Monday, December 29, 2008

Gymnastics Strength Progressions

Today's workout

1 minute each of frog stand, ring support, bent knee hang. Complete in as short a period and as few sets as possible.

My frog stand today was weak. I completed 1 x 30 second stand that was very clean. 2-4 minutes later (I failed to keep track.) I completed another 30 second stand that was horrible. Me feet touched the ground 3-4 times. I should come up with a time penalty of some kind when this happens. Still, the first 30 second stand was the best 30 seconds I've done so far. I had good strong control on my hands and never touched the ground after getting in position.

After my first attempt at ring supports a few days ago (30 seconds in 10, 10, 7, 3 and I couldn't even hold myself in the position after that.), I decided to try for a shorter length hang but consistent time. I managed 10 sets of 6 seconds on a 1 minute start interval. Sets 5 through 10 were progressively worse with each set. Set 10 felt like I was slowly melting through the support and dropping out the bottom just as time ran out.

I did OK on my bent knee hangs. These are a really early step in a progression to a tuck front lever but I have a long, long way to go. My grip is weak. My abs are pretty weak. My entire shoulder girdle is beyond weak. For now, just holding 275 lbs off the ground with my knees raised as high to my abs as I can get them is plenty of work. I completed 3 sets of 20 seconds on a 1 minute start interval. I just started doing these on my new rings and this time I had the rings just high enough that in a hang, my feet and behind were not touching the ground. This provided great feedback as I fatigued in set 2 helping me increase my pull as I started touching the ground. Knowing the feedback was there in set 3 kept me strong through a rough 20 seconds. my forearms are still so pumped that typing is difficult 30 minutes later.

So, call it 60 second frog stand in 4 minutes, 60 second support in 10 minutes, 60 second bent knee hang in 3 minutes. I'll be trying to work this 3 minute workout (in 20 minutes) in 4 days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. I'm going to try to fit in some running and CrossFit workouts throughout the week as well.

Here's to strength, balance, resolve, self awareness and determination. I hope this holiday season finds you happy and on the path to enlightenment.

Concrete Goals

I have a tendency to add vague goals with no way to measure completion. Instead of having a goal of “learn gymnastics” on 43 Things, I’ve opted for specific skills based goals. I’m currently working on 3 gymnastics strength exercises that should help me progress into more difficult skills down the road – frog stand, bent knee hang, and ring support.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gymnastics Seminar for CrossFitters

CrossFit St. Charles organized a gymnastics seminar. (Video here: that is me hanging from the rope before the video starts.) It was a day of great fun and very hard work, especially for a big guy like me. At the end of the day, I was so tired I could barely stand.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Replacing Push-ups

Unfortunately, by the end of the second week, the 100 Push-Up challenge left me miserable and hurting all the time. Fortunately, I haven't given up on getting fit, just on the challenge.

I've been doing some miscellaneous CrossFit workouts, scaled to the buttercup versions. I've done a few 1 mile runs. I did a one day gymnastics class. (video here) And for the last couple weeks, I've been working on front planche and front lever progressions.

The progressions are awesome. I call them my 2 minute workout that takes more than 2 minutes to complete. I'm currently up to 2 sets of 30 second plus frog stands and 4 sets of 15 second starting tuck levers. I barely break the plane of vertical with my hips right now but it is a start. My progress (from 6 second frog stands and 3 second front tuck/hangs) has been awesome. My current goals are a 60 second frog stand and 5 second tuck/hangs where I raise my hips at least 6 inches.

If anyone knows gymnastics flexibility progressions, please drop me a line. I haven't found anything good on starting gymnastics as an adult or on the skills for early (1 - 4) gymnastics levels.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Starting Over (again and again and again...)

After months of inactivity, save the occasional bike ride at work, I'm trying again. I'm back up around my peak weight of 280 lbs. My diet has gone down the drains. It is frustrating to have achieved so much for it to all go away. But I'm starting over. I swear I am.

This week, I did the buttercup versions of the CrossFit WODs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday courtesy of BrandX and their scaled workouts. I'm trying hard to pace myself so I didn't time the workouts. Keep in mind, the buttercup versions look almost nothing like their bigger sisters. Helen is one of the signature CrossFit, push for sub-5 minute times, workouts and Nicole is a killer 20 minute max rounds completed with max rep sets of pull-ups. Two very different workouts but the buttercup versions look similar.
Helen (buttercup)
3 rounds
Run 200 meters
8 lb swings (1 gallon tea jug)
6 body rows

Nicole (buttercup)
3 rounds
Run 200 meters
12 body rows

Run 5k (buttercup)
I'm running 1 mile later today.

And to top things off, I'm going to a 7 hour gymnastics class on Sunday, courtesy of CrossFit St. Charles.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

one hundred push ups

I've picked a short term fitness goal. I'm going to try the one hundred push ups challenge. A 6 week program to get you from where you are to 100 consecutive push ups. It sounds like fun.

I took the initial test and managed 16 push ups. This wasn't a max effort as I left a few in the tank but it was enough to figure out where to start in the course.

I thank the new site of CrossFit St. Charles for introducing me to the challenge. It sounds like a good way to ease back into my workouts.

On the Bike Again

Back in June, I started working for a new company. Voxitas is primarily a business voice over IP company and I'm doing general software and web development. A couple guys at Voxitas have bicycles at the office and try to go riding as much as 3 times a week. Voxitas is in downtown Saint Louis so they ride down to the riverfront and take a bike trail there.

I finally brought my bike in so I could join them and schedule craziness ensued. I've had my bike there for probably 5 or 6 weeks and yesterday was only the second ride since I brought my bike in.

One of the guys who rides is an avid cyclist. He rides with a group on the weekends and is in much better shape on a bicycle than anyone else. All distance estimates in this post are based on his experience.

