March 26, 2012
March 30, 2012

Upper body strength is not extinct here! Tuesday’s class put in some serious overtime on their triceps and upper backs, a much needed source of power for CrossFit’s ubiquitous pull-up and push-up regimens. 

5 x 1+ Ring Dips, AMRAP Bar Dips, & 5 Pendlay Rows 

After a general warm-up, class broke into groups to warm-up with some Pendlay rows, working towards a moderate weight to be used in the coming strength workout. Once the bars were loaded with the appropriate weight, class hit the strength complex.

1+ Ring Dips: The general prescription here was to take your max set of ring dips, and then cut by a third, if not a full half (so, if your max single set of ring dips is 10, then aim to do 5 ring dips for Tuesday’s complex). Full ring dips were scaled to extended holds for max time. To perform the hold, simply jump up into the extended position, and hold for as long as possible, working as hard as possible to keep the shoulders pulled back and down (achieving a full hollow position is best). The hold position on the rings was scaled down to holds on the parallel bars.

AMRAP Bar Dips: Once an athlete was finished with their rings dips, they moved immediately to a set of AMRAP dips on the parallel bars. For those who performed holds on the rings, the prescription was to perform negatives on the bars, using the feet to absorb the bottom position and then jump back up into the extended position. Athletes who performed their holds on the parallel bars then cycled over to a pair of boxes for a set of AMRAP supported-dips, placing their hands on the boxes, and extending their legs out in front with the heels resting on the ground.

Pendlay Rows: After an athlete had completed both the ring dips and bar dips, they went back to their barbell for a set of 5 Pendlay rows. The trick here was to use a weight that would allow you to remain explosive on the upwards pull (see previous reviews about the explosive focus of the Pendlay row HERE and HERE) after the triceps had been severely worked in the two previous movements.

The strength session wasn’t for time, but it should’ve been a steady rotation through the exercises until everyone had completed five full circuits. Once done, everyone found themselves a kettlebell for a short met-con.

8 Min AMRAP of 12 KB swings & Church Run (250m) 

Starting with the KB, perform 12 swings and then head out the back door for a short 250m run. Complete the couplet as many times as possible in 8 minutes. Swings were programmed as overhead (American-style) and could be done using either extended-arms or a snatch-swing style. Anyone uncomfortable with the overhead position went to eye-level (Russian-style), but was encouraged to up the weight.

Lizzy enjoying her running substitute for the evening.

Nice work all around. Remember to dig up and submit your back squat numbers by this coming Sunday! We will lay out the coming strength cycle of you in Thursday’s post, but we need squat numbers from all of you (they don’t have to be an actual 1 rep max; we can use 2, 3, 5, 10 rep maxes or whatever, but back squat would be best – if you don’t have a back squat number, the next best would be a box squat max). See you all Thursday.



  1. SBV says:

    Can’t wait to see this 16-week cycle. I’m hanging one of those giant white boards in my office to document the entire cycle.

    Good start to the 2013 season for me yesterday. Hit the football field at lunch for a dynamic warm-up, 5 x 5 broad jumps for max distance, and 10 x 50 yard sprints. I’m training straight-up POWER for the next 16 weeks! At class, I managed 5 ring dips per round and performed working sets on the Pendlay rows at 140# (tried first set at 150#, but had to use too much body movement). Graduated to the 28kg kettlebell for metcon and completed 4 full rounds plus 6 swings. Worked rope climb technique post-class (thanks to Mark for teaching me new technique).

  2. Andraea says:

    I want a rope climbing session! I’ll have to go in one of these days to do it since that sounds fun and different.

    Enjoyed last night’s work on ring dips and dips in general. I did 2 negative dips on the rings and then jumped on the rings and held that for 5-10 seconds. Then I did 3 dips on the parallel bars, I think I got my arms parallel with the bars but couldn’t go lower than that. I definitely need to work on getting the shoulders down more. Pendlay rows got rough, but also good to do since I’m all about pull-ups now after 12.5!

    Used my new KB weight of 20kg, got through 3 rounds unbroken on the swings, then the 4th round I had to stop 2x since my form was going to he’ll and it was kicking my ass but I got through them. Time was up while I was on the run so didn’t complete the 4th.

    Tonight Mackenzie and I are meeting to do back squats together to get that weight since it’s been so long I can’t even guess and I really want a true number to work from. Definitely need to start writing down the weight now to keep track.

  3. Katie says:

    I really enjoyed the upper body work, as it’s one of my areas for improvement and I’m wearing a strapless wedding dress in October. :o) I scaled with a parallel bar hold (5-10 seconds) and the genius “box dips.” Used 50# for the Pendlay rows, which was enough, my arms were so tired!! I’m sore today and know I’ll be even more sore tomorrow. It’s awesome.

    I plan to keep working on my running, maybe doing a run or two a week for a few miles. I finished 3 full rounds and a couple KB swings…used a 12 kg KB, and by the last round my swings were starting to stink, I was letting it pull me onto my toes. Something to work on next time KB swings come up in Elements!

  4. Kenna says:

    This workout targeted some of my weakest muscles, which is great. I can definitely feel it today. I struggled with the ring hold so eventually scaled to parallel bar hold, but got a couple of negatives in there before moving to box dips. I used 50# on the Pendlay rows, which I haven’t ever done before.

    I got 3.5 rounds of the metcon in, but finished out the 4th run after time ran out. I was using a 20# kettlebell because that’s pretty much the only one that was left that I could lift.

    Looking forward to the back squat stuff!

  5. Erica says:

    If you look REAALLLLLLLY closely, you can see the faint outline of my triceps. Swwweet.

    I feel like every time we do something involving rings, I get in touch with the inner child who failed miserably in gymnastics when she was younger and is getting her second chance. Even though I’m no where close, just holding myself up on the rings provided me with a taste of what it must feel like to get a muscle up. One day…some day….After the 16 week leg cycle, will we be switching to an upper body cycle? I couldn’t do the bar dips, so used the box dips and will be focusing on turning my elbows in on those and pushups more. Pendley rows, I think we used 80lbs which is awesome because when I used to do barbell rows at the globogym, I don’t think I ever went above 45#s

    Completed exactly 4.5 rounds on the metcon with the 16kgkb. KBs really take your breathe away!