Back Squat Sets and Adjustment

This morning…

Warm-Up: Row 500 meters (1:52); Jump Rope 3 min (20 sec on / 10 sec off); dislocates and mobility; Push-Ups (15); Pull-Ups (10x red band); Overhead Squats (10) and Sotts Press w/ PVC (10); GHD extensions (10).

Back Squat: 80% x ‘max reps’ x 5 rounds @ 180s
Totally mentally unprepared for it today. Did an extra round because I messed up the first and was only 20 seconds. All rounds had fewer reps than I thought I should get.

Results: 45 x 10 / 145 x 5, 7, 8, 9, 8 = 38 reps. This felt lamer than it probably really was. Volume: 5,960

Then Corey worked on my back. Awesome.

Later in the day…

Additional Volume: Push-Ups (x 15, x 15, x 15, x 15); Pull-Ups (Pavel progression: unassisted dead hang, 2-1-1-1-1-1-1; one set of 12 w/ blue band; that was all I could stomach). [Tomorrow: Pavel progression: 2-2-1-1-1-1-1; & as many sets of 21 w/ green band as I can stomach.]

Single Support Deadlifts Rowing Pull Ups and Sprints

Warm-Up Calisthenics. Pull-ups (10, red band). Push-ups (15). GHD extensions (10), Deep Overhead Squat Sit, Overhead Squats (10) and Sotts Press with PVC (10).

Strength. Single Support Deadlifts both legs x 5 x 45 / x 5 x 95 / x 5 x 110 / x 5 x 120 (pr) / x 5 x 125 (pr). Sore glutes and back later, like last week ain’t healed up right yet. This will help.

WOD. From CFA today:

700m row
Immediately followed by
3 rounds of:
100m sprint
7 chest-to-bar pull-ups
For time.

I finished this in 6:14. I used a red band on the pull ups, like a puny arm. It’s ok. I’m getting stronger.

Additional volume. Leaving most of this duty until tomorrow. Did do unassisted pull-ups 1-1-1-1-1-1-1, in just a minute or two. Gonna do a modified Russian pull-up progression. Tomorrow 2-1-1-1-1-1-1. Etc.

Mobility work. Crawling and rolling and dynamic stretches.

Tuesday Sleep In

Yes that’s right I slept in today, until 7:00 am. It felt beautiful to be in bed for a full 9 hours. I skipped the WOD, thinking I would be able to lift at the YMCA during Lena’s Yoga class this afternoon at 4:00 (I was planning on a bench press 5×5 and deadlifting). That didn’t happen (young Yogi flip out). But I did do additional HTFU volume of push-ups throughout the day ( six sets: 1 x12 / 5 x 15 ) and pull-ups ( three sets: 3 x 21 w/ green band ).

HTFU: About These Push-Ups and Pull-Ups

About my push-up form: in straight plank with tight abs and butt,chin chest thighs to floor, weight off hands, return, full range of motion in shoulders and spine.

About the pull-ups. These pull-ups are done with something approaching the “training grip” recommended by Pär Larsson in a recent issue of CrossFit Journal. I am also trying to use strict deadhang style, although I allow as unavoidable a little bit of swing.

I hate sets of 21 reps. Even with this insanely powerful band, 21 reps takes a freaking long time and runs down my hands and forearms in particular. Today I am merely trying out another different technique of pumping up the volume. It is going to be different every day. Thursday is 5×5 unassisted dead-hangs — plus three sets of max reps with blue band.

Where am I going with this? Heck, I would like someday to knock off sets of 21 or more unassisted dead hangs, and in my mind I dream about being able to rip off the 45 reps in Fran as unassisted dead hang continuous set pull ups. But that’s not my immediate goal; I’ll settle for finally hitting unassisted sets of 10 sometime before the summer.

In my view strength and hardness are as different as speed and stamina, and contribute as much to one another. I’m betting on the capacity of additional volume (especially in higher rep ranges) of the basic body weight movements to help harden even an aging professor’s body without derailing my other efforts by inducing symptoms of overtraining.

FS plus OHS TTB and Almighty Burpees!

Front Squat 5 x 3 x 95% (150 lbs) @ 90s this morning. Warmed-up with the usual drill and then 10 x 45 / 5 x 3 x 150. Total volume: 2,700.