There were 3 of us for my first ride. I believe we rode about 12 miles in just over an hour. The trail is smooth and there is little elevation change. On the way back, with about 3/4 of a mile to go, we do have to climb a small hill that seems like a major challenge to me right now. This ride seemed pretty easy though I was working just about the whole time. The hill left me completely wiped out at the end and I was glad to get off my bike. 12 miles is what I was riding to work a couple years ago so I was pretty pleased to see we kept the same pace I had then even if it is a lot easier route than I rode back then.

My second ride was yesterday. There were only me and the experienced cyclist. We rode about 18 miles with me setting the pace the whole way. Those of you who know me know that I suck at pacing. 18 miles is half again as far as I've ridden at any one time in close to 15 years. I think we finished the 18 miles in about 1 hour and 40 minutes. With 80% of the ride complete, I remembered my Alexander technique training and tried to ride with less stress and tension - too little, too late. When we finished, my whole body was singing with exhaustion. Arms, legs, neck, back, feet, hands, everything was burning. Major blood vessels in my neck were radiating pain like they were fit to burst. My forehead was throbbing. Now, a day later, I can barely wait to do it again.

It is nice to finally be back on my bicycle. When I stopped two years ago, I had nearly passed out on my bike and I was headed in the wrong direction fast. So much has happened since then. I've taken a class in fencing. Studied capoeira for a month. Worked out with a personal trainer for about 6 months. Run a couple official road races. Discovered CrossFit.

Of everything, my trainer and CrossFit have had the most long term effect. My trainer helped me go from nothing to a functional fitness foundation. I probably couldn't have gotten there without her help.

And CrossFit changed everything. My whole understand of what it means to push and to work hard has changed. Mental barriers where I would just stop before, I now see aren't even mileposts to what I'm capable of. CrossFit is what I've missed most in the last nine months and what I'm most looking forward to doing again. I'm saving for my first pair of gymnastic rings and I'm fighting to overcome habitual lethargy.

It is great to be back on my bike. 45 lbs down, 30 lbs up. This is just the start of things to come but I'm optimistic, and until I hit the hill again, I'm happy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Push-ups, No Letting Me Down Easy

I got a fair bit of exercise Saturday in the pool. Lots of handstands and spinning in circles, etc. Monday, after I'd thought I was in bed for good, I got up to work out. I wanted something easy, no equipment, but challenging. I settled on 100 push-ups. It took me between 45 and 60 minutes, I think. I started with sets of 10, resting between sets until I felt like I could do another 10. This took me to 80. Did a set of 5. Rested for a short while, less than a minute, then did another set of 5. I finished with a 4,3,2,1 with really short (5-10 seconds, sometimes less) rests in between.

Now, at the end of 100 push-ups, even though it took ages, I still felt it. Not a little either. Confused muscles wanted to know who signed them up for this outfit. They wanted their money back. Today, they decided to go on strike, and while they were at it, they burned down all the facilities.

I knew push-ups used a lot of muscles but I didn't count on just how often those muscles are used in everyday movement. Today, everything hurt. Laughing hurt. Pushing doors open hurt. Pulling doors open hurt. Accepting a 15 lb UPS from someone surprised me it hurt so much. My arms hurt on both sides. I expected the triceps to hurt but the biceps?! Stabilizing abs, deltoids, pectorals, but quadricepts?! And lots of little muscles around my spine.

100 push-ups in 1 hour. Not much of a goal but the workout is worth it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Workout 2008-07-16

Another workout with Orie.

A couple of minutes of jump rope with the odd double under.

Joint mobility, including lunges with elbow to instep.

A set of 10-12 air squats.

A set of 12 overhead squats with dowel.

Tuck hold for 60 seconds on parallelettes. It took me 4 or 5 sets to get to 60 seconds.

30 second plank on the rings (feet supported), one set.

Overhead lunges across the room and back with dowel.

30 second plank on the rings (feet supported), one set.

Overhead lunges across the room and part way back. When my hamstring started cramping, we switched activity.

7 sets of 5 x push press at 45, 55, 65, 85, 105, 110, 115 lbs.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Orie Inspired Cuisine

Someone I respect is slowly, indirectly persuading me to cook again, particularly, vegetables and fish.

I'm not good at following recipes. Flavors in my head scream for attention and I'm more like the child of a mad scientist with his first chemistry set. Sure, every once in a while I make a winner, but mostly I get ugly, smelly puffs of smoke and lots of frustration. I'm reluctant to cook for others because my lack of consistency terrifies me. Today, I'm home alone.

I tried to go to breakfast at a local Mexican place but they were closed. I decided to hit the grocery store instead of going someplace else. (Thank you, little Orie shaped angel on my shoulder.) The near recipe below is the result.

1/4 head green cabbage
1 smallish radicchio
1 small stalk rhubarb
1 medium white onion
4 large brussels sprouts

Slice everything into thin strips. Toss with olive oil. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder (Paula Dean's house seasoning) to taste.

Add everything to high sided pre-heated med-high skillet. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally until everything has softened and turned sweet. Add a dash of lime and serve.

What worked: The rhubarb was a surprising success. It adds a hint of flavor that I'll be craving all day. The brussels sprouts gave a slight meatiness. The overall flavor of the dish is great.

What I'd change: I'd like to replace the radicchio with red cabbage. The bitterness of the radicchio didn't mellow as much as I'd hoped and it brings down every 5th or 6th bite. I'd either use a sweeter onion or less onion. There is just a tiny bit too much onion taste. More rhubarb. I wish I'd added 2 large stalks. And, less seasoning. As happens so often in my cooking, I over-seasoned the whole thing. Mostly with pepper today. The heat is good but sometimes it gets in the way.

Would I make something like it again? Yes, absolutely. I might even consider offering it to someone else.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

CrossFit Again

To kick off my effort to reverse the recent weight gain trend, I did a personal training session with Orie. I think I first met Orie at a weekend workout at the Kirkwood track. He is an amazing guy with a deep well of knowledge about CrossFit, nutrition and human performance. I was quite excited when I heard he'd started taking on training clients after attending his certification.

