Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Abs are starting to catch up

So Monday was deadlift day, so I was excited to work on keeping my abs tight. I was able to get 365 twice at the hopper with horrible, horrible form. Since then, I've backed down and worked on form over weight. With the new requirement of keeping tight abs, the weight I could pull plummeted down to like 250. However, my abs have been responding well to the new stress. Monday I started to feel a lot better about the lift, and managed to get back up to 335. So in one respect this is a new PR if you seperate bad form lifts from good form lifts. In any case, now that I seem to be successfully relearning the lift, the sky's the limit.

I'm a bit surprised that I still see improvement physique-wise: I've been moving this past week and the lack of proper cooking utnesils has left me eating non-zone and non-paleo for a while, and yet I still recieve compliements on losing weight. ...That reminds me, I should check out my weight just to see if I actually am losing weight, or if the fat's just turning into muscle.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pictures from Sectionals.

So I got a new camera that has a burst mode, taking 10 pictures in one second. I figured I could use it for xfit, and I took a few at the games. Here's the first one I took, it's of Laurie's first Jerk in the second wod. She dives under the bar into a beautiful warrior one pose:

Here's one of Katie doing a Push Jerk. It's amazing to see her dive under the bar. The bar isn't moving at all near the end, and you know it isn't because she's pushing up. All she is doing is lowering herself while it is weightless, right at the peak of it's parabola of momentum.

gif maker

There are a few more to come.

Heavy Cindy and Clean and Jerk

Friday's Wod was in tribute to the CFOTers who are going to sectionals. it's the first two wods of the competition:

20 minutes AMRAP
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats
with a 20# vest

3 minutes AMRAP
Clean and jerk 185#

I managed to get a 295 score, that's 5 squats short of 10 rounds. I know people at the competition will expect to see 15-25 rounds. I know I shouldn't think like this, but I'm glad I didn't want to compete, I'm just not there yet.

For the C+J, I cleaned it three times, but I failed the jerk each time. Dropped it to 135 and banged a couple out, don't remember how many. Sucked.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lifting heavy objects

For Tuesday, I got to move into a new apartment.

This may sound funny, but when carrying mattresses and whatnot I made sure to keep at tight core, really tried to engage the abs. Still had a tight back at the end of the day, but nothing a good night's sleep wouldn't fix.

This might prevent me from going to crossfit tomorrow as well.

Tuesday and Wednesday I only had one meal that was zone friendly, but still trying to eat somewhat clean.

Looking forward to the new place, and looking forward to getting back into the gym.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back Squat 5 rep max

Really worked on technique today. I wanted to focus on my core and not roll my weight forward as I come up.

I got 245 easily, bumped it up to 265 and nailed, like nailed, the first rep. The second rep, I went down nice, but when I wanted to come up I felt my body wanting to roll forward, but I put a stop to it right away. However, once I prevented going forward, I also stopped myself from coming up.

Feel like technique-wise I'm really improving, but because I'm relearning all this stuff my weights and times are going down. I can deal with that, especially if it means I'm going to start doing even better.

Saturday metcon again

I attended yet another sat wod. Really appreciate the bump back to 9:30.

800m run,
5 rounds of:
7 pullups,
7 box jump

800m run,
5 rounds of:
7 pullups,
7 burpees

For the first run, I started out kind of jogging, but then I thought "eff this" and really started to sprint. on the run back I caught up with Patrick. We ran side by side for a bit, every time I felt like slowing down I told myself I had to beat him. Near the end Patrick kind of lost the pace, and I kicked it up a notch. Was very happy with this one.

I was doing the pu's in sets of 4 then 3. The first 4 were normal, the last 3 were butterfly.

I never had to stop for the burpees, they're getting a lot easier.

Second run wasn't as fast, but I still went at a fast clip.

The box jumps were almost fun, never had a problem with them

Realized I was way too strong to not do 7 pu's unbroken, so I told myself to not stop no matter what. This was somewhat successful.
Friday's wod was a once through with rest. Sounds easy right?

500m row for time,
rest 3 min.

4 rounds of:
60ft OH lunge,
12 KB swing (70#),

rest 3 min.
400m run for time.

