April 2, 2012
April 6, 2012

Check out Katie in her new duds! And a big smile to boot. For those of you who don’t know, Katie was recognized this past weekend for her unwavering support of all the Open athletes – she showed up each and every Saturday, stuck around until every heat was done, successfully running the time-clock while cheering everyone on, and, without fail, brought a different paleo baked good to share each time. Not to mention the fact that, since joining us in October of last year, she has tackled every challenge thrown at her with gusto, and worked relentlessly to improve herself. That’s the kind of camaraderie and dedication that defines a community. Thanks again, Katie, for everything!

4 x 6 Mixed Grip Pull Ups+ 12 Push Presses @ 65-75% 1 RM

Everyone was encouraged to do as many strict pull-ups as possible, regardless of whether they could get less than 6 on the first set. If pull-ups weren’t in the cards, or when they finally gave out, the next step down the scale was negatives, but never more than 3 at a time. If the negatives weren’t working – i.e., dropping too fast – the final step down on the scale ladder was incline bar rows. Weight for the push-press was suggested as anywhere from 65-75% of an athlete’s max weight.

A quick note about form: while we often concentrate on pushing the weight up with our shoulders, don’t forget that once the weight is overhead, it’s imperative that we stabilize it. This requires the use of our entire body; pushing the head through the arms and driving the shoulders up towards the ears are essential, but that’s not enough. To really stabilize, we need to remember to tighten up the lower half of our bodies by squeezing our abs and glutes, thereby locking in our core. This creates a nice straight and stable mid-line from the barbell through the middle of our feet.

Here, you can see that John’s using active shoulders and has pushed his head through to ensure the weight is overhead, but because his abs and glutes aren’t engaged, his back is over-arched, creating empty space between the bar and his feet.
Two reps later, after a quick reminder, John’s still using active shoulders and pushing his head through, but he’s also engaged his core, creating a nice stable body position under the weight.  As it often goes with lifting, it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference.  Kudos to John for listening and applying the cues within the same set!

The strength portion wasn’t done for time, although, similar to last week, athletes were encouraged to jump on a bar as soon as it became free, whether for pull-ups or push press. Once everyone had completed 4 rounds, out came the towels, plates and jump ropes. Should’ve seemed familiar

Partner Met-Con: 
AMRAP in 12 minutes of Plate Push & Max Rep DUs

The last time this met-con showed up, it was a slightly lighter version with only a 1/2 court plate push, with guys pushing 45lbs and the ladies 25lbs. For the new and improved version, the distance was lengthened to a full court (broken into two 1/2ct lengths for the evening classes), while the weight was upped to 25kg for guys and 35lbs for the ladies (although I spied at least 3 ladies – Lauren Twohig, Julia, and Sara – using 25kg for the workout. Awesome!) In this manner, one partner performed the plate push while the other completed as many double unders as possible. Upon completing the plate push, the two partners switched positions. This back and forth continued until time as called. This version definitely allowed for more double unders, and it was awesome to see people really pushing themselves to get right back onto the ropes.

Also, recent information has come to light that we have, not one, but TWO Maryland State Olympic Weightlifting record holders in the gym.

Sara Katz: record holder in the Snatch, C&J, and Total(Maryland & Potomac Valley Residence Records, 35-39)   

Mike Choi: record holder in the C&J and Total 
(Maryland & Potomac Valley Residence Records, 40-45

Be sure to congratulate them both!!

And speaking of Olympic lifting, just a friendly reminder that the Cap City Open Olympic Weightlifting meet, to be held at Balance Kalorama in two weeks (Saturday, April 21). For those of you thinking of competing, there are only a few spots left. However, we also need more volunteers, so if you can spare a couple of hours, your assistance would be much appreciated (you can e-mail Chris or Mike, or simply leave a comment). At the very least, come out to cheer on the lifters!



  1. Steph says:

    Look at MacKenzie’s guns! Awesome!

    Congrats to Sara and Mike! Very cool!

    Came to class to work on my upper-body strength. It was so good to see everyone! Pull-ups were not happening last night and I was only able to get 1 in the first round and that was more of a struggle than it had been in the past. Did 2 rounds of push presses with the bar before my lower back started to pinch, probably cuz I wasn’t squeezing my glutes enough, so I switched to db strict presses for the remaining 2 rounds.

    I paired up with Jessi on the metcon and boy did she make it tough for this outta shape gal. She was really moving on those plate pushes! Julia, who was next to me, was also lapping me every time with her 25kg plate! Double unders were terrible for me last night. Need to get back on the rope.

    I am volunteering at the lifting competition. Join me!

  2. Katie says:

    Thanks for the kind words! My smile is totally fake in that photo, but I really am overjoyed to be part of CFDC. I think it says quite a bit about the CFDC community that I have been welcomed with opened arms and encouraged so much. I will continue to wear my new shirt with pride!

    Congratulations Sara and Mike! That’s really awesome!!