AMRAP in 10 minutes: 7 Overhead Squats (Rx’d at 70% of 5 RM, for me, 80 lbs), 7 toes to bar, 7 burpees. Result: 4 rounds + 7 OHS + 7 toes 2 bar. I finished on my stomach during the first Burpee of that fifth round. Analysis: a fun WOD but I was feeling a bit slow, I must say. Every round of OHS was done as one unbroken set of reps; 35 total reps at 80 lbs = volume of 2,800 on OHS, which is nothing to sneeze at. Plus 35 toes to bar and 28 burpees. Somehow the guys in the previous class had completed 6 rounds. I don’t know. I have some work to do, I guess!


Recovery from Saturday’s PR 5k (which took more out of me than I expected), was first hindered by my debauched behavior on Saturday (as I completely left behind clean eating and binged on sugar). Sunday was a day of serious rest and recovery. My calves are still stiff and sore today on Monday.

Haywood Heroes 5k

As Jody said, I set all kinds of quantitative measures of progress today at the Haywood Heroes 5k: new PR time (22:26.2); 1st place in 40+ masters class; 5th place overall; first full-speed 5k in Vibram Five Fingers shoes; and first time I beat Jody Kuhne in a 5k. (Notice I said, “first time,” Jody; train well).

It was a cold morning, about 8:00, Jody and I showed up in Canton, NC. There was snow on the hillsides and on the grass; later, we discovered there was icy snow on the bridges. Definitely hat weather, and for some, glove weather. Given that, I was pretty oddly dressed in a fleece cap, heavy Patagonia capilene top, with summer weight compression pants (coming down to above the ankle), my neoprene Vibram Five Fingers Flow shoes, and no socks of course.

I definitely didn’t notice my clothes, however, on this mellow and fun race course, that goes rolling gently through the paper milling town of Canton.

On June 1st, 2003, Haywood County first responders saved my life after I broke my leg in a Haywood County wilderness area. These burly EMS and forest service dudes hiked 4 miles into the woods, in the evening, to haul my ass out out of there. I ended up in surgery that night at the Haywood Regional Medical center (and again nearly 7 years later, when I had the hardware pulled from my right tibia this past February). This run commemorates fallen first responders in Haywood County, and I was proud to run it in honor of the guys who worked so hard to help me in my hour of need so long ago. Y’all are heroes!

The community of Canton turned out a small number of quality runners; everybody in this region who is serious about running was up on the Shut-In today. That’s fine by me! It’s nice to win for a change.

I was ecstatic to find, a short while after the run, that I had set a new PR time for myself; clocking 22:26.2 means I had run at 7:13.8 pace. Not elite by any means, but a respectable finish for a 41 y.o. weekend warrior. My placement came complete with a medal and a gift certificate. All in all, a very satisfying workout. For official race results see HERE.

My previous PR time in the 5k, 23:19, was set on 6/5/2009 June 5th, 2009, at the Chamber Challenge 5k.

Power Clean and Jerk and Box Jumps

Power Clean and Jerk: Weight Used and Number of Rounds of 2 completed
My weight stack, with the height of each round written in.


The standard stuff. Feeling sore and stiff from the week.

WOD: EMOM Power Clean and Jerk

2 power clean and jerks “every minute on the minute” for 15 minutes (with progressively increasing weights).

Result: 115 x 6 / 125 x 4 / 135 x 8 / 145 x 10 / 150 x 2. Volume: 4,020. This is 30 lbs less than “Grace” (30 x 135 = 4,050), i.e. I averaged 134 lbs per lift.

Fun workout. But I strained my back during the rounds of 145. There’s plenty of time in each minute to do the two reps. I rushed one round and am paying a nasty price for it. Be careful!

Because this is a fixed time workout, the point is to beat the next guy in terms of volume. Since I didn’t beat the volume of grace, and I spent more than 14 minutes doing that, I don’t think there’s much to “crow” about here.

Next time we do this I would plan to start at 125, do 2 rounds, then go 135 for 2 rounds, then 145 for 8 rounds, then 150 for 3 rounds, and more handily beat that grace volume.

Skill: High Box Jumps

High Box Jumps 5×5.

