Tag Archives: back squat

CrossFit Total 2018 and a Shifting Mindset

Today marked the 4th workout of the week for me, which is pretty good. I was a little sore going in, but that’s nothing new. Both knees were a little cranky and my right shoulder was saying hello after squat snatches yesterday, so I knew it might be a lighter kind of day than I wanted but I was willing to listen to what my body was telling me.

gears-head (Small)That’s a key point for today’s workout — one I have gone back and forth on over the years mentally. Is it a key measurement in my strength training? Yes. But today it was a bit of a watershed moment instead.

We had a fun group this morning in the 8:30 class for Coach Lara… Drea, Nancy, KB, Bri, and a gal whose name I didn’t catch at all (my bad).

We did one round of the warm-up:

  • 200m jog
  • 15 air squats
  • 10 Cossack squats (lateral lunges)
  • 20 PVC pass-throughs
  • 15 abmat sit-ups
  • 10 burpees

And I noticed two things today, starting with the warm-up… First, I was the first one back after a 200m run, which was weird. Second, my 10 burpees went unbroken. Neither of those items is normal for me.

burpees_m_workoutlabsAdd to that the fact that I ran last night for the warm-up at the 4:45 class (twice!) and you’ll see a bit of a shift. I’ve been trying to do more running when given the option in class to try and get over the fact that it’s one of my least favorite activities. And it’s starting to pay off.

From there, we did some warm-ups of the day’s movements (back squat, strict press, deadlift) and then split up to conquer the workout.

  • CrossFit Total
    • 1 rep max back squat
    • 1 rep max shoulder press/strict press
    • 1 rep max deadlift
  • Score = total weight for all three

crossfit-totalI haven’t looked at my CrossFit total for a while, but let’s take a look back:

  • 605# (225# + 85# + 295#) (2013)
  • 715# (265# + 115# + 335#) (2014)
  • 755# (275# + 125# + 355#) (2015)
  • 785# (295# + 145# + 345#) (2016)
  • 805# (315# + 155# + 335#)  (2017)
  • 705# (275# + 125# + 305#) (February 2018)

We went up for a long time and dropped off starting this year. I wasn’t happy about that, but the excuses piled up. In February, my body was tired and I was fighting a cold. Today, my knees were bugging me and my right shoulder. “I’m getting older.” Yup.

So how’d today go? Well… not great, but a tad better than February.

  • Back squat
    • 135# x5 (warm-up)
    • 175# x3 (warm-up)
    • 225# x1
    • 255# x1
    • 275# (fail)
  • Strict press
    • 135# x1
    • 145# x1
    • 155# (fail)
    • 150# (fail)
  • Deadlift
    • 135# x5 (warm-up)
    • 225# x3 (warm-up)
    • 275# x1
    • 295# x1
    • 315# x1
    • 335# (fail)
    • 335# (fail)
  • Total = 255# + 145# + 315# = 715#

Black-And-White-CalculatorLike I said – a little better than 7 months ago, but not by much. And I was disappointed… for a while.

Then I realized how much my body has changed in the last year or two. Cardio has become easier. Body weight exercises have become easier for the most part. My movement quality has improved for the most part.

And if I stay able to do body weight or better at most of the major lifts (back squat, front squat, deadlift) and work on improving the other lifts (overhead squat, snatch, push press, cleans) while maintaining my ability to continue to move well… That’s success.

Is that a cop out? Nope. I’m still in the box working hard as often as I can and feel pretty good a majority of the time when I eat well. (Yes, nutrition has fallen off a bit of late, but I’ll work on getting that back in line.)

Great work today, 8:30 class!


CrossFit Total, Feb 2018

Going in today, I knew we were doing the crossfit total. And I knew I was a bit under the weather, not just with a cold, but muscle sore from the last few weeks (and Angie yesterday didn’t help). But we’d see how far we got. 🙂

man-this-week-is-fascinating-and-all-but-is-it-25447476Made it in for the 8:30 with Ev. Drea had a good crew – Logan, Kayla, Melissa, and the two of us. Caleb came in about halfway through as well, so we had a few folks in attendance.

Started with the week’s warm-up and then did some empty barbell work to refresh our back squats, strict press, and deadlifts. But from there, we were off to our various racks to start this thing off. Last year I hit 805# — I wasn’t going to get anywhere close today.