I've been having a bit of an issue finding a higher gear lately. I've slipped a bit with the zone (been getting ready moving), so maybe that's why, I don't know. Regardless, I couldn't break a 500m pr and got 1:36.9

With the couplet, I was all by myself pretty much (Melissa and I were the third flight, and her erg malfunctioned). I thought I was doing a good job of pushing myself, but I keep wanting to arch my back with the OH lunge. I don't want to keep tight abs, but I told my body to shut up and do it. Also realized I have issues keeping a real active shoulder. I need to work on them, think it will help greatly with my hips/abs.

The run was more like a scenic jog. Again, was all by myself and just couldn't find the moto. Time was 2:21.

I like this wod, but I just need to learn to tell my body to stop complaining.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kiss me I'm Irish

Really, really, really like this workout:

15, 12, 9 deadlifts (175w, 275m)
double the ghd situp (30,24,18)
triple the double under (45,36,27)

I lowered the weight down to 225 because I still want to really nail Deadlifts with a tight core. Jerry said the weight should be for touch-and-go, and I figured 225 could be that weight for me.

I was a little off on that calculation. I wasn't exactly touch-and-go, but I really didn't have to let go of the bar either. time was 15:16.

The GHD sit ups were awesome, was starting to really keep my stomach tight so that my lower back didn't hurt when I fully extended backwards.

The double unders were a little tricky, but I was successful is standing a little more upright while jumping. I really worked on only using my wrists to twirl the rope, and they're starting to come a little more easily and consistently. I think I got up to 26 in a row, and had multiple occasions where I got over 10. They're coming, just need a little more time.

For a while last year I think I was kind of stuck in a holding pattern, working out but not really seeing improvements that cause the excitement and positive reinforcement to do more. I know this type of thing is cyclical, that I just needed to be patient before I have my next burst of improvement, and I think I'm currently in a great uptick. I'm engaging my abs, my hip is now pretty much pain free, and people (as well as myself) have been noticing a change in my physique. It's a great time right now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mamma told me there'd be days like this

Tuesday's metcon was Clean and Jerk intensive, and it took a lot of wind out of me.

400m run
30 box jumps
15 C+J
24 BJ's
12 C+J
18 BJ's
9 C+J

Time was 23:20. We were supposed to based our weight for the C+J off of our performance with the workout last week. I decided to go with the "pack" weight, 135. I had issues with the C+J again, not with the strength but with the speed. Again, I was one of the last to finish this wod, but I feel like it's for the better. I'm still relearning everything, and keeping my abs tight for the Jerk still feels unnatural, as well as takes the breath out of me.

Massage Therapy Testamonial

So last Sunday I was out with the girlfriend at Tyson's Corner. We walked around for hours. Normally, and I mean since I can remember, my hip would start to hurt and would take quite a bit of will power to remain happy and positive and not bitter. However, for the first time I was pain-free. It really is amazing the difference I've experienced because of massage therapy.

I'm pain free, I can push myself harder, and it makes me see better results. Stuart on Friday asked if I've lost weight. He's the third CFOTer to ask, so it's not just a case of me seeing things. I honestly believe that only now am I really able to truly experience the benefits of zoning + crossfitting.

I saw Olga on Friday as well; this was the first time I had spaced out my appointment three weeks apart, so even though I felt ok I still thought it was important to see her. Appearently I was wrong. She commented that there really wasn't much work for her to do, that my muscles were SO relaxed, especially compared to what it used to be. I think it's a combination of both my muscles finally remembering a relaxed state and my new-found knowledge of foam rolling.

I'm very happy, I've now reached a point where I can take care of myself without seeing a specialist every freaking week. It's a good thing to because this was getting damn expensive.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Interval of suckage

This Wod was def not my favorite:

5 rounds (Elite)
20 pull ups
30 wall balls
400m row
rest 2 min

Mellisa said to go Elite if you could get 15 or so in a row. Since I haven't been able to string together more than 10 on the fixed bar, I figured to go Pro (16/24/320 scheme). I did pro in 3:45 on the first round so I asked Coach if I should go up or not. She kind of gave me a look and said I was "elite" and should always go as such. So the other four sets were elite, and much tougher. Pull ups were tiring, but I threw in the occasional butterfly kip to make things interesting. There was one point where I kind of felt it click, but just like that I got out of rhythem and ended up throwing myself off the bar. I think 5:45 was my best and 6:55 was my worst interval.

