Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shelter Cove Weekend

I spent the holiday weekend in Shelter Cove, CA- a small fishing town just south of Arcata. It’s remote, beautiful, and home to only a few hundred residents, two of which happen to be my good friend Kevin’s parents. It features jagged coastline, black sand beaches, and hills upon hills for the would-be incline runner. In all, the weekend offered me respite from the mental drain of routine life in Sacramento and ample opportunity to train hard in an unknown environment.

I trained twice on Saturday (videos below), bouldered and surfed on Sunday, and ran a 2 mile, 1600 ft mountain before driving home on Monday. I can’t think of a better weekend leading into the NorCal regional competition this coming Friday. I feel re-charged and psychologically motivated in a very healthy way. I may iron out some technical issues before the event, but intend mostly to rest up and get fresh before heading down Thursday night. Check out the videos below for a glimpse of the Cove.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rest Week

This is the 4th week in my training cycle, so it's devoted to low intensity, mostly skill based training sessions. I'm trying to allow the tendons and connective tissues time to heal before ramping back up for the regionals. Even though it's a difficult thing to convince yourself of, everyone needs regular breaks from training. Regardless of your short term goals, whether they be the upcoming summer months or a competition in a few weeks, it's important to remember that the mileage adds up over the long haul. Everything is a work in progress. Small breaks every so often will not keep you from attaining your short term goals, but they will prevent injury and debilitation over time. Don't neglect yourselves.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Regional WODs 1 & 2

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

1000 meter run


1000 meter row

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

1 thruster every :30

Begin at 155 lb and add 10 lb per set until failure

Today was my last day training before a rest week, so I took the opportunity to try WODs 1 and 2 from the upcoming regionals. Nothing too unexpected here other than that the first one is all about the handstand pushups. You might think that the running and rowing would balance things out for taller folks a bit, but that’s not the case. If you smash HSPUs you will smash this workout. A group of us did this in Old Sacramento on the boardwalk amidst passing tourists, and Justin from East Sac took home the best time at 8:09. I was next at 8:54.

After burning things out on the rower, I really didn’t feel much like doing max effort clean/thrusters, but the thruster ladder turned out to be pretty fun. 1 rep every 30 seconds isn’t too fast a pace and the early lifts give you enough of a warm up to be prepared for the heavier loads later on. I wound up hitting 255# and missing 265# for my last attempt. I think this is doable when it comes time for the real deal in 2 weeks.

Resting up this week before the final push, hope everyone out there is starting to enjoy their summers. Keep voting for the storyline videos, only a week left until a winner is announced.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weight Vests Under the Bridge

Workout of the Day

20 minute AMRAP wearing a 20 lb vest:

140 yard farmers walk w/5 gallon water buckets (70 uphill/70 downhill)

70 yard run

3 muscle ups

70 yard run

I’m still incredibly sore from Tuesday’s sessions so today the smart play was to keep it to a single workout. Justin and Travis from CF East Sac invited me down to the levee along the American River to do the above workout and it turned out to be just the right kind of effort. Unique, varied, and travelling wods have a way of easing you towards your work threshold in a manageable way that I really needed today. No part of this workout was a sprint. No part of it was acutely painful. It was, however, grueling and satisfying. I felt great afterwards, albeit still sore.

Also noticed that the WODs have been announced for the regionals. 6 cool events over 3 days will be a big test… looking forward to some rest next week in preparation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

75% Back Squat

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

7 minutes max muscle ups (no false grip)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Every minute on the minute until failure to complete:

5 back squats @ 75% 1RM (315#)

20 minute cap

WOD 3 – in the evening…

10 rounds for time:

10 abmat situps

18 foot rope climb

Major taxation today. 3 very difficult but intriguing WODs that really take it out of you… Especially the squat intervals. The soreness and fatigue I anticipate tomorrow makes me want to go to bed as I write this.

The 7 minutes of muscle ups actually weren’t too bad. Pacing yourself early is the key; no point in blowing out your max set on the first go if you have 6:30 left on the clock and nothing left to give. I started out doing sets of 5 and resting 20-30 seconds between. By the time I got to 20 I was doing 2’s and 3’s. I hit 30 at 4:49 and did doubles from there on out to finish with 40 exactly. If I try this again I might try doing sets of 3 from the get-go and try to maintain a 6 or 7 per minute pace.

