saturday squats

Saturday, after the final exam I had to administer at 11:00 am, I stopped by T-Bone’s house, or should I call it “Asheville Barbell Club”? for a mid-afternoon squat session. I warmed up for about 5 minutes jumping rope and half-heartedly practicing some double unders, until my heart rate was up and I was just beginning to break a sweat. A couple of Sampson stretches, shoulder dislocates, and then I began a pretty mellow squat workout. Friday night was rough, a real end of semester blow out, so I was struggling with a foggy head and funny guts, but thankfully, very little pain or true suffering. I was experiencing just enough residual EtOH toxicity to want to keep it simple and slow.

Squats

2 x 5 x 135
1 x 155 / 1 x 175 / 1 x 195 / 1 x 205 /
10 x 1 x 215

Volume: 4,230.

Analysis

My last squat workout was nearly a month ago, and I maxed out that day for 185 for 3 (88% of my 5 RM) and had a small total volume of 1,850 (see 4/1/11).

Since then the weeks have flown by and my schedule hasn’t permitted squatting, amazingly enough. And neither has the “stress” of the open sectionals WODs.

Still, I’ve done some good work in that month, gotten a few new PRs and accomplished some other “feats of strength” (‘feats,’ for me, that is), even though my squat program has been derailed.

In terms of the applied math of training, what I did today was work off my existing 1 RM for squat (225 lbs, set on 2/18/11) , doing 10 reps at 95.5% of my 1 RM. In theory, that should be a good stimulus, and help get me back into the routine of working hard on the squat. The challenge is to get back into the swing of things. I gotta make sure I squat again within the week. Next Saturday at the latest, but possibly as early as Wednesday.

return to the fitness challenge

Friday morning I set a new personal record for the Overhead Squat and then established some new numbers for the Carolina Fitness Challenge final WOD, which I first did back on Dec. 11th., 2010, at the CFC.

Overhead Squat: 12 x 45 in warm up / 5 x 45 / 2 x 95 / 2 x 105 / 2 x 115 / 2 x 125 / 2 x 130 (PR)

I ran out of time. I suspect I might have had 135 in me today as well. I already have 125 x 5, but had never done overhead squats with more than 125 for any number. I am proud of myself for doing more than I’ve ever done, but am also conscious of the fact that my pal T-Bone recently did 1 x 148 … and she’s “a girl.” I got some work to do. Of course, for me, this new PR represents a neuromuscular achievement. But also it is only a temporary stepping stone on the way towards more impressive numbers. PROMISE.

CFC final WOD / New Year’s Day 2011 WOD

2 minutes max reps / 1 min rest of: Double Unders, Deadlifts w/ 225 lbs, 24″ box jumps, 53 lb kettlebell swings.

Result: 14 (that’s right, 14, I suck at DUs), 23, 34, 42.

My double unders have actually DEGRADED of late. Time to get serious about them. I’m tired of being embarrassed by my DUs.

Comparing my numbers from Dec. 11th to today:

DU’s: 36 vs. 14. I suck much worse now versus then!

Deadlifts: 21 vs 23. Improvement!

Box Jumps: 38 vs 34. Not a lot worse, but worse.

KB Swings: 30 vs. 42. Great improvement.

There is actually a problem with the results page… I’m not sure whether the results are listed in the right place. It is possible that my original box jump number was 30, vs. today’s 34, and my original KB swing number was 38 vs. today’s 42. That would make more sense to me. In that case, I got better in 3/4 of the events.

open sectionals WOD 6 aka super fran!

I missed Monday’s WOD for reasons of LIFE intervening, but I needed the rest anyway. I spent a total of about 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday moving a couple of tons of dirt in my back yard, swinging a pick axe, using a shovel, operating a wheelbarrow. So I was sore sore on Monday and Tuesday. And then stiff and in need of rehab on Wednesday.

But there was no rehab for me.

