August 24, 2012
August 29, 2012

After a low-weight, high-heart-rate met-con attack on Thursday, Sunday’s class featured a little more weight, but sought to get everyone’s heart racing equally as much, beginning with an intense warm-up to prep everyone for the work to come.

Warm-Up, pt 1: 
150 jump rope skips; 
3x 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 alt. lunges, 10 superman; 
150 jump rope skips 
Warm-Up, pt 2: 
4 x 3 max height wall balls + 3 plyo push-ups 
Clean & Jerk

Following this past Tuesday’s class dedicated to the jerk (as well as the extensive blog-post following the class entitled “ALL IN A DAY’S JERK“), Sunday’s class set out to pair the jerk up with it’s natural partner, the clean. Class broke out into groups of 2-3 people and worked through two prep sets with little to no weight on the bar, followed by the day’s working sets.

Prep Sets: 2 x 10 front squats + 10 push-press (bar only to light weight

Working Sets: 8 x 2 C&J

Rather than true doubles (which should be done as touch and go), Sunday’s two reps of C&J were done as a single-drop/reset-single. This allowed everyone to push the weight more than they would be able to in a true double, but still less than with heavy singles. As such, athletes were allowed to add weight across the 8 sets as able, but preferably staying 10-15% below max effort.

Think, then lift.
The principal of the drop/reset sets is similar to true doubles: the pattern of the lifts helps reinforce how to be as efficient as possible when executing the lift. However, where the double forces a lifter to not think and just go, the drop/reset structure actually allows a lifter a brief moment to consider what points in the first lift can be improved before performing the second lift. This is especially important for those who are still coming to grips with the split jerk.

For example, if an athlete is able to C&J the weight, but lands with the back leg locked or foot turned out, then they are able to drop the weight, visualize a better landing (rear heel up, knee slightly bent, foot turned in), reset, and then execute the lift a second time aiming to correct the faults from the first lift. The drop/reset period is key to helping the improvement in this situation, as a lifter must think during the rest period, rather than trying to think through the form while executing the lift. The former leads to better lifts; the latter often leads to disaster – we’re just not able to process the information fast enough while attempting to execute a lift that lasts a matter of seconds. Don’t think and lift; think, then lift.

Strength Conditioning: 
2 x 15 Back Squats @ 65% 

Six weeks ago, we hit three sets of ten back squats at 65%, and then two weeks ago, we upped the reps to 12 at a time (but for only 2 sets). At the time, we mentioned that two additional reps doesn’t seem like a lot, until you get the weight on your back and moving. Well, if adding two reps didn’t convince you, howabout upping the rep scheme to sets of 15?

Two warm-up sets were programmed with one set of 8 @ 30%, followed by one set of 6 @ 50%. After that, it was two working sets of 15 reps to be done at ~65% of your 1RM back squat. Fun times! And yes, you should find yourself breathing hard during these high reps sets; the key is to gain control of your breathing and concentrate on squeezing the abdomen tight before the next rep.

Great work in another big class. Additionally, a big THANK-YOU to Ben & Ben, Katie, Steph, and Jen Choi (along with Stella and Maggie Choi, of course!) for making the trek up to Ft. Detrick to cheer on Mike, Sara and Chris – it was great to see some friendly faces in the crowd! See you all on Tuesday.



  1. Steph says:

    I’m going to try to do this workout on Wednesday!

  2. Katie says:

    Watching the awesomess at the Frederick Open on Saturday definitely got me psyched up for C&Js on Sunday. Congrats to Chris, Mike, and Sara on a job well done! It was fun watching our coaches truly practice what they preach and lift some really heavy weights. For those who haven’t been to a weightlifting meet, I highly recommend it.

    One thing I learned from the meet was I need to get the bar off my thigh higher up my leg, which I tried to implement on Sunday. I stuck to push jerks as they’re easier for me and I wanted to focus on the clean. I made it to one rep at 60#, then failed on the second one — I’m still getting a mental block with cleans; I’ll have a decent pull and get it high enough, but decide for some reason I can’t get under it and give up. I went back down in weight and finished the sets with solid form. I was content to have made it to 60# even for one rep, and happy that 50# felt comfortable.

    I was breathing hard on the squats and they nearly squished me. I did a set at 60#, then at 55# (which is fair considering my 65% is actually 58.5#). Thanks to my four-person cheering section, I couldn’t have finished without you! Chris watched me closely and gave me great tips on really pressing my abs out. I need to do that consistently and also feel when I’m using good form v. bad form.

  3. SBV says:

    @Steph: Enjoy the workout on Wednesday. Just don’t plan on doing a damn thing the following day. My legs are toast!

