Why Tempo??

Today we get to play around with some tempo squats. Might be seeing more variations like this as the weeks go on. Gym’s/coaches go through times where they use tempo regularly and then not so much. All of it has to do with adaptation and the stimulus the coach wants. You also have control over load, volume, time under tension, etc using the tempo method. Don’t know what the tempo method is or why we’d ever use it? Read below!

What is Tempo?

Tempo is the speed of contraction during each phase of the lift allowing you to lower and lift the weights under full control and optimal efficiency for development and progression. This formula was first popularized by a strength coach out of Australia, Ian King and then largely used by a guy you might know, Charles Poliquin.

Before diving in to the basic principles of “TEMPO” lets define some commonly used terms used in describing muscle action during resistance training. These terms will help you better understand how tempo works.

First of all, muscles can only lengthen and shorten by pulling the the bones and joints to move the body as directed from the brain. This lengthening and shortening of the muscles are further defined as eccentric and concentric muscle action when combined with resistance training.

Eccentric Action – Is the lengthening action of a group of muscles. When a weight is being lowered in a controlled manner, the muscles involved are normally lengthening in a controlled manner. Example- The flexors of the arm (biceps) lengthening as your lowering yourself down from a strict chin up or extend your arm in a Dumbbell bicep curl exercise.

Concentric Action- Is the Shortening action of a group of muscles. When a weight is being lifted the muscles involved normally are shortening. Example- The flexors of the arm shorten to assist bringing your chin over the bar.

Why use tempo?

#1- Upgrades training prescription
When writing workouts, one of the first components to prescribing a proper training stimulus based off the athletes goals is rep ranges. The importance of tempo added to the prescription will ensure the athletes are getting the aimed training effect. Lets say two women were to perform 10 repetitions of back squats. One lifts slow and controlled, down in a count of 5 and up in a count of 3 and the other cranks it out as if she was on the dance floor “dropin’ it like its hot”! Wouldn’t you agree that even though they are doing the same number of reps for the same exercise that they would both be getting a different training effect? Yes it would! The speed of the movement is effecting other variables! One way of controlling more pieces of the training prescribed is to implement tempo to the exercise.

#2- Improves Strength Gains
Tempo allows for an improved training stimulus that enhances strength and movement efficiency. Subtle changes in lifting speed can have profound results for athletes who are looking to enhance their lean muscle mass, increase strength and performance. This occurs when the lifter increases intramuscular contraction by working the eccentric phase of the exercise longer. The slow eccentric phase recruits higher motor threshold units that triggers useful strength gains. For example; lowering the bar to your chest slower in the Bench Press and then lifting it as fast as possible has proven to increase strength by recruiting higher motor units. Triggering Higher motor units allows for the development of useful strength and fiber type adaptations.

#3 – Safe and Corrective for Specific Weaknesses in an exercise
Prescribing tempo to a exercise allows the coach to help the athlete focus on a specific phase of the lift. For example; we might prescribe a tempo that has the athlete pause at the bottom of a Back Squat to improve their strength/efficiency at the bottom, so they can hold better position and overcome any plateaus with their squat. Slowing movement down for is also fantastic for beginners because allows for a safer progression when learning new motor patterns via exercises.

When NOT to use Tempo
You should not “tempo” movements that are highly Central Nervous System (CNS) driven. If the training response is to train the CNS to recruit max number of motor units the movement should not have a tempo prescribed to it. For example , the Power Clean. Tempo prescription should also be avoided for dynamic movements that function off of momentum driven components….such as; the kipping pull up, muscle ups, kipping hspu, ctb pull ups, re-bounding box jumps, burpees etc.

TUESDAY 6.25.19

Front squat
*:05 pause in bottom each rep

2 rounds for time:
30 Back Squat 135/95
30 Pullups
*13 Min Cap

The Overhead Lifts

This is some old-school writing but still is good to look back on, and heck might learn something new. Reading this whole article might only take about 5-10 min so it’s worth it, especially if you know you struggle in these movements!

