Week Two WOD #2: Clusters on Clusters

Today I got a chance to try out my double under skill and see if I could knock off my short term goal. While I wasn’t able to complete the workout with full double unders all the way through I felt like I could see my progress in the motion. During the second set I felt like I jumped over a mental block and something started to click a whole lot more. I started thinking to myself, “Be natural. Let the jumps flow.” This helped me pull away from the little bits of the exercise and focus on smooth easy movements. I toppled my last best by reaching 33 in a row, getting over halfway through the second dub set.

Clean:

Heavy 2: I reached 185lbs today, but I was feeling very sluggish for some reason. My hip explosion through the bar was not as quick as it has been in the past and I was struggling to whip my elbows around fast enough. I went for 205lbs twice and got it high enough to drop under but was unable to do it.

For time: A cluster is a combo lift. It takes the same basic premise of the thruster with the front squat to push press idea but swaps the front squat with a clean. 

10 Clusters (185/133) [135]
50 Double-unders [10-5 double/single] with these I was able to knock down 10 in a row consistently with 5 single skips in-between.
15 Clusters (155/113) [115] Struggled quite a bit at this weight, I had to take several breaks before attacking this again.
50 Double-unders [33-17 double/single] I was able to do 33 in a row and then couldn’t get it back because of how tired my arms were so I finished out with 17 singles.
20 Clusters (115/83) [90] This took me the longest amount of time to complete and really tested my mental toughness in the last 13 reps.

Mobility:

Lumbar Smashing

I was real pumped about my progress with the double unders today. I feel like I’m really getting the hang of it and next time we have a double under workout I think it’ll be time for me to rock it out and do it. Obviously I’ll keep plugging away with warm ups getting the form down! If you read my last post you saw that my roommate Peter is getting involved in Crossfit! I was very happy to hear that he enjoyed his very first workout and is excited to be back pushing himself to the limit. I am so stoked to have him in the regular classes and see how both of us are able to progress moving forward! Hit this post with a comment or a question!

Week Two WOD #1: Go Peter!

In just a few workouts I’ve seen my double under status improving significantly! I doubled my highest total in a row to not have my record be set at 14… not too shabby. This workout had a pretty big class in attendance so we took up almost the entire gym during the regular workout. I’m finding that I’m having quite a bit of trouble getting the weights during the workout to be challenging but not so much that I’m unable to move after we are done. This isn’t a terrible problem to have however because it means that I’m gaining strength and ability pretty quickly so that what I was doing in the week prior might end up being too light for me.

In ten minutes:

Establish 1 RM Push-press- This ended up being too light. I had 155lbs on the bar but I think I could have gone up another 10-20lbs and kept solid form but, because I was intimidated by the push jerk we were doing afterwards, I kept it light. Something I’ve been told before that I’ve been keeping in mind while doing the push press is to really lock out my arms up top. This exercise can put a lot of pressure on certain areas of the upper body if you don’t lock out so doing that is crucial.

EMOM – 5 Minutes:

1 Jerk (100% Push-press loading) Same weight as before. We went every minute and it took until the very last one for me to show some fatigue. What helped me through this was to focus on clenching my core and exploding my hips up so that it took most of the effort off of my arms and shoulders.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Reps for time: 14:54

Power Clean (135/93) 90lbs
Shoulder-to-OH (135/93) 90lbs
TTB

When this was all said and done I think I should have gone for 110lbs but at the same time this made sure that my form all the way until my last rep was staying in check. I’m starting to notice that it’s becoming easier for me to keep pushing through these workouts without having to stop for long periods of time to catch my breath.

Something I loved about this workout was that there were two guys who decided to really hit it hard and go for RX. After a bit of time it was just the two of them wrestling their way through the final dreggs of it and every single person who had already completed watched them and cheered them on. It was such a good feeling to be a part of this group of people because I feel like this is what is missing when you rock your headphones at the gym. Having a team like atmosphere really amps me up and allows me to really get psyched about going to the gym.

On another note, my roomie Peter has his first night of On-Ramp today over in St. Louis Park. I’m pretty excited to have him joining the Crossfit community and hope he enjoys it as much as I do. Put a like on this post if your stoked for Peter, and as always comment if you have any thoughts!

WOD #4: Not for Time

Felt like I got in a really good workout last night after I shoveled my parents driveway for them… the gall-dang snowblower is only operable after my dad tinkers with it for around 20 minutes and of course never works for me EVER. But I still got up early this morning and went over to the gym to get my last workout for this week in.

It was fantastic to be in the gym a bit early today because I got a chance to see the competitive team working out. They were doing some pretty incredible stuff with the rings, kettle bells and 1 legged squats. While I’m not necessarily interested in competing in any kind of Crossfit Games I am so excited to start working more on stuff with the rings. It looked challenging but at the same time incredibly fun to be flying around like that. I can’t do these yet but I found a pretty good instructional video on how to do the most efficient muscle up.

