Tag Archives: CrossFit

New Crossfit Huntsville Website

Check out the new Crossfit Huntsville website.  Clint, Daniel, and Russell did a great job with the redesign.  I personally like the Recent Posts along the bottom.  Each post is the workout of the day (WOD).  This new website allows everyone to post their scores for the day and talk a little trash (and encourage) everyone else.  Also, check out the videos.  Russell is pretty creative.  I’m the one that quits on the rope climb in the middle of the video (That was rep #5). 

On a personal note, I had a personal record on Fight Gone Bad today (Read the Recent Post with Russell lifting a barbell and my brother floating in the air like he’s sitting in a chair).  I did 294 reps, which is about 45 more than  the last time I did it.  CrossFit and the Zone diet has made a tremendous impact on my fitness.

I really enjoy my Crossfit community.  It is a great example of a Tribe (I highly recommend Seth Godin’s book at the link) – as you can tell from the banter on the site.  Find a Crossfit Box near you and give it a shot.



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Here is what’s going on at Crossfit Huntsville. 

I’m just glad I worked hard enough to make the video. 

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What is that?  Well, I can tell you.  It is the intense muscle pain you feel in your abs two days after your workout that makes you walk around like Quasimodo all day.  Here is the workout I did on Saturday (Crossfit WOD for 1/16/2009)

For time:
10 GHD Sit-ups
10 Hip & Back Extensions
95 pound Thrusters, 30 reps
50 Pull-ups

30 GHD Sit-ups
30 Hip & Back Extensions
95 pound Thrusters, 20 reps
35 Pull-ups

50 GHD Sit-ups
50 Hip & Back Extensions
95 pound Thrusters, 10 reps
20 Pull-ups

On the surface it looked bad, but not too bad.  105 pull-ups in a workout is not too bad for me.  60 thrusters with 95# is pretty challenging but doable, and I will admit that I have not consistently done enough GHD sit ups to know that 90 is A LOT.  Add to it 90 hip and back extensions, and I had the recipe to Rhabdo (read the comments section).  

What was interesting about this circuit is that the GHDs and H&B extensions fatigue your core.  When you core is fatigued, it is difficult to kip in the pullup and the thrusters just hurt.  It took me 39:57 to finish the workout.  In the middle section I had to take a 3 minute rest before beginning the thrusters.  I just couldn’t make my body start.  I ended and lay on the floor for about 10 minutes before I was able to peel myself off and get some water. 

I should have been a little less ambitious with Saturday’s workout.  I have been traveling for the past two weeks and didn’t get as many workouts in as normal.  Also, soon after I started the workout I had really bad cotton-mouth – dehydration.  (Nota Bene: I recommend all other Huntsville Crossfitters read up on Rhadbo – just Google it to get a lot of additional info).  Now, I don’t have a severe case.  I didn’t pass out and I’m not peeing iced tea colored (sorry for the graphic detail), but my core is very sore.  It’s like the first dumbbell curl workout I did in middle school when I did way too many with way too heavy a weight and ended up with my arms locked in a 90 degree angle for the next two days (you know, when you have to squirt shampoo in your hands with your teeth and then move your head back and forth in your hands because you can’t move your arms). 

Time to put the ego in check and listen to my body.  Needless to say, I won’t be doing “Black Lung” tomorrow with the rest of the class.

Workout: “The black lung”

500m Row
25x FSPP @ 75 lbs
25x Pull-ups
25x Push-ups
25x Box Jumps
25x KTE
25x KB swing @ 53 lbs
25x Deadlift @ bodyweight
500m Row
Scoring: Subtract 30 seconds from final time for ever second under 1:40 the first 500m row is completed in. The Row must be under 1:50 or add an immediate penalty row. If the last row is faster or equal to the first, it is subtracted completely from the total time. The only substitution allowed is jumping pull-ups, each of wich is a 12 second addition to total time (if you do all 25 pull-ups as jumping, you have added 5 minutes to your time). Women’s weights are a 45 lb FSPP and a 36 lb KB swing, and penalty/rewarded row times are greater than 2:00 and faster than 1:50.

