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WOD Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Buy In: Mobility, TRGWU

WOD: For Time, 5 rounds of:
  20 steps Overhead walking Lunge (45#/25# grab a plate)
  21 burpees

Cash Out with some Oly: 3 position clean + PP, PJ, SJ
3 sets of:
3 position clean + 1 push press
3 position clean + 1 push jerk
3 position clean + 1 split jerk

So, each set, do 3 cleans plus a single PP, then 3 cleans plus a single PJ, finally 3 cleans plus a single SJ. These will be done with a relatively light bar. The expectation is to run through a set with minimal pause between each set of 3+1. This one is about repetition.


WOD Monday, February 1, 2010

Buy In: Mobility, TRGWU

WOD: "Helen", 3 rounds for time:

400m run

21 KB Swings (24kg/16kg)

12 Pull-ups

Cash Out: Stretching


More on the new Warm-Up

First things first: The new warm-up is called "The Russian's Gymnastics Warm-up". I am already feeling whiteboard writing cramps, so I have a tee shirt for the best abreviation or nick name. You have until Friday, award a week from today. And "TRGWU" doesn't cut it.

Secondly, credit: This program was created by Leo Soubbotine (he is the Russian), at CrossFit Evolution, in Longwood, Florida. Check out his article on the CF Journal. That's how the CrossFit community works- Somebody comes up with good stuff, puts it out there, and we use it. Right now, we can only hope that a trembling CrossFitter somewhere has a knotted rope in each hand and is staring at a giant tire...

Oh - another thing. You may find some differences between what we are doing and Leo's article. No worries, that's also how it works. Here is Leo himself on this:

"Let me emphasize that this is not the end-all, be-all warm-up but rather a template containing some food for thought. Modify it based on your needs, space, equipment and athletic or coaching skills. The purpose of the warm-up is to develop basic body-weight competency for beginner athletes while improving flexibility and strength. For the more advanced athletes, the purpose is to keep them focused and excited while they master the simpler gymnastics movements and start delving into the realm of more advanced gymnastics strength."

Ok, on to the program. As I mentioned yesterday, we are going to give this program a nice two month shot at CrossFit Thin Air. We will start our sessions ON TIME as usual, with a very brief mobility component (yep - the PVC thing). Then, we will jump right into this program. It is self paced, and each athlete will not be doing the same thing. It is NOT a group "up, down, up, down" thing where you are just blindly following along. You are driving. Your coaches will support you, as always, but you need to "get er done".

The warm-up program is divided in to a Day 1 and Day 2 activity. Each time you come in for a workout, you are going to either rely on your brain, or your log to remind yourself of which Day, 1 or 2, you did last time. Then, you will do the other one. Simple enough? You're going to write it down, right?

Day 1 and Day 2 each have an (A) and (B) component:

Day 1: upper-body pressing (A) and lower-body (B)

Day 2: upper-body pulling (A) and core/lower back (B)

(A) and (B) will usually consist of 3-5 sets of a small number of reps of 2 or 3 exercises. Normally, we'll do the exercises with about a 20-30 second rest between each. The entire warm-up will take between 15-20 minutes.

There is even more diversity: The program has four levels, and there is a Day 1 and Day 2 for each level: BASIC, INTERMEDIATE MINUS, INTERMEDIATE, and ADVANCED. So how do you know what level you are on? Well, we will all start at BASIC.

Then, before moving to the next level, there is a little "test" of performance exercises you need to complete. You have to be able to do all of the performance exercises in the test successfully before moving up. You might spend a few days on a level, or you may be there for many weeks as the program helps you build the necessary strength, skill and flexibility to improve. Here are the different levels, with the performance criteria for each:

BASIC Warm-up Exercises (Start Here)

When you can complete ALL of the following, move to the next level:

  • 3 Dead-hang (strict) pull-ups, unbroken, double OH grip, chin over bar
  • Kick up and hold a Handstand against wall
  • 3 Ring-dips (full ROM – lockout, down to horizontal upper arm & back up to lockout)
  • 15 Overhead squats (45#/33# bar for men/women), full depth


When you can complete ALL of the following, move to the next level:

  • 1 Muscle-up (kipping, partial ROM)
  • 1 HSPU (partial ROM)

INTERMEDIATE Warm-up Exercises

When you can complete ALL of the following, move to the next level:

  • 1 Muscle-up (dead-hang, full ROM)
  • 1 HSPU (full ROM against a wall)
  • 1 Pistol (each side)

ADVANCED Warm-up Exercises (change up every 4-8 weeks)

I know, some of these are unfamiliar. That's why you have a coach. And for the non-auditory learners, we have pictures...

