My job has had me scrambling for the last week or so. I’ve been getting my workouts in, but there hasn’t been much spare time to sit and write about them. Fortunately, the madness has calmed down a things are getting back into a rhythm. So I can catch my breath and catch up on past WODs

8/18 Kettlebell Fun
Turkish Get Ups – work up to heaviest single possible on both sides

I actually surprised myself with this work. I was able to do a get up with a 70# Kettlebell on both sides! I didn’t expect to be able to manage it while holding it in the left hand.

Was also surprised to get reminded that my knee while continuing to improve is not back to 100% strength. The nature of the get up where you’re very deliberately working one leg at a time made it apparent that I still have work to do. There was nothing wrong about the moves. There were just times where the knee was wobbly or felt a bit unstable as I was proceeding through the lifts.

Good reminder to work hard, have fun, but remain mindful.

After the TGU work, we did a 5 min KB Snatch Test! I was very excited for this. There were two requirements for Rx. Men were to use a 52# KB and to claim Rx, you were not allowed to put the KB down. You didn’t have to go unbroken or remain in motion for 5 minutes, but the KB could not return to the floor.

You could switch hands as often as you like and there was no ruling about keeping the count even between hands.

I was able to complete a total of 82 reps, Rx. There were times where I stood for a few seconds catching my breath and resetting my grip, so I can’t claim unbroken, but the KB never touched the floor. I was very pleased with the results.

8/19

METCON
8 minute Cap
Ascending Ladder (climbing in 3 rep increments)
Power Snatch (115 Rx/ 95 Actual)
Toes to Bar

I flirted with the idea of doing this workout with the Rx Power Snatch weight. But understanding that the intent of this METCON was to move fast and largely unbroken, I elected to scale. At 115# I would have been standing around far too much between reps.

When time ran out, I had completed 4 full rounds (so through the round of 12 reps each) plus a single snatch in the fifth set.

Based on other scores posted that day, it appeared that I chose an appropriate scale.

After the METCON we were required to complete 6 sets of 4 reps each of back squat. I did these at 185#. That’s lighter than I would have liked, but it was plenty of work. So I’ll take it and not fuss.

8/23
I’m just going to preface this one with H-O-L-Y! What a workout! I don’t remember the last time I’ve endured something like this.

For time:
40 Back Squats 155 Rx

40 Push Press 135 Rx

40 Hang Power Clean 155 Rx / 135 Actual

40 Chest to Bar Pull Ups

This work out was a prime example of how infrequently workouts go according to plan. I was most intimidated by, and most concerned with, whether or not I’d be able to complete the 40 back squats at the Rx weight.

Doug, however had no confusion. He kept telling Joe, who was also doing this Rx, to complete this work in two sets (25 and 15). It sounded completely unattainable to me. More than once before we started, Joe and I made contact and shook our heads disbelieving what Doug had said and what we were about to attempt. Yet, I managed to knock out sets of 24 and 16 to complete this section in 4:23.

I allowed myself 2+ minutes to rest, starting the Push Press at the Rx weight of 135 at the 7 minute mark. I was completely blindsided at how difficult these proved to be. I thought at most I’d need four sets of ten to get through this, but I expected to hammer it out in three. In fact, I did three reps and walked out from under the bar and groaned. They just felt totally foreign and HEAVY!

I wondered if I should shed weight. I elected to stay Rx and resumed. I think I did sets of 6 at most, frequently only sets of 4 though. I dropped the final rep at the 15:55 mark. So 8:55 to complete that work. That was unexpected. Missing the 40th rep was also unexpected and frustrating. I simply couldn’t lock it out. When I realized that I was losing the bar I shouted so loudly most of the room turned to look at me. Doug was walking by, looked at me and I just growled, “Last rep, no rep!” He chuckled knowing exactly how that feels and wandered away. Angry adrenaline can be a handy thing. Once I reset that 40th rep went up so fast it rattled at the top!

I waited until the 20 minute mark to being the hang power cleans. I did two reps at 155# and quit. After standing up the lift, I couldn’t return the Rx weight to the hang. I had to go to the floor, deadlift the bar, return to the hang and then do the second rep. I dropped 20# off the bar and was then able to cycle along in sets of 4 or so. It took 9:47 to complete this work.

