Monday, January 31, 2011

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

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
Warm-up:
  • 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. (crossfit.com)
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. (yahoo.com)
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. (crossfit.com)



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. (croftoncrossfit.com)
 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:
Exercise12345678Totals
KB Swings111111111011*111087
Push Press101010*109109977
Squats1313151313141213106

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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

11-01-28: Overhead squats, double-unders, and sloooow back squats.

CrossFit Garden City WoD for January 21, 2001
Warmup:
Strength: Back Squat (51X0 tempo)
5-5-5-5-5
Take 2 min rest b/w sets
Increase weight every set.
Start light and stay STRICT on this tempo.
Conditioning: 3 sets: AMRAP in 3 minutes:
  • 4 Burpees
  • 8 DB Bent Over Row, Double Arm (50/35)
  • 12 Box Jumps
  • Rest 3 minutes
Conditioning was cut for time. Got into the gym late, so I was in the way of a class coming in.

Greg Amundson demonstrates awesome OHS technique. Shoulders stay shrugged and active the whole time, so the weight is carried on the lats themselves. Losing that shrug is baaad. Notice also the depth of his squat. Hip crease WELL below the tops of the knees, and full extension at the top. (crossfit.com)
Pictures of double-unders are kind of worthless. The only evidence she's doing one is the rope that disappears, which usually means it is screaming through the air. Check the video above for tips from jump-rope master Buddy Lee. (crossfit.com)
Ah, squat stands. Those would be awesome to have. Notice the fairly relaxed hands on the bar, showing the weight is firmly on his back, NOT on his hands and wrists. It takes a bit of flexability to get it there, but it's TOTALLY worth it. (games2010.crossfit.com)


Though dragging a bit from clearing snow for 2 hours and 45 minutes yesterday, I decided not to skip my workout.  However, the needs of work dictated that I get down to the gym later than usual, which meant that I ended up finishing up after a class had come in. Since at that point, I was still doing the back squats, I wasn't taking up too much room, but with a small gym filled with kind of clueless kids, running around doing a met-con, even one with a fairly small equipment load and footprint, is never a good idea. Last time I tried it, I ended up with kids tripping over my feet and legs during push-ups or burpees or whatever it was. Sigh.

I warmed up with a good amount of single-bounce jump-rope, trying to shake out my calves which were still sore from the running in Tuesday's workout. I was fooling around with some front-back bouncing, some side-to-side bouncing, then some turning in place stuff with the jog-step. Unfortunately, I ended up screwing that one up, causing the rope to whip the crap out of my left hand twice. I can still see the welt 9 hours later. Ooops. Also, owwie! ;)

I opted to go with no weight on the bar for the overhead squats, realizing I still have a lot of kinks in my technique to iron out before loading up again. I'm not having too much of a problem with the "active shoulders" bit, which is irritating, since that's the newest part for me. It's definitely still an issue with shoulder mobility killing my ability to easily carry the bar directly over the shoulder blades (allowing my torso to rotate forward under the bar a bit), requiring a much more upright torso instead, thereby necessitating a truly horrific foot stance to allow that train wreck to express itself. Like I said last time, I need to get me some coaching, stat! (I just looked at a bunch of local affiliates... is it policy for people to not post prices? I'm not calling around to all of you just to find out your monthly rates: you all have websites, USE them.)

Then, back to jumping rope, this time shooting for double-unders. I started out with trying for a double-under, followed by three single-bounces, repeat. I did a few of those, then I tried to reduce the number of single bounces between double-unders, and managed to string three double-unders together. Inevitably, three would be it. In hindsight, I wonder if I was breathing at all during them, or speeding up in a blind panic of "I'm doing it!"

After a minute of that, it was back to the overhead squats. Whereas for the first set, I was sideways to the mirror so I could try to sneak glances at my back and arm positions, this time I faced the mirror. I'm not entirely sure what I was seeing, but it looked like my left ass sinks just a little lower into the squat than my right... and I have no idea why. I don't *feel* like I'm lopsided, either in the hips or knees, but clearly something's happening that isn't perfectly symmetrical. When I finally get some coaching, that'll be on the list of "WTF Am I Doing?!"  Despite the lack of weight on the bar, by this point I was starting to sweat a bit.  Back to jump rope, then back to overhead squats. I made sure I was keeping my shoulders active, and my armpits facing front (which helps to cue the active shoulders), while still struggling to figure out the back/hip flexibility and foot placement issues. Gah.

I spent a few minutes getting some weight together for the back squats. By now I was nicely warmed up from the alternating overhead squats and double-unders, and decided to go for a few ring dips while letting my legs recover a bit. I knocked out a triplet pretty easily, which was totally awesome. I tried a few l-sits as well...those still suck, but this was only my second attempt at them, so no huge loss there. I need to figure out what height will allow me to practice ring pull-ups, so I can start working towards the all important muscle-up. More on that eventually, hopefully.

Back squats would be so much easier with squat racks, and a bar wide enough to accomodate my inflexible shoulders.  Since our bar is so short (by about 2 feet, I think), the grip width is substantially shorter than what's available on a true olympic bar.  For poops and grins, I tried to size up my squat stance on the Smith Machine, which has a wider grip width, but even there I found myself wanting an even wider grip. Gotta do a lot more work on these crusty old shoulders. Back to the real bar for some real weight-lifting!

