KC Lihue WODs

Lihue WOD: Friday, 10/31/2014


The Thoracic Spine ~ Luke Palmisano

Each part of the spine plays a different role for you, and is built differently. The cervical spine is built for flexibility (the actual vertebrae are smaller) and not for load. The lumbar is designed for power (as in lifting heavy objects), as the vertebrae are much larger. The thoracic spine is built for stability. Because of that, the T-spine by definition would have less flexibility than, lets say, the C-spine. The thoracic spine is also designed for protection. They wrap all the way around from the front of the body to the back. This also contributes to their relative inflexibility. So therein lies the rub: we need flexibility out of an area of the body that by its’ very definition is built for stability and protection. Also of note is the fact that you have a beautifully arrayed group of muscles supporting the T-spine. The trapezius muscle goes from the top of your shoulders and tapers down all the way down to the beginning of your lumbar spine. Underneath that lies the lumbo-dorsal muscle, and the rhombideus minor and major muscles. When these muscles are tight, they contribute towards the inflexibility of an area of your body already limited in its’ range of motion.

The trouble with thoracic spine immobility is that we don’t know we suffer from it until we need it. Let’s face it: we sit with poor posture, slumped shoulder, and non-activated glutes and abs. Then you go to a CrossFit gym and try to perform all sorts of gnarly movements with range of motion requirements that day-to-day life doesn’t ask of us. As a CrossFit trainer, I’ve gotten used to having people come into our gym and have their eyes opened as to the vast arrays of immobility the lies within their tight, tacked down body. Often times, it is expressed in shoulder range of motion. Maybe they can’t lock their elbows out in the overhead squat. Maybe they can’t get a good overhead position with a kettlebell swing. Maybe when they come to the “chest through,” or “superman” position in a kipping pull-up or toes-to-bar they have to bend their elbows to attain that position. Even worse, maybe they try these movements and start having shoulder pain. Yikes.

Point is, the thoracic spine is in the middle of it all, hanging out, blowing you kisses of sweet immobility. Often times, if your shoulders feel tight, if you work on your thoracic spine, your issues immediately start to improve. After you unlock those mid-back muscles, then you can really get to work on those shoulders.

Here’s an idea you can try (Poached from watching K-Star videos. I wish I could take credit for being this smart.): Hold both arms overhead, and take a look at the position of both arms. Now take a lacrosse ball. Feel for the muscles that run in between your scapula and spine. Start on one side of the spine. Pick three spots on the aforementioned area. Dig the lacrosse ball into those areas, two minutes at a time minimum. Lift your hips off the ground. Now move your arm around, looking for the tight spots. When you’re done with that side of the spine, stand back up, and compare your overhead positions. See how much range of motion you just bought yourself through six minutes of pain. Then work the other side of the spine.

Thoracic spine mobility leads to many benefits for other areas of the body. Included are: decreased kyphosis, less lower back pain, less shoulder pain, greater overall range of motion, and greater lung capacity. Mobility is kinda like nutrition: making changes can be annoying, difficult, and not enjoyable in the short term. Once you see the benefits of said changes, however, you’ll never want to go back. So take the time to perform some basic self-maintenance of your body. You won’t regret it.

Strength/Technique Work: 

The Push Press


50 Push Press (135#/95#)
Every time you drop the bar, you incur a 5 burpee penalty. The burpee penalties are to be be performed together, after you finish the 50th push press. Your time is counted after the burpee penalty is performed. The only place that the bar may rest is on the front rack position. The push press you use should be between 65-70% of your one-rep-max.


