Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday 31.1: Dead singles, 20-rep benchmark, bench

Friday. Deadlifts singles (max PR 205kg). 20-rep benchmark @ 130kg deadlift. Bench singles (didn't quite make the PR lift of 105kg).

I continued the easy week on this Friday by doing just some strength work and maxing out on the weights. Just a couple of lifts to keep my body awake and not stress too much about it. This week has been kind of lame, it feels like I haven't been doing much work but I decided to do it so anyway. Next week is gonna be tougher so I'm getting prepared. Tomorrow I'm gonna hit the road to see Finland's own Crossfit Games, called "Winter War" at Tampere, it's gonna be awesome!

205kg and happy

Strength. Deads and bench
  • Deadlifts 5x100, 5x130, 3x150, 3x170, 1x190, PR 1x205kg
  • 20-rep benchmark @ 130kg deadlift
  • Bench 5x60, 3x70, 3x80, 1x90, 1x97.5, 1x105kg up with just a little assistance

The only thing I had in mind was to do the 20-rep benchmark when I opened the gym's door. However, I thought taking couple of heavier lifts would make the 130kg bar much lighter. And it certainly did. When you're doing multiple reps with a certain weight, at least I've found it wise to go a bit heavier before jumping in to it. I put some plates on the bar and started pulling. It felt good so I decided to keep adding stuff and complete the lifts.


Took triples @ 150kg and 170kg. Then I started to think what to put on the barbell. It was a decision of whether to go for the max lift or concentrate on the 20-rep benchmark. Decided to max out and see whether that 200kg some time ago was a lucky lift or deserved one. I put 190kg and took it up pretty nicely.

PR 205kg

I jumped to 205kg right away. They are heavy lifts anyway so I didn't wanna take any reps in between. You'll see the PR lift below as well. I remember having done some PR lifts at much lighter weights in the history. The problem then was that my hips shot the air first and I couldn't keep my chest up. Now as I've gotten stronger on my legs and hammies I'm able to keep a better form.

20-rep benchmark @ 130kg

After having celebrated the lift with Pauliina for a while I took 75kg off the barbell and prepared myself for the competitorswod benchmark workout. The aim is to do 20 unbroken reps of a barbell movement. Had no idea what weight would be suitable for me. I've done 12 reps @ 140kg couple of months ago so that might have been close. This 130kg was something I was able to handle well, naturally in the end it started to get heavier. But I'm sure heavier bar would have been doable, 135-140kg maybe.

I felt like I wasn't done so I took couple of bench reps too. Aimed for a single 105kg lift, had it clear in my mind in the start. It was easy up to 90kg. The 97.5kg was also a confident lift and as I aimed for a max lift I decided to jump it right away to 105kg. It was so close. Pauliina was spotting me and it took an eternity to bring the bar back up. She touched the bar a little bit and helped me bring it up so we reckoned it wasn't a good rep. She helped a bit for a reason.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday 30.1: Snatch day

Thursday. Snatch day.

This is my deaload week if you wanna call it that. I've taken it easier on purpose for the last 3 days. It was a tough couple of weeks early this year. And there hasn't been a day without heavy heartbeat nor metcon at all. So on Tuesday I only took heavy singles and climbed up to some record breaking numbers. Yesterday we were doing lots of different skills training with my pal and today I worked with snatches only. Next week I'm on a holiday so I'll have the possibility to train like a pro without time constraints. Waiting eagerly to it!

Snatches. For quality
  • 30 power snatches, 50kg

This was not a modification of Isabel. I didn't pay attention to the clock this time. Classic crossfit test is a benchmark workout called Isabel, 30 snatches for time. Professionals seem to pound it through in 1-2 minutes, as the weight is 60kg rx'd. That's sick pace if you ask me. My goal was to focus on quality and technique. I did the reps as power snatches.

Tried to bring the bar as high on my hips before bouncing it up with explosive hip movement. I did them in doubles and singles. In the end I took 4 reps in a row to finish the workout. This was a good workout to work on quality.

Technique. Snatch
  • Snatch balance
  • Snatch press
  • Squat snatch
  • Overhead squat
  • Overhed squat with a pause

I took uncountable amount of snatch balance. Some snatch presses, overhead squats without a pause and with a 10 second pause. I kept light weight only on the movements, most of them with the bar only, or 30 kg on the snatch moves. On the overhead squats my max load was 50kg so it was purely focusing on technique. For some reason I love pauses with a pause. I feel comfy in the bottom position.

I realized something big today on the snatch balance. My feet are pointed differently when I'm doing overhead squats and squat snatches / snatch balance. On ohs my feet are pointed more forward whereas my toes are pointing out more in the squat snatch. On ohs I can hit ass to grass, way beyond parallel. However, as my toes go wider I find it difficult to go below 90 degrees. And that is a problem.

