Category: Skillz

Chest up!

Today was a Skillz day – and an okay day for me… Not bad, but not all that good either.

We worked on snatches again this week. I don’t mind – it’s one of those skills that’s hard to get, and even harder to master. And mine are.. not that great.

We first started with the power snatch, 6-6-6, from the ground. No need for a squat. I sort of see this one as the less skill-oriented of snatches, where muscling it works, too. It not how you should do it, and I’m sure there’s a world of details to the move, but it’s how I perceive it. I went up to 105lbs. Biggest issue at almost every lift was keeping my chest up, pushing it out and up, and looking upward to get a momentum while lifting.

With that in mind, I tackled the next set of snatches, hang squat snatches. So from the hip, and with a squat,  4-4-4.  This time, I kept the weight at 65lbs, and tried to concentrate solely on the technique, keeping my chest up, jumping and diving/pulling under the bar. It’s hard to explain… I didn’t feel like I would be breaking records today, or that I could go heavy – might as well get decent-ish technique.

Last was power+squat snatch 2-2-2-1-1-1, each rep it’s actually 2 movements in touch and go: power snatch and a full squat snatch. For the sets of ones, I added some weight, and lifted at 85lbs. Again, not much weight, but enough to feel it and be able to concentrate on the technique.

I like to think it’s improved a little bit and that I’m looking more often up. I had one fall, and the coach was looking. He said he knew why I fell, but wanted me to try and explain to see if I knew why, too. “Didn’t look up” Yep, that and I dove early which got me off-balanced.


1 scoop (10g) Beyond Yourself AMRAP (BCAA) with 12oz water – during training, 1 scoop (30g) Beyond Yourself Whey ISO in 500ml water – after training


Snatch PR

Tonight was Skillz night. It’s been a while since I went to one… On the menu, snatches.


We had 3 types of snatches: balance snatch (5-5-5), hang power snatch (4-4-4) and full snatch (4-2-1-1-1-1). After warm up and prep, we got to our first movement, the balance snatch. You basically start on the tip of your toes, with the bar resting on your shoulders, and you drop into a squat position for the squat/lift part of the full snatch. This was with lighter loads, and I went up to 55lbs.

For the hang power snatch, the bar is an mid-thighs (power position). You bring it up over the head and squat. Going heavier I finished at 85lbs, my max 1 rep from a previous workout.

Last came the full snatch: bar on the floor, straight to overhead and squat. We were supposed to start at about 85% of our max, and go up to get our max 1 rep. In my case, that meant a PR at every lift, as I was starting form my max. Now, I know from WOD 13.1 that I can power snatch 95lbs, though without the squat part, and that I can’t power/split snatch 135lbs. So I knew my range, more or less. The only variable being my shoulder strength, as my issues with the OH Squat have underlined. I did my first 4 at 85lbs, no problem, it went up “smoothly”. My set of 2, I did at 95lbs. Not as smooth, but went up pretty well. I was pushing it, as I wanted to break the 100lbs mark tonight. It took my 6-7 tries, and almost that many bails, but on my last one, I managed to do a 105lbs snatch. It was horrible, almost uncontrolled at the top, but it was good! I am happy about breaking that mark, but my shoulders aren’t. 🙂


1 scoop (10g) Beyond Yourself AMRAP (BCAA) with 12oz water – during training, 1 scoop (30g) Beyond Yourself Whey ISO in 500ml water – after training


Crossfit Total

After last Monday’s training, I’m glad today was a good night – and it almost wasn’t. Because of work-related events that ran longer than planned, I actually cancelled my registration for tonight’s class; work is more important, and I’d rather give my spot to someone who’d be there (and avoid the burpee penalty for a no show). Nonetheless, a small miracle happened, and I got there 15min after class began. I was quite ready to sit on the sideline while the Mrs kicked ass on the WOD – that she did, too! The coach simply told me to change and get in. Tonight, for skillz, we did Crossfit Total. Time enough for me to warm up and join the athletes.

Crossfit Total is a benchmark WOD designed to test strength. Three exercises, 3 tries for each. You must do you best 1 rep max back squat, 1 rep max shoulder press and 1 rep max deadlift. Each pound lifted at the end counts as 1 point, and you add up.

Last time I did CFT was somewhere back in September, before the shoulder injury. I was curious to see how I improved, or got back, in terms of strength. I was eager for the deadlift, as I hadn’t done a 1 rep max in quite a while, but wary of the back squat, as Monday’s experience had been disapointing. Last CFT, I did 205lbs back squat, 115 shoulder press and 275 deadlift, for a total of 605.

