Monday, January 30, 2012

Trail Running Rules

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

10 minute AMRAP: :10 L sit from the ground 5 strict handstand pushups

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Deadlift 15, 15, 15, 15 @ 315# 2 x 60 foot pulley hoist (106#) 2 x 200 meter sled drag (255#)

WOD 3 – in the evening…

4 mile trail run

Great training day to cap off the week, highlighted by the perceived improvement in handstand skills. 5 strict presses isn’t anything special, but the way they felt and the lack of pain in any part of my shoulders is. Usually after that many handstand pushups (10 rounds worth) my left shoulder would get a little creaky. This time, however, I was able to keep the scapula down and back as it’s supposed to be and, lo and behold, no pain. This is no doubt the result of all the isometric holds I’ve been doing in the mornings at different heights in the press.

The deadlift session was equally as positive, as I was able to knoack out 15 unbroken reps at 315# on 3 of the 4 sets (only did 12 the first set because I’m a pussy). The best part was that my grip turned out to be the weakest link in the chain, not my back. Hallelujah for that. The sled pulls destroyed my legs… I write this from a day full of foam rolling, but not so bad that I couldn’t get out on the trail for a good old fashioned back country run. I took it easy considering the loaded work earlier in the day, but damn was it enjoyable. Perfect weather, and the prospect of 2 days of rest do a lot for the psyche. Don’t doubt the importance of looking forward to your next session. I can’t wait til Tuesday. But I’m gonna :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Swim WOD

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

3 position parallette handstand holds

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

5 floor presses every minute on the minute until failure to complete @ 225#

3 x 20 gymnastic kip pullups 3 x 15 GHD situps 2 x max ring dips

WOD 3 – in the evening…

Every 3 minutes swim max distance without breathing. Complete 4 sets. Swim 500 meters for completion.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WOD on the Levee

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Muscle up to handstand pushup 3 x 1 Front roll to support 5 x 2 Muscle up 3 x 7

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Snatch 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 5 back squats every minute on the minute @ 70% 1RM until failure to complete. 10 minute cap

WOD 3 – in the evening…

For time: 100 meter overhead carry (45#) 100 meter anchor drag (45#) Notes: 100 meter distance covered up a steep incline

Great Tuesday at the office. Got some good practice on the rings this morning, figuring out better efficiency moving from the dip position to a handstand, as well as into the front roll support. I’m hoping that by being on the rings consistently my overall aptitude and coordination with them will improve across a broad range of skills.

This afternoon I got after some snatch triples—was able to hit 223# for 2 of the three attempts, so not bad there. I actually felt like my form improved due to my coaching this movement the night before for the WOD at my box. Funny how things you preach leak their way into your practice. After this was done I headed to the squat rack for what I knew was going to be a painful return to emotm squats. I bumped the weight to 325#, a 10# increase from what I had done for this percentage in the past. The weight felt light early on, but the lack of a rest interval caught up to me by the 8th round. I was only able to finish 4 squats on my 9th round, finishing with a score of 8 rds + 4 reps. A few of the successful squats in there took everything I had so I know I pushed my limit appropriately and fully expect the soreness to be uncomfortable tomorrow. Even after a massage and cryotherapy today, this is unavoidable.

Finally, the evening conditioning WOD was a blast! The rainy weather lifted and allowed a brief window for an outdoor training session that I wasn’t about to pass up. Just over the back of the Beals Point levee is a 100 meters worth of steep incline that I’ve run in the past. Clint and I headed there with a car full of goodies, including a 45# sled, a barbell, and a shit ton of rope. The WOD was simple and brutal: carry the bar overhead to the top, then pull the sled hand over hand to join you. It didn’t take long (3:29 for me, 3:59 for Clint), but it was a max heart rate experience. And the sled pulls were like a series of 100+ deadlifts. Read: massive butt/hamstring burner. We did our best to capture bits and pieces on video. Check the final product below.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The 2012 OC Throwdown Review

