CrossFit – Snatches, Squats and Deadlifts!

Hi all,

Hope you are having a terrific Tuesday so far – Glasgow is looking bright and feeling warmer – signs of summer? Hopefully!

Getting to grips with my problems over moving to self hosting (well, I think I am!). I have a path now that should hopefully lead to everything being as it should – so if you can’t access my webpage at any point, do not fear, I haven’t gone away! Please try again!

stress(source)

For now though, I have to wait and can go back to my happy calm place – writing and speaking to you all! We were back to my other happy place today, CrossFit, so time for a recap!

Tuesday Morning (6th)

We began with a nice block run in the sunshine to warm up – what a difference this makes! A good chat with everyone about the weekend and the run was done in no time at all!

We moved straight into warming up for the first part of the WOD and used a PVC pipe to break down and practice the moves for power snatch.

Oh snatches and cleans, why do you haunt me so!!!?? My major issue, I don’t have the strength to just lift the bar above me, so therefore I am completely dependent on technique. In the long run, great, in the short run I am getting flustered trying to get the speed and thrust needed to get the bar up. I do see progress definitely and I know one day it will just click, BUT I wish that day would hurry up and arrive. I am trying so very hard.

(A great video showing how it’s done, how to slow it down and what is involved)

Then we moved on to 5 sets of 3RM back squats – working up to a new 3RM. David and I partnered up (same height for rack) and went for it! It had been a while since I had done 3RM’s so went with what I achieved last week for a 5RM (35kg) and aimed to go higher than that. I managed to get a new 3RM of 40kg! Yay! May have even of been able to go a little higher – something to note for next time.

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Final WOD time. It didn’t look fun…

5 rounds for time

7 deadlifts

7 burpee – kettle bell goblet squats

Ok, I admit, anything that says ‘burpee’ I automatically hate! Does anyone actually LOVE them? In case you were wondering, burpee – kettle bell goblet squats are where you do a burpee, stand up, grab the kettle bell and do a goblet squat, then repeat.

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The deadlifts were to be heavy – the ability to ‘touch and go’ with all 7 but still heavy. So I went with 45kg. The first few rounds of deadlifts were ok but I knew with the last rounds, my back was definitely curving – not good. The burpee KB goblet squats were definitely a thigh burner – burpee ok but the squat down and up – holy quads!

I completed it in 8 minutes 15 seconds and was completely beat by the end of it! We all were! Great fun though!

CrossFit – Test Yourself!

Hi all,

Well after my post yesterday on Breakfast I am glad not to be writing about food today… it just made me crave breakfast foods – all.day. Not that it’s a bad thing mind you!

Instead I ‘settled’ for a dinner of pork chop with homemade apple sauce and sautéed kale. Oh my goodness – so simple but so good. I love pork!

20140428 - Boom There's Your Dinner

Anyway, enough on food (more tomorrow!) and back on to working out! Time for my 2 in 1 CrossFit post!

Monday Morning (28th)

Stiff as a brick, we began with a block run warm up – so strange to do this in the daylight now, I dont like it (closet vampire I think!).

We had a lot of work to do today so we moved straight on to warming up for the first part of the WOD, hang snatches. We did this by practicing and breaking down the movement using a PVC pipe. I do like doing this, not only to get our muscles warmed up to the movement but also because sometimes something just ‘clicks’ and you understand the move better.

This happened for me. I had been watching some videos on snatches and I think I have finally grasped the concept of how to do the ‘shrug and thrust’. Still working on the concept of ‘going down’ while the bar is travelling up but i’m getting there. The main, huge part for me was feeling that thrust and drive that will enable me to get the bar up fast and secure – it all does seem to fall into place once you ‘get it’. (Check out my previous CrossFit post for a video on hang snatches).

I only got the weight up to 10kg but gaining a grasp of that technique for me is priceless. The weight will come.

lmfao(source)

(I totally sing this every time squats are mentioned now… some people think they sing ‘shots’…heck no!)

