June 20, 2012
June 25, 2012


Mother Nature was kind to us on Tuesday, and stopped the temperature one degree shy of 100 – that’s right, we mercifully only hit 99 degrees yesterday. Of course, you couldn’t really tell the difference working out in the hotbox, er, gym, on Tuesday night.

1 x 
10 Squats, 
10 Spider Lunges, 
10 Dislocates, 
10 Pause Squats, 
10 BTN Presses, 
10 Sotts Press, 
1min Lat/Tricep Band Stretch, 
1min PVC Kimura, 
10 Wrists Rolls, 
10 Ankle Rolls/side 

 ~8-10 x Clean & Jerk Complex


Barbell complexes, especially Oly complexes, are often employed to help improve a lifter’s execution of the main movement. For example, this Tuesday’s version consisted of 8 to 10 rounds (depending on the number of people working together and the speed of the rotation) of 1 Power Clean + 1 HS Clean + 1 Push/Power Jerk.

The power clean helps to encourage powerful leg drive and hip extension, since we aren’t pulling under the bar, as well as a more aggressive turnover (“fast elbows“) in order to properly receive the power clean. The hang squat clean forces us to stay upright in our extension (since you won’t be able to pull under a heavy weight if you have an excessive lay back) and to pull into the squat position in conjunction with the aggressive turnover.


For those still working towards proficiency with the clean, we worked through a standard progression, from the hang, of 1 Extend & Shrug, 1 Extend & Hi-Pull, 1 Clean, and 1 Push Press. For a few people really new to the movement, we included both a rack delivery and a front squat before the actual clean.


Oly complexes is designed to both focus a lifter’s attention on where their potential faults might be, as well as fix those faults. If you’re struggling with hang squat cleans, the answer is not to simply stick with power cleans, but to understand why the HS clean is so much more difficult for you, and then work on fixing that flaw. The path to improvement, and a rock solid tenet of our program, is

(1) Proficiency – learning and becoming proficient in the Movement; then 
(2) Consistency – consistently applying your proficiency through-out a workout; and then 
(3) Intensity – adding intensity, vie more weight, more reps, or faster movements – only once the first two have been mastered. 

3 x 6 Plate Burpees, 12 OH Lunges, & 24 Plate Hurdles 

A short but effective blast to finish off the class, with everyone grabbing a single bumper to use for all 3 movements.  RX’d weights were 45# for guys and 25# for girls, but there were a lot of ladies who absolutely threw-down, scaling up 10kg and 35lb bumpers for the workout.  Awesome.


For the plate burpees, have the plate positioned in front of you, and perform your regular burpee, but instead of jumping and clapping, simply jump on to the plate and then back off again. Once you’ve completed 6 burpees, pick the plate up and extend it overhead to complete 12 OH lunges (6 per side). Finally, place the plate back down on the floor, and then hurdle the plate sideways for 24 reps (1 rep = 1 sideways jump, as opposed to an over & back jump).

Please continue to stay hydrated through out the week and weekend, including pre-hydration (before you come to class) and post-hydration (after you leave class) in order to keep your bodies functioning properly. As well, a quick reminder to those of you who are strict paleo: you may need to up your salts intake.

Also, this Sunday’s Elements will cover the Hollow Position and Kipping Work. This will be followed by a return to back squats in the 10am class – we’re back on our squat cycle, and this Sunday is Day 1 in our final mini-wave, which will run for the next 4 weeks. Come Get Some!



  1. ELB says:

    Some of us were chatting about Holley Mangold last night…just so happens there was an article on her in the NYT today.


  2. Tom Brose says:

    I believe a few ladies scaled up even heavier, and a few men went to 25 kg.

    Chris put the plan in perfect perspective:

    Learn it, get it right, then ramp up the weight, pace and volume.

  3. Erica says:

    Survived the hotness yesterday, hydration definitely helped. I worked up to 93#s on the clean sequence, which felt okay (but did not look as pretty). I think my favorite thing about yesterday was reflecting back to several months ago when we had to do the 1 rm of a clean individually and I couldn’t hit 95#s when people were watching and I was crying, yes crying, during class. 93# wasn’t the most beautiful, but it was definitely doable for the whole sequence. And I know what I did wrong, so that helps.

    I know I get competitive (sometimes) so I was happy that after Chris gave Jesse a 15Kg plate I got one too. I felt pretty strong on the metcon, but I feel like the hop overs felt like a far distance for me to go. I can never remember my time, I think I finished at 4:02 or something like that.

    I’m super bummed I won’t be there on Sunday for the squat cycle, but I have my first triathlon of the season and will miss you guys! If anyone is making them up on Monday or Tuesday, let me know.

  4. SBV says:

    I enjoyed the barbell complex. The prescription of push jerk (versus split jerk) served as a nice self-limiter for me, as I can push jerk far less than I can split jerk. This kept the weights moderate and the movement crisp and explosive. Need to keep reminding myself to trust full extension rather than laying back excessively. I felt it on a few reps, but need to keep drilling.

