Progress report number one

Another Friday, another “easy” WOD.  I use the word “easy” in a relative way now – I know there’s nothing easy about lifting heavy weights if you’re new to this sort of thing, as I found out myself a month ago!

Last of the easy ones
Last of the easy ones before the cycle restarts next week

Once again, parts A and B were all about trying to increase the weight, and make small improvements.  I started my front squats at my previous best from last Friday of 37.5kg.  Then it was three reps at the magic 40kg, and then three more at 42.5kg, just because I could – a satisfying improvement, and I’ve managed to fix the “bar in the collar bone” problem of previous front squats.  I think having a heavier bar helps – it forces itself back into your shoulder rack more.

I started the push press at 35kg, and didn’t feel as if I could improve much today.  My arms must be tired from all the stuff I’ve put them through this week, so I stuck at that weight for the three sets.  There’s plenty of time to improve.

And then the back-breaking stuff – dead lifts and kettlebell swings, alternating between the two every minute.  Another tweak of my dead lift technique from the coach, and it feels more natural now.  They always make my back ache, as does swinging a great big 20kg kettlebell over your head.

Back-breaking set-up
The back-breaking set-up – dead lifts and kettle-bells

So, after a month of tediously documenting every WOD, how much have I actually achieved by putting myself through this stuff?  Well, first of all my body has become much more used to heavy physical exercise.  Comparing how I feel now to how I felt after my induction course reveals a world of difference.  Naturally, my body aches as I sit typing this, but my muscles have now “learned” the movements I make them do, and so each time I exercise them they respond better.  I have also lost the fear of going to CrossFit.  The first few sessions were quite nervous affairs, as I didn’t know anyone and I was useless at any form of exercise, so I was talking myself down before actually trying anything.  But you then learn that you have to do it at your own pace, and not worry about the others banging out the reps.  I’m there for me, not them.

As for what I have managed to do, I CAN DO ACTUAL PROPER WEIGHTLIFTING, like what them big muscly people do at the Olympics and everything!  I know 30kg isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but at the induction course it was all I could do to get the 15kg bar up to my shoulders from the hang position, and I don’t think I’m far off 40kg for the clean and jerk.  I couldn’t even get the 15kg bar over my head on that very first day – I had to use the 10kg training bar or a piece of PVC pipe to learn the moves!

Things I can do: skip with a nylon washing line, jump up onto a 24-inch high wooden box, swing a 20kg kettle bell over my head, lift a 50kg barbell off the floor, squat down and get back up again while holding 42.5kg on the front of my shoulders,  run 1k, and smaller portions thereof multiple times without collapsing, do more press-ups and sit-ups in a row than I have ever been able to do before (50 sit-ups the other night, remember?).  And I can throw a 9kg medicine ball up a wall.  Why would you even do that?

Things I can’t yet do: double-unders (although I fluked one the other day), pull-ups, muscle-ups, handstand push-ups (or handstands for that matter), and pistols.  In other words, all the stuff that requires good upper-body and core strength, and I’m still working on that.  I have set myself the goal of doing a strict pull-up by my 42nd birthday (that’s in April).  I may be able to do a kipping pull-up before then (that’s swinging your body to create momentum first), maybe by March.  I’ve no idea.

The fact that I have gone from just about being able to front squat a PVC pipe to front squatting a metal barbell weighing 42.5kg in a month means I should be able to improve in all the other areas in time.  With that in mind, I’ve made a list of the weights I have managed in various movements, for comparison at some point in the future:

  • Back squat – 35kg
  • Power clean – 25kg
  • Clean and jerk – 30kg
  • Front squat – 42.5kg (my best improvement over three weeks)
  • Overhead squat – 15kg (needs work on technique)
  • Push press – 35kg
  • Strict press – 20kg
  • Power snatch – 25kg
  • Thruster – 25kg
  • Dead lift – 60kg (but usually 40/45kg at the moment)
  • Kettlebell swing – 20kg (but sometimes 16 on longer reps)

And all that in just 15 sessions spread over October.  I think I deserve a cup of tea …


Short but sweaty

The work-outs that look the shortest time-wise are always the ones that kill you the most.  This is because more reps of tough stuff are packed into the available time.  Today’s WOD required so much writing that it went over onto the second white board.  So here’s the first three bits.

It looks a lot, but most of this is just different scaling levels.
It looks a lot, but most of this is just different scaling levels.

