Tag Archives: rope climbs

The Rope Trick

Isn’t it amusing that we usually put so much emphasis on Mondays because it’s the “first day of the week” in most cases — but that’s just a made-up thing for human “convenience” and tracking purposes really. It’s just another day, but it gets such a bad rap for being the first day back to work for most of us after a couple of days off.

Anyway… Today we had all sorts of “fun” things to look forward to… The first of the back-to-school madness events (we have another one tomorrow). Back to work for both my wife and I. A rainy fall-like day that would have been perfect to sleep in. And a later morning workout with my youngest. So no, it wasn’t all bad.

1tq3mvWe arrived to find Kelli & Lara running in the rain for Coach Drea and kicking butt from the 8:30 class. Our 9:30 class was pretty full — me & AJ, Nick & Lisa, Brent, Ashley, Carrie, Lorna, and Lyle. A great mix of folks — as always. 🙂

Because of the rain we didn’t do our warm up outside. Instead we worked inside. Started with a 1 minute row/bike, did a 30 second hang on the rig, 20 arm-less sit-ups, and a fun monkey swinging side-to-side thing on the rig. Hang on the rig with both hands. Let go with one hand and touch the hip on that side, Grab the bar again. Do the same with the other side.

It was almost like being on the monkey bars as a kid. When I asked Drea if it was inspired by the obstacle course from the CrossFit Games, she said it wasn’t but was intrigued by the idea. 🙂 (Also — congrats to Coach Drea — she just got her level 3 coaching certificate this past weekend — she’s only the 2nd level 3 coach in all of Colorado Springs, so that’s a phenomenal resource for our box!)

With all that done, we did some skill practice with GHD sit-ups and rope climbs. I honestly am awful at rope climbs. I’ve managed one legless rope climb largely because I just went for it with no expectations and almost made it to the top. I think if I could figure out how to wrap my feet I’d be able to get things going better — so that’s my goal. 🙂

new-ghd-header2Today’s workout was:

  • Score Type:: Total Time
  • Rx
    • 4 rounds for time of:
    • 25 GHD sit-ups
    • 15-ft. rope climb, 3 ascents
    • 400-meter run

Because of the number of folks and lack of equipment, today became less about time and more about skill work — which was honestly ok with me. It gave me some time to work on my leg wraps and GHD sit-ups, which was great.

We kind of paired up and divided into phases. Some of us started with the GHD, others with the rope climbs, and a few others with the cardio portion of the workout.

climbing-rope-atje23--853-pOur workout ended up being more:

  • 4 rounds for time of:
  • 10-15 GHD sit-ups (or GHD sit-ups to parallel)
  • work on rope climbs — in my case, try a J-hook and stand on the rope, eventually get a stable J-hook, hold onto the rope, and re-establish the J-hook
  • 500m row (AJ did about 2 minutes on the assault bike)

Some people chose to run in the rain, but I figured that was a bad idea. I might melt. 🙂

Really it became a fun workout because although time didn’t really come into the equation as much, I could focus on a 500m sprint on the rower (from a little less than 2 minutes to a little more than 2 minutes over the 4 rounds), working on the J-hook, and doing some GHD sit-ups with AJ. I actually am happy to report my GHD sit-ups didn’t feel awful — though towards the end it was easier to hit my right hand on the floor behind me than my left, so I went from a two-handed touch to a one-handed touch eventually.

This one, as opposed to some of the workouts last week which were either sprints or grinders where you had 250 reps to bang out, was just for fun and skill. It was a nice change from last week. 🙂

That said, I need to come in once we get new ropes at the box and just play with figuring out the J-hook or Spanish wrap to get up the rope. I would like to conquer the rope and make it a bit more efficient.

A huge thank you to Lorna, Brent, and Drea for helping get my feet in the right place. I wasn’t grokking the movement at first, but eventually I got more of the hang of it.

Great work everybody! Stay dry and have a great day!

Regionals Workout #3, Scaled

You know the old joke, “I just flew in from X, and boy are my arms tired?” Well, I just got back from doing Regionals workout #3 at CrossFit Continuum, and boy is my body tired. Geez.

Arrived this morning to find Coach Larry waiting for us! But even before that, I arrived in time to help a guy push a stalled truck into a parking spot. Right place and right time to help and he seemed to appreciate the push, so life was good. 🙂

I was not alone in the 8:30 class today, though Mickey stayed home to sleep in. Darn teenagers. 🙂 It was me, Sarah, and Shannon taking on 2017 Regional Event #3. And we were a bit slower (and lighter) than the athletes who did this workout at any of this year’s CrossFit Regionals competitions. Saw this on the docket last night and muttered a bit of profanity after seeing some of the fittest individuals in the world struggle with this one.


