Month: November 2010

Snatches and Cleans

By Mike

We spent another Sunday working on Olympic lifting, which is always a good time. My traps were still aching from Elizabeth this week, so shrugging the weight was a bit of a challenge and prevented me from doing anything really heavy.

That being said, it’s obvious at this point that I have fixed a lot of small errors in the snatch. I’ve stopped jumping forward and T-rexing the bar, but most importantly I am way faster under the weight. The following weeks will be filled with snatch balances—and more snatch balances. My current record is 126 lb., but Mike thinks I should be drilling 150 no problem considering I can overhead squat 180. I agree! I’m excited to see where this takes my Olympic lifting.

I also worked on some cleans, but the combination of soreness and tightness in my upper body stopped me from getting my elbows around fast, and everything looked ugly. It felt ugly too. We have decided based on my schedule and how the last few Sundays have gone, that Sunday will be used for gymnastics, skills and speed work. The heavy stuff happens mid-week. I’m happy with the adjustment, and I think I’ll see some gains as a result!

This week is a light and fun recovery week. I’m planning to hit some CrossFit WODs I’ve seen on the Rogue and Again Faster websites. As well, I’m thinking about taking a run at Grace. I’ll keep you posted on the results!

So today I decided to take a run at Elizabeth, and realistically today would have been the first time as RX’d. The last time I did it, many of the ring dips should have been discounted for not being locked out at the top, and some of them were jumping dips. Today that was not the case.

I didn’t really have a strategy for attacking this WOD other than to simply to do it as fast as possible–under 20 minutes? Mike and I knew going in the ring dips would hold me up and I could crush the cleans, and that was exactly what happened. The first set of 21 cleans was fast, and I only broke once to re-grip the bar after losing my hook grip. After my first 3 ring dips I knew it was going to be slow, and I looked at Mike and said, “I can’t do this”. He was encouraging but firm when he told me to bag the attitude and get back on the rings even if it was only for doubles and singles. And I did.

My resolve returned and I finished in 19 minutes. The cleans went well: the sets of 15 and 9 were fast and unbroken (a pause to re-grip in the 15s). The ring dips were slow and steady. If I tried to get back on any faster than my body was ready for, I would fail and miss a rep. And these missed reps mentally and physically worked me over. I was stuck standing staring at rings, willing my triceps to do the work my mind was telling them to. It was infuriating that I simply could not get the work done any faster. When all was said and done, I gave it everything I was capable of, and I walked away with a new RX’d WOD under my belt.

Afterward I worked on pistols and kipping toes-to-bar. There was a time when these movements completely eluded me, so it truly excites when I bounce up from a pistol. I still need to use an 8-lb. weight on my left leg, but I’m giving myself until the new year to get that done.The workout finished with weighted GHD sit-ups, 3 x 12 with 15 lb.

Tonight I am heading out to a wedding social for some fellow CrossFit [204] athletes. I hesitate a lot when it comes to “going out” because I’m always worrying about the next day and how it will affect my training. Having a bit of fun in moderation can only make me stronger. Besides, I can use the ice cubes at the bar to cool down the burning rash of missing skin on my arms from the ring dips.

Goood times!

Run, Squat, Stretch

By Mike

Nov. 25, 2010–Winnipeg–Winter has officially arrived here in Winnipeg, and for now I’m happy with the white wonderland. The piles of snow give me extra hurdles to jump over and plow through during my outdoor running excursions. On Wednesday that is exactly what I did! I only had about 25 minutes to get my run in, so I headed outside for a quick and snowy run through Armstrong’s Point.

It turned out to be way more fun and challenging than I had anticipated. The ground was freshly covered with wet, mucky and unplowed snow, which forced me to work extra hard for every step. The sky was pelting me with snow (it felt more like hail), and by the end of the run I looked like a red-eyed raccoon. The run itself was fast and picked up momentum with every minute. I didn’t want it to end! It reminded me of the old days, when I was weak but could bang out a 19-minute 5K no problem.  I’m happy to feel that speed and endurance returning.

At home, I stretched and worked with my tennis ball, doing drills from Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD website. This has become an essential component of my training, thanks to Mike.

Today was light squats (low-bar back squat, 3×5 at 165), followed by good mornings (3×5 at 135, 155, 175). Next I worked on my chest to bar pull-ups and got 3×10. I haven’t worked on these, so I was pleased there wasn’t a significant drop-off. I finished with 3 sets of max push-ups, (20, 20, 12), and 3 sets of GHD sit-ups (10, 12, 15). My push-ups were a bit weak, but I think that was to be expected after the pull-ups. I also did stretching and mobility work at home.

A challenge I face everyday is getting enough rest. I go to school full time and work two jobs. I often have 18-hour days. Sometimes I have to make a decision on whether I need an extra day of rest simply so I can function or if I can push through and still get a quality workout. It’s important to me when I’m at school or work that I am giving my best with my full attention and all my energy. I’m creating a future for myself in a profession that I am very exited to be a part of. If that suffers as a result of over-training, then I’m not doing anyone, especially myself, any favors.

One of the greatest accomplishments I have achieved in my training is recognizing the value of a day off!

Handstand push-up work

4-Minute Mini-Workouts:

1 set of stairs + 5 KB swings, 5 squats per landing

5 pull-ups + 5 push-ups

2 laps (agility ladder) + 20 sit-ups

Row/sled push

5 med-ball slams + 5 tire jumps