October 15, 2012
October 26, 2012

Thanks to the generosity of the Balance Gym owners, CFDC has been allowed to continue our Sunday morning classes for the foreseeable future! And that means more blog posts!

 5min Jump Rope; then, 
Power Skip – Full Ct, Carioca Left – Full Ct, Carioca Right – Full Ct, & 10 Pause Spider Lunges;
Carioca Left – Full Ct, Carioca Right – Full Ct, Power Skip – Full Ct, & Squat Walk Leapfrog & PVC Pass Thru – 1/2 Ct 
Explosive Prep Work: 
5 x 3 Seated Box Jump 

To prime the nervous system, class began with 5 sets of 2 seated box jumps. A variety of box heights were set up, with intermediate heights achievable by stacking bumper plates on the boxes. Everyone was encouraged to work up in height, starting with a comfortable height for the first set, and then working towards a challenging height by the 5th and final set.

Nice to have Steve O. drop-in for class on Sunday! 

For those new to the seated box jump, start in a seated position with the tops of your thighs at or just below parallel (a small box is usually your best bet, with bumpers plates used to adjust the height as needed). To initiate the jump, rock back slightly while pulling your feet up off the ground a few inches, and then quickly rock forward, slam your feet down, and explode off the box into a full vertical jump onto the higher box. Remember to land light on the box, absorbing the impact with soft knees.

Following the box jumps, class kept the small boxes in play, but stowed the larger plyo-boxes in favor of some barbells for box squats. 

Strength #1: 
5 x 3 Box Squats 

We’ve often paired seated box jumps and box squats together before in a single workout, and for good reason. Both rely on explosive strength: the box jumps to move the body through the air, the squats to move progressively heavier weight, with each incorporating a complete unloading of the legs in the bottom position. By deloading the legs in the bottom of the squat, you force the muscles of the posterior chain to work extra hard to re-tighten before pushing the weight back up to standing.

To prepare everyone for the day’s worksets, class warmed-up with the following progressions (done as a percentage of everyone’s max back squat):

1 x 8 @ 30%;
1 x 5 @ 50%;
1 x 3 @ 60%; then,
5 x 3 @ 65-??% 

The working sets were an open ended progression, with lifters increasing weight across all 5 sets as able (thus, the “??”). It’s been a while since we’ve hit the box squats, so probably not a bad idea to review the movement in writing.

  • The box should be low enough so that the crease of your hips will be at or just below your knees when sitting; 
  • Push the hips back and slowly control your descent until you are sitting on the box, do NOT flop onto the box; 
  • In the seated position, the knee-angle should be obtuse rather than acute. In other words, the angle should be greater than 90 degrees, meaning the shins will be sloped back towards the body, rather than facing down towards the floor. At the very least, your shins should remain perpendicular to the floor. Either way, this will probably require that you use a slightly wider stance than when performing regular back squats;

  • Sit back slightly until you feel your legs are de-loaded (you should be able to raise the balls of your feet off the ground if someone were to ask you to do so) – don’t bounce on the box, and don’t touch and go; 
  • Remember: during the box squat, when you sit on the box and de-load your legs, you are NOT deloading your upper body! The trick is to allow the legs to relax while maintaining a tense upper body – tight arch, shoulders retracted, and a big chest; 
  • Now, really tighten up the legs, and without leaning forward, drive the weight up off the box, exploding upwards as fast as you can move the weight. 

Following completion of the box squats, class removed the racks and boxes, but kept the bars out for some follow-up speed-pull deadlifts.

 Strength 2: 
10 x 2 Deadlift Speed Pulls

The focus of class on Sunday was pretty evident in it’s obsession on explosive movement, and the close-out movement for Sunday was no different. Everyone loaded the bars to a weight that was between 50-60% of their 1RM, and worked through 10 sets of 2 reps at a time, trying to perform sets with only 30-45 seconds of rest in between. Speed-pull deadlifts are great follow-up accessory to the box squats, hammering the need for explosive movement, but in the deadlift rather than the squat. Additionally, by keeping the weight moderate rather than heavy, the focus is entirely on making the movement fast and crisp. Don’t get “speed” confused with “rushing,” though. Speed pulls are about the velocity at which the weight is moved, not rushing through the movements to perform the fastest but sloppiest movement possible. Form and technique are still key – only the weight (decreased) and speed (increased) are changed.

