I’m Not in the CrossFit Open

The first workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open will be announced tonight. I’ve competed in every open since 2012, until this year. After the gym changed ownership last year, the CrossFit affiliation wasn’t renewed (which I have no issue with), so it’s a bit of a hurdle to compete in the open. I’d either have to record a video of every workout (following specifications that are a pain in the ass) or travel to a CrossFit affiliate in the area. I don’t care to do either.

Last year was the first year I allowed myself to redo the workouts and try to improve my scores. The fatigue built up and I paid for it with that bad back tweak a few reps into my 2nd attempt of the 4th workout. Over the last year I’ve had to do a lot of scaling in the gym and haven’t lifted very heavy. For the last few months I’ve been focusing on rehabbing my back, which seems to be helping, but I don’t want a setback at this point.

I’ve realized there is no reason to take it all so seriously. I’m not going on to Regionals or even the Masters online qualifiers. How well I perform in a workout isn’t going to change anything about my life. I do CrossFit for my health, for the challenge, and to feel good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m working to get back to the big lifts, but if I don’t get there it’s ok.

I’ll still do the Open workouts this year and if I have to scale something, so be it. Without getting so serious and putting any extra pressure on myself I’ll probably enjoy it a lot more too.

Active Life

I’ve posted before about the low back issues I’ve been dealing with for the last few years. Unfortunately I didn’t keep up with the exercises recommended by the PT. I also realized I was wasting my time and money going to the chiropractor every 4-5 weeks because they weren’t doing anything to correct my problem. After getting a bunch of adjustments over a 2-3 week period in August to use up some FSA funds, I tweaked my back the next day. Go figure. I’ve always been skeptical of the chiropractor; I don’t see how 5-10 minutes of work every month can have an impact.

At the end of November I saw Active Life was running a special on their Athlete Membership, which gives you access to all of their programs. $100 for a full year seemed like a steal, so I signed up.

After explaining my back problems, they told me they see similar issues with a lot of athletes, usually caused by an imbalance on one side of the body. Their recommendation was to follow the Single Leg Bias and Back Max programs. I’m over 2.5 months in and just finished the 40 workout SLB program and am over half way through the 80 workout BM program. Tomorrow I’ll be starting the Hips program to replace the SLB workouts.

I like the programs and there is enough variety in the movements to keep my interest. Since I’ve been a member I’ve experienced what felt like a few tweaks while performing my other CrossFit workouts. Only one affected me a bit for a few days, so it seems like the programs are improving things.

If you’re dealing with any CrossFit injuries, check out what Active Life has to offer.

New Reebok Kicks

When Reebok is giving an additional 30% off in addition to their end of the summer sales, I can’t help myself.

The CrossFit Speed TR has been my favorite shoe for the gym so getting a second pair for $56 was a steal. The color is called “Vitamin C” and looked a lot more orange-ish on the web site when I ordered them. The color of my photo makes them look even different; they are more of a pink/salmon in person. I’ll rock ’em, because I’m not returning them.

For only $28, the Reebok Runner was an easy selection, especially since my size was available in blue. My current running shoes are about a year old, so might be up for retirement. The sockliner in these has a memory foam, which I’m looking forward to trying.

I love buying shoes. 🙂

100 Pound Sandbag

Ever since seeing the CrossFit Regional workouts, I’ve been wanting a bigger sandbag to do cleans, holds, squats, and carries. Rogue has been sold out of their strongman sandbags for months, so I bought one of the StrongFit sandbags for my garage gym. The Gorilla tape pictured is mine and I added the second zip tie, but the lacrosse ball, ring, and one zip tie all came with the bag.

It was less than $6.50 for two 50 pound bags of Play Sand at Home Depot.

Filled up the bag, followed the instruction video, and it seems solid.

Hybrid Performance Method – Push Only Program

I tweaked my back pretty bad during the CrossFit Open this year. It seemed a good opportunity to lay off the squats and deadlifts to ease up on my back. I found what looked like a good upper body focused lifting program from Hybrid Performance Method, which they call their Push Only program. The main focus was on bench press, but there was also a fair amount of overhead pressing, pull-ups, and accessory work as well. I started it on 4/4/2017.

The program was structured to be 4 workouts a week for the first 10 weeks, a 3 workout deload week, and then 3 days of testing max lifts in the 12th and final week. Since I still wanted to attend a couple of CrossFit classes a week and not lose too much conditioning, I planned from the start to stretch out the program. It usually took me 8-9 days to complete a full week of the programming. Today, 109 days (15 weeks + 4 days) after starting, I finished.

Before following this Push Only program, the longest special program I’ve followed is my Thruster Attack, which takes 10 weeks, but is only two workouts a week that take 20 minutes or less. This program was a total of 46 workout days and I did 44 of them. I skipped two of the pull-up focused days in the last four weeks and I think I skipped some accessory stuff on two of the lifting days. Well, I skipped a lot of the accessory stuff in the final week, which was all about hitting maxes. At that point I was ready for the program to be over and change my focus.

Overall I really enjoyed the program. For the first 7-8 weeks, each workout was taking me about an hour to complete. Once the weights got heavier, the time commitment increased. All of the upper body accessory work was perhaps the best part of the program. My shoulders have never felt this good for so long.

If I had to go back and change something, I wish I had increased some of the weights 10# instead of 5# from week to week, because it seemed like I wasn’t lifting anything heavy for the 3 main lifts until the 8th or 9th week. That very well could be by design though. I can’t help but wonder if stretching the program out over 15+ weeks affected my results in a positive or negative way? I’ll never know.

I saw improvements across the board (all weights are in pounds)…

  • Push Press: 245 -> 260 (video)
  • Bench Press: 275 -> 290 (video)
  • Shoulder Press: 180 -> 185 (video)
  • MAX Strict HSPU: 11 -> 17
  • MAX Kipping HSPU: 14 -> 23 (video)
  • 100x Bench Press @ 135#: 9:37 -> 8:43 (video)

I highly recommend checking out any of the Hybrid programs, which only cost about $35/month.