Thursday, 30 April 2009

Midline stabilisation

Wanted to try something like this for a little while and decided to give the neighbours a little laugh.

3RFC (for completion because I forgot to press the start button on my stopwatch)
Row 50 strokes, probably 400-500m
3 rounds of;
10 x 20kg OHS
Change to clean width overhead hold
Turn around
Walk down to the other end of the driveway

I think I should have used PVC for this one.
The original intention was ot stay with the snatch grip for the whole 3 sets of OHS, but I quickly found I didn't have the necessary shoulder stability to pull that off. As it was there were numerous character breaks to rest my shoulders.
I also intended that I do 4 walks of the driveway until I realised I'd have to leave my bar sitting at the roadside to make that work.

The full version of this would have the pull-up/TTB combo in there, possibly instead of the rowing. Just couldn't face the damn rafter for that.
With a few adjustments this one will be a useful one to trot out.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Not good, to the extent that I intended not to post any weights, but decided I may as well.

I couldn't keep my back flat at all at 110kg, my planned start weight.
I barely could at 100kg when I dropped down. In fact I was very worried that I was going to pop something.

Swore a lot.

Dropped to 60kg an did a very slow set of 20 with a serious set-up between each rep. I could just keep my back flat there.

I knew I was in trouble when I was barely able to get my chin over the bar during the dead-hang pull-ups in my warm-up. I think whatever I did to myself in the pull-ups last week is still going on.

On to the foam roller to stretch my thoracic spine again. I'm bowed like a fishing pole with a record catch on the line.

Lou's creation

Last night at CFNZ.
Members were invited to submit WODs for the last week in April, this was Lou's.

30kg Thrusters
30kg Power Clean
400m run.
25 minute Cap.

I hit the cap at 4 burpees in the 2nd round. I had thought I might only do 2 rounds before the class as I was a bit worried about hurting myself like last week. My knees have been pretty crunchy lately and thrusters have always aggravated that hugely in the past.

The thrusters felt pretty good. 30kg wasn't as heavy as it was last time I used it for thrusters and I had some hip pop and everything! Quite pleased with that. I forgot to rest with the weight overhead which hurt me a bit. I could have slogged my way a bit further than I did before putting the bar down. I'm not happy about having to break the sets, but didn't expect any different given my current lack of condition.
Burpees were the usual frustrating slog.
Cleans were cool because Darren watched me through some of them and I was finally able to know I was doing something wrong as I was doing it. Working off video I can't correlate "it felt like this" with "bending my arms too early" well at all, so I don't develop the kinaesthetic sense of what I should be doing to do a decent clean.
Push-ups after earlier burpees were a damn silly idea and a totally miserable experience. I did however discover that with my elbows pinched in real tight I get a feeling of elasticity out of the bottom of that my press-ups used to have when I was benching a lot. Apparently I don't keep my mid-section tight when I get tired and my hips sag. I didn't know, no-one to tell me normally, but it doesn't surprise me. When I get tired all I'm thinking about is some portion of my body touching the ground and then I struggle back up again.
The runs? Trots at best. It was nice not to be lifting stuff for a little while, but effing frustrating that I couldn't find the "go faster button" for my legs.

So far my knees don't feel any worse than before so I'm pretty happy that I'm on the right track to using my hamstrings in the trhusters. Not quite there yet, but it's coming.

Lou's comment on her creation was, "WORST. IDEA. EVER."

Friday, 24 April 2009

Run and squat

50 squats

A blistering 24:15 LOL

Anything involving my arms is out right now, so this one that I've wanted to try for a while came to mind.
Man I run badly! :-)
And then the squats were a grind. I'll see how my knees feel tomorrow, that's the real test. I used my hamstrings much more than I used to, I know that, but was it enough? We'll see.

I'm glad I finally had a crack at it, now I know the time to beat. I'd say I could hardly do worse, but I do have a certain aptitude in that direction.

