Tuesday, August 31, 2010

10-08-31: Barbell Turkish Get-Ups and Sotts Presses

CrossFit WoD for Monday, August 31, 2010
With a 45 35# barbell, 21-15- and 9 reps for time of:
  • Turkish Get-ups, alternating arms
  • Sots press
Rory McKernan 6:42, Kristan Clever 16:03, Katie Hogan 23:02, Rebecca Voigt 25:26

Turkish Get-up Part 1, Jeff Martone [wmv][mov]
Turkish Get-up Part 2, Jeff Martone [wmv][mov]
Turkish Get-up Part 3, Jeff Martone [wmv][mov]
Turkish Get-up Part 4, Variations, Jeff Martone [wmv][mov]
Sots Press - video [wmv] [mov]

Jeff Martone demonstrates a somewhat advanced Turkish Get-Up technique (c. crossfit.com)

The Sotts Press: I did it from in front of the neck. This looks way easier. (c. crossfit.com)
Total Time: ?? (Stopped the clock to put shoes on after the first set, forgot to restart it for the second set. First set took 9 minutes, 3rd took 7, so assume 8 for the mystery 2nd set?  If so, 24 minutes...ish.)

Wrote a bunch of stuff, which blogger went and lost. In a very weird way. And then it auto-saved the change. That kind of sucked.  Long story short: TGUs were difficult, and required broken up sets to shake out arm joints.  Sotts presses were done wrong, which made them both more difficult and worse on the knees. BEHIND the neck is the way to go.

Musical Accompaniment: Amon Amarth medley
An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm - Fate of Norns (2004)

Arrival of the Fimbul Winter - Versus the World (2002)
Down the Slopes of Death - Versus the World (2002)

Free Will Sacrifice - Twilight of the Thunder God (2008) (New favorite video ever...)
Once Sealed in Blood - Fate of Norns (2004)

No Fear For the Setting Sun - Twilight of the Thunder God (2008)

Asator - With Oden on Our Side (2006)

Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags - Twilight of the Thunder God (2008)

Thor Arise - Versus the World (2002)

Varyags of Miklagaard - Twilight of the Thundergod (2008)

With Oden on Our Side - With Oden on Our Side (2006)

(That metal enough for ya?!)

Monday, August 30, 2010

10-08-30: Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls, Push Presses


  • 5 minutes jump-rope
  • Active Stretching

21-18-15-12-9-6 and 3 rep rounds of:
(Scaling courtesy CrossFit BrandX)

Dave Lipson 3:42, Rob Orlando 3:45, Jason Khalipa 4:04, Jay Leydon 4:33, Gary Niel 4:40, Graham Holmberg 5:07, Pat Barber 5:25 (44lb single arm push jerk), Elyse Umeda 6:25 (55lbs), Kristan Clever 7:54 (75lbs), Kim Malz 7:56 (55lb), Jocelyn Leydon 9:50 (55lbs).

Rob Orlando, Jason Leydon and Jocelyn Leydon on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
Pat Barber on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
From the vault: Brendan Gilliam WOD Demo - video [wmv] [mov]

SDLHP: Close grip, elbows lead, motion is really a push off the floor, NOT a pull. (c. Crossfit.com)

Push-Press: Motion starts with the legs, NOT the arms. (c. Crossfit.com)
Knowing this WoD is designed as a MetCon workout, with only moderate load for high reps, I opted to scale the weight back a bit, using CrossFit BrandX as my guide.  One thing that definitely came in handy was the third video listed above, showing Brandon doing the WoD.  Back in the good old days, the WoD demos had all sorts of pointers and coaching built right in, like this one.  As a result, I was aware when I was letting the bar hitch on the way down in the SDLHPs, rather than mirroring the smooth motion of the concentric part of the exercise.  So, I knew to try to avoid that.  Avoiding it made the reps go faster, which, while great from a time point of view, definitely sucked when it came to deepening oxygen debt!

Managed to keep the two parts of the first two rounds linked together, without letting go of the bar.  When it came to the round of 15s, I started needing a few breaths before moving onto the push jerks.  However, I managed to bull through the last 2-3 rounds, which felt pretty good. 

