Front squats for days

So as you’ll recall, last Thursday wasn’t the best workout for me. My grip/wrist/forearm with my left hand caused all sorts of difficulties during the workout and I only got about halfway before we bailed. DNF. Thanks for playing. (I kid but I felt bad I didn’t finish.)

garfield-mondayI saw my friendly chiropractor on Friday (thanks Caleb!) and he popped my left wrist/elbow/shoulder to get things back in line. But we didn’t do the same to the right side. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.

Saturday was a mess of writing, soccer, and storm door repair (long story we won’t go into here). Sunday was a mess of writing, watching football, some meal prep (mental and grocery shopping), and a little wrist mobility on the floor while watching football.

And that brings us back around to Monday.

I looked at the workout last night and lo-and-behold – front squats! Definitely not looking forward to that.

jumpropeI got in for the 8:30 class and it was me, Todd, and Carrie, working with Drea. We started with a mess of mobility – some foam roller work on lats and other issues. And then we moved to another fun warm-up… three rounds of:

  • 50 single-unders
  • 10 front squats with a PVC pipe
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 10 back squats (PVC)
  • 10 inverted push-ups
  • may have been some jumping jacks as well
  • lather-rinse-repeat

And then… the fun began.

How to Front Squat

The workout, as written, is front squats – five sets of five:

  • 5-5-5-5-5

But she had us do it a little differently. We started with a warm-up set of five sets of 5 all together.

  • Empty barbell (45#)
  • 95#
  • 135#
  • 145#
  • 155#

And then the actual workout began. We did our 5 reps and then rested 3 minutes…

This didn’t work well for me
  • 165#
  • 175#
  • 185# (last rep was ugly)
  • 185# (failed – tried doing the arms crossed above the bar, got one rep and dropped on rep #2)
  • 175# (failed – got through 4 reps with a regular grip and couldn’t hang on to the 5th)

We finished up with a bit of couch stretch and called it good.

That was a lot of front squats. Essentially 10 sets of 5 at fairly heavy weights. My one rep for front squat is 245# (set in January 2016). 185# is 75% of that one rep max. But as ugly as my last rep was of the first set of 185# I wasn’t going to push it.

Last Thursday it was my left wrist/forearm that was bugging me. Today it was the right. Go figure.

Meanwhile I think Todd said he hit 225# 5x and little Carrie managed 110# 4x TWICE. She said her previous one rep was 90# or 95# – and she bested that easily. So they did awesome.

One last thing – A Nutritional Side Note

So Jimmy, one of the owners of CrossFit Continuum, mentioned he’s going to do a 30+ day nutritional challenge to lose some weight. I joined the fun. We’re going with the Macros approach, so we’ll see how it goes. I started tracking things more on MyFitnessPal as of today, so we’ll see how this works.

I’ll be adding some creatine (per Jimmy’s suggestion) later in the week to hopefully help with energy as well. Who knows. Maybe in 30 days I’ll be all buff and stuff.😀

Will keep you posted.

Great work everybody! Have a great day!

In My Own Way

Do you ever have those days where you go in to train at the box and wonder a) how you got there in the first place and b) if you should have come? Today was one of those for me and soon enough my brain got in the way and my grip crashed and burned shortly thereafter…


Meetings prevented me from going this morning, but it was probably just as well. My head has been in a fog most of the day. But I made it into the box for a noon workout with Coach Drea. It was just me, so we started with some warm-ups and chatted for a while.

b74c3f21b6ecc2a1a13efb6d0603cac7Three rounds with a PVC pipe of:

  • 50 single-unders
  • 10 samson lunges
  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 good mornings
  • 10 front squats

Not too bad. We talked our way through it. And then we got to the workout itself:

  • 10 rounds for time of:
  • 95/65-lb. sumo deadlift high pulls, 7 reps
  • 95/65-lb. front squats, 7 reps
  • 95/65-lb. push jerks, 7 reps

Sure. I should be able to do the SDHP and push jerks (which became push presses) ok but I was worried about the front squats. Turned out I was right to be.

We warmed up with one round and an empty barbell. I completed all 21 movements in 45-50 seconds. Not bad. Then we added weight and I did three reps of each movement with 95# on the bar. Felt heavy but doable.

Sure. Let’s start this.