Spinal Hip Twist

WARNING: If you won’t pull that knee to the ground, Liberty will do it for you! 

It was great to be back together on Sunday, and the energy in class reflected that. Of course, one of the great things about having a class this past Sunday, and thus knowing people would be checking out the blog this week, is that it coincided with TWO MORE CFDC-related weddings this past weekend!!

Congratulations to Katie Chase, who got married on Saturday to Drew Nickels here in DC!

Also Congratulations to Dan Samarov and Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hechenbleikner who also got married on Saturday down in North Carolina! 

Some beautiful brides there in those pictures (OK, so Dan looks kinda beautiful too)



  1. Sara says:

    Congrats Katie, Lizzie and Dan!

  2. Steph says:

    Ahhh, so good to have the blog back! I missed it so much this past week!

    Great to see everyone again for class! It was also good to see Steve O. with his crazy box jumps.

    Stayed after class to workout with Chris, Tom and Sara. I am getting more comfortable with seated box jumps but sometimes I still get the mental block. Completely missed that we were supposed to go up in weight each time for the box squats and stayed at my 65%. I did, however, remove the plate from the box after set 3. Hopefully going lower makes up for some of not adding weight? Skipped the deadlifts and did 8×2 per side single leg floor touches at 60lbs.

    Looking forward to next Sunday!

    Huge congrats to Katie, Lizzie and Dan! This is apparently the year of CFDC weddings!

  3. Dian says:

    Congratulations Katie, Dan and Lizzie!

    I was being a lazy ass yesterday and couldn’t make it to class in time. I feel like a loser now since class looked awesome (as always) and I’ve gone 8 whole days with no CrossFit.

    Looking forward to class next Sunday.

  4. Mark Minukas says:

    Congrats Lizzie and Danimal!

    Congrats, Katie!

  5. Julia says:

    Congrats Dan, Lizzie, and Katie, and welcome back blog!

  6. Erica says:

    Congrats to the newly married folk. Fun to do some “recovery” work post run. I am a new fan of the GHD machine.

  7. Andraea says:

    Congrats to Katie, Dan, and Lizzie!!

    I’ve missed the blog so much and couldn’t wait for today’s blog! I went tonight and did yesterday’s workout. I greatly appreciate the detailed description of all components of the workout as I reference them numerous times to make sure I’m focusing on what I need to.

    I’m seeing seeing some improvements on the seated box jumps though I still hit a mental block sometimes. It’s so interesting to watch the good jumpers out there who seem to float upwards and land like a cat perfectly on top. I’m trying to channel that but I don’t always land with good balance and I tend to sound like a 2 ton bull was just dropped from above. Definitely needs work.

    Seated box squats went better than I thought but I just feel so slow coming off the box and not getting the explosion I need. Plus I found myself leaning a bit forward as I was standing up. Tried to focus more on core strength.

  8. Katie says:

    Thanks everyone!!! I missed you all so much on Sunday. I hope to get back to the gym this week before heading off again. See everyone soon!

  9. Katie says:

    And congrats to Dan and Lizzie!

    Plus, a big congratulations to Mike Choi for awesome work at the Gold Cup Challenge on Saturday.

    What a great weekend!

  10. Tom Brose says:

    Congrats to all! this has been a busy fall for the couples of CFDC.

    Choi qualifying for World Masters is amazing, but no surprise to me. that guy can Lift!

    Awesome work on my favorite Sunday combo of all time. The Coaches workout added a little fun with banded speed pulls, which makes it even more aggressive.

    Thank you all for keeping the comments going> we’re going to have something fun for you all this Sunday.

  11. Katie says:

    I did this workout last night, minus box. I stayed very light at 60% for box squats and 50% for deadlifts since I was feeling tired. Thanks to Sara, Tom A., and Julia for the cues.

    As I was lowering onto the box, I felt my left side hitting the box before my right side. I was curious if anyone else experienced this and/or had any tips on avoiding it. I know I have unevenness in my hips, so I tried to make sure I hit the box evenly, but wasn’t having success.