This is the end


The Movement Program is officially closed and so without much fanfare so will this blog.  You can follow the next evolution of The Movement Program at!



I am awake

Legs wobbly.  Breathing hard.  Heart pounding.  I haven’t done a conditioning workout in a while.  The months focusing on rehab and getting back into weightlifting have stole me away from those gut wrenching, soul crushing conditioning sessions.  Today was not one of those “I want my mommy” kind of workouts, but it was a step towards getting back to the warrior days of yore, nonetheless.

MOVEMENT!  We will be back to training this upcoming Monday, July 1 at 9:00 am at the old Gangster’s Paradise aka underneath the I-95 overpass on Front St just south of Washington Ave in South Philly.  This will be our primary base of operations, but expect to be doing workouts all over the city this summer until the gym opens.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and let me know if you can make it on Monday!



Self Myofascial Release / Dynamic Warmup

1 Round Clean and Jerk:  5 Front Squats, Lift off Transitions, Rack Delivery, Jerk Step Throughs, Punch and Catch Progressions


Front Squats

3 x 5


8 Min Up the Ladder

2, 2, 4, 4, 6, 6…

Wall Balls (20#)

Kipping Ring Dips



3 x 10 Each arm/leg.

The Last Class

Another chapter in The Movement Program has come to a close.  We leave the confines of the GAMP cafeteria forever in preparation for our permanent home at Steelworks CrossFit!  The gym is in the works of coming online (sooner than later!).  In the meantime, we will be floating at sites scattered about Philly.  Our main base of operations will be back at the Gangsters’ Paradise aka underneath I-95 at Front and Washington.  Classes will be held MWF at 9:00 am.

Some of you have been asking me about nutrition lately.  Expect a post very soon on that…

Today’s muscle of the day is the gluteus minimus.


The glut minimus works in concert with the glut medius.  It originates on the gluteal surface of the illia and inserts into the greater trochanter of the femur.  When the leg is fully straightened, the glut minimus helps abduct the hip.  When the hip is flexed, the glut minimus aids in external rotation.  When the hip is extended, the muscle works to internally rotate the hip.  Just like the glut medius:  Sheesh.

We closed this chapter of the story in true Movement Program fashion:  1RM attempts.  Yes, this was a deload week, but this was a special day that needed to honored.  We spent time going after some new 1 RM Snatches and Clean and Jerks.  The kids have come a long way.  You’ll see Chris and Xuan below.  Chris got a five pound PR on his snatch and a nearly 20 pound PR on his clean at 165# (3 pound PR on the clean AND jerk 150#).  Xuan got a new PR clean at 102# and crushed her snatch PR by 10# 70#.

Getting more in line with our deload theme for the week, we hit some speed squats from the high bar and then finished off the day with single leg side plank holds with toes pointing up and down and then a crowd favorite, the suitcase carry.

Stay tuned on when and where our next practice will be!

It has been a great experience coaching you all and I look forward on the next stage of our journey together.



Self Myofascial Release / Dynamic Warmup

1 Round Snatch:   5 OHS, Lift off transitions, Muscle Snatches, Angel Drops, Punch and Catch Progressions.

Barbell Mechanics

10 minutes to establish a new 1 RM Snatch

10 minutes to establish a new 1 RM Clean and Jerk


10 sets of 2 Speed Squats from the High Bar

*60% 1RM

*1 min rest between each set.


Single Leg Plank Holds with Toe Pointing Up / Down

2 x 2 x 10 seconds

Suitcase Carries

3 x 50 meters each hand.

6-20-13 MOVE1 6-20-13 MOVE2 6-20-13 MOVE3 6-20-13 MOVE4 6-20-13 MOVE5 6-20-13 Scores

Gettin’ to the mountaintop ain’t easy.

While I cannot say this with certainty, I presume that we all want the next big thing.  A fat clean and jerk PR, the job that will make you more money, or that dream vacation in Paris/Rome/London.  Each day, we strive to reach our goals.  Most of the time, we struggle along that path.  Those little stones, poking there ever so tiny heads above the ground, catch the tip of our toes time and time again.  We stumble.  We fall.