We started out with some join mobility, a good thing for my troublesome shoulder. I need to write down a lot of the movements we did. I'd never done many of them.

I did a couple 500m rows on one of the Concept2 rowers CrossFit Des Peres has these days. This was my first row and it is a great workout. I think I did my first 500m in 1:58. I was supposed to do the second a little faster. Apparently 1:48 is a lot faster but that is what I did.

Next was deadlifts. I think I started with 115 lbs. We focused a lot on my form with the lighter weight and did several sets. I'm not sure how many reps I was doing but I believe I did sets at 115 lbs, 165 lbs, 185 lbs, 205 lbs, and 225 lbs. The last set seemed to be 5 reps. This was really light for me but was great for just getting back into things. Orie was careful with me and we both want to avoid the total self-destruction that can come from jumping in full bore with both feet.

Next, I did some pull-ups with a power band. I think I got 5 or 6 the first set with my grip facing forward. I adjusted a bit to the power band and switched grip for the second set, pulling off 8 reps. Switched grip again and the last set was 5 + several failed reps. I just couldn't get back up to the bar.

For a finish, I tried a 'weightless fran'. 21-15-9 thrusters with a dowel and standing mock pull-ups with a dowel. I really felt the squats at the beginning but by the end, the thrusters were the break. Those mock pull-ups burned and the lactic acid kept building up.

While I was resting afterward, pukie decided to pay a visit. I made it to the trash can but I didn't get it open and ended up cleaning up my mess. It was an unfortunate finish to a great workout. I guess my body isn't used to all the lactic acid. It seems to be the low output endurance events that get to me. I think Orie was bummed too. I broke his no pukie promise. He wouldn't have made it if he knew me better.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Memories Meme

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a memory of you and me. It can be anything you want -- good or bad. When you're finished (standard free-will addendum: IF YOU WANT), post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people remember about you.

I stole this idea from my sister who stole it from someone else, in true meme fashion.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rain or Shine

Last night, when I wasn't really tired and didn't want to go to bed, I went to work instead. That is right. I basically worked from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. I did get a lot done though. When you are on, you are on.

I came home at 7:00 AM (barely made it) and crashed until about 11:00. When I couldn't sleep, I rode my bike around the loop of death again. It gets easier every time. This time I really pushed. I could have done the loop again but with the little sleep and the rain soaking me, I figured I'd just make myself sick so I stopped.

I can't find my bike computer so I still don't know how long it is taking me to do the loop.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2nd Times the Charm?

I rode the loop of death again. This time, it wasn't nearly as bad. It is amazing how fast the body can start to adapt. I still haven't timed myself. I wasn't fast but I did push in most of the places where I coasted the day before.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Return of the LoD

The Loop of Death is back. A lot has happened in the last year and a half. Almost 18 months ago, I nearly passed out while riding my bike and after the flat on the way to work later that same week, I never got back on my bike. I took a fencing class. Started working out with a personal trainer. Studied Capoeria. Avoided elbow surgery. Took several spin classes. Started CrossFit. Ran in the Frostbite Series. Stopped working out with my trainer. Endured extreme fiscal challenges at work. Stopped eating healthy. Mostly stopped exercising. And now, finally, got back on my bike.

Today, I rode the Loop of Death. This was the 2.2 mile route starting and ending at my driveway that I rode to start building a base for riding my bike almost 2 years ago. Back then, at almost 290 lbs, with no exercise at all under my belt, the loop of death almost did me in. Today, at 260 lbs, with a much better baseline fitness, at least in strength, I discovered that, once again, this silly, almost laughably short and easy route was nearly more than I could handle. I'm still trying to decide what happened. To be sure, part of me, knowing from CrossFit that I can push harder, insisted that I ride harder than I had before. I attacked the (minuscule) hill at Ashby, dropping gear after gear as I slowed and finally adding 2-3 gears and standing up to push to the top, lungs burning, breath rasping, head spinning and legs melting in place like a wax candle left on the dashboard of your black on black car, mid-summer in the Australian Outback.

I do (or have done) CrossFit, some small part of my brain screams in outrage. This can't be that hard?! Well, I'm here to tell you, it can, it was. An hour later, I can still barely type. My hands are shaking. My throat is burned raw and the memory of the death breath (You know when you reach deeper into your lungs than you have in years and the air is fetid, still and lifeless.) haunts me. Today, I had to pick, CrossFit, or bike (newly tuned up at REI). I chose the new (renewed) toy and for that, I paid.

I read recently that 80% of physical capacity / performance depends on the last 4 weeks. My last 4 weeks set me up for a bad time. Imagine how great I could be when the next 4 weeks IS the last 4 weeks. What have you done today?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Falling Down the Ladder

WOD - Pull-up Ladder
Start a continuously running clock.
Each minute do n pull-ps
where n starts at 1
and increases by 1 each minute.

1 - 90% strict, 10% kip
2 - 40% straight, 60 % kip
3 - first was 90% kip 10% fail,
- rest were jumping
4-15 - all jumping

I finished all 15 jumping pull-ups of 15
in about 40 seconds but I couldn't stand
back up to start round 16.

My arms feel like jello. With good
jumping pull-ups, the jump got me off
the ground but I could feel the finish
in my arms. Towards the end, I started
to lose that good finish and some were
just up as long as the jump lasted and
try to slow the descent at least a little.

I know I won't feel my arms tomorrow.
I've needed more pull-ups as I can feel
that I am backsliding fiercely.

I'm still shaking, 10 minutes later.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Four by 800?!

Recently there was a CrossFit workout that was four rounds of 800m each. Run each 800m for time and record the times of each round. You can rest as much as you need between rounds.

I think that once around my block is a little over 800m but here goes.
4 x 800m


The first round I set out way too fast but I was determined to put all I had in it. I was way past panic breathing at 3/4 of the way but I kept pushing. I crumpled at the end. It was rough.

