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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 BRAND X Pilgrimage !!!!!

Total miles driven visiting Brand X over the last 5 days:  1779.3   ...  but who's counting?  and Who cares?  It was worth every mile of the way.  

Without a doubt the highlight of the weekend were the people.  The outstanding community.  What an awesome group of people!  Had the pleasure of meeting for the first time:  Unforgibbon, Gonzo, Nichole811, SuperSwede, Essie, Lucky Dawg, Nichole's Mom, Gimpy, Aileen and a host of others!  Had the pleasure of seeing the following again:  the entire Martin family, Sifu Dan, Debbie, Cindi and Laura R.  I'm sure I'm forgetting more then one person.  The point being that these people are what make Brand X such an incredible place.  The generosity and hospitality shown by the Martins and the entire Brand X crew was so cool.  Coach Jeff especially.  I mean he has probably never been before been tag teamed by a pair of info starving twins who just constantly pepper him with questions.  

Before we left I told my brother that this trip would be the highlight of his crossfit year.  It certainly did not disappoint.  As Josh put it, it was like a huge hit of pure crossfit directly injected into the bloodstream.  Very potent stuff!  Consider yourself forewarned if you haven't been fortunate enough to make it yet to Brand X.


Got off work in the early morning, took a quick nap and started the drive.  Made it down there in about 8 hours, drove directly to Brand X and made it to the 6pm class 20 min late.  

Angie 33

3 Rounds

33 Pullups
33 Pushups
33 Situps
33 Squats

1 Min Rest in between Rounds


Was coached directly by Jeff and Nichole.  Cool!  Need to stay tight at the bottom of the squat and not collapse.  Breathing during the squat in a metcon has got to influence this negatively.  Need to finish the ROM each and every rep and open the hips ALL the way.  That last 2 inches or whatever just doesn't seem to want to happen when you are trying a silly fast cycle rate.  Showed Jeff my amazing kipping pushup.  Jealous aren't ya?  Keep the core tight and the plank rigid ... even during the last few reps of Angie!


1400 hours Skunkworks with GD, Big D, SS, Gonzo, Nichole, and Unforgibbon

Front Squat

165 x 5
185 x 5
195 x 5

LOW Bar Back Squat

190 x 8 then 12 more 

On rep 8, I leaned back too far and like a schmuck lost the weight in the bottom of the squat.  I dropped it behind me and sat there in the squat feeling like a tard.  Nichole encouraged me to do 4 more.  I was determined to do all 20.  So I got back under the bar and finished off the set of 20.  That was some very, very hard work.  It also got real ugly on the last rep.  My low back was screaming at me afterwards for doing that to it.

Then the stoopidity began.  Thanks Sven and Jeff.  You are a programming inspiration!

3 Rnds

500m Row
Hypoxic Ladder 1 => 7 KB Swings 1.5 pood
10 Burpees


My first encounter with anything hypoxic.  It certainly won't be my last.  The suck factor was through the roof!  Its an interesting experience when the panic starts to set in as you wonder if you'll be able to finish the set without the world turning black and going night-night.  

Cash Out

Partner Handstand/wheelbarrow Walks
Ice Cream Makers
Incline Dip Walks
Hamstring Death
Skin the Cat/Pullup

Now that is a proper cash out.  I need to work on improving my cashout programming.  Today also marks the completion of a goal that I set last July on my previous Brand X visit.  I vowed last year to complete a wod as Rx'd with Jeff.  It was fun to fulfill that goal today.  Hurah for progress!


Buy In -

400 m run
10 squats
10 pullups

20-minute AMRAP (start circuit wherever you want)
10 x 25# one-arm db thruster (also went with vaginal scaling because thats what Unforgibbon did)
10 x 25# one-arm db snatch
5 jumping muscle ups
1 rope climb
1 monkey bar pass
1 traverse back along pullup bar
3 forward rolls
1 balance beam pass
1 pullover
1 dip walk

3 rds + thrusters + snatches + jumping mu, + rope climb + 3/4 monkey bar pass

So basically I chased Unforgibbon around the gym until it came to the rope climb where he really smoked me.  I have zero rope climbing skills.  My 'foot clamp' ability is in the approximate range of a 3rd grade girl whose training program is Wii fit.