I started the pull ups at the 32 minute mark. Chest to bar pull ups are hard for me on the best of days. After all the previous work, this was not the best of days or circumstances, so I went straight to chin over bar pull ups. The first rep was HORRIBLE! So much so, that I simply dropped from the bar walked away from the rig and groaned. It might have been more of a howl this time. Again, Doug was nearby and checked in, “how many was that?”

“First one,” I answered. “If they don’t loosen up quick, I’m going straight to ring rows.”

Fortunately, things improved and I was able to cycle through 3 or 4 reps at a time. But things were falling apart in a hurry. At 16 reps, Doug and I agreed, get to 20 pull ups, then go to ring rows. Ring rows were pretty easy and I knocked them out in two sets of 10. Again, the angry adrenaline helped.

I was kind of vexed that I was the last one to finish…by a long shot. I mean people were cleaning up my bar for me while I was in the final set of ring rows! I sincerely appreciate the gesture and that folks were considerate enough to do that for me. At the same time, I resented the fact that I needed the help.

It took 6:45 to finish the last segment of the workout. Total time elapsed: 38:45.

Man! What. A. Grind.

As happens from time to time, some skills and strengths just seem to evaporate. Not sure why it’s happening, but it is. This time it’s pull ups.

Segment 1:
5 Rounds, NOT for time:
5 Front Squats – you choose the weight
5 Weighted Pullups – you choose the weight
5 Weighted Ring Dips – you choose the weight

MOAR Front Squats! Oh, boy! Worked sets of 95, 125, 145 and two sets at 155. Wasn’t bad. Wasn’t great. My legs were in better shape than most at the 7:15 session as I rested yesterday. Most folks were feeling very tight from the deadlift work on Tuesday. I had no such excuse.

Pull ups were a disappointment. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that strict pull ups are a goat of mine and I’m trying to improve them. Today seemed like a perfect opportunity.

I did the first set of 5 with a 15# dumb bell between my legs. My nose was barely clearing the bar for the last 2 reps. So I went back for an 8# dumb bell. I did 3 reps in each of the next three sets and aborted the 5th set. Not really the kind of perserverence and determination that I should be striving for, but man they were just GONE! Don’t know why. Just couldn’t seem to make the muscles fire.

I was grumpy about the pull ups and therefore determined to compensate on the dips. I chose bar dips with the 8# dumb bell. My reps were VERY deep and I did all the reps and all five sets. Small compensation/consolation.

Segment 2:
2 Rounds:
20 Thrusters (95/65)
20 Pullups
20 Wall Balls (20/14)
20 Double Unders
Scale to finish in 12 minutes or less

Doug made it clear that this WOD should be fast. He instructed us to select weights/scales for exercises that would allow us to go nearly unbroken all the way through.

I intended to 95# thrusters but in warming them up realized that would be a mistake. I scaled to 75.

Given my performance on the previous work, I went straight to ring rows instead of pull ups. I knew that if I attempted pull ups, I’d spend too much time standing around glaring at the rig in frustration.

At least the wall balls and double unders were Rx. In fact, double unders were the highlight of the METCON! I ran off the first set of 20 reps unbroken! Been a LONG time since I’ve been able to say that!

I finished the WOD in a bit more than 10 minutes. 10:14, I believe.

I have very mixed feelings about this WOD. With the team competition coming up in roughly 8 weeks, I’m not encouraged that my pull ups have evaporated and that 95# thrusters felt so challengings. Those two exercises are staples of many competitions. Hopefully, grinding through the strength work doing strict reps, will improve my overall strength so that when I elect to do kipping in a competitive event, I’ll be stronger and faster. We’ll see.

On the flip side, I was very encouraged with my double unders. Those are frequently included in competitions too and often they’re a real bugaboo for me.

Call it a 50/50 sort of day, I guess.

Segment 1:
With a running clock…
1. 5 minutes to work up to a heavy single Front Squat

I hit singles at 135, 165, 185, and 205. All time best is 255. So a decent effort, but nothing to get too excited about.

2. 5 minutes to work up to a heavy single Muscle Snatch

I did lifts at 45# 2 lifts at 65# and one at 75#. This was just weird. I tried working this from an upright position to start. I was pretty much just high pulling the bar up under my chin then pressing it out over head with a snatch grip. It was clearly two moves/lifts, not one.
Doug instructed me to start the lift from the floor. I looked at him and playfully asked, “So snatch from the floor but don’t use my hips at all?”

