Friday, October 29, 2010

10-10-29: Wall-balls, GHD Sit-Ups, Back Extensions

CrossFit WoD for Friday, October 29th, 2010
Complete as many rounds as possible 20 minutes of:
Austin Malleolo 16 rounds + 10 wall ball, Karianne Dickson 15 rounds (14lb ball),  Kim Malz 11 rounds + 8 shots (20lb ball).

Austin Malleolo on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]

Brandon showing the full range of motion for a good wall ball. (
Notice the rigid legs, allowing both quads and abs to contribute to a proper GHD sit-up. Isolation is for steroid-mongers. (
Hang down vertically, then hit this position. Repeat. (
Started out with the sorest, tightest calves I've had in recent memory. Thanks, 5K from yesterday! So, after a very thorough warm-up and active stretching, I got myself set for today's particular brand of hell. Upshot is that the place where I put the chair (for squat depth...and it might be a little high, but lower than I would go without a guide) is very close to the GHD.  Unfortunately, the GHD is squeezed between our not-a-Gravitron and the rotten leg-extension/curl machine, so once fatigue kicks in, maneuvering on and off the thing is a pain in the ass, nevermind the fact that its raised up 6-8 inches for no reason, requiring the placement of a dumbbell on end on the floor to act as a target.  In other words:

Yeah, I'll get over it. Wasn't too bad until the last 2-3 rounds, when I seriously did have some trouble negotiating my way in and out of the GHD without killing myself.

I was averaging about 1:30 per round (which seems super long, even for the later rounds, but I realized later that I was shooting WAAAAY high on the wall for the wall-balls, so each rep takes quite a bit longer, plus time to edge around into the GHD, then back out of it afterwards. Bah, see the picture right above.

Total rounds: 9 + 10 wallballs.

I had to stop before round 7, I think, to stretch my back and hamstrings, both of which were definitely starting to lock up badly.  It got me through the rest of the workout, but I was completely shot, back-wise, for a few hours afterwards.  I betcha tomorrow is gonna be fun!  I've had to stop to stretch legs a few times this afternoon, and calves every chance I get.  Hopefully it helps!

Musical accompaniment:
Alice in Chains - Man in the Box (<--- Hey!)
Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side
Metallica - My Friend of Misery
Iron Maiden - Aces High
DragonForce - Operation Ground and Pound
Amon Amarth - Valhalla Awaits Me
a few others. Not a bad mix!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10-10-28: 5K

CrossFit WoD for Thursday October 28, 2010

Run 5K
Austin Malleolo 20:01, Karianne Dickson 21:07, Heather Bergeron 22:10.

The Pose running technique demonstrated. I'm still learning the body position and physiology of this. (

After several days of rain in the big city, I thought it better to stay inside and rock this one on the treadmills. What a dope. Learned while walking across the park after work that it was BONE dry, and a lovely day, and that I probably missed the last good day for a run for the rest of the year.  Poop.

So, yadda yadda yadda, got the treadmill set-up with a 5K run, started running, all fore-foot striking and all, and managed to sail along for several minutes at a setting of 7.6, which is basically my fastest distance speed that doesn't require actually stopping the damn thing every 2-3 minutes to keep from dying. (ie, 8 is really not much fun at all...).  At some point, I went to pause it so I could adjust something, hit enter on the treadmill by accident, realized it was about to start up, hit pause, and it killed the entire session.

Double poop.

The last thing I had seen was 6:xx elapsed, and 2.3 miles remaining.  So, I got myself set, and steeled myself for the remaining distance.  About 1.5 miles in, I noticed a warmth developing in my shoes, a familiar warmth. True to form, regardless of footwear or running speed, I was developing blisters on both feet, right between the big toe and the big pad on the foot.  Every damn time.  At this point, I was doing intervals, trying to keep to .4 miles at 7.6, then .1 at 4 (a brisk walk).  With one full stop for a sip of water, I managed to keep the intervals the whole way through. I had fantasized early about sprinting out the end of the workout, but in reality, I was really happy just to still be cranking along at 7.6, and not at something slower, like 6.5, or that lovely walking speed...or slower.

I currently have pretty big blisters on both feet, and am about to do some research on preventing this crap in the future. It hurts, and it makes me walk like a saddle-sore cowboy. I am NOT a fan.  I felt pretty good about my total time for the run... I think this involved less walking than usual, and its far superior to the DNF I racked up the last time a 5K was called (but I was also struggling a lot more with the old patellar tendonitis back then, so no real surprises there.)

