Bench Press and Box Jumps, Oh My!

We’re halfway through my week. Amazing how much better Tuesday looks when it’s your hump day. I’m ready to be to my long weekend already!

It’s Tuesday. No meetings to contend with. A bit of work, Ev took the kids to the bus and to school. A shockingly quiet day.

Ev made it to the workout today at 5am. As I have said multiple times before, this is crazy talk. But according to Drea there were 15 people in the 5am class today. That’s insane. I may have sleeping issues, but that doesn’t mean anyone should have to deal with my ugly, cranky mug at 5am.

jumping-jacks-5JBrue-clipartSo I went to the 8:30 class.🙂 Drea had me, Elyse, Sarah, Melissa, and Jake. So a small class compared to 5am!

We started with a 200m run and then did a little warm-up WOD:

  • 3 rounds for time
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 air squats
  • 15 jumping jacks

Yay, burpees?

From there we split up a little. I worked with Jake on bench press on one side and the ladies worked on the other side. Jake was in his own category however for bench press, ending up with 5 reps at 315#. I was much more modest using the following math:

  • 1RM = 230#
  • 90% of 230# = 205#
  • 65% of 205# = 135# (did this x5)
  • 75% of 205# = 155# (did this x5)
  • 85% of 205# = 175# (did this x3 with one ugly one and one that shouldn’t count because Jake was spotting me and helped with that one)

Barbell_Bench_PressCompared to Jake’s 315# there was no way. 315# is a deadlift weight for me and a heavy one at that!!

So great work Jake!

Once that was done, we got out equipment for the day’s metcon. We needed a plyo box for box jumps and whatever pad or setup we needed for the floor for handstand push-ups.

  • For time:
  • 50 box jumps, 24/20-inch box
  • 25 handstand push-ups
  • 40 box jumps, 24/20-inch box
  • 20 handstand push-ups
  • 30 box jumps, 24/20-inch box
  • 15 handstand push-ups
  • 20 box jumps, 24/20-inch box
  • 10 handstand push-ups
  • 10 box jumps, 24/20-inch box
  • 5 handstand push-ups

box-jump-failI scaled to Level II which was 30/12/25/10/20/8/15/6/10/4 and used a 20″ box instead of a 24″ box. And I did HSPUs to a 25# weight with one abmat as long as I could. I got through the first 22 and then shifted to a half HSPU/half pike push-up scheme. Between my right wrist and my biceps, I went to failure fairly quickly.

Someday I’ll figure out how to make my kipping HSPUs more efficient. I did do a few, but it was mostly strict. As soon as I lose tension in the elbow, I’m having a devil of a time generating momentum back up the wall. I suspect that’s due to the lack of kip.

But here’s my win for the day. That’s the most box jumps, even to a 20″ box, that I’ve done in one workout in forever. That’s 100 solid 20″ box jumps for me. And I’ll take it.



Great work everybody! I think though I’m proud of the box jumps it was the HSPUs that smoked me (and everybody else).

Thanks Drea for the encouragement and Jake for the spotting today! Have a great day folks!

The Weekend, Back Squats, a Cindy-ish workout, and a Handband review

So it’s Monday! Somehow I’m enthusiastic about the prospects of this shorter week (thanks to some time off and a long weekend).

A Busy Weekend

Let me start by talking about the weekend, which included two box-related events at Continuum. Friday night we had a Cornhole Tournament with a Superhero theme. Everybody either wore a hero t-shirt or dressed up a bit (mostly the kids dressed up, but a few adults too) and we had burgers and beers.

I think I’ve only played cornhole once before, so I have to admit a bit of trepidation as to my effectiveness during such an event. But I had a great time playing with my random teammate Vickie (who also happens to have kids who play or played in our soccer club). She was quite a ringer at cornhole and I was either hot or not. I blame it on the beers and bourbon. That said, we made it into the second round with a final record of 2-2.


