December 21, 2012
December 24, 2012

Well, here we (still) are, one day after the world was to have ended. The earth didn’t break open to swallow us whole…

…Brimstone didn’t rain from the sky…

…Fire didn’t consume us…

…and Hell wasn’t unleashed upon mankind.

Although, Katie did bring in her own personal KB to share with the rest of the CFDC community, which – we kid you not – looked like this:

yea…so, that was a little unexpected. Since Katie went through all that work to bring the KB to class, we figured, why not put them to use. Again.

2 times through
10 half-full squats 
(all the way down, half way up, all the way down, all the way up), 
10 hip-to-wall, 
10 cossack lunges, 
10 scap retraction push-ups, 
10 alt-T push-ups, and,
10 scorpions; 
 2 x 10 wall facing squats.

Wall Squats can be ultra frustrating, but they are a necessity for perfecting upright squats, which can be imperative for things like, oh, front squats with large KBs. Stand facing a wall, but about an inch away. You should be in your squat stance, or a stance that is slightly wider than your normal stance. With hands preferably over head, slowly squat down, aggressively driving the knees out and keeping the chest up. Stop when you reach a position of instability. We stressed the key point of not taking an uber wide or awkward stance just to get the depth – force yourself to use good mechanics to achieve the depth.

KB Ladders

To kick off the day’s strength work, class started with a review of the KB clean and the KB front rack position. The clean is part swing, part clean, wherein you pull KB up by explosively extending the hips and knees, but keep the KB in close, like a high pull, with elbow out to the side so the KB rotates around the wrist, landing in the crook of the arm between the forearm, bicep, and chest. This – the catch position – is, ironically enough, the proper rack position (elbow out to the side). Tom stressed the need for control, which actually comes from more hip use, rather than less.  There’s an appropriate quote out there from KB guru Jeff Martone that goes something like this:

The KB clean (and snatch, for that matter) is NOT a forearm toughening exercise – when done properly, it should land light as a feather.
I can only assume he’s talking about this kind of feather:

After the review, class began a progressive ladder of double-KB exercises, beginning with Swings, then Front Squats, and finally finishing with Thrusters. The rungs of the ladder were represented by progressively heavier KBs – so, you began your first set of double-KB swings with the two 8kg bells, then moved to the 16’s, and so on, until you could go no higher, and then cycled back around.

A great progression to teach the movement and really get everyone comfortable with the KBs. Which was a good thing, considering we were all about to see a lot more of them for the met-con.

12min AMRAP of 
3 single-arm KB thrusters/side, 
12 P2S, 
6 single-arm KB swings/side, & 
24 side jumps

There wasn’t a whole lot of scaling to be done with this one. Everyone began with 3 single-arm KB thrusters per side with their chosen weight, then moved to the center of the room for 12 plank-to-squats (P2S), moved back to the KB for 6 single arm KB swings (athletes could do all 6 on one side and then switch, or could alternate every rep), and finished off the round with 24 side hops over a chalk line (over & back equaled 1 rep). Repeat as many times as possible for 12 minutes.

After a few cool down laps, we had a special flexibility/mobility surprise for everyone – a much needed surprise too.

Cool Down/Stretch: 
Iyengar Yoga Short Session

Class was lucky enough to have Winnie Au come work them through some much needed stretching. Winnie is an extremely accomplished Iyengar Yoga instructor, and she takes her flexibility seriously, blending well chosen positions with direct instructions and a lot of hands-on adjustments. As much as we might push you in your workouts, it probably pales in comparison with where Winnie will take you in your stretching.

The fact of the matter is, though, that this is exactly what all of us (and I do mean ALL) need. If stretching were easy and comfortable, and if only flexibility came with wishful thinking, we’d all be limber as acrobats and gymnasts. Many thanks to Winnie for the great session last night. Here’s hoping we see a few more of those sessions in the near future.

Small class, but huge amount of effort, and larger amount of fun. Who knows what lies in store for tomorrow.  See you then.



  1. Steph says:

    That was a tough one, starting with the warm-up! The wall-facing squats brought back memories of when I learned to squat from the then CFDC assistant coach Jen Conlin. As hard as squats were when I started, they didn’t not feel great today. I’ve noticed upper-back stiffness for sometime now and it really showed today. Squatting facing the wall with my hands overhead sliding down the wall was extremely hard. Really need to work on the upper back.

    First time doing kb thrusters. Sara looks awesome in that picture! 16kg double kb thrusters were as heavy as I could go and I wasn’t nearly as stable as Sara looked in her picture.

    Used a 16kg for the metcon and in the first round saw from the corner of my eyes Sara doing a swift hand-switch transition on the single-arm swings. I did that too for the following rounds and it made it much easier than setting the kb down and getting it going all over again.

    Big thanks to Winnie for the much-needed stretch!

    Katie, awesome kb! Thanks for sharing it with us! Looking forward to the day of getting a picture of you using it!

  2. Katie says:

    The KB was a wedding gift from my good CrossFitting friends Leah and Mike of CrossFit Lorton — along with a muscle soak. It wasn’t getting any use in our small apartment, and I think it will be much happier having a home at CFDC! Also, carrying it a couple blocks was a good warm-up.

    Wall-facing squats were tough, but I definitely see the importance.

    After a few classes with holding KB overhead, I think I’m finally getting a little more comfortable with that. Thrusters are always challenging, and this was no exception. I made it to the 8 kg KBs.

    Surprisingly, the toughest part of the metcon was the P2S! My quads were still tired from Thursday I think. The thrusters on my left side (the weak one) were also a challenge. The KB swings felt very easy, probably because it wasn’t overhead. I made it 4 thrusters into either my 4th or 5th round, I’m not sure which.

    See everyone tomorrow morning!

  3. Katie says:

    And of course, thank you, Winnie!! I love stretching!

  4. Julia says:

    Whoa, that looks evil. and I don’t just mean Katie’s kb. I’d give this a shot, but prob. not without some adult supervision… and body armor. For everyone else.

    Hello and happy holidays from sadly-gray-and-rainy NorCal!
    Had a nice time yesterday dropping in at CF Moxie for a workout. Tried to behave and stay out of trouble and all that. I’ll be back home at CFDC later this week. 🙂