Backsquat PR!

Re-tested my backsquat today.  I knew it was either going to be a shit show or I’d PR.  And, as you can tell from the subject of this blog post, I PR’d today.  I really just wanted to get over the 200# mark, so I’m happy that I got 205#.  Now, I’m not over the moon happy. I would have loved to get at least 215# – but it just wasn’t in the cards today.  Leila managed to get it on video.  Jarrod is spotting me.

It felt fairly easy to do, so after talking to Jarrod, I went for 215#.  This was a matter of me getting in my own way and failed twice.  Dropped to 210# and failed twice there too.  I felt like I almost had the second attempt at 210#, but my legs were gassed.  Considering I haven’t really worked out in over a week and am still a wee sick – I did make my goal of breaking the 200# mark and got a 10# PR, so I’ll take it 🙂  I might try in open gym on Sunday to attempt again.  I tried to lay out my rep scheme and ran in past Jarrod.  Perhaps this is why I will never ever program my own workouts.  You can see my proposal on the left and Jarrod’s suggestion on the right.  HA. Perhaps I proposed in a little more reps that I should have.

photo (8)

Dark Place to Failure

Today was a rest day for me.  Trying to do three days on, one day off.

Yesterday, I went to that dark place and also to failure.  But don’t fret!  Failure was the point of the workout.

The workout was: 5×8 back squats, working to a heavy set

Jarrod advised that we should go heavy, and if you don’t fail completing one of the rounds, you’re not going heavy enough.  I worked out with Coach Rita, who is about equal to me in weights during workouts.  We decided to go with the following weight scheme: 135#, 145#, 155#, 160#, 170#

I was confident with Rita spotting me and while difficult, I managed to squeak out 8 reps at 170#.  Rita got her reps at 170# as well.  Rita was determined to go to failure and we decided that we were going to do a 6th round at 175#.  Jarrod spotted me on that last set and I finally felt what it was like to go to that dark place while lifting (I’ve gone to that dark place during rowing).  Jarrod told me to breathe at the top of the reps.  Take a moment to reset before I go back down into the squat.  I got three reps in and went for my fourth.  I got about 1/3 of the way back up and needed Jarrod to jump in and help me back up.  After I got back up, he told me to reset and try again.  I was seeing stars, I had pushed myself to that dark place.  I knew I was going to fail, but I was okay with that.  I had pushed myself to my limit – which is something that I’ve never done before with lifting.  I didn’t try, as I knew I would have surely passed out.

Who knew failure could feel so good?


It’s a mental game

Today was a strength workout and I learned the psychological powers of a spotter.


I didn’t have a particular number in my head, but the workout was:

  • 5×10  back squats
  • 10 ring rows / ME bi-cep curls @20#

I did a build up starting at 95# and then did 125#, 135#, 145# – I got to 10 reps for 145#, which means I was increasing weight for the 5th set.  For the first four sets, I didn’t use a spotter and planned to dump it if I needed to. I saw some people dump over their heads because spotters couldn’t pull them up and elected to dump vs. have a spotter because I had a better chance of dumping it backwards than over my head.

I wasn’t sure how much to increase my weight for the 5th set and as per usual, conferred with Jarrod.  He told me that if I didn’t have a spotter, he didn’t want me to go higher than 150#.  I really wanted 155# – and told him so – and he said that if I got someone to spot me, I could.  So I had my buddy Brian spot me.  I wanted someone that I knew could clean at least 155# because he would be able to lift me up (or give me a “help hug” as Jarrod calls it).  And then I had an Oprah “Aha” moment.

With Brian spotting me, I was able to push through and do 155# with relatively little effort.  I did all 10 reps – which means I could have gone higher.  Without even thinking about it, I was more confident in my reps and wasn’t as prone to bailing early.  It totally helped me do better from a mental perspective.  If no one was spotting me, I might have bailed a bit earlier – but with the confidence that I was being spotted by Brian – I was able to push through and get those last couple of reps .Now that I’ve understood the power of a spotter, Jarrod suggested that I start at a higher weight next time with a spotter on every round.  Can’t wait!  Aha!

And I saw this on Facebook and it’s a good reminder as we kick off 2013.






Some New Craic – Testing Day 1

Took a rest day yesterday.  After the tabata and then sitting in a car for 7+ hours…my body was a mess.  Mostly lounged around the house after going to breakfast and catching a screening of Lincoln in the early afternoon.  I also knew that I’d be working out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week because it’s another testing week at Craic and I needed to get my tests / workouts in before I left for a business trip to Las Vegas.  So why more tests?  Craic is changing the way that they approach training.  This came after a trip John and Glen took to AZ for OPT Training.  Here’s Glen’s recent post on the new philosophy of training.  We’re going to spend three days testing this week and for each movement, it will put us into a group of which we will stay in while we train.  For some of the movements, we might be in BEG, for others, INT and for some Rx and that will be our swim lane (per movement) for the next two months.

I worked out with Kendyl and Lauren today.  Lauren and I were joking that if we morphed into one person, we would be the ultimate Crossfitter 🙂  She’s amazing at gymnastics and running and I’m pretty decent at strength and rowing.  Ha!  Today’s test was 1RM backsquat and max pull-ups (or scaled version).  The thresholds for what group you’re in were as follows:


RX= 1.5x Bodyweight or more
INT= 1-1.5x Bodyweight
BEG= Bodyweight or less


Men / Women 
RX=  7+
INT= 3-6
BEG = 0-2

Going in, I knew I’m be at BEG for the pull-ups, but surprisingly, until today, I’ve never tested my backsquat 1RM.  For the pull-ups we had the option of doing 3-second negatives or ring pulls.  Pull-ups make me nervous with my shoulder issue, so I talked to Jarrod about doing ring-pulls correctly.  I’ve been doing them a lot lately, but I knew I wasn’t doing them correctly, as they weren’t as challenging as I knew that they could be.  This time, Jarrod had me stand with my feet directly beneath the rings and it was definitely more challenging.  I squeaked out 11 ring pulls.  Officially in the BEG group.  By the way, Lauren got 11 strict pull-ups!

Working with Lauren and Kendyl was great on the backsquat.  Kendyl totally underestimated her own strength and was like “I think I’ll try for 105 today.”  She and Lauren both ended up getting 130#!  I checked what I did historically and did a 5×5 at 125# in September and prior to that, 5×3 at 145# in August.  Other than that, I never tested it.  I knew that likely I could do 165#, as that’s my front squat.  I did the following rep scheme: 75# x 2, 95# x 3 (warm up) and then 125#, 145#, 165#, 175#, 185#, and then I decided to try for 195#.  I rebounded off the bottom no problem, but when I got the middle of the lift my body just stopped.  It (as Jarrod also pointed out) was a very weird place for me to pause in the middle of my lift.  He thought I was going to fail, but somehow after the pause, I stood right up!  I’m really happy with 195#.  It put me in the INT group for that movement.  Can’t wait to get 200# at the end of this training regime!

Today also marked my half-year point of check-ins at Craic.  I’m still the mayor 🙂 I’ve been going to Craic for 8 months, but didn’t start doing the Foursquare thing until today.