Thursday, June 30, 2011

11-06-29: Max Reps Dead-Hang Pull-ups, Reverse Lunge-Wall Ball Couplet

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 29th, 2011
Pull-ups. And judging by the clarity of the picture, grindingly slow dead-hang pull-ups.  All upper body and massive core support. Fun fun fun. (
Barbell lunges. For added pain, do them by stepping back. I didn't realize how much more that would make this movement suck. It really, REALLY did. (
Wall-balls. Usually, I've pretty good at these. Doing them after smoking my legs on the reverse lunges? Not so much. I was in the position on the right far more than I was the one on the left. When I wasn't on all fours on the ground, that is. (

Strength: Max Reps Weighted band-assisted dead-hang Pull-ups / 5 minutes

WoD: 10-15-20 for time
OH Reverse Lunge 95/65
Wallball 20#

Oh, this was miserable. Though I had been pretty good about practicing dead hang pull-ups a few months ago, when I was still walking across Central Park 2x a day, and stopping by the pull-up bars northwest of the great oval on most of those trips, that WAS a few months ago. After practicing a few reps, I decided to go with the band assist variety. If it were a one minute AMRAP, I'd have gone without, but as it was, I apparently should have picked a stronger band! Dead hang means at the bottom, arms are *completely* extended, arm pits completely opened. None of this quarter depth horsecrap so many guys and gals pull out when challenged to do pull-ups. No kipping (not that I even can), just pure grinding upper body strength. I kept working the entire time, and didn't count any reps where my chin didn't clearly make it over the bar (4-5 of those wastes of energy, I think).

Total reps dead-hang band-assist pull-ups: 24

After smoking our arms and traps a bit, we prepped for the reverse lunges. Though Rx'ed as overhead reverse lunges (weight held overhead, obviously), we had it demoed with the bar across the shoulders, instead. Still nervous about lingering numbness in my left thumb and forearm from the previous Friday's workout, I wasn't about to complain about not having to support the weight overhead again. After warming up with the empty bar (45#) and 65#, I opted to go all the way up to the Rx'ed weight. It wasn't necessarily the smartest decision, but the weight itself didn't feel like it would be my main problem. I opted to stick with the 20# medicine ball as well.

The reverse lunge numbers were per leg, so when it says 10, it means 20 total, 10 left, 10 right, in whatever order makes you happy. I opted to just keep it alternating. The first set was awful, but also easy enough. I went unbroken for those 20 lunges, then hit the wall-balls. I screamed through those 10, and thought my lungs would explode. Tried to hop right back under the bar, knocked out 5 reps each leg, and had to drop the bar. I felt like I was seriously suffocating with the weight on my back and my arms up to keep it there.  Things went downhill from there.

Much sweating, gasping for breath, clenching of legs to keep the blood near my brain, and a little bit of nearly hugging the medicine ball on the floor trying to extract the strength to stand up again from it, I finished dead last, with a time of 15:xx. I didn't hear the seconds, and was busy making a pretty awesome sweat angel on the floor. 

All in all, it was a pretty good workout. I'm not entirely sure how to address my metabolic conditioning, other than to just keep running at it as hard as possible, hoping my body adapts to the increased workload as soon as possible. I could have done a lighter weight to finish faster, but I don't need to finish first... I need to get stronger and increase my conditioning, and heavier weights will hopefully do both... used correctly.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

11-06-27: Back squats and dumbbell step-ups

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 27th, 2011
Dave Lipson and Rob Orlando power through 20 reps with a weight that I could maybe do once. Maybe. (
We used plyo boxes. And heavier weights. And chest hair. And shirts to cover that chest hair. (

Strength: 4 rounds
  • Back squat 8 reps @ 80%
  • 10 Single-leg Step-ups (each leg) 90#
I was happy to make this workout (alarm clock issues nearly precluded an early morning workout, and my work schedule would certainly block an evening one, since I'm writing this at 6:35pm, at work, while exports are running in the background. Yeah not-really-free time!), since it would mark my first time back squatting with squat racks (often featured in the Amazon ads, mostly because I wish I had some!) Formerly, all my squatting involved some manner of getting the weighted bar off the floor, either up to the front rack or overhead, up overhead if it went to the front rack first, THEN down and onto the shoulders. Fun fun fun. Already 1/2 a "man-maker" and I just wanted to squat!  For all that, I was limited in the weight selection by all that precursor work, so I knew coming into squatting from racks that I would be flying somewhat blind on weight selection.

