Tag Archives: barbell

Reebok CrossFit Games 2011

12 Aug

The move to Colorado was delayed a week in order to attend the annual CrossFit Games… actually, it’s called the Reebok|CrosssFit Games now. Formality aside, I know it as the convention of fit hard-bodies. Everywhere you looked it was traps! deltoids! six-pack abs! and solid bums! made for oly lifting, sprinting, weighted pullups, and sled-pushing.

The energy was INFECTIOUS. It’s kind of pointless to write about it because it’s just one of those events you just have to experience. Not only could you watch these insanely fit athletes compete in an arena (yes, kind of like Spartacus but no one literally dies), but there was also bull-riding, stand-up paddling, coaching from Rob Orlando (yes, please,) workout gear shopping, jump-rope fitting, and CrossFit web-celebs to be met. In fact, it was at the CrossFit Games that I got to reunite with Joe Petrusky from CrossFit Love and hilarious and witty blogger, Fitbomb. For anyone that didn’t know, Fitbomb’s wife is the culinary genius behind NomNom Paleo (sometimes when I’m hungry, I go to her blog and drool at the pictures.)

Ryan "@deckerra" Decker, Joe Petrusky (owner of CrossFit Love), and me.

Henry "@fitbomb" and me!

Anyway, here is a very, very, very small collection of images. I got a little shutter happy (I’ve seen 6-pack abs before just not THAT many all in one location.)


Getting Serious

23 Sep

We’re starting to get a little psycho serious with our scaling.  And by “psycho” “serious,” I mean busting out the Strength & Conditioning text book, pulling out Rippetoe’s “Strength Standards” chart, looking up 1RM charts, running calcs with an iPod calculator, and strategizing.  Psycho, no?

So, tonight’s WOD of:
Shoulder Press 3-3-3-3-3-3-3
was the perfect opportunity to test out scaling.

Theoretically, since I was completing sets of 3 reps, I could (should?) lift at 93% of my 1RM.  (For shoulder press, my 1RM is 75#.  Thus, 93% of 75# = 70#)  My goal was to lift 70# by set 4 and finish the WOD at 70#.  And since the purpose of tonight’s WOD was strength development, we made sure our rest between sets was capped to 2 minutes.

As it turns out, the scaling in relation to our 1RM was right on point!  Like, whoa.  What I like most is that there is a lot less guess-n-check going on.  EFFICIENCY, baby.  Looks like I might be busting out the ol’ calculator more often for powerlifting WODs.

Do you guys calculate your theoretical loads based on your 1RM’s?  What’s your strategy?

A Date with “Angie”

21 Aug

I completed my first “Angie” WOD! (Well, almost.  It was mostly as Rx’d.)

I don’t know why but I was SO so so nervous the entire morning before the WOD.  I found this a little weird because, well, I CrossFit with just Ryan, not in a group and not in an affiliate box.  I guess I was just anxious because I knew this would be a benchmark workout and I didn’t want to fail myself.

I was SCARED.  Scared because I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that at some point during that workout I would want to QUIT.  I knew it was going to hurt, I was going to burn, my muscles would want to give out, I would want to quit.  I knew I would have to dig deep and confront myself… my weak self.  And the thought of that was kind of… scary.

It’s weird how CrossFit will bring out the competitor in you.  I’m constantly afraid (maybe “afraid” isn’t quite the right word) of letting of MYSELF down.

Anyway, the “Angie” WOD is:
100 Pullups
100 Pushups
100 Situps
100 Squats

For time!  Aaah!

As expected, pullups took me the longest.  I did 60 unassisted pullups (a combo of kip and strict) and 40 band assisted total.  Everything else was as Rx’d.

My times:
14:47 min for Pullups
10:22 min for Pushups
3:58 min for Situps
4:08 min for Squats

33:09 min total for “Angie”


Oh, and this is totally unrelated to CrossFit but my picture above reminded me of the Stop CMV Awareness movement.  If you’re a woman, whether you CrossFit or not, it’s good to at least be aware of Cytomegalovirus!