And my eldest made it all the way to the final game with her partner. Not sure where she got her cornhole skills, but I know she got her competitive streak from her mother.🙂

Once that was done, we had a full day of soccer and then it was back to the box for the Continuum Fantasy Football draft for the 2016 season. I haven’t played fantasy football for a year or two and thought it would be fun to try with a different group. If the draft was any indication, it should be an entertaining season.🙂

We also played some games, including poker. Now, I’m awful at poker but I did my part to fund the pot. By the end of my chips I think I fed it quite nicely.🙂

All in all a fun couple of nights at the box that had nothing to do with crossfit and everything to do with having fun with our crossfit family. I had a great time and was pretty social, which will tell you just how much I like these people!

Today’s Workout

Sunday was a recovery day and a day to catch up on all the things we didn’t do while we were having fun at the box. And that brings us to today.

Made it in for an 8:30 class with Coach Bill. We had Larry, Carrie, Sarah, and myself in the 8:30 class. And we were all in a good mood. Shocking!

We started with an interesting warm-up. 3 rounds of:

  • 100m run
  • 5 inch worms
  • 5 back squats with a PVC pipe
  • 5 good mornings with a PVC pipe
  • 5 Spider-man lunges each side

Once that was done we started the strength portion of the day.

  • Front squats
  • 5 @ 65% of our 90% 1RM
  • 5 @ 75% of our 90% 1RM
  • 5+ @ 85% of our 90% 1RM

So my values (after some calculator work) became:

  • 245# 1RM
  • 90% = 220#
  • 145# = 65% of 220#
  • 165# = 75% of 220#
  • 185# = 85% of 220#

I ended up with:

  • 5 @ 145#
  • 5 @ 165#
  • 6 @ 185# (left hip got cranky so I didn’t get far)

Not bad. We’ll see where we end up the cycle.

cindyThen we did the Metcon…

  • From 0:00-3:00, perform 3 rounds of:
    • 3 pull-ups
    • 6 push-ups
    • 9 squats
  • From 3:00-6:00, perform 3 rounds of:
    • 4 pull-ups
    • 8 push-ups
    • 12 squats
  • From 6:00-9:00, perform 3 rounds of:
    • 5 pull-ups
    • 10 push-ups
    • 15 squats
  • From 9:00-12:00, perform 3 rounds of:
    • 6 pull-ups
    • 12 push-ups
    • 18 squats
  • Etc.

So that becomes a bit like Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats, 20 minute AMRAP). I didn’t quite get to the cindy round. But I almost made it through the 6th round (3rd round of 5/8/12). I finished it off when I ran out of time, but didn’t get any further.

Both Carrie & Larry got past round 8 into round 9, which was impressive. I slowed way down on the push-ups and that held me up. And my time to get back on the bar for more pull-ups dragged a bit longer each round as well.

Bill seemed happy with everybody’s performance. We were all moving pretty well all things considered, so hey… Progress!

Great work everybody and thanks for the encouragement Bill!

One last thing

warrior_v3_largeI tried out my new Handband Pro v3 today during the workout. It was a new design this time. It used to just be a large loop of fabric with a rubber mat to help across the palm where you looped it. Now it has a more glove-like velcro approach with two velcro bands – one with the rubber mat for your palm and the other at the wrist.

With the first generation of the Handband Pro, I loved it. It was just the right length and size to save me from ripping the snot out of my palms and fingers with lots of pull-ups. But when my first set started to shred and fray, it was time for a new one.

Unfortunately my v2s didn’t hold up as well. I’ve torn with them on twice because the fabric doesn’t cover the right part of my fingers when it’s wrapped around. So I was hopeful that the new ones would work better.

I’m happy to say that, after one use and a relatively light one, they held up just fine. The pad never moved, so that was positive. We’ll see how they do with more vigorous beating in the next go-round.

Sarah told me that her husband tried a pair and didn’t like them, so he sent them back. Not sure why – I’ll talk to Jonathan eventually. But for me it’s “so far so good” and there will be more testing as we do more workouts.

That’s it for now. Have a great day folks!

Beware! Front Squats and Running!

This has been a hellish week of work, but nothing could keep me away from CrossFit Continuum for a noon WOD today. Not even the threat of running. And if you know me at all, you know that is no minor statement.

