June 8, 2012
June 13, 2012

This past weekend was a packed one, with CrossFit for Hope on Saturday, and another CFDC class on Sunday with 25+ people in attendance. It’s safe to say that both were all-around successes.

The Mid-Atlantic Crossfit for Hope workout was an all-around amazing experience, with over 400 athletes from 40 different area affiliates gathered on the mall at Mitchell Park for the workout. Representatives from CFHQ even came out to show support, including Coach Glassman and a bunch of top games competitors. However, the true focus of the Hope workout, and the reason that some many came together to share the experience, was about the CrossFit community and it’s continuing service to others. Worldwide, more than $1.2 million has already been raised in the name of St. Jude Children’s Hospital – just FYI, though, it’s not too late to donate! (you can still contribute via CFDC HERE)

CFDC was represented well by a crew of regulars, as well as two first-timers in Katie and Jessi. Seeing them push themselves to their limit in a new (and blazingly hot) setting, and watching the smiles creep in as they realized what they had done, was incredible. In addition, with a little last minute finagling, CFDC was able to work Erica in the workout as well, and she did an amazing job as a last minute competitor with Ben scoring her and cheering her on. Ethan, Reggie, Sara, Mark and his brother Mike, all braved the heat and brutal workout, and did an equally amazing job of supporting their fellow competitors and athletes. In total, the inaugural Hope Workout was amazing experience and an incredibly well run event – huge thanks to Brian Wilson and his crew of volunteers who worked for months to make this happen.

   For some added perspective on things, all of you should definitely check take the time to read the following from our friend Alex Lofgren, aka “The Red Viking,” you should all read for some awesome post-Hope perspective on what CrossFit is and why we do it: CrossFit Hawk Blogpost 10 _ May -2012.

2 x 
 10 Pause Squats 
5 Push-Ups 
Carioca Rt – Full Ct 
Carioca Lf – Full Ct 
10 Spider Lunges/side 
5 Alt.-T Push-Ups/side 
Carioca Rt – Full Ct 
Carioca Lf – Full Ct 

5 x 5 Zercher Squats

Zercher’s are a great supplement to deadlift and squat training, helping hammer good posture while working the glutes and hamstrings, abs and back all in one shot. However, they do take a little getting used to. To perform the Zercher squat, begin with a barbell in a rack at about stomach height (above the navel, but below the sternum). Loop your arms under the bar so that it’s resting in the crooks of your elbows, with elbows about shoulder width apart and knuckles pointed up towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath into your abdomen, and lift the bar out of the rack. Assume your squat stance (you may want your feet slightly wider than normal to ensure that the elbows don’t drive into the tops of your thighs), and really press your abs into the bar. Concentrate on driving the knees out and push the hips back as your descend, squatting down until parallel or slightly below (if you can, try to get the bar to touch the top of the thighs). To stand, keep your back tight and push the fists towards the ceiling while driving the hips forward.

A common question floating around the gym on Sunday was “what percentage of a front squat or back squat should be used?” As coaches, this is awesome to hear as a few months ago, it would’ve been rare that anyone would think of it that way, let alone know their numbers well enough to consider using such an approach. Of course, the irony is that we weren’t basing the Zercher squats off any specific numbers, but rather going for a maximal effort for the day. This is where our approach borrows from the Westside Barbell idea of rotating specialty exercises into our workouts and taking them to that “Max Effort” (ME). While Sunday’s Zercher work might not have been a true ME day (working up to a 1-3 RM), the benefit was realized in by our collective ability to take a random exercise and use it as our heavy lift.

While the squat cycle has focused on working off a percentage-based progression, our interim work has included exercises, like RDLs and Zerchers, which are simply done under the guidelines of going “heavy” while keeping good form. These interim exercises compliment our “big” lifts by still hitting the major muscles, as well as challenging the core and exposing weaknesses which we might’ve found a way to hide during the familiar lifts (squats, DLs, etc). In other words, it’s extremely beneficial to work based off percentages, but it can also be just as advantageous to “Go Heavy.” The trick is to know when to do which.

3 x 5 Single Leg Floor Touch/side 

Options for the SLFT included body-weight, adding weight by holding a dumbbell, or adding weight with a barbell (an advanced option was to complete the movement while standing on plate or box in order to increase the range of motion). The only requirement for Sunday’s SLFTs was that athletes had to touch the floor with both hands, or hold the weights with both hands.

