February 13, 2012
February 17, 2012

The 2012 CF Games Open is just over the horizon, and with that in mind, class set about reviewing some important skill work followed by a some short-burst conditioning.

Skill: Kipping Progression 

1 set of Hollow position progression work on floor: first pulling the knees to the chest, then extending one leg, then the other, then finally extending both legs; the goal each time is to work on tilting the pelvis forward and pressing the low back into the floor. Remember, this is NOT an ab exercise! The point of this drill is to teach you control over the hollow position in an unloaded position (i.e., not hanging from the bars). After working through the hollow position progression, class hit one set of hyper-position holds before moving over to the bars to apply these positions to some kipping work.

1 set of 3 Arch & Hollow Holds: the point here is to mimic the two extreme positions of the kip, which were just practiced lying on the floor, but now hanging from the bar.  It’s usually best to start with the hollow position, holding for at least a 1 to 2 second count, before coming back to center, and then transitioning and holding the hyper position. Athletes cycled between the two positions at least 3 times before coming off the bar.

1 x 5 Arch & Hollow Transitions: think of this as a slow kip; the point is to start blending the two positions of the kip into a continuous and smooth kipping motion but still slower than a full kip; and, finally,

1 x 5 Full Speed Kipping: this is where we speed up the arch and hollow transitions into a full speed kip, with each athlete trying to string together at least 8 to 10 smooth and controlled kips before coming off the bar.

Met-Con: 6 x 30 seconds On / 30 seconds Off of 
Box jumps, 
KB Swings, and 
Double Unders

Short, intense all out efforts with an equal amount rest time. Everyone completed all 6 rounds at one exercise before taking a short break (3-4min) and then moving on to the next exercise. KB Swings were American (overhead) and Double Unders were not scaled – those without appreciable double unders simply used each 30sec time block to work on transitioning from single skips to at least one DU (and then back again if possible).

We did introduce a new standard for the box jumps on Tuesday. Athletes were allowed to choose whatever height of box they wanted for the workout. However, our usual standards of jumping still applied, but with one small tweak: you could step up/step down; you could jump up/step down; or you could jump up/jump down BUT ONLY IF you immediately transitioned back into another jump up (and the immediate transition meant instantaneous – no pausing on the ground and getting reset). This is all about preserving and effectively utilizing tension garnered from the absorption of jumping down. When you immediately rebound into the next jump up, you are using the maximum-amount tension built up in the leg muscles from the absorption of the landing. The longer you spend on the floor, the more tension seeps out of your legs muscles, requiring more exertion for the next jump. With this in mind, it should be easier to understand why the optimal place to rest during box jumps is actually on top of the box, rather than on the floor.

One final point regarding box jumps…or really any jumping of any kind…or, frankly, any explosive movement which uses momentum from the body for power: don’t let the knees collapse. We hear this a lot for squats (“knees out!”), but the same applies for push press, jerks, jump rope, and, yes, box jumps. When the knees cave in, either during the jump or during the landing, your knees are incurring what’s known as “valgus stress.” Let me break that down for you:

The Technical definition: A force applied to a joint that causes the distal aspect of a limb to be moved away from the midline of the body;  

The Simple definition: valgus force = ACL tears. 

So, definitely something to be avoided. And avoidance is as simple as remembering to keep the knees pushed out and in-line with the toes when performing any of the above exercises. Example:

In this picture, the athlete has let her knees collapse during the take-off of a box jump;

After being reminded to not let the knees collapse, the athlete made sure to push the knees out slightly on the next set of box jumps. The result is pictured here, which in turn required less energy to jump onto the box and felt better. 

Nice work all around. There’s still time to sign up for the Open. Most information is contained in the header above, as well as the links provided, but please don’t hesitate to ask if you’re on the fence or simply want to know more before committing. See you all Thursday.



  1. Sara says:

    Note about the open. It looks like we can just have an affiliate page to have a team registered. I think we need to register a CFDC team as well. That way all our athletes can join the team.

    Now the workout: I did box squats before class and went up to 161 for 2 reps. I think if I had a spotter I could have continued. I was kind of slow off the box until the very last rep. This is an exercise I struggle with because I am usually looking for the right stance and focusing too mostly on externally rotating in the hips throughout the movement to ensure my knees are pressig out and therefore I feel no pain. As a result I sometimes am not reaching back far enough on the downward movement.

    Ok now for class. The highlight for me was finally transferring the hollow position to my doubleunders. I got at least one set of 32 and possibly a second 30+ set during the metcon.

    I hit my shin on my first box jump of the night because I was looking down at the box. After that I was slow but steady on the 24 inch box. Julia was rockin these box jumps with good bounding movements an all. Nice work Julia. Not sure of the KB weight but we think it was 20kg.

  2. Katie says:

    I like the hollow position and kipping because it’s an equalizer — no weight, just form. I feel pretty good with kipping and look forward to being able to do kipping pull-ups someday.

    Good reminder on the knees for box jumps, I need to be aware of that.

    I am pretty mad this stupid cold won’t go away. I’m still lethargic and congested, and my energy level was so low last night. I used the 12″ box and focused on landing lightly — when I’m feeling better I want to add a plate. Started with 12 kg KB, dropped to 8 kg after 2 sets because I was so tired. No DUs yet, but I’ll get it one of these days.

  3. SBV says:

    I enjoyed testing some skills under fire. It’s one thing to practice a few sets of box jumps, kettlebell swings, and double-unders before or after class. It’s a completely different animal to test those movements in a fatigued state. I can string together about 20 box jumps; however, after that, I really struggle to land close to the box and my knees start to cave. Same thing on kettlebell swings: I’m solid for the first few sets, but then I start to lose my midline stability and it gets ugly.

    But, without testing these skills under fire, you never learn what your limiting factors are. For me, it’s definitely the midline stability. I could definitely use more of that hollow position drilling.

  4. Erica says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to those who I didn’t see yesterday and happy birthday to the Danimal himself.

    I really love these kinds of met-cons. I like the need for both strength and endurance. I felt like I made some progress on box-jumps yesterday, trying to move more continuously and I think they focus on going down then up (instead of up then down) really helped me. I felt spastic with my arms, weird. Used the 16kg kettlebell which felt heavy but good. Almost lost it twice (whoops). Coulnd’t break 6 double unders in a row yesterday. Phooey

    The kipping progressions just hightlight how much more work I need to do on my core.

  5. Tom Brose says:

    Sara, awesome work getting the double-unders flowing.

    I mentioned it in class, but I really think that the continued work on the hollow position is vital. learning how to maintain control of the body in all these movements gives the ability to increase load, volume and intensity while moving efficiently. Adding in a few minutes of Hollow hold, plank, L sit and side plank work on a regular basis is time well spent.

    Erica, you made great progress on the jumps, and getting the arms working will take it up another notch. Keep working on the rope, I swear double-unders are easier when you haven’t just done 100 box jumps.

  6. edgy reggie says:

    I’m back! 🙂

    Actually, I never really left. The 2012 Baltimore Open was a lot of fun. I met a lot of the same faces (which is a good thing), and I had a lot of fun. I posted my results on my Facebook page if anyone is interested in how I did.

    I really liked this class. I enjoy working on kipping and hollow positions, and I feel that I am (slowly) improving in both areas.

    The met-con was fun. It felt good to swing a 24 kg kettlebell, jump a 24″ box (even though I had to step down), and get two double-unders on a few rounds.

    News flash: I signed up for the Open. Watch out world, here comes the ODB! 🙂