A word of warning – this is a long post. Covered a lot of stuff.🙂

Ev went this morning to the 8:30 class and I heard lots of grumbling. I went in later and they were still talking about all the smack talk she laid down this morning, so I knew it was going to be a good one.🙂 Coach Bill worked out with us and coaches Drea and Larry kept folks chugging along. It was a trifecta of coaching goodness.

In the class itself, it was myself, Debbie, Joe, Trey, and a nice younger gal who was visiting from Austria. We started with a 400m jog and did some Spider-man lunges, knee hugs, PVC pass-thrus, and some behind the back stretching before warming up with some PVC front squats.

How to Front Squat

We were doing 10 sets of 1 rep – front squats. She was hoping for a new 1RM… As a friend of mine from college is fond of saying – NOT TODAY!😀

I worked with Joe at the rig and he’s a beast. I only made it to 235# but he made up to 255# over the course of 8 or 9 single rep attempts. My wrists were starting to bug me and my right knee twinged on my aborted 245# attempt, so I called it. Trey worked with Bill and Debbie worked with the new gal and Larry.

Drea wants me to move faster. I’m burning a lot of energy when I go to the bottom slowly and then change direction. She’s looking for a quick drop and then bounce from the bottom so the energy is expended on the rise, not the fall.

Logically, she’s absolutely correct. Body-wise however when I do a single rep I’m always spending that first rep feeling it out. I don’t know where the bottom is even if I just did one rep a few minutes ago. I had a couple that were quicker but the heavier the bar got the more I pondered it prior to my attempt… probably a bad idea. Oh well. I got close to my old 1RM (245#) and that’s good enough for today.🙂


After that, we worked on the “running” portion of the workout. Bill, Trey, and Joe ran the new 800m route five times with a 3 minute rest between. The new gal ran the 600m route. And Debbie ran the 400m route.

The metcon was: 5 rounds, noting your time for each lap. They all killed it.🙂

Now, you’ll notice that I didn’t mention how I did. That’s because I started working with Drea today on a program to improve my running mechanics and hip/lower half mobility. Yes, I am actively trying to improve one of the aspects of crossfit I absolutely dread. Running. Even the mention of the word makes me cringe.

But if I’m going to get better at crossfit and functional fitness as a whole, it’s something I need to work on. It’s a part of many workouts and my running mechanics haven’t changed since junior high school 30+ years ago. In fact, as Drea and I were discussing, we think that years of marching band (heel-toe-heel-toe) probably was the beginning of the end for any kind of natural running gait for both of us.

We started with jumping rope. But this was not my usual jump. She emphasized the landing of the feet. Balls of the feet, then a light touch with heel. Took me a bit, but eventually I was able to get that figured out.

Where I started to stumble was when she wanted me to “run” with the jump rope. Essentially stepping forward, alternating feet, with each jump. Staying with the same basic rhythm and foot landing, but initiating some forward movement. Um, yeah.

I can step forward with my right leg just fine. But as soon as I got my left leg involved, all hell broke loose. I might have achieved a couple of attempts where I got two steps. So this is something to work on. I may actually start doing single leg jumps with the off (left) leg just to get more comfortable doing a bit more independent leg work.

So I think I’m going to have to do a lot more work (see the video for some examples) just to get to the point where my left leg isn’t completely useless.

7TaonKRbcThen we did butt kickers, focusing on bringing the foot backward – almost like you’re dragging the ground with your front foot when it strikes the ground and comes back into a “four” position. We transitioned this outside so that I was leaning forward, attempting to do butt kickers to get into a rhythm and then increase speed while continuing to use a lighter step with the ball of the foot.

We did a number of 50 foot back and forth attempts and I felt like it was a little easier the faster I went. If I was slow, I was still thinking about each individual step. But when I almost sprinted it was a bit smoother.

Other than some shin soreness, and now a bit of knee and ankle pain in the left leg, I think it actually went ok. I didn’t feel the runs in my knees at all, which was a first. Less pounding of the pavement with my heels is a good thing it seems.

So we made some good progress there and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.

