Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Swell

Some call it “the pump”.  I call it “the swell”, that state of being once you have hit muscle failure from a strength endurance workout.  Can’t scratch your back?  Blame “the swell”!  Can’t even stretch?!  Blame “the swell”.  Today’s WOD was one of those days.

There’s “the swell”…and then there’s this…ughhhhhhhh.

Everything seemed to be going just fine when we started.  We hit some power cleans and front squats for the strength session of the workout.  Then came the workout.  It was meant to be taxing from a muscular endurance standpoint.  Sheesh.  That’s an understatement.  Shout out to Knick, Morgan, and Jeremy for “scaling up”.  (Changed the rep scheme a bit for the evening class [No FAIR, blah, blah, blah.] after realizing that 9 ring dips was too much and defeated the purpose of the workout.)  Whole lot of pushing going on today.

Thoughts on today’s WOD and strength session?

Remember the Festivus Games are this Saturday at Fearless Athletics on 11th and Fitzwater.  If you are not competing, come cheer on The Movement Program’s very own Jeremy Emami and Nick Kinosian as they battle for glory!  Day starts at 9:00 am!  BE THERE, WEAR YOUR MOVEMENT T-SHIRTS, AND BE LOUD!



Power cleans – 3 reps @70% of 1RM, 3 reps at 80% of 1 RM, 3 Reps at 75% of 1 RM.  Reps should be touch and go; hands should not leave the bar.

1 min rest between sets.

Front Squats – 6 reps at 65% of 1RM, 2 sets of 4 reps @ 75% of 1RM, 3 reps @80% of 1RM.

2 min rest between sets.


EMOM (every minute on the minute) 9 minutes

5 Ring Dips


Score for workout is total burpees.

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“Up North” WOD

I was up at the family cottage in Northern Michigan and figured I would try and throw together some implememts for a challenging little WOD.  Should you have the following implements near you (i.e. a pool, a lake, the Shore), I’d give it a whirl.  It reminded me why I never swam competitvely in high school.

It was good to be home, even better to be Up North, but alas all good things must come to an end.  The Movement Program will be back in action tomorrow at 10:30 am and 6:30 pm.  Remember to email me if you are coming!


“Up North” 

15 Min AMRAP

20 Overhead Walking Lunges (45)

10 Kipping Toes to Bar

Run down the hill to the Lake (about 100 meters)

50 meter swim

Run back up the hill to the OHWL

My score:  3 Rounds + 25 meter swim.

It’s raining PRs up in this piece!!!

So begins a brief sojourn out to the Mother Land, the Great White North, the Mitten…whatever you want to call it, I’m going home.  Before I bid adieu to The City of Brotherly Love, however, we were able to squeak in some work.  Boy, I’m sure glad I stuck around for class!…

Why, you ask?  Because everyone who showed up today P.R’d!  (Personal Record aka moved the most weight ever!!!)  As this was a big week of testing, we started off the session with establishing a new 1 RM Front Squat.  Jeremy struck first with a nearly 20# PR, Knick got a 10# PR at an impressive 225#!  Madison tested out her new lifting shoes and got 105# (First time maxing out in that lift.  Is that number c0rrect there Madison?).  Morgan the Destroyer gets the shout out of the day for crushing her old PR by 30# @ 115#!  Yeah, gurrrrlllll!

Nothing like Singing in the Rain. On second thought, Lifting in the Rain would have been a much better story. Imagine Gene Kelly dancing with barbells…Now we’re talking!

We then climbed the ladder for our WOD tackling wall ball shots and kipping pullups in a short, intense time frame.  It was a butt kicker once the reps started getting high.  What was worse?  The accuracy inducing wall ball shots or the fat bar pullups?  I did this workout earlier and I’d have to say each was equally taxing, just in a different manner.  Wall balls were cardiovascularly challenging, while the pullups were a test of muscular endurance and kinesthetic awareness (knowing and responding to how one’s body moves through space).

Anywho, class resumes at 10:30 am on Tuesday .  Let me know if you are coming.  Ice any thing (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, 20 minutes on x 3 a day) that is not feeling purty!



