Thursday, April 22, 2010

Follow the Programming...and SCALE!

Today was a busy day. Between work and additional duties, I was unable to make it to the afternoon group WOD--that always brings my mood down a couple of notches. Besides, that is one of the primary reasons why I love CrossFit so much--sharing the pain with my brothers and sisters! I looked at the WOD this morning and thought to myself, "I am going to have to do something completely different today." Why did I say that to myself? Well, initially, I was at a loss for how I was going to scale this workout. Because of my recovering shoulder, I thought that the WOD was a 'wash'...not doable for me. Oh how wrong was I!

My shoulder rehab has been going really well; however, the one thing that still scares me are the rings. Ring dips, muscle-ups...actually, anything on the rings really aggravated my shoulder pre-surgery. I am about 13 weeks past my surgery and I am feeling great! So, with that in mind, I decided to scale the WOD. Why? Because, despite the injury, I wholeheartedly believe that you still must follow the programming...and scale where necessary. Immediately after my surgery, it was obvious that I was unable to scale...I couldn't do much of anything. So, if you are dealing with an injury or recovering from one, please do not get it in your mind that you NEED to do the WOD as Rx'd, or even close to Rx'd. Just follow the programming to the best of your ability in relation to your current physical limitation. Whether it is a 'three on and one off' schedule, a 'five on and two off' schedule, or whatever...continue to follow your workout regimen as best you can.

Check out a short clip of me scaling the WOD. I promise...I ran the 50m in between; it was pretty difficult to record the video by myself.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How to Rest

For me, Saturday is a rest day. Like many CrossFitters, I find it difficult to 'rest' on my rest day. Why? Because I know my weaknesses and I want to get better...I want to improve upon my weaknesses. I feel an undying need to continuously get better. But sometimes I get caught up in what 'I need to do' and I completely disregard what I 'do not need to do'--in other words, I need to rest and recover. Resting and letting your body adapt to the stress that you have put upon it, is possibly one of the greatest challenges of an athlete. But it is also one of the greatest things that an athlete can do to improve their performance.

I am not making this stuff up; this comes from first-hand experience. This comes from my own experience in training for the 2009 CrossFit Games. So, how do you rest? Well, you find what works for you and your body. If you are doing 'everything right' in your training and still are finding that your WOD performance is suffering, then you need to take a deeper look at your training. Are you getting sufficient sleep--at least seven to eight hours per night? If not, make it a priority. Are you taking care of your body...physically and mentally? If not, you need to readjust your training philosophy.

On a more focused note, if you have qualified at your respective 2010 CrossFit Games Sectional Competition and are worried about what you need to be doing in preparation for your regional competition, here is my best advice: Do the CrossFit Main Site WOD and do it HARD! Hack away at the 'chinks in your armor' but take your REST! Listen to your body! Good luck CrossFitters!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Frequent Deployments

A Temporary Duty Assignment is commonly known to military members as a TDY. This is a way of life for many of us, regardless of our military branch. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines - we all fulfill our obligatory duties at a moment's notice. One Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) in particular, is the true definition of a TDY: Air Force Flight Nurse.

In the picture above, Jena Meyer pushes through the CrossFit benchmark WOD, "Fran." Jena currently serves as a Captain in the United States Air Force as a flight nurse. Assigned to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, Jena has been on a four month TDY to Ramstein Air Base. In search of a CrossFit affiliate, she contacted us before she departed to Germany. Upon our first meeting, it was apparent that she was ready and willing to learn about CrossFit methodology. Between frequent deployments to the Area of Responsibility (AOR), Jena made sure that she got her 'WOD in' regardless of the situation.

CrossFit Ramstein can only hope that we have helped Jena in her quest for elite fitness. It is our belief that she will carry on her passion for CrossFit to wherever she may travel.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Visit to Paris

So, it has been a few days since I have posted; however, my wife, parents, and I had spent a mini-vacation in Paris! Oh yeah...Paris is a mere two-hour train ride from where I live! Jealous? Between pastries, wine, chocolate, and cheese, I am quite confident that I experienced Parisian cuisine to the fullest! But did we slough off and completely discount the need for keeping active? Of course not! Besides, the title and theme of this blog is: "The Training Never Stops" right?

Besides taking the metro, we walked just about everywhere. And on the third day of our trip, Kari and I programmed a it the "Eiffel Tower Trot."

We began our workout at a corner of one of the sections of the Champ de Mars (the route is marked in red in the picture above). Here's the breakdown of the WOD:

For time:
Run one lap around
50 Squats
Run one lap around
50 Push-ups
Run one lap around
50 Sit-ups

Our time: 21:??

We agreed that one lap was approximately 1000 meters. We were going to end with one more lap, followed by 50 burpees, but we decided against it (the run was longer than we thought)! ;)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kari is Here!

It has been two months since I have seen my wife, Kari. She is currently assigned to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, while I remain here, in Germany. But, just yesterday, she flew in for a short visit. Because she was previously assigned here, she still has many friends that are still around. We made our way to the gym Sunday morning and it was like the 'good ole' times'--falling right back into stride with the way things used to be.

