January 4, 2012
January 9, 2012

After a class full of skill-intensive movements on Tuesday, Thursday’s class saw the return of strength followed by a little more strength, followed by some balls-to-the-wall met-con fun.

 Strength 1: 
1 RM Push Press for the Day 

 After the general warm-up, athletes were instructed to take to the racks to find a 1RM push-press (no push-jerks) for the day, starting with at least one set of 7-10 reps on an unloaded bar, a set of 3 with a lightly loaded bar, and then at least three sets of 3 to get ready for some heavy overhead weight.

Less than a month ago, we posted a lengthy review on performing proper jerks. Although most of the review simply incorporated Coach Mike Choi’s Points of Review on the Jerk, we added one more point to the end which, as stated, applied “with equal effect to both the Push Press and Jerk,” and that was the need to push the knees forward during the dip portion of the dip-drive while keeping the torso as upright as possible. Pushing the knees forward, as opposed to pushing the hips back, helps to maintain the upright torso and will allow you to drive the weight with the chest (instead of pressing only with your arms – remember, we’re trying to impart momentum to the bar from our bodies). However, this comes with the caveat that we still need to keep our weight centered in our feet.

Whenever overhead lifting in class, it’s common to hear, among the grunts of exertion and shouts of encouragement, the coaching cue “from the heels.” So, does that really mean your entire weight should be rocked back onto your heels? No, of course not. Instead, this is simply a short two-word cue to remind lifters to keep their body-weight centered, rather than pitching forward on the toes. When a lifter shifts onto their toes, the heels will lift and most of the power generated from the dip-drive will be lost. Instead, by cuing a person to drive from the heels, the attempt is to get the weight of the body centered and thereby helps the lifter recruit the maximum power available from the glutes and quads. If you struggle to keep your heels down, often time simply lifting your toes up inside your shoes shortly before you begin your dip-drive can help to center your weight.

NOTE: driving from the heels does NOT mean that the heels will necessarily stay glued to the floor the entire time. Often times the heels will lift AFTER a lifter hits full extension. This is simply a result of momentum, and is not detrimental. Again though, the difference is that when heel lift is a by-product of momentum, it occurs after full-extension, not before. 

Strength 1.5: 
1 x AMRAP at 80% of the day’s 1RM 

 Once everyone had found a 1RM for the day, the day’s programming called for a single set of AMRAP push-presses at 80% of the day’s 1RM. Time to break out the calculators.

5 rounds for individual time of 10 Wall Ball, 10 Med-Ball Cleans, 10 Burpees

Rounds were run every 4 minutes, so the faster you finished, the more time you had to rest. The rest time may have seemed long, but that was sort of the point: sprint as fast as you possibly could through the 30 reps and then take a nice long break. In this manner, each round became an all out blast, rather than a slightly slower and paced 5 round effort.

 Nice work everyone, especially considering the evening’s time-frame was somewhat thrown-off by the late basketball game. If you missed the announcements from Tuesday’s post, please take the time to go back and review them, and feel free to ask questions if you have any. See you all on Sunday.



  1. SBV says:

    Nice to see some heavier barbell movements back in the CFDC weekday classes. Heavy front squats last week and heavy push press this week. I was successful at 185#, but failed two attempts at 195#. Chris pointed out that my knees were caving in during the dip phases and Dan pointed out that the bar was traveling out away from my body. I feel like both faults are my body’s misguided way of protecting itself from the (relatively) heavy weight. I dropped down to 150# for the AMPRAP and managed 7-8 reps.

    The metcon was really interesting. I wondered before whether it would actually be too easy. I soon realized that the idea was to push yourself as fast as physically possible. Speed of movement is weakness of mine, so this provided a great opportunity to work on both speed of movement and transition between movements. Wallball shots have become a real strength of mine. I fell into a bit of a rhythm on medicine ball cleans rather than aggressively shrugging and pulling myself under the ball. The burpees were manageable because, no matter how bad they hurt, a rest period was right around the corner.

    My rounds ranged from 1.09 to 1.12. There was spirited debate in the 7pm class about Ethan’s “course record” of 0.59.

  2. Steph says:

    Nice explanation of where the weight should be.

    Got to the gym too late to do the 6pm, thanks to Erica for sticking around and doing the 7pm instead!

    I worked with MC and Kenna on the push presses. I feel like it takes so much more work to get my upper body stronger than it does my lower body. I stopped at 85lbs last night. I didn’t attempt 90lbs and I don’t think it would’ve gone up. 85lbs is the most I’ve pushed overhead and it was done previously in a c&j workout, so I guess this is an improvement. For the AMRAP, I only got 11 reps.

    The metcon was brutal, can you say lactic acid?! The first 3 rounds were fine, but the last 2 rounds were miserable. I slowed way down, going from 1:09 to 1:27/28. It was bad. The medball cleans definitely had the legs burning. That’s 150 squats right there between the wall balls and the cleans, and if you’re doing plank-to-squat burpees, that’s 50 more. Good thing we do a lot of squats in general at CFDC!

    Legs aren’t as sore as I thought they’d be today, the quads feel it a little.

    Looking forward to Sunday! Too bad it’s not New Year’s so we can do that killer wod again! I loved that workout! See everyone then!

  3. Dian says:

    Happy Three Kings Day!

    Thanks for the explanation again about the “from the heels,” cue. I get called for this a lot as well as for not keeping my torso upright.

    My 1RM was 90lbs. I did a single set of 5 push-presses at 75lbs. I was feeling pretty good after the secound push-press but then I smacked my chin with the bar really hard. I was reminded of the time I fell from the monkey bars in the 3rd grade and landed on my head. Ouch! I started up again but I was so rattled I called it a day at rep 5.

