Tag Archives: back squats

Back Squats, Thrusters, and L-sits, Oh my

In the last few weeks we’ve only had few strength days. This week, we had two. I think the CrossFit gods are messing with me. πŸ™‚Β Made it in this morning with Ev for the 8:30 class. Coach Lara had a few of us — Melissa S, KB, Lisa, and Caleb joined in the fun.

20180823_093515Started with a similar warm-up to the last few days. Only did one round because we had a lot to get through in the workout, and then got right into some movement warm-ups with an empty barbell: back squats, front squats, push press, thrusters…

From there, we found a rack to work from and got moving. I paired up with Caleb today, who is nursing a sore quad today. He is a beast, but was a bit slower today and more patient with weight because of the quad.

The workout was a triplet of 4’s:

  • Back squats – 4×3
  • Thrusters – 4×3
  • L-sit holds – 4 attempts at a max hold

So how’d it go?

illustrated-squatBack squats went pretty well, and I got a bit further than I expected…

  • 135# x10 (warm-up)
  • 155# x7 (warm-up)
  • 175# x5 (warm-up)
  • 185# x3
  • 205# x3
  • 225# x3
  • 235# x3

Last time I wrote down we did this was back in December 2016, so it’s been a while since I updated the old spreadsheet. But I hit 3×265# back then. Looks like we did 5×3 back in March and I stayed at 225#, so a bit better than a few months ago, but not as good as a couple of years ago. That’s about par for the course. πŸ™‚

2013-thrusters-combinedThen we shifted to thrusters…

  • 45# x5 (warm-up)
  • 95# x5 (warm-up)
  • 95# x3
  • 115# x4 (felt good enough, I did an extra without thinking!)
  • 135# x3
  • 145# x3

This was actually surprising to me. Last numbers in the spreadsheet for thrusters were 2x 145# in December 2016 and my one rep was 175# around my birthday in 2016. Though we’ve had a few workouts where we’ve done thrusters, it’s not been a movement we’ve gone heavy on for quite a while.

But they didn’t feel too bad today (obviously if I got an extra one in that one set). Caleb and I chatted about it afterwards and he mentioned that starting with heavier back squats actually warmed up the system to where it was readier for the thruster load than it normally is. Neurological load. (Here’s a good article about it.)

I also changed my feet a little, making my squat a bit wider. That definitely helped.

Mine didn’t look anything like this. πŸ™‚

Makes me wonder what my one rep might be now for a thruster, since it’s dropped on many other movements. The body is a funny thing.

When all that was done, we did L-sit holds for a maximum time. Not one of my strongest movements, for sure. And one where I knew my first attempt would be the longest of the four.

Well, I managed one hold of 19 seconds. The rest dropped precipitously after that… 10 seconds, 7 seconds, and 9 seconds… Just as predicted. πŸ™‚ But I was very happy with the 19 second hold.

All in all, not a bad strength day. πŸ™‚ Thanks Lara and thanks for all the encouragement Caleb!!


Weds Night and Thursday Morning

Sometimes I should listen to my body. Last night was one of those times. But today I actually did pretty well with a cardio-based workout. Even so, I think tomorrow is going to be a rest day before my body tells me something I don’t want to hear. πŸ™‚

Wednesday Night – Back Squats

AJ took this photo and as you can see, my progress bar was stuck about 30%…

Remember last week when AJ bribed me to go to Friday’s workout with the promise of chocolate chip cookies? Well, she got on another baking kick on Wednesday and made these yummy little chocolate popovers… and I made it into the 4:45 class with her and Coach Isaac. πŸ™‚ We were joined by Nancy and newcomer Matt!