Wednesday AM at 6:00, we did the open sectionals WOD 6.

Super Fran

I’ve never done Fran as Rx’d, and here I was faced with Super Fran: Greg Glassman’s latest variation on “Fran” the famous 21-15-9 Thrusters (95 lbs) and Pull-ups WOD. Super Fran (as only I seem to call it) is a 7 minute timed ladder, of 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 etc., of Thrusters (100 lbs) and Pull-Ups. Score is reps. The most I’ve ever done Fran with was 85 lbs. I would be bumping it up to 100 lbs for this WOD. But the Thrusters didn’t scare me. I’ve not been training Thrusters too much lately but my Front Squats are decent, my push-press is decent, and I had no worries. It was the pull-ups that I am scared of.

No matter. The Iron doesn’t lie. I did what I did and that was all that I did.

Score: 52 reps. That was complete rounds of 3, 6, 9, plus 12 Thrusters and 4 pull ups, for a total of 30 Thrusters and 22 Pull-Ups (Fran is 45 of each).

Considering the elite athletes can do Fran in sub 3 minutes, my showing was not at all impressive. But it’s my showing. And I’m done for now.

Behind the Neck Press

After the WOD: Behind the Neck Presses, at tempo.

Results: 10 x 45 wide grip / 10 x 45 narrow grip / 5 x 75 / 3 x 95

On Being Done with Open Sectionals

By no means do I care whether the results I got in WOD #6 today are the best possible for me. By no means. Might I get a couple more reps on Saturday or Sunday? Maybe so. But it wouldn’t make a great deal of difference, and I would rather return to my regularly scheduled training plan. And I’m just glad to be done.

I know I didn’t come in last place nationwide or in my region. That’s enough! Some other sucker came in last. So, I can hold my head up and say: I did this! I more or less did this.

After 6+ weeks of doing a “competition” WOD every week, I’m done. I done being reminded, again and again, of how many areas of real weakness I carry with me as a “CrossFitter,” if that’s the right word for me. Which of the exercises we did are NOT a weakness for me? In which parameter was I NOT disadvantaged? My absolute worst exercises were all represented: muscle-ups (I have NONE and I did none), double-unders (I can HARDLY do them), pull-ups (messed up shoulders, weak upper body pulling muscles, and perpetually maxed and overstressed forearms make these tough for me)… hell I could list every last exercise type as a weakness for one reason or another. And to top it all off, all the weights were high, at or near my PRs, or beyond where I’d gone in the past.

But wait… that’s been the beauty of this experience. If there was anything redeeming about it it was doing everything as Rx’d. I’ve been running with the big dawgs, even if I came in near the end of the pack. Hell, I’m a 42 year old desk jockey college professor and father of two small kids. I was never much of a competitive athlete in any capacity. Just to be a part of this, then, says something about what I’m up to. Something.

I don’t need to qualify for regionals or beat 10,000 other CrossFitters nation wide. For me, training is all about making progress, as measured against myself, one PR at a time, 5 lbs at a time. And that’s what I intend to keep on doing regardless of how my work here compares to anybody else.

weigh-in and updated weight chart

I’ve decided it’s time to update my weight chart and to post my weight and umbilical measurement weekly, as a way of forcing myself to be a bit more accountable about how my diet and level of training affects my body. Today’s weigh-in: 192.0 lbs, down 1.5 lbs from last Sunday.

friday open sectionals WOD #5

Friday AM I wasn’t stoked for it, but I did open sectionals WOD #5. That’s a 20 minute AMRAP 5 x 145 lb power cleans, 10 toes to bar, 15 x 20 lb wall-balls. I only completed 4 full rounds, got in a 5th set of power cleans and 8 toes to bar, for a total of 4+13 or 133 points.

