March 5, 2012
March 9, 2012

After Tom’s stunning success in predicting the workout last week, ole swami seemed to think that perhaps we all needed some upper back strength for this weeks coming Open workout. Anyone have predictions for 12.3?

5 x 5 Pendlay Row

We reviewed the Pendlay row – including it’s origin – in a blog post last year (ROWING…BUT NOT “ROWING”). The gist of the post was that the Pendlay row is a great upper back strengthener, but in order to achieve the intended effects, they must be performed correctly. With that in mind, here are a few reminders on performing the movement:

(1) Most importantly, it’s meant to be explosive, and as such, it’s not about the weight you move, it’s about how explosively you move it;

(2) Set up is similar to the deadlift, with feet under the hips (rather than shoulder-width), hands just outside the legs, and hips pushed back until the torso is parallel to the floor (shins should remain as vertical as possible);

(3) When performing the Pendlay row, really pinch the shoulder blades together and drive the elbows towards the ceiling – wrists should remain inline with the forearm, and arms should remain relatively close to the body (rather than flared out); and finally,

(4) At no time should there be any movement of the knees, hips, or back – no jumping, no bouncing, and no heaving. The Pendlay row is about building upper back strength through explosive movement. Heaving the torso up to move the bar negates the effect, and while you might be able to move more weight, you’ll actually achieve less.

After everyone had successfully completed 5 working sets, class split off into pairs for a partner met-con of burpee-suicides (another oddball CFDC invention) and wall balls.

Partner Met-Con: 
5 x 1 Burpee Suicide & 15 Wall Balls

To complete a burpee suicide, sprint to half court and perform a single burpee, then turn and sprint back to the endline and perform another burpee, sprint full-court and burpee, back to the endline and burpee, and finally another half court and burpee, and back to the endline. Once back to the endline, the first partner went right into 15 wall balls, and as soon as they were done, partner 2 set off on their burpee suicide. Pairs continued in this fashion until both had completed 5 full rounds.

12.3 will be released at 8pm our time tonight. As with last week, we’ll do our best to update the blog header as soon as it’s up. Until then, rest up, get excited to see what the next challenge will be, and we’ll see you all on Thursday.



  1. Steph says:

    Sorry I missed class! If tom thinks upper back strength is needed for 12.3, I wonder if pull ups will be in the mix. Boo!

    Just kidding. I’m anxious to see what it will be though!

  2. Erica says:

    I agree, BOOOOO if pullups are in the mix. I’m hoping for a multi-exercise WOD so that if pullups are in the mix, I can at least get few reps.

    I had a hard time with the body position on the rows. But I loved seeing people explosively throw the bars down. Lots of energy last night.

    That metcon was ridiculously hard. The burpee suicide was the EASY part! I worked with Dana and we both suffered through the wallballs at 14#s which was heavy. I liked what Tom had said about keeping the standard for each of the 5 rounds the same and I worked to keep the ball above the silver tape, which worked (according to my estimation), 77% of the time.

  3. SBV says:

    Sorry, ladies. I’m kind of hoping for some pull-ups this week. You all had your fun with snatches — let me have a little fun on the pull-up bar.

    I’m a huge fan of Pendlay rows. I think Chris’ reminders about (1) being explosive and (4) not generating the explosiveness through heaving with the hips, knees, and/or back related directly to reminders (2) and (3) about positioning. If you can get yourself into the proper starting position, then the explosiveness comes more naturally. I like working with Sara on Pendlay rows (and deadlifts) because she gets into such a solid starting position. I then try to emulate the position. I spent some time before class last night rolling my feet, hamstrings, and back, and it really helped loosen up my posterior chain. I was able to get into a better starting position than usual, and I found that the explosiveness came much easier.

    I was in cruise control on the metcon until I looked up and saw a Salty Hat barreling down at me on the burpee suicides. I don’t know where he came from, but he was moving fast.

  4. Katie says:

    Based on Tom’s warnings about calluses and the upper back strength, I’m going to also predict pull-ups, along with box jumps or double unders. (After two weeks of only one exercise each time, they have to mix it up…right?)