In the instructions, the tempo for the back squats is 51X0.  Each of those describes a different part of the movement. For a squat, the first number is how long the descent takes, in this case, 5 seconds, which is a slow-assed descent! The second number is how long you pause when you get there, in this case 1 second. The X in the third position means the next motion is as fast as possible, or as powerful as possible, or however you want to describe it. The final number is the pause back at the original position, in this case the 0 means NO pause, straight back into the next 5 second decent.  This is an absolutely miserable way to do squats because it demands (and teaches) control and power. I started very light, with just 45 pounds, and worked my way up to 95#.  As usual, I was limited a bit by needing to clean and jerk the weight up off the floor, just to try to lower it into the correct position for the back squat, which is nearly impossible. My inflexibility was probably an even more limiting factor, but still.

Round about the third round was when I was suddenly invaded by students. While I watched in horror as they ran to their favorite nautilus style machines, one or two eyed the rings slung off the back of the Smith Machine with interest. Normally I'd be very possessive of "my" things, but these kids don't get to work with anything as awesome as gymnastic rings. Even when they do gymnastics, its a little bit of tumbling, something with the pommel horse (though I can't see them being taught either vaulting it OR the cool thing gymnasts do on it...whatever that's called), and the parallel bars. That's it!  In elementary school we definitely had gymnastic rings, uneven bars (not that we ever did much on them, but we had them, dammit!), and we learned how to both vault and do the pommel-horse thingy. I can still remember the LAST time I tried to vault the pommel horse in junior high. I was apparently not paying much attention as I sprinted towards it, since instead of finding myself above it and just needing to guide myself lightly with my hands, I instead hit the side of it with the side of my head. TOTALLY graceful, I swear. :S 

I finished the final two rounds, having to add an extra rep in the final round when I started it out with a fast squat, rather than the now painfully slow ones. Ugh. After that, I showed the students a few things on the rings, culminating in another triple dip. The last of the three dips was weak and shaky, and it took me two attempts to finish it, but I did it dammit. It was even more gratifying to watch one of the short skinny kids, who's actually a little jacked (or at least very thin) struggle to even maintain the control position, then crash through the rings when he tried to do more than a quarter dip. Given that I weigh easily twice as much as him, I felt even better about my growing skills on the rings. ;)

So, not a great workout all told, especially in missing out on the conditioning part, but given the workload from the previous day's snow shoveling, I certainly could have been doing worse, too. Meh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

11-01-25: Hang snatches and running

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Thursday, January 20th, 2011
Warmup:
Burgener Warmup (PVC)
 - 3 sets of 3 reps of the following:
  • Down, Up, Shrug
  • Down, Up, High Pull
  • Muscle Snatch
  • Snatch Drops
  • Hang Snatch
Skill: Hang Snatch
Spend 15 minutes practicing with PVC, Training Bar, Barbell, or lightly loaded barbell. Focus on jumping and landing in deepest squat position while maintaining position/stability in receiving position.


Training:
4 rounds:

Shows the basic motion a bit after the start (the bar starts at mid-thigh, drops bit as you unlock your hips, then rises up to the position in the first picture as you re-open your hips to start driving the bar up.)  See that final pic, with the beautiful deep squat? Turns out that's RELLY f'ing hard. Seriously.


One thing CrossFitters try to be honest about is their "goats."  Simply put, "What do you suck at?"  For me, its definitely the olympic lifts and their variations. As well as several other skills. That's an inevitable outcome of doing this on my own, without coaching. Most of the skill-based movements NEED an outside set of eyes watching form and function... no matter how many mirrors there are, you can't watch your own back.

Another goat is the olympic rings, which is why I've been working them so hard lately. After warming up, I hopped on the rings, and starting working on my ring dips, getting as far as a triple! I love seeing progress... I may not be very far along yet, but that means each achievement looks HYOOOGE! Going from 10 to 11 won't feel nearly as awesome, I bet.  I also tried a few L-Sits.

I don't think I've ever done ANYTHING that lit up my abs as fast as this did. Planche holds take a good 5-10 seconds to let you know how much they can suck. This was nearly instantaneous. (crossfitla.com)

Boy, these suck!

After several runs through the Burgener Warm-Up, I started experimenting on running it with increased weights. So far so good, so I transitioned into the skill practice on the full Hang Snatch. Once I started including the squat landing, I discovered an inability to keep my final stance from being too wide, with toes splayed too far out. In that position, trying to catch the bar in a full squat position would inevitably cause my balance to shift forward, causing my knees to cave in. While this didn't keep me from completing the lift, I could tell right away that this was putting an insane amount of stress on my knees. Not what I want to feel.  Ever. I practiced keeping my feet closer in, in what I consider to be my overhead squat stance, which *ideally* (i think) is identical to the catch position for the snatch (notes on snatch technique here, courtesy the fine folks at CrossFit New England). I had at best mixed results. Plus, when I focused too much on my footwork, my control of the bar path went straight to crap. Like I said, a coach would have been a wonderful thing. I tried a few with 85# on the bar, but had even more wide-stance/knee torque issues, so I decided to keep it light.  PVD would have been ideal, but I opted for the empty bar (35#), which is the lightest thing we have. Speaking of, I finally remembered to take a video of the gym:

video

As you can see, its not great, but I could certainly be doing a lot worse, especially for free. However, when we get our way, most of the machines are going to be on Craigslist, and we're going to have a lot more room for power racks and pull-up bars and actual barbells. Woohoo! If they give us the budget... sigh.

At the end of the 15 minutes, as I was starting to feel a little better about my hang snatch footwork, I got the treadmill up and running, and got ready to hit the Training portion of the workout. I honestly can't remember the last time I did any running, which is ALWAYS a good sign that its probably going to hurt. I was happily surprised in some ways.  I managed to do each of the 400m runs unbroken (usually by the 3rd or 4th, I completely gas out halfway through) AND I upped the speed for each one. At least that way I was suffering for slightly less time... not that it ever really felt it.

