Sunday, June 28, 2009 by Daniel

Finally getting caught up

Only a few days behind in my posting...since I programmed and led the team WODs, I took the regular class on Sunday so as to still get a workout in.

Run 800 Meters
25 Pull-Ups
50 Burpees
75 Push-Ups
100 KB swings 1.5/1.0P
Run 800 meters

28:50 RX

I came in first, which never happens - I only got it here because the class was mostly full of new athletes, and Jim and James half-assed it and didn't keep time. It still felt good. I must confess, the thing that kept driving me through this workout was "this is so much easier than what I'm about to put the team through, so I can't slack."

Once again, the major limiting factor was the pushups. I did rounds of 5-10-15-20, but wound up mushing together the pushups and burpees to be 5push-5burp-5push-5burp-5push. I don't know if that sped anything up, but it felt like it granted my chest a brief reprieve. It might have been smarter to put the KB swings between the burpees and pushups, but that didn't occur to me until afterwards.

DNF - with a PR

Warmup: ME, ...? Can't remember - something substantial - I definitely felt warmed up. Either saturday or sunday as part of the warmup we did some KB drills. One of the drills was a strict shoulder press, and I managed to Press and push-press the green 12kg KB on both my right and my left side. The press is a new PR for both L & R, the P-P is a PR for the R.

Run 800 Meters

25 Pull-Ups *with green assistance band
50 Burpees
75 Push-Ups
100 KB swings 1.5/1.0P

Run 800 meters

Partition the reps in any order.

I did not originally intend to do this work out at all. I did the warm up with the class, but then I planned to skip the workout in order to set up the 1pm WOD so we could start as close to on-time as possible. It was going to be a long hot day, and I was feeling kinda wrecked, so I didn't mind skipping it. Max convinced me to give it a shot. Every exercise was, for some reason, stupidly difficult, and I only got through 1 round of plus 5 pullups before I realized that I was never going to get done in time for the 1pm workout, so I decided to DNF.The first full round of reps (+ 5 pullups) took me 6:34. My final time for the workout probably would have been in the 50 minute range. However, I DID manage to get a new PR on my 800m time.


Saturday, June 27, 2009 by Rebecca

Cindy Gone Bad

Warmup: ?

"Cindy Gone Bad"

In this workout you move from each of three stations after a minute. This is a three-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. We've used this in 3 and 5 round versions, this will be FIVE rounds. The stations are:

1. Pull-ups (Reps) *subbed jumping pullups - jumping C2B with a taller box after round 2
2. Push-ups (Reps)
3. Squats (Reps)

The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of "rotate," the athlete/s must move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep.



Apparently I originally did my math wrong and I thought I got 303. 293 is still pretty respectable, i guess, but I thought I had broken 300 reps, and that was cool. oh well.

I'm very pleased that i managed to stay so consistent throughout all 5 rounds. It was a real battle to keep the reps up in rounds 4 & 5.

Cindy Gone Bad

FGB comes in phases and flavors. Here's a new one:

In this workout you move from each of three stations after a minute. This is a three-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. We've used this in 3 and 5 round versions, this will be FIVE rounds. The stations are:

1. Pull-ups (Reps)
2. Push-ups (Reps)
3. Squats (Reps)

The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of "rotate," the athlete/s must move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep.

313 RX

I set a 10/20/30 pace, and was able to hold or exceed it for everything but the pushups, which went south after the third round:


This is basically a little better than a 10-round Cindy (which would be 300 reps in 20 minutes, as opposed to 313 in 19), however it felt rather more intense.

Friday, June 26, 2009 by Rebecca

Strength Day

Warmup: ME & Plank holds - 1 min front, 30 sec L, 1 min back, 30 sec R

Pull-Up - subbed 1P KB swings

Front Squat 3-3-3-3-3


2:23 round of 15
1:41 round of 9
1:00 round of 6

Total: 5:05

Front Squat: 50-55-60-65-70(PR)

For the mini-metcon I was neck & neck with Lyn - she always got ahead of me on the KB swings, but I caught up to her on the burpees. she finished about 5 seconds ahead of me. I don't know why the KB swings were so hard. 1P swings shouldn't be a problem.

My legs have been feeling tight and stiff for days (I've been having lots of cramping issues) - so I had no idea how the FS would go. I think I should do these more often - they are excellent practice for keeping my back up when squatting. We hardly ever do these and I've only ever done them in sets of 5, and my 5x PR of record is 65#. I made 1 attempt at 75# and didn't get even 1 rep. I think if my legs were fresher, though, I could probably pull it off.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 by Rebecca


Warm up: run 800m, dowel practice of SDHP and PP

Three rounds of:
Wall-ball, 20 pound ball, 10 ft target (Reps)
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds (Reps)
Box Jump, 20" box (Reps)
Push-press, 75 pounds (Reps)
Row (Calories)

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute.The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of "rotate", the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

Add your points and post them to comments.

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Total
Box Jump(Step up)
Push Press
Wall Ball

Except for the row (and the box step-ups, which i didn't do last time to keep it rx) this is in every way worse than my last FGB. The wall ball was just embarrassingly bad. The 4 that I got were with the 10# ball. And I lost a couple points on just about everything else. I think it can be partially explained by the order of the exercises - I always try to start with the wallball, but I didn't get to do that today, and last time, I had a minute of rest before the push-presses - but as a whole this performance is dissapointing.

Fight Gone Bad!

Remember that relief I felt that I didn't have to do Fight Gone Bad at the cert this weekend? Yeah, me too.

