Tag Archives: bench press

Go to failure…

Today has been a surprising day on a number of fronts, but let’s just focus on today’s workout. This morning it was Ev & I, Alicia, and KB with Coach Lara at the 8:30 class.

Surprise #1 – I chose to run 400m during the warm-up. Why? Because the sun was out and it was nice for a change.

From there we did the rest of the warm-up and then talked about our two-part workout.

First, we worked on bench press. The workout was:

  • Strength – 5-5-3-3-1-1-1

Apparently early classes said we should do bench press and then it stuck. πŸ™‚ We did a workout a week ago (bench press and rowing) that included three rounds of bench press work (15 reps). I started at 155# and dropped to 135# after round 1. So I was curious to see what I could do today.

I warmed up with 5 reps each at 95#, 115#, and 135# and then did:

  • 155# x5
  • 165# x5
  • 175# x3
  • 185# x3
  • 195# x1
  • 205# x1
  • 225# x1 (20# jump)

Surprise #2 – I made it to 225# today!

My old one rep max was 230# set back in 2015, so I am pleased as punch I got to 225# with no problems today. I did each set without assistance, which made it even better. πŸ™‚

After that we did a metcon:

  • 3 rounds for time:
    • 50 double-unders (or 50 singles)
    • 2 minutes holding a handstand (cumulative)
    • 35 AbMat sit-ups (GHD-style, kicking feet out)

We all knew that handstand hold was going to be a bear. I just did a bunch of handstands two days ago during a workout with Nicole (oh my core) and my right shoulder was pissed that night. And guess what? That was rough today!

Surprise #3 – It was the *OTHER* shoulder today that decided handstand holds on the wall were crazy. It’s been a while since I’ve done any movement to failure, but I certainly did today!

We had a hard 25 minute cap today, but I managed to get through the whole thing in 22:42 — though I have to admit that after 1:15 in the last round, my left shoulder was toast. I simply could not convince my body to get back up on the wall on my hands — my left arm was twisted behind me and my right arm was straight, but it wasn’t enough.

I did have a few good holds of 30 seconds or so throughout the three round (first two rounds) but geez… shoulders were angry at the end.

Great work everybody!

We’ll see if we get back in tomorrow or choose to take it as a rest day. πŸ™‚

Catch-up after a weird week

So this week was bizarre… after making it to Strongman last Sunday, I had to skip Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday due to all sorts of craziness at home and work. That left me scrambling a bit at the end of the week.

Thursday – Bench Press and Rowing

Thursday morning I made it in for some bench press and single-arm rows… and it was a light class with Coach Lara — just me, Ev, and KB. Wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but hey… I was there so that was a win. πŸ™‚

The workout was:

  • 3 rounds for time of:
    • 15 body-weight bench presses
    • 20 single-arm rows, left arm, 40/25# dumbbell
    • 20 single-arm rows, right arm, 40/25# dumbbell
    • 1,000-meter row

My first thought was… yes, I might be able to do a body weight bench press — ONCE. So that was going to scale quickly. And single-arm ANYTHING is a challenge, so I would probably scale that as well.

  • Round 1, I did 155# bench press — rounds 2 and 3 I did 135#
  • I used a 25# dumbbell the whole time
  • And I focused my rowing on controlling pace more than speed or distance, so I tried to keep a strokes per minute pace between 26 and 29 the whole time. Did ok at that when I wasn’t watching my 500m time πŸ™‚

155# was a silly decision for my first 15 reps and I was wise to drop to 135# after that.

But I won’t lie… this WOD took a long time… 26+ minutes. But my rows, though slower, were more consistent — and I wasn’t as gassed at the end of my 1000m, so I’ll take that as a win.

Friday Night Lights – 19.5

I won’t lie about 19.5… I saw the announcement on Thursday night and watched Mat Fraser and Tia Toomey throw down, finishing the whole thing in minimal time (under 8 mins for Fraser and under 9 for Toomey) and wondered how far I was going to get.

All day Friday I mulled it over to the point where I was exhausted before I even got to the box that night. But I wanted to get it done.

I watched friends go through the pain and wondered what I was getting myself into. πŸ™‚ But I wanted it done…

One at a time, I had plenty of height for a while. πŸ™‚ — thank you Megan White for the picture!