Cash Out - 
partner handstand walks
ice cream makers

Then Jeff worked for an hour with Josh and I on Snatching.  Key points for me is to push my shins into the bar (you'll see this again as a cue for my deadlift form.... coincidence?  Nope!) and get full hip extension.  Working muscle snatches as part of my cash out would help this.


Rest Day.  A bit of active recovery on the beach throwing a 'disc' around.  Thats a frisbee for you non Ultimate Frisbee players like me.  Got my first sunburn of the summer for this pasty white graveyarder.  Fun.


Connor's 9:00am Weightlifting Class:


135 x 1
185 x 1
225 x 1
265 x 1
290 x 3

Getting coached by Connor.  How cool is that!  In the starting position I need to put my shins closer to the bar and get my shoulders in front of the bar more which also raises my butt up a bit and gives me a more parallel back.  I then need to concentrate on keeping my upper back uber tight.  Great cues and progress made.

10:15 class

Buy in
3 rds
alligator crawl
bear crawl
3 cartwheels

3 rds
12 right-armed barbell push press x 45#
12 left-armed barbell deadlift x 45#
400 m run
12 left-armed barbell pp 
12 right-armed barbell dl
400 m run


More chasing of Unforgibbon and Josh around a wod.  To my confusion I came in after the 400 at the halfway mark and Dan and Josh were sitting against the wall as if they were done.  I couldn't understand why they would be doing that.  Turns out they both misunderstood the wod and 'finished' at the 1 and a half round point.  As I continued with the rest of round 2 and 3 I spent the rest of my time on the 400m runs using that as an excuse as to why their 400m pace was faster then mine and explaining to myself that my turtle paced runs were perfectly acceptable because I was running more then they did.  Unfortunately my lazy self didn't quite convince my logical self that it was correct, but it did convince it to continue to run slowly.  It almost always wins that argument.

If I were to do this wod again...I'd take a cue from GD, Big D etc and cut the run down to 200m (cheaters!) and up the weight on the bar.  Especially on the deadlift.  Deadlifting 45# is kind of just going through the motions.  I'm not sure why I didn't put some weight on the bar except I guess I was in sheeple mode.  Just followed the others around (no one put weight on their bars in that class) with not much thought going through my skull.  But with this version I suppose it was a good wod because I don't normally go over 20 minutes and include a 1.5 mile run...blah!  I mean, ummm good times.  I did like the one armed work.  

Up to this point Josh has only beat me in Helen and one or two other wods.  This weekend at Brand X Josh beat me on the hypoxic wod (by 4 seconds, but I'll point out that he didn't front squat and high rep back squat immediately before hand) and the obstacle course wod (by half a round) and probably would have beat me on the run heavy/one armed barbell wod if he had listened to Cindy's instructions or read the wod on the board.  I suppose I'll have to start to get accustomed to Josh beating me on some metcons from here on out.  I'll do the best from letting that happen on a regular basis, but .... Good work brother!

Spent a good deal of time discussing with Jeff the idea of me opening an affiliate.  What are the steps to take do so?  What makes for a good trainer?  What makes for a good affiliate?  When should I take on this venture?  How much to charge?  And a whole bunch more.  Thanks so much to Jeff for his sage advice.  It was thoroughly helpful.  At this point I'm leaning towards doing this as a side job to my career as a cop.  I've got a million more questions swimming through my head in regards to this.  If anyone has any advice, direction, guidance, forewarnings, experiential knowledge, encouragement, criticism or whatever ....  please feel free to fire it my way!

A big thanks is in order to Coach Jeff.  I want to thank you for your generosity in allowing my brother and I to come down and spend the long weekend getting world class coaching and workouts all for free!  Your character, commitment, knowledge and passion for fitness and life are an inspiration!  This is proven through and through by those that surround you.  From Mikki to the kids, the trainers and the faithful clients.  All are absolutely top notch.  Thanks everyone for this year's pilgrimage!

Said farewell to the wonderful Brand X crew.  See some of you in two weeks at the games!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Olympic Squat 6-22-09

95 x 5
115 x 3
135 x 3
155 x 1
175 x 1
195 x 1
215 x 1
235 x 1 (PR)

I'll be doing Olympic Squats or high bar back squats for the next 10 weeks.  I know this is against the grain of what crossfit teaches.  Hopefully Jeff Martin won't rip my arms off and beat me down with them for doing so.  Afterall he first taught me how to sqaut and I owe a lot to him.  But I believe I'm making an informed decision here.  Am I doing the right thing?  I honestly don't know.  Let me break it down a bit....

