2 “CrossFit” Jargon Pet Peeves

Some pet peeves of mine that I see when reading CrossFit workouts from gyms. I was just reading a bunch of the “12 Days of Christmas” WODs posted to the CrossFit Facebook page and saw one comment that wasn’t even in a 12 Days of Christmas format (it was just a long grueling workout) and another post who asked “if other gyms make you go back and do each day over like the song”? If you are doing a “12 Days of Christmas” workout you better have something like 1 wall walk, 2 burpees, 3 handstand push ups, etc, etc and the pattern should be 1 wall walk followed by 2 burpees and 1 wall walk, followed by 3 HSPU, 2 burpees and 1 wall walk, etc. If it varies from that in anyway, it’s not a 12 Days of Christmas workout.  (Not saying you have to use those movements for those days, those are just examples of movements one might select.)

So, in reading some comments here are some things I saw:

Referring to the “Bear Complex” and meaning power clean + front squat + push press + back squat + behind the neck push press – without putting the bar down. This is not a Bear complex, this is ONE SEVENTH of a Bear complex. I suppose this is nitpicking, but it drives me crazy when people think the Bear complex is just one time through those movements. It is supposed to be those movements SEVEN times WITHOUT PUTTING THE BAR DOWN. If you go through that complex one time, it’s just a complex. Educate yourself:

Nice jean shorts, bro. Love the old videos before every CrossFit video you watch is covered in Reebok and Rogue logos. Just regular people doing CrossFit in regular clothes. Ya, I still wear basketball shorts to the gym. Sue me.

Next up…

Seeing the words “squat” and “snatch” used together or “squat” and “clean”. Look, there is a snatch and a clean and jerk. There are variations of those movements in whether or not you break parallel in the catch of either. There are variations in where the bar starts, but there is no such thing as a squat snatch or a squat clean. That’s like saying a dunk in basketball is a jump shot dunk. Of course you have to jump to dunk the ball. Of course you have to squat to perform a snatch or a clean. The only people that want to know if a clean is a “squat clean” are those not mobile enough or capable of performing a clean. Watch any national weightlifting event and no one will utter the words squat snatch. It doesn’t exist.  I often feel that I failed as a coach when someone in my class asks what the difference is between a snatch and a power snatch. A little piece of me dies inside. Then someone takes the hot poker and twists it into my heart when someone else speaks up and says that a power snatch starts at your knees and a snatch starts from the ground. Lord help me!!

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Do you have anything that is either routinely misinterpreted or or redundant (think “Sport SUV”…what? That vehicle is a Sport Sport Utility Vehicle?!).

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Pound for Pound Review

This workout was TERRIBLE.

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As usual, here is my post event review of my performance, and the event, for the Pound for Pound competition I did this past weekend at CrossFit LoDo.

As I wrote late last week, the workout descriptions were not very clear so while I did make some predictions, they either were not valid because the workout was different or were not accurate because some of the smaller details I had incorrect.

The first workout we did was the max deadlift. This ended up being 4 minutes total for the both of us, but we did have 2 barbells so it was OK. I did open with 355 and made that lift, added 20 pounds and made 375 which felt OK, so I added another 10 pounds and waited until our time was nearly over and PR’d with 385. All in all I hoped to PR and I did. Unfortunately, in this competition, my PR was still woefully short of where it needed to be. My score for this event was 385 divided by 210 (my body weight) for a score of 1.8. Most of the guys were scoring closer to 2.25 or 2.5.

The second workout I wasn’t sure how many 500m rows we would need to complete or the exact time domain. Also, when I wrote last week it was a clean and jerk after the 500m…well…there were 2 separate 4 min windows with 1 minute rest between. In each there was a 500m row and the remaining time was a clean and _2_ shoulder to overheads, not just one. This was at 80% of my body weight, so I was using 170 pounds. Each partner had to start 1 of the rows and each time the person hanging from the bar dropped we had to switch.

My partner killed it and didn’t drop off of the bar for the 1st row and I finished the row in about 1:35. She went straight to the bar and started moving it. She did a few reps of the complex and then I would do 1 or 2. She would do 3 and I would do 1 or 2. We sort of followed that pattern for the remaining 2+ minutes. In the 2nd 4 minute workout she started on the row and I started on the hang. I was only able to hang for about 30 or 35 seconds and we switched. She killed it again and I finished the row. This time I think it was closer to 1:45 like I predicted if we should need to switch. We followed the same format for the clean and 2 S2O.

