Thursday, March 31, 2011

Storyline WOD

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…

Deadlift 5, 5, 5, 5

Floor Press 5, 5, 5, 5

Dips 3 x max

Bent row 10, 10, 10

WOD 2 – in the evening…

Storyline WOD Demo:

6 minute AMRAP hill climb

6 minute AMRAP bear crawl

6 minute AMRAP sledge swing

6 minute AMRAP SB clean

6 minute AMRAP SB carry

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but I finally got around to doing a demo for the current reader video challenge – the storyline WOD. The rules for this were simple: come up with a workout that mimicked or told a story through the chosen exercises. Be as creative and original as possible, and as always try to keep submissions to less than 5 minutes. The prize for the winner is 4 days of sailing the eastern seaboard aboard a 40 foot catamaran, graciously donated by Sharlaun Family Tours in Fredricksburg, Virginia. Obviously this is an amazing prize, worth upwards of $5000, and it warrants a serious shout out to the family responsible. You guys are awesome.

Since announcing this challenge it has kind of slipped to the back burner… but no longer. I am literally licking my chops at the potential for amazing ideas from you guys so start sending them in. My take on it was to re-enact how a fairy tale knight might have trained to rescue a princess. Call me a sucker for Disney, but I thought it was a cool idea. The workout itself turned out to be an absolute beast. 30 minutes straight of non-stop conditioning. I don’t think my heart rate dropped below 160 the entire time. Check the video below to see what I mean.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to the Grind

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Skin the Cat w/ L sit 5, 5, 5

Ring Handstand Pushups 5, 5, 5, 5

Planche w/ leg support 5 x 10 sec

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Power Snatch 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1

WOD 3 – in the evening…

Trail run 40 minutes

After a weekend of rubber cutting and plywood drilling, I definitely didn’t have as much energy as I would’ve liked today. Still, it was great to be back on the rings and moving heavy weight again.

I’m really falling in love with the first gymnastic drill on my list today. Doing skin the cats with straight arms and piked legs is a phenomenal beginners exercise for control and strength, yet I find it building aptitude for me in other skills. Since I’ve been making a conscious effort to do this and other ring exercises more consistently I’ve noticed an increase in overhead stability (see 305 lb OH squat), increased pressing strength (see bench press 265 lb x 6), and big jumps in core conditioning (see 3 x 20 GHD situps with no soreness). If you’re not already, I strongly recommend you start programming exercises on the rings that are out of the ordinary. Too many crossfitters only use the rings for muscle ups and dips when there are so many other great options. Google some.

In the afternoon I had a mini breakthrough in Olympic lifting. I worked power snatches instead of squat snatches because last rotation I noticed I wasn’t quite getting my hips all the way through the second pull before I began dropping under the bar. This is frustrating. So today I set the video camera up and took long, hard looks at myself in slow motion, really trying to pinpoint my flaws and improve upon them from set to set. I found that fully extending was an easy fix—simply thinking about laying back more at the top brought me well through triple extension. However, as I got heavier in weight I noticed I was leaving the bar further and further forward. Nothing drastic, but far enough that I’d have to take a step to settle myself. This was more difficult to rectify. It wasn’t until I thought about pulling the bar into my stomach that it actually travelled straight. The lift felt shorter, quicker, and more efficient, but a little weird as well. A couple good ones in a row at 90 kg was enough to end my session on a high note.

Thanks to everyone who came to the Open House yesterday… looking forward to getting classes running a week from today!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Open House

Tomorrow is CrossFit Anywhere's Open House, a long awaited occasion. Thus, the last few days I've been on my hands and knees cutting rubber, spreading decals, and bolting plywood. I'm very excited but also looking forward to my regular training schedule that is set to resume Monday. Looking forward to seeing those of you out there who are local for some food and drink tomorrow. All the rest, catch you in cyberspace another time...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Amanda Miller