In the world of crossfit, the low bar back squat is king.  You can lift heavier weight with a LB squat.  You incorporate the posterior chain by using the low back, glutes, hamstrings, and adductors with a powerful hip drive out of the bottom.  I've read as much as I can of what Rippetoe has to say on the topic including Starting Strength, his article on low bar vs high bar squats, on his forum at strengthmill and many videos.  I've learned from Jeff Martin, the fine folks on the Brand X forum, and from the crossfit journal.  

But in the world of Olympic Lifting, the high bar back squat is king.  I've talked to Greg Everett and Aimee Anaya about the subject and read Greg's article regarding the two squatting styles found on the performance menu Journal.  I've read what Glenn Pendlay has to say about the topic.  Without basically recreating or retyping Rippetoe and Everett's entire articles and going through them point by point, I guess a full and complete discussion can't really be had.  I don't quite have the inclination to do that at this point.

But what it boils down to is that in the sport of Olympic Lifting, high bar back squats are the only kind of back squats that are done.  There is a reason for this.  The strength they develop is more transferable for Olympic lifting then low bar back squats.  Rippetoe's claim that Olympic Lifters would benefit by gaining greater overall strength by low bar back squatting has yet to be proven, and the authorities within the sport disagree.  I don't pretend to be anywhere near as smart as Coach Rippetoe and I have immense respect for him.  But its hard to argue with an entire sport spread across the globe.  It could be possible that Rippetoe is right and greater lifts would be achieved if the elite lifters were low bar squatting and getting their quad strength from front squatting, but for now I'll go where the proof now seems to be.  At the Olympic Lifting seminar that I attended I found out that I am posterior chain dominant, or hamstring dominant and have fairly weak hamstrings comparably.  This is shown in that I can pull much more weight and plenty high enough then what I can handle squatting out of the bottom of a clean (Power Clean PR of 225lbs compared to Clean PR of 198lbs).  So in order to bring my Olympic Lifts up to their potential by specifically gaining stronger quads from front squatting and high bar back sqatting, I plan to fix that deficit.  

I'm not giving up low bar back squats all together.  But I'm adding in high bar squats into my repertoire as I think they are a valuable form of squatting that will address a specific weakness in my fitness armor.  The question for me really is what form of squatting will develop the best all around athlete?  Having good Olympic Lifting numbers is an important part of the equation in my opinion.  But having quality numbers with the low bar back squat is important as well.   Maybe the answer is to include each.  So I plan to wield them both to the best of my programming abilities.  

I feel as though I've only brushed the tip of the iceberg on this topic.  If anyone has any thoughts whether of dissent or approval, or questions, or whatever, please don't be shy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Snatch and Run/OHS 6-19-09


65 x 3
95 x 2
115 x 1
135 x 1
155 f f f


400m Run
As many Overhead Squat until failure - 95lbs

OHS:  1st Rnd: 21 (PR)  2nd Rnd: 15    3rd Rnd: 16
~ 11:00 

That was a different kind of wod.  Didn't push too hard on the runs, but went until failure on the OHS to see how many I could do in a single set.  Interesting and I enjoyed it.  

The Snatches felt real good up to 135, but probably shouldn't have made the 20lb jump to 155.  It would have been a 10lb PR and should have done 145 first and then tried for 150.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Christine 6-18-09


3 Rounds

500m Row
12 BW Deadlift - 175lbs
21 Box Jump 20"

10:08 (PR)

I'm very pleased with my time.  Brought some angst into this workout which seemed to help.  Row:  1:54, 1:55, 1:57     Deadlifts unbroken     Box jumps 10-5-6 for first 2 rounds and unbroken on the last.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Push Press and Dip/Burpee/KB Swing 6-17-09

Push Press
95 x 5
115 x 3
135 x 1
145 x 1
155 x 1
165 x 1
175 x 1
185 x 1 (PR)

I had no clue where I'd end up.  I'm pleased with the results.