We then moved on 3 rounds of 5 RM back squats. Only having 3 rounds meant you had to start heavy if you wanted a new 5RM and I did it! 35kg nailed AND I felt so much more secure, in control and happy with my technique. Pretty good considering 35kg is my 1RM!

The final WOD was as follows

15-12-9

 Hang power clean to thruster

Pull up (jumping pull ups scaled)

(10 minute time cap)

Coach wanted me to go for 25kg. I tried but couldn’t even clean it. I didn’t have much time on my hands so I brought it down to 15kg. I could and should have tried 20kg but we didn’t have the time. Also it was only a few weeks back I managed 15kg during a thruster WOD and I had to do this plus clean each time? I think I made the right choice. We were to count reps so I got 51 in total (up to 9 pull ups) and I was pleased with that. It may not have been a high weight but I went at high intensity.

Tuesday Morning (29th)

Today began with a block run and then a 3 minute AMRAP of 5 push ups, 7 ab mat sit ups and 9 air squats. We were certainly warm by that point! (And a bit sore, damn you ab mat sit ups!).

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Like yesterday, we did some practice work on our first move (hang power clean) with an empty bar bell to get our bodies ready for what was ahead. The hang power clean is another one of my difficulties but I know the more I practice the better I will get. In fact David gave me some pointers when I got home that I am looking forward to trying out soon – I think my problem is I high pull my arms too high without going underneath the bar, therefore meaning I am struggling to whip my elbows round to ‘clean’. I managed a 1RM of 20kg – it seems to be my clean plateau that I can’t get past. Hopefully trying David’s pointers out next time will help me go beyond this.

The next part of the WOD was deadlifts. When I read that on the board I was like ‘whhhhaaaatttt????’  – I didn’t expect them so soon after the crazy, insane, deadly WOD on Friday!

So we had 3 rounds to achieve a new 5RM – they had to be touch and go, i.e. couldn’t drop the bar. I knew I had done 45 reps on Friday at 50kg so could do that! Many on Friday were actually touch and go for me. I managed to get a new 5RM of 55kg! So pleased!

The final WOD was a doozie – one of those that look simple and easy but are silent killers!

EMOM for 10 minutes

10 push ups

10 air squats

Then in the remaining time max rep push jerk.

clean-meme-generator-if-you-cant-clean-it-dont-jerk-it-172798(source)

The mistake I made was my weight on the bar. I went for 20kg but it was too heavy. After the arm based lifting we had just done and with the fatigue on my arms from the push ups I struggled to even clean the bar. So I pretty much wasted any free time I had at the end of the push ups and air squats trying to clean the bar – I did manage one push jerk though! Just wish I had stuck with 15kg. Lesson learned but hey, you gotta test yourself every now and again otherwise how do you know you can’t do more?!

Hope you have a fab day!

Crossfit – I’m lovin’ it!

wods and all

Hi all,

Happy Friday! That’s another week gone and another week closer to Christmas! Yay!

Just trying to soak in as much of the excitement as I can at the moment, after all it’s all these events that go on throughout December that make the whole season so magical!

Have a fun filled festive weekend planned so really looking forward to that!

Now time though to recap on yesterdays Crossfit.

I really have noticed over the past few weeks how much I am loving Crossfit. I always ‘enjoyed’ it, but this past month or so I have been so excited about it. Maybe it’s the switch to morning sessions that get me so energised or maybe it’s because I am really seeing major progress and strength in me. I think it’s a combo of both. That, linked in with the great Crossfit community and the mental strength that Crossfit can give you to believe in yourself makes it so much fun. (More on the mental impact of Crossfit in the new year…!).

wod 121213

We began yesterday’s morning session with a general warm up of various bear crawls, burpees, squat jumps and the like. Being tall, bear crawls suck! But it did what it needed to do and got us stretched out and warmed up! Coach has just come back from a training course so he is all about the new warm ups and mobility = eek!

Afterwards it was some ankle mobility. Interesting as I have never done any mobility specifically on my ankles before but they are a major part of squatting and need to be strong when you are lifting weights. Luckily mine seem to be quite flexible and I don’t have too much of a problem with them but I know others were finding it quite painful!