And when all that was done, we went back inside and she showed me the various stretches she wants me to work on to increase hip mobility. Right now I’m better on the right (though not what I call “flexible”) and awful on the left, so it’s pretty obvious I definitely need work in this area.

Runner’s lunge and its variations was what we started with.

runners lunge

This Gal has a good post-run Yoga routine on her site

She wants me to do a runner’s lunge, then lean belly-button into the forward knee, then lean away from the knee pushing it with one hand… each for 1 minute on each side. It was easy to see just how bad my hips were as we went through this sequence.

And lastly we used a lacrosse ball in the hip, in the spot just above and behind the hip bone. Honestly lying on the ball was painful enough in that position, so I have some work to be done there as well as we loosen up a bit of tissue.

This lady looks like she’s smiling, but really it’s a “holy crap I want to kill my trainer” grimace😀

I’m supposed to work on the stretching at least 2 or 3 times a day, so we’ll see if I can get that into the routine. I’ve already been doing a little bit of yoga in the evenings to try and shake loose things before bed. And Bill showed me a good foam roller position for the mid-back so I’ll add that to the mix as well.

Yeah. It was a lot to cover today.

Big thanks to Drea, Bill, and Larry for all the help. And great work to everybody who attended. Y’all killed it!

Now it’s back to work for a bit.🙂

No WOD for me tomorrow or Saturday, but we’ll be at the box for some fun activities if nothing else.🙂 Have a great day folks!

Who knew I could “skin the cat” on the rings?

Today has been nuts, but I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that I’m exhausted and still have a long way to go before I’m done. But crossfit went pretty well, which surprised me. My wife went to the 5am class and came back with a sore hamstring so I’ll admit to some trepidation about going in today – but I went anyway.

spiderman-lungeWhen I got to Continuum for the 8:30 class, Coach Drea was headed out the door and handing off to Coach Larry, which was fine. All the coaches at Continuum are awesome and I enjoy working with Larry, so life was good. It was me, Caleb, Hannah (new gal on her 2nd day at our box), John, Jack, and Melissa. Small class, but perfect for what we had to do.

We started with a 400m jog and got back in to do some overhead walking lunges, Spider-man lunges, squat-to-stand, towel-wring-outs, PVC pass-thrus and maybe one or two other things… But we wanted to mobilize our shoulders and our hamstrings for today’s workout.

That workout was 10 rounds for time:

  • 3 deadlifts
  • 1 back tuck or skin-the-cat on the rings

For the deadlifts, we could pick any weight but they needed to be something heavy enough to be challenging for 3 touch and go reps. So I went with 225#. Heavy enough I had to focus on form but not so heavy that I was killing myself on every rep.

skin-the-catFor the gymnastics movement… we worked on it for a while before we got started. It was interesting. I haven’t done anything like it in crossfit before. It’s not like ring dips or ring muscle up progressions – it’s more like toes-to-rings and beyond. (The gymastics WOD site has a good video showing it being done.)

I came in curious if I’d be able to do it at all. I haven’t attempted anything like it since probably elementary school some 30+ years ago now.

It turns out that from the lower rings it was fairly easy. And I even tried it on the high rings (high enough I had to get a step on the rig to reach it) and managed to get my knees over my head. I’m still not comfortable trying to lower all the way down that direction, but I was shocked I could do it at all.

Based on the leaderboard when we came in, folks were taking 4-9 minutes to get the workout done – so this was a quick one. We loaded our barbells and were off to the races. Caleb and I shared a set of low rings for that part of the workout but we had a small enough class size it didn’t slow us down much.

I was done with my 10 rounds in 7:30. I kind of surprised myself actually. My skin-the-cats were not all that pretty by around round 5 or 6 because I’d swing my feet up and catch them on the rings to help myself all the way over. But I was able to touch and kick back over the other direction pretty easily every time.

Some of the deadlifts felt better than others, but it seemed fairly consistent. Larry was on me about rounding my shoulders forward and I corrected that fairly quickly.

So it was good. I did a movement I’ve never done before and somehow managed not to kill myself in the process.

Great work everybody and thanks for the encouragement Larry!