Result: 24″, 30 1/2″, 34″, 36 1/2″, 39″

These were fun, even if that last set felt a little bit hairy to me.

Tomorrow: Haywood Heroes 5k!

Can’t wait for this race. It’s going to be a cold, possibly snowy, morning. Yikes! What the heck is wrong with me. HTFU, I guess!

Thursday Morning Therapy

Warm-Up. Jump-Rope. 500m row. Dislocates and Sampson stretches. Burpees. Squats w 45# bar.

Back Squat. 10 x 45 // then… 12 x 2 x 125 (70%) @ 30s intervals. Volume: 3,450.

Additional play: handstand push-ups, false grip practice.

Manual therapy with Corey… focus on right foot (warding off possible metacarpal problem from barefoot/vibram FF running).

Back home: Pull-Ups (red band, set of 10).

pretty heavy cleans, with swings, knees, elbows, and double unders

Cleans, went for a “heavy set of 2.” Squat Cleans. You know that’s what I mean.

5 x 45 / 2 x 95 / 2 x 115 / 2 x 135 / 2 x 145 / 2 x 155 (+5 lb and +1 rep PR).


For the WOD, I had to sub max rep KB swings (1.5 pood) for max rep Deadlifts, which were the scheduled lift, as I did those deadlifts yesterday.

SO: 4 rounds of 30 seconds max rep KB swings, 30 seconds rest, 30 seconds max rep knees to elbows, 30 seconds rest, 2 min rest. The results are in the photo, at right. My score was 176.

This WOD had previously been completed on 5/22/2010 (albeit with a different deadlift Rx), but on that day I was down at the Warrior Dash! So it was new to me.

Mobility, etc.

At night: mobility work. Long slow liesurely rolling, lacrosse ball work, Yoga; plus: push-ups (several sets), pull-ups (slow, max rep sets, no agenda no counting); headstands and handstands / handstand push-up progressions. This felt awesome!

Deadlift (4 x max reps x 80% @ 180s) and 5k walk/sprint

Did (most of) the warm-up with the 5:30 am CFA class (squats, pull-ups and push-ups excluded). Then, warmed up the deadlift and did my 4 x max reps x 80% @ 180s intervals. Waited around, went back home, and then did a 5k distance sprint session with 120s walking / 60s sprinting (180s intervals). Badass morning.


80% of my current 5 rep max (290) is 232, so I used 235. This was a difficult wod.

Warm-Up: 20 x 45. 5 x 135. 1 x 235.

4 x max reps x 235 @ 180s. Result: 9, 11, 12, 14.

During the 4th round, Corey came over and said I was fucking up the reps, either hyperextending with a raised chin or rounding my back. As you can see I was definitely rushing and pushing myself on the last round. I was more careful on the first couple of rounds. I do think I got a lot of quality reps in but the form problems tell me I need to do another swing through the strength progressions to continue developing form.

Finish up: 5 x 2 x 205 (70%), at short intervals, just to work the form. These felt tighter.

Total volume: 14,670. I suspect this is by far and away the most deadlifting I have done in one session, and is about three times the volume of any of my last three deadlifting sessions. I am going to be sore tomorrow.

My plan is to repeat work sets on deadlifts for the next three weeks, 12 x 2 with 65% (190 lbs), 12 x 2 with 75% (215), and 4 x max reps with 70% (205). Then, one month from today, a new 5 rep max attempt.

5k walk/sprint

I followed my usual Montford Crawl 5k route. Protocol was 120s walking, 60s sprinting. I completed 10 rounds of this, and then jogged for 54 seconds in round 11 to complete the workout in 30:54!. My PR time for walk/sprint work, clocking in at under 10 minute miles with 2/3 of the time walking (compare the table of previous results I made last week).

Basically, I am super happy with this workout today. Plan HTFU proceeds.

At the YMCA

I found myself with some free time during a visit to the YMCA. Lena in a children’s Yoga class. Puffling in child care. OMG. I did some hamstring stretching, and practiced headstands and handstands and did progressions towards handstand push-ups. I will get these soon! Which is very cool. Also, I discovered that they now have a regular set of squat racks at the Y, and it seems to me that Plan HTFU could come to include Tuesday afternoon strength work: maybe it’s time to add bench pressing into my routine? I think so. Also, I could hit deadlifts or back squats, or shoulder presses, as needed, in this window. It’s something I’m going to think about seriously. More next week!