Following on from this we had 15 minutes to try and break our 1RM front squat PR. I had done my 1RM for this a month ago (30kg) so was interested to see what I could achieve now. Coach was very impressed as my squat technique, knee position and elbow elevation had all improved significantly! I was so pleased! My elbows really were a problem but it just shows that the mobility exercises are working. I also managed to increase my 1RM to 31kg. 1kg may not sound like much to some, but it makes all the difference when it is resting on your front rack! I was just so happy to have honed in on my technique and to get a new PR was fab too.

The main WOD was tricky but so much fun! It was a different kind of set up and I really enjoyed going to different stations.

3 rounds of 1 minute stations

Back Squats

Pull Ups

Press Ups

Rest 1 minute

I went for 20kg on the back squats as my weight level is lower than the others but it was good to have a heavy weight that was relative to me. It meant I could practice my technique on squatting with the weight – I have a tendency to throw myself down too quickly in a squat, making it more difficult to come back up.

The pull ups were to be done kipping style and I went for a thick green band to help me. Both coach and I decided after the WOD that this was too ridged for me (basically I’m not heavy enough to keep the band down) so will go for a lighter band next time for some more movement. I therefore did my pull ups strict (with the band of course!).

The press ups were great actually. I can see how strong my core is getting by how much easier it is becoming to do constant pull ups. Always good!

A great WOD, lots of progress and evidence of strength  – I’m just lovin’ it! 🙂

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Crossfit – Remembrance

Hi all,

20131104 - Remember

Normally I don’t write up my Crossfit post from Monday until Tuesday, but seen as it is Remembrance Day and the WOD was Remembrance Day inspired, I thought I would switch things around.

Today is also David’s Birthday so a big ‘Happy Birthday’ to my wonderful husband! He was certainly very pleased to be starting off his day with an early morning energising Crossfit workout!

The session started off with a 440m row for me and a block run for the others. I was glad to be inside, it was that horrid ‘spitty’ rain outside so didn’t envy the others having to run in the cold, wet and darkness!

remembrance wod

After that we worked on some hip mobility which was fantastic as I really felt I needed it. The stretches were tough and we worked on them for about 15 minutes but it was totally worth it. These muscles we use so often in Crossfit and I want to keep them strong and as flexible as possible. The reward is totally worth the stretch pain! And the more I do them the less it will hurt! Coach tries to impress upon us the importance of doing mobility exercises every day and I do try – at least the ones with the foam roller. David is a lot better at doing them though – teacher’s pet!

Back squats were next – always good. We were to work on doing 6 rounds of 6 reps at 70% of our PB. The point was not to increase the weight but instead focus on technique and making all those reps count. My 1 RM was 27.5 kg so I went for 22.5kg. It certainly was tough but focusing on my breathing and using it to keep my core strong and tight was such a major help with my squat then lift. It was nice to have the ability to work on this, keeping with a heavy weight but not having to think about upping it.

The main WOD was named “Remembrance Day” and was a WOD that was being done up and down the country today. It was difficult, required focus and rightly so. We were after all doing this WOD to commemorate all that have fallen and all who serve our country.

18 minute AMRAP

11 hang power snatch

11 burpees

11 thrusters

11 pull ups

Then on the 11th minute, we would pause in silence out of respect and to remember.

By the end of the WOD I was like jelly! My arms and legs were so wobbly and it certainly took a lot out of us all. Taking that 1 minute out to stop and think was a very poignant moment for me. I felt very emotional, a combination, I believe, of thinking about why we were stopping and to the extent to which we were pushing our bodies at the time. I could go on about how tough it was etc etc but instead I am just going to state how happy I was to be able to do it – in honour of those who deserve our uttermost admiration and to proud to be a part of the Crossfit community who understand the importance of remembering.

Crossfit – And the weights go up!

wods and all

Hi all,

Hope your Tuesday is going well. I am currently watching as deep dark clouds surround the centre of Glasgow – think we are in for a rain storm! Had one last night, it was crazy rain!

