Tag Archives: Olympic Lifting

“Alex”

About 6 hours sleep. 1 block breakfast. 6:00 am CFA workout.

Warm Up

Agility drills; shoulder dislocates; Sampsons; hip-mobility; calf and hamstring stretching; push-ups (15); squats (15); knees-to-elbows (15); pull-ups (medium band assisted, 15).

WOD: Alex

The CFA WOD is “Alex”, in honor of one of our members who is leaving, after today, for the Marines.

3 rounds of:
400m run for time
Max ring dips in 400m run time
Power Cleans using ring dip reps for time (M-115lbs/W-75lbs)
3 minutes rest b/w rounds
Post slowest run time, total ring dips, slowest power clean time.

I used two small rubber bands to assist on the ring dips and a 40 kg set-up on the cleans.

Results:
Round One: 1:17, 21, 4:41 finish (i.e. cleans in 2:07)
Round Two: 1:25, 16, 4:45 finish (i.e. cleans in 1:55)
Round Three: 1:28, 10, 3:30 finish (clean time unknown; the dips interval was cut short by accident)

A fun, kinda sweaty workout. My power cleans felt good. Naturally, I could have gone heavier, but I want to keep babying my back. Which is actually feeling fine today, a week later. Whew!

Two more workouts with CrossFit Asheville before we depart for the summer. I’m going to miss everybody.

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“The Flash”

Slept in a bit, cause I could… Lena didn’t wake until after 7:00. Even with her two wakings between 12 and 1 I managed to get at least 6 hours of sleep. Cleaning around the house, breakfast was lots of coffee and “1.5” block of food (but actually 1.5p/5f/1.5c). Note to self: that much extra fat wasn’t a great idea even a full hour before the am workout. Made it to the 9:00 am CFA workout.

Agility Warm Up

Then the standards (ADs, SD, SS, HM, stretching). Push-Up (15), Squats (10), Knees to Elbows (K2Es) (12), Pull-Ups, medium band (10).

Strength

Worked on 5 rep max for Shoulder Press.

Results: 10×45#, 5×75#, 5×95#, 5×105# (PR), 5×95#, 5×95#, 5×95#

WOD: The Flash

The CrossFit Asheville WOD was:
Complete max rounds in 15 minutes of the following:
100 single jump ropes or 25 double unders
100 feet suicide drill with turn points every 20 feet
5 handstand push-ups
10 heavy kettlebell swings
12 front squats holding medicine ball

Used 44 lb Kettlebell; did band-assisted HSPUs; 12 lb medicine ball.

Results: 3 rounds & 1 suicide set.

In the heat and humidity, I got a good sweat going.

Strength Gains

I have three data points on this blog for shoulder work.

  1. Today
  2. June 6th
  3. April 30th

On April 30th and June 6th I established a 1 rep max SP of 120#. I don’t have any data on a 3 rep or 5 rep max for shoulder press. So I am glad I decided to do the 5 rep max today. By the end, doing three work sets at 95 lbs, I felt strong. In fact, when these work sets of 5 reps of shoulder press are compared with the work I did on the Push Press and the Push Jerk on 6/6, I am a little embarrassed! Obviously I am even stronger than I thought. I think that these work sets and my 105# five rep PR points the way to increasing the 120# PR in the 1 rep.

Injury Check in; Yoga/Stretching

Back is feeling on the mend. I could feel the twinges during the WOD but no big deal. I noticed that on June 6th I was complaining of left shoulder pain. Nothing remains of that, which, in retrospect, seems not to have even been an injury.

I did a fair amount of Yoga stretching last night. In fact I even got my internal heat going a little bit. It felt good and I plan to do some more tonight. I am going to focus on combining about 5 cycles of a warrior and standing pose sequence with some seated and twisting poses.

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“The Good Snatch.” PUC Day 32.

I’ve been a little distracted today because I’m trying to help Randy, Shanna and Corey set up a new WordPress blog at CrossFit Asheville. It’s off to a start, so now I’ve got to refocus on my own stuff.

In other news, I’m planning to move this “Training Board” blog over to a self-hosted WordPress installation on my domain at my web hosting service. So I’m tinkering with that too.

