Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday 28.2: Ring mu's, bodyweight metcon

Friday. Ring skills, perform 10 muscle-ups. Metcon, 5rds of: 30du's, 10 pull-ups, 30du's, 10t2b's. Time 12.02.

My body was so tired yesterday that I decided to play it safe today. Left the barbells alone and concentrated in bodyweight action. Focused a lot on ring muscle-ups and then completed a 5-rounder of double unders and pull-up bar movements. The biggest news of the day was the Crossfit Open Announcement 14.1 from Atlanta. This was the first event announcement of a total of 5 weeks. The best performers from each region will proceed to the next stage called Regionals. What I was surprised of is that Mikko Aronpää is competing in Asia's region this year. Don't know why though.


  • Ring muscle-ups
  • Perform 10 reps

There were couple of training sessions I had huge problems with ring muscle-ups. Bar muscle-ups are nowadays rolling pretty well. There's a lot of technique to be improved but I get the reps done. On the rings it's been way more shaky and it's not self-evident I get the reps at all. I was thinking a lot what's going wrong and why I'm not flying up there.

Once I watched Rich Froning compete in last year's Games in the final event I was somehow able to do some mental training and I understood how the transition part should be done, how explosively man must do the transition. It stuck in my brain and once I went to the gym and tried it, I got 5 reps (on Wednesday). Today I was aiming higher.

Had in mind to concentrate in this movement and perform 10 reps. No barbell movements today, just wanted to get a good feeling on the rings and save some energy from strength training. I was thinking if it's too ambitious plan to hit 10 reps but once I got the first rep it felt good to remember the teachings from Cinco 2 and last training session. Rep after rep flew by and it boosted confidence after one. Finally I got to 10 mu's and I was mr. happy.

Crossfit Games Update Show

Metcon. Time 12.02

  • 5 rounds of:
  • 30 double unders
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 30 double unders
  • 10 toes-to-bar
Main ingredient being double unders, I wanted to mix 2 other movements done with the pull-up bar. First I had air squats in mind as one element (pull-ups, squats and du's) but it turned out to be a 5-rounder of du's, pull-ups and t2b's. It was about time to mix t2b's in a workout. Total of 5 rounds equals 300 double unders, 50 pull-ups and 50 toes-to-bar.

I performed well on the double unders except the first 2 sets. It took me 1 miss in both of them. From then on I think it was unbroken. There may have been a third set at some point that witnessed a miss. It was natural movement today. I watched someone perform 14.1 workout and he was circulating the jump rope like a maniac. It caught me thinking should I try to go faster on the double unders. On the other hand I'm having it in my wheelhouse currently so I'm not sure if I wanna make any changes to it.

Pull-ups were awkwardly challenging after those muscle-ups. Yea I did them ub as well as t2b's. There was only 10 reps of both but hanging from the bar started to become uncomfortable after a while. I could have cut the rest times between the movements and should focus on this aspect in workouts.

It felt simply super to nail those muscle-ups on the rings just like that. Well, not "just like that" but anyway, I got what I wanted. No missed reps at all, pure success. I hope I'm able to keep the recipe for successful reps in the back of my head in the future as well. Once I'm so confident with single reps it's about time to start working towards several reps and proper swing. Now it's time to perfect those single reps and gain good confidence.

Crossfit Open Announcement 14.1

Here's the Crossfit Open 14.1. It's a repeat workout from Crossfit Open 2011. We did this once about a year ago with Toni. I remember it wasn't fun, pure agony =) Shoulders were in fire and I kinda remember our double unders weren't going great at the moment which made it a bit more miserable. It's a good crossfit workout, no doubt about it! We only have small plates at the gym at light weight. The first big plates are 15kg plates. It would be important to have big plates on this workout.

  • 10min amrap of:
  • 30 double unders
  • 15 power snatches, 35kg

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday 26.2: Bar complex, pull-ups test, bench

Thursday. Bar complex of cleans, front squat and jerks. Gymnastics, max reps pull-ups (PR 41). Bench triples (70-90kg).

Felt good going to the gym with Pauliina. Body was okay, no prob whatsoever, ready to hit it hard. At warm-up I realized my legs are sore as hell. Foam rolling my thighs was painful as hell and I remembered I completed 4 sets of triples @ 135kg yesterday. I've done 1 set before at that weight… No wonder my trunks were a bit tired today. So it turned out to be a lighter day this Thursday. One PR was still the outcome!

Bar complex.
  • 1 power clean
  • 1 squat clean
  • 2 front squats
  • 2 jerks
  • Weights, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70kg
One tremendous workout is completing this complex starting in an ascending ladder style. Starting from about 50% of jerk's 1 rep max, finishing one set of the complex and then add 5kg on the bar. Keep adding 5kg after each set till failure. Once you can't move the bar anymore, start over and repeat the whole thing. Awesome workout for strength, technique and muscle endurance. Love it!