After the run, I made my way to the bar and knocked out 12 hang snatches of various quality. Some seemed perfect, including a nice squat depth and everything. Some had the worst of the foot-placement issues leading to the worst of the knee torques. Second round of running and hang snatches felt much the same.

For the third round, after the run, I was feeling a little gun shy, which manifested in two hang power snatches in a row (no squat motion at all).  I ended up finishing out the set that way, but it kinda bugged me. I was missing something (not just the squat.) There was a way to scale this, I knew it....

Final run, fastest speed yet.  Lungs of fire. Legs of jelly. Back to the bar. Standing over it, I came to a decision: since my form was so shaky as to be unusable, this wasn't exactly a well-performed WoD for time anymore. So I could change it up a little to get in the work I clearly needed. A solution presented itself: Hang power snatch, followed by an overhead squat. Just break the motion into the two constituent movements, and give each the attention it needed. I toyed with doing all twelve of one, then the other, but decided to keep them together. That way, each squat would depend on the foot position from the power snatch, keeping that part of it intact. Otherwise, I could just find a single good foot position, bang out twelve overhead squats without having to worry about it, and gotten no skill practice at all!

Overall, I felt good about the run (though I have calves of concrete today), but it was the snatches that really threw me off. Today, my knees are aching... so not good. More work, and hopefully some good coaching in the near future. I mean, it literally can NOT hurt, from where I am right now! ;)

Monday, January 24, 2011

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

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

Strength:
Sumo Deadlift
5-4-3-2-1-1-1
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! (leehayward.com)

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? (baycityrowing.org)


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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

11-01-21: Angie!

CrossFit benchmark WoD: Angie
"Angie"
  • 100 80 Pull-ups
  • 100 80 Push-ups
  • 100 80 Sit-ups
  • 100 80 Squats
As Rxed, For Time :Complete all reps of each exercise before moving to the next.

Scaling: Sub-sets of 10 each to make it even remotely possible.
Jumping-Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups instead of real ones, because that's nearly an infinite number of pull-ups, at least for me...

If someone tells you pull-ups are good for isolating muscles in the back, try not to laugh at their utter incomprehension of what a full-body monster pull-ups CAN be. (crossfit.com)

All the way down, all the way up. Repeat as needed. (crossfit.com)
Abmat allowing proper lumbar curvature throughout the entire ROM of a sit-up, making it both more effective AND (at least in my mind) easier, because the initial ab contraction doesn't just fire your lower back into the floor. Because your back is supported, that initial contraction actually works towards elevating your torso! Just like what a sit-up is supposed to do! Yay Abmat! (abmat.com) (Note, I am NOT a paid sponsor, but if the abmat folks want to sponsor me, I'll do it!)
It's ok if your hip crease doesn't drop below the top of your knees. You just can't count the rep, and have to keep trying until you DO break parallel. For as long as it takes.  Come on, the toddler can do it! Why can't you? (For what its worth, watch almost ANY toddler, and you will see nearly perfect squat mechanics, perfect running form, everything. It's AWESOME!) (crossfit.com)


I ended up doing this workout at the end of the workday on Friday, having missed my window to get it in during my lunch hour. The number of complications this created was large, but the biggest were these: I had eaten lunch recently, and I usually workout on a nearly empty (read: pre-lunch) stomach, and I had pretty much written off working out, so I had very little time to try to psych myself back up when the opportunity presented itself. But, I grabbed my crap, headed down to the gym, cranked up the Amon Amarth, and went to work!

Some quick intense jump-rope and active stretching, then onto the workout. I grabbed a dumbbell to anchor my feet on the sit-ups, my AbMat for its first WoD use, and set myself up under the ever multi-tasking Smith machine (for the jumping chest-to-bar pullups, a scaling borrowed from the fine folks over at CrossFit Garden City). Then, viking metal cranking, I started knocking out sets of 10 of each exercise.  One other change (not reflected above) was that I did each exercise in the wrong order, having written down the workout from memory.  Rather than pull-ups, followed by push-ups, sit-ups and finally squats, I did them as followed: 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 jumping c2b pull-ups, 10 sit-ups, with the driving factor being not doing the squats the jumping c2bs back to back.

Two rounds in, I just wanted to die. Two rounds later, I knew I was going to die. In the fifth round, I started having to stop occasionally to let my stomach settle, since lunch was still floating around and starting to make itself known.  I didn't want to meet Pukie the Clown until it was because of my awesome intensity, not just my bad scheduling.
So, with some pasta and sausage and chicken with red sauce making its way around my guts, I continued working through sets.  By the time I hit the 7th set, I had to break up the sit-ups and push-ups.  Jumping pull-ups had already started being broken up in the 4th or 5th rounds, but really only because my form was starting to fall apart, especially on the negatives and landings. Better to take a breath and keep from re-tweaking my knees doing pull-ups (just TRY explaining that one to someone).

By the end of the 8th set, I was pretty much done. Had I pushed through the final 20 reps of each exercise, I certainly would have ended up booting, and probably still not completed the full workout. However, I also misread/misremembered the recommended scaling from CF GC, and thought that they wanted you to shoot for between 15-20 minutes for the workout, scaled as necessary. I finished round 8 at 19 minutes even, and figured that was perfect.  Having just reread their workout, it actually reads that we should have been shooting for 20-25 minutes... ie, I was right on track, or at least could have fit in one more round, if not both.

This highlights an unfortunate reality I failed to take into account when tackling this workout: if you don't plan ahead for what you want to accomplish specifically, you will end up doing less every time. At least, I will. Granted, CF GC's scaling recommended doing maybe 50-75 reps of each exercise to stay within the timeframe, so I did MORE than that... but in terms of the overall time period, I actually ended up cutting it short. Lesson learned, the hard way.