Up early after a decent but short (5 hour?) sleep. Feeling pretty good. And off to a 6:00 am workout at CrossFit Asheville.

Warm Up

Running. Martial Arts Punching and Footwork exercises. Shoulder dislocates. Hip mobility and Sampson stretches. Pull-Ups (10 wide grip, unassisted). Windshield wipers (lying prone, 10). Walking lunges (10 each side). Ring dips (assisted w/ medium band).

Strength / Skill

Hang Power Snatches: find your 1 rep max.

Results:
10 x 45 / 7 x 65 / 5 x 65 / 3 x 75 / 3 x 85 / 2 x 95 (PR)

This was easier than I thought, and yet, the higher weights are very tough. As you can see I didn’t really look for a “1 rep”… I feel good about what I did.

WOD: Lunges, Pull-Ups, Wall-Ball Sit-Ups

For time:

100 feet walking lunge
15 pull-ups
15 wall ball sit-ups

100 feet walking lunge
12 pull-ups
12 wall ball sit-ups

100 feet walking lunge
9 pull-ups
9 wall ball sit-ups

100 feet walking lunge

Not a difficult workout, but a sweaty one. It was easier for me since I was using a resistance band (medium size) for the pull-ups. So, yeah, I am not completely done with resistance bands yet. When I can do 21, 15, 9 unassisted pull-ups, I will have arrived.

Result:
8:24

Pull-Up Challenge Day 32

As has been my custom on the past few days, I did my first 10 during the warm-up. That leaves 22 pull-ups. I intend to do sets of 3 to 6 on 4 minute intervals, for a total time of about 24 minutes.

Results:

Reps #1-10: During CFAVL Warm-Up (see above).
Reps #11-14: 2:18 pm. Front grip.
Reps #15-20: SET OF 6. 2:22 pm. Front grip.
Reps #21-23: 2:26 pm. Front grip.
Reps #24-29: 2:30 pm. Reverse grip.
Reps #30-33: 2:38 pm. Reverse grip.

Life is good.

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“The Swinger.” PUC Day 29.

My wake-up was a little hard. I went to bed at 10:30 but some itinerant folks were making loud party sounds in the creek behind my house the first part of the night, keeping Yael and I up. Not sure when I fell asleep, but not until after 11:00 pm. Also, I woke up spontaneously at 3:30 am, and didn’t fall asleep again until 4:15. Then up at 5:15 am. Which means less than 6 hours of sleep, and not continuous.

Nevertheless, yesterday’s eating was good, mostly healthy, entirely moderate, and today I felt good after a little bit of food, water, and coffee. Then off to the 6:00 am CrossFit Asheville class.

Warm Up

Agility running, shoulder dislocates, Sampson and Hip openers, other stretching, push-ups (15 strict), sit ups (10 strict), overhead squats (15), pull ups (8 dead hang, 8 band assisted).

Strength/Skill

The assignment was to find a 3 rep Front Squat Max. The last record I could find in my notebook regarding a 3 rep max attempt on the Front Squat was March 24th, 2009, were my 3 rep max was 160#. It’s hard to evaluate that number. I’ve lost about 18 pounds since then, since I weighed in at 201 lbs on 3/22/09. Anyway, I had a 5 rep max attempt on April 8th, I think, and there the five rep max was a lot less, about 130#. And at that time I weighed 10 pounds more than I do today. Hmmm.

Results:
10 x 45 #
5 x 95 #
3 x 115 #
3 x 125 #
3 x 135 #
2 x 155 #
1 x 165#;
1 x 165#, fail on 2; finished.

Technically, this was not a 3 rep PR, since the highest 3 rep set was 135#. But it was an overall PR on the Front Squat, since I am certain I have never done 165# before. So call it a 1-rep max PR of 165, and a day of stressing muscles, learning movement, and building strength.

WOD: “The Swinger”

3 rounds of:
25 consecutive Kettlebell swings immediately followed by…
Max Rep Ring Dips.
Rest as needed between rounds. Increase Kettlebell weight as capable b/w rounds. Complete 5 burpees for every KB swing short of 25 per round and be sure to get DEEP in those dips!