Back squats felt bad from the get-go. My inner hips are still pissed off from whatever we did a couple of weeks ago in our squat intensive week. I managed:

  • 135# x8
  • 185# x5
  • 225# x3
  • 255# x1
  • 275# x1

And I stopped there. It just didn’t feel great, so rather than push my luck I gave in.


Strict press was funky too:

  • 95# x5
  • 115# x3
  • 125# x2
  • 135# fail
  • 125# x2
  • 135# fail

And finally deadlifts…

  • 135# x5
  • 225# x2
  • 275# x1
  • 305# x1
  • 335# fail

So with my totals today I’ve dropped off a bit:

  • 605# (225# + 85# + 295#) (2013)
  • 715# (265# + 115# + 335#) (2014)
  • 755# (275# + 125# + 355#) (2015)
  • 785# (295# + 145# + 345#) (2016)
  • 805# (315# + 155# + 335#)  (2017)
  • 705# (275# + 125# + 305#) (2018)

Eh. Some days are like that. Body is tired and I’m fighting a cold. Not a good combo, but we got some weight moving anyway. 🙂


And when I was done, I did the pull-up and ring dip challenge… made it through 3 ugly strict pull-ups and 6 not awful strict ring dips.

Tomorrow is definitely a rest day. Then maybe I’ll get back in on Saturday. 🙂

Lots of Heavy Reps

Wow today was a challenge. Lots of reps at heavy weight.

rogue-black-med-ball-web6_1Arrived for an 8:30 workout with Ev and Logan. With just the three of us, Coach Drea had a quieter morning until I started bellowing during back squats. 🙂

We started with a bit of the warm-up from last week:

  • 10 medicine ball deadlifts
  • 10 med ball shrugs
  • 10 med ball front squats
  • 10 med ball power cleans
  • 10 med ball squat cleans

And then we hit the ground running.

  • Back squat 10-8-6-4-2 reps
  • Shoulder press 10-8-6-4-2 reps
  • Deadlift 10-8-6-4-2 reps

squats-nyeI told you it was a lot of reps. And we were supposed to shoot for our 1RM at the top. HAHAHAHA… Ahem. Not quite. 🙂

  • Backsquat
    • 205# x10
    • 225# x8
    • 245# x6
    • 245# x4
    • 245# x2
  • Strict Shoulder Press
    • 75# x10
    • 95# x8
    • 115# x5 (tried for 6, but couldn’t push any further)
    • 115# x4
    • 125# (failed twice)
  • Deadlifts
    • 225# x10 (now over my body weight, which is crazy – I’m below 220 now)
    • 245# x8
    • 265# x6
    • 285# x2 (couldn’t convince my body to work after 2)
    • 285# (failed twice)

I’m not going to say that some of those reps were pretty, but some were prettier than others. I stayed at some of those weights for longer than I wanted to because my body was telling me some nasty things.

So… I decided when I got home to add all of that up. For fun. 15,705 pounds. Nearly 16k pounds. 8 tons. No wonder my body was telling me nasty things. 🙂

8 of these. Yup.

Time to rest up I think. Great work!! Thanks Drea!

Come Squat Away With Me!

With apologies to Styx, we were singing “Come Sail Away” this morning at the box with slightly different lyrics — thanks to Coach Bill!

A gathering of crossfitters appeared inside our box
They sang to me this song of lifts and this is what they said
They said come squat away come squat away
Come squat away with me…

(“Come Sail Away” by Styx, slightly altered by crossfit-induced endorphins)

As you might imagine, it was a good day at the box. 🙂

Arrived for the 8:30 class on a rainy Thursday, but it didn’t dampen our spirits much. We had Coach Bill’s boundless enthusiasm, plus a great group of folks — Todd & Melissa, Sarah, Brent, Logan, and Coach Nicole was warming up for the next class.

body-weight-squat-illistrationWe did Nicole’s skills-based warm-up again today and struggled through as best we could. There are just a few things I can’t quite pull off, like running with a jump rope or getting up from the floor and twisting out of a cross-legged position. Not my cup of tea.

But the squat warm-up at the end? That I could do. Standing at the wall with a med ball behind you and dropping into a deep squat, then rising again — that was good. Squatting with a PVC pipe? Yup. Got that too.

Plus getting to work out with my wife? Big bonus!

And a workout FILLED with back squats? Count me in.