Here is a sample of Day 1 of the BASIC routine:


Goals: Improvement in CrossFit, development of basic proficiency with body-weight exercises, development of necessary upper-body strength and lower body flexibility/strength.

Upper-body pressing

5 sets of:

  • 3 attempts of Kick up to handstand
  • 5 Ring push-ups
  • 10 seconds of Tripod/Frog stand


3 sets of:

  • 10 Overhead Squats (PVC, WPVC, 15# bar, 45#/33# bar M/W)
  • 10 Kettlebell Deadlifts (24/16 kg)

Notes: Kicking up to the handstand may result in a handstand. If not, try kicking up harder and harder every session while keeping the elbows locked out and the head between the hands. To make ring push-ups easier, move the rings forward of perpendicular to the floor, ensuring the angle you create makes the exercise moderately challenging yet not impossible. The tripod is a basic headstand with knees resting on the elbows. In case of a prior neck injury, skip this step altogether. If the tripod is too easy, perform a frog stand.

Pretty cool, huh?

We will post all of this in the gym, so it is easy to see and we will have all of the visual stuff right there on the bulletin board, too. Now you see how everyone may be doing different stuff. We will have different apparatus down like rings, etc. But keep in mind this is WARM-UP, not a timed WOD. So, it should be easy for multiple athletes to do their ring push-ups without having everyone on separate rings.

See you tomorrow.


Warm-up the Old Dogs AND Teach them New Tricks?

“I really want to be able to do ____________”

That’s something we hear pretty frequently. It’s why our athletes hang around after a WOD and work on stuff. It’s also initially what attracted me to CrossFit.

Most athletes who enjoy CrossFit have a natural thirst for learning and performing new skills. Kipping pull-ups, muscle-ups, Olympic lifts, and let’s not leave out my own favorite goat: double unders. Those are all things most of us want to do. And more often than not, once we “get” one of them, we find the next “thing” we want to do. It’s a bottomless bucket list.

So when Karen was putting together this week’s programming and mentioned that she wanted to try a different style of warm-up that involved learning new gymnastic skills, she had me. And as she described a program she had come across on the CrossFit Journal, it all clicked:

Just last week our little training staff had been discussing how different types of warm-up affected our own personal training and performance. The week before, we had been discussing how much we liked programming both our “cash-outs” and warm-ups in ways that helped our athletes develop skills. Add in the positive feedback from the “no-miss” seven round workout last week that focused attention on perfection and she had me before she even got started.

You can read all about “The Russian’s Gymnastics Warm-Up” in the Journal. Hopefully, you have a subscription. If not, I will do my best to distill it quickly:

The idea is to have a warm-up activity that does the best job possible in preparing an athlete for the WOD, while also developing basic gymnastics skills and strength for beginner through advanced athletes. In order to do that, it can’t be one-size-fits-all. Instead, it is a series of warm-up exercises broken into levels. Each level has a set of performance skills that an athlete must master before moving to the next level.

The beauty of it is that I think it will feed our thirst for learning new things, building strength and skills as advertised, warm us up properly and fill the needs of a wide range of abilities. But, it could also flop and not make any difference. How to know? What to do?

Wait. This is CrossFit. We measure performance. We can know if something works (or not). And we are going to find out…

For the months of February and March, CrossFit Thin Air will give this new style of warm-up a fair shot. Then we will evaluate results and decide whether we want to continue it, tweak it, or drop it entirely. I hope that you are as excited as this old dog to have a new way to attack some of those tricks we want to “get”. Stay tuned- more to follow, both here and in the gym.


WOD Friday, January 29, 2010

Buy In: Mobility, Group Agility, 2 X 10 Partner Med Ball Pull-overs

WOD: Team Workout "Hold it", 2 person teams

20 Box Jumps (24"/20") / Handstand Hold (kick up to wall)
20 KB Swings (53#/35#) / Plank Hold
20 Pull-ups / KB 1 arm OH Lockout Hold (53#/35#) (either arm ok)

So, one partner does the 20 reps, while the other does the hold. Reps may only be done while the hold is performed, so if the holding partner needs a break, the reps must stop until the holding partner is back in the hold. If the partner doing reps needs a break, the holding partner has the option of coming down and resting or just staying in the hold. Upon completion of 20 reps, the partners switch duties and do another 20 reps/hold of that exercise before moving to the next exercise. Obviously, communication is key as partners will want to coordinate rests when needed.

Cash Out: PNF