Tag Archives: Benchmark

“Mini Fran.” PUC Postponed.

Lousy sleep, only from 1:00 am to 6:30 am. I went to bed before 11:00 pm, but couldn’t fall asleep. Thinking about so many things. But I felt ok in the morning and I jetted off to the 7:00 am workout at CFA. No coffee. No breakfast. Only about 8 oz. of water. So I knew I was asking for trouble. But it was alright.

When I got there I saw that the workout was “Fran.” Ouch. And bad timing for me. My first experience with “Fran” was when I was a CrossFit Newbie (see Feb. 16, 2009), and today, as luck would have it, I encountered her again when I was recovering from an acute back injury.

Never mind, I decided to do a mini-Fran, and let’s just say this: “it is what it is.”

Warm Up

Agility drills (footwork, arms, crawling, etc.), Shoulder Dislocates, Sampson, Hip Mobility, Hamstrings and Calf stretches, Squats (10), Push-Ups (15), Knees to Elbows (12), Pull-Ups (medium band assist, 10).

I was happy and surprised at how easily I knocked out the K2Es. I did 12 in a row with just a tiny little kip to get me up. Knees touched the elbows every time.

Strength and Skill

Rx’d was work on Kipping Pull-Ups or Muscle Ups. I worked a bit on the Kipping Pull Up. Nothing major. I just took it easy.

WOD: “Mini-Fran”

For me, Mini-Fran today was:
15, 12, 9 of Thrusters (65 lbs), and Pull-Ups (medium band assist)
for time.

Results: 6:54.

This felt ok. I felt a little wimpy for not going all-out, especially knowing that both Tom and Rustan had pushed themselves as hard as they could go during the 6:00 am workout, using no resistance bands, and prescribed weights.

My back is recovering and I did not aggravate it further with the thrusters or the pull-ups. That was the goal. I also got the metabolic rush which told me at least that I was not sandbagging it through my Mini-Fran, even if she was light on the weight, easy on the pull-ups, and smaller on the reps.

It’s hard to compare this case of “Fran” with the previous one in February. I did 9 fewer reps, and I did 10 fewer pounds, but I used less resistance on the pull-ups. And I personally weigh a lot less; I weighed in at 179.5 yesterday, and I weighed in at 211 on Feb 15th. But the fact is that I did this one almost 9 minutes faster than the last one. I am clearly stronger, faster, and more capable of putting out the power now. But the results are not comparable, strictly speaking.

Pull-Up Challenge Postponed

It’s my challenge, so I make the rules. I know I have been poking through the end of this first third of the challenge, having stretched one week’s worth out into about 3 weeks worth of time so far. But until I am sure that my back is going to recover without getting further tweaked, I am going to hold off on the extra pull-up training.

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Gravity and Grace

Sleep was decent, from about 10:30 pm to 6:00 am, with a brief interruption, which I can’t even remember, from Lena waking. Coffee w/ milk. 2 block breakfast. Some housework, then off to the 9:00 am CrossFit Asheville class.

Warm-Up

Hamstring and calf stretching. Agility running, crawling, etc. Shoulder dislocates. Sampson stretching, hip mobility. Push-ups, Pull-ups, Side Plank Rolls, Overhead Squats.

Skill Work

Spent about 10 minutes working on aspects of the Muscle Up. I am far from achieving this. I mainly worked on my false grip on the Olympic rings, with help from Randy, especially by doing negatives.

WOD: Grace

Grace is 30 clean and jerks, for time.
Rx’d weights: 135# for men, 95# for women

To warm up for my Grace I did various aspects of the clean and jerk with a 20 kg bar, and then added a few kgs for a few reps. In the end, I decided to use 45 kg, which is 99 lbs. It seemed like plenty. Shanna said, if I could beat 5 minutes with it, then next time I could add more weight. Guess I’ll go to 50 kgs for my next Grace!

Results: 4:48, w/ 45 kgs..

I love it. Love it. Gravity is a harsh mistress, and Grace is her handmaiden.

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“Cindy.” PUC Day 12.