Um… dumbbell burpee thrusters? What?!?

Yeah, that was my response last night when I looked at the workout for this morning. I shouldn’t look. I know this. But I do it anyway to torture myself I think. It’s not like I didn’t go in after seeing it – but I certainly wasn’t sure how the heck I was going to do it.🙂

Mondays. Go figure.

20-lbs-dumbbell1Made it in for an 8:30 class with Coach Drea. We had Larry, Carrie, Jenny, Jake, and myself. Not a big class, but a great bunch as always.🙂 Started with a 400m jog to warm-up. I tried using Isaac’s “ball of the foot and open hand” approach and maybe, just maybe, it helped a little. I’ll be interested to see what Drea has for me to focus on starting Thursday afternoon.🙂

We got back in from the jog and did some squat-to-stands, towel ring-outs for shoulders, 25# plate presses, and then – my favorite – roll to candlesticks. Someday maybe I’ll be able to roll up onto my feet from my back. Right now I just feel like a turtle rolling around on its shell.

Then we worked through the pull-up to warm up a bit further and ended talking about these funky dumbbell burpee thrusters.

Our workout was:

  • 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of these dumbbell burpee hang clean thrusters and pull-ups

This video shows a variation on the workout but it definitely shows how to do the dumbbell move even if it’s a slightly different WOD.

This was not my cup of tea. I have some issues with single arm thrusters on my left side and by the time I was through even just a few of the set of 21 I noticed I couldn’t go straight up – mobility wise I was forced to go up and out at an angle, which I knew wasn’t going to fly. I dropped the weight to 15# on my left side and that only helped for a while. By the set of 15 I was basically doing a burpee, an air squat, and a “thruster” with my empty arms over my head. And even that was a challenge.

c2bPull-up wise I did 7 + 7 regular kipping pull-ups and 7 jumping pull-ups, 6 + 6 kipping and 6 jumping, then had to drop to all jumping because my right hand tore.

Took a long time to get through this one, even with as much as I was scaling at the end. But I finished in 34:15. Larry & Jake were still going, so I wasn’t last today and they were going with less scaling options and doing awesome. Meanwhile Carrie & Jenny blew us all away and flew through this one.

As I said earlier – not my cup of tea. But I finished, so I’ll take it.

Great work everybody!

Running Team WOD

It’s soccer season, which means free Saturday mornings are going to be hard to come by for a while. So the fact that the whole Fitzy clan had a morning together was not something to take lightly. After a quick errand we made it in for the 10am team workout.

(This post went up late because we had a great time at a family gathering today for my Mom’s 70th birthday party.🙂 )

The advanced class was finishing up and I have to say it didn’t look like much fun. Isaac and the rest of the folks were pushing really hard.🙂

7TaonKRbcCoach Bill got us started with a 400m jog and then we did the PVC pipe game in two circles. We actually had quite a good crowd – quite a group of folks, including some new faces. I think we maybe had a max turn of 4 “left” or “right” turns. And somehow Bill tagged me to bark directions at one point. I flubbed up a couple of times but eventually folks heard me just fine. We did a little of everything – burpees, front squats, overhead squats, and a few other things.

After that we divided up into teams of 2.

  • 40 hanging squat cleans
  • 40 weighted sit-ups
  • 800m run
  • 30 hanging squat cleans
  • 50 weighted sit-ups
  • 600m run
  • 20 hanging squat cleans
  • 60 weighted sit-ups
  • 400m run
  • 10 hanging squat cleans
  • 70 weighted sit-ups
  • 200m run
  • 5 hanging squat cleans
  • 80 weighted sit-ups

Olympic weightsYeah… running. I worked with Ev. Mickey worked with AJ. We all scaled.

  • Ev did 75# hanging squat cleans
  • I did 95# hanging squat cleans
  • We both used a 20# med ball for the weighted sit-ups, alternating passing the ball back and forth
  • Mickey did 55# hanging squat cleans
  • AJ did 45# hanging squat cleans
  • Mickey used a 15# plate
  • AJ used a 10# plate

So how’d we do?