Gettin’ to the mountaintop ain’t easy.

Some look up in awe at that mountain’s grandeur and think, “how can I possibly reach the summit?!”  And so they stay down in the valley of life, living out their days in safe mediocrity.  Others…well, they look at that path, tie up their boots, hoist their rucksacks, and start walking.  Sure there will be difficulties along the way, but for those who refuse to accept mediocrity, this is simply a party of the journey.  This latter choice while fraught with peril, ultimately is the path to greatness.  The question I guess we all must ask ourselves is do we want a safe, simple, but BORING life, or do we want to climb that mountain and live a life full of wort,h far above that of others?

The muscle of the day was the gluteus medius.


The glut medius originates on the gluteal surface of the illia and inserts into the greater trochanter of the femur.  This is a busy little muscle.  It is responsible for hip abduction when the leg is straightened, hip internal rotation when the hip is flexed, and hip external rotation when the hip is extended.  Sheesh…

We continued to work on developing that overhead pressing strength in our strength work yesterday (6/19/2013).  Six sets of three for the push press.  As for the conditioning work, it was the major inspiration for today’s blog post.  We hit an ascending nine minute ladder of American KB Swings and Lateral Jump Over the Bell Burpees.  Couplets are deceivingly disgusting…  Fortification work targeted posterior chain stability.

One more day until The Movement Program is done with school!!!!



Self Myofascial release / Dynamic Warmup

1 Round Jerk:  5 Push Press, 5 Push Jerk, 5 Jerk Step Throughs, 5 Jerk Balance, 5 Split Jerks.


Push Press

6 sets of 3 reps.

*Work up to establish a new 3 RM.


9 min Ascending Ladder

2, 2, 4, 4, 6, 6, etc…

American KB Swings (24 kg/16 kg)

Lateral Jump Over the Bell Burpees


Bird Dogs

3 x 10  each side

Single Leg Bridge Holds

3 x 3 x 10 secs each side.

6-20-13 MOVE16-20-13 MOVE26-20-13 MOVE36-20-13 MOVE46-20-13 Scores


Home stretch

PA State Weightlifting Championships are July 13 in York, PA.  Sign up if you haven’t and email letting me know that you are going!

Savor every training day this week as this is the last time we will train in the cafeteria.  The summer will be spent training all over Philadelphia in different sites and most of it will be outdoor until Steelworks CrossFit becomes a reality.  Stay tuned…

In other news, the muscle of the day is the gluteus maximus, one of the major prime movers of the posterior chain!


The glut max originates on the posterior superior illiac crest, as well as the posterior surface of the lower part of the sacrum and the side of the coccyx.  It inserts into gluteal tuberosity of the femur.  What this sucker does is major extension and external rotation of the hip.

Jeremy Emami returned back into the bosom of The Movement Program and walked away with a 10 pound high bar back squat 1 RM PR at 260#.  Welcome back, Jeremy!

We started off the day hitting some hi hang cleans and jerks, then squatting three sets of five from the high bar, and then a longer conditioning workout of pistols, pushups, and broad jumps.

Rest up.  Class will be held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  MIKE SNYDER:  Have fun in Montreal this summer!  You’ll be missed!



Self myofascial release / dynamic warmup

1 Round Clean and Jerk:  5 Front Squats, Lift off Transitions, Rack Delivery, Jerk Step Throughs, Punch and Catch Progressions.

Barbell Mechanics

2 High Hang Cleans + 1 Jerk

6 sets @ 65% 1 RM Clean


High Bar Back Squat

3 x 5

Sets across @ 65% 1 RM


15 Min AMRAP

8 Pistols

10 Pushups

15 Meter Broad Jumps


Stir the Pot

3 x 10 each direction

Palloff Presses

3 x 3 x 10 Second holds.

6-17-13 MOVE1 6-17-13 MOVE2 6-17-13 MOVE3 6-17-13 MOVE4 6-17-13 MOVE5 6-17-13 Scores



What Really Matters

In the end, the greatest opponent is yourself.

