June 22, 2012
June 25, 2012


The Last Stand: 
CFDC Squat Cycle Final-Wave 

At the close of the second squat-wave, we talked of the importance of spotting for your fellow athletes, as well as the responsibility of the lifter to ensure someone was spotting for them, and the responsibility of the group to ensure a lifter was being spotted (“TIRED AND WIRED“). So, it was a welcome sight to see so many athletes coordinate their spotting-methods this past Sunday. Job well done. Attention to detail is what will see us all through to the end.


However, as we approach the end of our squat cycle, collectively aiming for PR’s, we need to address the lingering detail regarding legitimacy. A legit squat is relatively easy to judge, as the only real factor is depth. Freddy Camacho, owner and coach at CF One World, recently wrote an entry regarding this exact same subject (“WHEN A SQUAT IS NOT A SQUAT“), from which I am liberally going to borrow:

There are many ways to do a squat. There is a high bar position or a low bar position. Some people prefer to keep their feet shoulder width apart and some prefer a wider stance. There are people that preach pointing the toes slightly outward, and there are those who prefer the toes pointed straight forward. Regardless of all these squat techniques, a squat can only be a squat if you squat below parallel.

To paraphrase and repeat: A squat can only be a legit squat if the squat is below parallel.

Leave No Doubt! 
No one will ever question the legitimacy of Mike Choi’s squats 

It would be foolish to expect everyone to move the same, and each of us experience different limitations that require us to squat slightly differently. However, there really is no excuse for not squatting below parallel. Either continue to drop lower to make depth, or, if you can’t get lower, take some weight off the bar until you can make depth. As a group, we are all capable of squatting below parallel. So why don’t all of us always do so? Mr. Camacho has some follow-up thoughts about this:

  1. Some of you just have no awareness of what your ass does for a living. You are so disconnected with your body that you believe you are squatting lower than you really are. You also try and compensate not squatting lower by bending over more, which also makes you think you are squatting lower. Since you probably don’t want to install a back-up camera on your ass, the best thing to do is practice squatting to a box that sets you up at below parallel when your ass touches it. This is the easiest way to get used to squatting below parallel.
  2. Some of you simply don’t want to do the hard work. I’ve seen people squatting above parallel in mid-set who then hit a few reps below parallel when I point out that they are above. I almost always hear the same thing: “Wow, that’s way harder!” DUH! The simple fix is stop being a pansy and work F’n harder. If squatting was easy it wouldn’t be the king of all weightlifting movements. 
  3. Some of you are trying to squat above your physical capability. In police work we call this an “FBI Clue”: If you are not strong enough to get a load back up once you are in a full squat, it is too damn heavy. Lighten the load and do the real work. I can’t stand to see guys and girls squatting above parallel and then adding more weight. As the load gets heavier they get even farther away from a good squat. Maybe that shit is impressive at 24 Hour Fitness, but definitely not at CFDC. 

Okay, so clearly he didn’t write CFDC at the end of the last paragraph, but you get the idea. (I may also have short-formed the F-bomb to keep it sorta family-atmospherish).

The above is funny at times, but the best, and the part that really rings true, is the closing paragraph:

The moral of the story is don’t cheat yourself now, and it will pay off in the end. … Walk before you run. Get the mechanics down and the strength will come. I promise! 

50 Jumping Jacks, 
Squat Walk Rt ~50 feet, 
50 Jumping Jacks, 
Squat Walk Lft ~50 feet, 
Knees to Chest Walk ~50 feet, 
2 x 1min Ankle/Achilles Stretch on the wall/side, 
20 Scorpions, 
Toy Soldier/High Kicks Walk ~50 feet 

 Squat Cycle 3, Week 1: 
Back Squat 5 x 3 @ 90%

 Warm-Up for the day’s working sets was roughly programmed at 1 x 10 @ 30%, 1x 8 @ 50%, 1x 5 @ 65%, 1x 3 @ 75%, and, 1 x 2 @ 85%. “Roughly,” because the higher in weight you’re climbing, the more warm-up sets you may need to take (add sparingly, however, as you don’t want to exhaust yourself before you get to the actual work).