Total time: 9:45

Today's Musical accompaniment:
Hermod's Ride to Hell - Amon Amarth
Albatross - Corrosion of Conformity
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
2 Minutes to Midnight - Iron Maiden

Friday, August 27, 2010

10-08-27: Handstand Push-ups, Farmers Walks, and Weighted Squats

CrossFit Endurance Strength and Conditioning WoD for August 27th, 2010

5 Rounds for Time of:
  • 6 Handstand Pushups
  • 20 Meter Farmer's Carry @ 25# plate per hand (see pic below for form)
  • 15 Squats Holding both plates
  • 20 Meter Farmer's Carry back
Did this bad boy in the lower gym.  Coming off of doing 160 bodyweight squats yesterday, doing 75 more with 50# weight was a little difficult, but not unbearable.  Upshot of all those years of playing soccer all those years ago: I can bang on my quads repeatedly with FAR more success than anything else.

Total Time: 7:45

Time probably would have been a bit faster if I was able to face the wall and kick up into a handstand.  Instead, I face away from the wall, plant hands @ 18" away from the wall, kick my feet up and back, and then walk them up the wall while walking my hands closer to the wall. After the push-ups (with VERY limited range of motion, but increasing all the time), then I have to slowly collapse back down the wall in such a way that I don't pile-drive my face into the floor.  All in all, easily a minute was taken just with those five times of getting into and out of the final push-up position.  Ugh.

Jason Barkemeyer, Highland Games 173 pounds each farmer walk.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10-08-26: Jumps, squats, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups

CrossFit WoD for August 24, 2010

Tie a five-pound plate to hang an honest 18" above your tiptoe reach and complete 5 4 rounds for time of:
  • 50 Jump and touch (basketball backboard...probably not a clean 18", but I'm ok with that)
  • 40 Squats
  • 30 Sit-ups
  • 20-Push-ups
  • 10 Pull-ups
Kristan Clever 24:13 (14" jump), Lucas Zepeda 24:34, Jesse Bazarnick 26:25, Pat Barber 28:56, Rebecca Voigt 32:53 (14" jump), Laurie Galassi 35:47.

WOD Demo at CrossFit Santa Cruz - video [wmv] [mov]

Scaling: Well, after feeling like death at the end of the 3rd round, I dug deep and pulled one last round out.  Opted NOT to kill myself trying for a 5th round.  Going in, I wasn't sure how I was going to do with that many jumps, both in terms of cardio fitness and possible knee pain.  Not knowing how many rounds I was shooting for also made it impossible to plan out something like a descending rep count for each round, or other ways to scale the total amount of work.  So, I just shot for the moon, full reps each round.

The jumps were definitely hard.  Even managing to string the landing of one jump into the prep for the next, I was only able to make about 3-4 consecutive touches without either reseting or going off to suck wind.  So, the jump and touches were definitely the most miserable part of this.  The squats were hard, especially after banging on the legs with the jumping, but there was a slower, "grindy-er" element to the squats, so I could just crank them out on my own pace.  The sit-ups very quickly went from easy to agony, and the pull-ups started off hard (have I mentioned that I was still sore from Monday's burpees going into this? It's Thursday, for Pete's sake!) and stayed about even throughout.  Same with the pull-ups.

My time was definitely impacted by my taking nearly 3 minutes to decide whether or not to go for a 4th round.  Given how dead set I seemed, I'm actually a little surprised that I went for it.  Part of it was definitely having J right behind me, but a round AHEAD.  Bad enough to have him breathing down my neck, even worse to get lapped, or even take a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the middle of a round.  Did I finish the full five rounds?  Nope, but given how sore and shot I felt, I'm actually very ok with that.  Chances are I should have scaled it back even more, but I'm pretty happy with this outcome.  Now let's hope I never need to do this one again!

Total Time: 43:30
Splits(7:30; 9:45; 13:00, 2:45 soul-searching; 17:30)

CrossFit Worldwide Handstands II

Monday, August 23, 2010

10-08-23: Burpees, Double-Unders, and Toes-to-Bars

CrossFit WoD for August 21, 2010

30-25-20-15 and 10 rep rounds of:
Kristan Clever 14:49 (24" box), Graham Holmberg 15:20, Kim Malz 17:48 (24" box), Elyse Umeda 20:59 (24" box).

Man, did this ever suck. Despite it being rainy and nearly cold in NYC, our unventilated basement weight room was still a nice toasty 90-100 degrees, and just as humid as you could wish. So of course I forgot the fan.  Argh!!

Decided early to sub the double-unders for the box-jumps, as part of my on-going attempts to NOT re-destroy my knees. they've been feeling pretty good, so I'm gonna stick with the 'no box jumps' rule, as well as 8-10 fish oil capsules a day.  At some point, maybe when I'm another 5-10 pounds lighter, I'll experiment with adding them back in.  As it was, my decision to add in what still amounts to an advanced skill nearly killed me today...