    MC gave me a hard time after last week’s kettlebell swing/bear crawl metcon by asking: “What has happened to you? You used to be fast on metcons.” Well, right before Tom yelled “3-2-1 Go!” on this one, I let her know that she wasn’t beating me this time around. I clipped her by only a few seconds last night, but she really made me work for it. I totally would have gone slower had she not been going so fast right behind me. We had a good laugh in the car about how silly it was that we both wanted to beat each other so bad on this workout.

  5. Andraea says:

    Erica – Mackenzie and I probably will be in the gym Monday to do the squat cycle if you want to join us! Good luck in the triathlon!

    I wasn’t in class but I did the workout yesterday afternoon and worked up to 100lbs! Could only do it once though. The hang squat clean was the roughest part of it for me. Not pretty at 100lbs.

    My side hops aren’t pretty either. I just have to learn to trust myself more to make it over. It was choppy.

  6. Steph says:

    My favorite movement didn’t work out so well for me last night. I was surprised that after only 3 months of no explosive movements this time, my clean form was much worse than when I returned from my 1.5 years off last time. My elbows were slow and a few times I bumped the bar out too far. Really annoyed.

    The metcon was short and sweet. Did side box step-downs instead of side plate hops, and used a 35lbs plate. Holy quad burn! The lunges and box step-downs made the burpees really hard.

    Looking forward to Sunday, although I have to admit, after not working out this week, eating a lot of crap and no sleep, I am very nervous.

  7. Erica says:

    MC and Ben, I sort of love that! Ben is always asking me too, what my time was or how much weight I used, etc. There is a competitive side (um, see my comment above) in our house as well…

  8. Katie says:

    The complexes were tough for me…I need to work on quick elbows and quickly getting under the bar. Much more practice needed here. I worked from 40# to 55#, which I was displeased with because I wanted to do 65.

    Tough metcon, but I stuck it out with the 25# plate so was happy about that. My lunges weren’t as deep as I would have liked, but I have a bad habit of slamming my knees down during metcons, so I tried to avoid that.

    I’m in Philly this weekend, so I will also sadly have to miss Sunday squats…I’d love to do them Monday evening with the ladies!!

  9. Mark Minukas says:

    Love the barbell complexes. I feel like they’re a great way to work on form for a number of movements while still getting a good amount of work in. Worked up to 205. Appreciated the coaching tips from Tom B.

    Nice to see SBV role-modeling great form (if not proper workout attire) and Tom A and Ethan showing all out intensity.

  10. Dian says:

    I was actually looking forward to the heat in the gym last night. I wanted to see if I was tough enough. Being from the Caribbean you would think I would be able to take it but I’ve gotten soft in my 22 years living in Babylon.

    I would take Steph’s “bad form,” on the cleans any day. No idea what she is talking about. I thought she was awesome. I tried to work on NOT doing that ridiculous pause I do during the cleans. I think I’m afraid of banging my knees so I have this weird pause that I’m trying to stop. I worked up to 85lbs. I did one set at 90lbs but my form starting breaking down so I dropped back down to 85. I also wasn’t jerking the bar properly but pressing the bar. I guess its good news I can get 85lbs overhead with mostly my arms.

    I used 35lbs for the metcon and finished at 5:12 thereabouts. I’m glad I upped my game and went with the 35lb plate.

    Thanks for the link to the story about Holley Mangold. I got some weird vibes from that piece. The reporter doesn’t appear to know much about Olympic Weightlifting and she seemed to get in some digs at Holley like the “enormous brassieres” bit…the hell?! Holley isn’t a freak but I wonder how many people reading that piece will walk away thinking just that. Anyway, rant over.

    Looking forward to the last burst of the squat cycle. I will be in early for the Elements class as well.

  11. Dian says:

    I saw that 3 teams got disqualified from the CrossFit Games for testing positive to banned substances, all the individuals athletes were clean.

  12. Sara says:

    Great Class! I did a slightly different complex than the rest of class. my complex was: 1 high hang full clean + 1 low hang full clean + 1 Push Jerk.

    I worked with Ami, Erica and Jessi and I was very impressed with the performance from each of them. Erica your Push Jerkies were great!!!! I don’t care if you had to think a lot to do them. I couldn’t tell in the slightest.

    We managed to complete 8 sets. My sets were at:


    Chris was kind enough to stick a PVC pipe over the bar to force me to pull under rather than pull high and then ride it down. This worked great because I actually felt the difference in how I executed the cleans.

    I probably could have gone heavier but was really working on that speed under the bar.

    I used a 45lb plate for the metcon and did step-ups instead of lunges. My time was 5:26. I agree with Erica the larger bumper made it feel like the side hops were a greater distance than when using a 25lb bumper.

  13. Joanne says:

    Hi —
    I missed squats on Sunday and am planning to do the workout wednesday night.

    Does anyone want to join me?

    – Joanne