Because everyone is at different levels with their weights, and what they can and can’t do strength-wise, it took all that room to write down the different scalings!  For part A I did ring rows and squats.  I can do pistols (squatting on one leg) with the assistance of two rings, but there’s no benefit to be gained, as I tend to rely on the rings to let my weight down, so my quads don’t do any work.  No cheating the WOD, remember!

Part B was slightly harder, but only with regard to push-ups.   The hang cleans were nice and easy at 25kg, but after 15 press-ups my body decided it didn’t like me any more, and threw a wobbly.  It’s only six minutes, but you don’t realise how quickly your body starts to tire of repetitive movements at speed until you do it.  To be fair, I did practise some 50% handstand push-ups in the rest period (feet on a box behind you, and press your head down into the floor with your arse in the air), but I decided that I wouldn’t be able to do eight of them in a row without collapsing.

But if that was bad then part C was the worst.  Dead lifts – no problem at 40kg (I thought 70kg was pushing it for level 1 men, as 60kg almost broke my back a couple of weeks ago).  Burpees over the bar means you do a burpee, and then jump sideways over a barbell you have set up next to you (the one you used for the dead lifts), and then do another burpee, then jump back over and so on.  By the time I got to the skipping I was knackered, so I was only able to do 25 of the buggers at a time, and I’m stuck on singles remember, so I had to do 100.  I still can’t do a double-under, but one of the girls showed me a way to learn them without getting too frustrated.  I need to spend a while mastering these things, as they look cool when done properly – she did 50 in a row, effortlessly.  I only managed two-and-a-bit rounds in this part.  Bloody washing line …

Is there no end to this?
Is there no end to this WOD?

Part D – back to the ring rows for the weaklings (that’ll be just me then, getting my arse kicked by the girls again), which was fine, as chest-to-bar pull-ups aren’t happening round here any time soon.  But thrusters are evil.  I decided to have 25kg on the bar for these instead of going lighter for speed.  I figured that as I was completely finished by this stage anyway, there was no point in treating this last bit as a race – build a bit of strength instead.  In this round you did two reps of each exercise, then four of each, then six, and so on.  I got up to the eight thrusters, and managed six of them.  I had to drop the bar between each of these last six once it was over my head – I had nothing left to do two consecutively.  To be honest, I was watching the clock counting up to the end of time, and paced myself accordingly.  That was one HARD work-out, make no mistake, but of course I enjoyed it!  I’d stop going if I began to fear this shit – I have too many things that need mastering before that happens.

Four minutes rest between each six-minute burst of activity was just enough to reset yourself, but my sweat-drenched T-shirt told the story well enough.  I’ve started bringing a spare one with me, as driving home with my back sticking to the seat isn’t very nice, and it probably doesn’t do the seat any good either.

A word on the “Bingo balls” mentioned at the top of the first image, in case you were wondering.  The trainer who is currently devising all of our WODs has become increasingly frustrated with people leaving their clothing and equipment lying around the box after a work-out, so if you are caught you have to have a go on a toy bingo ball machine he brought in.  Whatever number comes out – that’s how many box-jump burpees you have to do as punishment.  The first victim got 75 – a harsh lesson.  Mind you, they’ve become so successful a deterrent that the girl who manages the admin has now started threatening people with them if they don’t use the online planner to book their sessions, as we’re supposed to do every time.  She was in with her laptop for the 17.30 session on Monday, telling off the naughty younger lads who tend to just turn up without booking.  Then it was laptop away before joining the rest of us for a good kicking. 🙂

Today’s results:

Mixed results, but I didn't do too badly.
Mixed results, but I didn’t do too badly.

One more day of non-running before it returns on Monday …

Punish me. Harder. OK, not that hard …

My wife and I went to Leeds for the weekend.  And while there, I ate some very naughty food.  Nando’s, burger and chips, hotel fried breakfast (times TWO!), biscuits, chocolate, and Pepsi (other cola brands are available).  Dirty Boy!

We got back home at around 15.00 today, and I could easily have cried off CrossFit until tomorrow, but tomorrow is the Royal Marines 350th Anniversary WOD at our box, and it looks evil.  Then again, this hardly looked inviting:

Punishment for all that naughty food. Don't pity me.  I deserve it.
Punishment for all that naughty food. Don’t pity me; I deserved it.

Nonetheless, I consider this to be the lesser of two evils, and so I reserved my place at the 17.30 work-out, and drove there actually looking forward to it.  Well, the first bit was the “easy” bit – just do some power snatches.  I learned a little more about technique tonight, with the coach moving me into the correct position.  I almost had it, but I need to lean forward a bit more.  But I was fine with 25kg on the bar.  I suppose I should have scaled up towards 30kg, but I’m going to leave that for next time.  The high-hang snatch is just out of reach at that weight, I feel.

