Saturday, January 2, 2010

Set a Record

Workout of the Day:

15 minutes EDDs

10 minutes to establish a 1RM Back Squat

10 minutes to establish a 1RM Incline Press

-Rest 3 hours-

10 minute AMRAP:

1 x rope climb (20 ft)

10 x Burpee

This morning I hit L.K.V. for probably the final time. I doubt I’ll get in there tomorrow with all the packing to be done, and Monday’s train for Paris leaves at 6:05. So today was pretty much it.

I started with squats, the first time since Switzerland that I’d done heavy back squats, and right away I felt good. I did 6 sets in the 10 minutes, working gradually up the ladder. My sets were: 140 kg, 150 kg, 160 kg, 170 kg, 180 kg, and 190 kg. My previous best was 405 lb (184 kg), but I’d always received help from a spotter and my depth was questionable. Today, I got 190 kg with no help and no question on depth. It felt great, actually. I think I could’ve done 5 kg more. I definitely feel stronger through my middle, the weight feels lighter on my back, and my spring out of the bottom is just better. I was ecstatic after this lift.

I immediately went upstairs and loaded the incline press to test that lift as well. I did 4 sets in the 10 minutes: 100 kg, 110 kg, 120 kg, and 125 kg. This was also a PR, but my back was starting to arch, so I decided not to go for a higher number. Overall, an incredible morning and last session at the gym.

After 3 hours of rest and a good lunch, I went around the corner to the Van der Werf Park with my rope and set up for the second half of my day. In the center of the park is a statue erected in honor of Leiden’s most famous mayor. During one of Holland’s most notorious famines (unsure of the dates), this man was quoted as pledging to cut off his arm to feed the citizens. He instantly became a folk hero and is memorialized as such to this day.

Just to his right, was a tree perfect for my less sacrificial purposes. The branch I found was approximately 20 feet up, a good height for multiple climbs, and the tree was far enough back in the park not to attract too much attention. The biggest challenge was going from burpees on the muddy ground to climbing the rope with slippery gloves. Gripping is hard enough when you’re tired, but add a slick rope and things become exponentially worse. Still, my arms didn’t start to give out until the final 2 minutes, definitely an improvement over past climbing WODs, and I felt really comfortable using my legs getting up and down the rope. Burpees are burpees, no way around them. Would love to get to the point where I can finish 10 rounds in 10 minutes (200 ft of climbing and 100 burpees)—may even have been possible today with drier conditions.

Tomorrow I’m heading to the dunes for a trail run in the morning, then packing my life into suitcases for the big move. I’ve included video footage from the squats and the climbing WOD below.


  1. Hey Blair

    Stupid question, how do you tie and untie the rope to the branch? : o

  2. NOT a stupid question. I've gone through a few levels of trial and error on this issue. The best way I've found to do it is to tie a smaller rope to the end of the climbing rope first, then throw that end over the branch using a rock, pipe, or some weighted object. Then, tie a regular slipknot that sill tighten around the tree branch, but leave a bite (loop) in the knot with the smaller rope dangling down. This way, all you have to do is pull the small rope at the end and the knot unties itself. When under the weight of your body the climbing rope tightens around the bite so as not to let it release. The only issue with this is that the small rope can be an annoyance while climbing because it hangs alongside the thicker rope.
    Hope this is understandable and helps. Much easier than climbing the tree before and after...

  3. Thanks, now to home depot for some ropes !