Here is my recap from Crossfit last night. Time for me to join the big boys and girls…

wod 18

We began with an extended tabata warm up which I think we were all grateful for – it was cold wet and miserable outside!

So we had 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, times 5 for each station. The stations were wall balls, kettle bell swings and box jumps (step ups for me). It wasn’t too bad, the step ups and kettle bells swings were fun and even the wall balls were ok. I think because it wasn’t about doing a ‘certain amount of reps’ I was able to focus a bit more on technique and take things slowly. Good practice. We were all certainly warmed up after that!

After doing some stretches on the floor (sore but felt so good!), we moved on to toe to bar swing tekkers. After doing the toe to bar swings during a WOD last week it was good to revisit them again and try some more. As I mentioned last week, I understand the technique behind it and what I have to do, just need more strength to do it. I was able to swing a lot more and get my legs up further which I was pleased about.

David and I then paired up for 8 rounds of 4 rep back squats at 80% of your 1 RM. My last 5 RM was 25kg but that was really tough. I managed 25kg in the end – I could have gone higher but we ran out of time. I also wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly at 25kg as last night my chest was coming forward ever so slightly when I bent down to squat. No good! By the end however, I think I had rectified it.

We then moved on to the main WOD of the day and coach was keen for us to focus on upping our weights – rather than focusing on reps.  A 12 minute AMRAP barbell complex consisting of – deadlift, power clean, front squat then split jerk (separate but one move leading on to the other).

Oh boy was this tough. I began with a 7.5kg bar and 17.5kg of weight on it = 25kg. This was far too much. I could deadlift but that was it. So I dropped it down to the bar plus 10kg = 17.5kg. This was still really heavy. The deadlifts were no problem but to go from that to a power clean was so incredibly difficult – I had to use everything; I mean everything in my body to get the bar up there. The front squats and split jerk were also difficult but compared to the power clean I was glad of the change. Those 12 minutes were the most difficult and testing minutes I have ever had at Crossfit. It required 110% of everything I am to do it. I was however, determined to do it. I know my techniques now, I know how to do the moves properly so the next step is adding the weight. Previously I would have dropped the weight down further but I knew in order to succeed I needed to really push and do this. (I must add that I never would go as far as to hurt myself, I wouldn’t do it and coach would never let me do anything that would damage my body – just wanted to make that clear!).

It was tough, so very very tough. I was so drained afterwards, even to the point of emotional (not like me!) but it showed me what I can do. My hardwork is paying off, my practice is paying off, I never could have dreamed of lifting those weights for a power clean to front squat to split jerk, even if you had asked me last week!

Keep focused, keep strong and keep going!

Crossfit – Good Times!

wods and all

Hi all,

Hope your Tuesday is going well and you are all having a nice day!

Here is my recap of last night’s Crossfit session – good times!

wod 15

We began by doing an AMRAP warm up which was really cool. I do like when I row but it was nice to do a warm up with the rest of the group for once!

So the 5 minute AMRAP consisted of – 15 air squats, 15 kettle bell swings and coach switched from the original plan of double unders to wall balls.

Air squats and kettle bells, no problem but I am still struggling with those wall balls. I think my problem is, as David mentioned to me, that I can never perfect the technique as I am always struggling with the weight. I use a 5kg ball which is the lowest our box has so there isn’t really any other option. I guess I will just have to wait until I get stronger in my arms and then hopefully the ability to do wall balls will follow. Unless anyone else has any tips for practicing?

We moved on to some hip mobility stretches which were great as I really felt the benefit. Yes they were sore, I’m not going to lie, but it was good to give my hips a good stretch out and learn some new exercises that I can also do at the gym. They should really help improve our squats and flexibility in general.

David and I paired up for the next part of the WOD, 5 reps of back squats, 7 times at 75% our 1 RM. I checked my notebook and my 1 RM was 25kg, so decided to start with a 7.5kg bar with 5 kg each side = 17.5kg. I slowly increased the weight and by the time we had finished I managed to do 5 reps at 25kg! Result! I couldn’t believe my progress; to go from what was my 1RM to being able to do 5 reps of it gave me such a boost! Happy Jen!

