Tag Archives: deadlifts

Conundrums and Deadlifts

This week brought a few things to a head in my crossfit journey.

  1. I use crossfit as a mental escape valve as much as a transformative tool.
  2. My body has some limits even if my mind doesn’t want to accept them.
  3. Listening to your coaches is a good thing.

Let’s take a step backwards though and talk about today’s WOD. And apologies in advance because this post gets really long at the end…

sportsrow-800pxMade it in for an 8:30 with Coach Drea. Ev & I were there with Lisa & KB. Another small morning crew, but we were cheered on by little Noah so it was all good. πŸ™‚

We started with 5 minutes of running, rowing, or biking. I chose rowing, because the other two options are silly. πŸ™‚ My rower was set for calories, so through 5 minutes of rowing I got to about 62 calories. Not bad. The bad was that my left bicep and forearm were a little ticked off when I finished — but it released eventually. πŸ™‚

From there we did some warm-up:

  • Good mornings
  • Straight-leg deadlifts
  • Pistol chairs at the rig, 10 each side
  • Banded hamstring stretch, 30 seconds each side (lay on back, loop band over mid-part of foot, straighten leg, and pull)
  • Banded hip flossing (didn’t quite grok this one, so I can’t explain it. πŸ™‚ )

Barbell_DeadliftThen it was deadlifts all the way down. We warmed up with an empty barbell and then shifted to adding weight to the bar and finally warming up to our working weight for the WOD…

  • Deadlift: 5 sets of 3 reps

I warmed up:

  • 135# x10
  • 165# x8
  • 185# x8
  • 205# x5

And then did:

  • 225# x3
  • 245# x3
  • 265# x3
  • 285# x3 (very, very slow)
  • 265# x3 (couldn’t convince my body to get 285# off the ground again, so I dropped 20# – still slow, but not as ugly)

is-it-friday-yetMy best set was 285# x3 and it was UGLY. Let’s put that into perspective:

  • I did 275# x3 the last time we did this in December 2017
  • I did 315# x6 in April 2017
  • And my current 1 rep max is 345# set back in December 2016

I was supposed to shoot for 80-85% of my one rep today. That would have been 276#. My 285# was about 83% – so I was right in there.

The Elephant in the Room

So let’s talk about the REST of the week for a minute… Though I’ve only written about three workouts this week, in actuality I’ve done five. And it was pretty clearly a mistake when I was in more than a little pain on Monday night. I was on vacation (PTO) the first 2 days of the week and wanted to get as much done as possible… Silly me.

  • Monday morning (on vacation) we did a handstand walk/bear crawl/walking lungeΒ Elephant3workout (read here)
  • Monday night (still feeling ok), I did a supplemental workout with Ev & AJ and tweaked my right/lower back during a movement to the point where E-stim was the only thing that saved me that night. That was an interesting drive home.
  • Tuesday morning (on vacation, sore, but stubborn) we did Lynne – max effort bench press and pull-ups (read here). Bench press was rough, but I did well during my pull-ups.
  • Wednesday around lunch (back to work, wanting to escape) I went for a workout with Ev again and did a “birthday” WOD that involved a ton of movements and reps — handstand push-ups, dumbbell thrusters, knees to elbows, deadlifts, burpees, kettlebell swings, and pull-ups. To say that my body (and mind) fell apart during this workout would be an understatement and I scaled the hell out of it very very quickly.
  • Thursday (today) I did the deadlift workout I already talked about.

That’s 5 workouts in 4 days. Dumb. And the twofer on Monday was the beginning of the end.

To say that all of this was a stupid choice on my part would be the understatement of the week. I let myself down, but I also ticked off one of my coaches in the process. She’s not happy with me and we had a LONG chat over the last couple of days back and forth about adding more rest days back into the mix.

Anonymous-bullTomorrow will be a rest day. I plan on doing a mid-day walk around the neighborhood (2.5 miles) just to get some movement in. Saturday morning I’ll likely go do a team workout. Sunday will be a rest day. And then I have to figure out how to handle next week.

My issue is that crossfit is a refuge. It’s one place where I am only responsible for myself. I’m not letting people down at work or home. I’m not failing to keep my side hustle going. I’m just there to work hard for the hour or whatever it is, listen to my coaches, and do the best I can.