  • Ev & I – 39:03
  • Mickey & AJ – 36:36

Many other teams finished much more quickly, but speed wasn’t really the point.

The entertaining part was in the middle of the runs, Isaac came out and ran with me to point out some better mechanics. Launch from the balls of my feet and try not to pound my heels. Run with open hands instead of closed fists. And it did help. I was running a bit better in the second half of the workout.

concrete-shoesThat said, I found that it was a bit like… my right leg worked great and my left leg was running in concrete. It was interesting. Both shoulders were bugging me from the rest of the workout too, so pumping my arms in any fashion simply wasn’t happened.

I ran about half the workout and walked the rest, but we never stopped moving. Ev was very patient with me.🙂

Was it a good workout? Sure.🙂 I just want to improve those running skills so I’m not literally pounding the pavement and killing myself.

Thumbs-up-clipart-cliparts-for-you-5Isaac wants me to focus on the little wins, so here are my little wins for this past week:

  • Somehow I’m losing my middle. My 36″ shorts are falling off my butt. Time to buy some new pants again. My 34″ jeans are snug but not uncomfortable, so I’ll take it.
  • I had a good meeting with Coach Drea this week about working on mobility and running mechanics. And we’ll continue to work on the sleep thing, hopefully finding the perfect supplement to get me sleeping longer than 3-4 hours in a chunk.
  • And I felt better running off the balls of my feet than I did with the rest of the running today. I’ll take it.

We’ll hope that this week is a better week on the work front, but continue the work I’ve been doing. One thing at a time.🙂

Great work everybody today! Hope you all have a great rest of your weekend!

Split Jerks

As always, Thursdays are hit and miss for me. Work tends to cause grief more often than not. But today I was able to escape the gravitational pull of the desk in my basement to get to an 8:30 class with my wife.

jerk-clipart-olympic-weightlifting-clean-jerk-hiCoach Drea had her hands full today with Ev, Danielle, Jenny, Larry, and me. But we always have fun, so that’s a big part of it.🙂 We got there only to discover that the website/Triib only listed half of the workout last night. (We always check.) It had the split jerks portion but didn’t mention anything about the metcon that was staring us in the face when we got there.🙂

Sneaky, Drea!

So we warmed up with a 400m jog, then went right into the metcon to finish warming up… a 20 min AMRAP:

  • 5 Burpees
  • 10 Sit-ups
  • 15 Double Unders (double-under practice and singles)
  • 200m Run

We grabbed our ab mats, our jump ropes, and headed right into the metcon. On each round I’d do a few (usually 3 or 4) attempts at double-unders, do 15 singles, and then get moving again. But I ran more than walked, so that’s something.

Olympic weightsMade it through 4 rounds plus the burpees & sit-ups in the 5th round. Not quick by anybody’s standards, but I never stopped moving for long so I think I did ok.

Once that was done we started working on split jerks. This is not one of my favorite movements. My feet have a mind of their own and getting into the split position, especially one where I’m down underneath the bar, has always been a challenge. But today, with lighter weight, I felt like I did ok. Some of the attempts even felt good, which was shocking.🙂

We did 7 sets of 3:

  • 3-3-3-3-3-3-3

Larry and I worked together. He did the majority of his at 135#. I did the majority of mine at 115# and 125#. And that was heavy enough. My wrists are bugging me still from Monday’s muscle snatches, so my middle sets got a little wonky but even Drea was happy with how my form has improved. Always good to make your coaches happy I think.🙂

7TaonKRbcOnce we were done with that, the 9:30 class (Jack, Caleb, Sarah, Monica, and Andrea) had already started into their metcon. It went a little long but I was taking my time today and so was Larry.🙂 We did just fine.

I stuck around through the 9:30 class and had a chat with Drea afterwards about setting some goals for the next few months. When you hear me talk about running, don’t be shocked. We will work together to improve my mechanics and mobility so that hopefully running won’t be quite so much of a chore.

Will we be successful? I have hope!

Great work to all the folks in the 8:30 and 9:30 classes. Thanks Larry for working with me and thanks Drea for your time afterwards!

Have a great day!

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