2009 CrossFit Games: "Determining the Fittest Humans on Earth"

The CrossFit Games have come a long way since the first one three years ago and it will be interesting to see what is in store for the future. What I see in this event is a great opportunity to meet a bunch of awesome people and learn some amazing new things. I know that there are some of us thinking about going to the regional qualifier that is being held in Albany this coming May and some of the training that our athletes are doing is changing to reflect this. I already volunteered to go work at the CF Games this year and wanted to make it a sort of business trip for the other guys to join me on, but now that so much interest has become apparent in respect to actual competition in the event that I think we need to address the potential for a team of you to get out there knock some heads. Go check out the site to get an idea of what it is all about and then read up on the individual and affiliate team events. It sounds like nothing but a hell of a good time with some friends, and if this is something we could all do together I think it would forge some memories that last a lifetime.
I could care less about promoting our affiliate with this, we find our people by word of mouth and on the part the potential athlete in seeking a place where elite fitness is forged. The CrossFit Games is something that would just be an absolute blast to train everyone for and would be a great way to bring different personalities together into teams that might not have met any other way. Read up on your Rest Day and drop some thoughts in the comment section.
CrossFit Games 2009

CrossFit WOD (Wednesday 01.15.2009) Overhead Squat
3-3-3-3-3 reps

Today workout was a great way for everyone to see how far they have come in two different ways. First, they are doing a training session that is completely based on a movement that they never even knew before coming into the CrossFit fold. Second, they are performing repetitions in accordance with the Max Effort Black Box style of training. I can understand how a day like today could leave people feeling like Mel Gibson after the first big battle scene in Braveheart... or like Mel Gibson being disemboweled near the ending scenes of Braveheart. Not too long ago there was a sense of elation and accomplishment because the ability to execute Overhead Squats had been attained and now that the training wheels came off I think some eyes came fluttering wide open. This s#%! is hard, which is why we love it and why it works so well.

I really enjoyed learning skills like this and the Olympic movements because they didn't just have smaller components to practice on their own. There are a lot of completely unique exercises that you use to develop these abilities but can still be part of self contained workouts. Today I showed the guys some of the snatch drills and sequences that are available for developing the associated lifts. The Overhead Squat was today's workout but the Olympic Snatch Lift drills are instantly helpful in warming up for and developing it. Why? Because the Overhead Squat was originally designed as an exercise to teach people confidence and stability for the "receiving position" of the Olympic Snatch. This is the type of connection that we will be focusing on in the next several posts during the introduction of Olympic Development movement sequences.

Below is the actual warm-up we used today and the scores (which were pretty damn good). Interesting to think that the ability to Overhead Squat with weight up to 115 lbs was developed from ground zero with nothing weighing more than a wooden dowel and some Burgener style warm-ups. Today was truly the first day anyone went overhead with a barbell, let along 115 lbs. This helps me illustrate the potential that everyone has to make excellent strides forward regardless of how weak or non-existent a skill set it.

Warm-ups/Skill Based Drills:
-Burgener Warm-ups
3 rounds with 3 reps each, in sequence
Down and Up
Elbows High and Outside
Muscle Snatch
Snatch Land/Drop
Hang Power Snatch
*Start with a wooden dowel and work up to a 45lb Barbell

-Snatch Balance Sequence
3 rounds of 3 reps each, in sequence
Pressing Snatch Balance
Heaving Snatch Balance
Snatch Balance
*Start with a wooden dowel and work up to a 45lb Barbell

Here are some videos that show the execution of the movement. I am linking to their location over at Catalyst Athletics which is a CrossFit affiliate site that has an emphasis in Olympic Lifting. These guys and Mike Burgener provide an endless pool of resources and information to use in developing the Olympic Lifts. When I was trying to get Olympic Lifts off my own goat list I used both resources exclusively to learn everything I could about the movements and I had a lot of fun getting creative with the incorporation of skill work into my training. If you want to get this stuff off your Goat List I suggest diving headfirst into those tools.
Pressing Snatch Balance from Catalyst Athletics
Heaving Snatch Balance from Catalyst Athletics
Snatch Balance from Catalyst Athletics

Girls Soccer Team Training
Tonight I went down to Nashua to be an assistant coach for David and help out with the girls soccer team WOD. David came up with a variation of the Filthy 50 for them to undertake, which is what we call a "chipper" style workout. We call it this because it has a laundry list of exercises and you only have to do them once each for a specified number of reps, which was 50 in this case. It is easy to see why we call it a "chipper" because once you finish you can totally relate to that damn stick you threw into an industrial landscaping machine.

