April 30, 2012
May 4, 2012

Coming off a weekend of lower-body burn, Tuesday’s classes went after some upper-body burn out. 

Strength 1: 
Strict Press 5, 5, 3, 3, 3 
(w/ intervals of 5 Hanging Scap Retraction

After a few warm-up sets with light weight, begin working sets of 2 x 5 followed 3 x 3, working up to a 3RM for the day. In between each working set however, everyone was to perform 5 hanging scapular retractions on the pull-up bars. We’ve talked before about the use of the hanging scap retraction in the pull-up/kipping scheme of things, but it’s also a great way to really focus on engaging our upper back during any sort of pressing; it’s the same muscles used to create the “active shoulders” so often called for by coaches during overhead work. Speaking of coaching points during the press, there were still a lot of loose cores/glutes during the presses on Tuesday.

Back at the beginning of April, we did a workout involving Pull-Ups and Push Press (“SUPER STAR“), and in the following blog-post (linked above), we talked about the imperative of stabilizing the weight overhead. Specifically, we said that “(t)o 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.” This was accompanied by a nice pair of photos of John used as a comparison of loose core/glutes and tight core/glutes. On Tuesday, it was Paul who provided the comparison photos:

Paul’s upper body is plenty tight, but you can see an excessive amount of back arch during this press.
In the next set, even at heavier weight, Paul is able to remove that excessive back arch by engaging his glutes when the weight is overhead.

This stabilized body position will really help with multiple reps, especially when trying to institute the breathing and immediate rep method discussed last night before everyone started their presses. The point to going right into the next rep (as opposed to stopping and resetting with the bar on the shoulders) is to use the tension gained by lowering the weight to help drive up the next rep, and in order to do that, you need to adjust your breathing to take the breath in while the weight is overhead. This will be extremely difficult to do if your core and glutes are loose, resulting in an over-arched back and distended mid-section.

 Strength 2: 
1 x AMRAP Push Press 

Following completion of the strict press sets, Tuesday’s program called for one set of AMRAP push-press done at one of the following weights: 45lbs, 65lbs, 95lbs, or 115lbs. Ideally, you would get at least 10reps at your chosen weight. The same cues as above apply, just with an extra bit of momentum added from the legs with the dip-drive. Once the AMRAP was completed, everyone grabbed their ropes for a quick 7min met-con.

Annie Simulator 

In 7min, complete as many ascending rounds as possible of 5 DU’s, 5 sit-ups, 10 DU’s, 10 sit-ups, 15 & 15, 20 & 20, etc. Scaling for the DU’s were 2-1 single skips (so, 10 skips, 5 sit-ups, 20 skips, 10 sit-ups, 30 & 15, 40 & 20, etc.). Definitely a lot of improvement in the jump rope department, not just with Double Unders, but also with general form and positioning.

Amelia had a serious plan of attack keeping her jump rope in-hand and ready-to-go during the sit-ups (either that, or she thought someone was gonna steal her rope while she did sit-ups…)

Great work in class, especially in completing all the work in such a large 6pm class. We received some updated information regarding the CrossFit for Hope workout, so please read-on. We’ll see you all on Thursday.

June 9, 2012, 9am-5pm

Two weeks ago (“Off The Wall“) we told you about the CrossFit for Hope workout, and about the fact that at least 32 DC-area CF affiliates will be taking part in the workout outside at John Marshall Park (down by the Capitol, beside the Canadian Embassy). Registration for the workout is now OPEN. Here’s what you need to know about registering:

  • There are 4 options for registration: Individual; Individual with T; Children; & Volunteer.
  • Registration fees are $7 today, but go up to $12 in 2 weeks. 
  • Fees cover expenses for the event. Any leftover money will be donated. 
  • To support CFHQ’s partnering with St. Jude and in the spirit of the event, all participants must fundraise at least $30 through www.CrossfitforHope.com.
  • Heat options will be removed as they get maxed out.

You can Register for the Mid-Atlantic Crossfit Affiliates for Hope here: http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=2030844



  1. Steph says:

    Great class last night! I usually dread upper-body-focused classes because my upper-body is so weak, but I guess I’ll never get stronger unless I put in the work.

    I did my best to keep my core tight and glute squeezed and thought I did a better job than I had before. Of course, I still have many areas to improve, and many thanks to Tom and Chris for providing helpful cues. Apparently I also need to keep my shoulders pulled back, lean back just a little so I don’t push the bar too far out to initiate the movement, and the most awkward – tighten my left quad and right glute at the same time. A lot to think about but I plan to remind myself about these next time I do strict presses. Worked up to 2@70. My previous max was 5@70, so I really need to work on these again. Didn’t do max rep push presses last night.

    Annie flight simulator was fun! I subbed crunches instead of sit-ups and finished the set of 40.

    Great job everyone! Hope to see you on Thursday!

  2. Julia says:

    That green rope is special indeed! I’d grip it a little more tightly next time if I were you, Amelia…

    I’ve done only a handful of the benchmark workouts, but Annie (and variations-on-Annie) seems to be a real CFDC favorite.

    “Hope” – I’m intrigued! Anyone else?

  3. Erica says:

    Strict presses are a lot harder than push presses for me. I worked with Ami, Jessi, and Amelia and we used 65 pounds on the strict press and then 65 lbs on push press. I eeked out 17 on the AMRAP. I made it to round 35 on the modified Annie. I was pretty happy because it was the first time that I didn’t scale a double under workout and felt like I still was able to hang. People have been referencing a great site to get jump ropes…Please share on the blog.

    Also, this is thingie on the mall suitable for CFers of all levels?

  4. edgy reggie says:

    Erica, here is one site.

    I’m planning to buy one of these soon.

  5. Sara says:

    Erica, I bought the same kind of rope Ben got from rogue. I really like it.

    I think I hit a new 3RM on strict press last night. I got 98lbs for 3. I did push Presses at 68lbs and got 21. Thanks to Chris for the helpful hints on turning the knees out on push press. I am very careful to do that with jerks but am not as careful on high rep push presses. Chris said it will help to stay on the heels longer. I will focus on that the next time I do push presses.

    I got to the round of 35 double unders but only got through 10 sit-ups. Are anyone else’s abs hurting today?

  6. Andraea says:

    Yes my abs are hurting! Need more sit-ups in my life. Great class! On Monday I was thinking that I hope we would do sit-ups/core work so I was happy to see sit-ups in the workout!

    I worked at 68lbs for strict press and got 2 at 73lbs. Then did the AMRAP at 68lbs and I got 17 reps. Thanks Sara, Steph, and Chris for their advice on it to make my presses better!

    See everyone tonight!

  7. Katie says:

    Great class, just what I needed since my legs were sore. I worked with Sana and we used 30# for the strict presses. I did 8 reps at 45# for push presses.

    I scaled the metcon with single skips, and made it through 67/70 skips on my “35” round. So close to 70, argh! This is probably my favorite metcon ever…next time I’ll be smart like Amelia and hold my rope, good plan for quicker transitions. Abs are definitely sore, but not my shoulders/arms…maybe I should have gone heavier for the presses, but I was pretty close to failure.

    CF For Hope looks cool, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have 4/5 of the movements at Rx…I guess I could always just count my burpees and attempt the other exercises? Anyone know if they’re doing any scaling?

  8. Tom Brose says:

    Katie, there will be scaling of weights as well as multiple pullup options. You should definitely register and participate.