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Front Squat | WOD 6.29.16

Front Squat

3 x 5 Linear Progression

Add 5-10 lbs to last week's weight. 

3 x 6

Sixes again next week.

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Exposure 3 of 8

5 Rounds for Time:
200m Dumbbell/Kettlebell Carry (as heavy as possible)
20 Burpees

Choose a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell and carry it goblet style 100m out and 100m back. It should be challenging but not so heavy that you need to rest more than twice per trip.

Post time and Rx to comments.

Coach Lady Fox and Beignet C., the smallest (and arguably most adorable) CFSBKer. More cute photos by Thomas H. can be found here

The CFSBK Guide to Cues: Knees Out

By David Osorio

Knees out! Chest up! Flat back! The verbal cue is one of the most important tools in a CrossFit coach's repertoire. You likely have some sense of what these commands mean, but in this new blog feature, we'd like to take a look at some common cues. From time to time, we'll be offering these short guides to explain what these mean and why they're important. First up is one we've probably all heard: knees out!

When might you hear it in class, and what does it mean?

You’ll usually hear it during some sort of squatting activity, but it can apply to any movement that requires you to bend your knees (e.g., the take-off in a Box Jump or the Olympic lifts). The intention is to keep your knee over your midfoot by shoving your knees out, rather than letting them cave in. In the photos below, note how Lauren's knee is aligned over her midfoot (left) rather than drifting inward (right).

Why is it important?

When you align your knee over the middle of your foot and maintain that position throughout the movement, you are aligning the muscles of your leg to most effectively produce force, as well as minimizing soft tissue stress. Put simply, if your knees are over the middle of your feet during a Back Squat, you'll be moving the weight upwards in a straight line. If your knees cave in or splay out, the force you exert won't be used efficiently to move the weight back up. Instead, it will be absorbed by your soft tissue in a counterproductive way. Pushing your knees out reduces wear and tear on your joints, and who doesn't want that?

What can I do to fix it?

As far as Squats and the Olympic lifts are concerned, the first and easiest thing you can do is buy weightlifting shoes. An elevated heel allows you to maintain more dorsiflexion of your foot, which is especially useful if you have tight ankles. Lifting shoes provide a stable platform on which you can more effectively engage your feet and give you a better tacticle sense of what your feet are doing, creating a better connection to the floor.

Second, simply being aware of the issue and mentally cueing yourself will go a long way. Many newer CrossFitters simply lack this awareness and aren't quite sure how to fire some external rotators or activate their glutes. If you're an experienced CrossFitter and your knees tend to cave in at heavier weights, be your own manager and take some weight off the bar if you can't maintain good positions. In any case, make sure your set up is correct: your stance is the right width (for you), your feet are active and creating external rotation, and your belly is braced.

Finally, if you're struggling with keeping your knees out because of mobility issues or muscle weakness, don't hesitate to ask a coach to watch you Squat and suggest some accessory work. One possibility is the Banded Squat, which will "feed the weakness" and reinforce better positioning.

What cues would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments!

Yesterday's Whiteboard: Rest Day
Lifts vs. Assistance Exercises Starting Strength
What To Do When a Wild Animal Attacks New York Times

Reader Comments (16)

Oh my god, I cannot deal with this puppy cuteness. I think my brain just exploded.

Thanks for the reminder that knees out is for box jumps, too. I didn't even realize I was caving in until Nick pointed it out a couple of weeks ago.

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterStella

6am with Nick and McD

Front Squat: Did 225# x 3 x 6. The last set was fast so I'll likely go up 10 - 15# next week.

Metcon: 20:31 for the 5 rounds. I used 4 different weights since Nick yelled at me. :) 50# / 80# / 88# / 88# / 80#. Burpees were fast and unbroken.

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael A.

7 am:

Front squat: #95x3x6. Felt a little iffy low-back wise on the first set but the next couple felt fine. Can definitely add some weight next week.

Then WOD in 20-something with the kettlebell with the white tape. I forgot to check how much weight that was. Alll the burpees! I like all of these farmer carries.

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

7AM w/NickDowell

FS 140x3x5. Really working on the mechanics of sitting back and driving through my heels while also proactively staying upright and pushing up with my shoulders. Each set felt progressively better.

WOD w/green kettlebell in 24:15 I think. Played around with most effective burpee counting strategy. First round counted up, second counted down, third in 4 sets of 5, fourth counting in 5s up to 100, fifth in Chinese. Needed SOMETHING to keep me going after a terrible nights sleep and grumbly stomach. Farmers walk got painful but at least it wasn't burpees.