'CFNEE Welcome'

15 - 12 - 9

Ring Dip
KB Swing 54lb


The ring dips really didn't slow me down as much as I thought they would.  Cool.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Squat 6-15-09

Catalyst Athletics Warm Up

Worked on high bar squats.  Man am I weak on them.  I've got some work cut out before I start getting strong and comparable to numbers anywhere near my low bar back squat numbers.  

45 x 10
65 x 5
95 x 5
185 x 5

I ran out of time, so jumped straight to the set of 185 just to see how it'd go, which felt heavy.  I used hip drive out of the bottom (not good) instead of using my quads to drive upwards.  Weak quads are going to be a theme for awhile around here.  I also really need to come up with a stretching program and hit it hard.  Need to be super consistent with that to see the improvements needed to really attain a solid, deep olympic squat.  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Catalyst Athletics Olympic Weightlifting Seminar

I'm in the black shirt with my face behind the white pole in the center of the photo.  

My ridiculously long coverage of this weekend's seminar at Catalyst Athletics:

Great weekend!  Spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday learning two of the best lifts in the business.  Thanks Greg Everett and Aimee Anaya for putting on a great seminar.

I learned a LOT!!!!

My previous experience with learning the lifts came from the following:  Crossfit Level 1 Cert.  About 3  hours total of random private coaching including;  30min on the snatch from Adrian Bozman, 30min on both lifts from Dave Williams (Strength and Conditioning coach for Liberty University), an hour from Jeff Sunzeri, an hour on cleans at the California Strength Academy in San Ramon, and watching a good amount of video available through the crossfit journal.  

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that this weekend was a huge step forward in my journey towards learning these lifts well.  I thought one of the biggest strengths of the seminar is the learning progression they presented for the lifts.  They were clear, logical, and built nicely upon each other.  The complexity of the lifts were broken down well with this method.  We learned the snatch on the first day and clean and jerk on the second.  In the next blurb, I wanted tojust  regurgitate as much as possible from this weekend to help me remember it, so here goes.  I hope this is all accurate:

Snatch Pulling Position:  Feet under the hips, legs nearly vertical (slightly slanted out when standing up), toed out slightly.  Weight should be fairly even throughout the foot, centered just over the front of the heel.  Knees flared out.  This gets the knees out of the way of the first pull and brings your butt closer to the bar.  Shoulders just in front of the bar and neutral (not rolled forward or retracted).  Back arched in extension.  Head and eyes up, looking in front for the duration of the lift.  Arms long and loose.  Arms straight, not bent (in other words, the arms should be straight, but don't think about locking the elbows out because this will tighten the muscles in your arms).  Elbows turned out.  Hook grip.  Grip width based on when standing vertical and you lift one thigh parallel to the ground, the bar is just above the leg and the leg does not push the bar up (sounds more confusing then it is).  Bar should be over the base of the toes, ie: the ball of your foot.

The progression taught to us was Second Pull, Third Pull, then First Pull.

First Pull:  As you bring the bar up it should swing in ever so slightly and travel up nearly in contact with your shins and thighs.  The first pull ends and second pull begins as the bar clears the knee and reaches approximately mid thigh where the double knee bend (scoop) begins.  This pull is primarily pushing with your legs, and straightening your knees.  Your back angle should remain constant.  Chest should rise with the hips and the bar all at the same time.

Second Pull:  Butt is back with shins nearly vertical and knees still flared out.  There should be tension on your hamstrings.  Arms are still long and loose.  Head and eyes are still looking straight ahead.  The bar is pulled up the thighs, and kept as close to the body as possible.  The double knee bend of the second pull will occur naturally if the lifter simply drives through the floor with his/her legs, ie: 'jumps'.  This is where the vast majority of the vertical momentum on the bar comes from.  Think about driving through the ground with your legs, not pulling up with your arms.  Think about jumping as this will naturally extend your hips, knees, and ankles.  Ankle extension by the way doesn't add much if anything in the way of acceleration on the bar, but is a byproduct of a full, aggressive, violent straightening of the knees and extension of the hips (basically jumping).

