Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saturday 090228: Competition

I haven't posted for the last few days, so let me give you the rundown.
Tuesday, did a light AM lifting and PM rings workout.
Wednesday and Thursday, just worked at the gymnastics gym, going through the routine and making sure I've got all the connections right.
Friday was rest.

Saturday was my first gymnastics meet.
The routine went well. Although I haven't trained it in a few weeks, I put in the cross on the advice of my coach who suggested I try to throw it as there would be no loss in points if I didn't hold it long enough, which I didn't. Overall the routine scored a 6.1. The competition was a great experience and I now have a lot of things to keep in mind for the next one.

For video of my routine, go to:

As much as I'm ready to dive right in and get to work on improving my routine, my right shoulder is really giving me a lot of bad pain, especially doing any motion requiring rotation of the joint (think throwing a baseball) so I'm going to take this week pretty easy and let that all heal up. Then we're gonna be hitting it hard.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday 090223: Rings Strength, Lifting

AM Workout
5 rounds, not for time, alternating between
Front squat (x3)
Cross attempt

Front squats were 145-175-195-215(f)-215.
Crosses are improving, but not enough to compete in my routine on Saturday. That's the bad news. The good news is that they're close -- very close. The first 50-60 degrees is solid enough that I can rep it. I'm still fighting to keep straight arms and locked elbows on the last 30 degrees though.

PM Workout
7x through of:
Muscle-up or kip
Shoulder stand
Straddle L-sit
Piked forward roll

7x through of:
Muscle-up or kip
Roll to back lever
Piked hang

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday 090221: Rest Day

Friday 090220: Rest Day

Went to the gym; just did some work on the C2 to warm up and then had a long stretch session.

Thursday 090219: Rings Technique

Pretty sore, not getting enough sleep.
Took it pretty easy tonight, just ran through the routine twice, worked some backuprises and kips, then played around with vault for a while.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday 090218: Rings Strength

AM Workout
Kip, cross (spotted), forward roll: 3x1
Pullup, drop to front lever, pull to tuck planche: 5x1
Turkish getup (35lbs kb): 3x1 per arm

PM Workout
Ring handstands ad nauseum.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday 090217: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Worked harness front lever pulls to cross, went through the first half of the routine about 5 times, the whole thing twice, then handstand drills.

Very surprised at how the deadlifts from yesterday seem to have made an impact on my swing, kip, and cast. Well, actually, not surprised at all: it's not an accident.

The gymnastics muscles also, magically, happen to be the deadlift muscles.

I'm not usually one to put links out here, but this one is worthy of checking out:

I'm mostly putting this up here because I need to keep taking a look at it. To paraphrase, for a goal driven athlete, "unplanned rest can be even more mentally taxing than your physical training. Spontaneous and unwelcome days off can wreak havoc on a CrossFitter’s constitution."

Thanks. I needed to hear that. Because it's totally true.


The current goal is to put together a competition-ready rings routine for club-level competition. There are a number of meets in the first few months of 2009 where this will be possible.

I am developing my own programming, but am actively seeking out assistance with this. I have drawn guidance from Crossfit, Performance Menu, Gym Jones, postings on various message boards, and numerous other fitness blogs. My thanks for making their information public, I hope to continue in this same spirit with my own experiment.

Note that I will be changing this plan as time goes by and I get advice from the many people who have offered their help with this process. I will be making notes for changes in italic font; anyone using this blog in the future will be able to gather more information by looking at the process of what I've learned and changed than by just observing the finished product.

The plan is for a 2/1/3/1 schedule. The reason for this is that the gymnastics gym is going to only be available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The equipment available there is far superior to that available elsewhere, both for skills and strength work.

Here’s the main idea of the programming:

Saturday: Ring Strength, MetCon
Sunday: Lifting
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Ring Technique, Ring Strength, MetCon
Wednesday: Ring Technique, Ring Strength
Thursday: Ring Technique, Ring Strength, MetCon
Friday: Rest


Once a week perform Olympic lifts and their component parts, as well as other activities using the big muscle groups. Go heavy on these days, but also use the time to make sure that technical proficiency on these lifts does not backslide during this period of stepping out of normal programming.


Two or three times per week, perform a short, intense workout, generally a combination of multiple exercises. The workout should last between three and ten minutes, and should be done at a very high level of intensity. Combinations of different movements, not necessarily all ring-focused are favored.

Ring Strength

This is the main portion of the programming geared exclusively to reach the goal of building and perfecting a routine. Inspired by Catalyst Athletics / The Performance Menu, the idea here is going to be to program in 4-week intervals.

Strength elements will generally be trained at relatively low volume and near-maximum capacity.

The odd-numbered four week cycles focus on building strength for the individual components of the routine while improving technical proficiency throughout. For elements already learned, this means repeating them, sometimes with weight added, with an emphasis on holding correct form. For elements which have yet to be learned, this cycle will focus on developing the correct form and technique, which means more assistance and repetition, and repeating the same exercises more often through the week. Expect a great deal of work with elastic bands and harnesses as well as work with weights and other exercises off the rings.

The even-numbered four week cycles focus on developing the entire routine, connecting elements together, and increasing the ability to train elements at or near maximum exertion on a frequent basis. For elements already learned, this will mean connecting all of them together in a single effort to practice execution of a competition-length routine. For elements which have yet to be learned, training will be low in quantity but performed at a maximum level of execution, preferably with a spotter rather than bands or a harness.

Ring Technique

Practice the more technical elements of the rings routine in large quantity. Focus on swinging, balance, and dismount elements, repeating them at great quantity, limited generally by fatigue preventing proper execution technique.

These will require strength but also focus on form and will generally be done when fresh.

Other Elements of Programming

In addition to this schedule, at least twice a week, do other activities such as swimming, running, or playing any sort of other sport. Keep lose and keep sane. Make sure that at least one of these activities is some sort of outlet in which performance is not tightly tracked and measured and is instead done just for the fun of it. For me, that’s playing volleyball or going hiking. The concept is to retain sanity and prevent burnout; although that does not mean that this part is less important than any other component of the programming.

Additionally, and somewhat conversely, do a mental workout once every few weeks. These are workouts that, while not necessarily physically draining, they are mentally demanding. Examples serve more for definition than anything else: 10x25 meter underwater swim on 1:00 intervals; muddy trail run during a rain storm with belly-crawl component; or a mile sand bag carry.

The idea is to push yourself toward a goal that you know you can physically do, but may or may not be able to push through mentally. You have to keep your mind sharp and will yourself to finish the workout. Once you’ve gone through this type of thing to reach your goal, you will be less likely to drop out of the program. You’re quite literally hazing yourself.


That is the programming schedule in a nutshell. I am very much open to feedback on this: it’s the primary reason I started this blog in the first place.