Below is what the workout for the day was, it was different not going for time or working with an AMRAP but this was nice not feeling so crunched to get the reps in. I never rested more than 5 minutes between sets and decided to keep it light for the Hang Power Cleans in order to work on my form. I’m having trouble differentiating the Clean and the Power Clean, with these I kept catching it to far down in the squat position which you can do if you aren’t able to make the full weight but I definitely could do it. This is where my inexperience with these movements comes into play but I’ll keep plugging along.

5 Rounds, not for time:

5 Hang Power Cleans (AHAP) [115lbs]
Max Reps – Strict Pull-ups [Medium Band 12-8-8-7-10]
500 M Row [Best time = 1:56 averaged about 2:01]

Rest as needed between rounds.

Mobility:

Upper Trap Smashing. This felt really good with the lacrosse ball on my shoulders, after all the rowing we did today they definitely needed to to loosen up. This blog ends week 1 of my weekly WOD’s. As weeks keep moving on this is going to polish up, I’ll start taking photos and maybe I’ll be able to convince a trainer to do some quick instructional videos with me. Thanks for reading and be sure to comment below and let me know how this workout went for you or if you have any other thoughts on the blog!

WOD #3: Burpees, the Life-Blood of Crossfit

If you read my post WOD#2: Goals! then you’ll know that my short term goal is to be able to rock a double unders workout without having to resort to those measly single skips. If you’re unsure what I’m talking about not only do I explain it all in that post, but I tossed a neat little instructional video in there as well. Anyway, I felt at though there was a bit of progress made during my warm up for this workout! I was able to nock out several sets of double unders and reached a new personal record of 7 in a row… 7! How sweet is that! I am looking to keep consistency up with this skill and will update you when I see improvements or have any realizations about the technique of it.

Front Squat:

2-2-2-2-2 [110-160-170-175-180] 

For this portion I needed to focus quite a bit on my form because I don’t have the best front rack positioning. What continually seems to pop up is my lack of mobility in a lot of areas and while Coach Alex said that I improved quite a bit after this was pointed out, it is still an area needing improvement. What you want from a good front rack is high elbows with the bar resting on your upper chest collarbone region. What I was doing in order to get my elbow height to increase was bringing my elbows closer together. What I didn’t realize is that you really want your elbows to come straight out ahead of your shoulders giving you the maximum stability for when you really load up the bar.

AMRAP – 5 Minutes:

1-2-3-4-5 … Reps: This round I made it to 6 even. I was feeling very good with a whole lot of energy left. 

Thrusters (95/63) [85lbs]
Bar Facing Burpees

rest three minutes

AMRAP – 5 Minutes:

… 6-7-8-9-10 … Reps: 9+14 So I didn’t quite get through all of my burbees to start the next round. I was breathing rather heavily at this point and knew mental toughness was going to be key in the next AMRAP set.

Thrusters (95/63) [85lbs]
Bar Facing Burpees

rest three minutes

AMRAP – 5 Minutes:

… 11-12-13-14-15 … Reps: 11+13 Was my final number. I wanted to make it to 12 total so I was almost at my daily goal but fell 9 burpees short. 

Thrusters (95/63) [85lbs]
Bar Facing Burpees

Mobility:

Low Back Recovery done with the lacrosse ball or foam roller. Make sure to get those nots out of your muscles or you’ll pay for them later! Be sure to check out my other posts and to look for my other project to make an appearance… Nom Nom Food will hopefully have its first addition by Sunday!

Found this video talking about mobility on MobilityWOD.com that you should check out if you’re also struggling with your front rack positioning.

Enjoy the read? Help me out and tell a friend about my blog! Have suggestions? Comment on this post below!

WOD #2: Goals!

I have some major goals in this post the first of which is to be able to complete a double unders workout with no single skips. To those of you unfamiliar with Crossfit, or if you are familiar, but also happen to be just awful at this movement there is an instructional video below. My plan is to start out every workout I go to working on this motion. I know how to row 400meters but I can’t seem to get more than 3 of these stinking things done in a row.

I was feeling pretty good going into the gym today after yesterdays workout. Little sore in the triceps but overall rested and fully recovered. Just like every day we warm up with stretches, but on top of that used a light band and pvc pipe. Coach Alex went through the Snatch motion highlighting the importance of the position of the bar as it travels up overhead… key word there is up, you want to make sure that the bar is still close to your body.

Snatch: 

2-2-2-2-2

90-115-115-135-135(fail on #2)

One thing that I was struggling with on this movement came with fluidity of my form. Overall my positioning is pretty solid but the Coaches talked to me about the hip thrust and catching in the squat position. Right now I need to work on speed, getting the bar up and dropping down underneath it.