I was already thinking about how to scale the workout.  Just cut each round in half?  I decided that rather than doing only half the work in shorter rounds, I would cut out the 2nd and 4th rounds entirely, so that I was still doing 60% of the prescribed work, as well as hitting that initial 30 reps of each exercise.  I knew the burpees were going to be the worst.  The largest range of motion for any bodyweight exercise.  What's easy for a Chris Spealler or Kristan Clever sucks for those of us over 200#, especially for those of us who are NOT John Welbourne.  Needless to say, there was probably an argument for scaling the number of burpees in each round, but I opted not to.

I managed the first set of burpees as a set of 15, followed by three 5 rep sets.  Drenched in sweat and breathing hard, I grabbed my jump-rope.  I knocked out 1, then 3, double-unders.  And then struggled to get a 5th. Finally, I strung together a bunch of them...I was so surprised I didn't really count. I guessed that I did 15 strung together, though honestly I think it may have been more than that. Still, that got me to 19.  I then struggled with the final 11, and by the time I was done, my lungs were SCREAMING and I was fairly wobbly on my feet.  On to the toes-to-bar!

As always, due to our craptastic choice of gear, the only place to even attempt exercises like this is on the frame of the Smith machine, which is NOT an easy grip to maintain.  As with the burpees, these were very broken up more for the stinging in my hands from trying to grasp onto that stupid frame than for ab/hip flexor fatigue. Still, eventually I made it through.  Most of me wanted to quit right then.

My time after that first round: 12:xx.  Looking at the numbers, I would have had about 3 minutes to complete all 5 rounds to compete against Kristan Clever.  Unreal.  I opted to continue on with the workout. Stupid me.

Time after the second round: 25:xx Split time = @13:xx.  Getting slower! This was really disheartening to realize that I had taken even longer to do less work (20 reps each for this round compared to the previous round's 30 reps.)  Still, I carried on...shakily.

Total time: 32:45  Seriously, the only saving grace was that between the 2nd and 3rd round, I managed to not slow down too much.  I was really dragging by the end of this, and can't say that it was any fun at all.  Which of course means that it was freaking BRILLIANT and will need to be added to the permanent roster.  Anything that kicks your ass in THIS many directions is seriously hitting all your weak points, and should therefore be the first item in your arsenal of tools to improve with.  If this only had some running or swimming...

Still one of the greatest CrossFit images anywhere.

Today's musical selections included Tuatara, Blind Man's Sun, and God Street Wine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

10-08-18: "Nate"

CrossFit WoD for August 18th, 2010


Complete as many rounds in twenty minutes as you can of:
Scalings courtesy CrossFit BrandX

Mikko Salo 21 rounds, Graham Holmberg 19 rounds + 3 HSPU, Chris Spealler 15 rounds + 1 HSPU (with 20lb vest), Kristan Clever 15 rounds (2 pood KB), Rebecca Voigt 7 rounds (2 pood KB).

Enlarge image
Chief Petty Officer Nate Hardy was killed Sunday February 4th during combat operations in Iraq. Nate is survived by his wife, Mindi, and his infant son Parker.
We're asking the CrossFit community to make donations to the "Nate Hardy Memorial Fund" in care of the Navy Federal Credit Union, Building 200, FTC Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA, 23461.

No idea if I can do a muscle-up (<-BJ Penn with hair!), as we have no rings to try them on, and our few "pull-up" bars are either blocked by useless heating equipment above or poorly placed dip bars at crotch level.  So, pull-ups and dips it is! As for handstand push-ups, I don't have much range of motion on them, as I'm still terrified of pile-driving myself into the floor. So, I went for a scaled version (feet elevated, body piked, so that the push-ups were still nearly vertical, just with the leg weight mostly removed) that allowed me to do a full-range of motion.  Our not-really-kettlebells only go up to 24#, so we subbed dumbbells, and in an effort to not die, scaled the weight down a few pounds (2 pood is roughly equal to 72 pounds). 

Felt pretty good throughout the workout. I was definitely breathing hard by the third round, and had completed 5 at the nine minute mark, but definitely started slowing down after that.  Each transition started including a few extra breaths while sizing up the next task, instead of just jumping right in. Still and all, I was really happy with my performance.