5 x 5 Heavy KB Swings

Sunday’s accessory work was programmed as “heavy” KB Swings utilizing the Russian-style swing (to eye level only, rather than the overhead American style swing). This would allow people to go much heavier than usual, but would also demand more hip power and more core stability. The first two sets were set as standard swings, meaning one KB, on your own. Sets 3 through 5, however, were opened up to two different options:

 Option 1 – Double KB Swing, using two KBs instead of one; and/or,


 Option 2 – partner assisted power swings, where a partner stands in front of you and “assists” by pushing the KB into the back-swing (this requires increased tension through the back in order to control the back-swing and maintain balance). 

 Partner Met-Con: 
40 Sit-Ups & Hollow Hold, 
30 Sit-Ups & Extended Arm Plank, 
20 Sit-Ups & Plank, and, 
10 Sit-Ups & V-Sit


For a quick finisher, we worked the mid-section with a dynamic vs. static core work-based work-out (that’s a lot of “work”). While one partner did the dynamic work (the sit-ups), the other partner did the static work (the hollow holds, planks, and v-sits), with the two trading places until each partner had completed a set of 40 sit-ups, 30 sit-ups, 20 sit-ups, and finally, 10 sit-ups. Thanks to Julia and Peter for leading the way on some immediate post-metcon stretching via the cobra pose to open up the abs and hip-flexors!

 Well done all – rest up the legs and come ready to for the heat and burn that’s in store for Tuesday.



  1. Tom Brose says:

    If there was ever any doubt about the ladies running the show, I just want to note that Sara finished off her swings with the 106 LB KETTLEBELL!

  2. Steph says:

    Awesome blog post! I love the quotes from One World and especially this last sentence, “Maybe that shit is impressive at 24 Hour Fitness, but definitely not at CFDC.” Nice replacement, Salty!

    The squats got better for me towards the end when I guess I finally warmed up. Sets 4 and 5 were the best. Set 1 was heavy as shit.

    There wasn’t as much energy in class yesterday as I had expected with the return of the squat cycle. What happened, CFDCers? Let’s bring it tomorrow!

  3. Dan Samarov says:

    Agree with Steph… first round felt heavy (I blame gravity) and wasn’t getting the depth I should’ve been. Second through fourth rounds felt progressively easier/faster and I was able to get proper depth (I think, looking at the picture on the post :)). Looking forward to seeing folks in class tomorrow!

  4. SBV says:

    I’ll take some of the blame for the lack of energy in class on Sunday. I was forced to save every ounce of energy I had for my working sets of squats. I could tell from the warm-up sets that it was about to get ugly. I was overconfident this week about the squat cycle and didn’t properly recover. I worked out hard on Wednesday, Thursday (including front squats), and Saturday. I ultimately got the work done, but definitely learned a lesson about respecting the squat cycle. I intend to dial in my nutrition and recovery over the last three weeks to ensure that my legs are firing each Sunday. Hopefully that will allow me to have a little extra energy to share with class instead of just keeping it all for my squats.

  5. Steph says:

    Agree with Sebastian that I will also be dialing in my nutrition the next three weeks to ensure the successful completion of the squat cycle. I’ve been eating terribly the past month due to work events but am now ready to eat better. I always have the best intentions when it comes to my eating but can easily give in to bad snacking at times of stress. I challenge those who I dine with regularly help monitor my eating.

  6. Sara says:

    Thanks for the shout out Tom! I felt great during my sets of squats. I was a bit concerned when the 15kg bar felt heavy, but those concerns went away after my warmup at 50%. I actually felt good on each one of my sets and had no problems with any of my 5 working sets except the comment I got to breath in before descending. For some reason I have a tendency to begin my 2nd rep before I take my breath in and need to be reminded.

    As Tom mentioned I finished off my swings with the 106lb KB.

