Thursday, September 30, 2010

10-09-30: "Ryan"

CrossFit WoD for September 30th, 2010

"Ryan" (aka My Worst Workout Ever*)
Five Three rounds for time of:
  • 7 5 Muscle-ups (subbed 2x pull-ups and dips)
  • 21 15 Burpees
Pat Barber 11:22, Kristan Clever 11:47, Austin Malleolo 12:20, Graham Holmberg 12:37.
Austin Malleolo on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]

Each burpee terminates with a jump one foot above max standing reach.

Enlarge image
Maplewood, Missouri Firefighter Ryan Hummert, 22, was killed by sniper fire July 21st 2008 when he stepped off his fire truck responding to a call. He is survived by his parents Andrew and Jackie Hummert.

Bar muscle-ups. What I'd like to be able to do on our craptastic equipment. So far, no love.  Pictures taken from the infinitely useful site. That guy puts a ton of love and care into his articles and posts, and is highly recommended.  OK, so I can't do what he's doing up there, so I decided to sub 2 pull-ups and dips for each Rx'ed muscle-up, so 10 each per round.  Ugh, having just hit shoulders pretty hard yesterday, and still being sort of sore from Monday, it was a miserable sub.  Then, adding in the push-up portion of the burpees?  Awful, just awful.

*On top of that, I was blessed with the presence, about 45 seconds in, of a freshman high-school class being taught the wrong ways to use the equipment, so now I was not only sore and miserable, but also completely distracted by the track coach (Long Slow Distance all the time) preaching poor technique on useless machines.  After having to wait to get back on the gravitron rip-off, then repeatedly getting tripped over while trying to do burpees, I gave up after 3 rounds.  It was about 90 degrees and 110% humidity, and with everything else, I just couldn't even begin to muster a real effort to honor a fallen hero like Ryan.  All in all, a waste of a workout, and an absolutely terrible Hero WoD. Next time.  Next time.

Total time for 3 rounds: @13 minutes.

Musical accompaniment (til I had to turn it down): Brad Paisley


PlayStart a Band (with Keith Urban)

Also featured (but not apparently available on youtube...):
Hey Mr. Police Man
uh...some others... :S

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10-09-29: "Jack"

CrossFit WoD for September 29th, 2010
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:

Mikko Salo 18 rounds + 10 PP, Kristan Clever 15 rounds (85lb, 1 pood, 24"), Chris Gosler 14 rounds + 3 KB, Chris Spealler 14 rounds + 5 PP, Rebecca Voigt 13 rounds + 5 PP (85lb, 1 pood, 24"), Stacey Kroon 10 rounds + 3 KB (85lb, 1.5 pood, 24"), Kim Malz 10 rounds (80lb, 1 pood, 24").


Army Staff Sgt. Jack M. Martin III, 26, of Bethany, Oklahoma, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Wash., died September 29th, 2009, in Jolo Island, Philippines, from the detonation of an improvised explosive device. Martin is survived by his wife Ashley Martin, his parents Jack and Cheryl Martin, and siblings Abe, Mandi, Amber and Abi.

Warmed up with basic bounce and running jump-rope, followed by active warm-ups. Spent some time trying to see if I could do this workout actually IN the gym, rather than out in the hallway.  I guess I got lucky, because the extreme fug of high-school boys built up in the ventless room again, and it was much nicer out in my lonely hallway!

So, this workout was clearly a medium-long length met-con blaster... I figured that in my current shape, I'd be lucky to get 10 rounds.  Turns out even that was a bit optimistic, though I felt I was going as fast as I humanly could the whole time.  I'd love to see a video of Mikko bombing through this...that must have been a sight to see.  Hell, any of the others listed up there, too!
Push press - force is started from the dip and drive in the legs, finished by the arms. (
Perfect form for the dumbbell swing. I <3 this picture! (
Oddly, just about every muscle is involved in box-jumps, especially the core. (
So, first few rounds took about 1:15 each... then 1:30... then, holy crap, 3 minutes! Of course, that included the time spent huffing, puffing, sweating, and trying to convince myself it would be ok to quit early.  I'm glad I was able to ignore that voice, but irritated it was still there.  I guess that'll be sort of a lifelong battle.  Well, ok then.

Total Rounds Completed in 20 minutes: 8

Unfortunately, I was so gassed by the end that you could actually say I did that in 18:45, I just didn't have enough left in the tank to pick the bar up again.  I would have LOVED to put up a few extra reps, but just couldn't.  The very last round of push-presses had started to really tweak my right forearm and wrist, and in the fatigue and "need-to-quit" state, I just couldn't (read: wouldn't) pick it up again.  After resting for a bit, I tried a few more push-presses and it was fine.  So. Yeah.  Stupid brain.