Three rounds of:
Wall-ball, 20 pound ball, 10 ft target (Reps)
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds (Reps)
Box Jump, 20" box (Reps)
Push-press, 75 pounds (Reps)
Row (Calories)

270 RX

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3
Wall-Ball 20#252021
SDHP 75#202015
Box Jump 20"252020
Push-Press 75#151010

This felt so, so horrible. Five points lower than last time, nearly three months ago. However, there was an equipment malfunction on the rower in the second round that lost me a good 20 seconds, so I think it was essentially the same. Disappointing not to have any improvement in the score, but I am 10-15 pounds heavier than I was then, which does make it harder. Also, I didn't allow myself to do the circular KB-swing-style SDHP this time, which makes it much harder to crank out reps.

I need to get better at chaining together box jumps and push-presses.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 by Daniel

Handstand Helen

Woke up still a little stiff from the weekend, but at a manageable level.

Three rounds for time:
Run 400 meters
21 1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Swings
12 Handstand push-ups

20:47 RX

The runs were fast. The KB Swings were unbroken, and without rest after the runs. Nearly the entire time was spent on HSPU's. Mine suck. I haven't figured out how to kip them yet, so I was doing strict partials. VERY partial, but quite strict - I can't do it very well at all resting my ass or legs against the wall, so only the backs of my heels touch - this makes it close to a freestanding HSPU, but since I'm not terribly strong overhead the ROM is just a few inches. And I can only do them in sets of 3 with long breaks. This is definitely a skill I could improve on, but I also feel like there's a benefit to doing them strict - I use my hips for so much, and really could stand the focused work on getting things overhead.

Inverted Helen

Warmup: can't remember. got to get back on the blogging train and do these as they happen.


Three rounds for time:
Run 400 meters
21 1.5/1.0P Kettlebell Swings
12 Handstand push-ups

2:08 Run 400m
2:33 KB Swing
2:51 HS Pushup
2:54 Run 400m
2:57 Swing
1:54 HS Pushup
2:25 Run 400m
4:05 Swing & HS Pushup

Total: 21:49

The HSPU just felt brutally difficult, and the swings weren't exactly pretty. My first and last run times were pretty respectable - slightly better than my general average.

Sunday, June 21, 2009 by Daniel

CrossFit Level 1 Certification, Day 2

Day 2 dawned with moderate soreness. Mostly I was just happy to have the Fran experience behind me. We jumped straight back into class with a Q&A session with Dave Castro, who then went on to fill in some more info from his "What is CrossFit?" section the day before. Then we went outside for a brief session on the two most complicated and frequently mis-performed fundamental movements, the push-jerk and the medball clean. From there we went straight into the WOD.

Everyone was expecting Fight Gone Bad, and when they started wheeling out the rowers and the 15# plates, we thought for sure that's what we were in for. Well, not quite. In a pleasant surprise, they gave us a team variation on FGB that wasn't anywhere near as punishing. It went something like this:

Teams of 4. In 15 minutes, perform AMRAP of:

Row: 10 calories
75#/45# Push-press: 15 reps
24" Box Jump: 10 reps

Each team member must be at their station until everyone has completed their reps, then they can advance to the next station. One designated counter marks a round when they get to the rest station.

My team, a coed team, was one push-press shy of 4 rounds. This was a pretty typical score. Two teams managed 6 rounds. I acquitted myself very well on the rower (10 calories = 12 strokes) decently on the box jumps and tolerable on the push-press. At any rate, I didn't feel like I was a hindrance to my team. I was glad they did this workout - it was more fun than FGB, which everyone has done, and was a good example of adapting a classic WOD to a slightly different format to accomodate given circumstances. Even with all the gear they had, I don't think they could have done FGB in one heat (someone should count, after all, which means two heats) and I got a sense that they really didn't like running heats.

Following the workout, Pat Barber led a session on nutrition, which quickly became a session on the Zone diet. I didn't take any notes here, as it was all very basic (and often oversimplified) stuff. I pulled my old-school by-hand mathematics out of the dusty closet to figure out my blocks without a calculator, and came up with somewhere between 16 and 17 blocks. I'm toying with the notion of doing a monthlong strict zone challenge, just so I can have the experience of having done it and come from a more informed place when I describe it to clients (it is the official diet of CrossFit, after all), but I have no idea how I'd make that work with cooking for Rebecca, leftovers, and all the eating out we do.

Another delicious lunch prepared by the Castros, and we watched the trainers do their own workouts. A brief session on the Glute-Ham Developer with Stefan followed, then we broke into five groups for a series of 15-minute skill workshops:
  • PVC snatch with Stefan - he basically taught the Burgener warmup. Emphasized snatching from the hang position as being 90% adequate for lower-skilled athletes until they could reliably snatch from the ground.
  • Rowing with Freddie - he went over basic mechanics then had us race 500m. I came in second, with 1:30.2 (a PR!), but this other dude who was also 6'4" but 230lbs came in first at 1:26.5.
  • Muscle-ups with Pat and Jason - the rings were too low for me to get a decent kip, so they just told me to work on my ring dips. Which I DO need to improve.
  • GHD with Jolie - even at its maximum extension, the GHD is too short to allow me to do back extensions (as opposed to hip extensions. True back extensions require trapping the hip on the pads). I can do hip extensions and situps, though.
  • Kipping pullups with Austin. He went over the progression from the mainsite video (ie, lying on the floor, etc). Not much to learn, here, other than I could probably be pushing away from the bar more.
The trainers are good, but with groups of 12 people and a window of 15 minutes, they could really only go over the most basic elements of each movement.

Freddie led the last session on programming. He emphasized the superiority of 3-on, 1-off, but acknowledged that it's an extremely difficult cycle to make work in a real-world setting. He also went over the basic breakdown of movements (W = weightlifting, M = monostructural, G = gymnastics) and how to combine them into singles, couplets, triplets and chippers. Throughout the weekend, the coaches warned against programming too many workouts at an hour or more time domain, and also seemed leery of CFSB, CF Football and CFE - they clearly wanted the emphasis to be on plain vanilla CrossFit, at least for us. Though they said they do encourage boxes to do their own programming, thereby letting the Games be the mechanism by which they discover whose programming is superior. When the Frequently Asked Questions came up, they all came back with standard party-line responses (Go heavy and slow or light and fast? Yes. Two-a-days? If you can workout twice a day you're not working out hard enough. Etc.)

