Squats in 5 minutes again

Last Sunday I tried again on the “how many bodyweight squats can you do in five minutes” experiment. I decided to pace myself and try to get more reps at the end instead of at the beginning. I did 10, 10, 10, 11, 12 on the minute for a total of 53 — five more than last week. I also practiced karate, rowed 500m, and did five sets of five toes to bar as my very last thing. I had absolutely no ability to string them together at that point. I can string a few only when I’m really fresh — so it never does me any good during a workout (or after). In this case the squats had taken it all out of me. In the squats, it was the cardio discomfort that made me end each set, not core or leg fatigue, as far as I could tell.

At karate on Saturday — I walked there and back, and it was a great walk — I sparred for the first time. It was in a very limited way, but I did lots of blocking and punching. I can’t really punch at a correct distance or evade properly, but I did well with blocking and I have a large bruise on the outside of my left forearm from it. Or maybe that means I did poorly. Anyway, I blocked punches. I had not wanted to spar at all and dreaded it (because I’m a control freak). But Tracey eased us into it by first doing a line formation about three times, where we took turns doing one punch and one block-and-counter. Then she paired us up for two little matches. I loved the constant movement, the interaction, and the sweatiness of it.

A photo was taken of me in my orange belt and Kim told me to pose with a punch. As soon as I saw the photo I spotted at least four things wrong with it! So I’ve been practicing those details.

Yesterday: bench press PR. Two sets of five at 118 lbs.

Today: front squats. With 70% of your five-rep max, do 15-12-9 reps. I used 108 and it was moderately challenging. Nothing like 53 at 135 in five minutes… Then we had a WOD of dumbbell step-ups (2 x 25 lbs), V-ups, wallball (14 lbs) for 21-15-9. I used a 12-inch box (weighted step-ups make me very nervous) and it took me 7:19 if I recall correctly. I worked out with Carla and Jeff O. It was fun.

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Karate, squats, bench

Sunday I came to the gym in the afternoon to practice karate basics and my one kata that I’ll be tested on tonight. I spent an hour on that. I practiced the other kata I’ve been learning also. I don’t know why I like those so much. Footwork, positioning, arm movements that have “meaning” in the context of choreographed sparring (without the sparring)… of course CrossFit is all about movement, but karate is more formal and divides up the body or muscle groups differently, it seems to me.

After that I decided to try a challenge Kyle had mentioned after he discovered this video of four guys seeing how many times they could squat their body weight in five minutes. The best guy (the O-lifter) got 73, I think, and the lowest scorer (the bodybuilder) got 50. I warmed up, loaded 135 (a few pounds more than I weigh, but that’s the weight I always use when bodyweight is called for), and squatted on and off for five minutes. I watched the minutes tick by and when I took a break, I always started again on an even minute. So in the different minutes I got 12, 12, 9, 7, and 8 squats, for a total of 48. I thought that was pretty good for a first try, by myself with no “motivators” around, and for someone who does other things than the powerlifts.

Also I noticed that the guys in the video, with the exception of the O-lifter, were either not squatting below parallel and/or not standing all the way up, and it was very obvious. I used good form and didn’t cheat the range of motion. I do wonder if people in the gym who cheat the range of motion believe no one is noticing; don’t realize it themselves; or feel it’s not important. When I train my classes, I definitely find that during a WOD I can only bust someone on the same thing so many times before I let it go, thinking “he doesn’t believe what I’m telling him” or “she doesn’t care.” Nevertheless it is obvious when people don’t make it important to do things correctly.

Monday I bench pressed up to 115 x 3, 4, and 3 (failed on #4 in that set).

Today (Wednesday 3/19) I benched up to a hodgepodge of sets of 2 at 110 and sets of 4 at 90. I unthinkingly did a few sets of dips, L-sits, planks, and pull-ups this morning, and was still more fatigued than I thought I was from Monday’s bench pressing and/or Sunday’s squats. I’m going to bench press a lot for the next week in hopes of shoulder-pressing 96 lbs for a new PR in a couple of weeks.