Results:
Round 1: 44 lb. KB, 13 dips w/ band
Round 2: 45 lb KB, 12 dips w/ band
Round 3: 52.9 lb (24 kg) KB, 13 dips w/ band

I felt good about this.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 29

Results:
Reps 1 / 2-3 / 4-6 / 7-8: during warm-up at CFA (see above).
Reps #9-14: Yes, my first set of 6! Reverse grip. At 2:47 pm.
Reps #15-19: Set of 5! Front grip. At 3:06 pm.
Reps #20-24: Set of 5. Reverse grip. At 3:27 pm.
Reps #25-29: (in three sets: 25 / 26-28 / 29). Front grip. At 3:48 pm.

I failed after the first rep on the last set only because I tried to “cinch up” (shift and correct) my grip, and this aggravated my calluses. Done for now. Day 30 tomorrow!

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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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Shoulders. PUC Postponed.

Decent sleep, from about 11:30 pm to 7:00 am. I tried to get more but had problems, and Lena woke up. Waking up, I felt good today. Clearly my troubles yesterday were linked to too few hours of sleep.

Breakfast of about 2 blocks protein, 1.5 blocks carbohydrate, 4 blocks fat.

Last night and this morning I was feeling a little impingement and intermittent shooting pain in my left shoulder. I wasn’t sure what to do about this. However, two coincidences were my guide. First, this morning I watched a video on the CrossFit Journal site about Training Through Acute Injuries, by Kelly Starrett. (He’s in favor of it). After watching it, I determined I could probably go to the gym and just be careful. Second, after arriving at CrossFit Asheville and doing the warm up, it turned out that it was a shoulder-focused heavy day. Signs from above: train through the pain. At least this one time only; I was reasonably certain I could work the shoulder without hurting it more.

Warm Up

Agility drills. Shoulder dislocates. Sampsons. Hip mobility. Rolling out the shoulder on the rolling foam. Clapping push-ups (10). Overhead squats (15). Band-assisted Pistols (10 each). Kipping swings (10). Good mornings (15).

Shoulders: Shoulder Press, Push Press, Push Jerk

WOD:
Shoulder Press 1-1-1-1-1
Push Press 3-3-3-3-3
Push Jerk 5-5-5-5-5

Results:
Press 1x: 95 / 105 / 110 / 120 / 125 fail / 115
Push Press 3x: 110 / 115 / 120 / 130 / 130
Push Jerk 5x: 95 / 105 / 115 / 130 / 135

Tied my PR for Shoulder Press. New PRs in Push Press and Push Jerk.

Pull-Up Challenge Postponed

I didn’t finish my reps yesterday, doing only 11. That leaves 16 reps to add to today’s 28 (a total of 44 reps).

When I think about doing these reps today, I can just feel the ache in my shoulders. I am going to take three workout days off of the deadhangs, i.e. Saturday, Monday, Tuesday. I will return on Wednesday June 10th, for my 44 reps. Friday will then be day 29.

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Pushups and Squats and Sprints, Oh My! (PUC Day 24)

Too little sleep, so when I woke this morning after less than 5 hours, I decided I couldn’t do the 6:00 am workout at CrossFit Asheville (CFA). Instead, I slept in until 7:00 am, which helped me a lot. I was going to take an active rest day, just do my pull-ups and walk around and stuff, but by about 8:30 I was feeling good, and decided to go to the 10:00 open gym. But first, the day’s pull-ups.

Pull Up Challenge, Day 24

I used a 90 second interval on my watch, and completed my 24 dead-hang pull-ups in 9 sets. I did the first set, then started the watch, then stopped it at the end of my last set. Total time: approximately 12 min. 30 sec, from about 9:50 to about 10:02 am (including first and last set, each was about 15 seconds).
Results:
90 second interval, 9 sets alternating grips:
4 r / 4 f / 3 r / 2 f / 3 r / 2 f / 2 r / 1 f / 3 r

Take the Bike

I packed up my gear for after the workout in a backpack and rode my bike in to CFA. They were surprised to see me, I think. I was happy that coach Randy got dressed and did the workout with me. (And Shanna joined us on the MetCon).