Drea wanted me to approach it like 10 rounds at 90 seconds a round. If I got done before 90 seconds was up, use that time to rest and start the next 90 second period. Damn that clock.

I made it through two rounds and started to notice that my left hand wasn’t working well. Grip was slipping. Struggled through. Complained , but struggled through.

By round 3 the writing was on the wall. I slowed way the heck down. And it got worse from there. If the clock wasn’t in my head, my grip was gone. If my grip wasn’t gone, my knees hurt. It was awesome. Not.

We called it after 5 rounds and about 15 minutes. I couldn’t hold the bar. 5 more rounds o SDHP? Sure. But forget the rest. Different muscle groups.

1cp2c9DNF > DNS. But a time would have been better.

Great work to everybody who did finish – y’all killed it.

When we were done, Drea had me do some mobility work and we discovered that a tendon in my left arm is not where it should be. Go figure. Something else is not behaving the way it should. I should have just stayed home today.

Now I’m home and exhausted. Time for lunch and a nap ’cause I’m useless at my desk.

Thanks for working with me today Drea. Sorry I didn’t even get close to finishing.

Cindy plus?

I swore yesterday after my workout that it was already Tuesday. It wasn’t. It was still Monday. Sad panda. But today is actual Tuesday so I guess we made it after all…

41295507Arrived 2 minutes late for today’s 8:30 class. Yes, 2 minutes. And it bothered me. Apparently my minor OCD was showing a little.🙂 But I made it.

Today we had Coach Bill – and Sarah, Jake, and Connie.

We started with some mobility work with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, and an ab mat. Back. Quads. Hammies. Calves. Couch stretch. Definitely some fun spots in the quads and hammies today.

And then we did a little three round warm-up:

  • 100m run
  • 5 squat-to-stand
  • 3 scap pull-ups
  • 5 spider-man lunges
  • 3 more scap pull-ups

Once that was finished we did 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, and 9 air squats to gauge how we felt. Not awful.

cindyThen the real fun began .We set up our rowers and got ready to go with Cindy + rowing:

  • AMRAP in 20 minutes of:
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 squats
  • 20 pulls on the rower
  • Score is total calories rowed

This one definitely favored those folks who can row for calories effectively. I wasn’t bad. I paced myself a bit and just kept moving:

  • 11 calories
  • 12 calories
  • 9 calories
  • 10 calories
  • 12 calories
  • 11 calories
  • Total = 65 calories

72504741I made it into the push-ups of round 7, but that was about it. Some folks this morning doubled that, but they’re a little more efficient at some of these body-weight workouts. Connie made it through 97 calories, which was awesome. I think the rest of us were in the 60s range.

My biggest issue was with pull-ups. I had to break them up into 5-3-2. Squats I could usually do all 15 (except one set) and pull-ups I did all 5.

But it’s all good. Just keep moving, moving, moving…

Great work everybody! And good luck 9:30 class! Thanks Bill!

It is Monday, right?

Today has been plagued by the sense that it’s Tuesday even though all the signs clearly show that it is not. What the heck is going on in MY head today?

With two meetings this morning, I missed the morning workouts (Ev got in for an 8:30 class) but headed in for a Noon class. And it is never a good sign when you are tired before your workout.🙂 We had Coach Drea today – along with Amber, Kelli, Andrew, and Leah.

Kelly Starrett makes it look easy!

We started with some couch stretch on the wall – and I have to say there’s a noticeable difference between my left side (crappy) and my right side (happy). So that’s always entertaining. From there we did some work with a foam roller or lacrosse ball (I worked my quads since my left knee/hip didn’t like the more upright couch stretch). And then the fun began.

Drea had us do a barbell complex with an empty barbell (45# for me) ten times:

  • Muscle snatch
  • Push press
  • Overhead squat
  • Sots press

Um, I did great with a 45# bar until I tried to lower the overhead squat to my shoulders behind my head. And I did worse for the Sots press. Neither shoulder was tracking well. I dropped to a 35# bar after a couple of sets and it wasn’t any better, then I moved to a PVC pipe for some sotz press. We’ve done it with PVC before but I’ve never tried it weighted – looks like I need to.

1ci6wdTo say the least, I didn’t get through 10 complete sets. And the sets I got through were ugly as sin. But we weren’t done there.

Next we did a combination of double- or single-unders and muscle snatches.

