Sunday, September 12, 2010

Class Recap - September 11, 2010

Sorry for the long layoff. I hope to post updates a lot more regularly from now on. Anyways, for a little over a month now the FFT members have been squatting and deadlifting once a week. The continual progression of everyone has been great and I'm excited to see where it goes. Just looking back to early August, it's remarkable to see how much progress has made with consistent use of the two best lifts for functional strength (in my opinion). I have many more thoughts to talk about when it comes to general training and fitness but for now I will keep this post to the progress that has been made in about the last 30 days.

Saturday was Deadlift day.

Since we started taking a more calculated approach towards squats and deadlifts, I began filming everyone's max effort set. I feel that watching yourself on video is one of the best ways make your form better. As a trainer, I can only say so much. Sometimes it takes you seeing yourself for things to "click". With that said, I apologize that the most recent set of video's aren't on this post. The blog host that I use isn't working properly. I will be switching to a new blog site in the coming weeks and from what I've heard, posting there is much easier.

For each session, we follow an outline that I learned from Martin Berkhan at (Sorry for the lack of a hyperlink. I promise more sophisticated blogging in the future.) This calls for a couple of warm-up sets, one "top set", and one "cool down" set. Here is how the sequence goes:

Set 1: 60% of Top Set weight, 6 reps
Set 2: 80% of Top Set weight, 4 reps
Set 3: Top Set weight, as many reps as possible
Set 4: 90% of Top Set weight, Set 3 reps +1 if possible

Therefore an example would look something like this:
155 and 205 were the warm-up sets (reps of 6 and 4 are assumed). The Top Set weight of 225 was pulled 7 times and therefore the Cool Down set could be at the most 8 reps, which this lifter achieved.

For Deadlifts, we add weight at the next session if you can do 5 reps or more on your Top Set. Anything below 5, the weight stays the same. With all that said, here are some numbers that give me confidence that the program is working.

Back on August 1, this was Ann's deadlift line:
Yesterday September 11, this was Ann's deadlift line:
In a little over a month, Ann added 25 pounds to her deadlift while achieving the same amount of reps. Every week more weight is added and every week Ann continues to pull it. I'm curious to see how far we can go before Ann's progress starts to slow down. So far it has only been up.

August 1:
Septemer 11:
Kerri also added 25 pounds while keeping her reps the same. The best part about Kerri's deadlift is her will to lift the weight even when she could have easily have stopped a couple of reps ago. She is allowed to do this because of how she roots herself in her heels and pulls with the proper form. Her shins and knees are proof of how the bar never gets out in front of her.

Matt doesn't have a before and after due to a broken finger he suffered in late July. While he had his finger splint on, we worked a lot of accessory lifts to keep the hips and hamstrings strong. With the splint off, Matt had a breakthrough with the deadlift yesterday. Until yesterday, Matt had never been able to execute a deadlift with acceptable form*. Then for whatever reason, Matt felt good about the deadlift and he hit his best deadlifts ever. It was very exciting as Matt has been working on this for awhile now.
Septemer 11:
*Safety is always the first priority. That is not a cliche during class. Make no mistake about it, you can hurt yourself doing heavy deadlifts and squats. Everyone has to show competence with every lift before intensity and weight is added.

Mark (me)
The last month has been a lot of fun for me. Since I started training people, my own training has been inconsistent at best. By working out with the class since the beginning of August, I have been able to train myself while at the same time coaching the rest of the class. That combination is pretty much the best of both worlds and I really appreciate the opportunity to do so. Anyways, I am very happy with my progress so far and I look forward to reaching my goals as I keep up with a workout schedule that I haven't had since training for high school football.
August 8:
September 11:
Combining the results of Kerri, Ann, and myself, we have been able to average a gain of 5 lbs per session. Time will only tell how long this pace will go on for, but the journey is certainly going to be fun.
I have a lot more to talk about in upcoming posts so stay tuned for that and to see how we all progress in the weeks to come.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Zone Diet - July 6 to August 21

