Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday 20.10: Gymnastics day

Monday. Gymnastics

This was a great training day. For a second I thought it might be a rest day but then again another option hit my mind. Why wouldn't I practice on some skills and keep it light, kind of active recovery style. Well, this wasn't quite that but not that heavy either. I worked on some body control movements and had a blast at the gym!

Great article, guess I should work more on ankle mobility


  • Ring muscle-ups
  • Skin the cat
  • Frog stand
  • Planche progressions
  • Weird breakdance moves

For starters I don't recall when was the last time I did muscle-ups on rings. It was about time! There was some anxiety up in the air when I walked to the gym and realized some work has to be done on the rings. Luckily my skills had not vanished just like that and I was able to hit couple of reps, one double and then singles. Some additional ring skills were ahead of me in the form of skin the cat. It really got to the core and my shoulders felt tight in the end of the motion.

There is something fascinating in human's ability to control his body. I enjoy movements like handstand, hspu's and muscle-ups on pull-up bar and rings. In all of these you need to be aware of how your body works, otherwise it's gonna be no good. It's been ages since I've done any kind of body control moves or poses but every time I do, it's freaking awesome. And because it's been such a long time I realized my skills in controlling body have increased a lot. That was super inspiring!

I did different kinds of static hold positions, don't even know what to call all those moves. There was a colleague of mine who's a dancer to give some additional tips on breakdance style poses. My point is I enjoyed every minute of these bodyweight things and I'd like to witness me doing these more often in the future.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday 19.10: Kettlebell and bodyweight metcon

Sunday. 3rds of: 20 kb swing, 1rd of Mary, 20 box, 1rd of Cindy. Time, 14.45

There was an option thrown in the air of us going to train outdoors but the weather was as ugly as it gets with rain and fogginess. It was by no means tempting so we packed our gym bags and headed to the gym with Pauliina. It seemed right to take the 2-pood kettlebell with me, and spice the metcon with bodyweight movements.

Metcon. Time, 14.45

  • 3 rounds of:
  • 20 kettlebell swing, 32kg
  • 1 round of Mary (5 handstand push-ups, 10 pistol squats, 15 pull-ups)
  • 20 box jump, 61cm
  • 1 round of Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats)

My body was a bit beaten up so main focus was on bodyweight movements, kettlebell was the only weighted element. This was a good and tough workout. Don't know how much it had an effect that I wasn't fresh but my legs got steamed early on in the metcon. I wanted mix those benchmark wods Mary and Cindy into something of my on creation. It turned up to the above described combo.

It was cool to swing that bell around the gym after having a break of working out with this guy. I was able to manhandle the bell well and all sets unbroken, no problems with this one. Usually I work with kettlebells out in the nature because carrying those around is a workout in itself =) So normally I don't carry it with me to work but weekends are an exception when I might have it with me at the gym.

Mary is probably my favorite benchmark wod, consisting of hspu's, pistol squats (a.k.a. one-legged squats) and pull-ups, with the classic 5-10-15 rep scheme. Handstand push-ups are coming to be some sort of a strength of mine, which is awesome as I think about the early steps when they used to be a big time goat.

Pistols have been non-existing for quite a while and it felt good rocking them, alternating legs after each rep. These are much harder without the weightlifting shoes as Nano's don't have that elevation in the heel section. I stood on the edge of one of those gym mats to get something below my heel for more stability.

Mary's pull-ups consist of 15 reps per round. In a longer workout that is tough, and that's exactly what it the toughest portion of Mary. In today's workout they were challenging too but I got all of them unbroken - in both sections of them (15 and 5 reps). At some point of the workout I had to wear gloves on pull-ups as the friction started to tear the calluses.

Box jumps were for two rounds whereas on the third round my legs were burning a lot but I still tried to keep moving constantly and not stop in vain. Pace was probably slower but the man was moving. Round times were 4:14, 5:12 and 5:18. First round is always quicker because you start the work immediately. I'm happy my third round was consistent with the second one even though it felt horrible at times.

Short recap

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday 18.10: Cleans, 20min amrap

Saturday. Every 30sec, perform 1 squat clean (90-100kg), for 10min. Metcon, 20min amrap of: 10 burpee, 15 t2b, 30 du, 300m run. Result, 5rds + 170m run.

Old school crossfit and I freaking loved it! This was my kind of training day. Heavy squat cleans for barbell work and bodyweight stuff for a long metcon. Breathing was heavy but under control throughout the workout and I was able to move all the time. I went to work for today but afterwards was able to sneak to the gym to get my head straight.


  • Every 30 seconds, perform 1 squat clean, for 10 minutes (20 reps)
  • Reps 1-5: 90kg
  • Reps 6-10: 95kg
  • Reps 11-15: 100kg
  • Reps 16-20: 90kg

This is my favorite thing to do with the bar. Squat cleans, and preferably as heavy as possible. Doing them with just a short recovery is totally another story but this is the way I like it. One heavy lift every 30 sec for a total of 10 minutes, changing the weights after each 5 rep (2:30min). Started from 90kg and ascended to 100kg, then the last 5 reps at 90kg.

