Sep 27, 2010

Deadlift by threes

It was a strength plus metcon day, so you know I enjoyed it. :-D

Results: 165-170-175-175
Ran out of time, due to watching/helping others, so I only did 4. But that was plenty -- even though I escaped any low back pain that day, I'm still in a little bit of pain nearly a week later.

No more deadlifting for me in the foreseeable future.

AMRAP 10 min
5 man-makers (35lb DB/20)
10 box jumps 20"

Results: 5 rounds + 1 MM
Again, looking back these dumbbells should've been 25's to be 70% of men's Rx. But oh well. :)

My pushups were sloppy on this one, I think if I had better form (tigher core and posterior chain) I would've moved faster and possibly squeezed in one more round.

But I only came in 2 short of tying up with my girl Jess, who was a beast on this one, so I'm happy. :)

Sep 24, 2010

USMC Mud Run

Geez, I am not doing well with posting after each of my WODs! It's been 2 weeks since my last post, and I've barely posted all about WODs, or filled you in on my big news. First, WODs. Then, big news. :)

And no, I'm not pregnant, and no, I didn't get a muscle up. How funny is it that both would be absolutely mind-blowing at this point in my life? Hilarious! hehe :-D

Unfortunately I did not get to do Fight Gone Bad again this year. I forget exactly what was going on last year, but I had a conflict. Then this year I was already signed up for a Mud Run on the same date when the FGB5 date was announced. Booooo!

I want to do the same Mud Run again next year -- USMC Mud Run in Columbia, SC -- but I have a bad feeling the dates will continue to conflict. If they do, my plan is to either do FGB the Friday night prior, or find a CrossFit in the Columbia area and do it before or after the run. Yes, I'm crazy like that. :)

The Mud Run went OK... There were some obstacles that I couldn't do on my own, and I lost my focus when I started getting frustrated about my husband having to help me.

And by "lost my focus", I mean close to a complete melt down. In some moments I look at how much progress I've made getting stronger over the past year, and then realize how far I still have to go to really be super strong, and capable of anything. It's the "pullup effect" -- I know it well, but I still can't seem to control those feelings when the well up from inside me. God bless our other 2 teammates for their patience, because I definitely had a few verbal blow-ups with my husband. And God bless my crazy husband for still tossing my ass over some giant logs even after I had flipped out on him. :)

By next year, I will be able to climb over the 5' logs on my own. FOR SURE. I am going to get some lessons and practice at the obstacle course on base.

And I'm also going to get a bar muscle up on a thick bar so I can conquer this f***ing thing. Lowest bar is 8' high. You get on top of the lower bar, then go over the top bar and then climb back down.

Long term goals will be to go through these 2 on my own:

Monkey bars from HELL; yes, they step up. 1-armed pullup, anyone?

The Weaver - over and under the logs without touching the ground.

Sep 23, 2010

Main site chipper

We took on the crazy chipper from the main site at our box, and it was interesting to say the least!
25 Walking lunge steps
20 Pull-ups
50 Box jumps, 20 inch box
20 Double-unders
25 Ring dips
20 Knees to elbows
30 Kettlebell swings, 24k/16
30 Sit-ups
20 Hang squat cleans, 35/20 pound dumbells
25 Back extensions
30 Wall ball shots, 20/14 pound ball
3 Rope climb ascents

Results: 30:50
I completed the pullups without incident, definitely got 5 to kick things off. THANK GOD.

Banged out the box jumps at a good pace.

Thought my 20 DUs were in the bag, but missed #20 and had to do one single DU. Still pleased with that. :)

Skinny band for the ring dips -- need to rededicated myself to getting rid of that soon.

K2Es were fucking beautiful, not to brag. :-D

Swings, situps, hang cleans -- no problemo.

Back extensions -- this is where I wussed out big time. I've learned recently that my back is a very weak area in my body, comparatively. So I have a stronger back than some people, but overall I'm front-dominant to compensate for a weaker back. I knew these back extensions would lock me up, but did them anyway. And then got locked up. Probably wasted 2 minutes afterwards trying to un-fuck myself enough to do the wall balls. I had a Filthy Fifty flashback for sure.

Wall balls were badass, got 15 the first set, not sure if I broke the 2nd half or not. Soooooo glad these don't trip me up so much anymore.

