Wendler Cycle C Week 1 Deadlift and WOD September 29, 2014

I had a super long workday today, from 9am to 8pm and I was running late! I wanted to join the 8pm class (I thought I would be able to leave work 10 min early), but ended up arriving in the box at 8:15pm. It was super busy so I decided to just do my deadlifts instead. They were doing a 1RM back squat and since I already did that last week I wasn’t too interested to join in on that anyway.

I almost didn’t even go to the box, because I was soooooooo tired! Not normal… But the deadlifts went alright. Managed to get my rep goal :). I never really try to do more than my rep goal calculator tells me… it’s heavy enough… haha. But glad that I can always match it (on the deadlift at least).

Deadlift

5 x 115 lbs
5 x 135 lbs
8 x 155 lbs

Then I joined in for the second part of the WOD, which was….

WOD

  • Karen! with 3 burpees EMOM.

Karen is 150 wall balls for time. Torture!!

My workout:
We had a 15 minute timecap and I didn’t manage to finish it :(. I managed to do 124 wall balls and all the burpees, which is 45 burpees in total. I really did push myself so much more than I would have done a couple of months ago though. I remember previous wall ball workouts and whenever there are a lot of them I usually used the 10 lbs ball. I used the 14 lbs ball now. And it felt quite light, but of course… that only lasts for a couple of reps and then it just starts hurting. Quite happy how I did, even though I do feel that I could have pushed a tiny bit harder to maybe be able to finish it in time. Always room to improve ;).

The book I just read had an interesting paragraph about this workout. On why it sucks so much haha. Let me share it here.

The benchmark WOD is 150 repetitions of a single movement: wall balls. The movement is not technically difficult—all you have to do is throw a 20-pound medicine ball (14 pounds for women) up to a target 10 feet in the air and catch it on the way down to a full squat. Explode out of the squat to launch the ball again. A hundred and forty-eight reps later, you’re done.

With every rep, the ball shoves you down, and you have to push back, only to get shoved down again. The essence of a shove, what makes it so demoralizing, is that you have to absorb force from something that’s not working very hard to generate that force. That’s why bullies shove. And while you’re being repeatedly shoved by a twenty-pound ball falling from ten feet in the air, your heart rate is maxing out. Your body wants a lot more oxygen than it’s getting.

The shortage of oxygen, plus the experience of being shoved, produces a groaning sense of awfulness. Not pain, in the sharp sense that pain is acute and local. It’s a global awfulness, a misery, like flu. The mind responds to this awfulness with a loud, dissonant drone of “just make it stop.” The only way to finish “Karen” in a reasonable amount of time is to mentally compartmentalize the horrifying totality of the task, ignore the mental imperative to stop, and just concentrate on the next few reps. When you can do that, you’ve learned how to keep moving past the siren song of comfort and relief to the finish. The benchmark time for “Karen” is a pretty good proxy for a person’s general ability to suck it up.

Excerpt From: J.C. Herz. “Learning to Breathe Fire.” 

Wendler Cycle C Week 1 Shoulder Press

I went in on Sunday to start my new Wendler Cycle. After a deload week I had fresh energy to finally wack out some proper shoulder presses!!

Shoulder Press

5 x 50 lbs
5 x 55 lbs
8 x 65 lbs

So happy with that!! The weights were the same as the last week of last cycle and then I was only able to rep out 4 of the 65 lbs. So this is a huge improvement! I don’t believe I got much stronger in this week, but I was just much more focused and that is so important as well!

After this I played around finding my 1rm a little bit. I did 1 rep at 70 lbs, then 1 rep at 75 lbs and then failed twice trying to do 1 rep at 80 lbs.

After this we played around a bit trying muscle ups. I tried on the bar first… with a band.. I got one arm over the bar, but slipped from it (we didn’t have chalk). This was the closest I got because after that one I wasn’t even able to get my chest up to the bar. Tried a bit on the rings as well, but don’t even come close!!

After that I did a 8 min EMOM (I was lazy :p) of 3 dips (using stacked boxes) on the first minute and 2 pull ups + 2 chin ups on the 2nd minute. So 12 dips total and 8 pull ups and 8 chin ups. Then I finished with 25 push ups.

Over the weekend I have been reading this book about CrossFit. It tells the story on how CrossFit originated and has some interesting stories on some of the well known CrossFitters today and how they came into the sport. It was a fun read. (Yes, I’m a geek and obsessed.)

Click to view this book on Amazon.co.uk

Wendler Cycle B Week 3 Bench Press and Back Squat

On Friday I went in for some strength training. I started with bench press.

Bench Press

5 x 70 lbs
3 x 75 lbs
10 x 85 lbs

This means that I skipped week 2 for bench press and went straight into week 3. Bench press is still going so much better than shoulder press. I wonder why….

In between sets (started after the last warm up set) I did 10 pushups. So 40 push ups in total.

Then I did a 15 minute EMOM of

2 dips
3 chin ups
10 push ups

So that’s another 50 push ups, 15 chin ups and 10 dips. I had to skip a minute after 3 rounds and for the last 2 rounds I had to use a kip in the dips to be able to complete them.