Music for the workout:
Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side - 2006
Valhalla Awaits Me - Live at Summerbreeze 2007

Runes to My Memory - official video

Asator
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03mNIlsSbW0 (Embedding disabled by request, so I'm sure you won't follow the link. Heh.  Lord the Rings footage set to Amon Amarth. Love it!!
Hermod's Ride to Hel - Loke's Treachery Part 1

Gods of War Arise (Call of Duty games used as footage = awesome!)

With Oden on Our Side

Cry of the Black Birds

Thursday, January 20, 2011

11-01-20: Push presses, then sumo deadlift high-pulls and MORE push presses

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Friday, January 17th, 2011
Strength:
Push Press
Sets of 3-3-3-3-3
Conditioning:
21-18-15-12-9 reps of:
  • Sumo Deadlift High Pull 60#
  • Push Press

Top three photos show proper form (upright back leading to a vertical bar path). Bottom three show poor form, where the slight forward lean makes the bar path screwy, adding to the amount of work in an uncontrollably bad way. The dip motion allows you to drive the bar up, finishing the press with the arms. (crossfit.com)
Sumo deadlift high-pull. Elbows stay above the bar (perhaps even a bit higher than shown in this pic). The bar is not "pulled" off the floor; with a rigid spine, the floor is "pushed" away from the body, and the bar is nearly caught by the hands, not yanked on. (crossfit.com)

Started with a nice complete jump rope warm up, including a few new steps and rope maneuvers (most of which failed, and one of which left a welt on my left butt cheek that still stings a bit...).  Full active warm-up, especially focusing on shoulders and lower back, since both were a bit stiff and sore going into today.  Both loosened up quite nicely!

I then transitioned into warming up the push press with the empty (35#) bar.  My main concern was with making sure that during the dip, I kept the knees tracking over my feet. Its a fairly small motion, at least compared to a full squat, but I've learned the wrong way that doing it incorrectly will knock the everliving crap out of my knees. After several of those, I loaded a few 5# plates on the bar to mimic an empty olympic bar (45#) and did a few reps with that. I also warmed up with 55# and 65#, focusing on hand placement and trying to get the bar to rest on my delts for the dips. I had mixed success with that part of it.  Finally, I was up to my work sets.

First set of 3 with 85# was pretty easy.  After a minute's rest, I went for a set at 105#. This one felt pretty heavy, but certainly not uncontrollably so. At this point, with the weight climbing, I was acutely aware of that fact that all of these exercises are limited by my ability to clean the weight up off the floor. Not a problem at low weights, but at heavier poundages, form becomes a much greater concern. It suddenly struck me that here I was, nearing the midpoint of an exercise that, while using some posterior chain action to start the bar, relies heavily on the smaller musculature of the upper body.  Just yesterday, I was doing back squats, ALSO limited by the weight I could clean and jerk to get into position, and at similar weights!  So NOT an ideal way to train. Fortunately, plans are afoot to create a Regis Strength and Conditioning club (or even a non-profite affiliate?), and a proper rack, or 4, will be one of my top priorities. If we can fit them in around the Smith machine, that would be even better, since all the bodybuilding kids lurrrrve them some Smith machine, so it would reduce wear and tear on the real gear. ;)

So, third set was getting pretty heavy when I bumped up to 115#. Dip motion was solid, knees tracking solidly out over the feet, but I was getting some slight grip issues.  If I got the bar all the way back onto my shoulders or chest, my wrists were bent so far back that I was losing the grip. Alternatively, with a fairly secure grip, most of the dip was being absorbed by my shoulders and elbows, which were supporting the bar, rather than my body. This continued for the rest of the workout.  4th set, 120# was pretty hard, and my right wrist was starting to throb a bit from the bar (also possibly from ring dips the day before).  Final set was 125#, which I tried to complete with a ton of confidence, which I think I achieved. I was very glad to take all the weight off the bar, and build it back up to a total of 60# for the conditioning part of the workout.


Weights per round: 85# / 105# / 115# / 120# / 125#

After a substantial amount of recover, I bombed through the first set of 21 each sdlhps and push-presses, and then into the 18 reps of sumos.  Soon after that, my heart was pounding a WHOLE lot heavier, so I started having to rest, first in between full rounds, then between sets within the round.  Upshot was that every set was unbroken, which made me very happy. I tried to minimize the rest periods, taking as few breaths as possible to recover and get going again.

Total time: 9:00

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

11-01-19: Back Squats and a met-con

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Friday January 14th, 2011
Strength:
Back Squat (30X0 tempo)
 - In 20 minutes build to a heavy 3 rep max
Conditioning:
  • 4 minutes max Calories on Rower
  • 3 minutes max Pullups/Chinups
  • 2 minutes max Back Squats, Bodyweight Front squats, 35# dumbbells
  • 1 minute max Ring Dips

Coach Rip demonstrating proper bar placement and the cue for high elbows. The arms pin the bar to the back... they do NOT support the weight. Low elbows let the weight continue to ride on the forearms rather than the back. Unfortunately, at any weight above an empty bar, it is nearly impossible to get into this correct position without a squat rack. Which we don't have. So, I did more of a *high* bar back squat. (crossfit.com)
Ah, gasping for breath on the old Concept2. Man I want one of these in my house. (crossfit.com)
Pull-ups. 'Nuff said. (crossfit.com)
Exactly what I ended up doing, since by the time I got to this part of the workout, all of the bars (well, the one trainer straight bar, and both silly curl bars) were in use. Necessity is the mother of scaling on the fly, apparently. (crossfit.com)
Ring dips. These are HARD, and I'm only just getting them, so I did the much easier "regular" dips for the workout. (crossfit.com)

Warmed up with jump-rope and active stretching. Did a much more complete job than I did yesterday, since my failure to do a full warm-up before that workout caught up with me later that night (hello, cramping quads!).  Unfortunately, (but I guess in a kind of good way) the gym was chock full of students all doing bodybuilding techniques with an utter disregard for doing even *them* with proper technique. So, I grabbed the rarely used straight bar, some weights, and went out in the hall. Not having a proper squat/power rack in the first place, its not like this put me at much of a disadvantage.

