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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Feeding the inner athlete: WODs, goals, and grim discoveries

103 psb 23 mar 13Took purple sprouting broccoli to the box this morning – I think it was all gone by 10am, as various Crossfitters took it home with them. I just can’t imagine dropping off a veg box at the average globo gym for people to pick up fresh veggies as they choose! Anyway, we’re eating psb four or five meals a week right now, and still have some to spare, so it was great to be able to give some away.

We’re back on Wendler. Woo hoo! I really like the Wendler cycle: I’ve been through it twice now and seen huge gains, but with the calf strain I think I’m going to be pretty limited this time around. I benched and equalled my previous one rep max so that was cool, but I don’t think I’m going to risk squatting for a couple of weeks, as I (probably) won’t get the pain message from the calf until too late if it does start to tear again and I don’t want another six weeks of rest. I might try a deadlift but that could also put strain on the healing muscle so I may just possibly be super-restrained and stick to bench and strict press. Can’t believe I’m typing that, to be honest!

Then the WOD. A fifteen minute time-capped ladder of:

•    Thrusters
•    Toes to Bar

One of each in f29 apr 13irst minute, two of each in second minute etc until you can’t get them done before the buzzer, rest a minute, start again at one of each until time cap.

Men 50 kilos
Women 25 kilos

Men 40 kilos
Women 25 kilos
Knee raises

Men 30 kilos
Women 15 or 20 kilos
Knee raises or sit ups

Bronze for me, at 16 kilos and knee raises. I was nervous about thrusters, as it’s really difficult to get a good thruster without using the calf fully, but I managed to get to nine of each in the minute  – although by the end I could feel the muscle starting to burn. Actually, that was amazing – a year ago I wouldn’t have felt that sensation at all, so Crossfit really is improving my neurological feedback.

Thing is, I watched Louise doing toes to bar and while it looked horrible, it also looked doable. So I asked Coach David afterwards and he suggested I might be ready for toes to bar, given my progression towards a strict pull up. So I booked in for an Open Gym to try it out.

Then I watched this video. I am sooooo screwed! When Carl Paoli says something is “Proprioception 101” I know I’m in trouble. I have little or no proprioception at the best of times, and when my feet are off the ground I often have no idea where the rest of my body is, which makes gymnastics work terrifying. I get feedback from both hands, my right foot and all down my right side, some intermittent feedback from my left foot, nothing from my left arm, hip, thigh or calf and only sporadic feedback from the left shoulder. On the plus side, this is a symmetric movement, so I can have reasonable confidence that if my right side does it, my left will follow (probably).

I really, really, really, really, really want to get one gymnastics type movement to RX by the end of my first year of Crossfit. I’m still working on the pull up but I don’t think I’m going to make it in time, so I had everything crossed that I could achieve toes to bar. Carl’s comments are a reality check – I’m going to try it in Open Gym but I expect to discover that I’m going to need a lot more drills than I’d thought to learn the sequencing which is disappointing, but I’ve got a clearer picture what the movement entails and I know what I’ve got to work on.

  • Bruises – only my dreams
  • PB – equalled bench at 27.5 kilos
  • Wishlist – Let me see: 100 push ups (on hold because of calf strain), a strict pull up (still working the pull up programme) toes to bar just got added … so the list gets longer and the moment when I might be able to tick something off seems no closer!

22 April, this WOD is brought to you by the colour red

red bandSo … more rowing, more kettlebell swings and more bloody strict presses!

But not like Thursday – today’s experience was a lot more positive. I got a 1 rep max in my strict press, thanks to a tip from Jon about how far back I’d been leaning to get the weight up and trying instead to get my head activated so that I was lifting straighter. Not a great 1 rep max – 22.5 kilos, but I’m happy with it.

And then the WOD – as RX

  • 5 wall walks
  • 10 kettlebell clean and press (half on each side)
  • 15 toes to bar
  • 1 bar muscle up

I knew I was going to be taking the bronze level because my calf strain would stop me doing the wall walks, which I can just about do, and the clean and press.

Bronze was:

  • 5 Box pikes
  • 10 Clean and press (lighter kettlebell)
  • 15 Knee raise
  • 5 pull ups (purple band for me)

12 minute AMRAP. I got two rounds, working with an 8k kettlebell and doing swings to guarantee I didn’t strain my calf and then when I went for the third round of pull ups I was pretty sure I had more in the tank than usual, so I swapped my purple band for a skinny red one.

