saturday snatches again

Actually Saturday was a great day, full of activity. Fun. Here’s a summary of it.

Woke up, worked on shoulder and forearm mobility. Boxing/Karate shadow boxing. Hamstring flexibility. Shoulder work with 5 & 10 lb plates: high-pulls, rotations, presses, T3s, all x12-20. Push-Ups (10).

Then: working out with my Jump Rope in the back yard, 15 minute timed session. Result: I got sweaty!.

After: Weighted Dead Hang Pull Ups (1x +10, 2x +5); weighted Ring Dips (1x +10, 1x +5).

Later: meeting of the Asheville Barbell Club in Brian’s driveway. It was lightly raining, off and on, and humid, with patches of bright sun. Hot. The driveway is not level. It is not smooth. It is not safe for snatching. We did so anyway. My intention was to do full snatches, but the conditions were not ideal. I resorted to some ugly form and found power snatching easier on the uneven, unlevel, unfinished surface.

Asheville Barbell Club workout:

450 meter warm-up run

OHS 5×45

Snatch Balance 5×45

Hang Power Snatch 5×45

Snatch 1x : 45, 65, 65, 75, 75, 85, 85, 85, 95, 95, f x 105, ps 1x 105, s 105, ps 1x 115, 1 x 115 (ugly!), f x 115, ps (ugly) 125 (technical PR but not happy about it), f x125, f x 125

Front Squat 1 x 8 x 130. (A set done just for fun).

This was all followed by the customary beer.

Previous PR in snatch and power snatch seems to have been 120 x 2 power snatch, 115 x 1 snatch. I need to do some volume in the snatch at 85-90% of my 1rm full snatch (115lbs, i.e. 95-105 lbs). Next snatch workout: warm-up, then 20-25 full snatch reps at 95 lbs.

Later: more mobility work.

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.

Friday CrossFit sectionals WOD #1 aka I’m screwed

I was happy to make it to the 6:00 am workout on Friday at CFA, but immediately felt intimidated by the WOD: we’d be doing the 2011 CrossFit Games Sectionals WOD #1, a 10 minute AMRAP of 30 double-unders and 15 Power Snatches at 75 lbs.

I’m not even going to get into the anti-Aromas buzz around the instructions for the WOD, which equate any ground to head movement with power snatches (this is an anathema to the Oly lifting world, of which I am now part).

What gets me about the workout is that it involves Double Unders, which spelled instant death for me. So.

After a warm-up, we did the WOD.

I slogged it through the double unders, pathetically. I barely made it into round 3, getting about 5 or 6 double unders. Pathetic! The better athletes at our affiliate got upwards of 5 rounds.

Following the workout we did some lunge squats and ring rows. I did 3 rounds, with 30 lbs and 35 lbs, 6-8 reps per leg, and 6-8 ring rows.

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.

Back Squat 5 RM and Power Snatch / Knees to Elbows 21-15-9

Something about this morning’s workout drained the hell out of me. There was no thought in my mind of being able to do any additional volume. In fact, I felt shaky and weak all day for some fracking reason.

Warm-Up: the usual footwork type drills, then dislocates and mobility. Push-ups (20); pull-ups (10, blue band; I know, but I was feeling funny and weak even before the workout); overhead squats (10); sotts press w/ pvc (10); and side planks (about 60 seconds per side).

Strength: Back Squat 5 RM. Result: 45 x 10 / 95 x 5 / 135 x 3 / 180 x 1 / 190 x 5. Wicked hard. Those heavy weights left me light headed, dizzy, almost shaking. Volume: 2,460.

WOD: 21-15-9 of Power Snatch (limited to 95 lbs or 70% of 5 RM, i.e. 75 lbs — rounded down — for me) and Knees to Elbows. This WOD was a real challenge, not for the power snatches (the middle sets were most difficult) but for the combination of power snatch and k2es, which left the forearms completely spent, already by the middle round. Result: 7:20. Not the fastest, not the slowest; not the heaviest or lightest. I was happy enough. Especially with my last set of power snatches.

Finally, to finish off the WOD and counterbalance the stiff, spent weakness of my forearms, I did some handstands; which felt good. Getting there!

