August 10, 2012
August 15, 2012

To help celebrate the last day of the Olympics, Sunday’s class set out to hammer some Olympic lifts with a favorite clean complex, followed by another dose of high rep back squats.

10 Pause Squats (2 count); 
10 Push-Ups; 
10 Pause Squats (1 count); 
10 Burpees; 
10 Squats 
Clean Complex 

Prep Set #1 = 5 Hang Power Cleans + 5 Push Press (bar only)
Prep Set #2 = 10 Thrusters (bar only)
Working Sets = 5 x 1 Power Clean + Hang Squat Clean + 1 Push Press/Push Jerk

We’ve been doing quite a bit of work on our explosive lifting lately, with a lot of emphasis on position and execution. For this Sunday, we revisited a popular clean complex, one which we actually ran through less than two months ago (“HOT AND HEAVY“), consisting of one power clean, one hang squat clean, and one push press/push jerk/split 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.

By combining the double cleans with an overhead, we’re forced to really concentrate on stabilizing through the mid-section when driving the weight up and then holding there.

Following the clean complex, class brought in a few more racks and prepped for some hi rep back squats.

Squat Conditioning: 
3 x 12 Back Squats @ 65% + AMRAP Ring Dips 

Two weeks ago, class had the pleasure of working through three sets of ten back squats at 65% (“CLEAN AND MEAN“). For this Sunday’s version, the weight was kept the same, but the reps were upped a little. Two additional reps doesn’t seem like a lot, until you get the weight on your back and moving.

To prepare for the 3 sets of 12 back squats, everyone started off with one set of 10 squats at roughly 35% followed by 15 push-ups, then one set of 5 squats at roughly 50% followed by 15 bench/box dips. Once the two preparation sets were done, each person loaded the bar to 65% of their max rep back squat and went for 12 straight reps, followed by a minute of rest, and then AMRAP ring dips.

Remember, when working dips on the rings, it’s essential to keep the lats retracted, which in turn keeps the shoulders pulled back and down. A great cue for this is to imagine squeezing a pen/marker/etc in the armpit; the act of forcefully squeezing the arms in keeps the elbows in tight and helps set the lats and shoulders. In the deadlift, this keeps the shoulders from rounding forward, which is what leads to a rounded back. In the dips, this stops the elbows from flaring out, reducing stress on the shoulder and aids in stabilizing the body, an absolute must when doing the dips on the rings.

If full-on dips aren’t in the cards yet, there are a few scaled versions which were covered on Sunday. One way is to simply perform a negative – jumping into the support position (with the arms fully extended) and slowly lowering to a point where the shoulders are deeper than the elbows before putting the feet back down. Another way is to use a resistance band, which can be looped around one ring and then held against the other ring. This is similar to using a resistance band for pull-ups, and adds assistance through the hardest parts of the dip.  Of course, if stability is the problem, it’s best to back off the rings and work range of motion with the bench/box dips, to help strengthen the triceps while working on keeping the shoulders retracted with a piece of equipment that doesn’t move around on you.

Many thanks to Coach Kris Casper and CrossFit Lewes who were kind enough to welcome Erica, Amelia, and Mary-Catherine while they were on a bachelorette holiday in Delaware this past weekend. 

 So, yes, sadly, the Olympics are now over. However, that doesn’t mean we’re done with our Olympic lifting – although, hopefully we can all get back to our regular sleep habits. See you all Tuesday.



  1. edgy reggie says:

    I really enjoyed yesterday’s workout. An Olympic lift progression + squats – met-con = my kind of workout. 🙂

    Clean progression: I worked up to 155# (~70 kg) on the power clean/hang squat clean/overhead progression. For the overhead, I performed split jerks. All five rounds felt good. Since my group was efficient with time, I attempted a sixth round of the progression at 155#. I was able to get the power clean but missed (twice) on the hang squat clean. Oh well…the weightlifter in me didn’t want to end on that note, but the crossfitter in me had to move on.

    Squats et al: I worked up to 210# (my sixty-five-percent weight) with the squats. All sets felt good, but I mentioned yesterday what Coach Salty wrote in the blog: It’s amazing what two extra reps per set can do with a workout like this. My glutes are sore as I write this comment (and will be even more sore tomorrow). I managed to get five ring dips per set.

    From what I can see when I was not focused on my sets, there was strong performances from everyone. Great job CrossFit DC! Keep this up, and I may see some of you performing in Rio in 2016. 😉

    Until then, Tuesday’s workout awaits.