Wallballs were difficult, but there wasn't anything like the pain in my hip that I used to experience. I realised that the difficult part was keeping my abs flexed while squating. That was something I'm still unaccustomed to, and it just takes the breath out of me. However, it doesn't take the breath out of me as much as it used to. While doing pull ups I looked around and so some people doing wall balls. They really weren't doing them though, like they never really lowered their hips, only bending at the waist. I imagine that's easier, but if you're not doing it correctly you're only fooling yourself into thinking you're in better shape then what you actually are. I also realized that improving upon wall balls will also help with thrusters, so the better I get at wall balls, the better my Fran time should be. That provided some motivation at the end, but man it was hard to push through that last set.

This was a good wod, but I feel like I didn't really attack it. I didn't feel this gigantic pressure to finish asap. I felt more like I was stuck in a cruising mode, and I couldn't figure out how to kick it up a notch. Sigh, story of my crossfit life.


Was so tired when I went to bed I decided to turn off the alarm and just wake up when I wake up. That turned out to be around 11.

deadlift muscle up ladder

I had to go "Apollo" for this one, subbing in burbees for MU's. During the workshop Jerry mentioned subbing in transistions or jumping MU's for regular MU's, but after talking to Mellissa she talked me out of it, saying I could work on it after burning through the wod. Here goes:

Deadlift: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Burpees: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2

I really liked this workout because of the deadlifts. I toned it down to the "Mortal" level of 245 because I really wanted to work on core and not hurt myself. This time I felt like I did a much better job of keeping core tension, although near the end Mellissa told me I was still collapsing. The weight felt very heavy to me, perhaps because my core was struggling.

I did this in 9:59, and I feel bad because I feel like I slowed down so that I could really nail these deadlifts. However, an hour after this workout and my stomach was sore in parts I've never really felt before. This makes me happy, makes me feel like I'm really starting to "get" it with the core tension.

Front Squat 2 rep max, PR

So we hit the front squat, and I need to improve my form for the second rep. My first rep is always great, but after that I tend to lean forward, so I find myself taking a few steps forward as I come up. I really feel like I'm doing a better job of engaging the core, and I think this is helping me break through any plateau I may have had. I hit 225 no problem, and then I went for 245 (255 was my goal). I got the first rep in, and then got stuck on the second one. I tried it again, this time really focusing on driving through the hole, and although I "bounced" back up about two inches, I just lost control and had to dumpt the bar. After that I did another set of 225, and I although I struggled a bit it was very managable. 225 is only a 10 pound improvement over last time, but given that I've had to re-learn how to keep the core tight, I'll take it.

Wednesday, rest day

So I saw the wod was a Nicole variant, and my legs were just a little too sore for me to feel like running was a good idea. Felt bad at missing an opportunity to work on the butterfly, but there will be more along the way.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tuesday we had an interval wod of suckage:

3 rounds
2min Cl&J
1min rest

3 rounds
2min Burpees,
1min rest

2min Row,
1min rest

I chose some lighter weight, at 145#, for the clean and jerk. I didn't really have a problem with the weight, but I had a problem moving the weight quickly. My rhythm was clean, breath, regrip, breath, jerk. During the middle set I tried improving my grip on the rack and ended up dropping the weight, that was a bit deflating. My reps were 11/7/9

The burbees weren't that bad. I mean, they weren't easy, but not as tough as they usually are. I managed to get 20/20/21

The row was horrible after all of that, but I really pushed through and managed to hit 500/502/499.

My legs were sore beforehand from the running, and today didn't help at all. My glutes are actually sore to the touch, think I might have to go for an early rest day this week.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Butterflies everywhere

Had a short and sweet wod, slowly re-introducing the run:

3 rounds

400m run

100' Overhead lunge

12 pull ups

I had a really, really hard time pushing myself through this one. Throughout the workout I had Jerry in the back of my mind telling me how I need to keep pushing myself, but I just didn't feel like I had anything in the tank. Again I was one of the last to finish, this really has got to stop.

I also feel the need to point out why I was going so slow: I was engaging my abs. I used to run with my abs relaxed, relying on my lower back and hip flexors to do the job. This time I made a concerted effort to keep them contracted the whole time. I also had a tendency to relax the abs and arch my back with the lunges. Again, I had to really fight to keep my core tight and the sensation of stretching my abs while keeping them tight was exhausting as well as really unfamiliar.