    Yes, the Frederick Open was awesome. We missed Sara’s lifts, but arrived in time to catch Mike and Chris. Mike set a 4kg personal record on the snatch and was 1kg shy of his personal record on the clean & jerk. He explained that a weightlifter at his stage often trains an entire year just to move up 1kg on the snatch. So, him moving up 4kg on his snatch was a major accomplishment. His epic struggles to stand up out of the bottom of the clean were also incredible. The crowd was really behind him because it looked as though he was using every last ounce of strength he had to finish the clean. It was awesome.

    Then, of course, it was time for the Salty show. And what an entertaining show it was. Chris opened at a very conservative number on the snatch, but managed to miss his first attempt. This put him in a bit of a hole, but he managed to obliterate his final two snatch attempts and set a competitition personal record on the snatch of . . . 17kg! Think back to what I said about Mike and how 1kg is a big deal. Chris moved up from 85kg in the 2011 Baltimore Open to 102kg on Saturday. Not bad. Then, he really started feeling good on the clean & jerk. 115kg . . . piece of cake. 120kg . . . piece of cake. 125kg . . . piece of cake, except after jerking the bar easily overhead, his feet got tangled up and he lost it. The judges were forced to “no-rep” him, even though he could clearly handle the weight. All in all, a competition personal record on the clean & jerk of 10kg! Chris moved up from 110kg in the 2011 Baltimore Open to 120kg on Saturday. Amazing performance! And the best part is that there’s room to go ever higher next time.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to compete in an Olympic weightlifting competition.

  4. Andraea says:

    Congrats to Sara, Chris, and Mike! Did anybody get video of it and is it going to be on the blog?!

    I did yesterday’s workout tonight and it was rough. I was so happy to see Sara when I walked into the gym this evening and even happier when she said she’ll be doing squats!! I was worried about the 2 sets at 15 reps since 12 reps was a struggle and I wasn’t looking forward to doing them by myself. Sara also provided great feedback to my clean and jerk and helped me understand what I was doing wrong and why it was happening. I kept landing with my feet too wide when the bar got heavier, which was a result of not getting underneath it and pulling it too high. She mentioned to think of doing a squat clean so I would focus on getting under the bar and that greatly helped.

    Then it was squat time. Oh my god it was rough. Katie had showed up at this time too and was cheering both Sara and I on! Thanks Katie! The last 3 reps of each set were brutal and I was totally out of breath by the end of them. I also had a piercing headache too after the first set and again on the second set which started at the 13th rep. Never happened before, I think the breathing was really rough and being tight for that long might’ve brought it on. Plus Sara pointed out that the bar was too high on the second set so next time I will take note on that.

  5. Erica says:

    Congrats to Mike, Chris, and Sara. The play by play sounded amazing and I’m sorry I couldn’t see it!

  6. Sara says:

    WOW Andraea – you are quick to get your comments in after the work out.

    Thank you everyone for the support and well wishes on at the meet. A huge thank you to Steph, Ben, SBV and Katie for making the trip up to support us and to Erica and Tom for the cheers from afar on Saturday. Saturday was a long but very exciting day. I think the best part was seeing Chris’ return to the competition platform. Great job to both Mike and Chris both as lifters and coaches. I finished the day off with a 1kg PR on the C&J and a 3KG Total PR.

    T would like to thank Chris again for coaching and working with me on my technique. Chris has a way of helping people to understand the cues he gives. He has also helped me to be able to feel a technique flaw during the execution of a lift as well as the ability to feel the correct movement.

    @SBV – I look forward to your return to the competition platform as well.

    As Andraea said, I went in this afternoon to do my 2×15 squats. I did not do the Clean & Jerks. I was very happy to se Andraea come in because I was kind of dreading the squats. I am still pretty sore from Saturday and thought they would be difficult given how tought the 3×12 were 2 weeks ago. It was much better to have someone else squatting with me. Andraea did a great job with her Clean & Jerks. Another big thank you to Katie who posponed the work she came to the gym to do, in order to support Andraea and I through our squats.

  7. Sara says:

    I meant to say Andraea did a great job with both her clean & Jerks and her squats.

  8. Dian says:

    I’ve been feeling drained and lazy for a few days. Yesterday’s workout knocked the lazy right out of me starting with the warmup. Woke my lazy ass right up and I’ve been riding that CFDC high every since.

    I really enjoy the clean and jerk. I have a lot of work to do to become proficient so I will take all the practice I can get. I worked up to 90lbs on the C&Js. Gotta say that the 2 sets of 15 squats at 65% were rough. Ouch! I know my form was breaking down at the end of those. Nothing to do but get stronger and do it better next time. I put in some work at the end of class on the pull-up program. I’m looking forward to some pull-ups during Tuesday’s class. Working on pull-ups hurts like hell but I’m going to string together some freaking pull-ups by any means necessary.

    Congratulations Sara, Chris and Mike on your amazing performances at the Frederick Open. Thanks for the great recap Sebastian.