He said, “correct. No hips.”

I said, “That’s the first thing you correct me on any other time I pull a snatch from the floor. The first words out of your mouth are always, ‘more hips.'”

We both laughed and he answered, “I know. Just this one time only.”

3. 5 minutes to work up to a heavy single OHS
Did singles of 115#, 135# and 145#. This was a bit disappointing. At my peak, my overhead squat is just short of 200#. It’s a lift that’s frequently very difficult for others, but I tend to be better than many. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked this lift though and today it felt TOTALLY foreign. The results show that.

4. 5 minutes to work up to a heavy single Snatch Balance
Did singles at 75#, then 3 singles at 95#. This also felt very unfamiliar today and I really wanted to practice it at a manageable weight.

5. 5 minutes to work up to a heavy single Squat Snatch
Squat snatches at 95#, 105#, 115# and 125 pounds. These were not full squat, but were deep catches, so I was reasonably satisfied with these.

6. 5 minutes to work up to a heavy single Front Squat
135#, 185 and 205# was a decent way to close out this set of work.

Segment 2:
15 OHS, 135/95
15 Chest to Bar Pullups
15 Squat Snatches, 135/95
15 Chest to Bar Pullups
15 Front Squats, 135/95
15 Chest to Bar Pullups
15 Squat Cleans, 135/95
15 Chest to Bar Pullups
Scale as needed to finish in less than 15 minutes

I had reviewed the white board for the 6am class. My buddy, who is far more fit than I, completed the METCON at 95# in just under 14 minutes. With that frame of reference, I had to make a choice about how to approach this one. Run a bit heavier knowing it was likely I would not complete the work; or scale the weights even lighter to meet the stated goal to finish under 15 min.

I kind of dismissed the rig work right from the start. 60 chest to bar pull ups were well out of my league. My intent was to do chin over bar pull ups as long as possible, then go to ring rows. Ultimately, I chose weight over speed and pull ups fell apart far faster than I anticipated. Things were so wore out from the previous work that I only completed one round using pull ups and did all ring rows afterward.

When time was up, I had completed 13 of the squat cleans. So final score: DNF – 17 reps left on the table.

It could be argued that I chose weights that were too heavy given I didn’t finish; but I’m ok with that today. I got deep into the METCON and I liked the challenge.

When you don’t believe in yourself, believe in your coach’s belief in you.

Segment 1:
Back Squat
1RM

Pretty good test here today. Didn’t get the results I was looking for, but I’m not disappointed.

I worked successfully through various reps from 135 to 225. After that, I did singles. My goal was to get upwards of 300#. That would have put me well inside of 90% of 1RM.

I was successful for a single at 275, but got too aggressive. I was unable to lift 295. I just got pinned at the bottom of the lift and bailed.

No big deal. I’m satisfied with the progress. Everything was centered and well positioned. No favoring the knee. Good form all morning long.

Segment 2:
Max set of unbroken Muscle ups or Pullups

I’ll admit it. My heart wasn’t really in this. I did 8 kipping pull ups. My hands were feeling soft and bubbly today right from the start. At the sixth rep I lost my rhythm and while I did not drop from the bar, I stopped doing reps. I hung free, reset my grip and did two more reps. My callouses were getting weird, so I dropped off the bar.

Segment 3:
1 Round:
30 Power Cleans (225/155)
30 Burpees Over the Bar
30 Calorie Row
Scale to finish in less than 15 minutes

Coach Doug was very clear that this METCON was meant to be heavy and should be scaled to be completed within 13-15 minutes. It was not meant to be a seven minute METCON.

As we were preparing our work stations he asked about my Grace time. I told him I can finish Grace (30 clean and jerks at 135#) in right around 5 minutes. He suggested 155# for this workout. This was what I was planning, so I readily agreed and set up my bar accordingly.

We got underway and when I stepped away from the bar after 10 singles Doug asked how many reps I completed. I told him and his response was, “That’s too fast. You need more weight.” I checked the clock and just over a minute had gone by. I was startled. Had no idea I could move 155# that fast ten times.

