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.


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.

Deadlift 1-rep max 232

Friday Dec. 12: 1-rep max deadlift. I did this along with my Fitness Within Reach class. I calculated my 1RM should be 232, and it was. I failed at 240 though I had to try it because I had time.

The WOD was, for time:

  • 800m run
  • 50 DB Snatches
  • 400m run
  • 35 DB Snatches
  • 250m run
  • 20 DB Snatches

This took me over 17 minutes  and made me feel like I was going to lose bladder control, throw up, and have a heart attack. Guess I need to get back in shape! The time includes a bathroom break — I could not face the second run without it. This may be the first time I’ve ever taken a bathroom break during a workout. Also: I ran way too far on the first run. I thought I knew the turn-around point, but someone else had figured it out and told it to me, and I obviously had it wrong. Two very good-natured women ran it with me and didn’t complain too much! Whoops!

Saturday Dec. 13: 1-rep max front squat. I hit 170 and felt good about it. That’s 15 pounds off my all time record. Then we had a team workout. I was part of a trio. Together we did 150 sit-ups, doubleunders, lunge steps, push-ups, and squats. I can’t remember our time, but we had fun. Susie and I were “one person” and the other was Hannah the college student.

Our gym Christmas party was last night. As always, it was very fun and relaxing to hang out with everyone in Teresa’s beautiful house.

Today I stayed home and practiced the Pinan Nidan and the Matsukaze katas.

What makes a program a lifelong commitment?

I liked CrossFit so much right away that I didn’t bother to sort out why it was more compelling than the fun boxing workout that Tom and I had done for the previous three years. But within a few months, I had let my boxing-gym membership lapse. There was just something about moving weights around that I found incredibly exhilarating, whether it was light dumbbells, cumbersome kettlebells, or heavy barbells. Even before that, I liked the seemingly endless variety in the CrossFit workouts.

I’ve had no trouble staying with CrossFit for 10 years and counting. I never stopped for any longer than it took to go on vacation. I don’t think I’ve ever even considered quitting. This is despite the fact that one can’t progress forever, becoming endlessly fitter and fitter. It has been a long-term commitment without feeling like one, because it is FUN. That’s something the other training philosophies overlook when they criticize CrossFit as creating a plateau in strength terms. I’ve also made it a long-term commitment because I’ve learned how important it is to maintain my pure strength and muscle mass as I get older.

What about skill? Is there an endless unfolding of new abilities? Well, no. If I focused on weightlifting only (ie, the clean and jerk and the snatch), then yes there could be a lifetime of skill acquisition–but then I’d be in a sport, not a fitness program. So for me, CrossFit is a really good compromise between valuable pure strength, fun basic movement skills, and conditioning that keeps me functional for just about anything else. Those are the values I hope everyone quickly finds compatible with their own goals when they start, so that they will stick with it.

My other organized physical activity is karate. I’ve been doing that for almost a year and a half. That is more highly skilled than CrossFit, by far. The black-belt practitioners don’t swagger around looking like they want you to know they could kick your ass. But they can move with such speed, power, and precision that it quickly became clear to me that this will be a lifetime of skill acquisition if I stick with it, and even if I do, I’m unlikely to get really good by starting at age 49. At this age, I’m probably losing my speed and plasticity. (The “probably” is because I’d like to be in denial!) So for now, I just stick with it one class at a time and try not to have high expectations. All I expect of myself is to pay attention, be serious, and do the best I can even if it’s not so good.

That’s why in my last post I said karate doesn’t count as a workout, and it’s in its own category. It’s a workout for my brain, and a skill practice session. It makes me feel physically not so much worked out as thoroughly limbered up and warmed up, especially in my hips and low back. It feels great. And I love memorizing the movements. I don’t love sparring and I don’t love the self-defense drills. Somebody got hurt during a self-defense drill recently.

Tracey told me last Saturday that she has wanted to quit karate many times. But she’s been at it for 22 years! Somehow despite getting discouraged she never quit. She says she saw it as a one-class-at-a-time thing, too, at least at first — try it and see how it goes. She said if she’d gone into karate thinking it was a 20-year commitment, it would have been too daunting.

I wonder if some people who quit CrossFit could be dissuaded if I could find out how they really feel about it from one class to the next. I think the most important part of “CrossFit” (which consists of so many things) is the barbell lifting for strength. If I had a client who was really serious about strength and just went through the motions on the WODs, that would be fine with me. Maybe some of our clients are that way — but I don’t see them like that at all. I think they all take the whole package quite seriously.

