slosh pipes and programming for olympic lifting crossfitters

More stuff I’ve been reading on, for your edification. This week: Dan John on the slosh pipe and Nick Horton’s take on reconciling Olympic Lifting training with CrossFit.

Training Gear: Slosh Pipe

Dan John with another winning article at T-Nation: “The Sloshing Pillar of Pain.” I have got to get one of these in my backyard. Thanks to T-Bone for this tip.

Nick Horton, The Iron Samurai, on Programming for Olympic Lifting and CrossFit

Thanks to Mie on Facebook for pointing out Nick’s blog, and this recent article he wrote on the troublesome combination of Olympic Lifting and CrossFit, “The Odd Couple: How To Combine CrossFit with Olympic Weightlifting.” (Anyone who hasn’t noticed that CrossFitters and Olympic Lifters tend to have problems getting along should just talk to Tamara. Oh well.) Horton has some simple advice on programming for this situation that makes a lot of sense. In fact, Horton, whose gym is out in Portland, Oregon, my home town, seems like an all around straightforward weightlifting badass. Meaning he has his head on straight. There’s nothing superfluous in his advice for those who want three easy steps to Olympic Weightlifting training. But one thing the article makes clear is why people think you can’t combine training for Oly Lifting with CrossFit. Both of these articles are worth your time.

Delirium Tremens

CrossFit Asheville does the Hero WOD “D.T.,” again. I use 105#. This is up from 95# in April. I am making my way slowly towards the Rx’d 155#.

Going Ape

After a decent, but short sleep, and a one block breakfast, I got to CFA by about ten minutes to six for the WOD, totally clueless about what to expect. It was fun. SO GREAT TO BE BACK.


Running H-Drills with side shuffles, low and high karaoke steps, etc. Stretching. Squats (15), Chest to Bar Pull-Ups (11, fast, with small band assist, minimal kipping), Box-Jumps (10), and… did I do anything else? Maybe I skipped the 4th part.


FRONT SQUAT (5 rep max)

5 x 45
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 135 (PR)
4 x 145 (PR for 3 rep max), failed on 5th rep.
It sure felt good to get back to the olympic lifting and still find myself capable of setting a PR.

WOD: “Gorilla”

Today’s CrossFit Asheville Met-Con WOD:
5 rounds for time:
100m grip farmer’s carry (hold dumbbell’s on wide side or plate’s from edge M-25lbs, W-15lbs)
12 kettlebell swings (M-53lbs, W-35lbs)
15 knees to elbows


Old Iron Balls

A “rest day,” with respect to surfing (which basically means my wife asked me to stay home today and help with Lena), nevertheless I got in a killer WOD, based on two recent CrossFit Asheville WODS, from today (Monday, July 20th, 2009) and from Saturday (July 18th).


Old Iron Balls: yes, this is the approximately 75-80 lb weight bar I've been using here in Arch Cape

Jump Rope (x20), Push-Ups (10), Jump-Rope (x40), Sit-Ups (10), Jump-Rope (x80), Squats (10), Jump-Rope (x160), Pull-Ups (10 w/ small resistance band); Mountain Climbers (10 per side), Burpees (5), Kipping Swings (5), Knees to Elbows (5), Surfer Get-Ups (5 per side), Ring-Dips (5).

Skill Work

Practiced Handstand, Headstand, and Handstand Push-Ups using a resistance band harness. Practiced a pull-up-bar muscle-up with a large resistance band (this is technically challenging; I did get one, however).

Strength WOD: Mini-Manson

This WOD is based on today’s CrossFit Asheville WOD, “manson.” I did it with Old Iron Balls, my too-weird-to-believe it found object weight-bar, which is either a 75 or 80 pound bar.

1-2-3-4, Deadlifts and Hang Power Cleans; 4-3-2-1, Front-Squats and Push-Presses

Results: 3 minutes 20 seconds.