So in the 5:30 heat, I went with a bunch of other folks (though I volunteered to wait since judges were scarce and Katie Bratt kindly stepped up to help).

  • CrossFit open 19.5
    • Total Time, 20 minute time cap
    • 33-27-21-15-9
    • Thrusters (95/65#)
    • Chest to bar pull-ups

Ugh. 210 reps total and I wasn’t sure I was going to get out of the first 66.

So how’d I do? I took my time and worked through my c2b one at a time, completing 100 reps by the time the 20 minutes was up.

Better than I expected, so I’ll take it. πŸ™‚ Thrusters were slow, but consistent and the c2bs didn’t kill me one at a time.

And then today I watched my wife go in and do the workout scaled (45# bar, jumping pull-ups) and finish all 210 reps under the time cap at 19:48. She did awesome. (I only had to no-rep her on a few jumping pull-ups and her thrusters were very consistent from beginning to end. Great push at the end too!)

So the open is all done and I need to ponder a bit before I figure out what I learned this time, though I feel like I did pretty well all things considered. Plus, I had fun for the most part and didn’t overstress things as much as I USUALLY do, so that was good. πŸ™‚

Great work everybody and thank you Katie for being my judge last night!

More Shoulder Work

Yesterday was pull-pull-pull… Today was push. Still shoulder intensive, but not nearly as much of a struggle despite the movements. πŸ™‚

Made it in at 8:30 with AJ for Coach Lara’s class… We had a huge class since it’s during Thanksgiving Break for a lot of folks. Lisa, Carrie, Larry, Todd & Melissa, Dave, Andrew & Ashley, and the new gal whose name I still haven’t figured out. There were 11 of us, plus Drea was working with a new member in a separate workout — so the place was hopping today.

Because we had a lot to get through today, we started with a simple warm-up:

  • 500m row or 2 mins on bike or 2 mins of single-unders (more like 90 seconds, but who’s counting? πŸ™‚ )
  • 10 inchworms to side plank
  • 10 single arm (no weight) overhead squats focusing on good form
  • 10 banded good mornings
  • 30 second pectoral stretch on the wallΒ 
  • and 10 arm circles on the wallΒ 

From there we grabbed some light dumbbells and focused on the movements at hand: a single dumbbell overhead squat and then bench press. We paired up on bench (thanks Andrew for being my partner today) and folks did the dumbbell work largely on their own.Β 

The workout was:

  • single-arm dumbbell overhead squat 5-5-5-5-5
  • bench press 3-3-3-3-3
  • 5 attempts at a max set of triple unders or 10 minutes of jump rope practice

So how’d it go?Β 

Well, for the dumbbell overhead squats, I stayed light and focused on form.Β 

  • 15# x5
  • 20# x5
  • 20# x5
  • 25# x5
  • 25# x5

And Andrew and I did ok at the bench press:

  • 135# x3
  • 145# x3
  • 155# x3
  • 165# 3
  • 175# x3

My one rep is 230# (back in April 2016), so 175# is 76% of my 1RM, so that’s not bad. I could have gone further I think, but I was happy with the result.

And at the end I did some double-under practice. Again, no double-unders were harmed during my practice. But I did give it a shot until I whacked myself in the back of the head with the rope. πŸ™‚

AJ did awesome as well — she managed her last set of DB OHS with the same 25# dumbbell I did and she got to 80# for 1 rep in her 4th set and 2 reps in her 5th set, so that counts as 3 reps in my book. πŸ™‚

Everybody was doing really well and I saw a few people achieve the fictional triple-under as well — so great work everybody! Thanks Lara for the encouragement and thanks again Andrew for being my bench partner today.Β 

The Last Few Days and Some Observations about Language

So far this week has proven to be the normal amount of crazy, but that will go up a notch for various reasons starting tomorrow. As such, I thought it would be good to catch up a bit on the last few days. And then I have some odd observations about personal language and my fitness journey.

girls-gone-rx-logoSaturday we went up and cheered on many folks at Girls Gone Rx in Denver. All the ladies killed it and it looks like they had a lot of fun at the same time, so that was fantastic.