This time around, witht the training and the tips I got back in New-Brunswick (for the deadlift, at least), I did 225lbs back squat, 120 shoulder press and 355 deadlift, for a total of 700! I PR’d all my scores, pushing my deadlift lift back by 50lbs! I even did better on the back squat. Pretty happy right now. 🙂


1 scoop (10g) Beyond Yourself AMRAP (BCAA) with 12oz water – during training, 1 scoop (30g) Beyond Yourself Whey ISO in 500ml water – after training.

Snatch PR

Of all the lifts, I consider the snatch to be my bane. It’s sheer dynamism when you’re lifting the bar off the floor, combined with the OH Squat, makes it a hard movement to master, heck to simply do! I know I’ve come to terms with the OH Squat, I’m improving, but the whole combination… yeah.

Guess what we did today is skillz class? That’s right, snatches. After our warmup, we did the Burgener warm up, going through the different part of the movements with a plastic dowel. My squats are still deep, so there’s always that. We then went through different types of snatches, gradually moving towards the full snatch: Hang power snatch 5-5-5, Hi-hang squat snatch 4-4-4-4, Power Snatch 6-6-6 and Snatch 4-3-2-1-1-1-1.

I pretty much started with the 45lbs bar and added 10, then 20lbs to the bar to gradually get used to the weights and movement. I still feel uneasy with the movement, as I always feel like I’ll fall in a craptacular fashion, hurting my knee or shoulder. It’s an irrational fear, and I try to push it aside – focusing on imagining the complete successful movement in my head.

For the last set of snatches, we could go for a 1 rep PR, as we were warm enough and the body was used to the movement. My last PR dates back to December 22, at 65lbs. This time around, my set of 2 was at 65… so I went into unchartered territory, gradually lifting heavier. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I ended up doing 85lbs! I feel like I could’ve gone heavier, but I’ll take what I have and call it a victory. Hurray! 🙂

The mini lift drills I do at home, both for squats and shoulder mobility, are starting to pay off. Thanks coach!


1 scoop (10g) Beyond Yourself AMRAP (BCAA) with 12oz water – during training, 1 scoop (30g) Beyond Yourself Whey ISO in 400ml water – after training.


I’ve discovered that trying to combine both crossfit and jiu will be a little bit more complicated than I thought. The schedule don’t quite align and what happens in one class can impact the other, like today.

Jiu was first – more yawara, wrist locks and submission work with the stick. My shoulders are still stiff form yesterday, so that doesn’t help. I’ll get looser as time goes by – relearning flexibility the hard way. Fortunately, the skillz class was all about ankle, calf, wrist and lat mobility. So I’m now bruised, sore but loose. I had thouht about doing the class following the skillz but decided against for 2 reasons. First, it’s shoulder intensive and I felt I might get injured doing it (OH walking lunges, burpees and KB swings). Second, I’m still slowly getting in more training and I felt that 3 in one day was pushing it.

Still happy, though. I’ll be singing a different tune tomorrow, probably, but it’s all good.

Ah, little side note: As I usually come soem time before classes start for some extra warmup, I also take the opportunity to improve techniques, test out movements, etc. without the pressure of a WOD/class. I can take my time and try figuring things out. For the next little while, I think I’ll be working on ring muscle-ups (I can hoist myself halfway already), double unders (sigh) and butterfly pullup-ups.


1 scoop (10g) Beyond Yourself AMRAP (BCAA) with 12oz water – during training, 1 scoop (28g) Dymatize ISO100 whey powder in 350ml milk – after training.

First WODs of 2013

I hope you all are having a great New Year so far. I also hope some of you have started to burn the calories for the Holidays. I’ve started again tonight, after a nice getaway in the mountains with the Mrs… good food, good wine, and 2.5 hours of snowshoeing to burn a few calories andexplore a snow-covered forest. Have you all found resolutions for 2013? I’ve made a few myself: do a muscle- up (ring or bar) by the end of the year, do at least 5 double unders in a row and, with luck, get my brown belt in Jiu. Oh, let’s not forget staying smoking-free! Every year, I set goals that are not that realistic. I figured I’d get small ones this year, then push further once they’re reached.

Tonight was a double session, and my last Wednesday, too. My new semester starts next week; instead of learning how to do butterfly pull-ups, I’ll be learning about finances in the Canadian Public Service. Not quite as entertaining, I know. We started the first class with a “creative” warmup. Instead of rowing or running in minus a lot weather, we did 20 burpees plus 2 rounds of 30 mountain climbers, 20 situps, 10 push-ups and 5 strict pull-ups. It gets the heart going, I can tell you that! I took note of it and if asked to do a warmup in jiu, that’s what they’ll get. The skill for tonight was OH Squat, 8-8-6-6. My form’s much better, and I’m squatting deeper; 9 times out of 10, they’re as standards describe them – crest of the hips going below the knees. I started lightly, with my 2 sets of 8 with only the 45lbs bar. The form might be good, but the strength is not proportionate to it. The first set of 6 was done at 55lbs, and the second set at 65lbs, which was my previous 1 max rep. I did 6. Woot! 🙂

