Thursday, June 28, 2012

12-06-18: Squat cleans and pull-ups

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Monday, June 18th, 2012
Squat clean. (CrossFit Kinnick)
Much heavier squat clean. And he probably puts that overhead. Jerk.
Pull-ups at the CrossFit Games. (CrossFit Games)

WoD: 20min - On the minute
  • 1 Squat Clean @135# (I think)
  • 3 Pull-ups
If you fail to finish, skip a round then rejoin

Writing this more than a week later, as approximately 16 hours after completing this workout, my second daughter was born at home. Surprisingly, the details of this workout are a bit hazy. All I know is that I completed every round, and did the first 7-8 rounds of pull-ups without a band, and went over to a blue band for the rest.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

12-06-15: Back squats and deadlifts

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Friday, June 15th, 2012
Heather Bergeron deadlifts in the CrossFit games.

Chyno Cho shows great depth on the backsquat, while Freddie Comacho spots in sandals...

Josh Everett, proving that moving huge weights doesn't mean you need to look like the wide side of a brick shithouse. (CrossFit Games)

  • 2 x 7 Back Squat @ 80% = 240#
  • 6 x 2 Deadlift @ 85% = 340#
Rest as needed between work sets.

Finally, a brute strength workout with no real time domain to stay in, other than being instructed to rest at least a minute between sets, but no more than two. With a calculated squat PR of 300#, 80% came out to 240#. For sets of seven, it was pretty freaking heavy, but it was only two sets, so it wasn't terrible. One or two more sets might have broken me... depth was good, but I had to really fight to keep my knees out on the way back up. The best feeling was just dumping the weight off my back after the second set, since I would need the bar on the ground for the deadlifts. Whoever invented bumper plates is a genius! (Yes, I checked to make sure it was clear around me before dumping the weight, and I made sure it was a pretty vertical drop. No killing or hobbling other athletes!!)

For the deadlifts, I was working off a very definite PR of 400#, one that I've regretted setting on more than one occasion, when my ability to do reps of percentages of that weight has been crushed and destroyed. Though concerned that might be a problem again, I figured that for two reps at a time, I could probably handle it. Turns out I was right. Every set felt FREAKING heavy, but the bar came off the floor, I was able to stand up with it, and get it back down without dying. I felt like the picture of Josh Everett (above) on every second set... but he's probably lifting easily 200# more... so there's that.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

12-06-13: 1 mile time trial

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Wednesday, June 13, 2012
As long as I stayed out in front of Homer, I was doing ok. 

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet running in the CrossFit Games.

And the reason why I do CrossFit rather than just running exclusively. Though, to be honest, that's as much total bullshit as the woman who doesn't want to lift weights because she's afraid she'll look like Arnold Schwartzenegger. To be honest, NEITHER of us is in much danger. I could run 20 miles a day, and with my diet and sleep, probably wouldn't lose a pound. Likewise, with some very rare exceptions, the likelihood of a woman becoming 'too ripped' is nearly zero, and those women who DO get there did it with some SERIOUS work, and SERIOUS dietary restrictions that the rest of us are NEVER going to impose on ourselves.

Rain. Running. ARGH!  Small turnout for this class (did I mention the rain and running combo), so it was me, two distance runners, and a newer athlete (to me), who's distance work I'm unfamiliar with. My only goal? Keep up.

Straight out of the gate, Woodie took off, never to be overtaken by any of us. I managed to keep on Andres' heels, and even pushed the pace a little after the 800m turnaround point, and stayed a few steps ahead of Jessa, the unknown quantity.  In our recent Army PT test WoD, we had to do a 2 mile run, and I knew that my first leg of that was more than a mile, so I knew that I should be able to hit this one unbroken. I managed... but man did I ever want to stop around the 1,200m mark. Still, knowing Jessa was just a few steps back, I pushed on. Andres, Jessa and I all finished within about 10 seconds of each other... Woodie smoked us by a minute or two. Jerk.

Mile Run = 8:47 (PR?)