    I didn’t get to the metcon for a couple reasons but I think it was a smart choice cause I would have had to modify due to the large bruise on my low back. I had a slight accident Saturday during an attempt to get out of the way of a bar I was losing behind me. I have to start doing some bailing drills when in the bottom of a snatch position. I usually lose it out front and have no trouble getting out of the way then but noticed that this was the second time I was losing the bar behind me below parallel and could not move out of the way fast enough. As a result, I ended up with a bruise

  7. SaltyHat says:

    I decline your challenge, on the grounds of self-preservation.

    Nice to return to the squats, and, as usual, awesome to work out with Tom, Sara and Steph post-class, especially with the ladies leading their own impromptu version of a how-to-squat clinic. Doubles and power swings were a nice change, and it was pretty cool to watch Sara swing the Heavy (For You) KB.

  8. Sara says:

    Oh and it should be noted that Tom & Chris swung double 32kg KBs and used the heavy KB for the power pushes. That was pretty cool too.

  9. Katie says:

    I did this workout earlier this evening with Mackenzie and Andraea, and had a great time doing it. They both had excellent form, and kept me honest on my form as well.

    I did my sets at 65#, which was challenging but doable. Thanks to Andraea and Mackenzie for reminding me to keep my chest up, I really need to work on that. I think this might have applied to me a little: “You also try and compensate not squatting lower by bending over more, which also makes you think you are squatting lower.” I also felt my hips rising too early on a couple reps, and there might have been a couple reps where I was not quite at depth, but overall I think I did well. I was terrified I wasn’t going deep enough after reading this post today!! I think I asked “was I deep enough?” after every set. :o)

    Used a 16kg KB and worked with Andraea on the power swings — I think we figured it out; thanks for the great photo of Jen and Dian! I subbed regular plank for the extended arm hold, b/c that wasn’t happening. Andraea and I were both dying on the metcon, it was great.

    Tomorrow we get to see how my body responds to working out two days in a row. Looking forward to it!

  10. Julia says:

    Wow, Sara – way to go!

    And ditto Chris, nice to get back to the squats, and nice to mix up the assistance work. There wasn’t any screaming or hollering or anything, but I think the energy was pretty ok at the rack where I was working. (Tried to keep it all family atmospherish, though.)

    Thanks Peter for being my partner for the core work!

  11. Andraea says:

    Thanks Katie and Mackenzie for doing squats with me! The last rep of the last couple of sets was rough but it helped having Katie and Mackenzie cheering me on! Mackenzie had great form, my form was struggling by the end as I felt my chest leaning forward and having to really correct it in order to stand up. I definitely need to incorporate some stretching before next squat workout.

    The partner kb swings were fun and different and Katie and I had a good time doing those and the metcon. My abs were feeling it after the metcon. I started it off with the 40 sit-ups and it was rough then going immediately to hollow holds.

  12. Erica says:

    Missed my race so made it to the squat cycle. Wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn’t dying either…DB swings were so fun! And my abs were sore yesterday. Loved it

  13. Steph says:

    Julia, you were the only one at your rack! :-p

  14. edgy reggie says:

    It was great to get back to squatting.

    I worked with Dan-imal and Robin, and I was the “lightweight” of the trio. Due to time constraints, we only manged to get in four heavy sets.

    I liked the kettlebell (KB) swing variations; I used a 32kg kettlebell for the partner-assisted swings (one set) and a pair of 20kg kettlebells for the double KB swings (two sets).

    I partnered with Greg for the core work; I’m still feeling it as I am writing this comment.

    Post-class: I got my grill on with shrimp tacos, grilled kabobs, and grilled corn-on-the-cob.

    I had a great session of Iyengar yoga (with Winnie) later in the day.

    I don’t know about a perceived “lack of energy” in class, but I certainly had it (and brought it). 🙂

  15. Dian says:

    I’m going to make every effort to get my lazy butt out of bed on Sundays for the 9:00 Elements classes. We had a great review of the hollow position and kipping in the 9:00 session.

    It was great to get back to the squats. I’ve been really trying to concentrate on not collapsing in the squat, staying on my heels of course, and generally being legit. All these things and more were running through my head each set. Looking forward to the next few weeks of squats. I want to pull it all together.

    My abs are still really sore. Should keep things interesting tonight.