May 30, 2012
June 4, 2012

Instead of focusing on typical explosive power Thursday, class got down to the business of hitting some heavy front squats.

Front Squats 10, 8, 6, 4, & 2

Lifters could choose the weights they wanted to shoot for during each set, adding weight as needed so long as everyone maintained good form through-out. Happily, there was lots of good from last night, with athletes not only pushing the weight, but really working on good form to accomplish it (including a few PR’s). However, both CFDC and CF Dupont have been hammering a lot of heavy back squats lately, with front squats relegated to Oly complexes and met-cons, so it’s probably not a bad idea to review a few pointers regarding the front squat.

A big key to success with front squats is flexibility/mobility. Strength is fine, but if you can’t get, or keep, your elbows up to properly rack the bar, you are going to struggle mightily. Getting your elbows up, with the triceps parallel to the floor, is essential to keeping the weight centered as close as possible to the body’s mid-line.Add to this a healthy does of hip and ankle flexibility which will allow you to sit back into the squat while keeping the chest up.

Tied to the limitations in flexibility and mobility is the fact that if you have to pour all your concentration into keeping your elbows up, chances are, your knees are probably starting to cave in (hey, if it ain’t one thing, it’s another!). Now the downward spiral begins.

Once the knees start to collapse, you lose mid-line stability, and your core gives way, allowing the upper back to round and the weight to pitch forward. The more you pitch forward, the more the weight will start pulling off your shoulders and into your hands. This will make the lift more difficult due to the awkward distribution of the weight, but more importantly, this precarious position can also quickly put you at risk for injury: in trying to correct the movement, most people will try to re-right themselves using their backs, pulling themselves back up into position (as opposed to driving their elbows up, which will re-center the weight and make it easier to stand up without hurting themselves).

To avoid this situation, make sure you initiate each front squat with the elbows high, and keep them there through-out the entire movement. Initiate the squat by tilting the hips back slightly, accentuating the lumbar arch, and then drive the knees out to slowly lower yourself while maintaining an upright torso position.

 Partner Met-Con: 
15-12-9 Wall-Ball Burpees & Intervening Church Run

Yes, it was the return of the partner-dependant “wall-ball burpees”: P1 performs 1 wall ball, throwing the ball at a slight angle so that it comes down to his/her partner. Immediately after throwing the ball, P1 does a burpee, while at the same time, P2 is performing their wall ball. The trick is to complete the burpee fast enough to be on your feet, ready to catch the ball your partner just threw. Success depends on high wall ball shots and quick burpees (think of the plank-2-squat jumps, as this is one time where they will really make a difference). For Thursday’s workout, each partner had to complete 15 wall-ball burpees a piece, and then do a quick 150m run (Church Run) before starting in on 12 wall-ball burpees each. Following that, it was another quick 250m run, and then a final 9 wall-ball burpees each (no run after the final set of wall-ball burpees).

No back squats this Sunday – instead, we’ll spend the next three weeks working on hamstring and quad accessory movements to build a solid base before we enter the third and final wave of the squat cycle.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Holy crap. How much weight is on there Dan? A metric ton?

  2. Sara says:

    All I can say is wow! We all knew this but Julia is freakishly strong. It is awesome. She started her set of 10 at 155 and ended with 2@195. Pretty cool to watch.

    I went as follows on the front squats.
    6×140 – I missed rep #6 so stayed here for the round of 4

    Pretty much each round was a rep PR.

    Dan is a great metcon partner. He was so encouraging all the way through and jogged with me on the runs. We used a 20lb wall ball. I am not sure partner burpee wall balls were the best time to jump up to a 20lb ball but oh well. My shoulders were fried and I was lucky to get the ball above the blue line on about 1/2 the reps. Dan more than made up for my lack of height on the throws.

