Some days we scale…some days it’s best to take the WOD at face value, accept your strengths and weaknesses and just hit them head on.

Tuesday, November 8

Segment 1:
Handstand Pushups
10 minutes of practice

Worked on kipping form here trying to string one or two handstand push ups together with mixed results. The most significant thing to come from this segment was a strained muscle in my neck. It was annoying, but not debilitating. Enough to make me self conscious of just about every movement after it occurred.

Segment 2:
EMOM for 8 minutes
5 HSPUs or scale

In light of the stiff neck, I elected to do handstand holds here. 7 rounds of 25 second holds. The final minute I went upside down with the intent of doing a max effort hold, with the hope of staying inverted the full minute. Didn’t happen. Brought my feet down between 25-30 sec.

Segment 3:
AMRAP 15 minutes:
30 Double Unders
15 Power Cleans (Rx: 115/80 S1: 85/55 S2: 65/35)
30 Double Unders
15 Toes to Bar (S1: Knees to Elbows S2: Hanging Knee Raises)

I’ve been avoiding double unders for a while because they aggrivate my calf. Decided to test my rehab efforts today.

Coach Doug was pretty explicit that if our double unders were failing us and they were taking longer than 30-40 seconds each round, we were supposed to abandon them at that point and move forward with the WOD.

It’s not possible to modify that way during a competition. You kind of have to take the WOD as it comes and manage the best you can. So that was the mindset I used for today. I told myself, “Accept that the double unders are likely going to confound you and slow you down. Don’t get frustrated as the group runs away from you. Stay focused. Do the work and do what you can.”

Things went ok. I completed 2 full rounds, plus an additional 59 reps. Some rounds of double unders when better than others. At least twice I was able to finish in just two sets. At least one round contained multiple times where I only stuck a single rep then tripped. Mostly, I’m glad I was able to stay calm and keep moving forward. Will I be that calm on competition day? Who knows? For today, I’m satisfied that I was a bit stubborn, a bit tenacious and didn’t freak out when things didn’t work my way. That’s enough for today.

As for the crick in my neck? A day spent alternating between mobility and employing a warm rice bag has it feeling much better, but not completely pain free.


Training focus has tightened up a bit and feels like I’m back on task. Nutrition is going ok and paying off. Still, couple of tweaks are necessary and didn’t accomplish everything I would have liked since last post.

Saturday, Nov 4

Did some light mobility, then modified the schedule a bit and attempted a 1RM Back Squat. My all time best is 325# back in 2015. I would have considered any lift over 300# a success.

I got 285 and it was work, but I was pretty confident there was more. Question was how much? Turns out it wasn’t 20#. I attempted 305, just to try and hit that 300lb plus goal. It pinned me deep and there was no recovering. Had to dump it off.

Disappointed that I wasn’t able to hit that lift. It’s curious. For reasons that I’m not entirely clear about, I have it in my head that if I could clear that 300# mark, I can declare my knees healthy/strong. Being within 10% of that all time best would go a long way to putting some questions behind me and establishing some confidence.

Ah well. Another day, I guess.

Segment 1:
Muscle Up Practice
10 minutes
Then, 3 MUs (or scale) EMOM for 8 minutes

Did 4 rounds alternating 2 strict ring dips, then 2 strict pull ups. That was kind of humbling. Once this was complete, I tinkered with some kipping chest to bar pull ups. The good news there is that my shoulders felt very mobile and it felt as if I was able to get into a really good Superman position forward of the rig. That’s frequently a big challenge for me. Felt good to be flowing into that position.

Segment 2:
Squat Snatch Complex
On the 1:30 x 7 rounds
Hang Squat Snatch + Squat Snatch
Drop between repetitions. Add weight each round

Worked these at weights of 75, 85, 95, 105, 115, 125 and 130 pounds. Things were moving really well until that last set. Bit of fatigue and heavy weights, they got a bit sloppy.

