As previously mentioned, due to tweaking my back, I wasn’t able to do the 5th and final workout of the Open this year. I’m feeling good to go now and didn’t want to delay my attempt on 17.5 any longer, so I did it in my garage yesterday.
When the workout was announced I knew everyone would be tricked into thinking they had to do the thrusters unbroken. It’s the beauty of the workout design. Change it from 9 to 10 reps and people would have thought different about it. I tried to convince people breaking up the thrusters would be beneficial, but nobody believed me. I certainly didn’t plan to do 10 sets of 9 unbroken thrusters.
I split up the first 9 sets into 5 reps, a strict 3 count to rest, and a set of 4 reps. I did the 10th round unbroken. It worked out great and allowed me keep a steady pace through the entire workout. I geek out a bit on split times over on my workout blog if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Finished the workout in 13:28.
CrossFit Games Open Ranking History
- 2012: 16,395 / 20,857 (78.6%)
- 2013: 9,251 / 43,479 (21.3%)
- 2014: 13,721 / 66,904 (20.5%)
- 2015: 13187 / 118,237 (11.2%)
- 2016: 19,060 / 139,037 (13.7%)
- 2017: 20,616 / 201,951 (10.2%)
I don’t know why, but a bunch of these previous year numbers are substantially different in terms of participation (lower) that I’ve written about before. According to the current CrossFit Games Leaderboards it’s the data I come up with though. I always base it off the number of men who completed at least one of the workouts.
On Sunday March 24th, I tweaked my back. I’ve been having some issues for the last year or so, but never like this. Usually I feel it happen and can continue training in a limited capacity during the same workout session. I’ll back off weights for a few days, but within a week I’m back to normal. This time was different. It literally took minutes to get out of bed on Monday morning and walking was a struggle.
When I felt worse on Tuesday morning I made an appointment to see my chiropractor. It helped a little, but not much. After getting home and sitting to work for hours, it was not easy standing back up. When I woke up worse yet on Wednesday I was getting worried. Did I have a ticking time bomb in my low back that could be set off any second? I called my chiro and he talked me down, explaining it was a good sign I wasn’t getting any numbness or tingling up or down from the area. I was so uncomfortable sitting or standing I took the day off work and spent it laying on the living room floor watching TV. Getting up off the floor wasn’t pleasant but at least I was feeling ok when I was down there.
I went back to the chiro on Thursday and he mentioned moving around while sitting on an exercise ball may help, so I actually used one as my desk chair the rest of the day and on Friday too. Finally on Friday evening I started to feel some improvement. Waking up Saturday was still a struggle and I gave up on socks after failing to put them on for several minutes. Once I was up and moving around the house, things loosened up and I saw more improvements through the day. When I woke up on Sunday I was able to get out of bed, shower, and put clothes on mostly normal.
Now I was on to week two and I felt better each day. I saw the chiro two more times that week. I was still leaning to one side and moving gingerly until probably Wednesday. I had been able to get on the Airdyne for some exercise through those first 10 days and it was actually when I felt the best. I slowly started adding in more exercise movements like air squats, box step-ups, and lunges.
On Monday, which was the beginning of the 3rd week, I squatted some decent weight (over 70% of my max) with no pain. I saw the chiro one last time on Tuesday. On Wednesday I did a workout with quite a bit of deadlift volume. Didn’t need to restrict any movements at this point and hadn’t felt any pain in several days.
I drove an hour down to Holly, MI on Thursday to see a PT who knows CrossFit. One of my friends recommended him and I liked the idea of seeing a PT who understood the movements. I figured I’d feel more comfortable with any plan he came up with compared to going to see a PT in an office.
During my evaluation we talked through the history of my back tweaks. Then he testing some ranges of motion and watched me do some squats, twists, bends, etc in his “office.” Took me into the gym and watched me squat and deadlift moderate loads. Then he had me do some unilateral movements with a kettlebell. Finally back to deadlifts but from a deficit. We were talking through everything the whole time.
