Slamming balls!

I just happened to wear the shirt that Einar gave to me. He's such a great guy!
My good friend Einar gave me this shirt I’m wearing — because I admired his! Twinsies!

What a busy day! I coached @ 6 & 7:15, took a short nap, took Luke for a walk, coached @ 11:45, took Luke for another walk, removed packaging from new training bar, strength bands, 45# steel plates, and slam balls. Yes, slam balls!

As I completed 10 minutes of plate pushups yesterday, I modified today’s programmed WOD. It was beastly.

9-min AMRAP
5 chest to bar pull-ups
20 slam balls, 30#
Rest 3 minutes
9-min AMRAP
5 face to floor pushups with feet on 20” box
20 air squats holding 30# slam ball.

Wow, I had forgotten just how challenging slam balls could be. My goal was to complete all rounds unbroken, but I was unable to do so. I missed 1 slam ball, and my chest didn’t touch the bar on 3 different occasions. No, I didn’t count reps, but I also didn’t drop from the bar, and even when I missed a rep I continued to complete unbroken. I completed 11 rounds + 4 C2B pull-ups.

I did complete all pushups and air squats unbroken, averaging about a round a minute. Air squats became progressively more difficult. I completed the first 2 rounds holding slam ball in front of chest and then rotated through holding on upper back, on right shoulder, and on left shoulder. I completed 9 rounds + 5 pushups + 4 air squats.

Total = 59 chest to bar pull-ups, 110 slam balls, 50 pushups ups, & 184 air squats. It’s no wonder why my entire body aches.

I coached CFE at CFBC @ 5, and the WOD and Foundations at CFS @ 6:30 & 7:30. That makes for a loooong – but wonderful – day!

Benchmark WOD “Cindy”

Jeff, Luke, and I will be visiting my mother this week, and will be leaving later this morning. I awakened at 3:30, obsessing about watering the lawn. I did so from 3:30 until 5:30, and then I (after unsuccessfully attempting to wake up Jeff and bring him with me) went to CFZ. As the temperature outside was only 70, I was able to open the garage door, turn on the fan, and work out in relative comfort.

I posted the following to my Facebook timeline: Getting my WOD in before, you know, someone posts a picture of their car thermometer and/or asks me, “Is it hot enough for you?” I’m thinking “Cindy”. The WOD, not my sister.

The last time I completed this WOD my score was 22+11.

I spent 25 minutes on mobility, and then prepared myself for the benchmark WOD. I completed the WOD at the pull-up station in front of the fan and facing the clock. I placed 5 stacks of 5 poker chips (each stack a different color) and my protein drink to my left, taped my hands, and turned up the speaker volume.

Benchmark WOD “Cindy”
20-minute AMRAP of the following:
5 pull-ups
10 pushups
15 air squats

My one and only goal was to complete 25 rounds. My tactics were the following:

  1. Begin at a comfortable pace
  2. Complete pull-ups and air squats unbroken
  3. Complete the first 10 rounds of pushups unbroken, and then complete remaining rounds in reps of 7 & 3
  4. Use the colored poker chips to easily determine number of completed rounds as well as modify pace if needed

I made two errors, although neither one cost me that much time. The first error occurred immediately after the very first round. I moved the first chip, stood up, and hit my head on the movable bar rack. I quickly removed the bar rack and continued. The second mistake was that I didn’t have the chalk nearby. As I didn’t want to waste any time, I didn’t chalk my hands one time during the workout. I’m glad that I’m taped them!

While not a mistake, I did begin at a rather slow pace. At the 10-minute mark I had completed 12 rounds & 3 pull-ups; thus, I knew I had to pick up the pace to achieve my goal.

I did ensure that my chin was well above the bar for each and every pull-up, that my chest and cheek touched the floor and my elbows locked at the top of each and every pushup, and that I completed air squats with full range of motion.

About those air squats… For whatever reason, I was having a difficult time using my arms in a coordinated fashion. Huh?

For one brief moment I thought that I would not be able to complete 25 rounds. I really had to push through the last round, and I finished my last air squat with 2 seconds to spare. Yes, I completed exactly 25 rounds – a new PR!

My new goal is to complete 26 or more rounds. In order to achieve this I will need to complete all rounds of pushups unbroken (which I could have possibly done today) and learn how to do butterfly kipping pull-ups. I wonder if my BVFFF, Michael Kelley, will help me learn how to do so. I’ll know if he responds to this post.

