Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Affiliate hopping

One of the advantages of having to travel for work (even if it isn't that far) is that I get to bop about New England visiting different affiliates. The travel really only started recently, and I'm just getting caught on to the possibilities for expanding my garage CF perspective. Meetings in Boston and Hartford on consecutive days got me to Revolution CrossFit in Boston and CrossFit Persevere in Glastonbury. These two affiliates couldn't be more different.

RevFit is a globo gym with the shiniest of fitness machines and a CrossFit room. Some marketing guru named it "The Pit" since I was last there, although it only feels that way if you close the garage door to the room and let the sweat build-up. It's got your full array of CF trappings, bars, bumpers, nice pullup bars, rings, KBs, rowers, Dynamax balls, jump boxes, etc. The one thing missing from RevFit - a CrossFit trainer providing feedback. There's just a group of athletes who mostly follow the mainpage WOD, except on Thursdays when a trainer does lead a workout or during an fundamentals class, when all the regulars get kicked out of the pit and exiled to the land of chrome gym furniture to complete their workouts. Last night was just such a night. It's not the gym's fault. We were strength training and happily shooting the shit while we rested between sets and didn't get to our metcon before they began their fundamentals class. Thus, our metcon was done in an open space amidst the chrome-plated furniture of Globoland. We lined up three barbells and did our burpees right in front of the person DLing behind us (watch those fingers, kids).

Most of the RevFit regulars were languishing on the IR. Laura was still recovering from her marathon and limited to upper-body work; Sharon was visibly pained by a neck ailment; and Chris was suffering a nasty cold. Thankfully, Renee was going strong, and Samantha Aurelio was also visiting from out of town, so we got in a good workout together. They did a modified CrossFit Football WOD, and I did most of it plus some ring work.

Sam showed off her one-armed handstand, which got me inspired to try some gymnastics stuff. My press handstand was working well, although I've still got some work to do to hold that freestanding handstand consistently. Apparently the oly work has helped my flexibility, because I sure as heck haven't been doing passive stretching). My front and back lever progressions were suprisingly good, too, given that all I've been working with any regularity is skin the cats, L-hangs, and MU progressions. (It's always good to have your skilz working when it's time to show-off. ) The most impressive showing-off, however, was Sam's ATG squat. She quietly added 5# to her 5RM, while retaining rock solid form throughout. She easily has another 10# in her.


RevFit Workout - Monday, June 15, 2009

Hip and shoulder mobility
10 C2B pullups
5 L-pullups
10 ring dips

Skill work
5 Skin the cat to hollow hang to L-sit
2 failed MUs
1-arm handstands against wall
2 press handstands (first strict straight-arm press HS in a long time )
pike back lever - 5 seconds x2
one-leg-extended front lever - 5 seconds, 3 seconds

Heavy stuff
Press 45x5, 70x5, 95x3, 115x3, 120x3, 125x2+f, 122.5x3, 122.5x1 (burned out from too much ring work between sets)

125 is my prior 3RM, so this isn't bad. Overhead strength still needs attention, given the low numbers overall, but my loss of strength is not as grim as I thought.

5 rounds:
    5 Deadlift, 275#
    10 burpees

Last time out was 6:26, so this isn't great. I should have checked my log-book before starting, and maybe I could have pushed closer. Metcon probably isn't good enough to take 40 seconds off, but 20 was certainly doable, even though I was thoroughly gassed here.


In contrast to RevFit, CrossFit Persevere is a spartan setup - no showers (yet), no shiny chrome machinery, no internet/juice-bar cafe, no after-work crowds either on this particular day. They do have a sweet, new pullup bar, on which to do flying pullups, however, climbing one bar to the next four times until you've gone from 8 to 15 feet above the ground. (I stuck to the lower two rungs, thankyouverymuch).

Where RevFit had an array of globogoers gawking at the three of us doing DLs for time (I'm sure the 275# thump helped draw attention), CFP had two coaches there to encourage (i.e., yell at) me to fight through the pain and complete my WOD. Kim Malz, aka fitmom, is co-owner of CFP. She has a tremendous energy that is reflected in her athletes and her performance. Kim qualified for the CF Games in Aromas, less than two years after her cancer diagnosis. As inspiring as that story is, you should have seen her work her way from 24th overall at the Qualifiers to 5th, by charging through the brutal final workout. The kind of fighting spirit she showed in the workout clearly goes a long way in life. It's hard to wimp out on a workout with that kind of example cheering you on.