It’s not a mobility issue for me, other than some minor hamstring restrictions at end range. He gave me a bracing and stability tip to get more neutral in my setup; I have had a slight tendency to arch more than needed. He recommended movements to strengthen and stretch my hamstrings under load, showed me a psoas release technique, and gave me some unilateral work to address imbalances I have in my low back muscles.
Turns out I was on the right track with some of the things I’ve done at different times to address this problem. Unfortunately I was never sure and didn’t stick to anything long enough to make a difference. So far I’m really liking the unilateral stuff, which in general is a weakness of most CrossFit programming. We love the barbell, but it can hide a lot of imbalances. I’m excited to see how things progress over the next couple of months.
I just finished my second go-round of the Thruster Attack program I created almost 2 years ago. I didn’t remember it hurting so much. I started on November 12th and had to stretch out this final week so today actually marks 71 days.
Basically you do thruster intervals twice a week. The days start on opposite ends of the energy pathway spectrum, aerobic and anaerobic, and meet in the middle during week 10. For specifics, read the original post (linked above). I’m really happy with how well the program holds up. I’ve seen solid improvements in my fitness both times I’ve done it and several friends who just finished or are in various weeks of the program are also seeing fitness gains.
Many of us who enjoy fitness say we’d pick a heavy squat if we could only do one movement for the rest of our life, but a thruster might be the better choice.
While I think the program as originally written is solid, I tried out some changes on myself this time:
- During the first 3 weeks, I did 2 extra sets on the heavy days.
- For the first 3 weeks of Tabata work I kept the rep count at 8 for every set.
- In weeks 4-5 I started to increase the reps during later Tabata rounds.
- For weeks 6-10 I did 9 reps for every set of Tabata work.
- After the first week or two, I rarely did any other exercising on thruster days.
- Until the last few weeks, I was only doing CrossFit 1-2 other days per week.
All of those changes worked well for me, but may not work for others. The rep counts were low enough in those initial weeks where I could recover fast enough to add in the extra sets on heavy days. During weeks 4-5 the heavy days were the worst and I had to break up some sets. When I originally wrote this program and was testing it out, I’m pretty sure I skipped one of those weeks due to a work trip. In week 4 I had to do the last set of 10 as sets of 6 and 4. Then in week 5 I had to go 6-4 and 4-3-3 on the final two sets. While some of the Tabata work gets boring and turns into a grind, I was never in danger of failing any reps.
How about some numbers? Over the course of 20 sessions, I completed 2,309 thrusters and moved 146,890 pounds! Warm-ups would push those over 2,400 and 150k.
Is it overkill doing so many thrusters? Maybe. Did I want to quit? Almost every workout. Does it work? Definitely.
When I picked up the new Nano 7 I could immediately sense the improvements in the quality of materials over the previous versions of the shoe. Not to say they were bad, but the weave they used feels so much different on the 7. Overall the shoe seems to be a good mix of the best parts of each previous Nano. I think it’s also the best looking one.
I wore them for heavy back squats last night and they felt solid and stable.
Check out these cool new ads for Reebok’s “Be More Human” campaign.
This is a great video from Brute about scaling in CrossFit. While it’s a very important topic for coaches, I think every athlete in the gym can benefit from understanding some of the concepts and learning how to scale more often. Too many people seems afraid to scale back on reps in workouts, but you can get fitter by doing less work if it means keeping your intensity higher throughout a workout.
Had to make one after the CrossFit Games last weekend. 🙂 Used these instructions as a guide and made a few adjustments. I feel like I just competed in the Games I’m so wrecked from that build. It was a lot of work.
I’ve wanted to make my own for a long time and finally went through with it by pretty much following these instructions. I had the PVC cut into 16 inch pieces at Home Depot and bought two 50 foot pieces of paracord to tie it all together. It took a lot longer than I expected to assemble. I glued each knot so hopefully they don’t slide when pulling on the ladder.
If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.