Happy chocolate-munching, family-gathering, happiness-bringing Day!
It struck me a few days ago (while being hammered with “The Don” on Good Friday) that Easter is the time for New Year’s Resolutions. Go with me on this one.
In the post-anti-climactic New Year period, when money is at its lowest, when its cold outside, and when we are feeling deflated about going back to work, we decide to set a bunch of resolutions about how much better we are going to try and make our lives. We set them at a pretty dark and dismal period in our lives and then get crushed when our resolutions fail about a week or so in to the year.
But then there’s Easter. As a religious festival, it is all set around the rising of Jesus Christ from the grave…a rebirth, a second chance. It just happens that the Romans realigned this festival to fit with a pagan holiday period (as with most new Christian holidays at the time) known as “Eostre” in order to pacify the populations as they sought to go about their conquering ways. Eostre was a festival of fertility and new birth….a second chance, a chance to evaluate and set new goals. It is set at a period in the northern hemisphere where the weather begins to turn from Winter, through Spring in to the Summer. The darkness of Winter is over and the new shoots start to flourish forth. Isn’t THIS the best time therefore to set new Resolutions? The financial car crash of Christmas & New Year is long gone, the year is established and we’re more aware of how it is going to shape up. Shouldn’t now be the time to set about making changes that can actually be achieved successfully in an environment that supports it?
So, with that in mind, I am ready to start attacking my Fitness / Wellness & Health resolutions. It is also quite convenient that the Open has just finished and I’m therefore better enabled to understand my weaknesses in this regard.
As mentioned in my last blog post, I need to work on my actual strength and ability to repeat feats of strength with minimal rest (muscular endurance). My ‘working weight’ for the Clean & Jerk is 80kg. At this weight I am able to still always maintain good form for about 5-8 repetitions with minimal rest. I want this up to 90kg by the end of July. My 1RM is 92.5kg with confidence. Breaking from ‘SMART’ objectives and setting a precise and measurable goal, I am not going to set a total weight of 100kg, for example, but am going to continue to work on my form. My 1RM will go up as long as I push the ‘working weights’. So how to achieve this? EMOMs are an excellent way to achieve this. I will add Clean & Jerk EMOMs in to my weekly programmes in order to increase my confidence under the bar as well as improve muscular endurance. The CrossFit Plymouth programme will provide me with the 1RM building but the Open identified my Muscular Endurance and grip strength as critical weaknesses. Heavy MetCons, such as DT, will also be incorporated to test the progression.
The Muscle Ups, Toes to Bar and Chest-to-Bar Pull Ups all demonstrated my weaker grip strength. It was often my forearms that gave in before shoulders, significantly reducing my ability to remain on a specific movement. In order to tackle this, I am going to increase my time on the rings and the bar as part of daily routine. I enjoy swinging around like a monkey from the bars and will use this to my advantage; on entering CFP, I will complete at least 1 full length of the pull up rig without touching the floor; when this becomes easier, I shall about turn and work towards 2 full lengths. On failure from the bars, or at the end of each session (depending on time), I shall work on the rings to complete increasing numbers of unbroken muscle ups; obviously, working my weakness in this way will also serve to strengthen other areas of my repertoire that are rarely actually covered in the WODs at CFP but will benefit all grip-related areas (including aiding the muscular endurance aspects outlined above).
I’m not going to set a ‘percentile’ goal this year. It was ineffective last year and should have focused more on my actual weaknesses than an arbitrary target. I expect to achieve higher rankings if I solve the above but even if not, I shall be maintaining a pretty high level of fitness.
And so, to kick off this “CrossFit New Year”, I decided to complete “DT” this morning in the garage.
- 12 x Deadlift (70kg)
- 9 x Hang Power Clean
- 6 x Push Jerk
Time: 18:52 RX
3 Years ago exactly, I undertook this workout and achieved 18:19. Ordinarily, I would be really upset at what seems like a regression. However, today I was in my garage gym, unable to drop weights (increasing fatigue through controlled eccentric loading), without a proper warm up and with noone around to motivate me. These all seem like excuses but actually they are good reasons and I need to understand my environment when undertaking WODs such as these. For me, this was very much a muscular endurance WOD. 70kg places a huge strain on my grip and while I completed the first round in under 90 secs, the remainder took far longer as I struggled to recover each time. Had I completed this in CFP (where weights can be dropped) and after a decent warm up, I know full well that I would have knocked perhaps up to a full minute off this. However, it is what it is and I had a great time doing it.