Taking the (p)lunge

Week 2 of the 2017 edition of the CrossFit Open is well underway. Dave Castro announced the workout last night at the Rogue Headquarters. He’s making sure that all the boxes that invested in new 35 and 50 lbs dumbbells are getting maximum use out of them. Like 17.1, this week’s workout included some dumbbell work.

17-2

After watching the live announcement and the live head-to-head of Kari Pearce vs Kristi Eramo followed by Ro vs Boz, my nervous energy shot up 100%. Last year I managed to do my first bar muscle up, so I know I can do them and I wasn’t too worried about those. What worried me was reaching the 3rd round at all. The weighted lunge was with two 50 lbs dumbbells. That was going to be heavy for me. I wasn’t sure I could even get them onto my shoulders, let alone do walking lunges for 50 ft.

I did my run at the 5:30 am class today – it was completely brutal. After Coach Matt counted down and said, “Go” I had a number of failed attempts at raising the dumbbells onto my shoulders. When I did get them there, they weren’t comfortable or stable. I then realized that the clock was ticking and that I was squandering precious reps. I just stepped up to the line and took the (p)lunge. One foot in front of the other. The dumbbells felt ridiculously heavy and completely unsteady. I reached the 25 ft mark and turned around. When I finished the 50 ft I dropped the dumbbells from shoulder height. Coach was not impressed but I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t hold them anymore. Next came toes-to-bar.

17-2-2

These were alright. I can string a few reps together and was able to complete the first round of them in two sets of 8. Dumbbell cleans came next – 8 of those. Matt and a number of people online recommended doing 6, taking a short break, then doing two more and heading directly into the lunges. This saves you having to perform a 9th clean if you rest after the required 8. This time around, I got the dumbbells settled on my shoulders a bit quicker and off I went on my second round of lunges. These didn’t feel any better than the first round but I managed to maintain a steady pace. I put the weights down after 25 feet though. Took a short(ish) break and headed back down the track for another 25 ft. At the end, I was able to lower the weights more gently and not drop them like before. The second round of toes-to-bar were not as smooth. I managed a set of 8 but then had to break them up into 1s and 2s for the second half. Successfully completed, I moved onto the cleans and followed the same process as in round 1. I was tiring rapidly now but I was determined to reach the muscle ups – even if I was unable to finish all 16. I finished round 2 at 6:44 with the dumbbells on my shoulders. Next set of lunges…

I was getting used to having this unstable and unsteady weight on my shoulders now but my legs were starting to give in. After the workout, one of the other athletes told me that he was standing behind me on this set and he saw my legs wobbling quite a bit. I had to take a break at the end of 25 ft and then finished the next 25 feet with about 2:30 left on the clock. I hoped this would be enough time to finish at least half of the 16 muscle ups. I stood under the bar just looking at it. Matt told me to just get one and that would start the momentum. I jumped up and did just one. Yay! Only 15 more to go. I was exhausted. Breathing heavily, throat dry, muscles aching. Matt and the other athletes started shouting encouragement and clapping. This made a massive difference. I was buoyed by their cheers and kept pushing. Thanks Daniel, Eric, Shannon, Warren and Matt – you guys are awesome! One rep at a time. At 40 seconds to go, I had 4 reps remaining. 30 seconds – 3 reps. 20 seconds – 2 reps. 10 seconds and I completed the last rep! Man!! I jumped down from the bar as the last five seconds were counted down. Fell to my hands and knees and then rolled over onto my back. I was utterly spent but also ecstatic. My goal had been to reach the muscle ups in round 3 and complete and many of them as I could. To actually finish all 16 in that round felt amazing. 94 reps total.

17-2-5

17.2 was a doozy. My shoulders are bruised. My hamstrings and glutes are worn out. But my spirits are soaring. This time it’s definitely one and done. I don’t want to repeat that workout anytime soon.

Good luck to everyone else doing their run later this weekend. Let me know what your strategies are and let me know how you fared.

PS. Not the best quality pics, I know. They’re screen grabs from the Livestream video of the workout.

 

Open Workout 16.1 – and so it begins

  

Yesterday morning I started my Crossfit Games Open journey with 16.1. (This is how the workouts get named – 16 referring to 2016 and 1 referring to the first workout. Next Thursday we’ll get 16.2).
16.1

On Thursday evening, before I left work, I tuned into the live announcement of the workout. It was cool to watch the pros Chyna Cho and Emily Abbott go head-to-head and crank out the reps. Also cool to see the amateur athletes, Joanna Prado-Pacheco and Scott McCoy, complete the workout in the same arena and at the same time as the pros.

At first glance the workout seemed pretty manageable. Not easy. But I felt I could make a go of it. As detailed in an earlier post, I’ve recently managed 95# thrusters so thought I should be able to complete a few reps of 95# overhead walking lunges. Right? I didn’t sleep too well on Thursday – too nervous. I even had a dream about doing the walking lunges.

