Monday, January 31, 2011

11-01-31: Tabata kettlebell swings, push presses and squats

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
  • Jump rope: singles, jog step, double-unders
  • Active stretching
  • Ring dips and pull-up practice
Training: Tabata: 8 alternating sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off:
  • KB Swing - 25# kettlebell, one-armed, passed back and forth
  • DB Push Press - 30# dumbbells (video is with barbells, but the body motion is the same)
  • Squat

Jeff Martone demonstrating one-armed kettlebell swings. While you could do one arm repeatedly (and with 8 rounds for this workout, that would actually have been an ok idea, 4 rounds for each arm), I opted to switch arms every rep, switching hands during the top part of the swing. (
The dumbbell push press. The dip in B (note the vertical back) allows you to start driving the dumbbells up with the legs as you extend OUT of the dip, finishing with the arms overhead. Quick lockout, then repeat as needed. (
Bad squat (rounded back, iffy loading on the foot are the two things that should jump out) on the left, and good squat on the right. Arched back means that when he extends his hips to stand, his torso will lift smoothly, NOT end up just rocking forward and maybe even down first, which the rounded back invariably seems to lead to. With the weight on the heels, you can explode out of the squat with full posterior chain engagement, rather than just sort of hopping out of it, as when the weight is on your toes. (

While the lads did their poorly executed "concentration curls" and Smith Machine "squats," I grabbed some room out in the stairwell area to warm-up. Did a bunch of jump-rope, working for very fast single bounces and running steps, then some focused practice of double-unders. They are finally starting to chain together... little by little. With time...

Speaking of, I quickly attached the rings to the Smith machine and, after easily attaining the control position, banged out 5 ring dips in a row... somewhat easily! After dropping back to the floor, I did the same again! Of course, instead of 5 easy dips, *this* time it was 3 easy dips, one kinda hard dip, and one gut-check almost-at-failure dip... but it was five ring dips in a row, again. To say I was a bit psyched would be an understatement.

I tried for a few ring pull-ups, feet on the floor so I could work the 'false grip' handgrip, so as to be ready to transition from pull-ups and dips to full muscle-ups (a pull-up that transitions up into a dip, moving you from completely below the rings to completely above them):
Definitely click to embiggenate the picture. Notice in the first frame the funky 'false grip.' This is basically the same grip as in the dip, but with the body below the hands. This way, when you transition from the pull-up into the dip, your hands are already in position. It's a pain, but totally worth it... I assume, never having done one. YET. (
 The next step to learning the muscle-up will involved lots of progressions to perfect the technique while also building the sheer brute strength needed to tie the pull-up and dip together.
Muscle-up progression. Even with feet on the floor, it looks like they're doing a bit of work, no? Again, note how the false-grip is the dip grip once you get your torso over the rings. (crossfit centurion)

By this point, I was feeling pretty well warmed up, so I took some time to go through my active stretching routine. I was feeling a bit acidy from lunch (apparently, beefy, bisony, beany chili doesn't digest all *that* well in 2 hours...), so I was a bit nervous about embarking on a Tabata interval workout. After drinking some water and spending some time futzing with my iPod Nano trying to find my 'tabata mix' (song mixes that go back and forth, 20 seconds extreme metal, 10 seconds soothing music), I was ready to go. Scoring was as follows:
KB Swings111111111011*111087
Push Press101010*109109977

Total reps:270  Tabata score: 31 (total of LOWEST round scores)

I realized after the third round of push presses that the song mixes have an extra minute of 'soothing' music after each 4 minute (8 rounds) interval, so the rounds marked with asterisks show where I got an extra breather. I wasn't positive that hitting "next" on the iPod Nano would do exactly what I wanted it to do, and without a screen to visually see that it was going to go where I wanted it to, I enjoyed my extra 60 seconds of sublime relaxation. While that definitely helped keep me from booting up chili mid-WoD, it also gave me an unfair boost in the following rounds, as evidenced by suddenly higher than average rep counts for those rounds. Happily, the effect was short lived, and since Tabata scoring only looks at the LOWEST round scores, it actually didn't have too much effect, though its possible the 8th round would have been the lowest for everything without the extra rest time.


  1. Tell me again what rings you picked up again? Maybe I can tie them on to one of the useless machines at my gym and make it server a greater purpose.
    PS - Tabata's aren't for pacing yourself!!! But you know how I feel about Crossfit's tabata scoring so I'll not say more.

  2. Um, they should be a link off an earlier post. Click through on that so I can make my first $.03 for selling out to the amazon affiliate program. Eh oh!