To kick things off with an uncomfortable bang, Larry had us begin with 5 minute on the assault bike, which I still call by its “Jonathan” term — The Devil’s Tricycle. I was uncomfortable after a mere 30 seconds on the damn thing and took frequent breaks and alternated just going with my arms vs. arms and legs. It was not pretty.

After that we started some work with a PVC pipe, doing 10 slow overhead squats with a 2 second pause at the bottom before moving to the rig for a 30 second hollow body hold. And from there we did three sets of:

  • 10 PVC “Good Mornings”
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 5 ring dips


Larry worked with me a bit on the ring dips, seeing me lean really far over on my first set. We talked about being a bit more upright to avoid any pectoral injuries like they saw during the Regionals this year (there are reports that 25 or more men suffered partial pec tears during the regionals). Ring dips are never one of my stronger moves and after yesterday’s shoulder-frying Cindy+ workout, my shoulders weren’t quite happy to attempt them today.

But we got through that and then discussed the workout itself.

  • For time:
  • 100-ft. dumbbell overhead walking lunge (80/55# dumbbell)
  • 100 double-unders
  • 50 wall-ball shots (30/20# ball)
  • 15-ft. rope climb, 10 ascents
  • 50 wall-ball shots (30/20# ball)
  • 100 double-unders
  • 100-ft. dumbbell overhead walking lunge (80/55# dumbbell)


The box doesn’t have any 80# dumbbells or 30# wall balls, not that any of us were tempted to try these movements at those weights. I think most of us adjusted to level 2 or level 1. We did have a few folks do it at the level II weights, which is impressive.

Regionals athletes over the last few weekends, the ones who finished, did this workout in 16 minutes or less. Some managed it in a bit over 11 minutes. Crazy.

For the rest of us mere mortals:

  • Level II lowers the weights to 55/35# dumbbells and 20/14# wall balls
  • Level I lowers the weights to 35/20# dumbbells and 14/10# wall balls, plus single-unders and lay-to-stand rope climbs

I did somewhere between Level I and II. Let’s call it I.5.

  • 35# dumbbell, 20# wall balls, single-unders, lay-to-stand rope climbs

wallballGoing in, I knew that a couple of things were going to slow me way down:

  1. Walking lunges of any kind are a big challenge for me. My knees, even with knee sleeves, just don’t like the pressure of kneeling directly on the ground. Adding any kind of overhead weight just exacerbates that almost to the point of failure. And I managed to forget to tape my knees this morning, so that didn’t help.
  2. Wall balls. One of my goats. I knew I’d have to break it into smaller sets to get it done.

So how’d I do?

  • Managed to get through all of the first 100ft walking lunge with 35# overhead, alternating arms.
  • Single unders were rough, but doable.
  • Wall-balls took a bit. Sets of 10 or 5 to get through the first 35.
  • Rope climbs from the floor, I was able to do about 2 at a time. Knees were burning by this point.
  • Second set of Wall balls, I broke into 5 sets of 7. Consistency made it a bit better.
  • Single unders on this end were better. Did two sets of 50.
  • Last 100ft walking lunges is where I fell apart. Holding the weight overhead and doing the lunge became something my body simply didn’t want to do, so I dropped the weight, thrust an arm overhead, and did them without the weight.

Got all of that done in a tad over 22 minutes. Something around 22:15. Shannon was not far behind me at 22:34 or 22:44 and Sarah beat us both, finishing in less than 20.


Any workout that involves walking lunges is automatically on my naughty list. Dave Castro is an evil man when it comes to programming challenging workouts. And I’m glad to be done with it.

Something tells me we may see other regional workouts before too long. And that’s fine. Bring them on.

But no more today… I’m going to go ice a few body parts and get some more mobility work in. 😀

Great work Sarah & Shannon! And thanks Larry for the encouragement during the WOD. I really didn’t want to pick up that wall ball. 🙂

Have a good day, folks!

Just in case your shoulders weren’t tired enough…

After taking a couple of days off earlier this week, I had two meetings I couldn’t escape this morning at work… so I had to wait for a Noon class to attend. Arrived in time to chat a bit with Coach Bill and then Coach Jimmy arrived to lead us. Kirsten and I were as ready as we were going to be I think. 🙂

Gymnastics-ringsWe started with a 3 round warm-up:

  • 250m row
  • 10 ring rows
  • 10 wall balls (20/14#)

Once that was done, we did some shoulder mobility work with a band before working with an empty barbell:

  • 5 strict press
  • 5 Sumo-deadlift high pulls (ish — just the standing part)
  • 5 push press

And from there we added weight and got ready for the workout.


  • For time:
  • 15 push presses
  • 5 rope ascents
  • 12 push presses
  • 4 rope ascents
  • 9 push presses
  • 3 rope ascents
  • 6 push presses
  • 2 rope ascents
  • 3 push presses
  • 1 rope ascent
  • (Use ¾ body weight for push presses)

This was a doozy. Especially after Tuesday’s shoulder press-palooza.

