Tag Archives: strict pull-ups

Forearms are swole!

Made it for the 8:30 workout this morning with Coach Drea, Melissa S, Melissa, Emily, Rebecca, and Bri. We were ready to get “swole” on a Monday morning apparently. 🙂

yoga-down-dog-2We started with two rounds of:

  • 1 minute of single-unders or double-under practice (no double-unders were harmed during my double-under practice in the second round)
  • 30 second straight-arm plank hold
  • 30 seconds of banded pull-aparts (green band)
  • 30 seconds of hands-on-box shoulder stretch (like child’s pose, but arms are raised so your head can dip below parallel with the shoulders)

After that we moved to talk about push presses (empty barbell warm-up and then added weight to get to our starting weight). I warmed up with 95# and set up at 115# with the ability to strip off 20# when it got to be too much.

And then we moved to the rig… Strict pull-ups are not really my jam. I tend to do them with a grip like chin-ups rather than an over-hand pull-up grip. And weighted ones? Well, that’s definitely a challenge. But with the chain belt on, I tested with some 25# weighted pull-ups and then got ready for the performance weights (30/20/10#)…

PullupThe workout itself was simple:

  • 5 minute AMRAP
  • 3 minute rounds with 2 minute rest
    • Performance
      • 20 push presses (115/5#)
      • and max effort weighted pull-ups (30/20/10# weighted, then strict, then kipping or 15/10/5# weighted, then strict, then kipping)
    • Fitness
      • 20 push presses (95/65#)
      • max-rep jumping pull-ups

So my workout went something like this:

  • Round 1 – 20 push presses @ 115#, 6 strict chin-up style pull-ups with 30# weight (one at a time) (push press I did 17 in a row, then dropped, then did last 3 – that was probably a poor choice)
  • Round 2 – 20 x 115#, 5 strict pull-ups with 20# weight (left forearm was blowing up at this point and causing all sorts of entertaining problems) (did 10 push-presses in a row, then 5, then 3, then 2)
  • Round 3 – stripped off 20# and moved to 20 x 95#, did 6 weighted strict pull-ups at 10# (one at a time) – (same rep scheme as round 2 for push press)
  • Round 4 – 20 x 95#, 8 strict pull-ups one at a time
  • Round 5 – 20 x 95#, 15 kipping pull-ups
  • Total pull-ups: 40

We’ll see if I can move my left arm tomorrow. 🙂 But I was happy I was pretty consistent round to round. That’s the most weighted pull-ups I’ve ever done I think.

Not bad for a Monday! Thanks Drea and good work 8:30 class!


Much Needed Monday Workout Endorphins

I’m still feeling like I’m on the Jetsons’ hamster wheel of a treadmill. Monday just thumped me on the head like an unwelcome… something or another. Let’s just say “ugh” and be done with it.

Monday-Meme-16But I had a choice. I could sit at my desk and stew or go work out at the box. Wasn’t really much of a competition there.

Went in for an 8:30 class with Coach Drea and had Dave & KB join me. Our fun little trio tackled the warm-up first…

  • 2 rounds
  • 1 minute jump rope (single, single running, doubles, whatever)
  • 15 kettlebell swings (first set to eye level, second set full) (light 35# swings)
  • 15 hollow body rocks
  • 45 second banded shoulder abstraction, each side (felt great on my lats)

From there we grabbed some light dumbbells and did some dumbbell clean & jerk warm-ups. I grabbed 25# dumbbells and by the end of the warm-up decided I wasn’t going to go up from there to 35# for the workout. I’m glad I didn’t. 🙂

PullupAnd we did some strict work on the rig before discussing the workout itself:

  • 15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
    • Dumbbell hang clean and jerks
    • Strict pull-ups
    • 35/20# dumbbell (performance), 20/10# (fitness)

Strict pull-ups are not my jam. Even kipping pull-ups were a bit of a challenge today. But Drea asked me to try for strict pull-ups with an added weight belt for a few reps each round. I grabbed the belt, added a 15# plate, and did a couple during the warm-up — but wow they were not going to be fun.

25pound-dumbbellSo the workout was for time… and we were shooting for 15 minutes or less. HA!