After a bit of discussion with Coach Vin about where he thought I should be (205-225# most likely), I warmed up with the empty bar (45#) , 135#, and 185#. Sadly, that third warm-up set of 5 reps was a 40# PR over my previous attempts. And I opted to go up to 205# for the work sets. Sets of 8 are LONG sets under heavy weights, and since two of my big goats right now are muscular endurance and plain old endurance, I knew I would be sucking wind by the end of each set pretty badly. I didn't need a super heavy weight across my shoulders while struggling just to breathe. Not yet at least. That's some more advanced-type crossfitting!

What I didn't count on was how fast step-ups holding two 45# dumbbells would start sucking. Very fast, it turns out. While I struggled to complete all the sets of squats, I did manage to do them all unbroken, even though the final two reps of each set seemed like I was nearly going to fail. However, every set of step-ups was broken, usually about halfway through, to avoid collapsing across the box in a broken heap. I did try to keep the rest period snappy, so that I could try to spot my squat rack partner on his 255# squats. Show

Friday, June 24, 2011

11-06-24: Overhead squats and double-unders

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 24th, 2011
Nicole makes the overhead squat look easy. I hate her here a little bit. I do NOT smile at the bottom of the OHS. Unless its a rictus of agony. (
Double-unders. Bad technique (too much work) on the left, good technique (little work) on the right. It should really just feel like slightly more energetic single bounces, not huge jumps. (

Workout: Five 90 second rounds, 90 seconds rest:
  • 1 Snatch 65# NO DROP
  • 7 Overhead Squats
  • 10 Double-Unders (or 30 singles)

So, the idea was to crank through the three exercises as fast as possible, as many times as possible during the 90 second rounds, and pick up where we left off after the 90 second rest (ie, 7 double unders into a round would pick up on the 8th double-under when the rest was over). I very optimistically warmed up to 95# on the overhead squats, which was easy enough to power snatch. I banged out a couple of squat reps, and figured that would be fine.

After the clock started, I easily snatched the bar up, did three squat reps, and after struggling with the bar for a few seconds, had to drop it to the floor. This wasn't good. Two more hang power snatches, two more sets of two overhead squats, and I was finally ready to hit double-unders. Since it'd been awhile, I opted to go for the singles, just to get warmed-up. I got in one more power snatch before time ran out on the first round. I quickly reduced weight to 65#, but the fatigue (and injury?) had already been done.

From the second round on, I struggled to keep the bar in a good overhead position, failing forward whenever I lost control of the bar. I also quickly noticed a familiar numbness in my left thumb and forearm, which had spread to the left bicep and cropped up a bit in my right thumb and wrist by the end of the workout (first time I felt it was at my Level 1 certification, working on (surprise!) the overhead squat). The last few rounds of jump-rope were difficult, since I couldn't really feel the handles of the rope all that well, making it hard to whip it as powerfully as I needed for double-unders... OR single bounces! I tried to alternate which I was going to do each round, since I want to get the double-under work in, but not so badly that it tanked the WoD!

Rounds: 6 + 10 single bounces

Thursday, June 23, 2011

11-06-23: Benchpress rowing and running

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 23rd, 2011
Bench press. Note the plates under his feet to keep him in proper alignment (either its a tall bench or he's a short dude. Not sure.).  There is NO excessive arch in the back, just enough to support his upper body as he preps for another rep. Also notice the spotter NOT touching the bar, but close enough to grab it if the lifter gets into trouble. (
Brian MacKenzie, one muscular distance guy. The guy who started Crossfit Endurance, actually. If he says Crossfit can help you run, I'd listen. As a matter of fact, I do! (Pic lifted from Crossfit All In)
Rowing. Fun for all ages. Effective for all ages. (