CrossFit Persevere Workout - Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hip mobility
2 muscle ups (felt good enough that I put them in a metcon for the first time ever)
Burgener clean warmup

Nasty girls

3 rounds:
    50 squats
    7 muscle ups (switched to jumping MUs after one round plus 2 reps & 5 failed reps)
    10 hang power cleans, 135#

Felt good to finally use muscle ups in a metcon. The 11 MUs are by far the most muscle ups I've done in one session. How it is I go from zero MUs one day to 11 the next escapes me entirely. I'll just keep working these and hope they don't go away again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The new program

Having completed the qualifiers, I've wondered what I should do next. They were motivational, and certainly, a part of me wanted to raise my firebreather quotient and hit more heavy metcons and see what kind of intensity I could generate on a day-to-day basis. However, the reality of the situation is that I'm lacking in some fundamentals that I think will have more long-term benefit to me than enhancing my ability to suffer more and longer. Certainly, long metcons remain a goat, but my olympic lifting technique and gymnastics skills need to be brought to the next level and I think focusing on them for a while will give me a more functional strength than anything else right now. It's summer, though. I can't be spending 4 or 5 days a week inside a gym while it's gorgeous out, so I decided I better program in some good outdoor activties - certainly flipping tires, dragging sleds, throwing tires, etc.; but also some LSD work, like trail runs, hikes with heavy packs, and biking.

The program is thus a compromise. I'll follow the current Catalyst Athletics strength cycle, which started back in April. However, I'll only do two or three workouts a week, so that I end up completing two weeks of the 10-week cycle each month. On my other two or three days per week, I'll play in the mountains, do those outdoor metcons and get in some much-needed gymnastics work.

I'm sure dragging a 10-week cycle out for five months is dreadfully wrong on some fundamental level, and at some point, I'll post the question to the CA forums, so Greg Everett, Steven Low, and company can tell me in excruiating detail exactly how I'm short-changing myself. However, my priority right now is to enjoy my workouts. They'll be hard - sometimes brutally so, but I got into CrossFit because I wanted to have more capacity for my outdoor pursuits, so I best enjoy the great outdoors while I have the luxury of living in a beautiful rural setting. I promise to bring my camera, when I do.

Now that the qualifiers are over, I'm not sure what form this blog will take or how often I'll update it, but for now, I'll post an abridged version of my most recent workouts, which with commentary will still make this an insanely long post, but until I come up with a better idea, this is still a workout blog, so...


June 3, 2009
Back squat 255x5, 265x5, 275x5
Press 115x4+f, 115x3+f, 110x5

Was quite pleased with how readily I got within 5# of my 5RM on the squat, but my press remains anemic. My 5RM is 121, so I'm not off by much. However, it's apparent that I need to continue to emphasize overhead work in my supplemental work.

June 4, 2009
Power clean 145x3, 155x2, 165x2, 175x2, 185, 195, 195f

Redid the 195, because my initial catch wasn't pretty. I had the bar plenty high on both reps, but I didn't drop myself into a proper quarter squat to catch it. Instead, I feebly tucked my tail between my legs to receive the bar. This was a problem at the qualifiers, too. Then, I blamed it on my lack of confidence in my quads, which had been thoroughly thrashed by the heavy thrusters, burpees, and rowing the previous day. However, I'm starting to think that I need to train my body to get accustomed to finishing both power cleans and push jerks in a 1/2 to 1/4 squat without dropping to the bottom of the squat. I could definitely lift a lot more weight, once I get that movement pattern down. Sounds like something to throw in my warmup using PVC.

June 10, 2009
Snatch 115x2x2
Snatch Pull 150x3x3
Snatch DL 150x3x3
Front squat 185x3x5

My first Cathletics WOD. Interesting working a bunch of exercises at submaximal loads. I've done mostly ME work for strength training, and while the individual sets were all done fairly comfortably, I could definitely feel the accumulated volume afterwards and can see how the program would develop strength.

June 11, 2009
Muscle snatch - 2 snatch balance couplet 95, 95, 115, 125, 135f, 135
OHS 140, 115x2x2
Power C&J 155, 155x2, 155

C2B Pullups 15x2

Worked up to a muscle snatch PR, after failing on my first attempt at that weight. This was a shoulder intensive workout and is something that will definitely help with overhead strength, perhaps in ways that diligently working the shoulder press with minimal progress might not (although having some fractional plates would probably help in that regard). Shoulders were too toasted to pull off the 30 TGU I had programmed, so I called it a night.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekends are supposed to be fun

It's summer - time to get my workouts in outdoors; time to throw things around the yard; time to head out to the mountains; time to play with tires and sleds. Sunday, it was the tires, and as much as it hurt, this was decidedly fun, and a good workout, too.

Hip mobility work
Good mornings, 45x10
10 ft2bar

Heavy stuff
Deadlift 135x5x2, 185x3, 225x2, 275x1, 305x1, 315x5

Needed to get used to lifting heavy again. It's been 7 weeks since I picked up over 300#, and I definitely needed that extra warmup set at 135# to get things working right. By the time I got to my work set, however, they felt solid. Looking forward to restarting linear progression on the DL.

3 rounds:

    6 tire flip and jump through
    200m run
    20 wall ball, 25# to 10 feet

Tire-flipping fun from Patrick Haskell on Vimeo.