    I like Pendlay rows too. It’s nice not to have the problem of pulling early! I worked with Tess and Mackenzie and did 50-50-50-60-70. The 70# ones weren’t great (didn’t quite reach my sternum, heaved a little), so I probably should have stuck to 60 or 65.

    Rough metcon. I’m trying to work on running form and not get frustrated with going slowly. I need to string together my wall balls rather than stopping each time, but my legs are just so tired it’s tough to do that. Thank you to Mackenzie for partnering with me and being a good sport about finishing last. I kind of prefer AMRAP workouts rather than workouts for time, because I finish at the same time as everyone rather than 5 minutes later. However, I’m okay with that, because I know I am far fitter now as the slowest at CFDC rather than at the top of an aerobics class. :o)

    Did anyone catch Biggest Loser last night? It was great watching them do burpees…their burpees look a lot like mine. :o/ My coworker mentioned Bob is competing in the Open, which is interesting. Plus, at least the product placement last night included Rogue Fitness and Larabars instead of just the usual Subway!

  5. Arbi says:

    I enjoyed this workout a lot – I worked up to 165# on the rows and then back down to 155# so I could get a solid 5 reps knocked out each time.

    I’ve been out of action for a bit, but this was a great workout to get me back into the mix of things.

    12.3 – Death by Double-Unders!

  6. ppetersan says:

    I have to agree with Sebastian – I would like to see some pull ups in the next workout and I wouldn’t mind DUs. Last night’s metcon was brutal. It’s amazing how heavy a 20# ball starts to feel. Around the 3rd round I started to feel some grabbing in my back when I would catch the ball, but I think it’s because I didn’t absorb the weight by dropping immediately into the squat. Definitely something for me to work on.

    I also enjoyed the pendlay rows, but that position feels very unnatural to me. I hope it feels more comfortable as I do more of them.

  7. Steph says:

    Arbi, it would be a dream come true for me (kind of) if your prediction for 12.3 is correct! Although, I am hoping for at least a triplet to make it more fun.

    Katie, I love your comment about being fitter than at the top of an aerobics class! Funny but so true!

  8. Dian says:

    I was really excited to see the burpee suicide/wall ball metcon on the programming last night. I really want to step-up my conditioning and that was certainly the way to do it.

    After 12.1, Tom B. pointed out to me that I land on the balls of my feet rather than my heels with burpees. I’ve been trying hard to correct that. Not much success last night but I’ll keep working on it. I thought the burpee suicides would be the worst part of the workout but it was the wallballs that got me. Thanks Andrea for partnering with me.

  9. Erica says:

    Katie, of course we saw BL and Ben was screaming every time the red team was doing another CF move. BURPEES! WALL BALLS! PUSH PRESS! you name it, Ben was excited about watching them do it 🙂

    And yes, BH is doing the open. I’ve been stalking his scores, and his comments on facebook about his workouts/reactions. I <3 him. And you are amazing and should never worry about your place. Your hard work is totally paying off.

    And SBV, some of the ladies (aka me) did not feel like snatches were a gift.

    Anyone want to start making some wagers for the workout? Seriously…

  10. Steph says:

    Dian, I think working on squats in general and working on plank-to-squats will help your position with burpees. Salty, the master of burpees (50+ kinds and counting) might be a good resource to go to about those.

  11. Sara says:

    I love pendaley rows. As SBV mentioned, this is a movement that I am very comfortable with. I worked up to 133 lbs then dropped to 128 lbs for my remaining 2-3 sets because I lost a bit of explosiveness. Thanks SBV for keeping an eye on me.

    Wow those wallballs were tough. I used the 16lb ball to the 10′ target. I’m getting better at them and was able to string 5-7 at a time.

  12. Steph says:

    Is it 5pm Pacific Time yet?!?!

  13. Erica says:

    I love that Steph is saying what everyone else is thinking 🙂

  14. Katie says:

    I guess everyone is having a slow day at work too? :o) Or CrossFit is just more interesting than work…

  15. Dian says:

    Thanks for the advice Steph. I will definitely rope in Chris. I was thinking of those plank to squats earlier. I do the same thing with those landing on the balls of my feet. I’m going to really work on it. I’m very distracted thinking about 12.3.