Warm-Up

Agility drills. And Corey agreed to walk me through the Burgener Warm-Up (discussed in Issue 53 [Jan 2007] of the CrossFit Journal). Then, Sampson, Hip-Mobility. Rolling of calves and hams. Then a new set of calisthenics: Overhead Squats w/ PVC, Kipping Swing Practice, Good Mornings, Clapping Pushups, and, something else I forget now, or forgot to do. I can’t recall.

CFA WOD: “Oh My!”

The workout was called “Oh My!” and was a lot of fun.

We began by working on the Overhead Squat, looking for a 5 rep max. This was my first time looking for a 5 rep max on the Overhead Squat, so each set represented a PR. I am pleased with myself.

My progression:
10 x 45 / 10 x 45 / 10 x 55 / 5 x 65 / 5 x 75 / 5 x 80 / 5 x 85 / 5 x 85

This was followed by a great and nicely fast MetCon:

400 meter sprint,
25 push-ups,
25 squats,
200 meter sprint,
15 push-ups,
15 squats,
200 meter sprint

Both Shanna and Randy ran this with me. As you might expect, both coaches beat me. But not by as much as you might expect! (at least in the case of Randy).
Results:
5:18.

After shooting the breeze for a few minutes, I rode my bike to the gym, hit the steam, showered, shaved, and rode home again.

Aftermath

Now, I have to say, I’m feeling kinda sore in unexpected ways, like in my forearms, triceps, and anterior deltoids! I feel like I really got a good workout in today. Very interesting. No wait… scratch that. It’s not interesting at all that my CrossFit workout was “good.” CrossFit is dependable like that.

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Squat Clean. PUC Days 21 & 22.

Didn’t get enough sleep, but still feeling quite ready for the workout after yesterday’s good and moderate eating and restful activity level. I had a very small, less than 1/4 block, snack and coffee, and went to the 6:00 am CrossFit Asheville workout, without knowing beforehand what it would be.

Warm Up

Agility drills. Shoulder openers. Sampson stretch & hip openers. Calf and ham stretching. 1 round of: Hindu Pushups, Overhead Squats w/ PVC pipe, Shotguns, and Supermans (10 reps each).

WOD: Squat Cleans

Squat Clean:
Step I: find your 1 rep max
Step II: take 80% of you 1 rep max and complete 1 squat clean approximately every minute for 5 minutes.

Results:
in pounds
One rep each of: 45 / 65 / 75 / 95 / 105 / 115 / 120 / 125/ 130
One rep every minute at 80% of max: 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105

Pull-Up Challenge: Days 21 & 22

For reasons of fatigue, etc., I skipped day 21 on Wednesday, and then took my regularly scheduled rest day on Thursday. So the plan is to complete the reps from Wednesday (Day 21), and today, Friday (Day 22) all today. Or to get as many of the 43 as are practical today. Tomorrow will be day 23, and Sunday will be taken off.
Reps #1-2: 7:10 am. Front Grip. At the gym.
Reps #3-4: 7:12 am. Reverse Grip. At the gym.
Rep #5: 7:13 am. Front grip. At the gym.
Rep #6: 7:14 am. Reverse grip. At the gym.
Rep #7: 12:45 pm. Front grip. At home.
Reps #8-30: 23 reps in 22 minutes, one every minute on the minute, from 1:48 pm to 2:10 pm. Alternating grips.
I was going to do all 36 remaining for the day in a series, but my daughter “woke up early from her nap,” so to speak. (You don’t want to know, but let me say only that it involves poop and an angry spouse).
Reps #31-43: 13 reps in 12 minutes, from 2:56-3:08 pm. Alternating grips.

This method, of using a stopwatch and doing a fixed number of reps at fixed intervals, proved to be a really good strategy for completing a lot of reps relatively quickly. I plan to use variations of it again in the future. For instance, tomorrow, I will do my 23 reps in 1 set of 3 followed immediately by 10 sets of 2 executed at 75 second intervals, so that the entire thing will take only 12.5 minutes! I am confident I can do it.

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Snatches of Bethnal Green.

A strength day, combined with a “rest day.”  Is that possible?  I will rest from the PUC today (and tomorrow will be day 17).  I will of course ride my bike all over London.  I’ve already put in about 45 minutes on it.

Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club

Giles Greenwood, Me, a london CrossFitter, and Andrew Stemler
Me with Giles Greenwood (left),
Andrew Stemler (right) and
another London CrossFitter
at the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club

I was privileged to get in contact with Andrew Stemler of CrossFit London UK before my trip, and after some emails back and forth, we finally arranged a meet. We hooked up today, which should have been a rest day for me, but it was ok. We met at a top-notch hole in the wall facility in the Bethnal Green neighborhood of London. I rode my bike over there. It’s a serious olympic weightlifting gym called the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club. I’m not sure who’s really in charge, but the club was being presided over by Giles Greenwood, an Olympic lifting gold medalist for the UK in 2002 (see this link for a news story on his victory). He was super generous with his time for someone who hadn’t signed up, didn’t belong, and hadn’t paid.

Inside the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club
Inside the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club

I got a lot of good training advice from Stemler and Greenwood both. Everybody there was very kind to let me crash a regular Olympic lifting class period. They provided me with elementary instruction in the Snatch, and I tried to do a kind of 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 Snatch heavy day, even though I remain, let us say, a virgin. I will post some good pictures here and even some video, when I get back to the states, tomorrow night.

Today’s WORKOUT:
Training progression for snatch w/ 15-25 kg.
Single rep snatches and snatch attempts with 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 kg.

Thanks Andrew, Giles, and everybody down at Bethnal Green for being so kind to a newbie, and frankly pretty weak, American.

You can see video and other pictures of the day here.

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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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Push Jerk. Mile Run. PUC Day 7.

Decent sleep last night, but only about 5 hours, and it was interrupted.  Better than the night before!  One block breakfast & coffee, then

Warm Up

Football-style agility drills, followed by 1 round of Push-ups, Sit-ups, Pull-ups, Squats, 12 reps each, then shoulder openers, hip mobility stretches. Then

WOD: Push Jerk and One Mile Run

CrossFit Asheville’s WOD today is: Find your 5 rep max for the Push Jerk and then do a one mile time trial.

Push Jerk

Push-Jerk:
5 x 15 kg
5 x 20 kg
5 x 20 kg + 20 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 40 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 50 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 60 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 70 lbs
5 x 20 kg + 75 lbs. 5 rep max: 119 lbs. A “PR” for today, but given my shoulder press PR for 1 rep (120 lbs), probably not the best I could do.

One Mile Time Trial

My time: 6:53.

For a google map of the route, see here.

Dead Hang Pull-Up Challenge Day 7

Rep #1: at the 6:00 am workout, before the official pull-ups (front grip)

Reps #2-3: at the 6:00 am workout, after the Push Jerks, before the run (reverse grip)

Rep #4: at the YMCA, about 7:20 am, on the smith machine, with knees to chest (front grip)

Reps #5-6: at home, about 12:30 pm, 2 consecutive reps (front grip)

Rep #7: at home, about 1:30 pm (front grip)

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Thrusters and other Olympic Lifts

So far I remain at novice level in Cross-Fit inspired workouts. But today I did some stuff that made me feel tough, and made me think about the virtues of Olympic Lifting.

The Olympic bar is used in regular gyms primarily on bench press set ups or, increasingly, in highly controlled smith-squat machines, where the bar is really a part of the machine. In other words, your standard gym doesn’t actually let you use the Olympic Bar as it is designed to be used: for “Olympic lifting.”

So far, by being in cross fit, I have trained with the free-floating 45# and 35# Olympic bar plus weights on the following exercises: deadlifts, front squats, hang power cleans, and thrusters (a combination of front squat and push-press). Today we did “thrusters.”

Thrusters can be totally outrageous or more controlled and even aerobic.

What I can’t believe, looking back on my morning, was that I was taking a 90# weight and pulling it off the ground, bringing it to my shoulders, front-squatting with it, and then “thrusting” it overhead.

Ninety pounds is a lot of weight man.

The virtue of so-called “Olympic” lifting is that it is about full range of motion and full body exercise. Every Olympic weight lifting movement combines major muscle groups from front and back, top and bottom, and involves the stabilizers and small muscles throughout the system. The result of training in these movements is “functional fitness” and a feeling of real body confidence. Not to mention you can get big.

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