Tonnie, SDHP.

Ah, the Sumo Deadlift High Pull. Not exactly the most popular movement in the CrossFit repertoire. I rarely have people asking me to include it in the day’s WOD. OK, I have never had anyone ask specifically to do the SDHP. It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, it scrapes up the shins, and, even though it is one of the 9 Foundational Movements of CrossFit, it just doesn’t seem all that important. It’s kind of like it’s the red headed stepchild of exercises. I mean really, alongside heavyweights like the pullup or clean or push press, the SDHP seems kind of awkward and useless. But, folks, it isn’t. The SDHP is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do. Let’s look at it a little more closely.

Firstly (and in no particular order), the SDHP builds strength where you really need it–the posterior chain. You know, those muscles you can’t see without a mirror, but are really sore after shoveling snow or gravel, splitting firewood, or carrying around a tired kid after a day at Disneyland. Basically every muscle at the backside of your body, calves to top ‘o the traps. The muscles primarily responsible for a squat or clean or snatch or deadlift. Get the picture?

Secondly, the SDHP ingrains a couple of CrossFit’s key axioms, such as that of smooth transference of power from the core to extremities, also known as the core to extremity rule. The order of movement in the SDHP is very pronounced with larger motor units and thus larger muscles leading to smaller motor units and smaller muscles. Legs, back, toes/traps, and then, and only then, arms. This pattern is also seen in all the Olympic lifts, rowing, and the kipping pullup.

Thirdly, the SDHP targets a very hard to hit group of muscles. I am talking about those of the inner thigh, hamstring, and groin. The ones women are always talking about toning. The ones supposedly targeted by those incredibly goofy adductor/abductor machines. The ones that are usually surprisingly sore after doing the Sumo Deadlift High Pull. So what, huh? Well, those muscles are really called upon in such basic strength movements as the back squat, front squat, and deadlift. Whenever your coach yells at you to push the knees out, or spread the floor, or even just turn the toes out slightly, he or she is talking about those muscles.

Fourthly, there are athletes whose glutes don’t fire properly. On squats and deads, and thus cleans, snatches, and thrusters, these folks’ bodies use the back and hamstrings to do the heavy lifting. This is not desirable. The SDHP (another is the lunge) has a way of really forcing the glutes to fire.

And lastly (for our argument at least), the SDHP is a great assistance movement for the clean. And I know you want a bigger clean.

So, don’t be scared to go a little more frequently and a little heavier on the Sumo Deadlift High Pull. Give it the respect it deserves.

Congratulations to Jocelyn on her blistering Grace today. 2:06! Next step is sub 2. I promise to video and post it.

Kyle H also tackled Grace today. He did 29 reps in 2:27, but could not get the 30th rep. He was dun fer. He just could not get that last rep overhead no matter how much I channeled my inner Vince Lombardi. And I was channeling, believe me. He is going to hit Grace again in two weeks and I will get video of it as well.

Great work, guys. I am proud to be your coach.


1000m Row

50 Double Unders

500m Row

30 Double Unders

250m Row

20 Double Unders

Can you go sub 10? Firebreathers, feel free to insert a 750m row and 40 double unders after the first couplet.

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