My focus point was the starting position. Traditionally my legs haven't been that much bent but now I try to sit down more than before. This engages my legs more on the pull so that would bring benefits to the entire lift. Another thing I concentrated on was activating my lats tightly together for as tight back as possible before the lift. This results in the barbell hitting my quads higher. And that is huge. Thus, the bar should bounce more upwards than front, the bar path is more correct and I should be able to get more power and momentum.

In my opinion I succeeded well on these. It's been ages since I've pulled from ground to a squat clean because I've tried to save my legs a bit the last weeks. That's why it wasn't the smoothest in each lift but it felt great all the way. At times I was surprised how high the bar hit my legs and this in turn made the bar rise higher too. Awesome stuff!


Metcon. Result, 5rds + 170m run

  • 20min amrap of:
  • 10 burpee
  • 15 toes-to-bar
  • 30 double under
  • 300m run

The purpose of this workout was purely to breath heavily and keep moving. Burpees felt good all the way. On t2b's I had to break them after 2 rounds. Could have nailed the 3rd one but I decided to cut it in 2 sets (10-5). Last 3 rounds I did them in 2-3 sets. Double unders were easy today. Every time I touched the skipping rope it felt like there's not going to be any issues with the jumps, and there weren't. Unbroken each time.

Recap of metcon

Running had to be taken on a treadmill but that doesn't bother me nowadays. I'm okay with that. I'd prefer to run outdoors for sure but that's not an option here so I'll settle for this. It was almost 6 rounds, I got 170m run on the last round. This was a good breather! No excuses to stop and breath. Only t2b's had to be broken because I just couldn't lift my legs anymore.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday 17.10: Squat, Deads, Metcon

Friday. Barbell, squats (max 150kg), deadlifts (max 150kg). Metcon, 5rds of: 10 pull-ups, 10 ring dips, 15 box. Time, 8.09.

Too soon to try that max load, I suppose. The program said I should wait for a week before testing it out. On the other hand my legs felt okay and I'm a little impatient so there were some squatting ahead of me. Then I took couple of deadlifts just to get used to it after months of not pulling from ground. Metcon was a short scribble, created on the spot.

  • Back squat 3x60, 90, 115, 1x130, 140, 150kg
  • Deadlift 5x90, 4x130, 2x150kg
My warm-up routine was normal and I thought I'd get myself ready for the sets but never at any point during squats did I have a sweat on. Normally my shirt is wet one minute from entering the gym, just from looking at the barbell. This was strange and maybe got under my skin somehow. Anyway, there was a lot of tension in the air as I had the pessure of making new PR's.

I wasn't able to reclaim those expectations as I wanted. Gonna make it rain some other day next week. The bright side is that the 140kg rep was easy and by far the lightest I've ever done with that weight. Jumped right on to 150kg which is something I've never lifted. I got it up but Pauliina had to touch my ribcage slightly so I don't count it as a record breaking lift. That bummed me for a couple of hours. On the other hand, that previous lift was indeed light and with this poorly warmed up body I was still able to hit these numbers. Plus I've squatted 4 times a week for the past weeks and was still able to make it quite solidly.

Deadlifts were just to get accustomed back on the movement, couple of reps at different weights, no big deal. Loads were light! Great movement, got to say.

140 & 150kg

Metcon. Time 8.09
  • 5 rounds of:
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 ring dips / push-ups
  • 15 box jumps
Felt tired before even jumping on to this workout. Pull-ups, ring dips and box. On 2 different rounds the rings were occupied so I had to sub for push-ups. Should have increased the number of them as push-ups are obviously easier than dips.

My body was overall fatigued and everything felt pretty much the same, didn't matter if it was pull-up bar, dips or jumping around. I got the work done and was happy about that. Tomorrow's another day and it's gonna be a better one!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday 16.10: Push press, Hspu

Thursday. Barbell, push press 3x3 (70kg). Gymnastics, emom, 8 hspu x 9 min.

Clearly a lighter day. Putting the most pressure on upper body this time. I was thinking about doing heavier presses but both of my elbows were a bit sore from those heavy squat triples from yesterday. I guess they were in a lot of stress during that squat hour. After push presses I decided to hit some hspu's emom style. Me likey!

  • Push press 3x3 (across 70kg)
We were doing work together with Joni who was focusing on clean & jerk action. Took some sets with lighter weights at 40, 50 and 60kg. The movement pattern itself felt good but the weight brought burden to my elbows and it didn't feel great to move it up overhead. Joni gave some tips later in the session on wrist position when barbell lays in the front rack, got to try to obey those tips more next time.

This was light weight and I got hungry to work on my shoulder strength. There was no need for a freaky metcon today so it was natural to work on my skills being inverted. Next station: hspu's.

We simply love avocados with Pauliina, just bought 4.5kg of them today =)

  • Every minute on the minute
  • 8 handstand push-ups, for 9 minutes
We were speculating the reps and minutes with Pauliina before I jumped on the wall. We had something like 6x8min and 7x7min on our minds to hit a total of approximately 50 reps but then I decided to just get the first set going and go by feeling, 8 was gonna be the absolute max though. The first set was very light so it seemed like a good plan to do couple of sets at 8 reps per min. Pauliina suggested to do 8 reps for as long as possible in that one minute time cap. Something similar as to "death by" workouts.