Strength: Benchpress 4 x 5
  • 1 set @ 85%
  • 2 sets @ 87%
  • 1 set @ 90%
WoD: 4x Alternating
  • 200m Run
  • 200m Row

I wasn't looking forward to much in this workout: I was still walking funny from Tuesday's running, and due to the limitations in the Dieselhaus, I wasn't even sure of my 1 rep max for bench pressing. Hard to work to a heavy weight when you need to clean the bar from the floor, lie back on the bench, THEN press it up. All usually without a spotter.  My "PR" was 125#, but I have no idea how many reps that was, or anything about the workout. So, at Coach Vin's suggestion, I used my warm-up sets to try to ease into 5RM territory, so I could at least come up with an estimated 1RM. 

My first work set was 155#, which felt nice and heavy, but I was able to get the 5 reps pretty easily. Using the weight percentage chart, I calculated that my 1RM *might* be about 190# (155# showing up as 85% of 190#), so for 87%, I went up to 165# as shown on the chart. I blew threw 165# like it didn't exist, so at Vin's suggestion, I went up again to 175# for my second 87% set. This time I nailed 4 clean reps and failed on the 5th (thanks for the spot, Vin or Larry, I forget who was there for that one!).  After a bit of discussion, we opted to keep me there for the final set, to see what happens.

Turns out, my lack of volume caught up with me really quickly. While I wasn't exactly rushing the sets, I also wasn't taking 5 minutes to recover from a set to failure.  The final set lasted exactly 2.5 reps long, and ended with Vin grabbing the bar just as I was about to lose my battle with gravity about halfway up. Basically, the overall muscle fatigue was too great, and I wasn't able to stay near my 3-5RM max (the percentages Rx'ed are actually high for a 5RM, making this an exercise in overloading anyways) to complete the workout. Vin assured me that would be one of the first things I would see blow up and get awesomer. I can hardly wait.

Benchpress: 5 x 155# / 5 x 165# / 4 x 175# / 2 x 175#

Alternating runs and rows. At first, I read the workout as being 2 runs and 2 rows, for a total of 800m. I was way too optimistic. 4 of each. A full mile. Argh.  I started stretching out my cementish legs some more. Upshot was this: Vin watched me start off around the parking lot, and immediately had some fixes to my stride that made running both more comfortable AND would keep me from being as sore as the longer distances on Tuesday made me. All about letting the heel touch down *a bit* AFTER the toes hit (or have the foot land flat) but NOT as a heel strike movement. Basically, it allows the calf muscles to deload for a second, rather than maintaining full tension on them for the duration of the run. Brilliant!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

11-06-21: Running and wallballs

Elm City Crossfit Endurance WoD for June 21, 2011
Why Crossfit doesn't focus too much on bodybuilding OR superlong distances. Because at the extremes, there be dragons. (
Wall balls. Full squat depth, then use the momentum of coming up out of the squat to drive the ball to the target above your head. Catch as few descending balls on your head as possible. (

For Time:
  • Run 1 mile
  • 50 Wallballs 16#
  • Run 800m
  • 30 Wallballs
  • Run 200m
  • 10 Wallballs
My first running workout since joining an affiliate. Not gonna lie: I was kind of terrified. At my best, I could barely run a mile.  Hell, I could barely go a 1/2 mile without bombing out. I'm well aware that, even as I work on my running form as best I can, I am untrained. I don't know how to move my legs efficiently, I don't know how to breath effectively once the "sucking wind" phase kicks in (15 feet from the starting line), and I don't know how to motor along in first gear and conserve energy. When I run, the fuse is burning, and its only a matter of time before *something* implodes...

I was hoping there might be some scaling options for those of us in my boat. Turns out I was in a dinghy all my own. While I was panicking about the running, everyone else was worried about the wallballs. I guess it pays to be 6 feet tall. Yeah, it would be a lot, but not that many, right?

