January 9, 2012
January 13, 2012

Back in early December, we ran class through a mash-up girl workout we dubbed KarAnnie Gone Awry, an obvious mix of Karen and Annie, but with one slight tweak: we swapped out Annie’s jump roping and sit-ups for side hurdles and supine windshield wipers.

 Basically, we wanted to take a break from linear exercises – i.e., those that keep us in a straight line, forwards and backwards – and replace them with lateral and trunk-rotational movements. Tuesday night saw class revisit some of this same non-linear movements – some of it in a workout, and some of it just for fun in the warm-up.

Pull-Up Ladder 

Everyone was given 20 minutes in which to continuously work at ascending a pull-up ladder: 1 pull-up the first time on the bar, 2 pull-ups the second time, then 3 pull-ups, and so on. Rest time was up to the individual (so, no on-the-minute type of workout), but, when failing to reach the next rung – for example, you made 4 but didn’t quite get 5 pull-ups – you had to start back at 1 again.

 Second Warm-Up: 
Towel Reaction Drill 

 It’s fun, sure, but it’s also useful for getting people moving, and more importantly, moving in every direction. Sure you moving forwards and backwards, and side to side, but you’re also twisting, turning, bending, jumping, and, for a few people, rolling even.

5 x 30″ On, 30″ Off of Box Jumps, Side Shuffle, & Med-Ball Throw Sit-Ups

Five rounds, each consisting of 3 exercises which were done for 30 seconds of work, with 30 seconds of rest in which to rotate to the next exercise. No additional rest was provided between rounds.

 Per usual, athletes were allowed one of the three options: Step Up, Step Down; Jump Up, Step Down; & Jump Up, Jump Down. Notice there’s no option for stepping up and jumping down? Pretty common sense if you think about it – if you don’t have the power and control to jump up on to the box, you certainly don’t have it for jumping down as there’s often more impact associated with athletes jumping back down off the box than on to it.

 The side shuffles were done back and forth over a roughly 10m course, with athletes required to shuffle sideways (no turning the feet) to one line, with both feet passing over the line and both hands touching the floor, before starting back in the opposite direction.

 Med-Ball Throw Sit-Ups were done using ab-mats and with feet anchored roughly 3 feet away from the wall. To execute, each athlete began laying down with a med-ball of appropriate weight overhead touching the floor, and would then sit-up, lofting the ball from the overhead position against the wall and catching it before laying back down.

 Excellent work.  Don’t forget, registration for inner-gym Smackdown on February 4th has begun! If you would like to participate and are not on a team, or your team needs another participant or two, feel free to post your request in the comments. More information can be found on the CrossFit Balance Smackdown page.



  1. SBV says:

    My point of emphasis during Tuesday’s metcon was to go unbroken on the box jumps. I’ve been practicing the skill of rebounding off the floor and was finally able to put it into action last night. If done correctly, the rebound makes the jump feel effortless. It feels awesome once you find the rhythm. You can bang out 25 box jumps in 30 seconds if you’re really in the groove.

    The lateral shuffles were a flashback to basketball practice. My legs were feeling really heavy toward the end of each 30 second segment. Luckily the sit-ups were there to allow the legs to somewhat recover before returning to box jumps. I opted for a 12# medicine ball and focused on producing velocity from the sit-up portion versus the arms. I also moved pretty close to the wall.

  2. Katie says:

    I subbed ring rows for pull-ups (the ladder pull-ups were hurting my mid-back), and got up to 6 max, then a few sets of 5 and 4. I managed to keep a pretty steep angle, so even though it wasn’t pull-ups, I got some good work out of it anyway.

    Question for Chris and Tom: what are the differences between pull-up scaling options (ladder, bands, or ring rows)? Do they work slightly different muscles? Which is best, or does it depend on what you’re working on?

    It was tough but good to do some lateral movement on the shuffles…I’m really not used to that. I stuck with a 12″ box for the metcon, as my right knee has been bothering me a little recently so I didn’t want to push it. I need to work on landing more softly. I used a 6# med ball for the sit-ups, and I just couldn’t get down the movement of throwing it and catching it. After spending two rounds struggling to get it, I just let it bounce once on the floor before catching it. I might need to be closer in to the wall, I’ll give that a shot next time.

