June 13, 2012
June 18, 2012

Honestly, what Thursday isn’t a good Thursday to do some heavy @$$ front squats?

2 x 10 Spider Lunges & 5 Burpees; then, 
Squat/Duck Walk to the left 50′ (width of the court); then, 
2 x 10 leg swings sideways/leg & 10 Sit-Ups; then, 
Squat/Duck Walk to the right 50′ (width of the court); then, 
~1min/side band stretch and ~1min/side PVC Kimura 

Front Squat 5-4-3-2-1

If the pattern seems somewhat familiar, it should, as it was only two weeks ago when we worked front squats for reps of 10-8-6-4-2 (“THE BRUNT OF KEEPING IT UP FRONT“). This should have given everyone a good idea of where they should be starting for this Thursday’s front squat sets. The set of 4 from the last workout is a good place to start.

Yes, basically that means going for 5 reps at a weight you previously only did for 4 reps. Really, it’s not that much of an increase (1 rep), especially when you consider that this time around, your body is relatively fresh,  having not just undergone 24 additional-reps of front squats prior.

Please note that your coaches really enjoyed watching everyone lifting, including being witness to some awesome PR’s. It’s almost as though people have been doing some serious squatting recently. Dunno, maybe it’s just our imagination.

21-15-9 KB Swings + 1 Bear Crawl

Weights for the KB swings were up to the individual, but swings were RX’d as overhead (American). The Bear Crawl was roughly 105′ total, but was made up of three 35′ segments, requiring that people jog from the far side of the gym back to their KBs for the next round (and to finish the workout). A simple, and short blast to finish things off.

Good luck to everyone travelling to Baltimore for the Occupy Strength competition this weekend. For those of you sticking around, read on for an announcement regarding our 9am Sunday Elements class.


Recently, Elements has taken a different tack on things, deviating from the original 3 class rotation we had in place. Some of this has been as a result of the We’re now going back to our original rotation, but with a twist. While we still concentrate on the same goals set out for the classes, we are going to start working in some new movements to help achieve these goals. For example, this Sunday’s class will focus on the snatch, but we’ll begin with OHS and then progress into light weight snatch balances to as our chosen method of improving the snatch.

In short, this Sunday’s Elements class will be OHS and Snatch Balances. 

We’ll continue to post our up-coming Elements curriculum with every Thursday/Friday blog-post. Please note, however, that while we are introducing some changes to the basics of the programming, two very important pieces will remain the same:

  1. there is no workout in the Elements class, and movements will be performed with relatively light weight (no max effort lifts, this is a skill review class); and, 
  2. the Elements class is aimed at those who are still struggling to grasp the set-up and execution of certain movements. If you understand a movement, but perhaps aren’t quite executing it perfectly yet, then Elements probably isn’t right for you. Of course, sometimes the Elements class might be right for you, and sometimes not (fine on cleans, but not on snatches? jerks OK but struggling with kipping?) If you’re not sure which group you fall into, please don’t hesitate to ask.


  1. Tom Brose says:

    I LOVED LAST NIGHTS CLASSES! People are getting strong and confident. More weight and better form? Yeah, coaches like to see that. Don’t think for a second we won’t be hammering you on every detail by Sunday though.

    Lets get a little PR roll call going in the comments!

  2. SaltyHat says:

    well, perhaps you should start things off then, coach!

  3. Tom Brose says:

    Well, I can do that. Hit 275 for 2 (previous 1RM). Got nowhere on my last attempt at 285 though. I did these yesterday afternoon, and came into class excited to see what everyone could do.

    The Front Squat is a big challenge for me (my FS-BS ratio is way out of whack) so this was a cool. Improvement is due to A) practicing and B) focusing on improving flexibility.

  4. Katie says:

    Congrats to everyone on PRs last night, including Mackenzie, who hit triple digits — so exciting! I love being surrounded by such strong women; it gives me such confidence that I’ll get there, too.

    I’m starting not to hate squats, which is a small miracle. The squat cycle has definitely made me stronger, I’m feeling it on all movements with any kind of squat.

    I’m trying to “no rep” myself whenever I feel my hips rise early or I don’t get deep enough, because I refuse to develop those bad habits as I inch up in weight. I worked to 55#, up from 45# on the 2 reps 2 weeks ago — and yes, a PR. I tried a bonus rep at 60#, and got it up, but my knee caved, so that’s a no rep in my book. Of course I want to do much more weight, but I’ll take it for now.

    I read this on Dupont’s blog earlier this week, from coach Jim, and it resonated with me:
    “In my training, I prepare for the empty bar like I prepare for a PR. I practice the set-up, the tension, the breathing, the speed. A warm-up set is not just for the muscles, but for the mind. Too many people lack focus on these sets and lose the tremendous benefits. When the weight gets heavy, there is no hesitation for what needs to be done, you’ve practiced it repeatedly.”