I've done it twice to around 80-85kg, take a look at the specs and video here. I believe I could have it what it takes to reach 90kg, at least somewhere around there. Today my legs were jello at 60kg, they obviously hadn't recovered enough from yesterday. Other than that the bar was moving nicely. I had good cleans and jerks, the weights were quite light anyway.

Bench 90kg

Gymnastics. Result 41 reps

  • Max reps unbroken pull-ups

Last time I tried for max reps was in the summer time as I was hitting benchmark workout Nicole at Pirkkola with Marko. Nicole is 20min amrap of pull-ups and running, nasty lady got to say. Anyway, as it was difficult to continue moving the barbell I decided to jump on the pull-up bar and give myself a gymnastics test. As many unbroken reps as possible. I wanted to nail a record even with a tired body.

I took a firm grip so my hands wouldn't get ripped due to friction between palms and the bar. Tried to keep it as stable as possible. Pull-up bars sometimes give me problems as the calluses tend to cause some injuries. Today it was no issue at all. At 15 reps it felt like nothing, easy stuff. At 25 reps I knew it's gonna be a PR day. I was able to continue the continuous movement up to about 32 reps, then took a breath and continued moving. It was a battle till the finish from then on.

My bro just got 40 reps about 2 weeks ago so it was compulsory to fight it a little on top of him. It's classic bro-rivalry between us that pushes us both to better achievements =) That's exactly the reason why we've been trying to match the schedules to train together. This far it's been impossible, hopefully we'll find some time.

  • 5x60, 5x70, 3x80, 3x90, 3x90kg
Wasn't ready with working out, Pauliina hinted me to try some bench. I took it easy as my body wasn't the most receptive at the moment. Still, it was good I got some reps at 90kg. This was more like a little fun in the end, nothing serious. The entire training day was lighter in nature. It was still awesome to hit those pull-ups better than I've done ever before.

Games update show

Mobility. In the end it was just natural to do some mobility, stretching and rubber band movements. Usually I'm in a hurry after the workouts and there's not that much time afterwards. I spend quite a time prior to the workouts in getting my body ready. Plus at home I use foam roll a lot and hang from a pull-up bar several times a day just to loosen some tension in the upper back of mine. Very useful stuff.

By the way, Crossfit Open 2014 is about to start now! The first event announcement goes live pacific time, so in Finland we'll see it in the morning if I've understood the time zones correctly. Well, it comes sometime during the night so the first thing I'll do when I wake up is check the workout. I'm not participating in the Open but I'm following the competition closely and cheering for my bro and Toni in their pursuit on the competition.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday 26.2: Rings, squats and pair wod of rowing / hspu

Wednesday. Skills, ring muscle-ups. Strength, back squats 4x3 across (135kg). Pair wod, 3 rounds of: athlete 1 rows for 500m, in the mean while other athlete completes 10hspu and rest of time air squats.

C'mon! This time I dominated the workouts. First of all, ring skills. I've had serious problems with the rings lately. For today I had done my home work and was ready to conquer them. Secondly, heavy back squats were a pleasure. Definitely a success story right there. Thirdly, I got a chance to do a pair workout with Toros, the same guy as yesterday. He's good guys, definitely going to hit more pair workouts in the future with him.

  • Ring muscle-ups
  • Complete 5 reps

I had written in my phone in advance that "ring muscle-ups (complete 5 reps)". Plus I watched Rich Froning threaten gravity on the rings in the Crossfit Games 2013. I just posted the Cinco 1 & 2 workouts video in the blog. I watched him complete the reps unbroken and with such a quick transition that it was easy to make some mental training in my head yesterday and today before gym.

Chalked my hands and grabbed the rings. I only had in mind the speed of Froning and tried to replicate that. The feeling was super as I landed nicely on the rings. Tried another one and got it too. At that point I reminded myself all the time about the quickness of the transition, it's the key to success. Was able to got to those 5 reps in total. That's the furthest I've ever gone with ring mu's.

Strength. Heavy squats
  • 3-3-3-3 back squats, all sets @ 135kg

Yes! Got all 4 triple sets done with 135kg. That's unbelievable for me. I've progressively increased the weights as my "coach" at home has pushed me. First it was doubles at 130kg, then triples and finally 4's. As I got them up, I increased the load to 135kg and I've taken doubles with that weight earlier so today it was time for triples.

Big thing is also that I've got used to bigger weights which is a huge mental barrier that has now overcome. I'm very happy with this. I decided beforehand that I'm gonna take these sets up, 4 sets @ 135kg. The last rep was quite tough on at least 2 of the last sets. It was a lot of growling as I was getting myself up from the hole.