Sunday afternoon I went and did Yoga with Vanessa and her daughters at Continuum. They are all much more flexible than I, but I did my best and had fun trying to get past the friction of practicing to be flexy again. πŸ™‚ Thank you V!

That gets us to this week…

Monday Burpees

My Monday morning began with a 2 hour meeting, so there was no room for the usual crossfit class at 8:30 or 9:30. As such, I ended up attending a 4:45 class in the afternoon with Coach Nicole. As the class happened to involve burpees and running, two of my least favorite activities on the planet, I think everybody was a little surprised to see me. πŸ™‚

kablam-Run-Birdie-RunThere were quite a few folks there – Deana & Marino, Chris, KB, Steve, Nancy, and the new guy – Ryan or Brian. Might have been one or two others, but it was a good group. πŸ™‚

We started with one of Nicole’s special warm-ups and did many things. I think there was a 200m run in there and some Russian dips, plus some banded pull-downs, kip swings, banded pull-aparts, and some other things. My body really is struggling with Russian dips on the floor, but this video from CrossFit HQ and Camille talks about why you do them and how they should look. Mine looked more like an elephant seal flopping around on the ground — and Nicole tried valiantly to help me get past my neurological block. πŸ™‚

Like many things I’ve encountered in crossfit, this is an area where my brain and my body simply are not communicating. My brain can visualize what needs to be done. I can watch Nicole and others performing a Russian dip. But when it comes time to translate from my head to my body, I struggle mightily.

burpees-suck-white-e1415664950623It’s a good challenge and eventually I’ll figure it out. (Thanks for your patience Nicole!)

From there, we talked about the workout itself.

  • Five 2-minute rounds of:
    • 10 burpees
    • 200-m sprint
    • Max-rep burpees
  • Rest 3 minutes between rounds

Um. Sure. Running and burpees. Ugh. But I did it. πŸ™‚ My rounds looked like this:

  • 10 burpees, 200m run, 7 burpees
  • 10 burpees, 200m run, 6 burpees
  • 10 burpees, 200m run, 3 burpees
  • 10 burpees, 200m run, 0 burpees (barely made it back to the door as the 2 minutes ran out)
  • 10 burpees, 200m run, 3 burpees
  • Total score: 19

Honestly, my goal each round was to complete the 10 burpees and the run. Everything else was gravy. By round 3, my calves were turning to rocks (especially my right one) and I tried rolling it out on a kettlebell but it didn’t help a whole bunch. Round 4, I walked the 100m back to the door because my right calf felt like concrete — which is why I had zero burpees after the run.

Not my best workout. πŸ™‚ But I finished, managed to hit my personal goal of the 10 burpees plus run each round, and got a few extra burpees in. I’ll take it. Other folks were doing 10+ burpees after their runs, but definitely not me. πŸ™‚

Great work 4:45 class and thank you Nicole for the encouragement!

Tuesday Shoulder Killer

This morning I was back to the box at 8:30 with Coach Lara for another workout. Today’s was a hero WOD and we definitely worked hard.

We had another good class full today – Dave and his daughter Star, Dallen, and Katie.

dr-evil-air-quotes-yes-this-is-what-we-call-a-warm-upStarted with the same warm-up as was on the books for yesterday:

  • 500m row
  • 20 banded pull-aparts
  • 5 windmills (I used a 2.5# plate)
  • 10 kip swings
  • 10 straight-arm banded pull-overs (sort of a lat pull-down with a band on the rig)
  • 5 Russian dips (awful again, but may have managed a couple)
  • second 500m row

After that, we warmed up our overhead squat and I knew I was going to be in some trouble. Empty barbell and Lara was drilling us to make sure our pinky finger turned in when we gripped the bar, so our armpits pointed forward. When I do OHS, my shoulders want to go the opposite direction — and like the Russian dips, it’s a bit of a neurological challenge to convince my body to get into correct form.

We also tested some rope climbs and warmed up bench press a little.

Jeremie-BorderToday’s workout is “JBo” – named forΒ U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremie “JBo” “Bubba” Border who perished in action in Afghanistan back in 2012. One of our members knew him, so this hits closer to home than some hero workouts do. They’re always tough, but a personal connection really drives it home the reality of what these men and women have sacrificed for our country.