As always with squat workouts, the weight is limited by what I can clean and jerk, catch on my back, and then shimmy into position.  What this means is that I have a snowball's chance in hell of actually attaining the proper low-back (which is still fairly high, just below the spine of the shoulder-blades) position.  I tried to keep the bar off the traps, just to minimize the wrongness, but also to keep the bar off my spine.  Easy enough for the first few sets, but harder and harder to control as the weight went up along with my fatigue.

Back squats: 65# x 8, 85# x 5, 105# x 3, 125# x 3, 135# x 3, 145# x 3
Note, I do think that 145# is probably a personal record for any sort of ground-to-overhead lift... have to check on that... I definitely felt that was the end of my abilities to get the bar back OFF my back, up overhead, and dropped down safely to the floor. Did I mention the lack of bumper plates and the shoddy floor? :D


Rowed as well as I could. I tried to focus on steady, strong pulls, not so much the speed.  I had unsteady results with this approach, but every now and then it felt like I was doing half the work while adding up twice the calories. So, there's something there, I just need to figure out how to dial it in. From the initial 30 seconds, my calories/30s only dropped off slightly over the rest of the time, though I wasn't exactly going all out and swinging for the fences. I knew pull-ups were still in my future.

Pull-ups and chin-ups I ended up alternating grips.  I would do one way to failure, rest a few breaths, then do the other to failure.  Thanks mostly to yesterday's hammering, I didn't have a whole lot of strength with either grip, so no huge news there.

Went to find the bar I so diligently (read: stupidly) put back where it belonged, only to discover that all of our bars (1 35# short training bar, 2 10# "curl bars") were in use, so I opted to sub dumbbell front squats. It worked well enough, though I would have like the intended skill practice on the back squat. Especially since doing it at a much lighter weight (it would have been 85#) would have made the rest of the process that much easier.

Dips.  Boy, these are much easier when you're NOT on the rings! So much so that I banged out 4-5 more than I was afraid I would do.  Tallies to follow soon.
Rower Calories75
Pull-ups18
Dumbbell Front Squats31
Dips13
Total Reps138

After all that, I finished up with some more work on the rings. Got in 3 ring dips during the course of the cool-down, so that's pretty good.  If I keep this up, I might have a set of 5 soon enough! :D

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

11-01-18: Met-Con Adventure: Wallballs, Dumbbell Swings, Box Jumps and Push presses

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Thursday, January 13th, 2011
Warm-up:
Jump rope
Active stretching
Rings - control position, dips, motion control

Conditioning:

Wall balls. Deep squats, explosive opening of the hips, ball thrown 10-12 feet up the wall. Catch while going back down into the squat. Repeat. (crossfit.com)

Dumbbell swings. There isn't really room for both hands, so this exercise hurts in more than one way. (crossfit.com)

Box jumps. Both feet flat on the floor, jump up to full extension on the box. Step/hop down. Repeat. (elitefts.com)

Dumbbell push presses. These start to suck quickly at the best of times... so much worse after 90 reps of motions designed to tax your legs! (crossfit.com)

Total Time: 17:30

After a somewhat abbreviated warm-up (skimping on the legs... not good!) to avoid having to take up half the weight room when a student class came in, I got myself ready to go.  Wallballs, as always, went very well. Working without a depth guide allows me to get much deeper than I ever did with the chair I used to use. Clearly it was not an ideal tool for the job. Ah well.

Dumbbell swings went well enough, though I was already getting pretty gassed from the wallballs. Two mini-sets of 15, pausing to switch hands, since the grip hand gets crushed by the non-grip hand using a dumbbell for these.

Slowed down markedly on the box jumps, first by doing most of them as "jump up, step downs," to avoid irritating my knees. However, I did some with a hop up, hop down technique.  I was apparently rusty at this, since I think it slowed me down even more!

By the time I hoisted the 40# dumbbells to shoulder height, I was smoked breath-wise. I had to break them up into at least 3, if not 4 mini-sets. Each time, it got harder and harder to get the weights back to my shoulders.  Up shot was that I remembered to keep my knees tracking out over my toes on the dips, so I didn't do any major knee damage this time. Hopefully.

Final sets of the other three exercises were slow and painful, but I worked through them. Finished strong on the wallballs, only having to pause for a second or two after rep 25 just to get the ball re-situated after a truly bad catch (no squat action, so it was just a hard catch.). 

After finishing, spent a bit of time just resting and drinking water.  Followed everything up with some ring work, including another ring dip... no matter how ugly it was! ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

11-01-13: Sumo deadlifts, sumo deadlift high-pulls and push-ups

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
 
Warmup:
Jump rope - fast single bounce, fast run, some double-under work
Dynamic Warmup
Ring work while fresh - dips and control position, knee tucks
Strength:
Sumo Deadlift 5 x 5

Conditioning:
AMRAP in 10 minutes:

Sumo deadlift. Wide stance, hands close together. Another way to suffer. (crossfit milpitas)
Sumo deadlift high pull.  Elbows HIGHER than hands. Bar is lifted by the drive out of the bottom with the legs, not REALLY by the arms/shoulders in a pull. (crossfit queen anne)
Push-ups. Of a sort. Bottom position is hips-chest-chin to the ground. No half push-up horseshit. Top position is arms completely extended. No half push-up horseshit. STRICT planche position (hips straightened out, ie UNLIKE Annie in the middle of the pic) the WHOLE time. No half push-up horseshit. (crossfit.com for one of my favorite pictures of all time, from the video link above, one of the greatest videos of all time. And YOU thought push-ups were boring...)


