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Old 05-29-2008, 07:10 PM   #1
Sean Manseau
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Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Hey kids--

I'm on the comeback trail, and I thought that maybe starting a log here might help keep me honest.

A little bit of background: I discovered CrossFit back in November 2005, and starting doing the WODs seriously the following month. That year I'd been doing nothing but bodyweight stuff--mostly based on Matt Furey's "Combat Conditioning"--so I was pretty ready to take on workouts like "Cindy" or "Barbara," although it took me awhile to get a handle on some of the more weightlifting-oriented WODs. (The first time I ever saw "Linda" I thought, "There is just no. Frickin'. Way.") Luckily, I had at least a passing familiarity with the Olympic lifts, having had the opportunity to train for a bit at Jim Schmitz's Sports Palace in San Francisco.

In March 2007 I had my best total: a 260lbs squat, a 385lbs deadlift, and 145lbs press (I'm 38 years old, 5'10" and 173lbs at about 10% bf, BTW). Unfortunately, those remain my best numbers. Despite a great deal of study and effort, I simply haven't been able to crack 800lbs.

Last October I strained my back while lifting. It seemed to heal up pretty well, but early this past March I hurt it again--and this time, it was really my own stupid fault. I felt twinges on two separate occasions and ignored them; when my back went, it really went. Unfortunately, I had just opened Pioneer Valley CrossFit, where I'm the head trainer, and I had three hours of class to teach that night. The next morning I could barely walk without assistance.

Experience does have its rewards, though, and this time I was much better prepared to plan out my rehabilitation. At this point I'm almost--not quite, but almost--where I was last February. I'm relatively okay with my level of conditioning: I do "Murph" in a vest in 42min and change, and I can do 24 rounds of "Cindy", but I absolutely MUST get my weightlifting numbers up.

Which is where this log comes in. Owning and operating an affiliate, I feel like I'm in a peculiar position. On the one hand, I'd love to simply to start drinking a gallon of milk a day and do "Starting Strength" and nothing but. But there's a subtle but undeniable pressure to "lead from the front" and continue to follow the WOD (we follow HQ to the best of our ability). I just feel guilty when something totally horrible is prescribed for our athletes if I don't do it.

So I've been trying to follow BOTH Starting Strength and the WOD, with predictably middling results.

In writing this, I guess I've come to a decision: I'm gonna take another crack at Coach Rutherford's ME Black Box approach. Previously I've felt like two days a week under the barbell wasn't going to be enough--after all, if you want to improve your squat, you should squat, a lot. But it's awful hard to do that and maintain the metcon edge. Especially at my (sigh) advanced age.

Okay, okay, enough. This is a workout log, right? Tonight, taking a page from CrossFit SF's "find your goat" concept, I took on "Mary" as follows:

AMRAP 20 min of

5 HSPU
10 pistols to 14" plate stack (alternating legs)
15 pull-ups

Total: 7 rounds.

I used to be pretty good at pistols, but since I strained my back I've lost some flexibility. Tonight I suuuccckkkeddd. But by the end I felt my back loosening up.

Oh boy, look! It's a Total tomorrow. It's gonna be embarrassing, but I've gotta set some benchmarks.

Okay, over and out.
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Last edited by Sean Manseau : 05-29-2008 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 05-29-2008, 07:31 PM   #2
David Wood
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Hey Sean . . . welcome "back" (not sure it makes sense to say that to an affilate).

Understand your position . . . but from my point of view, I wouldn't expect my (affiliate) coach to do the WOD he prescribes . . . as long as he's there to make sure I suffer appropriately.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:03 AM   #3
Tirzah Harper
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

I'm with David Wood here...do what you're going to do, but as the affiliate owner, do it right.
In other words, do the WOD, do SS, do whatever works best for you - but DO IT wholeheartedly, publicly, and take whatever heat you have to take without apologizing. I'm sure you'd help any member there who wanted to do SS for a while, right? You should get the same treatment.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:26 AM   #4
Justin Algera
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Hey Dammit... I did almost the same thing to my back (why we still havent learned to listen to our bodies is beyond me now) and my Deadlift is in the toilet right now (used to do 450 no problem) but now not even close. So take those real slow. Im back able to do fairly respectable deads while training, but not near where I was. I find though that middle weight deads + back extensions really make a difference and my back feels really good after doing them now. Now its a matter of building the strength back up.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:37 PM   #5
Sean Manseau
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Hey Justin! Words of wisdom.