I have become more and more dependent on that refuge as the rest of my life has become more difficult to manage in a lot of ways. It’s an addiction of sorts. And though it’s largely a healthy one, I have increased my workouts per week without balancing that with enough bodily rest each week.

monkey-emojis-17So I need to find a balance between the bull in the china shop and letting my body recover. Logically, that makes sense. But the child inside is throwing a huge temper tantrum at the moment. He’s having fun and wants to continue, damn the consequences.

It’s pretty bad when you have to be an adult to temper the impulse control of your inner child.

I’m left with a couple of choices.

  • Shift to – Mon (Supp) – Tues & Thurs (Continuum) – Sat (Continuum) – which gives me rest days on Weds, Fri, and Sun
  • Stay with – Mon & Tues (Continuum) – Wed (Supp) – Thurs & Sat (Continuum) – which gives me rest days on Fri & Sun

But no matter what, I need to avoid multiple workouts a day unless it’s a competition of some kind — and in that case, I need to plan around that to give my body plenty of rest before and after.

We’ll try a few things over the summer and see if we can strike a good balance that helps my body recover and still keeps me active as much as possible. There will be at least two weeks (one in June and one in July) where there will be limited or no crossfit at all, so that will probably be good.

The next two weeks (around Memorial Day weekend), we’ll take it a little easy. Murph, if we get it in, always kills me.

I must achieve enlightenment like the great Wally Llama


Apologies to my coaches as I figure this crap out and do my best to listen to your advice. Thanks for all you do.


Slower and Slower…

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday and some folks are wondering “what happened to Monday?” Well, our box got a beautiful paint job over the weekend and needed to air out a bit more, so it turned into a bit of a rest day. I had every intention of doing some rowing at home but yeah… that didn’t happen.

So today I went in, admiring the nice spring snow we had overnight, and got my first workout in for the week. Coach Drea was there, along with Jonathan, Bri, Dave, and Logan — and my two girls made it in as well. It’s spring break, so they have been busy house sitting (and pet sitting) at a couple of houses the last few days — and it was good to see them even if they were a bit rambunctious today. πŸ™‚


We started with a short warm-up:

  • 250m row or bike buy-in
  • 2 rounds of
    • 5 straight leg deadlifts with an empty barbell
    • 10 sit-ups
    • 5 good mornings with an empty barbell
    • 30 second one armed plank, each side
  • 250m row or bike cash out

Barbell_DeadliftFrom there it was a bit of deadlift work (I dig 75# deadlifts!) and some rig work for our kips and toes to bar variants before building up to our working weight for the WOD.

  • 3 deadlifts
  • 3 knees to elbows/toes to bars

I did warm-up rounds at 135#, 165#, and 185#.

And then… it was time for the WOD:

  • 3 rounds for time of:
    • 800-meter run (slushy outside, so we did 1000m row or 4 min on bike)
    • 15 toes-to-bars
    • 15 deadlifts
  • Deadlift weight: 185#/125#

turtle-slowHow’d we do? Jonathan smoked me, finishing in 16 minutes, with Logan right behind.

  • Rows got slower and slower – 4 min, 4:30, 5 min
  • Toes to bar were tough. Where I ripped skin off my finger on my right hand last Weds is still not healed, so it presented a challenge. Drea suggested I do 2 reps of knees to elbows to establish the kip, then move to toes to bars — and that worked great in the 1st and second rounds for a few reps. And then I dropped to the floor on my back and did toe touches on the rig. It was an odd mix of reps
  • Deadlifts were also more challenging than they should have been, but not awful until the last round where I did 8, 4, and 3 for my 15.

Finished in 21:54, which was in the 20-22 minute range Drea was looking for — but barely. Good workout though!

I think Mickey finished right before me and AJ finished after, so it was a good push for both of them as well.

Great work 8:30 class! Looked like the 9:30 class was packed today, so I’m sure they had fun too. πŸ™‚

18.4 was a bit of a headache…

Today is Friday, during the 2018 CrossFit Open, so it must be Friday Night Lights at CrossFit Continuum, right? Yup!

