Turkey Challenge – my performance review

Last Friday I wrote my predictions and strategies for the MBS Turkey Challenge. This was my first two-day competition and it was a bunch of fun. And once again I completely and totally overestimated my abilities…

10min AMRAP:
30 Snatch (75)
30 Snatch (95)
30 Snatch (125)
Max reps Snatch (145)

Last week I figured I would get done with the 75# snatches in about 90 seconds, done with the round of 95# around the three minute mark and giving my best to 145# after about six minutes. I cannot emphasize this enough – I was wrong. So wrong. Like I suddenly thought I was Rich Froning or something. My goal was 125 total reps and I only got 81.

I am not exactly sure on my times, but I did go 15-15 on the 75# snatches. I did follow my strategy here as I stopped after 15 snatches even though I could have continued. The bar started empty and I had to take the 15# plates off to put on 25# plates so the transition took a bit longer, but I think I was starting my round of 30 snatches at 95# around the two minute mark. As I started in at 95# I got through nine reps and my grip was suddenly failing. It was hurting. I kept mixing in hook grip and I had to control the bar down to my waist before letting go. That little bit of extra effort cost me my grip a bit, too. I am not sure when I moved on to 125#, but when I did I knew it would be hard to get to 145#. I was gassed. I always forget to calculate in how much work I have already done leading up to sections of workouts when I look forward. At this point the 60 snatches prior to 125 made 125 feel a lot heavier. I pushed for the last few reps to get to 81 and when I was done I was happy with that score. Continue reading

MBS Turkey Challenge …. Post Mortem

First, the bad news, the Odysseus Bar that was introduced during the MBS Turkey Challenge wasn’t a good idea. For those that don’t know the Odysseus is a bar of sorts that sits on top of a pullup bar…and spins. You can put pins into it so it does not spin, but when the pins are pulled it rotates around a pullup bar. The guy who owns Ethikon Fitness (the manufacturer) claims that it helps develop a proper kip. I don’t know what sort of testing he did to verify this statement, but it certainly makes a pullup more interesting.

I got to play with it last week when I did an i99 Fit class at MBS CrossFit and was able to do strict pullups on it easily and did some kipping pullups. I was told that wrapping your thumb around the bar is imperative to not falling off of it. I wrap my thumbs anyway so I am used to that, but I know a lot of folks do not wrap their thumbs around the bar when doing pullups (for shame! bad form!). I only did a few and it wasn’t in a competitive environment. Fast forward to this weekend…

In the team open division if teams completed the prescribed amount of work they could pull the pin on the bar and set it so it spun and then do as many pullups as possible with it spinning to reduce their score. In the first few heats only two or three teams made it to this point. Of those few teams I think I saw two people fall off of the bar. Since they were trying to kip they fell flat on their ass or back. None of them looked too severe. After a bit of watching some of the WODs outside I came back inside to watch the final two heats of the pro team event in which the bar spun for the entirety of the WOD. Each athlete on each team had to perform 50 pullups on the spinning bar and them heavy front squats. In the final heat I think I saw six athletes fall off of the bar. And unfortunately one of those athletes needed to be carried out on a stretcher and was rushed to the hospital.

The good news is that she is OK and MBS is reporting that she was able to walk out of the hospital without assistance and has a badly bruised hip. Continue reading

MBS Turkey Challenge

Time to put my thoughts and strategy on paper for the Turkey Challenge at MBS this weekend. I typically do this and hysterically overestimate my abilities. Let’s do that. I want to look back at this on Monday and wonder what the hell I was thinking…

10min AMRAP:
30 Snatch (75)
30 Snatch (95)
30 Snatch (125)
Max reps Snatch (145)

I think I can do 15 snatches unbroken at 75# really easily. I also think I can do all 15 in less than 30 seconds. I am going to attempt to do 15 in about 20 seconds, rest and then do the final 15 in about 1 minute. If I allow myself 30 seconds to transition weights (should be plenty of time) I will be on to the round of 95# after 90 seconds. At 95# I will drop back to 10 reps every 30 seconds, which means I will be transitioning to 125 at about the 3 minute mark. Add 30 seconds for transition and I am on 125# at 3:30. I will be a bit winded by now so I will shoot for 5 reps every 20 seconds at 125#. If I keep that pace I will be done with 125# at about the 5:30 mark, add 30 seconds for transition to 145# and I have 4 minutes to get as many reps as possible at 145.

At 145# with 4 minutes I should be able to get at least 30 reps. So my goal will be 125 reps.