  • 15 doubles (or 30 singles) and 5 snatches
  • 30 doubles (or 60 singles) and 10 snatches
  • 60 doubles (or 120 singles) and 15 snatches

That took a little while, but at least it felt a bit better than those sotz presses.

Finally we got to the workout, which was from the 2014 Open – 14.1. A 10 minute AMRAP:

  • 30 double-unders (or 60 singles)
  • 75# power snatches (15 reps)
Ready for my AMNAP

First, the good – it was only 10 minutes. Next, the bad. Did Drea drain all the oxygen out of the room before we started? Geez!

I made it through three complete rounds plus the single jump ropes and 6 power snatches (3 + 36/66 w/75#).

Then she wanted us to run 400m or be on the rower or assault bike for 2.5 minutes. My left hip started twinging about 1 minute in, so I called it good and did some pigeon stretch to try and work out the hip.

Than I came home.🙂 And now I’m ready for a nap!

Thanks Drea and great work everybody!!

20 Minutes of Fun?

This morning didn’t quite go as planned, but I did make it in for a 9:30 workout at Continuum. Ev and the rest of the 8:30 class were finishing up – and Drea had a big class! Lori, Emily, Ev, Jenny, Danielle, Connie, and Lisa and I feel like I’m missing someone. 9:30 wasn’t quite as busy – we had Nick, Larry, Andrea, and Sam. Small, but mighty – yeah right!

Visit Artful Days for products with this design

We started with some mobility work – couch stretch and banded hamstring stretching – before doing a run, row, or assault bike. For some reason I chose the assault bike and did a minute plus there. Then we did some plank, marching bridges, and V-ups (or knee tucks) before doing a whole bunch of wide-grip clean & jerk practice, followed by some time on the rig to figure out our toes-to-bar progressions.

Every step of the way I think my shoulders were debating which one was going to quit first. I sounded a bit like a Rice Krispies commercial.

But we kept on moving.

The workout was a 20 minute AMRAP:

  • 5 clean and jerks
  • 10 toes-to-bars (T2B)
  • Rest 30 seconds

Rx weights were 185/135. Level II was 135/95. Level I was 95/65.

Been a while since we’ve done heavy clean & jerks. The last number I had was 175# from 2014. I have done as heavy as a 195# clean and a 195# push press, but after the warm-up I was wondering how light I should go. Today I went with 135#. Larry went with the same weight, so I figured it was ok. That was the level II weight anyway.

knees-to-elbows2And my T2B are not pretty. I can do them, but it’s one and done usually. We did a little work on them a few weeks ago but even after that it’s a matter of getting in the rhythm. Today I could do one or two every ten reps and just tried to kip and keep moving through knees-to-elbows for the rest.

In the earlier class, Ev used 95# and knees-to-elbows and made it through 5+ rounds. Connie and Drea were giving me a hard time before we started when I asked what I should shoot for. Connie made it through 9 rounds or close to it. She said to go for 7.

After 20 minutes I ended up getting through 6 rounds plus 4 clean & jerks. None of it was pretty. And I am pretty sure I added a rep or two here or there when I lost count a couple of times. But I kept on moving.

I had two big issues. My split jerk is awful, though better than it has been. And I kept losing my grip on the bar during the knees to elbows. So I could do 4 or 5 but that was it. And my C&J’s (push jerks or split jerks) were all singles. I didn’ t string much together.

I think both Larry & Nick got through 8 rounds. And Andrea did 7. Not sure how Sam did, but she was chugging right along too. Everybody did awesome.🙂

Thanks for the encouragement Drea – and great work everybody!

Hope you all have a great day!

Overhead Walking Lunges Stink

Let’s see… yesterday was all overhead so why wouldn’t we continue on Tuesday with more overhead? Yes, let’s.

PullupThough my lovely wife was working today and couldn’t join me this morning, I made it in (almost late) for an 8:30am class. Coach Drea only had three of us to contend with – me, Todd, and Connie. Apparently earlier classes had to divide and conquer, spreading out across the rower and the assault bikes, so we were a little simpler logistics-wise.

We started with another lovely warm-up. Three rounds:

  • 10 calories on the assault bike
  • 5 inch-worms
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 5 Spider-man lunges (each side)

Is it bad when you’re tired after the warm-up?🙂 I was amused when my right shoulder popped on the second pull-ups and I was dragging butt behind Connie & Todd. Todd just got back from vacation – he would have slowed down a little! HA!