I was ready to leave when it ended, so I collected my certificate and took off. I missed working out with my CFEB friends, and hoped to make it back in time for the evening workout, despite feeling pretty thrashed. I DID make it back in time, but the workout looked too heavy for me to do in my current condition, so I wound up going on a five-mile trail run with Alex that was a lot of fun and completely kicked my ass. I haven't been as thrashed as I was after this weekend for quite a while.

My overall review? Pretty much unchanged from before I went. The level 1 cert is not worth the (very high) cost, UNLESS you intend to become a CrossFit trainer. In that case it is valuable, and not just because it allows you to legally pursue a CF career, but it also gives you some direct experience at the hands of a variety of coaches. But the vast majority of the information taught at the cert is widely available to anyone with a CF Journal subscription, a membership on the boards, and a measure of self-motivation. There is this mythology out there that you need to take a cert in order to "be serious" about CrossFit, and that's totally not true. You'd be better served with simply going to an affiliate as often as you can. I don't feel as though I'm a significantly better CrossFitter at the end of the weekend as I was at the beginning (although I AM motivated to fix my goddamn squat), nor did I find the experience itself to be terribly enjoyable or fulfilling (Great Fran Humiliation aside).

However, I DO want to become a CF coach, so I'm glad I went. I look forward to getting the opportunity to train others, and ultimately going to a level 2 - I think that might be more of what I'm looking for.

Saturday, June 20, 2009 by Daniel

CrossFit Level 1 Certification, Day One

Today was the first day of my level 1 CrossFit Certification, and I am pretty wiped. This hotel has really crappy wi-fi and there’s nothing on TV, so I think I’m just gonna try and write up this post, then maybe take a bath, try to do some stretches, and go to bed.

It was a long day. And highly illustrative of how much further I have to go in just about every aspect of my fitness. The certification is broken into learning sections, each taught by a different local trainer, interspersed with practical application sessions and a couple workouts. From everything I’ve read and seen, it is a highly typical cert. None of the information presented has been new to me – it’s all widely available in Journal articles and videos online, sometimes nearly the entire lectures. However, the breakaway sessions have been informative and useful in many ways, both personally and (future) professionally.

We started out with “What is CrossFit?” led by Andrew (Drew) Thompson, the overall coordinator of the cert. From there we went straight to the first fundamental movement group – the squat series (air -> front -> OH), led by a guy named Stefan. We broke into smaller groups and went outside to practice. Austin from CF Unlimited was our coach for this session, and he immediately pulled me into the center as his demo of “what not to do” – why? Because I lose the lumbar arch quite quickly, and lean way forward – which I knew. And, apparently, collapse my knees in, which I didn’t know. He gave me some effective (and painful) work to do to try and fix that, and proceed to hammer me on my knees throughout the rest of the day – nearly every movement we did, he was at me telling me to get my knees out. So, apparently, there’s something new to focus on.

Afterwards, we did bottom-to-bottom tabata squats, which were VERY painful, especially as I tried to do as much as I could with my new cues to good form – it’s so much easier to do it wrong! I scored 8, and it looked something like this:


My hip flexors were KILLING me afterwards, and I was walking somewhat wobbly.

As an aside: I’ve been thinking the past two weeks that my squat is really bad. I don’t know if it’s actually WORSE than it was, or if I’m just more aware of it, but I do know that my hip flexors hurt more than they ever used to. I suspect I may have ingrained some poor movement patterns with my poor-form heavy back squats – not to mention strengthened my body out of balance (ie, quads). I have a lot of work to do in undoing those faulty patterns and re-establishing (or establishing for the first time) proper form and ROM. I’m going to really focus on this, starting immediately, as I will never be able to do well with front or overhead squats until I get my air squat sorted out. I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to realize how much I suck at such a fundamental movement after working at this so long, but that’s pretty much the story of my whole day.

Session two was “What is fitness?,” led by Dave Castro (whose parents own the ranch, apparently). His folks were kind enough to cook us all lunch (there are about 60 of us!), so we got homemade steak and chili and salad instead of having to head into town for food. It was awesome.

The afternoon sessions were devoted to the send sets of fundamental movements. Freddie Camacho led a session on Press, Push-Press and Push-Jerk, and apparently my chest goes forward too much even on the slight dip of a push-press. Then Jolie led the section on Deadlift, SDHP and Med Ball Cleans, and also trained our breakout group – again, she was constantly telling me to get my chest up.

The classes were done, and all that remained was the final workout. Past history suggested it would be Fran, and indeed it was. Jason Khalipa led the warmup running the hill, thereby providing me my only moment of the day of feeling relatively fit. There was an awful lot of walking and bitching as we made our way up the hill, but after the hell Gita’s been putting us through, it really didn’t seem that bad to me. I ran the whole thing, and was not more than a little winded at the top. Of course, doing it after heavy deadlifts is another story…

I had a bar claimed for the first heat, but I went to try out the pullup bar and it got stolen from me. This led to my Great Fran Humiliation, which I hope to never repeat. I didn’t get into the second heat, either, which put me in the final heat. They capped the first two heats at 10 minutes, to make room for subsequent heats. Do you see where I’m heading with this yet?

You see, I’ve never actually done Fran before. I did a heavily scaled, very poorly executed attempt when I was barely beginning, before I could do pullups and when 95# thrusters would have simply crushed me into the floor. Somehow, in over a year of extremely frequent crossfitting, I have managed to miss Fran every time it has come up. I swear it’s an accident. So, heading into it for the first time, I really just wanted to get it under 10 minutes. With all the people knocking it out in under 7-8 minutes, I began to think maybe this was something I could do. Turns out no.