Severe ouch

I've been in some pain since the pull-ups on Monday so after the deadlifts on Tuesday I spent some time on the foam roller. It made quite a difference at the time, but the next morning things were very un-good.

I seem to have done some damage to my lats/teres major, (it's hard to tell, they both hurt so much), biceps and forearms. It's worse on the right hand side, which is interesting and is slowly getting better. Mostly it's just extreme overuse after a lengthy lay-off and I think a little rhabdo type stuff is going on too which is knocking me around generally.

Everything is slowly coming out of spasm and if coaxed gently will now lengthen so I can comb my hair without having to bend my head down or brace one arm with the other.

I'll be off pull-ups for a bit longer yet I think.

Damn good workout if it has a kick like this. I want a re-match when I'm in better shape.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


3 x 5 x 100kg
And that felt heavy.

Last night definitely took it out of me. I'll be glad when I get back up to cruising altitude because right now each WOD is wiping me out for days afterwards. I know it won't last forever and I could plead being sick last week, but I was hoping for something a bit better.

Backtrack, rebuild, come at it again.
At CFNZ last night

16kg KB swings


Pull-ups were the killer, I knew they would be, I haven't done many in a long time. My hands tore a bit, 2 and one blister a hair from ripping on my right hand. 3 blisters, one a hair from tearing on my left. My lats and teres major are very tight this morning so I'm having trouble reaching overhead.

We went in 2 groups, I counted for Lou the first group and she for me in the second. Lou made the 21 pull-ups in 3 sets as I recall, then things broke down to 3s and 2s. Her KB swings were nice and tight right until the 6 rep round where her chest started dropping a little.

I on the other hand, ;-).

I went with a 16kg KB as I wanted to keep things smooth and controlled. I broke the pull-ups often for the same reason. I just haven't been training much for several months and I want to back off on the load a bit and get all the niggly bits of my body used to moving again. In the process I'll bring up my metcon, which is woeful.

I found my usual problem keeping my head out of the workout. I'm too analytical and I spend my WOD critiquing my form, checking for people around me, thinking how I'm going to describe the WOD when I post it, wondering if the weather will hold when I ride home and anything else that wanders into my head. I'll always do that, analysing input is a large part of who I am. I know that as I put time into the WODs
I'll be able to clear some of the fluff out of my head and occasionally get to that place where my head is empty and all that exists is the rep.

Tamaryn told me afterwards about the taller pull-up bars in the roller door space. I hadn't noticed they were there. Apparently Tamaryn talked about them in the pre-WOD briefing, but I was on the other side of the gym warming up and stretching at the time. I got there with little time to spare after getting changed out of my wet weather gear and I thought everyone was still chatting.
Sorry Tamaryn, I'll pay better attention next time.
The thinner pipe on the small bars would have ripped my hands to pieces completely if I'd used them though. My hands are too soft right now and with long fingers, a fatter bar works well for me. Hey, after the rafter having any clearance from the ground at all is a wonderful experience.

It was a fun workout and I really enjoyed it.

Then I left the keys for my bike in the side pocket of the pack I carry my training gear in and gave it to Lynette to take home in the car. She in turn had her cellphones in her pack in the boot of the car right next to my pack, so although I rang her while she would have been barely at the first corner from the gym, she was near home buying dinner before she got my texts and messages. The wait was quite nice actually. It wasn't very cold and I was still sweating so being in all of the wet weather gear would have been uncomfortably hot. I had all the gear if it got really wet and I had a nice sit with my back against the gym door under the shelter of the eaves. It was a good chance to wind down at the end of the day.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Not a fun week

Not exactly a fun time.

Our car was stolen while we were at the movies last Monday and recovered after having been used in a handbag snatch, before we even got out of the movies. We're still working through the insurance and lock replacement things.
On the Tuesday I fell very ill with diarrhoea, vomiting and massive stomach cramps. They laid me out for several days leaving Lynette who still had what I think has to have been the 'flu to cope with the kids visiting for the first week of the school holidays. As they couldn't get out much they got on each others and Lynette's nerves something fierce. Then the little one came down with chicken pox and she's currently covered in calamine lotion and complaining of being itchy every 5 minutes.

