Tag Archives: shoulder press

Some Days Just Don’t Work Right

Today’s post is a bit of an apology for the 8:30 class by way of an explanation.

It’s just another Thursday. Like most Thursdays, I planned on going in at 8:30 with my wife (and kids if they woke up in time). And we all made it there for Coach Drea.

We had a full class – the four of us, plus Jonathan & Sarah, Caleb, Alan, Brianne, Danielle, and Connie. 11 people in total.

sportsrow-800pxWarm up was:

  • 250m row
  • 10 ghd hip ext or good mornings with empty barbell
  • 250m row
  • 10 empty barbell deadlifts
  • 250m row
  • 10 empty barbell strict press
  • I think we were supposed to go to 2000m total, but most of us stopped after the third or 4th 250m

After that we did some empty barbell work. Deadlift and strict shoulder press progressions.

And then we divvied up space and equipment for the workout:

  • Total Time
  • Barbell_DeadliftRx
    • 15-12-9 reps for time of:
    • Double body-weight deadlifts
    • 3/4 body-weight shoulder presses
  • Level II
    • 15-12-9 reps for time of:
    • Deadlifts #345/225
    • Shoulder presses #135/95
  • Level I
    • 15-12-9 reps for time of:
    • Deadlifts #155/105
    • Shoulder presses #75/45

My one-rep maxes for these movements are:

  • Deadlift – 345#
  • Strict press – 155#

Nowhere close to Rx weights of 456# and 175#. But even the Level II weights were out of reach, really. So I knew I was going to have to scale.

strict-press-illustrationDue to a shortage of bars and space, Caleb asked if we wanted to work together. I said sure and we warmed up together with the little EMOM that Drea had us do alternating between deadlifts and strict press:

  • Strict press – 75# x3, Deadlifts – 185# x5
  • Strict press – 85# x3, Deadlifts – 225# x5
  • Strict press – 95# x3, Deadlifts – 275# x5 (I started running into some issues here)
  • Strict press – 115# x3, Deadlifts – 275# x5 (didn’t add weight)

Caleb, due to participating in the Man Up Challenge in Denver this weekend, didn’t want to push too hard to fry his body ahead of the competition. So he agreed to stay at those weights for the workout.

Our goal was to get this done in 10-15 minutes.

  • I did 15 strict press at 115# (got through 10 and then struggled through the next 5 one at a time)
  • Caleb did 15 deadlifts at 275# (made them look easy)
  • Caleb did 15 strict press at 115# (made them look easy)
  • I started on deadlifts

Doing the deadlifts as “grab and drop” style vs. touch-and-go, I made it through 5 and took a break. Then a couple more. And one more.

1lnkelAnd I realized on that last one that I was in a fair amount of pain from my left hip to my tailbone. It ached a bit during the EMOM warm-up but I thought I could work through it.

Yeah, apparently not.

After my 8 reps, I left the bar on the floor, told Caleb to finish without me, and walked out the garage doors.

I walked two laps of the 800m path we have around the box, came in, grabbed my stuff, and walked to the car to wait for my family to finish up.


Now, I know that DNF > DNS. But this was a shitty way to end my workout. It disrupted Caleb’s workout. It put undue worry on Coach Drea. And it made my family and friends worry about me as well.

First, I’m fine. I’ll stretch and mobilize throughout my day today and survive. I don’t think it was the physical demands of this workout.

Second, there were two parts to my crash and burn today.


a) I should have either waited until more equipment became available (i.e. another barbell) or asked Caleb to drop weight.

That said, I didn’t feel like waiting was really an option due to a different style of class going on at 9:30 (new folks doing a different variation on the workout). And I didn’t feel like I could ask Caleb to drop weight again. We had already discussed 315# during the warm-up and then I had to drop to 275#. Asking him to drop again would not have been “cool” although he probably would have been fine with it.

b) The bigger issue was that my head really wasn’t in the game today. I’m honestly struggling with a number of things in life right now. Work is not going well. Some of my writing is going gangbusters but not paying, so it’s a costly time sink at the moment. My wife’s charity work had a trip fall apart at the last minute, so we’re now reorganizing our summer. And we just found out our dog has a lung tumor, so that’s weighing heavily on everybody.

may-the-gains-be-with-youI tried dressing the part, wearing myย Star Wars-themed “May the Gains be with you…” shirt. ย I tried getting into the right headspace during the warm-up, joking around with Bri and Jonathan and Sarah. And for a bit, I thought it might work.

But it obviously was only a temporary fix. Wasn’t my finest hour.