ROPE CLIMBS. Went up with the rope wrapped around, came down with feet in the J-hook. Probably rested a little too long between attempts, but I'm still too freaked out to do these while I'm super-winded or feeling weak in the arms. Since we don't have a crash mat, I'm OK with this.

The only thing I'm pissed about is the WOD was posted with 24kg/16kg for the kettlebell swings, and Rx on the main site was 2 pood (32kg) -- which means ladies Rx was 24kg. Boooooo. I would've used my 45# kettlebell or maybe even the big one if I had known that.

Plus ladies Rx should really have been 25# dumbbells... Bummah.

But based on what was written on the whiteboard the day I did this, I am happy that I only scaled ring dips. Woot! I will take "nearly Rx" whenever I can get it. :-D

Sep 17, 2010

Finally Friday

I can't remember the last time I did CrossFit for five days in a row -- fulfilling my promise to complete all of my WODs during my week of programming was tough! Most folks at our box get a rest day on Wednesday, as there's no evening class, but I think my bud Melissa joined me for the 5 day WOD fest. :-D

Would any bodyweight-focused week of programming be complete without some kind of tabata? I think not!
"Tabata Something Else"
Complete 32 intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest where the first 8 intervals are pull-ups, the second 8 are push-ups, the third 8 intervals are sit-ups, and finally, the last 8 intervals are squats. There is no rest between exercises.

Score is total reps from all 32 intervals.

Results: 270
Pullups - Started out with the goal of doing 5 per round. Did 5 on the first round, dropped down, and sadly waited until time ran out and didn't do anymore. I felt bad that I didn't jump up for another couple. So I did my 5 and then 1 or 2 the next round. :) I started crapping out after 4, then 3, then 2. My lowest score was 3 or 4 on the last round -- mostly because my right hand ripped open on round 7. I'm happy to report my kip was pretty good -- in terms of using hip power, and not just shoulder power. Yay! :) I think my total for pullups was in the high 30's.

Pushups -- Dropped down to 5 pretty quickly, but hung in there for the duration. I'm happy with that, because I know 95% of the pushups I did were full ROM.

Situps -- Stuck with 10 or 11 the whole way through, which is pretty standard for me on tabata ab mat butterfly situps. Like I said after my last crack at "Annie", I think I just need to find a way to do situps fasters. But that is pretty much at the very bottom of any CrossFit priority list I have. :-D hehe

Squats -- Holy shit were my legs beat down from the rest of the week! I was barely cranking out 10 or 11 by the last round. Crap! Usually I'm good to stick at 14 towards the end of tabata squats, but not on this day. My legs were cramping up and really hurting badly by the end, but I was trying to push through the pain as much as possible. I think I did manage to get over 100 on squats, though, so that was good. :)

Later Friday night I did a "make up" WOD with a friend who'd had to miss class on Wednesday and Friday. Here's what we made up for ourselves.

double unders (x3 singles)

Finished up with a sprint down and back on her cul-de-sac. During which we were followed by her husband driving the neighborhood kids around on a golf cart. Good times. :-D

Sep 16, 2010

Double AMRAP

Thursday's WOD I programmed as two short AMRAPs just because I love those types of WODs. :)

My intent was to practice some difficult upper body exercises in small doses, interspersed with some elements that would keep your heart going. And after trying it, I think the WOD definitely fulfilled it's intended purpose.
AMRAP in 6 min:
10 jump squats

rest 5 minutes

AMRAP in 8 min:
5 ring dips
Broad jump, 25ft (length of mats)
 Results: I think I got 5 and 6 rounds? Forgot to write this one down

HSPU I did to two AbMats. A few times I got "stuck" in the bottom instead of popping back out. It's like doing front squats or cleans -- if you stop in the bottom, many times you ain't getting back out. :-D

This was a good opportunity to practice -- I can't say I've really been practicing handstands or HSPU much lately. Need to do 10 after each WOD, just like with my pullups.

The second AMRAP didn't go as well as I had hoped. I still fatigue SOOOO quickly on ring dips, and with only 8 minutes, I wasn't going to take the time to recover enough to do them unassisted. So after 3 in a row at the start, I threw on the skinny band. By the time I reached my attempted 7th round, I was just failing on the ring dips. I wasn't getting any more without a nice long rest -- or maybe not even after that.