Sounded awesome so that was my goal for the next minutes. It was easy for about 4 minutes. It took about 12 seconds to finish those reps so my pace was rather fast. On 5th minute I realized we are close to hitting a wall in about 7 minutes or so, but it was still okay.

7h round was manageable, had to reset at the bottom position before finishing the last rep, it still got through in about 16 seconds. 8th round was the first round I wasn't able to do unbroken, as the last rep was a single after 7 t'n'go reps. This caused the rest time diminish down a bit and at this point this was crucial. Last round was too painful on shoulders to go ub, and it was something like 4-2-2. There was about 15 seconds left in the clock after 8 reps so I stopped there. My goal was to hit about 50 reps and I went up to 72 so this was a success.

Noah Olsen visiting Cal Strength

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday 15.10: Squats

Wednesday. Strength, Smolov, back squat 10x3 (137.5kg).

At times it felt like this day would never come. The end of Smolov's squat program. I knew this wouldn't be a walk tin the park. I filled in my one rep max at 145kg - even though I wasn't sure if I would have got that up before the program - and the excel showed me what to do on each training day. I had taken my PR long time ago and it felt like I wasn't quite on that same pace in the late summer. Today it was time to take another hard core set of 10x3 at heavy weights. Now I'll pass these squats for a while and test my one rep max in a couple of days.

Getting work done

  • Smolov, back squat
  • Sets at 10x3
  • 1st-8th sets 3x137.5kg, 9th set 2x137.5kg, 10th set 4x135kg
I looked at the excel and it said the load should be 137.5kg. For 10 sets of triples. I was about to lose my mind at this scenario. Then again, the only option was to dig deep in the back of my head and talk myself up to be a strongman. You can do this shit. Don't think about it too much, do what you can do best, don't over think it, just do the work. I kept telling myself I can do these heavy sets. I left the door a little bit open to nail them as 135kg sets if 137.5kg would be too much.

Took warm-up properly and couple of sets with barbell at 70, 105, 125kg before jumping to 137.5kg. First set was a fair game, I got it without problems even though I felt it heavy on my back rack. It was a good boost on confidence level as it felt a ton on my back but once I went down and started pushing back up, it felt fine. I understood my legs and entire body is ready for today. Second set felt the same. On third it started feeling heavier.

For fourth set I asked a pal to spot me just in case. It was better to have a friend to secure the lifts and somehow it makes it easier to finish strong on the reps. All sets between 4th and 8th were similar, weighed enormously but from somewhere I was able to gather extra strength to get the required reps down. On 8th set my spotter laid his hands on my ribcage to guide me back up on the right tracks. That was much needed help and simultaneously it might have gone under my skin.

On 9th set I probably didn't get mentally strong enough and the possibility of not making it through got to my head. And that's pretty much a definite thing it happens once you let it slip in your head. So I took a double of which the second one needed some guidance from my spotter too. At that moment I decided to go down with 2.5kg to 135kg sharp. That's a small drop but mentally it was huge. The last set was a piece of cake. That probably indicates this squat business is largely a psychological issue too.

As it was such an easy piece it came to my mind right after racking it that I should finish strong and make up the one rep that was lost on the 9th set. I waited for half a minute and completed the last one like it weighed 120kg. This made me smile and it was an awesome finish to the training session. Had no time for a metcon today but tomorrow's another day of crossfit.

This Smolov squat program definitely was hard but it was also worth walking through it. Positive side effects. My mobility in hip lower body has improved tremendously. It's beyond words how good my hips feel currently. Being constantly under this kind of pressure and tension has brought miracles to my hips. Squat form has also taken steps. I feel like my reps look the same, no matter the weights. There's been so much repetitions, about 130-140 heavy reps per week that it has to make good. Naturally my strength must have gone up as well. At this point I can say these set weights have definitely gone up. Gotta test that one rep max too soon.

Toni jerked 110kg today for a 10kg PR, huge man, congrats!

On the negative side I'll say in the beginning I was a bit hesitant to do tough metcons because I thought it would make harm to this program. Later in the program I started doing regular workouts too. Not maybe at same level but at some point this has hindered my traditional crossfit training methods. I've tried to let my legs rest a bit more. Some of these squat days have taken a lot of time at the gym so I haven't had time to go after metcons.

All in all, it was a good call to finally try it out as I had been thinking about it for months. What happens from this point on, I don't know. Time will tell =)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday 14.10: Clean and Jerk, Pull-ups

Tuesday. Strength, clean and jerk complex: 1 power clean + 3 split jerk (max 90kg). Metcon, 5rds of: 7 push jerk (60kg), 15 pull-ups. Time 7.09.

Another day of training with Jouni, c'mon! He's taken it up a notch and is focusing on deads, squats and presses currently. Plus naturally metcons to finish it every training day. For me, between squat days it's natural to go after some overhead strength and / or metcons. I'll try to write the sessions so that my legs wouldn't burn too badly. Today was heavyish jerk action and the metcon was a tough one for upper body strength.