At that point, I’m pretty certain I whimpered and maybe tried a half-hearted, “but Doug.” It was too late, he had left and was returning with two ten pound plates!

So I did the remaining 20 reps at 175#! I’m not going to sugar coat it. They were ugly reps. I had a devil of a time using my hips correctly to boost the bar upward and it was a real battle to make myself dip at all to get under the bar!

I think I was so shocked that I was required to do this that I was mostly just panicking inside my head and not paying attention to form.

I remember thinking, “This is crazy!” Bang out a rep.

“I’ll never finish this.” Bang out another rep.

“I’m going to destroy myself.” Bang out another rep.

“What the hell is Doug trying to do to me?” Bang out another rep.

“Holy crap. This is miserable. That rep was horrible.” Bang out another rep.

It was about that time I took a walk to the chalk bucket a few bars over and while I was enroute I thought: “You just did 5 ugly reps. If you don’t get yourself right, you’re going to hurt yourself.”

It was also about then that I thought, “Doug wouldn’t hurt you. He thinks you can do this. Stop whining and DO IT!” Every now and then, when you don’t believe in yourself, you just have to trust and believe in your coaches and their judgement.

Doug came by more than once to check on my count, form and offer encouragement and guidance.

At 25, it occurred to me that I was going to get through this. In fact, Doug came by then and asked where I was. I was concerned he was going to cut me off. I told him, maybe more aggressively than necessary, “I’ve got five left. I’ve got THIS!”

I finished the last rep somewhere after seven minutes.

Burpees were not swift, but they were all two-footed hops over the bar and I never stopped. The row was a pleasant relief after everything that preceded it. I rowed hard, but there was definitely a sense of relief and comfort when I got to that stage and knew that I was going to make it through.

Final time: 12:37. It has been a very satisfying and educational week!

No structure, no goals, no clock, just tinkering.

After three straight days of solid Crossfit work, I really just wanted to indulge and play today.

I still went to the box because if I go through the process of waking up getting dressed out and going to the gym I have better focus than if I just try to do a backyard WOD. Besides, part of my goal today was to test a few rounds of WODs which I’m programming for Bootcamp next week. I needed some equipment that I don’t have at home. Once I finished experimenting with the Bootcamp work, I broke out all the MovNat equipment for some ‘me time.’

Balance Work

Started with forward walking across 18′ of 3″ diameter PVC pipe, elevated on 15# plates and anchored with sandbags. Each time I do this I’m surprised at how the slightest rotation in the pipe seems to get amplified as the shift works up my body.

Tumbling

I haven’t done an extended tumbling session in a long while. I’ve thrown in a few forward rolls here and there some mornings, but I haven’t just isolated rolling and focused on that movement in quite some time. I set out 30′ of gymnastics mat across the dance floor in the room adjacent to the gym.

Began with forward rolls from the kneeling position, rolling over one shoulder or the other. This is a MovNat roll, rather than a centered gymnastic forward roll. I made multiple passes up and down the length of the floor. Some passes I would do all the rolls over one shoulder. Some passes I would alternate. The focus was on 1) always staying on the same line facing forward, not rolling off to one side or the other; and 2) rolling through all the way so that when I ended one roll I was completely in position to set up the next roll. Eventually, I made some passes down the room stringing rolls together one right after the other.

I then moved to standing forward rolls. It’s been so long since I did these I had to YouTube them to work out which shoulder went to the ground first dependent on which foot stepped forward first. In case you’re curious. The answer is, it’s the same side. If you step forward with your left foot, then you’re left shoulder should go to ground first.

Again, I did multiple passes across the floor always rolling on one shoulder. Then came back rolling on the other shoulder. Then numerous passes alternating. For the final two passes, when I made the final roll off the end of the mats, I rolled straight into a hand-foot crawl position and took just a few strides forward, simply to connect the two moves together. The transitions felt very comfortable and natural.

This was such a simple workout and still after 20 minutes of tumbling I had completely sweat through my shirt. So it was definitely an active rest day.

Balance Work Revisited

I ended my workout with some stationary balance work on a 2′ x 4′ beam elevated about 5′ up resting on the jerk boxes. This was a very short session. I did squatting to standing, back to squatting, some tripod extensions on both sides. Repeated this perhaps 3 times then climbed down. There were too many distractions in the main CF room with the WODs in progress. I couldn’t stay focused on what I was doing. When you’re 5′ up, that’s a problem. Safety first, so I called it quits.