I was in fairly good shape through the first round, but then my time plummeted. Part of it was Austin, yelling at me to get my knees out, which made the thrusters REALLY fucking hard. But I can’t blame him – I was slow, and my pullups (I did C2B for the first round, then abandoned that) were one at a time and crappy. In a half-full heat, the finishers narrowed down to just three guys. They called 10 minutes when I was 5 thrusters into my last set. Then Drew said “let’s let them keep going.” To which I believe I responded, “Oh, fuck.”

One guy finished almost immediately, and the other guy gave up. Which left just me, and a circle of 59 people plus coaches yelling at me to finish. It was not pretty. I eked out the remaining thrusters and moved to the pullup bar, where I did 5 pullups and then my grip failed and I nearly took a sideways spill to the concrete. The last four pullups were singles, and barely chin over bar – my grip was completely shot.

95# Thruster

12:12 RX

So there you have it. My first RX Fran, and it was NOT under 10 minutes, and it wasn’t even (entirely) chest to bar, and it was really, really embarrassing. My thrusters have always been terrible, but since I gained these 15 pounds (without really doing any pull work), my pull-up power has plummeted. So it was a perfect storm of movements I am very bad at, at least now. Yet more to work on.

I’m feeling relatively beat-up (never has work with a PVC dowel been so exhausting). All the signs point to tomorrow being Fight Gone Bad, which at least I have some experience with. Hopefully I won’t embarrass myself too much with that one.


Warmup - none to speak of - i was late to class, and i only got about 4 hours of sleep. (Late to bed, middle of the knight leg cramps, and woke up ridiculously early, unable to go back to sleep)

Part A
Mini Bottom-to-Bottom -Tabata

First four intervals are pull-ups, without letting go of the bar, second four intervals are push-ups, rest in plank, third four intervals are sit-ups, rest in up position, final four intervals are squats, rest in bottom position.

Tabata score is the least number of reps performed in any of the 4 intervals.

Plus Part B:

Snatch 5-3-3-1-1

Part A:
The pullup bar was full, so I started with pushups and then did pullups while everyone else was pushing up. My score was 6/0/7/5. kinda pathetic.

Part B:
Snatches - they just weren't happening today. my timing was completely off, and the 45# bar that went up so easily yesterday wouldn't make it past my nose today. I worked some light snatches - but nothing formal with any sort of rep scheme - up to about 35#. About half way through class I decided to work on cleans instead. 60# went up ok. Not pretty, but ok. Then I got 3 nearly consecutive pulls at 65# - my previous 1 rep max. So I decided to try for 70. First try failed, 2nd try failed. Waited a few minutes. Got it on my third try! New PR.

I do not drop under the bar. That is the reason I can't get very much weight up. It's mostly a mechanics and a balance issue. I am looking forward to the oly cycle we are planning on doing soon, but I know it will be fraught with frustrations and disappointments when my body can't figure out how to do what my brain wants it to. The only way to get better is to practice though, so I'll just have to stubborn through the frustration.

Friday, June 19, 2009 by Rebecca

Behind on blogging - catching up

It's been an extremely busy week - and I've fallen behind on these.

Wednesday 6/17:
AMRAP in 10 minutes:
5 Deadlift 315/205
10 OHS 115/75
15 Double-Under

I subbed 135# for the DL and 30# for the OHS. I got 1 round. The deadlifts took me 3-4 minutes, the ohs took 3-4 minutes, and i had a hell of a time with the double unders - though truth-to-tell i was sort of dreading more deadlifts so i wasn't sad when it took me a long time to get through them. i had about 1 minute left by the time i finished the DU - but I could not get the bar off the ground, so that was it. I taped my writst which actually really did help with the OHS. My wrists did not fail after 7 reps like they did lat week.

Thursday, we went to the theatre - Excellent show.

75 KB Swings 2.0/1.5P
50 Push-Ups
25 Ground to Overhead 115#/75#
Run 2 miles
75 KB Swings 2.0/1.5P
50 Push-Ups
25 Ground to Overhead 115#/75#

I subbed 1P KB swings, 45# snatches, and only did 50%.

The first 10 G2O, 20 PU and 30 KB swings took 4:30
The second set took 6:30
the last set of half that volume took 3:20
The mile took me about 11:30

I was feeling tired, run down, and migrane-y so I decided to take it easy. The 45# snatches actually felt almost easy (even though they were totally impossible today). The 1P KB swings felt harder than they should have - i think i just wasn't using enough hip. The pushups were done on a slight incline - one of the few spcaes that wasn't taken by people with heavy barbells or KB, so they were probably a bit easier, too.

I was just relieved that my head did not feel like it was going to fall off when i was done.

Thursday, June 18, 2009 by Daniel

Recovery and some one-rep maxes

I have not been terribly good about posting entries lately - my bad. Given that Sunday workouts are under the radar, there's not a whole lot for me TO post...except Saturday, I guess. We were supposed to test our one-rep max in Deadlift and Shoulder Press Saturday, but I only made it as far as Deadlift.

Deadlift x 1: 310-320-330-335-340(pr)

I THINK this is my 1RM. I didn't try 345 because my arms were very painful. So this'll have to do until the opportunity arises again.

A word about my arms: they are concerning me. More than any particular movement, the trigger seems to be heavy loads - the heavier an exercise (ANY exercise) is for me, the more likely it is to make my arms hurt. Thus the problem with Squats and Deadlifts. Heavy Cleans are extremely bad. Bodyweight or lightweight movements are, by and large, fine. I'm still not clear on what the problem is, but I've resolved to take this week as a (mostly) recovery week, in hopes that I won't be troubled during my cert. The odds are good that I'm going to wind up doing Tabata Squats, Fran and Fight Gone Bad, which should be OK.