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My name is Larry, and I am a Crossfit-aholic

I have been traveling a lot over the past four weeks (1 week in Galveston, 3 days in DC, 2 in ATL, 3 more in DC).  I haven’t been able to get too many Crossfit workouts at the gym.  I have been supplementing with different body weight workouts while I have been on travel (timed:  100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 air squats or timed: 100 burpess and 100 24” jumps).  Before my current trip to DC, I searched for Crossfit gyms in the DC area.  I decided to give Crossfit DC a try.  I emailed the instructor, and he seemed pumped that a guest was interested in their Crossfit program.  The instructor is an amateur rower.  This is cool because I need help with my rowing technique.  He led me through a warm-up routine on the rowing machine telling where my stroke is breaking down (I’m not driving the first part of the stroke with my legs).  The WOD was “Fight Gone Bad”.  Here is a description of the exercise:


3 rounds of the following:

·         1 minute of Wall ball with 20 lb medicine ball

·         1 minute of Summo deadlift high pull with 75lb barbell

·         1 minute of 24” Box Jump

·         1 minute Push press with 75lb barbell

·         1 minute Row on level 5

·         1 minute rest


The idea is to count all of the reps you get during all three rounds (for the row you count calories burned and just add them to the score).  I scored a 247 which is 9 better than the last time I did Fight Gone Bad.


We cooled down with an ab complex.  Very row-centric.


It was very interesting to compare this Crossfit gym with the Huntsville Crossfit gym, and even better to compare the instructors. 


Crossfit Huntsville has the “Little Ball of Hate” vs. “Big Ball of Encouragement” in DC

Russell doesn’t give you a Crossfit HSV shirt until you earn it (usually your second attempt at Black Lung after 6 months) vs. the three shirts that I receive for just visiting this gym.

CrossFit HSV incorporates a good bit of strength training vs. more body weight exercises and heavy use of rowers and Pilates Boards at the DC gym.


Overall, I enjoyed the Crossfit workout at this affiliate gym.  I didn’t feel like an outsider because I knew the lingo and had suffered through the same workouts these guys have (Fran, Fight Gone Bad, Grace, …). I guess we are a “tribe” as Seth Godin describes us in his new book “Tribes” (He actually described the Crossfit tribe at the Catalyst conference with solid pictures of people lifting heavy things and hands with ripped calluses).


But wait, the fun at the new gym doesn’t stop there.  After the class, the instructor and the two girls asked if I was staying around for Yoga.  I told them no.  They then proceeded to challenge my “Fabulousness” (i.e. opposite of manhood) by saying things like “what, is it not manly enough for you”, and “what else are you going to do? Go back to your hotel and sit” and “Yoga can hurt just as bad as Crossfit”.  Well, I can be as Fabulous as the next guy, so I decided to stay.  I have no idea what really went on during the next hour.  It was a bunch of funny named stretches.  Here is a sample of the thoughts going through my mind during my first Yoga class:


·         This guy’s voice is really strange – relaxing, monotone – like  a male version of HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey (“Good morning, Dave”).

·         I am having a difficult time breathing through my nose with this head cold.  I guess hawking a luggy wouldn’t be the right thing to do right now.

·         Man, my feet really stink. 

·         I just stuck them way out in front of me, right next to that poor lady’s head. 

·         She just moved her mat over five feet, I should really start wearing socks with my running shoes.

·         This “dog” position looks nothing like the way I have seen dogs move.  (Funny mental picture popped in my head)

·         Rabbit, Dog, Child, Mountain, Noose – which one doesn’t fit?  Who is the guy that slipped that name in there.

·         I really need to pass gas right now, don’t make me do another partial squat thingy with my hands in the prayer position.

·         My torso does not bend like th…. OH My goodness, it really won’t bend like that.

·         I feel uncomfortable resting on my shoulders with my knees beside my head.  This just isn’t right.

·         Why does the instructor keep asking me to relax my face?

·         Is this move really called a Chimichanga?  I am STARVING!