After another fun day of shoveling snow, including some seriously heavy lifting where a snowplow clipped the old snowbank (now seriously compacted ice) into the driveway, necessitating a crap-ton of shovel deadlifts, it was time to work out yet again.

Some jump-rope to warm up, mostly single bounces, working on the speed of the rope, as well as focusing on really turning it with just my wrists. I definitely think I need to adjust the rope again, as there is just way too much overhead, and so probably way too much on the ground when it goes underneath. Ugh.

After some dynamic stretching, I jumped straight on the rings, rather than waiting until after the workout.  Getting on fresh, I was able to hold a fairly solid control position, and even did two ring dips in a row. Wobbly, weak looking ring dips, but hey, I'm counting them!


I've done a fair share of sumo deadlift high-pulls over the past few months, but haven't actually done the heavy weight deadlift-only part of the move. Looking around online, that lack of experience might have cost me a bit, as it looks like the high-pull version of the hand-grip (about as far apart as if you had both thumbs extended and touching) is NOT what everyone does for the deadlift. Not a huge concern.  I opted for the beginner scaling offered by CF GC, since I am not well versed in the movement.  Rather than working up to a heavy 1 rep max, I would just do 5 sets of 5, with increasing weight for each set. After warming up with the empty bar at 35#, then 55#, I jumped up to 105#, then finished the warm-up with 125#.

Sumo deadlift, 5x5: 145#, 165#, 185#, 195#, 205#

My goal was to make it up and over 200#, a fairly arbitrary goal, not having worked this motion heavy before, but with a known 1RM on my standard deadlift of 285#, I wanted them to at least be in the same ballpark.  I haven't 1RM'ed the deadlift in a very long time at this point, so hopefully it's even higher now (fairly strong is a 2x bodyweight deadlift, so 420-430# for me).

After pulling the weight off the bar, I practiced a few sumo deadlift high-pulls, focusing on really exploding out of the bottom, so that the weight was almost floating up in my hands, rather than having to pull the bar up. Of course, that didn't work quite so well once I loaded up the bar. I opted for 85#, a little less than RX'ed, but I knew my lungs would explode anyways...

First two rounds were done inside of a minute, but after that, things started slowing down dramatically. Though I was able to complete each set of exercises unbroken, moving from one to the other started taking more and more time. I was shooting for at least 12 rounds, and fell rather short at 9 rounds completed (probably overtime.  It was most likely more like 8 rounds + 7 SDLHPs and 2-3 push-ups, but I forced through the final round as fast as possible, so I'm counting the full 9.)  Form on the SDLHPs started getting real squirrely in the final two or three rounds, so I really had to slow down and make sure I wasn't rounding my back in the bottom, or really starting to haul up on the bar. While that slowed down my overall speed, it was really the 'don't fall over and die' time to gasp between rounds that slowed me down completely. The muscular endurance and metabolic conditioning are definitely two HUGE gaps in my armor at this point, which *hopefully* implies they are also the things getting worked the hardest, and therefore improving the fastest.  It's just impossible to tell from inside of it.

Push-ups were solid the whole way through. If I'm still down on my met-con abilities, I am LOVING the fact that I can cue up 63 push-ups with full ROM and decent explosiveness.  Not so long ago, I would have run out of push-ups completely at about 20.  This made for a VERY nice change!

AMRAP 10 minutes: 9 rounds

Monday, January 10, 2011

11-01-10: FRAN!!!

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Monday, January 10th, 2011

"Fran"

21-15-9 reps of:
  • Thrusters
  • Pullups
Scaling:
  • Thrusters: Choose weight that allows for completion of workout in under 10 minutes
  • Pullups: If 45 regular pullups is outside your abilities or will cause the workout to last longer than 10 minutes, scale to jumping chest to bar pull-ups
Chosen weight 65# (same as the last time I did this workout, December 17th at my Level 1 certification, giving me a time benchmark to beat (7:26)).
Jumping Chest-to-Bar pull-ups. New to me, but a cool skill to learn (rather than just clearing the chin, which is MUCH easier.) Did them, as ever, on the frame of the Smith machine.  Not just a door-stop anymore! ;)

The overhead portion of the thruster should be generated with the initial hip explosion. If you are pressing the weight overhead, you're either not un-squatting hard enough, or mis-timing the transition into the press. (crossfit.com)
Chest-to-Bar pull-ups. Note that the head and neck are WELL above the bar, meaning most people's reps on pull-ups wouldn't even count. Even doing the jump version of these was tough, with a couple of missed reps that needed to be redone to finish each round. (crossfiteastbay.com)

After warming up with some jump rope (lots of single bounce, running steps, LR and FB hops) and active stretching, I experiemented some with the jumping C2B pull-ups.  New, different, and kind of hard. AWESOME.  It's true... as you start to conquer certain skills, the fear associated with trying new things starts to evaporate.  The number of things that are now in my rearview window and shrinking in the distance that USED to be insurmountable obstacles is constantly growing.  With that number, so increases my confidence. Sweetness.