Okay, so after the Total, I've got good news and bad news.

The good news is that I hit 265lbs in the squat which is a PR. I also pressed 140lbs, so haven't really fallen off there (although some progress would be nice).

The bad news is that I couldn't even crack 315lbs off the ground in the deadlift. Christmas! Two weeks ago I pulled 325 and thought I was on my way back. I dunno what happened tonight...I'm sure that to a large degree it was mental (i.e., I'm scared of re-injuring my back). Plus maybe it was that we were lifting at the end of a long day of assisting all our athletes with their totals, leading warm-ups, hauling plates around, etc.

But excuses are like...well, you know what excuses are like. I didn't make the lifts, and that's all there is to it. But that's not going to stop my publicly proclaiming my weightlifting goals. They're modest goals, to be sure, but they're mine*:
  • a 315lbs squat
  • a 155lbs press
  • a 405lbs deadlift
as long as I'm wishing, why not throw in a 225lbs clean. I'd like to do this at the approximately the body weight I am now: 173lbs. Of course, this makes it all a little harder, but I guess I have a bit of a problem with consuming the amount of food it would take to put ten lean pounds on me. It's both the expense and, dare I say it, the moral issue of consuming more than I actually require in a world where many wonder where their next meal is coming from.

Still going back and forth about which program I'm going to adopt. (I'm making June 1 the start date.) Will it be SS? ME Black Box? Something adapted from Josh Everett? The suspense is killing me!





*It's funny how CF has changed my thinking about all this stuff. Five years ago I never imagined I'd be as strong as I am now...but now what I'm doing seems totally mediocre.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:31 PM   #6
Sean Manseau
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Okay, today marked the end of my first week on Starting Strength. I'm committed to doing it for eight weeks, the whole hog--a gallon of milk a day, no metcons, even (gulp) no additional assistance stuff. However, I am practicing some skills (a York handbalancing course from 1922 and progression toward planche) on my off days. Hope that doesn't violate scripture too much.

So far, so pretty good. I'm re-educating my squat, going from passably parallel (squatting to a dynamax ball) to absolute A2G, with my hamstrings on my calves. Surprisingly, it feels great.

Someone on another posting suggested starting out at 60% of one's 1RM, so i've already screwed that up. On day one I started at 185, and today (day 3) I did

45 x5 x5 x5
75x5
95x5
115x5
135x4
160x3
195 x5 x5 x5

Felt good. Went up easy. yes, that's more warm-ups than Rip recommends, but hell, I'm old (or feeling old, anyway). I need the extra sets. My plan is to go up 5lbs each workout. We'll see how long I can sustain that.

Bench was easy.

45 x5 x5
95 x5
135 x4
165 x2
185 x5x5x5

Going up 5lbs a workout, should be a month before I slow down.

But the deadlift. Ah, the deadlift. It used to be favorite. My (disproportionately) best lift! Two weeks ago I pulled 325 for a single. Sixty pounds off last year's pr, but I figured it augured good things. So on day one I did 275 x 5 for my workset. Start low, I figured, go up ten pounds a week, you'll be cracking 400 in no time. But today, while warming up for 285 x 5, I felt a little tweak in my back on the fourth rep of 225. EFF. Well, it was just a little tweak, not painful. So what happened? Nothing in particular. I've been videotaping myself--form looks good, I've been very careful to use the Vasalva maneuver, etc and etc. Maybe I'm just predisposed now to injury. But I BETTER NOT BE.

I simply refuse to accept that.

Anyway, that was it for the day. That's how it started last time, see, back in February, I tweaked my back, ignored it, and pretty soon I wasn't able to get out of bed unassisted.

