August 13, 2012
August 17, 2012

It’s been awhile since we dedicated sometime to being upside down, and so Tuesday’s class started with a healthy does of HSPU work. A number of people have made progress in the handstand department, but it will take more work, sometimes on your own, to really develop these effort-based skills. Tuesday should have been both a chance to practice, but also an instructive reminder of this fact.

Knee-to-Chest Walk (Full Ct), 15 Squats, 10 Push-Ups; 
Sampson-Lunge (Full Ct), 10 Jump Squats, 5 Dive Bomber Push-Ups; 
10 Pause Scorpions 

AMRAP HSPU + Hollow Rocks 

After the warm-up, class spent a few minutes reviewing the strength/skill block for the day which focused on HSPU’s mixed with hollow rocks. The general guideline was to complete a set of AMRAP handstand push-ups, followed by a set of twice as many hollow rocks. For those with sufficient HSPU, the suggestion was not to take the first or second set to failure, thereby increasing the overall volume of work.

Prep Sets: 1x 3 Wall Walkers; 1x 5 HS Kick-Ups 
Working Sets: AMRAP HSPU + 2x Hollow Rocks

Options for the HSPU included scaling up to hands on plates, or scaling down to either one or two ab-mats. However, for those able to complete at least one HSPU, a minimum of 3 reps was put in place. Thus, if you could only do one HSPU, then you complete two negatives to fulfill the min. rep requirement; however, it was recommended that you scale up one step for the negatives (i.e., if I did one HSPU to 2 ab-mats, then I should complete the two negatives to just 1 ab-mat).

For those who didn’t quite have the control for the negatives, the next scaling option was to complete 1 max time HS hold, followed by 5 box assisted HSPU (with knees on the box). Those who hadn’t quite mastered kicking up into the HS were given a few practice attempts (2-3) to become more comfortable with the movement, before hitting the boxes for 5-7 box assisted HSPUs.

 Why the Skill Session?

On the heels of our “Practice Like you Play” paragraph from last Sunday’s blog-post (“BATTEN DOWN THE SNATCHES“), it’s only appropriate to go back even farther to a blog-post we put-up almost a year ago regarding skill work (aka “Learn to Love Your Goats!“). While we started off talking about Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book, “Outliers,” and how we learn fine motor skills, the gist of the post was rooted in this thought:

developing skills is “all about progression and practice.” 

Combine those thoughts and you arrive at the reasoning behind Tuesday night’s dedicated time-block for Handstand Push-Ups: without putting in the time time to practice the effort-based skill-work outside of workouts (think “met-cons/DWODs”), you will probably never improve on those skills. Some of you have been putting in the time before/after classes to work on a few of the more intense skill-based movements (think double unders, kipping, rope climbs, ring work, and handstand push-ups), but classes like Tuesday, with a block of time dedicated to practicing a single skill, will hopefully encourage more of you to begin doing the same.

7min AMRAP of 4 Plyo-Plate Burpees + 8 OH Lunges

The newly dubbed plyo-plate burpee is combination of a plyo-push-up and a plate-burpee: begin with one hand on a bumper plate and the other on the floor, followed by an explosive push up that allows you to transition so that the hand on the floor now becomes the hand on the plate, while the hand on the plate now becomes the hand on the floor; perform a second push-up, but instead of transitioning to the other side, push yourself up into a standing position and finish the move by jumping on the plate and then back off again. That equals one rep of a plyo-plate burpee (this was a helluva lot easier to demo than describe in writing).

nice to have Satin back from the West Coast! 

The rest of the workout was, thankfully, easier to grasp in terms of execution. Complete 4 reps of the burpees followed by 8 alternating OH lunges with the same plate, completing as many rounds of the two as possible in 7min.

 Core Work: 
3 x Hollow Holds

As a quick close-out, we took the opportunity to review the hollow position by executing a few timed hollow holds. Class worked through two sets of 15sec holds, with points of performance stressed in between, followed by one last set of 30sec. Definitely made for a warm mid-section.

As usual, a lot of good work, especially in a class with a little less structure than most are used to. For those who entertained thoughts of competing in this weekends Total Recall with CrossFit Dupont, it’s not too late to sign up!!

Sign-ups can be done through Balance’s MindBody page. For a rundown on the event, including a timeline and standards of movements for the Football Total (Power Clean, Back Squat, Bench Press, & Deadlift), check out today’s CrossFit Dupont post. Both Tom and Chris will be acting as judges during the day, although I’m not sure if that’s encouragement or a good reason to stay away. See you all on Thursday.



  1. Steph says:

    Welcome back, Satin! And it was also good to see Dan!

    Ah, the dreaded handstands. I was the one that took up so much of Chris’ and Tom’s time in the first class with my fear of kicking up into a handstand. I need to just practicing. This will now be on my list with the pull-ups. See, always the upper-body stuff holding me back!

