Month: April 2015

Front squat Monday, front squat Tuesday, and on Wednesday…

dropped in at CrossFit Max Effort in Vegas. Wow, they seriously upgraded from their old location. Coworker tried to give me shit, “You are going to spend $15 on a cab ride there, $20 to workout, and $15 more to cab it back?”

“and you are going to drop $500 at the tables…..”

hit the 6am WOD. Woke up at 5am and checked the website… FRONT SQUATS!!!

No, please God, just no!

My legs were so stiff from squatting 2 days and then standing on a show floor yesterday, but I sucked it up. Strength was 5 sets of 5 front squats on the 3 minutes. Kept it super light, just enough to work the muscles loose a bit.

WOD, 5 rounds
10 Chest-to-bar Pullups
10 burpees
10 front squats from the floor (155# Rx, I did 95 and 5 reps)
rest 1 minute between rounds

took 20 minutes. That was a LOT of work. Felt so good after walking around the strip and having dinner in …. fuckin’ Hooters casino last night. Coworker loves the place. I’m shocked that it’s still open.

I finally understand how to use running to my advantage

it only took me 4+ years to figure it out….

So I’m a good runner. It’s somewhat natural and somewhat honed over the course of 25 years of extensive running. I know how to run, how to conserve energy when running, what my pace is, how to dig deep. Hell, I know how to get into the running pain cave and stay there.

What I forgot was how this really helps in CrossFit.

In running WODs I smoke the run. It’s a challenge to be the first person back in the box, but that’s really not the point. Saturday’s team WOD hit it home. I cruised the runs, still passing several people, and came back in the box ready to nail the kettlebell swings.

The goal is not to be the first person back in the box. The goal is to be right behind the first person, but to arrive with a lot more left in the tank than the first person. They go out hard and come back in full AT needing to catch their breath before the next movement. I need to come back in taxed a bit but not shattered and READY to kick ass on the next movement. I can use my running prowess to shorten my run time AND be in a much better position to squat/wallball/whatever.

Sure, you say, “duh,” but a lot of time fighting for the front of the pack made me forget that bit. Always be in the lead…. works for a 10k, but it doesn’t work for a WOD.

Use the run to rest and recuperate.

It’s not much different than cycling where you rest on the uphills and hammer the downhills. Resting on the climbs sounds weird, but it works.

Rest on the run.

I think I get it now.

Blackberries – are a scourge upon humanity

I am not a sentimental man. No matter what you may have heard, or read on my own blog, that states otherwise….

blackberry basketIf you grew up where I did, you will know that blackberries are evil. Not the berries themselves, but the plants. Insidious, nasty, thorn covered things that inundate creeks, are impossible to eradicate, and dry in the winter to become spiny, cable like, instruments of torture just waiting to snare a small child on a bicycle. I’ve spent hours upon hours cutting them, bulldozing them (OK, running a Cat as a 14 year old was some cool shit), slashing them with a saw blade equipped weed eater (the big, full harness kind).

If you spent hours in the woods, as my mother was more than happy that I did, and were thirsty, it was always a nasty ordeal to get water. Every creek was surrounded by the nasty buggers. You’d slash your legs bloody, rip flesh from your hands, just to get close to the cool water you so craved. On this I’m not exaggerating. Those bushes are fucking nasty.

But if you could get past wading into the morass of thorns, late in the summer, you could fill buckets upon buckets of black, sweet, succulent berries. Sugar and goodness that dripped black-purple stains on every t-shirt you owned.

The local farmer’s market has a berry stand. There are no thorns to get to this stand. They accept cash and credit cards, and they have the most amazing blackberries. Sure, they are organic, but who cares about that?

I buy an obscenely priced box every weekend, and, just for a minute, I’m 14 again. Well, I’m an easy 70 pounds heavier (thank God!), but it’s 110degrees. I’m sweating and hot and have nowhere else to be. It’s dry as hell, the pine trees are scenting the air, the ground is baked to a crisp brown, the creek is gurgling at it’s late summer low water level with it’s fresh, clear goodness, and those sweet, delicious berries are providing the sugar of life.

And then my youngest daughter steals half the damned box, destroying my reverie.

That bone deep heat, that fresh off the vine goodness, that scent of pine in the scorching hot air…..

Just as long as I don’t have to pick them. But I am not sentimental. Don’t even think it.

2 weeks off? Sure, I’ll jump in on a Hero WOD

Officer MIchael Johnson. SJPDm johnsons

3 squat cleans 155#
7 kettle bell swings 2 pood
100m run
8 box jumps

Supposed to be 14 rounds…WTF?

Scaled to 135# and 1.5 pood. I did a WOD 2 Friday’s ago for a coach’s birthday, but that’s it for 2 weeks. Last week was a shit-ton of food at an all-inclusive. Very few drinks though. I don’t drink very much, and when I do drink I prefer really good alcohol not the crappy stuff.

This morning hurt. It hurt a lot. Such is life. The squat cleans got hella heavy. No idea how many rounds I completed. Just kept moving until the 30 minute time cap.

CrossFit Kids: both daughters really close to strict ring dips. Youngest won the “who can hold onto the pull-up bar longest” contest.

It’s a good day.