Managed to run the initial mile unbroken (which, for most of the people I was with, was barely a warm-up). I thought I was gonna die. Pounded into the wall-balls, broke the set at 20, then fought my way through the rest in spurts of 5s and 10s. The second run was abysmal. Not 75m into it, I found myself walking, fighting for breath. I tried to keep those lapses as short as possible, and ended up walking only once more that round, on the way back. The set of 30 wallballs was ALL done in short sub-sets.

The final run (shuffle, stumble, whatever) around the parking lot was pure murder, and the worst part was that even on the short distance, I was so annihilated by what came before that I even had to walk a bit of that one, too! Of course, I did it only when I was behind vans. I may be in need of remedial endurance work, but that doesn't mean I want people knowing it (other than from my time!).  Made it back in the door, and banged out the final 10 wall-balls. Total count for number of times I got hit in the head with a wall-ball = 1. Not too shabby!

Final time: 21:35

11-06-17: Floor press, supine K2Es, reverse wall-balls

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 17th, 2011
Floor press. Form alert in the pic above. Knees should be bent more, feet flat on the ground. This will help prevent any bar motion from translating into rotational torque in the midsection. That is, its safer. Arguments *can* be made that its therefor better to keep the legs straight, to increase the workout for the mid-line. Depends on your weight, rep scheme, and focus. (Crossfit North Miami Beach)
Eva T. demonstrates a perfect normal knees-to-elbow. For the supine variant, after the floor presses, put the barbell down on the floor behind your head (careful not to squash your melon!), then grip it with your hands to anchor your self, and do the same full-body crunch that brings your knees to your elbows. This variant removes some of the sticking points of the full hanging version, namely the grip and dealing with swinging as you get tired. (
Backwards wallball. Somewhat easier on the throw, somewhat harder on the catch. (

6 Rounds for Time:
  • 5 Floor Presses 115#
  • 10 Supine KTE
  • 15 Backward Wallball 20#

This was my first workout at Elm City Crossfit where I truly felt comfortable. Maybe just because everyone seemed a little wrong-footed by the novel variations on old standbys. Though my time wasn't smoking, I felt like I managed to keep moving through the entire workout pretty well.

Total time: 7:xx

Friday, June 17, 2011

11-06-17: Kettlebell swings and burpees

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 15th, 2011
Left is bad. Right is good. Maintaining a locked in core, even on the upswing, protects the entire back and ensures the generation of power throughout the movement, rather than relying on whipping the upper trunk.

  • 100 Kettlebell Swings - 2 1.5 pood (55#)
  • Every minute 1 burpee
The workouts that seem easy enough on the whiteboard are surely those that will hurt you fastest. Though I set a great pace for the first minute or so, I quickly ran up against the wall of my sucky metabolic conditioning. I also struggled with controlling the 55# kettlebell. In order to ensure good form (ears in front of arm at the top of the swing, kb well overhead), I had to give the kb a little extra juice as I got tired. This resulted in the handle rotating in my hands a bit. Even though I was chalked up, it still ended up tearing callouses on both hands, worse than I've ever had (which just goes to show how lilly-white I am in lots of respects!)

I don't even know my total time. It was 8 or 9 minutes and change. Much as I wanted to die by about rep 50, the one thing I'm hanging my pride on was my determination to hit every burpee as cleanly as I could. The only reason I had to do more than 2-3 was my own conditioning, so if it counts as punishment, I wanted it to be worthwhile.  

Working on rehabbing my hands as fast as possible, and already putting together a shopping list of what I'll need to WoD tomorrow.  Hopefully its not too hand-centric.  If there's pull-ups, I'm screwed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

11-06-15: Oly lifting

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 15th, 2011
Click to embiggenate. Natalie Burgener is just _awesome_. That third pic? The full squat while receiving the bar on the shoulders? I couldn't even BEGIN to get there today.

Clean & Jerk 1RM – 15 min cap

WOD: 3 Rounds
Each round timed separately

(Warning: Here's where I start whinging about how much I lost when I ended up taking a month off. Feel free to surf on if this bores you. It bores me, but it bears dealing with. As much as I try to put as good a spin as possible on my accomplishments, I think its even more important to try to analyze those things that don't feel like they came together, to hit it harder (and smarter) next time.)