1-1-1-1-1 Front Squat


8 minute ladder climb


Wall Ball Shots (20/16)

Kipping Pullups

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Spinning Wheels and Ropes

A solid workout and a change of venues made for a glorious day at The Movement Program.  We left the tender embrace of our trollish confines and scooted over to the legendary Franklin Field at The University of Pennsylvania for a track couplet.

Those turns take forever…

We started off the day reviewing some basic POSE running skills and then dove into a whole mess of power mechanics, focusing on the drive phase of sprinting.   Weird how when executed properly a good drive phase has the flat back and neutral spine  found in a deadlift…  Working with an understanding of the drive phase, we then drilled the transition phase, whereby the athlete goes from  pumping the feet and driving the knees vigorously into the ground to relaxing and cycling the heel of the foot to the butt and the ground continuously.   It is essential that the athlete run up on his or her toes.  This allows the athlete not only to better absorb the shock incurred from the pounding, but then allows the achilles tendon to transfer that energy back up into the gastrocnemicus (one of the muscles in the calf) and through the athlete as he or she flies down the track.

Finally after getting the blood flowing a bit, we hit a track couplet where total working time did not quite matter!  The focus of the workout:  speed. The 200s were to be run between 30-35 seconds for the guys and 37-40 for the ladies.  After the run segment, each athlete had to immediately complete 50 double-unders.  Right after finishing the DUs, the athlete jogged 100 meters and then walked back another 100 meters to begin the next round.  While the rest interval was variable, the athlete was expected to continuously move throughout the workout.  I was more concerned with fast 200s, hence the adequate recovery between rounds.

Overall, I was pleased with everyone’s effort.  It’s not every day we run this fast in a workout.  Good rust buster!

As I will be heading back to Michigan tomorrow, there will only be morning class tomorrow.  9 am underneath the bridge.  I will be back the following Tuesday, but morning class will be at 10:30 am.  The evening class will be held at the normally scheduled 6:30 pm time slot!

Now, watch speed incarnate!



POSE Running Skills


5 x 10 meter power drives

5 x 50 meter power drives to transition


Not for time.

4 x 200 meter sprints (30-35 seconds men / 37-40 seconds ladies RX)

Following each 200 sprint the athletes does 50 double unders as fast as possible.

Recovery is 100 meter jog followed by 100 meter walk.

Athlete is expected to move continuously throughout entire workout.

Faint echoes of yesteryear…

Once upon a time…I was a runner.  Today, triggered a flashback to the days of sprinting around that dreaded 400 meter oval in the certifiable quest to be more fleet of foot.

After we finished establishing a new one rep max of the push press, we did an interval session of sorts, vaguely reminiscent of those dreaded 6 x 600 meter run repeats I did seemingly a lifetime ago.  We broke up twelve minutes of work into four sessions of three minute AMRAPs.  A one minute rest followed.

Why not just go the straight twelve minutes?  One word:  Intensity.  The nature of today’s WOD encouraged the athlete to go nearly all out for each interval, knowing that the portion of work was broken up into smaller increments and was followed by a one minute break between the sets.  Hooray for non-oxidative glycolysis!

Thoughts on the workout?  More challenging than a “normal” WOD?

Wednesday will only have an AM class.  Meet at the entrance to Franklin Field, the University of Pennsylvania’s track, at 11:00 a.m.  Expect to run…



Push Press



4 x 3 Min AMRAP

1 Min recovery after each set.

10 Push Press (75/55)

7 Box Jumps (24″/20″)

Testing a Paradigm Shift

First off:  Go and register for the Festivus Games here.  Do it.  I want to see a sea of green shirts at that gym, and I want to hear you all screaming!

Today was a rest day for me, but The Movement Program was hard at work getting ready for testing the new programming.  Yes, that is right you heard it:  today marks the beginning of a shift in programming here at The Movement Program.  The first step in that process is establishing some max efforts on some key lifts, namely the snatch and clean/jerk, as well as some squat variations focusing on high bar, low bar, and front squats.  More details will be revealed to you at class, but know that a laser focus will rest on making you Oly Lifting machines!

For work today, we hit five attempts at the full squat snatch as well as five attempts at the clean and jerk.  Remember, only five attempts were allowed and this included misses.  Also, jot down your score some place as you will be referring to this number later as we will be relying heavily on percentages on certain days.

We finished off the day with three attempts at max height box jumps.  Jeremy E soared to 52 inches and made it look like he could get 60!