Some of you out there remember Amanda... she was beloved throughout the military and CrossFit community before her passing last April and remains a source of inspiration and motivation for many. I had the privilege to know and train with her while living in DC and am honored to spread word of a fundraiser organized in her honor. Balance Gym is hosting a workout on April 23rd in Washington to raise money for melanoma research called "the gunfight." Those of you who remember Amanda's artistic preferences will understand the reference. For information on the workout and the fundraiser, click here.
Additionally, I dug a video from the 2009 archives of me training with Amanda and a few others in preparation for the Games in Aromas. Fun to see these faces again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rest and Why it Matters

I got more than a few sideways looks when I told people I was taking a week off in between WODs 1 and 2 of the sectionals. Even more when I said I'd be taking another one between weeks 5 and 6. The thing is, rest is one of those things that nobody gets enough of, and it's literally the thing that everyone needs to improve. All the training and practice is merely preparation for improvement. The actual gains you make come in your off time. Below is a brief, general article outlining why.

What Happens During Recovery?

Building recovery time into any training program is important because this is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss.

Recovery time allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. Symptoms of overtraining often occur from a lack of recovery time. Signs of overtraining include a feeling of general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and increased risk of injury, among others.

Short and Long-Term Recovery

Keep in mind that there are two categories of recovery. There is immediate (short-term) recovery from a particularly intense training session or event, and there is the long-term recovery that needs to be build into a year-round training schedule. Both are important for optimal sports performance.

Short-term recovery, sometimes called active recovery occurs in the hours immediately after intense exercise. Active recovery refers to engaging in low-intensity exercise after workouts during both the cool-down phase immediately after a hard effort or workout as well as during the days following the workout. Both types of active recovery are linked to performance benefits.

Another major focus of recovery immediately following exercise has to do with replenishing energy stores and fluids lost during exercise and optimizing protein synthesis (the process of increasing the protein content of muscle cells, preventing muscle breakdown and increasing muscle size) by eating the right foods in the post-exercise meal.

This is also the time for soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments) repair and the removal of chemicals that build up as a result of cell activity during exercise.

Long-term recovery techniques refer to those that are built in to a seasonal training program. Most well-designed training schedules will include recovery days and or weeks that are built into an annual training schedule. This is also the reason athletes and coaches change their training program throughout the year, add cross training, modify workouts types, and make changes in intensity, time, distance and all the other training variables.

Adaptation to Exercise

The Principle of Adaptation states that when we undergo the stress of physical exercise, our body adapts and becomes more efficient. It’s just like learning any new skill; at first it’s difficult, but over time it becomes second-nature. Once you adapt to a given stress, you require additional stress to continue to make progress.

There are limits to how much stress the body can tolerate before it breaks down and risks injury. Doing too much work too quickly will result in injury or muscle damage, but doing too little, too slowly will not result in any improvement. This is why personal trainers set up specific training programs that increase time and intensity at a planned rate and allow rest days throughout the program.

Sleep Deprivation can Lower Performance

In general, one or two nights of poor or little sleep won't have much impact on performance, but consistently getting inadequate sleep can result in subtle changes in hormone levels, particularly those related to stress, muscle recovery and mood. While no one completely understands the complexities of sleep, some research indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), decreased activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis

Other studies link sleep deprivation with decreased aerobic endurance and increased ratings of perceived exertion.

Balance Exercise with Rest and Recovery.

It is this alternation of adaptation and recovery that takes the athlete to a higher level of fitness. High-level athletes need to realize that the greater the training intensity and effort, the greater the need for planned recovery. Monitoring your workouts and paying attention to how your body feels and how motivated you are is extremely helpful in determining your recovery needs and modifying your training program accordingly.

CrossFit Games Open

Last weekend ushered in the first official WOD of the 2011 CrossFit Games season, if it can be called a season. I must admit that at first I was a little skeptical of the new system. Imagining a “competition” without physical competitors just felt kind of weird. But I have to say this thing is way cooler than I anticipated. First, a few of the more competitive affiliates in the Sacramento valley agreed to host each WOD in lieu of the previously held sectionals, thus the atmospheric component was maintained. Second, the online leaderboard CrossFit HQ has put together makes following other competitors’ progress really easy and fairly addicting. You get ranked in your region and against the rest of the world, almost like a NASCAR points chase or a PGA tour ranking. Not hard to see where they will be heading with this, is it?