With that in mind, I scaled WAY the hell back on this one yesterday:

AMRAP in 10 minutes:
5 Deadlift 315/205
10 OHS 115/75
15 Double-Under

3 rounds, DL at 185#, OHS at #65.

Primary problem was the double-unders, as always. These were REALLY not working for this workout, though - I think my longest streak was five. The deadlifts were a joke, the OHS were just a matter of balance and wrist endurance.

Afterwards I felt a bit unsatisfied, so I went in to test my 1RM shoulder press.

Shoulder press x 1: 95-105-110-115(f)-115(pr)-117(f)

115 was my goal, so I'm pleased with that. Only Bench Press left to test!

Sunday, June 14, 2009 by Rebecca

Getting faster!

Sunday highlight - another running PR - a big one :-)

I ran my fastest 800m ever yesterday. By 27 seconds.

My previous 'urban' PR was here: 4:42.

Fastest time on a track: 4:40.

Yesterday's time: 4:13 !!!

Today was another 'relay' day - so something about being in an actual competition - against more than just myself and where my team is affected by my performance really pushes me to push myself. Most of my 800m runs, even recently, have been 5+ minutes.

Given all the running we've been doing I'd almost be more surprised if my running wasn't improving, but a 27 second jump is pretty exciting.

Saturday, June 13, 2009 by Rebecca

1 RM part 2 - fail.

Today was supposed to be our day to test our 1RM for deadlifts and presses. Doing this the day after Murph was apparently a dumb idea.

I was sore when i woke up. Tired too. I did my best to do a good warmup and try to get things moving and loose. Ran 800m, 30 situps, 15-20 OHS dowel squats, a little stretching, ME.

Warmed up 10 x 45#. wow those adductors are kinda tired.
5 x 95# - hmm rep 4 & 5 were kinda tough.
3 x 115# - not too bad.
1 x 145# (a little plate math fail) - couldn't break it off the ground
1 x 135# got it. BARELY. it felt like a 1 RM attempt. my 5rm weight.

1 RM testing is a bad idea today. skipping it.

The muscles that feel the most worked-over from Murph are my my lats and my adductors, which isn't that surprising. My lats have not gotten a lot of work lately - particularly not from pull-ups, and 300 squats are just going to hurt, no matter what. Still, I'm a little surprised that Murph took so much out of me and knocked my performance capability down so far. The Sunday afternoon workouts we've been doing have often taken as long, and felt pretty volume intensive ... of course we've also been taking 2 rest days after these long slog workouts - so maybe it's not so strange.

Oh well. I'll try again next week.

Friday, June 12, 2009 by Rebecca

100% Murph!

Warmup: run 400m, ME, 15 squats, 10 pushups

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups *used green resistance band
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.


1 Mile
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 54:24
Round 6
Round 7
Round 8
Round 9
Round 10
1 mile

*had to stop to tape hands. Thank you Alex!!

Woo hoo! I managed to finish the whole darn thing!

That first mile is either the first or second fastest mile I have enver run. I ran one faster in December (10:12), but it did not include the little back and forth piece in the GWPC driveway/parkinglot that Max has recently added to make it an actual mile. By the time I made it back to that part I had a horrible stitch, and had to walk the back and forth piece, so the December mile was probably still a little faster.

Each round consisted of 10 pullups, 20 push ups and 30 squats - though the order varied widely. The first round was 10pull-up(plu), 10 push ups (psu), 15 squats(sq), 10 psu, 15 sq. The pullups quickly got too hard to 10 at once, so I switched to cindy style rounds to try to just keep moving as much as possible. I also started running out of pullups so i switched to 5plu, 5psu, 5 sq, 5 psu, 10 sq. It was a LOT of transitions, but I was able to keep moving instead of waiting for the strength to eke out another rep.

And then half way through round 4 something clicked with the kipping action of the pullups and i was suddenly getting a lot more plu a lot more easily so i switched back to doing 10 plu at a go. Getting into the resistance band was awkward and time consuming enough that I really wanted to minimize the number of those transitions I had to make. I was extremely fortunate that Nick and I ended up at the pullup bar at the same time for several rounds, and he was sweet enough to help me by holding that band for me to get my foot in. It made a big difference.

The final rep scheme I used for the last 3-4 rounds or so was 10 plu, 10 psu, 15 sq, 5 psu, 5 sq, 5 psu, 10 sq. For some reason I had it in my head that I only needed to do 5 rounds. It was only at round 6 that I realized I needed to do 10 rounds which was quite a dissapointment.

The last mile was exceedingly slow, but my only goal was to be able to run every step - not necessarily run them quickly, and I managed that. I figured out that it was much smarter to run the back-and-forth bit on the driveway first so that when i was done at the end, I was just done.

Murph n' Stuff


Sprint-8 on rower: 3375m
20 minutes light jogging on treadmill
5.9(o), 10b(o), 10b(o)

The rower went well - I was able to maintain a 1:30 pace on all the sprints, which I think is an improvement (I haven't done this in a while). The first two climbs weren't too bad, although my arms were sending warning signals. The third climb, a long climb that had a bit of everything - roof, arete and stemming - started my arms screaming. So I didn't continue.

I remember when Murph was a workout to be dreaded, one approached with much grimacing and wincing. My first knee-jerk reaction when I saw it posted was "oh, no." But once I thought about it a little, I realized that in comparison to the shit we've been doing every week, Murph is really not that big a deal. So when we lined up on the starting line, I didn't have any butterflies of dread flitting around in my stomach.