The Overhead Lifts by Greg Glassman

Learning the progression of lifts that moves from the shoulder press to the push press to the push jerk has long been a staple of the CrossFit regimen. This progression offers the opportunity to acquire some essential motor recruitment patterns found in sport and life (functionality) while greatly improving strength in the “power zone” and upper body. In terms of power zone and functional recruitment patterns, the push press and push jerk have no peer among the other presses like the “king” of upper body lifts, the bench press.

As the athlete moves from shoulder press to push press to push jerk, the importance of core-to-extremity muscle recruitment is learned and reinforced. This concept alone would justify the practice and training of these lifts. Core-to-extremity muscular recruitment is foundational to the effective and efficient performance of athletic movement. The most common errors in punching, jumping, throwing and a multitude of other athletic movements typically express themselves as a violation of this concept.

Because good athletic movement begins at the core and radiates to the extremities, core strength is absolutely essential to athletic success. The region of the body from which these movements emanate, the core, is often referred to as the “power zone.” The muscle groups comprising the “power zone” include the hip flexors, hip extensors (glutes and hams), spinal erectors and quadriceps. These lifts are enormous aids to developing the power zone.

Additionally, the advanced elements of the progression, the push press and jerk, train for and develop power and speed. Power and speed are “king” in sport performance. Coupling force with velocity is the very essence of power and speed. Some of our favorite and most developmental lifts lack this quality. The push press and jerk are performed explosively—that is the hallmark of speed and power training.

Finally, mastering this progression gives an ideal opportunity to detect and eliminate a postural/mechanical fault that plagues more athletes than not—the pelvis “chasing” the leg during hip flexion. This fault needs to be searched out and destroyed. The push press performed under great stress is the perfect tool to conjure up this performance wrecker so it can be eliminated.


The Shoulder Press

a. Set-up: Take bar from supports or clean to racked position. The bar sits on the shoulders with the grip slightly wider than shoulder width. The elbows are below and in front of bar. Stance is approximately shoulder width. Head is tilted slightly back, allowing bar to pass.

b. Press: Press the bar to a position directly overhead.


The Push Press

a. Set-up: The set-up is the same as the shoulder press.

b. Dip: Initiate the dip by bending the hips and knees while keeping the torso upright. The dip will be between 1/5 and 1/4 of a squat in depth.

c. Drive: With no pause at the bottom of the dip, the hips and legs are forcefully extended.

d. Press: As the hips and legs complete extension, the shoulders and arms forcefully press the bar overhead until the arms are fully extended.

Read the full article here

MONDAY 6.24.19

Push press

7 Toes to Bar
7 Burpee
7 Push Press 115/75
*RX+ 135/95



Maybe if you’re lucky you get to play around with this benchmark today. It’s a retest from awhile ago but it’s still a great test. How well are you at gymnastics? Especially high volume? And the real question here can you beat Chris Spealler’s time from 2009??

FRIDAY 6.21.19

For time:
100 Pullups
100 Pushups
100 Abmat Sit Ups
100 Air Squats
*30 Min Cap
**1/16/19 Retest

Coaches Choice

Podcast Thursday!

It’s Thursday and time for a new podcast. Talking about all the changes to CrossFit. If you have been living under a rock then maybe you don’t know what’s going on, well this podcast should keep you up to date. These are just the ones that have happened recently, who knows how many more changes are to come!?

THURSDAY 6.20.19

5 sets:
2 Turkish Get Up (each arm)
4-5 Tire Flips

Calorie Row
Burpee Box Jump 24/20
Kettlebell Swing 70/53
*15 Min Cap

Strict Handstand Pushups

The video below has some tips on your strict handstand pushup if you plan on trying them out today. Most of you probably have heard these cues a time or two but hearing it from someone else or said a different way can always be helpful. Listen and try some of these tips out today and see if they help you today!


Gymnastic strength
3 sets:
10-8-6-4-2 T2b
5-4-3-2-1 Strict Handstand Pushups (def. if possible)

3 rounds for time:
100m Run
10 Hang Power Clean 115/75
10 Shoulder to OH
100m Run
*Rest 1:00 btwn rounds. Score is total time including rest
**RX+ 135/95

Set up

I’m sure you’ve heard coaches talk about the set up position, whether it be the deadlift, clean, snatch, you name it. There’s a reason for it. #1 is it’s important. You can actually pull, press, squat, clean, etc more weight if you have a proper set up position that allows you to get into a great position for heavy weights.