5 x 75% back squats is a DESTROYER. Expect major nervous system drainage afterwards if you do a true 75%. The first set feels heavy, which isn’t exactly psychologically encouraging. But from there until 6-7 things were about the same degree of difficulty. After that point I was yelling my way through reps 3, 4, and 5. The 5th rep on round 12 was an all out effort, putting me on the floor afterwards. Decided this was a good time to stop. Here’s a quick geek out for workload… (Force x Distance). 12 rounds x 5 reps = 60 squats. 60 reps x 315 lb = 18,900 total lbs. Each squat required about 3 feet of motion. That’s 56,700 ft lbs of work done in under 12 minutes. Equals icebath tomorrow.

The conditioning WOD tonight is all about core strength. If you’re climbing ropes right you should be able to get up and down using mostly your abs and legs. The grip will wear out eventually, but most of the motions should come from your sternum down. This workout targets that technique by fatiguing your stomach muscles during the situps and really forcing you to be fast and efficient on the rope. My time was 6:20.

Keep voting for the storyline WOD finalists and sign up for Iceland!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pool Time

Workout of the Day

5 rounds for time:

50 meter swim

10 wall muscle ups from submersion

20 single arm KB swings (24 kg)

10 goblet squats (24 kg)

GREAT Saturday workout today at the pool. Charlie Zamora and co. from Warriorz Fitness came up to Folsom to join the weekly outdoor class I've been offering through CF Anywhere. In total, there were 10 of us out there swimming, swinging, and squatting for the better part of the morning. We were definitely making a scene amidst the recreational divers and scuba squads, but I think we held our own.

The workout itself was a tester. The swims got slower and slower, and getting in and out of the pool for the muscle ups is kind of like water-boarding yourself. My arms and shoulders were so pumped out by the last round that getting onto the deck was even a challenge. My time for the WOD was 14:07.

Iceland Update

Those of you ready to rock and roll with places reserved, please start transferring the blaance of your trip cost through PayPal. Those of you on the fence, there are still 9 spots available. 150.00 a day for 10 of the most incredible days you will ever have. I've acquired a few teaser photographs from the locations we will be visiting on the trip in August to whet everyone's appetite.

Blogspot Comment Monster

Not sure for what reason but comments are disappearing from the blogroll. If you voted for the storyline WOD and don't see your comment on the list, please do so again.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

70% Front Squats

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Every minute on the minute until failure to complete:

5 HSPU @ 1” elevation

WOD 2 – in the evening…

10 minute AMRAP:

1 Front Squat @ 70% 1RM, 3 Ring Dips

2 Front Squat @ 70% 1RM, 6 Ring Dips

3 Front Squat @ 70% 1RM, 9 Ring Dips


Finish with 100 abmat situps and 100 good mornings wearing 10 kg vest

Today’s morning session was another bid at building anaerobic endurance and recovery through interval training. If you’re not doing this often, don’t expect to improve your lactic threshold much over time. Spiking workloads then allowing for short recovery is the best way to build capacity that I’ve found.

In the afternoon I tackled a really interesting and different sort of metcon. It kind of felt like something you might see on CrossFit Football. The load was heavy (70% of 1RM is 225# for me), but because the sets start low I was able to get into a decent groove early on. I didn’t start breaking the dips until my round of 15, and kept the squats unbroken until round 8. This, incidentally, was my last complete round. I ended up running out of time after my first squat of the 9th round, giving me a total rep count of 138 (37 squats/101 ring dips). I expect to be very sore tomorrow.

Votes have started rolling in for the storyline finalists and the Great Escape is out in front. You will have until the end of this month to get your votes in so keep them coming.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Storyline Finalists

Thanks to everyone who submitted videos for this challenge, picking finalists wasn't easy. WIthout further ado, here they are in no particular order... you can vote for your favorite by commenting to this page or emailing me at morrison.blair@gmail.com.
Nathan Dyer in the Black Knight
Ben and Logan in the Great Escape Challenge
Henry Clark in Jack and the Beanstalk

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Run the Mountain

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning…

Snatch 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Legless rope climb 3 x 2 ascents

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

2 mile mountain run

This afternoon I met up with Justin, John, and Clint for an old fashioned bottom to top hill run. The location was a bit remote, requiring us to drive about 30 minutes east of Folsom, but man was it worth it. The grade was VERY steep, so much so that I was a little nervous that my car would make it back up safely. We parked one at the bottom and one and the top to save ourselves the extra time coming back down. This run offered no flat spots to catch your breath or smooth areas to rest your concentration. Just up, up, and more up. We were even blessed with a 5 minute rain storm in the middle.