Metcon WOD: Short Cindy

This one goes out to X-fit Asheville’s Saturday “Ladies’ Choice” WOD. In retrospect I could have managed a full Cindy, but I stuck to plan and did only a 15 minute “short Cindy.”

Short Cindy: AMRAP in 15 minutes of: 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats.

Results: 8 full rounds in 15 minutes 32 seconds.

Yes I went over the time limit in order to do 8 full rounds. If that’s not ok with the CrossFit gods perhaps I can atone later in some way.

For those of you who are counting that is: 40 pull-ups, 80 push-ups, and 120 squats. YES I DID THE PULL-UPS on this WOD without RESISTANCE BANDS … so there! (This is only the second time I have done a CrossFit WOD without band-assists on the pull-ups. My kipping pull-ups remain pretty basic, pretty shitty really, but they were there and that’s how I did 40 unassisted pull ups in a 15 minute span.

I previously did the full length Cindy two months ago on May 15th. Then: I used resistance bands for the pull-ups and did only 11 rounds in 20 minutes. Now: I did 8 rounds in 15.5 minutes (implying 10 or more rounds total) and did not use bands. I’d call that improvement.

Afterworkout: More Surfer Get-Ups

Relax… just 10 more for good measure. Hitting the waves again tomorrow AM! Yes!

Level Headed (CrossFit Seattle)

A Macaque Monkey at the Seattle Zoo

A Macaque Monkey at the Seattle Zoo

Gosh I slept terribly last night — tossing and turning, looking for comfort — and little nephew Hugo got up at 4:00 am and started playing on the floor RIGHT ABOVE where we were sleeping. So I guess I got between 4 and 6 hours total sleep… I’m not sure. 1 block breakfast, and off to Level 4 CrossFit Seattle for their 6:00 am group class. Before coming out West I had contacted Level 4 general manager Nancy Meenen, who was super nice and welcomed me as a drop in.

The trainer at the 6:00 am session was Matt Alford, who turned out to be a super cool guy, very high energy, and clearly a strong and fit dude. I guess you have to have all these qualities, when your day job is teaching grade school gym class (in comparison, adult CrossFitters probably have a tendency to scream a little less than 3rd graders).

Warm Up

A jog around the block (maybe 600 meters?) followed by a very interesting, Yoga-influenced warm up that combined some static stretching and dynamic movements. I wish I could have memorized the sequence of moves. Some of the stuff was pretty good. It certainly got me worked up. One thing I do remember that I liked were moves that combined PVC shoulder dislocates with forward bend stretching with snatch and overhead squat training, and another move that used the PVC pipe to facilitate ballistic leg swings. Fun stuff!


Incredibly… the strength component was to find a 15 rep (yes, 15 rep) max on the Overhead Squat. I only did about 3 full sets, I think.

15 x 20 kg
15 x 30 kg
11 x 35 kg


Turns out the OHS strength work was designed to help identify a work weight for the WOD, which I am calling “Level Headed.”

Seven rounds of:
7 x Thrusters
7 x Pull Ups
For time.
Work with a partner, each partner completes the round before moving on to the next round.

Obviously, this WOD resembles a broken down version of Fran. But it has 4 more reps than Fran, and for most people, the weights were lighter. On the other hand, I do think that the strongest and fastest Level 4 folks were actually using heavier weights than Fran and were also wearing weight vests! Holy shit.

My partner was a nice enough guy, named Bruce. He was a little slower than me, and ended up scaling down his weight for the Thrusters, but we were probably the best matched in the group, so, there it is. Our time was the slowest in the house. :-( But what are you gonna do?

Results: Thrusters: 35 kg, Pull-Ups: smallest (black) band
Total time: 12 minutes something (yes I forgot to get the exact time).

Fun in Seattle

Afterwards, we took a little trip to the Seattle Zoo with the families. Very fun.

The Winged M

This post actually concerns my workout from yesterday. It was a nice day in Portland. I got a decent amount of sleep, about 7 hours in total (one waking), but I did take a sleep aid, so that helped. My Dad and I rode bikes up to the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC).