Let's think about it through cleans. When I do squat cleans I do not slow down on the bar at all on my way down. Once my butt hits the ground I start pushing myself up. I can go down relaxed and with good range of motion and mobility, then push aggressively up after reaching the turning point. The case is not the same with my snatch. And my feet look similar, no matter whether it's power clean or squat clean. I'd like to witness the same technical development with my snatch. I'm gonna focus on my feet stance on the landing phase so that I can hit rock bottom on my way down.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday 29.1: Special skills day!

Wednesday. Skills day @ Taitoliikuntakeskus. PR in bar muscle-ups (9 reps)

Lots of playing around, no agenda, playing like a kiddo. My friend Jari -  a former professional snowboarder - invited me to come to this place to work on some skills so I definitely jumped aboard. It turned out to be great! This was a place where you can do pretty much everything you want in gymnastics, move your body and simply have fun.

Skills. What I ended up doing was something like this:

  • Trampoline jumping
  • Bar muscle-ups (PR 9 reps!)
  • Ring muscle-ups
  • Handstand
  • Handstand walk
  • Vertical jumps
  • Back lever attempts
  • Rope climb
  • Some other playing

We warmed up and finished the session by jumping around on the trampoline. This is familiar stuff for Jari as he used to do this kind of training on a daily basis in the history. I believe this was the first time ever for me to jump on a trampoline. That's sick but I don't recall ever doing it =) It definitely got my body prepared and pumped up. It felt a bit difficult to manage it as you can probably see from the video haha

After getting ready I decided to hit a couple of bar muscle-ups. It was a traditional gymnastics bar which was extremely slippery. I was afraid of getting any reps on that bar. It was also thicker than what I have used to. Took the first rep, decided to hit another. Turned out I crushed the old PR in bar muscle-ups with 9 consecutive muscle-ups!!! Previous record was 4 reps. The last ones where tough but I got them. Rested on top for a while and kept going. Great result for me.

We also played around with the rings. At this point I managed to get only 1 successful rep done, tried 2 more but didn't manage to reach good control on the transition stage. My body was smashed from the rope climb I had just tried. By the way, that's way tougher than it looks!

The place was perfect for all this kind of work. The floor was very flexible, made for gymnastics purposes so handstand and handstand walk was destined to happen today. On my first attempt (not on video) I was able to reach some sort of unbelievable stability on handstand hold, I simply stayed still without moving and I felt my feet were correctly flexed. Just felt like the best from I've ever had. Also tried to do some freestanding hspu's but happened to smash my head to the floor every time, nice

There were some parkour guys working out that jumped on the walls and moved around solidly. I tried to slide sideways on one wall as an inspiration from those guys. Jari also challenged me to some vertical jumps on pretty high box so I took it and got it. Take a look at the videos, it's difficult to describe all the fun we were able to haver there.

No doubt I'm going there another time too. Beforehand I thought this skills day would be lighter one. But my legs and back were cramping at times during the training. And upper body is done from all the muscle-ups. I guess there were about 15 reps in total. It was a lot of playing, we spent around 1.5h in the place and getting it done. Awesome place!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday 28.1: Clean singles, squat singles

Tuesday. Strength, clean singles (max PR 107.5kg). Back squat singles (max PR 142.5kg).

PR Day! It's been a long time since last day when I didn't do any metcon or didn't put my heart and lungs to work hard. So today my intention was to give my body a rest on the metabolic condition. Actually I didn't have an idea what to do when I entered the gym. Little before I walked in I got a feeling of doing some clean singles. Not looking for max numbers but just going heavy. The end result turned out to be great!

Strength. Clean and back squat
  • Clean, 3x70, 1x80, 90, 100, PR 105, failed at 107.5kg, PR 107.5kg
  • Back squat, 2x80, 100, 1x120, 130, 137.5, PR 142.5kg

Okay, after having warmed up I grabbed a barbell and started working on clean technique. I went for hang cleans and hang squat cleans for a while with lighter weights. Actually the last hang clean I did was @ 80kg. And it felt easy. Felt like I got under the bar quickly. Never has 80kg been that easy from pocket. When I mean hang clean I mean it's from the pocket, not from mid-thigh. That's your choice, do whatever you want. I've used to do them from the pocket, feels more natural for me.

After 80kg I started doing singles from the floor. First 90kg, felt light, added 10kg to reach 3-digit numbers, still came up solidly. My last record was 102.5kg. I skipped that and jumped right on to 105kg. That's on the video below. I took it with my phone.

It was a pity my phone's memory got full on this lift and I don't have the next lift on camera. Actually the very next rep wasn't a success. I had good tension on the lift and ready to pull and clean. But once I got the bar off the floor it was "too close" to my body and it hit both of my knees on the way up. Well, I dropped it, walked around for a while and got back to the zone, mentally.