The second round I tried to apply POSE running but while I get the principle, I don't seem to get the technique and I was getting more tired with less speed. Obviously, I'm not doing it right.

The third round, I just wanted to push a little faster but with a more even pace all the way around. I was OK until I hit the downhill at about half way (Did I mention I have 30-50' of climb in the first half and then that down for the second half?) when I started sucking wind hard and my legs started crying. I dropped my pace a little but not much and pressed on.

For the last round, I tried to stretch my legs without letting myself sprint too hard. I set a ground eating pace for the first half, even keeping my cadence high and a nice stride through the steepest of the uphill. At halfway I knew this was it and didn't slow at all. I did keep myself from the balls to the wall blast my legs kept asking for. At the final 50-75m straight (just barely uphill) to the driveway, I set it on burn, faster than I had been running but probably not as hard as I'd run from a bear. I was stoked to see I'd finished the last lap in under 3 minutes, and that I'd finished both the 3rd and 4th laps faster than the lap before them. I was also excited to see my PR time in the first lap, even if it did leave me blasted for the rest of the laps.

I think I rested 15-20 minutes between most of the laps. I wasn't timing my rests.

Now, my legs feel hot but good. Maybe we can walk around Creve Couer Lake later today. And who knows, a trip to the SkyZone trampoline gym would be really cool.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Setting Limits (Dropping Out)

I wanted to see how long it would take me to do 100 push ups. Sad to say, I stopped at 40 in 3:30. I started at 10 x 30 seconds. Did 20 that way in the first minute. Rested an extra 15 seconds. Went to sets of 5. 5 in 15, rest, 5 in 15, how many have I done? I think that was 30, 5 in 30. 3:15, oh god I have to do at least 5 more before 3:30. 5 more. Almost dropped myself on my nose on the second to last one. Just... one... more.... That's enough.

I just can't decide how to tell the difference between wisely stopping before goals that are too ambitious and wussing out. I think I'm erring more towards the latter these days but I have so many problems with pushing too hard that I'll take cautious for a while.

In the mean time, I really need to get my shoulder looked at. I feel like someone stabbed me with a knife and the pain never really goes away. And when I work out, it just gets worse.

Walking on Barfuss

I've been reading about Barfuss trails recently. Since I haven't been able to find one, I decide to roll my own. On the way out of the zoo, I took my shoes off. I walked across cool wet grass, sidewalk, bumpy bicycle crosswalks, concrete, the back of the snake in the turtle park and across the sharp gravel in the turtle park. For a 10 minute self rolled barfuss walk, this was ok. My feet did feel a little invigorated. I think the back of the snake was my favorite; it had more balance too it but the back was rough enough concrete to make it invigorating. The gravel path was painful but not unpleasantly so.

It turns out there is one of these at Bastyr University in Seattle. I can't wait to get back there now.

It's a Zoo

Michele and I went to the St. Louis Zoo today. It was a madhouse. With a balmy almost 70 degrees (F), everyone and their monkey's uncle was out.

As usual, we parked across the bridge in the Turtle Park. If you are willing to walk just a bit, you can get free parking almost every time. With the free admission to the Zoo, this makes for a very inexpensive trip, just avoid the gift shops.

An extra perk for the day, the top guy who usually performs at the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Gardens was set up in the Turtle Park. We spent a few minutes talking to him on the way in and on the way out. Most of his tops he mad himself. Of three 'performance' tops (ones he uses for tricks), he made one of layered disks of fiberglass, one of origami paper and one of wood. All three had pet flee collars around the outside for the rubberized protection of the edges. He also said he has one at home that was machined out of aluminum and that if you spin it on a smooth level surface, most of the time it will stop standing up instead of falling over. I'd love to see that sometime. I wish I could send him plans for a hand lathe or something.

Friday, April 04, 2008

All That and a Hat?

A couple of weeks ago, I went in to get my driver's license renewed. In the vision test, they asked me to read the letters. I saw two clear boxes of letters so I read them. "Keep going," the woman prompted. "Oh, you mean those blurs are supposed to be letters? OK..." I could see fine out of my left eye but my vision was not good out of my right. I hadn't noticed before.

Since then, I've been walking around closing one eye all the time. Sure enough, my vision is constantly blurry out of my right eye. I've even noticed that I can usually see better if I close my right eye. Apparently the blurry input from one eye degrades the overall quality of the brains ability to interpret what it sees.

After a bit of confusion about vision plans and benefits, etc, I finally made an appointment to see a doctor. Sure enough, I have astigmatism in both eyes. Where before I had 20x17 vision in both eyes, I now have 20x20 in my left and 20x50 in my right. And oh, by the way, the driving vision test is 20x40 but your really only have to pass in one eye.

I spend a while doing 1 or 2, 2. 3 or 4, 3, ad naseum and finally the doc leaves the room for a minute and holds up some kind of simulated glasses. "You don't need to wear them but they might help if you are going to be doing concentrated vision..." "Listen. I remember what it was like to have crystal clear vision. I don't like walking around feeling the world blur out. All I have to do is wear these glasses on my head and I can see again?! You're going to have to fight me to get them off, not convince me to put them on."

So, I'm soon to have glasses. The really sad part is that I've always liked the way I look with a decent pair of glasses on. As far as accessories go, good glasses are right up there with a nice hat. I'm excited to be able to see again but I'm also excited to wear a nice pair of stylish glasses. It's almost like I win twice.

And hats, if you ever see a leather fedora like Brad Pitt wears in Snatch, I want one. Please tell me where I can get it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

More Push Ups?

I did alternating sets of 10 self assisted hand stand push ups and 10 balance push ups with feet on a swiss ball again. 10 hspu, 30 min, 10 bpu 30 min, repeat.

I think I did 3 sets of each total. On my grease the groove plan for push ups, this still seems to be fun but after people show up at the office, I tend to stop.