After a nice warm-up, we walked through the finer points of the clean, and then of the jerk. It felt freaking ALIEN to me. I could search through this blog and find the last time I C&J'ed, but it doesn't really matter. It was too damn long ago, and I've forgotten most of what I ever learned/taught myself about it. I could NOT make the full extension make the weighted pvc feel weightless, and forget completely about hitting the receiving squat position. If I ever had it, its gone now. Admittedly, in trying to follow ECC's programming, and going at 5:30 in the morning, I'm not taking the opportunity to review and relearn tips and techniques via the ever-increasingly awesome Crossfit Exercises and Demos page. The only part that felt comfortable today was the jerk, using a split jerk technique. This isn't that shocking, since one of the most recent videos in the Crossfit Journal was Coach B (Natalie's dad, from above) coaching Dave Lipson on the jerk. While I still had coachable points in need of improvement (wider split, allowing me to get further under the bar, so I wouldn't have to jerk it as high), I had a starting idea of what I was doing, and a good concept of how those improvements could be implemented. The clean felt like I was trying to learn how to fly while stapled to the ground.

That said, I did realize (well after the fact) that I come equipped with my own re-training regimen. Tomorrow (and probably every day I workout for the foreseeable future), I'm going to work on my med ball cleans. These are what got me cleaning with a bar correctly the first time, back in the day. Actually, it couldn't have been that long ago, since I only just learned the med ball variety this past December. So, hopefully that means my bar clean and jerk can't be too forgotten, since I only started getting THAT dialed in some time after December, right? One can hope.

We were tasked with finding our 1RM for the day in 15 minutes. Spending more time working on form rather than pushing the envelope, I hit a max of #125. If I could have put the form together, I could have been lifting a lot more than that. For the metcon, it was 3 rounds of 15 power cleans at 3/4ths body weight, followed by 200m of rowing or running. Given my form struggles, I opted to drop a little weight, down to #115, and keep it there. As Rx'ed, I should have been at 155# or so. I wish. The wod was, unsurprisingly, murder, though a somewhat easy variety. I tried to focus on hitting better technique on the cleans, since now the squat was removed from the equation, and had some success. I ended up rowing on the 1st and 3rd rounds, and running for the 2nd. As always, the cardio aspect just devastated me. While I had some muscle-fatigue from about rep 10 of the first round, I never really recovered from the first row, and nearly crapped out on the run. The final row was just an attempt to finally finish the workout... hopefully within 30 seconds or so of the second to last person.

While there wasn't a huge emphasis on time (so we could focus on form on the power cleans), it's still never fun coming in last. But, there's a line from Christopher McDougall's Born to Run that I've always loved: "It's easy to finish first. It's hard to finish last." But you still have to finish it. It's not about the race anyways, at least not with anyone ELSE. In the race against myself, I came in first. And last. And sideways. I gotta work on my form.

EDIT: I just updated my Personal Records page. Turns out I set a 10# PR on the C&J today, and did the WoD at my former PR. I guess that actually makes me feel a bit better. It doesn't change the fact that I was struggling with form at every weight from an empty bar on up... but hey, I put 10# on that Personal Record! ;)

Friday, June 10, 2011

11-06-10: Death by Deadlifts and 10m runs

Elm City Crossfit WoD for June 10th, 2011
Deadlift starting postion. Shoulders above the hips, hips above the knees. Alternate grip is optional (I prefer to save it until the weights get really heavy, to actually work my grip as much as possible.) (

Death By:
  • Odd # Rounds - Deadlift @ BW% 185#
  • Even # Rounds - 10 Meter Run
(1st minute, 1 deadlift, 2nd minute = 2 10m runs, 3rd round = 3 deadlifts, 4th minute = 4 10m runs, etc...)

With a nice case of system-wide soreness (presses, kettlebell swings and front squats, plus some new warm-up motions), I showed up for my 3rd day at Elm City Crossfit. Deadlifts and some running. In a ladder, which means it starts off pretty easy, cruises along for a few rounds, then suddenly starts sucking. Hard. Today would be no different.