  2. Steph says:

    Did we start a high-rep squat cycle while I was in China that I don’t know about? I’m so bummed I missed the 3×10@65% but happy that I was there for the 3×12 yesterday. However, I completely forgot that I had a new one rep max and that we were supposed to use that as our base, so my first set was done at my previous 65%, 10lbs less than what it should’ve been. Sets 2 and 3 felt heavy but not unmanageable. I hope that’s not only because I cheated unintentionally in my first set. For the ring dips I got 2-2-1. It was pretty awesome to see Sara knocking out 5+ legit ones in her rounds. It’s amazing how lats-pulled-back is applied in so many of the movements. Need to get better at doing that!

    The cleans complex went better than I did it in class last time, at least the hang clean part. Power cleans continue to suck. I think I need to work on making the transition between the first pull and second pull better.

    Hope to be in class tomorrow! See everyone then!

  3. Julia says:

    great to see Dre and Adam back!

    + my usual 20 questions… if you reset your grip in the hip crease between lifts, do you want to stand all the way up again after resetting, before going down to the hang position to start your next rep? or do you want to go straight down from hip crease to hang? is the answer any different if you’re doing the lift as part of a high-rep metcon?

    see you all Tuesday!

  4. Katie says:

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well, so this workout wasn’t the best. Did 50# for the clean complex. Attempted 60# for the squats, but I couldn’t complete all 12. (despite having done 10 reps at this weight previously.) I went down to 50# for the second set, and it was still feeling really heavy. After that set, I felt light-headed, and Erin convinced me it was time to stop. For as crappy as I was feeling, I held it together fairly well for the majority of class and got in a lot of work. I should have listened to my body a little better and stopped earlier, though.

    I stayed home from work today and rested. I’m feeling much better now, so hopefully that will continue and I can be back in class tomorrow.

  5. Tom Brose says:

    Great work everyone. I’m highly entertained by watching how much everyone enjoys the higher rep squats. Just wait…it gets even better!

    Steph, yes, we are squat cycle addicts. I should find a tailor who will give me a commission on letting out pant legs.

    Julia, great questions, as usual. I think that the hip-crease reset has a tendency to round the back over, so I’d prefer to stand up then push back into the hang. I think that even in a light metcon, the benefit of maintaining efficient position outweigh rushing through. So, generally I’d recommend standing back up, but the real issue is making sure the back pulls into a tight arch.

  6. Sara says:

    Thanks for the shout out Steph although I have to admit I hit 5-4-3 on my sets of ring dips. It is great working out with Tom, Steph and Chris after class.

    Wow I have some sore quads and adductors. The squats were very tough for me.

  7. Mark Minukas says:

    Awesome stuff. Oly lifting AND squats AND ring dips. All the oly practice is definitely improving the feeling of speed/power in those lifts – so hopefully that’s a reflection of better technique.

    Just trying to keep up with the impeccable form of SBV and the grit of BB (guy crushed all the weights despite a strained hamstring).

  8. Erica says:

    The ladies in the pic weren’t on just any bachlorette party, they were on my bachelorette party 🙂 and of course, our first stop on the trip was to the crossfit box. It was a killer workout, but of course the CFDC ladies represented.

    I did Sunday’s workout yesterday, and it was rough. Worked up to 98#s on the first set and the squats were tough. I used the belt and felt like I had to hold my breath, more or less, the whole time.

    Any recommendations on how to breathe easier on longer prepositions of squats while using the belt?

  9. Tom Brose says:

    Erica, breathing definitely becomes a challenge on high rep squats, especially under a load that requires the diaphram to really support the torso. I’ll use an extra breath or two between reps when I have to in order to make sure I can get the oxygen in and still lock down the core tight before I begin the decent.

    In a few weeks well get up to a 20 rep set, also known as “breathing squats”. The idea is to knock off 10 reps, then take an extra breath between 10-15, then 2 extra reps for the last 5 reps.

  10. Kenna says:

    Not gonna lie, Sunday ended up being a frustrating workout for me. I did hill sprints on Saturday, so my legs were tired, so I’m going to blame that 😛

    I got up to 65# on the clean progression. My hips are still coming up too fast (before my chest/body) so I really need to keep working on that. We finished earlier so used the time to push press 70#, just for fun, which I think is a PB. Chris made a good point that I should have been reinforcing/practicing the problem areas of the movements instead.

    By the time we got the the squat routine, I was spent (especially my legs). I was sick during the final squat cycle class, so I don’t know what my 1 rep max is supposed to be, but I was feeling really weak on the high rep stuff. I had to stop at 10x. I think I was working at 70#.

    Not even going to mention the rings…

    But I’m ready to get back in the saddle today. See you all soon!

  11. Steph says:

    20 reps?! Holy crap. I don’t think I’ve done 20 reps at anything higher than 85lbs, and that was in a Red Viking running workout a couple of years back…

  12. Tom Brose says:

    Just wait until I explain the specifics of how to calculate the weight for a 20 rep squat.