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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?

Entries in ladder (6)

Beast Mode + Workout Notes

The workout on Friday was probably the first time in a while that I felt like I really messed up at the sessions; we needed to do the back squats from the racks so we could go heavier. But this really got me thinking a lot about barbell strength and lifting heavy weights. This is a topic that I ponder and has been covered on this site a handful of times - most famously in the editorial What is Strength? from the glory days of 2015. This topic also popped up in my head while watching college football over the weekend and seeing players continuously tap their helmet to ask for a sub, and also at our basketball open gym while noticing how much more our kids complained about getting fouled when they were tired. And also watching Planet Earth II.

I really, really think CrossFit hit the nail on the head with how they approach building strength. If you can do a 400-lb. deadlift then big ups to you. If you can do a 300-lb. deadlift in the middle of a brutal workout with running and pull-ups mixed in, then you are a different breed of beast.

Strength, in real life, is very, very rarely expressed at full rest. The ability to be strong, - in as many varieties as possible, while being tired is something that I need, you need, my grandma needs, baby Josh needs, and Shea Patterson needs. (Chase Winovich seems to have that covered.) A lot of attention was given last year to Saquon Barkley cleaning 400-lbs.

This is absurd. I would also love to see what his capacity would be doing Elizabeth (even if he needed to up the weight to 155 or 185 pounds). I think most coaches and programs will be blending strength with conditioning sometime in the future - probably when the younger coaches move up in the ranks - but until then it's mostly theoretical, though backed with some good anecdotes.

As far as our gym goes, it's tough to judge purely by numbers because of the variety of athletes. Alexis Anthes is a high school sophomore with 3 months of CrossFit experience and an average strength base coming from Coach T. NuNu is an 8th grader who's feet might well have never both been off the ground at the same time before joining in May. Jay is Jay. Mrs. Pip is Mrs. Pip. Saporito, Elizabeth, and Cecilia are all back in college. I would say Katie Shakes has a perfect capacity of being strong while tired, but then I'll watch her do a push-up in Cindy and reconsider.

Mostly, I judge things based on my gut feeling. We had to get our technique on point at the end of the spring/start of Summer, then we needed to build some stamina in the legs and feet. Now I really think it will help us to feel some heavier weight in the workouts. I don't like it. And Murley/Shannon might not come back until we're through this phase, but I think it's a big part of getting a great effect from workouts like Friday or today. I don't really want any 500-lb. deadlifters, or 300-lb. cleaners, but I would like to see what kind of capacity we can develop with heavier weights within the confines of a workout.

What does this look like? Well as luck would have it, our 8:30 am session did a nice job of showing us this morning.

Normally, Mrs. Pip would have been at 65 lbs., Schornack at 25 or 35 lbs., and Mrs. Kroll at 35 lbs.; here they were at 85, 45, and 55 respectively. Not huge increases, not a weight that would be a big sick of injury, just a little extra something that might require them to slow down a bit and really zone in on the lift. I thought the technique was really good considering it was the third round. Yes, it was technically supposed to be a power clean, but as long as the squat position looked good I wasn't going to mention anything; they already had enough on their mind. Either way, all three were able to keep their positions pretty well with a weight heavier than usual.

More to come!

Lifts 4 Gifts Deadlift Ladder

As I mentioned yesterday, Lifts 4 Gifts is still on as usual at 9 am tomorrow (Saturday) at my gym. I also mentioned something last week about including a deadlift ladder at the end. After Brian, Jacob, and I met earlier this afternoon we have hashed out most of the details.

There will be 8 bars laid out for two separate heats: Group 1 will be the light heat and Group 2 will be the heavy heat.

Group 1:
Low weight: 185 lbs
High weight: 250+ lbs

Group 2:
Low weight: 225 lbs
High weight: 425+ lbs

The athlete will have 30 seconds to perform as many deadlifts as possible with the weight on that bar's station. After the time is up, there is a 30 sec. transition/rest period to move on to the next bar. The athlete is done either when they finish lifting at the 8th station or if they cannot perform a single lift with the weight at that station. This ladder will be scored both with points and highest weight lifted. The points are as follows:


  • 1 point per rep lifted (regardless of weight)
  • 5 points every time you move up the ladder (upon completion of first lift at next station)
  • 20 points for Brian when he gets to the final bar


In addition to the strategy involved, we will also be keeping track of the highest weight you deadlifted - which will be added to your total from Back squat and Press. This format gives you the flexibility to strategize and max out the points, take it easy on the light weights and aim for a PR lift, or just follow along till you can't lift any more. Your total score on the whiteboard will read: Back squat + Press + Deadlift = Total (DL ladder points). Prizes will be given out to the winners of totals from their respective classes in addition to DL ladder points winners).

The numbers will be on the board when you get in and may be subject to change depending on the crowd we get. But in the meantime, go back through some of our archives and get a sense of a number you could aim for.

Deadlift 1RM from last Thursday

Back squat 1 RM from October

Lifts 4 Gifts last year

Click the Compare To links included in those posts or use the tags to search efforts from further back. Hope to see you guys tomorrow!

The Original Lifts 4 Gifts 2011. BTT

Quote of the Week vol. 152

"It’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder that you want to climb than halfway up one you don’t"

- Some film industry guy to Kyle Anderson in Georgia

Kyle and I were talking on Sunday about how he should try to get into the film industry, considering how much he enjoys nerding-out on movies. He said he talked to someone in Georgia about it and this is when he mentioned this quote.

Beast Mode: 6 o'clock Crew Clean and Jerks

Another day in the mid-40's for attendance and the form looked good all around. This time was the technically confusing clean and jerk. We were pretty picky on both timing and position for most folks because that's all there was in the workout. C&J for 15 reps, rest 2 minutes, and repeat for 20 minutes. And if that wasn't enough, we challenged the movement by adding 10 pounds every set. Ideally, the movement at the end of the workout should look better than the movement at the beginning, because even though you are more fatigued, you've had a ton of repetitions to tweak for form.

The 6 pm session did a good job of this. Here's how they looked.

Coach's Corner: Death By Edition

Within the last week, we saw two variations of the "Death By"ladder that has become popular in CrossFit. This gives us an opportunity to evaluate an athlete's strategy when breaking up reps. Often times, it is helpful to not go to failure - especially when technique is emphasized over score/rounds. Here's an example from Monday with Emma, Mama V, Murley, and Sydney.

Coach's Corner: After School Session

Yesterday with the 3:15 session, we placed a major focus on clean form - unweighting and correct timing dropping into Pose 3. The actual squat may have been off a little (due to mobility), but what do you think about the movement in general? How did they look? Did their form get worse as the workout progressed?