Monday, June 11, 2012

12-06-11: Front squats and double-unders

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Monday, June 11th, 2012

AFT showing perfect front squat form: elbows high, butt below parallel, heels nailed to the floor. (CrossFit Calgary)
Heather Bergeron showing why mastery of the front squat will translate nicely into control on the Olympic lifts, especially (and somewhat obviously) the full depth clean, where the ability to drop under the bar and catch it in the bottom of the squat position requires the lifter to be rock solid in that position. (CrossFit New England)
The full-body control needed for crisp, efficient double-unders continues to elude me, mostly due to an utter failure to practice them. My own private failing, really... (CrossFit Invictus)

WoD: 5 x 5
  • Front Squat @ 85% = 210#
  •   20 Double Unders Single-Unders
 Heavyish front squats (85% is about a 6 rep weight, so 5 reps plus double-unders would be pushing it),  in the classic rep scheme of 5x5. Five rounds, five reps each. Fails were ok, and possibly to be expected, but the goal was to go all 5 in each round. Success!

Double-unders were a crap-show, on the other hand. After several failed attempts to get them to go, I just resigned myself to single-unders... which were nearly impossible by the end of the 5th round. Ugh...

Friday, June 8, 2012

12-06-08: Weighted Pull-ups and Farmers Carries

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Friday, June 8th, 2012
Find me even ONE muscle that isn't working here. Just ONE. (CrossFit 2012 Games Regionals)

Rich Froning Jr (on the right) showing what full extension looks like on a pull-up.  (CrossFit 2011 Games)

WoD: 5 Rounds
  • Max Rep Weighted Pullups [25#]
  • 200 meter Kettlebell Farmers Carry [2x 55#]
  • 2 minutes rest between rounds.
It's nice to know going into a workout that it's just going to devastate you. No questions about it, so a little less fear. Yup, its gonna suck. 3-2-1 go! I had three options going into the first set of pull-ups: either go with a much reduced band than what I usually use for higher rep workouts, go bodyweight for the pull-ups, or actually use an additional weight. I opted for the weight. Sure, my pull-ups suck, but hopefully doing a few reps at a greatly increased weight (minus band, plus weight) to mix it up will create some extra strength in the movement. We'll see.  My reps were... unimpressive. I tried to work in some kipping to squeak out an extra rep here and there, but being unpracticed and unskilled, it didn't amount to much.

At least that was self-scaling. The farmers carry with two 55# kettlebells was an exercise in torture. We've got the double-whammy of kettlebells that get really dinged up when they get dropped out in the driveway, and a driveway that looks like its been strafed by A10 tank killers with a vengeance, and (apparently) a landlord desperate to hang that on the crazy gym, and not on their lack of upkeep.  Either way, NO DROPS. If you have to stop with the kettlebells, you put them down GENTLY. Not so easy when your fingers are slipping off the damn things. Each round, they felt... well, not quite light, but not awfully heavy, either. About 20 steps in, they had again been hugged tightly by gravity, and were again destroying my forearms and hands.

All in all, a fantastic grip killer, erm, worker. The benefits to pull-ups, deadlifts, olympic lifts, and dang near anything else that involves holding something in a closed fist will be manifest... once I can finally close my hands without my forearms spasming... 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

12-06-06: Short chipper disasterpiece

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The chipper. Perfectly good wood goes in. Shattered pulp emerges. PERFECT analogy for this workout. ( - Making Dead Things Deader Since 2003)

WoD: For Time:
  • 3 Rounds
    • 20 Pullups
    • 5 Box Jumps [24"/20"]
  • 2 Rounds
    • 20 Toes to Bar
    • 5 Pushups
  • 1 Round
    • 8 Clean [full squat] and Jerks @ 75% Bodyweight

There is no rest as you move between rounds and movements.

Right from the get-go, this was a disaster. 60 pullups, followed by more grip-centric work, culminating in clean and jerks, which require tons of wrist mobility and grip strength, both of which were already gone? Yikes. Used a heavy blue-band for the pull-ups, and maybe should have gone even stronger for this number of reps. For the third round, I tried to add a second blue band (ie, the only nearby one to grab), and realized it was MUCH stronger than the one I already had, and using both would have spiked me like a dart into the ceiling. I went back to my original blue band and kept cranking out singles and doubles, alternating between chin-up and pull-up grips. The box jumps were easy and quick compared to that...