Strength. C&J complex
  • 1 power clean + 3 split jerk
  • Sets at 70, 80, 85, 85, 90kg
My max clean is around 115kg and jerk at 105kg. I haven't been able to jerk from blocks and rack jerks are a rarity so my that 105kg PR is actually a clean and jerk. Anyway, that is a clear indicator that my jerk needs more work than clean. Ideally they would be about the same. Having this kind of complex is created to work on the weaker one of these movements. Plus I took the clean as power clean to work on that technique. That's close to my max power clean from ground if I recall it right. For some reason I've been able to take 4 or 5 reps at 90kg for hang power clean, hmm…

I felt solid on this complex today. Lately the use of chalk was forbidden at our gym (which is insane) so I had to pay a lot of attention to my hook grip to prevent it not to slip. Barbell was "light" up to 80kg, then on the 85kg I wanted to take the same load for another time just to focus o the technique another time. Last set was at 90kg. Had no troubles in getting the reps done. I just did some time ago similar type of session, that time I climbed up to 95kg. Plus couple of days ago it was 1+5 session for up to 85kg. It would be freaking awesome to being able to hit 100kg reps for multiple reps. Maybe I just need to try them out I guess. I would feel more safe if there was a possibility to drop the weights in case it's not under control.

Metcon. Time 7.09
  • 5 rounds of:
  • 7 push jerk, 60kg
  • 15 pull-ups
This got inspired from the workout "2007" if you know what I refer to. In 2013 Crossfit Games we saw a workout called 2007 which was a tribute to the first ever Crossfit Games and actually the very first workout that year. Back then 60kg was considered a heavy weight for men but last year it was like a toothpick. The development of these human weapons is huge. The rx'd version of the workout was 1.000m buy-in, then 5 rounds of 25 pull-ups and 7 push jerks. The number of pull-ups is too much for me, the intensity would go down and the dividends wouldn't yield as well as I'd like to in this kind of metcon.

First round of this one was easy, the barbell was light and pull-ups went unbroken. I intentionally kept a short pause between movements because I've done this type of stuff before, similar couplet, ad I know my body. Took me 0:51. It wouldn't have been a smart decision to go all out from the gates. Second round, still unbroken on both movements. Barbell still okay, pull-ups got tougher. Took me 1:10 for this round. On third round the barbell wasn't that pleasant anymore and pull-ups probably broke after 10 reps. I dropped down and finished the 5 remaining reps. Time on 3rd was 1:35.

Fourth round got naturally tougher. Jerks still ub even though those felt heavy. My legs started to burn too, and shoulders were getting fatigue. Hmm how were the pull-ups? Probably 9, then 2 sets of 3 reps. At this point I tried to keep the recovery as short as possible because there was only one more round to go. It still took me 1:51 because I had to drop down from the pull-up bar.

On last round I was able to speed it up just a little bit (1:41). All jerks during the metcon went touchn'n'go all the way. The last 2 reps were tough on this one but manageable. Legs were on fire at this time, and shoulder of course. Pull-ups were "the thing" in this workout. Last round was 6-4-3-2 but the rest times were as short as possible and they actually were because this was quicker than the 4th round.

This is a challenging workout, at least for me. I like it, it's tough, mentally and physically. Having that row in the beginning would mix it up a lot too. Don't know why but there have been less pull-ups in my training than regularly. Got to keep adding reps on my training for sure. Anyway, I'm very satisfied to this training day!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday 13.10: Squats, 8min amrap

Monday. Strength, Smolov, squat 7x5 (130kg). Metcon, 8min amrap of: 5 hang power clean (50kg), 10 box. Result, 140 reps.

I was waiting anxiously for this day. Another heavy day of squatting. These heavy strength days for legs are getting me nervous because I know it ain't gonna be easy. I listened to my body closely and was making it sure I was ready for 35 reps of bad ass squats. Jouni joined me at the gym and he seems to be pumped up and ready to talk me up so that definitely eased the mental game. He was my spotter of the day. He worked on some deadlifts and then we hit a 8min amrap together.

Evening stroll with Pauliina ended up in Eltsu =) Just checking it out though

  • Smolov, back squat 7x5 (130kg)
Lots and lots of mental preparation to make sure these weights would come up as planned. I looked back on all the sets and weights I have moved in the past weeks of this Smolov squat program. Last week 130kg triples were very tough so that made me a bit insecure of hitting 5's today. Then again, I was able to move 7x5 at 125kg a week ago and 5x7 at 125kg just last Saturday. That boosted my confidence and I decided to build it up with doubles and singles up to the load of the day: 130kg.

Last single I took up was 120kg and it didn't feel heavy. Still, I wasn't sure how 130kg would feel. It weighs a lot in back rack but then as I went down it felt okay and it got me pumped up for the first set. For some unknown reason I was more confident of hitting these 5's than the 3's last week with the same weight… I got mentally strong before every lift plus Jouni was my back up man so there was no other option but to man up and do the work.

