I'll start this post with a review of my first ever weightlifting event. Turns out it was a historic event with something like 209 competitors in total, and myself and my training partner were "lucky" enough to be in the absolute last heat! The California State Games are run similar to the Olympics in that there are Summer and Winter Games. Each season begins in a slew of events covering a good collection of sports, and from what I could find, there seems to be a pretty good history of some highly successful athletes who have come through to compete. Unfortunately they take pl;ace in San Diego and started in early July so I wasn't able to attend the opening ceremonies and all the awesome crazy that apparently happened. I got to show up late Saturday night, hang out until late Sunday afternoon and then trek out to a pretty damn secluded CrossFit gym that was hosting the weightlifting event over the course of three days.
I'll make two comments on the organization of the whole thing before going into my experience. First, the thing was run damn smoothly. I think they were maybe off by one or two minutes here and there and that is incredibly impressive given the amount of people they had coming through. Not sure how they pulled it off, but it's really cool they did and I respect the hell out of the organizers for running such a tight ship. The unfortunate aspect of the whole event was that it took us almost 40 minutes to find the place. There was no instruction anywhere explaining where the crazy hidden gym was actually located and there were no signs posted anywhere showing anyone the way. We drove all over the place and finally found our way to an office park, behind another office park, here the gym was wedged in. The warm up area was cramped and muggy, the weigh-in room was in a hoarders-type room with old medical equipment stacked to the ceiling, and the platform was under a tent, outside in the tiny behind-the-offices parking lot. At first we were completely thrown off by the seemingly makeshift set up of everything. The location of the entire place was so out in the middle of nowhere that I think we were more frustrated than anything. But once we settled into the whole thing, we mostly forgot about how sketchy everything was and just enjoyed ourselves.
So, on to the experience. I was feeling good and prepared, not nervous or anything, just excited to experience something new! I chose to open with 95kg (209lbs), a weight I was sure I could hit and all I wanted to do was make sure I got at least one successful lift! They announced when I was on deck, I strolled out to the awkward waiting area behind a tent on a sidewalk where there were a few chairs and pulled up the top of my singlet. When they announced it was my turn, I chalked up my hands, approached the bar, took and breath and ripped it over my head. It honestly felt like it was 20 pounds, just flew up in a power snatch. It almost knocked me over! I dropped the bar, nodded to the judges and walked back off the platform to announce my next attempt to the announcer. I'd go for 100kg (220lbs). It went exactly the same as the first lift, but this time I over-tensed up and the forward pull of the bar sent me running to the front of the platform. I was able to catch my balance with locked out arms just as my toe reached the front of the wood and the head judge was ready to dive out of the way to save his own life! Two whites, one red, good lift (there are three judges who award you wither a red or white "light"; you need two or all three whites for a good lift)! I initially asked for 103, but then said what the hell, I'll go for 105kg (231 and would be a PR). Just missed it! Oh well, I was happy with 100.
After that I was able to chill for a bit before warming up the clean and jerk. Still feeling good! I hit my opening lift of 130kg (286lbs) and again, it felt like an empty bar. It almost knocked me over it felt so light, and I actually felt like I was trying to stop the bar from flying straight up o the jerk. I was happy with that feeling. I announced my second attempt at 135 (297 and a potential PR clean AND jerk). Caught it a little forward but it was smooth all around. I was stoked for that lift. Next was my choice of going for 140, or playing it safe and going for a somewhat reasonable 138. Went back and forth a little and chose to go for 138 (303.6). Hit it!! Made 5 out of 6 lifts and got a 238 total. Very happy (and I beat Mike by 3 kilos!!!!). What an awesome experience all around, and I am really looking forward to doing more and more of these coming up.
OK, after the fun was over and I got back, I was back to training today. Felt crazy slow under the bar for the weightlifting complexes I have programmed for this next phase, but the tough part was the new phase of powerlifts we have coming up; sick! Working quickly up to our heaviest triple, then down and back up with doubles, then down and back up on singles, LOTS of lifting heavy weights!! Additionally I am adding some CrossFit style workouts back to the program and while today's was fun (power snatches, rope climbs, muscle ups and HSPU's) it felt like I hadn't done a tough workout like that in years. It'll be interesting incorporating these back into the program on a regular basis now, especially since I really want to get my weightlifting total form 238 to 260 as soon as I can!
The program I'm on now is filled with lots of heavy weightlifting, serious squatting at constantly heavy weights, heavy pressing and heavy deadlifting. Very carefully programmed accessory work and now, some regular accessory-based metcons. I've been feeling so good with everything, I can't wait to see how far this gets me over the course of the next couple months.
Rock on, that's all I got for now!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
There’s been a lot of talk going around the CrossFit community lately about standards. This isn’t a new topic mind you. Ever since CrossFit became something on the world’s radar, the people within the community have been subject to a LOT of scrutiny given their “new” rules of exercise. At first, I was a huge supporter of some of these new concepts as I thought it was a great way just to get more and more people involved in fitness, working out, and trying new things. But now, I am having a harder and harder time understanding why the hell CrossFit HQ seems so adamant on throwing years of rules and standards in the toilette.