Ev went in this morning to do 18.4 scaled, but I waited until tonight to see what kind of damage could be done. Apparently ramming your head into the floor a few times gives you a wee bit of a headache, but other than that I seem to be ok. πŸ™‚

I arrived around 5:20 or so and several folks had already gone and others were getting ready to. I headed out of there about 7:45 after everybody who was coming in had a chance to do their thing. So it was a good time. Lots of great folks, as per usual.

crossfit-games-open-2018Castro put another doozy together for this one, but at least there were no dumbbells. πŸ™‚

  • Workout 18.4
  • For time:
    • 21 deadlifts, 225 lb.
    • 21 handstand push-ups
    • 15 deadlifts, 225 lb.
    • 15 handstand push-ups
    • 9 deadlifts, 225 lb.
    • 9 handstand push-ups
    • 21 deadlifts, 315 lb.
    • 50-ft. handstand walk
    • 15 deadlifts, 315 lb.
    • 50-ft. handstand walk
    • 9 deadlifts, 315 lb.
    • 50-ft. handstand walk
  • Time cap: 9 min.

Essentially this is the workout Diane plus a bit heavier Diane and a bit more of a shoulder workout in the second half. πŸ™‚

gymnastics-handstand-silhouette-body-silhouette-man-in-handstand-front-1Looking back a long ways, it’s been forever since we’ve done Diane. Back in December 2015 we did it and I finished in 9:56. I did it Rx with the 225# weight, but scaled my HSPUs to a 45# plate and one abmat. It’s been a while.

Tonight would be without any scaling at all and I was a little leery of smashing my head on the ground, but willing to give it a shot.

Jonathan went before me and we all cheered him on. HSPUs are not one of his favorite things, but he managed to get one rep in the 8 minutes he banged himself on the wall. He flew through the first set of deadlifts in 29 seconds, which was crazy. His goal was to beat Caleb’s time which I think was 39 seconds or so, and he definitely did that! And he ended up with a score of 22.

Then he volunteered to judge me. πŸ™‚

I went in the same heat as Marino and he did awesome, working his way into the round of 9 deadlifts I think he said. I almost kept up with him for a little while. πŸ™‚

I got through the 21 deadlifts in 49 seconds. That left 8 minutes and 11 seconds to do as many HSPUs as I could get through. I managed to complete 8 good reps in 8 minutes, so I’ll take it.

My score? 29. πŸ™‚ I almost tied Caleb who got 30. I’ll take that. Caleb’s a beast. πŸ™‚

The awesome thing for me is that’s the most actual Rx handstand push-ups I’ve ever actually managed to get through and I did one during my warm-up as well. So I’m happy with that. πŸ™‚

20180316_183647The only bad part was there were a couple of times I came down really hard on the top of my head. Once hard enough that Jonathan asked if I was ok because he heard me hit. But I kept chugging along.

Honestly it wasn’t too bad. I was never really winded. I was laughing and joking with Jonathan and Caleb the whole time I was throwing myself at the wall. I had a good time.

As I keep saying to people, I do CrossFit because it’s fun. If it ever stops being fun, I’ll be bummed — but for the last 5 years I’ve been chugging away so I think I’ll be ok. πŸ™‚

In the last heat, I was asked to judge Nancy, so I did my best to count reps as she chugged through the scaled workout. She did awesome. Emily, Drea, and Bill were in that heat too and they did amazingly well also.

Honestly it was just fun to hang out and cheer folks on. Great work everybody!

Only one more workout to go in this year’s Open. I don’t know if I should be happy or sad. πŸ™‚

So to summarize my open so far:

  • 18.1 (Rx) – 174 reps
  • 18.2 (Scaled) – 9:50 and 185#
  • 18.3 (Scaled) – 631 reps
  • 18.4 (Rx) – 29 reps

The last two years I’ve done two Rx workouts each year, so we’ll see what Castro has in store for 18.5. πŸ™‚


Kiana’s WOD 2018

I’ve written multiple times about this workout. We have done it every year since the WOD was created and will do it many more as a reminder of those lost far too soon.

AJ and I headed in and we were among the many who showed up to honor Kiana’s memory and support Monica, Dan, and their family. They are great folks and we are always happy to put in the work to remember Kiana’s love and light every year.