This is particularly important when performing the movement with a dumbbell, as the tendancy when holding the weight in one hand is to tilt sideways, reaching the weighted arm towards the floor. Requiring people to hold the weight with both hands meant that everyone had to work to remain level, keeping good posture. For more on performing SLFTs, check out our blog post from this past January (LEAPIN’ LIZARDS) for a great run-down on performing the SLFT (also called a single leg deadlift).

 Team Met-Con: 
10min AMRAP of Sit-Ups, Plank-to-Squat, & 80′ Farmers Walk

 To finish things off, everyone headed down to the court of a ten minute team met-con. One team member set-up on one end of the court with an ab-mat for sit-ups, another set-up on the other end for plank-to-squats, while the third stood near the plank-to-squat teammates and prepared to walk from one end of the court to the other carrying dumbbells/kettlebells that the team had chosen to use for their farmer’s walk. Once the person doing the farmer’s walk reached the one doing the sit-ups, the switched,and once the person now doing the farmers walk reached the one doing the plank-to-squats, they switched. Teams continued to rotate in this fashion through-out the 10min for as many total rounds and reps as possible.

As everyone stretched out post-workout, the news was broken that one of our own would be leaving us for a little while.

If you haven’t seen Brendan much over the past couple of weeks, that’s because he’s been off training, getting ready for a 2 month work assignment in Afghanistan. We were lucky enough to have Brendan stop in on Sunday for one last workout before he takes off. Please, please join us in wishing him the best of a luck and a safe and speedy return. We’re looking forward to having you back in the Fall, Brendan!



  1. Julia says:

    Wow – congrats to all the CFDCers who took part in CF Hope! Sounds like an amazing event. And all best to Brendan.

    Sunday – Zercher squats plank-to-squats pause squats etc. were pretty cool, but tumbling in the 9am with Chris was AWESOME! Again! Again!

  2. Erica says:

    Great weekend! I expected Saturday to be a cool experience, but ended up that it was even cooler than expected. Apologies in advance for the long recap:

    Ben and I got down there on the earlier side and Jessi and Tom (and apparently Ethan) were already down there, followed shortly after by Mark, Katie, Sara and later Reggie and Greg. It was really hot, but the area was positioned well such that when you weren’t competing, you could easily find a spot to watch in the shade. I thought it was very well-organized and well run and things stayed remarkably on time!

    It was really fun to cheer on our teammates! Ben (who not only cheered/counted for me, but also competed himself), Ethan, and Sara went first and set the bar high. Mark and his brother went next and they were fabulous. Watching Katie compete was awesome! She seemed confident, excited, and determined and it totally paid off. She was amazing. Jessi too, who shared that she had only snatched once before this event, was so fun to watch. Of course veteran Reggie left it all out there as well. I have posted a bunch of photos and videos on facebook so please feel free to talk a look (or steal them/share them).

    Given that I’m totally obsessed with celebrities of all kind, I was thrilled when Tom texted at 7 am that morning to tell me Bob Harper was going to be there 🙂 And then I saw Greg Glassman, THEN I heard Neil Maddox was there, THEN I saw Ben Smith, who was the NICEST guy in the world. Total crush. And lastly, they announced that even more Crossfit super stars were going to compete at 2. Even though we learned this around 11ish, there was no way that we were not going to hang around (regardless of the heat) and miss that. So, I of course was so pumped that I could work out in the mean time. Tom finagled me into the heat right before them and I felt really proud to be able to compete, (RXed, my first time even including the chest to bar pull ups).

    Being a part of the bigger CF community that day was very special. People there knew that I was dying over the crossfit kids that were killing it on the five exercises (particularly Katie Foster who makes my pull ups look pathetic). They were snatching and thrusting PVCs and doing legitimate burpees. I think I was trash talking with some other athletes (also without children at this stage), whose future child was going to start CFing the earliest. Mine, hands down. But, coolest part was, IN FRONT OF all these crossfit celebrities, Brian Wilson who ran the event took a moment to honor our amazing coach, Tom Brose, publicly. Being among the small crowd who was closest to Tom when this happened, was unforgettable. Thank you everyone who cheered me and everyone on and great work to everyone who was there and there in spirit for such a cool day.

  3. Erica says:

    OH yeah, Sunday was another good class. I worked with Ami, Dian, and Amelia and we made it up to 105# on the Zsquats. We went up on the floor touches to 35#s I think, but don’t hold me to that because it could have been 25#s. Worked with Amelia and Kenna (way to push it girl!) on the metcon and used 35# thanks to Sara who made the mid-work adjustment for us.

  4. SBV says:

    Back squat, front squat, overhead squat, air squat, jump squat, Bulgarian split squat, one-legged squat (pistol), tabata squat (rest in squat position), and now Zercher squat. Am I missing any?

