April 9, 2012
April 13, 2012

Tuesday was a bit of an aberration that saw a mix of skill and strength, but no real conditioning.  Odd?  Perhaps, but worth it to spend the time on some handstands and then a few heavy thrusters.


Before anyone kicked up into a handstand, class spent some time on the floor reviewing the Hollow position, an essential piece of any handstand work. The hollow position review included:

  1. pulling the knees into the chest, raising the shoulders off the floor and pressing the low back into the floor;
  2. getting into, and maintaining, the above position while extending one leg;
  3. as above, but extending the other leg;
  4. then, finally, extending both legs. 

The goal each time is to work on tilting the pelvis forward/up while 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, such as an actual handstand.

The hollow position review was followed by 3 Rounds of either max Handstand Hold (facing the wall), or 20 Alternating Shoulder Touches (facing the wall). Each set was immediately followed be a max Hollow Position hold. Athletes were give the option to either cartwheel up of wall-walk into position; however, while the Handstand holds were programmed as “max time,” obviously going to failure when facing the wall isn’t optimal, and so athletes were instructed to go to a point that was as long as possible while still being sub-max (hopefully saving anyone from failing out and crashing down onto their heads).

As to why handstands were only allowed facing the wall, take a second to read our blog post from last December (“AMERICAN HANDSTAND“) about the positional benefits of practicing your handstands facing the wall as opposed to facing away from the wall. Post handstand work, class moved over to the platforms for some strength work in the form of heavy thrusters.

5 x 3 Heavy Thrusters + AMRAP Pull-Ups

Pull-Ups were to be performed immediately after each set of Thrusters, with scaling options which included Chest to Bar, Chin over Bar, Band Assisted (still chin over), or Negatives (beginning from the chin over position).

The default explanation for a thruster is that the movement is a front squat followed by a push press. Yet, it’s not really one lift followed by another – it’s a single contiguous movement.

The issue, or difficulty, arises from the fact that the technique for the thruster is much more difficult than for either the front squat or the push press alone. This is because the ideal front squat uses a different elbow position than the ideal push press. The front rack position is hard enough, but in the thruster, a lifter must not only have a solid front rack, but then be able to transition, mid-lift, into a solid push press position. Thrusters are often used in CrossFit workouts in high rep schemes, but going for weight can really help determine where you are weakest in the movement, areas that are perhaps covered by brute strength or speed when done at lighter weight for high volume. It’s tempting to want to concentrate on the over-head part, but remember: without a stable and well-controlled front squat, you may very well not even make it to the overhead part.

Great work on some complex movements. Although a rarity, we do in fact have classes from time to time that are without a met-con. Of course, this usually means something conditioning-centric is lurking just around the corner. See you all Thursday!



  1. SBV says:

    The workout was good. But, I really feel like sharing some nicknames I’ve come up with recently for Amelia. Her last name, Modigliani, is perfect for nicknames. There’s “Mo,” “Mo-Mo,” “Modigs,” “CrossFit Modigs,” “Digs,” Digli,” “Digli who! who!,” “Digga-what?,” “Meels,” “Meels on Wheels” (when she’s running), and “the A-Train.” Pretty good, huh?

  2. Amelia says:

    SBV I am honored to have your blog post dedicated to my nicknames. I know how seriously you take your blog comments.

    You have a pretty good list there. Many are already in use. One strong addition that I will offer up is Ammo.

    Now I need to get working on yours…

  3. Julia says:

    Ammo and SBV, you guys should have a talk show. It would be beyond awesome-meter awesome. You would CRUSH Mika and Joe.

  4. Kenna says:

    Wow, I had no idea Amelia’s last name was so versatile!

    Not gonna lie, last night’s class was frustrating for me. I feel like my body was not responding to the changes my mind was trying to make on form. I bounced around between 30#-50#s on the thrusters. I hit 5 band-assisted pullups on every round, though it got harder in the last couple of rounds. The handstands/hollow position targeted some of my weak areas, and that was good. My shoulder is feeling better, so that good news. Ready to get back up on the horse tomorrow!

  5. Kenna says:

    slight correction: 35#-55# on thrusters.