None of the lifts were light. But the real work was done during the last 2 reps of each set. At times it felt like the bar stopped the upward motion but I guess it was moving all the time. The most important thing was that I got them done, and they looked pretty similar to each other and to the previous squat sessions as well. Didn't have to compromise technique at all. Here's one of the sets, either second or third. Last 2 reps of them. As you can hear, they were not light =) I wanna take this opportunity to thank Jouni for encouraging me on the lifts and spotting all sets. Thanks man and great job on your lifts too!

Squat 5x130kg

Metcon. Result, 140 reps
  • 8min amrap of:
  • 5 hang power clean, 50kg
  • 10 box
Okay, legs were smashed potatoes after the strength portion but recovering for a while and thinking about the metcon brought the strength and stamina back to the body. We decided to hit it together with Jouni, at least for the same time scheme. He did burpees, lunges and dumbbell presses instead during those 8 minutes.

I didn't wanna have the barbell too heavy, this was light instead and brought me no troubles at any time. Afterwards thinking, it could have easily been heavier while still being "light". After first round I realized one set of cleans and box would be quickly over so there would be a lot of rounds during this short amount of time. My pace was consistent which pleases me a lot, it hovered around 50+ seconds all the time. First 2 rounds were sub 50 sec though. I just clicked the "round" button on my cell phone and continued moving around. It was great to have Jouni working beside me all the time.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday 12.10: Two 7min amraps outdoors

Sunday. 2x7min amrap of bodyweight movements, created by Pauliina.

We visited Pauliina's parents this Sunday, and I had no big intentions of working out. Naturally something would come up but the plans changed when Pauliina's dad suggested we'd hit it together, all four of us. That was a great plan and I gave all control to my lady to write up the workouts. She's into short amrap style workouts currently so that was on our menu today as well. It turned to be rather brutal.

Metcon. Result, 2 rounds + 10 burpee

  • 7min amrap of:
  • 10 burpee
  • 15 kettlebell thruster, 32kg
  • 40 mountain climbers
  • 20 commando

Familiar movements were of course burpees and kettlebell. Mountain climbers and commandos are a bit from the strange side to me. This was a scribble by Pauliina while we drove to Klaukkala. It turned out to be a good workout. Breathing was heavy in both amraps, and this one put more pressure on shoulder area as there were 3 movements that included some sort of a push element: burpee, thruster and commando. That last move is where the starting position is a push-up, then you lower your upper body to lean on your elbows, hand by hand, then come back to push-up position. That constitutes one rep. It's a push and core movement.

I was breathing heavily throughout the workout and those thrusters ate my shoulder strength pretty quickly. I didn't know what we would do with the kb's so I only took 2-pood with me. Well, it was actually quite good for this metcon. I had time to go through 2 full rounds and 10 burpees on the 3rd round.

Metcon. Result, 3 rounds + 15 snap jump

  • 15 squat jump
  • 15 snap jump
  • 12 push-ups
  • 30 ab-bikes

This was a killer for legs. This is a free day from squatting and I was hoping to let my legs off the hook this time. This metcon did not agree. It was awful for lower body. My legs were burning after first round. The combination of squat jumps and snap jumps was cruel. Haven't done these "snap jumps" before but they were really effective. For both lungs and thighs. Push-ups and an-bikes weren't that bad but they kept the heart beat up nicely.

Some handyman time afterwards

One round of movements was faster in this latter workout so I had time to work through one more round compared to the first one, it was 3 full rounds and then squat jumps and snap jumps. Just finished the last rep and the clock ran out.

These were both good creations from my baby and it was awesome family time to hit it together outdoors. It's getting chilly outdoors but working out somewhere else than the gym is spectacular this time of the year. There's a lot of oxygen to inhale and it's easy to keep going. It's only mental game, at least you can't blame the weather. Thanks family for this quality time! Respect to you all for pushing through this one!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday 11.10: Smolov squats

Saturday. Smolov, back squat 5x7 (125kg).

Today we were in no hurry at all so we slept till midday, it felt heavenly to get some rest for this body. I slept something like 11+ hours =) regular weekday sleep is around 7 hours so this was a real pampering. We decided to hit it downtown for a date night wit Pauliina and eventually I had time to sneak in some Smolov in the afternoon. Got time only for squatting.

  • Smolov, back squat 5x7 (125kg)
I thought to myself how the heck am I going to nail these squats. It would be 125kg on the barbell and it stood 7's for a total of 5 sets in my notes. Then I comforted my mind by thinking I was able to complete similar sets last week with 120kg. Those were tough for sure back then but I tired convince me of being able to go for these as there was only a 5kg difference.

I climbed up to the set weight by doing some empty barbell squats and then random reps at 60, 90, and 115kg weights. Pause squats and regular reps too. I figured having 1-5 reps with these lighter loads would get me ready for the upcoming challenge.

I realized the cruelty of this day on the very first set. First reps brought me back to reality as I noticed how heavy the weights were. Last 2 reps on each set were as challenging as they were about a week ago when I did similar reps / sets last time.

I still don't know how I managed to pull these off as my legs were jello after 2 sets. Those were tough! It was a mental game all the way. The first set was so heavy I was thinking how hopeless it felt. On the second set the 5th reps was a real battle (you'll see it in the video) and I thought about racking the bar. My legs barely go the 5th rep up but after inhaling and exhaling a bit I decided to give it a shot and nailed the last 2 reps too.