Finally, the WOD itself was well designed. 30 double unders and 15 power snatches @ 75 lb for 10 minutes straight. Skill mixed with conditioning = people painting the floor with sweat and spit. Rocklin CrossFit hosted this weekend and it saw a surging turnout of close to 100 people. Heats were organized, judges were onhand, and spectators were aplenty. I got slated somewhere in the middle of it all and posted a score of 8 rounds + 30 DU + 8 snatches. My conditioning felt good until the end of the 5th round…then my shoulders started giving out on the snatches—Maxing out overhead squats the day before could’ve had an impact here. I can’t imagine doing 10 rounds of this workout at any time ever, but I could see getting 9 on a fresher day. Maybe. Could just as easily have gotten pinned below 8.

Now that the dust has settled it looks like myself, 209 Sport’s Gabe Subry, and Chad Augustine of Rocklin hold the top spots in Northern California. This made me smile since these are guys I’ve trained with more than a few times already and have the opportunity to do so again in the future. But…this week is a rest period for me so those sessions will have to wait for now.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

305 lb OH Squat

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Front Roll to stand x 10

Front Roll to Pistol x 10 ea

Wall handstand hold on foam rolls 3 x max

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

OH Squat 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1

OH Squat @ BW 1 set max reps

Pullups 1 set max reps

This is another in a recent string of huge PR’s for me so excuse my temporary pride. YEEEAAAAHHHH!!! Since switching my training to a more rest intensive style (1 day on/1 day off) I’ve seen nothing but progress in strength. Today’s jump from a previous best at 265 to a new best at 305 may be a bit misleading, however. Recently I’ve been doing sets of 3 at 265 without going up, so although I’d technically never done more than that weight, I knew there was a lot more in the tank. This much more I can’t say I knew. I’ve attached the video below and Justin from East Sac was nice enough to put together the clip above from the footage he shot. I never thought I’d ever squat with more than 300 lb over my head, but I guess that just goes to show that never is a funny word.

I didn’t condition tonight because the sectional WOD is looming out in Rocklin tomorrow morning. My boy Gabe from Stockton set the bar high with a big performance: 8 full rounds plus 30 DUs and 5 snatches. Hopefully the rest of us can represent Northern California just as well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

100 Mud Burpees

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

L sit skin the cat 5, 5, 5

Dip to handstand transition 3, 3, 3, 3

Max seconds ring handstand hold

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Deadlift 5, 5, 5

Strict Press 5, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1

Weighted Dips 12, 12, 12

Glute Ham Raises 12, 12, 12

WOD 3 – in the evening…

100 burpees for time

At the beginning of each minute do 3 climbs over a 7 foot barrier

Big day. Matched my PR with a 185 lb lift on the strict press but couldn’t muscle up 195. Felt pretty strong on the deads and dips as well. The evening WOD was a bear though. John and I went out to the Schweitzer Grove in Carmichael and found a 7 foot high, 12 inch thick tree limb amidst disc golfers and considerable mud to do the conditioning WOD.

The climbs at the top of each minute got pretty old pretty fast, but definitely encouraged us to really push on the burpees to get the whole thing over with as soon as possible. I wrapped the 100 in 8:55. John did so in 12:51.

Not much else to get into other than the sectional WOD being posted for the CrossFit Open. 30 double unders and 15 ground to overheads at 75 lb for 10 minutes sounds like a decent test of stamina and grip strength to me. Looking forward to Saturday to give it a go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Squat Clean PR

Workout of the Day

Clean 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Max Double Unders 1 set

GHD Situps 20, 20, 20

After a long weekend of not resting I felt pretty sluggish today. Saturday was an Olympic lifting seminar at Rocklin CrossFit with Edgar and Evelyn from Mike’s Gym in San Diego and Sunday was an all day outdoor excursion with the guys from Roadside Productions. All in all a fun and informative weekend but a tiring one nevertheless. Still, getting after it today with Justin, Travis, and co. at CF East Sac was fulfilling. I hit a new PR at 290 lb and missed 300 lb literally by an inch. Just didn’t have the strength to push all the way through my sticking point on the front squat. Right afterwards I hit a single set of double unders for 252. Honesty I think this is a little below where I can be. I wasn’t overly out of breath or fatigued, just lost the rhythm in my wrists and got caught using too much shoulder rotation. Oh well, another time will tell.