·         Where did this music come from?  Craig’s ipod?

·         I think Russell should light a candle and put it in the middle of the mat for Crossfit.

·         And now we meditate for 10 minutes to close.  The only thought going through my mind was “Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy – If it’s true that God lives inside of everyone of us, I hope he likes burritos, because that’s what he got for dinner tonight”

·         The lady that moved her mat is now staring at me.  What, I can’t laugh at a funny joke in my head?  What are you meditating on?  (Probably my feet).


I will admit, I was sweating pretty hard after yoga.  I also realize that I am not as flexible as I think I am (or ever should be).  I was worn out, but had a great (Fabulous) time tonight.  I can now check Yoga off the list of things to do once before I die.





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Thank You Sir, May I Please Have Another – CrossFit Week #2

I am amazed that the two previous CrossFit posts are now the most read posts on my blog.  A lot of people seem interested in this exercise philosophy.  So to pad my blog hits with additional CrossFit searches, here is a list of the exercises I did over the ten days.


Monday 7/21/2008 – 400 yard sprint outside in the Matrix parking lot, jog back into the building, 21 kettle bell thrusters, 21 push-ups, jog back outside, 400 yard sprint, jog back in, 15 thrusters, 15 push ups, jog back out, 400 yard sprint, jog back in 9 thruster, and 9 push ups.  Time – 16:30  (It was only 102 degrees that day, running in the parking lot was great).


Tuesday 7/22/2008 – 30 repetitions of the following exercises:

Kettlebell Get-ups

Ring dips

Air Squat

Knees to Elbows

Kettle bell thrusters

24 in box jumps

Ball slams w/ 25 lb medicine ball

Time – 22:00


I had to do my dips on the parallel bars.  I was too weak to use the rings.  The knees to elbow exercise is done on the pull-up cage – while suspended, curl your body so that your knees touch your elbows.  My abs appreciated the exercise.  Thank you sir, may I please have another.


Wednesday 7/23/2008 – Thee rounds of 30 reps on the bench press and 400 yards on the row machine.  After warming up throwing the 10 pound medicine ball at each other, Russell asked for two volunteers.  I was feeling froggy, so I volunteered.  Russel looked at me and asked if I could bench my body weight.  I said, “maybe a couple of times.”  “Can you do it 30 times?”  “Uhhh, no”.  “Ok, start out with 135”.  I have not done bench press in a long, long time.  I got through 10 reps and racked it.  Pulled it down and finished a set of 5 with help from the spotter.  Russell told me to drop weight to 115.  I struggled through the remaining 15 reps breaking them down into sets of three.  Right into rowing.  We had to keep out pace under 150 (units of some sort).  I dropped weight again on the bench for the second set.  The next 400 yards on the rower sucked (My form is not particularly good, especially when I am completely without energy).  I completed the last set of bench with only 65 pounds – struggling to get that weight to go up. (That’s right – I’m weak!)

Time – 24:00


Friday 7/25/2008 – Tobata (or as Jason T. renamed it “A-lot-a”).  We did seven rounds or 20 seconds of work wit 10 seconds of rest.  The exercises were

Air Squat

Sit Ups


Kettle bell thrusters

24 inch box jumps


On the air squats and burpees we had to call out how many we did on the first round, then Russell had to do at least that many on the last round or we get a penalty.  I got a penalty on both, which means I had extra work to do at the end.  I had to do another set of 20 seconds of air squats, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds burpees, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds air squat, … I was calling Russell unrepeatable names in my head (with what little oxygenated blood was available up there).


Saturday 7/26/2008 – I ran 3.5 miles in the neighborhood.  


Monday 7/28/2008 – In 20 minutes, we had to see how many sets of five pull ups, ten pushups, and 15 air squats we could complete.  I got eleven sets.  I have weak chest and shoulders right now, so the push ups really slowed me down.


Tuesday 7/29/2008 – Four rounds of 12 front bar bell squats and 30 yards of burpee-broad jumps.  What are burpee broad jumps you ask?  Do a burpee and then do a flat footed broad jump and then do another burpee and then another broad jump, …  I was squatting with 95 pounds.  That was a good weight for me.  It was difficult to get up, but due to the number of air squats I have been doing, I felt solid during the exercise (spent, but solid).

