Tag Archives: strict pull-ups

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

What was the workout? A lovely little metcon:

  • 10 minute AMRAP
    • 16 wall-balls
    • 8 banded strict pull-ups
    • Performance:ย 30/20# ball to 10-ft. target
    • Fitness:ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ย 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!

Snatch the Balance From my Hand

Yesterday was not a good day. If it could go wrong, it probably did. And I didn’t fit in a workout.

20170201_155112But I did get about a 1.5 mile walk in and go through my first round with my new Crossover Symmetry setup in the basement. I’m hopeful that it will help stabilize my shoulders and keep them a bit happier in the long run.

If you need some info about the Crossover Symmetry folks, they have a great “What is Crossover Symmetry?” page that offers a good deal of information.

And that brings me to today.

I thought I had a meeting that was going to push my workout by an hour, but it turned out that was next week. So huzzah! I was able to go with my wife.ย We went to the 8:30 class with Coach Drea and joined Lisa and Ashley for a pretty laid back day at the box.

Started with a 500m row and then did three rounds of 20 seconds each of:

  • PVC pass-thrus
  • PVC snatch balance
  • PVC overhead squat

From there we moved to some snatch balance warm-ups with an empty barbell and then to the workout itself. We had 20 minutes to get through:

  • Snatch Balance – 3-3-3-3-3

snatch5I went through this progression:

  • 45# x3
  • 65# x3
  • 75# x3
  • 75# x3
  • 95# x3
  • 95# x3
  • 115# x3

I did an extra round of 3 but felt like I wanted to push upwards a bit more on the weight. My 115# reps were a bit awkward. I’m still struggling with my feet and stabilizing overhead. But I was happy with my second set of 95#.

Once that was done, we did some skill work… Max effort for a few things.

  • Max effort Strict pull-ups (should be L-sit pull-ups but I’m still struggling with Strict) – managed to get 5 in one set and 3 in another
  • Max effort handstand shoulder taps became simply rocking back and forth to try and get my hands off the floor, which I managed to do 4x. I still can’t convince my body to put all my weight on one arm so I have to work on that more.
  • Max effort regular pull-ups – tried one set and managed 10 kipping pull-ups
  • Max effort handstand hold on the wall – stayed up for 1:05.

Not too bad. I felt like today was better than the sprints on Tuesday and was laughing at myself, so the endorphins were definitely welcome in my system.

And Ev managed to kick up (with a little help) onto the wall and hold a handstand there for about 5 seconds. It was awesome!

Great work everybody and thanks Drea! Have a great day!

Ring Dips and Strict Bar Work

Today is my first day back to work after 2 weeks away (staycation, but still). The girls went back to school. We were all up early. I forgot to eat breakfast. You know, the usual workday. ๐Ÿ™‚

673f5cc248af490788f00b3c2d180f97After I got my bearings again with work, I escaped my desk for an 8:30 class at CrossFit Continuum with my wife. We arrived to work with Coach Drea, Carrie, Tionne, and Andrea. A fun little class now that folks are back to work after the holidays.

We started with a 400m run in 20 degree weather. It was chilly!

From there we came back in to do some walking lunges, shoulder mobility with a PVC pipe, and some push-ups before heading to the rig to start working on those rings. 10 second hold locked out, 20 seconds of rest, 10 second hold at the bottom of the ring dip, 20 second rest… repeat 3x total. The lock out at the top was fine. The bottom… that was tough.

We followed that up with some ring dips and then some strict pull-ups with a band. That was a sign of what was to come.

The actual workout though was more skill work today for me than anything else. It was written for time, but we didn’t quite push it that direction.ย The prescribed workout was 5 rounds for time of:

  • 20 L pull-ups
  • 16 ring dips


Yeah, that quickly became modified to 5 rounds of:

  • 10 strict knee tucks or V-ups
  • 10 strict pull-ups
  • 10 ring dips

After 30 minutes, I was through 4 rounds and called it good. It was time for the 9:30 class to get started and they needed the space on the rig.

Definitely a challenging workout. I’ll be curious to see what we start to see showing up in the 2017 CrossFit Open. Will we see ring dips? Maybe? And more dumbbell work?

crossfit-openAnyway… It was fun to see everybody kicking butt today. Carrie was rocking out the strict pull-ups. We saw both Tionne & Andrea get pull-ups together on the rig.

We’ll see what we do tomorrow when the snow hits. ๐Ÿ™‚

And tomorrow starts the more strict diet again. We’ll see how that goes too.

Great work everybody! Have a good day!

PR day?

Strength cycles are fun usually. It’s entertaining to battle back to or beyond an old PR on some of these traditional lifts. Usually.

Today was a bit hit and miss on that front.

Barbell_DeadliftArrived for an 8:30 class and got to work out with Coach Bill, Ashley, Elizabeth, Jenny, and David. Larry and Danielle were there too but joined the 9:30 class with Jonathan, Sarah, Andrea, and a few other folks. I honestly wasn’t sure how today was going to go, but knew I had a good group of folks to work with so it really didn’t matter. ๐Ÿ™‚

We started with a 200m run, which concerned me a little bit. But it was short enough it didn’t aggravate my quad/groin pull too badly. Then we did some movements like a push press with a plate, backstroke, some iron cross stretches, half handstand push-ups, jumping pull-ups, and so on – to warm up a bit.

After that we worked on deadlift form and strict press form with an empty bar before getting started. I worked with David and Ashley, Elizabeth, and Jenny worked together.

press illustrationStarted with deadlifts. 95#/135#/185#/225#/275#/325# – fail. David managed 225# once and that was awesome. And I tried a couple of times with 325# but couldn’t get it off the ground. I think my body was fighting in an attempt not to re-injure the groin.

Moved to strict press. 75#/95#/100#/105#/115#/135#/145#/155# – fail. David got 95# up and tried 105# and then 100# to no avail. I did 135#, took two tries to get 145# up, and attempted 155# a couple of times but couldn’t. 145# is a 20# increase over my old PR and 10# better than my PR from earlier this month – so I’m happy with that.

After that, we did strict pull-ups, max effort. I managed 2. I’ll take it. Neither was pretty. ๐Ÿ™‚ But they were overhand grip, full extension, which was better than doing them underhanded like a curl. ๐Ÿ™‚

And lastly we did… death-by-pull-ups.ย With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minuteโ€ฆ continuing as long as you are able. I got into the 7th minute before I ran out of oomph. I was hoping to get to 5, so getting past 6 was really good for me.

I suspect that my brain is trying to protect the body from further tearing. We’ll see what the next couple of days have in store, but it is feeling better. Not 100%, but better.

Thanks David for working with me today – you did great. And thanks Bill and Larry for the suggestions and encouragement. Deadlifts will just have to wait for another day.

Great work everybody!