Box Review: Endorphin

OK – so this isn’t a review of a CrossFit “box”, but I have a category that I use for reviews like this, so I am going with it.

This past weekend a friend of mine celebrated his 40th birthday by inviting folks to come workout with him at one of his favorite places to workout. Endorphin is a “cycle/row” facility. It is NOT CrossFit. Let me preface the rest of this blog entry by saying I LOVE CrossFit (if this site isn’t evidence enough). I haven’t done any sort of group, instructor led class other than CrossFit for at least two or two and a half years. Prior to that I did do some boot camp classes at 24 Hour Fitness. I love lifting heavy. I love Olympic lifting. I love CrossFit. With that being said, take that into consideration for my review of Endorphin.

Endorphin is selling sweat. Long, sweaty classes. I think they have three or five locations around the Denver metro area and the one I went to was on Broadway and Yale. The space wasn’t all that big. They had about 20 stationary bikes and 20 Concept 2 rowers and there wasn’t much room for anything else. The rowers were close enough that when we got off the rowers to do pushups there wasn’t enough room between the rowers for two people to do pushups, barely enough room for one person to do them. And the bikes were so tightly packed that while I was warming up on my bike I started to do some arm swings and could touch the bikes behind me. It was cramped. And it was full. Half of the class started on the bikes while the other half started on the rowers. About 40 people in a small space and when we swapped bikes/rowers it was a traffic jam.

When I was talking to my friend last week prior to the class he stated that there were some “beasts” that would be attending. He said this because I said I was hoping to compete in some form with folks in the class to see where my CrossFit training stacked up against a group like this. Before the class started I didn’t see any beasts. Lots of skinny people. Very little muscle definition in any of them. What you would expect to see in a class that stresses long aerobic activity with little to no resistance training.

The class was 15 minutes on the bike (think cycle classes) with a brief transition to the rowers for about 15 minutes – times 2. So the class was just over an hour and it was basically constant aerobic movement. Here are my observations: Continue reading

At least find some people who squat with good form…

28 day squat challenge!! For those too lazy to squat all the time.

OK, whatever, it gets people off their ass, right? But look at the form in this picture…

None of them are to parallel, guy on the right has a bad case of the valgus knee syndrome, girl on the left thinks she is doing some sort of sumo deadlift. Prison squats are great, just do them right.

That’s what has caught my eye during the Super Bowl.

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.

Videos from USAW Cert

On Day 1 we got to stick around for about 45 minutes and watch some Olympic hopefuls train. Here are some videos I took.

This first one was a guy doing some heavy squats. Here is his 485# squat and he moved up in weight at least two more times before we had to leave. The last squat I saw was close to 600#.

Making a 350# clean look awfully easy. He was part of a British team, I think. His coach was wearing a light British Olympic jacket.

This dude was so fast. Here he snatches 285 and later he did the same weight for a triple. I need to put this one into Coaches Eye and see how long the lift takes. Can’t be much more than a second.

Finally, I need to do more weighted sotts presses. Not sure why I never thought about doing them…

(That was my excuse for taking a video of her…she was pretty hot…)

NOMAD November challenge

This sounds painful.

I love the monthly challenges on Derek Robinson’s blog. I tried the August burpee challenge but failed…and it sucked to fail…

I find the most difficult part of these challenges is that they basically require you to work everyday. For example, in this challenge if I failed to complete 37 reps at 135 tomorrow I need to complete 54 reps at 135 the following day to catch up. For a guy like me who does workout nearly everyday you might think this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, there are days in the gym where I do the WOD perscribed for the day and just don’t feel like I have gas to do anymore. Or there are days when I coach and take the day off and don’t do much work, if any. Or there are days in which I have family stuff and don’t do anything (like next weekend we might be in the mountains).

With all of that being said, here is what I did today:

  • 25 squat cleans at 185 lbs = 4,625 pounds
  • I warmed up with 5 at 135 to start and then 2 at 185 = 1,045 pounds
  • I did 55 Zercher squats at 135 lbs = 7,425 pounds
  • I did 3 Zercher squats to feel it at 135 = 405 pounds
  • Then I did 15 OHS at 135 = 2,025 pounds
  • For a total of 15,525 pounds squatted today

You need to squat just under 5,000 pounds a day to get to 150k at the end of the month. So, today I already did 3 days worth. Hm…maybe I should give this a shot? I will not commit, but it will be interesting to see how I do. Especially because I am thinking of giving Smolov another go…