PUC Day 10. 15k Bike Ride.

School responsibilities (a curriculum workshop from 9:00 to 2:00) will keep me away from CrossFit Asheville today. It’s too bad, since they will be doing strength work and a super fun 12 minute AMRAP.

I got about 6.5 hours of sleep, interrupted at 2:00-3:00 am by Lena. As of 8:00 am I am off to a slow start on the food front, just drinking coffee at the moment.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 10

I wasn’t feeling ready in the morning, so I started after work.

Reps #1-4: Set of 4!! Reverse grip. Completed at about 3:15 pm.

Reps #5-7: Set of 3! Front grip. Completed about 4:00 pm.

Reps #8-10: Set of 3! Reverse grip. Completed about 6:30 pm.

15k Bike Ride

My own personal WOD: 15k Bike Ride, for time.

I started this ride at about 4:15. I completed the ride in 51:29.

Route of the Town Mountain 15k bike ride:

The first 3/5 of this ride involves an approximately 800 foot climb up Old Toll Road and Town Mountain Road.

Graduation. PUC Day 8.

The fact that I had to attend Mars Hill College’s 2009 graduation ceremonies (occupational hazard) prevented me from joining CrossFit Asheville in doing “Grace” today. Grace is a brutal full-body benchmark workout (30 reps of Clean and Jerk, for time; Rx’d at 135#; I probably would have attempted 115# or 95#, unless coached lower). That would have been awesome. But I am almost more bummed out to miss the handstand skills practice that was also promised.

PUC Day 8

The Pull-Up Challenge grinds forward to day 8. I think Shanna says she’s going to attempt to follow along with me. Maybe she’ll post her reps here in the comments.

Anyone else who wants to play catch up or just “buy-in” along the way is welcome. The rules are simple: all reps must be dead hang reps. Any grip is allowed. Take as much time as you want to finish your reps for the day. Break into as many sets as needed. If you miss a day, you make up those reps the next day. Finally, if you’re following my challenge schedule, you take Thursday and Sunday off of the dead hangs. The goal is day 100, but I reserve the right to stop my challenge earlier, since the real purpose is to master the dead hang and to work my way up to sets of 15. We shall see. As of today I am still stuck at sets of 2.

Reps #1-2: At 8:00 am, at home, front grip. Set of 2.

Reps #3-5: at 1:30 pm, at home, reverse grip. My first set of 3!

Reps #6-7: at 140 pm, at home, front grip. Set of 2.

Rep #8: at 1:50 pm, at home, front grip.

Rain Rain Go Away

Since I missed my workout today, I wanted to do some kind of fun outdoor cross-training.

In fact, I did a full warm up:

• 7 rounds of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest, on my jump rope
• push-ups, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups, 15 reps each
• Hip mobility stretches

And then I got all geared up into my armor for skateboarding: knee and elbow pads, helmet, wrist guards. Grabbed my board and even took a picture to commemorate it! (It isn’t too good, so I think I won’t post it). I planned to spend about 40 minutes on my sector-9 longboard skateboard.

But it started raining pretty hard. Boo! One simply does not ride a skateboard in the rain. In fact, I think I’ll stay dry this afternoon. Too bad.

Push Jerk. Mile Run. PUC Day 7.

Decent sleep last night, but only about 5 hours, and it was interrupted.  Better than the night before!  One block breakfast & coffee, then

Warm Up

Football-style agility drills, followed by 1 round of Push-ups, Sit-ups, Pull-ups, Squats, 12 reps each, then shoulder openers, hip mobility stretches. Then

WOD: Push Jerk and One Mile Run

CrossFit Asheville’s WOD today is: Find your 5 rep max for the Push Jerk and then do a one mile time trial.

Push Jerk

5 x 15 kg
5 x 20 kg
5 x 20 kg + 20 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 40 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 50 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 60 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 70 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 75 lbs. 5 rep max: 119 lbs. A “PR” for today, but given my shoulder press PR for 1 rep (120 lbs), probably not the best I could do.

One Mile Time Trial

My time: 6:53.

For a google map of the route, see here.