While I don’t record on the whiteboard, I don’t hesitate to record on the leader board. I moved Britt’s score to the fourth position and posted my own. (Hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, Britt!)

“Chelsea” & Michelle

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Yesterday I coached the 6am, 5:15pm, and 6:30pm sessions at CFZ. I think back to my childhood and early adolescence when I was a gangly, scrawny little boy. If you would have told me then that I would not only be running long distances, lifting heavy weights, and performing gymnastic feats of strength, but that I would be instructing others how to do so, I would have laughed in your face. (I wouldn’t, however, have rolled my eyes like someone I know.) Me, a coach? I think I’ll go to my room and practice the clarinet. You don’t get to be first chair first clarinet without practicing.

I was generally pleased with the performance of athletes, more so with dead-lifts than with the met-con.

Many asides today, and here’s the first: Thomas, the not-at-all-identical twin brother of the one and only Michael Kelley, attended the 6am session. He’s been struggling with double unders, so I spent some quality time with him post-WOD. As I’ve said numerous times (and I hear Jack’s voice in my mind when I say this), slow is fast. You’re making progress, Thomas.

Jeff got his first double under, and it was during the WOD. I was observing the group, so I didn’t see the actual double under. He yelled (as he continued jumping rope), “Paul, Paul! I got a double under!” Immediately following the WOD he said, “Now show me how to string them together.” Ha!

Nathanael and Johanna (a married couple and new members) are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Their niece, Hannah, attended the session with them, although she didn’t do the WOD. She probably should have. I don’t know why kids like me so much, but they often do, and Hannah was no exception. She wrote her own name on the whiteboard as well as mine – followed by “is awesome”. She’s obviously a very good judge of character.

Of all of the athletes who completed yesterday’s WOD, I’m most proud of Johanna. She struggled on her last set of heavy dead-lifts, and barely got the first attempt off the floor before dropping the bar and shaking her head “no”. (I call this the “Thomas Kelley”.) She rested, and then failed on her second attempt as well. I could tell that she really wanted to successfully complete the last set, and that she was getting frustrated. Just before her third attempt, I said, “Use a mixed grip, Johanna. Your brain will know how to place your hands. Set your back. Roll the bar to your legs. Keep a neutral neck. Take a deep breath. Now lift!” She did. She did three times! You were spectacular, Johanna!

Other accomplishments: Kabool had the most explosive dead-lifts, Kristin finally kept her neck neutral, Nicole H. is mastering wall ball shots, Leah is overcoming some of her negative self-talk, and the list goes on and on.

But enough about everyone else – let’s talk about me!

While I didn’t work out prior to the 6am session, I did arrive at the box prior to the 5:15pm session to complete the requisite dead-lifts. After warming up, I lifted sets of 3 reps @ 285, 305, and 315# – a PR, and 95% of my current 1RM of 330#. And the lifts felt easy. I’m confident I can achieve a new dead-lift PR in the upcoming weeks.

I left the box at 7:40pm, arrived this morning at 5:50am, and Lauren and Michelle arrived shortly thereafter. Michelle was undecided as to what to do today, so I gently persuaded her to join me for the benchmark WOD “Chelsea”.

Every minute on the minute for 30 minutes:
5 pull-ups
10 pushups
15 air squats

The last time I did this WOD was at CFD almost a year ago. Back then I completed rounds in between 37 and 44 seconds. Today was an entirely different story…

My ideal goal was to complete all rounds unbroken, although it was more of an aspiration than a realistic goal – or so I thought.

Michelle was positioned to my left. I completed activities under the pull-up bar directly facing the clock so that I could keep track of and record rounds.

I completed the first round in 36 seconds, and thought, “Okay, that was fast, but I’m sure I’ll slow down.” Uhm, my first round was my slowest round. My times for the remaining 29 rounds were 34, 35, 34, 35, 34, 34, 34, 33, 33, 33, 34, 34, 34, 33, 34, 33, 33, 33, 33, 33, 33, 32, 32, 32, 31, 31, 31, 31, & 30! I got faster, not slower, and my last round was my fastest round!