Then I wanted to do the back squat. Which, in retrospect, was maybe a bad idea. Because even though my legs were fresh, I was kind of tired from above work and I think that affected my squats, because I did HORRIBLY!!

Back Squat

5 x 100 lbs
3 x 110 lbs
3 x 125 lbs

My rep goal was 7 on the last one, but that third last rep felt so heavy and I think I didn’t even break parallel on that last one so had to call it quits.

After that I did 3 rounds for time of

10 pistol squats (alternating)
20 sit ups

I did the pistol squats the only way I can now do them, with a 10 lbs plate held in front of me and my heel elevated on a plate. I love that I can do them now though! They are so hard, but really feels like my legs will get stronger fast when practicing these!! My time was 7 min and 50 seconds.

Wendler Cycle B Week 3 Shoulder Press and Deadlift

Hmmmzzzzzz. I kind of messed up last week in regards to bench press. Since I did the bench press WOD I haven’t found the right time to do the Wendler bench… Not sure if it’s a good idea to skip it.. but what’s done is done.

I went straight into shoulder press yesterday. But it was so disappointing again!! I did even worse than last week :(. I think though, in retrospect, that I might be setting myself up for disaster. Because I warm up with 3 sets of 5 reps at 45 lbs, which is heaver that what I should be warming up with and also more reps. So next time I’ll make sure to stick to the warm up schedule and hopefully do better. (I really hope so because this just sucks!!!!)

Shoulder Press

5 x 55 lbs
3 x 60 lbs
4 x 65 lbs

After this disappointing performance I finished with some push presses (I actually tried to do 4 more shoulder presses after a little break after that last set, but couldn’t even do 1 :s).

Push Press

4 x 65 lbs
5 x 65 lbs
5 x 65 lbs
5 x 65 lbs

Then I went onto the deadlifts, which luckily went much better! My rep goal was 7, which I managed to do :D (I can really feel my legs today though!!! Yikes!!)

Deadlift

5 x 130
3 x 145
7 x 160

That sets my calculated max at 190 now! :D Getting close to 200!!

After the deadlifts I spent some time on trying out pistol squats and I finally found a way to do them!! If i put a 10 lbs plate under my heel and I hold a 10 lbs plate in front of me for balance I can actually manage to do proper pistol squats!!! How cool is that :D :D :D.

I did 2 sets 0f 10 alternating left and right and then 4 sets of 5, switching legs per set. I sometimes struggled getting back up, especially with my left leg. Sometimes because of balance and sometimes because of strength. But so happy that I found a way to be able to do them! Not sure if it counts as an unscaled rep though, when using those plates for balance.

I joined the WODers in a 400m run afterwards.

Wendler Cycle B Week 2 Back Squat

Squat time!! I was in and out real quick this morning. Wasn’t feeling much for doing anything.. but knew I had to get my squats in. I thought about doing the bench press as well, but since I did a lot of bench press during the WOD the day before I thought it would be better to leave them for now.

The squats went great! My rep goal on the last set was 7 and I managed to do 8!!

Back Squat

3 x 90 lbs
3 x 105 lbs
8 x 115 lbs

I filmed myself again and compared to my last recording my depth improved so much!!!!!! :D I definitely break parallel now.

Wendler Cycle B Week 2 Deadlift

Deadlift, deadlift, deadlift… I have been reading Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe over the weekend which gives a lot of information and cues on proper form and execution. I was focusing so much on my form during this workout though that it felt 10 times harder somehow. And it didn’t look much better…

Since I was only doing deadlift today I did a loooot of them. After a couple of warmup sets I did the Wendler sets. My rep goal for the last set was 7, which I met (but barely).

Deadlift

3 x 120 lbs
3 x 135 lbs
7 x 155 lbs

After that I was kind of curious to see if I could lift 185 lbs, since the rep goal calculator indicates that that should be my 1RM now. I know Wendler says that you shouldn’t “test” your 1RM too often, but I couldn’t resist. At first I tried with my normal grip.. and failed. But I read in Mark Rippetoe’s book that if you try the one hand reverse grip that you will most likely be able to lift more. Simple because you are stronger than your grip and your brain won’t let you lift what it knows your grip can’t handle. How smart is our brain? Hehe. And it worked! I was able to lift 185 lbs! Whoop whoop! Although I guess it’s not much progress in 5 weeks.. only 10 lbs… but I want to stick to this program. My goal is not too gain strength as fast as possible.

After that I did 3 sets of 10 with 115 lbs. Which were quite hard as well. I was struggling with my grip a lot. At that point I kind of started wondering if I was maybe doing too much, but was still happy I got all that work in.

After being done with my deadlifts I felt a tiny little bit tempted to join in on the WOD after. Or just 1 round maybe.. The WOD was this

2 Rounds For Time (2 minutes rest between rounds):

– 80 Double Unders (2:30 minute time cap)

– 60 Box Jump Overs #24/20

– 40 KB Swings

– 20 Burpees

Cash Out: 2 Minutes Max Burpee Box Jump Overs

It may sound weird, but that looks like fun to me.  (The painful kind of fun, but fun.) But when I grabbed a jump rope and did 40 double unders (unbroken whoop whoop) I felt that it probably wasn’t the best idea to join in after all. Because after those 40 my whole body was shaking from exhaustion lol. What I did do though, was join in with two of my friends who were trying to do a handstand on one hand. I had never tried this before and I actually managed to do it!! After a couple of failed tries I found my balance and was able to stand there on one hand for about 5 seconds. So cool! For someone that couldn’t even do a normal handstand a year ago things like this feel really really good!!!