The workout is the same as it’s been every year since it was founded.

kianaKiana’s WOD – Four Rounds for Time:

  • 2 Squat Cleans #185/125
  • 15 Push-ups
  • 99 Double-unders
  • 12 Sit-ups
  • 23Β Deadlifts #185/125
  • 13 Box Jumps 30/24β€³

Scaled, Level II:

  • Squat Clean #135/95
  • 99 Single-unders
  • Box Jumps 24/20β€³

Scaled, Level I:

  • Squat Clean #95/65
  • 99 Single-unders
  • Step Ups

This year, I felt like I was going to be a bit better able to attack this workout than in previous years. Still not quite to the point where 185# squat cleans are in my bag of tricks, but I felt like I can move through the Scaled (L2) version a bit more efficiently than in previous years.


Turns out I was correct. I modified the workout a little as always but it was about the same as in previous years.

  • 135# squat cleans and deadlifts
  • single-unders
  • push-ups, sit-ups
  • Step-ups to a 24″ and then a 20″ box

And I was done in 24:14. Last year I completed it in under 32 minutes. The year before I finished in 30:46. So this is about 6 and a half minutes better than my fastest previous time. I’ll take that.

AJ did it again this year, but scaled dramatically to avoid tweaking the knee she sprained a couple of months ago. Even so, she was done in 19:11 with a 35# bar, single-unders with some double-under practice, and 20″ step-ups except for the last round where she did full box jumps. She did awesome.

Honestly everybody did awesome. This is always an emotionally charged event and we are just thankful we can continue to show our support.

Kiana is missed, but never forgotten at our box. Monica and her family are lovely folks and we will work to keep their daughter’s memory alive for many years to come.

Love and light.

Here are some pictures from the day!

Weird Occurrences DO Happen

Some things haven’t really changed in the nearly 5 years since I started crossfit, or so I thought. Going all the way back to February 2013, I have stated unequivocally that I only have two speeds – slow and stop. I may have to revise that based on my performance over the last couple of months.

More and more of my weekly workouts are happening within the time frames my coaches have given me. And that includes a few workouts where I’m scaling less and less. Guess something must be working.


Today I headed in for a more normal, 8:30am class with Coach Drea. And like always we had a fun group — Bill & Amber, Ashley, Lara, and Logan.

We started out with the same warm-up as last night, plus some foam rolling of our lats and a bit longer couch stretch before we did some straight-leg deadlifts with a PVC pipe to continue warming up our hamstrings.

From there it was deadlifts. 75# for a bit, then 135#, then I popped up to 185#. They felt ok, so I figured I should be able to do those touch and go for a while.

And we did some chatting about HSPUs and proper form. We had a few scaling options for strict HSPUs, so I figured if I had to I could drop from 2-mat strict HSPUs to pike push-ups.

  • 3 rounds for time of:
    • Run 800m (performance)/400m fitness
    • 15 deadlifts, 185/125#Β  (performance) or 115/75# fitness
    • 8 strict handstand push-ups (performance) or pike push-ups (fitness)

gymnastics-handstand-silhouette-body-silhouette-man-in-handstand-front-1It is still slick and snowy outside, so rather than risk running I decided I’d row instead. So my workout looked like:

  • 3 rounds
  • 1000m row
  • 185# deadlifts x15
  • strict HSPUs to two abmats x8

How’d it go? We were supposed to shoot for < 20m. I made that. Not sure I could have if I ran, so I think it would have been at least 20m in that case.

I finished in 18:29 ahead of Bill who was doing 275# deadlifts and running 800m. For me, that’s probably a first. I don’t think I’ve ever beaten Bill, even scaled.

My 1000m rows got slower and slower, 4:03, 4:15, 4:30, and though I did that first set of deadlifts unbroken, I split the next two 10/5 and 8/7. I surprised myself by banging out the strict HSPUs each round though.

So it was a good day. πŸ™‚ We’ll see what tomorrow looks like and maybe I can slip in for a noon workout.

Have a great day, folks! Great work and thanks Drea!

30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for how long?

Today has been a mess. Meetings. Doctor appts. And not a lot of progress on any front. But I didn’t want to start the week off without a workout.