Third Pull:  Shrug of the shoulders (which has a slight overlap with the 2nd pull), as you raise the bent elbows up in order to pull yourself under the bar (not pull the bar up), keeping the bar path as close to you and vertical as possible.  Receive the bar by pushing up and with your wrists laid back, driving your palms up and cradling the bar.  Release the hook grip as you do so.  Your shoulders should be retracted hard as if you are pinching a pencil between the top of your scapulas.  There should be a slight shrug of the shoulders.  This should not be exaggerated with the shoulders pressed up towards the ears.  This is a major fix that I've had to make because with my previous OHS and snatch form, I pressed my shoulders as high as possible and had them rolled forward, trying to make my neck disappear and shove my shoulders into my ears.  This isn't nearly as strong and you don't see any elite level lifters using it compared to retracting the shoulders, and tying them into the body to give the shoulders a strong foundation rather then having them floating with no structural support to tie into.  As you reach triple extension (hips, knees, ankles) and once your feet leave the ground, you are no longer able to elevate the bar any higher, although the bar will still be moving up at this point, you can't add to its height because you can't push off the ground ('its just science' one of the themes of the weekend).  It is at this moment your feet will slide out into the squat position that is a slightly wider stance, toed out approximately 30 degrees.

Everything is pretty much the same for the Clean Pull Position and 1st/2nd pull except for the narrower grip width.  This will also slightly effect the back angle, butt height, and bring the butt further from the bar.  Other then that its pretty much a repeat of the above for the Clean.

The Jerk:  Feet are the same as the pulling position but this is called the drive position.   You should not be squeezing the bar hard.  The bar should be adjusted so it is in the back of the palm, not on the fingertips like it will be when it is racked.  Elbows/forearms should be just in front of the bar and pulled out to the sides, not pulled in narrow.  The dip should not be real fast, if it is you'll lose contact with the bar as you dip and thus the effectiveness of the drive is decreased as the bar comes crashing back into the shoulders as you are already on the way up.  The dip should therefore be at a controlled speed and the torso should be kept upright.  The bar path should be as close to vertical as possible.  Move that face back to get it out of the way. As you drive up and your feet leave the ground, seperate them for the split, with the front (left foot for me) shin being almost vertical, and toe pointing forward when you land.  The rear leg should be bent and the foot should be on the toe, not flat.  The heel of your rear leg should be in line with your rear leg and thus will be toed in slightly.  Your feet should be approximately the same width apart as they are in the squat stance, thus giving you lateral stabilization.  Sink your hips down, keeping your weight even between the back and front leg.  You should be able to pick up and move your front foot in this position without shifting your weight.  If you can't then your weight is too far forward.  

I'm leaving so much out it is just silly.  Topics such as breathing.  The re-grip of the bar before you jerk it.  The bounce out of the bottom of the squat when cleaning.  And on and on.  My attempt at reproducing some of what I learned this weekend was rather futile.  A note should also be made that I put a bit of my own spin/interpretation on some of the above details as I don't remember verbatim everything that was taught.  This is to the best of my understanding what was taught.  I'm afraid I did a poor job with some of the details and probably got a few things wrong.  Hopefully Greg won't hunt me down and destroy me.  

Overall I enjoyed this weekend.  How could you not enjoy learning the OL with other like minded souls?  The class was 30 something athletes.  I believe all but 2 were crossfiters.  There were amazing athletes there including Jolie Gentry, Tamara Holmes (who I watched C&J 190lb for a PR), and Jocelyn Forest to name a few.  And of course the coaches are incredible athletes themselves.  Aimee Anaya is a national champion and can Snatch ~200lbs!  Greg has Snatched 302lbs and C&J 360 something (I hope those numbers are accurate).  Come on!  Thats just awesome.  

Lessons learned:  

I have weak quads.  You see I can power clean heavier then I can clean.  My Power Clean PR is 225lbs, Clean PR is 195lbs.  This is backwards.  Obviously I should be able to get under a heavier bar with a clean which isn't pulled high enough to power clean, by pulling myself under it into a full depth squat.  When I am at or near PR weight on my power clean, my feet go super wide, to get a little lower.  I also push my hips forward over my feet so that my back takes the brute of the weight, instead of the quads when receiving the bar in a standard power squat because my quads aren't strong enough.  Also my Power Clean is 225lbs and my Front Squat PR is 230lbs.  This is because of the emphasis on the posterior chain in my training (low bar back squats and deadlifts).  So relative to my front squat and olympic squat (which I've never done) I have a strong 1st and 2nd pull and I can get under a load that I am not strong enough to then recover from.  This apparently is a very common issue among the crossfiters that Amiee and Greg encounter.  So it looks like if I want to continue progressing with the Olympic Lifts one of the major areas I need to improve on is my quad strength which will largely be done by Olympic Squatting (high bar) and also by Front Squatting.