Only 11 spots left for Iceland… they’re going fast.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Friday WOD

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

HSPU on parralettes 4, 4, 4, 4, 4 (2 minutes rest)

Lateral handstand walks against the wall 2 x half court each way

Front roll to pistol, handstand to front roll, front roll to split

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

OH Squat 5, 5, 3, 3

OH Squat 2 x max @ bodyweight

Max Pullups, 1 set

WOD 3 – in the evening…

Start with a 100 yard swim

5 rounds of:

15 goblet squat (24 kg)

5 dives to bottom (10 feet)

15 sumo high pulls (24 kg)

Finish with a 100 yard swim

Big doings on Friday. Due to an early departure, I got myself an extra 25 minutes or so to work on tumbling and hand balancing in the morning. Everything continues to feel stronger and steadier. The parralette pushups were full depth and solid, the lateral walking was muuuch easier than 2 weeks ago, and the front rolls feel more and more natural. My Epsom salt the night before must’ve worked wonders.

The afternoon was equally positive. I managed 265 lb for 3 reps my final set then did 185 lb for 12 and 13 respectively. On all of these sets, the limiting factor was lockout strength and shoulder stability under the bar. (I suspect the morning gymnastics had a lot to do with this). Still, I walked away feeling really confident for next week.

The max set of pullups wasn’t quite so exciting… I only got 42. Being that this was the first time I’d tried this in 2 years I guess it’s not so shabby. Justin did 54 and has promised me my next attempt will be 50+.

A few hours later I headed over to Arden Hills to tackle the above swimming WOD. Wes and Todd from Rocklin CrossFit met me Cheri, and Brian on the deck just in time to hit the water. From start to finish this was a heart and lungs burner. My arms were feeling it during the goblets, but nothing compared to the gasping breath. The dives to the bottom were especially trying. Concentrating on hitting the line amidst the fuzziness can be challenging around round 5. My final time was 12:13. Brian came in next at 12:54.

Looking to rest up this weekend and break records next week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recovery WOD

Epsom Salt Bath

This is a popular method for curing sore muscles, rickety joints, and fried nerves. Probably more popularly expounded than actually used-- if finding Epsom Salts at your local grocer is any indication. You have to dig around the bottom racks of the Nature section, past all the lavender and spices to even find the stuff. Either people are mining this out of their backyards or it’s simply not in that high of demand.

For my part, I think salts are legit. After yesterday’s workout at CF 209 Sport in Stockton I was feeling pretty stiff. My lower back, hamstrings, and shoulders were all a bit banged up. This evening I soaked for less than 10 minutes amidst 2 cups of Epsom Salts and a tub full of piping hot water and walked out feeling limber as a pre-teen gymnast. Add a glass of red wine and I’m writing this post 2 shakes from my pillow and an incredible night’s sleep. Curious as to why I was feeling so great after such a short episode, I googled “Epsom Salt Bath” and found the following article. It’s a quick read, but interesting. Just another piece of the recovery puzzle falling into place.

Most of us know about the importance of iron and calcium for our bodies, but what about magnesium? It is the second most abundant element in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body. It helps the body regulate over 325 enzymes and plays an important role in organizing many bodily functions, like muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.

Most of us are deficient in magnesium, so I’m going to put on my wise-granny hat on here and tell you this: soaking in a bath with Epsom salt, which is high in magnesium, is one of the easiest ways to get a boost.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, American’s magnesium deficiency helps to account for high rates of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a number of other ailments. Who knew?!

