Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Yesterday's CrossFit workout was Badger.

I had never done this workout before and didn't know its history until I Googled it later. After reading a bit about the workout, I feel like I certainly didn't do it justice.

Here is the prescribed level for the workout:

3 rounds for time:
30 squat cleans, 95 pounds
30 pull-ups
800 meter run

One of the first clues that a workout is going to be difficult can be found when you walk into the gym. We have a number of large whiteboards on the wall. One shows our warm-up for the day. The next board shows our strength work for the day. Then, the next four boards show the four levels available for the main workout. Last night, the strength board had no workout. Instead, there were some comments about the main workout, and about how hard it was. Next, I started looking at another set of whiteboards where the previous groups from yesterday had posted their times. Almost every time was over 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes isn't a long time to be running, or cycling or swimming at a steady pace. But, 30 CrossFit minutes can seem like an eternity because you are going hard the entire time.

And, squat cleans are not easy. Well, they're not really difficult. But, they wear on you. You start as if you are going to do a light deadlift, but suddenly, you're doing a front squat instead. There is a lot of movement and it gets easy to cheat - just don't drop down into a full squat for each rep. As you get tired and start to cheat a little, squat cleans can start to look more like power cleans, a much easier movement at light weight.

So, with all of those excuses lined up, it's pretty obvious I didn't have a great workout. That's the interesting thing about CrossFit. I've had some good workouts recently. I've been doing the Rx'd workout more often. I've been passing people during running segments. I'm getting stronger. Feeling confident. And then, bam! I got humbled big-time last night.

For level 1, the only change was to drop the squat cleans to 65 pounds instead of 95. But, I also use assistance on pull-ups. If I had tried to do 90 unassisted pull-ups, the clock would still be ticking on my workout.

As we started the workout, it took me about 10 squat cleans to know I was in trouble. I started breaking the squat cleans into smaller sets - 5s and then 4s. After I finally got through the first round of the cleans, I started my pull-ups. I soon found myself doing them in sets of 5. That would eventually drop to 3 and even a couple sets of 2. By the time I headed out on my first run, I knew that level 1 was going to be too much. My legs felt terrible for the 800 meters and I hadn't run since Saturday.

I knew that level 2 used only 20 reps rather than 30 for the cleans and pull-ups. I decided to drop to 20 reps for the next two rounds.

And, it still sucked. Or, I sucked - however you want to look at it.

Finally, after almost 37 minutes, I staggered back inside, done with a very humbling workout.

One of the ladies from our gym recently placed first in the CrossFit Northeast Regionals. She finished the workout in just over 26 minutes and made it look easy. But, I think everyone else was over 30 minutes.

After the workout, I hopped on my bike and headed home. I immediately hopped into the swimming pool to try to cool off. I then drank at least 8 glasses of water before I went to bed. And, this morning, I got up at 6:15 instead of 5:00.

I know that part of tonight's workout is strict presses from the Wendler cycle. But, it's a de-loading week, so the lifts are fairly easy. I'm hoping the main workout isn't another grinder like last night.

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