So I apologize to everyone who was concerned when I walked out. It’s been a long while since that has happened.

I need to pay attention to my headspace and not push so hard during workouts, and maybe this won’t happen again. But I’m only human, so I doubt it.




Ah, push it

Somehow some Salt-n-Pepa lyrics fit today’s workout. The soundtrack we listened to was suitably 70s, 80s, and 90s in a weird mix, so I’m actually surprised we didn’t hear the song. ๐Ÿ™‚

At any rate, there were a few of us who joined Coach Jimmy for the 8:30 class this morning… Myself, Nic, Jenny, and Sarah prepared to do a ton of overhead work to tax our shoulders.

arm-and-shoulderWe started with a 500m row, then some shoulder work to get everything moving. That included some painful mobility work with a lacrosse ball and our hands behind our back that was… interesting. Jimmy’s Torture Time was definitely in session. One of the more interesting parts was doing wall ball “shots” as a push press instead of a thruster, so no squat at the bottom. It really puts a lot more stress on the shoulders — especially when you try to hit a 10 foot target doing a strict shoulder press to get it there. (I was glad I was using a 14 pound ball. HA!)

Once we were good and warm, we grabbed an empty barbell to do a little skill refresher before adding weight and getting into it.

Today’s Metcon was:

  • 7 rounds for time
  • 21 strict shoulder presses (75/55#)
  • 21 good mornings (75/55#)

shoulders-military-pressNow, looking at it last night I suspected I might be ok for a couple of rounds before I had to switch over. HA! I got through 1 round Rx and then had to start scaling…

  • 21 strict press (75#)
  • 21 good mornings (75#)
  • 21 push press (75#)
  • 21 good mornings (75#)
  • 21 push press (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)

If you’re counting, that’s 147 shoulder presses or push presses. I was breaking it however I could — 14/7, 11/10, 7/7/7, 7/4/8… Sometimes I’d hold the bar. Sometimes I’d drop the bar. And I was laughing at myself as my left shoulder/bicep started getting more and more ticked off.

In the last three rounds, I got some amazing jerks going just to pop under it, but I felt more and more like the right arm was popping it up and the left arm was just struggling to get under it.

Had to switch to banded good mornings because my elbows and biceps were not getting any kind of break while hanging onto the bar, taxing those bits and the bits above them even more. It was a challenge and everybody got done way before me. I just kept chugging through a handful of reps at a time until I was done.


I might have been dead last, but I finished. And I’ll take that today.

Great work 8:30! And then I watched Brent in the 9:30 class do it Rx+ with GHD extensions instead of Good Mornings and 75# on the bar — in about 12 minutes. Half my time. He rocked it.

Really everybody did. I was slow and steady and got it done. That’s what matters.

Thanks for the encouragement everybody! And great work!

A Whole Lotta Attempts

Today was interesting at CrossFit. It’s the first time I can recall having a workout that nobody has done Rx. When the coaches even come out and say they wouldn’t do it at Rx levels, I have to wonder. ๐Ÿ™‚

stick-jumpSo it was just me and AJ heading to Continuum this morning for an 8:30 class and we got in early to do a little bit of stretching, which was nice. Coach Drea was busy so we just quietly hung out on the floor and tried to make knees, hips, and backs feel a bit better. By the time class time rolled around, we had been joined by Coach Bill, Todd & Melissa, Ellen, and Connie.

We started with a 400m run in the parking lot. Got back inside and did some hanging, strict Hollow body to Superman movements, plate to overhead (25# plate), 30 second plank hold, and some roll to candlestick. I should have done single leg, but I can barely do both legs and roll up to hang on to the post on the bar… Pretty, they ain’t.

From there we shifted to a 5×5 strict pull-ups work. I suck at strict pull-ups. I can usually do one or two every now and then. Most of us did Level 2, which was feet on the box with a lower bar, and they were still awkward as all get out.

And that brought us to the MetCon…

If we had done it Rx, it was all of this for time:

  • 100 chest to bar pull-ups
  • 100 handstand push-ups
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 100 one-legged squats, alternating

Nobody did that. Everybody looked at the number of reps and the quality of movements and the time we had for a class and said… “Um, no.”