    The plyo-plate burpees were so hard! I think I only plyo-ed in the first round, after that it was a shuffling of hands. Fun metcon though!

    See everyone on Thursday!

  2. Sara says:

    Welcome back Satin!

    I saw lots of people working on HSPUs that in the past generally scaled to the boxes. Nice work everyone.

    I jumped in for some HSPU work in the 7PM. I started with 1 abmat because the last time I did HSPU I could only get negitives with the full ROM. Got 9 reps with 1 mat and decided to try out full ROM. I got 2 sets of 2 reps. Tried to kip out of the third but I am not comfortable kipping with the HSPU. The hollow rocks felt so good on my lower back which was tight from raised snatch 1st pull deadlifts earlier.

  3. Kenna says:

    I enjoyed this workout. I actually have seen a lot of progress on wallwalkers and oddly feel very comfortable in a handstand. I think I could have tried to get the negative with 2 abmats, but I worked on the box and think I did pretty good.

    I used a 25# plate on the metcon, it was challenging but good. On a clumsier note, I now have a huge purple knot on my calf from when I was rolling the plate and it fell. But the bruise matches my dress today so it’s cool.

  4. Tom Brose says:

    Good to see Satin back from the West Coast!

    Great to have more people getting the HSPUs in, and challenging themselves with the ROM. These definitely require a bit of frequency to improve (meaning, you probably need to do them more often). A few holds, shoulder touches, negatives or full reps in a warmup or after class will go a long way.

  5. Tom Brose says:

    We’re looking at what, 100 burpees even if we don’t count the group pic? Makes programming easier, however a lot less fun.


    Anyone get their first HSPU? New PR? Love my plyo-plate burpee invention?

  6. Dan Samarov says:

    Good to be back at CFDC! HSPU’s are starting to feel a bit better, trying to do these with a bit more frequency. The metcon was a surprising combination of overall fatigue and muscle failure, in the later rounds I really struggled on the plyo push-ups, all around a great workout!

  7. Dian says:

    Still struggling with the handstands. I scaled down with the boxes. I’ve been working on getting closer to the wall with the wall walkers. There is no getting past it, I simply have to practice handstands and get over the fear. Maybe I’ll enroll my niece to help me out. Nothing like getting teased by an 8-year old. She was busting on my calloused hands the other day.

    The plyo-plate burpees were, um,…interesting. I went VERY slow with those. I tried getting my chest to the plate on each pushup with varying degrees of success. I used the 25lb plate for the lunges which felt light. I should have used a heavier plate.

    I worked on my pullups after class with the band as part of the pullup program. Thanks for helping me in and out of the band Sara.

    See everyone tonight.

  8. Julia says:

    Kenna, outside the gym, I usually try to hide mine, not match them… but you may be on to something there! Camouflage?

    And it took me a couple rounds to start getting the hang of it, but the new burpee invention was pretty cool! Although mine were not so plyo by the end either.

  9. Erica says:

    I did this workout earlier on Tuesday and from the sound of it, I’m not sure I actually did plyo plate burpees correctly. Any volunteers to demonstrate for me at today’s class? pllllease??

  10. Katie says:

    So sad I missed this class. :o( I’ll do this some Saturday after I feel better. I need the handstand work, and plyo burpees sound too painful to resist.

    I’m still not feeling 100%, but I made it to work, so I’m making it to class tonight, even if I use the PVC for everything!

  11. Mark Minukas says:

    Handstand pushups are oh so humbling…and therefore a great thing to practice. I’ll clearly be doing more of those.

    Metcon, while painful, was a lot more satisfying (I could actually keep moving my body). It was all I could do to keep up with Danimal for ~7 rds. Cool change up to the burpee, as well. Hits the chest a lot more.

  12. Andraea says:

    Loved that time was given to work on HSPUs! Those aren’t something I normally do on my own but I know I definitely need to work on them weekly. I was able to do them with 2 ab mats on top of each other, attempted with just one ab mat and had to do negatives although those were rough and a bit scary. So I went back to the 2 ab mats.

    I used the 25lb plate for the metcon but should’ve used the 35lb plate. There was no “plyo” in my burpee, I walked hands over to each side. Another thing to work on. I was really slow on those as I was trying to get my chest to the floor on each one.

  13. edgy reggie says:

    Welcome back Satin! Great to see “Dan-imal” again.

    Handstand push-ups are one of my “goats.” I am getting better at them; however, I do need to work on them more in my “off-time.”

    In fact, I did two sets of five band-assisted handstand push-ups after my Olympic weightlifting training last night (August 15).

    Met-con was another killer. I completed five rounds (I think).

    I wonder what the coaches have planned for tonight (August 16). 🙂