  • did the 25# DB clean & jerks each round (only had to drop in round of 12 with 6 + 6), but were slow and really ugly in later rounds
  • round of 15 – 2 strict with weight, 3 regular strict, 10 kipping
  • round of 12 – 1 strict with weight, 2 regular strict, 9 kipping
  • round of 9 – maybe 3 strict, 6 kipping
  • round of 6 – 6 kipping
  • round of 3 – 3 kipping
  • Final time: 14:11

I’m going to repeat – strict pull-ups are not my jam. 🙂 Those first two rounds seemed to take forever.

Meanwhile KB was doing awesome with banded strict pull-ups and Dave was banging out some strict pull-ups as well. They were kicking butt. Dave was right behind me (finished in under 15 I think) and KB was a bit ahead of me.

When we were done, there was time for some mobilizing. We were supposed to do two sets of 15 ring rows and I did two sets of 10 — hanging on was a challenge. Then a foam roller to the forearms was a requirement, and then some rolling with the lats as well.

Now it’s time to go back to work… Thank goodness for the endorphins. 🙂 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. 🙂

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. 🙂

Thanks Drea!

30# Wall Balls are for the (really strong) Birds

What was I thinking? My quads and butt still hurt from yesterday’s workout but I still made it in this morning for a workout with my wife. She had the day off, which gave me motivation to go.

rat-everything-hurtsWe made it in for the 8:30 class with Coach Drea and were joined by Todd, Logan, and Maria. We were all groaning during the warm-up, so I knew it was going to be a doozy. But we added a bit of extra mobility (some couch stretching) so maybe that would help?

After we were done with the warm-up, we worked on wall ball mechanics. Yes, good old wall balls where you essentially do a thruster with a medicine ball and push it up a wall to a 9, 10, or 11 foot target. I warmed up with a 14# ball and then grabbed the 30# for the workout because Todd grabbed the 25# ball, darn him. 🙂

But it wasn’t just wall balls — there were strict pull-ups too. And I can do a few, but 8 in a row is a bit out of my ball park so I opted to have a band ready (wide green + skinny blue).

This would have been preferable to the 30# ball I used today. 🙂

What was the workout? A lovely little metcon:

  • 10 minute AMRAP
    • 16 wall-balls
    • 8 banded strict pull-ups
    • Performance: 30/20# ball to 10-ft. target
    • Fitness: 4/10# ball to 10-ft. target

Wow. That 30# ball was a struggle. I managed to get 3 or 4 wall balls strung together a few times, but it hit the ground a ton and there were a lot of 1 or 2 rep chunks. There were even a few no-reps I had to redo when the ball missed the wall entirely. A few may have been around the 11 foot mark, but most were at 10 feet I think.

In 10 minutes, I only made it through 2 complete rounds — but almost got through a third with 16 wall balls, and 4 banded pull-ups.

Not bad for the 4th workout of the week. 🙂 Great work 8:30!

Nap time!

Oh “L” – Strict Pull-ups

First workout of the week and it’s a crazy week with the kids, so I knew I needed to make every effort to get into the box or I might lose my mind. Made it today.

1sn13rAJ and I arrived for a full 9:30 class with Coach Drea. Mickey had her first 8a soccer practice today and chose to do some yoga while we warmed up and did the workout, which was understandable. We had lots of folks to play with – Sara, Elyse, Brent, Nick and Lisa, Austen, Mia, Evie, and a few others.

Started with 5 minutes of cardio – row, bike, or run at a warm-up pace. I chose to *gasp* row (shocking, I know) and made it through 1100m in the 5 mins, so not bad. Still working on the mechanics of tucking elbows in more like a push-up when I pull back, so it was a good opportunity to feel that out for a bit.

Once that was done, we did some banded shoulder abstraction on the rig. Lots of bands going every direction when we got the whole class going.

Um. Why are these folks smiling? These things are tough!!!

And then we talked about the movements for the workout:

  • L pull-ups or strict pull-ups (Rx/Level II), or leg-assisted ring pull-ups (Level I)
  • Handstand push-ups (Rx) or seated dumbbell presses (Level I) or something in-between
  • Hip extensions on the GHD (Rx/Level II) or Good mornings with a barbell or PVC pipe (Level I)

Essentially the workout was a 20 minute AMRAP of:

  • 10 L pull-ups
  • 10 HSPUs
  • 20 hip extensions

Like always, I did a bit of scaling:

  • 10 strict pull-ups, attempting to tuck knees or hold one leg up when possible
  • 10 HSPUs – half kipping and half strict
  • 20 Good Mornings with a PVC pipe

Strict pull-ups are SLOOOOOOOW. HSPUs are inconsistent. When I get my hand position right, I can kip for about 5 and then have to kick off the wall.