On another note, I can do a normal hspu down to 8-9 inches from the ground now, but 4-5 inches is still too low. I'm making progress though.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Missing Maintenance

Several days ago, I did a few sets of push ups at work. Some with my feet supported on the swiss ball I use for a chair and some foot assisted handstand push ups.

Saturday, I went to the class at CrossFit Des Peres. I stuck with really light weights and cut most of my reps to about half of what they asked for. It was a really bad day. Just the warm up was enough to exhaust me. Ring supports were really tough. There is extreme tightness and pain in my right chest & shoulder. Strong determination was enough to hold me in place for 5 seconds at a time or so but discretion won out and I only did it a couple times. When it came to the WOD (1-10 ladder of push up, thruster, 20" box jump), I got to the 3rd round before I got so light headed that I stopped. Eating an apple helped enough that I didn't have to call my wife to come get me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Simple Together

Michele and I did SimpleFit together today. She did level 1 day 1 and I did level 2 day 1.


Level 1, Day 1

1 pull up
2 push ups
3 squats

Go for max rounds in 20 minutes.

Completed 21 rounds.


Level 2, Day 1

1 pull up
3 push ups
4 squats

Max rounds in 20 minutes.

Completed 23 rounds.
I may have actually done 24.

It was nice to workout together.

Early on, the pull ups were the limit for me. 3-4 reps of pull ups may have had a little bit of a jump to them. I tried to concentrate on going from a full stop at the bottom but as I fatigued, my attention to detail deteriorated. The last few rounds, push ups were getting really tough. After the last round, my legs were burning too.

All in all, this was a great workout for my current condition.

Double Dating Diane

Diane (as rx'd)
205 lb deadlifts
Handstand push ups

I had the flu about a week ago. The day I went back to work, I tried to do Diane with the deadlift prescribed weight and pike push ups instead of the handstand push ups.

Bad diet. Recovering from illness. Poor sleep. Too long with too little exercise. The reasons are legion but this was my worst workout in a really long time. I started with 3x7 deadlift. After each set of 7, my head was throbbing. I finished the push ups and started on 3x5 deadlift. After the first set of 5, I caved. I felt like I might cause a stroke. It didn't seem that hard to do the lift by it felt like all the blood in my body was rushing into my head. I really feared for my health so I called it quits for the day.

Surprisingly, or not considering my overall deterioration, I was quite sore for the next several days, especially between the shoulderblades. I took another several days off from working out.

Friday, I finally overcame something in my head and started eating a little healthier again. A couple salads on Friday. Better choices in restaurants. More fruit, less bread. I'm ready to start combating my current stress with physical work again. I just hope it lasts. It is time to weigh myself again.

Yesterday, I tried Diane again. This time I subbed handstand push ups with my knees on the bed. This sub was way too easy as I could do all the push ups in single sets. I really want to try pushing up from a headstand, or maybe I can do negatives. I just don't know.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to finish as fast as possible. I was determined to push through to the end but not too concerned about time. My unofficial time was about 15 minutes. I finished and I'm pretty happy to have done so. Towards the end of the deadlifts, I really had to concentrate on my form to avoid rounding the small of my back. No surprise then that I feel sore in my lower back today.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Today's was SimpleFit's day 3, judgment. If completed in less that 5 minutes, you are supposed to move on to the next week.
Week 1 Day 1
1 round for time
10 x pull ups
21 x push ups
21 x squats


My pull ups were sets of 1 and 2. Several probably fell short of full chin over bar.

I finished push ups in 3 or 4 sets depending on how you count sets. 10, 5, 3, rest 5 seconds in plank, 3. The couple breaks were probably 5 seconds each.

I completed the squats in 1 long set.

I guess 4:18 means I should move on to the next week. Since the only part I'm dreading is the increase in pull ups, I guess this fine. I need the work there anyway.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Two Out of Three

I continued with my exploration of SimpleFit today.
SimpleFit Week 1 Day 2
5 rounds for time of
2 x pull up
6 x push up
10 x squat

rest 3 minutes between rounds
don't count rest in your time

1 - 0:30
2 - 0:27
3 - 0:26
4 - 0:25
5 - 0:25

Total 2:13

Timer management was a pain in this one. I used a kitchen timer for the 3 minute rest intervals and a heart rate monitor watch for the rounds. I may have completed the last round in 24 seconds but I may have been a few seconds over the prescribe 3 minute rests to due to switching between timers.

I couldn't move any faster in the squats. I might be able to eek out a little bit from the push ups. The pull ups were a little slow but the transitions between moves probably cost me the most. The push up to squat transition started looking like a burpee in the last round.

I never felt winded on this one. It felt pretty good and my muscles are pleasantly warm from the effort.

I'm not looking forward to day 3. 10 pull ups is well past my max. The push ups and squats should be fairly easy with only 21 each.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Met Master

I suppose I mastered the Met though I have to admit I feel more like the Met mastered me.

42 stories of stairs, one way. I started out way too fast, going 2 steps at a time. That lasted for the first 10 stories. I stopped, drank a bit of water then set out again after about 30 seconds. At 20, things were a little worse. I had to sit for about 30 seconds before I could even hold the water to drink it. At 31, I had to lay on the floor for a couple minutes. By that point the pain in my legs and sides was ramping up and the rough burning in my lungs was just an after thought. I kept thinking they needed trash cans every 3 floors, just in case. Finally, I started up the last 11 floors at a steady, even, nearly slow pace. With about 4 floors to go, I started hearing someone at the top calling my name. With 2 or 3 floors remaining, Elizabeth found me to help me move it along. I finished the last 2 floors 2 steps at a time again and in serious pain.

I was the first to start of the CrossFit Des Peres people. CrossFit St. Louis was right behind us. I was the last of both teams to finish. It took me 18:30 to climb 42 stories. Not an impressive time, but I made it. I passed at least one person on the stairs who didn't seem like she would. She was lying on the landing on the 30th floor, only 1 floor from the water station. She had a friend with her. I hope she was OK.