When I went in, I had every intention of trying 175# (which is 3/4 of my current bodyweight), but you know what they say about roads and good intentions…

  • Started with 135# off the bat, did 3 warm-ups
  • Then did 3 with 155# on the bar.
  • I felt like that sucked, so I should add more – but I fought the urge and decided to stay there.

climbing-rope-atje23--853-pSo when the clock started, here’s how it went:

  • 8 push press reps @ 155#, 7 reps @ 135#
  • 5 rope climbs from floor
  • 12  push press reps @ 135#
  • 4 rope climbs from floor
  • 9 push press reps @ 135# (by this point my left arm was struggling to straighten out)
  • 3 rope climbs from the floor
  • 6 push press reps @ 135# (ugly ones)
  • 2 rope climbs from the floor
  • 3 push press reps @ 135# (even more ugly)
  • 1 rope climb from the floor
  • Time: 16:14

Meanwhile, Kirsten was flying through the workout with a lighter weight on the bar but real rope climbs and finished in less than 9 minutes I think.

This was ugly. I got to the point a couple of times where I couldn’t hold the bar in a front rack when I cleaned it from the floor — simply because my left arm wasn’t holding close enough to make it work. A lot of it I think had to do with hand position on the bar. Too far in or out and I chicken winged to the point where it wasn’t strong enough.

But once again… I finished. It was ugly. And I think some of the reps probably shouldn’t have counted. But I finished.

Thanks Jimmy!

Wall balls make me want to hurl

Some days you’re the wall and some days you’re the ball, but none of that stops those wall balls from being awful.

Today I managed to squeak in for an 8:30 class with Coach Drea and a mess of great folks – Jonathan, Jake, Caleb, Carrie, Jenny, Connie, and Tionne. The place was hopping.


We started with a 400m run and then came in for a bit of a warm-up with a kettle bell.

  • 5 minute AMRAP
  • 5 one-armed kettle bell clean and jerks
  • 10 kettle bell swings
  • 15 kettle bell deadlifts

I think I got through the whole mess maybe twice. I wasn’t pushing all that hard and there was a lot of talking during the whole thing. 🙂

climbing-rope-atje23--853-pFrom there we grabbed an empty barbell to warm up with some deadlifts, push presses, and push jerks, before adding weight to the bar to get up to our working weight for the workout…

  • 3 rounds for time of:
  • 3 legless rope climbs
  • 6 push jerks, 225/155# (185/125# level II, 115/75# level I)
  • 12 deadlifts (same weight)
  • 24 weighted sit-ups
  • 48 wall-ball shots, 20/14# ball

Since all of the push jerks needed to come from the floor (you had to clean it at least once), I knew 225# and even 185# would be pushing it. I scaled to 135# and then added to 155# for the workout. It made for very light deadlifts, but meant that I could clean it and probably get it overhead.

We had a 30 minute time cap. I did not finish, but got through 2 full rounds with legless rope climb attempts. Managed to get close to the top (within 2/3 feet) most of the time and was happy with that. But the wall balls absolutely killed me.

It took 13 minutes to get through the 1st round and in the middle of my wall balls for the second round I had to go outside because I thought I was going to hurl. I don’t do that often, but I guess wall balls bring out the best in me. Not.

This was a killer workout. Great work to everybody who finished it!


Heels Overhead

Every once in a while you have a day where your heart simply isn’t in it. You put on a good face. Joke around with folks even. But something just ain’t right in the brain.

Well, today apparently was that day.

frabz-im-smiling-on-the-outside-but-on-the-inside-i-well-we-better-le-546ee3I thought I did all the right things. I slept better last night after 3 mostly sleepless nights of tossing and turning with the wind banging things around outside. I ate breakfast. And I went in with a positive outlook.

Ev and I were joined by Clare, Jenny, and Carrie for the 8:30 class with Coach Bill. He had a good attitude. Everyone else seemed to be in a good mood.

We started with some foam rolling and then did a 400m jog. I felt good during my jog and jetted out in front of everyone else on the 1st half of the run, which gained some grief from everybody else. That was fine.

We got back inside and did 3 rounds of:

  • 20 seconds of hollow body holds
  • 20 seconds of push-ups
  • 20 seconds of V-Ups

Then we did a bit of work on handstand push-ups. We held on the wall, did some series with HSPUs, and then I felt my attitude shift.


You know the feeling when you approach something and you know you won’t be able to do it? Yes, I know I’m not supposed to do that any more. I’m supposed to start with a beginner’s mind (Zen style) and approach every activity like a new person experiencing it for the very first time.

Rope climb failures have been with me since elementary school. The Saturday workout in which I managed a legless rope climb was a complete fluke where I was very distracted and just did it before I thought about it.