I guess what makes an activity a lifelong commitment is that you make progress, you see and appreciate it, and it spurs you on. Some of the parts of CrossFit by themselves could do that, such as barbell lifting or running, without turning into sports. But it seems like CrossFit as a whole, even if one doesn’t treat it like a sport, has enough sport-like “parts” (such as measurability and competition) that people keep going. Karate is a sport, but its skills alone are compelling enough for me even though I don’t plan to compete.

Barbells, karate, running

For the past couple of weeks I haven’t done a lot of CrossFit workouts. I’ve kept up with my barbell lifting, which I’ve learned is the most important part of all the exercise I try to do. Today: bench press up to 120 lbs for a set of 4, then 3, 2, and 2. Later, deadlift up to a set of 5 at 195. That was enough; I had a terrible migraine.

Later, after a migraine pill and a nap: ran 1 mile (around-the-block route) in my fastest time yet, 7:48. I picked up speed at the end, in the final long and short “legs,” that is, the final southbound on MLK and the half-block going westbound on Alder. I’m glad to say I can run a sub-8-minute mile!

I don’t know why my 5-rep back squat and 5-rep deadlift are the same (as are the 1-rep maxes). It’s been that way for at least a couple of years. Doing whatever it might take to increase the deadlift seems not worth the effort, as risk would increase as well.

This past Sunday I did a CrossFit workout with three friends from karate.

2 turkish get-ups per side
Farmer walk 100m (I carried 16-kg kettlebells)
5 push-ups
80m run
5 rounds for time
This took me almost 18 minutes. I started the TGUs with a 16-kg kettlebell and this slowed me down right away. I switched to 8 kg. I’d like to strengthen my TGU back to where doing it with 16 kg is relatively easy. I can do that.

I’ve been running a mile a day almost every day. Yesterday I ran two miles in 17:49. I had skipped the previous day because of tiredness.

Karate has been a lot of fun. I bought a new gi.


Catching up

This week on Tuesday we had belt testing at karate. I had to perform two katas on my own for the first time, as well as lots of movements with other people. It went well and I felt great, and I passed, so now I have second blue belt or 8th kyu. Afterward I felt so stretched out and loosened up that I could almost put my nose on my knees while sitting on the floor, and even after I got home my whole back and hips and lower body felt like that of a flexible little kid. I wish I could distill that process down to its essence and achieve that feeling in less than 90 minutes of karate. I wonder if the warm gi that we have to wear has something to do with how limbered up I get. I want to put some dojo flooring in the basement now.

I bench pressed this week up to 3 x 5 at 110 and on the same day I front squatted up to 2 x 5 at 145 lbs. Was that Tuesday? I think so. Same day as karate testing, which is why I didn’t do a third set of front squats.

Wednesday and Thursday I did almost nothing except teach my classes and bask in the good feeling from karate. Today I did shoulder press up to 3 singles at 90 lbs and deadlift up to 2 x 5 at 175, just before the noon class, then during the 4:30 hour I back squatted up to 1 set of 8 at 175.

Since Monday I have not run my mile per day because my right knee was just a bit puffy inside from the running and the karate practice. I practiced a lot over the weekend and ran the mile twice on both Friday and Monday. So this weekend we’re going hiking and I wanted to make sure my knees were good for that. I’ll resume running on Monday, a mile a day.

I’m trying to be disciplined about lifting weights. If I’m going to do fewer CrossFit workouts during certain weeks while I do more karate and running, I have to remember those are not true workouts, only exercise, and I have to be sure I do my barbell lifts so that I get all the planes and ranges of motion.

Daily 1 mile run + WOD

Very fun WOD from Kyle’s programming today in the gym. “Bulgarian split squats” (a/k/a “bleacher lunges”) with dumbbells, 5 x 5 per leg. I did my final set with the 25 lb dumbbells. This wasn’t hard. It seemed like people earlier in the morning found it harder. Maybe I was misreading their reaction, as it was also new to them, and they were also working to find the right foot positions and depth.

WOD part 1: AMRAP 10 minutes of 3 wall walk, 10 box jump. I got 8 rounds plus 1 wall walk. My wall walks were pretty good, but not the ultimate ones with hands 1 inch from wall.

WOD part 2: with the jumprope, 75 single skips on 1 foot; stand one-footed on that foot 1 minute; 2 rounds per side. I did this without shoes and it tired out my legs, lower legs, and feet in an awesome way. I really want to do that some more. I started on my right. On my first round, right side, I broke up the skipping into about 3 sets, and I broke up the 1 minute of standing also into 3 sets if I recall correctly, though I did accumulate the full minute. On the left, first round, I did all 75 skips with no stops. I can’t remember if I broke up the minute. I think my total time was 7:58.

