the spaz of fitness has arrived

Posts Tagged ‘muscle up’

One Step at a Time

In General, Training, WOD on January 31, 2013 at 10:09 pm

The Jomad’s First Muscle-Up!

Well, so I thought I’d be starting this post very differently, but apparently I achieved my first (very ugly) muscle-up today… and I would like to plaster the video everywhere, despite its hideousness. I still don’t totally endorse CrossFit’s fascination with the muscle-up– because I think many people develop a fixation with it before they’ve learned the proper mechanics of more basic movements (pull-up, dip)– and also because I’ve found that it’s really strenuous on the body. That said, I admit it’s a little fun to have achieved one of my 2013 goals, to be able to perform one of the more “advanced” movements, etc… I’m going to do my best in the following days to resist jumping right back on the rings and instead, do more work on the transition. As you can tell from the video, my shoulders are barely clearing the rings… The movement would be much easier if I could land in the right position rather than literally “muscle” my way up there. All things in time, I suppose.

That said, it is time for Jo to switch up her training again. I’ve been feeling discontent with my routine lately. My results have been inconsistent, but mostly I’ve just been less… enthused. And thanks to a good talk with Zebrapants, I think he pinpointed the root of my problem– for someone aspiring to become a CrossFit coach, I’ve been doing increasingly less CrossFit. At first, it made sense to me because I desperately need to become stronger… and I’m still not where I’d like to be in terms of strength, but right now I’d like to be a more participatory CrossFitter. So… after some consideration, even more consultation with people more knowledgeable than myself, and even more reading (because, well, that’s what I do), I’ve decided that I can do with two days of dedicated strength per week. Zebrapants also praises the benefits of one longer metcon or hero WOD per week, and I like that idea for now because I want to work on my muscular endurance– a huge, huge weakness of mine after so much powerlifting training. That leaves two days of just doing the box’s regular programming, and two rest days per week– which is more than I’ve rested in a while now (I’ve been a one-rest-day/week person for probably too long).

Though only two CrossFit classes a week still isn’t as many as I’d like to attend, I think it’s a balanced compromise for now, and for the first time in a long time, I get to be fully present for the class– I won’t have to worry about other lifts or accessory work before or between classes. I will also enjoy CrossFitting again… and refamiliarizing myself with all the skillwork that I’ve left untouched.

Tentatively, my new training schedule will look like this:




Press 5, 5, 5+

Squat 5, 5, 5+

Weighted Pull Ups 2 x 6-8

Weighted Dips 2 x 6-8

Weighted Lunges


Box Programming




Bench 5, 5, 5+

Deadlift 5+

Weighted Lunges

Heavy KB Swings


Box’s Programming


Long Metcon/Hero WOD at 80% Intensity

The strength template is derived from Greyskull Linear Progression, which has a loyal following and is highly adaptable. My two strength days are modeled after what’s been tested and approved by different power athletes (mostly rugby players). As for the CrossFit classes I attend, I want to ensure I do everything with 100% movement integrity, that I just do the best damn job I can regardless of how much I suck or how long it takes me. If it’s suitable for a WOD, I may try to scale down the reps and keep the weight high rather than vise versa to keep more of a strength bias. I’m going to trust the coaches here… and just commit entirely and if it’s taking me too long to do everything with good form and the right weight, I’m sure they’ll tell me what to scale and how. And for Sundays, I’m thinking 80% intensity is a good way to build muscular endurance and get used to longer slogs without burning myself out. Fortunately, it’s also right before my not-doing-jack-shit day 🙂

Anyway, that’s the news for Jo for now. I’m very excited about spending more time with our members and in classes. I’m excited about doing more CrossFit again, and dedicating more time to things like snatch drills with a PVC pipe rather than a bunch of accessory lifts. If I want to be a virtuous CrossFitter, I should be paying more attention to things like technique work and mobility. I should spend more time working on flexibility and recovery… even though it feels less gratifying than the brute force workouts. I won’t know how well this works until I just plain try, so… I plan on just throwing myself in 110% and reevaluating in another month or month and a half.

Thanks so much to everyone that helped me work through my issues and figure out a plan. To quote a good friend, “I’m a plan-based mammal.” I feel better when I’m building towards my goals with concrete steps in mind. Long journeys are okay– stagnation drives me crazy.

Happy Thursday!


EDIT: SCRATCH THAT. Training schedule still up in the air. Zebrapants advises against my plan… and the whole point of having a coach is… that someone is probably wiser and better at looking at what you’re doing wrong than you are… right?