Our magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century due to changes in agriculture and diet. Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from soil and the typical American diet contains much less magnesium than that of our forefathers. And in fact, the modern American diet with its fat, sugar, salt and protein actually works to speed up the depletion of magnesium from our bodies.

Another factor in decreased magnesium levels has been our focus on getting enough calcium. It’s a delicate dance–calcium depletes magnesium yet calcium functions best when enough magnesium is present. Studies indicate that taking a calcium supplement without enough magnesium can increase the shortage of both nutrients. Researchers have found that many Americans have five times as much calcium as magnesium in their bodies, although the proper ratio for optimum absorption of both minerals is two to one.

With such widespread magnesium deficiency one might think that magnesium supplements would be called upon, but studies show that magnesium is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. The presence of specific foods or drugs, certain medical conditions, and the chemistry of a person’s stomach acid can render magnesium supplements ineffective.

This brings us to Epsom salt. Known scientifically as hydrated magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt! Magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin. Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body of medicines and environmental contaminants.

Researchers and physicians suggest these health benefits from proper magnesium and sulfate levels, as listed on the web site of the Epsom Salt Industry Council:

Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.

Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.

Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.

Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.

Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.

Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.

Improved oxygen use.

Improved absorption of nutrients.

Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.

Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.

All this from a bath? Hurray! While there are many different brands of Epsom salt, they are all the same product chemically, and can be found at most drug stores. Add two cups of Epsom salt and soak for at least 12 minutes. Do this three times weekly.

If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, please check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.

Read more:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

CF 209 Sport

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Bench Press 5, 5, 5

+ max time L sit from dip

Romanian Deadlift 5, 5, 5

+max time L sit from hang

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

3 rounds for time:

6 wall climbs + 5 games style pushups per side

15 hang power snatch (95 lb)

100 meter sandbag carry (80 lb)

First time bench pressing in a while this morning and, wouldn’t you know it, I haven’t lost much strength. This is one of those exercises that you don’t need to do very often to stay strong—you paying attention Globo Gym USA??? I got 265 for my top set and felt strong doing it. The L sits, however, require plenty of practice. So feel free to throw those in as much as possible.

This afternoon I road-tripped down to Stockton with Justin to visit Gabe Subry and Co. at CF 209 Sport. I’ve been looking forward to getting down there to train with Gabe because, based on past competitions and the cumulative ability of his affiliate, his methods are undeniably solid. He’s got the Games pedigree and a crazy streak when it comes to programming. The workout we did today is proof of that. Very cool arrangement of exercises and very difficult. My shoulders literally felt like they were exploding afterwards. Local muscular endurance was a BIG factor on the pushups, the snatches were all about efficient technique, and the climbs & sandbag carries filled the fun quotient. All in all, a great WOD, a great experience, and a great gym. Muchas Gracias to everyone down there. The video is below.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Steelfit Bar Winner

Here's Steelfit Pullup Challenge winner Andrew putting his bar to work. 30 lb vest is no joke...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

30 ft rope climb with weight vest

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Skin the Cat w/L sit 5, 5, 5, 5

Strict Ring Dips 20

Kipping Dips 3 x max reps

Ring handstand hold for time

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Power Clean 2, 2, 2, 2, 20

Strict Toes to Bar 12, 12, 12

WOD 3 – in the evening…

3 rounds w/2 minute cap and 10 kg vest:

30 ft rope climb

20 air squats

Hold iron cross for amrap remaining time

Still feeling some soreness in my legs from the Grinder on Saturday, but the day’s activities have nearly worked everything out. I worked up to 3 sets of 2 at 110 kg for the power cleans with good form and that gradually loosened the tension. But particularly helpful were the vested air squats this evening. What a cool workout that was. Having scouted out the location a few days back, I had an idea of what was possible down under Red Bridge in Fair Oaks but not the exact details. In fact, the ledge over which I intended to throw the rope actually had a hole bored through the cement and out the bottom of the bridge from where they poured the concrete. This hole was just big enough to drop a 1 ½ inch climbing rope through. Fancy that. So for the rope climbs there wasn’t any issue navigating around the cement corner or dealing with friction—just climb to the top and hit the roof.