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

44:36 (no vest, subbed v-ups for pullups)

V-ups are considerably easier than pullups, but I wanted to actually finish a Friday workout without the agony in my biceps, so I don't regret my choice - it was really nice to do the workout without pain. I went in ten rounds of 10 v-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats, 10 push-ups, 15 squats, and that went fairly well. Here are the splits:

run 1: 7:30
round 1: 2:31
round 2: 2:17
round 3: 3:16
round 4: 3:16
round 5: 3:17
round 6: 3:13
round 7: 2:58
round 8: 3:04
round 9: 2:47
round 10: 2:27.5
run 2: 6:59

Fairly consistent. The limiter was, once again, the pushups - will I ever be able to consistently knock out sets of 10? I dunno, it seems my chest strength is very reluctant to develop. The squats were actually pretty damn hard for the first three rounds or so, until my body warmed up to them - after last night's max-effort with them, the muscles were surprisingly uncooperative. The V-ups were fine - the last few sets involved some grunting, but I was always able to knock out 10 consecutive.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 by Daniel

Back Squat 1RM

Test time! Last time I tested my 1RM Back Squat, back in February, I managed 190. The strength cycle was specifically designed to get that up, so how did it go?

Back Squat x 1: 210 - 220 - 225(f) - 225(f) - 225(f) - 220 - 225(f)

As you can see, I really wanted that 225 - four 45# plates! - and I just couldn't manage it. Frustrating as hell, but it is still 30 pounds higher than it was four months ago.

My failure at squatting feels like it is more a fault of form than of strength, and puts way too much stress on my back. Something I continue to work on. No more back squats for a while, though - it's strengthening the wrong parts of my body, and ingraining poor form habits. Front and overhead squats only for the next cycle. Those'll keep me honest. And, hopefully, upright.

By the time I was done with the squats, my biceps were KILLING me. Like, Friday-night-level killing me. I am not clear on why squats should fuck up my biceps, though Rebecca professes to be unsurprised. At any rate, conditions were not auspicious to test my 1RM bench press, so I'll have to do that later. Perhaps tomorrow... I'm really not sure I'm up for Murph. I'm supposed to be taking it easy for the next week so I can be fresh for my certification next weekend, and my hands are barely recovered from the KB snatches on Sunday that ripped them up.

1RM Part 1

Warmup: Run 800m, ME, 30 situps, 30 OHS w/ dowel, iguana stretch

Back Squat:
5 x 45#
3 x 55, 65
1 x 75, 80, 85, 90(f), 90 (PR!), 95(f) 95(f)

10 x 45#
3 x 65#
1 x 70, 75, 80 (PR!), 82(f), 82(f)


I thought I could get 95, but I just couldn't quite get out of the hole. The pressure in my head from holding my breath and the strain of trying to stand up with the weight made it feel like my head might explode - which was unsettling. But I think if I can just manage to not 'good morning' the lift, I might be able to get 95 on a good day. it felt nearly achievable, which is why I kept trying.

The bench was a different story. 70 was easy, 75 was pretty easy, 80 was a little wobbly, but totally doable. 82 was just stuck. I had no sense of 'maybe I can get this up'. It just was not going to go. It was almost like hitting a literal brick wall.

When I started, my 5 rm of back squats was 60# and 65# for the bench. I never tested my 1 rm. My current 5rm for BS is 80# and ... I actually don't know what my 5 rm for bench is right now - I've been working 3's for the past several weeks because I was completely stalled at the 5's. I seem to have had a breakthrough though in the past 2 weeks as I've been able to get 72 and then 75 x 3 where I have been stuck basically since the start of the cycle. There's a slim possibility that I could get 72 or possibly even 75 by 5 now - though the 75 might be wishful thinking.

My weights have not actually gone up all that much, but i think I've made some great strides in form, and I have a much stronger foundation from which to continue to build strength. In some ways I feel like I am now ready to start this cycle - which is a little ridiculous. I am very much looking forward to our oly lifiting cycle, and getting some concentrated work in on OHS, snatches and cleans. (I'm less excited about jerks). I think focusing on those three movements will do wonders for my power output, coordination and strength.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 by Rebecca

2nd time not quite the same as the first.

Warmup: ME, Squat hold, 5 minute static hang 10 burpee penalty for each stop followed immediately by 5 minute plank hold - same penalty.

Run 400 Meters
15 Power Snatch 115#/75# (30#)
Run 400 Meters
15 OHS 115#/75# (30#, 35#, & 25#)
Run 400 Meters
15 Power Clean 115#/75# (50#)
Run 400 Meters
15 Front Squat 115#/75# (50#)


We just did something very similar to this not a month ago. This time the runs were shorter and the rx weights a bit heavier. I decided to try to make my weights heavier all around, too.

Last time, I worked with 22# for the Snatches and OHS, and 42# for the cleans and Front Squat.

I forgot my watch and tried to borrow Daniel's but apparently I didn't start it right - or my hand kept hitting the button - or something - because I do not have my splits. WHich makes me sad. I was really pushing on the runs, and I really wanted to see how I did on them. ( I kept visualizing Ynez out in front of me and tried to 'catch up to her' to get myself to work a little harder.

The OHS were a complete disaster. I got the first 7 with the 30# women's bar. - that part was not a disaster - that part is actually pretty cool and probably a OHS PR. However, after that, my wrists completely gave out, and I just couldn't hold the bar up over my head anymore. The 15# bar was not being used, and Daniel suggested that I put the 10# plates I had standing by for my cleans to get it to 25# and finish my set. I got the plates on, found clips for them, managed to get it up over my head but MAN that felt so much harder than the empty 30# bar - i thought it was just having weights on a bar instead f an empty bar, I put the bar down. Tried again. Damn - just no way that was going to work. DAMN. have to go find some 5# plates I guess. Got the plates on, got them clipped. FINALLY did the math. "Daniel, 15# bar plus 10# plates is THIRTY FIVE pounds!!!" Finally managed to finish the last 8 squats. it only took me about 10 minutes.