As noted above, I scaled the thruster weight to 65#, just to compare/contrast with the last time I did this workout, a little less than a month ago at my Level 1 certification.  There, I had a good friend, several new friends, as well as the always impressive and commanding training staff, screaming support, praise, and threats of physical violence if I didn't "pick up that f--king bar and get going!!!!!"  Truly, inspirational. (It really was. It made me miss CrossFitting in an actual CrossFit gym with other crossfitters, rather than doing it on my own.) However, that time, I did the first round of pull-ups as real, albeit pathetic, pull-ups, with the 2nd and 3rd rounds done jump-style.  This time, it would be jumping pull-ups, but with the added variable of 'chest to bar.'  So, a fair comparison, but not a great one.  Plus, other than eating too much over the holidays, and not working out as much as I might have liked, its not like I would have progressed all that far in less than a month... still... ;)

Chalked up a bit (love it!  more good stuff from the cert.  I had never worked with chalk until then. It's nice not having *every* barbell/pull-up workout completely devastate my hands...), set the timer, and got going. 21 unbroken thrusters. 15 jump pull-ups c2b, followed by another 6.  Straight into round 2 of the thrusters. 11 reps, followed by 4 (bar resting on the floor between... i was so pissed at myself...).  10 jumping pull-ups, followed by 3, then 2. A quick water break (the sound of my gasping for air had turned dry, and it was starting to really hurt to breathe... as usual), then into the final 9 thrusters. Unbroken. Somehow. I really wanted to die.  Unfortunately, that came at a cost.  It took me probably about a minute to get my gasping ass back on the pull-ups.  I spent about 30 minutes just gasping, then another with my hands on the bar, ready to go, and unable to will my legs to actually jump. Total brain fail. Body was good to go. I BANGED through the final 9 reps of pull-ups, so I couldn't have been *that* wiped prior to hitting them. No good.

Total time: 7:00


That minute or so gasping for breath really cost me a way better time.  True, if I was an efficient pull-up kind of guy, that would have shaved off even more time, but spending THAT much time gasping just sucks. But, it'll come, if slowly.  Sigh.

After recovering for a few minutes, I set-up the rings on the back of the Smith door-stop, and did some control hangs, a few dip negatives, as well as other movements to just get used to them.  Spent some time with my legs up on the smith 'barbell,' hanging upside down from the rings. Clearly, if I'm to get better at handstands and ring work, I need to get more comfy inverted. The Smith machine has found another good use, so I'm starting to like it a little more... just not as a weigh-lifting device!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

11-01-06: AMRAP 20 Kettlebell swings, box jumps, and toes-to-bar

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Thursday, January 6th, 2010
Conditioning:
AMRAP in 20 minutes:

Hell of a kettlebell swing. Note the fantastic back arch, even all the way down in the hole, and the massive amount of hip drive that fires the kettlebell up overhead. This is NOT a shoulder move, and if they get sore, you're not doing it right. (crossfit.com)

New favorite box jump pic of all time. You jump from the floor to a higher level. Then jump or step down and repeat. Look, its so easy, a toddler can do it! (crossfitsweatshop.com)
Heather from CrossFit Long Island City rocking great T2B form. Oddly, while searching for a pic, I found waaaay more supposed T2B pics of people with crappy form (like me) where it was hard to tell if it was really a T2B or a knees-to-elbow sort of deal. Either way, it'll hammer your abs, lats, and hands. (crossfitlic.com)

I've decided to go with my gut (literally) and try experimenting with a 5 on, 2 off work/rest schedule. I'm terrible about getting in workouts on the weekend, so I'm usually lucky to get 3-4 workouts in during the week. Working out at during my "lunch hour" gives me ample reasons/excuses to NOT workout, so actually trying to commit the time is a big difference. Though I was feeling a bit sore and tight from the previous three days, I wasn't feeling so beat up that a bit of active warm-up wouldn't cure it all...at leas temporarily.

So, some active warm-up it was, with all sorts of joint mobility and dynamic stretching. Most of the recent research (for all the issues with exercise science, which can usually be summed up as 'uneducated guessing') shows that static stretching PRIOR to exertion actually increases the chances of injury, though to my knowledge no solid, or at least provable, theories have yet been proposed.  Either way, running every major joint through its range of motion at a medium tempo, and making sure to focus on trouble spots, has made me feel better going into workouts, and recover better after.

Got myself set up for the triplet, with one of our "kettlebells" ("Power Systems Grip-Ball" - what happens when the baseball coach, who knows NOTHING about the weight room, orders equipment from the high school sports equipment catalog. We also have TWO of these atrocities: Balance boards! Perfect for the "athlete" who wants to pretend to workout while not actually doing ANYTHING useful with their time.), the box for the jumps, and the ever trusty if evil Smith machine rack for the toes-to-bar. Set the iPod to rock some Porcupine Tree, set the timer, and got ready to boogie.

First round took a little over a minute.  Kettlebell swings were fast and easy (one handed, switching hands every rep), box jumps were a little slow as I'm still stepping down rather than jumping down. Kills my time, but saves my knees, which is perfectly fine by me!  The slowest bit was the toes-to-bar/knees-to-elbows.  Admittedly, since the Smith machine frame is kinda short, I end up touching my feet down after EVERY rep, which compared to the video up above, is total crap. To make sure I wasn't kicking up into the position (which I've caught myself doing on occasion), I made sure I was starting out with my feet a little behind me on the floor when I started to squeeze up, to minimize the amount and effectiveness of any kicking I might have been doing...

Having seen the first round at 1:xx, I immediately started framing out my goals as I moved into the next round. Without a doubt, my rounds would get a bit slower (or a lot slower, at least by the end), so 12 rounds sounded like a good "aim high" kind of goal.  Reality predicted more like 10 rounds, and I knew I wanted more than 8.  8 rounds would be a sort-of 'trapped in second gear' kind of failure. So, I got to work.

