Crossfit Games 2014 in Retrospect & Unloading
Unless you were living under a rock, which hey, I’m not judging, some people make it work, you know that this weekend was the Crossfit Games. I’ll admit, after watching Day 1, I wasn’t super excited, it looked like Rich was going to run away with things, and the announced events weren’t terribly exciting. Then things got interesting. I won’t recap the weekend in case you haven’t watched everything, but more importantly all the videos are archived. I will say that I was really impressed this year. The mixture of events was more novel than any other year, was really well balanced, and didn’t fall into previous years trends of throwing heavier and heavier barbells at athletes as a test of fitness. Further, there wasn’t novelty for novelty’s sake, there was no “fat pig” or “hammer box” just because some guy at Rogue Fitness thought it would be cool. This year for the first time I think since 2011, we got back to just really good Crossfit, fitness. That’s why the scoreboard became so interesting, we saw a lot of really balanced athletes competing at things that were really good tests of their fitness. There were obviously some strengths and weaknesses, but the most balanced athletes really shined and no one ran away from the pack. I don’t love Dave Castro as a person, but after this year I respect his programming a lot more.
Also I think Tommy Hackenbruck is my new favorite person, at 6’1 he was one of the tallest athletes this year and stayed right there with the big names, there’s exceptions to every rule.
This is how I watched the Games Saturday, it was hot, and sweaty, but awesome. Drinking games and Crossfit, it’s like the weirdest frat party ever.
Monday was actually a rest day this week, as we’d finished the competition on Sunday with some pretty gross workouts. I will say I was happy to finish where I did in the online competition, but I think had this been a real competition, with heats and a crowd, where I could’ve seen what it would’ve taken for me to climb up a spot or two, maybe the results would’ve been different. But we all did the workouts under similar circumstances, no crowd, no heats, so this just shows me that I need to push myself harder from within, relying on some external force means day-to-day I won’t get better as quickly as someone who has that drive.
B1. Straddle Hollow Body Hold; AMSAP unbroken x 5 sets; rest 30 seconds
B2. Arch Body Hold; AMSAP unbroken x 5 sets; rest 1 minute
C. Side Plank; AMSAP unbroken x 5 sets/side; rest 1 minute between sides
C1. TnG Deadlifts @ moderate load; 5 reps x 5 sets; rest 1 minute
C2. Bar-Facing Burpees; 16 reps for time x 5 sets; rest 3 minutes
60, 50, 51, 41, 50
:20 on / :40 off x 45
“Grace” for time:
30 Power Clean & Jerks @ 135#
For time, 20-15-10-5:
Overhead Squats @ 105#
This week was an unloading week, which is something that I’m not good at, firstly I was feeling pretty good after a simple rest day Monday, ready to get back to hard training, work on pushing myself harder etc. Then a few days into the unloading cycle I was feeling really unloaded. Tuesdday was a tedious day, these kind of static hold drills I don’t think give me the right feedback, they never seem to translate well to skills for me. I’m much more of a “practice makes perfect” athlete, do the full movement, feel it out, learn from those mistakes. Still I tried to push myself, having a long torso makes these midlines drills pretty taxing but it was a good day. Wednesday at least got us back to some barbell work which obviously is one of my favorite things, especially some deadlifts. We were told to keep the weight moderate, so I didn’t push this too high, focus on good bar path and good speed. Thursday I got a little aggressive. This is where the “I’m bad at unloading” part really showed up.
Come Thursday I was clearly feeling very fresh. So fresh that I wanted to really push some Airdyne work. Normally I have been doing :30/:30 intervals for about 30 minutes, I like these, I tend to recover okay from them, and they are good conditioning practice, working that :30 seconds of 90% capacity. I wanted a shorter interval this week, to really try and creep up past that 90% mark, to really work on that domain of “so hard its uncomfortable but not enough to make me quit”. That’s a tough thing to work on. I though given the extra intensity, a longer rest also made sense. The only issue is that since the effort wasn’t equal, when I made the calculation to keep the volume the same, I didn’t really realize the toll this would have on my legs. The total calorie count for my :30/:30 work has never even broken 400, Thursday I broke 500. Obviously this was way more work than I really intended to do and I certainly felt it Friday. I went from fresh and unloaded, to stale, in about 50 minutes. Nevertheless, I tied my 1RM power clean of 295, and nearly had the jerk, so I can’t be too upset. I then went on to set a pretty solid “Grace” time of 1:49, which isn’t a PR since I’ve never done it, but will be hard to improve on. Saturday was just a brutal day, it was the hottest day of the year so far in Saint Louis, and the workout was filled with 100% goats, squat snatch, OHS, then a OHS, CTB, Burpee WOD. Mentally it was just a challenge to complete the day. Goat work is always the hardest, it’s not fun, its humbling and defeating.
Despite being one of the hottest weekends so far this year, it was still beautiful, and sunny. After having made burgers for the last 4-5 weeks of meal prep, I was hungry for some change, so I threw together some mexican shredded beef from grassfed chuck roast, the smells were amazing, can’t wait to dig into this this week.
P.S. If you’re near Saint Louis, I’ll be competing this weekend in the LuLuLemon Giveback Throwdown or something along those lines. It’s hosted at Crossfit Saint Louis so come say hi!