The toes to bar (scaled to knees to elbow) were kind of terrible, as my grip and lats were so smoked already that I could barely hang from the bar, much less add a full core contraction to the mix, at least not very easily. Slowly but surely I chipped away at them. The push-ups were easy and quick compared to that...

My first attempt at a clean and jerk nearly ended in disaster. When the bar made it to my shoulders (in a full power clean position, requiring an "elevator ride" down the bottom squat position), both pinkies slipped over the bar. I can recover ok when one slips out of the grip... but both? I tried to over-jerk the bar so that I could "catch" it overhead. Failing this, I instead guided the accelerating bar back to the ground with a minimum of injury. That one could have been bad.  After that, I took a minute or two to roll out my forearms and triceps, knowing that the accumulating tension in both areas would make my grip in the rack position less sure. I had no more huge issues, and was able to get the grip situated while still in the rack position before split jerking the weight overhead.

Total time: 17:00

12-06-04: Back squats and kettlebell swings

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Monday, June 4th, 2012  

Annie Sakamoto demonstrates how a 70# kettlebell is supposed to move. Note the NON-rounded back in the first frame, the opening hips in the second and third, and the full extension in the fourth. Hard to say if the fourth picture was taken at the extreme top of the move, or somewhere just before or after it, as her position in it could be better, but that could be the photographer, since Annie is completely spot-on in every one of her movements.

Chyna Cho cranks out heavy back squats.

More back-squat goodness...

Graham Holmberg putting weight overhead with extreme efficiency. All in the hips and core, nothing in the shoulders and arms.

 WoD: 5 x 3
  • Back Squat @ 92%
  • Superset with 20 Kettlebell Swings 70# 55#
No rest as you move from Back Squat to Kettlebell Swing. Rest as needed between work sets.

Still having never performed a one-rep max on back squat, I was again forced to use calculated values to figure out what weights to put on the bar. According to my PR page, my best so far has been 265# for 5 reps. That comes out to a calculated one rep max of about 298#, of which 92% is about 275#. So, I prepared to set a new PR on the back squat, and then repeat it 14 more times, interspersed with a crap-ton of kettlebells (1 imperial crap-ton is equal to about 1.4 metric crap-tons.)

The squats were heavy, and seemed to get heavier with each set, though that may have just been the kettlebell swings (all American style, overhead swings) accumulating, too. I managed to keep complete every rep/round of squats unbroken, but ended up breaking up the final two sets of kettlebell swings, just unable to breathe enough to keep them going. Freaking crappy cardio/lungs/wuss-tastic pain threshold...

New? Um, not so much there, Wayfair.

12-06-01: Army PT Test

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Friday, June 1st, 2012

Don't piss off your drill sergeant. Nope, not even before the big game.

We were given the option of having someone hold our feet. We all declined, like dummies. This is MUCH easier than feet free. OK, its a little easier... for the first 10 reps or so...

My excuses and whining are invalid.

WoD: Army PT Test
Score Card

  • 2min Push-ups
  • 2min Sit-ups
  • 2 mile Run
According to the Army, my upper body strength and cardio invalidate me for serving... or at least require me to go through PT again. No one should be surprised by this. I wasn't. Crap, I was just happy to not die on the 2 mile run (aka "around the block.") Ugh. As I will soon live exactly a mile from the gym, and expect to run/walk to and from it every morning, I can only assume I'll start seeing some steadier improvement in this category... hopefully. 

12-05-xx:The Big Catch-Up Post!

Over a month's worth of WoDs from Elm City CrossFit

Ok, holy crap, its been over a month since I updated this thing. In rapid order, and with no record of times or accomplishments, are the WoDs I've been a part of since April 27th, my last post.