From the CrossFit mainsite:

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremie “JBo” “Bubba” Border, 28, of Mesquite, Texas, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), based in Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan, died Sept. 1, 2012, in Batur Village, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire.Β He is survived by his parents, Mary Border and Robert Harris; sisters, DeLaynie Peek, Katie Border, Ashley Harris and Amanda Pereira; nephews, Robbie and Kayden Pereira; and brothers-in-law, Jason Peek and Roberto Pereira.

  • JBo –Β 28 minute AMRAP:
    • Competitor:
      • 115/75# bar
      • 9 OHS
      • 1 legless rope climb, 15-foot rope, beginning from seated
      • 12 bench presses
    • Performance
      • 95/65# bar
      • 9 OHS
      • 1 legless rope climb
      • 12 bench rpesses
    • Fitness (20 minute AMRAP)
      • 45/35# bar
      • 9 OHS
      • 1 lay-to-stand on the rope
      • 12 bench presses

j-hook-rope-climbYeah, this was a doozy. And with my OHS issues, it got hairy quickly. So my version of this workout became:

  • 28 minute AMRAP
    • 9 overhead squats
      • 45# empty bar for 2 rounds
      • 10 reps with PVC pipe focusing on form for all other rounds
    • 1 rope climb, using j-hook
    • 12 bench presses with a 95# bar
  • Total: 8 rounds plus 21

Lara focused on the “pinkies in, armpits forward” approach for the OHS and I simply could not keep good form even with the empty barbell. OHS has been an on-again off-again goat over the last 5 years, so I’m not too surprised. Moving back down to a PVC pipe hurt my pride a little, I will admit, but I knew it was the ONLY way I was going to figure out the form we were working on.


My rope climbs were pretty good until my shoulders got really tired about round 5 or 6. I had a hard time pulling, but managed to get the one climb each round.

And bench press. You wouldn’t think that 12 “light” bench presses would have been such a challenge, but wow they definitely were. I did the first round unbroken and that was a silly thing to do. After that I was breaking it into 6 and 6 or 4-4-4 or 5-4-3 or 3-3-3-3 or whatever the hell I could push. They got very challenging towards the end and Lara was kind enough to spot for me. πŸ™‚ I failed my last rep as time ran out in the 28 minutes.

So total reps: 88 OHS, 9 rope climbs, and 107 bench presses. Yeah, the volume was higher than I thought.

When I was done, I did a little Crossover Symmetry, which helped for a bit — but now that I’ve been sitting down I have to admit that my shoulders are on fire. πŸ™‚

Great work 8:30 class! And thank you Lara for the coaching and spotting!

Language and Mental Will

Lately I’ve noticed myself falling back into some old habits. Whether in my head or out loud, I often hear “I can’t” or “I won’t” or various swear words equating to “$@#$!# this” when I’m in the middle of a workout. Usually I start out fine and as my body gets less happy, my language gets less happy.


Some of this is due to my own physical challenges, whether it’s with a lack of flexibility, skill, or strength. Some of it is due to my pre-conceived notions about what I can and cannot accomplish.

For example, I hate running and burpees. I’m bad at overhead squats. I can’t do double-unders. Etc.

“Hate.” “Bad.” “Can’t.” These are all negatively charged words. And though I fight through them most of the time, it’s a constant battle.

Somehow I need to find a way to change the language I use to be more positive. Anybody have any ideas on how to do that? Let me know.

Turkish Strength Day

Let’s start off by saying that apparently I’m not in the best mood today. Didn’t sleep well (on the couch, courtesy of the dogs). Stressed about a lot of things. And generally out of sorts. Exactly the kind of day I need to get into the gym even if my mood is telling me not to.

expressionless-faceSo I made it in this morning for an 8:30 workout with Coach Bill. Ev & AJ joined me along with a host of other folks – Kelli & Dee, Larry, Bri, and a new gal whose name I didn’t catch. I knew I needed the endorphins, so I tried to put on a better face than how I was feeling. πŸ™‚

We started with a 10 minute AMRAP as the warm-up. I think I made it through three rounds of:

  • 10 ring rows
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 v-ups
  • 10 kettlebell swings (35# light)
  • 10 overhead squats with PVC
  • 30 second pike stretch (focused on hamstrings)

From there we did a little refresher on what a Turkish get-up looks like, some scaling options for weighted ring dips, and a bit on the bench press… and then we were off to the races.