Walked to the bar, puffed around, and did my thang. I got under the bar well and I was positively surprised how confident I felt being under that weight on the clean. Coming up with the bar wasn't an issue because my front squat is at okay level. What I realized afterwards was that those front squats with a pause that I've done lately, might have made a difference on today's performance. I've done something between 90-110k. I've created those weights to be at my comfort zone. So dropping under the bar with these weights have felt good.

I think it has lots to do with daring to go under the barbell. If you don't dare, you won't drop, even though you would be able. Even though the bar would travel high enough. This happened to me on the last rep I tried, at 110kg. The bar came up enough, the only thing I needed was the explosive drop. But I didn't drop. Need to work on those paused squats. On both front, back and overhead squats. They are great!

As I was on a roll I decided to try what squats feel like. I had planned to max out the squats on Thursday but it felt okay so I started piling stuff on the barbell. I was pondering what to do after 130kg. Should I put 135 or 140kg right away, and ended up having 137.5kg on the bar. Took it up and went for PR lift of 142.5kg. Previous record was 140kg and it's been there for a while. Completing that 142.5kg was bigger mentally than it is weight-wise. It was a victory for me too difficult to explain. I believe it's been some sort of mental barrier to step beyond 140kg. I hope there are no limits after today's performance! I think double the bodyweight is the amount of stuff I should be able to lift. That would be around 160kg. There's more work ahead of me, and I like it

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday 27.1: Clean and jerk benchmark, bodyweight metcon

Monday. Benchmark, max effort unbroken clean & jerk (60kg). Result 15 reps. Metcon, 1.000m row, then 21-15-9 ring dips, pistol squats and t2b's.

Today was 2-parted training session. Some barbell action in the beginning. I had a goal of going for max reps of unbroken clean & jerks with the classic 60kg weight. Then the latter part of the workout was a metcon with rowing and bodyweight movements. That turned out to be nasty in the end. Seemed easier on paper than it was in real life.

  • Max effort unbroken clean & jerk, 60kg
  • Result 15 reps
  • Finished it off with 3x5 reps for a total of 30 reps

Before I tried this one I completed some random sets of clean & jerk with 40, 60, 70 and 80kg. I wanted to have it a bit heavier than 60kg before jumping on to the test. That's because the 60kg bar feels way lighter after you've done something heavier before that.

The test was a cruel one and it wasn't difficult to understand it so it took me some time to get my nerves together and start moving. The first 8 reps or so were smooth, then it started to get on my muscles. Got to 10 reps before I had to start slowing down and occasionally stop the bar on my shoulders or hold on straight hands. Breathing was heavy, no doubt, and basically it was most challenging on the forearms. I had no problems jerking the bar up there but the clean part became tough because my forearms started to go numb.

It was a relaxing moment to finally bring the bar down on the floor and release the tension on the hands. I had to rub my forearms and shake the pain away for a while. Never have I done this many reps unbroken. Some day I did 3x10 clean & jerks with same weight. I remember the first set being okay but the last 2 sets felt awful.

After getting the feel back on my body, I finished the c&j's with 3 sets of 5 reps to reach a total of 30 reps.

Metcon. Time 13-14min.

  • 1.000m row, then
  • 21-15-9
  • Ring dips
  • Pistol squats, alternating legs
  • Toes-to-bar

This was horrible. First row for 1km to get the heart beat up. Then start moving your ass on 3 movements that I can not call pleasant. Ring dips are always demanding once you go beyond parallel on the shoulder / elbow line. Pistol squats, do I have to say more. Doing squats with only one leg is tough. And t2b's are okay when completing something like 10 in a row but after those pistols they felt tougher than normally.

Got the ring dips unbroken on the first round, then on the second I had to cut them in 3 sets and something like 5+2+2 on the last one. Pistol squats felt heavy from the beginning but doable. Got the toes-to-bar's unbroken each round but they surely got to my core. Felt like my abs would cramp on the round of 15's.

It took me time to finish this one. It was around 13-14 minutes in total. For some reason I forgot to write it down but I have a feeling it was about 13.50. I usually have a pretty god hunch on the times so I'm quite sure it was around there =)

I felt so fatigued after the workout. It sucked all my energy and even an hour later at the supermarket I was feeling week and my heart started to pump faster all of a sudden. It was a mind blowing experience to finish this workout. Those clean & jerks in the beginning must have had their share in the feeling on my body.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday 26.1: Front squats, box, pull-ups

Sunday. Strength, front squats with a pause, 5x5 across (90kg). Metcon, 21-15-9-15-21, box and pull-ups. Cooling down, 2k row.

My plan was to take it easier on the squats, concentrating more on technique and form this time and the metcon was also more like "for quality". Wanted to go unbroken, not for time. In the end I rowed without time pressure for 2 kilometers. It was all a good training without putting in all effort. It was relaxing  to just rattle through the workouts for a while and not have the taste of blood in mouth.