Lynette did well not to throttle them and got me crackers, canned soup and ginger beer to susbsist on when I could start eating again. Having someone to do that instead of having to drag myself out to do it was a godsend.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Australiasian qualifier workout, scaled!

Workout #1 from the Australasian qualifier.
10 C&J 40kg
15 Ring dips
20 KB swings 24kg
15 minute cap

I messed up the timing and stopped after 2 rounds and the C&Js at 10:30
I had my watch set to count down the cap, but I though Tamaryn was saying my group only had 40 seconds to go and I figured I'd messed up the watch somewhere along the line and pulled the pin. I might have made it if I'd kept going.

C&J. 40kg was the women's weight and about right I thought. Heavy enough that I couldn't muscle the weight up, light enough to let me keep the pace up. I could have improved my cycle time by thrustering out of the power cleans, but decided to follow Jeff's rules and make it two distinct movements. When I have my C&Js as tidy as I want them I'll take liberties. I didn't hurt my back on the jerks! First time in ages. 50kg seems to be the danger point, below that I'm safe even when I get tired.
Dips. I had to go to using a band. I haven't done them in so long and they were never a strong point, I knew they'd be the sticking point. The time cap was my decider to go to the lightest band for assistance and it was the right move. I should have done it earlier is all.
KB swings. I ah let my ego get away with me. I planned to use the women's weight (16kg) there too, but when Tamaryn said that head height swings were OK I didn't struggle to secure a popular 16kg KB and grabbed one of the several 24kgs that were not being used. I was OK with them, but I should have gone 16kg and full overhead swings. Lesson learned.

Fun. Wish I'd trusted my watch though and come closer to finishing.

Not sure the birthday deadlifts were the best prep for this. :-)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Birthday workout

I had a fun day.

I took the MPV in to work and drove the guys in for the normal Thursday curry. I shouted them all lunch, except that confused the poor lady at the counter so she charged me for one less meal than she should have, which they told the guys whgen tyhey collected their meals and one of them covered the xtra. The guys have standing arrangement that each Thursday the owner of the stand in the food court makes a batch of extra superchareged hot curry just for them. I have no idea why theyu torture themselves that way, but they seem to have fun going red and sweating copiulsy over it.
Lynette gave me some great presents and I had fun cooking a nice dinner for us. She also put a birthday post up on the BX forum and I got some great birthday posts.

While I was doing that I did my own very basic birthday WOD, 45 x 100kg.
Which wound up being 5 x 9 x 100kg and those 5 sets were broken. I wasn't sure it was
a. Possible
b. Sensible
to keep going after the first round so I set myself up carefully each time and struggled my way through. I could have tucked soemthing else in there between rounds, but I didn't.
Maybe next year it will 46 x 120kg. :-)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Squat 60kg,70kg,80kg PB
Press 40kg,50kg, 55kg
Deadlift 100kg,120kg,130kg PB

I went to CF NZ for the first of what I plan to be my regular Monday visits, and maybe more if I can work it in. Darren and especially Tamaryn were very tired after their weekend competing at the Australasian qualifiers. Poor Tamaryn was having a little trouble focussing before training and wilted fast once the WOD had finished. She held it together very well until then, lots of energy. Darren was a little muzzy at times but again, powered through when I would have been out on my feet. They're both incredible.

The workout was the CrossFit Total, which with my history of back problems and catastrophic injuries incurred while doing these exact movements had me rather nervous. I figured I'd hold back a bit and see how I went. I don't normally do the CFT because of those problems, lack of squat stands and because to some degree I have no real desire to measure 1RMs any more. What I found though is that A CFT done in a CF gym is fun! It has all the best elements of a local gym powerlifting contest only without the formality. I fell into loading and spotting because, well, it's what I do. I was also the technique model a few times which is probably the first that's happened. I pride myself on doing exercise with the best technique I can and in CrossFit, with so many new movements that have highlighted anatomical and functional deficiencies, that has been a real struggle for me. I guess I'm getting there.