Friday dawned all too soon. The day of reckoning. When I arrived at the I Will Crossfit box I went over to the rack and tried a chest-to-bar pull-up. I managed one but it felt tough. We completed a comprehensive warm-up, then gathered at the white board for instructions from our coach. We signed our workout score sheets/tracking sheets and headed to the bars. I added the 25# plates and walked over to the measured off 25ft area. I raised the bar to front rack position and realized it wasn’t going any higher. I would be able to lift it overhead but I wouldn’t be able to maintain it in that position while performing walking lunges. I made the decision to go for scaled rather than Rx’d. I didn’t want to start out the Games Open not being able to complete at least one round.

3-2-1-GO!

The first round went well. I felt strong and I kept a measured pace rather than going too fast. That became my focus throughout – keeping a good rhythm going and not moving too quickly. It was tough going from about the middle of the 3rd round. The walking lunges and, surprisingly, the burpees were going well. The jump chin-over-bar pull-ups were more challenging, though. After starting the first two rounds with 8 in a row, I was having to break them up into sets of 3-3-2. This slowed my overall pace quite a bit but I was able to maintain the pace for the lunges and burpees. In the final 3 minutes I was had made it to round 6. I managed to finish that up and got 10 reps into round 7 for a total of 166.

I was happy with my start. Psyched about the next round and hoping I can improve as the competition progresses. Currently I’m in 83rd place in Northern California for Masters Men (40-44) in the Scaled Section. I’m in 2440th place worldwide  :-).

How did 16.1 go for you – anything you learnt it would do differently? Did you go Rx or scaled?

Tuesday Testing and Wednesday WOD

Robin kick testing

Stepping Axe Kick – one of my faves. That’s me in the background in the yellow belt

Last night I tested for my blue belt in Kuk Sool Won at my dojang, Kuk Sool Won of Dublin. For those of you not familiar with Kuk Sool Won, this is taken from our school website:

Kuk Sool is a comprehensive martial arts system that is derived from the rich and varied martial art techniques and traditions that have arisen in Korea through the ages. Kuk Sool is not a sport, nor is it simply another method of self-defense. Kuk Sool is a complete martial art that is dedicated to the cultivation of mental strength and well being. It also focuses on the preservation of traditional Korean Martial arts.

My dobahk (uniform) was soaked with sweat by the end. I was happy with my progress – my kicks felt more powerful and my fellow students complimented me on my form. Hopefully I’ll move up a rank to blue belt. There are some cool techniques and the challenging blue belt form. We’ll see on Saturday.

WOD 17.2.15

WOD for 17 Feb 2016

This morning’s I Will Crossfit WOD was all about strength. After a tough warm-up which included 100m of jumping jacks, 150 mountain climbers, 60m of bear crawlers, and 60m of frogger, we gathered at the WOD whiteboard.

I was feeling quite tired today but decided to follow the advice of the point at the bottom of the board which said, ‘Challenge Yourself.’ The front squats were ok but the last 3 reps were tough as I reached ~70% of max. Initially I thought I was doing well on the chin-ups but then Coach Matt told me to continue pulling at the top so that my elbows came alongside my chest. This changed the chin-up completely. I was getting my chin above the bar but I couldn’t finish in that position. Need to keep working as this is good practice for muscle-ups (a move I want to conquer).

The single-leg, one-arm, Romanian deadlifts were a great test of balance. As the weight increased, it became tougher to maintain my balance. Ring dips are always tough for me as my upper body strength is severely lacking. I’ve improved over the last couple of months but they’re still difficult. However, this is another move to get right as I pursue muscle-ups.

The last super set definitely extended me. The overhead reverse lunge was not only a test of strength but also balance. Initially I couldn’t do a rep properly without losing my balance. Another tip from the coach made all the difference. “First learn balance!” he said. Then added the more valuable information :-): as you’re stepping backwards into the lunge, keep your weight on your front leg. As the weight increased through the set, this tip became even more crucial. Quoting the Karate Kid, however, gave him an idea for another move which he dubbed the Miyagi Reverse Lunge. This would involve adding a front kick after you complete the lunge. That’ll be interesting to see. Especially if we have a barbell overhead.

Recently I have found that I’m a bit better at toes-to-bar than before. Again, I thought I was doing pretty well until the coach came to watch. He said it was good but that I could challenge myself even more. Apparently my legs were not quite straight on the way up. If I pointed my toes my form would be better. Thankfully this advice came for my final rep. It makes quite a difference as your abs are fully extended when you’re hanging from the bar so it requires complete flexing in order to lift your legs up towards the bar and let your toes touch. Something more to work on. Yay!

Today’s WOD was fun – lot’s of laughs, some good-natured ragging. I did challenge myself and I was happy with the outcome. I’ve definitely improved but there’s still much to work on. The Crossfit Open is in 8 days’ time. I hope I’ll be ready.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Master Saidi or that of the World Kuk Sool Association.