I ensured that my chin was above the bar for every pull-up, that my chest and cheek touched the floor for every pushup (left cheek for odd and right cheek for even-numbered pushups, respectively), and that all squats were done with proper form.

The last time I did this WOD I made it through round 23 of pushups unbroken, and then fell apart. Not today. I did all 30 rounds of 10 pushups unbroken, as well as all rounds of pull-ups and air squats.

My total work time was 16:32.

Do I sound a bit excited? I am. Am I boasting a little? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Hannah thinks I’m awesome. She’s obviously a very good judge of character.

Michelle did and awesome job, completing 23 rounds! (If you are unable to complete a round within 60 seconds, you complete that round, and then wait until the top of the next minute to begin again.) There were many times when she completed her last of 15 air squats with less than 5 seconds remaining before the start of the next round. She nonetheless ran to the pull-up station to start to begin. After the WOD I said, “I got more rest than you did, Michelle, as I had more time between rounds to catch my breath.” She replied, “Yes, but I got longer periods of rest when I wasn’t able to complete a round in a minute.”

She was kind enough to pose with me for a post-WOD picture. (Thanks for taking, Lauren!)

For perspective, that’s 150 pull-ups, 300 pushups, and 450 air squats.

Michael Kelley is a diva. Just ask the server at Tyler’s.

Another Saturday, another drama-filled day at CFZ…

I arrived at the box at 9:20, and didn’t receive a Welcome Home Hug from Michael Kelley until 9:45. True story. Michael Kelley led the 9:30 and I coached the 10:30 and Community WODs. A good time was had by most.

After a dynamic warmup, athletes completed 3 chin-ups on the minute for 10 minutes or 11 minutes (in Michael Kelley’s and my sessions, respectively). I substituted 3 strict handstand pushups; thus, it was relatively easy. Next time I’ll do strict negative handstand pushups. I’ll also wear my awesome shirt!

Next on the agenda were 100 thrusters. Each time the athlete set down the bar they did 30 lateral bar hops or 10 pull-ups, alternating activities. I completed the following:

100 front squats, 110# (50% of 1RM); each time the bar is racked perform 30 lateral paralette hops or 10 strict pushups, alternating activities

I set up a rack, a paralette, and my yoga mat outside, and as it was a beautiful day this was an ideal setting. My goal was to complete lateral jumps and pushups unbroken, and I did just that. I completed front squats in reps of 30, 20, 15, 10, 13, & 12; thus completing 90 lateral paralette lateral jumps and 30 pushups. My total time was 10:35.

I often began a round of FS completing fast an unbroken, and then would rest the bar on my delts, i.e., rack, and complete 5 or more additional FSs. My. Wrists. Hurt. Very. Badly. While I could have completed more FSs each round, my wrists hurt so badly that I had little choice but to place the bar on the rack. I received meaningful direction and support from my favorite coach, Jay one condescending phrase of encouragement from Michael Kelley. As I’m confident with FSs, lateral jumps, and pushups, I suppose no direction and/or support were needed. Another hug would’ve been nice, though.

I enjoyed coaching the 10:30 session. Sara, Margie, and Jeff win the award for best hopping ability, Darren for embracing the pain, and Thomas for best form for thrusters.

About 8 people attended the Community WOD, and the workout was a beginner’s version of Fight Gone Bad. Three rounds for time of 1 minute of the following (with 1 minute rest between rounds): wall ball shots, dumb bell push press, box jumps, and kettle bell dead-lifts. One regular gets on my ever last nerves, as she’s very negative and often talks back. She thinks she’s funny. She’s not.

Michael Kelley called me a diva. He knows how much I hate being called a diva. Should I forgive him? Cast your vote!

Too many pushups…

Another loooong day… Up early, flight to Philly, work from hotel room, train all afternoon, and then CrossFit. Always CrossFit.

J. led today’s session, and the focus was on the clean & jerk. After a dynamic workout (including running 400m, crab walks, bear crawls, inch worms, and the like), we used a pipe and reviewed form. My left bicep is finally starting to feel better, and I don’t want to risk re-injury; thus, I informed Jason that I would substitute something for the clean & jerks, and not participate in some of the review. More in a moment…

Even and offhanded homophobic remark can make a person feel unwelcome. I felt somewhat unwelcome this evening. That’s all that I will say.

