Friday, September 30, 2011

11-09-30: 2min Rep Maxes, 1 mile run timetrial

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Friday, September 30th, 2011

  • Max Rep: Pick 2
    • 2min Push-ups
    • 2min Sit-ups
    • 2x Deadhang Pull-ups
  • Time Trial: Pick 1
    • 1 mile Run for Time
    • Row 1500m
Another cold, moist morning in Connecticut. Although I got more sleep than usual before a workout, I awoke feeling slower than usual. Fun fun fun. After a thorough warm-up, we went over the rules, reps, and range-of-motion requirements for the various movements. I chose push-ups and sit-ups, trying to select for obvious weaknesses, but let's be fair, pull-ups are another "obvious weakness," so who am I kidding?

Sit-ups were performed with feet anchored, arms crossed in front of the chest (navy style). The top target was to brush the underside of the bicep on the top of the knee cap, which would ensure that the shoulders had come up and moved in front of the hip crease, which was the real ROM requirement. Due to the way this arm position affected the back, the rest position was at the bottom. If you chose Army style sit-ups (fingers interlaced, hands behind the head), the "rest" position would be at the top of the movement. Suckers. 

For the push-ups, the ROM was from full-elbow lockout in the top position down to having the elbows inside of 90 degrees. So not necessarily having the chest touch the floor, trying to make everyone's respective ROM about the same. The rest position could be either at the top, sort of a yoga downward dog, or in the bottom. Either way, the hands could NOT leave the floor, nor greatly adjust their position during the 2 minutes. Either would result in the termination of the attempt.

The run was just a freaking run. Stupid running.

I chose to start off with the sit-ups, feet anchored under the white-board. I managed to keep going for pretty much the entire first minute, but fell off substantially in the second minute. I resolved (perhaps emptily) to start doing at least 50 sit-ups a night, just to start getting in extra reps. Probably a waste of time and effort, but man, I thought I had more than a minute's worth of work in me before needing rest. Total reps: 42 

I set a new single effort max for push-ups, cruising to 15 with few issues. After a few much shorter efforts, I was reduced to clawing and scratching my way to a final count of 28.

I was hoping for an 8 minute mile. However, either because of the preceding work, or just because it was still a slow, cold moist morning, I ended up stopping twice to walk and catch my breath. Total time: 9:30

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

11-09-28: Jump rope and overhead squats

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Wednesday September 28th, 2011
Double-unders. Crappy technique on the left. Excellent technique on the right. (CrossFit East Sacramento)

Overhead squatting. I need my technique to get better, so that my strength will be able to improve, which will let me improve my technique. Wait. What?! (Florida Today)

Buy-in: 5 min of:
  • Jump rope for points.
Single jumps worth 1, doubles worth 2, and triples worth 3

Strength: Overhead Squats
  • 10-10-10-10
Start @ 70% and +3% each set
If you miss that set is over

Jump rope went pretty well, though admittedly I lost count at about 15. I can guesstimate that I hit around 200-250 in total points between singles and doubles. Honestly, I have no idea. Doh. Needless to say, my lungs were smoked and my shoulders were on fire and my calves were extra crampy, with a side of cramp. Sweetness.

Given my on-going issues with both overhead squat form and wrist issues, I was NOT enthused about my odds in this workout. However, a little inexpertly applied athletic tape later, I was ready to rock. Of course, that didn't really take into account the REST of the problems (calves, tight IT bands and adductors, etc.) Heh.

After a warm-up set of 10 with the empty bar, I rocked straight into my work sets. My first set at 65# (a more or less common weight for me lately) was sort of a train-wreck. I ignored the instructions, and despite failing forward twice, fought through all 10 reps. Second set, at 75#, was pretty craptastic too. I failed out at 8 reps, and let that one go.