At the top, I could barely stand. I tried sitting in a chair for a minute but it wasn't helping much. I went over and sat in the window at the top of the Met. The view was nice. Apparently, I looked bad enough that one of the volunteers brought me a large glass of water and was concerned. My legs and side were cramping, with my legs feeling really bad. After a bit I walked around because sitting wasn't helping them.

I don't know about other people but for a while after a really hard workout, I don't feel very social. Sometimes I wish I could just hide in a corner.

To leave the party, I had to go down two flights of stairs to get to the elevator. My legs were weak and hard to control. A couple of times I almost stumbled.

Now, half a day later, my lungs and throat are still burning and the rest of my body is in shock. I just hope I don't have nightmares about the Energizer bunny - whose drumming felt like a hammer to my head at the start of the stairs.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Barely There

For the first time in nearly 2 weeks, I worked out. I'm trying the SimpleFit workouts. I didn't start all that well.

SimpleFit Week 1 Day 1
as prescribed
complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of
1 x pull up
2 x push ups
3 x squats

I finished 13 rounds in just under 10 minutes and then quit. By round 3 or 4, I 'm not sure my pull ups were all the way to the top. By round 6 or so, I was basically doing jumping pull ups with a controlled negative. Somewhere in the middle I did a set of 3 push ups instead of 2 and I adjusted the next round to only do 1.

My motivation for this workout was very low and my diet continues to be a real problem. I haven't been sleeping well for a couple of months.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Coach Coached the Coaches

I went to the CrossFit Des Peres class this morning. Dan and Brandon went to a CrossFit certification last weekend and it seems like they got a lot out of it.

There were 8 of us in the class today. We started with some pseudo Simon Says. Really it was just Brandon telling us what to do. First, run back and forth from wall to wall, then push ups then run then squats then run then burpees then run the jump squats then run.

Next, we did some skills. Lots of slow air squats and push ups for form. Brandon's focus on technique was awesome. Next we did overhead presses and 1 leg squats. The sqauts were not quite a pistol but were a great progression to a pistol move. I'll be doing more of these. Then we mixed push-presses into our overhead presses. Finally, we finished the skills out with work on deadlift form and then kettlebell swings all the way over the head. I appreciated Brandon's openness to the more traditional CrossFit swings. It sounds like he will be having us do both the CrossFit all the way over the head version and the Russian up to the shoulder version.

Finally, we did the WOD. Brandon wrote up 2 WODs and I picked the easier version. I just can't do 60 pull ups in a workout yet.
3 rounds for time
15 x body row
20 x wall ball (8 lbs)
15 x push press (35 lbs)
~400m run

16:47 (I think.)

My legs are destroyed. Standing up from a chair is rough right now. I'm sure this workout did me a lot of good.

Next week, I'm hoping to start doing SimpleFit 3 days a week for a little more structure then throw in 1-3 CrossFit WODs. I need to up my time spent training but I need to cut back a little on the full CrossFit WODs. I've been getting way too many injuries from pushing my body too hard.

Reach for the Floor

Yesterday, I did lots of push ups. I've been trying to work my way up to handstand push ups so I tried a lot of variations of push ups. I did traditional push ups on the floor. I did push ups in a pike position which seemed like a great intro to the handstand push up. I'll probably do a lot more of these in the future. I did handstand push ups with my legs supported in front of my body on a cabinet. I tried to do handstand push ups with my legs supported on the same cabinet but behind me and I wasn't strong enough. I might be able to do the negatives on those. I also tried handstand push ups with my legs supported against the wall but bent over in front of me. That position didn't seem to help at all. The last kind of push ups I did yesterday were with my feet supported on a swiss ball. I was really surprised by those. My legs were so unstable that it really magnified the effort to tighten my core during the push up. I'm going to do a lot more of these too. Nothing like extreme mid-line stabilization to improve the quality of an exercise. And this wasn't a trick of balance. My core had to work big time to keep my legs from rolling off to one side or the other. These were probably the most intense push ups I've ever done.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jumping (for Joy)

Yesterday, while warming up for Randy, I completed an unbroken set of 100 single unders. Today, I completed 102. I'm working towards 200.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Honoring our Heroes - Randy

Randy (as rx'd)
75 x 75 lb power snatch for time

Randy (as performed)
75 x 80 lb sandbag power snatch


I had to choose between using the bar at 65 lbs or building part of my sandbag system. I actually aimed for 75 lbs in my sandbag but missed by 5 lbs. Such is the misery of life. Oh, pukie visited twice.

My weight and eating have been horrible recently. I'm up to 255 lbs. I'm also sleeping very poorly and usually less than 5 hours a night.
splits (completed 5 reps each time)
1:09, 2:25, 4:08, 6:01, 7:48,
9:50, 12:26, 13:34, 15:43, 17:41,
20:49, 22:04, 24:12, 26:20, 27:36

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Injuries, Recovery and Jumping on Horses

My legs were unusually fatigued the day after my singlet workout of 100 box jumps last week. I tweaked my left hamstring while getting up out of a chair the next morning. I walked funny for a few days and couldn't run for a couple more. I did no workouts while I let my leg recover. Today, I got back on that horse.
Sean's WOD
500 single unders (simple jump rope)
25 box jumps (24" box)


1:50 150 SU (150)
2:59 50 SU (200)
3:53 50 SU (250)
4:36 50 SU (300)
5:24 50 SU (350)
6:15 50 SU (400)
7:01 50 SU (450)
8:00 50 SU (500)
9:27 10 BJ (10)
10:20 10 BJ (20)
11:13 5 BJ (25)

I've yet to complete more than 71 single unders in a row without missing. During the 500, I would usually rest just long enough to record the time and figure out how many I had to go. Towards the end of the single unders I needed to jump higher and higher just to complete revolutions without missing. In the last set of 50, I probably missed 10+ times.