    Congrats to all the participants in this weekend’s CrossFit for Hope. Sounds like it was a really great time and that CrossFit DC had a great showing. “Metcon” Merson even jumped into the mix. Alas, I’ve made promises to myself. Namely, that I won’t particpate in any CrossFit “competitions” until the Fall. Not that I don’t love CrossFit. I just want to be able to pour everything into this next competition “season” without getting burnt out. Let you “young guns” live it up for a while. I’m in hibernation mode right now, patiently resting (i.e., squatting almost every day) and saving up my energy to pounce on the 2013 CrossFit Games Open.

  5. Brendan says:

    Contracts to everyone involved in Crossfit for Hope, sorry I couldn’t make it, sounded like a great time. Have a great summer I’ll try to keep up with all the CFDC crue via the blog. See you in Aug.

  6. Katie says:

    What an awesome weekend.

    Surprisingly, on Friday night I was really nervous for the workout Saturday — a very new thing for me; it felt like being nervous for a job interview or test, but it was physical, not mental. I’m sure it’s a feeling athletes get all the time, but I’ve never had it, so it was strange. But great.

    I think the sun and heat made the workout so much tougher — but hey, it’s CrossFit, right? And I’m sure it wasn’t as hot as it is at the Games. I was so lucky to have both Tom and Sara coaching and encouraging me every rep. How spoiled am I? Thank you both SO much!! I’m very grateful to the organizers for offering scaling options so people like me could participate. I did resistance band pull-ups, 12″ box jumps (would have done 14 or 16 but people weren’t stacking plates), and 35# thrusters and snatches. I got 168 reps, surpassing my goal of 150. Of course I’m not satisfied with that, because I want to do more, but I’m proud of myself. Thank you to everyone there for all the encouragement! It’s hard to stop when Erica is screaming “LET’S GO KATIE CHASE!” :o) Participating on Saturday was a big accomplishment for me; I never thought I would have the confidence or ability to do something like that! I am eternally grateful to Tom, Chris, Sara, Steph (yes, Steph is a coach in my opinion!) and all the athletes at CFDC for helping me get to this point. I’m excited to improve even more for future events!

    I agree with what Erica said about the community, it was a great feeling. Jessi convinced me to go to the happy hour afterward, and it was fun talking to athletes from other affiliates — and meeting Greg Glassman!

    I was tired on Sunday morning, and when I discovered we were doing tumbling, I was less than enthralled. I hurt my neck doing a forward roll in high school gym class, and I’ve been scared to do them ever since. But I did it, and actually enjoyed it!

    I worked from 25# to 40# on the Zercher squats, they felt so-so — same cues as front squats, I need to watch my hips not coming up early. I had trouble balancing on the SLFTs; Steph managed to snap that photo right before I fell over. I worked with Erin on the metcon and we started with 20# DBs, but they were too easy, so I picked up the Kenna/Erica/Amelia trio’s discarded 30#, and that was much tougher and about right. We suck at counting and didn’t count rounds.

    Be safe, Brendan, and we’ll see you in a few months!

  7. Ben says:

    CrossFit for Hope was awesome! We had a great time on Saturday and it was fun to compete with and cheer for members of the CFDC family. Erica forgot to mention Julie Foucher being there on Sat, amazing athelete….probably the most fun to watch in my opinion.

    Zercher squats were more fun than I expected on Sunday. The legs were feeling super tight after Thursday’s crustee workout, Saturdays competition, and Sunday’s class. SO, I gave in and joined SBV’s ice bath Monday movement. We will see how I feel tomorrow, but my legs feel much better right now. Anyway, highly recommended.

  8. Sara says:

    Great time on Saturday at CF for Hope! I am so glad Erica got a chance to jump in at the last minute. I agree with Katie, it is hard to not continue on when you hear Erica shouting your name in cheers from all the way across the park.

    Katie, Jessi, Reggie, Mark, Mike, Ethan, Ben and Erica all did great.

    I worked up to 125 on the zercher squats. I missed the 5th rep at this weight. This was the first time I’ve ever done zerchers with a bar and didn’t know what to expect.

    I am unable to do the squatting version of SLFTs so I did a straight leg single leg floor touch. I have such bad balance and need to do many more of these. I am much better with my left leg as the base than my right.

    We didn’t get a chance to go on the court for the metcon because basketball started but we still had a great metcon that turned out to be pretty brutal.

  9. Tom Brose says:

    I was a little jealous to miss the tumbling myself! Definitely an important athletic attribute, and we will be doing them again.