Oddly, the next two sets were pretty freaking good. At 80#, I nailed all ten reps and felt pretty good about it. At 85#, even though it was a bit of a struggle, I still managed all ten reps. I don't know if I just need a ton of warm-up, or if the heavier weights let me really settle in the correct position and drive all the way down to the bottom of the squat. Hm. I'd kind of like a good 15 minutes to look for a real 1RM, and figure out how far off my conception of what I can do under the bar really is.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

11-09-26:Hang Power Cleans, Floor Presses and Tire Jumps

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Monday, September 26th, 2011
The hang power clean. Bar starts at mid-thigh, with ankles, knees and hips all partially closed .All three joints fire open, arms staying straight like chains dragging the bar up. Having accelerated the bar upwards, there will be a minute when it is temporarily floating in the air before accelerating just as quickly downwards. In that instant, the body's momentum needs to be reversed to get under the bar and make the catch. (CrossFit Camp Eggers)

Floor press. Like the bench press, but WAY less fancy. (Body Armor CrossFit)

Box jumping, but with a tire. w00t! (Stoneway CrossFit)

  • 3 Hang Power Clean 115#
  • 5 Floor Press
  • 7 Tire Jump 24"
After a weekend filled by emptying our house on Long Island into PODS, including the piano, two sofas, two loveseats, and a whole bunch of other heavy crap, bookended by some nice long drives, it was time to do some real work again. Tired and sore, I was again reminded how awesome SMR can be at revitalizing me. Some stretching and active warming-up later, it was time to review the hang power clean.

The simplest of variations, the weight doesn't have to come from the floor, and it doesn't require catching it in a full squat. Easy! Not necessarily simple, however. It still involves loading up the three main joints of the posterior chain (hips, knees and ankles), unfolding them powerfully in the correct order, then immediately reversing the flow as the weight goes weightless for a moment, and getting under it for the catch. As a power clean, we don't want to go far down to catch it, but a little dip is still required.

Ultimately, I still need a lot of work. I *think* my initial lift is pretty good... I'm sure it needs a ton of finessing, but I can get the weight moving if nothing else. However, I just can NOT time the drop back under the bar. Even hang power cleaning, I was catching the bar in a full standing position. If nothing else, the ability to drop a few inches into the slightest of squats would let me NOT have to lift the bar those extra few inches. Greater skill = greater efficiency = less overall work.

The floor presses were easy enough, though I stupidly put myself in an area where every set required me to the pre-plan how I was going to ditch the bar. Ideally, after a lift to full extension, you would just (with arms still fully extended) dump the bar over your head, with it hitting the floor with a good foot of clearance over the top of your head. At least one set had me dumping the bar back down to my hips, as there was no overhead clearance, and one where I nearly scalped myself when the bar hit the pull-up structure behind me. Totally my fault in every possible way.

Did the tire jumps using a slow jump-up, jump-down pace, as compared to my usual jump-up, step-down approach. It picked up the pace a little, and didn't feel too bad on my knees. Its an odd mental thing: jumping onto the slightly pliable tire made me less concerned about the impact of jumping back down to the floor... when in reality the surface of the jump up should have little or nothing to do with the impact jumping back down to the same surface as always. Still, I totally felt more comfortable jumping down from the tire. Weird.

I spent the entire WoD chasing/pacing Woody, one of our Ironman triathletes, and though I think I was out in front when we first hit the tire, he quickly passed me on the tire jumps. After that, I just tried to stay within a rep or two of him, making up some time on the hang power cleans, losing some on the box jumps. I don't honestly know how I would have done without him to chase. My total time (6:25) is well outside of my sprint comfort zone of 60-90 seconds before my lungs implode, but for a medium burner like this workout, I think I actually held my own very well. 

Total Time: 6:25

Monday, September 26, 2011

11-09-23: Squats and a wallball boxjump couplet

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Friday September 23rd, 2011
Karianne Dickson learning squat variations from one of the squat masters, Louie Simmons. (

Wall-balls. The med-balls help those athletes squat down to full depth. Which makes wall-balls more difficult. I agree with some of the criticism: If I'm 200# and 6" tall, and can hit the target with upper body strength alone, why do I have to squat all the way down?! (Tip of the hat to Drywall Crossfit)(

Box jumps.