And then  the nasty bit – the “Filthy Fifty”, as it’s known.  Fifty reps of just about everything you can do in a CrossFit box – box jumps, pull-ups (or ring rows if you can’t do them), kettle-bell swings, walking lunges, knees-to-chest (or leg raises if you can’t do those either), push press, sit-ups, wall balls, burpees, and double-unders (or 100 singles, with the washing line, remember?)

It just sounds horrendous, and it was.  I started out OK, but I had to do them in a different order to above as there weren’t enough rings for the ring-rows (I can’t do proper pull-ups yet, and some people were “cheating” with jumping pull-ups), so I let the girls next to me do theirs first, and I got my 50 KB swings out of the way instead.  By the time I was down to the push press (bar from shoulders to overhead with a slight dip of the knees first, remember?) I had to do ten of them, and then do ten of something else just to keep my body from tiring of the same thing over and over.  So ten push press, ten sit-ups, ten wall balls, then maybe twenty-five single-unders, and back to ten push press, and so on.  As long as you do them all, that’s my preferred way of doing it.

I managed 15 burpees before I went down too hard on my left arm, and made it hurt.  That was enough for me.  I can live with doing only 465 of the 500 reps available, and I posted a time of 35 minutes and three seconds.  Not bad, considering the fastest at the 06.15 session (yes, that’s 06.15 in the morning) was 29 minutes.  How I did those wall balls is beyond me.  I HATE those things.

Still, I think I worked off some of that shitty grease I shovelled into my mouth yesterday, and I’ll be going back Wednesday morning to work some more of it off.  De-load week, my arse …

Work-out 13 - unlucky for some, but just a nightmare for everyone attempting it.
Work-out 13 – unlucky for some, but definitely a nightmare for everyone attempting it.

My first “sports injury” (maybe)

I woke up this morning with an annoying pain in my left bicep, but only when moving my arm to a certain position.  It felt like a trapped nerve or something, and it’s not something I’ve ever had before.  Therefore I blame Wednesday’s work-out for tweaking something or other in there.  Whatever it was, I became aware of how it would affect today’s WOD, as it contained power cleans and that meant moving my arm into the position of pain (elbows high and out as the bar comes up to your shoulders).

A nice easy one to end the week with. Awww.
A nice easy one to end the week with. Awww.

Familiar ground with the first two parts – front squat and push press, so I was determined to go up another few kilos on those today.  The Burgener warm-up was when I realised my left arm wasn’t going to enjoy the AMRAP later on, but the arm positions for the front squat and push press were fine, and there was no pain at all.

My previous best on the front squat was 35kg, but I started at 30kg today (just to make sure my arm could take it), and worked up to 37.5kg over the five sets.  I had a rack to myself, so I didn’t have to keep changing the weight for a partner.  My shoulder mobility must be improving, as my technique feels much better now.  The bar isn’t digging into my collar bone as much, and sits better on my shoulder rack.  I’ve also addressed the tendency to lean forward when going into the squat.  You don’t realise how important technique is until you’ve been doing this sort of thing for a few weeks, and there’s so much to remember for each type of lift.  Weightlifting requires careful attention to detail, which is why I never bang the reps out – I set myself properly, and do each rep carefully.

For the push press, I improved from 30kg to 35kg.  I’m not far off the magic 40kg I set myself as goal for front squat and push press a couple of weeks ago, so hopefully I’ll be able to do that next time we do this routine during the next cycle of these work-outs.  That will represent a 100% increase from when I first started.

As for the AMRAP, the power cleans were out because of my arm, and it also didn’t help when hanging from the bar and trying to do a knees-to-chest movement.  So instead I did six reps of 9kg medicine ball cleans, which is essentially mimicking the movement of doing it with a barbell, but with er, a big heavy ball.  Instead of the knees-to-chest I did six sit-ups – it all crunches those abs!  I can’t even get anywhere near doing a toes-to-bar yet, so I didn’t attempt that.  I need a stronger upper body and core to get myself into the ridiculous position required, but one day it will be mine.  I managed seven rounds of medicine ball cleans and sit-ups in the seven minutes allowed, which I didn’t think was too bad.  I was knackered enough at the end of it.  I noticed that some of the others were struggling with the toes-to-bar by the end.