A little more flexibility for the bottom of the squat would be a good thing.  I need to spend some time regularly hanging out in the bottom of the squat in order to improve this position.

So I did work up to a max single rep C&J:

Clean and Jerk

135 x 2
155 x 1
175 x 1
198 x 1 (PR + 13lb)

The hardest part was the recovery (front squat portion of the clean).  The Jerk felt strong.  I could have tried heavier but decided to walk away with my 13lb PR and call it a weekend.  Not a bad way to end the seminar!

I now want to build an Olympic Lifting platform.  I also want to buy Werksan economy bumpers.  A Werksan training bar would be pretty sweet too!  I like my Pendlay training bar, but the Werksan bar was very cool.  Much more noticeable though was the difference between my wright bumpers, a set of black and a set of colored all in pounds, and the Werksan economy bumpers.  Even though they are the lowest end that Werksan carries, I thought they were slick!  Pendlay is coming out with some new bumpers though.  Actually his new training bumpers are out and some competition grade bumpers are in the works.  His prices trump everything else in a major way.  Tough to argue with those kinds of savings.  But its also tough to argue with the name, reputation and quality of Werksan.  We'll have to see what ends up happening with all that.

An argument can absolutely be made that the Snatch and Clean & Jerk are THE best lifts on the planet.  If I was forced to chose, I'd have a hard time choosing anything better.  The ability to pick up a heavy load and put it over head is certainly functional.  And the way these two lifts accomplish this produces such a powerful athlete.  More powerful then any other training you can find.  They will also make you wicked strong.  And flexible.  Maybe more so then any other worthwhile sport other then gymnastics.  And their complexity gives them that degree of timing, coordination, and balance that you don't get from most other movements in the gym. 

If you couldn't tell, I'm down with the sickness.  I've got the OL bug.  In short, I'm on the path to get better at the Olympic Lifts.  

I can't think of much else that will improve my fitness more then to spend some concentrated time to that end.  Just so happens that it also falls in line with working on my greatest weakness which is pressing strength.  Going overhead with heavy weight can only improve this.  I will continue doing my cash in and cash outs of ring dips and HSPU's to focus on two particular pressing weaknesses.  But alas, I believe its time I shift away from Crossfit Strength Bias for a spell.  I want to be clear though.  CFSB has been nothing but great for my fitness.  It has made me stronger.  It has improved my metcons.  I've really enjoyed it, which I find to be a very important component in a successful program.  By me switching to a cycle with an OL focus, it's not a knock on CFSB.  I plan on coming back to it in a few months.  I simply want to improve on these lifts.  I also have a documented case of "Icantstickwithaprogramforverylongitis" also commonly known as programming attention deficit disorder.  Therefore it suits me to switch things up a few times a year.  So I'm thinking of a 10 week cycle of the Catalyst Athletics WOD.  That will be 3 metcons a week so as to not loose all metabolic conditioning.  It is obviously focused around OL with the first 6 weeks being OL based  strength work and the final 4 weeks centered around the clean and jerk and snatch.  Should be an interesting journey.  I've written faaar too much then any one blogger aught to.  That is more then enough for now.

Thanks again to Greg and Aimee for a great weekend!  Now get on over to Catalyst Athletics and go to a seminar or check out their awesome website.  What a resource to the lifting community!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Split Jerk and Grace 6-12-09

Split Jerk

135 x 3
155 x 2
175 x 1
195 x 1 (PR)
205 f, f, f

Very close to hitting 205 on my second and third try.  It'll happen next time.