Strength: Squat
  • 1 x 10 @ 75% (210#)
  • 1 x 8 @ 80% (225#)
  • 1 x 6 @ 85% (240#)
  • 1 x 4 @ 90% (250#)
WoD: 2 Rounds for Time
  • 15 Wallball 20#
  • 10 Box Jumps 24"
The squats were heavy, but doable.  I'm still working off a calculated 1RM of approximately 278#, but having not failed on any reps, its possible it should be even a bit heavier. Still, better to get in the workload and build up to a heavier max. It having been a sparse crowd, we all had our own squat racks, so it was nice being able to work at my own speed. Though, it didn't work out when I was the last one done and had to transfer somewhat quickly to the couplet.

Wallballs and box jumps. Ugh and more ugh. 2:20 later it was done.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    11-09-21: Snatches and skill work

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
    Definitely click through to the original webpage to Enolympiate this picture. The weight starts on the floor, gets deadlifted to just above the knee, then the hips, knees and ankles all open up as forcefully as possible, launching the bar, rendering it weightless for the split second it takes to get under it, catch it, and stand up with it. Sounds really easy, right? (Wayne Joseph's Blog)

    Max: Snatch - 20min total time
     -squat or power
    Sellout: Skill Work
    -band-assist hand-stand push-ups

    Ah, the Olympic Lifts. They look so graceful when done well, and so amazingly awful when not. I tend to fall into the second category, because I'm usually way too inside my own head, thinking way too much at each step of the movement. And if you're thinking early (bar against the body, slow, yellow light, against the body, cleared the knee, green light, speed up, go go go, whip it up, shrug to redirect, elbows high and outside, snap the feet out to the receiving position, bar close to the body, pull your head out of the way, drop drop drop you ass, get under the bar, about to catch the weight, how does my wrist feel, going to take the weight, am I balanced, are my feet in the right position, am I deep enough, is the bar over the center of balance, can I help it if its not, omigod omigod omigod omigod.... etc etc etc.)  I have to imagine that, with much more practice and comfort, at least 2/3rds of that running monologue can be eliminated, or at least silenced! Some of it is good, especially the pointers and cues that lead to perfect lifts. However, the questions and fears are no good, and need to be silenced.

    After a good technique demo with weighted pvc pipes, we moved onto our bars. After a few power snatches with the empty bar (minimal squat depth on the catch), I started working up in weight. 65#, no real issues, though still not feeling overly comfortable. 95#, no real issues. 115#, same. 135#, and I was struggling to continue just power snatching the bar, but I just could NOT get my ass moving back down under the bar. I spent some time watching other Elm City athletes hitting it, trying to figure out if my road block was mental or physical or what. I actually didn't ever solve the question during this workout. I did manage to successfully snatch the 135#, but I need to check to see if that's a PR or not. It might not be, though its probably the best lift with the best form I've had, even if there is room for tons of improvement.

    After the fact, I ended up watching the olympic lifting video Elm City posted on the workout page (first link at the top of this posting), and I remembered that I used to watch a TON of videos BEFORE attempting workouts, with more of the techniques and approaches visually imprinted on my brain. That always seems to help... I may not be able to put into words exactly what I'm seeing, but I can tell if I'm replicating it or not. I may also not be able to explain HOW I'm not doing it the same, but the overall knowledge and awareness is there. Lesson learned: I need to do my homework BEFORE working out from now on.

    Heaviest power snatch: 135#

    Skill work: More band-assist hand-stand push-ups. One of my goals is to get more comfortable inverted. Kicking up into the handstand is still vaguely terrifying to me, so I'm hoping that through sheer repetition, it becomes both mundane and boring. I may suck at running, but it doesn't actually scare me. I want being in a handstand, whether band-assisted, wall-assisted, or free-standing, to feel equally "boring." 

    11-09-19: Deadlifts and shrugs, body weight couplets

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for Monday, September 19th, 2011
    The deadlift. (
    Shrugs. (

    Strength: 4 rounds:
    • 2 Deadlift @90%
    • 10 Shrugs
    WOD: 2x
    • Max Rep Pull-up
    • Max Rep HSPU
    • 1min Rec
    Score is total PU + HSPU
    Sellout: 90 sec each
    • Max Rep Push-up
    • Rest
    • Max Rep Sit-up
    Full body burner. The deadlifts train total strength, especially posterior chain. The shrugs were less for trapezius work, and focused more on the grip, and it was actually expected that we might not make it to 10 reps. Which made me feel a bit better about only making it to 5 on my best set! So, apparently I need to do grip work in the 300# range. Fair enough.

