Fight Gone Bad

Tonight I showed up at CrossFit and three or four guys were working out with Scott as their coach. He was holding a clipboard and pen, and was carefully looking at his stopwatch. They were doing Fight Gone Bad. One guy was struggling with his last round of push-presses. He’s a really tough guy who always comes in and climbs the rope without using his feet, so seeing him in pain made me nervous! But I was psyched to do this workout, as I never had done it yet, and I like its name. (Something to do with UFC fights having five-minute rounds. But there’s no fighting in this workout, except fighting the urge to go lie down.)
The way it works is you do five exercises NONSTOP for one minute each. The coach calls time, you call out your reps, and you instantly move to the next station without a rest. When you get through a minute of all five, you get a minute rest and then start over. We went through this three times. The exercises are:
Row for calories
Wall-ball – 20 pound ball, 8-ft target (I used a 12-pound ball)
Deadlift high-pull 75 pounds (I used a 53-pound kettlebell)
Box Jump – 20” box (jump up, step down, jump up, step down, etc)
Push-press 75 pounds (I used 55 pounds)
I found the push-presses to be the hardest. By the time I got to them for the first time, I was already shot from everything else. Overall, this workout is particularly brutal because you’re really under pressure not to take breaks. All of our workouts are designed to be really hard, but it’s rare a coach will prod you to keep going when you’re gasping and leaning your hands on your knees. In Fight Gone Bad you have to wait for your break. Still, I slowed down and took short breaks in some of the exercises.
Some of my scores were: rowing, 17, 15, 13 calories; wall-ball, 25, 19, 17 I think; high-pull deadlift, maybe 19, 16, 12; box jump, I forget completely; push-press, I forget also. Anyway, my total score was 254. I was surprised and happy with that, having assumed I’d score 150 or something. (Maybe Scott made a math mistake?) The guy who worked out with me, Justin, scored 301! He’s tough.
Fight Gone Bad video (Real Media; big file; good video though) and description

100 Pull-Ups

Yesterday morning’s workout was the one called “Angie”: 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats. Our coach, Allison, said we could mix them up, though it seems the usual way to do this workout is to do all 100 of each, in order.
This took me 24:32. I did the pull-ups and push-ups both in sets of 10, then later in sets of 5. I’m proud to say I didn’t use the rubberband for the pull-ups at all, but did them all by kipping. I never liked that rubberband assistance and now I feel I’ve proved my point that I don’t need it any more. Could using it have speeded up my time? It seems the answer should be yes, but based on experience, I doubt that. The rubberband only helps me do pull-ups faster while I’m fresh. Once I’m fatigued, it’s no faster than kipping. I can pull up in the rubberband two at a time when I’m tired or I can kip five at a time. Just say no to rubberbands!

Higher Math

Dave is out of town, so we had a different coach last night, Thomas, who likes to design more complicated routines. He’s the one who designed the Suffer on Saturday event with the wheel-spinning.
Last night we had six exercises:
Row for calories
Jump rope
Basketball chest passes bounced off wall
Jump to touch jinglebell hanging over your head
4-count sit-ups
Slam-ball is done with a ball like this. You hold it over your head and slam it down on the floor as hard as you can, sink into a squat at the same time and scoop the ball up. It doesn’t bounce more than a couple of inches. The object is to slam it for maximum (though small) bounce and get under it fast enough to scoop it up, then lift it overhead again and repeat.
The workout was done in teams of two, and our coach kept track of time, telling us when to start and stop. The format was:
1. Both teammates do five 30-second sets of one exercise (say, row 30 seconds for calories, five times) with a 15-second rest in between each set.
2. Write down both teammates’ scores (calories or reps, depending on the drill) during each 15-second rest.
3. After five sets, during the one-minute rest, move to the next exercise station.
4. In the end, add up teammates’ scores from each round of each exercise and note the team’s lowest score for each of the six drills.
5. Add the six low scores (one for each exercise) to get the team’s total score for the workout.
Erika and I won by one point. (Girl Power! etc.) Following the theme of our state’s contested gubernatorial election, Tom immediately demanded a recount, which did not happen.
I did well at jumping rope because of my three years at the boxing gym. I did badly at the four-count sit-ups because I’m a big spaz. I tried to go fast, lost my timing (and my balance, as I tried to lift my upper and lower body while keeping my rear end on the floor), and pretty soon my arms and legs were flailing pointlessly. I had to calm myself and begin again.
I tried to remember some of my scores on the exercises. Rowing for 30 seconds, my highest and lowest numbers of calories burned were 11 and 8. Jumping rope, my highs and lows were around 80 and 74. Slam-ball high and low reps were 15 and 10 I think. Basketball chest passes (bounced off the wall), high and low reps were 30 and 25. The basketball felt hilariously light and bubble-like after handling the slam-ball, but passing it as fast as I could for 30 seconds really made my arms burn. Bell-jump high and low reps were ridiculous, 9 and 7 I think. We all had to be extremely careful because to jump and touch the bell, we had to stand on a high platform of stacked floor mats. And the four-count sit-ups, I think my high rep score was 7 and my low was 5.
Tom and I were both glad to have a chance to use our long-honed jump-rope skills at CrossFit, and we were secretly wishing more of the regulars had been there to see us doing doubles. There aren’t many things we can do better than the regular longtime CrossFitters!
As I was Googling the slam-ball, I ran across Atomic Athletic—take a look at its insane strength-training equipment. This is way beyond Hooverball! And how about this basketball game called SlamBall? Looks like fun.

