October 1, 2012
October 5, 2012

Seems mother nature wanted to remind us just one more time how awesome the gym felt when full of sticky, humid air that did nothing but sit on you like a big wet blanket…and that’s before anyone started working out.

20 Spider Lunges, 
1/2 Court Hamstring Walk, 
10 Squats, 
1/2 Court Inch Worm, 
10 Push-Ups, 
1/2 Court Lunge, 
20 PVC Dislocates/Pass-Thrus 
6 x 3 Push Press

Although heavy weights were in the cards on Tuesday, the heaviest weights were not. In other words, while everyone was allowed to go heavy with their weights, it was also suggested that they not go for a three rep  max PP.  Instead, the focus was to be on proper execution – making each push press as picture perfect as possible.

To those ends, athletes were to stop and reset in the front rack position in between each rep. This would provide everyone with a moment to ensure the bar was sitting across the top of the chest, elbows in front of the bar, with the core engaged before executing the movement.

Set-up is just as important as execution, as over-coming an improper or sloppy set-up just means you’ll have twice as much work to do try and execute the lift properly. At heavy weight, that’s going to be difficult, but at the heaviest weight, it’s going to be impossible (and most likely, for the majority of people, the heaviest weight and improper execution are wedded together).

A few reminders on post-set-up execution which were given out Tuesday in class:

  • Dip Slow, Drive Fast – a few people were trying to make their dips as fast as their drives, or faster. This creates separation between the body and the bar, and simply results in the chest crashing into the bar, the bar sliding down the chest into the hands, and very muted drive;

  • Knees Forward – the dip portion of the movement is created by pushing the knees forward, not by pushing the hips back. Knees forward means upright torso, and vertical bar path when you drive. Hips back means a forward leaning torso, and a bar path that shoots forward; 
  • Knees Out – even though the dip consists of a slight unlocking of the knees, you still must ensure that the knees are pushing out. When the knees cave, the torso collapses forward, creating the same effect as pushing the hips back; 
  • Push the Bar with the Chest – drive the bar up with the body, not the arms. The arms will take over when needed, but it should be the explosive upward drive from the hips that gets the bar moving; 
  • Aim for the Nose – retract the head so the bar can go straight up, passing just in front of the face, rather than trying to go out and around the head;

  • Tuck the Hips – lastly, once the weight is overhead, remember to squeeze the glutes and bring the hips under the torso, inline with the rest of the body, rather than having the back over-arched. 

Now, in the past, when a form-focused workout has appeared in class, it’s usually followed in the not so distant future by a near-max effort workout. Probably best to really review the above, and be prepared to implement the cues provided.

90sec Thruster + 90sec Side Shuffle 

Following the strength portion, class was separated into groups of 3 or 4, the bars were set up on the ground, and then class was run through a quick 3 minute met-con.

The thrusters were set at one of three specified weights: 45, 65, or 95lbs (although a little leeway was given where needed). The goal was to not put the bar down during the 90second window, but to keep moving, executing continuous thrusters. Post thrusters, athletes moved directly to the middle of the court for 90 seconds of side shuffle.

50 Band Pull-Aparts 

To close out class, everyone grabbed a resistance band and knocked off 50 band pull-aparts in as few sets as possible. At this point, the shoulders are tired, but that’s when it’s most important to work the upper back – when the shoulders are physically unable to do the work.

Also, while we’re all remembering to the points of performance for a good push press, we’ll also be readying ourselves for a few “blourpees.” You know, those burpees that show up in class after a few unnamed members whose photos may have been featured on the blog recently, but neglected to comment before they came to the next class. See you all Thursday!



  1. Katie says:

    Great class! A 3 minute metcon that totally gassed me out? 50 band pull-aparts that were harder than the lifting? Never knowing what to expect is part of what makes CFDC programming so awesome.

    I had fun working with Melissa on the presses, and she gladly accepted me pushing weight on her. :o) She made it up to 85#…awesome! My cues were “Dip Slow, Drive Fast” and also to keep my elbows forward for the entire lift rather than letting them flare out. I did my sets at 45, 55, 55, 60, 60, 65. On the last set I failed for the first rep, took a little break, then got 2 reps successfully. I also managed to not use tape or wrist wraps, and my wrists felt okay.

    It’s amazing how tired you can get in 3 minutes. I used 35# for the thrusters so I could keep up a decent pace, and I managed to get 19 of them.

    As Steph said, the band pull-aparts were harder than the push presses!