Musical accompaniment:

Monday, September 27, 2010

10-09-27: Deadlifts and Pushups, and a Pull-Up Ladder, Too

CrossFit Workout for September 27th, 2010
Ten seven rounds for time of:
  • 135 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
  • 15 push-ups
Chris Spealler 6:45, Karianne Dickson 9:59 (95lbs). My scaling courtesy of the fine folks over at CrossFit BrandX.

20 minutes later:

CrossFit Workout for September 26th, 2010
With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute... continuing as long as you are able.
Use as many sets each minute as needed.
Score is number of minutes completed.

The deadlift. Using every single muscle in your body. (

Perfect push-up form. Again, full body control. (
 First things first: the deadlift is a terrifying lift.  It seems so simple, and yet so easy to do wrong.  Basically, done right, it makes you hold your lower back in a rigid arch, and the work you do is putting weight on that rigidly held structure. There is no curling, no ballistics.  Just hanging a weight off the end of the spine held in rigid extension.  Done correctly, its probably the safest, most basic movement the human frame is capable of: pick something up.  Do it wrong, with a back NOT held in rigid extension, and you're hanging that weight off of the various soft tissues that your spinal erectors should have been holding, subjecting your spine to terrible shearing forces, and putting you in grave danger of a serious injury. (Well, theoretically. It's a testament to how awesome the human body really is that there are not more injuries from poor technique.  Still, why take the risk, and why accidentally avoid the work the exercise is *supposed* to be creating for you?)

So, with that in mind, the Mark "Coach Rip" Rippetoe video series on proper deadlift form:
  • Deadlift Alignment Part 1 [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Alignment Part 2 [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Anatomy [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Arm Position Lecture Clip [mov][wmv]
  • Deadlift Back Angle [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Setup [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Starting Angles [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Starting Position Intro [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Cues, Pat Sherwood [wmv][mov]
  • Deadlift Intro Lecture Clip [wmv][mov]
Push-ups and pull-ups oughtta be easy enough. We'll revisit pull-ups when we get there.  So, while moderating the weight-room, I was happy to have a single position couplet to perform, since there is NO mobility to move from station to station in a small weight room jam packed with useless machines and 30 stinky high school boys.  Took the barbell, weights, and mat out into the hallway and got myself set-up.  I knew going in that trying to do all 10 rounds as Rxed would be insane, and opted on the full-weight, full-rep version of CrossFit BrandX's scaling.  There was another variation of only doing 10 reps of each exercise each round for ten rounds, but doing it my way gave me five extra reps.  I didn't want to scale the deadlift weight, even though 135# to Chris Spealler would have been more like 85# to me.  Meh. So, cranked through the first 3 rounds at about a minute a that point, Speller was already annihilating me! After that, things started slowing down rapidly.  I tried to keep sets unbroken, but by the 5th round, that was just beyond me. The weight never really got heavy...I just couldn't breath!  At least I was out in the hallway.  In the weight-room it was easily 15 degrees hotter, and 100% humid (and stinky).  Its bad when the mirrors are all opaque with fog...  Fought my way through the last few rounds.  The last two were easily 2-3 minutes each. At this point, I realized I still had another 45 minutes down there with the little beasties.  The weight-room itself was starting to clear out, the mirrors were slowly starting to un-fug.  Remembering that the previous day's workout was "just" a pull-up ladder, I decided to rest up for a few more minutes, probably 15 total, and do that workout, too!  I've been experimenting with really full-extension pull-ups, really dropping all the way down to total rock-bottom, so I tried to do those for this workout.  Being the second of the day, and with my forearms already shot from the first workout, I honestly wasn't too optimistic about going for more than 10 rounds, at best.  And not being the best at pull-ups, it wasn't going to break my heart either way.
OK, this is a kipping pull-up. But its one of my favorite pull-up pictures of all time! (
So, I started up the clock, and started banging out pull-ups. Man, the first 4 minutes are so easy.  Even the 5th minute, not too bad.  The 6th was a wake-up call, when I could only complete 4 reps at first.  Switched grip to chin-ups (palms facing me) and did the last 2 reps, also full extension.  Things went downhill very rapidly.  7th minute involved three sets, and the 8th involved 4, with the last one coming at about the :56 second mark for the minute. I could maybe have pulled out one or two more reps in the final minute, but decided that, for an impromptu second workout, I could be happy with 8 minutes! Today's musical inspiration: 2 Many DJs - As Heard on Radio Soulwax, Part 1.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

10-09-21: Kettlebell Swings and remedial rowing (again!)