The WOD was: Split Jerk 1-1-1-1-1-1-1

Kari PR'd with a 155lb Split Jerk!!

Of course I couldn't even attempt to do this one--the most I was jerking today (so to speak) was the PVC pipe. But one of the things that Kari and I love to do together is the WOD! We had the great fortune of having all three of CrossFit Ramstein's South European Sectional 'qualified' athletes present: Buck, JB, and Lauren. So, we decided to knock out one of the British Columbia Sectional WODs. The WOD was:

"Pride, Lust, and Envy"
As many rounds as possible in 5 minutes of:
7 Box jumps (24/20) inches
7 Burpees
7 KB swings (24/16kg)

I had to do one-arm KB swings with a 20kg KB: 6 rounds (126 reps)

Kari did the WOD as Rx'd: 5 rounds + 7 Box jumps + 4 burpees (116 reps)

It was awesome to have the crew (minus Chris...booo) back together again!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

One-arm Pull-ups

What an awesome crowd today! I believe we had nearly 15 people out there, knocking out the WOD! Here's what we did:

Seven rounds for time of:
185 pound Front squat, 3 reps
7 L-pull-ups

Not as Rx'd: 6:13

I still have not been 'cleared' to do pull-ups, so I did one-arm pull-ups instead. I used my right hand to grip the wrist of my left hand, so there was still a negligible amount of pulling with my right arm. Today was the first time in about three months that I was able to do front squats. My recovering shoulder had been just too tender to support a loaded bar. There was a bit of discomfort today, but no pain--the 185lbs felt good! Since I am limited as to what I can do with my upper body, I have really been hitting the legs hard; my squats are spot on!

I was extremely happy with my time; it's been a good week! I feel as though 'my old self' has been slowly returning. I understand that it will still take quite awhile to get back to where I was before...especially with any overhead lifts/movements. But each week the shoulder feels better!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Almost as Rx'd

Here's what today's WOD was:

Five rounds for time of:
40 Double-unders
30 Box jumps, 24 inch box
20 Kettlebell swings, 1.5 pood

My time, not as Rx'd, was:

The only part of the workout that I had to scale was the kettlebell swings. Because of my recovering shoulder and the things 'I should not be doing' I did one-arm kettlebell swings and scaled the weight to 1 pood. I felt that it was a good substitute; however, I believe that a 1.25 pood would have been more appropriate. I was able to fly through the swings, all unbroken, every round, except the last round.

Box jumps are not necessarily a strength of mine but I had a game plan for them. The first round, I jumped on and off for every rep, but for rounds two through four, I alternated between jumping on and off and jumping on and stepping off. I felt a burst of energy during the last round, so I decided to turn it up a notch. I got into a great 'hop on / hop off' rhythm--I was able to bang out two sets of 15 pretty quickly! Needless to say, I was quite happy with my box jumps today. And thanks to our double-under challenge last year, the double-unders were a breeze!

Thanks to Eric, Ryan, and Dustin for knocking this WOD out right along side of me. It is always better to work out with others--they always push you just a little harder than you would if you were by yourself.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

To Round the Back, or Not?

This is my rest day. I will take my rest day. I will not do a WOD; at most, I will make a date with the foam roller and 'work out the kinks'. But in the meantime, I would like to pose a question: When attempting a deadlift PR (personal record), do you sacrifice less-than-perfect form, and allow a rounded back? Or, do you terminate the lift once you determine that your poor form has compromised the legitimacy of the lift?

It is my belief that if you have developed sound core strength, and have consistently trained major lifts, such as the deadlift, front squat, overhead squat, clean, and snatch, then you have the credibility to 'compromise' a little bit of a rounded back when attempting a one-rep maximum deadlift. If you are brand new to the lift or your body is not conditioned to support a maximum load, then of course, a maximum lift is out of the question - especially when good form is compromised.

Check out one of my deadlifts during the second WOD of the 2009 CrossFit Games (lower left-hand corner):

Back Squats instead of Thrusters

Today's WOD called for the following:

Thrusters 3-3-3-3-3-3-3

Because I am still recovering from my shoulder surgery, anything overhead and heavy is off-limits! So, I determined that the best way to scale this workout was to do back squats with the same repetition sequence. I warmed up with some front squats, using just the 45lb bar. I quickly discovered that, even with only the 45lb bar, front squats were going to aggravate my shoulder.

I have not gone heavy in awhile, so it was hard to gauge where to start, as well as what load I should be aiming for. So, it turned out like this:


You may have noticed something - no failures! My philosophy on 'heavy days' is most likely similar to many other CrossFitters' philosophy: 'If there are no failures in any of your sets, then you did not push yourself hard enough'--fair enough. At least I will have a better idea of where to start the next time I attempt a three-rep max on the back squat.

Here's a short clip of me coming down the infamous hill at 'The Ranch' at Aromas during the first WOD of the 2009 CrossFit Games. And that crazy lady yelling in the background is my mother. :)