Power Clean

185 x 2
205 x 1
230 f, f


30 Power Clean and Push Jerk


34 seconds off my PR

I wasn't supposed to workout this morning.  This is the second workout of the day.  And its a rest week, right?  Well after months of conversation and failed attempts due to schedule conflicts, I finally talked Dave, my buddy from work into trying crossfit.  He is strong like ox.  Former full scholarship to SDSU playing football.  Today he squatted (slightly above parallel as he couldn't get full depth) 315 for 3 sets of 10.  He shoulder pressed 225 for a single rep PR.  He power cleaned 265.  And did Grace in 2:36!!  He hasn't done any cardio in 3 years or cleaned in the past 8 years.  He normally does the usual 3/4 back squat, bench, bi's and tri'sfor his workouts.  All with horrendous form.  He started out doing a set of 10 push presses that he thought were shoulder presses.  I then taught him what a shoulder press was.  While doing the first strict shoulder presses he's ever done, he said, 'You've gotta leave your ego at the door when you come into THIS gym'.  I got a good laugh out of that as I explained that was one of the tenants of crossfit, to find your weaknesses and work on them.  I chose Grace as his first wod because I knew he would excel and want to come back for more.  Afterwards he said he felt the same as he did after his first foot pursuit at work.  That did the trick.  He walked away from the gym wanting to continue doing crossfit at least once a week.  Success!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mini Cindy 6-11-09

Mini Cindy

AMRAP 10min:

5 Pullups
10 Pushups
15 Squats

7 Squats short of 10 Rounds  (PR by 4 Pushups and 8 Squats)

Small PR, but I'll take it.  Was really gunning for 10 Rounds.  My depth got called on two pushups in the final two rounds.  This definitely cost me because I was really pushing to muscular endurance failure in that final round.  I'm looking forward to the day sometime in the distant future where maybe, just maybe pushups won't be the weak link.  

Cash Out:  Max Ring Dips:  14 (+ 1 PR) Dropped down and immediately jumped back up for 15, but can't count it.  If I had done it fresh 15 would have been mine and maybe 16.  Its always nice when you know you'll be PRing the next time.

T Minus 2 days until Catalyst Athletics O-lift Seminar!  Therefore, tomorrow is a rest day.  I'm already learning a ton reading through the prep material which is pulled from Greg Everett's book 'Olympic Weightlifting; A complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches'.  I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rest Week

This will be a rest week for me.  Nothing like a little recovery to keep you fresh and lifting strong.  I'll also then go into this weekend fresh.  

This weekend I am attending the Catalyst Athletics Olympic Lifting Seminar put on by Gregg Everett and Amiee Anaya (national OL champion).  I'm stoked!

There is no substitute for good coaching.  What are you doing to improve your Olympic Lifts!??

One World Personal Training 6-8-09

Went to One World and got my second of 3 personal training classes from Chong.  

On Double Unders, I need to decrease the speed that I turn the rope, and get lots more practice!  I couldn't string any together yesterday.  Doh!

Worked on shoulder press to start out with and with a few tweaks he attempted to get me a PR:  

75 x 5
95 x 5
105 x 3
115 x 1
130 (f)

Oh well.  Got some good pointers.  First off when I took a big breath before the lift my shoulders were rising.  I kept them up and then started the lift.  Not only was I using that as a bit of momentum (not ok for a strict shoulder press), but its not as strong of a foundation to lift off of.  So I need to take a breath and have a full chest, and suck the lats down, but keep my shoulders down.  Then start the press.  Seems kinda obvious to me now, but hey thats why you get coaching.  He also taught me a little trick with opening and closing my hips ever so slightly just before the lift (which apparently is a legal way to develop the slightest bit of momentum).  

Worked on split jerks next.  I need to move quicker on the first dip part of the movement as that will lead to a more explosive drive upwards.  I need to drop lower when receiving the bar, so I don't have to drive it up as high (which will obviously lead me to be able to handle heavier weight).  My feet need to land a few inches wider too when receiving the bar in the split as this will be a more stable position rather then being so linear in one plane. 

Got a good fix on GHD situps which I wasn't aware of.  Keeping the knees slightly bent on the way down and then violently straightening them or popping them straight.  So I'll be firing my quads to initiate the upwards movement.  I was using all abs, which is a slower and weaker way to do the movement.  

I even got him to look at my deadlifts briefly.  My start position needs work.  I need to keep my shoulders from being too low/rolled forward at the set position.  Need to keep a big chest, suck the lats in, but keep my shoulders from lowering or rolling forward.  Makes sense that this is not only a stronger position to pull from, but it will keep my upper back tight which might be part of the problem of why I loose my lumbar curve.  He said he saw some softness in my upper back.  Funny that Adrian Bozman saw the same thing.... Hmmmm

Not bad for an hour long class.  Good instruction and now I have some homework to do to improve.  Thanks Chong!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Deadlift and Deadlift/Thruster 6-7-09

Ring Dips 3 x 9


275 x 5
290 x 5
305 x 5

21 - 15 - 9

Deadlift 225lb 
Thruster 95 lb 


That was tougher then I thought it would be.  1st round of 21 Deadlifts unbroken (PR).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Snatch and C2B Pullup/Wall Ball 6-5-09

5 1/2 hours in a redman suit ... though the fights were tame it wears on you after a while.