CrossFit Football WoD for September 21, 2010
One Minute On...One Minute Off...for 10 minutes.
 - 30 KB Swings - 2 1.5 pood (55# dumbbell)
  • You have 1 minute to get 30 KB swings. If you do not get 30 KB Swings in 1 minute, count a penalty. 
  • Perform this workout one minute on and one minute off. Total time is 10 minutes. 
  • For every penalty counted, perform a 1000 meter row.
GoFit 45-Pound Black Kettlebell Kit
Annie shows great technique. (
Five minutes of work, total?  How hard could that be? Especially with a slightly scaled weight?

Round 1 2 3 4 5
Reps 30 30 30 26 28

Yup, for all my bravado, I ended up having to row another 2K the day after doing 2K in 500m sprints. Needless to say, it really really sucked. There Joe, is that enough complaining for you?! My hands and arms are SHOT from this back to back brutality, and can I say a little something about my back about to explode after doing 144 heavy kettlebell swings in 5 minutes?!

10-09-20: Rowing Intervals

Four rounds for time of:
  • Row 500 meters
  • Rest 3 minutes
Austin Malleolo 1:28.2, 1:27.0, 1:28.5, 1:29.1
Graham Holmberg 1:31.0, 1:33.1, 1:34.5, 1:34.4
Rob Orlando 1:27.8, 1:34.8, 1:37.3, 1:38.2
Kim Malz 2:00.1, 2:02.0, 2:00.5, 2:00.2

Rowing. More fun when it's not just you in a basement. (
Check out for a ton of great rowing videos HERE.

Times: 1:37.4 (PR), 1:45.8, 1:48.8, 1:49.1
Strokes/minute: 37, 36, 36, 37
This was truly painful.  I decided to go as strong as possible in the first round, not knowing how much recovery I would get over the three minutes of rest.  Easily set a new personal record for the 500m.  Usually, my times are much closer to my time on the second round, so I guess that's a good thing.  Oddly enough, each time the 3 minutes felt too long, until the 3rd or 4th stroke on the next round, when all those quick-depleting stores of energy proved that they had not quite recovered yet.  Reading a textbook on physiology and exercise, and the first chapter was all about energy stores, so my changing exhaustion during the course of the workout was actually very interesting... when I could catch my breath!

This was the first workout of the school year with the students around.  Fortunately, I was only on one machine tucked back in the corner, so I wasn't in anyone's way, and even better, they weren't in mine!  While coaching a fellow faculty/staff athlete through her Crossfit Endurance workout; I got in some good cool-down time on the stationary bike (with built-in fan...aahhhhhh), then did some basic bodyweight work.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

3 full-hang strict pull-ups
3 full-range strict dips
3 L-sit pull-ups, strict (legs not touching ground between reps)

3 full-hang strict pull-ups, 20# weight vest
3 full-range strict dips, 20# weight vest
3 L-sit pull-ups, strict, 20# weight vest (failure on 3rd rep)

That marks the MOST strict pull-ups I think I've ever done (that said, with our pull-up station, all pull-ups are "mostly" strict, since there isn't room to kip without bashing your knees or hips into the dip handles, but I mean really dropping to full extension, then slowly starting the pull-up), and it felt pretty good.  My arms and shoulders were pretty beat up from the weekend (more battles with monster ivy, and toting around a sick toddler on Sunday, all day long), and they started to remind me how stupid I was to be pulling stuff like that...but what the hell. I had time to kill, the machine was open, and the L-sits were the first useful work the rotten Smith machine did all day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

10-09-17: Heavy Thrusters, Pull-ups, Dips

CrossFit WoD for Friday, September 17th, 2010
Three rounds, 9-6-and 3 reps, for time of:

  • 165# 105# barbell Thrusters
  • Muscle-Up (2 pull-ups, 2 dips)

    Rob Orlando 2:44, Austin Malleolo 3:17, Graham Holmberg 3:41, Peter Egyed 3:54, Pat Sherwood 4:05, Mike McKenna 4:12, Heather Bergeron 5:29 (115#), Miranda Oldroyd 6:44 (115#)

    WOD Demo with Miranda Oldroyd - video [wmv] [mov]
    Rob Orlando and Mike McKenna on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
    Austin Malleolo on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
    Peter Egyed on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
    Pat Sherwood on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]