Started with the week’s warm-up and did some squat warm-ups with a PVC pipe as well as an empty barbell before tackling the WOD…

  • 10 x 2 Back Squat

Apparently the goal was to go heavy, but my body didn’t get the memo. It was still a little ticked off over the overhead squats from Monday I think. πŸ™‚

We warmed up from the empty barbell and I could feel that my hips and low back were a wee bit fired up. But I started off pretty steadily before it felt too awful…

  • illustrated-squat135# x3 (warm-up)
  • 155# x3 (warm-up)
  • 175# x3 (warm-up)
  • —————————–
  • 185# x2
  • 195# x2
  • 205# x2
  • 215# x2
  • 225# x2
  • 235# x2 (didn’t feel great)
  • 235# x2 (a little better, but still not great)
  • 245# x2 (ugly, ugly squats that didn’t break parallel)
  • 225# x2 (dropped and still didn’t feel great)
  • 225# x2 (glad it was the last set)

Let’s compare these numbers with a few other things for shits and giggles… My last PR was 315# in January 2017. 245# was my 1RM back in 2014. My body is not happy with me.

Listening to my body is a skill I need to work on, but I’m glad I didn’t push further.

Meanwhile, my 13 year old was adding weight on top of weight and hit a new 1RM of 155#. She didn’t get it up twice, but she did fantastic getting that far, which is 25# heavier than she did earlier in the month!

She had a great day. πŸ™‚ Thanks Isaac (& Nancy) for cheering her on!

Thursday – Cardio Day

When I saw what today’s workout was, I have to admit I may have grumbled a little. We just watched the CrossFit Games athletes row a full marathon (26.2 miles) in 3 hours (more or less) as the last event yesterday and this was bordering on that level of insanity. Or at least it was sanity-adjacent. πŸ™‚

7TaonKRbcMade it in with Ev & AJ and we were joined by a good number of folks for Coach Drea – Dave, Todd & Melissa, Dee, Kelli, and KB. We started with the same warm-up as earlier in the week, and added some couch stretch and air squats for good measure.

From there, we talked a bit about the workout itself. Rowing and running. With only four runners and nine of us, it was going to take some planning. πŸ™‚ We had a few options:

  • WOD as designed: 2000m row, 1 mile run, 2000m row (or 1500/800/1500 for Fitness)
  • Or run/row/run or bike for 10 min/run/bike 10 min

Any way you slice it, it was a lot of cardio. I voted (selfishly) for the row/run/row option because I row pretty well, I hate the Devil’s Tricycle, and running two miles sounded awful. πŸ™‚

sportsrow-800pxSo how’d I do? 30:35

  • 2000m row – 8:13
  • 1 mile walk/run – 13:52 (walked whole first 800m lap because my hips/knees felt awful getting off the rower, then walked/ran the second one, probably running about 500m)
  • 2000m row – 8:30

We were supposed to shoot for a 30 minute time domain, so I will take that all the way to the bank.

Meanwhile, Ev and AJ did awesome as well:

  • AJ – 31:50 (53 calories on bike/1 mile run/65 calories)
  • Ev – 33:21 (2k row/1 mile run/2k row)

It was definitely the row times that gave me the edge there. πŸ™‚

Great work 8:30 class!

The Power of Meh Today

Something is off today. Tossed and turned all night. Missed my usual caffeine first thing today (usually start the day with some Advocare Spark). And the deeper into the workout I got, the worse I felt. Likely some of it’s the continuation of the Murph hangover.

Made it in with the whole fam-damily this morning for an 8:30 workout. Drea coached and we had a lot of folks… Ev & I (the girls did mobility in the corner), Patti (did mobility with the girls), Connie, Brian & Reagan, Larry & Karen, Caleb, KB, Lara (shadowing Drea it appeared), and Todd. Might have been one or two others, but it was a good sized class!

7TaonKRbcWe started with this warm-up:

  • Run/row/bike 90 seconds (I ran 300m)
  • 5 Turkish get-ups each side (used a 15# or 20# kettlebell on left side and no weight on right)
  • 10 goblet squats, 2 second pause at bottom
  • 15 banded good mornings
  • Run/row/bike 90 seconds (ran another 300m)

After that we did some skill work with:

  • Back squats
  • Strict press
  • Deadlifts

And then, because we had such a big class, a few of us divvied up into a few groups. I worked with Caleb & Larry. Ev worked with Karen. Connie & KB worked together, etc.