The WOD was a nasty cardio thing that took a lot out of me… a whole lot more than I thought it would. 5 rounds for time: 10 toes to bar, 10 power snatches 75lbs and 10 wall ball shots 20lbs. By round number 3, I wanted to die – my heart was racing, I felt like throwing up and my breath was coming up short. To be honest, it felt just like when I was a heavy smoker and was training. I thought my cardio had improved, but this was a nasty dose of reality. I finished it in some 14 minutes, and the coach marked it as Rx. I could’ve taken it and shut up, but I took the high road and confessed that some of my toes to bar were not Rx: feet did not touch bar.

As our hands were scraped/bruised from the toes to bar, we went on with the second class, the skillz class: kipping/butterfly pull-ups and muscles-ups. A very uncomfortable hour, to say the least. My kipping keeps on improving. I had been told I did not explode from the hips enough, so I’m concentrating on that, and it’s paying off. I did 1 butterfly pull-up, too. You basically do a kipping pull-up, but at the top of the bar, you drop straight down instead of kipping back. I kinda get it, but my hands were too sore to actually try and string a few together. Muscle-ups are… still out of reach, but I’m improving. I can do the scaled down version, on my knees with rings, pretty well and I’ve managed to do a few jumping ones, too. The jumping ones are easier, I find. I can jump high enough to go almost straight into the raising part of a dip, so my triceps do most of the work. I’m pretty decent at dips, that helps.

I’ve also officially signed up for the paleo challenge. I thought it would be a 30 day challenge; turns out it’s 90 days. More on this in a later post. The challenge starts on January 14th and will end on April 13th.


1 scoop (20g) Beyond Yourself Pre-WOD with 8oz water 20 min before training, 1 scoop (10g) Beyond Yourself AMRAP (BCAA) with 10oz water – during training, 1 scoop (28g) Dymatize ISO100 whey powder in 350ml milk – after training.

Last WODs of 2012

2012 is coming to a close and I’ll be welcoming the new year with the Mrs in the mountains somewhere. I kept my promise and did at least 3 workouts – as today was skillz and a regular WOD. I’m not counting the shovelling or the outdoor activities in the snow.

Today’s skillz was all core-oriented. We started with L-sits. You basically sit on the floor and raise you butt and legs off the ground, staying in a seated position. That is freaking hard, and in I can’t do it, so I scaled and did the same hanging from a bar, then from rings. Five times, you have to hold as long as possible. My personal best is some 23 seconds. We then moved on to GHD situps, 4 rounds of 10. They went pretty well and I didn’t hurt my back, always a plus! Last was back extensions, 4 rounds of 15 and we added weight on the last 2 rounds (10, then 15 lbs). We were all sore and sweaty from that set of exercices. Tomorrow’s going to be interesting. Heck, clearing my driveway here was pure pleasure after all that!

On to the second class. We warmed up with 3 rounds of 10 OH Squats (plastic dowel), 10 knees to elbows and 10 burpees. I have officially reconciled myself with the OH Squat; I don’t mind doing them anymore. I’ve also been praised for improved kipping on the knees to elbows. I thought they were crap, but I’ll take it. The skill for the class was thrusters, 8-6-4-8. We added weight until the set of 4 reps, then went back to the weight of 6 reps, but we did 8 reps instead. It’s lighter, but still hard. That was a good skill and I actually managed to do 4 reps at 95lbs, which is the normal weight for men during WODs. Slowly, but surely, I’m becoming my old self again.

The WOD was fiendish: 1000m row, 100 pushups and 10 snatches at 195lbs for time, 20min cap. After thrusters and rowing, your shoulderas are burning. The 100 pushups just add to the pain, and then the snatches. It just builds up… the rowing went fine, just like the first 30 pushups. Then it seemed like someone turned gravity up a notch. My sets of 10s became sets of 8s, then 6s. Once than was done, I took a lot to simply do the snatch. I missed a lot of them, and I only had the 45lbs bar – an improvement from the 35lbs used during the last WODs. I finished in 13:09.

I probably won’t write until the New Year, unless I squeeze in some bodeefit in there. Here’s a taste of what 2013 will bring: I’m returning on the mats at the dojo, finally! The Spartan Race – Reason behind this blog! More insane WODs, more fun. My box will also be doing a 3 months paleo challenge starting in January. I plan on trying it and see if it’ll change things. So that means you’ll get to hear about how hungry/full I might get at time. 🙂

I wish you all a Happy New Year. May the best thing that happened to you in 2012 be the worse of 2013.