November 23, 2012
November 27, 2012

Well folks, this past Sunday was our last official class in Balance Gym Kalorama. In honor of the occasion, we decided that we needed lot’s of barbell use.

Part 1: 
6 x 2 Seated Box Jumps 

A selection of box heights, both to jump from and to jump to, were set up in the studio for class to partake of. Everyone was encouraged to work-up in height as they progressed through the sets (the general hint is not to go for broke on the first set, though).

A key piece which will dictate both how explosive you are, and thus how high of a box you can jump onto, is the use of your arms. As you rock back, pull the arms back till the your hands are at your sides at least, preferably just behind you, similar to what you would do (or should be doing) in a broad jump. As you rock forward, drive the arms forward and up to help add explosive momentum to your jump. And, since the boxes were out, we decided to use them for the next part of the workout as well. 

Part 2: 
6 x 3 Box Squats 

For Sunday’s work, the sets were left open ended, with lifters increasing weight across all 6 sets as able.

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 de-loading 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.

Post box-squats, everyone moved their bars from the racks to the floor. We’ve paired box-squats with speed-pull deadlifts before, but not quite like this.

Part 3: 
Team Finisher 

Everyone was told to take a few warm-up sets of the speed-pulls, working up to roughly 50-60% of their 1RM deadlift weight (or as near as could be agreed upon by the group). Once everyone had their bars loaded, they set about discussing how best to proceed through the following workout:

1 time through of 6 x 2 Speed-Pull Deadlifts, 15 Wall Balls, 30 Burpees, 15 Wall Balls, and 6 x 2 Speed-Pull Deadlifts

The first set of speed-pulls, while everyone was fresh, were expected to be crisp and well executed, but it was the second set – the ones to be done post 30 wall-balls and 30 burpees – that we were keen to focus on. No, the DLs weren’t heavy, but because of the “speed” label, and the fact that they were being done in a group setting during a met-con-esque workout, the potential for sloppy set-up and execution were relatively high.

We’ve said it before, and this was a great situation in which to reinforce our speed-pull mantra: “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.”

 And with that, we closed out our last official class with a group photo. We’ll be in touch this week with some updated news. Until then, feel free to post ideas on how best to use up those left-overs from Thanksgiving!



  1. Steph says:

    Where’s the apple pie?!!! Is everyone at CFDC a pumpkin pie fan? Sure sounded like it from the conversations going around in the gym after Thanksgiving!

    Very glad that we were here for Thanksgiving again this year and also here for the last CFDC class at Balance Kalorama. There was definitely some sadness, but I can’t wait to workout with everyone again when the new CFDC gym opens!

    I was feeling weighed down and lethargic from my Thanksgiving-gorge and failed on squats for the first time since our 1 rep max test. I got 2 at 140lbs for the box squats and was stuck at the bottom for the 3rd rep.

    My wall balls need practice. They were pretty bad on Thursday but yesterday I had to do them one at a time for many of the reps just to get them to count as legit.

    Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I’m sure I will see some of you this week in the gym!

  2. Katie says:

    I enjoyed the (real) ring work at 9:00 — it’s amazing how far some retracted scapula and a hollow body will get you. My shoulders are very sore today.

    The box squats went pretty well. I enjoyed working with MC, Dian, and Nicole. My cues were keeping my feet planted, pulling the legs together, extending my hips far back, using my hamstrings, and of course, chest up. (it was a coaching team effort!) I was more effective at keeping my chest up than with back squats, so I need to figure out how to transfer that. Watching MC actually helped me a lot, she was so upright and solid throughout. Worked up to 60#, about 65% of my 1 RM back squat, so I think that’s about right.

    I worked with Nicole on the metcon. We did the DLs at 75#, which felt about right, and the wall balls at 10#, which was too light — time for 12#. This was surprisingly not as bad as I thought it would be, we split the burpees into groups of five, so they weren’t too bad. I was pumped when we finished before everyone, but later I realized why — we were a group of two rather than three. :o) Oh, well!

    I’m pretty bummed but will keep at it until the new gym opens.

  3. Julia says:

    Bars and boxes and balls! And burpees! I mean, how else are you going to carpe the heck out of your last diem together in a place, right? I had an incredibly inactive Thanksgiving, so came in pretty antsy and anxious to, you know, jump on something or throw something or throw myself at something. Jumping jacks were a good start. The new inchworm walkout burpee broadjump special was cool, too. And I was intrigued by the speed pulls with chains, but thought afterward that actually, probably the only added effect was some clinging and clanging, since in my case only like an inch of the chain was coming off the ground.

    Things I am going to miss include: the marker-scribbled strips of tape on the wall by the door to the studio; the awesomest noisiest most precarious GHDthing ever (every rep is an adrenaline rush! you never know when you or it might go down!); the gym floor, which we came to know so intimately over the course of plate push lap after plate push lap; and the front desk, where I had my first encounters with Chris and Tom (“hey, you should come try a class sometime…”). Looking forward to getting to know and love every inch of the new place, too.