bully Drill, Part 2

Exact same set-up and position as before, but with each partner holding the stretch for at least a minute each time to really open up the shoulder.

Awesome work, especially in heeding the calls to use good form through-out the workout, but especially when picking up the DBs in the later minutes of the workout (nothing like being tired and then heaving 1/4 to 1/3 of your body weight off the floor with a bowed back to set you up for some problems). Rest up, stay dry, and we’ll see everyone on Thursday.



  1. Andraea says:

    Awesome grinder!! It was rough but that much more rewarding when I completed it! I managed I keep steady pace and did 8 rounds with 20lbs db. I ended up putting the weights on my shoulders to do the suicide run cause I couldn’t hold onto the weight with my hands by round 3. My wrists on the push-up lost good form and I ended up with a bruise on my palm.

    Good shoulder stretch!! It was painful in my right shoulder since I’m tight and am at a computer so much so thus stretch was definitely needed! It was a good realization I need to do more of it.

  2. SBV says:

    A grinder, indeed. I ended up with 7 rounds plus 2 bear-makers and some very fatigued forearms.

  3. Dian says:

    I completed this workout with Chris and the morning crew. Funny thing that. I woke at 4:45 am, arrived at the gym at 6:10 all pumped up and ready to get to it at 6:15. Thing is, there is no 6:15 class. Oh well, I wrote a few emails and played a few rounds of Brickbreaker on my Blackberry before getting to it at 7:15.

    I completed 6 rounds plus 2 bear makers with 15lb db. I learned, quite by accident a little while back, that towels really help with renegade rows and db push-ups. My palms would have taken the brunt of that workout without the towels. It was a great way to get the day started.

  4. Steph says:

    I said that last week and I’ll say it again, I love grinders!! Last night’s class was fun!

    Chris told me to use 20lb dbs and I’m glad I pushed through. I finished with 8 full rounds plus 3 bear makers. The movement that got rough really quickly for me was the single-arm push-press. Having to hold on to the weights also got really tough. By the 3rd round, I had to put the weights on my shoulders because I couldn’t hold on to the weight in my left hand anymore. Putting them on my shoulders made a huge difference, giving me time to shake my arms out without having to stop. I also didn’t run on any of the suicides, walked all of them.

    I had a blast. Can’t wait to do another one! Looking forward to tomorrow’s class, with no rain!!!!

  5. Steph says:

    Also, my abs are a little sore today. Feels good to be sore! Andraea’s renegade rows looks so good, she was able to keep her body from twisting when she did them, whereas I was struggling and at times noticed myself twisting too much.

  6. edgy reggie says:

    Bear complexes of any variation are…well, a bear. 🙂

    I used the 35# dumbbells and completed six-and-four-sevenths rounds (or six rounds plus four bear-makers). I did farmer’s walks instead of shuttle runs for the most part, and it was less taxing for me to place the dumbbells on my shoulders for the walks.

    What was interesting for me is how I felt afterwards. Although I was sweaty (surprise, surprise), I didn’t have that “feeling of near death” (figuratively speaking) that I have with other grinder workouts. My muscles weren’t sore either (and they still aren’t as of this comment). In fact, I worked on my double-unders post-stretch.

    Since Winnie is back, I will return to my Thursday-at-6:00 routine.

  7. Sara says:

    This was a good one. I didn’t feel to fatigued on the workout. I used 25lb DBs which were fairly light for all the movements except the renagade rows. I had to put the DBs on my shoulders for the suicide because I have a bit of golfers elbow or tennis elbow that bothered me if I held them at the side with a farmers walk. I walked all the suicides. I finished with 7 rounds plus 6 bear makers. I had some difficulties getting the dumbell to rest on my right shoulder and lost it during round 3.

  8. Katie says:

    Aren’t ALL the workouts grinders? :o)

    This was another tough one for me, particularly after not sleeping much, not working out, and eating and drinking crap for 5 days.

    I used 10# dumbbells and completed 6 rounds and 5 or 6 complexes, which I was proud of, all things considered. I think I could have done 12.5# if it weren’t for the rows; those were really tough for me. I did the push-ups and rows on my knees, because I was having trouble keeping my balance and good form. It was also tough trying to be explosive on the thrusters when I was so tired. This workout was really a mental challenge for me — I’m trying to get used to telling my body to keep going even when I think I can’t.

    My shoulders and abs are still sore! Looking forward to tonight.

  9. Erica says:

    I agree, I loved the workout. Steph, 8 FULL ROUNDS +, that is amazing, UNBELIEVABLY amazing. I made it through 7 full, plus 4 bears with 20#ers. I misunderstood the correction on the renegade rows, which made for some interesting movements and Amelia and I were comparing bruises on our shoulders last night from the DB suicide. I kept waiting for the “recovery” portion of the grinder, but there wasn’t any. The suicides are usually my “recovery”, but not when carrying the DBs that I couldn’t figure out how to handle gingerly. Are anyone else’s calves ridiculously sore, as in ridiculously? What on earth is that from?

    Dian, go back to sleep you crazy lady 😉 Looking forward to seeing everyone later.

  10. tarakfoto says:

    This one was definitely a challenge. I went up to 10lb weights for the first time and was able to do a few correct pushups/rows until my wrists and form gave out. But, I was able to do more than before so my wrists are getting stronger. Crossfit has been a good and different challenge from the cardio-based workouts I’m used to… instead of being out of breath, it’s muscle fatigue. Afterwards, I sometimes I feel like I could have done more (hence going up in weights) but at the same time I can barely move after the workout. It’s an interesting paradigm shift.

  11. Amelia says:

    I liked this one a lot. I used 15#DBs and maybe should have used the 20’s. I felt good on all the movements and really tried to concentrate on the thrusters and keeping good form. The single arm presses and thrusters were brutal at the end.

    I completed 8 full rounds, finishing the suicide at the last second. My shoulders are really sore today and yes, I have some nice bruises on my shoulders.

  12. Greg says:

    Dian, I can’t believe that you were up at 4:45 am and ready to go to the gym!! I am not a morning person. I did 9 rounds using 20lb weights. I should have gone higher but all that was left were 40 and 45 which would have been too much. But it was still a workout!