Empire State CrossFit

Archive for November 10th, 2017

November 11


Five rounds for time of:
2 pood Kettlebell swing, 30 reps
30 Burpees
30  sit-ups

Marine Staff Sgt Daniel Hansen died February 14th in Farah Providence, Afghanistan when an IED he was working on detonated. Daniel is survived by his mother Sheryll, his father Delbert, his younger sister Katie, and his twin brother Matthew (also a Marine).

Monday: Kal-effin-su & Max Back Squats

– Max back squat test: #410

– Kalsu – 14:51
100 thrusters @ 135 with 5 burpees OMEM

– Death by Assault bike calories: 19 cal in the round of 21
1-3-5-7-9… and so on until you cannot complete within the minute.

It’s fitting my first post would cover thrusters and back squats. These two have traditionally been weaker movements for me, so it’s always a fantastic idea to tackle the most challenging combination of both in the same day… back-to-back… after a full weekend of being on my feet…

BACK SQUAT PR: After 6 weeks of a squat program and witnessing the inspiring performances of the WODFather, I was fired up for this. I actually felt weaker after the deload week (my body doesn’t respond well to too much time off), but there was no chance I wasn’t getting this. I didn’t anticipate running into any issues until the 400 mark. The bar had other plans. After working up, I failed my first at 395. Again, there was no freaking way I wasn’t getting past #400. One song change and a few “encouraging” words to myself, and 395 went up. 405 followed, only to be outdone by 410, a PR of 15 lbs! I still felt relatively good, so I decided to give 415 a whirl. It always amazes me how much heavier 5 lbs. can feel feel when your at maximal loading. Despite a tough fight (which will catch up with me in Kalsu), 415 wasn’t happening.

KALSU: This workout is a motherlover. I’ve tried this scheme (100 reps with 5 burpees OTM) with a ton of movements @ varying weights and have come to one conclusion: it always sucks. Eventually, five burpees feels more like 25/ minute and when you finally do stand that last one up, twenty or so seconds has flown by leaving you staring @ a heavy barbell trying to recover the breath and cojones to pick it back up, only to become even more gassed for another set of 5 of the slowest burpees you’ve ever done. Combine it with a heavy thruster plus some of the motivating times you guys put up the previous week (I’m looking at you Bobby, ya prick), and this turned into a real party. The good news is those heavy squats made this thruster feel light. The bad news is those failed squat attempts made their presence known. My goal was to crack 16 min. by tackling a few consecutive rounds close to as hard as I could, and back off for the successive one or two. Just like I predicted, by round 8, I was doing burpees in quick sand. Luckily I was well past the halfway mark and hadn’t taken a throw away round yet. Round 9 was the one. I chose not to pick up the bar and use every second to get my breath. Lucky thing I did, or I would’ve been in trouble. The final 30 reps is always as much a mental grind as a physical one (part of the reason why I secretly, albeit masochistically enjoy workouts like this). Like anything, the more time you spend in that uncomfortable place, the more instinctive it becomes. You know the end is near and you can/will finish. Nothing else to do, but put your head down and work… then collapse and reevaluate recent life decisions like hitting a max back squat before this b****.

DEATH BY BIKE CALS: I am a huge fan of death by ladders in all iterations. They require minimal warmup and total time to complete, allow you to focus on intensity and recovery (two huge aspects of fitness), and are pretty straightforward tests of progress. A normal death by ladder increases by a rep/minute, but I decided to ascend by two to speed up the total time and decrease to total time spent working after Kalsu. The goal was to use this as a bit of a recovery workout post Kalsu while squeezing in a bit of conditioning on the bike. Mission successful. Should be fun to see what my legs feel like tomorrow.

SQUAT PROGRAM & AFTERTHOUGHTS: Since Coach Dan started programming for me, he’s had me on a back squat program. Provided I actually follow it and put in the work, one of two outcomes was likely. Either I was going to get stronger, or I was going to sever my spine in multiple places (3×3 @ +92.5%, REALLY DAN?!). I’m pleased to say that it was the former. Some might consider 410 a lofty weight, while other may be thoroughly unimpressed. I fall somewhere in between. As we get deeper into these posts, you’ll find that’s a pretty common thread. I personally feel that for someone who approaches Crossfit with even the mildest of competitive intentions, you need to find that balance between being pleased with all the progress you’ve made, and never being completely satisfied. I find that attitude to be beneficial in almost every domain of life.

For 6 weeks I’ve squatted with more frequency and intensity (loading) than I ever have before. Prior to this program, I would have back squatted at most twice a week. And one of those sessions would have been at a significantly lighter loading for higher reps. There were probably times when I wouldn’t hit a heavy (let’s call it anything above 80%) back squat for two+ weeks, which is in part why my back squat was previously stuck on the same number for so long. Another reason was my bias (especially in the early part of my crossfire experience) for conditioning over strength, a huge weakness in my approach to programming. The final hiccup was in what I chalk up to “growing pains” as it pertains to programming. It took me a good year and a half to figure out a safe and efficient blend of volume/loading/frequency so as to see steady progression in strength and power while maintaining (if not improving) the cardio and bodyweight arenas. My greatest concern during this program wasn’t the loading, but the frequency (3x/week) in conjunction with the total amount of training volume I accumulate. It isn’t the muscles, but the joints and smaller tissues that will give out first. It’s CRUCIAL you listen to your body and understand the difference between general fatigue and discomfort that comes with most physical activity, and potentially injurious situations. Out of 20 some odd squat workout, I did end up cutting one session short for that exact reason.

The final verdict? The squat program was awesome for me. It was a grind and some days were tougher than others, but it was effective. It removed any guess work from the equation and biased the movement (back squat) + physical skill ( strength) I needed to work on. I saw immediate results. My mobility and positioning improved, my strength certainly did, and I felt more comfortable in a movement that never was a particular specialty of mine (tight ankles, poor thoracic mobility, and sitting for extended periods of time are just a few reasons as to why). Who would’ve thunk it — if you squat more, your squat will improve.


P.S. I may have went overboard with this first post…