Broad jumps aren't something we do a lot at our box -- maybe we've never done them before? So it was fun to introduce something completely new to everybody.

The skill for this day was muscle ups. So we taught everybody about using the false grip, and had each of them practice the transition movement from their feet. Fun! We did have one guy do his first 3 muscle ups, which was even more fun. :-D

Worrying about size

What I write about here is usually pretty cut-and-dried: I'm usually focused on recapping my workouts, mapping out my athletic goals, and occassionally sharing my thoughts on coaching.

I also tend to throw in a few links here and there. And many of them are concerned with topics that I don't write about much, but that I read and think about on a daily basis.

Body image, self love, self acceptance, self care, living in the present moment.

I study and think about these topics daily because I am committed to learning how to eliminate negative things from my life: obsession with weight loss, obsession with achieving a certain body shape/size/weight, emotional eating (using food to numb my feelings), binge eating, excessively comparing myself to others.

Right now I feel like the newest of "newbies" when it comes to learning to love myself just as I am, so I tend to link to those who I think "say" what I wish I could say in my own blog, instead of writing about it myself. Maybe one day I will feel like I am far enough along in my journey to share what I learned in overcoming my challenges -- right now I'm just writing about struggling through them, like in this post from February.

I most often look to my mentor Stephanie for guidance and inspiration. She has the ability to explain her experiences in a way that I feel that I can apply what she has done in my own life.

So when I read a message on Twitter today that just didn't sit right with me, I sent her a message. I asked her how she would respond, because I felt like I "knew" I didn't agree with the Twitter post, but I didn't know how to express that verbally.

The tweet:
@CrossFitChron Surgeon General says that we can be "fit and healthy without worrying about size." You're fired.
My question to Steph:
So I saw a tweet and I wanted to respond with "I disagree" but I feel like I can't articulate why properly... I want to explain how preoccupation with size/shape/appearance can derail our ability to make changes from the inside out that lead to healthy lifestyles... Do you have a post in your blog that you think specifically address that point, that I could reply with? Or you reply since I consider you the mentor and myself the mentee. :)
Steph's response (w/ a little editing from me for clarity :)):
I don't think i have a single blog post to address that. My response-

Fit and healthy does not always equal thin. There are a hell of a lot of thin folks walking around very unhealthy. There are those that eat healthy and exercise that would be categorized as overweight by the BMI index.

Furthermore worrying about your size in my opinion only leads to negative self-image. And when you dislike yourself and your body, taking care of it is near impossible. When you accept your size -- whether genetics or negative habits got you to it -- you can then begin to love yourself. That is when your best personal health and fitness becomes possible -- with joy and with ease.

The size issue in this county is a distraction from how fucked up EVERYONE'S health is, no matter if that has translated into excess weight. The processed crap we are eating, our attitudes about fitness (it's a chore), and our hatred for our bodies as they are are responsible for poor health...ALL AROUND...thin and obese.
 So the point of writing this post?

Well, primarily, so I have a link to send in response to CrossFitChron. And let me stress here that usually we are on the same page! I love Web's enthusiasm for hard work, dedication to your goals, and perseverance. Plus the videos and pics of his daughter are so damn cute. :) But I had to take this opportunity to spread the message about these new things that I'm learning, and how we all need to change our attitudes to shift our focus to what will *really* get people in our country, and our world, healthy.

And second, as a way to let those of you who read this blog know that I will be trying to write more about this internal journey that I'm on, and share more of that with you.

In closing, something I found on Facebook that I wanted to share with you guys.


Sep 15, 2010

Swing, squat and pull

Today I finally got to introduce my box to one of my all-time favorite WODs, which I first did at CrossFit KoP.
For time:
20 KB Swings, 20 Squats, 10 Pull-ups
18 KB Swings, 18 Squats, 9 Pull-ups
16 KB Swings, 16 Squats, 8 Pull-ups
14 KB Swings, 14 Squats, 7 Pull-ups
12 KB Swings, 12 Squats, 6 Pull-ups
10 KB Swings, 10 Squats, 5 Pull-ups
8 KB Swings, 8 Squats, 4 Pull-ups
6 KB Swings, 6 Squats, 3 Pull-ups
4 KB Swings, 4 Squats, 2 Pull-ups
2 KB Swings, 2 Squats, 1 Pull-up

Results: 20:38 -- 45# kb, kipping pullups
The clock was all jacked up, and stopped for an undetermined length of time at 19 minutes. So I'm not really sure how accurate my time was. But it couldn't have been more than a minute or two off, so I'm happy, since last time I used a 45# kettlebell and "mental floss" for my pullups, and finished in 23:35.