Balance Beam

Last night’s workout was done in teams. We had two teams of five and went for three rounds of this:
Row 500 meters (second and third rounds, 300 and 100 meters)
30 thrusters (45 pounds for women, 65 for men)
10 pull-ups
30 wall-ball
30 sit-ups
I think everybody was shocked at how hard this was. Whenever I looked around I saw everyone gasping and sweating profusely. First of all you don’t want to be the slowest one on your team, not because anyone’s impatient, but just because. So you do your first drills as fast as you can and you’re tired all of a sudden, with a long way yet to go. Then you survive the 30 thrusters, only to face a relatively brief set of 10 pull-ups and on to 30 wall-ball—basically the same thing as thrusters, rising out of a squat to hoist or fling something overhead. Then start over with the next round.
Dave pointed out later that this is a rare workout where the pull-ups constitute a break (although not long enough)—how often is that the case?
Since last week when someone told me to lean back as I pull the final few inches on the rower with my arms, I’ve made a point of doing that. Last night my 500 meters only took me 1:49, which was I think 10 seconds slower faster than my previous fastest one. I liked that!
For gymnastics, we dragged out an old wood balance beam from the back room, and Dave’s gymnast daughter showed us some basic drills. The first one was to walk forward and backward with your eyes closed. I could get that one with a few practice sessions. The others, though—little hops along the beam (called typewriter jumps) and pivots and kicks—were barely doable with eyes open. I’m glad she didn’t tell us to close our eyes for those. She said the best way to balance is to look at the end of the beam, where you’re headed.

Bodyweight Workout

Last night’s workout was 5 rounds: 5 right-leg pistols, 5 left-leg pistols, 10 pull-ups, 15 push-ups, and 20 sit-ups.
I managed to do all my pull-ups without using one of those rubberbands that seem to make it harder instead of easier. I did the first set without dropping off of the bar, but I had to break up the rest of the sets of pull-ups. For push-ups, it went exactly the same way—I did the first 15 without stopping (to my surprise) and broke up the remaining sets into subsets of 5, then later into subsets of 5, 5, 3, 2. The sit-ups just seemed to take forever for some reason. My overall time was 18:40—about three minutes behind the first person to finish. I was happy because I kept moving, steadily if a bit slowly.
This would be a good workout to do at home. I’d be a lot slower because you can’t kip on our basement pull-up bar. You’d hit your head on the joist.

Save Something for the Bike Ride

On Thursday I ended up going to the gym and doing a bunch more deadlifts—thankfully, a lot lighter than those on Wednesday. The workout on Thursday was five sets of: 7 deadlifts (40 kg), 12 kettlebell swings (16 kg), row 250 meters. My time for the five rounds was 14:15. For the rows, I used as long a pull as I could. I’ve learned to extend my legs all the way before pulling with my arms, but last Monday someone pointed out I was not leaning back far enough when I pulled with my arms at the end. I was starting to straighten up, so that my stomach met the rowing handle a little farther forward than necessary. So on Thursday I concentrated on leaning back and pulling a little longer. I was happy with my five row times because I speeded up on the second one and maintained that pace for the rest. The row times were 1:00, :58, :58, :58, :58. I was tired when it was over!
I decided not to go to the gym on Friday because we had a 40-mile bike ride coming up Saturday and I wanted to enjoy it. It was the Tulip Pedal, a rural ride up in Skagit County where huge fields of tulips are grown and blooming at this time of year. The landscape is flat, lush, green or brightly colored (with tulips) farm fields, with the Cascade foothills in the background and the Olympics visible across the Sound when the clouds parted. I was glad I rested on Friday. We rode with a couple who are in their 20s and have lightweight road bikes, and we maintained a faster pace than Tom and I would have done on our own. For the first half of the ride we consistently went 18, 19, or 20 mph, even after it started raining. We stopped at a bakery in the tiny town of Edison and ate pastries until the rain stopped, then continued the final 20 miles in a headwind that slowed us down. We ended up with about two hours 40 minutes pedaling time and an average speed of 14 mph—slower than we expected because of the headwind.