Time – 24:00


Wednesday 7/30/2008 – Run 5K on the cross country course behind the muni golf course.  Russell introduced to us the Pose running method.  My calves hurt.

Time – 27:20



  • Russell talked to us about diet Tuesday morning.  There are a number of diet philosophies that he recommends (Zone, block, Paleolithic, …) but what I distilled from the discussion (it was after a hard workout, so my brain was only partially working) is that we need to eliminate all cheap carbs from our diet (breads, chips, sodas, basically anything that can sit on the shelf at the grocery store for a long time).  I asked if Subway was good.  He said only if you ask them to put the meat, cheese, and vegetables in your hands as they make it.  I took that as a no. 
  • I have not lost any weight yet.  My body already feels tighter and stronger, but the scale still reads the same.  Just an observation.
  • I am no longer sore from the workouts. I get fatigued, but not the advil-popping-to-function sore.  I think I have been to enough classes that my body believes that I am serious this time.  Over the past year, my body has rolled its eyes at me when I started exercising knowing that I wouldn’t last past a week or two.  I think I have slapped him around enough that he is taking me seriously now.

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Broken Body – CrossFit Week #1

The first week of CrossFit is complete, and I am very sore!  It is amazing how much my muscles have atrophied spending years working in front of a computer.  I am in pretty good aerobic shape and have found out that I am in terrible anaerobic shape.  Here is a description of the workouts this week and the aftermath.


Tuesday – First day in the gym.  The trainer, Russell, walks in and tells us to take off our shoes and get jump ropes.  (Apparently, shoes are making our feet weak according to Russell.  I was worried he was going to tell us to put on loin clothes.  Fortunately he didn’t).  There were seven total people (five guys, two girls) that showed up for this class.  Russell used to be an Army Ranger.  He is short in stature and not bulky big – but looks like a little piece of steel.  He is all business. 


We spent five minutes warming up, alternating between 30 seconds of jump rope and 30 seconds of bear crawl.  It was good to know that I have not lost my jump rope skills from elementary school (the last time I jumped rope).  Russell spent the next 10 minutes teaching us the proper technique for a squat.  Next, we were told to grab medicine balls, the guys got 20 pound balls and the girls got 16 pound balls.  He showed us how to do a drill called Wall Ball.  Standing in front of a wall with the ball at our chest, we had to squat all the way down so that our thigh was below parallel.  Then we had to explode out of the squat and throw the ball up to a target nine feet off the ground on the wall, catch the ball on the decent, and go into the next squat, explode up, throw ball, repeat…  You get the picture.  That was the first half of the exercise; the second half was Ball Slams.  In ball slams, you hold the medicine ball above your head.  Slam the ball down on the ground as you go into a squat posture.  The medicine ball bounces about 3 inches off the ground and you are supposed to catch it on the bounce and raise back up ending with the ball above your head.  Descend, slam, scoop, raise, repeat…


So here is the exercise – 25 Wall Ball repetitions, 25 Ball Slams repetitions, 20, 20, 15, 15, 10, 10, 5, 5.  The exercise was timed.  I started out strong making it through the 25 on both exercise, then I crumbled fast.  The 20s were slow.  The 15s is where the wheels about came off.  I had to break the set into mini-sets of 3 to 5.  I wasn’t able to throw the ball up to the target anymore, so Russell handed me a 16 pound (girl’s) ball to finish the set.  At one point I saw stars and almost puked (I haven’t had that feeling since high school 2-a-day soccer workouts).  I finally finished the 15s, 10s, and 5s.  Overall it took me 21 plus minutes.  I went and laid on the floor in the fetal position.  It took me about five minutes to recover and get out of my catatonic state.  My body hurt, but in a primal, sadistic way it felt good. 


The soreness in my legs, back and shoulders increased over the next two days.  I popped Ibuprofen pills continually (something I almost never do) so that I could function at work. 


