Friday, June 12, 2009

    Drea is not your typical Crossfit coach. First and foremost, Drea's a woman. And like many Crossfit women, Drea has some super human qualities about her. For example: Drea is an active olympic weight lifter. She participates in (and I'm sure wins) a number of events throughout the year. I'm sure she can beat me up. Because her form on nearly every exercise is picture perfect, she runs most foundation sessions. "Dude, you've got to see her lift. It's beautiful," Gregg told me before the "workout of the day."

Note to newbies: Not beautiful as in Heidi Klum's runway catwalk, but beautiful like a cheetah hunting a gazelle; every movement is meticulously precise, brutally efficient, and most of all: rutheless. She is a killer. Drea emphasizes focus. Fatigue is no excuse for losing form on a lift when she's looking over your shoulder. I pitied the two hundred pound barbell that she deadlifted. The poor thing never stood a chance. 

Based on Gregg's description, I knew she would be tough, but I had no idea how tough.

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
15 115-pound Hang Power Cleans
12 Ring dips
21 Sit-ups

    Hang power cleans are arguably my worst lift. I have no concept of the proper form. It was just my luck that I'd be going through a twenty minute circuit in which I'd have to perform fifteen cleans per cycle with Drea's perfectionist hawk eyes looking on. I wanted to cry.

    This session I volunteered myself for the foundation portion of the hang power cleans and ring dips. Gregg and Drea did their best (albiet to not much avail) to teach me the hip thrust in the cleans to generate enough power to flip the bar from waste to shoulder height. I had had some experience with ring dips before, but I had no idea how I was going to be able to perform twelve per cycle. Gregg volunteered a box for me to rest my feet on during the dips so I'd have a little extra help going through the WOD.

Note to newbies: Yea, I said it. "Wod." I'm Crossfit cool.

    "Ready?" Gregg yelled. I was as ready as I'd ever be. The workout was exceedingly difficult. Though I was able to do it faster than my neighbor, Doug, he definitely deserved Crossfitter of the day award. Not only did he perform the hang power cleans at the RX prescribed weight, but he did the ring dips unassisted. He is the man. I, admittedly, was not. From the beginning I had to separate my hang power cleans into three sets of five. As I became increasingly fatigued throughout my workout, the form of my hang power cleans deteriorated. I had two fundamental issues with the lift. At the bottom of the lift, I wasn't exploding enough. Then, at the top of the lift, my elbows didn't come out far enough.

Note to newbies: In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here for an example of what a hang power clean is.

    As bad as the cleans were, it turns out that the ring dips, even with the assistance of the box, would be just as problematic. Thankfully, sit ups were not an issue. After cleans, my shoulders would be pleading for respite. I'd continue to my rings and box for some dips. Once the fire temporarily subsided from my shoulders I'd begin the dips, only to have it rekindle in my chest and triceps. I tried to use the box minimally to help with the dips, but eventually the temptation became unavoidable. To add insult to injury, my poor form was constantly scrutinized by Drea. Thank God she was there, or my cleans would have more closely resembled a reverse curl.

    As the workout progressed, my arms reached a level of exhaustion that I can recall experiencing only a handfull of times in my years of working out. The widespread burn that ensued throughout my agony-filled lift felt phenomenal. Getting such a thorough burn in such a wide variety of muscle groups is an extremely efficient way to work out. In the twenty minutes of this workout, I likely accomplished what I would have in two hours through isolation work in a typical weight room. Collapsing to the black rubber at the conclusion of my twenty minute struggle felt incredibly rewarding.   

    Though my seven completed rounds was the highest result out of the Friday at the 9:00 AM group, it must again be noted that neither of my fellow Crossfitters used any assistance whatsoever in this WOD. They each did the RX prescription on the cleans, and did unassisted ring dips. Just thinking about that makes my muscles burn. After the level of exhaustion I reached following this lift, I can hardly imagine doing it at the RX. I've got a long way to go before I'm Crossfit.

Next workout: Saturday, June 13, 2009

Status of Goal: Incomplete

Note to newbies: If you want to see "Fran," the workout described in day four, done by a master, check out Jason Rhabdo's heroics here. When watching it, keep in mind that my time was pretty good at 5:47.
 I'm pretty sure he set a world record.