I rested from 8:00 to 9:00 before starting the box jumps then dug in. The 4" increase in heigh from before seems huge. Since this is an explosive motion, giving no extra time to get the same energy, I think it probably takes a lot more power than the 20" jumps. I really wanted to finish the box jumps in 2 sets but after 10 I wasn't sure I could make it to the top of the box and didn't want to hurt myself again on my first workout. I started each set of box jumps on the 1 minute increments. Eventually, I hope to do more than 5-10 of these at a time and to cut my rests down a lot more.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Easing Back In

I've had a severe sinus infection since Wednesday of last week. It is a poor excuse but it was enough to let me avoid working out for most of a week. Today, I thought I'd ease back into my workouts.
WOD (workout of the day)
100 box jumps 20" for time


If this was my idea of easing back into it, I need my head examined. These were full jumps, hips at least as high as they would be standing on the box. I admit sometimes my peak height wasn't until I jumped back off but I always fully extended my hips at the top. Pukie watched from the wings but never had the courage to hit me full on. I did stop to get a bucket at one point. It was a close thing.
Cumulative Split times:
20 0:49
10 1:29
10 2:24
10 3:18
10 4:29
10 5:19
10 6:17
15 7:35
5 7:59

My turnover rate actually improved towards the end. I started most sets on the even minute marks, especially the last 4 sets of 10 and the set of 15. The set of five, I started at about 7:45 or so, just determined to beat 8:00.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Balance of Work

I've been having a hard time keeping to a consistent schedule recently. I'll do great for a bit then something, injury, illness, laziness, will keep me from working out for several days to a week. This, on top of my relaxed eating habits recently, has reduced the progress I'm making, particularly with my weight. Still, I am making progress. My recent results with Grace certainly show that.

Right now, I' fighting a bad sinus infection that has shut me down for three days and promises to make my weekend less productive than I'd like. At least I know the nutrition seminar tomorrow will be good. I hope I feel up to the workout afterwards.

I have a few short term goals right now:

each of these should be completed in one set

  • 5 kipping pull-ups

  • 3 strict pull-ups

  • 1 L pull-up

  • 5 minutes supported handstand

  • 30 seconds unsupported handstand w/movement

  • 10 seconds static unsupported handstand

  • 30 push-ups

  • 200 single-unders

It is interesting that all my current goals are gymnastic / calisthenics / bodyweight exercises. Strength exercises seem so much more achievable but then why focus on my strengths?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A State of Grace

30 reps for time of 135 lb clean and jerk


That's right. I just finished Grace as prescribed in 10 minutes and 17 seconds. (Probably a little faster but I timed myself so I lost time from the watch to the bar and from the bar to the watch again.)

A prescribed olympic lift workout and I finished it. I can't say how ecstatic I am. Who cares if it was 15 degrees outside with a torturous wind? I finished Grace!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Double Dating (Michele Meets Cindy)

For the first time ever, my wife joined me for a CrossFit workout. We met Cindy and for her first time, Michele did great.

In 20 minutes, complete as many rounds as possible of
5 pull-ups (we both subbed jumping pull ups)
10 push-ups (Michele did most from her knees)
15 squats

I finished 9 rounds plush the 10th set of jumping pull ups. Michele finished 9 rounds, the pull-ups and the push-ups.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Worst Run Yet

I ran the 4 mile race in the Frostbite Series. This run was horrible. Between the squats and sprints on Thursday and the sandbag lifts Friday, my legs were spent almost before I started. I was walking and in severe pain by 1.5 miles and running again about a mile later. The short course overlapped with the half marathon course and the constant stream of half marathoners passing me at double my pace was disheartening. My usual end of race burst was trimmed from several hundred yards to barely 100 feet, if that. All of this was enough to make me never want to race again.

Oh, my official time was 50:09. Considering I'd been hoping for something closer to 40 minutes, this was a very disappointing run.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Snatching Defeat

My birthday workout was 7 rounds of 1 rep max snatch. After warming up, I jumped about 40 lbs for my first 1 RM. This led to nearly injuring my left shoulder as I completely failed to get under the bar.

1RM attempts:
135 lbs (failed)
115 lbs
125 lbs
115 lbs
115 lbs
135 lbs
135 lbs

I need to do a lot more work at lighter weights. All attempts were much closer to muscle snatches than I like.

After the workout, I played around with Dan's new sandbag. At 175 lbs, I was quite pleased to get it to my shoulder 3 or 4 times. Of course Dan nearly overhead pressed it, barely missing lockout.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nancy Stole My Dinner

For time
5 rounds
400 meter run
15 x overhead squats 95 lbs

I used 65 lbs for my OHS and finished in 24:32.

This workout sounds simple but was hellishly brutal. My first 400m was pretty quick for me. The first overhead squats were pretty easy but left me gassed. The next 3 rounds are a blur. After squatting, I barely maintained a fast walking pace on the laps. Every time I tried to speed up my heart rate went through the roof and I quickly ran into panic breathing. Even at a fast walk my breathing was barely under control.

Orie helped me set the pace on my last lap. It wasn't anything near my first lap's pace but it was definitely faster than the middle laps. I kept the pace up despite pukie's constant threat to visit. As I bent to grab the bar for my last squats pukie got the best of me and I left most of my dinner at the side of the track. Snatch the bar over my head, 5 reps and I dropped the bar on the 6th at the bottom. Another brief rest, snatch and 10 more reps. Finally, I was done.

The cold was a factor. Hours later, my lungs are still burning from gasping in the freezing air. As I lay there on the ground wondering who had lit my back on fire, the sweat froze solid in my hair. There is nothing quite like working out in adverse weather to build character. I think the temperature was hovering around 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tabata x Four

Today's WOD from class was 4 continuous rounds of tabata with no extra break.

So 32 rounds, each round is 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest. 8 rounds each of 4 exercises. I used normal tabata scoring for each exercise because tracking every round was too hard. Normal tabata scoring is minimum number of reps completed in a round for the exercise. That means if you complete 7 rounds of 1000 reps and 1 round of 2 reps, your score is 2.

