CrossFit: in progress, variations, and decisions

A while back I did 5 rounds of 1 arm 3 KB snatches + 5 half-height kb swings, 10 24 inch box jumps (first the right arm, 10 box jumps, then left arm, then 10 box jumps) and a 200m run.  Total time was 17:30 (which I mistakenly wrote down as 16:30.)  Not a bad time, but I saw lots of 15 minute times.  It was a tough slog (in 100 d heat too.)  The 200m runs were the toughest.  I just could not get going.  I wasn’t running, I was shuffling at a brisk pace.

A few days after that I decided I needed to approach stamina training with some planning.  I set a goal of being able to row 500m in 1:40 (which is 100 seconds.)  Not easy, but possible.  When I first stated tracking my row times, I was at 2:07 for 500m.  Then I got to 1:57.  The best time so far is 1:56.  I had been doing 250m rows with a goal of keeping the pace at sub 1:50, which I can do.  I even got down to sub 1:40 a couple of times. If I could keep that up for 500m I’d be at my goal. Anyway a one second improvement counts.

Last week I wanted to try a variation of Cindy (which is 5 kipping pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats — max number of rounds for 20 minutes.) My previous best was 11 1/2; competent athletes are doing 20 or more (which is 1 round per minute or better.)  I decided I would reduce the intensity by doing push-ups from the knees instead of the full body version.  And I would only do 5 rounds for time; I figured I would come in near 5 minutes.  No.  It was 6:39.  Which comes down to 2  1/2 second per rep as opposed to 2 seconds.

Next workout I did a WOD that had 30-20-10 of jumping lunges, 20# dumbbell push presses (Rx was 30) and abmat situps.  So a total of 180 reps.  I noticed several 5 minute times on the board, and 1 sub-five minute time.  My time was 7:40.

My point about all this is that my stamina — which is to say my ability to bring a steady level of effort to bear on the work — is not where I would like it to be.  I can feel myself fading — a good analogy would be “the wind going out of my sails.”  I’m making some headway (no pun?) but I think I need more focus on endurance exercises.  By “endurance” I mean high intensity over shorter time spans, not “marathon” efforts.

The other consideration here is injury.  I had actually stayed away from CF for about two weeks because my shoulder felt like someone had hit it with a mallet.  I went to the doctor, had some X-rays, but no apparent injury was detected (at least to the bone.)  But it hurt.  So I was careful to avoid anything that would aggravate the problem.  It seems to have worked, insofar as the recent dumb-bell presses didn’t cause any noticeable problems.

So: stamina, injuries — what to do? My solution is to start focusing on rowing, along with basic high intensity body-weight exercises, and get way serious about flexibility.

Regarding flexibility, as near as I can tell the squat is probably the most fundamental movement one can engage in.  The better the squat, the stronger the potential for strength.  When I say “squat” I mean getting all the way into it: full-depth butt-to-calves.  The other flexibility exercise I want to focus on is the bridge.

In other words I need to revisit all the basic stuff that I started to ignore because it wasn’t glamorous enough to satisfy my ego.

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