One more year of fitness has been built up. The past year has witnessed closer to 400 workout sessions so there’s no doubt health has taken a step further. At the same time nutrition has gotten another step further which is at least as important thing in a healthy life as sports. Plus, I still get to wake up next to my wonderful fiancé every single morning, this delights me the most.
It’s difficult to say what was the biggest thing in the past 12 months. Strength levels are the easiest to measure and there has been clear improvements even though I didn’t have that specific targets in mind. I’ve crossfitted for about 2.5 years now and strength base is climbing up on a steady basis. This is huge thing. It definitely helps to have some muscles on my body. That prevents injuries and makes metcons easier. Well, actually easier is quite the opposite. It never gets easier, you just get faster or get more reps in the time domain. But anyway, you get more "beasty" when you have the prerequisites for that; strength.
Anyway, strength is up! I didn’t put down the benchmark workouts’ times in the end of 2013 / beginning of 2014 so it’s difficult to measure those numbers precisely. But that’s definitely my first goal in crossfit. To get my heavy breathing under control and keep on moving on a steady “Rich Froning" - style without stopping to lean my elbows on my knees. I’ve definitely done lots of benchmarks this year, some old schools and newcomers too. We have witnessed PR’s in at least Mary, Grace, Annie, Air Force, Elizabeth, Christine, Diane, Nancy, Isabel, Lynne, Chief, and Fight Gone Bad during the course of the year. This should verify the improve on general physical preparedness, GPP.
And there were new benchmarks that rocked my world too. At least JT, Ship, JJ, Jackie, Bell, Small, Nate, DT, Holleyman, and rowing versions of Helen and Nancy. It took quite a while to hit my first Jackie but now it’s in the books too. The rest of these new ones were hero workouts.
There were some great times during the Crossfit Open as well. I didn’t participate in all of the workouts but the ones I did, where awesome as they always are. They kick ass big time. Open 14.5 was one of the most horrible workouts I have ever done, consisting of thrusters and bar-facing burpees. The gym I mostly work at doesn’t have all the equipment and space to complete certain movements, for example wall ball shots. That's the reason I wasn't able to complete all events in the Open.
The legendary HC Triplet went on to next level last spring as it transformed to a pair workout competition. Toni and I formed one pair and my brother Sipa and his training partner Jake was the other team. The nature of the workout was totally different as there was a partner beside you sharing the pain and working towards a common goal. Hopefully we’re going after similar HC Triplet in the spring time again with the same crew!
The best crossfit related decision that has taken place during all these 2.5 years has been to incorporate Smolov squats into my program, hands down. I thought about it for at least half a year before I had the guts to go for it. Stories said you gotta be advanced squatter and the volume is going to crush many people. I also freaked out whether it’s gonna prevent me to do traditional crossfit wods that much. Maybe I had to step back for a bit but it was worth it for sure.
Not that only strength levels would have gone up on lower body but it basically improved my mobility greatly. My hips are so much more loose nowadays compared to days before Smolov. That has enabled me to do overhead squats and squat snatches lately. At times I was in a dark place with those movements because the mobility simply wasn’t there.
How about skills? Yes there has been development, no surprise. When you practice something, you usually get results. It’s been a long process of getting certain skill levels to where they are but being consistent in training usually gets you there. There’s been PR’s in handstand push-ups, pull-ups, bar muscle-ups and ring muscle-ups. I’m very proud on those bar mu’s. I finally found a way to a good technique with the help of Pauliina who told me to me patient in the movement, and not pull too early. I’m still waiting to master ring mu’s. I have those but there’s a lot to work on.
Here’s a summary of how the strength levels have come up.
- Back squat, 140 -> 150kg
- Clean, 102.5 -> 115kg
- Clean and jerk, 100 -> 105kg
- Deadlift, 200 -> 210kg
- Front squat, 130 -> 135kg
- Overhead squat, 70 -> 85kg
- Strict press, 75 -> 75kg
- Snatch, 62.5 -> 67.5kg
- Bench press, 102.5 -> 102.5kg
For the upcoming year I'm not gonna make that any New Year's resolutions or define specific weight targets. I'm gonna keep on crossfit's main ideology in my mind and keep the workouts and training sessions constantly varied and improve my fitness through different kind of wods. I want to have fun in the workouts and not chase numbers. PR's will follow if they will. Not gonna stress about those.
I wanna put my mobility to a good level so that it does not brake my development by any means. I'd like to put more focus on snatches. Squats will definitely be frequent because I want to improve my hip mobility in the future. And everything seems to start from lower body anyway. Muscle-ups are also on the agenda. There's no doubt crossfit will have a bright future in my heart in 2015!