Below you will find some daily inspiration to enjoy!



1-1-1-1-1 Squat Snatch

1-1-1-1-1 Clean and Jerk

1-1-1 Max Height Box Jumps

Festivus is upon us.

Competition.  It is what we do each and every day we engage a WOD.  We compete with our teammates.  We compete with our selves.  Now, it is time to compete with people outside of the realms of The Movement Program.

Saturday, August 4 at Fearless Athletics, at 11th and Fitzwater, is Philadelphia’s host of the Festivus Games.  Taking place throughout the country, this competition is meant for novice and intermediate CrossFitters.  I STRONGLY encourage you to all attend and compete.  I will be there to scream at you and of course provide coaching.  We will have a meeting the Thursday before the Games to review strategy for tackling each respective WOD.

While every movement we do stresses the core to an extent, today’s work really focused on it!  Our strength portion of the day dealt with Turkish Getups.  We then finished off the training with a joyous Tabata style workout.  Who knew hollow rock rocks were so horrible?!

We will be back in action on Monday until then, rest up and go see the new Batman movie.



Turkish Getups

2-2-2-2-2 (each arm)

Keep weight same for first three sets.  Increase on last two sets.


Tabata Protocol

20 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds.  1 min rest in between each movement.

  • Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (20/12 kg)
  • Situps
  • Front Squats (45/15 – Barbell cannot be set on the ground.  Can be held in the hands or front rack position ONLY!  Three burpee penalty for each time bar is dropped.  Penalty must be performed during rest period.)
  • Hollow Rock Rocks

Supplemental “Chassis” Work

3 Rounds ME Ring L-sits

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Jerks and a Bodyweight Bonanza!

I woke up this morning to…silence.  My power died.  No AC.  Dread ensued.  What would happen to my fresh vegetables or, worse yet, my delicious bacon?!  Oh, the horror!  What brought me out of my morning hysteria?  Well, first the AC eventually came back on.  Second, it was another day and another pound (our currency is the pound.  God Save the Queen!) lifted with The Movement Program!

Jerks we are not, but jerks did we tackle!  The split jerk, specifically.  This movement is less about pressing the bar up with the arms and more about a quick controlled drop step under the bar, locking the arms out underneath a weightless piece of metal.  This is a lift that takes a lot of confidence and courage.  There’s always a (irrational) fear that the bar will land on your head or that if we drop too low we won’t be able to stand up.  You know what I have to say about that:  f*ck that and sell out!

How do you sell out on a split jerk?  First, is your setup flawless?  Hands firmly around the bar in the modified rack position (elbows slightly in front of the bar)?  Feet directly (I mean DIRECTLY) underneath your hips with feet pointing straight ahead? Head neutral?  Remember your start position will dictate your finish!  Once you are adequately set and calmed, take a big deep breath WITH YOUR BELLY.  Breathing with your belly will fill up the excess space in your abdomen and subsequently your support your lower back helping you generate tension throughout your core.   Go ahead and notice the difference between breathing and holding with your belly as opposed to breathing up and holding into your shoulders.  Remember,  increased tension allows you to generate more torque, which equals more force, which then equals more power, which results in plain old awesomeness.

I would also like to address the dip and drive stage of this lift.  A lot of you seem to drop slightly forward when you dip.  To counter this, make sure that when you dip, you are sending your knees slightly out as opposed to just straight forward.  This will help you keep your torso more vertical and also allow your legs to generate more torque out of the bottom of your dip.

The finish of the jerk, the drive and drop, is where the plot thickens.  It is important to for you to reach full extension of the hips before you drop under the bar.  Why?  No drive to full extension means a lift devoid of power.  You are simply dipping and then falling under the bar, never giving yourself a chance to make the bar weightless.  News flash:  if the bar isn’t made weightless chances are you will not have the necessary time to get under the bar.  The last part of the finish is the drop.  This is where the real selling out must happen.  The lead leg step must be quick and far enough in front of you to get that lower leg almost perfectly perpendicular to the ground.  Get it in your head that after you reach full extension, you are going to go all out on that drop and step in front of the bar like your life depended on it.  For some that might mean a dream date with Channing Tatum (cough!… Morgan).  For others that might mean a full ride scholarship to Yale (cough!…Palm Oil).