Hooverball Revisited

I haven’t updated in so long that the Word file I use for this was no longer on my “recent documents” list and I had to actually go and find it. I’ve been going to the gym as usual but a lot of other things have been going on too.
The last Suffer on Saturday was last weekend and it involved two teams competing in wall-ball and rope climbs. I’m happy to say I climbed the rope to the ceiling twice, plus one more halfway-up attempt. After that I had to substitute 10 rope-grasping pull-ups for each of my possible rope climbs. In the end we all had to race each other through 100 air squats as a sort of tiebreaker. Our team won, but we’d been given a lot of unfair advantages to make up for the other team’s amazing rope-climbing skill.
After Suffer on Saturday, some of us played a bunch of Hooverball. Tom and I and two or three other people got carried away and played on and on after everybody else was done, in spite of aching arms from the impact of the ball. It was so much fun! Suddenly everybody else was filing out of the gym, going who knows where. After a while longer, with more Hooverballs thrown, we decided to find out where they all had gone.
Turned out there was a three-piece set of giant inflatable bouncy toys out in the hangar on the unused roller-hockey rink. Everybody was plowing through the inflatable obstacle course and bouncing around in the bouncy cube-room. What do you call those things, anyway? I’d never been in one so I was eager to get in and jump around. With four of us in there, I jumped a lot higher than I expected to. It was exhausting! Especially after all that other stuff. Then I went through the obstacle course and down the big bouncy slide a few times. We quit when a couple of actual children showed up and wanted to use the toys. (The nerve!) Whew… I slept in until 11:00 on Sunday after all that!
Monday, we did three rounds of 1000-meter rows with 30 dips in between. My rowing times were 4:14, 4:19, and 4:24. I thought it was pretty good to only lose five seconds between each one, but Tom’s last two rows were the same at 3:48, and my teammate beat her time.
Last night we did a lot of deadlifts and then some weighted pull-ups. I improved my max deadlift from 198 pounds to 220 (100 kg). For the weighted pull-ups, the guys used the pull-up bar and held dumbbells between their ankles. Three of us women used the rings and wore a belt with a kettlebell attached to it. It was gratifying to be able to pull up several times (with rests in between) with the 16-kg kettlebell. But when I tried to do two in a row, I couldn’t get all the way up.

Kettlebell Beatdown

Before the workout last night, I practiced climbing the rope for the second or third time this week. I really needed to get smoother at climbing because tomorrow’s Suffer on Saturday event is going to include rope climbs. I’m going to wear long, thick bike tights and bring a pair of gloves. I want to move as fast as I can (not very fast) without getting a rope burn.
Last night’s workout was a long, drawn-out beat-down. Take two kettlebells out onto the astroturf in the hangar. Carry them down to the far end and back, moving along by doing two lunges, a clean and front squat, and repeat until there and back.
First we warmed up with some kettlebell swings that were a good reminder of how heavy they were going to feel after several “steps” down the astroturf. Mine were 12 kg’s. Sure enough, I had to take breaks along the way. The part of the drill that seemed to tire me out the quickest was lowering the kettlebells down to the lunge position after the front squat. I think I ate too late in the day before the workout, because I kept getting lightheaded.
Once we all slowly made our way down and back, we did a few sets of 10 push-ups and sit-ups, then did one more length with the kettlebell routine again. Mercifully we were allowed to carry the kettlebells back to the start from the far end instead of again lunging our way back. Before we quit, we did some more push-ups, sit-ups, and stretching.
Tom and I hung around the gym for a while before we went home. I did two sets of 5 pull-ups and four sets of 10 sit-ups. Tom and another guy rowed 500 meters going for their fastest time. Tom’s time was 1:38—impressive, I thought.
Today I didn’t go to the gym. Tomorrow holds not only Suffer on Saturday, but a second-anniversary party for the gym that is going to involve playing Hooverball. I thought I better rest up.