Box Review: SouthWind CrossFit

20150608_053859_resizedThis review is a long time coming. I first visiting SouthWind a few years ago while visiting my mother-in-law in Victoria, KS. Victoria is a town of maybe 1,000 and about 10 miles east of Hays, KS. Hays is a bit bigger and has one of the better breweries I have ever been to – Gella’s. Look it up. It is well worth the 15 minute drive south off of I-70 as you drive through Kansas. But that is off topic.

Hays is also home to SouthWind CrossFit – the only CrossFit gym within who knows how many square miles.

Now one might think that if you run a gym without any real competition for miles you could half-ass it, SouthWind does not. They have a solid space, not overly large, but plenty big for their client base (the class I attended while in town most recently had about 12 athletes and there was plenty of room). Their equipment is top notch with high quality Rogue bumpers and bars. A Nice rig, climbing ropes and even a space that can be use for sled pushing or dragging in the colder winter months. My wife tells me that the building they are in used to be a furniture store and they did a good job changing it to a CrossFit box.

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Strength class prior to the 6am class

When I got there early for their 6am class there was a few athletes, including the owner working on a strength program. They were doing some heavy squats, lunges and strict pullups. In looking around their Facebook page it appears they have a pretty competitive atmosphere and the weight being moved that morning was pretty impressive.

As the time moved closer to 6am most athletes showed up of all different shapes and sizes. Exactly what you expect for a typical 6am class and what I like to see – people there for all different types of goals.

The workout had a strength portion to begin, a nice quick WOD in the middle and a decent finisher. If I recall my previous visit correctly their classes last time were like this. They make the most out of of an hour.

They were in the middle of a 5/3/1 program and the day I attended was a “3” day for the push press. After the strength the metcon was 21-15-9 of burpees, KBS and double-unders – a very short WOD. Finally, the “cool down” or “cash out” for class was 100 lunges. Due to the humidity I took this portion outside. A theme whenever I go to the midwest to workout is how soaked my shirts get. Sweaty.

As I remember from my last visit the owner is super nice. The members were awesome and many introduced themselves to me before class. One of them gave me props on my time for the metcon. The class was fun, the athletes were lighthearted and it was a good time. Just what I want when visiting a box. I highly recommend SouthWind if you ever find yourself in north western Kansas.

Past Open Events Review

I’m sure someone else has done this to death, but I am going to do this anyway. I was going to write it down, so why not do it on my blog and maybe someone else can enjoy?

Are there any trends over the years? If the point of CrossFit is to get fitter, then we should be re-doing events every year, or at least every other year to see if we are, in fact, getting fitter. What is the chance that 15.1 is a repeat of past years to test your fitness?

2011:

  • 11.1: AMRAP10 of 30 double-unders and 15 snatches (75/55)
  • 11.2: AMRAP15 of 9 deadlifts (155/100), 12 pushup, 15 box jumps (24/20)
  • 11.3: AMRAP5 of squat clean and jerk (165/110)
  • 11.4: AMRAP10 of 60 bar facing burpees, 30 overhead squats (120/90) and 10 muscle-ups
  • 11.5: AMRAP20 of 5 power cleans (145/110), 10 toes-to-bar, 15 wall ball (20/14 to 10/9 foot target)
  • 11.6: AMRAP7 of 3 thruster (100/65), 3 chest-to-bar pullups, 6 thruster, 6 C2B, 9 and 9, etc

2012:

  • 12.1: AMRAP7 of burpees to 6 inch target
  • 12.2: AMRAP10 of 30 snatches (75/45), 30 snatches (135/75), 30 snatches (165/100), AMRAP snatch (210/120)
  • 12.3: AMRAP18 of 15 box jump (24/20), 12 push press (115/75) and 9 toes-to-bar
  • 12.4: AMRAP12 of 150 wall ball (20/14 to 10/9 target), 90 double-unders and 30 muscle-ups
  • 12.5: REPEAT of 11.6

2013

  • 13.1: AMRAP17 of 40 burpees (to 6 inch target), 30 snatches (75/45), 30 burpees, 30 snatches (135/75), 20 burpees, 30 snatches (165/100), 10 burpees, AMRAP snatches (210/120) – sort of a mixture of 12.1 and 12.2. Not a repeat that you could compare and test your improved fitness.
  • 13.2: AMRAP10 of 5 shoulder to overhead (115/75), 10 deadlift (115/75) and 15 box jump (24/20)
  • 13.3: REPEAT of 12.4
  • 13.4: AMRAP7 of 3 clean and jerk (135/75), 3 toes-to-bar, 6 C&J, 6 T2B, 9 and 9, etc
  • 13.5: AMRAP4 of 15 thrusters (100/65) and 15 chest-to-bar pullups – if three rounds are completed, extend the time to 8 minutes and if nine rounds are completed, extend to 12 minutes, etc

2014

  • 14.1: REPEAT of 11.1
  • 14.2: From 0-3min, 2 rounds of 10 overhead squat (95/65), 10 chest-to-bar pullup – if 2 rounds are completed, then from 3-6min 2 rounds of 12 OHS and 12 C2B, if completed then from 9-12min 14/14, etc
  • 14.3: AMRAP8 of 10 deadlift (135/95), 15 box jump (24/20), 15 deadlift (185/135), 15 BJ, 20 deadlift (225/155), 15 BJ, 25 DL (275/185), 15 BJ, 30 DL (315/205), 15 BJ, 35 DL (365/225), 15 BJ
  • 14.4: AMRAP14 of 60 cal row, 50 toes-to-bar, 40 wall ball (20/14 to a 10/9 target), 30 clean and jerk (135/95) and 20 muscle-ups
  • 14.5: 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of thrusters (95/65) and bar facing burpees

Every year there is a repeat. What will the repeat be this year? Every year there has been a repeat, but it isn’t always the first WOD, or second or third – it is random (seemingly).

