CrossFit | Prepping for a Three-peat: Gord Mackinnon Master’s Competitor

Via CrossFit – Prepping for a Three-peat: Gord Mackinnon – YouTube

50 years old people.

Your average human being that shares the same space in this world as a retiree. He’s in the best shape his body will allow, despite having some medical conditions.

He’s doing this with Atrial Fibrillation and a history of a TIA.

Best of luck to you Gord, I hope in 10 years I’m able to compete at that level.

CrossFit Games Open WOD 13.4. Not a hot mess.

Via 2013 Open Workouts | CrossFit Games

Workout 13.4

MEN – includes Masters Men up to 54 years old
Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes following the rep scheme below:
135 pound Clean and jerk, 3 reps
3 Toes-to-bar
135 pound Clean and jerk, 6 reps
6 Toes-to-bar
135 pound Clean and jerk, 9 reps
9 Toes-to-bar
135 pound Clean and jerk, 12 reps
12 Toes-to-bar
135 pound Clean and jerk, 15 reps
15 Toes-to-bar
135 pound Clean and jerk, 18 reps
18 Toes-to-bar…
This is a timed workout. If you complete the round of 18, go on to 21. If you complete 21, go on to 24, etc.

RESULT: 63 reps (Completed full rounds of 12 reps and started the 15 rep round of clean & jerk)

I had a plan. I stuck to it. It wasn’t an amazing performance, but it worked for me.

There really wasn’t any CrossFit trickery with this one. You had to have a good engine and a good set of lungs for this one. Of course you needed to be able to perform the movements properly and efficiently, but ultimately this was all about how well you hit the inevitable ‘wall’ and how well you could keep going past that ‘wall’.

I hit the ‘wall’ around the first couple reps of the clean & jerk during the 9 rep round. Once I hit the wall, my pace slowed down immensely during the clean & jerks, sadly.

I know going into this I had a couple things in mind:

  1. Try not to tear/rip/shred my hands: Toes to bar are fairly easy for me (depending on the rep scheme). I don’t tire out easily, and my core is fairly strong. So I know I could muster through them unbroken. I had expected to maybe break up the 15 rep scheme if I had made it that far. My problem is always my hands. My palms will translate around the bar and that friction ALWAYS causes huge damage to my fingers. I was determined to prevent that damage. I had enough wits about me during the 9 rep round that I was able to re-grip two separate times, so as not to let the friction get the best of my hands. It worked. No tears.
  2. Preserve my grip strength for as long as possible: I read a lot on  tips and tricks for this WOD (just like the others). Tap and go clean & jerk exhausts your grip, so I dropped the bar each time and reset as quickly as I could. My grip wasn’t an issue during the toes 2 bar and my forearms weren’t smoked when finished.
  3. Maintain good form and don’t let technique go out the door: I was so worried as exhaustion set in I’d break down. I was expecting to ‘dead lift’ the bar instead of ‘clean’ the bar properly with hamstrings and hips.. I was also expecting to try and push press the bar during the jerk, and I somehow was able to maintain form with a push jerk. So I conserved my shoulders.

Yep, ultimately it was my conditioning again. It sucks. I hate reliving the conversation, but not training for almost 6 weeks during the first of the year really put a hamper on my metabolic conditioning. Not to mention I sort of avoided the heavy met con’s for a long time since I was concentrating on The Outlaw Way and increasing my strength and skill in the Olympic lifts.

Ahh well. This whole experience has been quite enlightening and yes… it has been fun.

One more week!!








CrossFit Games Open WOD 13.3. A hot mess.

Via 2013 Open Workouts | CrossFit Games

MEN – includes Masters Men up to 54 years old
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
150 Wall balls (20 lbs to 10′ target)
90 Double-unders
30 Muscle-ups

RESULT: 207 reps (150 Wall balls + 57 double-unders)

I had a plan. It didn’t work out so well. I really thought I would be able to squeeze out a few muscle ups.



The expected CrossFit trickery happened again. I read the WOD, and I thought to myself “I remember doing this, the wall balls are tough.. but I managed”. Last year I couldn’t do a single double under, so I subbed in 180 singles. I can’t quite remember how many I got, but I know I didn’t finish the single jump ropes. I vaguely remember my legs being like spaghetti noodles.

Well, apparently I have a bad memory because the wall balls destroyed me. I attempted the double unders aaaaaan got two before I was tripped up. My legs just wouldn’t work. Period.

This whole time, I thought my calves did most of the ‘work’ during a double under.

Yep. Wrong again.

