Monday, January 24, 2011

11-01-24: Sumo Deadlifts and a 2K row

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Wednesday January 19th, 2011
  • Jump rope
  • Ring dips

Sumo Deadlift
Find a new 1 rep max

Conditioning (Benchmark):2000 meter row

Sumo deadlift in action. Wide stance, arms/hands inside of legs, lower back arched. Then, stand up. Kudos to a body building site, which are usually notorious for their over-reliance on machine assisted exercises, for both demonstrating and espousing such a fantastic functional movement! (

Prepping for a Concept2 Rower race. Because of the quality of the ergometer built into the rower, scores and times from  various places can be compared and compiled into a national ranking. Can your elliptical do that? (

After a fairly unrestful weekend (stuff going on, post-snow travel, later nights, iffy diet choices) I found myself not exactly rarin' to go for this workout.  However, I strapped on my big girl tap shoes and hit it as hard as I could. After a fairly intense bout of jump-rope, I did some my usual active warm-up/stretching routine, then jumped straight onto the rings to work on some dips... and to my surprise (well, glee. I've been working on them, so I wasn't exactly "surprised") I managed to bang out doubles. They weren't pretty by any stretch, but I dipped low into my armpits, and came back up to full extension, so that's a dip by ANY standard! I lost count of how many doubles and singles I did, so it was somewhere between 8-10 reps. That being more than the 5 I was initially shooting for, I was pretty damn happy.  However, knowing I would need my shoulders for the coming workouts, I decided not to try to push it too far.

I warmed up the sumo deadlifts with the empty bar (35#) for ten reps, then slowly started packing plates on. The continued warming up through the following sets: 45# x 5, 85# x 5, 105# x 5, and 125# x 5. At this point, I was beginning to feel some heat in my lower back, so I should get over to counting them as work sets very soon!  I knew that my only PR (Personal Record) was 205# for a 5RM (5 Rep Max), so I was shooting for substantially more than that, but since this was going to be only my second time doing this lift at anything approaching heavy weights, I didn't know how much higher a 1RM would be over that 5RM.  Looking at the rep scheme above, I decided to do the 205# for the set with 2 reps, then feel my way up from there. To that end, I split up the remaining work sets (the sets with 5, 4, and 3 reps, respectively) with weights roughly equidistant between the 125# I had last warmed up with, and the 205# I was shooting for. I did those sets at 145#, 165#, and 185# respectively, followed by the set of 2 reps at 205#.

This brings me to the 1RM attempts. I tried to not out-think myself, and following the brilliant advice of Mark Rippetoe, I had been using the double-overhand grip (ie, the normal grip with both palms facing back towards me) for every set prior to this, so I could always use the alternate grip if I needed to. The alternate grip, for a variety of reasons, some physical, some mental, allows you to lift heavier weights, which is awesome, but it puts an asymmetrical load across the upper body and on the elbow and shoulder joints of the hand turned away from the body.  Therefore, Coach Rip recommends that all work sets be done with the double-overhand to keep all the loading even for as long as possible, and only resort to the alternate grip (or, worst case scenario, lifting straps) as a last resort.

For my final three reps, each its own set, I did the following weights: 225#, 245#, and 255#. For the first, it was fairly easy. After it, I moved some weights around, checked out the rowing machine for the next part of the workout, and kept trying to stretch out my lower back. At 245#, the bar truly felt heavy, almost too heavy to lift... until I had it locked out at the top of the lift.  At 255#, I felt truly lucky (and accomplished) to have finished the lift at all. At first, it truly didn't feel like I would be able to break the bar off the floor with that much weight (which is still 30# under my 1RM for a standard deadlift). However, it came up, I straightened up and locked it out, and that was the end of the strength part of the workout. I finished with a new 1RM for the sumo deadlift of 255#.  Not too shabby!

Work sets: 145# x 5, 165# x 4, 185# x 3, 205# x 2, 225# x 1, 245# x 1, 255# x 1 (PR)

After giving my back (and right knee, which had started complaining about halfway through the deadlifts) some time to quiet down, I strapped onto the rower, and got ready to row like crazy. It's been awhile since I've done mid-distance row. I can easily remember my last sprint intervals, and my last 5K row, but I couldn't come up with a 2K time. Well, its not a benchmark for nothing!

Total Time: 7:40

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