My absence the past two weeks has not been merely by chance. They have been a down-cycle of training due to the highly touted “winter games” competition down in southern California. I tapered the week prior and have been recovering the week since, hence a lack of material to blog about. With the event in the rearview, however, said lack of material has changed.
My performance this past weekend was decent, not great. I Pr’d both my deadlift and my strict press (480#/190#), went to the brink of collapse on a classic couplet event (kb/burpee lactate monster), and was an inch away from an incredible finish on a high volume muscle up workout (damn you Al Pacino and your single solitary inch!!!). I also knocked out a bunch of ring hspus in a WOD without failure for the first time and successfully strategized my way through 40 oh squats and 60 pullups. That being said, I also stunk it up on double unders and handstand walking, mis-managed my back squat attempts, and was merely average on a max height box jump. So, good showing, but definitely room to improve.
Now for the actual event.
The throwdown itself was built up unlike any crossfit competition outside of the Games that I have ever seen. There were multiple Games veterans invited to compete (yours truly included), and the buzz surrounding this fact was palpable. Seeing the likes of Nate Schraeder, Tommy Hackenbruck, Kris Clever, Gabe Subry, Rebecca Voight, Patrick Burke, etc. walking around chatting with each other in between WODs set this event apart from other local throwdowns. Also, the stage on which this production was held could’ve supported a full scale rock concert. 100 foot banners hung from the ceiling… there were press passes, vendor tents, a massive sound system, and grandstand bleachers for spectators to cheer from. Justin and Darren took amazing pains to put this thing on and it showed in the spectacular final product. Walking into this arena felt very much like it did at the Games. The nervous energy, the adrenaline of competing against the world’s best, and the electric atmosphere of a place packed with fans. This experience alone was enough to make the weekend enjoyable.
But behind the outstanding production value, the event was wrought with issues. The scoring system was a disaster, with no one knowing at any point where they stood, how the events had shaken out, or what the cutline was to be. The events themselves were limited in scope, never lasting longer than 8 minutes. The strength element was tested during the total, then negated by an independently scored box jump. (So the total of 3 lifts (deadlift, back squat, and press) counted as much as the height of your box jump. Actually, come to think of it, the box jump counted as much as any other WOD we did all weekend.) Eh? What’s more, the distance from which you could jump was set for all parties. A taped square on the floor served as your boundaries from inside of which you had to start your jump. This meant that as the box got higher and higher you still had to jump from the same starting point—not a big deal early on, but damn near impossible for the taller competitors once things got close to 50 inches.
That aside, the scoring and the events can be annoying, but in the bigger picture they don’t matter as much to pulling off a fair and legit event. Regardless of what you program, so long as things are consistent for all parties it will turn out fine. Unfortunately, the judging and standards during the weekend were largely non-existent. Scores were hardly comparable between heats or WODs because few to no judges had the same understanding of the parameters. Example 1: the floater WOD was a couplet… 15-12-9 of kb swings and burpees with a lateral jump; rest 2 minutes, then 12-9-6 of the same movements. The briefing told us the kbs were to be held vertically to the heavens with arms extended and the burpees were to be done with a jump over the divider. By the 5th heat there were athletes bent arm raising the kbs and diving over the lateral barrier into a plyo pushup, never landing on their feet. Every judge was there simply counting reps not knowing any different. Example 2: The muscle up/squat clean workout required the rings to be set a fist’s height above your standing reach, yet half the competitors began their reps from a box, effectively negating the need to jump to the rings. Example 3: The ring handstand pushup/oh squat/pullup workout was described as such: handstands must be arms locked out and legs locked out in a handstand, the oh squats must start from the top position (no squat snatches), and the pullups must show ear and chin above the bar. What actually happened was that most men locked out their arms and legs, but left their body in a U-shaped back bridge, and then proceeded to squat snatch every first rep. Judges were there, of course, counting reps.
Most of this is merely a lack of communication from the top of the event down and can be corrected as such with a little more time and preparation. With so many moving parts there’s a lot that can slip through the cracks. An indication of this state of affairs was on display during day 1 when, without doubt, the most blatant and disrespectful display of sportsmanship I have ever seen at a CF event went unchecked. During the muscle up WOD the competitor to my back (Ronnie Teasdale) was told by the head judge mid-rep that he could not bounce his bar from the top of his thrusters into his next squat clean. He proceeded to call this person a “fucking bitch,” shove her to the side with his hand, and then unceremoniously toss the bar in her direction upon completion of his set. I have seen multiple video clips of this unfolding as a few of my friends managed to get both of us in their screens. I literally couldn’t believe what I was watching. This was brought to the attention of the event administrators by multiple people and nothing was done. How any judge can be expected to uphold standards when that type of shit is allowed to go on is beyond me.
The event unfolding as it did led to plenty of conversation about how difficult it must be to get everyone on the same page. Having run events like this in the past, I can attest that this is true without a doubt, and I’m not trying to minimize the effort of the organizers to do this in any way. But it’s also the single MOST important thing to get right. It didn’t end up mattering much at the top of the standings in the elite division, Tommy and Kris were the two fittest competitors there in my opinion, but it casts a horrible shadow over the legitimacy of the event as a whole. I respect the hell out of Justin and Darren for what they and the Orange Coast CrossFit group were able to accomplish down there this past weekend. Getting that many people excited for an event that has no connection to the CF Games is unbelievable. I mean, they sold 3,000 spectator tickets - that’s unreal. There were athletes from all over California, Florida, North Carolina, and many other states. But you can’t gloss over the fact that this thing felt like it was a mile wide and an inch deep, like one of those blockbuster movies that spent the entire budget on CGI and forgot to pay the writers. I don’t mean to sound harsh or ungrateful, because I really did enjoy the weekend and would probably do the whole thing over again if I had the option, but some things need to be said.
I have no doubt that the shortcomings of this year’s throwdown will be fixed by next year’s edition and that it will carry the momentum it gained in this, it’s experimental big year, into a big future as one of the community’s largest, most anticipated events. For me, I’m looking forward to kicking the shit out of myself and using what I learned at the OC Throwdown to better prepare myself for the real thing this summer.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Major PR Day