After nice thorough roll-out and warm-up, we reviewed and warmed-up our deadlifts. I jumped from 95# to 135# easily, and opted to do the workout at 185#, as we were encouraged to scale for the hellishness of the ladder. Its arguable that I should have gone a little lighter, perhaps 155#, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't the weight that caught up to me, it was my complete and utter lack of lungs.

Warmed-up and ready to go, we rolled our barbells out the door, and lined up in the parking lot. With Coach Vin shouting out the minutes and rounds, we started out. As always, the first 5-6 rounds were stupid easy. This is where globo-gym guys start laughing, not realizing what's really happening: as the minutes climb, the number of reps goes up while the time to recover effectively gets shorter. If you're me, and your initial wind capacity sucks and your recovery time is long, this kicks in much faster than for anyone else. ;)

Rounds 9 and 10 were starting to get hard, and I was already garnering some extra coaching for my ever more craptastic back position in the deadlift. As I fatigued, I started to make (at least) two glaring mistakes: 1) I would set-up with a rounded back, unable/unwilling/unaware to get my butt low enough to allow for a well-arched lumbar curve, or 2) Pull the weight off the ground in the wrong order, opening my hips first, rather than after the legs had straightened. Basically, your hopefully rock-solid back position and angle should stay immobile during the first stages of the lift, only straightening up after the weight has cleared your knees. I was firing up way earlier as I started fighting more for air than for mechanics.

Part of the problem was definitely my legs, my quads especially. As I would try to settle into the correct position, my quads were just screaming at me (good, I can fight through it) or oddly numb (bad, because that's terrifying), probably depending on my technique during the running. I'm not entirely sure. All I know is that when they hurt, I could just sink into the position, and use it as a stretch for a moment. When they were feeling numb, I had NO feedback from my body, leaving me guessing (apparently poorly) as to where and how I was setting myself up.

I finished the 12th minute (120m of running) really sucking wind, and was barely able to string together 3-4 deadlifts at a time.  I had just completed my 10th when the timer sounded to start the 14th minute, effectively ending my workout.  I was the first one out, but only by a minute or two. I don't remember if anyone failed the 140m running, but 3-4 people didn't make it through the set of 15 deadlifts. So, I had that to be thankful for, as comparisons go!

Death By Deadlifts and 10m Runs: 12 rounds & 10 deadlifts.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

11-06-08: Front Squats and Jumping Pull-Ups

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Wednesday, June 8th

Left pic: Pretty good elbow position. Right pic: GREAT elbow position.  As the original caption to this image says: "Any dropping of the elbows can be the difference between a made or missed lift." (
Jumping Pull-Up: This motion is completely driven by the legs, with the arms basically acting as guides to ensure you pogo in the same spot. Speed, power, and lungs all come into play with a set of 30. Or six sets. (

Strength: 2X

Day two at ECC. If you read this blog (Hi Mom, Hi J!), you know that I've struggled with my grip in the front squat, and today would definitely put it to the test. My best PR on the front squat was 185# for 2, which roughly translated to a theoretical 1 rep max of 205 or 210.  However, coming off a month-long lay-off, we decided to keep me at 185# for this, resulting in the weights shown above. This would be a ton of volume on an exercise that I haven't had to spend a ton of time on.

Side-rant: This raises on thing I almost don't like about CrossFit methodologies: I understand that the goal of constantly switching up the exercises is that you shouldn't get *too* efficient at them (consider how much more of a workout 2 lengths of a swimming pool would be for me, a crappy swimmer, than it is for Michael Phelps. It'll devastate me, creating a HUGE systemic impact, and causing massive amounts of rebuilding, and won't even begin to count as a warm-up for him).  However, it also prevents you from attaining much more than a passing acquaintance with them, unless you've been CrossFitting long enough to see front squats come up 20 times a year. I know all the theories of how it oughtta be done, from my certification as a trainer, but that's not the same as being under the bar actually learning not just the movement, but my body's response to the movement, what to watch out for, what to tweak.)  Meh.  At some point, Zach Even-Esh did a great journal article about introducing high school athletes to the fundamental CrossFit movements, and talked about having them do the same thing for a couple of days straight until he was sure they had it down cold before moving on to the next movement. This makes a ton of sense for ANYONE new to CrossFit, or even us "old hands" who've been doing it for a year or so, but have still only front squatted a few dozen times in our life...