    My times for the metcon got longer each round. I couldn’t get into a good rythm with the burpees. My first round was 1:36 (I think). I was over 2 minutes by the last round.

    Looking forward to Sunday. I’m going to cut out at 11:00 to go to the Paleo Challenge seminar. Planning on eating all the non-Paleo food I can lay my hands on between now and when I get back on the Paleo wagon on Sunday morning.

  4. Ethan says:

    SBV- I was also surprised by my time on the last set. My first 4 varied between 1:10 and 1:15, with some slacking on the burpees. I tried to turn it on during the last one, and barely edged out Roland(I think that’s his name) next to me, who beat me on the first 4 rounds.

    I was able to get #225 and failed at #235.

    As an update to the smackdown, Mark and I now have a full squad(much to the shagrin of Erica).

  5. Andraea says:

    Oh I’m feeling it in the quads and shoulders today! But it’s a good sore although it definitely could get worse. It felt good to work up to the 1RM on push press. I managed to push press 100lb for it, I got greedy and went for 105lb but I didn’t even come close. I used 80lb for the AMRAP and I got 9. Shoulders are feeling especially with all the wall balls. I pushed through it with the 14lb ball and tried to keep them legitimate by not counting the ones that didn’t make it to the line. The last round was rough but it was also my fastest at 1.25. All the other rounds were 1.28-1.34 the slowest being the 3rd round. I think the last round I just wanted it over that much more. Speed of skills are definitely something I need to work on as well.

    I ditto what Steph said about great explanation on where the weight should be in the feet. Unfortunatley I think I had my weight in my toes for all of it. I’m looking forward to doing them again and focusing on where my weight is and maybe I could’ve done more reps or upped the weight even. I was concentrating on having my chest up and inhaling to have a strong chest and core for the push that I forgot about the weight in the feet. Thanks Chris!

  6. TomandAmi says:

    I second SBV’s comments liked the heavy work with the metcon. Prior to class I did DL triples up to a max followed by 5 singles at 90% of the max. Finding that taking a full day off before each class allows me to do at least one good strength set before class without tiring me as long as it is not similar to what we are doing in class – so seeing the class WOD structure ahead of time is helpful. The push press got up to 205 which felt good but I failed at 225. Biggest technical point I have found is keeping the bar clase and going in a straight line. Then did 8 reps at 175. The metcon was a lot harder than I though it would be wall balls and med ball cleans were fine burpees – not surpsrisingly – crushed me and brought my pace waaaay down. My average was about 1:31 a round. I can verify Ethan’s time as well as that he used a 12 pound ball, 8 foot height, cleaned from the hang, no extension on the clean, and no jump/clap extension on the burpees but otherwise he was smokin fast.

  7. Erica says:

    I’m laughing at loud as I read many of these comments. Given that I am angry at Ethan, I will admit that I was one of the few who was “questioning” his 59 seconds, but given Tom’s clarification (or is it Ami?), I totally get it now.

    I also PRed on the PP last night, pushing 84. I couldn’t get the 95, but I wonder if I could have gotten, 90. Oh well. So dropped to 64 and pushed out 13, just to edge out MC.

    I felt like the metcon was like a slow death. My times varied, within a 4-second gap. I used the 14lb ball, which is officially not horrible for me anymore, phew.

    Steph, I’m totally came for NY day WOD again…

  8. Sara says:

    I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate in class at all when I got there Thursday. I had been to the physical therapist that morning and was pretty sore in my lower back and neck as a result. I ended up doing the push presses an gave the metcon a try but stopped after the first round. I PR on the push press at 135lbs. I tried 140 but it just wouldn’t go up that day. I think I was instinctively being protective of the areas that had needles earlier in the day. I dropped to 110 for the AMRAP part and only got 4 reps. I have been doing a wendler strict press program to increase my pressing ability and will test a 1RM in early February. After this performance I am looking forward to see where I am at. I have been stick at 105 for strict press for such a long time.

  9. edgy reggie says:

    I did some rack jerk work the night before; therefore, I felt that my maximum would be low for the push press.

    My one-rep-max in the push press was 155#; I did the eighty-percent AMRAP at 125# for eight reps.

    I liked the met-con. I was “surrounded” by three strong ladies of CrossFit DC, Dian, Andraea, and Ami (“The Truth”) – which is a good thing. As I mentioned in previous comments, wall balls are easier for me than most people (being 6’4″ with long arms doesn’t hurt here). The same is true for the medicine ball cleans. Burpees were the limiting factor for me; nevertheless, my times were 1:17, 1:14, 1:20, 1:22, and 1:14. I heard Coach shout “0:59” in the fifth round, but I wasn’t aware that it was “Easy-E” (Ethan) who had that time.

    Ethan gets no love in the comments. 🙂 I don’t pity him. 🙂

  10. Katie says:

    I’m a bit delayed on commenting, but I want to avoid blourpees….

    Great class! I worked with Mackenzie and Ann on the presses. 55# was my max, and I did 8 reps at 40# for my AMRAP.

    Tough metcon! I was happy to finish under the 2 minute mark on all rounds (I think)…I was sorta worried I would finish at like 3:45 and end up having a 20 minute consecutive metcon. :o)

    Okay, off to this morning’s class!

  11. Kenna says:

    Sorry, I’m late in commenting as well… I got up to 75lbs on the push press and did hit 8 in the AMRAP at 60 lbs.

    Those med ball cleans were ferocious.

    I came down with a cold, but am on the upside and should be in class tomorrow night!