Metcon. Pair wod
  • 3 rounds of:
  • Athlete 1 rows for 500m
  • Athlete 2 completes 10 handstand push-ups and rest of time max reps air squats
  • Result 60 + 40 + 40 air squats

Yep, Toros and I hit another pair workout in a row. This was a surprise call. I had rowing and hspu's in mind during the day so it was natural to do it as a pair wod too. The point was that the other one was rowing all the time. While the other one rowed, the other one completed 10 hspu's. Toros did 10 pull-ups, either on pull-up bar or rings. After 10 reps had been done, the rest of the time was max reps of air squats.

First of all, I got the hspu's unbroken on each of the three rounds. That was cool. On the first round I got to 60 squats. It really ate my legs alive, they were done after the first round. On the second and third round I got 40 reps both round. The most horrible thing was the rowing. It felt like I had no strength left anymore in my lower body. My pace was about 1.40 on the first round and 1.47 on the last one.

It was a perfect training session! Ring muscle-ups + heavy back squats + pair workout- Couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday 25.2: Headstand, snatches, pair wod

Tuesday. Skills, headstand. Oly lifts, 7x2 hang squat snatch across @ 50kg. Pair wod, alternating 5 power cleans (70kg), then 5 burpees for both. Result 8rds.

It was cool to go for a pair wod. It's been a long time since last time. We agreed with my bro to match our time tables better this year and hit a workout together once a week. The truth is we haven't hooked up once this year =) It's been too difficult to match the schedules. Anyway I got a partner workout today with one friend. It was super!

  • Headstand
I started by testing my headstand skills. Last time I tried this was probably some time in the summer. On my first try I went a bit too bold on bringing my legs over my head and I fell on the floor. It was an awkward moment because there's not that much space. I felt like now I'm coming down hard and just tried to squeeze every muscle so that it wouldn't cause any injury if my body fell against some machines nearby. Luckily I hit only floor =)

From then on it was easy. It felt great to maintain a rock solid hollow body position. I asked a friend whether it's straight or not and at least the feedback was straight body. I'm happy, it was very natural. I guess all that work on handstand pays off in a way that headstand is so much easier. I felt like there was no problem whatsoever hanging there for longer times.

Pics from last year's Crossfit Open announcements

Oly lifts.
  • Hang squat snatch 7x2
  • All sets @ 50kg
I wanna be comfortable with 50kg+ weights on squat snatch. And I'm getting there. The bar ain't that intimidating anymore. Obviously there's more work to be done but the weight is about to find it's place in the universe. The bar falls too much forward on the lift. I should be able to bring the bar up in a more vertical path and bring my body back more efficiently. Now as I squat my body is leaning forward too much and the positioning isn't perfect.

Still, I'm pleased with the way it looks like for now. I'm gonna make it look prettier though. Might be adding some light weight on the bar to get accustomed with heavier weights. I've been moving 40kg barbell on snatch for an eternity and it hasn't developed my technique that much. Once I added weight on the bar with the cleans my technique got way better because it had to. My strength and technique improved at the same time.

Snatch double, 50kg

Metcon. Pair workout
  • 10min amrap of:
  • Toni, 5 power cleans, then
  • Don, 5 power cleans (70kg), then
  • Both, 5 burpees
Toni (not Tony the Pony) joined me at the gym for a pair wod. The idea was that he did 5 power cleans, I completed my 5 power cleans @ 70kg and then we did 5 burpees both. That was one round. We continued till 10 minutes was over. Toni has done some crossfit workouts like Fran and Jackie for a couple of times, and Lynne has taken place at least once. He's also keen on Filthy Fifty. Awesome workouts!

First speculation of the upcoming Crossfit Games that start this Thursday!

It was awesome to hit this workout together with him. We created it on the spot. I had thought of an individual workout of 20min up ladder of power cleans and burpees (1-1, 2-2, 3-3 etc.) but as this guy tagged along we turned it into a pair wod and it turned out to be a good decision.

We both went unbroken on the cleans and burpees too. It was a total of 8 rounds, that's 40 power cleans and burpees for both of us. It was quite a tough one, and started to feel burning after couple of rounds. It took us exactly 10min to reach 8 rounds. It was nice to do it with a partner so we pushed each other to put more effort on the workout.

Take a look at last year's Games' final event, Cinco 1 and Cinco 2, to witness how sick Rich Froning is

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday 24.2: Push press, rowing and burpee intervals

Monday. Strength, push press 3-3-3-3-3 across (80kg). Metcon, 10rds of: 250m row, 10 burpees, 1min rest.

Old school! Presses for strength, it's been a while since last time. Surely I have done push jerks and split jerks but now it was time to do push press. I was thinking about skipping strength totally but then again, I couldn't find a reason for that so it was time to do heavy presses =) The metcon was something I saw from Crossfit Mayhem, Rich Froning's box website. It was the workout of the day couple of days ago. Tough one!

  • Push press 3-3-3-3-3 across @ 80kg
It was great! I felt super good after having done 5 successful triples, all at 80kg. It astounds me every now and then how far I've come with the strength and metabolic conditioning. For example starting push presses at around 50-60kg for 1rep max, and coming to this stage where the bar moves well at 80kg for triples.