 It took me three minutes to get the last 5 pull ups on the red band, but I did it! Three rounds flat …

Whether I’ll be able to stick to the red band when I’m wodding at silver level again is an interesting question. If I’d been doing wall walks and clean and press with 12k I wouldn’t have had that feeling of extra power to bring to the pull ups, so I learned something today about how I may need to calibrate wodding if I’m trying to master a bodyweight exercise … veddy interesting!

Still playing in my own sandpit WOD – with bonus Lovecraftian references

cthulhuFocus: handstands and bridges. It turns out that I can do a headstand against the wall okay, but not a handstand – I can’t understand what my body needs to do to kick up (why not, when I can do it from a headstand? Probably 30 plus years of yoga have created the headstand pattern) so that was fun (and wrist aching).

Bridges, I can walk down the wall into a bridge but not push up into one (more wrist destruction). Clearly, if I am ever to make a Masters gymnast of myself I have yet more stuff to add into my daily practice.

WOD – other people were doing something gnarly with double unders and burpee pull ups. I did the baseline fitness test again:

500 metre row
40 squats
30 sit ups
20 press ups
10 pull ups (purple band)

So … when I did this in August 2012 my time was 5:47. Today my time was … 6:18.

Yup, going backwards.

Okay, I’m injured, so my rowing is not great – but I’m pretty sure it’s better than it was then. My squats are waaaay deeper than they were then, so they are probably a bit slower. Sit ups, about the same. Press ups – well I couldn’t do any then so I don’t know what I was counting as a press up, something floppy probably. Pull ups, I was on the green band.

But seriously … slower?

Some days just make you want to kick a hole in the fabric of space time and drag a spawn of Cthulhu through to do his thing.

Back with a whimper

15 apr 13Well, while it’s great to be able to wodding again, it’s also not great. Struggling to see any progress. I don’t know how injury is for other people, but for me there’s always a tendency to get compensation (overcompensation?) injuries. As of today I’ve got the calf strain, then something weird going on with my shoulder tendons, probably because my pull ups have had to be a lot stricter now I can’t kick with my leg. And then my ITB/ piriformis started to hurt again. So it’s all a bit pear-shaped.

Urgh.  Not a great place to start from when considering the 06:30 WOD on a Monday morning.

Still, it was nice to be there, and I managed to do 5×5 front squats – wide stance for me– and achieved 25, 30 and 35 kilos. 35k was where my leg started to have that weird feeling (like somebody popping bubble wrap inside the muscle) that is a warning sign to stop right there! So I stuck at 35k for the final three rounds. Given the amount of strict presses I’ve been doing in the past couple of weeks, even this felt like a major achievement. Actually, I just checked my 5 rep max and it’s 42.5k so maybe 35k with a calf injury isn’t so bad …?


As it should have been – for time:

•    500 metre row
•    400 metre run
•    100 double unders
•    75 air squats
•    50 kettlebell swings
•    25 press ups.

As it was for me:

•    900 metre row
•    50 sit ups
•    75 air squats
•    50 kettlebell swings
•    15 pull ups (purple band).

So I knew I wasn’t going to run or skip, was happy with the air squats, but the kettlebell swings started to really pull on the calf muscle that’s injured, so Coach David subbed in pull ups for press ups, as I knew I was going to have a problem doing press ups with good form, given that you need to push back with the heels and lock the leg out to get a good line.

Time 13:32 – kind of okay. Actually, that’s meh. A really meh time. Glad to be back wodding, really hope that I’m going to get back to proper training soon.

Calf strain advice?

I cant do thisSo, it’s another calf strain. Grade 2 – mild bruising, pain when walking, tightness and aching.

Any suggestions on what Crossfit exercise I can undertake while I’m working on rehabilitation for this? It’s the third time in two years I’ve had this problem, always when sprinting, and I don’t intend to let there be a fourth time, but so far all I’ve dared to attempt is sit ups and back extensions (OH kindly sat on me to anchor my feet in both cases!).

I reckon I could maybe do a strict press but when I tried banded pull ups in the open gym last week it was really difficult because I couldn’t kick at all. God knows how I’m ever going to get a pull up at this rate. Push ups didn’t work either – as soon as the calf tenses it locks up and becomes really painful. So any ideas for stuff I can do while I’m ‘resting’ would be very welcome as I am getting quite ‘restless’ already …



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