April 27, 2012
May 2, 2012

Continuing our off-squat, hamstring-focused strength-work, class hit some full on deadlifts this Sunday, with a follow-up a dose of Bulgarian split squats, before taking things outside for a little three-round finishers between partners.

Deadlift 6 sets of 1 + 1 + 1 

Sunday’s deadlifts were styled as “singles,” in that each after completing each rep, an athlete was to release their grip on the bar (with or without coming back to standing), then re-set their grip and posture and perform the next rep. We’ve had a lot of success recently working deadlifts in this manner, and it’s clearly related to the fact that the multiple single-reps mean people are really having to concentrate on their set-up. A good solid set-up really dictates how the rest of the lift will go, and the improvement in a lot of people’s form yesterday served to drive this point home.

A few quick reminders on set-up:

Distance – Step up to the bar to set-up with your shins only an inch or two away (when you look down at the bar, it should intersect your mid-foot). This shortens the weight or lifting lever-arm – i.e., the distance between your mid-line (your body’s center of gravity) and the weight’s center of gravity, which makes for optimal lifting.  

Feet – feet should be approximately shoulder width apart, HOWEVER, this is somewhat of a personal factor, as different body-types, builds, levels of flexibility, etc. will dictate exactly where and how the feet are placed – not everyone is the same, but the variation should be by small degrees.  

Inhale – After you get set and grab the bar, but before you initiate the lift, take a big breath in to really increase your intra-abdominal pressure. 

Abs – Along with a big inhalation, really press flex and force out your abs, which will ensure your midsection is secure and strong, helping to keep the low back static when you initiate your lift (as opposed to rounding). Wearing a belt will help this, as you can actually push your abs out against the belt; however, you can also imitate this feeling without a belt by pressing your abs into your thighs when you set-up on the bar.

Squeeze – We’ve all heard this, especially from Tom, but the basic gist is to avoid jerking/heaving the weight off the floor. Instead, pull tight against the bar and then push your feet into the floor, “squeezing” the weight off the floor. 

Contact – Keep the bar in contact with your body, allowing it to travel up your shins, over your knees, and then up your thighs (again, the goal is maximizing your leverage (refer to the note above about Distance).  

Lockout – Squeeze the glutes to bring the hips under the torso and achieve lockout, rather than hyperextending your lower back (leaning backwards). 

Many thanks to Diesel Crew for the Deadlift form-check template used above. I would also recommend checking out Jim Smith’s (also of the Diesel Crew) article entitled “How to Set-Up on the Deadlift,” if for nothing more than the cat-shitting-reference that kicks things off.

5 x 5 Tempo Bulgarian Split Squats

The first set of BSS were unweighted allowing everyone to focus on form and incorporating a slight pause at the bottom. Remaining sets could be done with weight added as per people’s preference, holding 1 DB in both hands at the chest (think “goblet squat”) or 2 DBs at the side.

Partner Met-Con: 
 1 x 250m DB Overhead Carry & Sprint; 
1 x 250m DB Shoulder Carry & Sprint; 
1 x 250m DB Farmer’s Walk & Sprint 

With great weather, class headed outside for a partner met-con. Each partner chose one set of DBs, and decided who would start with the DBs, and who would start with the sprint. At go, one partner took of in a 250m sprint while the other partner pressed the DBs overhead and started walking the same 150m course. When the sprinting partner made a complete loop and caught up to the partner carrying the DBs, they traded places. This switching continued until the DBs had made a complete 250m loop.

After the the DB’s made one 250m loop being carried overhead, they made another 250m loop with the partners carrying them on their shoulders (still with the other partner sprinting), and then a third 250m loop with the partners carrying them farmer’s-walk style.

Thanks to everyone who made it down to Old Town for the Run for Shelter 10k on Saturday. By all accounts it was an extremely successful race, with the weather holding off until all was said and done. Kudos to Julia for all her work on the race, and here’s to an even bigger turn-out next year.



  1. Steph says:

    Great class! We managed to fit a lot of stuff in! The metcon looked especially fun, wish I could’ve participated! Great job, everyone!

    Also, the special 9am kipping class was also a success, having the full hour allowed Chris and Sara to cover every piece of the movement. It was awesome to see people getting the hang of the kip and trying to get one or two kipping pull-ups.

  2. Dian says:

    This was a great class. I pushed hard to make it to the 9:00 am kipping class but got stuck in the office…yes, the office. I’m looking forward to finding my missing stict pull-up and getting it some siblings and finally learning how to kip.

    Our group worked up to 165lbs for the deadlifts. Not quite at 80% of our 1-rep maximums. We should have added about 15 more pounds to the bar.

    I really enjoyed the split squats and the met con. The overhead carry was by far the toughest part. It was a beautiful morning so I’m glad we took the met con outside.

    Congratulations Julia! So glad to hear that the run was a success. And congratulations to all the CFDC participants, especially those that hate to run, yes I’m talking about you Reggie. Bravo!

  3. Erica says:

    Thanks Steph and Chris and Sara for awesome kip coaching. Like most crossfit movements, I understand what I need to do in my head, but putting it into action is another story. I’m hoping that like the clean and double unders, one day, I’ll just get it.