  • Front squats with a pause 5x5 across (90kg)

I took couple of sets before entering to my plan of 5x5 with same weight. I remember doing 3 reps @ 60, 80 and 100kg. Then I adjusted it to 90kg and took 5's for a total of 5 sets with a pause. Not heavy but not light either. I've usually done this type of sets with somewhere around 100kg+. This weight was good for today. More focus on the technique and not aiming for the heaviest kilos. I believe I managed pretty well.

Form stayed quite the same, elbows up, back straight and knees out. That's the goal every time I front squat. Take a look and be the judge.

Front squats

  • 21-15-9-15-21
  • Box jumps, 61cm
  • Pull-ups

Two very simplified movements, box jumps and pull-ups. Easy way to come up with a great workout. How easy can it be, just mix 'em and start moving. My goal was to go unbroken on the pull-ups and I didn't even put the clock running, just wanted to do both movements unbroken. I didn't give too much slack on the transition but maybe a bit longer than normally anyway.

There was heavier breathing involved definitely and it started to drill on the muscles too in the long run. Box jumps were easier than I thought, it was surprising. I thought the upward climb back from 9 to 21 would have been tougher on the jumps but there were no problems.

Main goal was to nail pull-ups without having to drop down from the bar. I knew there wouldn't be any problems on the first 45 reps and probably the latter 15 reps would also be done okay. But the last set was something I suspected to become an issue at around 10-15 reps. I got them through quite nicely though and was able to finish without even stopping to hang for a second or two. Was able to keep moving all the time. It felt tough but was manageable.

Box and pull-ups

Cooling down.
  • 2k row
In the end I rowed for 2 kilometers with easy pace, somewhere around 1.55 for the entire time. Just wanted to flush the fluids on my body for recovery sake. I recall it took something like 7.45 to finish so it definitely wasn't a metcon or heavy effort. Just cooling down in the end. Good training day!

Pauliina's new sneakers from Nike

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday 25.1: Rings, row, bench, du

Saturday. Ring skills. Metcon, 1.000m row, then 5rds of: 10 bench (80kg), 50 du, then 1.000m row. Time 29min.

It went late in the afternoon before I got a chance to workout. I was on the verge of having a day off but decided otherwise. Or actually I was thinking about taking it easier and maybe do some sort of metcon outdoors with bodyweight and kettlebells. But I changed my mind and hit the road. It was a combination of rowing, heavy-ish bench and double unders.

Ring skills. Just playing with the rings. Tried some muscle-ups, wasn't my day with them though. Then "skin the cat" movement, tried some front / back levers, ring rows to transition, staying inverted. Nothing serious, just wanted to get familiar with the rings with different movements.

Metcon. Time 29min
  • 1.000m row, then:
  • 5 rounds of:
  • 10 bench press (80kg)
  • 50 double unders, then:
  • 1.000m row
Saturday night at the gym

This was a bit different compared to a "traditional" metcon if you can call any workout traditional. Intentionally I threw more weight on the bench than I knew I would be able to go unbroken. So the difference was that I knew beforehand it's gonna take some time for me to finish those 50 bench @ 80kg. Never done that many reps with that weight. Got to have some weight there though to get better and stronger.

My rowing took me 3.35 on the first kilometer and 3.32 on the last one. Double unders went well! 3 rounds were unbroken, and in addition to that I only did 2 mistakes in total on those 2 sets. One miss on at 48 reps on the first set and one miss on the fourth set if I remember right.

Workout is over

This wasn't that bad on breathing (except for rowing in the end) because I had to cut the bench into pieces. First round was 7+3, then the last 4 rounds were all 4+3+3. Got tougher by the round. It took me some time to walk the pain away between sets. Bench is something where I find it difficult to push through when chest and shoulders get numb when they're feeling tired. Something like clean & jerk you can push through mentally but bench feels different.

I'm glad I was able to perform smoothly throughout the workout, even though the bench took me some time.

We were walking in the woods in the morning with my baby and playing in the snow =)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday 24.1: Mu's, 2 metcons + sprints

Friday. PM: Skills, emom, 1 ring mu, for 5 min. Metcon, 4rds of: 500m row, 15 pull-ups, 12 push-ups, 9 t2b. Time 15.40. Rest 5min. Metcon, emom, 8 burpees, 8 box, for 5min. Evening: 10x100m sprints.

Skills and conditioning for this Friday session. Already a classic in my mind for starters: ring muscle-ups. I've fell in love with them and the feeling is getting stronger all the time. Got 2 metcons today, all movements with bodyweight. Late evening was reserved for sprints. Don't wanna hold on to the barbell every day. That's part of why I'm able to train almost on a daily basis. I feel like my workouts are versatile in nature and there's a good combination of heavy bars, lighter weights, bodyweight, running and cardio, skills and gymnastics. That has an effect on my recovery.

