February 7, 2012
February 10, 2012

What better way to stretch out some tight and tender hamstrings than with some hamstring-focused Romanian Deadlifts?

5 x 5 RDL 

The RDL is a sort-of “top down” deadlift; instead of picking the weight up off the floor, the weight starts at the waist and then get’s lowered down as far as the hamstrings will allow before the lifter returns to standing.

“As far the hamstrings will allow” is the absolute key to the RDL. Once the hamstrings have reached their maximum stretch point, and the hips stop moving backwards, that is the end-point to the RDL. Any extra distance – i.e., lowering the bar any farther – will be a result of hinging at the waist.

If you have flexible hammies, and you can push your hips back far enough to allow the bar to reach your shins, fine. If you have tight hammies, and you can only manage to push your hips back enough to allow the bar to reach your knees, fine. If you have tight hamstrings, but are somehow managing to touch the floor with the bar, then you are (A) hinging at the waist for the sake of more depth, (B) probably letting the shoulders reach forward towards the ground (as opposed to keeping the shoulders blades pulled back), and/or (C) rounding the back to some degree.

Remember, the RDL is about lengthening and strengthening the hamstrings, not proving how deep you can get the weight to the floor. Keep that in mind next time RDLs (or their kin, Good Mornings) show up in a workout.

15min Partner WOD; Plate Push & Double Unders 

Although the original intent was 5-4-3-2-1 Plate Pushes mixed with 35 Double Unders, a rather large 6pm class required a slight alteration. Instead, class worked in pairs for 15 minutes, with one partner performing a half-court plate push (W @ 25lbs, M @ 45lbs) while the other partner performed AMRAP double unders (scaled to single skips).

The catch was that, with only a half-court to go, the plate pushes were slightly faster than usual, meaning you had to get back to the jump rope as quickly as possible. If you took your time, and used the transition from plate to rope as rest, then your total jump rope numbers (the only score that mattered for this workout) would suffer.

I can’t help but think the 6pm class was so much bigger as people tried to get in early before the entirety of the BBall court was wiped clean. Fear not, this was the reason the plate pushes were RX’d at half court only; the 6pm class gets to use 1 side of the court, and the 7pm the other side.

Hopefully everyone’s feeling nice and limber by now. The Smackdown web-album has been updated with more pics, so be sure to check them out. Also, we’ll have some new links accompanied by a special blog-post regarding the 2012 CrossFit Games Open Qualifiers. I know at least 7 CFDC athletes have signed up so far, but we’re looiking to grow that number greatly. If you simply can’t wait for the post, check out a few of the links at the top left hand side of the page above.



  1. Tom Brose says:

    I saw a few people clutching their chests like Fred G. Sanford in the midst of that workout. “Its the big one Elizabeth. I’m coming to join ya!”

    At this moment we have 13 athletes registered for the Games, i think we can at least double that.

  2. Andraea says:

    I just registered!! So Dian you have to register too!

    I’m feeling a little tightness in the hammies from last night’s RDL drill. Thanks Chris for helping me and explaining technique of it since I wasn’t getting it. It helped to do it without weight at first so I could really feel when the hips stop moving back and I was starting to hinge.

    Metcon was good, legs were killing after the plate push that it was hard to jump rope. Plus I’ve been having a calf issue so jumping rope was even more difficult.

  3. SBV says:

    Big shout-out to Julia for using the 45# plate! She was the worst partner ever, though, because she kept pushing that damn plate back to the line too fast. I wanted more time to recover and throw in a few token double-unders. She wouldn’t allow me to rest.

    Also, thanks to Chris for keeping us honest on our rest periods between pushes. He observed that we were taking 10 seconds of rest at the end-line before getting back on the plate. He challenged us to the cut that number to 5 seconds and, holy shit, that made a huge difference.

  4. Katie says:

    I liked RDLs! Hamstrings aren’t too bad today. I worked with Erin and Jen and we worked up to 80#. Pretty pleased with that, considering my last set of DLs was 65#. My goal is to get up to the 95# used in the Smackdown.

    “If you took your time, and used the transition from plate to rope as rest….”
    ^Who would ever do that?? Okay, okay, guilty as charged. :o) That was tough, but at least I can now do an unbroken half-court plate push! Thanks to Chris for the tips on keeping my feet straight, hips down, and short steps. That made it a tiny bit easier. I lost count, but Erin thinks we got something like 15ish plate pushes, and I have no clue how many single skips.

    I feel a cold coming on so hopefully I’ll be okay for tomorrrow night!

  5. Dian says:

    @Andrea – I immediately pulled out my wallet and signed up for the open once I read your comment. I’m so screwed. But, I’ll try and have fun I promise.