  • Back Squats: 10-5-3-1-1-1-3-5-10 (ascending to a peak and then descending again)

We all paired up and worked with partners while Bill wandered around making sure we were all on task. Logan and I paired up and got going pretty quickly.

illustrated-squatMy warm-ups included:

  • 45# x5
  • 95# x3
  • 115# x3

And then:

  • 135# x10
  • 165# x5
  • 205# x3
  • 235# x1
  • 255# x1
  • 275# x1
  • 205# x3
  • 165# x5
  • 135# x10

And Logan worked up from 115# to 215# and back again. He did awesome.

We were a bit slow (still finishing up as Bill was starting the 9:30 class, sorry Bill!) but we got through it.

Honestly my squats felt really good today. 275# was a bit more wobbly than 255# but only by a little. My one rep is 315# from January of this year, and I can tell just in the last few months that my squat positions have improved a ton since then. Overhead, not so much, but squats? Yes!

So I feel good! We’ll see how long that lasts! Great work 8:30 class and thanks Bill!

CrossFit Total, January 2017

Your CrossFit Total is one of those magical numbers at the box. Sometimes it goes up. Sometimes it goes down. But it’s a good indicator of your strength numbers across the board. Deadlift. Strict press. Back squat. Covers most of the major groups of movements. Lifting. Squatting. Pushing.

January 21, 2016 at 0141PM (1)We had a huge class today for Coach Drea. Ev and I, Jonathan, Amber, Vivien, Carrie, Jenny, Nic & Nichole, Adrienne, Jake, Tionne, and Caleb.

We did a 500m row, talked about the workout, then broke into little groups to get stuff done. I worked with Jake & Jonathan and Caleb joined us.

Started with back squats. We warmed up with a few reps with an empty barbell, then started adding weight. I got all the way to 315# today. Crazy.

Looking back at my notes, I was all excited. I thought I had achieved an impossible 50# increase in my PR. Apparently not.

  • 225# (2013)
  • 245# (2014)
  • 265# (2014)
  • 275# (2015)
  • 295# (2016)
  • 315# (2017)


11041187_10153302669719648_2090122082587817495_nSo only a 20# PR there. I was confused by my notes which had me doing 265# 5x a few months ago. Even so, first time I’ve broken the 300# barrier on a squat!

Then we did strict press. Same general rules applied. Warmed up with an empty barbell and then started adding weight. I got to 155#.

  • 85# (2013)
  • 115# (2014)
  • 125# (2015)
  • 145# (2016)
  • 155# (2017)

So a 10# PR there.

And then we moved to deadlifts. I thought I’d be doing ok there after doing a bunch of 315# deadlifts touch and go a couple of Saturdays ago. But my form was crap today and my lower back was bugging me so I didn’t get far. Only hit 335# there.

  • 295# (2013)
  • 315# (2014)
  • 325# (2014)
  • 335# (2014)
  • 355# (2015)
  • 345# (2016)
  • 335# (2017)


Barbell_DeadliftI’m going the wrong way on this one. Definitely need to take some time to work on form here.

Even so, my CrossFit Total hit 805# today (315# + 155# + 335#), so I’m not going to sneeze at it.

Based on my old #s, my previous totals were:

  • 605# (225# + 85# + 295#) (2013)
  • 715# (265# + 115# + 335#) (2014)
  • 755# (275# + 125# + 355#) (2015)
  • 785# (295# + 145# + 345#) (2016)
  • 805# (315# + 155# + 335#)  (2017)

At least overall my strength is going the right way. 🙂

Great work today everybody!


Crossfit Total, August 2016

Sleep has been tough to come by the last couple of nights, so I wasn’t sure how I’d do today. I’m only mildly disappointed. 🙂

We had a great class today with Coach Bill (also saw Coach Drea and Larry joined us)… Me, Ev, and AJ, plus Sarah, Larry, Nic & Nichole, Melissa, Danielle, and the nice new gal whose name is just not sticking today. Started with a 400m run and 3 minutes of the bear complex (deadlift, front squat, push press, back squat) with an empty bar. Once that was done, we did some handstand work.

gymnastics-handstand-silhouette-body-silhouette-man-in-handstand-front-1Eventually I’ll figure out the freestanding handstand. But I was having issues not only with shoulders but wrists today. Wrists don’t work well as ankles apparently. I managed to kick away from the wall briefly to do a bit of balance work and then helped Larry with some partner freestanding handstands by more or less being the wall and keep him from going over backwards a time or two.

When THAT was all done, we did some more barbell warm-ups with the three movements of the crossfit total: back squat, deadlift, and strict press. And then we were cut loose.