I like the fact that, until this past Wednesday, 145 lbs would have been +10 lbs over my power clean 5 rep max of record, although clearly, having completed 5 x 155 touch-n-go reps on Wednesday AM meant that I had, er… moved past… my previous 135 lb record. Anyway, completing 25 reps at 145 is more than I’ve ever done in a WOD. Gonna be sore for sure. 145 lbs is 93.5% of my current 5 rep max; so that is training for GROWTH. Hell yeah. I do appreciate the heavy lifting I’ve had to do in the open sectionals. And I also appreciate that I have done all the WODs as Rx’d, although, it must be added, I did not do any muscle-ups and I did so few double-unders that it’s laughable. Can you say: summer vacation goals?

I can barely complete a set of 10 toes to bar. First round I did 8 unbroken, then missed a number of attempts before I finished up. The entire workout, it seems, was spent with me trying to get my toes up to the bar. The issue is that I try not to kip too hard, cause I don’t want to screw up my left shoulder more than it is; neither do I want to tear my hands up.

Well, I managed to avoid any permanent harm. In fact, if anything, I felt better after the WOD than before… less pain in forearms and shoulders. And clean hands.

One more difficult competition WOD before I can cement my regional ranking somewhere around 780th out of 900, and 9200th out of 10000 or whatever it turns out I am overall.

I’m ready to be done with open sectionals! And back to training. “At least I am competing!” Hell yes.

In other (dietary) news I am being fairly good (not counting the peanut butter cookies I made with my daughter today or the drinks I’ll have later this weekend) and will probably be able to report a return to my fighting weight (183 lbs or so) sooner than I hoped; certainly by June 1st.

power clean 5 rep PR and my left shoulder

Wednesday AM at CFA was depressing. Until later, when I realized what I’d done.

It was depressing because I hurt my shoulder and decided, as a result, to forego the WOD. That was the right decision but it bugged me all day. My injury-prone body is BUGGING ME. See below for details on that.

Later, I realized I’d set a new PR, which made me happy. That makes 2 new PRs this week, a nice counterbalance to my struggles with pain and body composition.

Warm-Up

I’ll skip the details on the warm-up except to say that I did a 400 meter run with few problems and then afterward, while doing my calisthenics, my forearms bugged me but much worse, I hurt my left shoulder pretty badly doing a set of pull-ups. Bummer. See below for details.

Strength/Skill: Power Cleans and Wall Ball

The goal was to do 5 sets of 5 power cleans in a “touch and go” fashion. Alternating with 5 sets of 10 wall balls, done at full speed. I did four sets.

Power Clean: 5 x 95 / 5 x 115 / 5 x 135 / 5 x 155 (PR). I didn’t realize this was a PR until later. My previous PR was 135, and set way back last year on 06/19/2010. I didn’t even think about the 155 being a PR until much later. I’ve gotten stronger in the past year and I feel good about it.

Wall Ball: 4 x 10 x 20 lbs.

Although I liked the Strength session, in spite of pain in my shoulder and forearms, I didn’t, however, feel good about doing the WOD, which, combining push-press, KB swings, and pull-ups, looked like it was sure to aggravate my painful parts pretty badly. So I elected to skip the open sectionals workout #5 prep. I showered and headed off to work.

Pains in my Body, Especially My Forearms, Elbows, and Left Shoulder

For some damn reason, my body has not been healing well, not been recovering well, has been troubled by nagging injury and hurt, etc. I can think of at least three reasons, besides “overuse” and my being a “weekday warrior 40-something amateur athlete” that contributes to this unfortunate situation: (1) poor nutrition, (2) poor sleep, and (3) inadequate mobility work.

Periodically, I have little aches and pains that help to suck the life out of my workouts. I have a pain in my left foot that has been present since Dec. 25th (yep, almost 4 months) and is keeping me out of the running game. I have intermittent pain in my left “knee” (patellar tendon), although lately that has been better, thanks to better hamstring stretching. I have occasional discomfort in my right knee as well, related, I always suppose, to the old broken tib-fib on my right side, but more recently and acutely, to open sectionals WOD #1 a month ago, when I seem to have strained my quadriceps right where it attaches to the knee joint.