Mobility Work

A blessed opportunity presented itself during the 3:00 hour, before my trip to the Y: a window for napping. I lay down on the bed for about 30 minutes. When I arose, my back… oh my back! The DOMS and stiffness were already setting in. I could tell I would need additional mobility work. So, later on, I definitely added it in.

Foam rolling of back, shoulder, IT bands, calves, quads, hams and butt. Various dynamic hip openers. Band assisted deep squat. (Lots of left knee pain there.) Then, practicing new hip opening work from Starret’s Mobility WODs #7 and #8. I need a trampoline!

Front Squat Land (Franzilla)

Strength: Front Squat

Front Squat 12 x 2 x 115 lbs @ 30s. 115 lbs is about 74% of my current 5 RM, which put me above the target 70% but I was happy to do it. I’ve been working the front squat repeatedly lately.

WOD: Franzilla

WOD was “Franzilla” (21 front squats, 21 pull-ups, 15 push-press, 15 pull-ups, 9 thrusters, 9 pull-ups). Rx’d weight: 75-80% of Thruster 5 RM. My chosen weight: 85 lbs. The Rx would have been 100. I’ve done the wod previously at 110. For pull-ups, I used mostly “strict” form but decided to use assistance with the red band. Time: 10:15.

I am embarrassed to compare this result to previous Fran and Franzilla times from a year ago. It is not favorable. Last October I did Franzilla w/ 110 and no bands (going 70% of my then ONE rep push-press max of 145… today that’s my 5 rep max… today as Rx’d I should have done the same, and would have, if my left shoulder wasn’t fracked up). And the band-assists on the pull-ups are about the same issue.

Anyway, I was kind of bummed by the juxtaposition of Franzilla with the strength progression on Front Squat. I disagreed with the Rx, which for me and other guys would basically make the Rx’d weight too close to the Rx’d work sets in the Front Squat. (A couple of guys did the WOD at the same weight as the work sets.) This makes zero sense to me; what the frack is the point of doing 24 highly controlled reps in 12 work sets if you’re going to turn around and do 21 reps in a max effort for speed situation?

So, I loaded up with 85, to make it a different kind of test of mettle, and because my shoulder is bugging me and I knew the push-presses and thrusters were thus going to be a limiting factor. Plus I thought I’d go fast.

But I see now that I thought wrong. I didn’t go fast, especially on the pull-ups, and I failed even to beat my Fran at 85 time from last November, while using a stupid red band (compared to no bands) so the whole just looks like a total fail to me. A total fail, that is, with the possible exception of my final set of 9 thrusters at 85, which was super fast and stellar. More like those please.


This fracking left shoulder thing is bumming me out. The whole thing is bumming me out. HTFU indeed. I am stronger than I was a year ago… that’s verified on paper and in iron. But I am not harder… or faster. Too many injured tissues. Not enough sleep. (That is the major difference between me a year ago and me today). I gotta work on that.

Additional volume on push-ups and pull ups. These numbers include sets during the warm up.

Push-Ups: 10, 14, 12 (all at CFA); 12 (before work); 12 (after work).

Pull-ups, w/ red band: 8, 8, 8 (all at CFA); 8, 8 (after dinner). I’ll be pushing the red-band pull-ups towards sets of 12 by two weeks from today. The last sets of 8 felt very doable. I’m going to hazard a guess that, in spite of lackluster speed and performance today, I am regaining capacity in the dead hang, which is the whole point. I think it is not unreasonable to hope for that elusive, sometimes on, sometimes off goal of mine — work sets of 10 dead hang pull-ups — by January.

Mobility work: watched, not to say did, everything Rx’d in Mobility WOD #6 (internal shoulder rotation using a post) and #72 (high hurdle hip opener and, surprise, internal shoulder rotation). That and a few minutes in deep squat, plus thoracic and lumbar rolling, shoulder and forearm lacrosse balls, and IT band rolling. (15 minutes total)

Ice: while reading, some ice on the left shoulder and the left knee.