  • Every minute on the minute:
  • 1 ring muscle-up, for 5min

This was the first time I did muscle-ups this style. I had a plan in the beginning to do 1 rep per minute for a total of 5 minutes. This movement is taxing, it really takes its toll on my body. Every single rep is challenging, it's not automatic thing that I would get up there. So having to complete 1 rep per minute was a great success for me to being able to continue it for 5 minutes. I haven't tried to do more than 5 reps in one session. Maybe it would be worth trying.

Metcon. Time 15.40
  • 4 rounds of:
  • 500m row
  • 15 pull-ups
  • 12 push-ups
  • 9 toes-to-bar
These wods that have rowing as an element… Not nice. They eat me inside =) In "normal" metcons I tend to have quite steady round times and my engine keeps my going. When rowing is involved, it's more difficult for me to keep up the pace. I rowed @ 1.45-1.49 pace in all rounds, that's not where the difference is but it's the transition times between movements.

I did all movements unbroken in this workout. My goal for the row was to have almost the same pace in all rounds. Could have taken it a bit easier on the row to save energy but I definitely wanted to row at same pace all the time. Pull-ups after rowing seems a but more challenging but I got them unbroken. The third rounds seemed to be the toughest. Grip wasn't there and it was difficult to hang on there. Push-ups and t2b's were okay, no problems with them.

Jon Pera with a 400lbs ohs huh!

This workout took my breath away. It was somehow awful but still cool. Most difficult thing was to jump on the pull-up bar after rowing. I walked the pain away after the workout for couple of minutes before busting out the next workout, something I stole from That's NorCal Crossfit's creation, a site dedicated to athletes aiming for the Crossfit Games. Definitely worth taking a look at.

  • Every minute on the minute:
  • 8 burpees
  • 8 box jumps
  • For 5 minutes

I was still blown away from the previous workout but decided to hit this one anyway. I thought it wouldn't be so tough but god damned it felt bad. Already after the first round I was thinking what the heck. It took me exactly 38 seconds each round. This was mental stuff. It felt bad. But, it was something you can keep on doing for that 38 seconds. Afterwards I was thinking could this workout be suitable if conducted in this same style but "till failure". Keep on going until you can not complete those 16 reps in that time frame. What do you think?

My abs were killing me, felt like my guts were burning inside. I forced myself to keep my body moving with same pattern on every rep and I tried to push the consuming feeling aside. Might try this one for longer time some time. Maybe not another workout before that 'cause it felt like the rowing wod gassed me pretty well.

Great training session!

Chad Mackay

  • 10 x 100m shuttle run sprints (2x50m)

This was on the fly type of workout. It was something around 9pm when it hit me I wanna go running. Pauliina is out on a girls' night and those days are usually reserved for double training sessions so why make this one an exception. Went outdoors, took my warm-up and was ready to go. I measured a distance of 50 meters in the woods and did shuttle runs, back and forth that 50m distance, for a total of 100m. Short recovery and repeat a total of 10 times. That was cool! I really enjoyed the moment.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday 23.1: Squats, metcon of deads and box

Thursday. Back squats (max 140kg). Metcon, 21-15-9, deadlift (130kg), box. Time 5.50.

Never skip a leg day! Most important part of the body, that keeps you going. Legs are always going to take hit so you better have strong legs in order to become a well-rounded athlete. They always say you should strengthen your legs, no matter which movements you wanna get better at. It all starts with legs. So today it was time to squat, go heavy, and then posterior chain metcon.

Equipment for today


  • Back squats 3x100, 110, 120, 130kg, 2x135kg, 1x140kg

C'mon it felt good. On Monday squatting felt horrible, and today it was like another ball game. Somehow the path down and up was also better than last time. Then, it was awkward from the first squats. I was waiting these squats with great pleasure and it paid off.


My only goal was to go heavy, not PR attempts anyway. Sometimes 100kg feels like a feather, sometimes it's similar to 120kg. Today it was the lighter version. I kept adding stuff on the bar and pumped forward.


130kg felt still quite good and I didn't have to stop between reps, that was quite solid effort. On the 135kg the second rep was tough. Wanted to try the 140kg with Pauliina spotting. It was very tough but finally came up. That was a great feeling. Had no thoughts or goals entering this day so reaching my max load was a good result, I'll take it.


Metcon. Time 5.50. Compare to 28.5.2013

  • 21-15-9
  • Deadlift, 130kg
  • Box, 61cm
Okay, it was time to put more pressure on lower body and metabolic condition too. I've done this workout with lighter weights - 100kg on the deads - last May. The nature of the workouts is different with 100kg and 130kg. The lighter weight is something you can go unbroken, but 130kg is not. Not for me at least.