Total (approx.) time: 27 minutes.

10-10-27: Squat snatches, dips and knees-to-elbows

CrossFit WoD for Wednesday October 27th, 2010
Complete as many rounds as possible 20 minutes of:
  • 95# 75# Squat snatch, 10 reps (great video for technique and pointers)
  • 10 Ring dips (shoulders dip below elbows at bottom, full extension at the top)
  • 10 Knees to elbows (full hang at bottom, knees up to elbows at top...a sit-up on steroids laced with angel dust...)
Austin Malleolo 10 rounds + 2 snatch, Dave Lipson 9 rounds, Karianne Dickson 8 rounds + 4 dips (65lbs).
Austin Malleolo on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]

Eva T. demonstrating the difference in height for receiving the bar in the squat and split snatches. (
Greg A. showing what the dips *should* have looked like (ie. with rings...) (
Eva T. demonstrating knees-to-elbows. Full body pain right there. (
Another shared session with the students.  Unfortunately for me, the best place for doing the knees-2-elbows is on the frame of the evil Smith machine, but it was in constant use for not-squats and not-bench-presses.  I've tried discussing ideas like range of motion with them, apparently to no avail yet.  I'll keep trying. If we had more freeweights, I might even try harder to make them give up their precious Smith machine altogether, but since we have only the one bar, and I like to use it... I don't try too hard. :S

Since one of the fine lads (actually one of the better weight-lifters) was using almost all the weights for squats of nearly full depth, I was left to scrounge up a few 10# plates to throw on my 35# bar. 4 of them later, I had my 75# snatch bar.  I actually wanted more, but it turned out that 75# was more than enough.  Though my legs, back and arms all took a beating on this workout, it turns out it really targeted the crap out of my grip, and a heavier weight would have been nearly impossible after about the 3rd round.

I ended up experimenting with different bar reception positions, and learned that my favorite is actually the split snatch...probably from watching Josh Everett do a crap-ton of them in the CrossFit Games 2008 movie.  I didn't realize at the time what Eva T.'s picture above reveals: a split snatch has a higher receiving position, which means that with heavier weights, you actually need to do a LOT more work to get the bar up the extra few inches into a solid catch.  At 75#, I could pretty much power snatch it, so the few inches weren't an issue. It'll be something to look out for on a heavier squat workout, though.  I have still have a lot of work to do on my squat snatch positioning and comfort in and out of the bottom position, but the middle of a MetCon is no place to worry too much about that!

The dips were done on our hideous excuse for a gravitron (aka The Nut-Buster), which actually weren't too bad. I can never seem to get the width of the bars where I want them. Somewhere, a tiny violin is playing the world's saddest song for me. I then did the K2Es on the same torture device, facing out.  This presents several difficulties:
  • If you lean back at all when your legs come up, you crack your head on the bottom of the monstrous pull-up arm assembly.
  • When you drop your legs, your momentum will carry SOME part of your body into the nut-busters, so you have to choose carefully between the buttocks, your kidneys, or your floating ribs. I opted for buttocks.
  • There's not really any clearance in front of you, so if anyone is walking by, you need to wait, dangling...feeling your grip start to slip... fun times.
  • Having chosen a buttocks strike, you also end up with a "false" proprioceptive feedback source helping you to stop the descent of your legs, and giving what definitely felt like a stretch reflex into the next K2E, which has got to be some sort of cheating.
So, pounded through two rounds nearly non-stop, but then had to keep resetting on every exercise due to a completely shot grip.  Especially bad were the K2Es. I could have kept going ab/core-wise, but I just couldn't hang from the bar anymore!

Total rounds: 4 + 8 squat snatches.

Finished with several minutes of exercise bike to cool down, then several minutes of playing around with a fairly light med-ball to work some blood back into my forearms.

Monday, October 25, 2010

10-10-25: A Return to Action with WallBalls and Pull-Ups

CrossFit WoD for Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Seven rounds for time of:
  • 10 Wallball shots, 20 pound ball (great video for form and issues to avoid)
  • 10 Pull-ups (video shows pull-up variations. Mine were between strict and kipping)
Kevin Montoya 4:15, Mat Frankel 4:55, Heather Bergeron 5:59 (14lb ball), Kim Malz 8:05 (20lb ball).