When I went to propel myself off the ground I had no get-up-and-go. It was dead weight. Sad.

I fought through the weakness and derangement to string sets of 5 and 10 and I think 17 before time ran out. I got 57 total double unders.


I know last year I was able to do “Karen” and the 150 wall balls in something around the 8 ½ min mark. Once again I took for granted that I did the wall balls last year with an 18lb plyo ball, and not the 20lb traditional (slam ball) sand filled ball (the traditional ball all CrossFit boxes use). The ball I used last year was half the circumference and had a hard rubber outer shell.

I never used nor even picked up the ball I used for the WOD this year until an hour before I did the WOD.

So I guess I can use that as an excuse. (It’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

Also, my conditioning is in the toilet after taking all of January and half of February off from training due to school responsibilities. 



On to 13.4.

CrossFit – Open Workout 13.3

Via CrossFit – Open Workout 13.3 – Movement Standards with Julie Foucher – YouTube

So a revisit of 12.4. I can remember how frustrated I was with this one. A year ago I couldn’t do a single double under, now I can string close to 50 at a time. I still can’t string 2 muscle-ups together, but I’m psyched to be able to get to that point. I can however do a single muscle up at a time!!!

CrossFit Games – Open WOD 13.2

Workout 13.2

MEN – includes Masters Men up to 54 years old
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
115 pound Shoulder to overhead, 5 reps
115 pound Deadlift, 10 reps
15 Box jumps, 24″ box

Via 2013 Open Workouts | CrossFit Games


 Once again, at face value the WOD doesn’t seem too bad (which is just the oh-so expected trickery of CrossFit WODs). This is just 10 minutes of suffering. Can you keep moving, how fast can you move, how much energy can you conserve. Period.

I knew going into the WOD that box jumps will drain ya, but I never in a million years expected the shoulder to overhead (S2O) to destroy me. On Thursday I trialed just one round of this WOD to see what my time would be like. I did the round in just over a minute. So I knew factoring in fatigue that I’d only squeak out 6 rounds or more. That was until I did my second round of S2O.

It’s not secret I have cervical spine issues,  that have resulted in some serious weaknesses with my shoulders. Well this WOD exposed the crap outta them. By the 3rd round I was struggling to get that bar over my head and locked out. Most peeps will use the push jerk or split jerk to help them heave it up there, but my legs, hips and hamstrings were slowly fading due to the box jumps combined with the deadlift.

I literally don’t know how I got that bar up there on those last 2 rounds.

I’m sort of irked that I couldn’t squeeze out a final rep on the deadlift, but ahh well. 

I ended up stepping down for each box jump, outta fear and energy conservation. I just couldn’t get past the fear of blowing out my achilles tendon. I also suck at the bounce box jump. I can’t seem to explode off the floor well.

My deadlifts were fine, other than my form and technique started to go in the crapper around round 5, and I was using my back too much. Thankfully I was able to adjust.

Over all I’m pleased with my performance. I had in my mind 6 rounds, and I got 6 full rounds and then some. I never stopped. I kept moving. I think I had a 2 second pause during the last set of S2O, and I took a 2 second pause during my last set of box jumps, but I kept moving. I even resorted to stepping up on the box, instead of staring at the box trying to catch my breath. I just kept moving.

Whew.. what a burner.

Not bad for an old man.


CrossFit Games Open 2013: Week one complete

As of today, there are nearly 138,000 people registered to compete, including 25,000 Masters athletes and more than 2,800 teams. Of those registered, more than 120,000 people submitted validated scores for the the brutal combination of burpees and snatches.

Via Week One in the Books | CrossFit Games

138,000 competitors????

And I’m one of them.

That’s just mind boggling. To think that 138,000 people performed the same workout to see who was better. How awesome is that? How can you not be amazed by that? We’re talking all walks of life.

I’m Tossing My Hat In the Ring: CrossFit Games Open 2013

CrossFit Games | The Fittest on Earth

After almost two years of ‘trying’ CrossFit, I finally made the plunge. I registered for the CrossFit Games 2013 Open today.


I’m excited, but I’m very realistic.

Do I plan on winning the games? Probably not.

Do I plan on giving it all I got. Yep.

The irony of this CrossFit environment is that I’m ‘competing’ with individuals whose full-time job is just to simply train. They don’t have a day job. They’re ‘job’ is to workout. And then about ⅛ of the competitors or maybe even ¼ of the competitors are CrossFit box owners. So they’re full-time job is to train other’s. They spend their entire day doing CrossFit.