Deadlift + Explosivity + Squat

3 Aug

Sometimes the “vicious, ambitious, and a little bit malicious” part of me wonders WHY the heck I’m not squat cleaning 95 lbs already.  And then I have to remind myself that I just started working with barbells 5.5 months ago… that and the fact that explosive, dynamic barbell lifts still scare me.  Yes, I’m always so nervous when it comes to Clean & Jerks or Snatches.  Sure, yeah, let me just PULL these HEAVY (well, heavy for me) weights up over my little head.  WHY would I want to do that??!  (So, I guess I’m not as “vicious, ambitious, and a little bit malicious” as I thought!)

Needless to say, I’ve been working on my technique little by little and have been taking my sweet time moving up in weight.  This is the SAFE way!  (This is what I tell myself to get some sleep at night.)  :oP  The good news is that last week, my previously “omg, this weight is too heavy to be pulling and jumping up off the ground” 65# seemed almost too easy.  Almost.  So, on the next Squat Clean WOD I’m movin’ on up to 70#.  Hey-O.

Speaking of “hey” and “o” – have you ever taken a picture of your face during the hip drive and shoulder shrug portion of a Clean & Jerk?  Forget the “O-Face” it’s all about your “Clean & Jerk Face.”  Good grief.  I need to work on my facial expressions more than anything else during the lift.  Squat Cleans scare me??!  Please, I scare myself!  Wowza.  Thankfully for anyone reading, I’ve taken the liberty of cutting my face out of some pictures.  Sooo funny!

Here are some sequence shots with my “cues” that I use to talk myself through the lift.  The “explosive downward pull” is still the hardest part for me.  It’s difficult pulling myself down and under a weighted bar… it’s like a race against Gravity!  I also need to work on better receiving the bar in a full squat position… and I would like to see my elbows up a little more.  Practice, practice, practice, I guess.

Oh, and I’ve always wondered why this lift was called a “Clean.”  Well… thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that the original lift during the 20th century was called a “Continental.”  It involved slowing flipping the bar up the torso until the bar was high enough to Jerk it overhead.  The Continental was thought to be “clumsy, slow, and nonathletic.”  Eventually, a swift lift of the bar from head to above torso was adopted and this was known as a “cleaner” lift.  Hence the Clean.  Ta-daaaa!  I get it now, I get it!


1 Jul

Deadlifts are quickly becoming one of my favorite lifts.  Before starting CrossFit, I was doing my 25 lb bicep curls and my barbell good mornings… all the good “globo” moves.  But, I could not deadlift a mere 80 pounds.

I don’t know what I enjoy more about deadlifting:  The fact that I’ve managed to bump up my PR from 80 pounds to 170 pounds in 3.5 months, or the fact that it’s just plain exhilerating to lift heavy weights from a dead stop.  And I really like how it’s so dang FUNCTIONAL!  Like, when do I not have to pick stuff up off the floor?!

I call The Deadlift a “brute” lift because it requires just brute strength.  Either you have the strength to get the bar off the floor, or you don’t.  I can’t “bounce up” out of a deadlift like I can with a squat or a bench press.  I don’t get to use momentum like I do with pullups, or clean and jerks.  Plus, the lift starts in a half squat position, in the eccentric portion of the movement.  At first it seems like the weight just won’t budge.  But, then I have to just press my heels into the ground and SQUEEZE my way up.  How can something so simple be so difficult?  Oh, I do love the simplicity of The Deadlift.


I was most surprised at how deadlifts increase my heart rate!  Bonus!  Here’s a vid of both Ryan and me doing some sets 5 rep deadlifts.  (The couple that lifts together, stays together right?  Well, until we have kids and then it’s, “you watch the babies while I lift and then we’ll switch, mmmk?”  I very much hope that will be the case (“very much hope” – is that proper English??)

I think I was only lifting 135# in the vid, but got up to 150# (about 80% of my 1RM.)  I like to do my 5 rep sets at 80% of my 1RM for no reason in particular.