I had already been thinking about it for a while by the time I got to the box. And apparently I made up my mind. I was going to fail.

a8146ccfbcc3469ac2e54cd5c022bc81Guess what. I was right.

The workout itself was pretty straightforward:

  • 7 rounds for time of:
  • 10 handstand push-ups
  • 2 rope ascents, 15-ft. rope

Easy enough, right?

Yeah, not so much. My handstand push-ups were ok for a couple of rounds and fell apart quickly as I struggled to get down to a single mat and even just kick up on the wall after a while.

And the rope climbs. Geez. J-hook. Spanish wrap. Didn’t matter. I could jump a ways up, flounder with my feet, and not get anywhere. Towards the end I think I had a few successful attempts where I had the Spanish wrap sort of working, but my feet were slipping.

I could see other folks locking their feet to the point where they could “stand” on the rope. Mine just slipped again and again. Even when I “got” the Spanish wrap, it didn’t feel secure to me.

And every time I failed, I laughed about it and moved on, but inwardly I was beating myself up. The critic is back folks and he’s speaking loudly with swear words.


I figure if I can battle back and exhibit a cheerful outer state of being, perhaps it will eventually filter to the inner state. And I at least didn’t infect anyone with my piss poor internal monologue today.

It’s not just with this workout, but the last few days have seen me grow more and more doubting with myself at work, with my writing, and just generally. Not sure why.

So in an attempt to change the tone a bit, I’d like to express some gratitude. Everybody in the 8:30 class had an awesome attitude. Bill beams with positivity. Carrie was just fun to watch fly up and down the rope. Jenny & Clare chugged right along on all cylinders. And Ev fought through her own frustrations with handstands to work on the various progressions that Bill had her working on.

Thank you to all of you. You’re awesome.

Now I’ll go back to wrestling with my inner critic. We’ll see who wins.


teamwodWe’ll get to why today had a surprise in it for me in a minute, but let’s talk about the workout. Today I made it in for our Saturday team WOD at CrossFit Continuum. Why? Because it’s Saturday and they’re hellish and fun usually. Do I need a better reason? Probably, but we won’t dwell on that. 🙂

The whole Fitzy clan got to go for at least part of the workout today. My eldest is guest playing on an indoor soccer team, so my wife and girls left about 2/3 of the way through the workout to take care of that – but it was great to have everyone there for a little while anyway.

We weren’t alone either – we had a great crowd. A couple of guys from 5 Star Nutrition in town with samples of their goodies (pre-workout and post-workout) and even joined in the workout today, which was kind of fun. Stacy set us up with a good WOD and we had Drea and Jimmy, Clare, Kelli, Lori and her husband, Monica & Dan, Brent, Hillary and her friend, Jonathan, and maybe a few others. It was a good group (as always).

20161119_110900It was a workout for teams of 2, so Jonathan and I joined forces. It was an AMRAP at each of ten different stations for 4 minutes each with a 1 minute transition in-between.

  • yoke carry
  • axle bar push press (95/65#)
  • GHD sit-ups
  • Box jumps (24/20″)
  • HSPUs
  • double-unders
  • pistols
  • wall balls (20/14#)
  • rope climbs
  • calories on the assault bike

Stacy randomly assigned us to stations based on our birthday and Jonathan and I started with the wall balls and worked our way through all the rest from there.

20161119_110847Jonathan and I did great through a lot of it (wall balls, jump ropes – singles, and a few others) and not so hot at things like handstand pushups. 🙂 So it was a good balance. I even did pretty well at most things – my wall balls felt pretty good. I was able to carry the yoke pretty well. I even managed to get through some GHD sit-ups where I reached all the way to the floor behind me 20-40x, which hasn’t happened in a long time.

But here’s the surprise for me.

We got through the wall balls and went to the rope climbs. I’ve never successfully managed one before. I usually do them from the floor and hand-over-hand drag myself up off the floor into a standing position, then lower myself back down the same way.

In fact, I did several that way today.

But my first one I just went for it. My brain didn’t get in the way. And before I knew it I was hand-over-hand climbing up to the top of the damn rope. I don’t even know how high I was, but I was about a foot from the rafter where it was attached when I ran out of oomph or startled myself by not knowing how to let go enough to touch the top and sliding back down.


It was all arms. No legs at all. I still don’t have a clue how the hell to climb a rope, so it would have been considered a “legless rope climb” I guess.

I’ve never done that before. A first. And a great one. That damn rope was one of my many nemeses in PE in my school years. Well, I’m starting to figure you out dangit! 😀

We made it through something like 900 reps when it was all added up. Not bad for 50 minutes and 2 guys.

My eldest took a bunch of pictures too, so hopefully I can share some of those before too long.

Great work everybody! Thanks for being my partner Jonathan! And I hope everybody has a fantastic day!