Thursday – We warmed up with five minutes on the rowing machine.  This warmed my muscles up well.  Next, Russell spent 10 minutes going over the proper front bar-squat technique.  Then he took us over to the pull-up cage and taught us the technique for kipping pullups.  These pullups require a butterfly swim stroke kick type rhythm.  I got it pretty quick.


So here is the exercise named “Fran” – 21 front bar-squats, 21 kipping pullups, 15, 15, 9, 9.  I had two fifteen pound plates on the bar for a total of 75 pounds.  Of course the exercise was timed.  I finished in 17 plus minutes.  It was painful.  To give you an idea of how weak I am, here are the times for everyone else in the Thursday class.  Kevin (my freak brother) finished in 4:36 with 95 pounds, Jared Ross (first Alabama hockey player to sign a professional NHL contract just last week with the Flyers) finished in 6 plus minute, and Craig Herr (my good friend that used to play professional hockey) finished in 10 plus minutes.  I ended up tearing some of the calluses off the palm of my hands, so now I have three bloody raw spots on my hands.


I learned a few things from these two workouts – 1) I am weak and 2) I am working out with freaks.  I think CrossFit attracts these types. (Have any of you ever challenged a hockey player to anything?)


Saturday – There is no class today, but Kevin suggested a few exercises for me.  He had me do something called “Man-Makers”.  After completing, I renamed then Larry-Breakers.   I carried my 25 pounds dumbbells to one of the soccer fields in the park behind my house to do the exercise.


Here is the exercise – Kevin suggested four sets of the following – twelve Man-makers, one lap around the field.  Timed of course.  Man-makers start with a pushup holding on to the dumbbell.  At the top of the pushup, you get your feet underneath you and lift and jerk the weights to your shoulders, then press them above your head, lower them back to the ground and start the sequence over with another pushup.  They are a lot harder than they sound.  I finished in 16:36.   Shocking my body with by running (well, jogging with a desire to go faster) after anaerobic lifting was different.  


Overall, here is what I learned after three punishing workouts.  Pushing my body in ways I haven’t in the past 15 years feels really good.  You forget the pain of the exercise pretty quickly after you are done.  I was proud of the bruise on my forearm from the medicine ball, my sore muscles reminded me that I didn’t give up on the challenges, and the wounds on my hands are the rookie mistakes that everyone makes starting on something new (and ultimately the things that make you a member of the group).  (This is sounding awefully Fight Club-ish).  The benchmark times for the exercises on both days are slow, but I know I will be stronger and faster when I revisit the exercises in the future.  It feels primal, like this is really what my body was physically created to do – work.  I don’t think God created these incredibly complex vehicles to have them sit in front of TVs and computers and atrophy. 


I challenge you all to get out this week and do something physical that you know will make you a little sore the next day.  Tell me how you feel afterward.


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CrossFit Challenge

My brother, Kevin, has challenged me to give CrossFit a try.  Those of you that know my brother, know that our genetic makeup is completely different (Same parents – way different bodies and minds).  Kevin has always been a big dude – I am longer and lankier.  He was a state champion wrestler in high school and got into body building in college.  Well after college, he slowly started gaining weight.  Last year he has bigger than he wanted to be so he started doing CrossFit.  He was ripped again in no time.  I think he lost 30 pounds in the last 90 days.  The best I can describe CrossFIt is a lot of full body movement with heavy items.  Check out this video.  Kevin is the front guy doing the dumbbell pushups press exercise and he is the last guy in the video doing lunges with the slosh pipe – big pipe half full of water – hard to keep balanced.  Watching Kevin is a little intimidating.  I will be doing lunges with a garden hose empty and will probably be crying like a baby.  I think I am going to go for a free trial run next week.  I want to do a 90 day routine and see what it does to me.  Three years ago I was doing triathlon’s, now I just run and bike half heartedly.  I need something new to get me motivated.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Team Circus will also get the challenge to join me – you know who you are.

Have any of you tried CrossFit? 

Any other suggestions to get me exercising again?


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