Getting left behind

Remember this? Well that’s not going to happen, not anytime soon that is. 5 months on and I am not any closer to my goals. In fact I may have fallen behind quite a bit.

To recap, I was quite looking forward to training since the last time I posted that blog entry and had planned to work out quite a lot despite being on holiday in the Philippines. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t listen to my body and injured my left elbow (thanks to a few units of alcohol… don’t ask). It took a while to heal, then I got my right wrist injured (no idea how I hurt it). But that wasn’t all, I had to have a root canal treatment as well which took me out of getting back into training.

Even my coaching has taken a back step, despite teaching two Level 1 classes and helping out a few folks with some skill work. Everyone seems to be getting on well in the gym, and I am envious of all the progress everyone has made in my absence. I have a long ways to go.

I have one more dental appointment, so I’m glad that will be out of the way soon. My wrist is still not 100% but good enough to train. I have also signed up at a ‘proper’ gym in Warwick (I am in Warwick on weekdays for business) which allows me to train my olympic lifting and hopefully get myself back on track. I have also booked into a 2 day weightlifting course in CrossFit SE11 in August. I have also talked to one of the coaches in terms of helping out in teaching more Level 1 classes.

So its strength/olympic lifting on weekdays in Warwick, coaching duties on weekends and maybe sneak in a Level 2/3 CrossFit class/hand balancing/ropes class as well. All of this is going to eat into my knitting time…. oh, did I mention I started knitting?

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Numbers and Goals, Inspiration and Motivation

Perhaps like most CrossFitters, I keep track of my progress across a few chosen fitness benchmarks whether it is monotructural, benchmark metabolic conditioning WODs, gymnastic movements, or weightlifting PBs. Mine may not be the best way of tracking things, and might not even prove useful in programming or any sort of assessment but at least I can see at a glance where I am and where I may want to go.

At the moment it is all about the Olympic Weightlifting moves, the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. Whilst I am still working on improving my handstand and eventually do handstand walks, as well as doing Rachel’s rope and ring classes (just because it’s fun) I have always been fascinated with the classic lifts once I had a better understanding of it’s technical intricacies.

My goals now, to carve it on the proverbial rock of the interwebs, is to get 100kgs on the C&J and 75kgs on the Snatch. This is approximately 1.5x bodyweight on C&J and a bit more than 1x bodyweight Snatch, up from my current PBs of 85kgs/62.5kgs respectively. Lofty goals for sure (as much as 20% increase), but better to aim for the stars and reach the moon (or something like that).

I don’t have a time frame for it since travelling for work is getting in the way of proper training. But in order to keep the goals firmly in my sights, I have decided that I will reward myself with something permanent and close to my heart in the event that I achieve the numbers. Now Socs might not have approved of that reward, but I still have time to convince her. Maybe she will be so impressed with my (weightlifting) moves that she would just say yes. I’m keeping the reward as a surprise…

On a different note, Socs and I have always endeavored to make this blog a bit more lively with pictures so I leave you with a picture of me doing a fuck ugly power snatch at a measly 35kgs.

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30 Day Challenge: Double Unders – A review

Approximately 30 days ago (no shit Sherlock), CrossFit London SE11 launched 5 challenges: 30 days to improve on . The options where Squat (led by Rachel), Thoracic mobility (by Chris), Ring Dip (by Carolyn), Handstand (by Kat) and Double Unders (by Colin).

My squats are pretty good and so are my ring dips. Thoracic mobility could always improve and so are my handstands (especially free standing ones), but I really suck at double unders so I signed up under Colin’s group and got to work. We started on singles which was great as I had a chance to feel what my body was doing and improve on my body positioning. My single unders improved massively as I was able to string more than 100 after the first week.

We then moved on to the power jump, still doing singles, to get a feel of how high you need to jump.
Once we’ve settled with that movement it was time to attempt doing a double under on the power jump. The key was to do ‘single-single-double’. I noticed that while I couldn’t go on with this pattern forever (I trip up before getting 10 doubles), all the effort on doing singles allowed me to reduce the variables and determine where I could be doing wrong. With the help of Magnus’ post, the emails from the support group and a face to face discussion and some rope fun with the gang, I was able to manage 20+ consecutive double unders! Hooray!