Even the girls are better than me ...
Even the girls are better than me.  For now …

How the hell does Jess front squat 50kg?  She’s tiny.  I don’t mind though – it shows that I have a lot of potential, and a long way to go.


Making small gains, slowly …

Monday’s WOD was a bit brutal, having looked at it on our CrossFit’s Facebook group, so I was hoping yesterday would be a little easier on us by way of balance.  Well, we didn’t have thrusters or pull-ups, but what we did have was … more running!

What IS the 800m world record? I'll be on it soon ...
What IS the 800m world record? I’ll be on it soon at this rate …

Having managed to get 25kg up to my shoulders previously, I decided to start at that weight for the clean and jerk, and work up to 30kg by the last three sets of reps.  No problem at all with the power clean (bar from floor to shoulders without squatting below parallel), and with a quick push jerk it was above my head, with arms locked.  I could possibly have whacked another 2.5kg on just for good measure.  I’ll save that for next time.

As we had the resident Olympic weightlifting coach taking the session today, the warm ups involved lots of rolling our legs, hips, and backs around on foam rollers on the floor.  And wow, did it hurt when that thing pressed into the fronts of my thighs.  “If it hurts, you need to work on your leg muscles!” he shouted as we all rolled around in agony.  Nothing like a simple warm-up to expose your weaknesses …

I’ll have to ask him what exactly he would recommend in that department though, as he didn’t actually say at the time.  I daresay if I ever manage to lift the minimum weight required for the Olympic weightlifting classes I’ll find out, not that I intend to take up those classes.

And then it was time for the running.  Five 800m runs, and as many press-ups as you could fit in on your return, with each set time-limited to four minutes and thirty seconds.  The last time we did this sort of thing I didn’t even make it back in time to do any burpees (what a shame), but this time I was back with 30 seconds to spare on the first run, so got seven press-ups in.  Yeah, yeah – upper-body strength is lacking, I know, but I’m working on it.  I managed another seven after the next two runs, and then I started flagging.  I only got five in on the fourth round, and two on the last.  The guys with the upper-body strength knocked out anything between 90 and 150 of the bloody things, and they only finished their runs about 30 to 40 seconds ahead of me.  I should say we had a two-minute rest between rounds, in case you’re wondering how I managed to do all that in one go!

It was only on the way home that I started thinking about the weight I was lifting.  It’s easy to think “30 kilos is rubbish”, but convert it to Imperial, and it’s four stone, 10 pounds!  That’s 37% of my current body weight.  Therefore, my next goal is 50% of my body weight, or 40kg.

Mastering the washing line (well, partly)

Metabolic Conditioning.  Whenever you see that phrase in a WOD you know you’re going to be worked hard.  This is usually the kind of thing we get on a Friday, not on a Monday morning!

Happy sweat-fest Monday!
Happy sweat-fest Monday!

The first part was simply working on our snatch technique every other minute, with some overhead squats thrown in for good measure.  I’m getting there with the power snatch now (from floor to overhead in one movement, but without squatting down afterwards).  I can just manage 25kg now.  I’m not sure I could do a full snatch with that weight though, as I can barely overhead squat 20kg at the moment, and I’d probably have gone crashing backwards as I squatted down.

I think most people’s minds were on part B – the dreaded MetCon.  Having said that, I was kind of looking forward to it in a sadistic way, as I know I have to improve my cardio fitness, and you don’t do that by just lifting weights.  So a nice 800m run, and then straight into 50 wall balls and 50 double-unders when you get back.  I had no idea what a double-under was before CrossFit.  Once I realised it was skipping with what is essentially a length of nylon washing line I thought, “Well, that can’t be too hard, can it?”

Then I realised I can’t even skip with a washing line normally, let alone get the damned thing under my feet twice in one jump (hence “double-under”).  With that in mind (and having looked at the WOD on Facebook yesterday), I went in early today and practised skipping before we started.  After ten minutes I could do 40 singles in a row, no problem.  I then tried a double-under, and managed to whip myself in the back of the head.  OK, forget that for today, Neil – don’t try to run before you can skip.

If you couldn’t do double-unders in the MetCon, you had to do 100 singles instead, and I was happy with that, as I was up to 60 in a row once I got a rhythm going.  It knackers you out faster than you think!  Another 800m run, and then you get to do 50 dead lifts (at 40kg, because I’m a level 1 gimp).  Then do the whole list all over again.  They know how to keep us sweating.

On the second round I called it quits at 27 dead lifts, as I could feel my back starting to hurt.  I didn’t mind quitting, as I’d rather not spend the next three days laid out on the floor, unable to move.  Technique over speed, remember?  To make up for it, I did 50 or 60 more singles with the washing line, as a kind of self-punishment.