At first I was discouraged with the number of rounds completed, as compared to the fire-breathers listed above, until J pointed out that we were doing 6x as many motions for the pull-ups/dips as they were doing for muscle-ups, and they were probably doing their two muscle-ups in the same time it took me to do 2 pull-ups, much less the remaining 4 AND 6 dips!  So, yeah... though I'm sure that really wouldn't have slowed Mikko down. He would have had what, only 20 rounds.  Yikes.

Music during the warm-up was my late 90s college mix (Ani Difranco, Moxy Fruvous, God Street Wine, etc.)(Links to follow)

Music during the workout was my go-to metal mix (Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Amon Amarth, etc.) (Links to follow)

10-08-17: Interval Running in Central Park

CrossFit Wod for August 17th, 2010

15 rounds for distance of:
  • Sprint 20 seconds
  • Rest 40 seconds
Start each round at previous round's end point.

Kristan Clever 1mile 210meters, Becca Voigt 1mile 50meters.

Total distance: ~1580 yards (just under a mile...dammit!)

Music for tracking the intervals: 
St. Jude's Orgy - Bible Launcher (0:20)
Open Sky - Flash (0:40)
Champs Fanfare - The Fucking Champs (0:20)
Open Sky - Flash (0:40)
Repeat as needed.

You can also visit my last.fm profile here for further listening inspirations.  I warn you, I have eclectic tastes!

First few intervals, I felt really strong.  My foot tempo was quick, I wasn't reaching out ahead, I was trying to pull my feet up with hamstrings rather than pushing back too far.  All in all, pretty good (I think...most likely the CrossFit Endurance crew would have a LOT to say about it...but still better than it used to be, so whatever!)

By about the 5th or 6th interval, I had lost count, and not knowing how many more chances I would have to make it a full mile, I tried to run all out.  However, by about then, my distance per interval had dropped precipitously.  Given that my first distance was about 220 yards, and that my total was 1580 yards, implying an average of just over 100 yards per interval, clearly lots of those distances were actually LESS than 100 yards...ugh.

One problem was that the music I chose was not stuff I was intimately familiar with. I picked them for the time durations, not because I knew them inside and out. Consequently, I would lose a few steps when the 0:20 songs started up, not knowing exactly when the start would be. However, given the slow pace I had on the later intervals, I doubt that had too much of an effect.  But still...

Finishing up writing this the next day, and I'm sore in what I think are all the right places. Ankles, calves, glutes and adductors are shot (some of that may be from the wall-balls and squat cleans in the previous day's workout. However, I'm happily not crippled, though I have had to try to stretch out my hammies and calves a lot since the running to keep my legs from locking up completely.  Oddly enough, though not actually sore, my hip flexors are also VERY tight. Makes some amount of sense, if my form was correct enough to de-emphasize the quads, the flexors would have a bit more work to do with each stride. I guess. :S All told, my knees were pretty good though, especially the left, which was a VERY nice surprise.
Reasons for running rather than jogging. 'Nuff said.

Monday, August 16, 2010

10-08-16: Wall-balls and Low-hang squat snatches

CrossFit WoD for Monday, August 16, 2010

Three rounds for time of:
Mikko Salo 8:58, Kristan Clever 10:30 (16lb ball, 45lb barbell) Jason Khalipa11:19 (2009 Games), Carey Kepler 11:01 (14lb ball, 45lb barbell, 2009 Games), Becca Voigt 12:00 (16lb ball, 45lb barbell).

CrossFit 801 does today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]

From the vault: 2009 CrossFit Games coverage, Mens and Womens couplet event.

OK, this looked a LOT easier on paper (screen?) than it was to actually do.  First of all, early admission of guilt...after doing 30 wallballs, I was more or less unable to do a single squat snatch where there was a real, deep, ACTUAL squat. Even when I tried to turn it into a power snatch - overhead squat combo, I just couldn't get any real depth on the squats.  So, had this been the 2009 games couplet, I would have either been disqualified or handed a DNF on this workout (Did Not Finish).  Either would have sucked.  Lesson learned: In addition to doing the WoDs, I need to take some time to work specifically on form, not just throw exercises that I'm at best mediocre at, into timed workouts.