    Pull-ups and hand-stand push-ups were both band assist, and I failed to get final counts. (I knew them when they happened, but didn't write down what made it up onto the white board. Doh!!) This was my first time doing band-assist push-ups in a WoD, and it felt kind of good to not have time to overthink it... just kick up and find the band with my feet, and get going.  Not bad.

    Final couplet of push-ups and sit-ups was kind of brutal after the rest of the work we had already done. I ended up switching to fist push-ups for the final 45 seconds, just to take some strain off my wrists and forearms. 28 push-ups in 90 seconds. Sit-ups were done on an ab-mat, with knees wide (to take hip flexors out of the motion). Felt pretty good up until the last 20-30 seconds... then speed fell off dramatically. 34 reps.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    11-09-17: Fight Gone Bad 6

    CrossFit WoD for Saturday, September 17th, 2011

    If you see people doing wall-balls, sumo deadlift high-pulls, box jumps, push presses, and rowing, chances are they're either prepping for or suffering through that old CrossFit gem, "Fight Gone Bad." (all pictures from

    "Fight Gone Bad!"
    • Three rounds of:
      • Wall-ball, 20# ball, 10 ft target (Reps)
      • Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75# (Reps)
      • Box Jump, 20" box (Reps)
      • Push-press, 75# (Reps)
      • Row (Calories)
    In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute.The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of "rotate", the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.
    CrossFit Milford was good enough to host Fight Gone Bad this year, which was awesome, since they are just down the highway from Elm City CrossFit. After some interesting driving from my car mates (Larry and Mark), we finally made it to Milford. The turnout was great, with there easily being 40-50 athletes, male and female, all ages, out to participate. There were enough stations for 6 athletes to do each exercise at a time, and given the lay-out of the workout, they were able to have 6 "heats" running concurrently, each offset from the next by a minute. There were two sets of those, meaning we were pretty much done 30-40 minutes after the initial 3-2-1 Go!

    I ended up competing in the second heat, so I counted and coached for a guy I had just met named Brian, who I believe is an athlete at CFMilford. He's fairly new to CrossFit, and this was his first FGB. He had some definite form issues on some of the moves, mostly defined by his overall strength (wallball squat depth and throw height were both sub-par), and familiarity with the moves (I don't think he had ever done a sumo-deadlift high-pull before.) So, I tried to work with him as much as I could in the middle of this grinder of a workout.

    When it came to my turn, my only goal was to not die. I believe my previous PR was 182, which is well-off from elite levels of fitness, so my drive was to best that. I didn't worry too much about the math of how many reps per minute, since I knew that as soon as I slipped off that scheme, it might screw me up mentally. Rather, I just tried to keep going, steady and slow, steady and slow.

    Of course, I failed right out of the gate, and started throwing up wall-balls with abandon. However, at the 30 second mark, I realized my mistake, and tried to ease up on the gas. I happily ended sets 10 seconds early to both allow myself time to get to the next station, but also to get in 2-3 good deep breaths. For all that, I really wanted someone to put me out of my misery midway through the second round. Having just counted and coached for Brian, I knew that by the second time through the box jumps, he wanted it to be over as well, so it wasn't just me.

    Final score: 225, a 40 pt PR. Its not a great score at all, but knowing that two of my main goats are muscle endurance and recovery, FGB targets both of those with a passion. Now, my next goal is another PR, and hopefully over over 300. Time will tell...