The clock showed 36 minutes when I stopped, and as the whole thing was capped at 40 minutes, that was the time I was given.  I’m not bothered at all that someone did it all in 29 minutes earlier in the day.  Even the “Captain” of previous posts was slower than me on the runs (much slower, in fact), proving that you may be able to snatch 100kg, but it means nothing in the context of overall fitness.  That’s why I’m happy to do this MetCon stuff.

But maybe not on Wednesday though, eh?

My best WOD so far

The trainer who is currently devising all of the work-outs at our box is doing it in cycles.  So over the next few weeks and months we’ll be repeating certain things, and attempting to increase weight as we go, in an effort to beat personal bests.

With that in mind, today’s WOD involved stuff I’ve already done a couple of times, so what better opportunity to put some more weight on the bar? I didn’t want to waste the session just lifting my previous best.

It's easy to think this would be a stroll in the park.
It’s easy to think this would be a stroll in the park.

I was in a group of three, and I told them I was on 25kg for my front squat.  One guy set the bar up on the rack and said to me, “So 30 kilos, yeah?” with a slight smile.  My first instinct was to say no, but then I thought, “You’ll never get anywhere if you stay at 25.”  So I agreed, and did it no problem.  By the fifth set of three reps I had 35kg on the bar, and it was fine.  I reckon I can go to 40 next time.  If only my shoulder mobility would allow my elbows to come up slightly higher.

Emboldened by my new-found status as an Olympic-standard weightlifter, I decided to try to increase the weight on the push press too (previous best: 25kg, just).  I started at 25 for the first set, and stuck an extra 2.5kg on for the second.  “That flew up!” exclaimed one of my team-mates.  So I put another 2.5kg on, and that went skywards too, but with a little more effort as I was tiring now.  I was told I have good technique, which makes up for my front squat form.

The third part of the WOD was a “named” work-out – one that some sadistic coach thought up, and that is used by many CrossFit boxes.  “Isabel” is 30 snatches in as fast a time as you can manage.  That’s bar from the floor, straight up, and up over your head.  You could do full or power snatches – whichever you were comfortable with.  I found a few videos of people doing this work-out on YouTube beforehand, and it’s easy to see how it would knacker you out very quickly.  The recommended level 1 weight was 40kg for men, but I knew I’d never do 30 of those so I settled for 20kg to set an initial time for this (we’ll be doing this again in a few weeks).  We were in pairs – one person counts and encourages you while you work your arse off, and then you swap.

I went first, and did all 30 in two minutes and three seconds.  Really?!  I thought I’d be there for five minutes at least.  I clearly don’t know my own strength.  My partner took 3:14 to do his at 50kg.  Impressive.  He told me that my form was good except on a couple of reps when I muscled the bar overhead instead of getting under it, but I’m still new to this so I’ll take that.

And just to further enhance my reputation as a fitness machine, I managed five press-ups and ten sit-ups in a row without cheating during the warm-up.  Where do I sign up for the Olympics?

Progress is being made. I'm coming for you, Captain!
Progress is being made. I’m coming for you, Captain!


This is the first time I’ve been to CrossFit two days in a row, and I was a little stiff in the thighs as I wandered in to find this on the board:

Something new - floor presses. The running's not new ...
Something new – floor presses. The running’s not new …

The warm-ups were quite involved, but then we had the resident Olympic weightlifting coach training us today, so we learned some new stuff that I hadn’t been told about before.  Lots of rolling around on the floor and stretching shoulders and hips with elastic bands, but it really opened me up, as I was still stiff from yesterday.

We got into pairs, and then it was a case of twenty minutes of alternating 15 reps of kettle-bell swings and ten of floor presses (lying on the floor and pressing the bar over your chest).  My partner had 25kg on the bar, and my body was happy to go with that.  I managed three lots of ten reps before I scaled back to five reps later on.  We both used the 20kg kettle-bell for the swings.

All throughout this, the rain was pouring onto the roof, getting heavier and heavier.  Just right for some running then.  One minute to run 200m, followed by as many squats as you could manage in the time remaining.  And do it all ten times, with a minute’s rest between runs.

The rain was torrential.  My T-shirt was soaked after each run, and I was last one in every time except once.  Naturally, I managed a grand total of zero squats, but I think the idea was to improve our running, as we’re all quite rubbish at it, and we all complain about it every time.

And now the bastard sun’s come out, just to taunt me.