My wall-balls were excellent, however.  I fired them higher up the wall than usual, to make up the extra .5 foot, which definitely called for a little extra "oomph" on each rep. Destroying my squat snatch abilities. But I think I already touched on that. :S

Total time: 16:50

A good chunk of that time (probably 4-5 minutes) was dedicated to me trying to get through the final round of snatches.  Whereas on the earlier sets, I was able to do 10, take a few breaths, then repeat that for the next 20 reps.  On the final round, which was started with a minute of recovery after the final wall-balls, I managed 10, stopped to catch my breath, then had to deal with just standing up. After doing my best figher pilot pulling Gs impression (squeezing leg muscles to get blood back up to my brain), I squeezed out 8 more reps. More heavy breathing.  Tried to only take 5 controlled breaths, which turned into 10.  Managed 5 more reps.  More uncontrolled panting, then a few controlled breaths, before finally knocking out the final 7 reps.

To quote Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna: "I thought I was gonna *die*!"

Today's Musical selections: Inspecter 7, The Interpreters, Ani DiFranco, Bad Manners, Soul Coughing, Letters to Cleo, New York Ska Jazz Ensemble, Less Than Jake, The Blue Hawaiians, Easy Big Fella, G. Love & Special Sauce.  Yeah, it was a late '90s kind of workout!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10-08-10: "AdamBrown" Hero WoD

Two rounds for time of:
  • 295 135 pound Deadlift, 24 reps
  • 24 Box jumps, 24 inch box
  • 24 Wallball shots, 20 pound ball
  • 195 135/95 pound Bench press, 24 reps
  • 24 Box jumps, 24 inch box
  • 24 Wallball shots, 20 pound ball
  • 145 95 pound Clean, 24 reps

Mikko Salo 21:59, Kristan Clever 27:15 (185lb dead, 24" box, 16lb ball, 120lb bench, 100lb clean), Peter Egyed 28:28, Rebecca Voigt30:20 (185lb dead, 24" box, 16lb ball, 120lb bench, 100lb clean).

Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Adam Lee Brown, 36, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was killed on March 17th, 2010 in Komar Province, Afghanistan, in a battle against heavily armed militants. He is survived by his wife, Kelley, two children, Nathan and Savannah, and by his parents.

Scalings are again courtesy the fine folks over at CrossFit BrandX.

First few exercises were ok...it's always weird to be sucking heavy wind after deadlifts, but managed to get through the boxjumps and wallballs easily enough. However, I got tripped up on the bench presses.  As I've mentioned before (I think), we don't have a proper bench press bench, meaning each set of bench presses involves at least one hang power clean, then a sitting front squat (or whatever you want to call sitting on the bench under load, then lying down, and finally getting ready to "start" the exercise.)  Well, it turns out that 135# was a bit too much for all that. Managed to bang out about 12-13 presses when my right wrist started acting up. Rested a bit, tried for one more, and realized I wouldn't be able to finish with 135# on the bar.  Stopped for a bit, decided to drop it to the weight I would be using for the cleans later (have I mentioned that we only have the one "moderately good" barbell?), 95#.  Finished up the set with that, and was on to the rest of the first rounds box jumps and wall balls.

The cleans went pretty well, but by this point the oxygen thing was catching up with me, so those 24 reps ended up divided into sub-sets of 8-10-6 so I could try to keep my throat and lungs from catching fire.  After a short rest, slapped the extra 40# back on the bar for the deadlifts.  Split time on the first round was about 16 minutes.

Again, I was able to more or less power through the deadlifts, box jumps and wall-balls, but again got caught off by the bench presses.  At first, I just couldn't even clean the weight (more brain fatigue than strength, I think), and then couldn't keep it going rep after rep. I think the benches broke down into sub-sets of 4-6-6-6-2.  Not fun.

Back to the box jumps and wall-balls.  These were getting REALLY old by this point, and my ability to keep up with the oxygen debt was GONE.  Before each, I had to take a minute or two just to move from kneeling to standing without having *too* many spots in front of my eyes. 

And that brings us back to the 95# bar and cleans.  I'm not sure...I think I sat there trying to gear myself up for that final set at least 3-4 minutes.  After that, the set was broken up into 3s and 4s. No idea what the pattern was, just that I hit 24 fair and square, and threw in a push-press for good measure.

This killed me. Didn't know they had interwebz access in the afterlife, did you?

Total time: 42 minutes
Round 1 = 16 minutes
Round 2 = 26 minutes (kind of a fall-off there, no?) 

