May 8, 2012
May 11, 2012

Back on track with the post-class blog-posts.  After a good dose of barbell, posterior-chain work, Tuesday was dedicated to a touch of upper body work which may or may not have used a few dumbbell movements.


Part A – 3 Wall Walks 
Everyone started with 3 wall walks to make the shoulders were good and warm, as well as to work on good posture and control through the mid-section.

Part (B) 2 x Sub-Max Handstand Hold 
These were tasters choice, and could be done either facing away from the wall or facing in; however, these were not done for max time. Anyone not comfortable with kicking up into a handstand just yet completed another set of 3 walk walks.

Part (C) 2 x Shoulder Touches 
The HS Shoulder Touches were done in the handstand position facing the wall. Once up and stable, quickly retract one hand and touch the same-side shoulder, before replacing the hand on the floor and then following suit with the opposite hand. As to why HS Shoulder Touches were only allowed facing the wall, take a second to read our blog post from last December 2011 (“AMERICAN HANDSTAND“) about the positional benefits of doing your handstands facing the wall as opposed to facing away from the wall. The HS Shoulder Touches are more about positioning, balance and control then about pure strength. So, when performing the HS Shoulder Touches, your hands should return to the same spot on the floor. If you find that, as you’re performing the touches, your hands are steadily moving away from the wall, it’s a good indication that your core is not tight, and the sagging in your mid-section is causing you to move your hands to compensate for the lack of balance. Post Handstand work, everyone grabbed a pair of dumbbells for the night’s onslaught.

 3 min AMRAP DB Strict Press & matching reps of Air Squat 
2 min Rest 
4 min AMRAP DB Push Press & matching reps of Side Hurdles 
2 min 
Rest 5 min AMRAP DB Push/Split Jerk & matching reps of Overhead Med Ball Hurls 

The weight of the dumbbells was left up to the individual, although the general guideline handed out before the workout started was that you should be able to complete at least 8-10 unbroken reps on the first set. Once everyone had their dumbbells in hand, as well as a little space around them, the workout got underway. During each set, the goal was to complete as many reps of shoulder-to-overhead as possible in the manner prescribed, and then immediately complete the same amount of the accessory exercise. For example, if an athlete completed 15 strict press, once they put the DBs down, they would complete 15 air squats, and then pick the DBs back-up for the next set of strict press, continuing in this manner through-out the 3minute time allotment. After 2 min rest, the strict press gave way to push press, and the air squats were replaced with side-hops (over and back equaled 1 rep). For the final set, push jerks were paired with overhead med ball hurls at the wall (a sort of horizontal version of a slam ball we used back at the end of March – “HAVIN’ A BALL“). That’s a healthy dose of shoulder work, and so it only seemed appropriate to follow it up with a healthy does of shoulder mobility work.

Cool Down/Mobility:

2 min Chair Prayer; and,

1 min Partner-assisted PVC stretching 

The camera was still being finicky Tuesday, so we’ve borrowed a few pics from older classes and a web-site here and there (including the awesome cowbell-dumbbell photo heading up today’s post), but we’re gonna close out with the following set food for thought.

Not too long ago, we posted a pretty sweet pair of weightlifting salt & pepper shakers:

We now offer you the perfect dumbbell-silverware to complete your table setting:



  1. Erica says:

    Boo! I just commented but it got rejected.

    If Ben Brown sees those pictures, I know he’s going to want to add the salt/pepper shakers and silverware to our registry and that’s not happening!

    Finally got up the courage to cartwheel into the handstand position. I have to remember to look straight out, instead of down, which is my natural inclination. Also need to keep the hollow position and tighten my core.

    I used the 20# dbs for the shoulder burner and for the 1st and 3rd exercise, there seemed to be a big difference between my first set and second and subsequent sets. I was able to stay fairly consistent with the push press. The jerk still feels awkward to me. I know it’s supposed to make things easier, but it just doesn’t yet…

  2. SBV says:

    I’m a huge fan of “get swoll” Tuesdays at CFDC. The dedicated upper body strength training is beginning to pay dividends (see pool party, Vegas).