The workout? Strength day with three movements, holding good form for each round and potentially increasing weight.

  • Weighted dip 3-2-2-1-1-1-1 reps
  • Bench press 3-2-2-1-1-1-1 reps
  • Turkish get-up 3-2-2-1-1-1-1 reps

Turkish get-ups (great Men’s Health article)

I started with Turkish get-ups, went to ring dips, and then hit bench press last.

  • Turkish get-ups
    • 3 – unloaded training barbell, 15#
    • 2 – 20# barbell
    • 2 – 25# barbell
    • 1 – 30# barbell
    • 1 – 35# barbell
  • Weighted ring-dips
    • 3 – no weight
    • 2 – 15# plate
    • 2 – 25# plate
    • 1 – 35# kettlebell
    • 1 – 45# (35# kettlebell + 10# plate)
    • 1 – 55# kettlebell
  • Bench press
    • 135# x3
    • 155# x2
    • 185# x2 (ugly)
    • 205# x1 (really ugly)

You’ll notice a few things in here… First, I’m missing a few reps. I think I actually did all the reps for the get-ups and ring dips, but I wasn’t writing anything down and don’t honestly remember how many I did. Oops. Second, I stopped really early on the bench press.

Barbell_Bench_PressBy the time I hit the bench press, my left shoulder was already a bit ticked off. I blame the Turkish get-ups. Once I stopped, I just spotted Larry (he hit 245#).

These long strength days are impossible to fit into a normal sized class. By the time we were done with the warm-up and the movement prep it was 8:55, leaving us about 30-35 minutes to get through 33 reps with good form across three very different movement types. Not enough time, so we rush a bit.

But I was happy with the Turkish get-ups at least. That’s the first time in a long time (since I partially tore my groin) that I’ve felt pretty consistent with them. My left arm was traveling out further than the right, and the right felt really good.Β I’ll take it.

As for the endorphins, I got a few and was right back into stressed mode when I got to the car. Long story there, but we’ll just say I’m a cranky bear today.

Sorry if any of my mood infects anybody today. I’ll do my best to keep it to myself. Great work 8:30 class and thanks Bill!

Lost the Mental Battle Today

Some days you’re the bug. And some days you’re the windshield. Today I was a bit of both.

Two Bugs Outstanding in their Field

Woke up this morning, my head full of crud from allergies and all the smoke in the air. Took some allergy meds and shuffled off to the 8:30 workout with Ev & AJ. We were far from alone – this was one of the most crowded classes I’ve seen in quite a while. Todd, Melissa, and their daughter; Dave; KB; Sarah; and a bunch of other folks. It was busy!

EMOMCoach Drea had us start quickly with a warm-up that was a workout in and of itself…

  • EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) for 6 minutes
    • Odd Minutes: 10 band pull-aparts + 10 push-ups
    • Even Minutes: 10 Russian kettlebell swings + 10 goblet squats
  • Equipment used: thin blue band, regular push-ups, and 35# kettlebell for swings and squats

It was the push-ups that got me by the 5th minute. And then we went from there straight into trying to figure out how to structure the workout with so many people. I worked with Todd. Ev worked with KB. And AJ worked with two other kids.

The workout? Linda:

  • linda-wodScore Type:: Total Time
  • Competitor:
    • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:
    • 1Β½-body-weight deadlift
    • Body-weight bench press
    • ΒΎ-body-weight clean
  • Performance:
    • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:
    • 1ΒΌ-body-weight deadlift
    • ΒΎ-body-weight bench press
    • Β½-body-weight clean
  • Fitness:
    • 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:
    • ΒΎ-body-weight deadlift
    • Β½-body-weight bench press
    • β…“-body-weight clean

Todd and I set up with:

  • 225# deadlifts
  • 135# bench press
  • 115# squat cleans

First of all, everything felt heavy today. Second of all, I knew breathing was going to be a challenge due to conditions outside. And third, I couldn’t get my head in the game.

