Today’s lifting

Last Thursday was the last day I worked out last week. I did front squats, up to 3 sets of 5 at 145. I didn’t work out the next three days. I had felt so crummy and fragile all week and I don’t know why. My right shoulder isn’t right, my left elbow flares up and aches, my knees felt brittle, and everything felt incredibly hard to do. I was pleased with doing one lift a day Monday through Thursday though not pleased with skipping the next three days and not pleased with not doing any CrossFit workouts. Yet I refused to drive myself when I felt fragile even while neurotically worrying I would quit completely and turn into a blob. When does “don’t drive yourself too hard” become “you’re doing next to nothing”?

Today I went in by myself in the afternoon — it’s my day off — and warmed up for about 20 minutes, doing lots of kettlebell stuff and pull-ups. I took some pictures of myself (with the tripod and camera) because MindBody is doing a case study on the gym and asked me for some pics. When I was done with that stuff, I deadlifted up to 5 at 195 then backed off for another set of 5 at 185. These felt good. Then I did shoulder presses. My “pushing” ability is what’s been especially weak the past ten days or so. Is it just a shoulder problem or is my core completely falling apart?? I could only press up to 75 lbs.


This week and Thanksgiving weekend

Tom and I went to Lake Crescent on Friday through Sunday. It snowed! We walked around a lot in very cold sunshine. We went to Freshwater Bay, Crescent Bay, and the Lyre River where people were fishing and almost landed a fish thiiiiis big. We walked along the Spruce Railroad trail to Devils Punchbowl as the moon came up over the mountain to the south and the sun set. It was so beautiful!

Monday I worked on cleans during open gym. I got up to 7 singles at 122 lbs. My core isn’t as strong as it would need to be to jerk that, not that I was doing jerks that day. I suppose it’s usual to be able to clean more than you can jerk. This was my third Monday in a row working on cleans and trying to do true cleans, ie, receive it in a squat position. Probably some of the time I’m not as low as I think I am. I have not felt particularly strong this week, and my right shoulder hurts a little and feels a little fragile.

Tuesday the classes had skin the cats as a strength/skill practice, so I had to teach that starting at 5:30 AM. This was not easy but it went well. My hands ended up feeling a little bit beat up, and my shoulders were tired. I was conservative on my demonstrations and on my own reps because I hadn’t worked on those in a while. That is something I need to remember to work on in order to maintain it “forever.” That’s another stunt I’d hate to lose, like the handstand, pistol, etc.

Later that day I bench pressed up to 100 for three sets of five. That was difficult though not close to my 5-rep record of 120. And I went to karate despite having slept little and badly. It was a great class although we had to stick around to clean the place afterward, which feels like a waste of time because I can only get there twice a week and when I’m there in the evening, I’m running on fumes as it is.

Today I worked on push-presses. Again not feeling all that strong, especially in my right shoulder, but really all over! I did several sets of three at 75 lbs, which is not even close to my 5-rep max shoulder (strict) press. I don’t know why I’m not very strong this week.

Cleans etc

Today I worked on cleans, and did sets of 3 up to 120 pounds. I did about 6 singles. Next time I do cleans, I’ll do 120 again and practice faster turnaround/elbows. I was really surprised when I caught one of them in my hands instead of receiving on the shoulder and fingertips. The rest were better and one felt really fast and fluid.

Then I did the workout that was on the board for today:
7 pull-ups
7 squats with 1 racked kettlebell
7 overhead KB swings
80m farmer walk with 2 kettlebells
5 rounds for time took me 13:something. I used 16 kg kettlebells.

Disciplined, not driven

My back felt fine today, but my left wrist hurt with pushing or with hanging from the bar. So I deadlifted, up to a set of 5 at 190 and another set of 5 at 175. These felt normal/good. Then my workout of the day was: 15 kettlebell swings 24 kg, 15 butterfly sit-ups, 6 fist (knuckle) push-ups (because these didn’t hurt the wrist), 4 rounds. This took me 6:48 and felt good.

I didn’t feel like working out today. I often can too easily spend too much time in the gym working at the computer or cleaning. Daily I tell myself that if I don’t work out, I’ll be sorry when it’s time to go home and I did not work out when I was between things and had the time. I tell myself that either I’m a lifter and a CrossFitter, or I’m not. You are what you do. “How long ago was your last workout?” is a fair question for a trainer. My expectation is to be able to say that either my last WOD or my last lifting session was within the past two days, unless I had a really compelling reason not to have worked out. Also, saying I worked out in the past two days doesn’t include karate or going for a run — it has to be lifting or CrossFit or both. Running is just a little supplement, and karate is in another category altogether.