  3. Dan Samarov says:

    Ha! Not quite. Hit 2×285, felt really smooth. Went up to 305 for another set of 2, got the first rep without a problem, but on the 2nd let my core go and lost the weight at the bottom. Definitely think I have the 305+ for 2, going to retest this next week :).

    Worked with Sara on the metcon who stepped it up and used the 20lbs wall ball! We kept a solid pace on both the burpee wall balls and the run, awesome day outside for this workout. Definitely a lung burner!

  4. Dan Samarov says:

    FS sets were

  5. Erica says:

    Quiet class at 7, which was actually nice. I love working with Steph on squats because it’s like watching a master at work. I aimed for a 10# increase each time, but couldn’t go all the way on the last set. I did
    Maybe (but unlikely) could have hit 110, but played it safe.

    Steph and I also partnered for wall-ball burpees and runs. It felt good to wall-ball (one of my favs!) and to run outside as the weather was perfect. Great workout.

  6. Katie says:

    Wow, those are some impressive weights!! Awesome job everyone!

    I worked from 25# to 45# on the front squats. I think the last time we did front squats was early March? It’s been a while! I thought my previous weight was 40#, but it was actually 45#. I felt like I had pretty good form, perhaps I could have gone up by 5#-10# to challenge myself a little more, so I will next time.

    I partnered with Danielle on the metcon. That girl is intense! She set a blistering pace I desperately tried to keep up with, but she was very encouraging, so it was good for me. It was tough getting the burpees fast enough, and I think about half my (8#) wall balls sucked. Not my greatest metcon performance, but that’s okay, it was three of my least favorite exercises.

    Looking forward to the hamstring work on Sunday!!

  7. Amelia says:

    Worked with MC, Dre, and Mackenzie on the front squats.

    MC and I did the following (I think)

    Did the extra set at 115 since 105 felt good.

    MC and I crushed the metcon 🙂

  8. edgy reggie says:

    I worked with Dan and Ben (Brown) on the front squats. My sets were

    10 x 135#
    6 x 175# – missed reps 7 and 8, so…
    4 x 175#
    4 x 195#
    2 x 205#

    This was nowhere near my PR, but the humidity in the gym sapped quite a bit of my energy (and yes, I did drink a lot of water before arriving at the gym). Thanks to Coach, Ben, Dan, and Coach Salty for keeping me honest on my reps (with respect to squat depth).

    Unfortunately, I ran into traffic en route: I came in too late for the 6:00 p.m. class met-con, and I ditched the 7:00 p.m. met-con in favor of going to Winnie’s yoga class (which was a huge exercise in frustration…but still worth attending).

    I’ll give this met-con a try some time…later. 🙂

    See you on Sunday (June 3).

  9. Such a fun workout! I owe an apology to Amelia, who I almost KILLED when demonstrating the wall ball/burpee metcon…whoops! That’s what Tom gets for picking us to demonstrate, when I had no idea what we were demonstrating 😉

    See everyone Sunday!

  10. Dian says:

    Nice work on the front squats all! Really disappointed to have missed this but I’m struggling with allergies.

    I would like to see where I am with front squats now. I was stuck in the 90# range for a while but I was able to get 3 reps at 105# a little while back. I’m hopeful that focusing on my mobility and flexibility will help me with front squats and everything.

    See everyone on Sunday.

  11. Julia says:

    Great working with Sara, who rocked her squats, and partnering up with Ben, who kept me moving on the metcon. Happy to report no one smashed the ball into anyone’s face, no elbows were thrown along the course, no barbells were spirited away when lifters weren’t looking, etc. We all play nicely here at CFDC. See you guys Sunday!

  12. Tom Brose says:

    Awesome work from both classes! More exciting than the numbers was the EXCELLENT technique I saw. Big improvements. With that said…cool to see the PRs and some big squats.

    Loved seeing Sara and Julia team up with Dan and Ben and go for the 20 lb wallballs.

    Glad I didn’t totally set up Amelia for disaster on the demo. I’ll explain a little better next time.