25pound-dumbbellFrom there we jumped right into this 25 minute workout for rounds and reps:

  • 25 one-armed overhead walking lunges with a dumbbell
  • 25 calorie row
  • 25 weighted sit-ups with the same dumbbell

There were of course a few scales, but I tried Rx with a 35# dumbbell and bailed quickly. That wasn’t going to happen. A 25# dumbbell was tough enough. And I knew it would be the lunges, not the rowing or sit-ups, that would cause me grief.

I was right. Go figure.

Right-side was fairly steady, if uncomfortable and slow to lunge, with a 25# dumbbell. Left-side didn’t want to cooperate at all. Eventually Drea came over and suggested that I try and front-rack it on the left side, just avoiding the overhead lock-out. I eventually just rested the dumbbell over the left shoulder and kept my hand on it. But it definitely wasn’t pretty.

I made it through 3 complete rounds, plus 25 lunges and finishing the 25 calorie row just as time expired. So my score was 3+50. I’ll take it. I paused in a few places to adjust, but I never stopped.

Meanwhile both Todd & Connie got 5 full rounds done and were into their 6th. They killed it.🙂

Great work folks! I’m sure the 9:30 class had fun with it as well!

Thanks Drea!

Supplement Wars, Fitzy Style – HELP!

So lately I’ve been taking a pretty regular list of supplements to help with… energy, sleep, and everything in-between. I never gave it much thought but last week started wondering what’s in some of these things, so I started to look.

Turns out I’m taking a lot of stuff. And it’s an interesting mix, to say the least. These are the usual suspects:

  • Vitamin C (2 tablets a day, 1000mg each)
  • Vitamin D3 (2 tablets a day, 1000iu each)
  • Glucosamine HCl with MSM (2 tablets a day, 1500mg Glucosamine & 1500 mg MSM)
  • Psyllium (1 or 2 tablets a day, 500mg fiber each)
  • Nature’s Way Alive! Once Daily Men’s Ultra Potency (1 tablet a day) (Nature’s Way)
  • Fish Oil (5 capsules a day, 1000mg each)

1c3x0yPlus I add:

  • 24-hour Allegra (1 tablet a day)
  • 1 baby aspirin (1 75 mg  tablet a day for heart health)
  • my thyroid med once a day

I’ve been playing with these for sleep (not all at once – at most one of them a day):

  • Doc Parsley’s Sleep Cocktail (L-tryptophan, 5HTP, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and a very small dose of melatonin) (Doc Parsley)
  • Natural Vitality – Natural Calm (Magnesium 235 mg) (Natural Calm)
  • NutraOne SleepOne (3 capsules) (Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B-6, GABA, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, ZMA, Coleus Forskohili, Guggul Lipid Extract, Phenibut, Valerian Root, Melatonin) (SleepOne)

And I’ve been adding these into the mix:

I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t know what half of this stuff is doing to my body.

This is Nuts

The products like SleepOne and BurnOne have proprietary mixes so there are a lot of unknowns. You don’t know how much  of those ingredients (though they’re listed on the bottle) are actually in the pills you’re taking. And then for the ones that you DO know – like Testacore or even the Alive! Once Daily vitamin – you don’t know what all the ingredients do for or to you regardless of actually seeing how much is in the pill itself.

listeHere’s what I’m thinking these days:

  1. None of the sleep remedies have done a damn thing for me, so I’m probably just going to stop on that front.
  2. The fat burner (BurnOne) and testosterone supplement (Testacore) haven’t done diddly either. So I’m going to drop those.
  3. I have noticed a difference in my endurance during workouts on the Biotune and multivitamin, so I’m going to stay on those horses. I stopped taking a vitamin until a few months ago and do think that has made a difference health-wise. I’m not getting/staying sick as often.
  4. My knees and other joints still pop and complain even with the glucosamine, so I’m very tempted to stop with that.
  5. Fish oil is supposed to be good for many things, so I’ll stay on that as well.

I went from not wanting to take anything to taking this insane number of things. It’s time to pare down again and swing the pendulum back the other way.

What do you all take? If I was to boil this down to something minimal that supplemented my diet and exercise, what would you recommend?

I’m open to suggestions.

A site about my crossfit journey…