The next level (level 2) lowered it to 75 reps. Same response.

weights-silhouettesThe lowest level (level 1) adjusted it a bit:

  • 50 jumping chest-to-bar pull-ups
  • 50 dumbbell shoulder press
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 50 one-legged box squats, alternating

Even this low rep scaled version was a challenge today.ย I attempted one handstand push-up just to see how it felt today – both elbows popped and I immediately grabbed a pair of dumbbells. It wasn’t worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jumping C2B? Should be easy, right? HAHAHAHA… Apparently not. I started jumping from the floor, quickly moved to jumping from a 35# plate, and then added another 25# plate on top of it. I would get a few and then not be able to pull, walk away, start again. It was in spurts of 1-4 where I successfully hit the bar with my chest – and then would miss one or two times, get frustrated, walk away, shake it off, go back again… Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I think I did 100 or more C2B attempts and only got 50 out of the mix. It took nearly 12 minutes of my time just for that one movement alone.

After that it was just gutting through the reps. At first I didn’t realize the shoulder press were strict, but Bill caught me and let me know. So I flubbed the first 25 of those and did 30 more strict to make up for it a little. But the sit-ups were fine in sets of 5 or 10. And the pistols were sore on the knees, but not awful – so I tried to bang those out quickly.

59980023When all was said and done, I finished in 21:34. And again, I was in the middle of the pack today because I was able to scale. I was fine with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

AJ did level 1 as well and finished in 20:52. She used 10# dumbbells for her shoulder press, a 15# plate for her sit-ups, and did her pistols to a bench instead of a box. She did fine and said she had more issues with her shoulder press than the jumping pull-ups. Everybody has different mobility or strength things to work on.

Ellen finished first in about 17 or 18 minutes I think – she had to skip out early and started a couple of minutes before Bill kicked off the clock. Melissa gutted everything out but I’m not sure what her time was.ย Meanwhile Todd and Connie were plowing through reps as fast as they could go – and it took a while. Connie struggled with jumping C2B but alternated between handstand push-ups and shoulder press. Todd just kept chugging through C2Bs and HSPUs as fast as he could.

It was a challenge for everybody – even at the lowest level. I think everybody scaled in some way or fashion.

Strict Press Thursday

Took yesterday as a rest day and saw my doc about the groin pull.

She confirmed what I already knew but clarified that it was probably a minor tear because of the bruising and we looked at any potential mobility issues… seems that it’s the muscles that pull the leg inward, not push outward, so I should watch movement in that direction. And basically just baby it a bit for the next few weeks until it feels 100%.

139jzlUltimately I boiled it down to “achy” is OK, sharp pains are not, and listen to my body. Easy enough. Might take 4-6 weeks or longer to fully heal, so we’ll keep an eye on it.

That brings us to today…

Made it to an 8:30 class with Evie, Danielle, Melissa, and Ashley with Coach Bill. Adrienne, Abby, and Sarah did the #romwod instead – sounded like yesterday’s workout was rough on the legs with all the med ball cleans and wall balls. Even got to meet Bill’s wife Amber again today (I think we met briefly in one of J. Ridds’ yoga classes last year sometime too, but it’s been a while)!

And then there was the dog contingent… Jayda (the boxer) was joined by Bill’s dog Luke (a mix of a Labrador and something else). They had fun and behaved for the most part. ๐Ÿ™‚

We warmed up with a 1,000 meter row (or 800 meter run in the light snow) and then did some banded shoulder pass-thrus and some partner shoulder stretches (thanks Bill!) on the rig and a few other things before we got going with the strict shoulder press…

We did 10 each with an empty bar:

  • deadlift
  • strict press
  • back squat
  • high pulls
  • overhead squats

And then he wanted us to do a few pull-ups to continue to open up shoulders. But by the time I hit the OH squats my forearms and grip were going, so I only did a couple of pull-ups.

press illustrationWith all of that out of the way, we started in on the strict shoulder press work today… seven sets of 3-reps, starting at 80% of our one rep max.

Math was hard today and I thought my 1RM was 135# (turned out it was 145#). So I started at 95# (65%), 105# (72%), 115# (79%), 125# (86%), 135# (93%), and then attempted 145#. I actually got it up 2x, which was awesome. And I tried one more time and got it up a third time. Then I dropped to 135# again and only got it up twice. I was fried by that point.

Essentially I managed to get my 1RM up 3x today. Huzzah! That bodes well for the next time we have to do strict press. ๐Ÿ™‚


We stepped into the yoga room after that to join the end of the #romwod and they were moving into savasana pose at the end, so we went back and did 50 wall-ball sit-ups (20# med ball) for good measure. Why? Good question –

Had a good time with everybody and Coach Bill, as per usual. ๐Ÿ™‚

We hope everybody from CrossFit Continuum participating in the WODS of Thunder 2016 at CrossFit Endemic on Saturday! We’re hoping to stop by and cheer y’all on!