In 2012 there was a repeat from 2011. In 2013 there was a repeat from 2012. And in 2014 there was a repeat from 2013….errr…nope….2011. The repeat hasn’t necessarily been from the previous year.

I thought this last year and I will say it again this year, I think the first WOD will be a repeat of 12.1 – 7 minutes of burpees. That was so awful that I think Dave Castro would love to see everyone do it again. Could you imagine watching Rich Froning and Mat Fraser do 7 minutes of burpees? BORING. That would be the genius of it, however. Everyone will expect something heavy with these two going head-to-head and Castro could throw the CrossFit world on its head by doing a basic body weight movement.

What do you think 15.1 will be? Will it be a repeat? Will we repeat a WOD in 2015? If so, which one? Your pick doesn’t have to be for 15.1. Maybe we repeat 14.2 sometime this year. 14.2 was pretty awful and frustrating.

About 9 months of following OPT/OPEX – improvement?

I started following the Being programming from OPT (now known at OPEX) on April 21st, 2014. Now that it has been a solid 10+ months of following OPT I thought it would be fun (for me) to see if I have gotten better and stronger.

On April 21st I found my 1 rep max front squat – 250 pounds
I just did 245×3 and 255×2 two days ago. My max front squat was set at 280 on November 6th
30 pound gain

On April 22nd I found my max push press – 225 pounds
According to my records it’s been since June 12th since I went for a max push press and it was 230
5 pound gain
(Tested my PP last night and got 235)

On April 25th I found my max close-grip bench press – 240 pounds
On January 8th I did 265×4 for close grip bench press. I have 300 pounds as my max from July 22nd
60 pound gain
(Tested CGBP this morning and got 315)

On April 28th I found my max clean and jerk – 195 pounds
I set a new C&J PR on December 20th at 235 pounds
40 pound gain

On May 2nd I found my max power clean – 210 pounds
I just power cleaned 230 this morning and my PR is now 235…and have been close a few times with 240
25 pound gain

On May 22nd I found my max weighted pullup – 55 pounds
It has been a long time since I did these, I feel like I could get 60+ pounds
Unsure
(Tested weighted pullup last night and got 75)

On May 24th I found my max split jerk – 225 pounds
On December 23rd I found a new PR at 250 pounds
25 pound gain

On June 3rd I found my max back squat – 260 pounds
On August 8th I squatted 300, but it’s been a while since I have done that much, but I got 275 just last week
40 pound gain

On June 6th I found my max press – 195 pounds
On June 19th I pressed 205
10 pound gain

On June 14th I found my max snatch – 170 pounds
My max snatch on record is 185 now and I just did 170 for a double this week
15 pound gain

On April 26th I did 3 rounds for time of 15 deadlift at 185 pounds, 15 ring dips and 20 box jumps (24 inch box) and that took me 8:45
I retested this on January 3rd and completed in 7:11

On May 31st I had a WOD with C2B and I noted that if I could link C2B I would have completed it faster
This week I did 9 C2B unbroken and that was after doing 1, 2, 3…7, 8 unbroken first

Since ever I haven’t been able to do a muscle-up
I finally got one this weekend and have done at least a few every day since

I have set PR’s in Fran (4:18), Helen (10:24), Jackie (8:03) and Grace (1:49) in the past 10 months.

I would call this a successful program. Now that I did this I need to test my press, push press, weighted pullup and close-grip bench press tonight.

Starting a strength cycle

Starting Monday I am going to run two Smolov Jr cycles concurrently. The first cycle will be for my back squat and the second will be for my push press. I will squat on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and press on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I will take Sunday’s off during April. Will work out perfectly for Easter! (That is about the extent of my religious actions…)

I will not do many Metcons for the entire month of April, if any. Next week my wife is out of town and I will need to take care of the kids in the morning and get them to relatives to watch while I work and then pick them up at night on my way home. I won’t have much time for the gym so I will be using 24 Hour Fitness near my office.

On squat days I might mix in light front squats or overhead squats after Smolov and on press days I might mix in bench or some press variation after Smolov. In both cases the intensity will be light. I will do max rep or max weight exercises to train other areas like core and back. If I do deadlift work (I plan to once a week) it will be higher rep so it does not get really heavy.

This will be interesting to see if A. I gain some strength when I re-test late in April and B. if I lose any sort of “cardio” during the four week period. My hope is that the answers are “yes” and “no”. We’ll see.

I have already updated my Google doc with April work and will be creating my April WOD page next week.

Proper push press technique

During 13.4 I had a few of my athletes ask about the push press. Most of them female and most of them concerned about getting the prescribed weight from the front rack position to overhead. The push press is slightly different than most movements utilized in CrossFit in that the first move is NOT the hips and butt moving backwards, but rather your knees traveling slightly forward. You also need to sure you have the proper grip on the bar and it is definitely different than a front squat.

Let’s look at the grip, first. The main difference between a push press versus a front squat is that your elbows are lower in a push press to help facilitate pushing the bar upwards.

These first two pictures show athletes performing a front squat, bar is resting on the athletes front rack and the hand is there only for balance and no pressure should be on the hands, all the weight of the bar is on the rack. Bar is in the fingers to help keep the elbows up and high and create that front rack across the chest.

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