Once you’ve dropped under that bar and locked it out (hopefully…) stand up with the bar by taking a half step up and back with the lead leg and a half step up and forward with the trail leg.  Demonstrate control with the barbell over your head and then drop and roar like a bear…if it is a PR.  Not sure why you’d want to unleash a bear roar after a warmup set…

How would you help these athletes improve their jerks?

Compare these to the big boys and gals!  Fast forward to 2:24 and then enjoy!

So that’s today’s lesson on the split jerk, boys and girls.  The conditioning WOD was more on the muscular endurance side given that the last two days have been more cardiovascularly taxing.  Four rounds of three body-weight movements, two of which I hate:  HSPUs and Pushups.  Yuck.

For many of you this is your third workout this week!  I’m diggin’ the commitment, but if this was your third workout, take tomorrow and rest up!  See most of you on Monday!


P.S.  Never call that boy an amateur…


Split Jerk



4 Rounds for Time


10 Kipping Pullups (from rings when band assistance is required.)

20 Pushups

Supplemental “Chassis” Work

For anyone with extra time, there will be, on occasion, an opportunity for some supplementary work that targets core strength or technical proficiency.  Below was today’s work:

3 Rounds of ME Ring Pushups

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Volume, volume, and sweat.

A fitting phrase for today!

Apparently the humidity whore just couldn’t stay away from her boy toy, Philadelphia. Humidity. You just can’t seem to get away from it.  It is like that guy or girl at the party who goes on and on about how he or she is an artist and doesn’t think a job is a good idea until he or she finds his or herself, or talks endlessly about stamps or something else inconsequential, like the Philadelphia Phillies.

Enough complaining, some brave souls came out today, braving the elements and the hellish work which was required of them today.  Today’s focus was on volume, both in the strength portion and also the WOD.  A lift that we have never done, the strength portion of today’s class called for the Zercher squat.  The Zercher squat is good for two reasons.  One, as the bar does not rest on top of the back, weight bearing pressure on the spine is lessened.  Two, this type of squatting stresses the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, lower back) a bit differently from the more traditional high bar and low bar back squat.  A good thing if you find that your squat maxes are stagnating.

Textbook form for the Zercher Squat courtesy of Morgan the Destroyer.

Once our squats were finished we hit a 20 minute grinder, AMRAP style!  The movements included in today’s WOD were movements that I have found are especially taxing on the cardiovascular system.  Besides the gross weather, what did you think?  What was the most challenging part of the WOD?

Keep hydrated throughout the day, both before and after your workouts.



5 reps of 45% of 1RM DEadlift

5 reps @ 50% of 1RM ”

5 reps @ 55% of 1 RM ”


20 min AMRAP

15 Box Jumps (24″/20″)

30 KB Swings (20 kg/12 kg)

45 Double Unders

400 meter run.

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The Return

Just keep telling yourself: Heat makes me tough!

Just keep telling yourself:  LA sucks.

Home.  It’s hot.  Luckily the humidity whore is not around.  I hope she never comes back.  Oh how I love doing workouts as the mercury rises!  Movement Program, we are back online!  Cali was great, but Philadelphia is the cat’s meow, fo’ sho’.

Seldom do we focus on grip strength, but oddly enough I find it is one of the first things to go when doing heavy deadlifts, pullups, toes to bar, etc.  Today marked a reversal of said trend.  We did three rounds of max effort barbell holds from the hi hang/pockets position.  Clock starts once the athlete has deadlifted the weight from the ground.  No mixed grip or hook grip was allowed.  Expect more grip work in the coming weeks, boys and girls.  Remember, strong hands are sexy!

Following our strength portion for the day, we hit a yucky couplet with a twist.  Normally burpees are bad enough, but for today I added a toes to ring at the end of this movement for extra suck factor.  Oh yeah….and then we had thrusters.  Definitely a super fun day!  Shout out to Knick for crushing this WOD and scaling up with 95 thrusters in a solid time of 8:17!

Remember, you MUST email me if you are coming to class.  If you show up and you haven’t signed up, you will receive a wonderful gift of burpees!



3 Rounds

ME Weighted Barbell Holds (185/95)

2 mins recovery between each set.



Burpees Toes to Rings

Thrusters (75/55)

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