In the end we finished with 90 reps. I was pretty satisfied with that total and we were both exhausted. Continue reading

Pound for Pound comp

This weekend is my second competition of the year – the Pound for Pound challenge at CrossFit LoDo. This comp is a team comp and I am competing with a female from my gym.

The idea behind the Pound for Pound is that weights are based off of a body weight percentage, thus leveling the field for the “smaller guy/girl”. Which, of course, makes me wonder why in the hell am I doing this??

I can’t really go through a run down/prediction for each event as half of it will be based on what my partner can do, but here are my thoughts and guesses as to how well we do.

Event 1 will be our floater. Our first scheduled WOD isn’t until nearly 11 so we are going to do our floater first. The floater is 4 minutes to find 1RM deadlift. I am not sure if this 4 minutes total for the team or 4 minutes for each team member. Either way I hope to warm up to 350-360 pounds and see how that feels. I hope that it feels OK and I open with that when the clock starts. Then, maybe add 10-15 pounds and pull again? In 4 minutes I don’t think I can pull 3 really heavy deadlifts. Ideally I would pull at the 0 mark, 90 second mark and a third pull right before the 4 minutes is up. This is largely dependent on how I feel. I think my current PR is 375 and I would ecstatic to hit that. If I somehow PR I would be super excited.

Event 2 (WOD 1) is also a bit confusing. While I tried to clarify via Facebook I am still not quite sure what the WOD is. Here is the description of the workout:

2 Rounds for Total Reps 4 Minutes on the clock:

Partner 1: Row 500 meters

Partner 2: Dead hang on the pull up bar

If the partner falls out, partners must switch to finish the row. Once row is completed, partners complete As many hang clean and jerks (80%/70%) as possible in remaining time. Only 1 partner my have their hands on the bar at any given time. The Bar must be resting on the ground before other partner can pick up. 1 Minute rest between rounds

So does this mean there are essentially two 2-minute workouts that are back to back? Does 1 partner row 500m and in the remaining 2 minutes do as many C&J as possible? Then, at the 2 minute mark the 2nd partner rows 500m? I am not sure.

If it is 2 separate workouts in a 4 minute block, then this is really interesting. We can switch as much as possible (when someone drops off the bar you HAVE to switch). Will we even complete 500m in 2 minutes? My 500m PR is like 1:31, but if we have to switch because my partner falls off of the bar (and that is likely as hanging from a bar for 90 seconds isn’t easy), that will certainly add time for the transition and she can’t row as fast. If this is the case, we won’t get many reps in the C&J. I can’t imagine many teams will. Most girls row 500m in like 1:45 or more, right? Add in a transition or 2 and teams will be lucky to complete 500m in under 2 minutes.

Now, if it is just 1 500m row and the remaining time is C&J, that is different. If my partner can hold for like 30 or 45 seconds I can get a solid 250+ meters rowed. I can’t hang from the bar for that long, so she will get only a few pulls and then hopefully we transition once more and I finish the row. Let’s say we get done with the row around 2 minutes, that leaves 2 minutes to do C&J. I will be using 80% of my body weight, or about 160-165 pounds (depending on exactly what I weigh and if they round up or down). I can do a few reps at that weight at a time pretty easily, but not sure after going basically all out on a 500m row. If I had to guess the weight of my partner she will be using about 100 pounds and I know she can rep those. I would say best case is we get 15 reps in per minute for a total of 30 C&J reps.

…but…that could easily change if I am reading the workout incorrectly.

Event 3 (WOD 2) is …
4 minutes for Partner 1 to run 800m
Minutes 4-6 is max OHS at 60/50% body weight
Minutes 6-8 is max hang snatch at same weight
Minutes 8-10 is max burpee box jump overs
Minute 11 (I guess there is a minute rest?) is 800m run for Partner 2
One catch here is that while 1 partner is doing max OHS or snatch, the other partner can do burpee box jumps and score more points.

The only prediction I have here is that I run first and gas out as much as possible and hope to complete the run in about 3-3:15. My partner will do most of the OHS and while she is doing those I will get in some burpee box jumps. We will just try to keep moving…

Final event (WOD 3) is going to really, really suck (as if WOD 2 won’t). The final event is scored as a 10 minute AMRAP of wall balls. As if that doesn’t sound bad enough, the wall ball weight is 30/20 pounds. And if THAT wasn’t bad enough, each time the ball stops moving (meaning you can’t rest and hold it, because that means it stopped) before the partner NOT doing wall balls can start doing wall balls they must “buy-in” with 5 burpees and 7 pullups. So, if I am doing wall balls my partner is resting. Once I stop in any fashion (drop the ball, attempt to rest with it or just need to stop) she has to do 5 burpees and 7 pullups before she can start her wall balls. When she stops, I have to do the same. This repeats for 10 minutes.