We have all been there.  The exhilarating highs after crushing a new clean and jerk PR, getting your first muscle up, or decimating your old Fran time.  These are the days that we look forward to in our training.  There are days, however, that can be depressing.  Lifts that seemed to float effortlessly away from the bounds of gravity seem to be trapped on the ground like the Sword in the Stone.  Three rounds of Cindy seem like twenty!  What.  The.  Hell.

Looking at the highs and lows of one’s own performance, there is something glaringly absent:  the performance of others.  As a society, we are often shown what we are supposed to look like.  Subconsciously for most, consciously for others, we are constantly comparing ourselves to our peers.

“What is it going to take for me to look as beautiful as __________?”

“I’ve been training for so long, working so hard, and still I am not nearly as strong as _________.”

Trying to find the answers to these questions is a fool’s errand.  While it is plainly obvious, I think we all need a reminder from time to time that everyone is born differently.  Some people are strong.  Some people are weak.  Some people are smart.  Some people are dumb.  Unfair?  You bet, but that is life.  It isn’t fair.

“So if this is the case, why train at all if I cannot be like ________?”  It’s simple:  train to make yourself better than you were yesterday.  Competition is important not as an end i.e. we train simply to destroy others, but rather as a means to an end.  The daily struggle, the coming battle is what focuses our energies to find our own lasting improvements.

While we cannot control the outcome of anyone’s actions, we can and should celebrate the achievements of others.   A great lift or workout performance by a teammate can be used as inspiration to drive your own progress.  Find joy in your progress (no matter how small).  Reflect on how far you have come (you’ve come a long way).  Keep exploring your own boundaries and blast past them when you find them!

Today’s Muscle of the Day was the illiacus.  


This sucker originates on the illiac fossa, which rests roughly on the interior side of the hip bone, and stretches to its insertion point down on the lesser trochanter of the femur.  What does it do?  The illiacus works with the psoas to help flex and externally rotate the hips.

We are on a new testing cycle for the next four weeks!!!  Our focus will be strength going overhead.  The focus lift will be the push press.  Not only does this lift help develop solid overhead pressing strength, but it also helps develop proper dip-drive mechanics that is essential to a good jerk.  Executing an effective push press may seem  simple:  dip, drive, and press, right?  At its core, yes these are the basics of the movement.  There are some other set up and execution considerations.

Are the feet underneath the hips at the start?  This position ensures the most efficient transfer of power from the legs, through the hips, and into the bar.  Are you sitting back on your heels during your dip and drive?  Staying back on your heels allows the bar to travel straight up and down on the dip drive.  Fail to do this and most likely the bar will travel out and away and make for a not so bueno lift, amigo.  Are you focusing on pressing your hips to the ceilings during your drive?  Prematurely pressing the bar with your arms before the hips finish bleeds power transfer into the bar.  Are you getting your head out of the way while you press?  Again, we want a straight bar path.  Can’t do that if the head is in the way.

Let’s see how we do in four weeks!

Conditioning was meant to be longer and a bit more brutal than usual.    Did you like the minute breaks in between or did that screw up your rhythm?   We finished up the day with our fortification work of banded pulls to strengthen scapular retraction and bird dogs to work the lower back and spinal stabilizers.

Enjoy the weekend!  Rest.  Go for a walk in the woods.



Self myofascial release / dynamic warmup

2 Rounds not for time:  8 Russian KB Swings (16/12), 6 KB Push Presses (3 each arm), 4 Burpees


Push Press

4 x 5 reps

*Establish new 5 RM.

*2 minutes rest between each set.


For total running time.

10 KB Clean and Jerks – Right Arm (24/16 kg)

10 Burpees

10 KB CJ – Left Arm

10 Burpees

-Rest 1 min-

14 KB CJ – R

10 Burpees

14 KB CJ – L

10 Burpees

-Rest 1 min-

18 KB CJ – R

10 Burpees

18 KB CJ – L

10 Burpees


Banded Scapular Retraction Pulls

3 x 10

Bird Dogs

3 x10 each side

6-13-13 MOVE1 6-13-13 MOVE2 6-13-13 MOVE3

The Steel Destroys?