AMRAP – 8 Minutes:

1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4 Reps: 5+12

Deadlift (185/133) (185!!!)
Box Jumps (32/28) (26)

I half RX’d this workout. This brings me to goal #2. I want to become an RX Crossfitter. This means that whatever the prescribed amount of weight per workout is, thats the weight I use. This was a great workout and helped me realize that that was my biggest goal aside from increase in overall fitness. I was able to deadlift the RX amount because I have always liked leg day (I know I’m weird) but you tend to like what your good at and years of track and nordic skiing prepped me well. I need to improve my confidence with the box jumps but that will definitely come with time.

Short term goals: Become a competent Double Underer (?) by March

Long term goals: Become an RX Crossfit Athlete by 2015

Both of these goals will take a bunch of work, loads of practice, and a good Positive Attitude. I think I’ll keep posting a list of goals each time both to remind myself and you about what I’m trying to accomplish. Hold me to it people.

Mobility:

Rotator Cuff Strengthening – on top of this we spent time rolling out our lower backs with a lacrosse ball.

What kind of fitness goals do you have big or small? Let me know in the comments below!

Pushed and Pressed Out

So here’s the deal. I feel sort of weird about posting about my workouts. There are so many different workout no-nos, 1) No photos of yourself in the gym 2) Don’t take videos and post them on the internet 3) No ridiculous grunting. Now, currently I’m not doing any of those things, but blogs are so much more fun with pictures… This will be quite the experiment for me to be sure; as being healthy takes a whole lot of commitment both in and out of the gym. After a weekend chowing down on Dominos, Jimmy Johns, and sucking down about a gallon of delicious apple juice its going to be a challenge to get out of bad habits that I’ve accrued over the years. But golly gee I’m going to give it a shot.

Here was the Workout of the Day!

Pre-WOD Mobility:

Thoracic Extension: This portion consisted of laying on a foam roller at your upper back. While doing this you extend your arms up and over your head attempting to touch the ground above you. This helps with your overhead mobility, specifically relating to our workout today in the push press.

Push Press:

4-3-3-3: This was done where we added weight for each rep. I got a few warm up rounds at lower weights around 65lbs and then pushed myself to match my partner who is a pretty experienced Crossfitter. Respectively we went 135-155-165-170, I felt pretty good through the first three and with the last round I wasn’t keeping my core activated to where I would be able to keep my form. So I failed on the last one.

25-20-15-10-5 Reps for time: This took me 11:19 I understand that this paragraph below is a bit confusing, but as we travel down this path I’ll get significantly better at describing these motions.

Shoulder to OH (115/83) – Basically anyway you can bring the bar up over your head that would be acceptable. You could strict press it, push press which adds a little dip to it, or press with jerk where you do the push press but drop underneath the bar and stand up. For the most part I switched between the push press and push press and jerk.
Pull-ups – These for RX were to be done as kip-ups which is a very fluid pull up motion where you time shifting your legs to “kip” your body up to the bar.

What I’ve learned from this workout is the importance of activating your core muscles for stability and that I am terrible at pull ups. Not only do I need to work on the Kip-ups themselves but I also need work on my endurance with this specific type of workout.

To wrap this post up I’m wondering where you have struggled in your level of fitness? Come back tomorrow for my next post and even though I’ll be breaking gym etiquette I’ll get photos for here eventually!

It’s a Crossfit Life

I have been a member of Crossfit St. Paul/St. Louis Park now for close to 3 months! In that short amount of time I have become hooked on the Crossfit program and have found that it has been the most effective way for me to keep coming back to the gym. On top of this membership I find myself a part of a company called Apex Fun Run (which I’m stoked about) that has me promoting fitness and leadership to Minnesota’s young future leaders. While this isn’t a part of my job I feel obligated to get myself into the kind of shape that is an excellent example for what I am going to be talking about and preaching in my day to day life. I thought what a better way to do that than to publicly display (not for any narcissistic reasoning) what I am doing to stay fit and stay healthy. More than anything I’m hoping to keep myself honest!

In this portion of my blog I’ll be posting my workouts, my goals, and my achievements along with discussing what I see as benefits to Crossfit as I progress farther into it! Crossfit for the time being is my focus, my main source of exercise, but at some point I plan to branch out and find other ways to build on top of that foundation. For those of you reading this I also hope to somehow encourage everyone around me to find the place and the way for them to lead a healthier lifestyle. For me this isn’t really about losing weight… although who doesn’t want rock hard abs? This is about being a healthy happy human being. This is about living the “Yeah I can do that” lifestyle where you aren’t limited by all those reps you’re doing between the couch and the fridge. I’d love to create a conversation so if you have any thoughts or opinions on Crossfit, what helps you stay active, or anything else(related please) comment below!