    PS. SQUEEEE! Dave Lipson and Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet were both there!!
    Not Dave. Definitely NOT Camille.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    11-09-16: Kettlebell swings and skill work

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for Friday, September 16th, 2011
    Jeff Martone demonstrates the one-armed kettlebell swing. As taught at ECC, his right arm should be along-side the kettlebell, acting as both guide and balance. Having taught myself the swing from Martone's videos, I lean more towards the counter-balance idea shown here. But you perform for the coach in the room, NOT for your comfort zone. (
    Band-assist handstand push-ups. One band wraps around a pull-up bar (or whatever), second band feeds through the hanging one and acts as a harness. For me, the skill work lies in getting comfortable with being inverted. Once I get up into the band, I'm ok for the push-ups... its just a matter of kicking my lead leg up straight, catching the band high enough for it to do any work for me at all. (CrossFit King of Prussia)

    Buy-in: 5min
    • Alternating Single Arm KBS 55/35 traditional swing
    WoD: Work Underdeveloped Skills

    Stupid stupid stupid. When picking a weight for something like the buy-in, work WITHIN your wheelhouse. Having warmed up the swing with a 35# kettlebell, I assumed I could easily handle the 55# for single-armed swings. About 45 seconds into the buy-in, I realized what an idiot I can be early in the morning. I can handle the 55# for double-arm work, but can NOT sustain single-arm work for any great amount of time. As I rapidly realized my mistake, I also started to feel other issues creep in, most notably a fiery tightness spread across my lower back. By the three minute mark, I was dropping the kettlebell (safely) after just 5-6 reps, and each of those felt like my spine would explode. Though I got 35 reps in the first minute, I barely made it to 92 by the end of the buy-in. Now THAT'S a drop-off in output! :-/ Not good. It would have been both a better--and frankly a more productive--workout, had I picked an appropriate weight for 5 minutes of work. Stupid stupid stupid.

    After taking some time to re-roll out my back and make sure nothing was actually injured or anything, and some targeted stretching, I prepped working on band-assist handstand push-ups (HSPU). In WoDs, I've usually scaled to knees on a box or pike push-ups off a box, but the last workout where those came up, it became quite clear that I'm strong enough to move to the next scaling. Now I just need to lock in the skills that will make it happen.

    While there are many skills involved in the band-assisted HSPU, the biggest hurdle I have to face right now is my fear of failure and the resulting faceplant that would occur soon after. It occurs to me writing this after the fact that since *that's* my biggest fear, using two super stout bands for the harness might have helped, since it would be nearly impossible to even reach the floor with anything other than my feet, no matter how bad I failed. In the moment, I don't know if that "knowledge" would have overcome the "I'm gonna die!" fears echoing in my head. While I did manage a few more-or-less successful attempts, there were many more half attempts and balks. Clearly, this will take another day or two of dedicated practice until I'm capable of performing band-assist HSPUs, much less doing them comfortably!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    11-09-14: Overhead Squat Tabata

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for Wednesday, September 14, 2011
    Original firebreather Greg Amundson shows perfect overhead squat form. Note the depth of the squat on the left, as well as how vertical his torso is. That is VERY hard to accomplish. This lift is as much about flexibility and mobility as it is about strength. Pretty much any nagging area in your body is capable of making you suck at OHS. (
    Nicole Carroll, original "Nasty Girl" cranks out over head squats, and makes them look EASY. Awesomeness abounds. (

    WoD: Tabata
    Score is reps completed
    Sellout: 4x
    • 100m Row
    • 10 Box Jumps 24"
    Score is fasted row time

    Wow. That's just a whole lot of suckage in the first part of the workout. Not JUST overhead squats, a notorious goat of mine, but tabata-stylee no less. Ugh. 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeat 7 more times. Joy of joys.

    Oddly enough, there were times when the OHS almost felt locked in, but then my right forearm would spike in agony, pretty much killing whatever rep I was in dead in the water. Very hard to focus on form and mid-line stability and getting the knees lower than the hip crease when your only *real* concern is whether or not you're going to drop a bar on your head.

    Tabata OHS: 25 reps (7 in the first interval, then much less from there on out!)

    I really like the sprint-type sell-outs. I'm a good enough rower, and consistent, that when it calls for 100m, I already know that's about 14 strokes, at least for me. I swung for the fences on every round, and managed 18s three times, and 19 on the second round. So, 18s was my fastest time. Box jumps were high, but that was only a problem because stepping down from a 24" box is kinda high, especially as the fatigue builds up. Still, no big worries.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    11-09-12: Back squats, clean-pull-up-run triplet

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for Monday, September 12, 2011

    No pics today. Sorry!