Kevin Montoya on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
Heather Bergeron 5:59 on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]

WallBalls and Pull-Ups. Yup. That was the workout. (

 OK, insert whining here: I dislike having to try to get in my own workout while also trying to get someone else up and running on their first workout while ALSO being surrounded by kids who have been taught by the worst in the business. 1/4 squats on a squat sled...followed by one-legged 1/4 squats.  And when I tried to talk to the kid to address his form, he says "oh i was finished anyways."  Really? Only doing one-legged squats on one leg?  Followed by rowing with a side twist thrown in so that everytime the chain whipped back, it was rubbing against the guides.  Oh, and no music, because I forgot the cable for the ipod.  On a day when I could have used some deafening metal, all i had was the sucking sounds of mediocrity.

It wasn't all bad.  The kid I was working with took to his particular brand with gusto.  His workout, as crafted by his track coach and myself, was three rounds of the following: wall balls (hey!), burpee broadjumps (google "burpee mile" but then do it for reps, not ungodly distance), and pull-ups (hey hey!).  So yeah, his workout overlapped with mine pretty heavily, but while he was doing three rounds, decreasing reps, I was stuck in 7 rounds, same old reps.

70 wall balls?  Easy as pie. Height? Higher than usual, which felt pretty good. (Frustration with surroundings was taken out on that poor med ball. Ah well...) 70 pull-ups?  I thought I was gonna die. Upshot (in a crappy way) of working in with the kid (as well as other students coming by to do pull-ups with 150# of weight assist before going back to Smith machine squats), was that I had plenty of time to try to man up before the next set of pull-ups.  After four rounds, I grabbed gloves. After 6 rounds, I was down to mostly singles/negatives and only the very occasional double.  Argh argh argh.

However, I think the fact that between prepping, enjoying, and recovering from my lovely vacation out in Denver last week, I felt a lot better than I assumed I would. My pull-ups felt strong, literally powerful. I don't know if I could have transitioned the first few into muscle-ups, but I don't think it was out of the question.  By the time I was done, I was beyond playing with that.  Ah well.

Total time, including teaching/interruptions/whining about my hands = ~25 minutes.  Estimated time for the workout itself? ~10-12 minutes. Pull-ups are still my downfall, even if I did do 70 full body-weight in one workout...which is pretty freaking awesome, at least for me! ;)

Finished with a cool-down on the exercise bike and some empty bar oly lift technique work.  A few times through the Bergener warm-up and some power and squat snatches.  Not a great day, but given the time off leading up to it, a far better day than I had any right to expect! Cheers!

Friday, October 8, 2010

10-10-08: Dumbbell snatches and pull-ups

CrossFit WoD for Thursday October 7th
21-15 and 9 rep rounds of:

  • Left-arm Kettlebell dumbbell snatch, 1.5 1 pood (40#)
  • Right-arm Kettlebell dumbbell snatch, 1.5 1 pood (40#)
  • Pull-ups
Mike Cazayoux 5:15, Cody Hidler 5:15, Austin Malleolo 5:16, Rob Shaffer 5:16, Kristan Clever 5:29 (1 pood), Rebecca Voigt 5:51 (1 pood), Jason Ackerman 6:45.

WOD Demo with CrossFit NRG - video [wmv] [mov]
Austin Malleolo and Jason Ackerman on today's WOD - video [wmv] [mov]
Greg Amundson 4:49, October 2005 - video [wmv]
Greg Amundson 4:39, December 2007 - video [wmv] [mov]

The kettlebell snatch involves the weight landing behind your hand, on your wrist. It is therefore quite impossible to do correctly with dumbbells. But, I tried. (
In honor of Katie's wedding this weekend. Eeeeee! (
Man, did this just start hammering away and never really stop sucking!  Its nearly an hour later, and I still feel shaky and nauseated. And its hard to type, what with my fingers all calloused and blistered up. Owwie!

Upshots were abundant, however:  Every set of dumbbell snatches was unbroken, which sort of surprised me a little bit. Even though I was using the wrong equipment (our 'powerbells,' or whatever they're called, only go up to 24#, so proper scaling required dumbbells), I tried to keep the majority of the movement the same. So while I could't "punch through" the end of the motion, I kept in the swing aspect at the bottom, and made sure to have a moment of real lockout at the top.