Wes Balbi from CF 916 joined me for the evening WOD—always nice to have another body there when you’re climbing 30+ feet without a safety line. Check the video below for the footage. Only 16 spots left for Iceland…

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Grinder Recap

Turned out to be a rough day of competition in Elk Grove. The Grinder lived up to it’s name as all the athletes were whipped by the end of the day. I have to give it up to Aaron and CF 916 for programming a great series of events and running a clean competition. The WODs were as follows:

1) 12 minute capped time:

800 meter run

1 OH squat (75lb/45lb) /1 lateral burpee

2 OH squat/2 lateral burpee

3 OH squat/3 lateral burpee


2) 50 tire flips for time/every 30 seconds jump through the tire and back

3) For Time:

100 meter tire drag

10 inverted burpees

100 meter tire drag

20 hang cleans (135 lb)

100 meter tire drage

30 toes to bar

100 meter tire drag

40 deadlifts (135 lb)

100 meter tire drage

50 double unders

100 meter tire drag

Of these WODs, I found #1 to be the most grueling by far. My legs were absolutely screaming trying to jump over the bar between each burpee and mentally there’s no point during the workout to relax. You’re constantly having to push against a failure that’s getting more and more intense. Props to Gabe from 209 (above) for posting the best number on this one…12 full rounds plus 10 OH squats. I came in 5 behind (in a heap below) at 12 + 5 oh squats.

The tire flip WOD was completely different. The tire we were using wasn’t very heavy so it wasn’t an issue of failure to flip, only an issue of time. You literally flipped the thing as fast as you could until the 30 second call came to jump. Now, I will say this. By the last 10 flips my hamstrings and glutes were burning at HIGH temperature and I almost clipped my toes trying to jump through the tire at the 2 minute mark. So the intended effect of intensity did take place, just a much different version than the first WOD. I won this event with a time of 2:17.

The final WOD was a twist on the more standard finishing chipper. The 100 meter tire drag was written in to break up the other elements and add a bit more pain. We were dragging a semi tire—not sure how heavy it was, but the run was awkward. The way to do this type of WOD is to have a strategy and stick to it, regardless of what is happening around you. My strategy was to keep an easy pace on the tire drag and break every one of the in between movements into sets of 10. So the cleans were 2 x 10, the toes to bar were 3 x 10, and the deadlifts were 4 x 10. The inverted burpees and double unders I did straight through. This proved effective as I kept myself efficient and working at a high level without pushing into oxygen debt until I needed a push at the end. Gabe and I were literally side by side almost the entire WOD. This made things extra exciting since the winner of the event would win the overall, but also more difficult to concentrate on the plan I had set out. Things turned when we got to the double unders. I had a slight lead when I picked up the rope and began my count. He had trouble getting his rhythm started and that allowed me to get on the tire with about a 15-20 second cushion for the final sprint. I finished in 9:33.

Overall this was a fun day full of tough workouts. Can’t say I really enjoyed the actual training, but honestly I rarely do at these things. The workouts just hurt too much. As usual, the rewarding part of the experience was the time between events, chatting and laughing with the other competitors, trading ideas and phone numbers, and mutually dreading the next event. If you’ve never been to one of these local throwdowns or competed in one, I highly recommend you sign yourself up. It’s worth the experience.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Heading to south sacramento today to compete in the Elk Grove Grinder. Looking forward to seeing my friends from CF 209 Sport in Stockton, Cf Rocklin, and everyone else competing at this pre-sectional tune-up. Full report to come...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fit as F*ck 2011

Mark your calendars... The biggest CrossFit Event in Europe is coming soon. Below is the video from the 2010 version. 2011 is going to be unreal!!!