Front Squat and a Devilish Trio

WOD today was front squat strength progression (60% x 2 x 12 [x131] @ 30s intervals; I used 95 lbs). Then a 10 minute AMRAP of 6 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls, 6 Burpees, and 6 Power Snatches, prescribed as 50% of 5 RM Power Snatch, for me that’s 55 lbs. I did 7 rounds + 4 SDHPs. Daniel referred to this WOD as the Devil’s workout.


I came into the 6:00 am WOD with very little sleep (maybe from 12:00 am to 2:00 am and from 3:00 am to 5:00 am; JZ is sick). I was in a “fasted state” (last meal was a low fat dinner of stewed chicken breast, carrots, tomatoes, onions, with grilled asparagus in olive oil, and fresh spinach, finished before 7:00 pm) but added BCAAs and Jack3d before training. Got there early, did some solid mobility work. Warm up was nothing much to report; usual drills, dislocates, mobility, plus K2Es (10, no swing), pull-ups (dead hang, blue band, set of 10), push-ups (10) and front squats (12 w/ 30# bar). A fun morning. This time around it felt good to keep to a training schedule in spite of lack of sleep; I take these rough mornings on a case by case basis. The workout was tough but not too bad. My left shoulder was still giving me some pain, mainly in the overhead hand-clapping portion of the burpees (!). It forced me to remain ultra conscious of my form. Which is never a bad thing. Overall I feel great coming into this week. I am pretty sure I have a strong training week ahead of me.

Paris, Burning

Ouch! Something about today’s workout put the hurt on me. I’m not injured, it’s just that when I finished my work (dead last in the 6:00 am class) I felt like dying. I took a walk through the bank parking lot so my pain wouldn’t be so evident to all.


I got decent sleep last night (finally) (maybe 10:00 pm to 5:00 am with minimal waking in between). I’ve been very good about my daily half-fasts (no food after 8:00 pm, no food until after 8:00 am) and have found that training in a fasted state — before the WOD I drink a lot of water, but take no food and no coffee — has been working pretty well for me.

Running-style footwork, stretching; overhead squats (10); GHD sit-ups (10); ring dips (I forced out 6 unassisted and then did 6 with a red band); and pull-ups (10, kipping, semi-consecutive).

Strength: Power Snatch

I came into this knowing that my most recent power snatch 5 rep PR was set more just over a year ago (a year and a day, actually, 08/19/09) almost to the day. What a year it has been. I couldn’t believe that I haven’t had an opportunity to work this great lift in this fashion since then! My previous PR was 105, but given my recent work on “the Cred” I thought I could easily top that. Not so fast buster! Going in, my plan was WACK; and although I got a new PR (and, apparently, snatch more weight than any other member today, which seems … odd) it wasn’t what I went in thinking of.

My plan was to shoot for a 20 lb PR (stupid, I know) and I laid out my lifts accordingly. But I made an error in my calculations when I loaded up the bar, and ended up totally failing on my 1 rep set of the 5/3/1 progression! But I recovered, did a 2 rep set, and then blasted out a new PR at 5 lbs above my previous weight.

Results: 5 x 70 / 3 x 90 / fail x 120 (ERROR; supposed to be 110) / 2 x 105 / 5 x 110. Shanna’s feedback was that the last rep was a slight press out, which means, I think, that I start the work cycles on power snatch next time around. Also, although she didn’t mention it, I know that my landing was too wide, and on several reps I could feel my right knee shoot out to the side.

Still, I felt good about my new PR.

WOD: “Paris”

This WOD is “Helen” but with burpees instead of pull-ups. Hence the name, Paris (Helen’s lover in the Illiad; the cad whose seduction caused the Trojan war).

3 rounds for time:
400 meter run
21 kettlebell swings (53 lbs Rxd)
12 burpees

I did this WOD as Rx’d, but was very slow.

Result: 12:45

This hurt bad. It took me several minutes to get my composure back afterward. I was drenched in sweat.

