Saturday, July 16, 2011


In June I found and played with rocks in the Canyon. I did a Turkish get-up and rock-loading AMRAP, then a 100 meters of walking lunges while carrying a big rock. The walking lunges were tough; I set the rock down 9 times, which meant I had to do 36 burpees - 4 each time.
CrossFit Flagstaff followed the CF Games Regionals WODs & I did WODs 1, 2, 5 & 6. Wod #2 was a Thruster ladder, starting at 145#(which was a PR for me) and making 10 pound jumps every 30 seconds. I got up to 155#(PR!) on the ladder and failed at 165# during the workout. After a few minutes of rest, I was able to lift 165#(PR!). I was pretty happy with my performance on #5 - a WOD called Amanda. It's 9-7-5 rep rounds of muscle-ups and snatches. I scaled to 115# snatches and kept the rings low for my muscle-ups. I got to the last round in the 15 minute cap, but still had 2 muscle-ups and 5 snatches left. I was not disappointed, though, since it was the first time I'd done muscle-ups as part of a timed workout.
I made a sandbag to use in the Canyon and played around with shouldering and squatting with the bag, get-ups, and threw in some burpees and handstand pushups for good measure. I was pretty fired up at the completion of my 5/3/1 Squat cycle, when I squatted 103kg for 8 reps.


Super-excited! Attended my first CrossFit Level 1 course and became a trainer. Set a 2 minute PR in Fran at the course - 8:28 as Rx'd. The following week I put up a PR CrossFit Total (725), with a 5# Squat PR(260). I started a 5/3/1 cycle of Snatch and Back Squat.
I completed Linda(10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of DL, Bench, Clean) for the first time. As Rx'd, my weights were 257# DL, 171# Bench, and 130# Cleans. It took me 40:04 and I tweaked a little lower back muscle on the last rep of the 5s round. The little man in my head said to rest between reps 4 & 5, but I did not listen. I had to take a few days off from lifting.
The following week I did my first Throwdown competition WOD. It included my first-ever 3" deficit handstand pushups. They were hard. On Memorial Day I participated in a fundraising event called Meorial Day Murph, and set a 2 minute pr on Murph(1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, 1 mile run) with a 20# vest. I broke the calisthenics into 50 sets of 2 pullups, 4 pushups, 6 squats. It seemed to work well.


Finished up the CrossFit Games Open Sectionals workouts. A delay in the web function and some work schedule adjustments let me complete all 6 WODs.
Finished up a 5/3/1 cycle for Clean & jerk, Back Squat, Deadlift and Press.
On April 18th, I did the Tactical Strength Cahallenge: a 1RM deadlift(156kg), max reps strict pullups(14), and max reps 24kg Kettlebell Snatches in 5 minutes(70).
A few other rangers and I ran at the Warrior Dash in Phoenix. It was my longest run in Vibram 5 Fingers (3.4 miles) and beat up my feet quite a bit. The course was mostly hardened chunks of dirt, about 3 or 4 inches wide and poky. I was foolishly expecting mud and soft dirt at a mud run in the desert.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Week 9 - Flag, March 30 to April 4

Still recovering from a respiratory infection. Mainly dealing with leftover congestion and drainage. Abs are pretty ripped from coughing last week. Energy levels are low. Took a week off from 5/3/1 cycles. Did the second CF Games wod and a couple other metcons at CF Flagstaff.