Squats were my biggest fear. I said last night that I hadn't back squatted in years and that wasn't entirely correct, I'd forgotten one WOD where I cleaned, push pressed and then lowered the bar to do a back squat. Obviously with well less than my max squat weight. Aside from that my last back squats were the 100kg set that aggravated the disk I didn't know I'd ruptured and laid me out on the floor 20 odd years ago. Darren pointed out that I was pitching forward a bit too much because I was over-exaggerating the initial backward movement of my hips. I cannot tell you how good it was to have a knowledgeable coach telling me what I'm doing wrong as I do it! I corrected that and worked my way up to 80kg where I felt my knees starting to track in and called it quits. What was really interesting is that under load my tendency to swing my hips to one side diminished. As that was a huge contributor to my back problems that's extremely pleasing. I had real trouble getting my mid-section tight enough to control the weight as I walked out with the bar. It was fine when I started the squat, but the walk-out was worrying.
As a background, it took me over 2 years to build up to squatting 80kg when I started weight training (I said I wasn't strong) and this time out I hit it the first time I tried a back squat. That's a really interesting endorsement for CrossFit and air squats. I looked over at Lynette squatting at the women's rack and while she struggled with depth she had a really nice line through her back and her hips were tracking perfectly. She'll get her depth with work. Very pleased with her.

Presses were presses. The 50kg was a struggle and definitely all I could handle for the night. I can't see me repping 60kg any time soon.

Deadlifts were fun. Darren told me my hips came up first for a bit and then I corrected it, which tells me I was setting my hips too low at the start again. Oh well. 120kg felt good so I went for broke and tried 130kg. That went up fairly comfortably but my back was definitely rounding and I have a horrible suspicion I was craning my neck up. That was definitely my limit for the day. Lynette was easily pulling some of the heaviest deadlifts of the night on the ladies side. She hated the attention she was getting and that was part of the fun.

So my total was what? Actually I don't care.
I had a blast. I was one of the strongest lifters on the night but most of the guys there will power past me when they get their technique locked in. Lots of strength but an almost complete unfamiliarity with the lifts. When it comes to the metcons they will all leave me for dead. I had a great time watching them and helping with the loading meant Darren could concentrate a little more on coaching. I kept my mouth shut as much as possible, for now at least I want to be a face in the crowd there. If Darren or Tamaryn can make use of me to demo technique, good or bad, then that's great and enough so that I can feel like I'm contributing something. Hopefully I will find some way I can add some value to their operation in the future.

The feeling of community that they've built already is fantastic. There was a great vibe there last night, the resemblance to Brand X was striking. Darren and Tamaryn are doing a great job.

It was also fun to see the progress some of the athletes had made from the last time I was there. Louise has added muscle-ups to her repertoire, she's still working on eliminating her butt-wink though so I can feel marginally superior. And I'm still taller than her, although that doesn't sound any less pathetic now than it did last time I said it. And Karen(?) from Delish foods has packed on some noticeable muscle.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


80kg Deadlifts
HSPU progression - piked on a 24" box


The deadlifts were a slog and a struggle to maintain lumbar and (especially) thoracic extension, the HSPU were easy.
Hoping this is a sign that with a bit of work I'll get a wide grip supported HSPU soon.

Too much time riding a chair, again. My spinal erectors have turned into jelly, again.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Last night I walked 4.x km from dropping the car off for a service to where Lynette picked me up on the way home. The walk wasn't hard, but the FGB stiffness I worked off during the walk came back when I was sitting down after dinner.

Still rather stiff this morning and my knees are a little unhappy with me, but all within acceptable limits so far.