Made it in for a 4:45 with Coach Larry with Katie and Stacy. We started with a 5 minute row or bike and then got right into some deadlift warm-ups. Then we talked about the various options… scaling toes to bar, ring dips, and handstand push-ups.

Why? Because we had a whole mess of reps to complete… in 40 minutes.

  • Perform 10 rounds of the following, completing as many reps of each exercise as possible:
    • 30 seconds of toes-to-bars
    • Rest 30 seconds
    • 30 seconds of dips
    • Rest 30 seconds
    • 30 seconds of deadlifts #155/105
    • Rest 30 seconds
    • 30 seconds of handstand push-ups
    • Rest 30 seconds
  • 10 rounds at 4 minutes each = 40 minutes

This was a bit of a challenge. Minor understatement.

  • Made it through 6 rounds of actual toes to bar and I was very happy with that. Dropped back to knees-to-elbows after that.
  • Ring dips were awful after a while and I had to put a foot on the ground a few times. Not sure some of my last couple of rounds actually ended up with locked out arms.
  • I could have done the 155# deadlifts, or gone with body weight deadlifts (220#). I split the difference and went with 185#.
  • And the handstand push-ups? Well, I started with strict handstand push-ups, moved to kipping handstand push-ups, and then fell to pike push-ups. Lots and lots of pike push-ups.

I didn’t get anywhere near the big numbers put up by others earlier in the day, but I was damn happy with my toes to bar, which are always hit and miss.

Thanks for the push Larry and great work Stacy & Katie! This was a doozy of a start to the week!

Team WOD Saturday with Mickey!

Hello Saturday!

This morning it was just Mickey and I from Team Fitzy going in (indoor soccer and work prevented AJ and Ev from joining us), but we made it in for Team WOD with Coaches Jimmy & Drea. We were definitely not alone! Marino, Caleb & Megan, Lara, Dee, Brent, Robert and his cousin, Stacy, Amber & Liam, and a few others were there to join us.

b04c6ed2970ac4c861a63625f42d9532We started with the med ball warm-up and did some PVC work before diving into a refresher on all the various movements for this workout using an empty barbell. Mickey and I teamed up and used different barbells, but decided we’d chug through the workout together. πŸ™‚

Jimmy put together a good workout today… I never took his name in vain so far as I can remember, so it must have not been TOO bad. πŸ™‚

  • AMRAP – 5 rounds of 5 minutes each with a 2 minute rest between
  • 2 person teams
  • each person must complete the couplet before the next person can start
  • Round 1
    • 5 Deadlift #185/#125
    • 9 Push-ups
  • Rd 2
    • 5 Front Squat #135/#95
    • 9 Sit-ups
  • Rd 3
    • 5 Thrusters #95/#75
    • 9 Burpees
  • Rd 4
    • 5 Back Squat #135/#95
    • 9 Pull-ups
  • Rd 5
    • 5 Front rack Lunges #135/95
    • 9 Cal Bike/Row

lift-all-the-weightsSo how’d we do? Well, I knew a few things would be scaled through there. πŸ™‚

  • Round 1 – 10 rounds
    • 185# deadlifts (me)
    • 105# deadlifts (Mickey)
    • regular push-ups for me and a mix of regular and from-knees for Mickey
  • Round 2 – 7 rounds
    • 115# front squats (scaled from 135# for myself)
    • 75# front squats for Mickey
    • regular sit-ups
  • Round 3 – 5 rounds
    • 95# thrusters (me)
    • Mickey started at 55# and dropped to 35#
    • Burpees sucked across the board. πŸ™‚
  • Round 4 – 5 rounds
    • 135# back squats (me)
    • 55# back squats (Mickey)
    • pull-ups – I got through two sets of 9 unbroken and Mickey did a combination of regular kipping pull-ups (looked great!) and ring rows
  • Round 5 – 4 rounds +5
    • Dropped all the way to a 45# bar for me on these — lunges aren’t my favorite thing anyway, but adding weight makes them even worse!
    • Mickey did a 35# bar for her lunges
    • and we rowed

So not too bad… We kept moving, had fun, and didn’t scale a whole lot. πŸ™‚

Plus I got to talk geeky with Robert, Caleb, and Liam. What more could I ask for? πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend folks!!