After that I decided to do some crosstrainer for recovery between sets. Just slow pace, keeping the legs moving and active so they wouldn't get all jammed up. I wanna believe that helped a little. After 3 full sets I convinced my head we are always past the midway so just man up and do your thing. I went and did. And felt superb after having done all 5 sets!

Friday 10.10: Clean and jerk complex, 12min amrap

Friday. Strength, C&J complex: 1 power clean + 5 jerk (max 85kg). Metcon, 12min amrap of: 10 one-arm kb ohs, 15 ring dips/push-ups, 200m run. Result, 5rds + 12 dips.

It was awesome to get that bar overhead. Sometimes it feels like it's my mission to get it pressed / jerked up in the air. It feels great and there is something brutal in the movement. I feel strong having weight with straight hands in an overhead position. My plan entering the gym was vague and soon I found myself doing some sort of c&j complex with ascending ladder of weights. Afterwards the metcon was a present for doing a good strength training. Pauliina and couple of other training buddies were there too. Good training day for sure!

Strength. C&J complex
  • 1 power clean + 5 split jerk (50, 60, 70, 80, 85kg)
My plan Joni was doing cleans so it felt right to do some barbell work in turns with same weights. He was focusing on power cleans and then squat cleans with heavier weights. We started with light weights naturally. I took some power clean sets with 50kg before taking it overhead. The first set of 50kg c&j was wobbly and I couldn't find out why that happened. Cleaning the bar to front rack position was light today, I really feel like my technique is getting there. Starting position is way better than before and my lats are tighter together.

Anyway, it turned out the first set at 50kg was just too light and I had that much speed on the bar so it was somehow shaky. Next set at 60kg was way better, and it stayed good all the way. My focus on these sets was to focus on the bar path, jerking it right upwards in a perfect vertical line. That was the goal, hard to say how it looked like as I didn't have the possibility to catch it on video. But at least it wasn't in front of me because I would have noticed that and it would have not been that stabile. That's why I was very satisfied to this session.

The weights were good for me too. I don't know if I have ever had that much kilos for a set of 5 reps overhead. There's no other possibility but to be happy for this.

There's been a million hits on this blog, never thought this day would come

Metcon. Result, 5 rounds + 12 ring dips / push-ups
  • 5 right hand kettlebell overhead squat (10kg)
  • 5 left hand kettlebell overhead squat (10kg)
  • 15 ring dips / push-ups
  • 200m run (treadmill, 16km/h)
The metcon was not supposed to be hardcore but I fought through it with attitude anyway. This was a triplet of kb ohs, dips and running. My original plan was to do ring dips all the way but there were a lot of people at the gym Friday night and one guy came to play with the rings during my running. So I completed first 3 rounds as ring dips and then the last 3 sets were regular push-ups.

Overhead squats with kb in one-arm are challenging to me because of mobility issues, in both shoulders and hips. It would be awesome to being able to knock them just like that, and preferably with double kb's too. I have to keep it light weight because at times the kb might fall a bit forward. Anyway, I got the reps unbroken, first right and then left hand. Went just below parallel, not a deep deep squat but just over 90 degrees.

Ring dips went unbroken on the first round, then it got tougher. Second set 10-5, and third one was something like 5-4-3-3. Push-ups were much lighter but I cut them too on the last sets, after getting the first set unbroken. I'm surprised I've taken running into my programming on a regular basis. It wouldn't be a surprise but doing it on a treadmill is awkward. Lately Pauliina talked me into trying it and since it has felt good on a metcon.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday 9.10: Squats, Burpee and T2b

Thursday. Strength, Smolov back squat 4x9 (117.5kg). Metcon, 10 to 1, down by 1's of: burpees and t2b. Time 6.30

Time to get back in action with the squats. That extra day of squat rest made miracles to my legs, they felt great, like I hadn't squatted in ages. They were fresh as... hmm I don't know but they were ready for action! After squats they were hammered and I was about to hit just a short workout. It ended up being burpees and t2b's and it was intense.

I found Toni at the gym in the morning

  • Smolov, back squat 4x9 (117.5kg)
By the program yesterday was supposed to be this day. My right knee hurt a little yesterday so I didn't wanna take any chances that time. Today however, everything felt fine and I needed to get these in my system. The barbell felt great on my back rack and after a good long warm-up I walked toward the bar and started doing pause squats and speed squats with light weight, just to get my hips opened even better.

This is one of the last sessions of this Smolov stuff before I get a pause of heavy squatting. Today's agenda was 9's for 4 sets, weight 2.5 kilos shy of 120kg. Not light for me. First reps were okay each set but the last 2 reps were a battle of minds. The video below is the first set. I'd say it was alright for about 3-4 reps, then the next 2-3 reps were more challenging and the last 2-3 required my last piece of strength each time. It was roar-time, couldn't keep my mouth shut.