Everything else went really well overall. The snatches were easy - pretty much unbroken. The cleans were good (though not great) - i really need to work this movement. The front squats went well, too. There were one or two very iffy reps where the bar got out in front of me and I just muscled my way up - but for the most part I feel like I was really able to keep my chest up and my knees out - my biggest problem was actually air. At any rate, they felt better than they did last time with less weight. Video might have told a different story - I usually do worse than I think I did - but things mostly felt right.

I would really like to know what my time would have been without the OHS lameness, and i really wish i knew what my run splits were. must not forget watch again.

Shorter and heavier

At first glance, this workout looks quite familiar. But it's 20# heavier than that workout, with fewer reps and shorter runs...I can't figure out if that's supposed to make it more intense or more strengthy.

Run 400 Meters
15 Power Snatch 115#/75#
Run 400 Meters
15 OHS 115#/75#
Run 400 Meters
15 Power Clean 115#/75#
Run 400 Meters
15 Front Squat 115#/75#

21:22 (Snatch @ 95#, OHS @ 75#, otherwise RX)

Due to some confusion with the watch, I don't have splits for this one, but I have some observations nonetheless:
  • Snatches 10# heavier, and were heavy, but definitely doable. I didn't even have to split snatch until the last few.
  • OHS were the same weight, but were considerably easier. I even did a set of eight consecutive! I'm eager to get better at these.
  • Cleans were 8/7, as were front squats
  • Back hurts again, like it did before.
All in all a good one, but (again) I need to be stricter with my form.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 by Daniel

Strength Cycle: Final Workout

Well, we made it to the end! There was a two-week interruption in the middle, with a vacation and a cold, so 12 weeks became 14. And the results have been impressive, I think. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Deadlift x 5: 255 - 275 - 310 (pr)
Deadlift x 21: 245 (unbroken)
Press x 5: 75 - 92 - 107 (pr)
Press x 21: 75 (20-1)

Very nice. My form was pretty crappy on the 310, judging from the scowls on Rebecca's face, but it did go up and down five times. I was not anticipating a good workout - my back has been tired from the squats and the cleans - so I was just happy to get through it. The 245 went surprisingly well, actually, only getting really painful after rep 16. I was SHOCKED to get 107x5 on the shoulder press, and dismayed to fail the big set on rep 20. Gita and a couple others decided to try it, and agreed that 21 consecutive shoulder presses is difficult. Max said mine were looking a little push-pressy at the end, which is dismaying, but oh well. The workout's done. Hell, the whole cycle is done.

So this week we'll test 1RM for the movements, so we can gauge success on the terms we set out to use as metrics, but here's a little preview of where my 5RM went.

Squat 170 -> 205 (+35#, 20%)
Deadlift 265 -> 310 (+45#, 17%)
Press 95 -> 107 (+12#, 12.6%)
Bench 140 -> 160 (+20#, 14%)
Bodyweight 176 -> 191 (+15#)

FIFTEEN POUNDS bodyweight! Holy shit. It's no wonder my climbing and my pullups are horrible. This is preliminary, though - I'm stopping the creatine today and will remeasure bodyweight in a week. From what I understand of how it works, my muscles are puffed up with water from the creatine, so I should hopefully drop some of that this week to get a more accurate picture of how much weight I actually gained.

Saturday, June 6, 2009 by Rebecca

Strength Cycle - OVER

I've been putting off this post because i wanted to do a big analysis thingy about where I was when I started, etc etc etc. but I haven't found the time to put that together so I'm just going to enter the details of the last day and hopefully I will find time to do the analysis separately.

warmup 10 x 45, 5 x 95

5 x 120, 130, 140 failed on rep 5

21 x 110# (14,2,3,1,1)

Shoulder Press
warmup: 30 x 5

3 x 40,45,52,55,62 failed on rep 2 - twice.

21 x 37# - got it! it was slow and brutal, but i never dropped the bar.

I had a KILLER headache friday night - it kept me up into the wee hours of the morning, and it was still around a little when this workout started. I wasn't sure whether the workout would help or exacerbate it, so I was a little tentative and slow to start. The work did make the headache subside, but the heavy deadlifts kinda tweaked my back. Just a little.

Friday, June 5, 2009 by Daniel


Actually finished tonight's WOD! For the first time in four Fridays. Not well, though, and it was a pretty close call about halfway through.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 3, 2, 1 reps for time of:
Power Cleans (155lbs)
Ring Dips
KB Swings (24kg)

31:30 (cleans @ 125#, pullups instead of dips)

I did not climb this morning, in hopes that my arms wouldn't hurt for the workout. They did anyway - quite a lot, actually. Which means the Friday problem ISN'T the climbing, which is a relief. It must be heavy bench press the night before? Well, next week won't have that, so we'll see. Maybe my Fridays are just cursed.

Everyone seems surprised when I tell them I can only clean up to 135#. I'm not sure why my clean weight is so low. The distance the bar needs to travel, maybe? Shitty technique? Low power output? Probably all of those. Hopefully the Oly cycle I have planned for after the Games will address that shortcoming, and at least get me up to RX weight.

These cleans felt horrible, but I got them all, usually in sets of 2-3. Mainly split cleans, which gets me lower than power cleans. I think I may have bruised my breastbone. I subbed pullups for the ring dips because the dips were extremely hard on my biceps, and the pullups felt doable. The KB swings were a nice little bit of rest.

Thursday, June 4, 2009 by Rebecca

Week 12 part 1 (last week!!)

Warmup: .25 miles on the eliptical - barefoot. That was an interesting experiment. I had a really hard time keeping my right foot in place - i do when i have shoes on too - it just hurt a lot more to mash my toes into the end of the footbed or step on the edge of it. I was glad when my .25 miles was done.