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning… Ring Skills: Front raise to horizontal 3 x 5, ice cream makers 3 x 10, back levers 5 attempts

WOD 2 – in the afternoon… Clean and Jerk 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 Front Squat 1 every minute on the minute @ 90% 1RM until failure to complete. 10 minute cap. GHD Situps 3 x 15 Pegboard 3 assents

WOD 3 – in the evening… “Helen” 3 rounds for time: 400 meter run 21 kb swing (24 kg0 12 pullups

Not a lot of time for a big write up tonight, but today turned out to be a monster day. With my boy Jason in town from long island to train for the next few weeks, things really clicked. I hit a PR clean and jerk at 294#, then squat cleaned 303# but missed the jerk. Front squats at 315# felt buttery and I PR’d my Helen time at 6:54. Resting up tomorrow then trying to keep the train rolling on Thursday.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lactate Training, week 2

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – 10:00 am… 5 minute AMRAP for reps: Max HSPU (5 repetition cap) Max 20” Box Jumps (15 repetition cap)

WOD 2 – 1:00 pm…

For Time: 21-15-9-6 Hang Power Snatch (95#) & Wall Ball (20#)

WOD 3 – 4:00 pm…

Row 1000 meters @ sub 1:25 pace Every time pace is lost, complete 10 abmat situps as fast as possible

This was the second iteration of lactate training, so I raised the desired time domain from 4 minutes to 5 minutes, and spaced the sessions 3 hours apart. The first WOD was gymnastics focused to maintain the symmetry of my training week, utilizing a movement that I’m not historically fast at (HSPU) but need to improve. I kipped them the entire way from a slight deficit and actually felt faster and more aggressive than I ever have. The first few sets I managed 5 and 15, but that quickly fell off. When doing this type of format the tempo of the exercise is more important than the number of reps. At the first sign of muscular fatigue the switch between exercises should be made. The only thing I would change with this particular WOD is the capped number of box jumps—15 is too many. I think 10 would have been more appropriate given the level of pump out I was feeling in my quads by round 3. At the end of 5 minutes I totaled 122 reps of the two exercises combined.

The second WOD was, in a word, shattering. In order to mimic the pace and ensure the correct lactate response, you have to pick a weight for the power snatches that can be done unbroken, or very close to unbroken. The same for the wall balls. If you have to stand around and wait for your grip, back, or shoulders to recover before completing your sets than the effect is lost. I say this was shattering because halfway through my second round of power snatches I thought there was no fucking way I was going to make it to the end unbroken. My shoulders felt shot, the bar was digging through my hook grip, and my legs were still shot from jumping like a jack-rabbit earlier in the day. Then, it was like my life skipped forward and I was on the wall balls. Halfway through I was jumping off the ground as high as I could to get the ball to the target but I was still getting it there. The rounds of 9 and 6 were much the same, complete in a quasi-daze and with barely enough muscle power to make the standards. But I did it, finishing the WOD in 3:54 and twitching on the ground for minutes afterwards. This ability to finish when I was sure I wouldn’t engenders a lot of confidence, and I have to believe the physical response mirrors the psychological one in terms of growth.

The final WOD was a kick in the nuts. Trying to pull sub 1:25 on the rower requires full power output on my part, so if you try this protocol be sure to pick a number that makes you sprint. My distances got shorter and shorter as the work accumulated, but that’s to be expected. I finished the 1000 meters in 6:39.

Definitely going to need a couple days to recover, so I'm looking at Tuesday of next week for my next training day.