12-05-01: Running, Chelsea/Cindy, MORE Running!
WoD: For Time

  • 800m Run
  • *50 Pull-ups
  • *100 Push-ups
  • *150 Squats
  • 800m Run
*done as 10 sets of 5-10-15

If you're CF savvy, you'll spot that this is a variation on either Chelsea or Cindy (both of which involve sets of 5-10-15 pull-ups, push-ups and squats. Only kicker? The bookmarking 800m runs. Needless to say, the pull-ups kicked my ass, the push-ups caught up with me, the squats were easy, and the first run was waaay easier than the second. Second one was actually harder because my arms were too shattered to help me with momentum... ugh. Slowest time of the day... whatever it was.

12-05-02: Kettlebells, Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, and sprints
3 x 3 for time:

    • 5ea SA KBS
    • 10 SLDL @ ½ BW
    • Crack Dash
    1 minute rest between each round (so after every 3rd crack dash (means sprint to you and me...)

    This started easy and got AWFUL really fast. Definitely a pain in the butt a day after a full body burner. Ugh.

    12-05-04: Pull-Ups and Bear Crawls
    WoD: For Time 75 Pull-ups *unbroken
    *every break equal one bear crawl loop

    Sheer awfulness. Used a nice heavy band, and still ultimately lost count of how many bear crawls I did. Enough that I could barely bear crawl OR do pull-ups by the end. The only band stiff enough to get me up and over the bar with ANY sort of form is the black band, which is so taut I can't actually hit full extension while standing in it: Not an option. I'm more likely to spike myself into the ceiling like a rivet with that thing!

    12-05-08: Cleans and sprints
    WoD: 7x 90sec to complete:
    • 3 Cleans
    • Crack Dash
    Not a bad workout. I don't remember my clean weight, but it was heavy, but not undoable. The problem with waiting a month to actually write it up (yes, it IS in a notebook... at the gym!)

    12-05-09: Rope Climbs and Double-Unders 
    WoD: 15min AMRAP
    • 1 Rope Climb
    • 20 Double Unders
    Thank god for the knotted rope. Made a bunch of ascents (maybe 8?) before having a panicky moment near the top when it felt like my grip was really giving out. Transferred over to doing 10 ring rows for the final two rounds, which was where it  became obvious that my grip WAS completely gone, as I could barely do a rep or two before sliding off the rings, just no grip left. Most of the jumping was single-unders, but I mixed in as many double-unders as I could. Might have gotten more rounds with just single-unders, but that would have reduced my rest time between climbs, so that just would have been me hitting the grip wall even faster. Likely amounts to about the same.

    10 rounds, x extra ring rows

    12-05-14: Front Squats, Overhead Squats and Snatches
    WoD: 3x7
    Front Squat @ 75%
    Followed by: Heavy Singles of overhead squat or snatch

    Completed every round of front squats unbroken, only had grip issues on the first set (finishing it with the silly California front squat grip I so hate and rely on sometimes). After banging those out, I opted to work on my overhead squats. After getting in several heavy singles on them, I also started to mix in the occasional snatch, but was having trouble getting fully under the bar in a full squat, so went back to the overhead squats to help myself get more comfortable in all ranges of the motion with the bar overhead.

    12-05-16: Skill/Max day!
    5 attempts each:
    • Max Weight Dead-hang Pull-Up (no-kip)
    • Max Height Box Jump
    • Row 500m
    This was a fun day (other than Coach Kimmie racking herself on a box jump and ending up with awful lumps on her shins. Fortunately they were merely superficial!)  Managed a deadhang pull-up with a 35# kettlebell attached. Made a few attempts to best that with the 44# 'bell and just couldn't manage it. Next time. Box jumps were another story. 24"? Easy. 30"? Easy. 36"? Easy. 40"? NOT easy... but I made it. Tried to make it to 44" but just couldn't get over the fear factor. Every attempt at that height was pathetic, with my feet not even making it over the seam of the bottom box (two boxes on their sides, one 45# plate on top), so its not like I was just missing. I was completely psyching myself out.

    Rowed an ok first attempt on the 500m, and was more or less happy to leave it there. However, after the crappy attempts at the box jump, I decided to crank out another 500m, and shaved a good 10s off my time.