I don’t always force myself to do whatever’s on the whiteboard that day or to lift with a certain volume or intensity. I always write out a plan for my workout, on a whiteboard, but on a day like today, with recent back weakness and with current wrist pain in at least two positions, I’ll plan something that doesn’t make me nervous about conditions like those. I can always come up with something challenging enough, and once I get started, I go hard and I never quit unless something hurts in a significant way. For example, I’ll stop doing pull-ups if I realize my palm is going to tear, or I’ll stop doing handstand push-ups if my wrist suddenly hurts.

Sometimes I feel that I’m not fit enough because I’m not as fit as I was five years ago. But it’s not just a hobby any more. That really changes things, even though it’s not an issue of having enough time. I do have time, so I insist on maintaining most of my chosen benchmarks most of the time, but I refuse to try to maintain a standard of some imaginary, impossible perfection.

I was at my fittest in late 2009. Six months after “going paleo,” my weight was down to 123 and I was muscular, skilled, and fast. I clean and jerked more than my body weight and I could do bar muscle-ups. I felt that I looked my best. Today my weight moves between 132 to 135 although I’d like it at 128 or 129 (but really, WHO CARES) and I can’t clean more than 120 or do a bar muscle-up (though I can get those things back if I choose to focus on them). I’m not very self-critical about those things. I have plenty of abilities, I’m a good teacher who helps others, and I maintain my own personal benchmarks so that I’m a good example.

What are my benchmarks? Deadlift and squat over 200 pounds (and deadlift heavier than squat); press 90+; plenty of pull-ups such as 8 dead-hang and able to do at least one weighted pull-up with 35 pounds; cartwheel and handstand, not perfect but confident and competent; brachiate/monkeybar ladder/swing one-handed from ring to ring; pistol on each leg with some sort of weight, though I do have to wear weightlifting shoes or otherwise slightly elevate my heel. I may think of other benchmarks after I’m done here. In general these are the benchmarks I feel are “strong enough.”


Catching up

Today, Thursday, November 20: I taught kipping pull-ups and muscle-ups today. I did plenty of pull-ups and I almost got a muscle-up —  but no. Later I back squatted up to 5 x 3 at 175, being a little cautious and non-aggressive because of my back feeling fragile the past two days. I did a 53 lb barbell pistol on my left leg and almost, not quite, got it on the right.

Wednesday November 19: I did very little today, so tired. I worked on super narrow stance front squats emphasizing one leg at a time in order to try to progress on my weighted pistols. I didn’t even go to karate and feel bad about it.

Tuesday November 18: Anniversary of the “flood” disaster in the gym. Ugh. Glad that’s behind me. EMOTM 10 minutes, do 1 man maker first minute, then 3 second minute, 5, 7, etc. If you can’t finish, start over at 1 again the next minute. Record weights used and how high a number you completed. I used 20 lb dumbbells and reached 4 reps three times. My shoulders and triceps were hurting from Sunday, and supporting myself for the row on my right arm was so hard that it worried me a little. So I was very slow. Later that day I deadlifted but I only went up to 175 and only did three reps. My left lower back was hurting a little bit, the only part of my back that ever has pain, so I didn’t want to provoke it.

Monday November 17 in Kyle’s 4:30 PM class: Bench press up to 2 x 5 at 110. Then AMRAP 15 minutes 50 feet weighted walking lunges with emphasis on neutral back and “tucked tail” + 10 toes to bar. I got 7 rounds using 25 lb dumbbells.

Sunday November 16 in the gym by myself: I worked on sets of 3 cleans for 15 minutes, emphasis on full cleans, not power cleans. They went well. I tried to apply only as much power as I needed and drop under fast, and I felt that I actually was receiving them in a squat. I’ll make video next time. This was only up to 113 lbs. After that I recreated a workout I found in a workout log. Just now I found it here on FitNotes and it’s from Oct. 11, 2004, and it was my first CrossFit class. How many of each can I do in a minute, three rounds: pull-ups, push-press 65#, row for meters, and push-ups. Rest 30 seconds between each set. Looking at the notebook, Tom points out, “I don’t see anything about rest in the original.”

Saturday November 15 I went to karate. I have not run a mile in at least a week. It got sooo cold. Granted in the midday it was around 40 and sunny… I guess I lost interest. I’ll start up again. Every week feels differently tired and difficult with my three early mornings in a row. I get up at 4:45 Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 5:45 on Wednesdays. It is very hard for me to do other things after about 4 PM, even though I take a nap. Nonetheless, running a mile only takes less than 10 minutes, and I really did feel that it was good for me. I read recently in the new book “Higher Faster Stronger” that when we push the cardio a bit more than is comfortable, we grow more mitochondria. That appeals to me!

Monday, November 10 in class with Ellyn and Brian: For time,
10 DB alternating-sides snatch (1 dumbbell, 20 lbs)
10 burpee box-jump-overs 20″
20 DB alternating-sides snatch
20 burpee box-jump-overs
20 DB alternating-sides snatch
20 burpee box-jump-overs
10 DB alternating-sides snatch
10 burpee box-jump-overs
My time was 10:54, middle of the pack. (Why does it seem like every timed workout takes me 10:54??)