My original goal when I started to crossfit was to build a strong engine that would keep on going no matter what kind of metcon would be thrown at my face. Strength was definitely something I needed to work on because the starting level wasn't much. I've come far from those first sessions, in both strength and conditioning.

I had a dream yesterday that I could do couple of sets @ 80kg push press. No doubt I could jerk the bar easily but press is a different thing. It was awesome to witness the bar coming up for 5 sets without problems. The 3rd rep was tougher on the 4th and 5th set maybe on the 3rd as well. But in general, I was very confident in pressing the weight up in the sky.

  • 10 rounds of:
  • 250m row
  • 10 burpees
  • 1min rest between rounds
Huh, there is probably a reason this was posted on Crossfit Mayhem's site. By the way, they seem to have nasty workouts, go check 'em out every now and then. It's owned by Rich Froning, 3-time Crossfit Games Champion, 2011-2013. Story tells this upcoming year might be his last one as an individual, he might team up in the years to come.

Okay, back to the metcon, 10 rounds of rowing and burpees, total of 2.5km row and 100 burpees. Both done in intervals. Full throttle for 250m and 10 burpees, then 1 minute rest before moving forward to the next round. I went all in on the first round. Was confident I would recover fully before the next round. Well, I did but as I kept the pace up for the 2nd and 3rd round it started to become disgusting.

You don't know how big a desire I had to stop it at 5 rounds or at least keep a longer pause than 1min. I'm very happy I didn't give any slack on myself and I simply kept on going. It felt horrible after 5 rounds. Every round was a stomach twister, my guts were burning and lungs were in fire, legs were fatigue and so on, you get the point.

Milko Tokola, 20 year old weightlifter from Finland, manhandling the barbell

After 8 rounds I saw some light at the end of the tunnel as there was only 2 round to go. On the last round I put all in and got better time than last couple of rounds. The round times stayed very stable even though the feeling was sickening by the round. Rowing was around 48-50sec each round. On most of the rounds I was able to start moving right away as I got up from the rower. On 2 or 3 rounds I had to catch breath for maybe 4 extra seconds (compared to a regular round) before I was able to drop down for the first burpee.

This was a cruel workout and definitely was a good one for metabolic condition. I feel like this type of workout are great for building a strong inner engine. Go try it!

Here is Toni's "Grace", benchmark workout of 30 reps clean & jerks at 60kg. As you might remember math is not one of his strengths, it's impossible for him to get the reps right =) He performed very well on Grace last Saturday. When he went home and checked it from video, the camera showed he completed only 28 reps. I really feel sorry for the guy. This was clearly the best Grace he's done, ever. His time was 2.59 after 28 reps.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday 23.2: Front squats, deads and metcon

Sunday. Strength, front squat triples (100-120kg). Deads, emom, 2 reps @ 150-160kg, for 10min. Metcon, 21-15-9, high box jumps and pistols.

It's already 3 days since last squat day so why not shoot for another one? Couldn't find a reason so it was time load the bar, go down and back up. I found time for front squats this time. Heavy triples. And as I just wrote some time ago, if I wanna do deadlifts I better do them on the same day. So I took 2 deadlifts in emom style. My metcon was easier one today with two skills oriented movements.

  • Front squats 3-3-3-3-3 (100, 110, 115, 120, 120kg)
I've done mostly back squats in the past week. Couple of paused front squat sessions. As I recall I haven't done that many front squats with near max loads. If I don't count the 130kg single rep some time ago. Anyway, I thought the time was ready to see some heavier reps.


I enjoyed the squats tremendously. When I first touched a barbell some 1.5 years ago front squat pretty soon became my favorite movement. Nowadays I love to squat no matter what type of movement plus heavy cleans are my kind of stuff. I'm very happy I feel comfortable under the bar because I believe strong legs are the key to success. It seems to ease all other movements plus it's vital part of having a strong engine.

I started the sets on the front squats at 100kg. This weight was a little too light but as I jumped to 110-120kg the bar got heavy. I'm very happy the way the bar moved today. Doing 2 triples @ 120kg satisfied my needs for this squat session. I haven't kept any stats of doing doubles, triples or any other sets. I've only put the 1 rep max numbers up. But I feel like doing 2 sets at 3x120kg is something that hasn't been seen before.


That felt great and now as I'm at home and thinking about this it feels even better as I understand I haven't done multiple triples at this weight. Got to love it!

  • Every minute on the minute, for 10min
  • 2 deadlifts (5min at 150kg, 5min at 160kg)

Deadlifting after squatting works for me. Either for strength or for metcon purposes. I took only 2 reps per minute, every minute, for 10 minutes. That makes it 20 reps. The bar weighed 150kg for the first 5 minutes, after which I added it to 160kg.