As performed
8 x Tabata Wall Ball (8 lbs)
8 x Tabata Push-Ups
8 x Tabata Squats
8 x Tabata Sit-Ups

I scored 10 on the wall balls, 5 on the push ups, 8 on the squats (I started going for 10 but by round 5 or 6 I couldn't complete 10 any more.), and 8 on the sit-ups.

This was my first exposure to tabatas and I really enjoyed it. It seems to teach your body to maximize recovery in a minimum amount of time and also gives you a lot of chances to dig deep psychologically.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Spring Shower

Bret, Orie, Dan and I met to do the painstorm tonight. Fortunately, reason overcame ego and I did the Spring Shower version instead of the full blown pain storm. Props to everyone else who did the whole thing with times ranging from under 48 minutes to under 58 minutes.

Spring Shower
for time:
50 lb KB thrusters (25 lb KB in each hand)
25 lb KB swings
jumping pull-ups

Finish each round with 100 single-unders (jump rope)

I finished in 24:04.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heavy Dreams

I'm incredibly blessed by my loving wife. I just opened the first of my birthday presents (my birthday is January 25, a week from tomorrow) and I got the gift I most wanted this time around. I am now the proud owner of a Pendlay CrossFit olympic barbell and 2 x 45lb, 2 x 25lb, and 2 x 10lb bumper plates. All together, that is a maximum of 205 lbs for my dead-lifting, squatting, overhead pressing, cleaning, jerking and snatching pleasure. I can now do many CrossFit workouts at home. I can't say how excited I am. I'd probably be lifting all night but I have a killer workout scheduled for tomorrow.


Last night, I went to the evening class at CrossFit Des Peres. After warming up, we did some heavy work with barbells and kettlebells. I especially enjoyed the bottoms up presses.

For the WOD (workout of the day), we did the Bodyweight 400.

5 rounds for time of
10 push-ups
20 squats
10 sit-ups
20 split lunges
20 jumping jacks

Unfortunately, I only finished 3 rounds. I'm still kicking myself for not slowing down and gutting it out. I've got to overcome my quitters attitude. Maybe tomorrow's painstorm will give me a chance to redeem myself. I'm not sure who to blame but tomorrow we will be doing a painstorm which combines the exercises from "Fran", "Diane", "Helen", and "Elizabeth". I can feel the fear building.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Elizabeth Goes on a Diet

Elizabeth as prescribed:
complete for time:
135# cleans
ring dips

Elizabeth as I scaled it:
95# cleans
bar dips (leg assisted)


I did a much better job of scaling Elizabeth than I did Diane on Sunday. I pushed a lot closer to my limits. Unfortunately, my cleans were really atrocious. Iron Maven would probably slap me silly if she'd seen them.

Doing CrossFit at a YMCA, and worse one I don't know, is hard. There really wasn't anyplace to do cleans. At least there were few enough people in the free weight room that moving between the bench I did my cleans at and the dip station was easy and I didn't get in anyone's way.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Diane (Lite)

I've been wanting to do more of the prescribed CrossFit workouts. I know I have to scale them but I hope to work up to the full blown workouts. Today, I attempted Friday's prescribed workout Diane.

As prescribed, Diane is 3 rounds of 225 lbs deadlifts (DL) and hand stand push ups (HSPU), 21 reps the first round, 15 reps the seconds round and 9 reps the third round. I can't do HSPU so I subbed in modified HSPU with my knees supported in front of my body at hip height. I only used 135 lbs for the deadlifts and I only did 15-12-9.

Diane (lite)
135# DL
HSPU modified

4:03 (4 minutes, 3 seconds)

I learned that I need to use more weight, a harder version of the HSPU and I might need to switch to the full reps. As performed today, I challenged my mental ability to push myself but completely failed to push my body to its limits. At least I have a baseline for my next attempt.

Mental Weakness

Last week after the CrossFit Total, I had severe pain in right shoulder, neck and chest. I scheduled a massage for Wednesday and took the week off. I ate worse than I have since I started working out back in April and I sat on my butt through Sunday. I even missed my Frostbite Series 5K that I was supposed to run on Saturday.

I am not letting myself off the hook for last week. I could have done lower body exercises during the week and by Saturday the pain was completely gone in my shoulder and I had my full range of motion back. I feel pretty lame for missing my run. There is no excuse.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

CrossFit Total - Lifted 3.24 x Body Weight

Today, weighing 245 lbs and standing 6’0” tall, I achieved a CrossFit Total of 795 lbs. This included a deadlift of 375 lbs, an overhead press of 145 lbs, and a back squat of 275 lbs. As a baseline for my first attempt at this, I am ecstatic with this weight.

I did have some problems. For several weeks, I’ve had something causing pain in my right neck and shoulder and radiating down my back into my right hip. The overhead press made this much worse, causing similar pain under my collarbone. The pain in my shoulder was great enough to force me to switch from a low bar position in the back squat to a high bar position and I really felt I lost some top end weight from this. With the longer moment arm, I had a much harder time stabilizing my core a high weights. The lack of stability caused me to fail to go deep enough on my attempt at 285 lbs.

All things considered, I’m very happy. I exceeded my goal of 3 x my bodyweight by 60 lbs. The group of people attempting this workout today was awesome. Megan did an amazing job. Seeing her deadlift twice her bodyweight was impressive. Kim did great and pushed herself to some great records. Elizabeth came late but still did a great job. Dan looked like the silverback he is, lifting close to 5x his bodyweight. And it was nice to meet the other Dan. Orie scores the sportsman of the day award for his efforts, lifting 790 lbs the day after 2 days of food poisoning.

CrossFit Total

The CrossFit Total is a CrossFit benchmark workout intended to give insight into and to train total strength. It is the sum of your single rep max weight for three exercises, the deadlift, the overhead press, and the back squat.

CrossFit Standards and instructions for completing the CrossFit TotalCrossFit Total Rankings