I did all sets of swings unbroken except 16. I don't know what the heck happened, I just lost focus and dropped it after like the 7th swing. Lame.

Started off with 5 pullups in a row, so that rocked. :) Started losing my kip a little bit, but I gave myself a little mental pep talk and brought it back at the end. Yes there were a few ugly, somewhat deadhang pullups, but I've accepted those as normal for me. Maybe one day I'll have that beautiful consistent kip that others have. But until then, I'll get my chin over the bar however I can. :-D

I didn't remember how challenging the squats felt! Or maybe they just felt challenging today due to all the other stuff we've been up to this week. Making the promise to do all my own workouts is going to kill me! I am sooooo ready for a rest day, thankfully tomorrow's WOD is only 14 minutes total of work. But then again I should know better than to think a short AMRAP would feel "easy". :-p

Sep 14, 2010

Getting comfy upside down & interval training

Tuesday was a fun day at the gym. I showed up at 0830 to workout, but ended up coaching, which was cool, because it meant our head coach was busy taking a new person through the on ramp. Yay! :-D

The skill for Tuesday was handstand progressions and handstand pushups progressions.

The reason I broke them down into two areas was in light of my own athletic development in that area. My subtitle for the handstand progressions was "get comfy upside down".

I don't remember if I posted about this, but the first time I tried to kick up into a handstand, I basically just collapsed into a heap on the mat. After the same thing happened on my second attempt, I was gently banned from handstands, and introduced to the headstand and frog stand. I practiced these religiously for weeks, then kind of sporadically for a few more weeks. I think I got more interested in pullup practice at that point.

I didn't really know much else to do to prep myself for kicking up, until one day at CF KoP I was introduced to the concept of facing away from the wall, and walking my feet up the wall to get myself upside down. So then I had a new trick that I practiced to try to convince myself I could support my own weight upside down.

Then I learned about the HSPU harness, and started messing around with that, using it to practice handstand holds and also HSPU.

Finally one day I had the confidence in myself to try to kick up again -- and I could do it! I was so freaking excited by this, you have no idea. It wasn't as much excitement as getting pullups, but it was in my top 5 CrossFit moments.

The moral of the story is to meet your athletes where they're at, and give them a clearly delineated path to success. Learning the progressions for doing handstand pushups isn't necessarily going to translate into being able to kick up into a handstand. Putting your body in pike position off a bench or box, or even hanging your feet over a bar in the rack -- they just don't instill the same skills as other types of handstand practice. So while you're working your progressions for HSPU, don't forget about getting comfy upside down. :)

Hopefully what we taught yesterday will get more of our athletes on the road to confident handstands and eventually handstand pushups. :)

The WOD for Tuesday wasn't really a CrossFit WOD, because there wasn't any scoring. It was just a straight-up interval and conditioning session, and it was hard!
4 rounds
1 min at each station, 1 minute rest between rounds
Ring rows
Jumping lunges
Ab mat situps -- butterfly
Handstand hold -- if 5 full ROM HSPU, scale up to HSPU

Results: Really fucking tired! hehe
Seriously, I forgot how brutalizing jumping lunges are. If you want your legs to feel like they're going to fall off, or for them to just straight up go numb while you're trying to move them, try jumping lunges. It's a truly explosive movement, very good for developing strength, power, agility and balance.

And ring rows aren't just that exercise for people who can't do pullups yet. Try some, they are really challenging! If you have trouble finishing out your pullups at the top, add some ring rows to develop the shoulder -- make sure to bring the rings into the armpit. This is also a great movement to work the  stabilizing muscles of the core, since you hold a plank position the whole time.