Squat 9x117.5kg

Metcon. Time 6.30
  • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of:
  • Burpee
  • Toes-to-bar
After having done the strength part my lower body was smashed and I had to think about for a while what would be my next move. Didn't have a feeling to grab a barbell, and burpees are always a pleasure so it went towards burpees and t2b's. The only negative thing in this workout was that my hip flexors were burning already before the workout and it only emphasized during it. Both moves put pressure down there.

Starting from 10 reps each, coming down by 1's down to 1 rep, totaling 55 burpees and toes-to-bar. It was quite fast workout. I did all burpees unbroken and with a steady pace from the beginning to the end. I thought burpees would be the tougher movement. Actually, I even thought about adding the number of t2b's in some way to get more of them. Luckily I didn't. They started to get to my hip flexors and core a lot and I had to break them after 3 rounds. From the round of 7's I did them mostly in 2 sets till the end. The recovery was just dropping down and getting back up, I didn't stay to catch a breath, just needed to release the tension for a while.

Below you'll see most of the round times on the metcon. Got it a little faster each round as it was supposed to be of course. It was a good rally!

Word by Ben Smith

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday 8.10: Hspu, Pull-ups & Push-ups, Box

Wednesday. Metcon, 20-15-10 hspu, 30-20-10 pull-ups. Time 6.31. Metcon, 7min amrap of: 10 push-ups, 10 box. Result, 185 reps.

Today was supposed to be a Smolov back squat day but it didn't feel right in my right knee and I'm not the guy to risk this kind of stuff so I postponed squats and took two intense metcons instead, purely bodyweight action this time. Then I hurried home, ate well and headed downtown with a bunch of colleagues for a musical at Helsinki's grand theater.

Metcon. Time, 6.31
  • 20-15-10 handstand push-ups
  • 30-20-10 pull-ups
I got this inspiration from Bobby Noyce who did something similar, he just had c2b's and bar mu's included as well. I posted the video of his workout about a week ago. From that it transformed to this version, couplet of hspu's and pull-ups. the reps were great for this workout, at least they felt perfect for my purpose. I wanted this to be short and intense with my body moving solidly. Had to take breaks in all sets except the last set of pull-ups but still it was an effective workout.

I could have done the first set of hspu's in a row. Hmm, now as I think about it I did 21 reps there… 15 at first and then 6 to finish it. It's so in the back of my head that 21-15-9 rep scheme that I followed it in the beginning =) Anyway I figured it's worth breaking the set because there's more to come and I don't wanna gas out and burn my muscles right away. Pull-ups were something like 20-10, maybe. The remaining sets were similar in nature too. I'm not that sure of the rep sets, I just tried to minimize the breaks and recovery between attempts. This was a good one, definitely worth doing it!

Metcon. Result, 185 reps (9 rounds + 5 push-ups)
  • 7min amrap of:
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 box jumps, 61cm
After recovering for couple of minutes I decided to hit another one. Wanted it to be bodyweight too so it resulted in push-ups and boxes. My only goal was to have a steady pace and keep the body moving all the time. My goal was reached in a very good manner. I checked the round times (look the picture below) and they felt legit. Just a couple of seconds' difference in the round times. This is what I'm looking for in a metcon. This is also something I consider some sort of strength of mine. Being able to keep up with the pace I choose in the beginning. Sometimes of course it's carried out better than other times but in general I'm pretty solid in my metcons.

Second metcon

Both of these movements started to burn in about 3 minutes. I had strong mental game though and just kept grinding through the rounds. It ended up being a little more than 9 rounds, totaling 185 reps in 7 minutes. This 7min amrap is a great length for a metcon. You can't take it too easy but you can't go all out from first second. It's a pace where you will dig deep at times.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday 7.10: Push press, Ghost

Tuesday. Strength, emom, 3 push press at 70kg, for 8min. Metcon, "Ghost", 6rds of: 1min row, 1min burpee, 1min du's, 1min rest. Result, 517 reps.

I'm so happy today was a day off of squats =) Normally I love to squat but now my knee was a bit in pain yesterday so I needed to have a day without them. No surprise because there's been a huge load in my back rack in volume. I worked for overhead strength today, and then hit a workout called Ghost, named after 6-time world champion boxer Robert "Ghost" Guerrero.

Row calories, burpees and double unders

  • Every minute on the minute
  • 3 push press @ 70kg, for 8 minutes
For starters I wanted to have a barbell overhead before hitting a metcon. I had thought about doing some sort of push presses or clean and jerk complex (1+3 style) but it was a bit vague when I opened the gym door. I talked with one guy about training and then it struck me. It was gonna be emom training of push presses.

The weight was not serious heavy ass load. It was moderate weight but it made good to my body. I loved doing overhead presses, it's been a while, at least it feels like it. The barbell felt a natural extension to my body, and the movement and bar path was good. On the push press I focused on pushing my knees out while coming up from the "dip and drive" in order to drive the barbell in a perfect vertical line. If you don't push the knees out but straight forward it's gonna go too much forward which obviously isn't a good thing. I succeeded well in this project.