    Strength: Back squat - 5RM: 15min limit
    WoD: 3 Rounds For Time
    • 3 (Squat) Cleans 115#
    • 7 Pull-ups (Band assist)
    • 200m Run
    Noooo sleep going into this one, but I was determined to make a good show on the squats. After a few warm-up sets, I slowly climbed to a new 5RM of 245#. If I had had a minute or two longer, I would have shot for 250# or 255#, but since the pace of two guys alternating on the squat rack with a little time to adjust the weights in between didn't leave too much in the tank for recovery, I kind of think that would have led to a failure on the set... but we'll never know, and I would NOT have approached it as "I'm going to fail." I'm desperate to get my heavy lift numbers up, and squatting barely more than bodyweight is something I'd really like to fix. 

    Ignoring Coach Vin's redundant sarcasm (Every clean is a "squat" clean, unless clearly specified. You don't need to modify "clean" to make it a "squat clean"), we were allowed to "pseudo-squat clean," meaning that after what amounts to a power clean, THEN we would complete the motion with a front squat. I started out the first round doing the pseudo version, but then started to really work on getting the real version down. The weight was light enough (determined by an ever improving feeling in my wrists and forearms), that I didn't need to focus *too much* on the other parts of the lift, letting me focus on one of my biggest goats, the fear that if I try to catch the bar in a squat, I'll fail. Clearly, the rest of the chain is worthless if I can't go after the bar aggressively, so I tried to make that the focus of the cleans for the remainder of the workout.

    My first round of pull-ups was done unassisted, as I failed to get myself a pull-ups station (too busy changing out weights once I determined that 145# would be too heavy for my wrists), so I ended up bouncing down 3 stations until I almost ran out of pull-up bars, grabbed one, and banged out 4 chin-ups, then 3 pull-ups. After that, I was able to work in on another set-up, as the other person sharing it and I were fairly well 180 degrees apart on the tasks at that point.

    Running was running. The nice thing is this: Its starting to feel like the rest/recharge of workouts like this, implying its no longer the hardest, worst thing in the world. THAT'S a definite improvement in my book.

    Total time: unknown (to be updated soon)

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    11-09-09: Deadlifts and Banded Muscle-Ups

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for September 9th, 2011
    Deadlift. Stand over a heavy weight, set your body into a solid position, and pick that heavy weight up. Ta-dah! (

    Band-assist muscle-ups, one variation. Rather than having the band attached to the pull-up bar overhead, we wrapped the band around and through one of the rings, then through the other. The only thing keeping it locked into the second ring is your own grip, meaning you can't just camp out at the bottom in the swing. (

    Strength: 5 rounds
    • Deadlift @ 80% (245#)
    • Max Rep Muscle-ups (band assist)
    Going into this, I had forgotten to check out my 1RM for deadlifts, and ended up choosing a conservative number (315#) and opted to back down a bit from there, so I did 80% of 305#, which is 245#. Turns out, at some point in the past, I actually nailed a 335# deadlift, so I should have added at least 20# to the bar, to get me to @265#. Given that I felt pretty good through all of the deadlifts, and didn't have to resort to an alternate grip, its possible that I could have pushed a bit harder and heavier. Bah.

    While I both slowly lifted and returned the weight to the floor in the first round, I opted to just drop the weight from the top for the rest of the reps. I found I was ending up in a worse position when I carefully lowered the bar to the floor, whereas if I dropped it, I could then reapproach the bar anew and get reset in a better position. It also deloads the body for a second, allowing for a good cleansing breath between reps. Not the stuff of cranking reps out for time, but since it was an untimed WoD, that didn't really matter.