3/31 - AMRAP 15 minutes:
9 Deadlifts (155#)
12 Pushups
15 Box Jumps (24")
8 rounds + DL + 6 PU = 303 reps

4/2 - Team Odd Object Chipper at CF Flag - 24:58
800m Med Ball Run, 60m Sled Drag, 60m Sled Push, 100 Air Squats,
200m Skip, 100 Jumping Pullups, 100 Situps, 100 Push Press (45#),
20' Rope Climb

4/3 - AMRAP 5 min: 8 Thrusters(65#), 5 Pullups - 6
5 min rest
AMRAP 5 min: 15 Double-Unders, 10 Situps - 5
5 min rest
AMRAP 5 min: 60' Sprint, 8 KB Swings(53#), 5 Pullups - 6+Run+1KBS

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week 8 - Smote with Illness

I was struck down by a mighty virus. Sitting around in bed, I had plenty of time to reflect on how I should have gotten more consistent sleep when I was lifting. Aslo, I reflected on the plight of Biorn, a fellow bearded man:

The Saga Of Biorn from The Animation Workshop on Vimeo.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Week 7 - Irish Car Bomb PR

I had my first-ever Irish car bomb. The beverage, that is. Thanks to everyone who came to our Saint Patrick's Day party, it was a fun group. I finished my first full 5/3/1 cycle.

Day 1 - CrossFit Sectionals WOD:
10 min AMRAP (30 Double-Unders, 15 Power Santches)
4 rounds + 22 Double-Unders = 202 reps
Saint Patrick's Day Bacon & Guinness binge
PR: Consumed First Irish Car Bomb

Day 2 - 5/3/1 Phase 2b
C&J: 47kg x 3, 54kg x 3, 60kg x 5
SQT: 66kg x 3, 76kg x 3, 86kg x 10

Day 3 - Hike @ S. Rim
Day 4 - Hike @ Sedona & 5/3/1 Phase 2b
Deadlift: 100kg x 3, 115kg x 3, 130kg x 7
Floor Press: 50kg x 3, 60kg x 3, 70kg x 10

Day 5 - 5/3/1 Phase 3
On The Minute x 10: 2 Cleans(50kg), 1 Seated Box Jump(24")
C&J: 50kg x 5, 57kg x 3, 64kg x 4
SQT: 72kg x 5, 82kg x 3, 92kg x 7

Day 6 - 5/3/1 Phase 3
Deadlift: 107kg x 5, 122kg x 3, 137kg x 6
Floor Press: 56kg x 5, 66kg x 3, 76kg x 7

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 6 - The Big IG

Hanging out at Indian Garden. I had access to a pullup bar and a couch. Did the first two Mobility WODs: 10 minute squat and hip flexor couch party! Had two days of frequency method pullups (1 to 3 every time I went through the doorway). Played with some handstand pushups. And cheered for my nimble wife, who accomplished a pretty cool gymnastic goal this week - doing a backwards roll into a handstand.
I think she's ready to scissor-kick some bad guys as a member of Charlie's Angels!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week 5 - A New Take on 5/3/1

Frankly, my previous attempt to program six days of heavy lifting at home was too ambitious. My back injury two weeks ago was a big, flashing neon sign warning me to re-think my plan. In order to give myself rest days during my home weeks and still do some heavy lifting, I've decided to use a modification of Wendler's 5/3/1 program. Each day of lifting is 3 sets at increasing percentages of 1RM, two exercises per day, and I'm still squishing 2 weeks of the heavy lifting cycles into six days. As long as I get the heavy lifts in, I'm not going to worry about conditioning workouts or supplemental exercises - I'll only add those if I'm feeling good.

Day 1 - 3 sets of 5+ reps
Clean & Jerk: 44kg x5, 52kg x 5, 59kg x 5
Squat: 62kg x 5, 72kg x 5, 82kg x 5

Day2 - 3 sets of 5+ reps
Deadlift: 94kg x 5, 107kg x 5, 122kg x 6
Floor Press: 50kg x 5, 52kg x 5, 57kg x 11
CF Flag WOD: Team Runny Cindy (w/ Mark) - 19 rounds +5 pullups, 2 pushups

Day 3 - Rest

Day 4 - 3 sets of 3+ reps
Clean & Jerk: 46kg x 3, 54kg x 3, 60kg x 4
Squat: 66kg x 3, 76kg x3, 86kg x 6

Day 5 - 3 sets of 3+ reps
Deadlift: 100kg x 3, 115kg x 3, 130kg x 6
Floor Press: 50kg x 3, 54 kg x 3, 60kg x 15 reps
Assistance work: Ring Dip Bottoms, TGUs, False Grip Ring Rows

I may need to increase the weights on the floor press, now that I'm taking it off a pseudo-rack instead of starting from the floor.

