Recent stuff

I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’ve been working out and I re-took the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate course a couple of weeks ago. Erin N went with me and it was really fun! I still love CrossFit after 11 years and even after learning that not all of its precepts are strictly correct. It is fun, and it’s so interesting to see it as a system that has developed out of one person’s experimentation on a few clients.

This week I did some hard workouts. On Tuesday I deadlifted to a 3-rep max of 225. Technically my 3-rep max is higher, because I actually did 3 sets of 3. Before that I also had done several 30-second row sprints to see the fastest pace I could attain and how long I could keep it (1:41 and 6 seconds). After the deadlifts I did the day’s Tabata: row for calories, box jump, rings push-ups, barbell row.

Yesterday I didn’t do much, just went for a 40-minute walk to Martha Washington Park and stretched.

Today at 6:30 AM I did the day’s WOD with Carroll: run 800m, 40 6-inch target burpees, 20 box jump-overs, 3 rounds for time… in the time available (32:10), I got through two rounds, the run, and half the burpees. The time included a bathroom break. I used a 12-inch box. I had already planned to test this Saturday’s workout, and had not planned to do the WOD, so I went “easy” (it wasn’t easy).

The WOD coming up for Saturday is a barbell complex that I was afraid would be too hard, but scaled to a lighter weight it was no harder than other barbell WODs. So today I did two WODs. Tomorrow I get to sleep in.

Press, barbell complex WOD

Today: shoulder press trying to improve my calculated 1-rep max. I don’t think I improved it, because I didn’t get five reps. I finished with a set of 4 and then a set of 3 at 82 lbs. If I had gotten five reps unbroken I would have had a new 1-rep max. Oh well, maybe next week.

Workout of the day — from what we did in the gym yesterday:
6 deadlifts
4 power cleans
2 push jerks
10 toes to bar
10 minutes AMRAP with 75 lb bar

My toes to bar were just high knee raises some of the time. My first set of 10 was two “warm-up/cheater” knee raises followed by 8 strung-together toes to bar. It degenerated after that. With the barbell complex and that, in 10 minutes I got five rounds, 17 reps.

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Front squat, burpee, KB swings

Today: Several sets of pistols on each side with weights up to 16 kg, in my Reeboks (very slight heel lift, which I can’t do pistols without).

Then, front squat to a set of 4 and a set of 2 at 170 lbs. This was hard and was based on my calculated 1-rep max from when I did three at 175 recently.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 burpees and kettlebell swings at 24 kg for time: 6:25. I worked hard on that.

“Fran’s Fave” revisited

Today’s strength workout was back squats and I got 4 at 190 lbs. I’ve now done a 3-rep max or close enough on all the basic lifts, so I can work out based on an estimated 1-rep max and try to make progress again for a while.

Today’s WOD: a kettlebell complex from a long time ago at CrossFit North. I had done this one several times and named it Fran’s Fave, and also used it on my kettlebell class at CrossFit Seattle. When I did this one in 2007 my finish time was 15:25. Eight years later I’m slower at 17:42 with 16 kg.

“Fran’s Fave”:
kettlebell 1-hand swing, clean, squat complex x 10 reps
10 squat-jumps with no weight
10 rounds for time.

I *think* my faster time so long ago was also with 16 kg, because I remember the first time we did this in Dave’s class, I had the 16 and the 12 kg kettlebells out because I thought I would not be able to do it with the 16 — but then I did. So it was memorable.

3-rep max lifts for mid-2015

Recent 3 rep maxes or approximately:

Front squat 176 x 3

Shoulder press 84 x 3

Deadlift 220 230 x 3

Bench press 122

Back squat 190 x 4

7/7/15: front squat to 3-rep max of 175. It was hard enough that I felt sure I would fail with more weight. I was surprised I was able to go this heavy. I waited at least two minutes between sets.

7/8/15: shoulder press to 3-rep max of 38 kg in our garage. (83.77 lbs for a calculated 1-rep max of 88 lbs.) Not bad.

I plan to test several more 3-rep maxes this month to re-establish a baseline. I’ve been working out, but not methodically. I quit karate because I wasn’t getting enough down time and I wasn’t fully committing to karate either.

7/18/15. Wanted to find a three rep max deadlift but got to a two rep max of 225. I had done a 15-12-9 workout of cleans and dips earlier in the morning.

8/10/15. I did a 3-rep max deadlift  on Friday the 7th and got 220, for a calculated 1-rep of 233. Today I got a 3-rep max bench press of 122 lbs.

8/15/15. Back squat “3-rep max” based on an estimated 1 RM of 210; I actually did 190 x 4 for a calculated 1-rep max of 216.

8/17/15: deadlifted according to this week’s Wendler scheme of 1+ at 95% of 1-rep max. I got 3 at 230 for a new calc. 1-rep max of 243.

CrossFit Games Open 15.1

Today:

15 toes to bar
10 deadlift 75 pounds
5 snatch 75 pounds
AMRAP 9 minutes followed instantly by
6 minutes to find a 1-rep max clean and jerk

Score is number of reps in the first part and what weight in the second part. I got 87 reps (not quite three full rounds) and then clean and jerked 125. I was really pleased with this in two ways: one, I strung together 10 toes to bar “the quick way” in a WOD for the first time ever, and two, that clean and jerk is only 15 lbs off my all time PR from years ago. I should try to work that up to at least body weight again.