I've consciously neglected deadlift training lately because I have wanted to put more focus on my legs. It's difficult for me to find a way to go heavy on both, frequently. They both put so much pressure on legs and back that I've tried to find a solution by adding a deadlift metcon on those days when I squat. Not always but occasionally. Sometimes I'll skip squatting and go for deads instead.

Today I took couple of reps with 100, 130 and 150kg before adjusting it back to 130kg for the metcon. Naturally I didn't go unbroken all the way. Box jumps were easier than I thought and went ub each round. On the round of 21's I did deadlifts 14+7. On the rounds of 15's it was 6+6+3. And the last round was maybe 6+3.

This is a good workout for posterior chain, no doubt about it. And it definitely makes you breath heavy too. If you wanna make it more like a quick metcon and test your metabolic condition, go for weights you can nail unbroken. I wanted to have some more weights and still work my muscle endurance with heavier weights.

Have had some issues with my car, she's freezing so we had to push it around to find a spot at our neighbor's garage. Hopefully it recovers for this winter! It was a good sweat work in the evening =)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday 22.1: pistols, pull-ups, hspu's, 5k row

Wednesday. Every minute on the minute, for 30min: 1st min 10 pistols, 2nd min 8 strict pull-ups, 3rd min 5 strict hspu. Metcon, 5k row. Time 19.06.

Today was supposed to be an easy day. Concentrating in skills with moderate heart beat, lots of reps in emom style. Then finishing the session with rowing for a longer distance to build up an effective engine further. On paper it felt like an easier one. Still, I felt like some work had been done as I finally came home.

5k row

Skills. For 30 minutes.

  • Every minute on the minute
  • 1st minute, 10 pistol squats
  • 2nd minute, 8 strict pull-ups
  • 3rd minute, 5 strict handstand push-ups
  • Repeat the cyle for a total of 30min

I told you guys lately about my thoughts about doing hspu's and pull-ups mostly as kipping versions and that it has been on my mind to do also strict versions. Today's workout was the first answer to this issue. I consider it more like a skills training. Pistols, strict hspu's and strict pull-ups. Important movements in my opinion.

This workout was emom training divided into 3 parts. It took 30 minutes in total, 10 minutes of each movement. On the first minute I did pistols squats, pull-ups on the second and hspu's on the third one. Then start over again from pistols. So there was kinda 10 rounds of all 3 movements. I had defined the number of reps beforehand, naturally.

Those reps turned out to be perfect for me. 100 pistols, 80 pull-ups and 50 hspu's. Managed to follow the original plan well. Hspu's were tough in towards the end but I got them unbroken. Pull-ups were also surprisingly tough. Having done kipping reps for a very long time, strict version seemed a bit funny to do. I used both grips, palms facing me and away from me, just to get some variation in the grip too. On 2-3 sets I completed the reps in a square-shaped pole as the pull-up bar was occupied. Of course the grip feels a bit awkward when you're used to round-shaped bar.

Pistol squats are cool. I'm very happy I can do those one-legged squats pretty well. My left leg seems slightly stronger, at least it feels like it in these pistols. I don't do these that often but I always enjoy when I incorporate them into my workouts.

Metcon. Time 19.06

  • 5k row
Have had this in mind for a while. it's the longest distance I've ever rowed in one seating. There have been times where I've done interval training for 4-6km but never have I gone over 12min or longer in a row. I turned the rower's display to face the ceiling 'cause I didn't want to stare at the digits. If it was facing me, I know I would have been looking at it all the time. How frustrating is it to see the numbers crawl forward so slowly =) So I put on some music on my iPod and enjoyed the moment. No idea how fast I was rowing. I took a first glance on the numbers at around 2.8km. The pace must not have been lightning-fast but on the last 500 meters I started to pick up on the pace. As you see from the first picture, I was doing my best in the last 100-200 meters. This was a good test for me, I wanted to know what my time would be on this distance.

Sunset from my office today

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday 21.1: Clean and jerk, Macho Man

Tuesday. Clean & jerk 3x3 across (80kg). Competitorswod benchmark wod, "Macho Man" with 60kg for 10min.

Today was time for barbell play. Just warmed up, then started working with the bar. First quick clean & jerk sets before moving on to the main workout of the day. Something I've learned from Ben Bergeron has created a nice benchmark workout to test the work capacity of athletes. I was supposed to meet my bro today and workout together with him. Time schedules didn't match so we had to postpone it. We were planning to train together once a week but it hasn't started off well, haven't met at ll this January =) We're gonna make it happen anyway 'cause we both know the benefits of working together.