Day 6 - Celebratory 1st Anniversary workout with my wife at CrossFit Flagstaff!
AMRAP in 15 minutes of : 15 chest-to-bar pullups, 30 seconds of L-sitting (5 rounds)

5/3/1 Thoughts:
I like the flexibility that the final set (of as many reps as possible) introduces to the program. It means I don't have to walk as thin a line between making progress and overtraining. It also gives me a way to see if my 1RM estimates are way off.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week 4 - River Recovery

I spent the week on a trip down the Colorado River. I got to eat large quantities of food and sleep about 9 hours per night. The boatmen let me row a few times, and on the windy days it was a workout. North Canyon Rapid was the first rapid I ran, and I did not manage to flip the boat. It was a grand time: meeting new people, killing some exotic plant species, and seeing the Canyon from a new vantage point. As a bonus, my back feels good enough for some serious lifting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 3 - Flag: Injury Strikes!

The first two days back in Flagstaff were busy enough that I delayed working out. So, naturally, on day three I attmpted to do to much. After five heavy (70kg) clean & jerks and fifteen light (40kg) snatches, I tried to find my 1RM thruster. 60kg was no problem; 64kg stopped in front of my nose. I guess I fought it too long, since my back siezed up a couple hours later and didn't stop yelling at me for a couple days.

I rested, hit my back with contrast showers, and rested some more. By day six I got it to the point where I could enjoy some neighborhood cross-country skiing with my lady.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Week 2 - Canyon (Feb 8-15)

This week was mostly backcountry time - which meant limited facilities and food. I hiked for five of the eight days, and only got two mediocre workouts in. On day four I worked on one-leg-squat negatives and assisted one-leg-squats in a doorway. On day seven I did four rounds of alternating L-holds and back-extension holds, then five sets of handstand holds. All the holds were for 30 second each, with 30 seconds of rest in between.

The hiking was fun, especially on days seven and eight, when I got to scramble around some side canyons and help with a litter carry-out back on the Bright Angel trail. The above pic is Soap Creek - definitely Jawa country. Below is the first ram I've seen in the park - he's just about dead-center, but hard to spot.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week 1 - Flagstaff

This week was as much about feeling out my recovery ability as anything else. I've shamelessly stolen the daily conditioning workouts from CrossFit Football's excellent site. After reading a comment by one of the regulars, I decided to try the conditioning before the heavy lifting. I like it. Five minutes after the hellish CFFB workout I'm completely warmed up and fired-up enough to tackle heavy weights.

Day 1 - Having never done the Floor Press before, I decided to figure that out on day one. My best results came from loading the bar on top of two plates to get it just shy of the bottom position for the lift. The range of motion is less than a bench press - it's the same at the top, but the bottom of the lift is much different. My triceps came into full contact with the floor while the bar was still a couple inches above my chest. It leaves me curious how using the floor press will affect my bench press 1RM.

Day 2 -
For Time: 50 Ball Slams (20#), 50 Double-Unders, 10 Ball Slams = 4:54
Back Squat 94kg x 5 reps x 3 sets
Press 40kg x 5 reps x 3 sets

Day 3 -
For Time: 10 Rounds [3 Wt Pullups (+8kg), 3 Box Jumps (28"), 10m Sprint, :40 Rest] = 10:02
Snatch 50kg x 1 x 5
Power Snatch 52kg x 1, 54kg x 1

I ran out of mental energy for the full snatches. I just wasn't aggressive enough at getting myself all the way under the bar quickly. It was probably exacerbated by working out in a cluttered garage, worrying where the bar would land if I bailed.