Turn injuries into learning experiences.  

Over the past seven months, I have been on an incredible journey of self-discovery. I hurt my lower back in October, not realizing the severity of it until about late January.  The last five months have been spent in rehabbing it with the help of a brain trust of valued coaches and rehab specialists.  Have I been disappointed at not being able to train like I want to over the past couple of months?  Absolutely.  The takeaways, however, have been priceless.  I have broadened my understanding of human anatomy and physiology, resolved my own major movement pattern deficiencies, and revamped how I design programming here at The Movement Program.

This experience has also cultivated a larger sense of patience, with myself and others.  The human body when nudged and cajoled with the proper stimulus is a miracle machine at healing itself.  The only problem is that it requires time to do its work.  For someone who is extremely competitive like myself, this can be a bitter pill to swallow.  I’ve said this before:  sometimes the hardest part of training is not training.  The disciplined athlete knows when to listen to his or her body to take time off.

I’m slowly coming back to fighting form and have been lifting pain free for about four weeks now.  I hope to return to my old numbers by summer’s end, allowing the march towards lifting heavy weights to again begin in earnest.

As the steel destroys, so too can the steel heal…

Today’s Muscle of the Day is the most important “beach” muscle:  the rectus abdominis.

rectus abdominis

This muscle originates on the pubis and inserts into the costal cartilage of ribs 5-7 and the xiphoid process of the sternum.  This muscle is largely responsible for lumber flexion.

We chopped up our normal two minute recovery window on our barbell session today.  EMOMs (Every minute on the minute) help develop the rare cardiovascular endurance component so often lacking in weightlifting and also force the athlete to lift while he or she is tired.  Recovery is usually about 45 seconds between each lift.

Following our barbell mechanics, we hit some light sets of five on the front squat.  We’ve been working a lot on ankle mobility prior to our lifting sessions and I am happy to see that many athletes are able to get deeper into their squats, while still keeping their lumbar spines free of flexion.  Once we finished up the easy squats, we hit a high skilled conditioning workout of one hundred double unders for time.  Fortification work of stir-the pots and side barbell lunges followed to wrap up the day!

Remember we have class tomorrow!  No class on Friday!


Self Myofascial Release / Dynamic Warmup

1 Round Clean and Jerk:  5 Front Squats, Lift off Transitions, Rack Delivery, Jerk Step Throughs, Punch and Catch Progressions.

Barbell Mechanics

11 EMOM Clean and Jerk

80% 1 RM Clean


Front Squats

3 x  5 @ 65% 1 RM


For Time

100 Double Unders


Stir the Pots

3 x 10 in each direction

Side Lunges (45/35#)

2 x 10 for both sides

6-12-13 MOVE1 6-12-13 MOVE2 6-12-13 Scores

Pump up the Volume.

Nothing fancy today.  Just some good old fashion volume lifting.  We worked on hitting some doubles and triples today on the snatch.

Today’s Muscle of the Day is the Psoas Major.


The psoas major originates on the anterior portion of the transverse portions of the twelfth thoracic vertebrae down to the fifth lumbar vertebrae.  It inserts into the lesser trochanter of the femur.  This muscle is an important hip flexor and also aids in the external rotation of the hips.

After our barbell work today, we retested the 5 RM Overhead Squat.  The last time we did it was about a month ago, and nearly everyone who did it PR’d by 10 pounds!  Solid work people!



Myofascial Release / Dynamic Warmup

1 Round Snatch:  5 Overhead Squats, Lift off Transitions, Muscle Snatches, Angel Drops, Punch and Catch Progressions.

Barbell Mechanics


2 sets of 3 @ 70% 1 RM Snatch.

3 sets of 2 @ 80%

3 sets of 2 @ 75%

*1-2 minutes recovery between sets.


Overhead Squat

3 x 5

*Establish a new 5 RM

*Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.