CrossFit took the commonly understood definition of Fitness and changed it to something that made more sense. Fitness according to Websters Dictionary just doesn’t seem to cut it. Glassman created the idea of CrossFit, and I think he was dead on. He also was at the right place at the right time, and just like so many other creations/inventions was the lucky dude who got all the credit for this incredible new concept. I respect him for that.
Next, CrossFit became very controversial because they not only shoved their idea of fitness in your face and claimed that you are clearly NOT fit if you don’t do CrossFit (this is what I believe led to a majority view that CrossFit is a cult), they also started to slowly mess around with other common standards and concepts as well. Throwing away years of standards held true by Olympic lifting and other forms of exercises, CrossFit chose to ignore those standards in the name of their mantra: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Still OK in my eyes; except for one thing.
If you decide to modify a snatch (a clearly defined movement with strict standards), you should pay respect to the lift and the sport by simply changing the name. If I decided to steal a combination of movements from football and baseball because I feel like it’d work better for me, yes, I can be a pretentious jerk and steal the name they spent years building their sport around and change the standards for it, or, I could respect the sport and come up with my own name. In fact, many respected people in the CrossFit community do this, like Kelly Starret who calls press-outs and dropping to the knee on Olympic lift attempts “snatch-like movements” or “clean-like movements”.
Many, many different things inspired this post, but recently there was a video posted on the Facebook of a CrossFit Games athlete PR-ing his “snatch-like movement”, falling to both knees. He himself comments that while he was happy with getting it, he knows he needs to get it on his feet. CrossFit HQ posted the video with praise and lo and behold came the flood of comments pleading for CrossFit to just cut it out already. As of 80 comments in, the only added comment from HQ was a snide “well he’s a CrossFit Games athlete and none of you guys are”, really, guys? So, I will start hitting foul ball “home runs” and posting all over Facebook how awesome I am. And if anyone comments that I’m wrong and that I did not actually hit a home run, my defense will be that I played a higher level of baseball than all of them so they should just shut up?!?! Come on, have a little respect! Same thing happened when my friend and old training partner Neal Maddox lifted an impressive 294# over his head on a snatch attempt. He immediately dropped the bar and prepared to actually get the lift (because he knew it did not count, the event had honest standards). HQ posted that Maddox hit a sick PR, then argued and insulted people who questioned the lift.
All this is SO unfortunate as CrossFit grew into something that I personally hoped would be a great thing for the world. A community that supported a higher standard of health and fitness, and one that anyone and everyone could be a part of. I turned a blind eye to the elitism that came from the top for as long as I could with the hope that the good community growing would overpower it, but I’m just not sure now. Many gyms that started off as “CrossFit so and so”, are either changing their name to drop the CrossFit, or de-affiliating all together. The social media is overwhelmingly filled with VERY unsupportive comments on what CrossFit is becoming. CrossFit began as an “open source system” (as defined by Greg Glassman himself) and now it seems that the openness of the system is crying out at the ridiculousness of the leadership. Will they listen to their community? Will they respect other communities, or will they keep causing conflict because “they can”? As one HQ staffer said on Facebook when questioned about their abrasive actions: “f**k PR”. Classy.
I know it sounds like I’m bashing CrossFit a little here, but I’m doing so because I personally would love to see a change. I compete as a CrossFitter, train a lot of CrossFitters, and am still very supportive of the community, and I hate that it SEEMS like HQ thinks they are just better than everything else. I remember watching a video that HQ posted of a really popular CrossFit Games athlete at an official Olympic Weightlifting competition. They titled it as the athlete achieving a big lift. At the meet, the judges scored the lift a failed attempt as the athlete pressed out the bar (not meeting the commonly understood standards for the lift). Interestingly enough, the athlete actually got annoyed at the judges and you can see the athlete “yelling” at them asking what was wrong with the lift (while trying to hide behind some nervous laughter). I was so disgusted that not only HQ would post this with praise, but, that such a popular icon in the CrossFit community would treat an official Olympic lifting meet with such misunderstanding and disrespect.
Obviously CrossFit has no reason to listen to me (I know there’s at least a few people at HQ who read my blog, and after this post I’ll probably move higher up on their “watch-list”) but I feel like I should be vocal about my thoughts. As with anything in this world, the more people who actually stand up for what they believe in, the more change occurs. I don’t want to sit around and just flat out rip on CrossFit, I’ll leave that to this guy, and this guy, and this guy, and this guy. What I’ll do here is offer my thoughts with the hope that either the community will overcome and drown out the elitism at the top. Or, that leadership will realize that with growth inevitably comes change, and they need to stop being so abrasive if they want the world to take them seriously. If you’re a jerk, it’s hard for people to view you as good.
Here’s hoping for positive change!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, my frustration hit a tipping point when I failed to put enough thought into my last post and wrote it directy into the blog page rather than Word. Yep, as you can figure, the one time I do that in the last two months the whole damn thing gets lost. Bummer.