U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Christopher β€œOtis” Raible (CrossFit Main Site 180424)

This workout was called “Otis” and named forΒ U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Christopher β€œOtis” Raible who was killed by insurgents during an attackΒ on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, on Sept. 14, 2012.Β Β Raible trained CrossFit with his wife, Donnella, and daughter Catherine. His favorite movements were deadlifts, squats, overhead presses and bench presses.

  • Otis
  • Performance: 15 minute AMRAP
    • 1 back squat, 1 shoulder press, 1 deadlift
    • 2 back squats, 2 shoulder presses, 2 deadlifts
    • 3 back squats, 3 shoulder presses, 3 deadlifts
    • Etc.
  • Use body weight for the squats and deadlifts and 1/2 body weight for the presses.


We worked our way up to the weights we’d use for the workout:

  • 225# deadlift (105% of my body weight these days)
  • 225# back squat
  • 105# strict press (49% of my body weight these days)

I knew during the warm-up that back squats were going to be my limiting factor today and I was right.

The plan was we would each start on a different movement and just work through each set. I started at deadlifts, moved to back squats, and finished with strict press.

scaling-wodHow’d it go?

  • 1-1-1
  • 2-2-2
  • 3-3-3
  • (dropped to 205# for back squats) 4-4-4
  • 5-5-5
  • (stopped back squats all together) 6 deadlifts, 6 strict press
  • 7 deadlifts (not counted in total reps)
  • Total: 57 (64 with 7 deadlifts)

Everything was hinging forward on my back squats, even when I dropped weight. Deadlifts felt good. If I could breathe right on the first one, I was able to stabilize better for every subsequent rep. And the strict press got tougher as we went, but was ok. I felt like I was arching my back the deeper we got.

Caleb & Larry both got into the round of 7s I think, so they were chugging right along.

Back squats just didn’t quite feel right from the get-go, so I’m not sure if it was my lack of sleep or issues stemming from Murph earlier in the week. Either way, as my daughters would say, “they were trash.”

Great work everybody!

Sorry I let off the gas towards the end, but my body just wasn’t having it.

Strength day!

So today is essentially going to be my last workout of the week, so I was happy it was going to end on a high note with a strength day. πŸ™‚

Went in with Ev to find Coach Bill finishing up his own workout (I think he said he hit 355# for his last back squat rep) and in a good mood as per usual. Logan, Dallen, and Melissa joined us so we had a fun little group.

bodyweight_walking_lungeWe started with a 2 round warm-up:

  • 1 minute of rowing
  • 10 reps per side of single-leg DB deadlift (forward, not sideways, which worked well on one side and not so well on the other)
  • 50 ft. walking lunge (which actually wasn’t horrible)

But after that we did some things on the floor to open our hips a bit further:

  • On our back, one knee bent, raise the straight leg as high as we can while trying to keep our butts on the floor. Do that on each side.
  • Then, same position, try and do a loop with the straight leg – up, to the side, and around. Again, each side.

After that we did like a crab-walk position with our butts off the floor, attempting to move our arms (behind us) closer to our feet and back again. This was my least favorite part of the whole warm-up, as it really aggravated my elbows and fired up my shoulders.

illustrated-squatLastly, we did a little back squat warm-up. I teamed up with Logan and we warmed up gently to our starting weight of 135#. I wanted to feel things out today and wasn’t in a hurry, so we didn’t push too crazy right off the bat for our 7 sets of 1 back squat. I wasn’t going to get close to my 315# one rep, but wanted to see how things went.

  • 135#
  • 165#
  • 185#
  • 205#
  • 225#
  • 235#
  • 250#

Fun observations:

  1. Apparently I did like my wife and somehow managed a calf raise before settling into my 225# or 235# rep. πŸ™‚
  2. 235# and 250# felt better than 165# did for me.
  3. And I really had a lot more in the tank with as good as 250# felt.

proton-positiveHitting 250# was about 80% of my 1RM and I worked up from a little more than 40%.