J. then went over requirements for pushups, and we did probably 20 or so. J. insisted that cheek was to the floor (yeah!) but emphasized that quads should not touch the floor. Just last week at Conshy it was emphasized the quads should touch the ground. I truly think it’s much more challenging to complete strict pushups with cheek to the ground – but not quads. Thoughts?

I had a conversation with J. just before the WOD, and he suggested that I substitute medicine ball cleans and wall ball shots for clean & jerks. I explained that the motion of the cleaning is what causes the pain, and pressing exacerbates the problem. I suggested back squats, even though it wasn’t an apples to apples comparison. He said, “Okay, but make the weight heavy.” I replied, “How about bodyweight?”  Jay asked, “Air squats?” “No,” I replied, “145 pounds, my bodyweight.” J. suggested that I set up a rack at the far end of the box, so as not to get in the way of others. I did just that. I also grabbed an abacus to keep track of rounds, and I’m glad that I did.

20-min AMRAP
20 strict pushups
10 back squats

My goal was to work consistently. I honestly had no concept of how many rounds I might be able to complete. I noticed that those that completed the WOD earlier in the day with heavy clean & jerks were completing 4 to 6 rounds. I knew I’d be able to complete more than that, as back squatting is much easier than cleaning & jerking.

The only round of pushups I did unbroken was the very first round. Although I could’ve completed another couple of rounds unbroken, I made sure that I did not do pushups to failure. I completed rounds 2 through about 4 or 5 in reps of 10, 5, & 5. I remember doing a round or two in reps of 8, 6, & 5, and eventually completed in reps of between 4 and 5.

I did all rounds of back squats unbroken. Huh? I told myself that I could place the bar back on the rack, but never felt the need to do so. Starting at around 4 or 5, I would do 7 or 8 reps, and then pause briefly with the bar on my back for each of the last reps. I did the first 2 rounds as high bar, and the remaining as low bar. The rack was just a bit too high, and I often had to go on my tiptoes to put the bar back on the rack.

I will admit to watching the clock. Once again, the time ran up instead of down, and this still confuses me. I don’t want to have to do math during a WOD!

I started my last round of 10 back squats with 1 minute left. I told myself to do all 10 unbroken, i.e., with no pause, and that’s what I did. Unfortunately, this meant that there was still time left on the clock. I got in 4 more pushups for a total of 9 rounds + 4 pushups; 90 back squats & 184 pushups total.

I’m very tired.

 

Paul > Timmy (Not THAT Timmy, Lauren.)

Yup, I did a double. This morning’s workout of dead-lifts and running just felt too easy – and didn’t last nearly long enough. I miss the programming at CFZ. Don’t tell Michael Kelley. I hate him. Tell him that.

I once again attended a session at CFConshy. I thought it started at 5:30, so I arrived at 5:25 only to discover that sessions were held at 5, 6, & 7. I waited for the 6 session and had an opportunity to watch the 5ers complete the WOD.

There seems to be a resident douche bag at every CrossFit. After completing the WOD, Timmy (not his real name) looked at the times on the board and said, “I’m sure I had the fastest time. Oh, wait, who’s John? No matter, if I had completed the WOD at noon when he did, my time would have been 20 seconds faster and I would have beat him. I’m at my peak at noon.” Uhm, I’ve heard of age-graded scores, but not time of day-graded scores. He walked around the box with an air of superiority, chest held high, preening hair, and bragging about his skills.

I determined then and there that his ass would be mine.

Nate, who I worked out with my last visit, and another gentleman, whose name I can’t remember, were attempting to do muscle-ups. I gave them some pointers, and both of them almost got one. Not Nate asked, “Are you a gymnast?” I laughed out loud. “No,” I replied. He said, “You sound like one. You gave great direction, and your suggestions were very helpful. It’s obvious you know what you’re talking about. And that you can train.” Awh, shucks!

Lori led the 6pm session, and we began with kipping practice, walk-outs, lunge stretches, and jumping jacks. She then went over form for pull-ups and air squats.

3 rounds for time
Run 400m
3 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, & 15 air squats
Rest 1 minute between rounds; total time includes 2 minutes of rest

I’ve done both “Cindy” and “Running Cindy”, and this was a combination of both.

