January 27, 2012
February 1, 2012

It was a slightly more intimate group this past Sunday – and by intimate, I mean not 25-plus people – which worked out well as CFDC reached back for an old school double-strength and simple-metcon type class. 

Strength 1: 
5RM Overhead Squat

Overhead squats are clearly one of those love-hate exercises: either you love them, or you love to hate them.The rep scheme for the OHS was set up as 10, 10, 8, 5, 5, 5, with the basic goal being to find a 5RM for the day. They can be maddeningly frustrating, mostly due to the fact that they require so many different attributes (mobility, flexibility, strength, balance, and, maybe, just a bit of patience – perhaps we should suggest adding that to the 10 general skills of CF?).

But perhaps one of the best things about OHS is that you can’t really cheat on them. Oh, sure, you can short the depth of your squat, but that will quickly get you called out by a coach or your classmates (or both). But there are no real corners to cut in order to get around personal deficiencies. You can’t muscle through them. You can’t drop, bounce, swing, or really use any sort of momentum. The addition of any of these, and the weight overhead will quickly let you know you are trying to cheat or are getting lazy by promptly falling to the floor. It’s just good form and lots of control.

 Strength 2: 
3 x 3 Clean High Pull

The pulls, either snatch or clean, are great tools for teaching the explosive portion of the Olympic lifts without having to worry about the “catch.” This means a lifter can concentrate on generating maximum power through the extension in the second pull, without getting caught up in how he or she is going to receive the weight. The lack of catch, or receiving the bar, also means that lifter can use more weight than they typically would be able to clean or snatch.

 Sunday’s class focused on two basic variations of the clean pull:

The basic Clean Pull, done from the floor with half just the shrug portion of the second pull (as seen HERE in this video from Performance Menu); and, 

The Clean High Pull, also done from the floor, but with a full second pull, including both the shrug and arm-pull (as seen HERE in this second video from Performance Menu). 

 There is also an extended version of the clean high pull in which the lifter also adds the beginning of the third pull (pulling under the weight).

As seen above, the lifter quickly hits full extension, shrugs, and then pulls with the arms while simultaneously unlocking the knees a second time. This initiates the third pull, and is a great addition for working that tricky transition from power cleans to full Olympic clean (a.k.a., the squat clean – a term which I realize most Olympic lifters frown on). 

2 x Team Suicides

 Teams were set up as randomly assigned groups of 3 for Sunday’s iteration of the team suicides. The Team Suicides have made an appearance once or twice before in CFDC, but in case you need a reminder, here’s how a single team suicide goes: teammate 1 runs a full suicide (half, back, full, back, half, back) as an individual, then teammates 1 & 2 run a full suicide together (arms locked or around the shoulders), the teammates 1, 2 & 3 run a full suicide together, at which point teammate 1 drops off, and teammates 2 & 3 run a full suicide together, and then, finally, teammate 3 runs a full suicide as an individual.

 Great work all around. There’s clearly a lot of improvement on form, and it shows. Keep up the good work. Also, congrats to Dan on he and Danielle’s second place finish in District CrossFit’s Battle for the Capitol competition on Saturday. Lastly, if you’re still interested in competing in the Smackdown, registration has been removed from the CrossFit Balance webpage, but there are a few spaces left, so please let Tom or I know if you’re interested.



  1. SBV says:

    When I first started at CFDC, I couldn’t do an overhead squat. Not with an empty bar. Not even with a PVC pipe. Yesterday, I overhead squatted by bodyweight for a set of 5. This stuff works!

  2. Katie says:

    I was surprisingly happy to see OHS yesterday, because I really need to work on them and I missed Elements. I did 8, 8, 8, 5, 5, working from the 15# bar to 25#. I probably could have done 30#, but I didn’t want to push myself too much b/c I’m still a little tired from being sick. It’s not a huge amount of weight, but it’s a definite improvement from me struggling to do the 15# bar in November. (and as Tom said, it’s a 66% increase in weight!) Ami’s reminder to keep my shoulders shrugged and tight helped a lot!

    Still struggling a lot with pulling too early on cleans. I’m trying not to get too frustrated and just keep practicing. Thanks to Jen for the cues there.

    Hmmm, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we do what Chris described for the team suicides TWICE? :o) Or maybe I just got confused…regardless, that was brutal, thank you Jen and Amelia for pulling me along!

  3. SaltyHat says:

    Dang, good catch Katie – it has been amended to reflect the actual amount of work done!

  4. Katie says:

    I’m just glad to know I wasn’t hallucinating!

  5. Steph says:

    I love OHS, precisely for the reason that it takes so much of everything and not strength to do them well. And like cleans and the snatches, I think they looks impressive and beautiful when done well.

    Like many of the girls, I usually feel pain/discomfort in my wrists and elbows when doing OHS. I’ve found that taping the wrists is a simple, cheap and effective way to solve the wrist problem. I would strongly recommend everyone who’s ever experienced wrist pain/discomfort to buy a roll of athletic tape. I believe Amelia and MC can both vouch for the effectiveness of a little bit of tape in Sunday’s class. The tape also comes in handy when you want to tape your hands up for pull-ups.

    I worked with Julia on the OHS and it was awesome and inspiring to see her push the weight. I managed to get 5 at 95lbs, a new PR for me. That last set was also much more stable than my set at 90, mostly because I think at that point I felt like I had nothing to lose and even if I get 1 it would be a new PR.

