Box Review: CrossFit Establish

20150609_063344_resizedAs my family was making its way from Colorado to Wisconsin we had an overnight in northern Kansas City, Missouri. There is a hotel in Liberty with a pretty solid water park inside of it that is included with your nights stay. When you have children that are 6 and 3 that is a HUGE win on a long road trip.

For a guy like myself I have to search for CrossFit boxes nearby. There were three or four boxes pretty close to the hotel, including CrossFit NKC which I visited a few years ago (and apparently didn’t review?!). However, this trip I needed as much time as possible to get the family to Wisconsin and the closest box was CrossFit Establish. In looking at their website and Facebook it looked like a solid place to train. It was.

I arrived early in the morning before most everyone else except the coach and owner. Both introduced themselves and made sure I felt like I was at home.

I wish we had turf like that at my box. Would be a lot of fun.

I wish we had turf like that at my box. Would be a lot of fun.

As I was stretching my shoulders because we were going to start with snatches I started to notice a trend in what the other athletes were doing as they slowly showed up for the early morning class…I realized that all of them were doing the same stretches. As more people kept arriving, and eventually doing the same pattern of stretches I initially thought that the box must have a basic set of stretching everyone does before class. The stretches were popular, yet effective stretches like the ever favorite couch stretch and some pigeon stretching. But then I noticed what looked like a warmup on the board, some of it in lingo I wasn’t familiar with. While I like to consider myself well versed in CrossFit lingo or exercise lingo in general I am always amazed how I run across terminology I don’t recognize all the time. Some gyms refer to things differently. Even things as common as PVC pass-throughs.

Anyway, I soon realized I wasn’t doing the prescribed warmup for the day. This was the one thing I didn’t like about Establish: they didn’t keep me informed on what I should be doing, class schedules, patterns, how it would be run, etc. When I have visitors attend one of my classes I make sure they know I will start the warmup and the class will warmup together, what to expect for the WOD, cool down, etc. In this case I had no idea what some of the movements were in the warmup or that it had even started. Thankfully I know what I like to do to get warmed up for snatches so it turned out OK, but for a newbie this could be a real turnoff. Continue reading

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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.

How far has CrossFit come?

This video is amazing…amazing in that it shows how far CrossFit has come in just four years. Not only are the athletes struggling – STRUGGLING – with muscle-ups and what is considered a light snatch these days, but the announcers are even struggling calling the “squat snatch” a “squat clean”.

The muscle-up technique is terrible and I am sure all of these girls can complete Amanda in much less time today simply because they can “squat snatch” (I hate that term because it just a snatch…if I tell you to “snatch” I expect a squat) so much better and link together muscle-ups easily. In fact, here is Camille doing Amanda at the men’s weight just a month ago or so.

And watch the whole thing to watch Jason Khalipa just look awful snatching 135 pounds.

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…

WOD 1
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