  6. Erica says:

    Loved SBV’s comments. Would love to know how he got on that topic. Even though I love the conditioning part of crossfit, I have to say, that working with Amelia, Andraea, Jessi, Tess, and Ami last night was a whole lotta female amazingness last night. All about strength, which was great! We got (at least) 1 or more reps at 90 LBS ON A THRUSTER! That was so badass! So, while pullups continue to be something to work on for me, I feel really awesome about the thrusters. And I was able to hit 3 rounds of 20 shoulder touches. Gave me great confidence going into today.

  7. Andraea says:

    Yes there was a lot of female awesomeness last night! I love the support we give each other and how we challenge and push ourselves and one another to perform at our best!! The fabulous Ami decided we should do a bonus 6th round at 90lbs and we all got through it! Thanks Ami for that challenge!

    Happy to have time working on pull ups as those always need work. Got through the first 2 sets and did 3 reps strict and then went to the bands.

    Handstand facing wall is a bit scary, definitely forces me to focus on staying tight. I did work up to 12 shoulder touches the last round which is better than my 4 I did the last time we did these.

    Bring on the long, intense metcon tomorrow!

  8. TomandAmi says:

    First, love me some female awesomeness – like strong.

    Second, OK if Sebastien née Ben is going to sling nicknames then I propose a nickname naming contest for SBV (which by the way is way too literal and boring). So guys and gals throwing down the gauntlet hear (look it up) for some names to throw into the mix. Ethan do not let me down here, let me mean ya Reggie, Mark holla, Danimal, Greg don’t be shy, Julia u 2, Erica?, et al. (look it up). The winning name of the best three wins my wrist wraps – I know enerous but I am getting a new pair so it’s cool.

  9. Dian says:

    Speaking of female awesomeness, lets hear it for Dr. Merson!

    I’ve missed out on a lot of CFDC awesomeness since last week but, 6:30 tomorrow I’m leaving the office and anyone that raises a fuss can kiss my ass. I have more than a week of intense stress (ahem, chocolate) to work off.

  10. Yes, congrats to Dr. Merson! Woohooo!

    Also, does anyone else notice that SBV is ALWAYS the first person to post on the blog? Someone else needs to try and beat him to it tomorrow…the guy can’t be stopped! Although I do think that “Meels on Wheels (when she’s running)” is the most hysterical nickname ever. What would she be called when she’s bounding (her favorite activity in the world!)?

    Looking forward to class tonight!

  11. Katie says:

    Awesome job on the 90# thrusters, ladies!!! It’s inspiring to watch you all. I was so impressed at how many shoulder touches the ladies were getting, too — wow!!!!

    I scaled with my angled wall hold for the handstand hold…shoulders weren’t feeling that strong, I think they may have still been recovering from the Sunday overhead DB carry? I used 35# for the thrusters, which felt heavy the first three rounds until I figured out (duh!) the same cues for the back squats apply to thrusters! I breathed into my diaphragm and kept my core tight and felt much more solid. I think once I really get that down I’ll be able to increase my weight on squats. I did 5 or 6 band-assisted pull-ups per round.

    My goal for today is to hydrate and eat well in prepration for tonight’s workout. (Work is secondary, of course.) I’m a little scared I might puke/pass out/collapse, but that’s what makes it fun, right? :o)

  12. edgy reggie says:

    @”Brother” Tom: I think you know that “née” is used for females and “né” is used for males, right? 🙂

    On the nickname “contest”: Give me a few days to come up with something.

    [Sebsatian, don’t punch him the next time you see him. 🙂 However, you must have had a slow day at work when you posted your comment. :-)]

    @Dr. Merson: Congrats on the new title. I bow to you. 🙂

    Yeah, this workout was a good one in that I need to shore up some of my many weaknesses (e.g., upper body strength). I managed to work up to 155# x 2 on the thrusters…which, I think, is a new PR for me. Of course, I have to work on my squat depth and get down a little more.

    The handstand holds were a little challenging at first, but — with a little adjustment from Coach — I got the hang of it. Now, I need to work on the next phase, the shoulder touches.

    Onward and upward to the next class. See y’all there!

  13. TomandAmi says:

    My mustake. You are correct Reg – I am blaming that on spell check.

  14. Erica says:

    Thanks guys! Um, I’m struggling to come up with a nickname based off of SBV…can I come up with something related to either Sebastian, or Ben, OR vaneria??