So not a bad day. A relaxed strength day was just what I needed to finish out my week. And apparently I need to do more ROMWOD kind of stuff over the next few days to keep my body happy.

Great work 8:30 class and thanks Bill!

Burpees Still Suck

In case you were wondering, burpees still suck. Such a simple movement – throwing yourself at the ground and then hopping up again. And yet it inevitably fries something on me, especially my shoulders. Yup. That kind of a Monday.

lemmling-Cartoon-owl-African-800pxMade it in for an 8:30 workout to see if it would adjust my mood any. Was a cranky bear yesterday (I felt bad afterwards). Not sure if it was the time change (daylight savings time is stupid) or the fact that I ate pizza, drank soda, had cookies, AND candy on Saturday night. Might have been a combination of things (day had a rough start).

But that was yesterday. What would today hold? Technical difficulties and burpees. Damn burpees.

There were a few of us with Coach Drea this morning – Dave, Emily, KB, and myself. And I think we were all a little owly.

We started with 2 minutes on the rower or bike and then did 2 rounds of:

  • 15 overhead lunges (step forward for first set, step back for second)
  • 20 second hollow body hold (first set), 20 seconds of hollow body rocks (second)
  • 20 second arch body hold (first set), 20 seconds of arch body rocks (second)
  • 10 PVC passthrus
  • 10 false grip ring rows

illustrated-squatFrom there it was to some air squat practice, some back squat practice, and then back squat warm-ups and burpee warm-ups.

  • Metcon: Rounds and Reps
  • 20 minute AMRAP
  • Performance
    • 20 burpees
    • 10x 3/4 body weight back squats

Yeah, burpees were the worst part of that whole thing, though the squats got more difficult as I went on.Β Β I used 165# for my 3/4 body weight back squats and normal burpees.

It was recommended we use this as practice for the two-footed hop method of burpees that’s being used in the Open this year, or mix that with some step-in style burpees. I did the first 45 burpees with the hopping style and the rest were mostly step-ins.

Made it through 4 full rounds plus 14 more burpees in the 20 minutes.


My issue was my right shoulder. It got very cranky, as it always does, creating longer and longer breaks in both burpees and back squats. But I felt like most of my squats were pretty good and my burpees, at least the first couple of rounds, were decent.

Everybody was hopping. And Emily was shouting at me for motivation during the workout, which I appreciated. 5 more minutes! 2 more minutes! Time was going very slowly it seemed. πŸ™‚

Anyway – great work 8:30 class and thanks Drea!

Tired Body Back Squats

First day of the week and an odd week at that, but I did make it in for the 8:30 class this morning with Coach Drea. We had a fun crew – Ashley, Melissa & Todd, Dave, and Logan (and the 9:30 crew was fun as well, with Nick & Lisa, Andrew, and a mess of other folks).

always-warm-up-thoroughlyWe started the day by tackling the new warm-up from Coach Nicole, which proved interesting since most of us were sore from 18.2 over the weekend…

  • 30 second active squat hold (pushing out knees with elbows) – could barely get into a squat when we started
  • 10 pistol chairs at the rig
  • 10 Jefferson curls with a dumbbell 10x (used 25# dumbbell)
  • 10 straddle compressions (split legs, lean over a leg with torso, sit up, switch to other leg)
  • 30 second Superman hold
  • 10 forward table holds (I was only able to put hands behind and move forward to stretch elbows and shoulders)
  • 30 second hollow body hold
  • 10 scap push-ups
  • 30 seconds of kip swings
  • 10 pvc passthrus

Then we did some additional work:

  • 10 pull-downs with a banded PVC pipe on the rig, while in a hollow body hold
  • 15 walking lunges with a PVC pipe in an overhead squat position
  • walk across room in a waiter carry of a dumbbell (25#), alternating arms
  • (We did all of this 2x)

illustrated-squatBut after that it was a bit of back squat refresher with an empty barbell and then we were off to the races for our 5×3 WOD. She gave us the option that if our bodies were feeling a bit rough today to go with a single weight for the whole workout and focus on good reps. I did that. πŸ™‚

I warmed up with 135# and 185# and decided very quickly that 225# sounded like a solid weight to work with for my 5x3s. It’s about 10# over my body weight these days, so it wasn’t exactly light. My 1RM from last year was 315#, so 225# is about 71% of 315#.

