September 5, 2012
September 10, 2012

After a lot of work on Tuesday comprised of a lot of different movements (in a class comprised of a lot of people), we slowed things down a bit for Thursday’s class. In slowing down the tempo, people were provided with a little more time to spend focusing on achieving and maintaining form, especially through the mid-line.

2 x 
5 Inch Worm in Place, 
Lunge 50′, 
15 Hip-to-Wall, 
Squat Walk Right 25′, 
Squat Walk Left 25′
Prep Set #1: 
5 Wall Walks
Prep Set#2: 
Hollow Position Review 
 5 x 
 AMRAP Deadlift (12 rep max), 
 30″ Rest, 
Max Handstand Hold for time, 
30″ Rest, 
Max Hollow Position Hold for time, 
 90″ Rest

Deadlifts were Rx’d at one of four weights (95lbs, 135lbs, 185lbs, or 225lbs) with people choosing the weight that was closest to 55% of their max deadlift. The only caveat was that everyone was limited to no more than 12reps a round. This sounds small considering the relatively light weight, and on the first round at least, probably felt it as well. However, the focus was not on numbers, but on maintaining perfect form through out all 12 reps. More on this below.

The handstands and hollow position holds were done for as long as possible. Scaling for the handstands included walking the feet into a comfortable level of incline, or performing a box assisted (knees on the box) handstand. Additionally, handstands could be done facing the wall (similar to walking the feet into position) so long as they were not held till failure for obvious safety reasons. Hollow holds were scaled to one leg pulled in, with people alternating legs on a regular interval. Finally, rest periods between exercises were limited to 30 seconds, with a longer rest interval of 90 to 120 seconds between rounds.

This triplet really emphasizes the importance of maintaining control over the core, and the core (abs, obliques, glutes, low back, and upper) dictate posture. This relationship between core control and posture played out in infinite variations during Thursday’s workout.

Maintaining proper posture in the deadlift will be harped on ad nauseum by any respected strength coach. However, the need to control the lower back position isn’t a one-time deal, nor is it a one-way deal. Lower back and mid-section control isn’t just about creating and keeping the lumbar-arch position. If you don’t have enough control over your mid-section to keep your back from arching in the hollow position, or over-arching in the handstand, you probably won’t have enough control to keep it from rounding during a DL.

A big part of postural control through these three movements, and something we’ve covered in some depth before, is the ability to adjust, and maintain, the position of the pelvis (“HIP TO IT“). A slower and more focused pace, but extremely valuable and rewarding for long term growth. Rest up, and we’ll see everyone on Sunday for some high rep squats (20 RM squats anyone??).



  1. Steph says:

    Shit, this Sunday’s the 20rep squats?! After 5 days of eating baby food, those 20 reps are gonna feel heavy!

    Attempted DLs last night and they felt okay at the time, but I should’ve stretched after the workout. For the first time, I really enjoyed the handstand holds and hollow holds. For some reason, it was much easier to get into a better hollow hold (at least I thought I was doing them semi-correctly) after being in the hollow position for the handstand holds. It was possibly the first time that hollow hold on the floor didn’t hurt my neck, shoulders, and tailbone. I know, I have issues.

    Big class, but once again, Chris and Sara managed to get us done and off the court by 8. Thanks guys!

    After class, I went upstairs and watched SBV do barbell bicep curls. Ben Brown, he’s so lost without you!!!

  2. Sara says:

    Wow very sore glutes and lats and traps. I jumped in for the 6pm class and was so excited to do conventional deadlifts. The last time I can recall doing them was during the BWI affiliate challenge. The weight then was 165 I believe for ladies an was 20 reps as part of a chipper. I can tell you yesterday’s deadlifts felt much better more like how they use to feel for me a couple years ago. I used 185lbs and did 12-12-12-10-10 reps. On the last 2 sets I felt that I wasn’t going to be able to hold good posture for 2 more reps so I didn’t even attempt to try them. I also alternated my split grip for the first time ever. It was not as strange as I suspected it would be. I will definitely be alternating going forward. My handstand holds last between 35-45 seconds and The limiting factor was my wrists rather than shoulders or position. The hollow holds only last about 30-40 seconds. It always seems that the hollow hold on the floor is the hardest position for me to hold with good form. I do a better job of hollowing out on handstands, push-ups and mummy crawls that trying to pull the back into the ground.

  3. Andraea says:

    Great class last night! I’m happy I made it to a class with DL. I worked at 135lbs and made all 12 reps each round though it was definitely rough by the end and had to fight to keep shoulder blades pinched.

    I echo Sara on the handstand holds, it was the palm of my hands and wrists that hurt before anything else.

    See everyone next week. I’m going to try get motivated for the 20 rep squat cycle but 15 reps was so rough and with the headaches that started by the 12th rep I’m not sure if I’ll make it to 20.

  4. SBV says:

    @Steph: Thanks for selling me out on the bicep curls! I need some help with my pull-ups/chin-ups, and figured a little extra bicep work might help. Plus, you look huge in the mirror after doing them (plus dips).

    I always struggle to keep the upper back extended on higher rep deadlifts. Because of flexibility limitations, I usually end up with two options: (1) allow the shoulders to round, but keep the tension back on my hamstrings; or (2) keep the shoulder blades pinched, but bend the knees much more and turn it into more of a squatting movement. It’s a difficult balance. I suppose working on mobility wouldn’t hurt.

  5. Dian says:

    Great class! I would also like to commend Chris and Sara on their great job keeping class moving and organized despite stupid questions from people like me. I’m always really appreciative of how much thought and effort goes into each class. Well done!

    I mentioned to Chris last night that I think I lost most of my fear of being upside down after the handstand Elements class a few weeks back. Chris and Tom ever so patiently worked with me on handstands and ever since then I have been able to do legit wallwalkers. I walked up to a handstand and held for a bit before walking back down as opposed to crumbling down. All of my hollow holds were 30 seconds. I tried pushing it to beyond that but no such luck.

    I worked on pull-ups after class and luckily everyone was so distracted by the SBV bicep curls that they didn’t witness me sinking like a stone with my negatives.

    20 rep squats on Sunday, huh.

  6. Katie says:

    Great class! Used 95# and did 8 reps across all sets. Hamstrings are feeling it today! I’m out of town this weekend so I sadly have to miss class on Sunday. I’ll make it up either Sunday evening or Monday….not looking forward to 20 squats!!!

  7. Melissa says:

    Must practice getting closer to the wall-don’t look as far away as I thought 🙂 Hamstrings are still sore from Thursday #feeltheburn