Then we wrapped up with the main WOD, another AMRAP, this one for 8 minutes and comprising of 7 thrusters and 10 deadlifts.

It was a bit annoying; my arms were always going to be the problem for this one, having to go for a lower weight in order to do the thrusters. Therefore it meant when I came to the deadlifts they were probably easier than they should have been (although I am aware the deadlifts in this WOD were going to be the easier part for all). I started with 15kg but after the first round had to go down to 12.5kg – only marginally less but it meant that I could actually lift correctly! I managed 5 rounds plus 3 thrusters.

Good session though! Really enjoyed myself, I think (although I can’t lift a large amount) lifting really is my favourite part of Crossfit and I love a WOD that incorporates many lifting aspects. I also love the fact that it is through lifting that I can really see my progress. Let’s hope it continues!

Crossfit – And my first injury!

wods and all

Hi all,

Hope you are all well and having a good ‘hump day’ – not a phrase we tend to use here in the UK but I love it! So will therefore start spreading it around…!

Gosh it seems like such a long time since I have written a Crossfit post. I had my week in London and then last week I was unwell with the flu, so avoided Crossfit – that would not be a good combination!

But feeling a lot better this week – tested myself out with a few home workouts first, then a gentle gym session and then my usual gym session. Once I could do that I knew I was ok to go back to Crossfit. (I must admit here I have been terrible in the past for going back to training before I was ready after an illness, but through educating myself more I have realised that your body can only cope with so much stress. Exercise is a stress on the body and so is illness, it can only deal with one at a time.)

I was a bit nervous, ok, a lot nervous about going back to Crossfit after a 2 week absence. My strength is getting there but I know it is going to take a lot of time and I was worried that through having this break, plus being ill, it was going to put me back.

It was difficult to push through the nerves but I did it, I knew I had to go back and face the music! So David and I fuelled up and headed to our box.

WOD2

We did our usual warm up, David and the others ran and I spent some time on the skipping rope. I just tried to get my heart rate going, rather than practicing double unders, as I knew I just needed to warm up. We then went inside and did some stretches, they were beasts but I knew they were working on areas that needed some movement – focussing on our hips which will help us with our squats. I certainly noticed a difference after doing them; hope we do some more of those in later sessions.

I then paired up with David to do the following –

8 rounds of 4

–          Back squats 80% of your max one rep weight

–          Followed by 6 box jumps after each set.

As both David and I don’t have a max one rep weight yet we had a few rounds of trialling out some weights. Our coach was keen to see us push ourselves a bit harder, not to the max but just to encourage us to be a bit braver! It was good to have a few rounds of trialling and by the end I was very pleased to see how far I had come. I was able to back squat 20kg for 4 reps! Progress!

The main WOD then followed

20 minute AMRAP

5 push presses

10 hand raise push ups

15 pull ups

To begin with I went for a weight of 12.5kg but only managed half the WOD with this weight, and took it down to 7.5kg. A bit disappointed with this but it was for the best, I was struggling with the weight and it was my coach’s advice to drop the weight down, so I obviously wasn’t lifting properly either.

The push ups were push ups, never much fun and it didn’t help that for the first 2 rounds I did 20 rather than 10 of them! Felt so stupid when I realised what I had done!

The pull ups, for me, were gym ring rows, from an elevated position. I did want to do them from the ground but my arms were just not giving me the strength I needed to do it. It was however, during one of my rows, that I received my first Crossfit injury! I leant back to start my row, at the same time another Crossfitter was lowering her bar from the push press and –thump- hut me straight on the head! It was sore, yes but I felt ok to continue. No one was to blame; we were both just in our WOD mental zones. A lesson learnt though; take a look around you before you move on to your next piece of equipment!

So apart from a bump to the head and having to lower my weight on the bar, I was quite pleased with my performance. I managed 7 rounds, plus 1 push up and it was a tough WOD. I was also just so pleased to have put in a good performance with this being my first WOD after being ill.

I also lost that nervous feeling, thank goodness! The good vibes at the box really does put you at ease. Back to the box on Thursday!