The clock started, and Vlad (one of the coaches) led us through the first 400m. I took the lead, but Nate was determined to pass me. He did, and finished about 25m ahead of me. No worries, for as I’ve often said, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” I completed the first round unbroken, including pushups. Another young man, Koop, was neck and neck with me the first round, and finished just 2 or 3 seconds behind me. I was somewhat worried. Yes, I’ll admit it.  

I was the first to start the second 400m run, and Koop was determined to pass me. It didn’t bother me in the least, and he finished 10m or so ahead of me. As my back was to him most of the time, I couldn’t really see him do anything but pull-ups, and he was struggling just a bit on those. I completed all rounds of pull-ups and air squats unbroken, as well as the first 2 rounds of pushups. I completed the last round in reps of 6 & 4.

I finished well ahead of Koop, and was thus the first person to start and finish the last 400m, finishing 100m or more ahead of him. I once again completed all rounds of pull-ups and air squats unbroken, and pushups unbroken the first round, in reps of 5, 3, & 2 the second round, and reps of 4, 3, 2, & 1 the last round. Yes, my shoulders were smoked. My last round of air squats had to be my fastest round!

Things to note: Vlad kneeled on the floor beside me during my first rounds of pushups to ensure that my chest and thighs touched the floor. As usual, I touched my cheek to the floor each and every rep as well. As my back was to everyone for all activities put pull-ups, it was very difficult to gauge how I was doing compared to my fellow CFers. Finally, this was quite a challenging WOD, particularly after having run this morning. As much as I love running, it wasn’t as enjoyable as it typically is. That surprised me.

I completed the WOD in 12:12, the fastest time that had yet been posted. Times that had been posted were 12:40 and 12:58 – by Timmy. So, even with his 20-second time of day-graded score, I still beat him by 27 seconds.

We finished the day with 3 rounds of 90 second total of 30 seconds of toe touches, 30 seconds of leg raises, 30 seconds of V-ups, and 30 seconds of rest. That. Was. Tough.  

Dead-lifts, Box Jumps, and Pushups.

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I attended the 5:30 session at CFKoP, led by Vinnie. I arrived early and witnessed what I thought was the WOD but was actually the cash out. More in a moment.
Vinnie remembered my name and introduced me to my fellow CFers, some that I had seen last Monday.
We warmed up with a 400m run. Vinnie said, “Now that you know where the turnaround is, I expect to see you be the first person back.” Ha! I was. Vinnie then led us through some additional mobility and strength, focusing on the hamstrings — and including airplanes. I like airplanes.
We were giving about 8 minutes to warm up our dead-lifts. Uhm, the prescribed weight was 305#. Another ha! I discussed with Vinnie and we agreed on 245, with the caveat that if my form went to sh!t he would drop weight from the bar. I loaded each side with a 45, 35, and 2, 10# plates. I grabbed a 30″ box. There weren’t enough to go around, and a man asked me if I wanted to share, i.e., take turns jumping on the same box at the same time.
I’m assertive. I said, “I’m going to be going fast on the box jumps, so that may not be the best idea.” Okay, so maybe “assertive” isn’t the best adjective…
5 Rounds for Time
5 dead-lifts
15 box jumps
My goal was to complete all reps unbroken, and with the exception of a mixed box jump (that I re-did), I achieved this goal.
While 245 didn’t feel light, I probably could’ve gone heavier. I may not, however, have been able to do the last couple of rounds unbroken.
30″ box jumps have certainly gotten easier. I cannot, however, do very quickly in succession like I can with a 24″ box. I did ensure that my hips were open.
I also kept listening for Vinnie to perhaps correct my form. The only thing I heard was, “Good, Paul!”
I completed in 6:27. I was winded but not exhausted.
The cash out was next…
4-minute pyramid
135# dead-lift
Chest to floor pushup
Vinnie said, “The top score is 10. Who thinks they can get 10?” I didn’t say a word. My goal was, of course, to get 10. My other goal was to do all rounds unbroken.
One dead-lift, 1 pushup, 2 dead-lifts, 2 pushups. Many people were doing pushups horizontal to the bar, but I chose to step away from and do pushups vertical to the bar. The bar felt incredibly light, and I even had to remind myself to lift with my legs and not my arms.
During the round of 6 or 7 Vinnie said, “Chest to the floor, Paul.” Where have I heard this before! I was putting my chest AND cheek to the floor for each rep, and locking my elbows at the top.
Vinnie was counting down the time, and by the round of 8 I knew I was going to be able to complete 10. So I set my goal to complete 11.
I was able to complete pushups unbroken until the round of 11, and I completed that round in reps of 5, 4, and 2. My shoulders were smoked! I completed 11 rounds + 4 dead-lifts.
70 dead-lifts & 66 pushups total. In 4 minutes. Uhm…
When we were putting away the bars I got Vinnie’s attention and said, “Vinnie, I put my cheek to the floor to ensure that my chest is to the floor. I don’t have big pecs, so it’s sometimes hard to tell.” He replied, “From where I was it didn’t look like your chest was touching.” So I demonstrated. Vinnie said, “Yeah, your chest is to the floor. Anyhow, I had to try to call you out on something!” Ha, yet again!
I very much enjoyed myself today, and am looking forward to tomorrow’s WOD.

