Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Last night, when I got to the gym and looked at the main workout, the first word that came to mind was "Cruel". And then, I did the entire workout with Bryan Ferry's song "Cruel" in my brain. It's still lodged there this morning. Most readers should be safe because it's a fairly obscure song, but if you've ever been a Bryan Ferry or Roxy Music fan, Frantic is an amazing album, in my opinion.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Cruel. The lyrics actually had nothing to do with the workout. The song is about much bigger topics (Big "Why?" type of questions) than my CrossFit workout. But, the word fit. On Monday, we had done a longer-than-normal workout with rowing, running and rope jumping. I was hoping for more upper body work yesterday.

After our warm-up, we started with 5x5 of heavy back squats. That's not upper body work. Then, the main workout was as follows:

15 minutes, as many reps as possible:
Row 250 meters
25 push-ups
25 double-unders (or 40 single unders plus ten high knees jumps)

So, just like the night before, we had rowing and jumping. And, I haven't done a push-up in over a month because of my shoulder. But, I guess that's what CrossFit does best - find ways to stress you that you wouldn't have done on your own.

We only have six racks in the gym for squatting and we had 16 people there last night, so we had to double-up and triple-up. I joined the two strongest guys in the gym because I knew no other group would go over 225 pounds.

We each started with a set of 5 at 225. Then, Ken and I did 235, while Del did 315. Then, 245 while Del did 345. I eventually worked up to 255, my highest weight ever for a set of 5. Ken made it to 275, and Del went to 405. We all got in some good work sets, but we finished last and everyone else was ready to start the main workout. We got very little recovery between the squats and the main workout.

Because I hadn't done push-ups in a while, I thought about doing dumbbell presses again. But, I tried some knee push-ups (knees on the ground rather than toes) and they felt OK. The prescribed workout was regular push-ups, but Level 1 was knee push-ups. That sounded perfect for me.

Because of the number of people and the fact that we only have 8 rowing machines, we started the workout at different spots in the rotation. I started with push-ups and the first set went OK. Then the rope jumping and high knee jumping. And, then, a short rowing split.

And then, things went downhill. Starting with the second set of push-ups, I couldn't do them uninterrupted. I guess that's what happens when you don't do a certain movement for more than a month. My form on rope jumping got sloppy and I started to get tripped up. The night before, I'd had some stretches of 80-100 reps without messing up. Last night, a set of 10-15 uninterrupted felt like a victory. Most people made five full rounds or close to it. I fell 250 rowing meters short of finishing my fourth round.

But, I had worked hard, I was soaked in sweat, and it was a good workout. I stayed near my office in a hotel last night, and by 7:30, I was in my room, with dinner, wearing pajamas, watching the Red Sox game, and ready to go to sleep.


Harriet said...

I am very, very weak in squats; I can't handle much more that 165 and get any depth at all.

My weak legs have always been a thorn in my side.

Damon said...

That surprises me, given how good some of your upper body lifts have been in the past. I can't touch your bench press at all, and I don't know if I'll ever crack 200 there.

But, after all the years of mountain running with an over-sized body, and a lot of attention to form, my squat hit 300 for a single rep earlier this winter. And that was with good depth.