    Lastly, yesterday marked my one-year CrossFit anniversary! It’s pretty amazing how far I’ve come, and I couldn’t have done it without all of you. THANK YOU! Here’s to many more years of CrossFit ahead.

  2. Julia says:

    Congrats Katie! CFDC has been through so many changes in this last year – I think the best ones have been the awesome additions to our community. It has been awesome to watch – and learn from – your amazing progress, Katie. Thank YOU!

    “dip slow, drive fast” – I like it! Keeping that in mind for the next time.

    and maybe band pull-aparts should become the new blourpees…

  3. Steph says:

    Happy anniversary, Katie! That’s awesome! This year flew by! We’re so happy to have you as part of the family!

    Yes, those band pull aparts were horrible! But I know that I need to be working on them regularly.

    I worked with Gregg, Stephanie and Megan on the push presses. I’ve always known that I don’t have the form down when it comes to the presses (strict or push), but Chris pointed out for the first time last night that although I was driving from my heels, I wasn’t exploding and getting up on my toes and then also not launching with my chest. I did my last 2 sets after that and tried to explode, get on my toes, launch with my chest, and the weight felt decidedly easier. Managed to get up to 95lbs last night, which is the most weight I’ve gotten before with push jerks and split jerks, so I can live with that. Gosh, so weak when it comes to upper-body stuff! Just stuff that I need to work on more!

    The metcon was a killer! I had to put the weight down to rest half way through and only got 19 reps.

    Speaking of anniversaries, September/October marks my 1 year of returning to working out and CrossFit regularly after a 1.5-year absence. Here’s to another year of being healthy!

  4. Andraea says:

    Congrats Katie! It’s been awesome to watch you get stronger over this past year! Your positive attitude throughout all the workouts is inspiring!

    As the weight gets heavier with push presses I have a hard time generating the power from my legs and hips. Somehow there’s a disconnect for me and I end up making it more difficult and harder for myself. Something I need to work on. It was great to watch April perform them with great form and power.

  5. Dian says:

    Congratulations Katie on a great year!

    I wish you many more years of being healthy Steph!

    It was great to get back in class last night after an unwelcome break last week. I worked with Jessi and made it up to 85# on the push presses. I worked with 65# on the thrusters. The metcon was a nice 3 minute gasser after sitting on my butt feeling sorry for myself for a week.

    Why the heck were the band pull aparts so hard?

    Dragged my lazy butt out of bed this morning and had a nice 40 minute swim. I plan on really focusing on cardio endurance over the next few months in addition to flexibility/mobility.

  6. Maher says:

    It was good to be back after a week of travel. I had a lot of fun with the push presses and finished with 155 lbs on the last set. I wanted to try to sneak in a seventh set so I could try 165 but paranoia got the best of me since I didn’t know what was next.

    I managed to clip my nose during some warm-up thrusters for the met-con but luckily the only damage was some sneezing. My big lesson of the night was I’m horrible at counting high reps for myself during a met-con. I think I got about 20 reps in of the thrusters. Don’t ask me how many ‘laps’ of the shuffle I did but I actually managed to keep up with one of the veterans on that. Woohoo!

    Note to self: I have to quit wearing those grey shirts for Crossfit.

  7. Tom Brose says:

    Katie, you have been an amazing addition to our community! Your commitment and attitude are great, and thats been reflected in your continual progress in fitness. Thanks for the last year, and here’s to may more!

    Great work,saw legit “push presses” Tuesday night,not press outs. Everyone is getting stronger and moving better. Keep it up!

  8. Mark Minukas says:

    Tom/Chris – thanks for the coaching cues. Getting “back down on my heels” and bringing my “shoulder blades up to the ceiling” helped me run through some of my best sets on push press ever. Progress feels good!

    Whole class was looking solid. Nice job!

  9. edgy reggie says:

    I guess I better comment since I am in a couple of pictures (one indirectly, by the way)…

    Push press: I worked with “Easy E” (Ethan) and did sets of 95, 115. 135, 145, 155, and 165. The last set (165#) I could only manage two out of the three reps. However, I am getting stronger with the push press, and I do need to watch my form at times (e.g., keep the bar racked on my shoulders when pressing).

    Thruster/shuffle combo: I did twelve thrusters at 95#. I didn’t count how many shuffles I did.

    All-in-all, it was a good session.

    I concur with Julia about having band pull-aparts for the “blourpees.”

    Happy anniversary to Katie. You’ve come a long way, and you have the results to prove it. This “old guy” (or CrossFit DC “veteran” if you will) salutes you and encourages you to keep progressing!

    Congratulations to Steph on her “continuous comeback tour.” Keep up the good work.