Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CrossFit Community Week - CrossFit MPH

Today I had the pleasure of meeting three great coaches down at CrossFit MPH in the Logan Circle area of NW DC.  Owner John Main and coaches Melody Feldman and Rebekka Ellman all welcomed me with great enthusiasm, and before he hit the floor for a great WOD, we all hung out and chatted for a while.

John found CrossFit back in 2003 and has been hooked since.  After using the CrossFit methodology for a while at your typical globo-gyms, he just found it time to branch off and do his thing.  And CrossFit MPH was born.  Located just behind the busy P street, with Whole Foods, restaurants, lululemon and a few other spots, it almost hides in what used to be a small, warehouse-lined street.  The space is small but effective, with decent ceilings, a great pull up bar set up in that back, and a small room with squat racks and rowers way in the back.  It's clean and light and very welcoming for a great workout.

What makes this box stand out though is the approach to training.  John admits to having an affiliate with a strength bias, meaning everyone will be working the main lifts (squat, front squat, OH squats, cleans, jerks, snatches etc.) on a pretty regular schedule.  But even beyond that, it is the amount of attention they give to perfecting the mechanics of the moves that really caught my eye.  They openly admit to the fact that they take this portion of training extremely seriously and that it may not be for everyone.  An example of how good they are with this: we worked 3 rep power snatches to start.  I was able to drive up 155# pretty easily but kept splaying open with my feet.  John made me strip off a little weight to make sure I could fix this problem, full well knowing that if I continued to splay the feet as I got heavier with the lift, I would wasting energy, moving inefficiently and ultimately, would be holding myself back.  I love this!  When it comes to moves that are so technical, I totally agree with them that more attention needs to be payed.  And when we went to our metcon, I was fully aware of any out of whack movement on the snatches.  I immediately became a slightly better lifter.  Another point to make on their professionalism and seriousness is that they asked me not to video tape the workout.  They said there would be a few clients in and they would rather not run any risks.  I signed a waiver and they even read the thing to me before I signed.  While some might see all that as overkill, I respect the hell out of them for understanding how they want to run their business, and actually running it to a T.  Very impressive.

Two others joined in along with myself and Mel (Melody that is), both trainers and CrossFitters.  We got a quick but effective warm ups in, including 2 rounds of 15 reps each of: PVC pass through's, overhead squats and push ups.  The proceeded to go through the Burgener progression for snatches with both the PVC and the bar.  This included the dip to shrug, the dip/shrug to elbows up position, then the entire power snatch.  Quick and very effective to train the proper mechanics of this movement,

Our workout was: 5 rounds of 3 power snatches.  I felt pretty comfortable, and with the help of all three coaches, was able to begin keeping my feet closer and also was able to learn that I pulled to early, not relying on my legs and hips enough to pull the weight.  
The metcon was: 4 rounds for time of: 
3 x power snatch (135#)
6 x overhead squat (135#)
15 x sit ups to jumps

Talk about a quad killer!  I finished in 9 minutes flat, next came Dave at 9:32, Mel at 9:44, and Evan at 12:54.  It was a good one, very tiring and just destroying the legs.  Everyone was pushing each other, and supporting each other and it just felt like the perfect environment to be in for a tough workout.

I really liked it there.  They were serious, but very open and welcoming, and I think that anyone looking to really get into training would have a great time.  It's not a place to go f your just looking for a fun, crazy workout, and they don't pretend to be a place that offers that.  They are professional and honest and I have so much respect for coaches, and people like that.  They are small as of now, have only been open for a less than 12 months, but already have a great member base.  And the best part, they have built a small, but intense following around them.  From what I gather, the entire group is pretty tight, they work hard and enjoy to kick back every now and again together, good atmosphere all around!

CrossFit MPH


1469 Church Street NW
Washington DC 20005

Next on the list: Capital Jiu-Jitsu in the AM, CrossFit DC in the PM!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

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