February 22, 2012
February 27, 2012

In anticipation of the Open’s first workout, Thursday’s programming had been dialed back a bit with focus on an essential movement and then a short bit of conditioning (reprogrammed to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather).

5-3-3-2-2-2-2 Weighted Chin-Ups 

Scaling options for the night included unweighted strict chin-ups and negatives in the same rep range.  Those who could get half their reps with strict chin-ups were urged to do so, filling in the rest of the rep requirements with negatives.  Negatives were scaled to flexed arm hangs (jump up and hold your chin over the bar as long as possible).

Remember, pinching the shoulder blades (aka retracting the scapula) is the initial movement in ANY type of pull-up. That includes overhand pull-ups, reverse and neutral grip chin-ups, and even kipping pull-ups.

So instead of simply pulling with the arms, often causing the shoulders to pull forward and down, a proper pull-up/chin-up should be initiated with the scapula followed by the next by the elbows. If you begin by bending the elbows, you’ll find that the shoulders round forward severely (pinching the shoulder blades back at this point will be next to impossible).

By pinching the scapula, the shoulders are pull down and back, tilting the chest up towards the bar. This assumes, of course, that you’ve kept a neutral head (i.e., you’re not looking down). There’s nothing on the floor worth looking at, promise! When you look down, you put the muscles at the base of your neck and upper back in tension, making their job of keeping the shoulder blades pulled together that much harder.

500M Row + 800M Block Run

Since a few of the rowers were miffed about the amount of humidity in the studio, we opted to multiple heats of a quick conditioning workout. In sets of three, everyone did an all out 500M row followed immediately by an 800M block run. Of course, the trickiest part of the run was running from a nice, bright gym out into the dark and down a set of stairs. Thankfully, no search and rescue parties were needed.

Congrats to Mary Catherine who got her Open 12.1 workout in before class. For the rest of you, please remember: if you aren’t able to make it on Saturday at 1pm, please let Tom or Chris know ahead of time so we can arrange an alternate workout time for you. Otherwise, we’ll see you all on Sunday!



  1. ELB says:

    Diagnosis came back this morning…stress fracture of the cuboid bone. This will keep me out the Open this year. Best of luck to everyone this weekend.

  2. SBV says:

    That’s bad news, Bronto. I’m sure Tom will scheme up some brutal upper body workouts for you over the next few weeks. By the time your foot heals, you’ll be repping out handstand push-ups and muscle-ups with no problem.

    I’m dedicating this first Open workout to you.

  3. So sorry to hear that, Ethan! That sucks 🙁

    Thanks for the shout-out, Tom & Chris, and GOOD LUCK to everyone doing the Open Workout this weekend! It’s a doozy, but I think our coaches have prepared us well 😉

  4. Dian says:

    Sorry about your injury Ethan. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Congratulations MC on your stellar performance on the first Open workout.

    I’m suprisingly sore today from the negatives. I should have attempted a few chin ups but I was so afraid of failing and being disappointed that I didn’t try. Hmmm…sounds like that should be on an inspirational poster or something. My foot is feeling okay so I decided on doing the row/run. I did the run at a slower pace and my foot felt fine. My right knee has actually been the bigger concern lately which has me worried that the remedy for the foot is hurting the knee. I’m just falling apart.

    Speaking of falling apart, I’ve thought a lot about it and I’m going to try for 70 burpees tomorrow. Most importantly, I’m going to try to not go all pukie in the gym.

  5. Katie says:

    I was lucky enough to catch the end of Mary Catherine’s Open workout, it was awesome!

    Dian, your chin-up negatives looked so great last night, nice and controlled. I bet you could get some chin-ups!

    I did a weird amalgamation of some Tom-assisted chin-ups (so much easier that way!), Chris-assisted chin-up hold, and wall-assisted negative. Definitely feeling it today. It was good to practice rowing, which I haven’t done much of…after the first round I did a slower 500M row, trying to focus on form. I probably need more coaching on that. I’m trying to run on my toes, which is challenging so I need to drill that.

    Paleo eating is going pretty well, thanks to everyone for the suggestions! I decided to keep some dairy, mostly greek yogurt and minimal cheese, for now at least. I’m cheating once or twice a week to keep myself sane. (This week was a quarter box of Thin Mints and Five Guys and beer…yum.) I’m controlling chocolate cravings with 85% cacao dark chocolate bars, and overall it’s going well! I think I’m already losing a little belly fat, but that could be wishful thinking. :o)

    Good luck to everyone tonight and tomorrow! I’ll be looking for you all on the leaderboard.

  6. TomandAmi says:

    Cuboid bone – what? Sure – please, I am throwing the bullshit flag. Is that from the ballet slippers? Is the cuboid even on the human anatomy?

    You are invincible – this cannot be. This was the year I was going to crush you in the Open . . . .

    OK, ’nuff smack – that sucks. Sorry to hear that. See you Sunday. Bring a thick skin.

  7. Tom Brose says:

    Ethan, sorry to hear about that, but we can modify things for you. Chris did single leg burpees for months after an ankle injury. Give it a (safe) shot!

  8. Sara says:

    Ethan, Sorry to hear about your injury!

    I skipped out on the strength part of thursday’s class because my shoulder was sore. In place of the chin-ups I did some explosive squat work that Chris suggested where I started with the bar resting on safety pins so that when under the bar I would be at just about parallel. from here I was suppose to get tight and drive up with the focus on speed and activating from the glutes and hammies. This was a first for me and it took a few sets to figure out what it was suppose to feel like. I worked up to 143lbs and think I could have done some more but opted to stay at this weight to ensure I was not pitching forward to start the drive upwards. I definitely liked this movement. I felt it enabled me to maintain knees pressing out rather than caving in. After that I continued to follow SBV’s pre class programming prescribed for him by doing 3 sets of max hollow hold and max glute hold. I was able to hold the glute hold with a 25lb plate much longer than the hollow position.

    I jumped in for the metcon at the end.

  9. edgy reggie says:

    Awww man “Easy E.” Sorry to hear about your injury and sorry to hear that you will not be competing in the Open because of it.

    Hopefully, that will not keep you away from CrossFit DC because — as Coach mentioned in his post — he is good at programming injury-related work-arounds.