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.

WOD then deadlift

Today at 8:30: Nine-minute WOD. I warmed up with a 500m row in 2:02. The WOD was AMRAP 9 minutes of 9 dumbbell push-jerks, 9 dumbbell front squats, 9 pull-ups. I ¬†used a pair of 20-pound dumbbells and completed 5 rounds 8 reps. After 10:30 I deadlifted, up to 1 set of 5 at 195. Tonight I went to karate and Renee kept us moving a lot, it was fun. I’m not nearly as winded as I was the first time back to karate after pneumonia.

Squats and WOD

Today, back squats up to 2 sets of 8 at 155 and then 1 set of 8 at 165. (Cardio!) Then I did today’s WOD with Kyle. “With” in the sense that we started at the same time — of course he finished more than a minute faster.

400m run
21 squats
15 overhead kettlebell swings, 12 kg
9 pull-ups
3 rounds for time; 11:27 Rx.

Later, in class, I deadlifted with Beth and Susan. I went up to 1 x 5 at 210. Felt good. I don’t know if I’ve ever squatted and deadlifted on the same day before. Not heavy anyway. I’m tired!

For the past week I hadn’t worked out except to go to karate two or three times. Karate is going great. Next Tuesday night we have evaluations. I have to test on basics and one kata. I’ve been under so much stress related to the gym that my only focus was on being as upbeat in there as ever and running good classes. And personally I’m in the middle of a Whole30, which feels like a great means of self-care and an appropriate level of discipline. On the other hand, committing to doing the Open feels like too much pressure.

I led about 45 people in the Lurong Paleo challenge last fall, then that ended and the sewer pipe upstairs exploded. It closed us for five days and set in motion a clean-up and gear-replacement project that is almost finished. All we need now is shelves. But wait, we also had a water leak in the office, and now there’s a stink in there. So as soon as we get the shelves we will probably have to remove floor mats, carpet, and drywall in the office too. Meanwhile for a separate reason I’ve sought legal advice and met with our landlord and a real-estate agent in an effort to solve a problem that is more stressful than all the other stuff put together. Between that and the Whole30 and teaching my three types of classes, I’ve been doing a great job; and yet nobody has said so — people are sorry I’m stressed but want me to get rid of the smell in the office. I’m their mom.

End of December workouts

Thursday, Dec. 26: I started over on the Rings I program from Gold Medal Bodies, doing day 1 (above the rings).

Friday, Dec. 27: Rings workout day 2, below the rings. Bench press up to 100 for 3 x 5.

Saturday, Dec. 28: karate class. Rusty from sporadic attendance. But fun! Worked on (among other things) forward and backward rolls and a new cool type of side roll that’s like a cartwheel — sort of — with shoulders going on the ground instead of hands? It was really fun. I had extremely sore muscles in my neck the next day. I would like to find safe neck-strengthening exercises.

Monday Dec. 30 (yesterday): Deadlifted up to 1 set of 5 at 185. Heavy. Then did that day’s WOD: 30 second on, 30 off, for five rounds rotating: row, thruster 45#, pull-up, box jump 12″ (was prescribed), push-up. I scored 295 reps total. I sandbagged a bit on round 1 and tried to add a rep afterward wherever I possibly could. This plus the built-in rest led me to push hard and I was nauseous for 15-20 minutes after I finished. I’m happy with how hard I worked on that workout! That night I went to karate though I was pretty tired. I had a short nap in the afternoon before teaching the rest of my classes.

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Bench, goodmorning, karate

Yesterday I finally succeeded with 105 on the bench press for 3 x 5. It was hard but on each rep I didn’t have any doubts about whether I’d get it. So that was gratifying — that’s the weight at which I’d got stuck before, on the fifth rep of my second set several weeks ago. Yesterday after benching I did goodmornings for sets of 8 up to 75 lbs. I ran out of time before class on that.

After the day in the gym I went to karate. It was a good class. We stuck to fundamental movements so I was able to think about one aspect at a time. When we have multiple teachers in the class, sometimes I get corrections on so many things at once that I can’t really focus on anything, or practice making a certain correction. Last night I had a good moment of being able to remember the guard position of the hands, and to stop doing it as it was done in boxing at Cappy’s. That was nine years ago but it’s still what my hands do when told to put them on guard.

Also I wonder whether I’ll ever have a good roundhouse kick. Recently we were moving and kicking and blocking each other (too advanced for me in that I could not focus or think, and everything I did pretty much was wrong, including timing, height, position) and my roundhouse kicks ended up being at knee level. No good. Yesterday with coaching I was able to focus, as directed, on keeping the whole leg high enough to clear a low wall. But this was practiced while standing, not moving, so I felt like I was able to practice better. I’m not saying “correctly” because I still have not learned to rotate my shoulders with my hips while still looking forward.

