December 4, 2012
December 7, 2012

Thanks to the good graces of Our Lady Queen of The Americas, we were able to procure a temporary home for CFDC until our 14th Street location is up and running. We will be introducing some limited equipment in the near future, but for the meantime, we are operating with the bare minimum. Of course, this provides us with an excellent opportunity to get to the basics of CrossFit, working on the fundamentals of movements. For Tuesday’s inaugural temp-class, we turned to the squat.

Warm-Up, and 
the Fundamentals of the Squat 

Class began with a few of our usual warm-up movements (inch-worm, spider lunge, push-ups, and hamstring walks), but front-and-center was our most oft used, and the most basic of CF movements, the air squat. 

Each warm-up progression ended with a set of squats, but rather than just knocking out “squats,” class started with a 2min squat hold the first time around, then some synchronized pause squats (2 count), then some regular pause squats (1 count), and finally two rounds of regular squats. Yes, we spent nearly 20 minutes working on air squats. A simple movement, yes, but go through the following check list and ask yourself, are you hitting on each one of these points with every air squat you do?


  • Feet shoulder width apart; 
  • Toes slightly pointed out; 
  • Hips and knees fully extended; and,
  • Chest up and head neutral (looking straight ahead) 


  • Butt travels back first, then down, in a controlled and steady manner (don’t simply drop); 
  • Weight on the heels; 
  • Chest up and head still neutral (not looking down at the floor or craned up looking at the ceiling); 
  • Lumbar arch maintained in the lower back, rather than rounded; 
  • Arms raised and/or elevated out in front, if need be, in order to keep the chest up and back arched; 
  • Hip crease of the hips below the kneecap (i.e., below parallel) at the bottom of the squat; 
  • Knees pushed out and tracking (pointing in the same direction as) the feet; 
  • Coming all the way to standing, with the hips completely open. 

Sure, things like tire flips, hammer strikes, barbell work, and intense met-cons are undoubtedly fun, but to often these supplant the fundamental, basic movements. Striving to constantly improve these movements is essential to one’s training, and will ensure continuous growth and progress. Such simplicity should not be overlooked, and we should all look to master our grasp of such essentials.

Since we were on a roll with analyzing basic movements, we decided a similar approach could be applied to our met-con for the day.

 Partner Met-Con: 
Molecular Burpee Ladder 

Long ago, in an effort to make burpees seem like, well, anything but a burpee, we came up with a deconstructed burpee – a little molecular virtuosity, if you will. The deconstructed burpee is made up of (1) some type of push-up (often regular or hand-release, but we’ve also done plyo before), (2) the plank-to-squat (P2S), and (3) jump squats. Put all 3 movements back-to-back-to-back, and you have the makings of a full burpee.  Of these movements, we’re often most interested in the P2S, as it’s the key in creating an efficient burpee.

The P2S highlights the transition phase of  a burpee, in which an athlete jumps their feet as close to theirr hands as possible, while pulling the chest up and hands off the ground in order to land in a squat position (as opposed to the cat-arch burpee, in which athletes jump the feet up a little, push off the ground with theirr arms, and then right themselves using their lower back). Utilizing the P2S in your burpee is not only more efficient, but clearly better posturally, helping to keep better spinal position through-out the burpee. This efficiency translates not only into faster burpees, but will also allow you to maintain better form when said burpees are pared with a heavy lift (e.g., deadlifts).

To put all this in to practice, class broke off into pairs, to complete a descending 10-8-6-4-2 ladder in each of the following exercises: HR push-ups; P2S; Jump Squats; and Burpees (of course – had to do the full movement!)

Awesome to have everyone back together. Just a reminder, we will be back in the gym on Thursday night, with classes starting at 6pm and 7pm, and then this weekend on Saturday and Sunday (a single 1.5 hour class each day starting at 10am!). See you all there.



  1. Katie says:

    It was most excellent to be back to Tuesday class.

    Tom pointed out during the warm-up that I was snaking up on push-ups…my bad. I worked on correcting that bad habit Tuesday and need to stay with that.

    It’s always good to review squats and make sure I’m doing them right. I focused on going slowly and making sure I stayed equally rotated with both legs and hips.

    The burpee breakdown was really helpful for me. I struggle with burpees because when I get tired I feel like I don’t have the power I need to get my feet close enough to my hands, so I default to stepping up instead. Doing the P2S before burpees showed me I actually CAN get my feet far enough to be in a good position. I did the metcon with Ami, who was a rock star as always, and helpfully reminded me to keep my chest up for P2S.

    Random question I couldn’t find an answer to on the Internet — why an athletic position burpee vs. a regular burpee? I found a YouTube difference of what the athletic position burpee looks like, but I’m curious about the particular reasons/different focuses that would cause it to be programmed versus a regular burpee.