  3. Steph says:

    When I first heard that we were going to do 20 mins of pull-ups, I wasn’t so excited. But last night actually turned out to be a relatively good night of pull-ups for me and it was great to see my fellow 6pm girls knocking them out, especially Joanne and Dana!

    My pull-up numbers were 1-2-1-1-1, I think. I tried for 2 more but they didn’t count because I could only get half way up. That’s still the most strict pull-ups I’ve done though so I’m happy.

    The metcon winded me more than I expected. I think I averaged 15-16 box jumps (jumping up stepping down). The shuffles burned the legs. The ball-throw sit-ups were tough because it was time-consuming to find the right weight and I couldn’t throw the ball hard enough for it to bounce right back into my hands. I did feel it in my abs though.

    I will sadly miss Thursday’s class due to work. 🙁 See you all Sunday!

  4. Erica says:

    Only hit two pull-ups in a row and my goal (by March??) is to get 3.

    Met-con was killer for me, maybe because of poor, but paleo-ic, nutrition earlier that day. I concur with SBV (and Amelia also agreed) that the lateral movements brought me back to my basketball years. I felt extremely winded on that movement. I used the 12# med ball for the sit-ups and also tried to do unbroken box jumps, but those two were hard.

    Relating to box jumps, given that I live with someone who literally will watch the CF games whenever they are on (even though he’s seen them a billion times), I found myself paying more attention to the movements that I also do in class. And I remember watching them do the box jumps and seeing how they did them continuously, but not crazy fast, which is how I have learned to pace myself on long periods of burpees. So I think that’s going to be my strategy, continuous, but not crazy fast.

    On another note, Tom A. PLEASE don’t hate. I am a woman of my committment (or at least will be Sept 2 this year) and had to follow through…

  5. Erica says:

    OH yeah, and Tom B., I refuse to stop signing up for races until there is “any reason” not to.

  6. Amelia says:

    Hit a PR of two strict pull ups in a row. I guess all that time in Argentina doing nothing really helped 🙂

    The towel throw warm up was fun, I missed class the last time it showed up.

    Yes, lateral shuffles felt like basketball practice all over again. I used the 10 or 12# ball for the sit ups depending on what I could find when I got there.

  7. Tom Brose says:

    Nice to see progress with the strict pullups across the board. I’m all for kipping in a workout, but NOT until sufficient strength has developed to protect the joint. Adding in a few sub-maximal ladders before or after class is a great way to make progress. Consistency (even in small numbers) will speed up the process.

    Remember, the movement always begins with the scapular retraction. At the top the focus is on squeezing the elbows behind the body and pinching the shoulder blades together.

  8. Steph says:

    Oh wow, I can’t believe I forgot that, thanks for the reminder, Amelia! I also got 2 rounds of 2 and failed to get a 3rd one. So 1-2-2-1-1-1 for me. I can only do so few, can’t short myself anymore!!

  9. Sara says:

    Wow 20 minutes of pullups turned out to be a long time. I got 1-2-3-4-2-1-2-3-4-5-1-1-2. I used a pull-up grip on the sets of 1, 2 and sometimes 3. I used a chinup grip on the others.

    I am not a big fan of the towel drill. If I didn’t have rotational problems with the knee i would probable have fun with it.

    I used the 18/19 inch box and went slow jump up step
    down style focusing on light landings. I concur with the burning quads after the shuffles. I used the 14 lb ball for situps. I was too far from the wall to be able to catch the ball. It kept bouncing off the dumbells. I moved closer to the wall and that was better but the ball was pretty heavy heavy

  10. Ben says:

    My lats are still sore from all the pull-ups, but I enjoyed the ladder workout. I worked my way up twice to attempt 8 reps, but fell short. So ended up with 7 both times. It feels good to get back on the pull-up bar after 4 months.

    The metcon was surprisingly difficult. The side-to-side/lateral work was deceiving, but overall it was a good workout.

  11. edgy reggie says:

    Pull-ups: I could ladder up to four reps before I had to start over at one. I did a lot of pull-ups in this session though.

    I don’t know why I stopped performing weighted pull-ups after class, but I will definitely get back on that soon.

    Met-con: I started with the lateral shuffles. They reminded me of my junior-high and high-school physical education (PE) classes where my PE teachers were basketball coaches as well. I used a 16# medicine ball for the sit-ups and a 24″ box for the box jumps.

    This was another enjoyable class.