So, now that that's lost, I'll postpone my next insightful post till tomorrow when I am a bit more chill towards writing. This post will be a bit about my workouts this week. Today I had some solid barbell work with power snatches and deadlifts. I pulled up 160# with relative ease, then just got stuck with 185#. I wanted so badly to just squat under it but I needed to struggle through the mechanics of this move and allow my legs to learn how to take control. In the end, I missed 6 attempts despite getting the weight well over my head. I finished with 5 smooth reps at 135#. I then moved on to deadlifts and was able to get 425# for 3 pretty comfortably. I am sure I would have broken my form unnecessarily if I went heavier. I then stretched a little and prepared for my group coming in.
I opted out of a metcon in the evening as my energy levels were real low and I am planning on a fun day tomorrow. Some gymnastics work in the morning for a solid 30 minutes along with some unilateral, core stabilization. Then, after a baseball game in Half Moon Bay I will be at the track!
The rest of the week has me cleaning, jerking, front squatting and conditioning on Wednesday; swim workout on Thursday; snatch balance, max verticals and a super heavy metcon Friday. Looking forward to it all!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Had a good bit more progress today on the platform and am happy with how things are rolling along. With an insane week staring me in the face, I got myself prepped for some snatch work, snatch pulls, 5x5 back squats and a pretty tiring looking metcon. With the snatches, I was still struggling with my typical issues of spreading the feet wide on the catch, and having my knees shift forward at the bottom of the squat. But, I was getting under the bar quickly and sticking the weight over my head very well. I generally fall forward with the oly lifts, but today I was sitting back and was able to get 175# with hardly any issues at all. For my second session of serious snatching, I am very happy to know that I am WAY further along then I thought I would be. With my goal of 210# loomng all the way in March, I am feeling confident I can blow that number out of the water.
The snatch pulls felt strong, just tried to stay quick and solid throughout, worked up to 235#. Then, I went on an increasing set of 5x5 on the squats, working up to 305# and getting those last five with ease. Very happy with the depth and control of all those.
Finally, after a few minute break I hit the metcon (I noticed a typo of 4 rounds on "My Workout" over there to the right of the blog, that would have been brutal!). 3 rounds of: 400 meter sprint, 30 GHD sit ups, 20 KB swings (44#) and 12 pull ups. This was not overly demanding at all, and I was able to get everything unbroken. It was just tiring, the hips were pretty fatigued from the days session. I finished up at 11:23 and feel like that is a decent time. I am sure a sub-10 is possible with this one, just didn't have the amount of intensity in me I guess.
I realized that I sometimes struggle, without even noticing it as I train, with not having someone to compete against. Doing benchmark workouts is one way to go about making sure I am going at proper intensity, besides that, all I can do is go all out every time. I figure that at this point, I should know what a workout should feel like afterward, and if I don;t feel that way, I didn't go heavy or fast enough. Simple as that!
Check out the video from Saturday's Strong Man fun!
Have a double-whammy ready tomorrow, should be a good one!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today marked day one of my official 2011 CrossFit Games training program (explained in detail in yesterdays post), and it started off with a bang. I haven't worked the full snatch, seriously, in about a year and a half and, needless to say, I was just a hair nervous about how I would perform. As posted yesterday, my goal is to get a 210# snatch by March, and out of all my goals, this one I am most uncertain of; mostly because I don't really now where I stand with the lift, but also because I struggle with the movement so much.
I started very deliberately, getting form work in with the PVC and an empty bar, then started off my 5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3 progression with just 85#. I felt very smooth and strong with it all the way through, and was able to finish with 3 slightly sloppy reps at 160#. So excited to be able to pull this weight after practically zero work on the lift! I am feeling a LOT more confident that with a little technique and mobility work, I will get my goal weight here.
I then moved on to the biggest struggle of the day: a single snatch balance to 3 overhead squats for 4 rounds. I obviously expected to get a good deal more weight on this than with the snatch, but I lost focus and for some reason could not get a proper lock-out at 175#. I opted to move down a bit in weight, ultimately working up to 155#. I realized my struggle with this movement, and what will be the toughest part of my progress with the snatch, is getting under the bar quickly. I want to muscle the bar up, then sink into the overhead squat, and this will just get more and more impossible the heavier the bar gets. This stems from my lack of confidence in my shoulders, and it is so clear to me that I just need to get these movements in more often if i ever expect to overcome that fear.
My challenge for the day was inspired from the 2010 Games, just a whole bunch of pressured weakness work for me:
For Time Do:
10 muscle ups then
3 rounds of:
3 power cleans 205#
I got 5 unbroken muscle ups, then 2, then 1 and 1. Missed none, very happy with that. On to the heavy cleans and HSPU's, I got the cleans no problem, and stayed very deliberate with the HSPU's. My first round I got 3 unbroken, yet another PR on those, and in all I missed 3 reps. Still very weak, but I am seeing HUGE improvements with that move. With the amount I am programming them in over the coming months, I expect to see some pretty impressive gains. I finished in 6:28 and was very happy with that score.
In other news, I got a hair cut today, and dropped about 5 pounds in total thanks to that. I'll miss my crazy bushy, long hair, but it was just getting to much to handle with my activity level. So, back to the shortness!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Get Discounts Below!