    I don't yet have a muscle-up, but rather than resorting to pull-ups and dips, I opted to try a new (to me) progression for the muscle-up. Using a band attached to one ring and keeping it locked in with just my grip in the other, and sitting in the resulting swing, I was able to hang below the rings, bounce a little in the swing, and pop up into the dip position above the rings. The best part is that once up there, the band gave little to no assistance for the dip itself. The band reduces the effort needed for the pull-up portion, and allows for training the transition from pull-up to dip without the full weight of the body, or the full motion of a kipping muscle-up, to distract. Definitely a cool approach. In the later rounds, it was definitely my grip on the band that weakened first. Its possible that with the version in the picture above (band around the bar overhead, grip removed from the equation), I could have gotten more reps per round. I don't have a problem with it.

    Band-Assist Muscle Ups: 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 3

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    11-09-07: Jerks, runs, and box jumps

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for September 7th, 2011

    Split jerk. Rear leg could probably be closer to the front, with more of a bend in the knee. But the flag is awesome, so I'm gonna let it slide for now. (

    Camille Leblanc-Bazinet makes running look effortless. Jerk. Actually, things are coming along. I never felt like my heart was going to explode out of the top of my rib cage on this workout, so I must be doing something right. (

    Box jumps. It's hard to tell in motion, but note the rigid lower back, meaning that as she jumped and flexed and opened her hip, that motion was translated directly into moving her entire body upwards, without getting dampened and wasted in a relaxed, bent spine. Efficiency will usually allow you to accomplish more work with less effort... or at least with the same amount of effort! (

    WoD: 6 rounds
    • Jerk (3x2 @ 90%, 2x2 @ 92%, 1x2 @ 95%)
    • 200m Run
    • 1 min Box Jumps
    Score is total number of box jumps.

    After the warm-up, I found a few new ways to try to roll out my wrists and forearms using the "two-lacrosse-balls-taped-together" SMR tool. It was AWESOME. I only had time to really work out the right side, which was hurting the most anyways... but it was completely brilliant. I was finally able to roll all sides of the forearm, including the top (anterior) muscles, which are apparently NOW the source of most of the problems. Nothing like floating, mutating tightness... I didn't have as much time on the left side, which ended up still being sore the rest of the day. Today (the next day from the workout) both are sore again, but neither is in agony... I'm onto something here!

    The prescribed weights came out to 135#, 140# and 145#, respectively. After warming up a few sets, we got to work. The idea was to crank through the 2 jerks, run around the parking lot, and bang out a minute's worth of box jumps before taking any rest. My only goal was to try to keep the box jump numbers steady, and I managed to pull it off. I had some issues with my jerk form (I split jerked every rep), in that I ended up leaning back a bit at the waist, probably reflecting shoulder tightness, or just a fear of that tightness. I can usually get a jerked bar into the proper position, so I doubt it was real tightness or inflexibility, just an inexperience/fatigue/fear combination making me unsure of the proper alignment. After having it pointed out in the 2nd or 3rd round, I tried like hell to make sure the weight was directly over the back of my head when overhead, and that I was fully and properly locked out.

    The runs were fairly easy. It was brisk out, with a small amount of misty rain, so it was actually kind of refreshing to get outside after each set of lifts! The box jumps were increasingly difficult to maintain speed on, but I just tried to not rush them and set my own pace. I still jump-up then step-down, rather than jumping down, in order to protect my knees. It's possible that if I jumped down, I could have gotten more reps per round, but its also just as likely that I might have gassed out earlier and ended up with the exact same number of reps while putting my knees in harm's way. I think when I weigh a bit less (whenever that happens) I might consider going back to jumping down. Call it at 200#. 

    Box Jumps252425252629

    Total Box Jumps: 154
    Total weight: 1,660#

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    11-09-05: Front squats and double-unders

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for Tuesday, September 5th, 2011
    Eva T. dominating a front squat. Makin' it look easy. Jerk. (
    Double-unders. I'm almost getting good at these! (
    This is about how a 100m sprint feels by the end of it! (

    New Warm-up
    • Roll:
      • Hip Flexor
      • Piriformis
      • Back
    • Core:
      • Single Leg bridge w/ opposite knee pull
      • Plank w/pelvic rotation
    • Balance:
      • OH Step-up to balance
    • Agility:
      • Single Leg * Hops

    WoD: 11 min AMRAP

    • 7 Front Squat @ 95#
    • 10 Double Unders


    • 6 x 100m Row - sprint
    Feeling a bit better, but with continuing wrist/forearm issues, I was both looking forward and terrified of what this workout would do to me. Turns out I was right and wrong!  The new warm-up was pretty good, hitting a couple of new areas (at least for me), and targeting the core in new and exciting ways.