20 Back Extensions (not hip extensions, but the real-deal back extensions on the GHD)

Lihue WOD: Thursday, 10/30/2014


Check this description of the hang power clean from cathletics.com

With a clean grip, lift the bar to the standing position. Lower the bar under control to the chosen hang position (most often mid-thigh, knee or right below the knee). Once reaching the hang position, initiate the power clean by pushing against the floor with the legs first. Drive the legs against the floor and extend the hips aggressively, keeping the bar in close proximity to the body and bringing it into contact with the hips as you reach complete extension. After extending, pick up and move your feet into your squat stance while pulling your elbows high and to the sides to move yourself down into a partial squat under the bar while keeping the bar and your body as close to each other as possible. Turn the elbows around the bar and into the clean rack position, and stop the squat with the thighs above horizontal. Stabilize and recover to a standing position with the bar overhead.

The purpose of the hang power clean can vary depending on its application. It can be an exercise to help teach beginners to clean that is often easier than lifting from the floor because of the abbreviated movement and the ability to ensure proper positioning and balance at the start of the second pull, and the power receiving position reduces the demand on mobility. As a training exercise, the common purpose is to develop better force production in the extension and more aggressiveness in the pull under due to the limited time and distance to accelerate and elevate the bar, and the limited movement down under the bar. Another purpose is use as a lighter clean variation for lighter training days (weights naturally limited for most lifters relative to the clean, and somewhat less work for the legs and back to allow more recovery for subsequent training sessions)—even more so for the power variation because the squat under is partial instead of full.

So to summarize. The hang power clean is awesome because it is easier to learn.
The hang power clean is awesome because it makes you more explosive.
The hang power clean is awesome because of the fact that it forces you to lift at lighter weights, yet lift nonetheless.
This fact makes you feel better after a workout like the one you had on Wednesday.
The hang power clean is awesome because there is no squat involved.
/rant over.

Strength/Technique Work: 

Hang Power Clean


5 Rounds For Time
15 Hang Power Cleans (95#/65#)
15 Toes-to-bar
250m Row

Lihue WOD: Wednesday, 10/29/2014


From Marks Daily Apple

I’ve said this before, but inflammation is a necessary response to injury. It’s the inflammatory response that increases blood and lymphatic flow to and from the injured tissues, bringing healing nutrients and inflammatory mediators and removing damaged refuse. It’s the inflammatory response that makes injuries hurt, which prevents us from using and re-injuring the injured area. And yeah, the inflammatory response can get out of hand and do more damage than the initial insult, but it’s ultimately how our bodies heal damaged tissues and recover from injuries. If we didn’t have an inflammatory response, we’d never get anywhere. This was the crux of a very interesting blog post by Kelly Starrett in which he questioned the typical use of ice after injury. In short, Kelly says that putting ice on a healing tissue is counterproductive because it halts or at least disrupts inflammation, which is really how we heal.

Icing your ankle right after a really bad sprain to prevent secondary injury seems to make sense, but does it help with swelling and overall healing?

A 2004 literature review on the ability of cryotherapy to affect soft tissue injury healing looked at 22 eligible randomized controlled studies to determine if ice was actually helping, and the results were mixed at best:

Ice alone was better for pain after knee surgery when compared to no ice, but swelling and range of motion were not affected.
Ice was no more effective than rehab in reducing swelling, pain, and range of motion.
Ice and compression were better than ice alone at pain reduction.
Of eight studies that compared the two, there was little difference between ice and compression and compression alone.

Read more (the whole article is well worth the read): http://www.marksdailyapple.com/should-we-ice-injuries/#ixzz3HU7npJ23


Pre-WOD Mobililty
Couch stretch, 2 minutes per leg
Roll out calves with black PVCs, 2 minutes per leg
Hold bottom of squat position for two minutes before standing up


WoD for time (scale as needed):

1 mile run (2k row)
150 Wall balls (20#/14#)
1 mile run (2k row)


Couch Stretch, two minutes each leg

Lihue WOD: Tuesday, 10/28/2014


The GHD sit-up is both famous, and infamous for its' ability to wreak havoc on a persons body, not just during a workout, but many days after. I highly recommend modifying workouts with GHD sit-ups until you have have had some consistent exposure to them. The eccentric loading that occurs, plus the shear forces on both the back and knee that can occur if done incorrectly make this a high risk/high reward movement. So, bearing that in mind, here are some principles regarding the GHD sit-up.