The Winged M

The Winged M, symbol of the Multnomah Athletic Club

The MAC is an old hidebound Portland club, a place with fantastic facilities but with an overly exclusive and self-important air. Portlanders would understand (and for various reasons probably object to) this description. In CrossFit terms, the MAC isn’t a GloboGym, since there’s no chain of them — so I guess you would call it a LocoGym. Like so many local gyms, it too is filled with people vainly in search of fitness during long slow runs on treadmills and witless plodding on stair-climbers. Yet, from the perspective of CrossFit, there’s a lot to admire about this club. The club houses many competitive teams in a variety of sports including basketball, gymnastics, running, skiing, squash, wrestling, and many others. For the self-motivated CrossFitter they have great weights — including an olympic bar platform and a set of bumper plates (although they have an absurd “don’t drop the weights from above the knee” rule) — a proper pull-up bar, and concept II rowers.

Warm Up

2 rounds of: 100 revolutions of jump rope, 15 push-ups, 100 jump rope, 15 sit ups, 100 jump rope, 15 squats, 100 jump rope, max rep pull-ups. On the pull-ups I did one set of 7! dead hang (new PR) pull-ups, and one set of 5 (4 dead hangs and one kipping). As strong as I am, as long as I have been doing CrossFit (going on 7 months) I should be able to do more pull-ups, but… well, I am working on it.

Strength: Deadlift

Worked on finding my 5-rep max deadlift. I’m not sure I found it before I had done more than enough work sets.

5x115kg (PR)

For the metrically challenged, 115 kg = 253.5 lbs.

I felt good about these deadlifts (or, “healthlifts” as Corey and Shanna and Randy call them now): my form was pretty solid. I thank my coaches at CrossFit Asheville for helping me dial that in over the past half year.

WOD: “The Winged M”

3 rounds of:
1000 meter row
30 push-ups
For time.
Record individual 1000m times and total time.

Well, I forgot to note my start and end times exactly (I didn’t have my watch), but here are my results: Total time: about 16 minutes; rows: 3:44.2, 3:47.8, 3:50.6.

Off to Seattle

After this workout I drove the family to Seattle to visit my sister and brother in law and their family. And of course, the drive is another kind of workout! It’s going to be a great trip.

“No Limits”

Played poker last night with my whiskey-swilling, cigarette-smoking, pizza-scarfing comrades in vice, and I managed to escape with minimal damage (certainly no cigarettes, only two shots of whiskey, and only one slice of Papa John’s Meat Lover’s Pizza — call it a mini-cheat; it did not appreciably throw off the day’s totals). Went to bed by about 1:00 am, but could not fall asleep until 3:00 am. Reset the alarm… got up at 6:15, 1 block b’fast, 7:00 am CFA workout. Yeah that’s right, I got 3 hours of sleep. I’m gonna need coffee… and then a nap.

Warm Up

Agility drills (karaokes footwork of various types, standing broad jumps, one legged broad jumps, bear crawls, crab walks, etc.); dislocates, sampsons, hips, hams, calves, push-ups (15), squats (15), knees to elbows (15), pull-ups (12).

I gotta get back on the Pull-Up tip. I can feel my Lats wilting.

We finished warming up with Burgener clean progression.

The WOD: “No Limits”

Today’s CrossFit Asheville WOD:
20 minute AMRAP:
5 Thrusters
7 Hang Power Clean
10 Sumo Deadlift High-pull
Rx’d Men: 95#; Women: 65#.

No desire to kill myself; I am satisfied with doing more than the Rx’d women’s weight. I used a 20kg bar and 15# per side, or 74.1 pounds.

Results: 8 rounds exactly.

This is a great workout. Think about it: 8 rounds is 40 thrusters, 56 HPCs, and 80 SDHPs. All in 20 minutes. 176 reps is a lot of work. Gotta love CrossFit.