Random Observations

I was really pleased with the tumbling work today. Things felt fluid and graceful and connected. Which was nice because I made the mistake of getting on the scale before heading to the gym this morning and I’ve added a few pounds. Nothing dramatic, but for a guy who’s been tracking calories and macros pretty steady for a couple of months now, it was definitely a ‘how the hell can that be’ moment. To be able to go to the gym and be able to move in ways that felt relatively smooth was very cool. It didn’t hurt that a friend made a point of noting that I look like I’ve slimmed down recently. That’s actually the second time that’s happened in the last two weeks or so.

The whole ‘reality of the scale’ vs. ‘perception of motion’ vs ‘perception of appearance’ contradictions have me pondering today. I felt agile and nimble this morning. In looking at the mirror, I can see lines on my body improving, leaning out, bulges becoming edges, etc. Clearly other people are observing it as well. Yet, the reality is I’m adding weight! That’s data. The contradiction of those elements is confounding…amusing, but confusing. I’d love to believe that I’m adding lean mass. While I haven’t had it measured, I HIGHLY doubt it. Like I said, I’m tracking calories and macros and I’m doing BETTER. I’m not doing THAT much better about what’s going in my mouth. Please understand, I’m not overly concerned about reconciling any of this. I’m just sort of amused at the thought that people can say that I’m looking leaner and I’m generally feeling like I’m moving as if I’m lighter; however the scale would suggest that I’m in fact heavier. Go figure.

Had a lot of fun today testing for 1 rep maxes. Didn’t hit any PR’s, but man today went a long way to rebuilding some confidence.

Segment 1:
1 rep Max Snatch
15 minutes

Without going rep by rep, I worked from 95# up to 2 successful singles at 145# today. Both of those 145# lifts were power snatches, not full squat snatches. I currently have 150 listed in my WOD book as my 1RM/PR. I know that I’ve gone ground to overhead (with a split snatch) with 165# once. I’d like to believe that I’ve hit 155# before, but I don’t have it documented. So I’ll take the 150 at face value.

That means I was just 5 pounds shy of my all time 1RM. Had I taken the time to check my notebook before working out, I might have organized my lifts a bit differently and skipped the second 145# lift. I was trying to make that one “pretty” and a full squat snatch. Had I realized how close I was to my 1RM. I might have gone for 150 + some washers. I sincerely believe I might have muscled that out.

Segment 2:
1 rep Max Clean and Jerk
15 minutes

For clean and jerks I worked successful lifts from 135 to 185. Again, I failed to check my notebook and that was a mistake. The most I have ever sucessfully clean and jerked is 195#. I’ve muscled through a 210# clean once and can jerk more than that when permitted to take it from the rack. But as a combined lift, 195# is the top of my game to date. So I was just 10# short of that today.

Had I taken the time to check and understood my 1RMs better, I’m also pretty confident that I could have muscled my way through a power clean and jerk at 195 + some washers as well. All of my cleans were high power cleans. I was yanking the bar just short of my pecs all morning. I got greedy and made an attempt at 205, thinking that would have been a new PR and failed.

Realistically, I could not be more pleased with how these lifting segments went. I felt strong. I’m pleasantly surprised at my pulling strength on all of the lifts. I had confidence in my approach and technique thanks to recent work with Coach Katy. My knee was never an issue. To be lifting heavy today and to be well north of 90% of 1RM was really cool. I concede that there’s a confidence issue to be overcome with respect to dropping fast on really heavy lifts, but that’s a head thing. It’s got nothing to do with the actual health of my knee. I just need to build my confidence to drop fast and deeper. Frankly, that’s been a challenge all along. So it was a really good day.

Segment 3:
EMOM 10 minutes:
5 Front Squats for max load
10 HSPU

This was a deceptively challenging METCON! First, I didn’t understand what was required. I thought this was another alternating minutes EMOM. I expected to do front squats on the odd minutes and handstand push ups on the even minutes. Clearly, it’s not written that way, but I just had it in my head that this is how it would happen. I was stunned to learn that all of those reps needed to be done every minute! Even after having it explained to me I did the first squats of the first round and then stood around for 5-7 seconds before remembering that I needed to get to the wall for handstand work.