Obstacle course Continue reading

Sometimes you have to tape yourself

This was yesterday’s “auxiliary” work at 24 Hour Fitness. I was doing a 5×5 of pause squats – 5 second pause at the bottom. This is what I learned by watching:

  1. I count to “5” a lot faster under load than I should. These weren’t 5 second pause squats, more like 2.5 second pause squats.
  2. I can push more. I recall feeling like I really struggled with that 3rd rep at 225 and that’s why I didn’t attempt a 4th. If I was at my CrossFit gym I would have because I don’t mind dumping the weights, but didn’t want to dump at 24 Hour. I remember thinking that it took FOR-EVER to get from the bottom to the top of that 3rd rep, but in review it didn’t take much longer than the rest. I had more in the tank.
  3. And the most important item – I am not staying back on my heels (or even my mid-foot). On a few of those reps you can see a slight bit of daylight under my heels as I descend in the squat. I don’t mind the knee position and am SUPER happy with how upright my torso is and core stability, but I need to stay back a little more. I am also seeing some rotation onto the inside of my foot as I push up, too. I will work on both of these as I warm up going forward.

If I hadn’t recorded myself I would have thought my effort was on point and my squat was perfection.

….and that I can count 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi, etc under tension. Definitely can’t do that.

24 Hour Fitness Fails

I still hold onto my 24 Hour Fitness membership because it is only $14 a month and I do use it from time to time. Like during the colder months when I play in a billiards league I don’t go home between work and my league (I live in the opposite direction of where I play pool so going home doesn’t make sense). This gives me a few hours to burn between work and league and I usually go to the gym. A few weeks ago I started doing supplementary movements to help work on my squat and deadlift totals.

I try not to hate too much, but since CrossFit always takes a punch to the gut I think 24 Hour needs to also (and, really, probably all Globo gyms).

These two videos are from a few weeks ago. I missed two GOLDEN GEMS last week. A 24 Hour Fitness trainer, whose arms were about as big as my thighs, was trying to coach his client on a power clean and overhead squat. It was horrifying. His demo of the power clean was a reverse curl from his toes, essentially. No dip in the catch, weight on his toes, no “scarecrow” and all curl. While it was impressive how light he made 95 pounds look for a reverse curl, his power clean form was atrocious to say the least. Then he tried to coach an overhead squat. He put the same 95 pounds overhead without issue (probably could have done so with one hand), but when he tried to squat – OUCH!. Again, back to all toes and he only got MAYBE to a quarter depth before he hit his end of range of motion. He couldn’t even get near parallel without struggling. His shoulder, hip, ankle…well… entire body mobility was pathetic. He took three attempts at squatting the weight and all three resulted with him dumping the weight forward from about a quarter squat, before he ditched the idea of his client trying.

Just the perfect example of how bad training can be anywhere you go – not just at CrossFit gyms.

Anyway, on to the two videos I DID get. The first is of a guy doing curls in the squat rack. No matter how much you curl it isn’t right (and he is only doing 95 pounds). The second is a short video of a girl doing “leg presses” on a machine. This is a short video, but she did this same movement for, no joke, about 10 minutes straight. She was on her phone typing away and doing these “presses” for 10 minutes.


The last video I got was a guy doing bench. He had a good weight on the barbell, I think it was about 275, and he was doing quite a few reps, maybe five or six. The set just before this he struggled on his fourth of fifth rep and went for one more and got stuck. When the barbell came crashing back down on his chest I ran over to help him pull/push it back onto the rack, but he waved me off and lowered one side of the barbell to drop a few plates, then the other side to drop a few plates and then the barbell almost flipped back to the other side with the 45’s on it, but he caught it. He finally got it off of himself and cleaned up the weights he dumped. Then he put it all back on and went back to work. Since he didn’t want my help when he was stuck under the bar I figured I would get out the popcorn and my phone to record the hilarity that would ensue.

Unfortunately I was blocked by another guy who watched him fail the set before and he jumped in to help. Apparently his help was wanted, so I didn’t get the failure even though he was headed back down the same path. Speaking of not being safe (typical CrossFit diss)…benching without a spotter with weight you will fail with. Hello possible neck injuries.

I hope to get some better videos in coming weeks. I could make a “24 Hour Fitness Fails” video to counter all the CrossFit fails videos. At least mine is honest in that all videos were taken at 24 Hour Fitness whereas the CrossFit fail videos typically include videos of people doing pullups on some shitty pullup bar hanging from their bedroom closet.