Friday, October 30, 2009

OCT 29 2009 - Over Head Squats

For the second day in a row my time management skills were lacking. I found myself hurrying into a workout. I did continuous clock overhead squats, thinking it'd wear me out in 6 or 7 minutes.

Continuous Clock Over Head Squats:
Set a timer to beep every minute.
Do 1 OHS in the first minute,
2 OHS in the second minute,
3 OHS in the third minute,
and so on...
Until you can't complete the required number of reps before the timer beeps.

I used a 35 kg bar, completed 10 minutes and started minute eleven before my wrist got angry with me. It definitely needs strengthening, but I'm also wondering if I was using too wide a grip on the bar.

OCT 28 2009 - Quick Kettlebell Complex

I was in a hurry and borrowed this short ketlebell complex from Catalyst Athletics. The word on the web is that they really know their stuff for Olympic lifting. I'm considering trying their posted workouts once they start a new cycle. I hate to jump in halfway through. Here's their site - it's definitely worth a look.

As Many Rounds As Possible in 5 minutes:
2 Left Arm Cleans
2 Left Arm Push Press
2 Left Arm Overhead Lunges
2 Right Arm Cleans
2 Right Arm Push Press
2 Right Arm Overhead Lunges

I used a 20 kg kettlebell. It was heavy enough to drench me in sweat in 7 rounds. Catalyst posted this to be done after several sets of Olympic barbell work. Since I was using it differently (not immediately after strength work), I probably should have used a 24 kg kettlebell. Next time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

OCT 27 2009 - Tabata Evil

In order to shore up one of my major weaknesses (overhead lifting), I've decided to incorporate the olympic lifts into the front end of my workouts. Three days a week I'll work quickly up to a heavy single rep in snatch, then in clean & jerk. The other days I'll do sets of 3 reps with less weight and focus on perfect technique each rep.

I hit a PR of 57 kg in the snatch today. Clean & jerk topped out at 65 kg. Then, it was on to my favorite heavy lift - the deadlift!

Deadlift: Work up to a 3 rep max
Rest 3 min
Tabata Push Press (35kg)
Rest 1 min
Tabata Chest-to-Bar Pullups
*(A Tabata interval = 8 rounds of [20s work, 10s rest] for max reps each round.)

My deadlifts topped out at 125 kg today. One of the reasons I switched to kilograms is to avoid beating myself up over lost strength. I could do the conversions, but am purposely avoiding it to keep my focus on making progress. Comparing myself to my past PRs would only sap my energy and focus.

The Tabata intervals were Hellish, as expected. The push press went fairly well with 8,8,8,6,5,6,5,4 reps. Pullups were just dismal: 12,4,0,0,0,0,0,0. The last six rounds I couldn't get my chest to the bar. I was still getting my chin over the bar 4 or 5 times per round, but didn't have the strength through the end range of motion to hit the bar. The sharp drop off tells me that raw strength is the limiter. In order to improve my pullups most efficiently I'll be incorporating weighted pullups to improve my strength.

The possibilities for improvement are wide open!

Monday, October 26, 2009

OCT 26 2009 - Restorative Chocolate Cake

Today was a rest day. A time for recuperation, reflection, and chocolate cake. No conclusive studies have been done which prove the restorative properties of chocolate cake, but it clearly has psychological benefits as yet not fully understood by science. Besides, as Bill Cosby says, "Eggs are in chocolate cake. It must be healthy."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

OCT 25 2009 - Reunion with "Fran"

Today I tried my hand at Olympic lifting. I'm trying to get the hang of the full squat snatch and clean & jerk. I worked up to a heavy single rep of each, then buckled down for a familiar workout - "Fran." It's been a while, so I had to scale it down a bit.

15 Thrusters (35kg)
15 Pullups
12 Thrusters
12 Pullups
9 Thrusters
9 Pullups

For those not familiar with CrossFit, a thruster (a.k.a. squat press) is a front squat with a push press at the top. I scaled the weight back to 35 kg. I also cut the reps back and limited myself to two breaths if I had to break up a set into smaller groups (which I did on pulups). My goal in reducing the number of reps was to limit the time spent resting, thus keeping intensity up. I finished in 6m:50s. Nothing earthshaking, but I think it'll help me with my pullups. We'll see.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

OCT 24 2009 - Sad Little Pullups

I was looking to do something quick and intense for my upper body today.

5 Rounds for time:
5 Pullups
5 Ring Dips
5 Ball Slams (20#)

Having just returned to Chattanooga, I'm taking a week to just play around and try some things I missed out on during my summer away. But in the back of my mind, I'll be mulling over a long-term goal to guide my exercise programming. Today's workout made my currrent weakness in pullups glaringly apparent. It took me 7m:18s to finish, about 2 minutes longer than I expected, with the pullups taking by far the longest. I've gone soft from using a fixed bar, and the swinging pullup bar here at home is making me work harder.

I'd like to be able to knock out 33 chest-to-bar kipping pullups on my 33rd birthday, which is only about five months away. So I'll be putting more work into strengthening my pullup. I guess that's goal #1.

Why the blog?

A couple friends have asked me for workout plans, new ideas, or nutrition advice. I like to help, and sometimes I find that I have a perspective they haven't heard before. Eventually I figured it'd be easier for me to start putting it all in one easily-accessible place on the web. (Yea, technology!)

Also, I occasionally get incredulous looks when I tell someone about my latest workout. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll be posting what I do each day. It may not be what I'd recommend for anyone else, it's just what I'm doing, based on my current goals.

Feel free to share feedback or questions in the comments section.

Thanks to all the folks in the CrossFit community for providing tons of information and motivation. Anyone who's not familiar with CrossFit should check out the "Start Here" link on their website - The exercise videos really helped get me started.

Before I get to today's workout, I have to share yesterday's since I'm pretty happy with it.

As Many Rounds As Possible in 12 minutes:
5 Deadlifts (85kg)
400m steep Bike Hill Climb

I used the hill in front of my house, which gains 98 vertical feet in 400 meters. The workout brought to my attention just how much work a rider's arms and torso do on a hill climb. I just barely got three full rounds in 12 minutes, and was very happy the beeping of my timer saved me from more deadlifts! By the way, don't ever worry about looking dorky while you're working out - it can't be any worse than me doing deadlifts in a bike helmet & cleated shoes.