And then there’s me. I am the average 40 year old joe, who might do CrossFit 2-4 times a week. I don’t have a coach. I don’t even workout in a traditional Crossfit ‘box’. I workout independently on my own at my local ‘globo-gym’. Follow my own programming, and truly live the theme of ‘random’. Yet, I’m paying the registration fee to ‘compete’. To be a part of apparently over 100,00 registrants and counting.

Why am I doing this?

For the love of the game. It’s that simple. To have another whack at being a competitor. To see what kind of mettle I have. To compare. To train. To improve. To test my limits. Physical fortitude is forged through mental toughness. What better way to improve my mental toughness than to test my physical limits?? Who doesn’t’ need to improve their mind? Or their body?

Even though I’m a 40 year old blue-collared citizen with a 40+ hour a week job, school, family and social responsibilities, for the next 5 weeks… I can be called a competitor. I can be called an athlete. Regardless of the outcome, I get to participate and then watch other athletes perform in a ‘game’ that I’m a part of. That is the draw of CrossFit, to watch these amazing athletes perform skills that I myself have tried, and for the most part can perform. I can empathize with these athletes on a level that is not understood with other sports. When I see the ‘elite’ performing, struggling and showing their mettle, I can truly understand what they are going through, and what they’ve gone through to get where they are.

I mean, how cool is that?

That is, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Care to join me?

Smith vs. Barbell Squats

This was worth over-sharing. A great factual explanation as to why the Smith machine is inferior to the free barbell – always. 

On the topic of the similarities between Smith and barbell squats, we may need to beat a dead horse. Charles Poliquin, my squat Grandmaster, has this to say on the subject:

“With a Smith machine, the bar is on a track, and this increased stability decreases the requirement of the body’s neutralizer and stabilizer muscle functions. Therefore, the strength developed on such machines has minimal carryover to a three-dimensionally, unstable environment such as occurs during the freestanding squat. This is an especially important fact to those who use weight training to improve sports performance.” (Charles Poliquin)

A huge drawback of the Smith machine is that eliminates the need for your body to build stabilizer muscles, as it does the stabilization for you. We may rag on folks who over-emphasize stabilization training, but the bottom line is if you have no stabilization muscles, what the hell kind of training do you think you are doing? In addition to the stabilization factor, the Smith machine places unnecessarily high levels of stress on the patellar ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament. Some bodybuilders favor the Smith machine because of its focus on the quads, but remember folks: Just because it creates a favorable response with a muscle does not mean it is is healthy for a tendon or joint (like the sumo deadlift high pull, or BTN strict press).

On a more scientific note, researchers have found that use of the Smith machine resulted in vast reductions of power, due to the increased load during the concentric phase and the reduction of the potentiation from the stretch-shortening cycle as well as a decrease in velocity for the eccentric phase. Now say all of that ten times fast.

The long story short is this: stop trying to justify your use of the Smith machine. You say that is is useful to do assisted pullups or to hang rings from? There are literally a thousand other places to hang rings from. It astounds me that gyms will spend thousands of dollars on this piece of equipment so someone can hang a TRX band over it. Get under a real bar, and get a solid coach to guide you on your way.

Via On the topic of the…

I guess it comes down to – are you training for appearance or performance? You can train to improve your performance and your appearance will greatly improve. But you can’t train to improve your appearance and expect your performance to get any better.


A hat-tip to the beasts over at Lift Big Eat Big. Awesome. 

121012 WOD

I never have a lot of time on Friday, so I have to pick and choose what I can do. We decided to do part of Outlaw again.


WOD 121012:

BB Gymnastics

1) Every 40 seconds for 6 minutes (10 total reps):

1 Power Snatch + 1 Hang Snatch (full squat) @ 80% of 120914.

Notes: Reps are at 0:00 – 0:40 – 1:20 – 2:00 – 2:40 – 3:20 – 4:00 – 4:40 – 5:20 – 6:00

*rest 2 minutes

I used 125#. I failed on rep #3. My hips were tight and sore.. I just wasn’t on my game for this exercise at all.

2) Every 50 seconds for 7:30 minutes (10 total reps):

1 Power Clean + 1 Hang Clean (full squat) + 1 Push Press @ 80% of 120914.

Notes: Reps are at 0:00 – 0:50 – 1:40 – 2:30 – 3:20 – 4:10 – 5:00 – 5:50 – 6:40 – 7:30

I used 165# and felt good about this whole exercise scheme. I really liked this one.

Via 121012 « The Outlaw Way


As always, I wish I had the time to do The Outlaw Way full time in the gym.. but I can’t. So I do it when I can.