My friend took a picture of what is actually one of my failed attempts (couldn’t really find my balance here), but nobody was paying attention when I did manage lol so don’t have a “perfect” pic, but this one is cool enough :D.

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WOD September 8, 2014 and Wendler Cycle B Week 2 Shoulder Press

I joined in on the WOD today, but combined it with my Wendler Shoulder Press.

Strength

10 x 3 Front Squat (Dynamic Effort)

2 x 20 Shoulder Press

My workout
I only did 8 sets of 3 front squats instead of 10. We were running out of time..

1 set of 3 x 65 lbs
1 set of 3 x 75 lbs
6 sets of 3 x 85 lbs

My wrists were hurting a lot doing front squats.. and I also got a bit of the tingly sensation of a nerve feeling annoyed.. same as I usually have with overhead squats.. Not very pleasant. After this everyone did 2 sets of 20 shoulder press, but I wanted to my Wendler thing instead. I started with 10 x 25 lbs as a warm up. Then

Shoulder Press

3 x 50 lbs
3 x 55 lbs
5 x 65 lbs

My rep goal was to get 6 on the last set. So very disappointed that I missed my goal AGAIN. I think it might have been a mistake to try and do this during the “WOD” as I would have given myself a bit more time normally in between sets.. But.. no excuse!! I just wasn’t strong enough… After this I did another set of 10 with 45 lbs.

WOD

21-15-9

– Front Squats

– Push Ups

Cash Out: Max Strict Pull Ups

My workout
I did the front squats with 65 lbs and push ups hand release. My time was 7:17. Felt quite good about it :). Hand very tingly at the end though and it lasted for about 2 hours after the WOD. Luckily the feeling is gone now. I ended with 3 strict pull ups (with effort lol).

On another note.. during the warmup we also did 21-15-9 with pushups (and air squats) and I was very pleasantly surprised to be able to do the first 21 pushups unbroken! I don’t think I’ve ever done more than 10 unbroken.. or maybe 15.. so was quite happy to be able to do that (as a warmup no less hehe).

Wendler Cycle B Week 1 Back Squat and Bench Press

After having a mega rough day at work I was so happy to walk into the box to do some heavy lifting. After seeing my form for the back squat in last weeks video I made sure I warmed up properly and practiced some deep air squats. I didn’t film myself this time so I can’t know for sure if my depth was good enough, but I think it was. I made a point of really going deep (which is probably just below parallel for me) and pausing at the bottom before going back up. It felt really good!! I still find squats the hardest exercise… but I was able to reach my rep goal of 8 on the last set.

Back Squat

5 x 85 lbs
5 x 100 lbs
8 x 110 lbs

I started with some warm up sets and in between all sets (so 6 sets total) I did 3 chin ups (strict).

Then I did bench press. I had a spotter for the last set so was able to go far beyond my rep goal of 9 by setting a new best at 12 reps of 75 lbs (according to the 1rm calculator that means my 1rm is about 110!!!! wooowww!!)

Bench Press

5 x 60 lbs
5 x 70 lbs
12 x 75 lbs

Afterwards I practiced some strict handstand pushups by doing 6 singles with 1 abmat and then 2 sets of 5 with 2 abmats.

Wendler Cycle B Week 1 Shoulder Press and Deadlift

Yesterday I started the second “cycle” of the Wendler program. It didn’t go so well. I felt really weak! It was over 3 weeks ago that I last did the shoulder press and deadlift so I guess I should have expected a bit of decrease… but was hoping to at least hit the same reps as last time. Because the last set of the previous time was the same weight as this week so I was a bit disappointed that I did worse instead of better.

I started with

Deadlift

5 x 110 lbs
5 x 130 lbs
8 x 145 lbs

Which was ok, because according to my rep goal calculator my aim was to get at least 7 reps on the last set and I got 8, so all good!

Then

Shoulder Press

5 x 45 lbs
5 x 55 lbs
7 x 60 lbs

And here it is the exact opposite. My aim was to get at least 8 reps and I only got 7 :(.

In between the shoulder press sets I did 3 strict pull ups each time.

Not a very active day in terms of assistance work… but was still feeling my muscles from the day before (clean & jerks).. Hopefully I will feel stronger next time!!

Back Squat and KB Swings videos

I finally got around to editing those videos. As I said.. I’m not so happy with my back squat. Looking back I think the form is not that bad as I thought when first looking at it, but I definitely loose depth in my last set. I think the 105 lbs is quite alright.. Could go deeper obviously, but I think they would be considered good reps. Or am I delirious thinking that?

 

And my kb swings… I’m not very good at video editing lol. It took me ages to figure out how to add a clock to the video.. and it’s not very accurate the way I did it.. but anyway..