Apparently its all just about jumping and spinning the rope twice under the feet! Who knew?

Key points that worked for me:
1. Relax – especially the shoulders, knees and ankles. You need to be able to bounce like a spring.

2. Wrist movement – Biggest thing for me, after some thought and watching other people do doubles, I realized I was spinning my wrist in an arc rather than moving it in a line fast (a flick basically). It didn’t matter whether it was a vertical flick, horizontal flick or a weird figure-of-8. Minimizing the time to generate the force to whip the rope around seems to be the common theme there.

3. Slow the fuck down – contrary to the nature of double unders (quick rope speed) the slow power jump is essential to get enough clearance and time for the rope to go around twice. Intentional powerful jumps provide adequate time for your double under business.

Putting it all together requires a bit of imagination which worked with quite a few of the folks. To each their own, but my imagery is that of Tigger with his ‘boing… boing… boing’. In my head, I think ‘boing…flick-flick…boing…flick-flick…boing…flick-flick…’.

I have yet to test it out again and see how far I can go, but the last 30 days have been quite an eye opener. As Colin said, double unders are quite difficult to teach and I would agree. There is no one template that will magically give you this particular skill. But rather some practice plus a few tips here and there in a progressive manner does get you there.

I want to be like Spealler

In the CrossFit Games, the big name out there is Rich Froning. Everybody likes him, everybody wants to be him. And that’s perfectly understandable with his good looks and chiselled body… I mean, great performances and work ethics.

I’ve never really rooted for anyone in the Games, although I ‘supported’ Graham Holberg as I was privileged enough to work out in his box for a couple of months. I heard of Chris Spealler as of the names in the Games but never really paid attention, until he was mentioned during my L1 certification weekend. What stuck to me was that he is 34 years old, 5’5″ and weigh in at 68kgs, I on the other hand am 2 years younger and 2 inches taller than so his achievements banging with the big boys made quite an impression.

I looked at his numbers and compared them to mine and they are IMPRESSIVE! 129kg Clean and Jerk (vs 85kg), 102kg Snatch (vs 62.5kg), 190.5kg Deadlift (vs 127kg), 172kg Back Squat (vs 122kg). Makes me want to leave the office and head to the gym (or at the very least make a blog entry). Quite inspiring really, us little guys have to stick together you know.

No WOD updates but…

While I did mention that I would be refraining from posting daily WOD updates, I never said anything about a general update on what’s happened. I’ll try to make the summary of the last month and a half quick… hopefully.

I managed to have some great improvements in my conditioning, although it’s still not where I want it to be . At least there’s progress. I’ve also managed to hit a PB on the clean (90kgs), and the clean and jerk (85kgs). I reckon I can do 90kgs on the clean and jerk. 100kgs still remains to be the ultimate goal. Also the 60kg snatches now ‘feel’ lighter and moving up in weight is definitely in the books at some point

I’ve attended a quick 2 hour seminar by Don McCauley when he visited London, and the technique he promotes helped me a lot and is close to my personal preference in lifting. I’ve also taken my CrossFit Level 1 Course and passed the test! I am now looking forward to learning as much as I can, hopefully with the help the crew of CrossFit London UK. I was privileged enough to assist in teaching their I-course one Sunday and it was an eye opener (from a trainer’s perspective) on how Andrew and Rachel teach a class of various skill levels. Socs also helped out in the WonderBar course and I believe she (and the rest) did pretty well.

It wasn’t all fun and games as I managed to injure my left shoulder somehow. But with the help of the foam roller and lacrosse ball (plus a massage session with Kate) it is on the mend. No load bear overhead for me for a few weeks, but I will be back with a vengeance.

I am currently in Riga, Latvia for business and will be travelling every week for the better part of a year. This is a bit of a blow to my aspirations of becoming a CrossFit trainer and a better athlete as I won’t be able to train with as much gusto if I was back in London (no affiliates here). I’ve skipped the hotel gym for the moment as I won’t be able to use the minimal weights they have (mostly dumbbells), given my injury, so I’m concentrating on bodyweight movements for now. I found a good list of workouts to do which should keep me busy for the moment. I might consider going through the Gymnastics WOD archive and work on some skills.

So let’s see what happens in the next few months…