I made it through 3 rounds plus 6 with my variations. Not too awful.


AJ worked on kicking up to the wall and was able to kick up to touch with one foot by the end, which was awesome. She did hip extensions on the GHD and did the ring pull-ups. She got through 4 rounds plus 17. I heard Sarah got through 5 rounds. Looks like Austin did too.

Because this was mostly skill work that I’m not good at yet, it was slow. And that’s all fine. I was cheering on Mia and one of the other gals who were getting frustrated I think — gravity makes it hard. Just focus on one. Then the next one. And the next one. It’ll come. And they did awesome. Really everybody was moving right along.

So great work 9:30 class! And thanks Drea!


CrossFit: The Great Equalizer

Before I get going on today’s workout (which was a doozy), I want to explain my point of view on the humble pie I eat on a regular basis at my box.

Last week I had one workout that I felt like I could handle all the elements and do them fairly well. It was Thursday’s combination of weighted sit-ups and dumbbell push jerks. I won’t say I killed it, but with my modifications and with the way I felt that day, I felt like I did the best I could and came away happy.

f008c72de97f1682c087a03471242a37Looking at the combination of WODs over the last couple of weeks, that’s roughly 1 in 6 workouts where I feel like I have a handle on things. Yesterday’s deadlift-fest was a good one, but I came away feeling like I should have done more. Last Thursday I’m pretty sure I didn’t have any more to give.

That’s the level I hope to achieve every time I walk into the box. Regardless of the movements in the workout itself, I want to feel like I gave it my all, every day.

Today’s WOD was not a combination in my wheel house and I never had a handle on it, so it was kind of frustrating. But that’s the other side of that coin. CrossFit is the great equalizer. By combining movements in various and sundry ways, it keeps you and your body guessing. And it keeps you humble. There’s always something to work on.

I think that’s why I keep going back. Sure, part of that is my addiction to workout-induced endorphins. But mainly because it keeps changing and always keeps me guessing. I’m not running the same gauntlet of machines at a globogym and getting bored out of my skull.

That one workout every now and then where I walk out knowing I did the best I possibly could have and surprised myself… that’s the payoff.

So what happened today? Well, let’s start like I always do…

Today’s Workout

I made it to the box today for an 8:30 class and my wife went with me. Amazingly enough she had today off, which was crazy. Maybe I can work out with her more than once this week! *gasp*

dr-evil-air-quotes-yes-this-is-what-we-call-a-warm-upAnyway, Coach Drea (who is very ready for her baby to be ready to be born any day now), was there to keep us moving through… um… some torture. I won’t sugar coat it. Thankfully we weren’t alone for the ordeal… Jonathan, Brent, Carrie, and Nic were there to share the suffering with us. 🙂

We did what I will refer to as a hellish warm-up today. When your coach looks at you and says that the warm-up may fry you to the point where you don’t want to do the workout? Yeah, that’s not fair!

It’s been long enough now that I don’t remember the whole thing from this morning…

  • Run 100m
  • Do some things related to strict pull-ups
  • Run 100m
  • Do a few more things
  • Run 400m
  • Do a few more things
  • Flop around on the floor

It was not a grand old time and I might even put it into the “Sally Up” category of warm-ups. On the plus side, I did run both 100m and the 400m without stopping.

Yes, I’m whining.

silly-walkHonestly when we got done with the warm-up, I was already feeling my forearms and biceps burning. How was the workout going to feel?

Answer: Not great. 🙂

The workout itself was a 20 minute AMRAP:

  • Run 400 meters
  • 15 L pull-ups
  • 15 hip extensions

Though Drea told us multiple times that this wasn’t a “running workout,” we heard tales of people getting 4 or 5 rounds done this morning. Considering my track record with strict pull-ups and running, I was thinking I might get through 2 rounds if I was lucky.