Monday, August 9, 2010

10-08-09: "SQT:" Barbell Ground to Overhead and Running

CrossFit WoD for August 9th, 2010

Three rounds for time of:

Dave Lipson 2:57, Rob Orlando 2:58, Eric Magee 3:07, Chris Spealler 3:19, Jason Leydon 3:32, Denise Thomas 3:35 (65lbs), James Hobart 3:48, Peter Egyed 3:50, Kristan Clever 5:27 (95lbs), Rebecca Voigt 5:40 (95lbs).

WOD Demo with Chris Spealler - video [wmv] [mov]
WOD Demo from Hybrid Athletics - video [wmv] [mov] (<-- highly recommended watching, includes Dave Lipson's and Rob Orlando's efforts)

Well, I was all set to do this one more or less as Rx'ed, when I got booted from the gym I was going to be running in.  So, with very limited space at my disposal, I opted to swap jump rope for the running, and made up an arbitrary amount of jumps to complete.  Adding in the double-unders really screwed my time, as I was completely unable to do ANY by the time round 3 rolled around! :S

A "Ground-to-overhead" is actually exactly what it sounds like. Get the barbell from the ground to lockout overhead however you can or want.  It can be a clean & jerk, a snatch, a power snatch, a continental clean & jerk... as long as by the end of the move or moves the weight is up on fully extended arms overhead, you did it!  Thankfully, 95# is well within my power snatch range, so that's what I opted to do.

Total Time: 8:15 

I definitely lost a lot of time struggling to get my double-unders going.  I think had I been running, I would have been able to get it down to at least 7 minutes (even stumbling, you can keep moving...repeatedly disentangling the rope from your feet when you can barely stand seems a lot harder).  You'll notice that's still more than a minute slower than even Rebecca Voight or Kristan Clever's times...at the same weight! There's a reason Kristan just got crowned 'Fittest Woman on the Plant' at last month's CrossFit Games!

Erica Kroon, CrossFit Boston - the Double-Under

Thursday, August 5, 2010

10-08-05: Rowing, Double-Unders, Back Extensions and Deadlifts

CrossFit WoD for August 5th, 2010

Three rounds for time of:
Graham Holmberg 14:04, Pat Barber 14:34, Jason Khalipa 14:55, Elyse Umeda 17:45 (20" Box, 155lbs), Karianne Dickson 17:53 (135lbs), Valerie Mackenzie-Voboril 18:33 (140lbs), Kim Malz 21:30 (145lbs), Laurie Galassi 21:56 (205lbs). Post time to comments.

Thing 1: Yup, shoulda scaled that deadlift weight down.  In being certain that 205# is about 70# below my max, it didn't occur to me that its probably 200-250# below the max of other, stronger CrossFitters, and that me lifting 80% of my max 60 times in one workout is NOT the same as Graham, Pat or Jason lifting 50% of their maxes.  So yeah, that was awful...

Swapped out the double-unders for the box jumps in the hopes they would be easier on the knees, and hopefully faster, too.  I'm sure they were easier...not so sure about faster.  Rowing splits went from 1:50 in the first round to 2:08 in the third.

Finished the entire first round in about 11 minutes, and felt like I was breathing warm oatmeal for every second after that.  Not sure of the split on the second round, and ended up racing the clock to the 40 minute mark during the final deadlifts.

Total Time: 39:45 (Nothing like a photo finish...no matter how old the nag and how slow the race!)
Proper starting form for the deadlift.

Today's music was provided by Dick Dale's Tribal Thunder, a downright amazing album! Thanks Dick! (For those who don't remember, he provided the opening track for Pulp Fiction, 'Miserlou.' Surf rock perfection!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

10-08-04: "Isabel" and some one-armed snatches

CrossFit WoD for July 29, 2010

For time:
Snatch 135 85 pounds, 30 reps

Use 95 pounds, 65 pounds or broomstick as needed. Miranda Oldroyd 2:13 (95lbs), Christopher Stowe 2:44, Rebecca Voigt 2:46 (95lbs), Mary Lampas 3:26 (95lbs), Kristan Clever 18:51 (135lbs). Post time and load to comments.

 Note that both links in the exercise description go to two different videos of two different unbelievable athletes just STORMING through this workout, Dave Lipson and Josh Everett. Oh look, there's those links again!

Still being unsure of my Olympic lifts, having never (yet) been coached at them, I decided on a bit of scaling for this one.  I wanted a fast time for a benchmark, which I could then shoot to maintain as weight gets added over time.  So, I decided to just work with 85# on the barbell.  Seemed like it would be a bit of work...