    The clean-pulls were something new and it was interesting to work on them. I think our last set was 95lbs?

    Teamed up with MC and Ann on the team suicides. They turned out to be much more taxing than I expected. It was weird and hard to run with only one arm working. Good times though!

  6. Dian says:

    I didn’t break into a cold sweat once I realized we were going to do OHS yesterday. I’ve been really afraid of OHS for a long time since they test a lot of my weaknesses primarily my flexibility and balance. Just like Sebastian I could not do OHS when I first started at CFDC. I didn’t just find them frustrating but plain embarrassing. I mean seriously, how hard can it be to squat with a 15lb bar overhead without lifting your heels off the floor. I can’t say that I’m a patient woman but I’m not one to be defeated so I have no intention of having my ass handed to me by the OHS gods forever.

    We worked on OHS a few weeks ago in skills review and I tried to incorporate everything we discussed. I think our group wisely stayed lighter for the early sets to concentrate on our form. I went up to 50lbs for the sets of 5. I had to dump the weight during one set because I lost my balance. The last set felt good mostly because I concentrated on keeping my shoulders engaged and I controlled the squat.

    The clean pulls were good. I lost track of what weight we used for those. Chris-don’t you owe us some photos from your time spent practicing with the Beijing Weightlifting Team? I’ve really gotten into watching weightlifting videos on YouTube. I love the women who show up to compete in full make-up! I might try that at CFDC sometime.

    Alas, I had to sit out the team suicides. I remember when we last did those and it was brutal. We did more than 2 rounds and I was so drained I contemplated just playing dead on the basketball court. You all made it look easy yesterday. I was over on the side doing L-sits…well, knees up with Julia. I hope to be crushing L-sits just like Ms. Giggles someday.

  7. Yes! Tape is amazing (thanks Steph, aka CFDC Mom)–it was very helpful, although my wrists still REALLY hurt… And Dian, I have faith that you’ll be crushing L-sits (like Ms. Giggles) in no time 😉

    Really fun workout–I loved the team sprints at the end, but agree, it was a lot more exhausting than I thought it would be. Thanks for the fun Sunday, Tom & Chris!

  8. TomandAmi says:

    I love these posts – it’s just such an interesting and funny community cross section and what makes CFDC just so damn fun – stil frustrating but fun. And goddamn SBV 5 and BW – that’s solid! Dian, I know you so to hear you talk OHSs is remarkable – I always knew you were a closet bad ass. We have some strong women and potentially a lot stronger ones. And Steph yes like most women my wrists ache on the OHS so I always do them and any cleans with tape – problem solved. I felt like shit Sunday – tired and stale – so it was good to just do my basic OHS then see my kids at home. Feel rested today so hope we go hard an dheavy tomorrow.

  9. Sara says:

    I’m sorry to have missed class. Sounds like a good one I would have enjoyed.

    Just dropped in to say Happy Birthday Coach Brose!!!! Hope you are having a good day.

  10. Tom Brose says:

    Strong showing on the workout and the comments! So far, my favorite quote of the year comes from Dian: “I can’t say that I’m a patient woman but I’m not one to be defeated so I have no intention of having my ass handed to me by the OHS gods forever.” Amazing, that attitude will make it happen.

    Sara, thanks! See you back in the gym tomorrow!

  11. Julia says:

    Dian, you aren’t a closet badass, you are a legit and certified badass!

    I tried taping my delicate female wrists for the first time and it was pretty great. What else can I tape?!

    Happy birthday Tom!!!!!

  12. Amelia says:

    Taping my wrists helped a lot.
    OHS are definitely my goat so I kept it light and focused on form. I felt pretty good throughout.

    I worked with Katie and Jen on the group metcon. It is hard to run while holding onto other people! Nice job laides.

    See everyone tonight.

  13. Ethan says:

    Does this mean Tom has to do (insert number here) burpees tonight?

  14. Dian says:

    Happy belated birthay Tom B. You sly thing you never said a word. I hope you had a wonderful day!

  15. edgy reggie says:

    @Ethan: One wonders. 🙂

    @Coach: Happy (belated) birthday!

    The CrossFit DC t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, etc. don’t have “Proven” on them for nothing; it’s not an empty promise. 🙂

    I love performing overhead squats; even though, they are the most limiting (with respect to weight) squat for me. I think I worked up to 145# x 5, but I still have a goal of overhead-squatting my body weight…someday.

    After performing medium-heavy squats on the previous day and moderately-heavy overhead squats, I had zero explosive energy for sprints. Many thanks to “Double B” (Brendan) and Andrew for carrying me.

    I did my usual Sunday-evening yoga “thang.” Soreness: gone. 🙂

    On to Tuesday!

  16. edgy reggie says:

    @Dian: You’ve been an official member of the badass club for a while. 🙂

  17. Erica says:

    i’ve really miss you guys and cannot wait to get back at it tonight!!!

    i’m actually sorry i missed OHS because they really do seem to be the test of not just strength, but overall body flexibility and coordination, all of which are not strenghts of mine 🙂


  18. Dan Samarov says:

    Just to be safe commenting here :). Good workout, OHS felt ok, shoulders were still a bit fried from Friday night. The sprints were a lot of fun, definitely like to see those mixed in!