I had no probs moving the bar. I wouldn't have mind the technique being better (chest more upright) but I'll take this for now. The palms of my hands were so sore for some reason. It didn't feel good to hold the bar. My hands were so dry that it hurt to have a decent grip. Got do to some maintenance at home.

This was a good one. The weight was around 75% of my one rep max. It might be a good idea to do deadlifts as emom training more. Usually I've applied it to cleans, jerks and squats and they seem to work perfectly.

Metcon. For quality
  • 21-15-9
  • High box jumps (61cm box + 8 plates)
  • Pistol squats

Something fun in the end. Box jumps and pistol squats. 45 reps each. Twist with the boxes was that I added 8 weight plates on top of the box to reach some hight on the vertical jump. One plate is around 5cm so I guess this was about 1m high box jump.

This was created on the spot. It just came to my mind that I've been thinking about those high box jumps for a while. I asked Pauliina what could be mixed in with them, and decided to go whatever comes out =) Well, she made it a bit challenging on the lower body: pistol squats. Box and pistols, nice!

I was able to keep a good pace on the workout. Didn't have to stop at any time in either of the movements. That surprised me positively. I thought it would burn my legs bad but they survived well. And I didn't come crashing down on the box jumps after having fatigue in my legs. That was a plus. Box might be cruel and eat people's shins for breakfast.

This was a good training session, again. I was able to nail those front squat and deadlifts as I wanted and the metcon was a nice little play in the end to get some heart rate up and working on some skills.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday 22.2: Rings, snatch singles, thruster/snatch metcon

Saturday. Ring skills. Strength, snatches 6x1 (around 60kg). Metcon, 5rds of: 5 power snatch (50kg), 10 pull-ups, 5 thrusters (50kg), 10 box. Result, 12.45. Cashout, 3x10 ring dips.

More oly lifts for Saturday. I did some clean & jerk work yesterday but still decided to go for snatches today and then a tough metcon to finish the deal. Did some ring mu progressions in the beginning. I've had some issues with them so I adjusted the rings lower and did jumping mu's plus some ring rows and transitions from ring row.

  • Power snatch
  • 6x1 (55, 60, 60, 60, 60, 60kg)

For a long time I've been working my snatch technique and looking to improve the entire movement. It's such a complex movement. Lately I've been thinking about taking less reps with heavier weights to increase the strength on the movement. My kilos are way lower than they should be on snatch. And mobility is some sort of issue as my power snatch is better than my squat snatch. Okay about a week ago I for 57.5kg up on squat snatch whereas my power snatch max rep is currently 62.5kg.

Snatch 60kg

I took lighter reps today for warm-up before adding it to 55kg and taking a single rep. I felt like there's more in the tank so I went up to 60kg. I wasn't looking for a max rep today but heavy singles instead. Felt good to get all those 60kg reps up because it was so close to my max load. Very happy even though the technique wasn't perfect. Some of them fell a bit forward as you see from the videos. There were some crowd at the gym so I couldn't tape all the lifts.

Snatch 60kg

Metcon. Time 12.45
  • 5 rounds of:
  • 5 power snatch, 50kg
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 5 thrusters, 50kg
  • 10 box, 61cm

This was heavy shit! I completed all movements unbroken, snatches were he most challenging for me this time. It was more like the combination of all the movements that made it cruel. Doing snatches, pull-ups and thrusters is a nasty combo, I can tell it now. My upper body was pretty smashed after this one. The boxes were the easiest one on this one.

Had to stop every now and then to catch some breath and strength back from mid workout on. I'd like to be able to move on constantly but this workout was too much for me. There were 2 bar movements with weights that are significant to me, in a metcon I mean. 50kg thrusters and snatches are not that bad if I'm doing them for strength but in a metcon it's a totally different thing.


Those bodyweight movements were naturally easier and I had no problems whatsoever. Still, it was the combination that made this workout as difficult as it was. My round times got slower, don't remember the exact times anymore but I have a feeling the first one was less than 2min and the 4th was over 3min. I paced up on the last round because the finish line was in sight.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday 21.2: Clean and jerks, emom metcon

Friday. Strength, emom, 3 reps @ 70kg, for 12min. Metcon, emom, for 6min: 3 power clean (70kg), 30 du's.

It was time for some overhead work. Working for some strength but also technique too. On the metcon I had one thought: combine power cleans and double unders. It turned out to be emom training. After work it was ice hockey's semifinal game in the Olympics, Finland against Sweden, our lovely rival that this time beat our ass and proceeded to the Finals. Damn it! It was good inspiration to hit the gym and throw some weight around =)

Strength. Emom C&J's
  • Every minute on the minute
  • 3 reps @ 70kg, for 12 minutes

Worked with 70kg on purpose. I know that's a weight I can keep moving touch'n'go style and without having to rest the bar even at my chest. I use the momentum there after clean to bend my knees and simultaneously jerk the bar up. 60kg would have been too light for this workout, or then I should have more reps per minute. Having more weight would have been little problematic too because I wouldn't have been able to nail the reps unbroken.


