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This is a repost from Spencer Arnold, originally posted at

Here’s my thoughts and tips for this weeks work out:

Do not rush the handstand push-ups. Seriously, watch how Panchik was controlled and intentional with every single rep. It looked as if he was going to be moving too slow at the front end of the workout to keep up with Bridges. However, because of his specificity and intentionality, he avoided some no reps that would eventually stop Josh Bridges in its tracks. Be intentional with every single rep, make sure that every single rep is a good rep, and be careful that speed is not number one priority on this movement.

Kip and break the HSPU. This is obviously a no-brainer. Kip them from the beginning for a lot of different reasons. One is clearly the fatigue that a strict HSPU causes.  Secondly, the explosive kip from the floor helps extend your hips, knees, ankles and shoulders allowing you to reach the line a little quicker and a little better each rep. Obviously break them up earlier than you think. I’m not saying break up the set of three or even the set of six. You need to decide at what point you need to break these reps up and remember that you likely need to break them up sooner than you might think. Failure on the HSPU is a workout ender. Rep speed is not your primary thought on this movement, it makes sense to break them anyways. For more information on the mechanics and proper technique for a handstand push-up take a look at our movement blog from tonight.

Use an Abmat.  If you watch the standard video for the handstand push-up it notes that you can use an ab mat and plates. If you do not have a gymnastics mat or some other protective cushion I would definitely do this. Your neck and spine will thank you. Even if you do have a gymnastics mat or other mat underneath you, I would still suggest the use of abmats and plates. You want your hands to be driving into a solid surface in the same way that you want your feet pushing into a hard surface when you squat. Pushing into a mat is going to require you to use more energy for a good rep to be completed. My suggestion is use the ab mat and plates so you waste no energy pushing to lock out. Also, it’s safer for your body in general.

Wear lifting shoes. Another no-brainer. The lifting shoes will slide on the wall for the handstand push-ups and also they will be a huge factor in application of power in the clean. Again, not something you didn’t already know.

Maintain mechanics on touc- and-go reps for the cleans. Obviously, the weight is not obnoxiously heavy on the clean so as a result you should plan on doing some touch and go reps. If this weight is near or more than 80% of your max, then I would consider doing singles. If you’re going to do singles make sure you use weights that aren’t Hi Temp or especially bouncy. You want weights that die on the floor every time you drop them. There’s no necessity for chasing weights around the gym. If you’re going touch and go I have a few simple pieces of advice. Make sure that you are over the bar with vertical shins as you return to the floor from the top of the knee. That proper position, otherwise known as the hang position, is going to create tension and ultimately energy that you want to use as you tap the bar on the ground. Using that tension and stretch shortening cycle from your hamstrings on the eccentric portion of the movement will allow for the return back to the top of the clean to be a lot less work and a lot more shortening of muscle tension. Remember some keys to a good hang position are knees back, shoulders over the bar, and tight hamstrings.

Make sure you have a good judge. This is extremely important for this work out because that judge is going to keep you on track with how many reps need to be completed at each movement. With the rep scheme being a little less traditional it’s really important that your judge remind you of how many reps need to be completed at each station. Having a smart judge who can keep up with those reps is going to be important to keep you from wasting energy and doing more reps that are needed.

Go do work today and over the weekend– be controlled, push hard, leave it all on the floor. Good luck!

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Michelle Pennie

I was lucky to find Mike, Chris and Tanya at Real Fitness Sarasota during a rough point in my career. I needed an outlet after many stressful days and looked forward to my daily WOD (workout of the day) at 5pm. I knew if I could get through my day, then I could get through Read More »


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I have been working out at conventional gyms most of my life from bigbox/big name gyms to small individualized gyms and everything in between. The common link with all of them was the “this is the way we’ve always done it” attitude: cardio mixed with free weights and machine training; upper body one day… Read More »

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