6 hours of uninterrupted (!) sleep. Pretty good. 1 block breakfast (one boiled egg, 2/5 banana). Coffee w/ milk. Water. Then hit the 6:00 am workout at CrossFit Asheville.

Ripped callus on my right hand, May 15th, 2009

Ripped callus on my right hand, after being repaired with Krazy glue. Now that's CrossFit.

Warm Up

Pretty typical agility drills, plus a round of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats (12 reps each). Shoulder dislocates and Sampson/hip mobility stretching. 8 of my pull ups were dead hangs.

Skill Work

About 20 minutes working on the swing for kipping pull-ups. I am getting MUCH closer. As I progress with pull-ups I think I will get the kipping down more easily. I know that I’ll have no excuses with kipping unassisted through the workouts when I can reliably crank out 10 reps of dead hangs. Currently: my PR is 4.

CrossFit Asheville WOD: “Ladies Choice.”

Today’s WOD at CrossFit Asheville is called “Ladies Choice,” basically a choice between the benchmark AMRAP workouts “Cindy” and “Mary.” I chose “Cindy.”

“Cindy”
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

My results: 11 rounds. I used 2 very small resistance bands for the pull ups.

One result from the workout was a torn callus at the base of the ring finger on my right hand. I repaired it with Krazy Glue when I got home. Wow. Now that’s CrossFit. I didn’t feel the tear at all during the work-out. Then noticed it afterwards. It stung, a lot. But strangely, the Krazy Glue repair was painless. I didn’t expect that. It’s also totally solid. Very interesting.

The workout went well. My push-ups felt pretty strong. I continue to struggle with the pull-ups (hence the challenge). My form in the squat remains, I will readily admit, sub-par (even with a wide stance I have trouble with knees dipping in, rounded back, and properly tracking over the toes; it’s a hamstring and calf/Achilles tendon issue). Of course, I’m doing better than I was at the beginning.

Pull Up Challenge Day 12

I completed 8 dead hang pull ups during the morning warm up at the 6:00 am workout.

Reps #1-2: front grip. Around 6:15 am.

Reps #3-4: reverse grip. Around 6:17 am.

Rep #5-6: front grip. Around 6:20 am.

Rep #7: reverse grip. Around 6:21 am.

Rep #8: front grip. Around 6:22 am.

Reps #9-12: in one set; reverse grip. Wearing bicycle gloves to protect the callus. Around 5:50 pm.

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Graduation. PUC Day 8.

The fact that I had to attend Mars Hill College’s 2009 graduation ceremonies (occupational hazard) prevented me from joining CrossFit Asheville in doing “Grace” today. Grace is a brutal full-body benchmark workout (30 reps of Clean and Jerk, for time; Rx’d at 135#; I probably would have attempted 115# or 95#, unless coached lower). That would have been awesome. But I am almost more bummed out to miss the handstand skills practice that was also promised.

PUC Day 8

The Pull-Up Challenge grinds forward to day 8. I think Shanna says she’s going to attempt to follow along with me. Maybe she’ll post her reps here in the comments.

Anyone else who wants to play catch up or just “buy-in” along the way is welcome. The rules are simple: all reps must be dead hang reps. Any grip is allowed. Take as much time as you want to finish your reps for the day. Break into as many sets as needed. If you miss a day, you make up those reps the next day. Finally, if you’re following my challenge schedule, you take Thursday and Sunday off of the dead hangs. The goal is day 100, but I reserve the right to stop my challenge earlier, since the real purpose is to master the dead hang and to work my way up to sets of 15. We shall see. As of today I am still stuck at sets of 2.

Reps #1-2: At 8:00 am, at home, front grip. Set of 2.

Reps #3-5: at 1:30 pm, at home, reverse grip. My first set of 3!

Reps #6-7: at 140 pm, at home, front grip. Set of 2.

Rep #8: at 1:50 pm, at home, front grip.

Rain Rain Go Away

Since I missed my workout today, I wanted to do some kind of fun outdoor cross-training.