I am tired!!

Barbells

Today I did front squats up to 5 sets of 2 at 85% of a 1-rep max of 180, so 155 lbs. Then I did a bunch of clean and jerks, working up to 103 lbs. Feels good. On Tuesday we worked on pistols, then we had a WOD that was EMOTM 20 minutes of clean, front squat, push-jerk. I worked up to 90 lbs.

That night I went to karate. We did some complicated (for me) moving basics with more than one ingredient per step, for example: step in, down block, reverse punch, step in, outside block, reverse punch; then another one, for example, step in, down block, up block, reverse punch, step in, outside block, inside block, reverse punch. I felt like a toddler learning to keep track of all the limbs.

January and February

My ability to get quality sleep on the nights when I have to get up early — Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights — fluctuated a lot, and my degree of tiredness each day affected my workouts. It was a struggle just to warm up some days, but once I did, I would usually do some sort of a non-CrossFit workout. I’d do a medium-heavy barbell lift only, or a kettlebell and pull-up workout that I like, or just go to karate, or walk to the gym. I went to karate twice a week or three times a week every week and I completed the Whole30 in January without going off-plan. I felt discouraged about my fitness and strength, as if I were on the brink of losing it overnight.

I developed a routine of taking a 30-minute nap most afternoons in the middle of an hour spent reading a book in the bed. I think this down time and nap are really important to my staying healthy and letting me enjoy karate one or two evenings a week.

I told myself I was feeling the pull of the sedentary life of middle age, and that I might as well acknowledge that. I’d rather work on genealogy than gardening. I’d rather do office work for the gym than work out. I continued to believe that every active thing that I did — any kind of exercise — was part of the discipline that would lead me back to harder workouts when I was ready. Harder workouts meaning CrossFit or the kind of heavy lifting that tests my strength, heavier than 85% for instance. I trusted the discipline I’ve developed, while being aware that I was resting more than usual. I had not done a CrossFit “WOD” in a few weeks.

This bothered me a little, but I knew I had not lost interest in training. I used my shifted personal priorities to explore the ways I did want to train — strength and skill combination exercises like my get-up / windmill / pull-up workout  — and then I turned it into a class. This was a good thing. I also started doing CrossFit WODs again on the same day that I gave the first of my new strength-training class (about 10 days ago).

This week I’ve done at least two CrossFit workouts plus barbell lifts, practiced karate and went to class. Starting this past weekend I noticed myself feeling stronger and warmer (cheeks a bit flushed) and somehow feeling lean. I haven’t weighed myself — my weight has been up around 137 for the past three months or so. It’s more than I’d like, but, on the other hand somehow it doesn’t bother me much!

It does feel good to feel strong and energetic. Weighing five pounds too much doesn’t affect those things. Today we were supposed to shoulder press 6 sets of 3 reps at 75%. I estimated my 1 RM at 80 (because I’m sore/fatigued from renegade rows) and completed 6 x 3 at 60 lbs, decided it was too light, and completed another 6 x 3 at 70 lbs for a calculated 1RM of 93. That’s quite good. I can tell when pressing that the strict, hollow pull-ups I’ve been doing are letting me use my entire “front” (abs, etc) more than before in the strict press. That was a delightful surprise.

The workout I’ve been going back to over and over, and used twice in my strength class, is:

5 windmill per side (8 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups, neck to bar as best I can
3 TGU per side (8 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
5 windmill per side (12 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
3 TGU per side (12 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
5 windmill per side (16 kg)
5 strict hollow pull-ups
3 TGU per side (16 kg) (repeat the 16 kg set if time)

I also hop up and do 5 hollow strict pull-ups whenever I think of it. I feel good and I’m still inspired by training my clients and I can keep plugging along indefinitely.

Catching up again

Thurs. Jan. 8
WOD:
5 minutes AMRAP:
5 burpee
7 toes to bar (I did knee raises in order to practice stringing them together)
9 thrusters (Rx was 65 lbs, I used 55)
Rest 2 minutes, repeat for 3 rounds
I got 9 rounds 4 reps
2-1/2 hours later: back squat up to 200 lbs x 5, 5, 3.
Weds. Jan. 7
Bench press to 95 for 4 x 5
Tues. Jan. 6
Front squat to 150 for one set of 5. REALLY heavy. Immediately after I racked it, I wondered if I had hurt my back, right in the middle on each side — but that soon felt normal again and i was (am) just really fatigued from it. I was going to bench press today, but decided I’d done enough, especially since it was Tuesday, my longest work day, and I would have had to bench after 1:00 (quitting time).
Went to karate that night.
Sunday and Monday — nothing much.
Saturday Jan. 3 — karate.
What I remember from before that…
Tuesday, Dec. 30 — Back squat, testing 3-rep max, 225 x 3 for one set. This works out to a theoretical 1-rep max of 249 — so 225 for 3 is a PR. My actual 1-rep max this fall was 240.
Friday Dec. 26: “Fran” Rx in 6:28, far off my record, but nice people kindly complimented me on that being a fast time.
Dec. 20 — Twelve Days of CrossFit — my time was 35:43. We changed it this year so it wasn’t exactly the same as the last three or four we’ve done.
My last blog post here was on Dec. 14 and I know I worked out between then and the 20th… but I didn’t write them down.