Friday, April 19, 2013

Birthday WODs

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

5 minute AMRAP:
3 kb swings/2 bar muscle ups
6 kb swings/4 bar muscle ups
9 kb swings/6 bar muscle ups
etc. with 32 kg

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

Box squats for triples, doubles, and singles with chains
Deadlifts 8 x 1
Fat grip farmers walk 3 x 50 meters
reverse sled drag 3 x 50 meters

Today was my birthday... 31 years and counting.  Kinda funny, I feel like this is a younger birthday than 30 was.  Something about being at the bottom of an age bracket rather than the top of one changes your perspective.  Anyways, I woke up with a runny nose and was battling it all day.  I did my early workout, part of the proficiency tests our team is performing for Regionals, and was really happy with the outcome.  I completed 71 reps in total, really only feeling the fatigue in my grip and forearms on the muscle ups.  My kip is getting super efficient on this movement, if I could only glue my hands to the bar I feel like I could do 20 in a row.

In the afternoon I headed downtown to train with the boys at Super Training.  As usual, we crushed heavy squats and deads, but I felt surprisingly strong off the box.  Concentrating on sliding to the box rather than sitting to it seemed to help me stay tight at the bottom.  I was able to do a single with 285# of bar weight and 220# of chain weight, so not bad at all.

The fat grip farmers walks only added to my exploding grip muscles from earlier.  I swear if I don't have vice clamps for hands after this I never will.

Revisiting the Air Dyne

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

Floor Press 5 x 3 w/ pause
Floor Press 3 minute AMRAP @ 60% 1RM

3 rounds for completion:
10 thick bar curls
12 strict toes to bar
200 meter overhead carry (135#)

WOD 2 - in the evening...

1 mile Air Dyne for time

Overall felt good today, but maybe still a little groggy from our anniversary party over the weekend.  It went late and hard, so fun to see the healthiest 1% let loose a little bit.

Nothing overly impressive or noteworthy from this session, except the air dyne kicking my ass again.  I was 3 seconds behind my best time of 2:16, just didn't have the power to move the fan like I needed to. On the other hand, my legs didn't feel nearly as devastated afterwards as they have in the past.  This leads me to believe I might have dogged it somewhere along the line.  Will try to do better tomorrow :-)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Boat Ramp Sled Pulls

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

Establish 1RM strict press
Complete 3 minutes AMRAP @ 60% of that 1RM

3 rounds for completion:
3 cargo net climbs
5 HSPU from deficit

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

20 minute AMRAP
Sled Pull up boat ramp
Sandbag front rack carry up boat ramp

Had a lot of fun today!  I met up with some buddies at the Granite Bay boat launch, including regular training partners Denny Wilson, Matt Mizinski, and Rick Randolph, and Regional competitors Ben Alderman and Jake Newbauer.  Linking up with friends to train just heightens the experience and today was no exception.  The workout couldn't have been simpler: one guy pulls the sled up and down as many times as possible while his partner carries a sandbag on his chest up and down as many times as possible.  Switch whenever you want to accomplish the most work possible in 20 minutes.  Obviously it was challenging, but more than that it was fun.  We weren't slaughtering ourselves trying to score on an Open WOD, and we weren't pinning ourselves under barbells trying to get stronger.  We were outdoors, training hard, and loving it.  Check out the video below.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tabata Muscle Ups

Workout of the Day

Tabata muscle ups

Deadlift 7 x 1
Back Squat 5 x 5 w/ 3 second pause at bottom

3 rounds for completion:
5 atlas stone to shoulder (155#)
20 rope slams

Charlie and Time came up to train with us today from Warriorz in Elk Grove, so there was a little extra energy in the gym.  Can't say if that was the reason or if the tabata sequencing is just the best way for me to do muscle ups, but I inadvertently PR'd my 30 muscle up for time.  By a long shot.  I finished 30 muscle ups in 3:42, and 31 in the entire 4 minute tabata.  My previous best was in the 4:20 range.

Followed this up with deadlift singles, but didn't go to heavy.  Partially because we didn't have metal plates and were running out of room on the bar, and partially because my hamstrings were a little smoked going in.  Felt fast and solid at 435# before heading into the pause squats.  No issues here either, staying at 275# for the top set.  Again, having Charlie and Tim in the house definitely made this more fun.

Didn't get any video footage today, kinda dropped the ball on that one, but tomorrow I'm heading to the lake with some friends and planning on taking the sleds with us.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fitness Is...