The first set felt tough because it was the first one. I took just couple of reps for warm-up with 40kg and 60kg and these were the first reps @70kg. I felt okay with the reps, no doubt about it. I dropped under the bar pretty decently. Some flaws there in technique though. Something I should be paying attention to is my foot work. As I checked it from the video my feet land in various positions.

Metcon. Emom
  • Every minute on the minute, for 6 minutes
  • 3 power cleans, 70kg
  • 30 double unders

Surprisingly disgusting stuff =) Short workout, it took me off guard how bad it felt. Maybe it was because I took it quickly after the strength / technique part. I completed the cleans unbroken for sure. It was cool to do the double unders unbroken too. I was happy that I was able to force myself to start the du's quickly after the cleans.

The power cleans made me breath heavier so it wasn't pleasant to grab the rope but then again, when is a crossfit workout pleasant? And it shouldn't. You ought to have fun but you got to feel it in the guts. At least I enjoy that discomfort zone in a twisted way.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday 20.2: Back squats, Diane

Thursday. Back squats, 4x2 across (135kg). Benchmark workout Diane, 21-15-9, deadlift (102.5kg), hspu. Time 7.34 (PR).

I got to replace yesterday's plans today with heavy back squat doubles and Diane. It was time to step up the game on the squats and Diane was pure fun. I also worked with the rings in the beginning of the session. I had lack of concentration or something but I failed to get any ring muscle-ups. That was a bugger. Need to get better.

Strength. Squats
  • Back squats 4x2 across (135kg)
Getting stronger and more confident on the squats. It seems to be finally paying off by squatting every third days. My cycle has been to do squats, then train something else for about 2 days, and hit it back with the squats.Only lately have I taken some plans on my squats and it seems to have been a good decision.

I PR'd my back squat at 142.5kg three weeks ago and since then I've done lots of sets with 130kg. I'm feeling good about the weight and it's not intimidating at all anymore. It used to be a weight that was psychologically heavy-ish. Now I'm able to move it pretty nicely.

Today it was time to add 5kg on the bar and complete doubles. I took a total of 4 sets. There was some time schedule pressure so I had to leave it there. I'm very happy to being able to squat this weight without any misses or hesitation.

Diane. Time 7.34. Compare to 7.10.2013
  • 21-15-9
  • Deadlift, 102.5kg
  • Handstand push-ups

Sometime in the end of last year I made a conscious decision to decrease the amount of deadlifting drastically because it felt like it's too much burden on lower back if I squat and deadlift a lot at the same time. Even though I dropped deads from my training, my legs have become stronger and thus my PR in deadlift has increased with 15kg (190kg -> 205kg). I genuinely didn't do heavy deadlifts practically at all in months.

I've been thinking about this for a while and understood that it's true what "they say". Everything depends on your legs. You wanna make your lifts bigger, concentrate in squatting, making your legs stronger. I find it difficult to squat for example today and next time on Sunday, while adding deadlift training at some slot. Where to find a good time to do both as I don't want to compromise my squats. It's too much of a pressure on lower back if I'd go for either of these pretty much every other day.

So I think I'll take a deadlift metcon every now and then after having done squat strength. Like today. Okay, the weight on Diane is not heavy at all but it's still good to do deads. It's no problem for me to do them on the same day but on consecutive days it's more difficult.

I felt good on Diane. Improved my PR from 9.47 to 7.34, over 2min. This was my 4th time with her. Time has improved from almost 18 minutes, then to 16min, third one was little less than 10min and today seven and a half. I'm very happy with the way my hspu's have developed. I increased the level of training last summer and the result can be seen on this type of benchmark workouts.

I completed deadlifts unbroken, not bad, light weight. Did the hspu's in 3 sets on the first round, 12 on first try, then maybe 5+4. On the second round it was 6 + something, don't quite remember, I think it was in 3 sets as well (6+5+4…). Las round was tough on the shoulders. It was two triples, then a double and a single. Had only a short break before the last rep.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday 19.2: Rest day

Wednesday. Rest day.

Time to have a day off. Actually I was about to do heavy back squats and a benchmark workout but had some issues at work and the plans were flushed from the toilet. So this was a compulsory rest day. Maybe it's a good thing though, at least I wanna think so. Let's chill for a day and make a strong comeback. That's my goal.

In the mean while here's some stuff from Catalyst Athletics. Here's couple of articles if you're interested in getting better at lifts.

CA Articles
Secret to Becoming Successful
Use your legs
A Different Way to Set Squat and Deadlift PR's

And a commentary video by Greg Everett

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday 18.2: Outdoors metcon at Pirkkola

Tuesday. Pirkkola outdoors metcon, 4rds of: 250m run, 10 pull-ups, 15 thrusters. Wear a 9kg weighted vest for the entire workout.