In fact, I did a full warm up:

• 7 rounds of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest, on my jump rope
• push-ups, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups, 15 reps each
• Hip mobility stretches

And then I got all geared up into my armor for skateboarding: knee and elbow pads, helmet, wrist guards. Grabbed my board and even took a picture to commemorate it! (It isn’t too good, so I think I won’t post it). I planned to spend about 40 minutes on my sector-9 longboard skateboard.

But it started raining pretty hard. Boo! One simply does not ride a skateboard in the rain. In fact, I think I’ll stay dry this afternoon. Too bad.

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Rest Day. Full Stop.

I pulled an all nighter last night, to finish my grading for the semester. Didn’t go to bed until 5:45 am. At least I wasn’t drinking heavily. I had once 4 oz. glass of wine (split in two servings… I am so extremely moderate) between 6:30 and 9:30 pm, and one shot of whiskey, to stave off a sore throat and fuel my mental madness, about 3:00 am. Then three hours of “sleep,” until 9:00 am. Now, it barely needs saying: I am a wreck.

Rest Day.

Today is my normally scheduled rest day. As it happens, the timing of end of semester lined up nicely with my training schedule. It also happens to be a CrossFit Mothership Rest Day. Yes, it’s nice when they line up.

The CrossFit Asheville WOD for today is the Benchmark “Elizabeth”, one of the original five “girls.” It’s power cleans (135#) and ring dips. I am sorry to miss a benchmark “girls” workout. In CrossFit it’s important to get that data on paper and track your progress.

Full Stop.

But rest days are more important. It’s about recovery and growth. I am really going to rest, no exceptions, today. No big walks. No warm ups. No active anything. No pull-up reps. No contact with other people until the late afternoon (then it can’t be avoided). I will spend a lot of time lying in bed with a book. I hope my muscles and other tissues take this opportunity to repair nicely.

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“Angie”

I did “Angie” on Tuesday morning this week.

“Angie” is the first and most basic of the original “benchmark” workouts (aka “The Girls”) used in CrossFit (see CrossFit Journal Sep. 2003).

“Angie” is composed entirely of callisthenic exercises. It consists of one round of

100 pull ups, followed by
100 sit ups, followed by
100 push ups, followed by
100 squats

In that order. Do the entire number of reps in each exercise before moving on to the next. Break into sets as necessary to complete. Record total time.

I did this workout using a medium weight rubber band on the pull-ups, and did the other exercises unassisted of course. My total time was 33 min 34 seconds.

My time was relatively slow by “CrossFit” standards.

Besides offering opportunities for training and conditioning, the benchmark workouts are utilized by individual athletes to track progress over time, and as a means for comparing “intensity” between athletes. Intensity is defined as “power output” using the formula power = (work X distance) / time.

The fastest time at our affiliate was coach Corey, who completed “Angie” in just over 14 minutes. (!) Although Corey and I are different in height and weight, and he didn’t use a rubber-band assist on his pull ups, we can still compare our Angie times and get a quick idea of the difference in power output (intensity) between our respective workouts. That’s because the element of time has the greatest effect on the value of “power output,” whereas height and weight affect the work and distance numbers a bit, but not too much. Discounting height and weight difference, his intensity (power output) was close to DOUBLE mine. I also note that he is in his late 20’s, and I am 40, but the formula doesn’t take age into account.

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“Fran” #1

“Fran” is number 6 of the original 6 CrossFit benchmark workouts called collectively “The Girls” (see CrossFit Journal September 2003), and it also happens to be the most revered of them all.

Today was my first encounter with her and I think I hate her or love her, I don’t know. I can’t do the “canonical” or “prescribed” weights and moves yet, but I hope to be closer or even there next time I meet her, and I plan to kick her ass anyway when I do even if I haven’t got the chops yet.

The workout:

For time:

21 “Thrusters” (95# RX’d, I did 75#)
21 Pullups (unassisted “kipping” pullups RX’d, I used the “heavy rubber band” assist)

15 Thrusters
15 Pullups

9 Thrusters
9 Pullups

I’ve seen an outstanding x-fit video where a woman named Christy does a sub 4 minute “Fran” with prescribed weights. She makes it look easy.

My time was 15:44.

I ache, I hurt. “Fran, you make me wanna be a better man.”

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