Obviously this has to do with how you position not only your body, but your feet, hands, how you breathe and all that.

Another reason isn’t important is not only can you lift more weight, you can also do safely. So many people have little tweaks here and there, sometimes they forget to take the extra couple of seconds to get setup before they do the movement.

This seems simple enough when you’re just doing a heavy deadlift or squat, but when you mix in breathing hard, which is what we tend to do in crossfit, then it makes it even more difficult to get into proper positions.

The video below is a great explanation and great information on what we want to see. Granted the sole purpose of for the deadlift since we’re doing that today, but you can apply this to every lift, and learning how to breathe and brace properly will make it safer and probably how with those heavier weights as well.

TUESDAY 6.18.19


5 rounds for time:
10 Deadlift 225/155
40 Double Unders
*12 Min Cap

Rack It Right

Plenty of people out there tend to struggle with the front rack position. Not so much females as the men. Could be men are just naturally tighter or could also have to do with your job as well. More sitting in a bent over position never equals good positions when you need mobility.

Most people might work on it every now and then but some don’t even know what to work on? Many factors play a role in the front rack. Is it the shoulder, wrists, lats, t spine? Who’s to know??

Well the article below might be able to help you figure out and self diagnose it so you aren’t just playing a guessing game!

Rack it Right by Zachary Long

Front-rack positioning can make or break the CrossFit athlete.

Poor flexibility in the front rack is one of the most frequent complaints in the gym, and without good positioning an athlete’s ability to properly perform the front squat, clean, overhead press and jerk can be significantly affected.

The front-rack position is a combination of several motions: shoulder flexion and external rotation, elbow flexion and pronation, wrist extension, and thoracic-spine extension. As with any movement or positioning fault, a better understanding of the various components will allow the athlete or coach to more effectively correct underlying problems.

Points of Performance

A proper front-rack position has several key elements. First, the athlete should be able to have a full grip on the barbell, meaning each finger is securely wrapped around the entire bar. During the front squat and clean, a loose fingertip grip will sufficiently stabilize the bar in the rack position, but when the barbell must be redirected overhead during presses, jerks and thrusters, a full grip is generally needed, though some will jerk from the fingertips.

For those with insufficient mobility to fully grasp the barbell in the front rack, the first few fingers will be securely wrapped but the ring and pinky fingers will often lose their grasp.

ALT TEXTA fingertip grip will work for cleans and squats but is not ideal for pressing.

The elbows should be high in the standing position. While there is no exact angle or landmark to measure, the general rule is for the upper arm to approach parallel to the ground, with parallel ideal, as noted in the “CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide.” The hands grasp the barbell just outside the shoulders, with the spine remaining in an upright, neutral position.

(Editor’s note: Different coaches will recommend different approaches. For instance, Chad Vaughn recommends setting up for the jerk with the bar on the fingertips and the elbows high, while Mike Burgener generally prefers more of the hands on the bar and lower elbows. Similarly, some athletes will drop the elbows slightly in a thruster in preparation to drive the bar overhead. Coaches and athletes should select the techniques that work best for each movement and best accommodate proportions and flexibility. Greater flexibility offers more options.)

When all these elements are present, the barbell can comfortably rest on the “rack” of the shoulders; that is, on the upper deltoids and partially on the clavicle bone but not pressing into the throat and obstructing the athlete’s airway. It should be noted that the farther back the barbell is placed, the shorter the moment arm between the hips and the bar, which is why some coaches use the exaggerated cue “choke yourself with the bar.”

For maximum transferability, this front-rack position with a solid grasp of the barbell and elbows raised should be maintained through any lift that utilizes the front rack. Many lifters will receive a clean with a fingertip grip and reset for the jerk, but consider the challenges of completing a squat-clean thruster with two or more fingers off the bar.

Many athletes who demonstrate a proper front-rack position while standing will drop their elbows in the bottom of the front squat or clean. If the elbows remain raised, the shoulder mobility demands on the front rack increase as the athlete descends.