  • Clean & jerk 3x3, across (all sets @ 80kg)
  • Touch'n'go style
Wanted to do couple of short sets touch'n'go style clean & jerks. Decided to go across, all sets at 80kg. It was a weight I was able to do solidly. I completed the jerks as push jerks. Felt like my technique was rather good in all sets, all jerks. The clean part felt heavier than the jerk this time. That's a bit awkward. Did the cleans as power cleans. My traps were extremely sore from yesterday's hang clean emom. That might have been the issue. Anyway, these c&j's felt good and solid. Didn't go for heavier or more sets because Macho Man was right around the corner.

Toni, 80kg squat clean

Macho Man. Weight 60kg (10min)
  • Every minute on the minute for as long as possible
  • 3 power clean
  • 3 front squat
  • 3 push jerk
  • If you fail to make 5 full rounds, you must lower the weight and restart
  • If you successfully reach 10 rounds, add 1 rep per movement each minute

This has seemed cool every time I've seen it on the compwod's site. The only thing was that I didn't remember the last bullet point of this workout. If you can go beyond 10min, add 1 rep per movement each minute. I recalled it meant you should have had more weight. The rx'd weight for this one is 185lbs (84kg). That would be crazy weight for me to do as emom training. Had no idea how long I would be able to go on this one but I had a feeling 60kg might be too low. And it actually turned out to be too low.

Next time I'll go for 65-70kg, depending on the place where I'll do this one. If I can drop the bar I'll probably do it with 70kg. That would be so relieving to drop it after the 9th rep of the minute. At that point it feels pretty awful to hold on to the barbell.

I completed all sets with similar pattern. Unbroken, in about 17-18 seconds. So there was enough recovery time to get ready for the next minute. It started to fasten breathing already after 3 minutes but it was manageable all the time. A good test in my opinion, got to go heavier next time!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday 20.1: Ring mu's, squats, hang cleans

Monday. Skills, ring muscle-ups. Back squats. Hang clean emom, 3 reps @ 70-75kg, for 10min.

This Monday was metcon-free training session. Started with ring skills. As I wrote in the turn of the year, I'll add more rings in my training 'cause those are definitely a weakness of mine. Continued with back squats. My legs were the stiffest ever so it was not a success. Luckily I was able to come up good with every minute on the minute training on hang squat cleans. That felt good and I left the gym with good spirit.

  • Ring muscle-ups (3 reps)
I'll try to squeeze in ring skills about twice a week. That should be the normal case. Maybe not always ring muscle-ups but some sort of ring play anyway. Last year I didn't focus on the rings much so naturally it was difficult to get better at them. Now I've been able to do tens of ring muscle-ups, singles but still reps. Today I did 3 reps, pretty much "every minute on the minute" style. I tried the fourth rep in the same time frame but failed to get up so I moved to squatting.

  • Back squats
  • 5x120, 2x125, 5x100, 5x100, 5x100kg

It's just an excuse - I know - but we were on a tight schedule today so I did a stupid move and tried to hurry through a bunch of workouts I had in mind. So my warm-up for lower body was poor and it felt like I was drinking tar all the way. Didn't feel like going heavy today so I stayed rather low on the weights. I tried to nail 5's but on the set of 125kg I lost my balance and fell forward, thus had to drop the bar. Decided to lower the weights to 100kg and complete 3 sets with short recovery periods.

  • Every minute on the minute
  • 3 hang squat clean between 70-75kg
  • 2x70, 2x72.5, 4x75, 2x70kg

This was good stuff. Every minute, complete 3 hang squat cleans. I took kind of a ladder, going up from 70kg to 75, then last 2 minutes dropped down to 70kg. Originally I had planned to do 8 minutes but wanted to go for extra 2 min in the end. That 70kg was something I was able to manhandle. The heaviest bar was tougher and I definitely had to work on my explosiveness when dropping under the bar. That was actually a great workout to practice speed under bar.

The weights were great for me this time. It wasn't too easy, and not the heaviest I could do. Doing a triple rep on 75kg was tough on grip strength too so it was a grip strengthener as well. Great one!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday 19.1: Backyard wod, run, kb, burpees

Sunday. Backyard wod. 5 rounds of: run around the block, 15 kb swings (32kg), 15 burpees.

Today's workout was a bit different. We spent the day at a mall shopping with Pauliina so we didn't go to the gym at all. In the evening I went outdoors to do a metcon in the freezing weather. It was about minus 17 degrees outside so the breathing was a bit tougher than normally =) Took some strict pull-ups in the kids's swing system before starting my workout of the day.


  • Run around the block, about 300-400m
  • 15 kettlebell swings, 32kg
  • 15 burpees

It was pretty awesome to skip the regular barbell work and go outside for a different type of workout. It's been a while since last outdoor metcon. There's something cool about it. In the winter time they are a rarity because of the weather. It's no surprise it happens much more often in the summer time.

Today I ran around our our block, I would say it's around 300-400 meters, with some ups and downs, added with stairs. Kettlebells and burpees are classic stuff. Kb swings are the ultimate grip strengthener, it seems to be the toughest one when you're doing it high-rep style. Can't say 15 reps is a high rep one but it sure started to feel on my breathing.