Segment 3:
Ascending Ladder for 7 Minutes:
3 Thrusters (Rx: 115/75 S1: 95/65 S2: 75/55), 3 Barbell-Facing Burpees
6 Thrusters, 6 Barbell-Facing Burpees
9 Thrusters, 9 Barbell-Facing Burpees

I chose scale 1 (95#) for this METCON. This seemed like a pretty good competition style WOD. So I tried to keep that in mind and stay aggressive without letting myself blow up and stand around. I was moderately successful. Rounds of 3 and 6 were unbroken and uneventful. Round of 9 I broke after 5 thrusters and I stood around longer than I’m comfortable with waiting to get back on the bar. Round of 12 I broke the thrusters into 6 and 6. I intended to go 7 and 5 but put the bar down early. It happens.

I was pleased during the 12 burpees in that when I began the burpees I had the mindset of “I don’t want to pick up the bar again. Just pace these until the clock runs out and be good with four rounds.” Then I scolded myself. Afterall, that is not the mindset of a competitor. I was then able to pick up the pace, complete the 4th round, plus 5 additional thruster. Not a brilliant score, but a small mental victory.

Life is all about trade offs, right? It was definitely one of those days in the gym.

“On the Minute x 9 (3 Rounds)
Hang Squat Clean + Squat Clean + Split Jerk
Minute 1 – 75%
Minute 2 – 80%
Minute 3 – 85%”

Before the workout, I based my percentages on my 1RM clean and jerk of 190#. That meant prescribed weight should have been roughly: 145, 155 and 165.

I started warming up and it became apparent very quickly that those weights and consistent proper form were totally incompatible. I could have moved the bar at those weights, but things would have been VERY ugly.

I pulled back to 115, 125 and 135. Even at those weights I found myself gasping and or groaning my way through the cleans.

Still managed to grind it all out though.

“Front Squat
6 Sets of 2:
Sets 1 + 2 – 80%
Sets 3 + 4 – 85%
Sets 5 + 6 – 90%”

Based on assumed 1RM of 200# prescribed weights here were: 160, 170, 180. As awkward and clunky as the clean and jerks felt, the front squats felt pretty silky. Really felt like I was moving well here. All reps were controlled, to depth and smooth coming out of the hole. Very satisfied with this portion of the workout and kind of curious to test a 1RM.

5 Rounds:
21 Air Squats
15 Pushups
12 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches (50/35)

12 Min Cap

Performed this METCON Rx and completed in 11:03. Pretty satisfied with that. Mostly, I’m glad I was able to pick and maintain a steady pace that allowed me to stay in near constant motion.

All air squats were done unbroken.

Doug offered great insight at the front of the METCON pointing out that the push ups would be where most athletes burned out. So slow down, split them up and don’t cook your arms in the first two rounds trying to go unbroken. This was very good advice. I did four rounds of 8 reps, sit back in saddle pose and shook the arms out exactly 8 times, then 7 reps. The final round was 8 reps, saddle, 4 shakes, 4 reps, saddle, 4 shakes, 3 reps. I can accept that.

Dumbbell snatches were very deliberate and unbroken. Dumbbell snatches tend to make me nervous. So often I see others rushing through them and as a result nursing sore backs later. When dealing with this movement, I subscribe to the Crossfit platitude of ‘slow is steady. Steady is smooth. Smooth is fast.’

I say deliberate because every time I set the dumbbell on the floor, I allowed myself to stand to near full height again, then squat down to grasp the dumbbell with the alternate hand. I concede that this 3/4 extension added a fair bit of extra motion to each rep. However, it ensured proper hip and back position when starting the next rep and afforded me just a quick window each rep to regulate my breathing. This allowed me to stay in constant motion and ensure proper position/form which ultimately is safer.

So I’m comfortable with it. Like I said at the outset. Some times you have to give a little to take. I’m good with the trade offs today.

Need to stay attentive to detail and adhere to the schedule. That’s been a bit tricky this week.

Wednesday, 11/1

This is my rehab, skill, mobility day.

I worked as prescribed on shoulder. That all went fine.

Worked a bit on pistols and that felt like a train wreck. Only did 2 sets of 3 reps each leg to a 17″ box. Legs just felt creaky. I think I short changed my warm up for my legs and paid for it here. Lesson learned.