I don’t have the GPS numbers but it’s safe to say we climbed close to 1000 feet from the bed of the river to the park entrance gates. So much fun and a great test. I finished in 18:51, John and Justin at 21:52 & 21:53, and Clint at 22:33.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Storyline Submission

From Paul in Southern California...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Back to Midtown Strength

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Every minute on the minute - 18 foot rope climb without feet (2” rope)

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Front Squat 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Skin the Cat 5, 5, 5, 5

WOD 3 – in the evening…

4 rounds for time:

70 meter incline tire drag (40#)

10 press, 10 push press, 10 jerk (40#)

30 foot hanging traverse

The early session was a great twist on an old program. Doing rope climbs for intervals is fun, challenging, and a great way to get some high volume climbing into your repertoire. Interestingly, however, the :50 or so left over seemed to be plenty of time to recover between each set. I had figured 10 climbs was a reasonable goal, but found myself at 15 sets and counting without much sign of slowing down. I decided to stop there in order to get to work on time.

I took a trip downtown in the afternoon to visit my boy Camillo at Midtown Strength. It’d been a few months since I’ve trained down there and I felt like it was about time for me to get my ass back in gear. The same view day after day breeds boredom, no matter how beautiful or unique. Training is no different. If you do the same lifts in the same gyms over and over and over, you will eventually plateau and lose interest. Make it a priority to go check out other places, make friends with other communities, and continue to challenge your norms. Proof that this works? 305# for 3 today on front squat… 10# PR. BOOYAH.

Right afterwards I headed to the Tower Garage in Old Sac for some heavy vitamin D and tire sprints. High volume pressing is always good to throw in the mix since those muscles love to burn out fast. Pair it all with a random feature like the elevated guard rail around the stairwell and I had myself an all around kick ass WOD.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rest Day

The Storyline Challenge will end on Sunday... please get your submissions to me by then. Email the youtube or vimeo link to morrison.blair@gmail.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cold Water Swim

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…

Hand Balancing – 15 minutes practice

Floor Press 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Rope Slams 3 x :30

WOD 2 – in the evening…

80 meter sidestroke

50 sandbag squats (2 x 25#)

30 strict pullups

50 sandbag squats (2 x 25#)

1 minute aggregate time treading water (no hands)

Today was all about the evening workout at Lake Natoma. With the water still hovering around 45 degrees, it was a chore staying in let alone swimming. But with the outside temperature at 90 it felt like a manageable task. Sidestroke was the only option that allowed me to keep my lungs from over-constricting due to the water and it reminded me how big the potential is for panic in those kinds of extremes. If we fail at the margins of our experience, doing a cold water swim from time to time is something I would recommend everyone experience. Whole other ballgame.

The whole workout took me just over 15 minutes to complete, with the pullups soaking up most of that time. I did them on some protective fencing around the bridge pillar so kipping wasn’t possible. Again, something I’m not used to that really kicked my ass. With summer approaching I hope everyone is starting to get out and explore their surroundings a little more. Plenty out there to stay challenged.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Storyline Submission

Here's one from Nathan Dyer, aka the Black Knight...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Storyline Submissions

Glad to see more coming in. Remember, May 8th is the final day for submissions!! This is from Henry Clarke in Salem...

Grip Chipper

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…

Squat Clean to Thruster

5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Each set must be completed in 1 minute or less. Rest as needed between sets.

Max hand release pushups – 1 set

Max time kipping w/o pullup – 1 set

WOD 2 – in the evening…

For Time:

800 meter run

20 Muscle Ups

25 meter handstand walk

52 foot hanging traverse (multi-level around the pullup rack)

30 toes to rings

30 deadlifts (225#)

400 meter run

400 meter farmers walk (45# ea)

Now that the Open is done I’m having a lot of fun planning sessions to target weaknesses again. WOD 11.3 definitely exposed such a weakness when it came to squat clean thrusters, so I decided to tackle the movement in a strength format today. This was great because it also allowed me to get some technical work done with the clean. Very cool variation if you’re looking to shake up your Olympic practice. My top set was 215#.

In the evening John rolled out a bear of a chipper. Definitely grip intensive and a cardio gasser. We did the initial 800 in 2:30 and knocked out 2 x 5 on the muscle ups pretty quick. After that it was a couple 3’s and 2’s before heading to the mat for the handstand walks—pretty tough to get going after the rings. All the balance practice in the world doesn’t make much difference when your shoulders are completely pumped out. From this point on it was managing the anaerobic threshold that became the focus. And trying not to cry during farmer’s walks. God do those suck. Finished up in 17:30… John came in at 20:39.