wednesday front squat and first crack at wod three

Wednesday morning, going in to CFA at 6:00 am, I was already feeling nervous about open sectionals WOD #3, which had been announced the night before: 5 minutes max reps clean and jerk at 165 lbs. 165 lbs, that’s 100% of my 1 rep max! I knew I could do at least some reps but it is becoming more and more clear that I am not in any real sense of the word “competitive” in CrossFit at this time. Maybe in a few years when I am a master? Anyway, I came into the gym nervous about it. But also glad, because, while I may not be as strong as the next guy, I do enjoy lifting those heavy things.

The Wednesday workout strength/skill was Front Squat 5-5-5-2-2-2-2 and then the prescribed WOD was some kind of circuit. I didn’t notice at first that CrossFit Games competitors would be doing the open sectionals WOD, but by the time we were done with warm-up and getting towards the front squats, Shanna was talking to Matt Smith, Tom Rehm and I about taking that first shot at WOD 3.

Thus, I decided to warm up the clean while doing the front-squats.

Front Squats

Full clean & 4 front squats x 95 / fc & 4 x 115 / fc & 4 x 135

Clean and Jerks

2 x 1 x 165

WOD 3: Five Minutes AMRAP Clean and Jerk

Result: 4 rounds + 1 clean, i.e. 9 points.

I did the first two reps before a minute was up, knocked out the next two before 4 minutes. But then I hit my fifth full clean and yet missed the jerk. Then I power cleaned it again, and missed another attempt. Time up.

Volume / Stimulus Analysis

So, in truth, today I did a total of 6 full clean and jerks at 165, plus one more full clean, plus one power clean at 165. Plus the cleans & front squats.

Prior to today I had, in my whole life, put 165 overhead after cleaning it only one time. I had done maybe one more total rep of the full clean at 165. Today I did 6. I feel good about that. Screw competitive. This is going to make me stronger. Multiple reps at 100% of my 1 RM? You better believe that’s an awesome stimulus. Bodyweight clean and jerk (185) here I come!

saturday lifting

Another night of sleep. Blessed sleep. And then, on Saturday, blessed sunshine. I feel my humanity returning.

And then, to find myself in the place I want to be: on the black rubber flooring of my gym, surrounded by dedicated athletes and in the company of friends. What could be more pleasing than a leisurely Saturday lifting session in spring weather?

I showed up to the Open Gym time at CFA at about 11:00 am, planning to do Overhead Squats, Cleans, Pull-Ups, and Shoulder Press. And that’s what I did.

Overhead Squats

5 x 45 / 1 x 95 / 3 x 105 / 3 x 5 x 90. Volume: 1,985. What happened here: for some reason I thought I’d be doing three sets of 5 at 105. The first two sets at bar weight and at 5 were supposed to warm me up for that. Which was poor planning anyway (where’s my set of 3 at 75?) Anyway, when I snatched that 105 and started to squat it, I realized it was NOT HAPPENING. So I got out my handy iPhone, looked up my numbers and the master plan I’ve been working with and realized today was planned for 3 x 5 x 90. Oh. Duh. No wonder that 105 felt like crap. Gotta crawl before you can walk.


In between warm-up sets and actual sets of OHS I did some pull-ups. Nothing dramatic or fancy.

5 x 3 x pull-ups at body weight; 1 x 1 x pull-up w/ +5 lbs. I.E. 6 sets; first three sets normal grip; next three sets reverse grip.


1 x 95 / 1 x 115 / 1 x 135 / 7 x 1 x 155. Volume: 1,430.

What can I say? This was awesome. 155 lbs is a good place for me to be working, for now. I’m just scared enough of the weight to keep it interesting. It challenges my form just enough to make me have to think about not thinking about it. Next time I do a clean workout I will do 10-12 sets of 2 at 155, with 10s rest between reps. After that I’ll try to set a new 1 rep max, and hopefully get it up above 170.