However, my treat after running an lunging was an opportunity to work on the butterfly kip. This time, I think something really started to click. I was able to get three-four in a row, and the second to last rep in each set really started to feel fluid. I'm surprised at how much I have to use my biceps, but I think that's because my form isn't perfect and I'm not utilising my hips as much as I can. I still need to find a rhythm, I think I'm going to fast so I hold my legs back a little too long, so when I kick back out I'm already at the bottom of the hang. Mellisa told me the cycle rate is a lot faster than what I'm used to, so I simply need to keep those legs moving. Will remember this for next time, but I really feel like I'm making gains on this. I'm still not getting my chest to the bar, but I'm getting closer and closer. ...On the very last rep I used the standard kip, and I easily brought my chest to the bar. Seems like working on the butterfly is also helping me with the regular kip.
There was an extra workout that involved double unders. I tried to do them, but I really couldn't get it together. Again, I couldn't find a rhythm. Now, I know I have rhythm, I'm not your average white guy who couldn't hold a beat with a bucket. I used to play the string bass, and if you're able to count out 15 meters of rest in Stravinsky's Firebird that's in 5/8 time you have to have a sense of rhythm. I just need to find the right beat to jump to, and hopefully that's all I need to do.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday workout, improving the butterfly

I was really not feeling it after last night, have not drank in a long time, and now I know why. Feel very Bleh, but I knew I'd feel better after the workout:

10 Snatch, 10 lateral burpees, 10 C-t-b pullups, 10 Thrusters, 10 lateral burpees, 10 C-t-b pullups, 10 Clean and jerk, 10 lateral burpees, 10 C-t-b pullups

I used the porch weight of 95#. I really didn't feel strong, and the real reason why I wanted to do this one was to work on the butterfly. I thought to do the first set butterfly attempt and then move on, but I was so close I wanted to keep going with it. For the second to last set I started to feel something click. I've got a long way to go, but I feel like I've improved a lot since the beginning of this week.

First friday, Annie (PR) and Elizabeth

So I did Annie again, wanted to see how my double unders were faring. I kept thinking I could get away with an efficient hop, but for some reason I couldn't get high enough. I had to resort to an inefficient hop, one where I raise my feet by bending my knees. It wears me out like all get out, but it was the only way. I broke my DU PR by five, getting up to 26 DU's in a row. However, during the middle of the workout one of the end pieces of the rope flew off. This caused me to stop, run over to get another rope, and adjust the length of it. This added over a minute, but even with this extra time I did it in 11:04, two minutes faster than last time. All in all I'm pretty happy.

Since Annie is such a quick, non-strength wod I thought to add on Elizabeth, a wod I've been eying for a couple of months now. I tried doing it Rx'd, but after squat clean #3 I failed twice, so I scaled down to 95#. I wanted to really work on technique, both the hook grip and diving under the bar. I also wanted to improve keeping the core tight while in the squat position. I think I accomplished all of this. The ring dips were really, really tough. I haven't done them in a while, I never really felt like I did one really correctly: Elbows tight to the body, chest all the way down to the rings, etc. My time was 15:41. It's a start.

First friday social was awesome. I'm tired of people seeing me in my causal clothes from work or in my workout clothes, so I decided to dress it up a bit. Good times.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rest day

Another Thursday, another day of rest. Looking forward to tomorrow, thinking about doing Annie in the morning, and some other wod in the afternoon. Busy day tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another Fran, another PR

Learned this morning that the wod was Fran.

I was so nervous throughout the day. I kept thinking about it, how so many xfitters use Fran to judge others. I want to be taken seriously, and I feel like I need a sub 4 Fran to be truly impressive. I kept telling myself that I needed to view this as an opportunity to prove how much stronger I've gotten. But I really couldn't I just worried that I haven't gotten stronger, which is retarded. I mean, my hips are now much better, my rack is still shacky but improved. I was still worried about the pull ups, but not as much as those damn thrusters.