    SBV, all I can add to the list right now are belt squats and goblet squats. Glad to see that someone finally that when I say “rest”, I really mean “Squat”.

    Katie, I can’t begin to say how proud we all were of you. One correction though, the physical challenge is there, but the mental aspects are just as present. CrossFit is all about getting past your perceived limits and shutting off the doubts and fears. You (and all our participants) did a great job of that.

    Ben, glad to hear you enjoyed the Zerchers, especially after all that leg work. I’m curious to see how the ice baths work out, I think people should be using cryotherapy much more frequently.

  10. Tom Brose says:

    Sara, I loved the metcon we did. It definitely hit te core hard, and left me pretty lethargic for the afternoon.

  11. Katie says:

    So what was the metcon you did??

  12. Tom Brose says:

    Katie, our Sunday “Coaches workout” is based on what we make you all do, we have to walk the walk so to speak. On occasion, we modify or add in some options we either want to test out, or we couldn’t work in with 25 people. By the time we were at the metcon, the court was being used for Bball, so we were up in the studio. We broke it down into 2x 5 minute AMRAPS. Chris and I started with double overhead KB carry while the other person did ball slams. Steph and Sara began with trap bar farmers walk, while the other did GHD situps. After 5 minutes, we switched. preserved the idea and timeframe of your workout, with a few bells and whistles.

  13. Katie says:

    Cool. That sounds much tougher than what we did!

    Okay, I’ll go do some work now.

  14. Tom Brose says:

    Tough is a lot more about what you put into the exercises than which options you use, but yeah, it was a challenge. Sunday classes get us pretty motivated though.

    Don’t work too hard, be sure to save some energy for class.

  15. edgy reggie says:

    This was a fun weekend…challenging but fun. Saturday’s CrossFit for Hope was a lot harder than I had anticipated it to be, but it was still worth doing (it was hot as Hades out there…even with the breeze). Thank you Sara, Katie, “Jazzy Jessi,” Erica, Ben, Greg, Coach, and (my counter/judge) Barry for the encourgement and support. I have to agree with Sara and Katie: When one hears their name cheered (and yes, I did hear the chants of “Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!”), it’s hard to not do a few extra reps with that type of motivation. 🙂

    Sorry that I missed Ethan, Mark, Mike, Jessi, Katie, Ben, and Sara perform their workouts. Just know that I was there in spirit. 🙂

    It was also cool to hear Coach getting called out by Brian Wilson (who did a helluva job organizing the entire event and keeping it moving). I remember working out with Brian when I started with CrossFit DC nearly six years ago, and I remember when Brian started Potomac CrossFit.

    One last great thing about Saturday: Getting to see some old friends such as Jerry Hill, Alex “Red Viking” Lofgren, Curtis Blake, and Brian Wilson who encourge you and motivate you.

    I loved Sunday’s workout: I worked up to 135# on Zercher squats with Tom A., Adam, and Sam (who did a great job with his first CrossFit class…keep coming back, man). For the met-con, I continued the team with Adam and Sam; we used 50# dumbbells for the farmer’s walk. I don’t think that I could have done any more in class than what I did Sunday because I was still sore (and a little tired) from the CrossFit for Hope workout (glad that I did not do any Olympic lifting beforehand).

    Post-class, I pigged out at Z-Burger (turkey burger, onion rings, and a double-chocolate shake) and hung out in the city for a bit before taking a pre-yoga nap. Still sore from the prior activities, I went to Winnie’s class, did the yoga (and got some really goood stretching as always), and pigged out some more during a post-yoga birthday celebration for one of my fellow yogis.

    I won’t be in class tonight (June 12) for “Big Swoll Tuesday,” but I will be in class this Thursday (June 14 – Flag Day).

    To my “brother” Brendan (“Double-B”): I will miss working out with you in class. I wish you safe travels while in Afghanistan and look forward to your (safe) return to the States.

    Apologies for the lengthy post.

  16. Steph says:

    Sneaking out of my conference to post this…

    Brendan, we’ll miss you! Be safe and we’ll see you in August!

    It was too bad I couldn’t be there on Saturday because of work. Congrats to all who competed!

    Was happy to be back in class after a hellish week. Worked up to 115lbs on the squats (felt form go though) and 65lbs on the single leg floor touches with a barbell. Fun stuff! I really like the single leg exercises.

    The metcon was fun but brutal. Thanks to Sara for pairing with me. The overhead carry were surprisingly hard, had to go way down on weight to try to keep the core tight and butt tucked.

    Hope to make it to class tonight but stupid conference is running behind schedule. Grrr!