In situations such as this, it becomes important to determine the source of the limitation. Often, you can tell the athlete to “keep the elbows high” or use a tactile cue at the elbows to remind the athlete of the proper position. If the resulting positions are improved, the athlete simply needs to learn the proper pattern.

When appropriate cues do not fix the front rack (or the front rack was incorrect from the start), further investigation is needed to determine the exact limitation.

Limitations throughout the entire body can alter an athlete’s ability to maintain proper front-rack positioning. For example, limited ankle or hip mobility can alter the mechanics of the body enough to increase strain at joints as far up the kinetic chain as the wrist.

The remainder of this article will focus on the upper-body components of the front rack, but we suggest reading the CrossFit Journal article “Dissecting the Squat” to understand the lower-body movement and mobility demands of the squat pattern.

Front-Rack Breakouts

Flexibility limitations to the front rack should be analyzed independently to best isolate the physical limitation. The process should be as follows:

When breaking out mobility limitations specific to the front rack, we will start at the wrist. The athlete begins with his or her palm and fingers flat on the ground and then shifts his or her weight forward to push the forearm to vertical. If the athlete is able to obtain a vertical forearm position relative to the ground without the hand’s rising, then wrist mobility can be considered normal and mobility testing down the kinetic chain should be performed. If this position cannot be reached, wrist mobility should be addressed as discussed later.

Read the full article here


MONDAY 6.17.19

Front squat

For time:
25-20-15-10-5 Wallball 20/14
5-4-3-2-1 Muscle Up
*12 MIn Cap

Cycling Snatch

The video below has some pretty good tips as far as how to cycle a bit better if you plan on hitting this one today. Hopefully you’ve heard some of these cues or tips from your coaches, but it’s always good for a refresher.

Generally on a workout like today, where the weight is on the lighter side, this is where people struggle is cycling the barbell. Especially when the reps get high, saving energy by cycling more efficient = a faster time, who would’ve thought?? So take a watch and try to perfect what they are saying.

For most people then keep the bar close until it gets below the knee, then it tends to drift away from the shins instead of staying close to the body the entire time, something to think about for today!

FRIDAY 6.14.19

Gymnastic Strength
5 sets:
Max Strict Pullups
*25′ HS walk after each set

5 rounds for time:
15 Power Snatch 75/55
15 Box Jump 24/20
*15 Min Cap

Coaches Choice!

Vlog Thursday!

Is it Friday yet??

If you have some time, enjoy a good video all about fitness. Buttery Bro’s are at it again, going to big event after big event and keeping us all updated on what’s going on. Enjoy!

THURSDAY 6.13.19

For time:
300-400-500m Row
50-50-50 Double Unders
30-20-10 Russian Kettlebell Swings 70/53
*13 Min Cap

100 Banded Good Morning
3:00 Ring Support

Clean and jerk time


Today we get to hit some heavy weights again, hopefully you’re not too sore from Monday that we can hit some solid weights today! Hopefully you know where your max numbers are so you can try and match or PR today. We also tend to work technique on these kind of movements. Hopefully the focus has been working on moving better in these areas.

If you are at a stand still with your numbers in a movement like this, chances are it’s how you move. Probably can work on moving better with this movement, whether it’s the pull, or the catch in the clean, or the jerk dip or the jerk catch, whatever the case may be. If you don’t believe me, film yourself. Then ask yourself if you’re proud of how you moved? Would you want to display it to your friends and family?? If not then you need to move better, and that comes with time, but a desire to actually improve, which may mean lowering the weight for a extended period of time and just work on the basics of the lift.

Along with moving well in this movement, the goal like always is to drop underneath the barbell as it becomes heavier, easier said than done. The video below displays in slow mo how we would like to be getting underneath the bar. Notice he still hits full hip extension or “jumps” the bar fully before worrying about getting underneath the bar. Especially when it comes to the jerk since that’s where most people tend to struggle with this. Watch it 10 times, engrave the video into your brain for tomorrow! Can fast forward to about 1:55 to see the slow mo


Clean and Jerk
20 minutes to find a 1 rep max

5 Box Jump 30/24
3 Power Clean 205/135
*RX+ 225/145