Shoulder Press

I am going on the attack against the pain in my left shoulder. After Friday’s WOD #2, with its 84 push-ups, I was surprised that I had as little pain in my left shoulder as I did afterwards. The lesson clearly is that movement helps. You don’t clear injuries by not using the injured part.

I kept it light. I kept the form strict. I kept the tempo reasonable, i.e. 1 up, 1 rest, 2 down, 1 rest, repeat.

7 x 45 / 7 x 55 / 7 x 65.

A Last Bit of Fun…

I was working out with my pal Matt Smith during all this. And he decided to do some farmer’s carries with 53 lb kettlebells at the end of the WOD. So I joined him for one round. I did a 200 ft farmer’s carry, shuffling fast (Matt was basically running but he’s crazy like that). That was a fun end. Stretch out the biceps. :-)

The Aftermath

I was surprisingly exhausted later in the day. And sore. SORE and STIFF. I love lifting.

skinny white boy cleans

Hopped up on the Jack3d I made my way to the 6:00 am CFA workout, where I was pleased to see Cleans (heavy sets of 2) in the hopper, plus a redux of “Black Box in the Dark,” which the affiliate did last September, but I skipped (I was recovering from the Half Marathon). For details on today’s WOD see the CFA webpage.


Quick footwork, etc., drills, followed by dislocates, mobility, and calisthenics.

Strength: Cleans (Heavy Sets of 2)

Still don’t have proper weightlifting shoes. Won’t have them until my finances stabilize, either. Which might be a few weeks, that’s for sure.

I worked with Brian Cohen and we moved fast. After movement specific warm-ups at 45#, we did a few quick sets. I did not PR in the 2-rep range, but, as it turned out, I did PR in the 1 rep range.

Result: 2 x 95 / 2 x 135 / 2 x 155 / 1 x 165 (PR) (fail on 2) / 2 x 155.

I didn’t have a clear plan and didn’t know what I was doing really. I barely made it out of the second rep on that last set of 2 x 155. The session really got me riled up and I behaved kind of badly. I cursed, threw the bar down a lot, and even kicked the garage door, which hurt my right foot and leg quite a bit (the old break site was aching all day). It was stupid to get upset, since a perusal of my past efforts in the clean (on this blog, aka squat clean) clearly show that I really haven’t done as much with this movement as I might think I have. So later, I felt bad and had to apologize for my bad attitude.

I need to Front Squat and do the full Clean more often! It’s coming! But not this week.

WOD: Black Box in the Dark

Box: 30″. 3 min AMRAP of 6 ring push ups and 9 box jumps (30″ box). 1 min rest, 3 rounds through. Total rounds: 9. Fun WOD.

OHS and Cleans EMOMonday

The briefest of records. Monday 6:00 am CFA. Poor sleep, better diet. I am trying!

Strength: Overhead Squat

OHS: 45×10 / 75×5 / 85×5 / 95 x 5 / 105×2 / 110×2 / 115×2 / 120xf / 120×2 / 125×2 (PR)

The fact that my diminutive coach, Shanna, put up 135 in this lift is NOT going to make me feel inferior. I SWEAR. God bless it.

WOD: “Can’t Stop”

Not gonna explain this here. See the CFA website for details.

Weight: 110# x 7 x 4 cleans emom w/ double unders in balance of time remaining; total score: 35 double unders.

Post WOD weigh-in: 190.5 lbs (!!)

Clean Winds

Friday morning 6:00 am, doing just a wee bit better on the sleep front, I was there. Warmed up, got loose, did below the knee cleans 3×3 and (full) cleans 3×3 then Burpees and Power Cleans, 20/10-16/8-12/6-8/4-4/2 (total of 60 burpees and 30 power cleans).