    12-05-18: Jerks and skills
    WoD: 20 Singles:
     - Jerk (front and/or back) @ 80%
    Sellout: Skill work

    Jerks out of a weight rack are so much more fun than off the floor... though, to mix things up, I did do a few reps as clean and jerks, just to mix it up. Jerking from behind the neck is so much infinitely easier (you don't need to move the head out of the way of the bar path, so its a simpler movement overall). Weight?

    12-05-21: Wallballs, mountain climbers and crab walks
    WoD: 2x 6min on: 3min off
    • 3 Wallballs(20#, 10' target)
    • 10 Mountain Climbers (1to1)
    • 1 loop Crab Walk 
    I don't remember how many rounds I completed... all I remember is that the wallballs were easy, the mountain climbers were fast, and the crab walks devastated me.

    12-05-23: Bench presses and max-rep push-ups
    WoD: Rounds of 5-4-3 reps, then 3s till failure (If you miss a 3, you're done!)
    • Bench @ 85%
    • max rep push-up
    Round of 5 was easy, 4 was ok, first round of 3 totally sucked, but at that point, the push-ups really tapered off, and stopped being such a drain on the bench press. Managed 4 rounds of 3, failing on the final rep of that fourth round. I almost made it too... right up until the bar changed directions and had to be caught by the spotter (Thanks Vin!)

    12-05-25: Interval kettlebell swings and box-jumps
    WoD: 4x
    • 1min Kettlebell Swings
    • 1min Box Jumps (step down only)
    • 1min Rest
    My only goal was to try to maintain reps from one round to the next (count was total number of reps across both exercises each round), which I managed. I don't remember now which version of the swing I did... though it was probably the traditional/Russian swing out in front, rather than overhead. I believe about this time I read an article discussing the differences, and have started going overhead. This workout may makr the last time I did traditional swings. Ah well.

    12-05-28: Memorial Day Team WoD!
    WoD: For time (entire team)
    • 400m weighted run 35#
    • 50 squats
    • 25 pull-ups
    • 100m run
    • 50 burpees
    • 25 weighted sit-ups 35#
    • 800m run 
    Six 3-person teams squared off to tackle this beast of a workout, dreamed up on the spot by Coaches Vin, Bobby and Kimmie (mostly Vin and Bobby...bastards).  Every member had to to do every rep, and move from movement to movement together as a team. However, 1 person from each time could move ahead and complete the entire workout on their own, then swing back to help a struggling teammate with whatever they were chipping away at.  My team was Woody, Azaria, and myself: clearly Woody was going to be the sprinter on this one, and indeed he was. There were two things that made me excited about this one: it was my first team WoD, and it was also the first time Jen and Emma had come out to meet the crew and watch me compete. Nerves!!!

    Long story short, we came in last, mostly because I got mud-stomped by the pull-ups, and Z got mud-stomped by the burpees. Woody came back around during the burpee phase, helping Z out with her final reps while I went on to sit-ups. As I struggled through them (its really hard to breath during sit-ups with a 35# plate on your chest... I felt bad for those who did it with the Rx'd 45#!), Bobby offered me the option of scaling the run to 400m, just 2x around the parking lot. I declined, and struggled through the full 800m, but was determined to complete the WoD as written (other than using a band on the pull-ups. I think I forgot to mention that... Meh.) Awesome day, and a great time was had by all!

    12-05-30: Chipper Disasterpiece
    WoD: For Time:
    • 15 Pull-ups
    • 30 Push-ups
    • 45 Squats
    • 2min Rest
    • 9 Deadlifts @ 225#
    • 9 Hand-stand Push-Ups
    • 2min Rest
    • 400m Run
    • 15 Overhead squat 95# 
    • 2min Rest
    • 50 Double-Unders 150 single-unders
    • 50 Sit-ups
    Holy crap did this one suck. Especially two days after the Memorial Day chipper, to hit another epic full body disaster really kind of hurt! The only thing that kept it interesting was knowing that each couple/triplet was a round of one of the named workouts, so that was fun. The workout was HARD. One big upshot was doing all the weights as Rx'd easily, and even though I subbed out single for double-unders, I completed all 150 jumps unbroken. So, that was kind of awesome.