The Nineteenth Grade

In General, Training on January 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Technically, I’m about to start the second semester of the 19th grade. After elementary, middle and high school, college, a Master’s of Fine Arts, and the first semester of my PhD… I still get anxious about the first day of school. It’s worse when I’m teaching… I don’t worry about public speaking, but I worry that I’ll fail my students. That all the good intents I have for the class will be jumbled by poor delivery and somehow I’ll ruin their creative writing experience (that’s what I’m teaching this semester). I’m particularly nervous this semester, though, because I’m not yet certain if I’ve taken on too much to do it all well. But I hope not… I hope with enough discipline, I’ll survive.

In addition to the classes I’m taking (which includes yet another dreaded pre-1800 requirement), I’ll be taking a Teaching with Technology course (which shouldn’t be all that demanding) so that I can teach online courses (which I think will be useful in the future). As I mentioned, I’ll be teaching creative writing, which I love, though from past experience I know I spend exorbitant amounts of time researching new material for the class, reading and rereading my students’ works, etc… I need to start setting a wall clock and grade “for time” or AMRAP in a limited time frame… perhaps an EMOM (Every minute on the minute)? :p. Anyway… in addition to that, I’ll be working with my adviser for an extra two credit hours, editing the special issue of Rhetoric Society Quarterly. And, finally… I’m going to get bigger, stronger, and become an overall more detail-oriented, virtuous CrossFitter…

Anyway, given all that, I’ve been getting frustrated by the technicalities of my training schedule– how to work my lifts around open gym hours, to avoid crowding class hours, how to still remain a member of the box’s community while following my strength/endurance template and participate in a few WODs without burning out. I’d like to continue doing my lower body lifts on Thursday and Sunday because they take so long and then I have the day’s worth of open gym to use the facilities. Also, I like doing ME lower body on Thursday because then I have a better chance of finding someone to spot my squat– though now that we have access to the general Lionheart facilities, I can also use the safety rails on the squat rack, assuming it isn’t occupied by someone else. But also I like isolating my lower body days because they take enough out of me that I can’t (and shouldn’t) WOD afterwards, so if I do them on Thursdays and Sundays I won’t be tempted to jump in with a class.

Anyway… my tentative, very tentative schedule will look like this:

Monday: “Long” run or row (2-3 miles running, or 5k rowing). I’m going to have to do this early morning because I then teach and have a grad seminar until 9:35pm… which really means I’ll get home around 10:15pm, and I have to wake up for another class at 9:00am, which means waking by 7:30am (I need waking-up/breakfast time). Really I kind of worry that my nutrition and rest/recovery will go to shit in this time frame… but I will be diligent about that.

Tuesday: Max Effort Upper Body and skill work, or recovery run, or light (skill-focused) wod (depending on how I feel)

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Max Effort Lower Body, sprint work (uphill tabatas on a treadmill or rowing sprints)

Friday: Dynamic Effort Upper Body, Running form drills or WOD

Saturday: WOD or short pace run/row (also want to do technique drills on oly lifts on this day)

Sunday: Dynamic Effort Lower Body

I’m not sure how I’ll feel waking up early for endurance work before a longish day of school, but we’ll see. If it doesn’t burn me out too much, I’ll keep it. If it does, I’ll need to figure out some way to rearrange my schedule. I’m also really going to focus on getting a muscle up, but I’m not sure how to do that– should be concentrate on weighted pull ups? On strict chest-to-bars? Should I do pull-ups on the rings more? Negative muscle-ups? Transition drills? I’d love any advice from all you lovely, better-informed folks out there. I’ve been doing the Armstrong Pull-Up progression for my pull-ups, which helped enormously and brought me up to ten strict dead-hangs. However, I frustratingly lost a huge amount of that capacity in the past two weeks of vacation (when I lost regular access to a pull-up bar), and now I’m not sure whether to continue because I know that doing more muscle-up skill work will also train the same muscles and I don’t want to overwork them… Thoughts?

That’s the Jo-update the night before the start of her next adventure. I had a lovely, relaxing day yesterday, catching up with State College friends after the holidays. I’d also like to do that more… As much as I love my work, I need to remember to be a human being outside of it more often– otherwise, I develop this awful, hollow feeling and I lose myself in day after night after day of writing and research. It becomes difficult to put my work aside, and I develop this miserable tunnel-vision that feels isolating and hopeless. SO! Let’s not let that happen this semester.

Good luck to those of you also starting your new semesters. Happy Monday to those of you with those fancy, stable, secure jobs. As always, thank you for reading.