And I was glad I stayed there. One of every three reps each round, I felt like I was going to my toes. My hips were really tight for no good reason today.

But we made it through. And then we did our strict pull-ups and ring dips… Made it through 11 strict ring dips and 4 strict pull-ups. Most ring dips since we started and about average on pull-ups. Just not getting very strong in that direction.

Great work today everybody! Good start to the week!

I hope to get in a workout at home tomorrow and then be back in for Wednesday night, Thursday morning, and Friday night for 18.3. We’ll see how it goes. πŸ™‚

Thanks Drea!

Six in a Row?

Some weeks it just works out that I get to spend more time in one of my favorite places. This was one of those weeks. Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Friday night with 18.2 and today with a team WOD. Yeah, I may be a little sore, but I’ll be good to go come Monday again. πŸ™‚

Today’s workout was written up by Coach Larry and it was a good one to take advantage of the beautiful weather we had this morning. We all might have been a little slow (except for Brent, who ran hard every round it seemed), but we survived. πŸ™‚

Ev, AJ, and I headed in and were joined by Caleb & Megan, Austen, Deana & Marino, Stacy & Shaun (and Stacy’s sister), Nick & Lisa, Jonathan, and Brent. Not sure if I missed anybody, but I was a little surprised by the fact the had so many after 18.2 last night. Was a fun crew. πŸ™‚

keep-calm-and-amrapWe started with a modified version of the warm-up we did all week and added some running drills, but were pretty soon off to the races.

  • 30 Minute AMRAP – Teams of 2
    • Partner A – 400M Run
    • Partner B – Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)
    • Switch and repeat
    • Partner A – Run 400M
    • Partner B – Back Squats
    • Switch and repeat
    • Partner A – Run 400M
    • Partner B – Sit Ups
    • Switch and repeat
    • Partner A – Run 400M
    • Partner B – Box Jumps (24/20)
    • Switch and repeat

Jonathan and I tackled this one together. We initially were going to go with the 135# shoulder to overhead but I convinced him to drop it to at least 115# after a brief attempt at three reps. πŸ™‚ I think Marino & Shaun were doing it with 95# and that probably would have been the better plan. πŸ™‚Β Ev & Lisa worked together and AJ worked with Austen. And there was one team of three I think.

7TaonKRbcI started running because that’s one of my least favorite things to do, so I might as well get it over with. πŸ™‚

  • Run 400m, Jonathan did 22 s2oh
  • Jonathan ran 400m and I did 24 s2oh
  • I ran and Jonathan did 38 back squats
  • He ran and I only got through 23 back squats. My hamstrings were singing by that point. πŸ™‚
  • Then I ran and Jonathan did 69 sit-ups
  • He ran and I did 65 sit-ups
  • I ran and he did 39 24″ box jumps
  • He ran and I did 42 20″ step ups
  • And then we started over…
  • I ran and he did 23 more s2oh
  • He ran with about a minute left and I got through 10 more reps
  • Total reps in 30 minutes = 355

Now, I’m not going to lie. I ran the entirety of the first 400m and did some combination of walk/run for every other lap. πŸ™‚ But other than that I felt like I hung in with everything but back squats. Apparently the 55 dumbbell squats I did last night may have caught up with me a bit. πŸ™‚

Anyway… We did great. Everybody kept moving and that was really the name of the game. By the time we were done, Drea & Jimmy were there, along with Todd. I

We watched Nick & Todd take on 18.2 while our friendly neighborhood chiropractor put us back together. Yeah, it was a good day.

Thanks for a good workout that got us out in the sun today Larry! And great work everybody!