3 mile bike ride

The difficult WOD didn’t stop me, later, from riding my bike from my mechanic’s back home. I had to drop my wife’s Subaru off at Organic Mechanic in West Asheville, which I did at about 8:15 am. A few minutes later I rode off on my bike and was home pretty quick. I did not actually check the time. It is a kind of difficult ride, beginning with a really fun downhill, across the French Broad River, and then back up the hill on the other side. Needless to say, this week has been a bit of a stretch for me. But it’s all good.

More later.

Rainy Day Deadlifts, Presses, and Snatches; My Summer Strength Cycle

Monsoon like weather kept me from the ocean today. Tomorrow awaits for more surfing. So I did yardwork and lifting.


Yardwork, especially pruning of trees; a lot of overhead work with large pruning shears, and raking and dragging of debris with a set of prongs. I also cut down a tree with a chainsaw.

Pull-ups (12).

Strength A: Deadlift 40/50/60

Result: Deadlifts, 135 x 5, 165 x 5, 195 x 5

Strength B: Shoulder Press Work Sets

Result: Shoulder Press, 105 x 5 x 5

Strength C: Power Snatch Short Ladder

Result: Power Snatch, 105 x 1, x 2, x 3, x 4, x 5


Immediately following the lifts, I worked like a woodsman Sisyphus, pushing a wheelbarrow full of yard debris around for an hour or so. It was a nasty and rainy gray day at the beach today.

My Summer Strength Cycle

I just discovered Jay Ashman’s Strong Island Strength and Conditioning blog and I think it’s pretty cool. I plan to use it this summer to help design my lifting program. At first I thought I would just jump in with today’s WOD and follow along… hence the deadlift 40/50/60 above but I see now that was a mistake. His athletes are at a different level than I am, and anyway, I’ve got my own agenda. Instead, after reading through the posts, I see what to do. I’ll be picking the start of one of his first work weeks (May 9th, 2010) and starting this Friday I’ll kinda go from there.

Training Cycle: Week 5/6 (Vacation Work Week)
Diet: Ad Libitum Quantities
Whole/Clean/Paleo Zone w/ 2x-4x fat
Second workout of the Week

In truth I’m actually not really following his blog at all. I’m deconstructing it and robbing it for parts. For instance, I’m going to sub power clean and jerks and power snatches for bench presses. Also, I’m going to double up the lifts. So his four week schedule will take me more like 2 weeks. Because of this, whereas he advocates a 10 lb increase in upper body lifts, and a 20 lb increase in lower body lifts, cycle to cycle, I’ll be adding more like 5 lbs and 10 lbs per week. I’m not going to follow the order he uses (shoulder press, deadlift, bench press, squat). Instead I’m going to alternate as follows: (a) power clean and jerks and squats, (b) deadlift and shoulder press, (c) power snatch and squats, (d) deadlift and shoulder press.

Then I’ll pick and choose from his metcon programming, and keep mining the CrossFit Asheville site too, for my Saturday Met-Cons. All this on top of the 5-6 days per week of surfing, naturally.

Clear as mud, right? Wait until Friday for more details.

Indian Beach and Back Squats

Training Cycle: Week 5/6 (Vacation Work Week)
Diet: Ad Libitum Quantities
Whole/Clean/Paleo Zone w/ 2x-4x fat
First workout of the Week
Summer Surf Session: 1

Surfing 01

Wildlife I’ve seen here since arriving on Sunday: a bald eagle (eating something on the beach), seagulls and pelicans, a hummingbird, bunnies, and today, while surfing, a whole bunch of harbor seals. It was just me and the seals this morning at Indian Beach. I surfed for only about 90 minutes, from about 5:45 to about 7:15.

5:30 am at Indian Beach, June 7th 2010

So… first day back in the water since October. I was grateful to be there. I battled my way out through the break (instead of sneaking around on the north side… stupid!), and, after getting outside it, paddled around for a while. My arms and shoulders complained mightily on that first paddle out! I spent time stalking the foam crescents, finding the breaking spots, trying to figure out which would offer the best ride. Some waves were large, shoulder height, but were underpowered, unstable, more choppy than I’d like. It felt awesome just floating, thinking, watching and, occasionally, doing some short “sprinting” with my upper body. I rode only very few waves. The outer break offered short rides. But I could feel my muscles waking up, the muscle memories returning. At 7:00 or so about three other surfers turned up (including one I recognized as Mark from Cannon Beach Surf); my time was almost done anyway, and I was moving out of the water. Before I had packed up and moved along, one of those three was back up in the parking lot. “I could have blown off work today,” he told me, “but those waves were nothing special; at least I can say I went surfing.” I feel the same way.