    Yeah for no lower back pain, double yeah for only minor hamstring soreness and TRIPLE YEAH for glute soreness! I think my jeans are already fitting better after yesterday’s split squat workout. I worked with Jessi and Meels on the DLs. I think I used 154 on the first five sets and then 164 on the last one. DLs are not a strength of mine, but felt like my form was getting better. Thank you for Jessi for pushing me on the SSs, we used no weight on the first set of 15, then 15 lbs on the second, and 20 on the last.

    I worked with Tess on the metcon, with a 25lb db. It felt heavy, but thankfully since I was working with the 18 year old, things kept moving very quickly so I felt like I didn’t have to walk or run for too long. 🙂

  4. Tom Brose says:

    Nice work everyone! While Julia and I were running the Intro session, I could see everyone making progress on the kipping. Chris explained it really well and the value was clearly evident. I can’t stress enough how important technique is, not just while performing a lift or workout, but breaking it down OUTSIDE of the workout environment and focusing purely on perfecting the movement. Blasting through sloppy movements will get you a workout in the short term, but sets you up for disaster. Anyone who has tried to take a small step up only to be completely frustrated by a sudden lack of ability should be able to understand what I’m talking about. Skill and precision first, build consistency, then add intensity.

  5. Amelia says:

    Good to be back in town for a Sunday workout. Sorry I missed the kipping though.

    Worked at 174 for the deadlifts which felt heavy but I think I was able to maintain good form.

    The SS’s were a burner. Worked with Jessi on the MetCon and we both struggled the most with the overhead walks with the 25lb dbs

  6. Julia says:

    Thank you (and congrats!) to those who came out and rocked the 10k & mile run, and thank you all for your support!

    Good challenges all around on Sunday. Great to get outside on such a beautiful day. I partnered up with Max on the metcon (thanks Max). The split squats turned out to be a real team effort too: thanks Steph for picking out weights (and not letting me off easy, geez!); Chris and Sara for explaining the proper way to hop the front foot into place; Sana and Emily for not minding too much when I knocked them off the box trying to get my other foot into position (sorry, guys). Team sport, this stuff. Awesome. See you all tomorrow!

  7. Katie says:

    What a fun class, I was beyond happy to be back after missing two classes!! I had planned “take it easy” since I wasn’t quite at 100%…ha. :o)

    I did 95# on the DLs, and then wanted to do 105# on the last set — but all the 5# weights were in use, so what the heck, I went for it and did 2 reps at 115#! (I felt my form slipping on the third so I stopped.) By far the most I’ve done on a DL, so I’m quite pleased. I’ll be doing my body weight soon, which is one of my goals for this year.

    I just used body weight for the BSS, and I’m glad I did — my glutes are so sore today, wow! I worked with Kathy for the metcon, and we used 15# DB, a choice we were very happy about near the end of the first block. Running is still tough, but starting to feel a little better.

  8. Sara says:

    Great Class everyone! I did deadlifts and split squats after class. I worked at 223lbs on the Deadlifts. I completed the first 5 sets but only got 2 reps on the last set.

    I did one set of split squats with no weight, 1 with 25lbs and 1 with 30lbs. Thank you Tom for the modification that allowed me to do these with no pain in the knee.

  9. Dan Samarov says:

    Great job everyone!! Deadlifts felt pretty solid, really focused on keeping my back flat and engaging my hamstrings (still a work in progress). The carries were a lot of fun, except the tree which attacked me for the overhead carry… sure I could’ve brought the dumbbell’s down and walked past the tree, but that would’ve been too easy. Btw, if you haven’t already please sign up http://sciencebehindsweat.com/crossfit-workouts-tracking-analyzing?rc=CFDC1 !

  10. edgy reggie says:

    @Dian: Ahhh, thanks for the call-out. I feel the love! 🙂 Next year, I will drag you kicking and screaming to do the one-mile fun run with me.

    The “Run for Shelter 10K + Fun Run” was actually a lot of fun. As I mentioned to quite a few people, I was able to shave a minute off my best mile-run time (thanks CrossFit DC!). Thanks (and congrats) to Dave, Kathy, Joanne, and John Frazer for participating. Thanks also to Sara for the support and for the chat (especially about butchers).

    Deadlifts: I worked up to 160 kg (~352 lbs.) on the deadlifts (sets 4 – 6) which was close to eighty percent of my one-rep max. The lifts felt good as I do prefer the single-rep progression. I was able to keep tension on my quads, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, and back as I performed each lift.

    (Bulgarian) Split Squats: I started with bodyweight (i.e., no additional weight) so that I could get my foot position correct. On the second set, I did ten reps (L + R) with a single 20# dumbbell. The third set: 10 reps (L + R) with a single 35# dumbbell.

    Met-con: A not-so-fun run for me; although, it was nice outside (weather-wise). I partnered with Sean (thanks for being a trouper), and we used 35# dummbbells. Being tall was a disadvantage with the overhead carry as I crashed into the tree limbs multiple times…which broke what little stride I had. (Yes, Coach, I know that you said post-workout to lunge under the limbs. I will do that next time.)

    Anyway, it was a great workout followed by a great day: I had brunch with friends and did Winnie’s yoga class later in the day.

    I will see everyone in class this Thursday. Hope that everyone has a great workout tonight (1 May)!