Below whiteboard photo is from Sunday’s recreation of the other (graph paper) photo’s workout from 2005.

2005-franworkoutfromnotebook 2014-11-15whiteboard-fran

Today’s buffet

I said to Kyle, what lift should I do? He said snatch balance. Whoa. Ok. I worked on sets of three overhead squats and three snatch balances up to 52 pounds. I felt that bench pressing has helped my overhead squat. Something in my back felt stronger. Although that was a light weight.

Then I did yesterday’s WOD: every minute on the minute five thrusters, add weight after every third round. I got up to 85 pounds and was happy with that. That’s a workout I could stand to do more often.

After that I had just enough time for 15-12-9 deadlifts at 155.

In the morning I had gone for my mile run, on the slippery leaf-strewn sidewalk in the wind, and that jog took me 9:55. It was a lot easier than my 9:55 on my very first one on the same route.

Last Thursday I went to karate and was the only student. It was so great! I had a private lesson from Sensei Aleeta. She helped me with a lot of kata details.

Bench press PR

On Tuesday I deadlifted up to a set of 5 at 205, then bench pressed up to 5 at 120. Mike was there and said I ought to try for 132, which is my body weight, and I’d said I wanted to bench that. So I did one at 125 and then finally one at 132. Awesome.

Later I ran my “daily” one mile, not very fast, 8:40 I think. It is not daily any more now that it’s been raining about every other day. I’m not going to get soaked.

Today I front squatted up to 3 x 5 at 145 and then did several sets of strict and weighted pull-ups, up to two at 20 kg. I did five reps at 8, 12, and 16 kg first. This was all pretty tiring.

Coach Rippetoe always says if you’re not increasing the weight on your bar, you’re not getting stronger and you’re wasting time. I’d like to see him address the desire to maintain strength (that isn’t quite maximal but is pretty darn strong) instead of taking the increased risk of always trying to go heavier, as well as the simple fact that no one is going to get stronger forever. I try to always maintain a deadlift and squat of >200 lbs, a press of >90, a clean and jerk of 100+, and a 16-kg weighted pull-up. I’m not wasting time.



Today: shoulder press up to 4 at 81 lbs (85% of 1-rep max) then a multi-part WOD.

Max kettlebell snatches (16 kg) in 5 minutes: 107; rest 1 minute
Max burpee box jumps 20″ in two minutes: 16; rest 1 minute
AMRAP 5 minutes: 5 thruster (55 lbs), 5 toes to bar: I got 5 rounds 7 reps

Later I ran a mile in 8:00 around the neighborhood.

I’m especially happy with the 107 snatches in 5 minutes. I was required to do 100 in five minutes for the RKC. At age 50 that requirement would be for a 12-kg kettlebell, but I can still do over 100 with the 16 kg. It was easier this time than when I did 100 of them with Tom earlier this year. I was less spent afterward.



Triple unders

Today: back squats up to two sets of five at 185 and then one set at 165. The left side of my low back hurt a little is why I backed off. Earlier I ran one mile in 8:33. My record for that route is 8:20. It was nice out. Later I did our WOD for today.
10 triple under
15 hollow rock
20 lunges
AMRAP 10 minutes
Proud of myself for getting 3 round 28 reps at Rx. First time doing triples in a WOD.

Forgot to mention last Saturday Judy at karate showed me how to do one arm push ups, so the triples were my second stunt in a week!  Fun.

Push-jerks, etc

Saturday I took Tom’s class. We did push-jerks for sets of 3 and I finished at 103. I could have done more pretty easily but we were out of time.

Then we had a kettlebell version of the workout called “DT.” It was 12 deadlift, 9 cleans per side, 9 push-jerks per side, 5 rounds for time. My time was 8:50 with a 16-kg kettlebell.

Sunday I had two of my karate friends in the gym to deadlift and bench press. That was all we did except for a few pull-up progressions in our warm-up.

Each day I’ve been running 1 mile. Today (Tuesday) I ran mile 37 in 8:20 from the restaurant front to Spectrum and back. I tried every so often to speed up for a while, and it paid off, though I equalled but did not improve on my record time for that route.

Today (Tuesday): Bench press. I was working by myself so I didn’t want to go heavy. I benched 100 lbs for sets of 10, 8, 6, and 5 without failing. Then I ran the mile, then did the workout of the day: ascending ladder for 10 minutes of burpee pull-ups and dumbbell squats. I used 25-lb dumbbells, varied between strict-ish pull-ups in which I jumped off the ground and kipping pull-ups in which I also jumped off the ground, and got up to a complete round of 8 of each plus one additional burpee pull-up. (That is, doing a burpee and when jumping, grab the pull-up bar and pull up.) We ended with two minutes max doubleunders, and I got 110 with a rope that was somewhat heavy and didn’t spin well at all. Hard!