Dead Hang Pull-Up Challenge Day 7

Rep #1: at the 6:00 am workout, before the official pull-ups (front grip)

Reps #2-3: at the 6:00 am workout, after the Push Jerks, before the run (reverse grip)

Rep #4: at the YMCA, about 7:20 am, on the smith machine, with knees to chest (front grip)

Reps #5-6: at home, about 12:30 pm, 2 consecutive reps (front grip)

Rep #7: at home, about 1:30 pm (front grip)

In Honor of SSG Hansen; PUC Day 6

Decent sleep, but too little of it, and interrupted (at 12:30 am) by a piss and a little tossing and turning. Then a 5:00 am wakeup. 1 block breakfast (quadruple fat). Coffee.

CrossFit Asheville WOD: In Honor of SSG Hansen

Our workout today was a scaled and modified version of the “Hansen” Hero WOD which debuted on the CrossFit website this past Saturday, May 2nd.

3 rounds of 4 minutes each, featuring:

1 minute of max reps of burpees, followed by:

30 Kettlebell Swings

30 sit-ups.

If you took longer than 3 minutes to do the Kettlebells and the Sit-ups, as I did on round 2, a minute was added to your time. If you finished the Kettlebells and Sit-ups in under 3 minutes, you rested. It was a cool, somewhat brutal Wod.


6:00-6:30 am: “Football” Agility Drills (e.g. 10 yards shuttles with dropping to pushup at either end; fast feet with jumping and dropping to pushup and rolling right or left; etc.); Parkour and Tumbling: fun stuff!


My time: 13:08.

Results: I did 15, then 11, then 12 burpees. Kettlebell swings: 30×45#, 7×45# + 23×35#, 30×35#.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 6: 6 reps of dead hang pull-ups.

Rep #1: after the workout, about 7:15 am. Front false u-grip.

Rep #2: at home, after breakfast, about 8:00 am. Front false u-grip.

Reps #3-4: at home, after breakfast, about 8:30 am. Rear false u-grip.

Reps #5-6: at home, about 8:50 am. Front false u-grip.

Coach Corey says I should perhaps rethink my commitment to this challenge, since it doesn’t allow for recovery or enough modulation to spur adaptation. He is worried that injury might result, or over-training. He suggests, at a minimum, to add rest days to the challenge. I am taking his advice to heart. I will decide when the purpose of my challenge has been met. And the purpose is: to master the dead hang pull-up — at my current level of fitness. So I will take my regular rest-days off of the challenge, resuming the normal count on the workout days. And I may not go all the way to 100. I will stop when this “challenge” has convinced me that I can do the pull up.

5k, PUC Day 5

Two low calorie days in a row. Decent sleep last night (over 7 hours). 3 block breakfast. Health in general is good.

5k Run, “The Dog Slide.”

Today my own WOD is: 5k for time.

My route is “The Dog Slide”, which is a run I like to do in North Asheville.

Prior to the run I did the following warm up: one dead hang pull-up; 7 minutes of 40 second on, 20 seconds off jump-rope; then one round of: pushups, situps, 1.25″ band assist pull-ups, air squats (12 reps each); then hip mobility stretch, calves stretch.

I completed this run starting just after 2:00 pm. Time: 25:09. Average HR: 172; max: 185.

This time is an 8 second improvement over my last 5k time, in the “Mineral City 5k”, which I ran 10 days ago on April 25th.

I am totally pumped about that!

Pull-Up Challenge Day 5

Once again, today I was able to do my day’s allotment of unassisted “dead hang” pull-ups. Five reps today. Six tomorrow!

Reps #1-2: at about 11:30 am, done in one set, with reverse u-grip, closely spaced.

Reps #3-4: at about 1:00 pm, done in one set, with front u-grip, shoulder width spacing.

Rep #5: at about 1:50 pm, with front u-grip, shoulder with spacing.

Front Squat, PUC Day 4

Decent sleep but not enough; low calorie day yesterday. One block breakfast (egg and grapefruit) before workout.

Front Squats

6:00 am. CrossFit Asheville WOD: find five rep max for front squat.