I had been mulling over joining the main room METCON which consisted of partner 50-40-30-20-10 calorie row. So one person rows 50 cal, the other rows 50 cal, then 40 each and so on. There were an odd number of people in the 7:15 class and only one male signed up. So when Doug asked me if I was willing to join, I told him, ” I was just about to ask, if I may.” So it worked out great. I enjoyed this tremendously. Partnered with my buddy Shannon. That fella can row some calories. We worked well together and completed the row in 14:41.

Normal routine is to do ROMWOD on Wednesday night for mobility. Things were a bit hectic around the house (parenting, general adulting…and maybe a touch of laziness) this evening and when I finally had the time to do it, I bailed on it. I regret that choice. I intend to make it up tonight.

Thursday, 11/2

Strict Press – Establish 1RM
Worked up to a 1RM of 155 today. Missed presses at 165 and 160. I’m pretty good with this. Always a bit of a bummer to go back into old logs and find that I’ve actually maxed out higher in years past. But the past is behind me. Just need to try and press forward. (no pun intended).

Push Press – Establish 1RM

Hit 185 successfully today. That was a good clean lift. Successfully took 202# from my shoulders and locked it out overhead. Coach Tori says I rebent my knees though. So no rep. I joked with Tori that it was a ‘crossfit’ rep, since I got the lock out. But she’s absolutely correct. If I rebent my knees, then I need to not let standards slide and it’s a no rep. So 185# for today. That being said, it felt good to put 200 plus pounds overhead. Also stings a bit to see that in 2015 I have 225# recorded for this lift. I don’t know. It is what it is, I guess.

Trying to stay focused on the present, not dwell on the past. Also trying not to make any excuses or rationalize things.

I wasn’t upset or disappointed with either of those lifts at the time. Sure, I gave the bar a friendly mock-frustrated raspberry after missing the 165 strict press lift. And I ‘stomped around and shook my fists’ a bit after missing a second attempt at the 202, but anyone who saw me would see that I was smiling the whole time and my ‘frustration’ was an clearly an act. In the moment, I was really rather pleased with the day. My disappointment set in when I went back into old logs to write this post and saw those old PR’s from two years back. Meh. Let it go. #AlwaysForward.

I’ve got 73 days now until the War of the WODs. While I may not have set any new PR’s today. I’m pretty damn close to the top of my game as measured against old PR’s/1RM’s. My body feels good. It’s not beat up or punished or injured. Things are good. Stay focused. Do the work and remember each day: one pound, one step, one rep.

Segment 1:
Handstand Pushups
10 minutes of practice

Segment 2:
Handstand Pushup
1 attempt – Max Handstand Pushups
Then, 3 sets of 70% Max Total

I kind of blended segments one and two into “handstand practice.” Worked on long holds against the wall as well as finding the correct hollow body position to come off the wall and attempt a free standing hold. Had some success, but nothing really noteworthy. Still, I consider it time well invested.

I did notice that when I work on transfering weight from hand to hand doing lifts, I find it easier to get into the hollow position. Stationary holds feel more challenging. Not certain why.

Segment 3:
“Freddie Kreuger”
21-15-9 Reps:
KB Swings 70#

Ran this one Rx. Finished last in my group this morning at 4:41. Little disappointed in that. I was working with a great group of very good athletes and there were only 5 seconds between me and third place. Still….feel like perhaps I missed an opportunity here to take a real good comp style WOD and throw everything I had at it.

Segment 4:
For Time:
50 Toes to Bar

Didn’t aggressively pursue the ‘for time’ element here. Instead, I tried to work form. Did 25 Toes 2 Bar in 3 sets of 7 and one set of 4. Then finished with 25 Knees to 90 – sets of 7, 8 and 10? I think?

With Toes 2 Bar, I’m trying to work out a more efficient transfer between reps. I always end up flailing between reps and needing an extra half, and some times a full swing and a half to initiate the next rep. Need to make the descent more controlled AND more aggressive to set up the next rep. This also may have deviated from the main program’s intent, but I feel like it was time properly spent/invested for me. I didn’t need to focus on speed here today. I needed the reps.

War of The WODs Prep
As I mentioned at the intro, I have devised a training binder/calendar for WOTW. This sits on my work station right in my line of sight.

It has a daily calendar with space each day where I can pencil in the prep work completed and check them off as I go. I’ve added a countdown to the day of the comp. This binder will travel with me when we visit family at the holidays.