An hour later with my Fitness Within Reach class we did not jump rope on one leg, but we did try standing on one foot for a minute, and we all succeeded no problem. One new person this month is a yoga enthusiast and teacher. It has been fun to work with her, and she told me today that she thought she would have aches and pains from all this new stuff such as barbell lifting and “CrossFit,” but she feels great. She has a little skepticism in that she hasn’t seen for herself how fit we get in CrossFit in a way that is meaningful to her. So when she saw that I and the other two or three people in the room could all stand on one leg for a full minute, she was really impressed. Standing on one leg is one of those things that either seems, or is, diagnostic of someone’s health trajectory, similar to “how fast can you walk” or “how many times can you get up off your chair with no hands in 30 seconds” or “can you run for five minutes.”

Tomorrow I’m going to ask this group to see “how many different ways can you get up off the floor without using your hands,” and I hope the yoga teacher is there!!

Today is day 9 of the 100 miles in 100 days. I ran the local loop in 8:33. I was really surprised at that faster time because I didn’t feel like I was going any faster than yesterday’s Spectrum run in 10:01. One possible explanation is that today I warmed up with kata practice, which has lots of moderate to quick leg movement. I also warmed up with kata practice on my other fastest day. I’ve been practicing two katas a lot at home the past few days because belt testing is next Tuesday. I will test with Pinan Sandan and Kensei Dai.



Filthy Fifty, etc

Today: back squats, 15-12-9-6-3 at 125. Should have gone heavier. I had just finished an hour of office chores and wanted a quick lifting workout, so that’s what it was. Later, two hours of yard work, digging out weeds and invasives on the slope.

Yesterday: Lots of rest after work.

Tuesday: Karate testing. I earned my blue belt. I was resigned (or thought I was resigned and tried to be resigned) to failing this test because I had missed practices while on vacation, then skipped Monday night because I had dinner plans. I was very happy to be promoted. But I’m not particularly good at anything except effort! I need more practice time.

Monday: 15-12-9 front squats at 105. Kettlebell workout. EMOTM 15 minutes 6 cleans, 6 snatches with the 16 kilo.

Sunday: Lots of fun in the gym with six people from karate: Kim, Owl, Tracey, Jen, Tasha, and Adela. We back squatted, learned kettlebell swings, worked on hollow/kip swings and brachating, swung on the rings Santa Monica style, and tried skin the cats.

Saturday: Filthy Fifty, Rx except my final 25 knees to elbows were cheats (shorted, did not always make it all the way up). Time was 28:43. Immediately after finishing I ran a mile for time, as several other people were doing that day. This slow jog took me 11:11. Then I cleaned up and went to karate.


Deadlift, front squat, WOD, karate

Thursday, April 17: In the open gym that day with Mike B and Taylor and Kyle, I saw Mike deciding to try a 1 rep max squat, and I was deadlifting, so I decided to try a 1-rep max. I love being in open gym with a few other people (virtually always guys) and supporting whatever each other is doing. I never played sports, so that is a new experience. I’m really glad I decided to have open gym times. On that day I ended up deadlifting 240, which is only 20 pounds off from my all time max from more than a year ago. Kyle got a video of me lifting 230. It’s on my phone and I need to make sure I don’t lose it.


This morning I did a WOD with one guy in the intro class (no new people had shown up). It was 30 weighted step-ups, 50 strict pull-ups, 100 stiff leg deadlifts, partition as desired, for time. I made it easy because I was going to karate right after that — I used a 16 kg kettlebell and a 12-inch box. My pull-ups were all good, at first five at a time and then 3+2 at a time, and my workout time was 16:16.

I stayed to front squat with Tom’s class and did 2 x 5 at 155, which was hard, but not in doubt. Then went to karate. I reeeeally needed a nap this afternoon!

Karate and CrossFit

Over the weekend were two practice sessions for karate and one performance session, the Spring Demo at Miller Community Center. It was mostly kids and teen boys, with also several performances by adult women, including two I was a part of. With one other woman I performed the first kihon kata and with four other women I did a pinan kata that I assume is the most basic one. I don’t know how to spell them and I don’t know the difference between pinan and kihon. It was fun participating in the event. I had been ambivalent at best, assuming it would be child-chaos, each child assuming he is the center of it all, with cursory attention to the adults at best. But actually it was disciplined and I felt that every group was equal. And I even enjoyed being part of an event with kids since it was well controlled. I really wish more adults were in the school, though.

Today, a WOD I was slow at (not unusual). 5 rounds for time:
Run 250 m
12 dumbbell push jerk (2 x 25 lbs)
10 burpees
Time: 15:53 iirc
Later, front squats up to 2 x 5 at 150. I felt that I was barely able to lift it. But I got through both sets so that’s what matters.

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