  6. Erica says:

    YEAHHHH DIAN!!! So, is it possible that the women now officially outnumber the men in terms of how many people are signed up? I have counted myself, Steph, Amelia, MC, Julia, Andraea, Dian…and sorry if I missed anyone else.

    This is crazy!

    When I saw the workout for yesterday, I was bowled over and in turn bowled Tom over, questioning his and Chris’s sanity. Although (foot in mouth), I’m feeling a bit more nimble today. Phew. I hated the RDLs because they hurt my back, but thanks Chris for correcting me to push my hips back.

    I sort of loved the met-con! Amelia and I seemed to fly through the plate pushes, which didn’t leave too much time for jump roping. Each set I gave it one good solid go to get double unders (I got a PR of 8 in a row!) and if I didn’t get any, I switched to single skips. Smart thinking boys with the half court only.

  7. Sara says:

    I jumped in the 7PM class for the Metcon after an oly meet week prep workout. I am sorry to have missed the RDLs. This is one of my favorite exercises. On the metcon I teamed up with Lizzie and like Julia for SBV she barely gave me a chance to pick up the rope. When I did start jumping I could hardly get my feet to leave the ground. towards the end I got better with the DUs but it was pretty sad.

    Oh and I registered for the open as well.

  8. Steph says:

    Aren’t you guys smart reserving half the court for the 7pm?! I’m impressed.

    I worked with Erica, Amelia and Mikko (sp?) on the RDL’s. Since all 4 of us competed in the Smackdown, we stayed super light for those. I think our last set was only 80lbs.

    I was initially a little disappointed that we didn’t get to the workout as planned, but in the end I think we got a lot more work out of the 15min version so I’m happy. The plate pushes were rough and I was really slow on those last night. It also wasn’t my best night of DUs. I think my body’s still struggling a bit to return to normal from the beat down. I had a lot of energy but my body just didn’t cooperate.

    I hope by tomorrow’s class I’ll be as good as new.

    It’s so awesome so many of us are signed up for the Open!

  9. Tom Brose says:

    Awesome to see so many of you ready to take training to the next level.

    I hope everyone is feeling as refreshed as Steph tomorrow, and ready for a little change of pace.

  10. Andraea says:

    @Dian – way to go on signing up! we’ll be screwed together but we’ll have fun and will be motivating!

    Looking forward to tonight’s class!

  11. Dan Samarov says:

    Love seeing everyone signing up for the open! It’s going to be a blast!

  12. edgy reggie says:

    @Coach: Don’t forget to add “I’m comin’ to join ya in that big CrossFit box in the sky with a kettlebell in my hand.” 🙂

    For my last workout before Sunday’s Baltimore Open (my group lifts at 3:00 p.m. in case anyone is interested), I really enjoyed it. I always like performing deadlifts – whether they are conventional or Romanian. I partnered with Adam (what a surprise to show up on a weekday!); we worked up to 245#. I need to remember to pinch my shoulders back when performing a deadlift; that will help keep my shoulders from rounding as the weight goes below my knees.

    The met-con was…fun. I like plate pushes. Part of the challenge with plate pushes for me is to find that right “lane” that has the least amount of friction. I partnered with Eric on the met-con; we used a 45# bumper plate for the pushes. I did 409 skips as well.

    I’ll be by this evening (9 Feb.) to cheer everyone on. I’m going to sit this class out, go to yoga afterwards, and get some rest.

    I haven’t posted in a while; so I have a few random thoughts:

    (a) Congratulations to everyone who participated in last weekend’s Smackdown. Judging by the pictures taken and from the comments, I can see that it was hella fun. At least I was there in spirit. 🙂

    (b) Okay, okay…I will sign up for the CrossFit Games. I just got paid (yes, I am now a working man…again); I will sign up some time next week. As Jeremy Clarkson says on Top Gear “How hard could it be?” 😉 🙂

    (c) Guys, fellas, take care of your hands. File and trim those callouses. Be sure to use a good moisturizer regularly (it doesn’t have to be an esoteric, expensive brand…unless your dermatologist says otherwise). Being a little metrosexual in this endeavor will save your hands…and your grip. Having bloody callouses hurt (been there, done that).

    I’ll be back CrossFittin’ on Tuesday.

  13. Kenna says:

    Gettin in a comment 30 mins before I leave for the next class…

    RDLs were conceptually difficult for me. Thanks to Chris for providing some direction. My problem is not hamstring flexibility at all, but having the core strength to control the movement. I got up to 75# and stuck with that because a) I wanted to get the form and concept down, and b) my hands could barely hang on to the bar for 5 reps at that weight (annoying).

    I flew through my first plate push round and then on round two my legs considered going on strike… They had no idea what they were getting into! Major props to my partner Ann who was rocking the RDLs and ms. speedster on the plate push! See you guys soon!