I can’t tell you if my plan is sound…but by God I HAVE a plan and I’m determined to give this one hell of a run.

I knew staying focused on weekends would be tricky, but I’m a bit disappointed in myself for this one. Need to stay on task better.

Segment 1:
Squat Snatch
On the Minute x 12 (3 Rounds):
Minute 1 – 3 Reps @ 75%
Minute 2 – 2 Reps @ 80%
Minute 3 – 1 Rep @ 85%
Minute 4 – Rest

I did these at 105, 115 and 125. That’s a bit shy of the prescribed percentages, but that’s all right.

Segment 2:
Back Squat
2 Rounds:
5 Reps @ 80%
3 Reps @ 85%
1 Rep @ 90%

Worked these at 185, 205, 225 today. I think I need to attempt a 1RM back squat this weekend so I have a real understanding of percentages. Reps today all felt stable, but in my mind, I should be lifting more. I simply have no realistic understanding of how much more.

Segment 3:
For Time:
Run 400/200/100m
Power Snatch (Rx: 95/65 S1: 65/45)

Directly into

Run 400/200/100m
Clean and Jerks (Rx: 95/65 S1: 65/45)

This METCON was SNEAKY! I saw the 6am class struggle through this. So I knew in advance, I was going to scale from 95# to 75#. I rowed rather than ran. I still expected to move through this WOD more efficiently. Perhaps I was arrogant, but I really expected to do all lift segments unbroken. In reality, I ended up breaking them into two sets each. That caught me by surprise.

Still, Doug set a 15 min cap and I finished in 14. I’ll take it.

Random Notes:
Ran the 400M warm up today to test out my knee. Still cranky. It just feels pinched inside the knee when I run. Annoying.

With respect to the weekend. I’m not upset that Saturday’s training got disrupted. I coached in the morning. Spent the afternoon volunteering at the box’s Olympic Weightlifting event. After that, it was on to daddy/family responsibilities. So I don’t mind that.

I wish I’d made different choices on Sunday. There really is no excuse for not having done some mobility and rehab. I have all the tools. Just didn’t use them.. I’m not beating myself up, but I want to be better. Need to overcome this, “if I don’t get to the box, it doesn’t happen” mentality.

Pretty good way to finish off the work out week. Feeling really positive about the first week on this training plan for War of the WODs. Body is taxed, but not punished.

Time dedicated to rehab, recovery and mobility seems to be paying dividends. Hopefully, this holds up over time. We’ll see.

Segment 1:
On the Minute x 7
3 Deadlifts
Build each set

As Coach Doug pointed out, once we finished these 21 deadlifts, we still had another 84 deadlifts in front of us today. Therefore, don’t get carried away with max loads here. I took that to heart.

I worked ten pound increments starting at 185# and ending at 245#. This was an appropriate challenge. I was sweaty and breathing heavy when the seven minute window closed. But I wasn’t wrecked. That was pretty much my goal.

Segment 2:
4 Rounds For Time:
21 Deadlifts (135/95)
15 Box Jump Overs (24/20)
9 Push Press (135/95)

I was a little vexed with this work out in that I feel as if I should have been able to complete it Rx. And without a time cap, I probably could move the weight and complete all the required reps. However, in warming up some push press at 135 I realized very quickly I was not going to be able to meet Coach Doug’s guidance of ensuring we picked a weigth that we could go unbroken for at least the first two rounds, if not all the way through. At 135# I was going to spend a lot of time standing around thinking about push presses instead of doing them. So I pulled the weight to 115#.

This allowed me to move at a constant pace with minimal pause. I took time between stations some times to chalk up for the next set of lifts, but once I put hands on the bar, I never set it down. When I started box jump overs, I didn’t pause until all reps were complete.

Honestly, I think I’m most pleased with those box jump overs. I was able to move smoothly and stay in a low croch atop the box all the way through the WOD. I never had to move to step up/overs. My jump overs weren’t particularly fast, but they were steady and smooth. Most of the time I felt I was landing light not slamming my feet atop the box or floor. So a very satisfying set.

Final time to finish was 13:22 against a 15 min cap. I’ll take it. It felt like a very good competition-style WOD and I felt like I managed it respectably.