Squat Snatch

95 x 2
115 x 2
125 x 1 (old PR 4-9-09)
135 x f 1
140 x f 1
145 x f f 1 (PR +20lb)
155 f f f dumb dumb dumb to make 10lb jump

Did this in running shoes at the PD.  Not ideal conditions, right?  Seemed to work well.  Not sure what kind of bars they use but they spin like gangbusters.  My second pull felt strong and I just concentrated on keeping my core tight, active shoulders and being super solid in the bottom when catching the weight.  Back to back ginormous power based PR's.  I think I could get used to this.

21 - 15 - 9

Wallball 20lb 10'
C2B Pullups


Couldn't get in a good rhythm with pullups.  Need to work on stringing together larger sets of C2B pullups, when gassed it becomes quite difficult. 

Cash Out:

1 HSPU head to abmat (PR) - Greatest ROM on a HSPU so far... getting real close to a legit HSPU

2 x 5 HSPU Negatives head to abmat

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Shoulder Press and Power Clean 6-4-09

Anatoly Grigor'evich Pisarenko - Crazy strong Russian Olympic Weightlifter getting nasty.

Shoulder Press

65 x 7
80 x 5
95 x 5
105 x 3
115 x 1
127.5 x 1 (PR by 2.5lbs)

My PR on the shoulder press has been 125 since 8-22-08.  When you have only been training for a year and a half, to break a 10 month plateau on one of the foundational lifts is rather huge. Even if it is only a 2.5lb improvement.  I couldn't be much happier.  But wait...there is more.  After that PR, I was feeling rather like Leonidas at the Hot Gates ready to do battle with Xerxes and his millions.  I was warming up for my metcon of every minute on the minute for 15 minutes do 2 power cleans with 85% of your single rep max any failed reps and you do 5 burpees during the rest period.  That would have put the weight at 165, but I decided that based on the Norcal Qualifier workout where I did 185lb cleans 26 times in 10 minutes, that 165 wasn't near enough.  So I warmed up to do 185 and in doing so, 185lbs just felt super light.  So on a whim I decided to switch it up and just go after a new one rep max.  Stoooopid right?  Well sometimes you just got to listen to the ol' body.

Power Clean

185 x 1
195 x 1 (previous PR)
200 x 1
215 x 1
225 (f) (f) 1 (30lb PR!) 

195  5 x 2

Are you kidding me??  30lb PR???  Where did that come from?!?  Compare to 195 on 5-9-09 where I had been up for about 19 or 20 hours when I set that PR.  So this time being fresh, I figured I definitely had 200 in me, a good chance for 205...but 225?  The form was not clean by any means.  My feet went super wide, and I caught the weight under the usual rack position at about nipple height.  Yikes.  But the weight went up and I got aggressive with it, slamming myself under the bar, and finishing the lift. . .  So I was Leonidas for the night, minus the beard, blood, guts and Greeks.  I'll take it!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

OHS 6-2-09


21-15-15 Head to stacked 45lb, 35lb bumper and abmat.  I think I'll switch out the 35lb bumper with a 25lb bumper next time.  Or maybe even just the 45lb and abmat.  I'll have to play with it and see.


95 x 5
115 x 5
135 x 5 

Had a bit more in me, but stopped there.  No metcon for today.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Squat Clean and Freddy's Revenge 6-1-09

Cash In:  Ring Dips 9-8-8

Squat Clean

135 x 5
145 x 5

I was planning on working heavier but was feeling a twinge in my left hamstring at the bottom of the squat so I stopped there.

Freddy's Revenge

5 Rounds:

5 Split Jerk 155lbs (185 is rx)
10 Burpees

10:50 (PR)

Compare to 12:30 on 12-07-09

Did the first few push jerks, then switched to split jerks.  Broke the Jerks 2-2-1 every round.