The girls have made a ton of progress in their fitness levels, and it is across the whole spread of teammates as well. The scores reflect a very small deviation in times for 16 different athletes and I think this partly because they are so ruthless with each other when it comes to competition. I can only imaging what it would be like to play for an opposing team.

"The Filthy 50"
Complete the following for time
50 Single Unders
50 Meter Bear Crawl
50 Push-ups
50 Squats
50 Sit-ups
50 Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls
50 Push Press
50 Lunges
50 Box Jumps
50 Overhead Squats

Top Time 13:01*
Average Time 14:00
Everyone Done By 15:00

After the "Filthy 50" was done we spent some time recovering and getting water before moving onto two other parts of the session.
The first thing we covered was the Air Squat (one of the 9 fundamental movements of CrossFit) which we followed with a little taste of "Bottom-To-Bottom Tabata Squats".
The session looks like this
4 sets of :20 work x :10 rest (in the bottom of the squat position)

Scoring for this is based on the number of squats you can perform in the work time allowed and at the end your lowest number is what counts. The whole point of staying in the bottom is not to be sadists but to reinforce the muscular tension that needs to be maintained when the hips are just below the parallel level. There is always the tendency to relax and drop into the hole during the rest which is what we don't want, as this will diminish your potential to explode up for your next set. This is pretty painful and intense for a 2:00 workout.

A lot of the girls were asking about some core work and in response we showed them how to do a sit-up the correct way. Instead of using your feet anchored with knees bent we had them lie flat and sit almost Indian-style. Without using their arms for momentum they tried to sit-up (no anchor) and instantly felt a huge amount of tension in the stomach. This is a simple adjustment in how you perform sit-ups but makes a huge difference because it doesn't let the hip flexors play a dominant role in the exercise. If you want some more information on this one then shoot me an e-mail or leave a note in the comments and I will add some more details in a following post.

Exciting New CrossFit Resource
I stumbled on a great tool designed for use with CrossFit and logging workouts is only the tip of the ice burg. It is a resource designed to allow a variety of enhancements in charting individual progress and I thinking about registering our Gym with them. The other great aspect of Beyond The Whiteboard is that their mindset is very similar to ours. The people that created this site are dedicated to the Community of CrossFit and worked hard to provide this open source atmosphere. They loved training and wanted to give people the option take their training and progress into a new and exciting levels of detail. Let me know what you guys think and if the response is positive then I will start working on all the advanced applications available for affiliates that register with them.
Beyond The Whiteboard Homepage


chris toomey said...

samy...those pull up bars look awsome. and the articles you are putting up are solid brother. how are those new bumper plates working. owe, the banner is complete. i just have to find the 30 minutes to drive down and pick it up. we are that much closer.

PatrickH said...

Actually, anchored situps and Janda situps recruit abdominal musculature just as much as in the unanchored situp. However, the contraction is longer in the unanchored situp, so the fatigue may be greater. The tradeoff is one of greater cycle time (more power output) in the anchored situp versus isolation of the abdominal musculature, which emphasizes muscular endurance.

sdaghir@gmail.com said...

When you say the contraction is longer in the unanchored situp I am taking that as there is more distance available for the range of motion, which someone should be moving completely through. The only other reason that a sit-up with unanchored feet should be taking longer is because the hip flexors are no longer able to assist the abdominals and the true ability for contraction and movement is revealed. If doing sits this way kills a score or time then so be it and the athlete now has something new on their goat list that they previously thought was an elementary school gym class movement. Power output will increase as capability to contract the specified area harder, longer, and more often also increases.

Good discussion topic, let me know what you think about that. Thanks again for the other night, Ben (bam bam) commented about it a previous post, check it out.

Mike Molloy said...

Bumper plates??? (drooling commences)

BamBam said...

How come the pictures of the garage gym looking twords the WOD list make the gym look so much colder.

As for the anchored vs free situps... I just don't do situps any more my abs are getting too bulky.

sdaghir@gmail.com said...

What? There is no way it looks colder from that angle, Ben. In the other picture you can see snow coming under the garage door. Your abs are too bulky especially the one on the left middle side, its almost as big as your right top side one. Gross. Move to Brazil, I heard they are hot for that there.

sdaghir@gmail.com said...

Stop drooling, Mike, you are going to need that later on for hydration purposes. I like the stuff you are doing with maintenance days instead of rest days. That is the kind of thing I would like to make everyone get involved in, but on rest days people are wicked hard to find for some reason...
We have a lot more than bumper plates coming by the way, muahahaha

BamBam said...

I can't go anywhere in Brazil without being mobed by fans of my jujitsu.

PatrickH said...

Hmmm, my giant technical comment seems not to have posted. I'll have to email you some other time.

Shaffer said...


Is another great CrossFit workout tracker.

Nice site and gym guys. Keep up the good work.