A CrossFitter’s Hand (Repair) Job

24 Jun

All of this CrossFitting with barbells and pullup bars is really doing a number on my lady hands.  Chalk, blood, rips, blisters, calluses… it’s all so very lady-like, really.  This really wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t so taboo, so faux pas, to wear gloves at a gym.

So now, in addition to the already lengthy nightly routine of face-washing, contact-cleansing, and teeth-brushing, I have to add a hand repair regimen that has me sleeping with a tub of Vaseline and a pair of old socks on my nightstand.  (It’s not as sexy as it sounds.)

Here is how I repair skin on my palms after an exceptionally gnarly WOD.  (Part of this I took from the CrossFit Journal but the other part I learned from chatting with a former collegiate gymnast.)

1.  Immediately after the rip, I cleanse my hands with soap and water.

2.  I cut off any dangling pieces of blister skin.

3.  Then I slab some Neosporin or antibacterial ointment on the “wound.” (If it bleeds, it’s a wound right?  It’s a barbell battle wound!  Okay, maybe not that dramatic but it hurts nonetheless.)

4.  Once the Neosporin wears off, I cut open a Vitamin E pill and squeeze some of the pill’s oil onto my blister.  I do this throughout the day to prevent my blister from getting too dry… then it tends to crack open and it hurts like a mofo.

5.  Then to the FUN part:  I take a WHOLE BUNCH of Vaseline and smear it all over my hands until they are a hot, greasy, Kentucky Fried Chicken mess.

6.  Somehow, usually with the help of Ryan, I slip my hands into tube socks so that Vaseline doesn’t rub off all over the place while I’m sleeping.

And that’s IT.  When I wake up, my skin is super supple and my blisters are usually repaired enough to the point where they don’t burn when I try to grab something.  It’s a process a little more complex than good ol’ fashioned lotion but, hey, it works for me and I can get back to WODding.

She Squats!

28 May

I finished reading the 63 page squat chapter of Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” book.  And since then I’ve been trying to mature my form.  One of these days I’ll show a video of my squat form before EVER reading that book.  It was absolutely HORRENDOUS.  Oh, but since we’re on the topic of “Mark Rippetoe” google “Rippetoe quotes.”

I just recently recovered from not only a hip strain but also a quad strain from sprinting so I was very pleased at being able to bump up my 85 lb 5-rep to 100 lbs!  The BEST news was that after 5 sets of 5 reps, I experienced neither hip pain NOR quad pain!  I guess he wasn’t kidding when Rip said, “Yes, if you squat wrong it f*cks things up. If you squat correctly, those same f*cked-up things will unf*ck themselves.”  (Sorry for the censorship but my Mom reads this, you know?)

I have a bad habit of allowing my weight to shift toward my toes so this squat session I made a concentrated effort to literally LIFT my toes up in my shoes, thus keeping the weighted bar between my heels and balls of my feet.  This is where my weightlifting shoes have come in really handy for me… I can feel EVERYTHING.

I’m also still exhibiting posterior rotation at the bottom of my squat but I think that will work itself out once I strengthen and develop hamstring flexibility.  That posterior rotation bothers me the MOST.  Ugh.

Another bad habit I have is allowing my knees (my right knee, in particular) to track inwards.  So, I’m working on pushing the knees out during the descent and ESPECIALLY during the ascent:

I’m seeing the most improvement in the development of my lumbar arch.  I think that’s the most important part for me:  PROTECT THE LUMBAR ARCH.  I’m 25 years old and I cannot afford to mess up my back.  I took a Squat Clinic with Phil Clark at The Training Station and he emphasized “Chest up!  Chest up!  Chest up!”  I’m still finding it difficult to balance with my chest up but it’s a work in progress.

Anyway, here’s a video of it all.  After my 4th rep, I looked at the rack because I wanted to rack the bar SO BADLY.  I didn’t know if I’d make it back up but my last rep ended up being my best rep.  I was concentrating SO hard on that one.