Put a dollar in the jar, Michael Kelley.

Yesterday was a rest day, although Luke and I ran a somewhat easy 4 miles on American Tobacco Trail. I truly enjoy running with him, as he truly enjoys running!

I did not complete 12.1 WOD, as I continue to think/feel that only 1 attempt should be given. I know there are many who disagree. Let’s agree, then, to disagree. I did post my results.

It appears that Monday is “Wear Your CFZ Shirt to CFZ Day”. Ms. Kirby also joined the 6amers today. Yeah!

Michael Kelley led today’s session, and the focus was on rings dips.

Ring Dips
8-8-8-8-8
Use weight if necessary.

There is still a little tenderness in left bicep. I completed 8 reps of 10, 25, 35, and 45, and 6 reps of 55. Why only 6 reps? Because Michael Kelley is a douche bag. As you can see from this video, he interfered during the 6th rep, and I couldn’t stay on the rings while laughing. I hate Michael Kelley.

I had the pleasure of working with Chad and displeasure of working with Paul A.

Conditioning
5 Rounds each for time:
10 Power Snatches
15 Pushups
20 Sit-Up
1 min Rest

I intentionally went light on the power snatches, lifting a mere 65#, as pressing is what causes pain in my left bicep. Yes, I did experience a tiny amount of pain. I completed all 5 rounds unbroken.

I completed 4 rounds of pushups (feet together, chest and cheek to the floor) unbroken, and last round in reps of 8, 4, and 3. My shoulders were smoked!

I used the GHD machine for sit-ups, and completed 2 rounds unbroken and remaining 3 rounds in reps of 10, 6 and 4.

I completed rounds in 1:37, 1:37, 2:00, 2:03, and 2:23. Yup, GHD sit-ups slowed me down considerably. My total time was 9:35 (13:35 minus 4 minutes).

 

Post-Adele Workout

Olympic Lifting
Snatch Balance

Max reps in 5 min. Hold bottom position for a 5 count. Cannot put the bar down. Focus on stability in the bottom position.

At Michael Kelley’s insistence, I used a 33# bar. I recorded the 5 minutes in its entirety, and will humbly admit that I didn’t squat deeply enough until a full 2 minutes into the practice. I held last 2 squats for 10 seconds.

Hang Power Snatch
Take 10 min to work up to moderate doubles. Form over load!

I started with 65# and performed about 10 reps, attempting (somewhat successfully) to focus on form. I completed another 10 or so reps lifting 75#, 2 reps at 85#, and then another 5 or so at 75#. I need to focus on locking – and not pressing – my arms. I also, of course, need to focus on explosiveness. Valuable lessons learned. Michael Kelley is anything but clean-shaven.

Conditioning
21 pushups
21 kb swings
15 pushups
15 kb swings
9 pushups
9 kb swings
9 air squat
9 toes-2-bar
15 air squat
15 t2b
21 air squat
21 t2b
Air squats should be performed with bumper plate.