1 mile swim

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…


Dip to L sit pause 10, 10, 10

Back lever eccentric 6, 6, 6

L sit holds 3 x max

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…


Deadlift 5, 5, 5

Strict Press 5, 5, 5

RDL + bent row 8, 8, 8

Unilateral KB press from palm 3 x max

WOD 3 – in the evening…


1 mile swim for time

The morning session was all about control—being able to smoothly transition from a movement to an isometric hold takes some strength. It also recruits a ton of motor units which speeds the process of motor learning. Doing exercises like a dip to an L sit pause will improve control and strength quicker than doing either in isolation. Similarly, fighting to control the downward phase of a back lever is like a total system overload. It required every ounce of strength and concentration to merely slow my body from falling toward the ground.

In the afternoon I toyed around with some new assistance exercises after some solid deadlifting and pressing. The RDL to bent row is an old favorite that’s been collecting dust for awhile now, but still packs a punch. If you’ve never tried it, load the bar to a weight you could ordinarily row for 12 and watch yourself fail at 6. The time under tension goes way up in this variation as well as the need to transition the application of force. GREAT exercise. The KB palm press is just like it sounds. Rather than using the handle, palm the bottom of the bell and use your fingers to control the path (see picture above w/24 kg bell). Definitely do this over some grass or soft flooring because you’re most likely going to drop it.

Finally, I decided to throw out a pretty big gauntlet for myself this evening. I’d never done a mile swim before, at least not since I was a 10 year old boy scout, and it’s definitely on the list of things someone should do. I won’t say I dominated this by any stretch, but I didn’t bomb it either. I kept a pretty steady pace the entire way, managed to control my breathing and stroke count, and wound up completing the entire distance in 30:58. Not bad for a knock around land lover, I’m told. Maybe with a little instruction I’ll be able to swim myself to safety when I’m stranded off the coast of some deserted island populated by gorgeous, hard-bodied natives. It could happen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Reader Challenge

For the months of March and April I will be accepting video submissions for a "Storyline" WOD. This idea was inspired by the "Viking"... a workout that I think consists of a 1000 m row (rowing to shore), a 800 m run (charging the town), 50 sledge hammer swings (breaking the door), 3 minutes on the punching bag (raping and pillaging), 50 sledge hammer swings (breaking back out), 800 m run (running back to the sea), and a 1000 m row (rowing back home). Storylines can be simple or elaborate, what matters most, as always, is creativity and originality. The prize for this contest is still to be confirmed, but it should include 4 days aboard a Catamaran sailing the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. The trip will include meals, workouts, and sightseeing. Estimated value of this package is upwards of $5,000 so coming up with an entry is worth your effort. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Back at it

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…


Squat Clean 3, 3, 3

Weighted Knee Jumps 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

GHD situps 20, 20, 20

WOD 2 – in the evening…


3 rounds for time:

9 muscle ups

15 burpee pullups

21 pullups

800 meter run

My flight arrived late from Colorado last night so I wasn’t able to get to the gym this morning before work to do gymnastic skill work. I’m disappointed by this but I think it was the right call. The afternoon strength session at CF East Sac was fun. It’d been 10 days since I lifted anything remotely heavy so I was pumped to get back on the horse. The days of travel and skiing still had me a bit worn down though, and I think it showed. My top set was at 265 lb and I missed the 3rd attempt. Not really for lack of strength—the weight didn’t feel too heavy. It was more looseness in technique. I fully expect to get at least 275 lb for 2 next week.

The assistance exercises afterwards were very cool, the knee jumps in particular. To try this, get in a kneeling position and simply extend the hips forcefully as if you were jumping. The upward force generated should give your feet enough time to slide under you body and catch you in a squat. It trains explosion and speed, two things necessary for Olympic lifting. I did my sets with weight vests totaling 100 lb but this can be done effectively with bodyweight as well.

The evening conditioning was the mainsite hero WOD called McClusky. I did it over at CF Stomping Ground in Carmichael and found myself pretty destroyed afterwards. Definitely a tough task to come back to after 5 days of partying but I’m glad for it. My time was 21:45 with no vest.

Rest and recovery tomorrow, looking to try and snag a yoga class in the afternoon. If anyone in the area has recommendations, I’m all ears.