Sounds absolutely terrible and I actually sort of like wall balls and I do like burpees.

All I can hope for here is that I don’t throw up. I think if you average 10 wall balls a minute with the heavier than typical ball and extra work required to start the wall balls you would be doing really well. So if we get 100 wall balls I will be happy.

It’s going to be a challenging day and I think it will be harder than I expected a team competition to be. I will report back on Monday with the results.

Battle at the Rock – take 3

This weekend I am competing at the Battle of the Rock at CrossFit Castle Rock. This will be my third go at this competition. I think it is well run and each year I have loved the WODs.

My first solo competition was in 2013 at the Battle of the Rock and it was fun and I competed in it again last year and I thought it was even better. This year I make it three in a row.

In 2013 I finished 42nd out of 72 and last year I finished 48 out of 68. As I wrote in my results last year, I think my strategy failed a bit and cost me some points. That along with some missed wall walks that certainly hurt. This year I hope to finish in the top half.

Last year there were more serious competitors, too. I saw guys and gals with those big compression things on their legs to help speed up recovery. That’s a whole other level in local competition that I hadn’t seen yet. I guess I take these comps the same as I do a 5k; sure it is competitive and more so than working out at the gym, but I am not investing thousands of dollars to do something that I do a few weekends a year. Kind of like how I haven’t purchased really nice hiking shoes, although I try to go on at least a few hikes a year and at least one 14’er a year. Then again, maybe some of these folks do several local competitions a year and it is more like golf – and I have spent a few hundred dollars on golf clubs, at least.

In any case, I just want to finish in the top half this year. Compete with the kids who are in the early to middle 20’s. I figure if I can keep up with half of them at the age of 38 I am doing good.

So, as I like to do, here are my thoughts and strategy for the various WODs coming at me on Saturday.

WOD 1: 4 minutes to find max snatch + hang snatch and then at the 4 minute mark, 2 minutes max rep parallel bar burpees.

I haven’t really snatched in a few months trying to let my shoulder heal. And I was going to take today and tomorrow completely off from the gym so I was fresh on Saturday…well…I had to test the snatch portion of this WOD this morning.

After trying some squat snatch complexes at 135 and hitting some and failing on others I decided to ditch the squat variation for my snatch and just go power…and go ugly. Catching the bar in the squat is still a little shaky with my shoulder, but catching it in a more standing position is not as unstable. So, wide leg split and even a press will be on the menu this Saturday. The snatch will count as long as the bar is moved overhead and if you press from there, they will count it. It will make for some ugly snatches, but I am going to play with the rules, ugly snatch and all.

This morning I nearly had 170 for the complex. The power snatch was good, almost pretty, but the hang variation was really ugly. Being that it was early in the morning I think I can hit 175 on Saturday – that’s my goal. Warm up to at least that in the warmup area and then at “go” for the WOD hit 135 at about the 30 second mark (have to load the bar), then 155 around 1:15, then 165 around the 2 min mark and then try 175 around the 3:15 mark. I don’t want to make another attempt close to 4 minutes so I am ready for the burpees. However, I could see that if I get really close to hitting 175 (or 175 feels “easy”) then I could see trying 175 again or 180 before the 4 minute mark.

I would like to think that I can do at least 15 burpees each minute, but hoping for 20. I am going to try to go at a “slow and steady” pace to start and if there is gas left in the tank around 1:30 then floor it and finish hard.

The score is weight plus burpees so I am hoping for 175 + about 40 burpees for a score of 215.