Single Leg Bridge Holds

3 x 3 x 10 seconds each leg.

Side Lunges

2 x 10 each direction

*Sorry for no pictures.  I was lifting with my athletes today!

Hi-Hang Hatred

It’s a pesky one…that ole high hang clean.  Lifts from the high hang are pretty tricky as any laziness found in a poor second pull reveals itself.  We need to drive our heels through the floor and stretch up and back really hard to get the necessary force into that bar.  Hopefully the pulls prior to the lift during the complex helped drill into you the importance of doing just that!

Arguably one of the least loved muscles, our Muscle of the Day focused on one of the key frontal plane stabilizers: the quadratus lumborum!



This muscle originates on the posterior superior illiac crest and then inserts itself up into the last rib and then the transverse process of the lumbar vertebrae.  It is responsible for both lateral flexion and extension, as well as elevating the hip.  They are also important in keeping our spines stable during the catch in our cleans and snatches.

As stated before we hit a nice little complex of clean pulls, hi-hang cleans, and jerks today for our barbell mechanics.  Afterwards we tackled a little chipper of wall balls, strict pullups, burpees, front squats, and double unders, with a 15 min time cap for an added incentive to move quickly.  No one was able to sneak under, but great effort by everyone!

PA State Weightlifting championship information can be found here!  Let’s get signed up, pronto!



Myofascial Release Dynamic Warmup

1 Round Clean and Jerk:  5 Front Squats, Lift off transitions, Rack Delivery, Jerk Step Throughs, Punch and Catch Progressions.

Barbell Mechanics

2 Clean Pulls + 1 Hi-Hang Clean + 1 Jerk

2 sets @ 70% 1 RM Clean

3 sets @ 80%

2 sets @ 75%

*2 min recovery between each set.


For Time:

40 Wall Balls (20/16)

20 Strict Pullups

40 Burpees

20 Front Squats (135/95)

40 Double Unders

6-3-13 MOVE1 6-3-13 MOVE2 6-3-13 MOVE3 6-3-13 Scores

Extend the Pull

Today was an immense day of progress.  We worked a lot on extending that first pull during the snatch.  Some simple cues which were employed were “knees back longer”, “patient pull”.  Those seemed to work a lot.  Now, I don’t claim that all of my athletes’ problems were resolved, but it was pretty satisfying to see the normal jumping forward almost totally eradicated from their lifts.  Keep at it, guys and gals!  Patience is the name of the game!

5-29-13 MOVE4

Look and learn…

Barbell mechanics consisted of a complex of snatch deadlifts with a pause below the knee followed by a hang snatch, paying special attention to keeping the knees back longer during the first and second pulls.  Instead of shooting the hips horizontally to meet the bar, the objective is to have the shoulders lead vertically as the hips open.  This helps keep weight back on the heels and primes the lifter for the final acceleration of the second pull.  The percentages will be higher for the rest of this week as we are climbing towards the 90% range of lifts.

Given the summer like temperatures today was a shorter but nonetheless grueling conditioning session.  A shorter version of the classic CrossFit workout “Nancy” we hit three rounds for time of 400 meter runs and 15 overhead squats.

I’d have to say the most impressive thing about today was the fact that so many athletes attempted heavier weights during the workout and/or moved with admirable tenacity.   Minds are sharpening as muscles are hardening.  Together that makes a definite recipe for bravery.  Well done by everyone today!  Your collective progress is absolutely inspiring.



1 Round Snatch:  Overhead Squats, Lift off Transitions, Muscle Snatches, Angel Drops, Punch and Catch Progressions

Barbell Mechanics

Snatch Deadlift with Pause below the Knee + Hang Snatch

2 @ 80% 1 RM

3 @ 85%

2 @ 90%

*2-3 minutes rest between sets.


3 Rounds for Time

400 m run

15 Overhead Squats (95/75)


2 x 6 Sots Press

3 x 8 Stir-the-Pot

5-29-13 MOVE1 5-29-13 MOVE3 5-29-13 MOVE25-29-13 Scores