After cranking up the Amon Amarth track "Fate of Norns," I made sure I finished before the song was over. I started banging out power snatches (no squats, no splits) with 85# on the bar. Did 15 reps unbroken, and then did 3 sets of 5 with short breaks in between, usually two deep breaths and whatever time it took me to get my grip reset.

Total Time: 2:30

Not gonna lie, I was really stoked by that time.  Is it 90 seconds slower than Lipson's time above, or Everett's sub-minute record (not shown in the video above, unfortunately)? You bet your sweet  bippy it is, but its also way better than the 5 minutes I was terrified of getting with such scaled weights.  We're talking about me throwing less than half my body-weight overhead.  For Lipson and Everett, they did this with around 60-70% bodyweight, and you'd better believe that's a big difference!

The funny thing about such a short, intense effort is the way you start drowning in sweat about a minute after you're done! So, I climbed on the exercise bike, with its magical built-in fan, and pedaled for 7 minutes just to get the blood moving.  Realizing that I had maybe scaled the weights too much, I eyed that 85# bar.  And thought back to yet another video from the CrossFit demo page... John Warnek doing this workout...one handed.  I eyed the bar again...then I walked over and addressed the bar.

About our bar: it's a true piece of crap.  35#. Maybe. (Standard bars are 45#, with options for lighter weight if needed/wanted.  In this case, the 10# is neither needed nor wanted.)  It's about 5 feet long.  Standard bars are usually 7'.  This not only spreads the weight out further, it allows for wider grips, especially on things like snatches.  You know, what I did... today.  In addition to the short grip area, the knurling (ie, the etched-in grip on the bar itself) was apparently done with a chainsaw. If this thing *touches* your leg on a snatch, clean or deadlift, you'll be bleeding. Guaranteed.  However, the shorter area in which to put the knurling means they left the center knurl-less.  Yup, my great idea was about to get harder...no grip on the bar in the middle. Yay!

So, I'm addressing our Dollar Tree bar, and I reach down with my right-hand, and grasp the middle of it. I set my stance as well as I know how, and I fire that bar overhead, and find its REALLY hard to balance a barbell overhead one-handed, but I lock it out, and complete my first 85# one-armed power snatch. Personal record and all!

Well, I decided that 5 per arm would make a nice cap to Isabel.  So, that's what I did.  I actually failed out 3 times on my third left arm attempt (left was waaaaay harder than the right...probably mostly a mental thing, or a grip thing, or something...), but otherwise, completed the other 9 lifts.  Now that was an impressive workout! (Man, I hope I can use my arms tomorrow...this may have murdered my shoulders!)
I'm aiming to be the next Tony Terlazzo.  Or something...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

10-08-03: Double-Unders and Wallball 2-for-1s

CrossFit WoD for August 2nd, 2010

Three rounds for time of:
(Scaling courtesy the fine folks at CrossFit BrandX.  See my previous post regarding the importance of quality scaling...)

So, for those of you who read this, you know I've been having some on-going knee soreness, located primarily in the patellar tendon (front of the knee, under the knee cap).  Well, my guess is that earlier this year, I beat the crap out of my legs with lots and lots and LOTS of good-intentioned box jumps and jump-roping.  Its no coincidence that this condition is usually referred to as 'Jumper's Knee.'  Part of the problem is definitely my too-tight hamstrings, since stretching them radically lessens the soreness at the knees.  However, to facilitate healing, I've made a point of NOT re-aggravating the soreness...at least not on purpose.  Occasionally though, I do like to suck it up and bang it out.  One of the possible (I hope...) upshots of this approach is that by triggering a little more possible damage, I also stimulate the body to further heal the existing damage.  The tendons are NOT well supplied by blood, so they don't heal nearly as well as muscles do, and there is a fair body of literature out there recommending this approach.  I like it, because I don't need to be quite so patient in waiting forever to heal. :S  We'll see what happens.

As for the workout, something awesome happened today... I started being able to string double-unders!  Whereas in the past, I was able to occasionally put together two or three without needing to do a basic bounce (or 3) to set-up, today I had 22 in the second round, plus 15s and 10s in each of the others!  I'm not sure I was breathing during that accomplishment, since each string of double-unders was followed by me heroically gulping for breath... but still!  The Wallball "2-fer-1"s were a bit more complex than singles, but weren't actually that tough.  Definitely the easier part of the workout for me...but I'm sure if I had full control over the rope, the two efforts would have been more equal.