I've got two rest days coming up. We'll see how things go Tuesday, when it's time to power clean again.
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:55 AM   #7
Patrick Haskell
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Quote:
Last October I strained my back while lifting. It seemed to heal up pretty well, but early this past March I hurt it again--and this time, it was really my own stupid fault. I felt twinges on two separate occasions and ignored them; when my back went, it really went.
A timely reminder for me. I got a minor tweak in my low back. It feels tight more than it hurts, but it's in a spot I've never felt before. It went away after a couple of days, but Saturday's DL did not agree with it. I'll definitely take it slow. No sense turning a minor pain into a genuine injury.

I'll keep an eye on your progress here, as we seem to have similar goals at the moment (in terms of current program, raw numbers, and physical limitations).
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:04 PM   #8
Sean Manseau
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Week 2 on Starting Strength. Today: Squat, Press, Power Clean.

Hit my target weights on squats, which wasn't a big deal, as I'm still about 20-30lbs away from my usual working weight. But going A2A has changed things quite a bit, so we'll see.

45x5x5x5
75x5
95x5
135x4
160x3
185x1
200x5x5x5

As Rollins once said, "200 pounds is always 200 pounds." 200lbs is, you know, heavy. Today after the first set I employed Rip's tip to think "Drive! Drive! Drive!" during the eccentric part of the movement, and dang if the bar didn't shoot right up.

Press. Last time I pressed I just did sets of five to figure out what my work set should be. I ended with 125x5, so I figured today I'd do 125x5x5x5. No dice, though. I only got 125x4 first set, so I finished with 120x5x5. Next time.

Power clean. Went fine, worked at 140x5x5x5. Again, no big whoop, last year I was power cleaning bodyweightx5. Feels good, though, to be taking my time, really dialing things in. 145x5 next Saturday.

Finished with sit-ups, head stands, and some joint mobility stuff I got from BodyTribe (www.physicalsubculture.net [w/f safe]). That guy's got a great way of combining yoga, gymnastics and power lifting. Not the world's biggest CF fan, but he does offer some grudging respect.

SPEAKING OF WHICH. Man, I am not looking forward to transitioning back to the WODs (which should be sometime around the end of August, if I can hold to his. I'm figuring 10 weeks of SS.) I can feel myself getting slower every day.

Still drinking the gallon of milk a day, and eating 17 blocks. Put on about five pounds since last week, seems pretty solid. The thing is...okay, here's the thing. Getting bigger is cool if it means getting stronger. But isn't it a little cooler to be stronger on a pound-per-pound basis? For instance, I could very well be about 200lbs by the end of the summer. Maybe that'll put me close to achieving my weightlifting goals (stated above). But I'd much prefer to stay around 180 and get that strong. Still, I need to see this through, if only so I can tell clients first-hand that it works.
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Old 06-12-2008, 07:45 PM   #9
Sean Manseau
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

SS Week Two, Day Two.

Bodyweight: 180lbs, up 6.5 lbs from June 2nd. 17 blocks and a gallon of milk a day. Shorting the carbs a bit--too lazy to eat such big salads--and subbing in fat blocks. No visible gain in bodyfat yet but I am definitely looking (and feeling) thicker, bulkier. I'm also seeing a drop in my CF capacities. Just demonstrating kipping pull-ups for our of athletes made my lats ache. Oy. Anyway...

Squat work sets: 205x5x5x5
Bench work sets: 190x5x5x5
Deadlift work set: 285x5

Everything went according to plan. Went super deep, concentrating on the drive! drive! drive! and making the plates rattle. The bench pressing felt heavy, but then my bench has always sucked. Most important was pushing through the little tweak I felt last time and making my target weight on the deadlift. Will go up in 10lbs increments the next two DL days, and once I hit 305 I'll switch to 5lbs.

Finished up with hollow rocks and joint mobility stuff. Tomorrow: more hand balancing.
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:26 PM   #10
Sean Manseau
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Re: Dammit Dammit Dammit!

SS Week 2, Day 3. Bodyweight: 181lbs.

Hit all goals. Again, no big whoop, this is still familiar territory. Interestingly, squats are more painful going down than coming up.

Squat 210x5x5x5
Press 125x5x5x5
Power Clean 145x5x5x5

Afterward: 100 sit-ups in 2:30. Painfully slow. I miss CF! This going to be a loooooong 8-10 weeks.
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