Week Three

So, the start of week three, and seven work-outs in.  Do I feel as if I’m getting anywhere?  Well, not really.  It’s still too early for any serious muscle strength to have manifested itself, but I don’t hurt anywhere near as much as I do after work-outs now as I did after the first couple (and especially after the induction course).  I’m claiming that as an improvement.

I would have gone in yesterday, but the car was being fixed in the morning, and I was working in the afternoon.  So today was my first Tuesday WOD, and when I arrived the only other people there were the trainer and a girl I’ve seen a few times at CF now.  She was practising the Burgener warm-up, and I joined her for a couple of goes.

K practices the Burgener warm-up
K practises the Burgener warm-up in an empty CrossFit box

Two more girls walked in, and that was it – four of us.  But that’s good, as it’s more fun with fewer people, and you get more one-on-one coaching.

Tuesday WOD - nice and easy
Tuesday WOD – nice and easy

So in pairs we took the first bit nice and easy, chatting between reps of back squats and strict presses (pushing the bar over your head without dipping at the knees first).  I got a stark reminder of how much strength I need to build in my upper body; the girl I was paired with (in the picture above) can press 35kg over her head, and I was struggling with just the 20kg bar by my fifth set.  She’s just a bit shorter than me, and her arms are the same size as mine.  It’s not fair. 🙂

After that, we had a quick eight-minute MetCon, with all of us going for level 1.  Handstand push-ups? Really?  No thanks.  Not yet, anyway.  I need more muscle up top for those.  I didn’t do the 40kg power cleans during this – I scaled back to 25kg, as we’d be doing ten of them a few times, and I was conscious that I’d made my back hurt a bit by doing 60kg dead-lifts during Friday’s MetCon.  I managed four rounds of ring rows, press-ups, and power cleans in the eight minutes.  I’m happy with that, especially as I managed three press-ups in a row.  You may laugh, but I was on one-in-a-row last week.

Oh, as a footnote, I was talking to one of the girls about running, and how shit I am at it.  She told me that she is worse, and in one of the WODs last week I was ahead of her, and she was using me as something to aim at, to help her keep up.  And I’m rubbish at running!  I was secretly flattered, but don’t you think I’m going to be running marathons any time soon.

The end of week two

Tonight was my first work-out that didn’t contain ANY running, but it killed me in other ways.  Having looked at the work-out on Facebook beforehand (they post them up the day before), the warm-up comprised a 200m run, but that was changed at the last minute to as many lots of five burpees, 10 squats, and 15 sit-ups as you could do in two minutes.  That’s fine by me.

Weight a minute - no running!
Weight a minute – no running!

Then it was into groups of three, each person doing five lots of three reps of front squat, followed by the same of push press.  You know what these things are now; I don’t need to explain, do I?

One of the two guys I was with was the projectile vomiter of the last work-out (see previous post), and the two of them were able to squat and press more than me.  But that’s fine, as it’s not a competition.  We were told that over the next few weeks, these work-outs will be repeated, with the emphasis on building weight each time.  You can only lift what you can lift, after all.

Still, I squatted and pressed 25kg, with some encouragement from one of the other guys.  That’s one of the main differences between CrossFit and a “normal” gym (as I alluded to in my very first post) – it’s a group thing, and you encourage each other.  I started out pressing 20kg in the first couple of sets, but he suggested I put an extra five on, so I did and up it went.

I still need to work on my shoulder mobility, as I can’t get my elbows high enough during the front squat, and the bar always digs into the right side of my collar bone, making it sore.  It annoys me that I can’t quite get the right posture.  I might speak to the resident Olympic weightlifting coach about what I can do to improve.

At the end, we did some metabolic conditioning, involving 21 reps each of dead-lifts and kettle bell swings, then 15 of each, then nine.  Of course, the first thing I thought of was scaling back the weights (I’m level 1, so 60kg dead-lift and 20kg kettle bell), but I told myself to just try it first, to see if I could do it.  And I could.  Just.  How I did a total of 45 of each is beyond me, but I did it all in five minutes and fifty-five seconds (fourth out of 12 people).  My plan was to do the first 21 as fast as possible, and it just about worked.  I was so temped to stop the dead-lifts a few short of the total.  NO CHEATING!

The sweat was dripping off me at the end, but every time I do this, my body is slowly getting more used to it.  I’m sitting here, feeling very little aching at all.  I must be doing something right.

Oh, I also need to stop wearing my wedding ring to CrossFit.  It’s getting scratched from rubbing against the bar.  As you were.