  16. Dian says:

    LOL Katie. CrossFit is definitely more interesting that work! I’ve been reading deposition testimony for a week. Fun times.

  17. Tom Brose says:

    I think Games Fever has reached epidemic proportions! We love to see so many comments.

    Dian, the plank to squats can definitely help, but you need to practice the sequencing right. Instead of a “double leg mountain climber” approach, the focus has to be on dynamically raising the upper body, and bringing the legs in underneath that. its tough, especially when you’re tired (like 5 minutes into 12.1). Think of each one as an individual rep, and make it explosive.

    Great to see the focus on LEGIT wallballs. The effort pays off…and with an influx of new people fresh out of Foundations, it sets the standard that we expect to see.

  18. edgy reggie says:

    I really enjoyed last night’s class. I worked up to 185# on the Pendlay row, but “backed down” to 175# as my form was starting to break down at 185#.

    The “Hammer” and I partnered up for the met-con. If people like Salty and Mark were the “hares” in the met-con, Tom and I were definitely the “tortoises.” 🙂 Let the “old-and-slow” team rule (we finished the met-con in 14:09). At least 20# wall balls were not a challenge for us (it pays to be 6’2″ and over).

    I watched The Biggest Loser last night, and I tend to act like Ben when Bob Harper gives his contestants a CrossFit workout. I, too, check out Mr. Harper on the leaderboard from time-to-time (he and I are the same age and the same zodiac sign…he is a few weeks younger that I).

    Yeah…let them announce double-unders for Open workout 12.3 so that we can get that behind us. 🙂

  19. TomandAmi says:

    OK we have to give Brose a No Rep! on this WOD – 15-12-9 18 minutes BJs (crossfit-wise), clean and Over-head, then T2B. This is a bitch. Long grinder. Fuck.

  20. Dian says:

    I have never once been able to get my toes to the bar. So screwed.

  21. Tom Brose says:


  22. Andraea says:

    I’m so late to this party on the blog! Wow! Wallballs were rough last night especially since my chest cold is still lingering but it was good to work on them.

    Thank god no DUs or pull-ups in 12.3! but 75lb push presses is going to be rough. But I’m excited to try it Saturday and to cheer everyone on!! I really don’t know what I’m going to do when there isn’t a workout being released at 8pm on Wednesdays anymore.

  23. Steph says:

    Dian, toes to bars are actually much easier than knees to elbows, especially when you have long legs!! You’ll knock a bunch out, you’ll see!

  24. SBV says:

    Quick request: can we get some new tape up on those pull-up bars? It would be nice to have a solid grip on the toes-to-bar.

  25. TomandAmi says:

    Ok I want velcor on the pull-up bar and fuzzy gloves.

  26. edgy reggie says:

    I guess Tom meant “Velcro.” 🙂

  27. edgy reggie says:

    I’m actually looking forward to workout 12.3. I’m not sure how many rounds I will complete, but I am ready for the challenge.

    We all suspect that double-unders will sneak in one of the workouts…just not in 12.3. 🙂

  28. Tom Brose says:

    I think Velcor is a banned substance, just say no!

  29. Sara says:

    @andraea – you will barrel through the 75lb push press just like u did on the snatches.

    @Dian- I agree with Steph toes to bar are easier than knees to elbows an you will do great on them. You will be surprised.

    This is a tough one for me. Oh well. I am glad it is a triplet. Dan called this one. He was expecting a long workout.

  30. Erica says:

    Love the PMA (positive mental attitude). I too feel a little nervous about T2B. Watching Annie T literally just lift her legs up last night on the demo was inspirational. She makes it look so easy!

  31. Dian says:

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone but the last time we did T2B my hands were on fire and I didn’t come close to getting one rep. Thanks Tom and Chris for making T2B part of the programming tonight. I certainly need the practice.

    @Erica – That Annie T. makes everything look easy.