September 14, 2012
September 19, 2012

Taking a break from the Olympic lifts, we set about this Sunday to remind ourselves about proper set-up and initiation of the deadlift, two extremely important points coming on the heels of “postural control” workout from two weeks ago featuring 5 sets of up-to-12 deadlifts (“P.C.“). However, before we could get to the working portion of class, we needed to get warmed-up.

Warm-Up #1: 
2x 15 Squats, Inch Worm Full Ct, 10 Alt. T Push-Ups, Hamstring Walk Full Ct. 
Warm-UP #2: 
2 x 12 Band Good Mornings & Samson Stretch 

Yes, the warm-up was slightly longer than usual, including 2 – yes, two – full length inch worms.  However, the intended effects were clear, as class put on an absolute clinic in terms of form and technique during the deadlifts.

5 x 1+1+1 Deadlifts

Sunday’s deadlifts were styled as “singles,” in that each after completing each rep, an athlete was to release their grip on the bar (with or without coming back to standing), then re-set their grip and posture and perform the next rep. We’ve had a lot of success in the past working deadlifts in this manner, and it’s clearly related to the fact that the multiple single-reps mean people are really having to concentrate on their set-up. A good solid set-up really dictates how the rest of the lift will go, and the improvement in a lot of people’s form yesterday served to drive this point home. Check out the following set-up reminder list from a past post:

A few quick reminders on set-up: 

Distance – Step up to the bar to set-up with your shins only an inch or two away (when you look down at the bar, it should intersect your mid-foot). This shortens the weight or lifting lever-arm – i.e., the distance between your mid-line (your body’s center of gravity) and the weight’s center of gravity, which makes for optimal lifting. 


Feet – feet should be approximately shoulder width apart, HOWEVER, this is somewhat of a personal factor, as different body-types, builds, levels of flexibility, etc. will dictate exactly where and how the feet are placed – not everyone is the same, but the variation should be by small degrees. 

Inhale – After you get set and grab the bar, but before you initiate the lift, take a big breath in to really increase your intra-abdominal pressure. 

Abs – Along with a big inhalation, really press flex and force out your abs, which will ensure your midsection is secure and strong, helping to keep the low back static when you initiate your lift (as opposed to rounding). Wearing a belt will help this, as you can actually push your abs out against the belt; however, you can also imitate this feeling without a belt by pressing your abs into your thighs when you set-up on the bar. 

Squeeze – We’ve all heard this, especially from Tom, but the basic gist is to avoid jerking/heaving the weight off the floor. Instead, pull tight against the bar and then push your feet into the floor, “squeezing” the weight off the floor.

Awesome to have Doron back in class on Sunday!

Contact – Keep the bar in contact with your body, allowing it to travel up your shins, over your knees, and then up your thighs (again, the goal is maximizing your leverage (refer to the note above about Distance). 

Lockout – Squeeze the glutes to bring the hips under the torso and achieve lockout, rather than hyperextending your lower back (leaning backwards).  

Many thanks to Diesel Crew for the Deadlift form-check template used above. I would also recommend checking out Jim Smith’s (also of the Diesel Crew) article entitled “How to Set-Up on the Deadlift,” if for nothing more than the cat-shitting-reference that kicks things off.

4 x 
AMRAP Ring Dips, 
10 Bulgarian Split Squats/side, 
1/2 Ct Mummy Crawl, & 
60-90sec Rest

Once the bars were broken down and all the weights put away, class turned to the day’s finisher, a mix of ring dips, BSS, and Mummy Crawls. Ring Dips were scaled to negatives, with no more than 4 per round, and the negatives further scaled to ring supports – jumping up to the extended position and holding – for between 3 to 5 seconds.

The first set of BSS were un-weighted, allowing everyone to focus on form and incorporating a slight pause at the bottom. Remaining sets could be done with weight added as per people’s preference, holding 1 DB in both hands at the chest (think “goblet squat”) or 2 DBs at the side.

For those of you looking to practice stability on the rings, what could better than a SHAKE WEIGHT!! And if you act fast, you can get gender-appropriate shake weight ON SALE, courtesy of Google Offers:

You can thank us on Tuesday.



  1. Katie says:

    Thanks to the coaches for tolerating all my bitching about the inchworms. I admit, though, my hamstrings were nice and loose by the end.

    In my opinion, one of the many things that sets CFDC apart from some other boxes is the programmed warm-ups. I hear about athletes who do the same warm-up regardless of what they’re doing that day. We’re very lucky to have coaches who take the time to program specific warm-ups to help improve our performance and prevent injury. I try to consistently do the warm-ups well, but I often bitch about them and occasionally half-ass certain movements, so I’ll work on that. This long one was a good reminder to myself to suck it up and do it right.

    Deadlifts felt pretty good; I worked up to 120#. My final reps in the last 2 sets weren’t the best and I heaved a little. I need to work more on breathing and pressing my abs out, same as squats.

    I tried a couple negatives on the ring dips and they went okay, though I need to be careful to keep my shoulders down. I stuck to body weight for BSS. The mummy crawls were tough but not quite as miserable as they had been previously.

    Looking forward to having those who have been traveling back in class on Tuesday — it hasn’t been quite the same without you all.

  2. Dan Samarov says:

    Tough time with the deads yesterday… consistency in the setup is always tricky for me. Conditioning portion was actually surprisingly taxing, the max effort work on dips is great (mummy crawls remain evil).