1 muscle-up

Today I went to Kyle’s class to see how he would teach muscle-up progressions now that he’s been to the Ido Portal seminar (although without Ido). It was a good class, good progressions, and I did one muscle-up before we were done. Then we had a dumbbell workout that I started with 20 lb weights and after four rounds switched to 25 pound weights: 4 deadlift, 3 clean, 2 front squat, 1 jerk, AMRAP 15 minutes. I got 22 rounds, could not keep up with Tricia who did 23!

Muscle-up progressions:
Learn scapula positions and try it standing
Chin-ups, using these positions intentionally (or do negatives)
False-grip ring-rows or holds
Pull and transition (feet on floor) AND reverse it (stay close) — 30 seconds per person, trade off
Try false grip hangs
Try a muscle-up if ready

Karate yesterday was fun. We didn’t get too far over my head as we sometimes do when we do moving partner drills and I can’t keep it together. Progress is going to be slow and I have to hang onto that beginner feeling of no expectations (except to keep trying).

Let’s see now…

I can’t remember what workouts I did between Nov. 10 burpee/kettlebell extravaganza and yesterday when I did two out of three rounds of “Disaster Preparedness.” At some point I back squatted 200 lbs for 3 and bench pressed 100 a bunch of times. Today I deadlifted up to two sets of five at 165.

I’m just now starting to settle down after last week’s clean-up of the gym. We were closed for four and a half days starting Monday the 18th before noon. I have a whole journal in my G-docs detailing what happened all week, but the upshot is that a weak spot in a pipe broke while the restaurant upstairs had several toilets backed up, and a firehose of sewage filled about a third of the gym. (I assume they were using a plunger and the pressure broke through the weak pipe. They were probably like, oh great, that worked, now we can flush!)

Clean-up started immediately by the facilities manager and a professional clean-up crew, and the gym is now very clean and back open since Saturday. I was able to salvage almost everything and will have only a small insurance claim of under $2000 in lost equipment.

Thanks to the quick and supportive response from Woody, the facilities manager, I was able to manage our part of the clean-up without getting stressed out. It was a tiring week, but also thanks to our patient and generous customers, we did not have to reopen before we were ready and we had plenty of help moving equipment in and out. In some ways it turns a potential crisis into a great experience when you see that people care and they show it.

Karate has been hard, with more moving techniques. The ball of my right foot gets really sore and hurts, which is frustrating because I actually love being barefoot on their nice mats. I took this past Monday night off from karate because I felt strangely weak and fragile. I suppose it was the stress still processing out from last week.

Karate evaluations

Last Tuesday night, Sept. 24, I had my first evaluation in order to potentially be promoted to yellow belt. There were, if I recall correctly, five black belts (Senseis Joanne, Aleeta, Kim, Tracy, and Jen) evaluating five adult students: Renee, Adela, Kiera, Rebecca, Owl, and me.

We lined up and went through two rounds of ten of each punch. For every set of ten, you finish with a left punch and right hand chambered, and it seems (though nobody has ever said so) that you have to hold your position no matter how long it takes for the senseis to decide what you’ll do next. The hardest thing for me was the way the back of my shoulder hurt after holding the chamber for maybe a minute, several times. Later I found out I wasn’t the only one hurting. Then we did ten or twenty of each block and each kick, also holding a block or a guard position while we waited for our next command. All of this is called standing basics.

Next we did moving basics in front stance. Step in and block and/or punch with whatever skill or combination is called out. In moving basics, it’s harder for me to keep up with the others, because I have to stop and think after I step and before I throw whatever movement(s) I’m supposed to do. We did some moving basics in another stance (the wide footed squat stance…?) and after a couple of rounds of that I was excused because I could no longer keep up at all. After that I got to enjoy watching the yellow, orange, and green belts perform their katas.

The rigorousness of the testing method and atmosphere reminded me of a few of the strength/skill trainings I’ve been through, especially the RKC (who I strongly suppose are emulating the martial arts structure on purpose). So I was glad to find that I wasn’t intimidated by the process. It helped me keep my head in the present and enjoy it. The instructors are kind and patient and direct, so it’s a very trustworthy process. I love how in each class we practice basics. There’s no sense that some people don’t need that and are impatient. And I know I’ll get smooth and fast at the combinations if I just keep showing up and cooperating. It’s nice to be old enough not to get really flustered.

I did get my yellow belt but of course I feel like as much of a beginner as ever. It was fun on Thursday when four new people joined the class.

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