My workout:
10 x 20 kg bar
5 x 40 kg
5 x 50kg
5 x 54.535 kg (20 kg bar + 30 kg + 10 lbs)
5 x 59 kg (20 kg bar + 30 kg + 20 lbs)
3 x 63 kg (20 kg bar + 30 kg + 30 lbs), FAIL on 4th rep.

It is worth noting here that 63 kg is about 139 lbs.

My previous record is a 160 lb. three rep max.

Workout was followed by coffee, water, and 3 block breakfast (chicken thigh plus grapefruit and apple).

Pull-Up Challenge, Day 4

Rep #1, 6;15 am: I hit the first pull-up (front, “false” u-grip) at the workout. Failed on a second rep (reverse, “false” u-grip).

Reps #2-3: After 11:00 am at home (front, “false” u-grip): feeling strong!

Rep #4: At about 3:00 pm (ffug); not feeling as strong; serious pain in my callouses.

A Note Concerning Power (Intensity) and My Personal Pull-Up Challenge

The formula for power is as follows:

                          Work x Distance
Power (aka Intensity) =    _______________

This formula allows us to analyze the way a pull-up challenge will result in increasing power for me, and therefore, in theory at least, will force an adaptive response (stronger lats, greater fitness with respect to this one task).

One rep of a pull up is always a set amount of “Work x Distance” for me. Or rather, it is, assuming my arms remain the same length (duh), my grip remains constant (actually it varies), and my weight remains about the same (I must bear in mind that I am losing weight at a rate of close to one pound per week lately). All things being equal day to day, each rep of pull-ups amounts to the same load.

Since I increase the number of reps done per day, the denominator of the equation is constantly increasing, which points towards increasing power.

On the other hand, you’ll notice that I spread the reps out through the day. I do this to encourage recovery and growth in strength. Also, if at this stage I tried to do them all in one minute, I’d fail at the task. So it’s necessary.

Obviously, if I could do them more quickly, that’d be more intense (i.e. it would generate more power).

But the beauty of the challenge model is that the maximum value for “T” [ as in the formula P = (W x D) / T ] is 24 hours. At first, I can go as slowly as I want. Later, I can do some quickly, and others slowly. But no matter how you look at it, over the course of the three months power output will is very likely to increase. As I approach 100 reps per day, the available rest time (= waking hours less minutes spent doing pull-ups) will shrink. Bingo! Intensity achieved.

Rest Day; Pull-Up Challenge (PUC) Day 3

Rest Day

In my training schedule, today is a “rest day.” It happens also to be a “rest day” on the main CrossFit site, but our rest days only line up once in a while. Yesterday on the main site it was a new “hero” workout named for Daniel Hansen. There is a chance that our workout tomorrow will incorporate elements of this workout (with the exception of the Glute-Ham Sit-Up, for which we lack equipment). I’ll let you know.

So, a rest day. Today I’m enjoying a day dedicated to recovery. I am eating very little food, trying to recover from overeating yesterday, and trying not to screw with my weekly weigh-in. And I am working on grading my papers. It feels good because they are FINAL papers. Summer is coming in.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 3

This is day three of the pull-up challenge I announced yesterday.

I knocked out my 3 pull-ups today in only two sets. One front (regular) u-grip pull-up in the first set, and two consecutive reverse u-grip pull-ups in the second.

Yes you read correctly: I actually did two unassisted pull-ups in a row today. It’s been 11 years

Pull-Up Challenge

Status Quo with Pull-Ups

Here’s the deal with my pull-ups.

I am 6’2″ / 189 lbs / 40 y.o., and was never any good at pull-ups. Pull-ups are my weakest CrossFit related exercise. Pull-ups were were the weakest link in my “Tabata Something Else” yesterday.

At the gym these days I use a rubber-band to assist me through all workouts that call for pull-ups. And I’ve been saying for a while that I wasn’t really progressing with them. I want change.

It happens that, at home I also have a home pull-up bar of my own making. And some bands. At present I can do about 10 pull ups with a small (1.25″) assistance band.

A Pull-Up Challenge

To my surprise, yesterday I did a dead hang pull-up on my bar at home. So today I again did one. And later I did another one.

It’s my home brew Pull-Up Challenge. Tomorrow I will do 3. On up to as many days as I have access to a pull up, or 100, whichever comes first.