I used a 95# load for the front squats. My intent was to do three negative handstands each round, but after one round I realized my shoulders were too fried. I was crashed to the floor on the third rep. So I went to two negatives for the next two rounds, but the second rep of the second round in this rep scheme was another crash. I started to worry about injuring my neck. So I did 15 second handstand holds against the wall for the remainder of the WOD.

Was is it about front squats in a METCON?! They’re brutal. I don’t understand why. Typically, I like front squats. I consider them one of my better lifts, but stick them in a METCON and everything just comes to a grinding slow pace. I don’t understand that. Does anyone else feel that way? Or is it just me?

Pleased not only with today’s results, but today’s mindset and decision making.

Segment 1:
Work up to a heavy double rep Deadlift with bands attached
Take 12 minutes

Haven’t seen deadlifts in a while. Haven’t seen banded deadlifts since I don’t know when. It was fun to get back to these today.

Ultimately, I worked up to a set of of 2 at 235#. That was a respectable effort. Form must have been reasonably good. Coach Doug was watching my last two sets carefully and he didn’t offer any critique. In fact, he complimented both lifts on the last set.

Segment 2:
4 Rounds:
500 Meter Row
400 Meter Run
30 Situps
Scale to finish in less than 25 minutes

Doug was very clear as we started that he’d be looking hard at the clock when everyone finished the first rounds. Anyone who finished slower than 5:30 could expect to be required to scale the subsequent rounds to ensure that all work got done within the 25 minute cap.

My first round ended somewhere around 5:40 or 45. As I strapped into the rower, Doug asked if I wanted to scale back the runs. I told him “I’d rather scale back the row and do the full runs. I need the running right now.”

He said, “Makes sense. Row 350M.” I confess. That was more than I bargained for. I assumed we’d cut the row in half. But not today kids. That’s ok.

Why run? With everything that’s gone on with my legs since November the runs are the bigger challenge. I’ve been rowing all through my injuries and rehab. Running was probably the first activity I cut off as soon as I was injured.

My rowing is not spectacular, but it’s competent. It’s familiar and it’s functional. I felt I needed to face the challenge of working through all 4 full 400’s to get a feel for what impact it might have on my legs, lungs, etc. Even if that meant the workout was going to be tougher.

My goal was to bring each run in under 2 minutes. I wasn’t quite able to do that. They ranged from 2:05 to about 2:10 today. Reasonably consistent, but not quite what I was shooting for. 7 hours removed from the workout my knee feels great. So that’s a plus. Just need to continue to run to rework my conditioning, stride etc.

I finished the workout as scaled in 22:51. I was the last athlete done in the 7:15 session and I have no qualms with that. I took responsibility for my training and worked a goat avoiding the easier path when it was offered. I take some pride in that.

4 Rounds:
50 Double Unders 1 minute rest between rounds

I picked the wrong shorts today! I didn’t know there were double unders on the schedule and the shorts I was wearing did not have drawstrings! I had a couple of decent runs of double unders going (closing in on 20 reps) and faltered because my shorts were dropping to my knees! What a goof! It’s not the first time that’s happened. I think I need to get rid of this particular pair of shorts.

I was wearing compression shorts and seriously entertained the notion of simply dropping my outer shorts off and completing the work in compression shorts. What the heck? If it’s cool for women to wear the ultra slim shorts, why not guys, right? Guys wear singlets around the gym all the time. Likely, no one would have fussed. Ultimately, I decided that I’m just not there yet personally. Ah, well. All in fun.

On a more technical note: Doug noticed in an early set that I’m donkey kicking my feet slightly behind me when I double under. He challenged me to stop doing that. So what did I do? You guessed it. I started kicking to the front! Yeesh. Over the course of the morning I was able to reduce, but not eliminate, the kick completely in either direction. The one run where it felt to me that the kick was minimal in either direction was the run where I traveled backwards about 5 meters! Oy!

Work required that I leave the gym as close to on time as possible, so I only did three of the sets. Honestly, given all the work that preceded the double under practice, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

We’re doing some one rep max testing later this week. I’m very eager to tackle that and see how things develop. I’ll keep you posted.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,016 other followers