We did Ivan for the first time today: 20 minutes of the following movements on the minute for the minute:
3 x push presses (95lbs)
5 x box jumps (24")
7 x kettle bell swings (24k)
Now, I've done harder WODs, but rarely have I brought more intensity and determination to a workout like I did this one. I completed every single round as prescribed. I even gashed my shin (again!) on the box jumps but kept going. Once I got to round 15 I was determined to complete it as prescribed even though every fibre of my body was telling me to stop. I basically pushed myself forward by acknowledging that I was successfully doing each movement and that I didn't need to stop. And it worked. Nothing like a workout where you make progress in both the physical and psychological realms.
Man, I was completely out of it after the WOD for about two hours.
As most CrossFitters know, CrossFit wouldn't be CrossFit without The Clock. It's what gives each workout the sense of urgency that it deserves, an aspect that's largely missing from other fitness regimens.
Take bodybuilding culture for example. Guys will do a set of reps, walk around for a bit, admire themselves in the mirror and then proceed to do their next set of isolation movements.
There's clearly something missing from this approach; there's not much being done to address the crucial fitness domains of stamina and cardiovascular/respiratory endurance. CrossFit, on the other hand, addresses this particular facet by having The Clock.
By introducing the element of time domains, athletes are compelled to work harder and faster in order to complete the workouts as quickly as possible. Not only does this add a competitive element to each workout, it also provides a way for each individual to measure their own success and improvement over time. And just as importantly, regular efforts to reduce personal time domains helps to improve both stamina and cardiovascular endurance.
This can be somewhat of a shock to those new to CrossFit. The idea of doing sets of Olympic weightlift movements while on the clock is one of the most intimidating aspects of CrossFit -- but it's also what sets it apart from other fitness methodologies. It's one of the key reasons why it works.
There are many ways in which The Clock can be utilized in CrossFit. Most workouts are 'for time' meaning that all the sets and rounds have to completed as quickly as possible. Another valuable time schema is the Tabata workout in which participants work as hard as they can for twenty second intervals, typically followed by ten seconds of rest. Another technique is to have athletes do as many rounds as possible within specific time domains, some as short as a minute.
This can be extremely motivating, only because failing to hit the time targets can sometimes result in a longer and more arduous workout. I did a WOD recently in which we were required to do six box jumps (24") followed by squat-clean-to-thrusters (95lbs). The WOD was finished only when 65 squat-clean-to-thrusters were completed.
What made this WOD particularly deadly was that the box jumps started on the minute every minute. Failure to get many thrusters in meant that the WOD kept dragging on and that you found yourself constantly stuck in front of your box. This was one workout in which the clock had a profound impact on the nature of the workout and the level of intensity that had to be brought to it.
Indeed, most CrossFitters have a love/hate relationship with The Clock. There are times, say for a twenty minute workout, when you've been working your ass off for what you think is a decent span of time, you look at the clock and realize only five minutes have transpired. It's easy to get demoralized at times like that, but hey, that's CrossFit; time to get your inner game in order and push yourself through.
Track your progress
Another consequence of The Clock is that it's often hard to avoid comparing yourself to others -- and this isn't always a bad thing -- it can certainly help in placing your own performance and level of fitness in context.
But one thing I've learned is that, while it's important to look at other people's time in relation to your own, it's more important that you compare yourself to yourself. Otherwise, you have no sense of progress. Rather than obsess over your time in relation to others, it's a better idea to focus on competing against your previous efforts.
We did maximum overheads today; this can be done with a Push Press, Push Jerk or Split Jerk (I chose the latter). I maxed out at 155lbs (PR) -- which surprised me. I thought I could do more. I think this is one area where I stand to make some definite improvement.
After that we did four rounds of the Leg Blaster + 20 uneven box push-ups after each round. The Leg Blaster is:
20 Jumping Lunges
20 Jumping Squats
My time: 18:08. Surprisingly tough! This is one WOD where I know I can do better.
I rocked through the first 50 pull-ups, but then stalled dramatically after that. I resorted to a combination regular + jumping pull-ups. Same deal with the push-ups; the first 50 went fairly well, but I really trailed off in the back half and did a number of them from my knees. The sit-ups and squats were no problem.
We've got a theme goin' on at CrossFit Connection this week: everything's uneven. Today's WOD:
Sumo Deadlift Highpulls
Done like this:
The bar is loaded to 105 lbs/ 70 lbs unevenly
Reps of 21-15-9
With 5 (one foot box jumps) between each station
Time = 24:30.
This was really hard for me. I don't know if it was psychological or physical, but the imbalanced bars really messed me up. The thrusters felt heavier than usual -- not sure what was going on there. And the floor wipers are always hard for me as bench pressing 105lbs is about the most I can lift. Felt a bit nauseous after this one.
Did "The Chief" today for the second time. My previous was 3x5=15, so today I was hoping for at least 20, but had to settle for 18.25 (PR). The WOD: AMRAP in three minutes with one minute breaks for five rounds:
3 x power cleans (135 lbs)
My rounds went like this:
For a total of 18.25.
I was discouraged by the degree to which my push-ups slowed me down, but then I thought of a couple things. First, that's a lot of push-ups -- 96 to be exact. Second, it wasn't too long ago that getting to 10 push-ups was a massive achievement for me.
During my first few weeks of working out in July-August of 2008, I can remember struggling and struggling to get each push-up in and working towards the lofty goal of 10 push-ups. Today, they're still not very easy for me, but the fact that I can now struggle to get in 100 during a workout is clearly an achievement. And it can only get better from here.
Today's WOD: Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes:
5 x push presses (115lbs)
5 x pull-ups
Workouts like this are completely messed but valuable. I find that I work significantly harder when the WOD is regimented like this. I'm quite sure that if this WOD was simply for time that I'd never do it sub 20.
Some notes: The first 10 minutes were no problem, the final 10 minutes were hell on earth. After a dozen rounds I couldn't push press to full extension so I dumbed it down to 105lbs -- still pretty heavy. And psychologically this was a very demanding WOD. This one is what CrossFit is all about.
I did Daniel today for the second time since joining CrossFit Connection, and it wasn't any less difficult. A very challenging WOD:
21 thrusters (95lbs)
Time = 24:08 (PR).
I don't know what the time was for my first attempt, but I think it was close to 30 minutes, so this is definitely a PR. Note: I did jumping pull-ups as opposed to last time; still working on the supinated grip.
I'm a 41 year old male (6' 1", 195 lbs) who joined Oakville's Canadian CrossFit in September 2008; and I started working out at Burlington's CrossFit Connection in September 2009. Aside from some jogging and yoga I've never really been athletic; weight-training and gymnastics are completely new to me. CrossFit is an opportunity for me to increase my fitness and push myself to new levels.
This blog is where I record the details of my workouts, track my progress and note my PRs.