OMG the handstand holds were brutal. I had done some Oly lift practice prior to doing this WOD, and I hope that's the reason why I could barely stay in a handstand hold for 45 seconds. I had to drop at least once every time. Geez. Time to work holds back into my cool downs again.

Sep 13, 2010

Squat clinic deets, "10"

Well, this morning was my first shot at the squat clinic, and I think it went well!

It was a nice manageable group of 5 at the 0830 class, and several of them really seemed to enjoy working on the basics. Got some feedback, and will tweak a tiny bit in the 2 evening classes, but overall I like what I came up with. Should be interesting to see how everybody progresses through the week, and beyond.

At some point I will try to make a short video of what am doing in our clinic. I'll have to find a volunteer to do the "ass lowering" drill, though. :-D

Honestly, just watch this Dan John video. You will be glad you did. Stick around for about 30 minutes, or at least make it to 20. He does go off on a few little tangents, but they're little nuggets of good info, not rambling, so it's all good. I am pretty much copying all of his techniques and cues.

Here's the sequence that the athletes will repeat each day after their warmup:
  • Samson Stretch/Lunge -- 30 seconds total for each leg; open hips fully
  • Bottom of the squat stretch -- 30 seconds total; elbows pressing knees out; make sure everybody has feet wide enough, and angled enough; make first assessment on depth
  • The "Amazing Ass Dropping Drill" OR "Mr. Universe & Buddha Belly" -- this one is where the Dan John video comes in, very hard to explain written out*
  • Potato sack squats -- extend arms down, with fingers interlaced like you're holding a sack of potatoes; squat down and touch backs of fingers to the floor; provides a tactile cue when you've reached the bottom postion
  • Potato sack squat to OHS -- lay PVC on floor in front of athlete; perform P.S. squat, then grab PVC with wide grip and lock out overhead; stand up; viola, an overhead squat!
  • Wall squat -- you can't beat the classics; great for reinforcing sending the butt back, tall posture as you drop, weight in heels, and knees tracking out over toes
* So here's a written explanation of the Amazing Ass Dropping Drill, as I have now named it. :)
  1. Athlete squats in goblet squat position -- elbows pressing at knees
  2. Trainer stands behind athlete and provides support by bracing the outside of the athlete's butt with the inside of their calf/shin
  3. Providing support allows the athlete to drop lower than their normal "comfort zone"
  4.  Trainer cues athlete -- "Big chest" or "Mr. Universe" or "Break the finger"; these are all aimed at improving the lumbar curve and spreading the chest out and up and moving the torso into a more upright position
  5. Trainer cues athlete -- "Buddha belly"; athlete relaxes lower belly, or actually pushes lower belly outward; this will cause the butt to drop, so trainer must be ready to provide support with their legs
  6. Continue to give alternating cues -- "Mr. Universe" and "Buddha belly" until athlete is at the bottom position, or is becoming unstable
  7. Lift athlete up and out of bottom position -- they will not be able to stand up from here on their own, as the stress response to push upward has been basically "switched off" by the drill
 So now go watch the damn video! :-D

In addition to squat therapy, we're also doing pushup therapy this week. Now that it's my chance to run the show for a week, I've instituted a "no knees" policy for pushups. I'm so excited to see if the ladies (and gentlemen) at our gym take to this new progression, and if they do, how much improvement it will lead to. Squeee!

If you don't know what I'm talking about here, see "Get Off Your Knees" by Lisbeth Darsh.

The WOD today was very simple, and gave everybody a chance to reinforce what we talked about during the skill session. Despite it's simplicity, if you execute it at a high enough intensity, it will feel like hell!
10 rounds:
10 pushups
10 situps
10 squats

Results: 15:58
I finished last out of all the 830 peeps, which I thought was kinda hilarious! Though I did stop a bit here and there to check out form, and give some feedback. But still this was slow. My metcon/cardio has gone down the freaking toilet since I haven't really worked on it lately. I'm much more concerned with strength right now, and I think I probably always will be biased toward strength.

Which is where another Lis article comes into play -- "Lighten Up While You Still Can". That article is all about having a focus for each WOD -- either go heavy, or go fast. Commit to one and stick with it and don't fuck around. So true.

I think very soon it will be time for to unload the bar, stop trying to be the strongest at everything, and work at what I *really* suck at -- intensity.