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Front Squat 120 6X3. Low enough, but not @ss to the grass. Maybe I should stay here and really try to sink my butt to my heels next week.

WOD: 21:45 First and last round with 20kg (white) bell, 35# db for middle three rounds.

Accessory work:

3 round EMOM of ring pull-ups, snatch balance @68#, 5 TTB on the gibson thing, 5 front squat 68# 3s. down-2s. pause-X, a MU transition with some rock throughs.

3 rounds: 25 hollow rocks, 25 arch rocks, 25 double unders

Stretching. Goal for this summer is a muscle-up!!! Strict or kipping, I don't care!

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAllie B.

Oh and as for cues: I'm always told "drop under the bar" with both cleans and snatches and I've heard "finish the pull" a few times--> but I still haven't figured these cues out. Myabe slow mo video or pics would be helpful :)

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAllie B.

7am with Nick & McDowell
FS 95- 3x6
Heavy enough but all good form, low. Stayed controlled and made sure I set up for each one.
Didn't know the WOD was for time but I probably wouldn't have shaved too much off. 25, 25, 30x3. 26 mins?

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShawn Campbell

10 AM with Jeremy

FSQ: 195x6x3

WOD with 24kg bell. Finished in 23:28.

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

OG this morning, and I was super accident-prone today!

5 x C2B (singles)
3 x HSPU (one abmat)

I can do HSPU's again! So happy! Managed to kick a ring full force with my heel and have a huge bruise!

Front Squat
45 x 10, 95 x 5, 135 x 3, 155 x 2, 170 x 8 x 3

Missed the right hand side while re-racking the bar. Jumped out of the way so didn't hurt myself. That's one of my worst fears at the gym!

Pull, power clean, clean, jerk
83, 93 x 8

Worked on jump and shrug and fast elbows. Need to keep the bar closer. Jerks were a million times better today.

63 (every 30 seconds for 10 total reps)

Felt pretty good today! Jump and shrug was working for me here too... Perhaps a good cue for today's blog question?

Deadlifts @205#
Box jumps @24"


Umm I knew a third thing was going to happen! On my very last rep I jumped on the (soft) box and the top one flew off and I did a sort of back flip and somehow landed safely without actually hurting myself.

Pull-ups +25#

Survived unscathed!!

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

<-- I saw this. It was the most graceful box jump backflip ever.

Also knees out when running! Knees collapsing inward while running is bad bad news. (Talk about wear and tear.) Knees out always in all things.

Whit gave me the cue for knees out on box jumps one day, when it was totally something I didn't realize at all was a thing outside of squats or that it was a thing I was doing. Mind.blown. I notice it a lot more in other movements now and it's been really helpful.

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

I'm telling Rupert!

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterScott

How did you go unscathed being accident prone today when I have a nasty bruise on my hand just from farmer carrying a dumbbell?

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

Fun 6:30 class today --

Ran 6+5.5mi yesterday so wasn't sure how my legs would hold up... but everything felt fine!

Front squats 245x5x3. Felt heavy but certainly doable, will go up 5# next week.

I should know better but I did think: "the WOD doesn't look so bad" when I saw it yesterday. WHOOPS, turns out burpees were the "rest" in this. I did them all at a pretty good pace and finished in 24:58 -- 32kg got extremely "grippy" in rounds 4 & 5. I guess I could have tried walking faster but that seemed like... not the point? Maybe it was though? Doesn't really matter, this was a solid workout regardless. I've got plenty of HIIT on tap tomorrow so no regrets!

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterdave p

20 mins mobilizing

Turkish get-ups
60# - right side good, left side failed
65# - right side good, left side failed
75# - not happening today either side

Katie helped me warm up and test a 400m run.
She ran ahead of me and yelled all the right things at precisely the right moments. She's a pro. It was really hard. 1:18

And like that I turned a rest day into a double leaderboard day!

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLauren




7Squat cleans (135#)
7 Burpees over the bar
7 CTB pullups


June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

FSQT: 120x6x3 Moved well. Missed last week so maybe too conservative today.

WOD in 25:02 or :03 with 20kg KB

Took one break each trip with the exception of one trip with no breaks. Limiter was my lower back and not my grip. Took a little extra time because my farmer carries were on the other side of the street and I did not jog back across the street to do my burpees. Burpees were steady.

Congrats, Lauren!

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKLove

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