    I’ve been putting in some work on the olympic lifts and Chris, Mike and Sara have been so generous with their time. Thanks for all the coaching. I really appreciate how you take the time to coach others while pushing yourselves to prepare for competition. I especially appreciate all the patience you have shown me. As I sit here with sore, well, everything, I appreciate how tough it is to achieve new personal records. Your accomplishments make me want to work harder.

    Singling out Chris, he was very modest about how he did at the Open during class yesterday. Sounds like you did pretty freaking awesome to me Salty!

  9. Julia says:

    Think Dian said everything that needs to be said – a big round of congrats and heartfelt thank-yous to Chris, Mike, and Sara.

    Great to get in some focused practice with C&Js (especially the “&” part – I tried to do a better job of resetting the bar in between the clean and the jerk), and good just to make it through the 2 x 15 @65%. See everyone tonight!

  10. SaltyHat says:

    All of you, thanks for the kind words, it really means a lot. I think I’m uber-spoiled coaching at CFDC, as it’s never-ever a thankless position. And just FYI: Dian, Sara, and SBV, you definitely made me blush a little.

    In truth, it was great to get back on the platform, even though a touch nerve wracking. And while the results weren’t what I’d hoped for, it’s nice to know that even after starting 2 hours behind schedule, and after coaching/watching/hanging out for nearly 10 hours, I can still put together a satisfactory effort.

    Of course, nothing beats the reminder that coaches are not immune to following their own advice: never look at your feet when lifting heavy weights – guaranteed, the weight will not stay where it’s supposed to…

    Lastly, for those of you looking to get out on the platform as well, keep your late Oct/early Nov schedules flexible, as Mike will be putting together a meet at South Arlington!

  11. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see the meet – but it sounds like it was awesome!

    As for Sunday’s workout, I don’t mind telling everyone I’m still sore – but it was a great way to get back into the swing of things. And Chris gave me a great tip for keeping my chest up when squating – an issue that I was having when dealing with the heavier weights in the prior cycle.

    So I do have a stupid question that I no doubt missed in one of the earlier sessions – I know high weight / low reps increase strength.

    I know this is a newbie question, but what are you getting with moderate weight and higher reps?

    Of course, if nobody has time to answer, I can always ask in class!

  12. Katie says:

    Uhh…high reps make you really tired? :o) That’s actually a really good question.

    Here’s one snippet I found in the blog post from the first Sunday we did high rep squats:

    “Building on the success of the CFDC squat cycle, Sunday’s class tackled the first in what will be a short series of high rep back squat workouts. These workouts will add muscular endurance onto the the strength achievements provided by the squat cycle (and evidenced by the increase in 1 rep maxes).”

    But I’m sure one of our coaches will elaborate for you.

  13. edgy reggie says:

    Congrats to Coach Sara, Coach Salty, and Coach Choizilla on a job well-done at the 2012 Frederick Open. I was thinking about all of you while I was catching some rays at the beach this past weekend. 🙂

    I did a clean-and-jerk workout from the program I’m on this past Friday (August 17). It was a lot of sets, minimum reps, and moderate weight.

    I missed the squats (obviously) this past Sunday, but I don’t think I will be able to work them in this week.

    But…I will be in class tonight (August 28)…

    …and I do look forward to my next competition (bring on South Arlington).

  14. Kenna says:

    COMMENTING IN THE NICK OF TIME! My ever so lovely photo is headlining the blog, how could I NOT comment. No blourpees on my account.

    I have the same issue as Katie with the mental block where I pull it up but hit a wall before I get under it. Grr. I know it’s a block because it doesn’t even happen every time! I got up to 70# (I think) and was able to do 2, but then had to go down to 60# for the last set.

    On the squats I did 70# and BOY DID MY THIGHS BURN BY THE END (I am liking caps lock today).

    It makes me feel good that the guys in the class are sore… my legs were basically worthless Sunday night and oh-so-sore yesterday. Will be ready to rock tonight at 7pm.

  15. Thanks Katie – whenever you can quote the Crossfit DC blog to answer my question, I think it’s time for me to work on my reading comprehension. 😉

  16. Steph says:

    I did Sunday’s workout yesterday and thanks to a nice nap before heading to the gym, I felt pretty rested and ready to go.

    I stayed light on the c&j to focus on form. I think my sets were 50-60-65-70-70-75-80-80. I did 70 and 80 twice because I wasn’t stable when I stood up from the jerks on the 1st sets. Looking forward to working more of those.

    The squats went well, I thought. I got through the first set without too much struggle. The reps slowed down after rep-12. The 2nd set though, I had to stop and rest for a second at rep-8, then from there on it was one rep at a time. The last 3 reps were noticeably slower and I was definitely grunting. It felt great to get them in though! I think I should be able to do a set of 20 with no problem. Looking forward to it!!