I was supposed to meet a friend to do some workout outdoors. There were some schedule problems so we postponed it to another day. Pauliina was ready to jump aboard so I picked her up and went to Pirkkola. This is an awesome place to workout, you might remember this venue from HC Triplet II and HC Triplet III.

  • 4 rounds of:
  • 250m run
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 15 wooden thrusters
  • Wear a 9kg weighted vest for the entire workout

The key of the day was variety. Have some fun and do the training somewhere else. Don't wanna hang around at the regular gym all day, every day. Yesterday was once again a day someone asked am I there every day. The answer is yes. But I love it. Enjoy doing it, otherwise I wouldn't do it. And luckily I have a woman who enjoys it too. It would be difficult to hang around at the gym in the evenings if she wouldn't attend.

Anyway, today we were supposed to go to Pirkkola with Marko but instead it turned out that Pauliina joined me. Not bad, it was great to do a workout outdoors for a while. Breathing was so different when having lots of fresh air to catch in the lungs.

My gear for today was sneakers, pull-up bar, 9kg weighted vest and a wooden bar for thrusters. I try to use my vest in outdoor metcons every now and then. The occasions have been too rare in my opinion. It makes the nature of the workout totally different. I felt like my heart was pumping with such strength and power every time it took a beat.

Catching air was easy and heart rate okay but the power with which the blood was conveyed from my heart to muscles was mad. It was like I felt every beat. Kind of like my heart would burst through my chest and the vest any second now =)

It's somehow very rewarding to sometimes go outside, make it old school and just move your own body or something you find from the nature. I love playing with heavy and semi-heavy barbells, no doubt about it. This is good variation though, and definitely worth doing occasionally.

This workout consisted of running, weighted pull-ups and thrusters with a wooden log that weighs couple of tens of kilos. Don't know, maybe the pressure was similar like doing 40kg thrusters with a bar. Running distance was somewhere around 250m and my vest was 9kg. I wore it all the time in the workout.

The pull-ups went nicely, unbroken each round. Haven't done weighted versions for a long time. Having a vest on instead of a plate hanging from waist was different so I was able to do kipping pull-ups.

Thrusters went also unbroken each round. The movement pattern is a bit different with regular thrusters. Hands do not go overhead in a perfect line where toes, hip and shoulders would be in line all the way. Anyway, naturally full squat was possible and then reaching as far up as possible. This metcon was a good smoker. Heart was doing a lot of work and definitely got strengthened once again. And I'm happy the movements went unbroken.

Now I realized there is a perfect place for wall ball throwing. Got to get me one. Maybe buy a basketball, empty it and fill with sand to make a homemade wall ball. In the picture above there were markings of 2.5m, 3.0m and 3.5m heights. Not bad!

Glimpse of the workout

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday 17.2: Shoulder-to-overhead, squat snatch and metcon

Monday. Push press 3-3-3 (70-80kg), jerks 3-3-3 (85-90kg). Squat snatch (40-57.5kg). Metcon, 3rds of: 15 hang power snatch, 30 box. Time 8.24

I had a plan of doing some sort of shoulder-to-overhead movements. Pauliina has been talking me for a while into doing either shoulder or push press so I respected that wish =) Did some jerks too and then moved to working my squat snatch. The metcon in the end was a creation of Toni's affiliate and was a good leg burner.

  • Push press 3x70, 3x75, 3x80kg
  • Push jerk 3x85kg
  • Split jerk 3x85, 3x90kg
The only logic I had in this one was to do triples to the finish. I didn't know exactly to what I would be capable of with the weights on each movement. It was encouraging to see that the 80kg bar moved nicely. The weight itself wasn't that bad which was very cool. However, I tried to do them touch'n'go style and this time the technique wasn't there. That's why it looks a little shaky =) I'm glad that 70-75kg bars felt light.

Push press 80kg

Push jerk was very shaky for some reason. I think I could have done that 85kg weight as push press too. The barbell leaned too much forward on the push jerks. The first rep was a fail so I took 3 good reps after that one. Then I took split jerk triples @ 85kg and 90kg. I guess I have never done even 2 shoulder-to-overhead reps in a row. Today I did a triple. Not bad!

Squat snatch.
  • 3x40, 3x45, 2x50, 1x52.5, 1x55, 1x57.5kg
I made some success on the snatches. It was the first time I snatched 57.5kg on squat snatch. I guess I have taken 55kg some time but definitely the first one at this weight. I don't wanna call that a personal record because it ain't. I've taken 62.5kg as power snatch which seems to be easier for me to take the "big kilos". As if my snatch weights were big anyway =)

Push jerk 85kg

I took all reps from hang position. It's not okay to drop weights at my gym so it's always a bit mental thing to hit something close to max kilos. I'll definitely take some more squat snatches from the ground on my next holiday week in March. One more point is that at my home gym 10kg plates are the smallest ones. The first big plates are 15kg so those are the lightest ones I could use when pulling from the ground. That's the reason why I find it difficult to practice squat snatch from ground, and go for hang squat snatch instead. I want that 50kg to be light in the future so I can keep on pulling from the ground and to squat snatch.