    Annie demonstrates an AMAZING thruster technique. (
    Nicole Carroll demonstrates a muscle-up, which I can not do. (
    Warning: Here there be MASSIVE scaling.  The basic concept of this workout appears to be a very heavy version of that CrossFit chestnut, "Fran."  However, I still don't have a muscle-up, and have NEVER put that much weight overhead (I don't think... possible I might have with something like a power-snatch).  So, I opted to scale it back.  Still heavier than my usual thruster weight (75-85#), so an added 540# (more or less) total to the workout.  Not shabby.  Opted to only do 2 each pull-ups and dips for each Rx'ed muscle-up, otherwise the workout would have been more about the fantastic number of pull-ups and dips, rather than the triplet of the three movements.

    Total Time: 8:20
    (Splits: 3:15, 3:00, 2:05)

    Musical accompaniment: Hank Williams III (kick-assed rebel country with a punk sensibility. Oh HELL'S yes!)
    The Grand Ol' Opry (Ain't So Grand)

    Nighttime Ramblin' Man

    Not Everybody Likes Us(You can youtube the rest yourselves...he's awesome!)
    Cecil Brown
    Mary F'ing Jane
    Candidate for Suicide
    Life of Sin
    10 Feet Down
    H8 Line
    Blue Devil
    Lookin' For a Mountain
    Low Down
    Drinkin' Over Mama

    (As you can see, the music was not just for the workout, but for whole time I was in the gym. Changing, warm-up, set-up, work-out, cool-down, and changing again.)

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    10-09-16: "Kelly"

    CrossFit WoD for September 15, 2010
    Five rounds for time of:

    • Run 400 meters
    • 30 Box jump, 24" 18" box
    • 30 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
    Kim Malz 32:57 (24" box, 14lb ball).

    Eva shows how it should be done. (

    Yeah, my box wasn't nearly this high. Nice! (

    3 kids learning wallball from a master...and probably able to kick MY butt! (
    Put on some good tunes, and started grinding it out.  Opted to keep the box jumps, despite the fact that I know they kill my knees, but tried to mitigate the damage by stepping down after each jump, rather than jumping down.  It slowed me down, and hopefully kept me from way overloading the tendons/ligaments...again.  Active warm-up to get going, and then hit it.  Had to use the evil treadmill, usually set around 8.6 mph, 0 incline.  What kept slowing me down, each and every time, was breathing.  Any rests I had to take (and they were many) was to catch my breath a little bit.  Not sure if I'll eventually get better at working through oxygen depletion, or if my overall efficiency at cycling out CO2 will go up or what...but I can't wait for it to happen!

    Total Time: 34:22

    Musical selections from today's workout:

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    10-09-14: "Helton"

    CrossFit WoD for September 10th, 2010

    Three Two rounds for time of:
    • Run 800 600 meters
    • 50 35# Dumbbell squat cleans, 30 20 reps
    • 30 20 Burpees
    Lots of scaling. Planned on doing all three rounds, until reality started to destroy my ability to stand.

    Graham Holmberg 27:49 (53lb kettlebells).
    U.S. Air Force Security Forces 1st Lt. Joseph D. Helton, 24, of Monroe, Ga., assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., was killed September 8th, 2009, while on a mission near Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Helton is survived by his mother, Jiffy Helton.

    "I feel terrible!" - Han Solo
    Yeah, this one just kicked my ass coming and going. I decided to go for a 2/3rd scaling on each event, and realized very quickly that even that might have been a bit ambitious.  I just really hate running and burpees, I guess.  Most of the snatches devolved into power snatches, but I did end up working in a partial squat as I fatigued, since I couldn't actually power the weights all the way up anyways.  To quote (or more likely paraphrase) the great Mike Burgener: "A squat snatch is nothing more than a missed power snatch." Man, did I ever prove that today.  Yikes.

    Total Time: 23:45
    Round splits: 8:40, 23:45 (yup, 2nd round was nearly 2x as long as the first...that's not good!)

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    10-09-09: "Fran"

    CrossFit WoD for September 9, 2010

    Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of:
    Graham Holmberg 2:17, Kristan Clever 2:49 (65lbs), Mel Ockerby 2:59 (65lbs), Heather Bergeron 3:10 (65lbs), Miranda Oldroyd 3:19 (65lbs), Kim Malz 3:45 (65lbs), Rebecca Voigt 3:58 (65lbs), Elyse Umeda 6:08 (95lbs).