“No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken.” –R.W. Emerson

Ever find yourself paralyzed?  Trapped in a chalk circle of destructive behavior or inconvenient responsibilities?  You think thoughts that never become words, make promises you never intend to keep, and start projects only to leave them unfinished.  It begins slowly and imperceptibly, but before you know it you’ve become an opportunity avoider instead of an opportunity seizer.  Years have passed and you're looking back on your younger, more hesitant self uttering the same words as generations before you: “I wish I would have…” 

Such regret is a sour pill to swallow, and the chief culprit jamming it down your throat is fear.  From fear of pain to fear of death, fear of embarrassment to fear of failure, fear of rejection to fear of financial instability, we live in a constantly terrified state.  We inject our decisions with skepticism and prudence, not because we enjoy or endorse those characteristics, but because we’re too afraid to live otherwise.  Doing so would mean opening ourselves up to demons we’re unprepared to face and risks we’re unprepared to take.  Rather than walk that path fiercely, we choose to avoid the confrontation entirely. 

Thankfully, while modern society may promote the cautious course, fitness favors the bold.  You have to buck up, exercise, and start eating right if you want to change your body.  Taking these steps is scary, not because they’re difficult or complicated, but because they mean admitting to yourself that you’re not the person you wish you were.  As simple as that sounds, it’s astonishing how many people refuse to acknowledge this truth.  How many avoid mirrors?  Or dodge photographs?  Or remove all scales from their house?  This isn’t an enlightened rebellion against superficiality.  It’s denial.  You avoid these reflections because you’re scared of what you’ll see.
And I’m not saying it’s easy to confront yourself—it’s probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.  But ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, and a life guarded by unadmitted truths will feel phony to the end. 

The first step in this process is discarding the false deterrents we all like to hide behind. Your schedule, your family, your job, and your medicine cabinet are not the things preventing you from becoming fit.  You are not the only person facing these challenges, and they are not insurmountable.  They are, however, easy scapegoats for the person too cowardly to admit they’re not willing to take their own health seriously.

Next, identify the real deterrents.  You fear ridicule, rejection, pain, hard work, commitment, and/or failure.  Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s all, but in some form or another you’re not courageous to do what needs to be done.

The third step is realizing these deterrents are self-created.  Fear is a projected emotion, based solely on the idea of what might happen, and therefore has limited grounding in the real world.  We assume people will reject us, not because they’ve given us reason to think so, but because we have low self-esteem.  We think failure is the worst outcome, not because we’ve been there and felt it, but because we don’t trust ourselves to succeed. 

Finally, we have to acknowledge these deterrents as shared by all.  THIS JUST IN: Your fears are not uncommon.  Ridicule, rejection, pain, and failure are among the most ordinary fears known to man and everybody in the gym is dealing with, or has dealt with them.  For some, simply walking through the door felt like climbing Mount Everest.  Realizing that you are not alone in this casts those fears and doubts in a whole new, and conquerable light. 

Nearly two years ago my grandmother came to me fresh off a surgery that removed her rotator cuff and asked if I thought CrossFit was right for her.  At the time she was a 76 year-old Italian food addict, a type 2 diabetic, and had no strength or conditioning background whatsoever.  Her known exercise history consisted of walking to the mailbox and playing bridge.  Furthermore, her doctor had just told her that, as a result of her surgery, she would never be able to raise her left arm above her head without assistance from the right.  She promptly gave me a demonstration of this fact with a sideways smile.  She’d seen me compete at the Games each of the previous 2 years, so she knew there was a ton of CF stuff she wasn’t physically capable of doing.  If anyone deserved to be afraid of the gym, it was her.  Yet there she stood, arm in a sling, asking me if she could try CrossFit.  Talk about courage.  Too old?  Too hurt?  Too out of shape?  Nope, she was willing to try.

After 6 months she was able to do a full range of motion squat.  After a year she was doing goblet squats with a kettle bell.  Now she front squats a 45# bar no problem. She went from doing wall pushups, to planks, to pushups from her knees.  When she started she couldn't hop from one foot to the other without struggling to balance. Now she's skipping rope.  Her blood sugar is as low as it's ever been.  EVER.  And that shoulder she couldn't lift overhead is now doing clean and jerks, snatches, and full range of motion kettlebell swings.  Her doctor is amazed, but he shouldn't be.  Effort is everything.