Uhm, yeah, so I really liked this met-con, although it was quite challenging. I grabbed a 52# kettle bell and set it in front of the pull-up rig. The following conversation took place…

Michael Kelley: Paul, it looks like you’re going to be using a 62# because all of the 52# kettle bells are taken.
Me: I took one of them. I placed it over there where I’m going to be doing pull-ups. (For whatever reason, I was convinced that we were going to be doing pull-ups, not pushups.)
MK: (To Paul A.) Paul, you can use the 44 or 62# kettle bell.
PP: (To Paul A.) Paul, you can use the 52, and I’ll use the 62# kettle bell. Michael Kelley, this means I’m not going to do all of the swings unbroken, is that okay?
MK: (Rolling his eyes and batting his eyelashes.) Yes, that’s okay, Paul.
PP: What weight should I use for the air squats? (I grabbed the 62# kettle bell.)
MK: (Scoffing and batting his eyelashes.) Use 45#.
PP: Michael Kelley, this means I’m not going to do all of the air squats unbroken, is that okay?
MK: (Rolling his eyes
and batting his eyelashes.) Yes, that’s okay, Paul.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I did not establish any goals for the met-con.

I completed all rounds of pushups (chest to the floor, I assure you) and kettle bell swings (American) unbroken. Even I was surprised that I was able to complete kettle bell swings unbroken. Perhaps I am getting stronger. I give Michael Kelley some take all of the credit.

Even though Michael Kelley suggested resting the plate on one’s back for air squats, I chose to hold the plate against my chest. I completed the rounds of 9 and 15 air squats unbroken, and the last round in reps of 14 and 7. Toes to bar were more of a challenge, as I could not for the life of me kip! My lats just wouldn’t activate. Damn lats. I completed round of 9 unbroken, and rounds of 15 and 21 in reps of between 5 and 2. My forearms were aching.

I completed the met-con in 8:16. My forearms were in such excruciating pain that I could not even extend my ring or pinky fingers. I was, fortunately, able to extend my middle fingers, and I did so in Michael Kelley’s direction.

Another great day at CFZ! I’m (still) enjoying the programming, and I am certainly seeing improvement in form and gains in strength.  

I can't extend ring or pinky fingers!

CrossFit Games Muscle Ups

Today was “open gym” at CFZ, and it was a good morning for yours truly (even if Michael Kelley was there).

I’ve begun to notice improvements with my flexibility and range of motion. As much as it pains me to say this, Michael Kelley may be partially responsible for my gains, as he does spend at least 10 minutes each morning focusing on mobility. As I worked out solo today, I nonetheless spent 20, count them, 20 minutes on mobility, focusing on my hips and shoulders.

As I was warming up, Michael Kelley and I had the following conversation, with my thoughts in italics:
MK: Can you do a muscle up?
PP: Fool, you damn well know that I can do a muscle up. Yes.
MK: But have you ever done a muscle up here at CrossFit Zeal?
PP: Uhm, what difference does that make? No.
I moved to the rings set up on the pull-up rig, grabbed the rings with a false grip, and easily did a muscle up on my first attempt. I then did two more muscle up in succession – all while listening to Michael Kelley babble incessantly.
MK: Okay, but hang from the rings.
PP: Fool, what the hell do you think I’m doing here? I am hanging from the rings.
MK: Externally rotate your shoulders.
Michael Kelley then demonstrated what he meant, i.e., turning hands, shoulders, and arms outward.
PP: Why?
MK: It’s CrossFit Games standard.
I attempted – and did a CrossFit Games standard muscle up on my first attempt. I can modestly say I’m frakking awesome.

CrossFit Durham had posted the met-con that I completed.
10 rounds of the following for time:
10 dead-lifts, 135#
10 pushups

I warmed up dead-lifts and completed 5 handstand pushups, and then set the clock. My goals were to complete all reps with proper form, including all pushups with feet together, and to complete all rounds unbroken.

I achieved my goals. However, during the ninth round of pushups I was so focused on speed that my chest didn’t touch the floor for the sixth rep, and I thought, “Shit, I’m going to have to redo that rep.” I did the seventh rep with proper form – and then once again didn’t touch my chest to the ground for the eight rep. I thought, “Shit again, now I have to do two additional reps.” And that’s what I did, completing 10 good and 2 bad pushups, nonetheless unbroken.

This met-con was perhaps too easy, and in retrospect I should’ve scaled up with weight for dead-lifts, reps for pushup, and/or substitute HSPUs. I completed in 7:49 and hardly broke a sweat.

I wanted to make sure the muscle up with external rotation wasn’t a fluke. I completed five unbroken muscles – a new PR! I didn’t even attempt a sixth. I prolly shoulda.

Paul > Michael Kelley