Sep 12, 2010

WOD free for a few days & adventures in programming

Other than the Blackjack WOD, I haven't done any CrossFit WODs since I the rope climb WOD almost 2 weeks ago.

On one of those rope climbs, I jumped to the ground and landed on a piece of the rope -- we have quite a bit of extra rope that lays on the floor due to the low height of our ceiling beams where they're hung.

The side of my foot felt funny, but it seemed like it was just one of those momentary twinges, and nothing major. I get twinges like that from time to time ever since I switched to less supportive shoes -- I think it's my feet re-learning how to act as shock absorbers, and it's also me learning how to use my feet in that way, and land in the right position.

Anyway, that afternoon my foot started aching, so I put some ice on it, and by dinner time I was really in pain. Damn! Got it X-rayed the next day, and luckily nothing was broken -- the doctor declared that pain to be from soft tissue damage (though oddly my foot never got swollen or looked bruised). Spent the next couple days using crutches, an ice pack and 800mg Motrin a lot. Ditched the crutches, but still icing once a day, usually in the evening, and doing Motrin at least once a day.

So now you know why I haven't been posting about my WODs! :)

The thing about soft tissue damage is that you need to be gentle on it, and let it rest so it can heal. I didn't want this injury to be nagging me for months, so I haven't run or jumped since I hurt myself. This week I'm going to get back into doing WODs, but I might still continue to row instead of run. Just gonna take it day by day.

This week is a big week for me -- it's the week my box will be doing the WODs that I programmed! I was so excited to come up with a week-long training program for our athletes, and I'm really excited to see what they think.

My theme for the week is GYMNASTICS! :) All the WODs will involve only body weight movements, with 2 exceptions -- kettlebell swings on Wednesday, and kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls on Saturday.

The week kicks off on Monday with what I'm calling a "Squat Clinic". Remember when I asked you guys for your input on squat resources? I took your suggestions into account, and I also found a great new resource that gave me the basis for helping my athletes improve their squat.

YOU MUST WATCH THIS!! If only for the first 20 minutes, but watch the whole thing if you have time. It's a video of Dan John sharing his techniques for coaching Olympic lifters, and he basically just talks about squatting for the first half of the video. The guy is obviously a total pro, and just understands how to get people moving properly. Amazing.

So after I teach the squat mobility movements on Monday, we'll be repeating them everyday proir to the WOD for the rest of the week. I'm hoping that by Saturday we'll have been able to reinforce some changes in squat technique and get some muscle memory in place for the long term.

The primary goal of the week is to improve the squat -- the secondary goal is to improve knowledge of scaling other body weight movements. The gymnastic component of CrossFit is the most frustrating to beginners, in my opinion, because it's hard to learn to do a movement when you can't actually DO the movement.

Anybody else out there have a moment of shock when you learned that you could do pullups with a huge rubber band under your foot? I definitely did. I was absolutely thrilled to find a substitution where I could perform the full range of motion of the movement without it involving someone pushing on my fucking foot. Woot!

That aside, I just want to education my athletes about their options for progressions on handstands, handstand pushups, dips & ring dips, and muscle ups. And for muscle ups, I want our gym to move past the x3 pullups and dips substitution, and start practicing the skills needed to perform a muscle up. You've already heard my rants in that area, so I'll leave it at that. :)

Well, I've just rambled on, but suffice it to say that I'm super excited about next week, and I'm going to try to do every WOD that I've programmed, so you'll see them here. :)

Sep 7, 2010


Nope, didn't hit up a casino -- just a 2nd attempt at an interesting WOD I did for the first time last fall.
"Blackjack" or "21"
For time.
Start with 20 push ups and 1 sit up.
Each round reduce 1 push up and add 1 sit up until you reach 1 push up and 20 sit ups.
Results: 32:50

While this was about 6 minutes slower than last time, it was a triumph in my eyes because I did every single pushup with full ROM.

Last time I said:
"This will be a good workout to use as a benchmark as I improve my pushups. I wonder if one day I will be able to do the whole thing with "real" pushups, instead of on my knees. That would kick so much ass. :)"
How fucking cool is that? About 11 months later, and I am kicking ass on pushups. Cause CrossFit works. :)