Metcon. Result, 517 reps
  • 6 rounds of:
  • 1min row for calories
  • 1min burpees
  • 1min double unders
  • 1min rest
I saw this one in the summer time as mainsite brought this one to daylight, I believe it was back in June.  It looked attempting at first glimpse but it's taken a while until I got it on my calendar. Today I needed to get a bad ass metcon that would take my breath away. Old school metabolic conditioning, traditional style crossfit workout. And it definitely blew my mind, it was tough!

There was a total of 119 calories (a bit over 1 mile), 93 burpees, 305 du's, totaling 517 reps. This workout is difficult to compare because the total reps is not the only crucial thing but as Dave Castro says, you got to give your best effort at all 3 stations every round. Don't just pace it so that you would nail big numbers of double unders in the end. No, the point is to go hard at rowing and burpees too. Otherwise, you're missing the point of this workout.

Take a look at Dave Castro explaining the workout

My pace was steady as you can see from the picture above. Rowing was solid, with basically 20 calories per minute. I jumped off the rower after 55+ seconds, took my timer with me and started doing burpees. On the first round I got 18 reps and it felt good. Round by round it got nastier and towards the end it got more disgusting =) I tried to remain at 15 reps till the end but it's difficult to describe the feeling, I was so tired that it felt impossible to move faster.

Double unders felt great in the first round, got 30 in a row, then after short recoveries I took 2 more sets of 15 reps. That one minute rest was needed. I gave my all in each round today so 60 seconds of rest was great news after every round. Second round I completed 25 reps at first attempt, then climbed up to 55 reps. From 3rd round on it was challenging to start du's right after burpees and my breathing was sky rocketing so I had to take smaller sets. I had only one miss during this workout. I just needed to have pauses as my guts were burning.

The workout was great. Nothing less of a superb metcon. Something I'm not gonna repeat in a while =) It was awesome to finally hit it after thinking about it for couple of months. I recommend you all to try it out.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday 6.10: Squats, Clean, Hspu, Du's

Monday. Smolov squats 10x3 (130kg). Metcon of hang power clean, hspu and du's. Time 9.20.

Third day in four days of squatting, and the weights didn't go down this time either. Instead, heavier barbell was found on my back in the late afternoon. Luckily I had couple of training partners there at the gym to talk me up for the sets. I was looking for the metcon that was waiting as a reward after squats.

  • Smolov, back squat 10x3 (3x132.5kg, 7x130kg)
My right knee was a bit sore from yesterday's squats so I wasn't that much into hitting another tough squat session. Program said it's 10 sets of triples with 132.5kg, recover as needed between sets. I took the first set and it felt heavy already there, huh huh. On the second set it didn't get any easier. I said to Teppo, one of our work place's strongest guys, if not the strongest, that it's gonna be a long day of squatting…  On the third one I needed him to spot me and the third rep on that set leaned a little too much forward and I needed to take a short balancing step forward on my left leg.

At that moment I realized it's too heavy to complete 7 more sets. Maybe it was a psychological matter but I dropped only 2.5kg down to 130kg and the bar felt lighter instantly. Teppo spotted the rest of my sets - thanks for that - which helped mentally a lot. I was a bit cautious on that right knee from the beginning till the end which may have had its effect on these squats.

Recovery times were quite long, much longer than normally but I didn't want to take any missed lifts. I decided to hit the triples all the way no matter what, and stayed with 130kg for the remaining sets (7 sets @ 130kg). It felt good, or at least as good as it can in a situation like this, to nail the squats almost as written.

Metcon. Time 9.20. Compare to 31.8.2012
  • 4 handstand push-ups
  • 12 hang power clean, 60kg
  • 8 handstand push-ups
  • 8 hang power clean, 60kg
  • 12 handstand push-ups
  • 4 hang power clean, 60kg
  • 50 double unders
  • 12 handstand push-ups
  • 4 hang power clean, 60kg
  • 8 handstand push-ups
  • 8 hang power clean, 60kg
  • 4 handstand push-ups
  • 12 hang power clean, 60kg
This was the gem of the training session. For some reason this popped into my head a while ago. I did this one over two years ago, that time I competed against my big bro. I had just started crossfit couple of months ago and didn't really know how to do hspu's. Rx'd reps were a distant dream then and full range of motion was somewhere months away. My clean PR was made that same day for 65kg. Take a look at the video if you wanna have some laughs =)

This workout is somehow genius, it was as brilliant as I remembered it to be. The number of hspu's and cleans varied between 4, 8 and 12 reps. It was a 2-part metcon, with 50 double unders between the parts. On the first round hspu's went up and cleans came down. On the second round it was vice versa.

The times between now and then are not even remotely comparable. There was 20kg difference in the weights too. I was happy that time how I performed and I was happy on today's version too. I took the cleans as hang power versions because I didn't wanna burn my legs that much. Don't remember how the sets went but those 12-rep sets were broken, maybe 8-reps were also mostly but to 2 attempts, some were probably unbroken. Double unders in between were easy, no problems.

This was a fun workout and I'm missing this kind of workouts already. It's been fun to squat but I'm missing old school crossfit workouts. I've taken it easier on them during this Smolov thing because I've tried to save my legs. It will be over soon so it's time to put the creativity-pants back on and start crossfitting for real!