I knocked everything unbroken and I'm sure my pace stayed quite stable on all 5 rounds. Burpees were the toughest on this one. Especially as the ground was so damned cold and my fingers were numb after 2 rounds. Breathing was heavy during the entire workout. All these 3 movements made sure that would be the case.

This was actually an awesome workout. It's easy to come up with a great crossfit workout with just your own bodyweight and if you have a kettlebell you have everything you need for a good breather. This was one good example of workout like that. I'll definitely keep on having a barbell, jump rope, box and stuff like that to add some spice to the workouts but I'm telling you, these are fabulous workouts that can be done with mere own bodyweight.

The weather was so freezing that I didn't take my cell phone with me as a timer because I bet it wouldn't work anymore =) So I have no idea how long this one took to complete. But I know I was able to keep a steady pace and comparable to each other.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday 18.1: Ring skills, bench, 20min amrap

Saturday. Skills, ring swings. Strength, bench press 5x3 across (90kg). Metcon, 20min amrap of: 5 hspu, 30du, 5 thrusters (50kg), 15 box. Result, 420 reps.

We hit the gym today in the early afternoon with Pauliina to do some work. Started with some skills that would develop my muscle-up in the long run. Then some bench press with heavier weights of my max. The metcon was the main workout of the day. I had my "ENGINE" short on for a reason. Today's focus was on increasing metabolic condition an my engine, once again.

  • Ring swings.
My ring muscle-ups are done with just a small swing currently as you've seen on videos. The video analysis of two guys' muscle-ups on last Thursday's post was mind-blowing to me. It got me thinking whether I should start practicing that huge swing. Even though Toni hasn't got a mu yet on his scoreboard, his swing is huge. Definitely helps him on the way to multiple reps in the future.

So I grabbed the rings - not false grip - and tried to keep my body in as hollow body position and as tensed as possible during the movement backwards and forwards. It felt okay, I'm not that sure how it should look and feel like but I'll take today's moves for now. Felt good. I was not trying to get muscle-ups, just worked on the swing itself.

  • Bench press 5x3 across @ 90kg
This was second bench session in 10 days, and third during month, what's going on?!? Don't know but I simply felt like benching as I was thinking about today's workouts yesterday. I stayed with the plan and decided to go 5 sets of triples, across. That's all sets with the same load, today my weight was 90kg. I haven't benched ever before starting crossfit and I still recall this weight was way too far of my PR some time ago.

I'm happy I was able to nail 5 sets with 90kg and there might have been some strength left after those sets so it went well. I still wanted Pauliina to spot the last 2 sets as the last rep started to become heavy. I could have gone slightly heavier in the first sets but it was 5 sets in total and I wanted to do them all with same weight today so it was 90kg all the way.

Metcon. Result 7rds + 30 du = 420 reps
  • 20min amrap of:
  • 5 handstand push-ups
  • 30 double unders
  • 5 thrusters, 50kg
  • 15 box jumps, 61cm

Good combo! Steady pace all the way. Think about this. My last 5 rounds were all within 9 seconds of each other. My goal in metcons is to hold my speed at a solid level for as long as possible. It's natural that the beginning is always a bit faster but then I simply try to hold on to that pace for as long as possible. Another goal I have is to go unbroken for as long as possible. It has a mental effect on metcons. When you're going unbroken you feel stronger and more confident to finish the metcon with style.

My time ran out just as I had done double unders in 8th round. Handstand push-ups were not an issue today, actually they were the easiest part of this workout. I did them kipping style. I've come to think I should also be doing strict versions from time to time, same with pull-ups. Should do more strict versions.

I did 6 rounds of double unders unbroken. On the 4th round I did 16 reps, then stumbled and finished the round. On the last round I had similar moment, lack of concentration. All in all I feel like those double unders went well. Once again I was concentrating in keeping my torso as straight as possible. I'm not there yet but getting better. I've increased the number of reps since November in order to reach better form.

Thrusters, hmm. Luckily I put only 5 reps per round which is something you can nail anytime with 50kg. My hip flexors were extremely stiff today so front squatting with the bar didn't feel perfect. The weight was moderate so I had no problems with thrusters. Awesome movement though!


Last movement of the round was box jumps. It resulted in over 100 jumps so the fatigue really drilled into my legs. Each time I finished those 15 reps my legs were burning. I was happy the next movement was hspu's to give some recovery for my legs. I took a zip of water after every set of boxes as they really sucked my juice. I got them unbroken every round, the pace just wasn't the quickest possible.

I was happy with my performance with all movements. And especially with my metabolic condition. That was the greatest achievement of the workout. This training day was good as a whole too. Bench went well and metcon was great.

Photos: Pauliina