I worked with Nic and Larry and we just kept adding weights (and occasionally removing them) from the bar. When we started I felt pretty good, so I was curious to see how I’d do.

For the back squat, we started with 225#, jumped to 275# (my old 1RM) and then put another 20# on for 295#. I probably could have gone a bit farther, but we were on the clock so I didn’t want to be the guy that kept us from getting done. 🙂

Olympic weightsFor the deadlifts, I’m not sure what happened – but my low back above my hips was not happy. I knew when a 225# warm-up deadlift felt somewhat heavy that it wasn’t going to be a good day. We jumped to 305# and I did one ugly deadlift to get it up. And that was it. I attempted 335# twice and it just wasn’t happening.

Once that was done, we shifted to the strict press. And it felt great up to 135#, which was my old 1RM. It felt light. For some reason that was the beginning of the end for me ’cause I started rushing and not setting up properly. I attempted 155# a couple of times but eventually fell back to a really really ugly 145# which I did get up eventually.

So your crossfit total is your back squat + your deadlift + your strict press. 295# + 305# + 145# = 745#. Not awful. Not great. And 2 out of 3 PRs is nothing to sneeze at. I’m just disappointed the deadlifts weren’t happening for me today.

Meanwhile Larry did awesome. And Nic did great. 🙂

AJ also did amazingly well – 135# back squat, 155# deadlift, and 50# strict press I think. And Ev did 205#, 265#, and 75#.

Definitely a day for PRs! Great work everybody!


Curses, foiled again!

I’ve been taking it easy from crossfit this week, which is to say I’ve only been twice… on Tuesday and now today. Why? Because I’m trying very hard to let my groin pull heal. In fact, I thought it was healed enough to let me do back squats… silly me.

12w2wrMy wife went at 8:30 this morning and managed a 200# back squat. That’s a 15# increase over her old 1RM and awesome. I was hoping I could get close to my old 1RM today but that was not to be.

It was just me with Drea at Noon. She let me do a 500m row and then some warm-ups – Cossack squats, marching bridges, grasshoppers, banded good mornings, and fire hydrants. After that it was PR time…

Started with back squats. Did 135# and it felt ok, so I jumped to 225# as a reasonable jumping off point. My old one rep is 275#, which I did a year ago (May 2015), so 225# should be easy enough since I was doing 5 rep sets of it two weeks ago…

Nope. Got it once and my groin pull twinged and that was it. <sigh>

12w300Then we moved to bench press. My old 1RM was 220# (set back in November 2015) but I was worried about how my groin pull would feel there. Last week I wasn’t able to even lie down on the bench without it hurting. How would it go this week?

Well, I could still feel it, but it wasn’t nearly as bad. So… warmed up at 135#, jumped to 185#, then 205#, then 215#, 225#, 235#… at 235# I had a little help from Drea, so we backed off to 230#. It wasn’t pretty, but I got it all the way up.

So that’s a 10# PR increase. I’ll take it. 🙂

After that, things went wonky. Our little conditioning WOD after the strength bits was a 10 minute AMRAP:

  • 12 dumbbell deadlifts
  • 9 dumbbell hang squat cleans
  • 6 dumbbell push jerks

From experience, I can say that my body is not very balanced strength- or mobility-wise. Even during the bench press today I noticed that the right arm did most of the pushing and the left arm struggled to keep up. Well, dumbbell work for me just pushes that to an extreme.


I went with 25# dumbbells. Should have been easy, but it wasn’t. There’s something about having to stabilize both arms independently that just throws my whole body out of whack.

Deadlifts went ok. Not great, but ok. And the squat cleans… geez. Started fine but as my grip and arm failed, I noticed more and more that the left hand grip was disappearing quickly but flexibility and stability on the left side went away even faster. Mobility of pulling that arm up and back into a clean position was nonexistent after a while – to the point where I dropped the dumbbell on that side and just did cleans on the right. I think it’s the same issue that has me stuck on chest-to-bar pull-ups.

Not sure how many rounds I got through – maybe 3 and into 4 or 2 into 3 – but ultimately it didn’t really matter. I was amused watching the left side of my body give up, just like I was amused seeing how far I couldn’t get with a back squat – a movement that I love.

Long story short, it’s back to recovery mode… Just stretching and using Deep Blue and letting those muscles knit themselves back together in some way that lets me get past this and over this hump.

One day at a time. 🙂

Thanks Drea for hanging with me at the noon class and good work to everybody who kicked butt today getting some new PRs!!