But forget about all of those nagging pains in my body. Right now I have two pretty bad sources of bodily pain that really really suck.

First, is my forearms and inner elbows on both sides. I believe that, were I to see a sports-medicine specialist or PT, this condition would be diagnosed as “golfer’s elbow” (not to be confused with “tennis elbow”) aka “medial epicondylitis”. Since I’ve been having these symptoms for a year or more, it’s not likely inflammatory but more of an -osis type of condition. Unfortunately, at this time I cannot afford any kind of medical treatment. (We recently switched to an HSA at work, and I don’t have any money saved up yet for the HSA. So, no “elective” medical care for me.) So, if you have a suggestion about how to treat it… preferably without advising me to “stop training” for 3-6 months, that’d be great.

Second, is my damn left shoulder. I’ve been complaining about pain and acute injuries in my left shoulder time and again on this blog. Wednesday morning I did a simple set of 5 dead hang pull-ups with a red band assist and BOOM, it felt like something behind and below my left shoulder just EXPLODED. Looking at the muscle anatomy charts, I would say that I feel pain either in my infraspinatus, my teres major, or my teres minor. Which is new to me, because at other times, I would say the pain I have felt has been near the top of the deltoid or the supraspinatus. There is no reason I can think of why my left shoulder should have had the reaction it did. The pain from this acute injury (what kind of injury? rip? tear? pull? strain?) is now ongoing and is not stopping.

I wish I could figure out what to do about these matters. I do not want to dial everything back for six months. Will I have to? I need expert advice. Free expert advice.

monday deadlifts and 400 meter running

A quiet and intimate Monday AM workout at CFA. Deadlifts and sprints.

Deadlift: 4×155 / 4×185 / 2×225 / 2×265 / 2×305 / 2×330 (PR). This was done at 2211 tempo (2 down, 2 on the ground, 1 rest, 1 up) except that the PR 330 was slower on the press up. Pretty good form though. Nothing to be ashamed of!

400 meter sprints at 55%, 65%, 75%, 85% RPE. Splits: 2:08, 1:54, 1:44, 1:35.

Good morning, Asheville!

my anabolism

Yeah, as in, I’ve been getting big. And not in a good way. I’m carrying soft tissue around the middle again.

As of Sunday, I was up to 193 1/2 lbs. I’ve gained 8-10 lbs, much of it unwanted. Some is surely lean mass, but mostly, it’s fat. That much should have been evident from last Sunday’s measurements, where I saw more than an inch added to my umbilical measurement, although my weigh-in number was not huge. I must have been dehydrated, cause I weighed six pounds more a week later.

The extra weight I’m carrying has been packed on through just a few weeks of unconscious, uncontrolled eating and drinking. It came from eating sugars, flours, and just, in general, too much food at all hours of the day and night.

The tools I will use to lose the excess are simple. Weigh in. Eat consciously. Eat mainly or even exclusively whole, unprocessed foods, and extremely limited grains, sugar, and alcohol. Balance macronutrients. (That means: plenty of protein, at least 1g per pound of lean mass per day, eaten along with plenty of fat, 0.5g-1g per pound of lean mass per day, and moderate carbs, around 0.5-.75g per pound of lean mass per day; i.e. at most about 2600 calories per day). Practice intermittent fasting daily. (That means: stop eating after dinner, and don’t eat again for 12-18 hours; for me, IF helps keep the system running properly).

The unwanted pounds came on quickly, but it will probably take me quite a while to slim down. I am looking for a Sunday weigh-in at under 185. I’ll report back. Stay tuned.

friday open sectionals WOD #4

Friday morning at CFA I did the open sectionals WOD #4, 10 minute “AMRAP” of 60 bar facing burpees, 30 overhead squats with 120 lbs, and 10 muscle ups. ROTFL. Barf.

Result: 72.

It took me about 6 minutes and 15 seconds to get through the burpees. Then, with about 10-15 seconds rest I started the OHS. I am proud of myself for getting 12 reps in about 3 1/2 minutes. The last two reps were in the final 20 seconds. 120 lbs is 96% of my 5 rep max, which I set on Wednesday of this week. This workout was a good stimulus and a great way to end the week.

I am no CrossFit God, and I am no elite athlete. I am just another plugger, weekday warrior, making progress day by day and trying to keep my life on track. It’s fracking awesome. As of this writing I am currently ranked at 313 (out of 326) in my region and am overall ranked at 3821 (out of 3998).

Heck yeah bottom of the pack! Don’t it feel good to be alive?

monday and wednesday workouts

Monday at CFA: Hang Snatch, C2B Pull-Ups, High Box Jumps, Wall Balls

I was at the 6:00 am class at CFA on Monday April 11th, and, while I didn’t accomplish anything brilliant, didn’t do anything in the way of new PRs or anything, I did my best and had fun working on that most difficult of lifts, the Hang Snatch.

Strength: double rounds of Hang Snatch sets of 2, alternating with C2B Pull-Ups sets of 3, at tempo. My pull-ups have atrophied almost beyond recognition. I got about 13 total reps. I did about 10 sets of 2 Hang Snatches, and didn’t push it very far. HS: 5 x 45 / 2 x 65 / 2 x 65 / 2 x 70 / 2 x 70 / 2 x 75 / 2 x 75 / 2 x 80 / 2 x 80 / 2 x 85 / 2 x 85 Pull-Ups: x3 / x3 / x3 / x3 / x1

WOD: AMRAP Partner WOD, one person works, the other holds a 53 lb kettlebell (!), I worked with Golder: 6 high box jumps at 35″ (!), 12 wall balls w/ 20″ medicine ball; result: exactly 5 rounds each. During my first set of box jumps I stumbled or missed or something and took a not very funny pratfall onto the rubber. Ouch. My shin hurt all day.

The next day I was much more sore than I thought I should be. Wow. In the weirdest places: my upper obliques, my triceps, my abs.

Wednesday at CFA: Open Sectionals WOD 4 Preparation

Early in the morning on Wednesday I woke up and checked my computer to see what the open sectionals workout #4 would be, and I almost crapped myself when I saw it. Then I looked at the CFA website and in truth I wasn’t very psyched when I saw what Shanna had planned for us.

But a few minutes later, I calmed down, and almost miraculously, felt my attitude flip right around. Like Corey was in my brain with his “fuck that.” And I knew I would go in, work on my damn ring dips, get a new 5 rep PR in the overhead squat, and then do about three minutes total work on power snatches and bar facing burpees. What’s the big deal? It’ll be fun. I told myself. And it was, so, heck yeah. Screw 10 minute AMRAPs with 60 bar-facing burpees, 30 overhead squats at 120, and 10 muscle-ups. What a joke.

Once I was there we did a warm-up and calisthenics, then:

Strength/Skill: Overhead Squats alternating with Ring Dips. I did only 4 sets here, but they were good. I worked with Matt Smith. NB: warm-up calisthenics included 10×45 OHS. 8 x 45 / 8 x 75 / 8 x 105 / 5 x 125 (PR). It felt good to get a new PR. Ring dips were as follows: x 1 / x 3 / x 3 / x 3. Nothing spectacular. I am a fracking weakling when it comes to upper body strength!

Workout: 3 rounds of 30s on 30s rest: Bar-Facing Burpees, Power Snatch. For the power snatch, the Rx was 70% of today’s OHS max, so I worked with 85 lbs. That weight turned out to be more than most people used. That’s either a boast, or an excuse, or both, or just a plain old fact. I’ll let you be the judge. exactly 8 reps per work period, 6 work periods, 48 reps total.

After this I felt great all day.