Result: below the knee: 3 x 75 / 3 x 85 / 3 x 95; full clean: 3 x 115 / 4 x 125 (f on 5) / 3 x 135. I tried to book a new 5-rep PR in there, by doing 5 reps on the 125 set; unfortunately I didn’t make it! What I had forgotten was that I already got a 5 rep PR at 125 on 12/24. Maroon. I tied my previous 3-rep PR (from September).

WOD: “Winded”

Result: I used 110 lbs on the Power Cleans (70% of my 5 RM). Time: 9:23. Burpees felt slow but mostly solid.

Program Notes

Again, I would like to note here, as I did on Wednesday, that my training is feeling unfocused, my sleep pattern has been horrible, and my diet rules are all jumbled up and being constantly ignored. I need to refocus this program and soon. I haven’t felt this unfocused in these things in a long while.

more fun at the MAC

I spent another morning with my dad at the Multnomah Athletic Club today.

While I was warming up, I discovered, to my joy/embarrassment, that they do indeed have squat racks. They are tucked away in another corner of the huge fitness center room. I was super pleased and immediately changed my plans from working on clean and jerk to working on the straight up clean, and doing dynamic work sets in the squat.


Lunges, Inchworms, Karaoke high and low, butt kicks, bear crawl. Double under practice (about 3 minutes). Shoulder dislocates; hip mobility. Overhead Squats w/ 15 lb bar (10); pull-ups dead hang w/ red band (10); push-ups (10); GHD extensions (10).


New “paper” 5 RM today. Previous 5 RM was ridiculously low (105 lbs) due to a simple error in training, and due to the fact that I rarely work the full clean especially in the 5 rep range (this low PR has stood since September).

I did not worry about whether the new PR would really establish a “max” in terms of my current neuro-muscular capabilities (with a 3 rep front squat of 185, a 5 rep front squat of 165, a 1 rep max clean and jerk of 165, I ought to have a higher 5 rep clean number than I do even after today). Instead, working with the long view, I just wanted to push myself to somewhere I’ve never really been before.

Result: 5 x 45 / 5 x 65 / 3 x 88 / 1 x 110 / 5 x 125 (PR). Volume: 1,369.


I hadn’t really thought about where my 135 x 5 x 5 from Monday was taking me with my training. The volume of that workout (and the time-frame too) was similar to a 70% x 12 x 2 @ 60s. So doing a 60% x 12 x 2 or a 70% x 12 x 2 didn’t make much sense to me. Instead, I broke with Corey’s protocol and attempted to do a dynamic effort 80% x 12 x 2. The trick would be still to move that higher weight using the prescribed slow descent and fast press (x131) movements that distinguishes a dynamic effort session from a normal session. Anyway, I think it worked, so I think this bodes well for my next PR attempt in back squat.

Result: 155 lbs x 12 x 2 @ 60s. Volume: 3,720

Bench Press

I had a few minutes left in my hour, so I thought I would add some bench press in there. I decided to use a slightly higher rep range today than on Monday, which seemed reasonable since I had just discovered a tentative 1 RM.

Result: 3 x 135 / 3 x 145 / 3 x 150 (PR) / 5 x 140 (PR) / 5 x 135. Volume: 2,665.

These are more “paper” PRs, the result of never training the bench press. I think I’m going to bench more or less once a week this spring and see what I can do with it. Just for kicks and the sake of variety. (And yes, for further Yokeage, P.B.)

Monday’s post-challenge movement

Monday AM, two days after the Carolina Fitness Challenge, although my health was a bit compromised from terrible sleep and questionable nutrition on Sunday, I showed up, and that says something. As is indicated in the comments to the day’s WOD posted on the CFA site, “I MOVED!” It makes me happy. It left me feeling happy to be alive.

It’s not important to note the specifics of the results of my Monday workout here. There was little that I did which might impact the overall direction of my training.

I did three sets of Hang Cleans at 95, and then over four sets I practiced the Clean at 115. (Total volume: 1,775).

And then I goofed around on WOD, going light with the dumbbells and focusing on form on the row, fun on the box jumps, and speed on the push-presses.

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!