    Really Chris, shake weight? 🙂

  3. Steph says:

    Thanks to Chris and Sara for being very firm about doing the workout after class! I was feeling lazy and if they weren’t so gung ho about it, I would’ve missed a great workout.

    Instead of dls, I did 5 sets of 5 single leg floor touches. Worked up to 70lbs and glutes and hamstrings felt equal in strength on both sides. Glad that my left side is finally catching up on the backside. The left still dominates in pistols though.

    For the metcon, the 3 of us did 5 ab wheel rollouts in place of the mummy crawls as basketball had taken over the court by then. The BSS were surprising tough with some added weight and definitely got my heart rate up. I managed to get 3-3-3-2 ring dips, which makes me think whether I got off the rings too early on the first set and maybe could’ve grinded out 1 more. The 3rd one in each set was a real struggle though. I couldn’t tell if I got full extension on the last set, so didn’t count that one. Really liked this workout, even though it wasn’t cardio intensive, but it was great to work on ring dips.

    Looking forward to class tomorrow! And welcome back today Ben and Erica!

  4. Kenna says:

    I think Chris was describing me with the blog title this week… I’ll admit that this wasn’t my finest crossfit performance, but it’s better to come half asleep than not come at all right?? Morning workouts haven’t really ever been my strong suit. And lately I’ve been really terrible about maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. I need to be better about that.

    I think I ended up doing about 115-120# on the DLs. Though I was having trouble with the math. It was enough to make me sore today!

    Shockingly, I share Katie’s thought that the mummy crawls weren’t quite as miserable as they’ve previously been. I actually made it to mid court without stopping the first two times, which is a major improvement for me.

    I think the rings might be my new nemesis. That’s all I’m saying about that.

    Looking forward to Tuesday!

  5. Amelia says:

    I was definitely struggling Sunday morning but glad I made it to class.

    Worked up to 185 on the deadlifts; felt pretty good and was definitely focused on good form so was happy to have that confirmed from Chris and Steph.

    I think I am the only person who likes mummy crawls, especially when they aren’t ripping my hands open. Did full court ones on the 3rd and 4th rounds.

    See everyone tomorrow

  6. Kenna says:

    Oh, and thanks to Dian, Joanne, and Ami for being patient with me working on their bar. They were rockin’ some super-heavy DLs! Way to go!

  7. SBV says:

    I believe that one of the best indicators of deadlift form is how your back feels the next day. When my form and mobility is spot-on, I usually feel sore in the glutes, hamstrings, and lats, the next day. When my form goes (usually because I’m tight and can’t get into a great starting position), I usually feel sore in the spinal erectors, thoracic spine, and lower back, the next day.

    So, where am I sore today? Definitely in the lower back and thoracic spine, but actually not too bad in the spinal erectors. That tells me that I did a decent job of keeping my lower back tight, but definitely allowed the upper back to round, which shifted some emphasis onto my lower back. I can live with that, though.

    We’re always so dilligent with form at CFDC and usually keep the weight light enough that form doesn’t break down. Some of the guys (Mark, mainly) tease me for never “pushing it” in terms of heavy weights. I think I found a nice balance yesterday in terms of pushing the limits, but still maintaining the integrity of my lower back. Triples at 315# (3 Wheels, Baby!) is definitely a strong effort for me. Also, 12 unbroken ring dips was a personal best.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I had fun yesterday and it was good to be back in class. But…since I hadn’t lifted in four weeks, I am super sore today. Soreness is a good reminder that I need to lift more often.
    – Joanne

  9. Sara says:

    No problem Steph, we all have those kind of days and need a bit of encouragement to get after the workout.

    The deadlifts started out feeling really great. When I got to 252lbs on my third set I could only pull 2 of the three singles. I went back down to 248. That set was good. Tried 252 again for the last set and only got 2 of the 3 singles.

    I was not able to do the split squats because of my knee so I did overhead step-ups with a 16kg KB. I did 10 reps the first round but only 7 the remaining rounds because they took a much longer time to complete. I got 6-5-4-4 on the ring dips.

  10. Andraea says:

    I managed to get this workout in last night. I enjoy doing DL so I was happy to get in some time to work on them.

    Good metcon too and I actually didn’t even mind the mummy crawls. Half court is doable without it being too long and the wrists start to hurt. Ring dips I definitely need spend more time on since I can’t do one. I did negatives and even on those I was shakey.

    Like Katie said in her post, I really appreciate the warm-up programming geared to what we’re doing that day and for the detailed blog posts! Since I’m usually just waking up when Sunday classes take place and if I miss another night then I try to do the exact workout from start to finish the next day I can. I love that I have such a detailed description of the warm-up and workout available to me and I reference it numerous times to make sure I’m focusing on what I need to focus on. Thanks guys!

    See everyone tonight!

  11. Dian says:

    I started off at 9:00 with my first re-test on pull-ups. I didn’t manage an unassisted pull-up but I did get respectable pull-ups with the very light assistance bands. I was very happy about that. Thanks Sara for the great coaching.

    Deadlifts felt good. I worked with the awesome Ami, Joanne and Kenna. I worked up to 205#. I have to remember not to hyper extend my back with the deadlifts.

    I worked on negatives on the rings. Also, I may regret writing this, but the mummy crawls felt really good. I was ready to spit the first time I did mummy crawls but they were feeling pretty awesome on Sunday. My abs are still really sore from those.

    Not sure about tonight. I always get water in my basement during a bad storm so I’m standing guard with my dry/wet vac. I hope to make it.