    After going through the movement standards for the front squat with a weighted pvc (and having early misgivings about my right wrist), I quickly rolled it out on one of ECC's taped-together racquet-ball pairs. It seems that the tightness has migrated to the top part of my forearm, which makes sense, since that area would have been pulled against for weeks now by tightness on the underside. After extensively rolling that wrist and forearm out, I was hopeful that I could complete the workout at 95#, which is nowhere near the Rx'ed 75% of 1RM (which should be approx. 135#).  However, all things considered, I was happy just to be up and squatting.

    Using all power cleans (ie, NOT working in a full (or squat) clean, to cut down on total movements), I just tried to keep cranking. I had a few moments of just staring at the bar, and more than a few of waiting for my arms to start going of their own accord on the double-unders, but I made a very conscious decision to just take a deep breath (or three) and get back to work. I had a few rounds where the double-unders were easy, a few where they sucked, and I have a few welts on the back of my hands nearly 10 hours later, but for the most part, the double-unders came easily.

    Total Rounds: 8 + 4 front squats

    The sell-out of 6 100m rowing sprints felt REALLY good. Its a small enough chunk of time that you can just swing for the fences while you're on the rower, but still recover fairly quickly when you get off. I liked this, a lot. A few of the rests took too long, but as people started finishing up, the rounds cycled a bit faster, so my last 3 were done in about the same amount of time as the first two alone. Twice I ended up starting a fraction of a second after someone else on the other rower, and beating them to the end of the 100. That felt good. It was also cool to see everyone's different styles, and see some of the issues and kinks (the legs that never reach full extension, creating a moment when the arms are still rowing and contracting, even while the legs are already scooting the body in, resulting in a total waste of energy and efficiency, for example). Nice little mental coaching game.

    11-09-02: Overhead squats

    Elm City CrossFit WoD for Friday, September 2, 2011
    The overhead squat. This is pretty much the make-or-break squat movement. Ability here will translate directly into snatch performance (in all of its variations), and problems here will manifest themselves clearly, as well. (
    Power snatch . While this move doesn't require the deep squat of a regular snatch, there should be at least some leg bend to cushion and control the catch. There should be a fairly smooth transition from power to regular (aka 'squat snatch,' for people who don't realize that's redundant) snatches, with the ability to catch the bar at any given height. (

    Strength: 3 x 8
    • Overhead Squat @ 75%
    WoD: 4min AMRAP
    • 5 Power Snatch
    • 2 Overhead squats
    Still struggling with my manky wrist/forearm issues, this workout was a miserable chore. Worked with 65#, but even that was killing my right forearm, in terms of muscle tightness and resulting wrist pains. Total suckage. I ended up also struggling with my knees tracking in as I reached the bottom of the squat, but I honestly think I was just so distracted by my arm that I just couldn't give the rest of my body the attention it needs in what is still an advanced movement for me.

    The WoD was ok, if only because there were just fewer overhead squats to worry about. The power snatches were easy enough at that weight, so they weren't much of an issue. 

    Total rounds: 5-6? (I forget, will check my book)

    10-06-07: "Randy"

    CrossFit WoD for Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
    75 pound Power snatch, 75 reps for time.

    Broken up into rounds sets of 15 reps, taking minimal rest times, managed to kind of storm through this.  75# is thankfully pretty light for me, so form didn't need to be perfect (I noticed as the reps stacked up that my form at the start of the first pull was deteriorating, with my back losing its nice, tight arch. However, for yanking 75# off the floor, it wasn't that big a deal... for now. Definitely need to eradicate that habit in the long view.

    Started with 7 minute warm-up on the exercise bike, followed by active stretching.

    Total time for WoD: 6:40.