WOD – making do with what you have

AMRAP 45 minutes (or so, could have been longer)

Heaving Push Press, alternate between 54#’s and 52#’s

alternate between throwing for distance and throwing vertically over a water volleyball net

Start in 4 1/2′ of water for added difficulty, or feed your children more during the year to add weight…

Want to feel weak? Lift next to a Games athlete

Insane week. No WODs, but this morning was a coach’s birthday. 7am is usually 5 or 6 people. Her fiancé announced a birthday WOD, so 7am this morning was over 50 people. Hella cool.

had to go in partners since it was so packed.

WOD: 20 minute AMRAP
Partner A runs 200
while Partner A is running, Partner B does
3 muscleups, and AMRAP squat cleans (Rx 185#)

To keep moving I sub’d pull-ups for the muscle ups. We went with 135#. Coincidentally, the Games athlete (5th place, team) next to us also went with 135#, only I’m easily 7″ taller and have 50#’s on her…. I’m barely hitting 3 squat cleans per round, and she’s touch-and-go’ing 5-7 reps. And that was after snapping off 3 muscle ups per round.

It’s literally amazing to watch the work capacity.

Going to Cabo for a week tomorrow morning. Just have to get through today.

CrossFit: A Surgeon's Perspective…. 100% agree

CrossFit is not any more dangerous than any other sport. Having been injured  while running, cycling, swimming, climbing, hiking, adventure racing, and just stepping off of my porch… I’d have to agree.

CrossFit is NOT safe. But nothing is safe…. Choose the appropriate level of risk that fits your situation.


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Getting into the 2015 CrossFit Open Masters Qualifier – Ummm, Scaled WODs are screwing up my math

OK math nerds, or Excel nerds…. what do we do with this one?

In order to create a picture of what it took to get into this year’s Masters Qualifier, I did my usual and grabbed the results from Masters finishers from 190th place to 210th place. It was pretty simple in 2014 to figure out what it took to be in 200th place because there was only way one to enter a score. Now my simple Excel work just doesn’t cut it.

The existence of the Scaled WODs screws up Excel a bit. The “-s” at the end of the scores signifies that the WOD was scaled. Sure, I could just delete the “-s” but that would mess up the average score. Looking at the M50-54 most scores for 15.3 were in the 200-300 reps range. One gentleman did Scaled and hit 866 reps which is 4x the average Rx score.

I can’t include that because a score of 866 would mess up the average, but making it a 0 score wouldn’t be right either. The problem is more pronounced in other divisions where more people in the 190-210 place range did Scaled workouts.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 2.50.19 PM

Any suggestions for how to account for Scaled scores in way that will keep things legit, so people can see what it took to make into the Top 200?

Disclaimer – I am not making any judgement whatsoever about Scaled or Rx. Clearly everyone worked hella hard to get into this elite company. However, I am asking a question about representing the data in the best way.


Care to comment? Click here and leave me a comment or question at the bottom of the post.

CrossFit is, quite simply, insufficient.

Yep, I said it. CrossFit is not enough. It’s not even close to enough.

Maybe it depends on your goals. If your goal is to be generally fit then CrossFit classes may be enough. If your goal is to become adept at the many facets of CrossFit or to [gasp!] become good at the many facets of CrossFit then classes simply won’t cut it.

We are in the process of getting new carpet in our house. Why, you ask? Well, blue carpet is quite fugly. Yes, I said “blue carpet.” Sure it was great while the kids were little and the dogs needed to learn not to shit on the stairs, but it’s time has come. Trust me, this is related to the topic. Somehow.

Part of the new carpet thing is clearing out a lot of junk that we have stored under beds. I happened to come across one of my old training logs from triathlon days. See, I told you the whole blue carpet digression was related to this post. My first thought was, “awesome, I can always stare at a picture of Fernanda Keller” (a few of you will get this reference). My other thought was, “how many hours was I putting in?” A LOT OF HOURS! With CF one can put in about an hour per workout. With tri’s I was putting clock-clip-art-dcrakazc9in 3-4 hours per day. An hour of swimming in the morning was followed by 2-3 hours of running or cycling in the evening. Weekends were “long” days which meant 4-6 hours per workout. That one hour CrossFit class pales in comparison to the total amount of hours spent training for tri’s.

Here’s the thing – I was a good triathlete, but I was not a great triathlete. Training for 20+ hours per week was simply what was required. I can hear the chorus of “but CrossFit is not triathlon.” and I agree completely. Triathlon was only 3 sports. CrossFit is a compilation of about 17 billion sports.

The Olympic lifts, the squats, the presses, and those nasty, nasty gymnasty things. And maintenance too, rolling and stretching and eating – oh my!

At most boxes, the programming is good, but it’s also a bit random. The randomness makes it fun because things change. Unknown and unknowable – right?

There just isn’t enough time available to create mastery of all things CrossFit in one hour per day. Sure, you can become good, but you will not become great. On a good day I spend 30 minutes before every class working on my mobility. Yes, just on mobility. I should spend an hour. If I really want to get strong I need to add in a squat cycle, and there is always some skill work to be done: double-unders, hand stands, handstand walks, muscle ups (rings and bar), etc.

CrossFit classes are awesome. I flat out love them. They are just barely enough CrossFit though. If you want to be competent, then 5 or 6 classes a week will do as long as you also spend time mobilizing. If you want to get good then you will need to double that. If you want to be great…..

I’m not saying that you have to spend 20 hours a week in the box like we used to spend in the pool, running, and on the bike, but it wouldn’t hurt.