So it comes time to workout, and I'm still a bit nervous. I grab the bar and bang out the first 21 thrusters without dropping the bar, albeit I took frequent rests in the rack position. I planned for the pull ups to be done in three sets of seven, but that turned into four sets of 5-5-5-6. However, something started to click, and I could really start to feel pushing away from the bar to get a rhythm, and because I did such a great job making tape grips my hands didn't feel like the bar was ripping them apart.

The second set was done three sets of five thrusters, that really, really hurt.

The pull ups were done 5-5-5, not really a problem there.

As I went back to my barbell, I looked over at the clock, and it read something like 5:05. That was a mistake. I definitely had the thought, "wow, I'm doing so well I can take a bit of a rest." I was able to get my ass back into gear, but there was definitely a moment where I didn't feel that pressure to really push myself even harder. I did the last nine thrusters with a couple pauses to gulp down air. My core was really, really begging me to stop, but I've been getting better and better at telling it to shut up and do it's job.

I don't know if I got the last 9 pull ups in a row, but I do know that if I took a break it was like 2 seconds, a real hop down and hop back up.

When I was done the clock read 7:19. Last time I did Fran four months ago I made my goal to get a sub 7 Fran. Now I want a sub 4 Fran. At this rate, I'll be there next year.

Every time I have done Fran I have broken a record. This is a tradition I can get used to.

Clean one rep max

So Tuesday's wod was find our one rep max, and I loved it.

I learned something very important in the warm up. Mellisa mentioned that we should use the hook grip for the clean, and I thought we should only use the hook grip for the snatch. That's a little embarrassing considering that I attended the Oly cert.

Anywho, during the warm up, I had issues racking the weight, and this proved prophetic.

My goal was to break the 200# barrier, and I did so with ease, like ten minutes in. And it was a real power clean too, almost no squatting involved. It went up so easily I thought it would be ok to bump it up to 225.

That was a mistake.

I got the bar up to my shoulders, I just couldn't get the rack right. The bar kind of bounced off my shoulders/chest and fell to the ground. It was so close I went two more times, and had the same result.

I backed it down to 205, and missed that one as well. My speed strength was still there, so I went down to 195 and got it. However when I look at the video I notice that I pull early. I used to do that (it helped set off the tendonitis), so it looks like I'm just a little rusty. When I think about how effortless the clean used to be, how I had such hip extension Chriss joked he could feel it six feet away. I just need a little bit to get the rust off.

My shoulder felt it a little, think I might go see Dr. Bills and see if he can work on that pebble that is in my shoulder. That sucker is as hard as a rock, I can feel it popping out and around the pressure I apply.

I fully expect to get 225 next time, i've got the strength, I just need to incorporate the hook grip and get back to thinking of my arms as straps.

Very happy about this.

Monday, March 1, 2010

OHS running and lateral burbees

Again we had a WOD that was a variation on the first exercise for the MAC hopper challenge. This time we did running instead of push ups. Because of the weather we haven't ran in a long time, but it felt good/bad to get back out there and run.

400m run
15 OHS (Elite @ 115), Lateral burbees
400m run
12 OHS and Lat Burbees
400m run
9 OHS and Lat Burbees

Did this in 16:something. Still wouldn't have made the 15 minute cut off, which is a little frustrating. However, I learned a lot about myself when it comes to OHS's. I didn't have a problem for the first set, but I had great difficulty with the second set. After the first rep I found it so difficult I thought about lowering the weight. Then I calmed down a bit, and told myself I could do it. I had to break it up two more times, but I did it. Then I learned what my problem was in the last round.

The difficult part for me isn't keeping core tension or leg strength, it's keeping active shoulder. Once I figured that out I was much more successful, and did the last 7 without problem.

I should've remembered that active shoulder should be the thing to focus on, since that is the first to go when I try my 1 rep max. Regardless, I shall store this into my memory bank and will remember for next time.

My lateral burbees were great at first, but then my form quickly degraded. I haven't been doing the push ups as frequently as I should, hopefully this week will be different. After this wod I tried to do the butterfly kip but it was an epic fail. In a perfect world, I will try to come into the gym in the morning to work on skill, and then do the wod in the afternoon. We'll see if I'm able to get this done, although I doubt it.

I have been doing a good job on rolling out that pebble of a knot in my shoulder. The sucker really doesn't want to give at all, but I will leave it no choice: either it quits or I will quit. And I ain't quitting.