In order to get through this one, I scaled the hell out of it.

  • Ran 200m, walked 200m (right calf tightened up)
  • 15 banded strict pull-ups (small blue + green)
  • 15 good mornings with empty 45# barbell
  • Walked 200m, ran 200m
  • 5 banded strict pull-ups (same bands)
  • 10 awkward as hell ring rows with feet on a box (to the point where I scraped up my shoulder/back when I brushed against the wall and one of the little doodads embedded in the concrete)
  • 15 good mornings with empty 45# barbell
  • Walked 400m
  • 15 ring rows (normal)
  • 15 good mornings with empty 45# barbell

So to put this in perspective, I watched Brent & Jonathan do almost Rx work with L-sit strict pull-ups for a good chunk of the workout until they fell to normal strict pull-ups. Both of them completed 4 rounds and were into their 5th I think.

Ev scaled her pull-ups and managed 3 rounds plus the 400m run of the 4th round.


It was one of those workouts where my body was fighting me the whole way and though I kept moving, I was definitely on the struggle bus.

Yesterday I at least felt adequate on deadlifts. Last Thursday I felt awesome. Today… um… why? Oh yeah, because the struggle leads to strength. Strength leads to performance. Performance leads to better workouts…


Great work 8:30 class! Y’all kept on moving. And moving faster than I was by a long shot, I must add. 🙂

Have a great day!

Our CrossFit Family is Goofy

Sure, there was a workout today. And yes, I went to a morning class at CrossFit Continuum. But I want to start this post with a description of how comfortable I am at our box.

Our whole family went this morning, which is the first time in a while. Me, Ev, and the girls went to join the workout. I know that our coaches keep an eye on my girls just like Ev & I do. I know that many of the other athletes at the box do too. The girls are safer at the box than they are just about anywhere else but home.

We were led by Coach Bill, who they love hanging out with. He jokes with them constantly and they have a good time together. We had Jonathan & Sarah, Stacie, Brianne, Nic & Nichole, Jake, and Connie there too. Great big class while spring break is going on. All wonderful folks.

We started with a 400m jog passing around a medicine ball and a small weighted rubber ball (maybe a slam ball, but not sure what it was called). We tossed the ball around and were laughing the whole time, even when the ball hit the ground with an errant throw here and there.

When we got inside, we paired up and did a goofy warm-up (called the Junkyard Dog Warm-up)…

I paired up with Ev, which was entertaining. Neither one of us is much of a jumper and the height difference made things interesting, but we had fun. I pretty much army crawled beneath her and she had a nice high bridge to crawl beneath.

And when that was done we split up into two teams of 6 and played tic-tac-toe with medicine balls. That was a hoot.  We essentially ran back and forth like crazy people and tried to put the medicine balls (marked with little colored stickers) into a tic-tac-toe board made with PVC pipes. The loser of each game had to do a movement. We did burpees. The other team did push-ups.

We laughed the entire time. Hooting and hollering and shouting our teammates to glory. It was fun.

And then we got to work with the workout for the day…

  • 5 sets of 3 weighted pull-ups (strict)

Now, I can do regular pull-ups for a while. And I can do strict pull-ups once in awhile, but they’re not a strength.

Today it went like this:

  • 3 strict pull-ups
  • 3 strict pull-ups (more awkward)
  • 3 strict pull-ups (even more awkward)
  • 1 strict pull-up with a weighted vest (thanks Jonathan!) and 2 without (that were awful)
  • and then 2 strict pull-ups before I ran out of pull. not even sure the second one got my nose above the bar

When all of that was done, we talked a bit about the metcon for the day…

  • 1,000m sprint row for time

And we split off into heats. I think Jonathan and Jake were about 3:41 and within a few tenths of a second of each other. We cheered them on.

When I went, I did awesome for the first 500m and then fell off like a stone. I went from under a 1:45 pace to struggling to keep around a 2:00 pace. I finished in 3:43, which made me happy.

How’d the girls do?

  • Ev did 1,000m in 4:08
  • Mickey in 4:36
  • AJ in 4:54

They were moving right along! And then Bill sat down and blew us all away in 2:58. He was flying!

Great work to the whole 8:30 team. We had a blast. It was fun to cheer one another on the whole time!

Thanks Bill!