Metcon. Time 8.24
  • 3 rounds of:
  • 15 hang power snatch, 40kg
  • 30 box jumps, 61cm

I was about done and ready to hit the locker room. Then I started thinking there could be some room for a metcon. I remembered Toni mentioning their "workout of the day" at the affiliate, consisting of hang power snatches and box jumps. It sounded good and I figured it's gonna be rather short one.

Split jerk 90kg

I changed my shoes and packed my oly shoes to my training bag. It was time for some more snatches and box jumps. I put the timer running and started working. The snatches were 10+5 every round. I thought they would smoke me worse than they did. Should have nailed them unbroken. That was a miss in strategy.

Box jumps were tougher. I completed them unbroken though. God damned they started to heat my thighs all around. They were burning from the very first round. I usually do max 15 reps at a time so completing 30 reps is a totally different ball game. I'm glad I got them done without stopping at any point. Naturally my time got slower on them but still unbroken. First time was about 2:20 and the last 2 rounds were the same, about 3:00.

Crossfit 515's mainsite workout. Triple unders and 84kg thrusters

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday 16.2: Back squats, 15min amrap

Sunday. Back squats 3x4 across @ 130kg. Metcon, 15min amrap: 1 dead (150kg), 6 hspu, 9 k2e, 12 box. Result. 8rds + 1 dead. Total 225 reps.

Once again, another great training day! I'm getting to my comfort zone on heavy back squats and there is clear development in leg strength. That pleases me a lot. I also took a metcon which had an interesting twist as I mixed a heavy barbell with bodyweight movements. Definitely worth taking another shot in some way.

Strength. Squats

  • Back squats 4-4-4 across @ 130kg

This was part of  my recent squat program. Traditionally my programming is very much freestyling. I usually have a thing in my mind to which I want to concentrated and put more focus on but other than that I don't usually make long-term plans on my strength training. I feel like that's far away from the original plan of being prepared for anything and having constant variety in training.

Anyway, I did 10x2 some time ago of which last 7 sets were with 130kg. Last Sunday I did 5 sets of triples, all sets @ 130kg. So my plan was to hit 3 sets of 130kg for 4 reps in each set. Little by little I increased the number of reps per set. And I got all sets done in all 3 heavy squat days. I call that a success. Let's see if I'll go for 135kg next time. Have to think about this one for a while. Whatever it turns out, I have gained a good level of confidence on back squats.

I took sets with 60, 80, 100 and 120kg before reaching the 130kg weight on the barbell. And it felt good squatting! All sets done. It was heavy and got heavier towards the end. No surprise there. Anyway, I was sure to bring it home after having done the first set. Never have I done sets this many sets with 4 reps or more at these weights. It's been an awesome trip to get to this point. I feel like my legs have become stronger and these squat days have proved it to me.

Recap of squats

Metcon. Result 225 reps (8 rounds + 1 deadlift)

  • 15min amrap of:
  • 1 deadlift, 150kg
  • 6 handstand push-ups
  • 9 knees-to-elbows
  • 12 box jumps, 61cm

Yeah, I had thought about doing an amrap of 5hspu, 10k2e and 15 box but yesterday evening I got a sudden feeling of adding a heavy deadlift with the bodyweight movements. And I'm glad I got the sign from somewhere. It was a different nature as I had to grab that heavy barbell for a single rep every once in a while.

I completed everything on this workout unbroken. Deadlift was naturally the heaviest movement. I got to 8 full rounds plus 1 deadlift on the 9th round. That makes me happy as I now think about the number of hspu's I completed, total of 48 reps. And they were easy! It's a totally different situation compared to last summer when I remember having lots of frustration with the movement. Work on weaknesses… Nowadays I love the movement and I feel comfortable with them.

Knees-to-elbows is a movement I've neglected for a while. If I've done some sort of core work, it has more likely been toes-to-bar. It was a good variation to take k2e's instead. Went unbroken and smooth.

Because of box jumps I had to change my shoes from oly shoes to my normal workout sneakers. It would have been awesome to nail those deadlifts with olympic lifting shoes but it would have been awkward to do box jumps with them. Of course you can do single box jumps with them but touch'n'go box jumps are more difficult with a flat shoe. I liked the box jumps too and was able to do them even though my breathing got heavy and legs were burning.

It was a steady work throughout the 15 minutes. It was around 2:00 for couple of rounds but for the last 3 rounds I was able to catch up some time and each round was a little faster than the previous, at about 1:50. I may have given some slack in the beginning because I thought this workout would destroy me earlier. It was a nice surprise to being able to keep moving with a steady pace.

Good workouts, both of them, first back squats for strength and then an amrap training. And hey, congrats to Toni who nailed a personal record of 100kg clean today!!!