Day 4 - Cleaned up the garage to give myself room to drop heavy weights. I think it'll do wonders for my peace of mind. Also, I finished assembly on my light weight for distance - my first Highland Games practice implement. Just to show off, here's a pic:
Garage Gym, Pullup bar (with 2" rolly-grip) & barbell rack, Rings & various heavy things.
I capped this night off with a paleo meat feast among friends.

Day 5 - AMRAP 9 min: [7 KB snatch Left, 7KB Snatch Rt, 3 Box Jumps] =10+
Clean & Jerk: 20kg x 3, 40kg x 3, 50 kg, 60kg
Power Clean & Jerk: 64kg, 70kg, 80kg(F), 74kg, 76kg

Clean Grip Power Snatch: 40kg x 3

Throwing Practice - 16# Hammer (43 ft), 28# WFD (24 ft)

Day 6 -2 Rounds:[50 L Hammer Swings, 40kg Suitcase carry R, Suitcase carry L, 50 R Hammer Swings], Rest 2 min b/t rounds = 4:15, 4:15

Back Squat 5RM: 100kg
Floor Press 5RM: 66kg

Deadlift 5RM: 140kg

Deadlift 1RM: 160kg (PR! Also, at 77.2kg, this was my first double-bodyweight deadlift!)

I was relying on a faulty memory to order the days of lifting. Next time, I'll more closely follow the exercise order in a program from 70s Big. I think I'll have more success with the oly lifts if I put them the day before the squatting. At least I got the deadlift in the right place.

Who Invented the Week, Anyway?

All the lifting programs I've looked at assume one thing: that I'm on a weekly schedule. Most assume that I have access to a barbell at least 3 days a week. Since this is definitely not true for me, I'm looking at making a hybrid heavy lifting & gymnastics program. In the vein of a deadlift & burpee Tabata mash-up I'm hoping that I can alternate each week of barbell work with a week of gymnastics work.

Since I've been away from consistent barbell work for a while, I'm going to begin with something approximating a novice progression on my home weeks. I figure I have the recovery ability to squat heavy twice a week, press once, floor press once, and deadlift once. So I'll do a squat and a press variant toward the beginning and end of my home week, deadlift at the end, and do some olympic lifts in the middle - along with one active recovery day. Since I'm signed up to compete at the Prescott Highland Games in May, my active recovery will be skill practice with throwing implements. Or possibly ultimate frisbee.

In the field, I'll be doing gymnastic progressions for one-leg-squats and planches; adding levers when I'm near a pullup bar and handstand pushups when I'm near a wall. I've been browsing the excellent tutorials at and a site called Gymnastic Bodies. I'm sure that increased balance, spinal stabilization, and body awareness will aid my barbell lifting. My hope is that the planches and one-leg-squats will be difficult enough to contribute to my lifting strength as well.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Challenge

Since going work in Grand Canyon, my strength training has become challenging. It's hard to get a squat rack down here. It's hard to get enough weight together in one place for a significant deadlift. I'm not supposed to drag big rocks around - some of them are important culturally, and others hold up the cayon walls. I'm down here for a week at a time. Sometimes I carry my food, which means getting enough protien is difficult. To top it all, I'm trying to keep up with my wife, and she's tough.

So I'm going to have to experiment with different methods. I need to lift enough and recover enough when I'm home. I need to find ways of increasing strength, or at least not losing too much during the weeks I'm hiking in the canyon.

I'm not sure what my program will end up looking like, but I know this: I will have to lift heavy. I will have to lift heavy more frequently than I have in the past. I will have to eat like a Viking, and I will have to embrace naptime. During my weeks in the canyon, I will have to accept every opportunity for strength training, no matter how silly or odd. Of course, I will have to keep my mind open to suggestions from you. Let me know what you think I should do next.