After talking it over this morning in class, FFT is going Zone starting on Tuesday July 6 (that gives everyone some time to get some meal ideas together while still celebrating the Fourth of July to it's fullest extent). Kerri, Ann, and I will be following block prescriptions with mostly Paleo food. I have 18 blocks to eat each day, Kerri 13, and Ann 12. Here is the link to the old standard: Issue 21 of the Crossfit Journal. On August 21 Kerri will be going for 2 consecutive kipping pull-ups, a goal she set for herself recently. That gives us about 7 weeks to see how things go. We are doing a more flexible zone and here are some of the tweaks as laid out on Robb Wolf's page:

Ever notice that it takes 2 cups of broccoli to make a block? Do you realize that means 8 cups of broccoli for a 4 block meal?!??! How about the greater than 50% of people who STILL get carb-head and insulin problems with the level of carbs recommended by the Zone?

1-shift upwards of 50% of the day’s carbs into the Post WO meal.

2-Delete carb blocks as needed and add 3 blocks of fat (1.5g of fat per block) to maintain caloric balance.

The details of these tweaks are laid out in Robb's Performance Menu article: 42 Ways to Skin the Zone

Training will still be the same, a mix of metcons (mostly short), skill work (the kip is quite appropriate here, as well as handstands), and Wendler 5/3/1 for the core strength movements.

Also, not to make Kerri feel alone on August 21, I'm going to throw my hat in the ring and go for a 500 lb. deadlift as my goal. The penalty for not achieving your goal is 100 burpees for time. Pretty good motivation if you ask me.

So for the next 7 weeks we will be tracking our meals, workouts, and body weight. Weighing myself this morning I came in at 211.4 with 17.9% body fat.

Please feel free to jump in and join us. I will be putting many more posts up and we will all be using comments on the posts, e-mails, and text messages to keep each other up to date on our food journals. I may even start using Twitter, who knows.

I hope you enjoy following along, it should be fun.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Paleolithic Solutions Seminar - April 10, 2010

Hoboken, NJ

This was my second time seeing Robb present and I'm looking forward to going again sometime. Robb does a great job mixing the science with real world analogies that make this stuff easier to digest (pun intended). Robb's site is a great resource for all things fitness and nutrition related.

While it required leaving the house at 4:15 am and getting home after midnight (thanks for riding with me Victoria!), I would definitely do it again.

April 17, 2010

4 rounds of:
Butt Kicks, 30 secs
Power Squat, 30 secs
Knee Drive, 30 sec
Plank Hold, 30 sec
Crab Push-Ups, 30 secs
Rest, 30 secs
As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
15 Plate/Medicine Ball Clean and Press
Overhead Lunge

Odd objects, no problem!

Simple movements are brutally effective. Good job guys, you worked hard but maintained proper form throughout.

"Functional movements...are natural, effective, and efficient locomotors of body and external objects. But no aspect of functional movements is more important than their capacity to move large loads over distances, and to do so quickly."

-Crossfit Journal Issue 56, April 2007 "Understanding CF"

April 14, 2010

Squat 3-3-3-1-1-1

As many rounds as possible in 7 minutes of:
7 DB Swings
7 DB Push Press
7 Knee-Tuck/Toe-to-Bar

April 7, 2010

20 minutes of (at moderate intensity):
1 lap jog (work on Pose form)
10 Push-Ups
20 Air Squats

10 rounds for time of:
14 DB Swings
7 Wall-Ball Shots

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holiday Weekend Workout!

Saturday - April 3

4 rounds of:
Jog in place, 30 sec
Power Squat, 30 sec
Ski, 30 sec
Knee Drive, 30 sec
Level 1 Drill, 30 sec
Rest, 60 sec

3 rounds for max reps of:
Incline Bench

As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
Run to Light Post and Back
DB Push Press, 15 reps
Air Squat, 15 reps

Good job keeping your Pose form!