Some OHS dowel squats, hip openers, hamstring stretch, iguana stretch

Back Squats:
Warmup: 5 x 45

5 x 60, 70, 80 PR!

21 x 60# (forgot the 1# weights)

These actually went pretty well, i thought tonight. I had to try twice to get the set of 80 - the first time I failed on rep 3, but the second time I made it though all 5 - although the 3rd and the 5th reps were pretty sketchy. On the whole, though, my knees are staying out better, and I am doing a better job of keeping my weight on both legs. Huge progress from just a couple weeks ago. I also managed not to fall over or injur myself in any particular way. (Although my back is pretty worked from yesterday's deadlifts)

I think the 2 trys at 80 took a lot out of me, but my biggest problem with the set of 21 is just that I don't go fast enough. My arms give out about the same time my legs do - or maybe even a little bit sooner. The first 7-8 reps were great. Then I got to 10 or 11 and lost count and spent a few precious moments trying to figure out whether it was 10 or 11 - had a brief 'interlude' with daniel when he told me he wasn't counting ... I believe I told him to fuck off (in the most loving way possible, of course), decided it had to be 10 and moved on.

Bench Press:
Warmup: 10 x 45#

3 x 50,55,62,67,75 PR!

21 x 57# (15,1,5)

THese went better than expected. I was pretty wrecked after the back squats, and I was definitely not expecting to be able to get my set of 75. The 3rd rep was UGLY - it wavered all over the damn place - but I got it up, so it counts :-p ... I actually, ultimately, probably did a lot more work than I would have if I could have just kept it straight over my torso - so I'm calling it a PR +! ;-)

The wet of 21 ... was ok. The 1 rep in the middle was because I tried a different width grip and did not like it at all.

So farwell for a while to the backsquat and bench press. I'm glad that by the end of it my squat was finally heavier than my bench. :-p

Strength Cycle Week 12, part 1

It's the final week of the strength cycle, and I'm ready for it to be over. Next week I want to figure out my new 1RMs, so I can accurately track progress and analyze the program, but for now I'm just grateful I don't have to do 21 back squats again anytime soon.

Back Squat x 5: 155 - 185 - 205F/4
Back Squat x 21: 155 (unbroken)
Bench Press x 5: 115 - 135 - 160(pr!)
Bench Press x 21: 120F (16-5)

The squats did not go well from the start. I've been feeling jittery and spooked about my form since the videos from last week showed such a rounded back, and my hip flexors were exhausted from yesterday's deadlifts. My form was very poor today - lots of good-mornings out of the hole. I racked the weight after 4 reps at 205 because reps 3 and 4 were bad enough to feel scary. The big set made me want to cry. I won't miss that anytime soon.

The bench went better. I FINALLY got 160x5, which has been my goal for this cycle ever since it eluded me a few weeks ago and forced me to drop back down to 157. That means I made it to 5RM of my previous 1RM in every movement. The last rep was very wobbly, but it made it up. I knew I wasn't going to make the big set - it cruises along until about rep 12 or 13, and then it goes downhill FAST.

My back is sore, which is unusual. Going to try and get some extra sleep tonight.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 by Rebecca

Halting and sometimes slow - but more progress nonetheless

Warmup: run 800m, 10 jumping pullups, 15 OHS dowel squats, double under practice ... 20 min or so of waiting for heat #2.

3 Rounds for time of:
10 Deadlifts (275lbs men / 185lbs women) *sub 125#
50 Double-unders


4:54 !

The double unders were clearly the time killer, here - but I got 150 double-unders today - definitely the most I've ever gotten at once, and round 3 was TWO minutes faster than the first two rounds, which i think is pretty awesome. I was able to string more together with fewer skips in-between. Most of my double unders were -skip, double-under, reset. I decided early that it was not worth the energy to try and fail, so I just tried to keep a steady pace doing 1 at a time, and making as sure as I could that I got more reps than i missed. I would only try for consecutive reps if I was pretty sure I would make it. Round 3 i had several strings of - 4-6ish skip-du-skip-du,etc. I do not know what my longest string of unbroken was.

The deadlifts were probably about right - perhaps I should have tried 130# - I was still able to get a set of 4 for the first reps of the last round - 2's after that , and 1's for rep 8 & 9.

After the workout Daniel and I stretched each other's hamstrings using PNF. It's crazy how well that works! Usually when i sit on the ground with my legs out straight in front of me I can can bend down to about a 45degree angle. After he was done I could almost get my nose to my knees. More importantly, I was able to get MUCH farther down on a wall squat than I ever have been able to before. (where you squat with your nose and toes close to a wall). I hope that we make a regular habit out of this. It was great! ... It didn't last very long, but hopefully with repetition, it will last longer and longer.

Deadlifts and Double-unders

Warmup: 1 mile (6:52) Not a good time for me - a minute off my record, in fact. But I wasn't really pushing that hard for most of it, just going at a moderate-to-hard pace, and I still can't go very fast in my POSE shoes. I challenged Andy to sprint the last 200 meters with me, so we did get to push it a bit.

We went with one of the MidAtlantic Qualifier workouts today, a particularly pernicious combination of heavy, CNS-killing deadlifts and high-speed, high-skill double-unders. The obvious theory behind this one is that heavy deadlifts are notorious for killing things like fine motor skills, so double-unders should be particularly difficult afterwards.

3 Rounds for time of:
10 Deadlifts (275lbs men / 185lbs women)
50 Double-unders

18:37 RX
Splits: 5:25 | 7:35 | 5:36

Pretty slow, particularly when you consider the top qualifier score was 2:54! However, 275 is still heavy enough for me that I treat it with a great deal of caution, respect and attention to form. I did them in two sets of five with ample rest in between. And, of course, my double-unders are terrible. I did manage a set of 22 in my final round, which was very gratifying.

A good workout. I hope we do it again sometime.