However, the idea about NOT getting too good at a movement is completely logical, and I agree with it wholeheartedly, so take that little rant for what it really is: I was scared to front squat in front of people. (Cue the weepy violins...)  The other way this workout was intimidating was in the sheer number of jumping pull-ups. 180, by the end of the workout, and on ever more worn out legs. Fun fun fun.

Ooh, padded bar, too. Swanky.
I made it through the first few sets, with all the usual grip issues manifesting themselves. I would usually be able to a get a few reps in before fingers started slipping off the bar. My best guess is that I don't have the flexibility to get my elbows high enough AND KEEP THEM THERE, so as they drop, I'm stretching out my wrist and fingers more and more to keep controlling the weight, and eventually, the elbow sag pulls them free. EVERY set involved me switching to the rotten "California" front squat grip, including my final heavy set, performed as the next class was using me (the last guy still going, since we had three of us on our squat rack) as an example, both of what TO do (depth of squat, heels down, torso (pretty-much) upright), and also of what to do when you do something wrong (grip slip, switch to California grip mid-set and bang out the rest of the squats).  So that was cool and terrifying.

My only failure came on the 4th set, the repeat of the 10 rep "light' set. On the 5th or 6th rep, the bar just got away from me and hit the floor. A quick power clean later, I banged out another squat, but ended up dumping the bar again. Worried that I might completely tank the rest of the workout, I ended the set there, did my jumping pull-ups, and did the rest of the workout as Rx'ed, other than the grip issues.

I was also faced with a new question: how do you drive home when your legs and arms are shaking and useless? After spending a bit of time recovering in the ever-warming swampy air, I made my way home nice and carefully. Until Friday...

Monday, June 6, 2011

11-06-06: First class at Elm City Crossfit

Elm City CrossFit WoD for June 6, 2011

Press position: feet under the hips, shoulders shrugged up, so the muscles are supporting the weight, not bone grinding on bone in your shoulder and back.

 - Press @ 82% 3x7

3 Rounds for time:
  • 10 Hand-Stand Push-ups (Scaling: Pike push-up off 18" box) 
  • 10 Kettlebell Swings 70# 55#

First time working out in a month, and its in an actual gym, with an actual crew of like minded people... heaven!!  After a thorough warm-up (foam rolling, muscle activations, stretches, etc, some of which were very new to me), we walked through the technique of the press (aka overhead press). A few warm-ups sets with a slightly weighted pvc pipe were all I needed to remember where I was and what I was supposed to be doing.

We split up into groups by height/strength lines, and I ended up with the slightly taller, but not quite as strong guys: perfect.  While we all did similar weights on our warm-up sets, I was happy to see my group was all in the same ballpark (115# for me and another guy, Larry, 135# for our third, John), while the next group over was banging out 145+#.  Not me... not YET. ;)

My first two sets of 7 were intense, but not too bad. I did have one bobble, on the final rep, where every instinct in my body was telling me to either push press or push jerk the bar, and telling my body not to do it almost resulted in a total train-wreck. In the final set, I failed twice on the 5th rep before dropping the bar. It was *magical* to workout in a place that actually has squat racks, bumper plates, AND a nicely padded, solid floor. All of that adds up to an ability to workout at the ragged edges, rather than safely (and ineffectively) well within your boundaries. Sweet.

Presses @ 115#: 7 / 7 / 4x

The met-con was a beast, hitting the same shoulder muscles we had just abused with the presses. I should have opted for the scaling of having my knees on a taller box, as it would have put me both more vertical AND supported more of the weight. I need to learn how to kick up into a supported headstand, as the banded version off the pull-up bar looked pretty sweet, too. Hm...  

Handstand Push-Up/Kettlebell Swing Couplet: 4:17 (no where near the fastest, but not the slowest either. I LIKE this group!)