1.) Do not hyperextend the spine. The fad is to go "full range" of motion on the GHD sit-up. That is, touching the ground behind you with your hands. However if your back hyper-extends, you risk serious injury to your lower back. The muscles that you use to pull yourself back up from a GHD sit-up also pull on your lower back. Bad back position + torque on back = high risk for injury. For our purposes, going to parallel on the ghd sit-up is just fine.

2.) The GHD sit-up is initiated with a contraction of the legs. As you lean back, your knees should be bent. When you start to sit up, the first thing you do is straighten your legs. This activates your hip-flexors (your illiacus, psoas, rectus femoris and sartorious). This adds to the speed and intensity of the sit-up, and is a good thing. However, if you are new to the GHD sit-up think smooth, not fast. Make the motion right, and then we can add intensity.

3.) Make every effort to sit as straight as possible at the top of the sit-up. Use that moment when you've sat back up to re-bend the knees and straighten your back. Remember smooth, not fast. Keep your body organized.

4.) GHD Sit-ups have led to rhabdo. What's rhabdo? For one, a amazingly rare medical affliction that has been associated with CrossFit thanks to a few cases. For two,it is a condition that can happen with the GHD sit-up if you are not careful. So beware. If you are new to CrossFit, if you are new to GHD sit-ups, if you are back doing CrossFit after a sizeable break, take heed. Better to scale too much than not enough.

Strength/Technique Work: 

Pull-up negatives

If the first two go well, you may add some weight to your negative.


As many reps as possible in three minutes of:
Rest two minutes.

As many reps as possible in three minutes of:
Rest two minutes

As many meters as possible in three minutes of:
Handstand walking - sub handstand hold (trying to lift hands)
Rest two minutes

As many reps as possible in three minutes of:
GHD Sit-ups

Lihue WOD: Monday, 10/27/2014


5 PM today we will have a jump rope clinic by 2 previous jump rope national champions. Learn the secret to jumping fast, double unders, triple unders and maybe some tricks. Anyone invited...no cost.

A 12-Step Guide to a Flawless Power Clean

by Greg Everett

The power clean often spreads like a game of Telephone around gyms and garages—the further it moves from the original source, the less it resembles a worthwhile movement and instead becomes a way to get thoroughly jacked up through crappy instruction and even crappier execution.

The power clean, if performed correctly, will provide a unique stimulus for improving hip and knee explosiveness, which will translate to more strength and more muscle. And in my opinion, it can absolutely be learned without a coach.

But like any skilled movement, the power clean will not be mastered quickly. No matter how well you learn, you will never be completely finished. That’s why your goal shouldn’t be immediate mastery, but relatively quick development of safe and effective technique so you can put it to work in your training program.

Step 1 — Grip the bar with your hands about a fist-width outside your shoulders—your hands should not be in contact with your shoulders at all in the top position. From here, relax your grip, lift your elbows, push your shoulders forward and slightly up, and let the bar roll onto your fingers and into the space between your deltoids and your throat. (If this space doesn’t exist, you’re either not pushing your shoulders forward and up, or you need to work on your scapular mobility.)

Step 2 — Standing tall with the bar at arms’ length in front of you, pull your elbows as high as possible, directing them to the sides as they rise. This will bring the bar to about lower chest level. Don’t lean forward over the bar, and don’t try to lift it—lift your elbows instead.

Step 3 — From this scarecrow position, pull your elbows back and whip them around the bar into the receiving position you practiced earlier. Imagine the barbell as the pivot point for your elbows and make sure it stays right up against your body. As your elbows come around, the bar will rise to your shoulders, and you can relax your grip and let it settle into the proper receiving position.

Find all twelve 12 steps here... http://www.fitforduty.org/?tag=greg-everett

Strength/Technique Work: 

The Power Clean


As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of..

15 Power Cleans (95#/65#)
30 Double Unders