My driveway gym at Arch Cape

Strength: Back Squats Driveway Style

Did a minimal warm up (need to get better at that… throw in some running and a more clear set of calisthenics or something).

My new weight set is Chinese and cast iron. I am using it in the grass at the end of the driveway at the beach house. No dropping allowed! And currently, no racks. Everything has to be cleaned or snatched up. The back squats were low back (as low as I could get it without racks). The push jerks that finished each set were from the back, obviously.

Sets: 1 x 95 x power snatch, back squat, push-jerk;
1 x 115 x p.s., back squat, p.j.;
5 x 135 x 1 clean and jerk, 5 back squats, 1 push jerk

Volume: 2 power snatches (vol. 210); 7 behind the neck push jerks (885), 5 power clean and jerks (675), 27 back squats (3,585).

Later, the day became beautiful, and I played around with Lena on the beach, flying a kite. Also, I grabbed a 40 lb pry bar to work on the path. I moved a lot of really heavy rock, working for a while. I think I tweaked my knee, too (my left knee, the one with patellar tendonitis). It’s feeling not so great these days.

It was a beautiful day

The Cred and Various Squats

A second workout this week (not including the three days of fishing), this time at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, OR. I did 5 x 5 of dumbbell one arm power snatches, followed by some quick and dirty work with a 40 kg bar, on back squats, front squats, and overhead squats.

Training Cycle: Week 4/6 (Vacation Work Week)
Diet: Calorie Cycling (4 days low, 1 day high),
Second workout of the Week

Getting in a second workout is as much as I could ask for during a week that not only included a three day fishing trip, but also a bunch of hanging out in my home town in a small condo with two sick kids along with my with wife and parents.


Jump rope technique practice, 5 minutes. Push-ups (25); GHD sit ups (10); pull-ups (kipping, 2 sets, 10 reps total); squats (45 degree foot box, 10 reps).

Strength/Skill: Dumbbell One Arm Power Snatches (aka “The Cred”)

In reference to this exercise, I owe the term “the cred” to the blog of Keith Norris (the excellent “Theory to Practice”); see especially his post “Comments on the Cred”. His blog is great, and this lift has lately become my hands in the air favorite movement. Norris’ comments on it are sufficiently illuminating as to reveal why that might be the case.

Results: 5 x each arm x 35; 5 x e.a. x 45; 5 x e. a. x 55; 5 x e.a. x 60; 5 x e.a. x 65

Volume: 2,600 lbs (1,300 each arm).

Lifting: Squatting with a 40 kg Barbell

I went to the oly lifting platform in the MAC weight-room, and they have Ivanko kg bumper plates, but unbelievably, the damn place has a policy that weights are not to be dropped from above knee height. And they don’t have squat racks. So I had to follow my sense of prudence and keep the weight light, since I was planning to throw around a bar a bit. I set up a 20kg bar with two 10kg plates (that’s 40 kg, which is 88 lbs) and proceeded to do some quick sets of the following:

1 snatch, 5 x back squat, 1 push jerk
2 x 1 snatch, 10 x b.s., 1 p.j.
2 x 1 power clean, 10 front squat
1 snatch, 5 overhead squat
1 snatch, 7 overhead squat
1 snatch, 10 overhead squat
1 power clean, 7 shoulder press


6 snatches (585 lbs), 3 power cleans (264 lbs), 3 push jerks (behind the head) (264 lbs), 25 back squats (2,200 lbs), 20 front squats (1,760 lbs), 22 overhead squats (1,936 lbs), 7 shoulder presses (616 lbs).

I took short (that is not to say, brief) rests between these sets, but did not work “for time.” Because I was using a relatively light weight, I worked as fast as I could during the actual sets, and I did more reps than I would during a “normal” lifting session.

Between the Creds and these squats and auxillary lifts, I know I’ll feel it on Sunday. Wow.