A few weeks ago a lady came into my gym inquiring about CrossFit.  She was in her sixties, a little overweight, and obviously intimidated.  She took one look at my grandmother and stood in awe.  She watched in amazement as someone at least a decade her senior moved about the gym with confidence, strength, and enthusiasm.  She saw her sweating and laughing alongside college students and young mothers in their twenties.  She saw her push past imposed limits without fear or hesitation, and walk out with more energy than she had walking in.   I could see in her expression that she now believed CrossFit was something she might be able to do--that’s the other thing about fear: the absence of it inspires others.

After a bit of conversation, this lady told me her husband had left her after 36 years of marriage for a younger woman.  She had tears in her eyes, obviously terrified of a future she never imagined having to face alone.  She asked me about class times, demographics, and cost, all the while fighting to keep her composure.  She didn’t have any short or long-term goals, wasn’t here to lose 30 lbs or run a marathon.  She was here to take control of her life, to be rescued from the fear of the unknown, and to fight against the pain she was now feeling.  Rarely have I been so proud of someone I’d never met.  

CrossFit, and fitness in general, is a training ground for the courageous.  Showing up day after day to risk embarrassment, failure, and pain builds a resilience that will withstand whatever the outside world throws at you.  There’s nothing harder than the moment in life where you have to decide whether to quit or continue, but we face that decision every day, in every workout.  All your doubt, hesitation, and weakness gets exposed in that moment, and, in here, you have permission to be fearless.  You can choose to keep going in spite of the pain and the suck, just like you can choose to never look back and say “I wish I would have…” Fitness forces your hand in this regard.  It breeds courage in the willing and inspires those teetering on the edges of chalk circles to take a step out into the real world.  And I'm glad... the view out here deserves to be seen.  

Floor Press PR!!

Workout of the Day

Establish 1RM Floor Press
@ 60% 1RM, complete AMRAP floor press in 3 minutes

3 rounds for completion:
1:00 battling ropes
20 GHD Situps
100 meter overhead carry (135#)

One day removed from 13.5, my quads were pretty destroyed.  Thankfully the program called for minimal lower body action so I was still able to train.  And to be honest, I felt pretty damn strong.  Warmed up really quickly and set a Floor Press PR at 326#.  I've recently been trying to include this movement once per week and I guess it's paying off.

Following it up with the 60% AMRAP was a bit more humbling.  In 3 minutes I was only able to knock out 43 reps, with my goal being 60.  A bit optimistic in hindsight.  The assistance work was a blast, though.  I included a short video clip below.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Super Training

Workout of the Day

Skill WOD:

5 rounds for completion:
:30 overhead squat hold w/45#
:15 L sit hold
5 handstand pushups


Box squats 3 x 3, 3 x 2, 4 x 1
Thick Bar deadlifts 15 x 1

3 rounds for completion:
5 atlas stone to shoulder (175#)
10 dumbell rows (70#)
50 yard sled drag (235#)

I was substantially sore today after the heavy hitting upper body lifts, but still managed to soldier through.  Had another great session at Super Training with Mark Bell... ever since I've started training my squats and deads down there I've felt a major increase in my ability to move lighter weights with greater speed.  I think sometimes we focus so much on the increases in top end strength when the real gains are in our ability to move the lighter loads with less effort.  Training heavy is the key to developing both aptitudes.

I made it to 385# for my box squat single and think I had some more in the tank.  Still, I'm happy with that lift during the middle of the Open.  I've attached a video link that Mark posted from the last part of the session where Ben Alderman and I are hitting the assistance exercises.  He goes into some details about the program we've been doing, and his views on crossfitters training heavy in general.  As usual, Ben makes it look a lot easier than I do.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

KB Swing and Shuttle Run

Workout of the Day

Skill WOD:

EMOTM for 10 minutes
3 bar muscle ups
3 dive rolls


5 minute AMRAP floor press at 185#
Bent Row 4 x 10
GHD Situp 4 x 20
Thick bar curl 4 x 10
400 meter overhead carry (135#)


10 minute AMRAP
20 kb swings (32 kg)
120 meter shuttle

With the Open winding down, I'm finally getting myself back into a more regular program.  Even though this has been a really fun time of year for the gym and the community as always, I'm ready for some hard training with no set objective hanging over my head.  Today was a nice step in that direction.  Got 61 presses in 5 minutes, made the overhead carry only dropping the bar 3 times, and found a beautiful location for the conditioning WOD.

Check out the video below: