monday at CFA

Monday AM at 6:00 I dragged myself to the old standby workout session at CrossFit Asheville, a workout combining push-press, box jumps, kettlebell swings, and finishing with a high-rep barbell metcon including hang power cleans, front squats, and push presses again.

Push-Press: 4 x 45 / 4 x 75 / 4 x 95 / 4 x 115 / 4 x 125 / 4 x 145

Box Jumps 5 x 24″ / 5 x 28″ / 5 x 30″ / 5 x 32″ / 5 x 34″ / 5 x 36″

Kettlebell Swings (American style with 3 second pause at top): 2 x 5 x 24kg / 1 x 5 x 28kg / 1 x 5 x 32 kg

7 rounds of: 3 hang power cleans, 3 front squats, 3 push press x 115 lbs, with 30 second rest between rounds. Unsure of total time. Somewhere in the middle, not last. Does the actual time matter?

friday fun at ASC

Friday afternoon workout, at ASC, with Brian Cohen:

Warm Up

500 meter row 1:55
Double unders practice; best set was 7 DUs.
200 meter run
Shoulder mobility and dumbbell calisthenics
Leg stretches
Some heavy bag


Front squat: 10 x 45 / 5 x 115 / 3 x 145 / 1 x 160 / 5 x 170 (PR); volume: 2,470.
Snatch Balance: 4 x 100, fail on 5 / 5 x 100 / 5 x 100 / 4 x 100, fail on 5 / 5 x 100 (PR); volume: 2,300.
Snatch: 7 x 1 x 105 (10 attempts, 3 fails, 7 successful). Volume: 735. 105 lbs is 91.3% of my current 1 RM in Snatch. So, this ought to have been a good stimulus for me.

Analysis of snatch training progress: Obviously, with the OHS work during the past couple of weeks, and the snatch balance work, and the dynamic effort, low volume snatch work I’ve been doing, I am chasing bigger numbers on the snatch. And I am going to get them. I have not just been trying to max out all the time with it, but rather, have been more concerned about speed, aggression, range of motion, and execution. I am trying to get better at the lift, without much help in the form of coaching. While I am improving, I also worry that I’m cementing bad habits I can’t observe. Brian saw me trying to snatch without bringing the bar close enough to my body. After he cue’d me to keep the bar closer, I slowed myself down in the 1st pull, focused on it, and ultimately could feel a world of difference.


3 rounds at “moderate” pace (75% or so):
6 double unders,
8 box jumps (24″)
10 KB Swings (50 lbs) (Russian swings)
200 meter run

monday: hang power cleans and much more

Monday, what a full day.


At 6:00 am I went to the CFA workout. Which was as follows:

A. Hang power snatch 8 sets of 2-4 reps w/2 minutes rest b/w sets for emphasis on mobility
B. Complete 4 rounds of B1/B2:
B1. Barbell Reverse lunge @ 20×1; 6-8/leg No rest b/w legs. 30s rest b/f B2.
B2. Wide grip supinated chin-ups @ 41X2; 4-6 reps. Rest 60s before returning to B1.
C. In 60s complete:
12 Russian swings
Max reps box jumps (low box NTE 20/16″.) Focus on quick rebound off ground.
1 minute rest. Complete 5 total rounds.
Post KB#, box height & total reps.

A. Hang Power Snatch: 5 x 45 / 1 x 95 / 4 x 65 / 4 x 95 / 4 x 105 (PR) / 1 x 110

I’m not recording this weird PR because this particular session was ugly and sucked.

B. I did not do 4 rounds of reverse barbell lunge or wide grip pull ups. I totally farted around. I did not follow the tempo on the lunges. I only did two rounds of chin ups, though I did follow the tempo. These fried my forearms! Holy cow golfer’s elbow sucks ass.

C. I rocked this part out. Used the 32 kg kettlebell (70 lbs), and a 12 inch box. 187 box jumps. Yes!

Working on the Living Room

Next came a couple of hours of “going overhead” in my living room. I’m replastering the ceiling. Fracking dirty job.

Yardwork, Double Unders, Chins and Dips

In the afternoon I did seven 3-minute rounds of double-under practice in the back yard. These were alternated with 5-minute rounds of “lumberjacking” (machete, axe, sledgehammer and splitting wedge, pitchfork, hauling stuff). They were preceded and followed by rounds of weighted chins and dips.

Supinated grip dead hang weighted pull-ups: 2 x 2 x +15 lbs; ring dips: 2 x 1 x +15 lbs.

I do seem to be gradually building capacity in these difficult movements!

At the end of this day I was exhausted. Too exhausted. To make matters worse, I had a lousy dinner (Chinese food) that seemed to break all the rules I have about food and diet simultaneously. And during dinner I could feel myself coming down with something. I proceeded to eat and drink too much. I guess I was trying to do something about the impending cold, but it was the wrong strategy. By bedtime, I had a sore throat. Bummer.

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.

friday open sectionals WOD #2 and back squat

What a horrible week. My sleep was all screwed up. I was working long stressful days and getting up super early to grade. From Tuesday to Wednesday: 3 hours. Wednesday to Thursday: 3 hours. I was in a foggy, dream like state all day Wednesday and Thursday, and feeling depressed to boot. Not sleeping is very bad.

I had skipped the workout on Wednesday morning, although I was up plenty early and dressed to go. Instead I just stayed home and kept grading. I knew that I’d probably do more harm than good to myself in my sleep-deprived state.

After not sleeping Tuesday night, I was sure that I’d fall fast asleep Wednesday night. Nothing doing. My overheated brain. I was so tired I couldn’t sleep, and had a sleepless evening.

Thursday night I knew I couldn’t let that happen again so I resorted to a sleep aid. It was a decent idea.

Friday morning, thank God! I woke up after finally having gotten some sleep. But my mood was still dark as hell: sectionals WOD #2, a 15 minute AMRAP of deadlifts, push-ups, and box jumps, would be on the docket. I was thinking: screw 15 minute AMRAPs. I just want to lift weights!

I used to love the long beat downs, because they beat you down, leaving you sweaty and sore, and giving this sense of unreal accomplishment. That’s all still true and that feeling is good.

But these days such WODs sometimes challenge my morale and attitude because I don’t see them as quite meeting my goals. Doing a high number of reps at a medium weight (such as body weight or 50% of max, as in this WOD), and doing it as fast as possible for fifteen minutes… well… that promotes speed and endurance and “toughness.” Good. Such as it is. But it doesn’t make you “stronger.” And that’s been my goal.

It doesn’t matter if you do 10 or 99 deadlifts at 155 lbs; your max isn’t going from 310 to 320 by doing that. Yet you do increase your chance of injury and/or dealing with unpleasant DOMS for a few days. Oh well.

These WODs really are good tests, and do what they should do: they differentiate the weak from the strong, and the fit from the unfit. The stronger, fitter guys do better at them. Probably the real reason I get bummed out by such WODs is that they besides hurting me, they reveal me to be weaker and slower than others whom I would, in theory, like to compare myself to.

I know I shouldn’t compare myself. You can only be yourself. Your numbers are your numbers! But… well… I am an official competitor and competition invites such comparisons.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks the CrossFit Games site is basically the most clunky, ridiculously badly designed piece of crap on the internet? Just wondering.

Enough with the Navel-Gazing Already…

So, when I got into the gym on Friday morning, in a post-Ambien fog, but rested, yet in a dark place, residual from a crappy week, my morale was low. I saw Corey, obviously pumped up for the workout. He was going to be joining us. Cool! I said, coach, I have a problem. What’s that he said? I have a bad attitude about this, I said. Fuck that, he said! Simply and directly. You gotta love Corey, he pulls no punches at all. This was a good attitude check for me. What the hell was I doing at the affiliate in the dark of the morning on a Friday anyway, if I wasn’t going to work out and try my hardest? Thanks Corey.

Your numbers are your numbers. The iron doesn’t lie. Just get in the game.

Sectionals WOD #2: Deadlifts, Push-Ups, Box Jumps

AMRAP in 15 minutes of: 9 deadlifts (155 lbs), 12 push-ups, 15 box-jumps (24″).

6 rounds + 9 deadlifts, + 12 push-ups, + 11 box-jumps.

Post-WOD Strength

Shanna smartly programmed some back squats for us after this WOD. I enjoyed the challenge of pulling myself off the floor and getting myself into the mode of squatting.

Tempo: 2,0, -, 3. Result: 5 x 45 / 5 x 115 / 3 x 165 / 3 x 185. Volume: 1,850. Small volume, and, all things considered, not a tremendous stimulus. But doing this immediately after such a difficult WOD, at tempo, was its own, good challenge. I noticed that Rehm, who worked harder than I did on the WOD, skipped the squats. Anyway, I took them as “this week’s back squats,” and was happy to do it, even if I only hit 3 reps at 88% of my 5 rep max.

A Final Apology

I apologize to anybody who might be offended at my lack of 100% sunny positive attitude about the CrossFit Open Sectionals process. I’ll try to pick it up in the next four weeks. In the meantime: kiss my grits.

unraveling and beyond

Friday morning at 6:00 am I showed up to CFA, and was greeted by the sight of a wonderfully brutal workout on the whiteboard.

Brief warm up: including blue band dead hang pull ups (11); ring dips (1, 3, 3, 2); front squats (45# x 10); and toes to bar (5).

Power Snatch and Box Jumps

Rounds of 2 consecutive reps (10 second rest between) Power Snatch followed immediately by 10 explosively fast box jumps at increasing height. I worked with Brian Cohen.

Result: 2 x 1 x 75 / 10 / 2 x 1 x 95 / 10 / 2 x 1 x 105 / 10 / 2 x 1 x 110 / 10 / 2 x 1 x 115 (PR) / 10 / 2 x 1 x 120 (PR) / 10 / 2 x 1 x 125 (press out, sloppy)

WOD: “Unraveling”

5 rounds for time:
12 deadlifts / 6 power cleans / 12 burpees
Rx’d at 80% of Power Clean max.

My current Power Clean PR is 170, so I went with 135.


My time was much slower than others’, but, I am proud of myself. I’m pretty sure I’ve NEVER done power cleans at 135 in a WOD before.

This WOD involved 60 deadlifts, 60 burpees, and 30 power cleans. It left me drenched and completely spent. I had that delicious full-body “CrossFit” high all day long. It felt damn good. The WOD is well-named “unraveling”: I felt like I’d been run out to the backing by the end of it.

I wouldn’t have done as well as I did do, or have gotten through with as little damage as I seem to have done to myself, if Randy Kite hadn’t been there driving me on! Bless you Randy. I am SO glad you’re back.

wednesday morning workout

Wednesday AM I made it to the 6:00 am class at CFA. It was a fun class, consisting of warm up, heavy clean pulls, and a 24 minute lower intensity circuit, too complex to describe here (see the link above). The circuit included: rowing, jumprope, wall balls, slam balls, sledgehammers, walking lunges, inverse burpees, and box jumps.

Clean Pulls

115 x 3 / 145 x 3 / 165 x 3 / 195 x 3

I’m certain this was a PR but I won’t bother recording it. It is 15 lbs over my PR clean weight, and 10 lbs over my body weight. I actually did 4 reps at 195 but the 4th rep was really a mistake; I felt my lower back get into an awkward angle as I finished out the triple extension and came back down. I very nearly hurt myself. But luckily I didn’t.


The WOD was more of a recovery/endurance piece. I went at about 80%, and got sweaty, and felt good afterward. It was a nice change of pace from the AMRAPs, or max-reps/effort intervals, or rounds for time that are the usual fare in CrossFit.


At 6:00 am on Wednesday I showed up for the WOD at CFA (“Camel Clutch”).

This was after 3 days of rest. Sunday was a normal rest day. Monday was a planned extra rest day, which I took in preparation for doing an OPT assessment on Tuesday with Shanna. But Tuesday became an unplanned rest day after Shanna had to cancel. I just rolled with it, and noticed how full of energy and enthusiasm I actually was on Tuesday. It was like I could feel my body healing all its little rips and tears. So I was happy about it.

But Wednesday morning something did not feel right. Sleep the night before had been interrupted by children, etc., and yet, I felt more queasy than unrested. During the strength portion of the WOD I was unusually dizzy after my lifts. I tied my PR in the clean and jerk, which at least felt respectable, and yet wasn’t feeling at all psyched about the upcoming partner WOD, even though all three movements (Kettlebell Swing, Box Jump, and Burpee) are just normal, standard things that, although they tend to require high intensity from the athlete, shouldn’t be too intimidating. While “resting” between rounds I was astonished at my shortness of breath, dizzyness, and clammy sweat. While pushing through the rounds I was surprised that my stomach felt full of slosh (usually, my morning 16 oz of water w/ BCAAs after 11 hours of fasting goes right through the stomach in about 15 minutes) and that I was constantly near to puking. I thought I was working hard but found myself going slower and slower. For this crappy performance I blamed myself: too much rest, not enough conditioning lately, yada yada yada. Turns out that was a stupid, blame the victim (me) mentality.

After the workout I felt like crap and had great difficulty recovering… at all. My stomach hurt. I had no enthusiasm for my customary post-workout coffee. I had a breakfast shake. But later my stomach hurt. I tried to eat breakfast but it tasted funny. I didn’t want the food.

I taught my first class, and then found I couldn’t work, or even goof off, during my free period before the second class. I just closed my eyes and tried to rest in my office. Then I barely made it through my second class, and into the location of my lunchtime meeting, before I realized that I was shivering, aching all over, and completely nauseated. The flu!

I canceled classes and went home, got in bed, and tried to rest. Later in the day, my wife got ill with the same thing. Everybody is telling us this is the Norovirus; whatever it is, it sucks.

Strength: Clean and Jerk

Result: 2 x 1 x 85 / 2 x 1 x 125 / 2 x 1 x 145 / 1 x 155 / 1 x 165 (PR tie)

WOD: Camel Clutch Partner Workout

15 minute amrap of 12 KB swings (53 lbs), 8 box jumps (24″ box), 4 burpees. One athlete rests while the other completes 1 round.

Result: I got 6 rounds (i.e 72 KB swings, 48 box jumps, 24 burpees).

Friday AM Split Squats and Carolina Fitness Flashback

Friday 6:00 am I made it in to CFA for the WOD (thank God… having some trouble with my training schedule at present) for a third session of the week.

I wasn’t fully with-it (sleep, etc., the whole shebang) and yet I was present. I did OK.

Skill: Split Squat

Using a 20″ box, I did some sets of Split Squats. I worked my way up to some light dumbbells. I did not record the specifics, however, I am sure I did not use more than 15 lb dumbbells on my last set. Warm-Up: 4 x 4 each leg; Weighted: 3 x 4 each leg.

New Year’s Day WOD / Carolina Fitness Challenge 2010 Finals WOD, Reduxed and Remixed

See the CFA website for WOD details.

Basically, 2 rounds of: 1 min max reps Double Unders, Deadlifts (225 lbs), Box Jumps (24″), Kettlebell Swings (53 lbs), with 30 seconds between events, and a 2 min rest between rounds.


Not going to dwell too much on this WOD at the moment. It’s a good WOD. But it demonstrates some of my limits in a way that isn’t entirely comfortable for me or my ego.

My double unders obviously were sucking. It was the rope; I’ve been getting DUs lately. Recently I got as many as 18 in a row, during a WOD. This time I was fighting for single reps. It just wasn’t happening for me, that’s for sure. At one point, after the second round I guess, blaming the rope, I threw it across the room and cursed… not very gentlemanly or sportsmanlike.

I felt good about everything else… until I saw Tom Rehm’s numbers. Holy Fracking Keys to Hades that guy has balls. Tom: I love you! how can I be more like you??? He crushed me in every category. As I am sure he did back on Dec. 11th, too.

Still, there’s a lot to be proud of here. I love that I can do a bunch 225 lb deadlifts for max reps and not suffer too great a consequence the next day. Those deadlifts made my head spin! I love that I can rep out 25+ Kettlebell swings at 53 lbs consecutively in a 60 second period.

And I hate box-jumps, but mainly because of the persistent little aches and pains I have always seemed to be suffering from over the last two years that prevent me from really being able to unleash the beast on the damn things. As for pain, I am thankful that it ain’t my right lower leg anymore. Or rather, I thank orthopedic science and Corey’s manual therapy. But I do have nasty pain, especially on the left: my damn tendonosis on the left knee remains a persistent issue and now, I have this new (2 month old) painful -itis of whatever sort it is on the bottom of my left foot, at the base of the second and third toes.

Watching and waiting.