Total time: 12:10

Other than the time to recover from actually stringing together the double-unders, I felt like I really stormed through this one.  Honestly, the unstrung double-unders took up the most time, and resetting after repeatedly whipping myself in the shins with a VERY fast rope! :S  OK, gonna go stretch out my hamstrings in the name of helping to avoid crippling knee pain! Wish me luck!

Monday, August 2, 2010

10-08-02: Squat-clean thrusters and Pull-Ups

CrossFit WoD for August 1st, 2010

Five rounds for time of:
James Hobart 3:57, Rob Orlando 3:58, Dave Lipson 3:59, Josh Everett 4:15, Ben Bergeron 4:45, Eric Magee 4:54, Graham Holmberg 5:24, Myles Lewis 5:45, Pat Sherwood 5:50, Stacey Kroon 6:10 (95lbs), Heather Bergeron 6:38 (95lbs), Karianne Dickson 7:33 (95lbs), Kim Malz 8:33 (95lbs).

First things first, today was an exercise in my occasional complete and total inability to correctly scale a workout.  In this case, though the weight itself wasn't *that* much of an issue, the movement itself was. though I think my form on the squat clean thrusters was pretty good, it was a new movement pattern, especially the squat clean, which meant that instead of just focusing on moving weight, I was more concerned with figuring out the moves.  Not a smart plan under fairly heavy weights.  In a more relaxed scenario (ie, not on my lunch break) I would have hopefully warmed up the movement a lot, first with an empty bar, then slowly adding weight up to the work sets.  Nope.

Even worse, just this weekend i was congratulating myself for not needing to visit the  CrossFit Brand X forums lately to find out the 'official scaling' for the WoDs. I could have probably saved myself a lot of time and effort.  Look again at the posted times above. Firebreathers coming in at sub-4 minute times, up through about 10 minutes.  With some decent scaling, I should have been targeting at least the slower end of that range.  My time?

Total Time: 27 minutes

And it was even a little bit scaled down.  Here's the breakdown of what I *actually* did.  First of all, starting weight was only 125#. Since our bar is 10# shy, instead of just needing two 45# plates on a 45# bar to equal the Rx'ed 135#, I should have had two 5# plates, one per side, to get me up to proper weight.  I was *just* smart enough to know that the final 10# were not going to be the problem.  I gutted it out for the first round, doing pull-ups on the frame of the Smith Machine (still the only known use for that pile of crap.)  Started the second round knowing that I was in trouble at 125#.  I could do the thruster portion ok, at least for 5 reps, but the squat clean to start things off was dicey.  Decided to try to keep the 125# on the bar, and made it through the five reps.  Pull-ups took a LOT longer for the second round.

After spending a good amount of time convincing myself to not quit right then and there, I swapped the 45# plates for 35#s, bringing the total down to 105#.  This was where I should have started, if not even further down at 95#.  The squat cleans started coming together, and my depth heading into the thruster was awesome...with the help of the weight, I was actually getting all the way down into the hole, rather than having my thighs end up just above parallel.  The thrusters coming out of the bottom were therefor full range, which felt pretty good...in between greying out between reps. :D

Even slower pull-ups for the 3rd round.

I decided I was maybe going to shave off the pull-ups from the final two rounds, and just do the weight work.  Did a set of 5, caught my breath, and did the final set of 5 squat clean thrusters. At this point, I could have quit, with a fairly clean conscience.  The time was already 20 minutes, I had already screwed up the point of what should have been a fairly short, VERY intense met-con workout (metabolic conditioning, which more or less equals cardio turned up to 11), and I was freaking exhausted.  However, with the help of our gravitron knock-off, I made up the 4th round's worth of pull-ups with 50# weight assist, and the final round of 10 with 70# of weight assist.

Oh yeah, I don't think my chest hit a bar even once today.  Certainly not on the pull-ups...

So overall, though I'm proud of the amount of work I did, and more or less learning a new movement for throwing weights around, I think I pretty much jumped the shark as far as performing this workout as intended, much less as prescribed.  But, this just makes me more eager to get it right next time, and has taught me a lesson about not being so damn sure that i don't need any help or direction.  Of course I do...we all do, from time to time!

Plus, I had the wrong playlist on.  Yeah, it was cool to hear the occasional cool flashback from the late 90s (Royal Crown Revue, Blind Man's Sun, etc, the random live Ani DiFranco and Sarah McLachlan tracks were NOT what I needed to get my inspiration on. There's a reason my workout playlist is filled with metal, death metal, and viking metal.  And that reason may have something to do with the metal. Who can say?