Todd started with squat cleans. I started on deadlifts.

DNF!-!-I got through my round of 9 and quit the workout. Body-wise it didn’t feel good. Breathing-wise it didn’t feel good. I felt like I was slowing down Todd (and I was). And I think there was so much going on everywhere that I was just mentally blitzed.

Instead, I chose to bow out of the workout, let Todd do his thing, and just spotted for him, Melissa, and Dave as needed. Honestly I wasn’t needed. They all kicked butt.

Physically, the warm-up today added more stress to my body than it felt prepared to take after three workouts in a row. And afterwards, I was definitely wondering if we should have knocked down the deadlift weight a bit.

Last time we did Linda was a few years ago… And I did 275# deadlifts, 165# bench, and 155# cleans in 55 minutes. Damn I’ve lost some lifting strength somewhere.

Today, weight-wise, I probably should have done:

  • 212# body weight
  • Performance:
    • 265# deadlift (1.25x weight) – would not have happened, since 225# felt heavy
    • 160# bench press (.75x weight) – also would not have happened
    • 105# squat cleans (.5x weight) – sounds awesome
  • Fitness
    • 160# deadlift (.75x weight) – probably too light, might have done 195#
    • 105# bench press (.5x weight) – might have been better
    • 70# squat cleans (.33x weight) – probably too light, might have done 95# or 105#

Rather than beat myself up over it, I’m just accepting it and moving on. I didn’t inconvenience anybody but myself, so no harm no foul.


Todd did awesome. Sounds like Ev got pushed by KB a bit and did awesome. And AJ was doing great as well. Life is good.

Great work everybody!

Lynne for the Win!

Wasn’t sure I was going to be able to move this morning, but I was, so after a crazy morning I headed in for an 8:30 workout. Coach Bill had me, Todd, and Melissa this morning, so we had fun (not surprising, really!).

jumping-jacks-5JBrue-clipartWhile Bill was finishing up the workout, we started with a couple of rounds of:

  • 200m run
  • 15 jumping jacks
  • 5 push-ups
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 banded triceps extension
  • 30 second banded chest stretch, each side

It gave me an opportunity to break in my new WODies from Jerkfit. With as much as I’ve been tearing up my hands on pull-ups, I needed to try something else. These may do the trick. Worked great during the warm-up. πŸ™‚

With that done, we each warmed up to our working weight for the WOD.

  • lynne-wodLynne
  • Β Competitor:
    • 5 rounds for max reps of:
      • Body-weight bench press
      • Pull-ups
  • Performance:
    • 5 rounds for max reps of:
      • ΒΎ-body-weight bench presses
      • Pull-ups
  • Fitness:
    • 5 rounds for max reps of:
      • Push-ups
      • Ring rows

Even if I was feeling 100%, I would have shied away from body weight bench press at any sort of rep scheme. I think my one rep is 230# (April 2016) and now that my body weight is holding around 215#, that should be doable — maybe? But 3/4 was more realistic at 161# (I rounded up to 165#).

Bill said we should shoot for a weight where we could do 8-10 unbroken. HA!

Warmed up with 95# x5, 115# x5, and 135# x5. They all felt ok, though 135# was starting to get spicy. Adding another 30# to hit 165# was going to be rough.

rockypr-300x213So how’d it go? Bill spotted me and some reps felt much better than others, just FYI. πŸ™‚

  • 4 ok bench presses and 2 rough ones, for 6 total
  • 13 pull-ups (a new PR)
  • 4 ok bench presses and 1 rough one, for 5 total
  • 12 pull-ups
  • 3 ok bench presses and 1 rough one, for 4 total
  • 14 pull-ups (a second new PR)
  • 2 ok bench presses and 1 rough one for 3 total
  • 12 pull-ups
  • 2 ok bench presses and 1 rough one for 3 total
  • 10 pull-ups
  • Total: 82 (thought it was 76 when I eyeballed it the first time)

Not too bad for a guy who just turned 48 today.

As for the WODies, they did pretty well. I tore ABOVE where they covered my palm on one finger, but it wasn’t awful. So I’ll live. πŸ™‚

Thanks Bill for the spotting and Melissa, Todd, and Caleb for the encouragement!

Have a great day!