    Also, I just wanted to thank Sara for always being available before, during, and after class to coach and provide feedback.

  3. Kenna says:

    I enjoyed last night’s workout, though parts of it were tough! I used 15# dbs on the shoulder burner, which felt easy for the first sets, but was much harder on the later sets (sounding similar to Erica). I am just sore enough to know I’m going to be REALLY sore tomorrow. (3 weeks on travel catching up to me…)

  4. ELB says:

    Like SBV, I am also a big fan of get Big Swole Tuesdays(BST). Although those workouts were relatively short, I was really feeling the burn.

  5. Erica says:

    “Swole”, “burn” who are these guys?

  6. Katie says:

    I’m totally adding those to my registry! I’d much rather have kitchen stuff that makes me look “swole” rather than regular stuff.

    All of the handstand variations were the same for me: get as close to a handstand hold as I could. I am slowly getting more vertical, and I’ve started using the board widths from the black line as a point of reference. I don’t think I have the shoulder strength to walk my arms anywhere yet…when I attempt to I feel like I’m going to crash into the floor.

    I tried 15# DBs for the workout, but went down to 12.5# after I struggled to get through 3 strict presses. Boooooo, I am determined to start using the 15# for overhead work…but when I try to use them I find I can’t quite keep good form and pace in workouts. Another goal. My shoulders are slowly starting to feel this workout throughout the day, I’m sure I’ll feel it more by tomorrow.

  7. Andraea says:

    Great workout last night!! It was awesome to throw the medicine ball at the wall! Now if I could’ve hung my list of Vietnamese vocab words on the wall as my target it would’ve been even better!

    I used 20# db and 16# medicine ball. I was thinking I could’ve used the 25# db but by the end it was a bit rough so I don’t know. Push jerks with db were a bit awkward for me. Don’t think I got into a rhythm.

    I’m fine with handstands but for some reason wall walkers are scary, I just don’t feel confident getting close to the wall when I’m facing it.

  8. Sara says:

    What a workout! I used 35lb DBs for the presses. I got 9 on the first set of strict press then could only get 3 or less on the remainning sets. The same thing happened with the push press. I was fairly consistent with the push jerks though. I used the 14lb ball for the wall balls. I was a bit worried that the wall throws would aggravate my lower back but they were ok. I used the 14lb ball for them.

    I love all kinds of handstand work.

  9. edgy reggie says:

    First, I really dig the salt-and-pepper shakers and (especially) the flatware. They would make good conversation pieces.

    Second, I echo Sara’s comment: “What a workout!” I used a pair of 35# dumbbells for all of the pressing movements and a 16# medicine ball for the throws. My first overall set was my best set; the number of presses and jerks went downhill quickly after that. But my shoulders withstood it.

    I’m getting more comfortable with the handstands where my face faces (pardon the pun) the wall. I even managed to lift my hands off the floor for the shoulder-touch attempts. I’m treating this with the same approach as performing my first handstand in yoga a few years back: Get comfortable with the movement, use good positioning (a must), and build up slowly. I know the touches will come for me…soon.

    Third, as I was driving up to CrossFit Bethesda from work last night (May 9), I again listened to Emily Friedman’s piece on CrossFit DC (and CrossFit) on WAMU-FM (it was around 7:40 p.m. and was part of the local news in-betweens on NPR’s All Things Considered. Even the host, Pat Brogan, mentioned that CrossFit is not just a fad.). Again, it put a smile on face.

    Speaking of WAMU-FM (and NPR), it was cool to talk to Adam about our love of NPR/PRI/APM (and public radio, in general) after class. Welcome to CrossFit DC, Adam. Hope that you enjoy This American Life Live!. I’ll be sure to pick your brain about it some time. 🙂

    Last, welcome back to CrossFit DC Aileen! Hope that Sunday’s workout didn’t kill you (from the looks of it, it didn’t). I also hope that you will regularly come back; it’s been a looong time! 🙂

  10. Ben says:

    I second ELB and SBV about BST (Big Swole Tuesdays)!

    The handstand progressions were great, first-timer here on the shoulder touches, but I really liked them. Need to make sure I’m keeping my core tight, but I felt like I got the hang of them.