20 minutes later, I had just finished my 11th set of kettlebell swings, meaning I scored 10 rounds plus 10 kb swings.  Not bad! A 1/3 of a round better than my realistic goal, and on the high side of that realistic goal compared to my 8-round=failure cut-off point.  All good!

As I noted by the picture, in addition to having my feet touch down on every rep of the T2B, I also had a lot of keeping my legs even vaguely straight, with most reps actually looking more like Knees-to-Elbows.  Certainly not the worst failure, but in a competition, it's likely that not ONE of my reps would have counted, and I would have finished up with 2/3rds of a set at the end, without even one completion.  More stuff to work on!

Total score: 10 rounds + 10 kb swings

I was optimistic about working on my rings again, but a few seconds in control was enough time for my elbows to SCREAM at me.  Working on them now with my trusty lacrosse ball (actually its some weird rubber baseball practice ball... same coach as above), and it appears/feels like sore ligaments/tendons, which is totally not a surprise, given two days of ring work before-hand, as well as work with the hang power clean only a day or two earlier.  Since that destroys my arms due to flexibility issues, etc. The lower insertions of the triceps (above the shoulder) are especially tender. Hopefully getting a few hours sleep (5.5 at this point... um, that's not enough!!) will help them chill out!

Porcupine Tree!
There used to be several Porcupine Tree videos here... all have been removed from Youtube. So, you know, go google them yourself or something. ;)

(I wish they had more real videos, but check out the live shows... their bootlegs are amazing, so the live videos are probably really good too, unless they were recorded on some dipsh!t's phone, as so many seem to be...)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

11-01-05: Rowing, dumbbell thrusters, hip extensions and ring-work

CrossFit Garden City for Wednesday, January 5th, 2010
Conditioning:
5 sets:
  • Row 250 meters
  • 15 Dumbbell Thrusters 25#
  • Rest 3 minutes
Goal is each round as fast as possible and maintaining consistent times across all 5 sets. Weight on thrusters should be scaled to allow for unbroken, but VERY challenging, sets of 15.
Accessory:
  • GH Hip extensions x 30 reps in as few sets as possible
Skill:
  • Work with gymnastic rings.

Pat Sherwood showing awesome extension at the end of the pull. Straight legs, VERY opened hips, full arm flex. I bet he can get 3-4 more yards per pull than me. Jerk. (love you, Pat!)(crossfit.com)
Dumbbell thrusters just suck. (crossfit.com)
"Glute Ham Developer Hip Extension: Set up so that the pelvis is clear of the pads, and without any movement in the torso, extend and flex at the hip only." <-- pulled straight from crossfit.com (more so than usual). (crossfit.com)

Active warm-up and stretching, especially focusing on calves and hamstrings, both of which were tight and crampy after the last two days' workouts. I tried out a few dumbbell weights for the thrusters, and settled on 25#. 45# is still beyond my ability to control the separate weights well enough, 35# seemed too heavy to plan on doing 75 reps. 25# it is!

Spent a few minutes setting up the C2 to track 250m rows, which meant I could easily re-row the same distance.  Yay technology.  Rowed the first round, felt pretty good. Did the first 15 thrusters... man they suck. I need to find some sort of video or pictures about where you rack the dumbbells during the squat bit of the thruster. My technique was to spin the dumbbells so that my palms were facing me, putting one head of the dumbbell on my shoulder, and "squeezing" the other heads together, stabilizing the whole thing. Which probably means it was some sort of cheat... but doing this with even lighter weights would make doing the thrusters more or less unweighted. So, 25#, dumbbells pressed together on the squats. 15 was difficult, but doable. 30# would have been too much in a round or two... 27.5# would have been perfect. Ah well...

Second round felt much the same as the first. Both came out to the exact same duration (2:15).  During the three minute rest before the third round, I figured out how to make the rower let me race against my previous times... which meant I immediately carved 10 seconds off my previous time. Which implies that I should have been rowing at that faster pace the whole time. Dammit.  Thrusters were a bit harder after the faster pace, but my time on the round was 10 seconds faster. Which, as with the rowing, is a good and bad thing. I failed to keep my time the same round to round. Doh.

Fourth and fifth rounds, I managed to beat the pace, then tie it in the final round. Thrusters continued sucking, but I managed to keep them more or less unbroken.  Well, not in the fifth round. That one ended up being 10 reps, weights dropped to thighs (but not to the floor!), then a final 5 reps. That rest botched my time on the round, which kind of sucks.


Round times: 2:15 / 2:15 / 2:05 / 2:10 / 2:20

After a few minutes to let the need to puke subside, on to the GHD hip extensions. Shockingly (at least to me), I managed to get it done in two sets of 15.  The original Rx was for 50 reps. Long after the fact, I probably should have shot for the full 50. Dammit! (again...)  However, for all the various failings in this workout, what follows makes me VERY happy...

Ring work: strapped the rings to the Smith machine frame (it feels good making that hunk of crap into something useful) and got to work trying to get the control position. Though still a bit shaky, I could already feel muscles firing in new and interesting ways. The most obvious feeling was the pinch in the center of the chest of my pecs working overtime to keep me up. Who would have guessed?

Progression work for the muscle-up. Reduced weight, grip work, body control. Groundwork. (crossfit.com)

After a few minute working on the progression for the muscle-up, I hopped back up into the rings in the control position. Quite a bit more stable...so I tried for a ring dip, full-depth. Surprisingly enough, I nailed it. Was it pretty? Not particularly. But was it a full-depth ring-dip? It sure was. Was I able to do another? No. But still, on the path to a ring muscle-up, which I am VERY keen on getting, this was a pretty awesome accomplishment. :D