    WOD Demo with Miranda Oldroyd - video [wmv] [mov]
    Graham Holmberg on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
    Heather Bergeron and Mel Ockerby on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]

    Brilliant discussion of thrusters, and why they suck so much. (
    Pull-ups. Probably far better than I can do them! (
    So. Fran.  An old CrossFit benchmark.  And man does it ever suck.  I'm writing this the next day, because I was too broken by the experience to write about it too soon. Oh yeah, and I was swamped at work. That might have had something to do with it, too! :S

    Went into this feeling pretty good.  Excellent warm-up (jump-rope, active stretching), plus some extra hip capsule work courtesy Kelly Starret's excellent Mobility WoD site (link goes directly to an MWoD designed for Fran...awesome!)  Cranked up the Slash solo album and went to work.  Decided to go with 85# on the bar.  Which was dumb.  As always, my inability to scale a workout to "doable" levels left me crushed by the amount of power output required.  I banged out probably 15-16 thrusters in my first attempt, then held onto the bar while I caught my breath a little. That would be the last "unbroken" set of the day.

    Pull-ups were, as ever, a massive pain in my ass. Managed 7 in my first attempt.  That would also be a high for the day.  After that, it was just a matter of trying to grind out 5...or 4...or 3...or 2, to try to finish the actual set. Sometime in the 3rd set, my shoulders were actually getting very fried, so that was broken down into sets of 2.

    Total Time: 12:10 (Split times: 3:10; 8:20, 12:10)

    Lessons: As my bodyweight keeps dropping, pull-ups (and all other body-weight exercises) ought to get easier, and within reason, they have.  However, my metabolic conditioning (aka cardio, but better known as power stamina) is still utter crap.  At some point, I plan on incorporating some CrossFit Endurance workout to start really fixing that gaping hole.  While a workout like Fran addresses that short-coming too, my guess is that my cardio is *so* bad that I'm not getting the most effect from Fran. If you're resting, you're not working, and if you're not working, you are NOT working the three metabolic pathways (more on this later...basically, traditional cardio ("Long Slow Distance" or LSD) only targets one pathway, ignoring the other two completely.  So, I need to really increase that capacity so as to be able to sustain power output better without having my craptastic inability to breathe be the main roadblock.  We shall see...updates as and when they occur!

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    10-09-07: Rowing, Front Squats, GHD Sit-ups, Box Jumps

    CrossFit WoD for September 7th, 2010

    Five three rounds for time of:

    Scaling inspired by the fine folks at CrossFit BrandX

    Jason Khalipa 14:03, Chris Spealler 14:29, Kristan Clever 14:59 (95lbs, 20" box), Rory McKernan 15:27, Peter Egyed 16:24, Elyse Umeda 16:35 (95lbs, 20" box), Kim Malz 22:44 (105lbs, 24" box).

    Lotsa rowers. I want one. ( 

    Awesome front squat technique and depth. (

    GHD Sit-up demo. Entire anterior (front) chain needs to contract to whip the
    upper body all the way up. This does NOT isolate abs or hip flexors,
    but uses the whole set of muscles together. (
    Much MORE than 20" box jump! (

    Total Time: 16:40

    I forgot the fan I bring down into the airless sweatbox I work out in, and I realized after the second round that I couldn't really slow down my breathing or heart-rate at all. Decided to try plowing through round 3, and really thought I was going to pass out, so capped it there.

    Opted to leave the box jumps in, since replacing them with double-unders always seems to leave me in worse shape than if I just risk my knees and go for it.  I tried to be *super* aware of my landings, and my initial post-workout soreness is very minimal, so hopefully that maintains.  If not: ADVIL!!!

    I had a fairly rough week, nutrition-wise between my last workout (a week ago! EGADS!) and today, so I wasn't really surprised that I was feeling a bit sluggish. I was also up way too late last night, partially making my zone shake for the morning commute, and partially finishing a great Scientific American article.  Should have just read it on the commute.  Oh well...

    I felt strong on the rowing, the front squats were full depth, and I had some mixed success getting the bar to rest on the front of the delts, as shown so amazingly in the picture over there on the left.  The weight should NOT be riding on your hands/wrists/elbows, since those structures will absorb some of the energy out of the squat, rather than directing it straight to the bar as the delts do, especially in active flexion. So that was pretty cool. GHD sit-ups were what they were.  I think every set was broken up into 10 and 5 reps, since at about 9 reps, my hips felt like they were gonna explode. I think in a good way, and I suppose I could have tried to fight through it, but with my lungs about to explode from the rowing and squats, it really wasn't that big a deal.