WOD 2: 8 movements, 45 seconds max reps, 15 seconds rest. This is pretty straight forward and here is what I hope to score…

Wall balls: Being the first movement, I hope to get 25. I will go UB for as long as I can and then depending on the clock see if I can get more. I think 25 might take me 45 seconds.
Slam balls (40#): 20? 15? These won’t go very fast.
Alternating goblet lunge (53# KB): I think I can just keep moving on this one and get at least 20. I feel like about 2 seconds per lunge is good.
Toes 2 bar: These will be hard as I will be gassed. Hoping for a set of 8-10 and then a second set of 5-7 for about 13-17 reps.
Shoulder to overhead (95): I hope to plow through this. I will stop my T2B a bit early if needed ot get a few extra seconds of rest to kill this one. It’s in my wheelhouse. So if I get 2-3 less T2B it might translate into 5-8 more reps here. I hope to get about 30 reps.
Deadlift (185): I think I will be gassed and will shoot for about 15 reps.
Front squat (95): Again, now I will really be huffing and puffing. I will try not to put the bar down and get 15-20 reps.
Pullups: 10? 15? Depends on how out of wind I am.
So all in all I am guessing I will score somewhere between 133 and 152. That feels like a lot. We’ll see!

WOD3: Buy-in: 30 cal on rower, then 2 rounds of 10 C&J (135), 20 box jump overs (24) (or on and over) and a cash-out of 100 DUs

This one is a bit scary. I think 20 cals on the rower is about 1 min, so I am going to shoot to get the rowing done in 90 seconds. That way I am not gassed, but I could also see me completing the 30 cals in about 1:15. 10 C&J should take about 30 seconds, tops and the box jump overs maybe 1 minute as I will be gassed. In fact, as box jumps aren’t my thing, I will definitely be jumping OVER the box as I think that is easier. So, if the 2 rounds takes me 5 minutes, at most, that will leave me about 3 minutes to complete 100 DUs. Definitely doable. I just wonder how much I overestimate how good my cardio is.

Row in 1:20
Start C&J about 1:30 or 1:35 – round 1 done by 2:15 at worst.
Start BJ about 2:20 or 2:25 – round 1 done by 3:25 at worst.
Start 2nd C&J about 3:30’ish – round 2 done by 4:15 at worst.
Start 2nd BJ about 4:15’ish – round 2 done by 5:15 or 5:20.
Start DUs around 5:30 – finish by 7 minutes. I am going to shoot for 7 minutes for this WOD.

Floater – some sort of shuttle run with sandbags and throwing them over a 6 foot wall.

That’s all that is released as of today. My only goal here is to get my floater time scheduled about 15 minutes after WOD 1. I will be fairly fresh and still loose/warm from WOD 1. 2 short WODs to start the day (I think there is a 3 minute cap on the floater). Then rest a bit, eat a bit before WOD 2.

It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait!

Box Review: CrossFit 630

20150610_050837_resizedWhile the family was in Chicago we stayed on the very outter edge to the west of downtown Chicago in Naperville. There weren’t many CrossFit boxes really close to choose from, but I decided to visit two different ones while in town. The first one I visited was CrossFit 630.

Their space was a bit smaller than expected. It was in an “L” shape and the ceilings were super high as they were in an industrial space, but a decent chunk of space was used for restrooms and an office – or so it appeared. I still think they probably had plenty of space to hold two classes. There was an area that could be used for warming up when you first entered through their bay door and around the corner there was their rack and weights where they could do their metcons.

It was pretty apparent that they were in a state of transition in terms of where their front desk was located and other general furniture type moving. The coach that morning couldn’t find what he was looking for – which is OK, really, and it is understandable as all gyms at some point are going to move things around to better their member experience and when this happens it is bound to be a bit bumpy. As long as in the end their member experience in better it is all good.

This class was by far the smallest of my trip. It was their 6am or 6:30am class (only class in the morning) and it was myself and three other individuals. We went through the warmup together and then went over the Burgener warmup as the WOD for the day was “Randy”. It was a pretty good warmup and I like to see time set aside for instruction, especially as the three members working out with me were fairly new to CrossFit and needed the instruction on the snatch.

Love this quote by Sherwood

Love this quote by Sherwood

After the warmup we walked back to the rig, got out our bars and got ready for Randy. I finished well ahead of the other members and even had the second best time according to their record board (which, at just over 4 minutes for my Randy tells me that the gym is still fairly new because a 4 minute Randy isn’t THAT good).

After Randy we got out the bench and found our max bench. If you know me you know I LOVE this. As a guy who did a TON of “chest and tri’s” at 24 Hour Fitness for years I love a good chest day.

All and all I wasn’t super excited about my experience at 630 or disappointed. It was a good class and the coach was nice, but the overall energy was a bit low. Could have just been the class size. I know I have plenty of days when I am coaching and the class is smaller and running around pumping everyone up is a struggle.