    I realized I had been getting lazy on warm-up and light sets, so last night I made sure to correct that and breathe and tighten for EVERY rep.

    Used 12 kg for the metcon. Bear crawls are still one of my nemeses, but I got it done.

  5. Dan Samarov says:

    Hit a 4, 3, and 2 RM PR on front squats yesterday (270lbs, 280lbs, and 290lbs), felt really good on all. Made an ill advised choice to jump to 315lbs instead of taking an intermediate lift at 305lbs as Tom suggested (felt good at 290 so I thought I’d give it a shot). 315lbs felt HEAVY and wasn’t going anywhere. Definitely in my reach, need to be patient in my ramp up to max efforts.

  6. Sara says:

    Nicely done everyone!

    Katie-Jimmy is a very wise coach and I know I’ve heard similar words from both Tom and Chris. I also approach every set like it is a heavy set. I know that I can feel a difference even on the warm-ups if I missed something during a setup.

    I got a PR of 170lbs with what felt like more left in the tank. I also PRd earlier this week on push press at 64KG.

    I used a 24KG KB and got to say it was tough. The bear crawls were the killers though.

  7. SBV says:

    I set a PR on overhead squat last night with 195#.

  8. Erica says:

    Way to go everyone!!

    Hit a PR of 125#, failed at 130# Legs felt like jello for some reason…didn’t feel tired, just felt like I couldn’t keep them straight (probably doesn’t sound like it makes sense). Loved watching Ami and Amelia smash 130 and Andraea also hitting a PR.

    Unrelatedly, just came from my last day of work where we competed in a canoe race to capsize 11 other teams canoes. My team (two others guys) crushed it. Took first place. I think all the push pressing from Tuesday made my shoulders feel ready to chuck buckets and buckets of water across the pool into other boats. CF made me ready for this.

  9. edgy reggie says:

    Great class.

    With all the PRs going on around me (great job everyone!), I needed to step up my game. The ODB doesn’t want to be left behind in the strength department. 🙂

    Front squats: I worked up to 235# x 1. That is the heaviest single I have ever done for a front squat, but it isn’t my one-rep max (which 225# x 3 or 238# using this calculator). So it is close to a PR, but I felt as if I had something left in the tank.

    Met-con: I used the 28 kg kettlebell for the swings (which was the easy part). The bear crawls — like Sara stated — were brutal. I finished in 4:54.

  10. Amelia says:

    PR on Front squat: 2@125 and 1@130
    Felt pretty good.
    Awesome to see so many people PR’ing

    Used the 16KG for the metcon. Bear crawls are not my favorite.

  11. Tom Brose says:

    Reggie, I have some thoughts on calculations. There is some benefit to using various charts and calculators to base rep schemes off of, but relying on these for a future max is a mistake. If you haven’t lifted a weight before, all the supposition in the world won’t prepare you for the feel of it. 1RM is the most you have ACTUALLY lifted, and a PR is whenever you exceed that previous amount. So congrats on the 1RM PR! Next time we FS to a single, you can try for a new one.

  12. Steph says:

    Hit 150 last night. Was quite happy.

  13. Tom Brose says:

    Steph, when Mark struggled to make a tough lift the other day, I told him it was “all guts, no technique”. Your 150 lb Front squat was a great blend of the two.

    Some of those who hit PRs last night were really at their limit, some weren’t. I saw Sara sail through her rep at 170. Probably could have gone for another rep on it in fact. Best to not get too greedy though, enjoy the feeling of a clean PR and hope its not too long before you get there again. Reggie, hitting a PR and feeling like you have more in the tank is perfect. One of the things that a lot of CrossFitters miss (coaches included), is that everything doesn’t have to be taken to the limit. Sure, its important to be willing to push the boundaries, but we can get plenty strong without hitting failure regularly. I think the squat cycle (and that everyone has done such good work adjusting the numbers to NOT hit failure) is proof of the effectiveness that specific training can offer.

  14. Mark Minukas says:

    Its cool to hear about (and see) all these PR’s. Something’s working…

    I worked up to a PR myself – got one at 245. Hopefully used some guts and better technique this time. Thanks, Tom.

    Metcon was a nice little sprint too.

  15. Dian says:

    I LOVE this PR roll call and reading about everyone’s accomplishments. Bravo!

  16. TomandAmi says:

    This is motivating – I am focused more on strength for the summer so ultimately by mid-September want progress and PRs on all of the lifts includng the OS – 195 would be nice. Echoing another line – trying to be patient and steady so not injuries and plenty of recovery time.