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“Welcome, to the big show.”


“Welcome, to the big show.”

In the words of Stuart Scott, “Welcome, to the big show.”

CrossFit Total
Back squat, 1 rep
Shoulder Press, 1 rep
Deadlift, 1 rep
Post total to comments.

Be sure to check-out Ryan’s rundown of the deadlift below!

It's Total Game Day! CrossFit Roots brings you live coverage of The CrossFit Total. With analysis brought to you by Ryan and Eric, predictions from Shane, and commentary from Nicole and Zac this all-star crew is sure to please!

Deadlift Review

Many of us fear the deadlift. Is it because a “fitness” magazine featured a list of exercises, deadlift being at the top, where if performed, your spine will become permanently injured and small children will weep uncontrollably? Do we fear the deadlift because putting on our socks the morning after can be an exceptionally painful experience?  Or, do we fear the deadlift because it’s just really difficult? The bottom line is that the deadlift is one of the most functional exercises that any person can do and need not be feared. Every one of us, every single day bends down and picks junk up off of the ground, the stronger we can be at this the less likely we are to get injured. Here are some tips that will help you get that big pull and a strong healthy back.

#1 Create Tension. This is one of the most important concepts I can give you. I’m not talking about how you feel when you see Fran come up on the website, but rather, the ability to brace your body and your spine against a load. I see people all the time who go from a totally slack starting position to pulling as hard as they possibly can in one nanosecond; this is disadvantageous. Ideally, tension is increased slowly enough to facilitate maintenance of position and stabilization of the spine. For example, if you have 300lbs. on the bar, get into a good starting position, start pulling up on the bar with 100lbs. of tension, then 200, 250, 300, at this point the bar will slowly start to come off of the floor and you will finish by squeezing up into a good lockout position.

#2 Hold your breath. If you are lifting with reps of five or below, this simple technique will greatly increase intra-abdominal pressure. Producing force while holding your breath is called the Valsalva maneuver, it’s like wearing a weight belt. Keep in mind, when your reps get over 5-7 this could make you dizzy and light-headed, so use your best judgment.

#3 Use an alternate grip. I like to have strong hands so I lift with a double-overhand grip when I can, but when I’m pulling a big number, an alternate grip is essential!  100% of competitive power lifters use this grip. The bottom line is that it just makes for a stronger deadlift.

#4 My last tip is also the best one. It is summed up in four words and holds true for all lifts on total day: ATTACK HEAVY WEIGHTS FEARLESSLY! You need to go to war with these weights or they will beat you. Your mindset needs to be to attack the bar and leave nothing left when you are done.  Who cares if you miss a weight as long as you have given it a true 100% effort? A fearless attack will bring missed attempts. This is fine!

The Crossfit Total is my favorite workout. I love seeing new PR’s and people lifting things they never thought possible. It is empowering and I hope everyone gets a chance to experience it. See you in the shop!

– Ryan

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14 Responses

  1. Shane

    HAHA. Wow. I just spent a good 3 minutes looking and laughing at that picture. Awesome write-up.


  2. Jasmine

    Hahaha…Nicole, how long did you work on this photo? Now we know what you do in the middle of the night instead of sleeping 😉

  3. Gator

    Hilarious! Bummed I didn’t see this first thing this morning — Nicole…you know I would have said something! This is getting framed for the wall in the new locker room. Seriously…Hilarious.

  4. Chris D

    Hey team,

    Great pic and thanks for putting this on. Your last comment , “ATTACK HEAVY WEIGHTS FEARLESSLY” rings so true as I got my ass kicked on the back squat which pissed me off!! …… which in turn helped enormously in my Press and DL.

    Thanks again


  5. I was perusing the blog since my mom trains there, and wanted to contribute a method that works well for myself and my clients at CrossFit PB.

    Think about pushing the ground AWAY from you, as opposed to pulling the bar off the ground. Literally push with great force through the heels, as if you’re trying to create a hole in the ground, and everything in the body will remain tight (holding the breath is great for singles, as Ryan noted), and as you create force against the ground, the bar will rise.

    Hope that helps!


  6. Shane

    Awesome job to everyone that gave the Total a shot today. I saw some amazing form on some really heavy lifts. Nice work.

  7. Allison


    I’ve only been gone for 2.5 weeks but I can’t wait to get back in there to get my ass kicked in September! The Leadville 100 mountain bike race last weekend was hardest thing I’ve ever done, it absolutely crushed me. But I woke up the next day feeling really great and wanting more. Kinda like every CrossFit workout I do!

    See you all in a couple weeks!

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