    I had a great night last night. I did my first successful negative pull-up!!! The last time I attempted this was on February 23, when I attempted a negative chin-up, and couldn’t control myself on the descent. But last night I did it!! I’m SO EXCITED! This stuff really works!! :o)

    I don’t think I would have made it with 45# for 4 x 12 reps, so I used 15# DB, and that was just right. I definitely need to focus on form and keeping the glutes and abs tight…those photos of John are really helpful. After doing two sets of negative chin-ups/push-ups, I was dropping a little too quickly so I switched to the parallel bar rows for the last two sets.

    I teamed up with Andraea (and Joanne!) and we did well on the metcon. I don’t remember how many rounds we got, but we definitely pushed ourselves. I focused on not resting for too long between plate pushes — it’s such a mental challenge. Great class!

  3. Arbi says:

    I’ve been loving the programming lately and this workout was definitely a fun one! I did the SWOD at 95# for the push press. I did 6 regular strict pull-ups, two rounds of mixed-grip strict pull-ups, and the final round I did 3 strict and 3 negatives.

    I paired with Eric for the DWOD and after two rounds and realizing that there was about 10 minutes left, it dawned on me how grueling this one was going to be! I don’t remember the total number of rounds, but I was counting my double-unders and got to a few above 100.

  4. Sara says:

    Thanks Chris and Tom for the shout out. Thanks Steph and Katie!

    I jumped in on the metcon with the 7PM class. I used the 25kg plate and averaged between 30-40 double unders per round. I love plate pushes. They are a burnner on your legs but they are so fun.

  5. Mackenzie says:

    Steph, you are sweet! Around these parts, it is all about the gun show 🙂 Also, I am so happy you are back in action!

    Huge congrats to Sara and Mike! You guys are awesome. And Katie, you should be so proud of all your hard work!

    The 12 rep strength work and 12 minute metcon made a great combination last night. I worked with the 45lb bar for the push presses and I focused on doing all 12 unbroken with the best form possible. By the 9th rep in each set I had to really focus on my dip-drive. Also, Chris noticed I was directing the bar around my face instead of moving my face away from the bar. The simple act of pulling my head back and looking up before I start to drive the bar up made a world of a difference. Thanks for your help!

    The other half of the 12&12 concept – the metcon – was awesome. I find these longer metcons really helpful in preparing for long distance runs, seemingly impossible lifts, etc. It is a great opportunity to sharpen that “mind over matter” skill set.

  6. Erica says:

    I’d say Amelia and I definitely pushed our limits yesterday. We were planning on going with 65#s, but Tom pushed us to go to 75#s. I was able to consistently get 6 reps at a time, all four rounds. Felt heavy and need to make the adjustments that both coaches pointed out, but they are feeling awkward still. Need more practice. We upgraded to the 35# plate push. I really struggled with the double unders towards the end of the 12 minutes. It got frustrating, but I’m at the point, where I feel like I’d rather fight for DUs then do singles.

    Congrats Mike and Sara!! And so well-deserved Katie.

  7. Dian says:

    That is a great photo of you Katie! So glad that you are part of CFDC.

    Congratulations Sara and Mike! I’m going to take every opportunity to casually mention to folks that I work out with a couple of Maryland State Olympic Weightlifting record holders so if you feel your ears burning its my fault. I’m looking forward to the Cap City Open and I’m totally in for volunteering so let me know.

    I almost cried when I had to miss class last night. Seriously, I closed the door to my office and put my head down for a little while when I knew I was going to miss all this upper body strength work. Looks like it was a great class.

  8. Andraea says:

    Great photo Katie! You look so happy and not in any pain which is usually expressed in the photos. And congrats on a great night for you with the negative pull-ups!

    Also, big congrats to Sara and Mike! You guys rock!

    Awesome workout last night, I’m feeling a bit sore but it’s a good sore but not bad at all. I thought I would be dying since I used the 75lb for the push presses. Thanks Chris for sending me down that way even though I was a little reluctant. Sometimes thinking about the number just freaks me out a bit. But I managed to do 3 sets of 12 reps all unbroken and then the last set I had to stop at 9 for a second before I could do the last 3.

    I did 3 chin-ups for the first round, then 2 the second and 1 the rest of the rounds and then just did negatives. Pull-ups are always a struggle but I was so glad to get some work in on them last night. I’m determined to get better at them.

    I was also happy with time to work on double unders, I was able to string a few together last night. Katie and I used the 35lb plate to push, I actually like plate pushes and it’s definitely best not to stop during them, just keep going, even if it’s a bit slow, it’s painful to start again once stopped. Katie and Joanne, you were great partners and so positive!

    Great work everyone! See you tomorrow!

  9. Kenna says:

    I agree with Arbi that the programming lately has been so much fun!

    On the pull ups, I was getting in some decent negatives (big improvement from previous times), though I dropped a little too quickly on one of the last ones… I’m hoping there wasn’t too much trauma to my right shoulder there (I thought the box was under me, but I missed it).

    Push presses are one of my favorites. I was using the 45# bar and really focusing on keeping my core tight. I’m pretty confident I can increase weight a good bit on those next time!

    Plate pushes are not my favorite, but Caroline was a great and encouraging partner. I think we were using a 35# plate. I also got in trouble for sounding like a jumping cow while attempting double unders… still working on those, hahaha.

    Looking forward to tonight!

  10. Kenna says:

    And congrats Sara and Mike!!!