Pull-ups were...pull-ups.  I had a few subsets of 7 or 8 reps, but those were few and far between, and I ended the workout with a couple of really weak singles.  My hands and lats were just shot, and I could barely convince myself to step off the footpads on the 'gravitron' rip-off for the last few reps.  All bodyweight. So that was cool.

Total Time: 11:45 (Most of that was in the pull-ups for the final round. I know I was done with the first round in about 3 minutes, and the second at about the 7 minute mark. Ugh.)

Musical Accompaniment: Classic SLAYER!!! \m/

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10-10-05: Back Squats and Pull-Ups

CrossFit WoD for Monday October 4th, 2010
For time:
  • 95 35 pound Back squat, 50 25 reps
  • 15 ft Rope Climb, 5 ascents 15 pull-ups
  • 115 55 pound Back squat, 40 20 reps
  • 15 ft Rope Climb, 4 ascents 12 pull-ups
  • 135 75 pound Back squat, 30 15 reps
  • 15 ft Rope Climb, 3 ascents 9 pull-ups
  • 155 95 pound Back squat, 20 10 reps
  • 15 ft Rope Climb, 2 ascents 6 pull-ups
  • 175 115 pound Back squat, 10 5 reps
  • 15 ft Rope Climb, 1 ascent 3 pull-ups
Scaling from and inspired by CrossFit Brand X.

Notice the hips BELOW the knees. If the fold of your hips don't drop below the tops of your knees (ie, below horizontal), you're doing it wrong, and predisposing yourself to knee issues. Ignore EVERYONE who tells you a half- or quarter- squat is "safer."  They've just proven they don't know anything about the structure of the knee. Also notice the bar placement: across the traps, NOT the neck. More comfort, and a bit easier on the low-back. (

Now *that's* a pull-up.  Chest to bar, actually. I can't do that yet...though it is a goal! (
So, first things first: The scaling and subs.  We have no climbing rope, so any sort of climbs were out.  I can't quite pull off towel pull-ups yet (hang a towel over the pull-up bar, and gripping it like a rope, do pull-ups that way), so I decided to just sub pull-ups.  Probably should have done more 'per rope ascent,' but decided I wanted to finish the workout, not crap out 3 rounds in!

As for the weight scaling, we don't have a squat rack...or anything even vaguely resembling one, so each and every set of squats was preceded by either a power snatch or deadlift -> hang power snatch or deadlift->hang power clean -> push jerk to get the bar behind my neck onto my traps.  Basically, the more tired I got, the more work I had to do just to get ready to start the set.  So that was pretty cool/awful.  I started with an empty bar, and just kept going up by 20#.  I thought it was too easy at first, until I could barely muster the will to get the "full" bar onto my shoulders for the last set. Not having a rack, I haven't really done much work with back squats until now, so this was a nice warm-up into "heavy" work sets.

Unfortunately, I mis-timed when I would do the workout, and had to share the weight room with our high school freshmen, who were getting a bit better at moving around the room (and using the craptastic single-muscle isolation machines I so loathe), so I ended up having to wait to use the pull-up bar at the end of the first few rounds.  Given that I knew flowing from round to round would be problematic, I opted not to bother timing it, and just go for form and function on the movements.  I felt pretty damn good about the depth of my squats, and thanks to Kelly Starrett's mobility WoDs, also managed to keep my knees out and active during EVERY one of my 75 squats, and that felt AWESOME.

Total weight: 4625#  Not bad for my first time back squatting with a barbell...ever?  At least in recent memory. Which is probably a bad thing, but I'm actually really happy to have finally gotten my feet wet with it! ;)
Find and read this book repeatedly --->
Coach Rip is *the man* when it comes to barbell techniques.  They don't call him the Iron Samurai for nothing.

10-10-04: "Jerry"

CrossFit WoD for Sunday October 3rd, 2010
For time:
  • Run 1 mile
  • Row 2K
  • Run 1 mile
Peter Egyed 19:39

Total Time: 32:10

I can't even begin to describe how much this sucked.  I tried to keep my running speed up around the 7-8 mph mark, but could only do that for about 1/3 to 1/4 mile at a time, and the amount of time spent walking portions of the mile increased steadily. I was NOT a fan of that.

Rowing, I was able to keep about a 2:00/500m pace for most of it.  It's nowhere near my fastest 500m split, but for consistency over a 2K row, it really wasn't that bad.

I hated this workout.  So I should probably do it a lot more often.