(Updating) Later on Wednesday 3/19, at noon, I deadlifted in class, only up to 1 set at 170. Then, Tabata doubleunders, sit-ups, dumbbell cleans (25#), and squats. I scored 464 which I believe was the second highest score (after Kyle) for a person who did doubleunders and not singles. Trying to keep one step ahead of *most* of my trainees gets more and more difficult!

Then on Wednesday night I went to karate and received my orange belt promotion after testing in class. It was fun. I need to try to go more often to train with the head teacher because she’s so detailed. Now it’s Thursday and I feel fairly lazy. I just did a bunch of foam rolling and stretching in the gym and a bunch of cleaning at home. Tomorrow I hope to do two things – go shopping to look at new TVs, and do some yard work.

Deadlift, squat, press, WOD

Monday, March 10 (morning), deadlifted up to 215 x 5. Monday night: karate.

Tuesday, March 11 (afternoon), back squat up to 175 x 3, 5, 5. After deadlifting the previous day, my low back was sore and I felt stiff and very cautious, even though I was warmed up. That’s why I stopped after 3 on what was supposed to be the first set of 5. I rested and when I went back, it felt a lot more solid.
(Afternoon) WOD: 5 rounds for time of
12 front squats
Run 250m
12 kettlebell snatch 12 kg
Time: 12:56
As always from WODs with running, I was very tired for about 50 minutes afterward. I was tired from the squats and previous deadlifts until Thursday. On Wednesday I was in the gym 8 hours but wasn’t particularly active.

Thursday, March 13 (late morning): shoulder press 1 rep max test. 33 x 2 x 5, 55 x 5, 75 x 3, 85 x 1, 90 x 1, 92 x 1, 93 x 1, 94 (missed), 94 x 1, 95 x 1. Time was up; Kyle’s noon class was about to start. This 95 matched my PR from March 2008. It went up veeeerrrrry slowly. This is 71 percent of my weight. I rested a lot in between attempts, did 1 push-up, waited about 20 seconds, and then attempted my next lift.

Today, Friday March 14: bike ride 90 minutes around Beacon Hill. I saw five bald eagles in the sky at once, hovering on and off against the wind as if they were kites someone was flying. Tonight Dana is treating me to a ballet performance on an extra ticket he has. I feel so privileged.

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I’ve been so susceptible to anxiety lately — possibly I made a habit of overreacting to stress. I’m trying to remember and influence my own thinking: Just because several bad things have happened, doesn’t mean you can’t possibly be in a good mood. Of the several bad things, not all are as bad as each other. Potential financial setbacks, potential upheaval of things I’d like to be solid, being forced to take responsibility for things that I could not have prevented: None of these are life or health threatening, except to the extent the stress gets to me.

Cleans, bench, “Mary”

Monday, March 3: I worked on full cleans and worked up to 3 x 3 at 120 lbs. They were hard. I hadn’t worked on cleans in a long time. Combined with letting them down instead of dropping them onto the floor from the rack position, it was quite a workout although very low volume. On Tuesday I was sore in the traps and back. Monday night I went to karate too.

Tuesday, March 4: Bench press for lighter weight at high reps. I used 80 pounds and did a set each of 15, 12, 9, and 6 reps. The set of 15 I broke up very briefly into 6, 6, 3. I thought then the set of 12 would be even harder, but instead I somehow pulled it together and did the set of 12 and the other two sets unbroken. Then I did 3 Turkish get-ups per side with 8 kg and then 12 kg. Later, with the 5:30 PM class, I did “Mary”: AMRAP 20 minutes of 5 handstand push-ups, 10 pistols, 15 pull-ups. For the HSPU’s I used one AbMat under my head and kipped after the first five. I got six rounds plus two or three hspu’s. I had had trouble finishing my sixth round of the pull-ups because I tore one callus. So it was just as well that time was up. I love that workout, though I hate tearing my hands!