September 28, 2012
October 3, 2012

Instead of starting class with a pull-up block, or a handstand block, or even some other random skill block, we went for an entire class of Eastern Bloc!

3 x 10 Spider Lunges, 15 Squats, 20 Band Good Mornings; 
50 Jumping Jacks; 
3 x 5 Hanging Scap Retractions, 10 Scap Retraction Push-Ups 
Tour of Eastern Europe, Pt 1:
  6 x 3 Romanian Deadlifts 

The RDL is basically a “top down” deadlift; instead of picking the weight up off the floor, the weight starts at the waist and is lowered down as far as the hamstrings will allow before the lifter returns to standing.

“As far the hamstrings will allow” is the guiding principal to the RDL. Once the hamstrings have reached their maximum stretch point, and the hips stop moving backwards, that is the stopping position. Any extra distance – i.e., lowering the bar any farther – will be a result of hinging at the waist.

Exactly where the stopping point will be varies from athlete to athlete. If you have flexible hammies, and you can push your hips back far enough to allow the bar to reach your shins, fine. If you have tight hammies, and you can only manage to push your hips back enough to allow the bar to reach your knees, fine. If you have tight hamstrings, but are somehow managing to touch the floor with the bar, then you are (A) hinging at the waist for the sake of more depth, (B) probably letting the shoulders reach forward towards the ground (as opposed to keeping the shoulders blades pulled back), and/or (C) rounding the back to some degree.

Adri doing a good job of working to keep her shoulder blades 
pulled back while driving the hips backwards in order to lower the bar 

Remember, the RDL is about lengthening and strengthening the hamstrings, not proving how deep you can get the weight to the floor. Keep that in mind next time RDLs (or their kin, Good Mornings) show up in a workout.

Tour Of Eastern Europe, Pt 2:  
3 x 10 Bulgarian Split Squats per side + 20 Russian Twists 

After working the hamstrings and back with the RDLs, we continued our tour of Eastern Europe with a mix of Bulgarian Split Squats and Russian Twists to hit the quads, glutes, and remaining core muscles. The BSS were done as 10 per side, and athletes could choose to add weight if desired, either by holding a single weight at the chest, or two weights held at the sides. The Russian twists were done as an over and back equaled a single rep (so 20 reps meant the weight touched the floor on either side of the body 20 times, or 40 times total).

21 Birthday Burpees!

Happy Birthday, Jen Choi!! 

Also, a big shout out to Ben and Sebastian for two days of solid effort put in over this past weekend at the Team Superfit DC competition. It was great to see them compete, even if only for two events on Saturday:

And speaking of competitions, a quick reminder about two up-coming events we posted about last week: 

  • Friday, October 26th: CrossFit Dupont will again be hosting an Amazing Grace workout to raise money for Barbells for Boobs
  • Saturday, October 27: The NOVA Open Weightlifting meet is being held at CrossFit South Arlington. Similar to the Cap City Open (held in April at Balance Gym), this meet is being put together and directed by our own Coach Mike Choi, and considering how much Olympic lifting we’ve been doing recently, you are all more than qualified to sign up and compete (to sign up, pay your entry fee and then fill out the start-list information sheet).


  1. Amelia says:

    Jessi and I worked together and did our sets at: 95, 115, 135, 155, 165, 175
    Felt pretty good. Definitely sore through the hamstrings which means it will be worse tomorrow.

    Great work Ben and Ben – excited to hear how it went!

  2. Katie says:

    I worked with Jen, Doron, and Ami on the RDLs, and we worked up to 120#. At the time these didn’t feel too difficult, except for grip, but walking up the escalator today was quite painful in an excellent way. I held a 15# DB for the BSS because Jen used it…and I then handed it to Ami. Nothing like peer pressure to get you to do more work!

    It was fun watching the extra workouts after class, and also watching Tom A. do ridiculously high box jumps.

    Happy Birthday Jen!! And happy birthday on Saturday to Erin.

    Congrats to Ben and Ben on a job well done at SuperFit! I was happy to catch the last event on Saturday and was impressed, as always, with their intensity.

  3. Steph says:

    Congrats Ben&Ben on finishing your first couple’s competition! 😉 It was very cool to see you guys rock the workouts!

    It was fun to work out with class yesterday! I subbed single leg stuff for RDLs. Although Pt. 2 of class yesterday was supposed to be done in groups of 3-4, I think in the end everyone just went whenever there was room. Happy birthday again, Jen! Thanks for the burpees!

    Looking forward to class tomorrow!

  4. Erica says:

    So fun to see Ben and Ben compete this weekend. I have great photos, videos, and memories 🙂 They really worked hard, pushed themselves, and were up against some fierce competition. I was very proud. And appreciative of all those who came out to support them: Chris, Tom, Steph, Julia, Sara, Chris, Peter and big E, Katie, Dan…

    I made up the workout after class, nowhere near as fun or exciting. RDLs are the kind of movement that I question if I’m doing them right until I can answer that question for sure the next morning.

  5. Sara says:

    Congrats Ben & Ben! It was great watching you guys throw down Saturday!

    Worked with Julia, Adri, Johanna and Jen on the RDLs. We moved a bit slow with so many people at 1 bar so we split up a bit at the end and used 2 bars.

    I worked up to 275lbs which was a new 3RM for me. That also happens to be my most recent conventional deadlift max.

    Had a great time doing the hopper team prep workouts after the RDLs. I am excited to compete with this team.

    And can’t forget Jen’s birthday burpees. I think I finished them at least 30s after Tom, Julia, Chris S, Mike and Chris O and/or Dan. At that point I lost track of who was still in the gym.

  6. Julia says:

    “At that point I lost track of who was still in the gym” — I think that’s a pretty good sign it’s about time to leave, eat, and sleep. 😮

    Congrats B + SBV! Loved watching you guys compete. Also, that is the most awesomest photo ever. Wracked my brain for a good couple minutes trying to remember what workout it was that had them doing face-to-face OH lifts before I realized… hey, the red lines don’t quite line up. Props to the artist.

  7. edgy reggie says:

    After traveling to Bucharest, Sofia, and Moscow, I’m beat. 🙂

    On a more serious note: I enjoyed most of the class. I worked up to 345# (~156 kg) with the RDLs (which was a first for me). I used a single 35# and 40# dumbbell for the Bulgarian split squats on sets two and three respectively and used a metal 45# plate for the Russian twists.

    Burpees? Ugh! Happy birthday to Jen and to Erin anyway. 🙂

    Congratulations to Ben and “Has-Ben” (SBV) for their performance at Team SuperFit.

    @Julia: It was great to see you at Winnie’s yoga class Sunday night. 🙂

  8. Steve Goldenberg says:

    I have a paid entry to Superfit Crofton 2012 this October 27th that I can’t use. They don’t take refunds so I’m looking to sell it. The entry was $81 but I’ll sell it for $65 so it doesn’t go to waste. Email me at steve [at] stevegoldenberg [dot] com if you’re interested (I’m a member at District Crossfit in DC…)