Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday 081220: Rings Strength

Worked on some split jerks to warm up.

Bench press: 1-1-1-1-1

Tuck planche: 3x10 sec.
L-sit: 3x10 sec.
Overhead squat (30lbs): 3x5

30 sec. handstand hold + 2 HSPU

Horizontal seated row (135lbs): 5x5

Friday 081219: MetCon

10 minutes for maximum burpees.
Made it to 100 burpees.

Thursday 081218: Rest Day

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday 081217: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Kip 3x1
Muscle-up 3x1

5x1 of
Tuck planche
Cross (half + pullout)
Fwd. roll to muscle up
Fwd. roll to tuck front lever
Pull to back lever

Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1
Got up to 200kg (440lbs), bodyweight is 175-178.

Press handstand: 1-1-1

Jump to maltese: 5x3
Seated row (70lbs on cable machine): 5x5

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wednesday 081217: Rings Strength

Weighted muscle-up: 1-1-1-1-1
Kip, L-sit: 15x1

Tuesday 081216: Rings Strength

Front squat (175lbs): 3x3
Front lever pull: 3x3
Ice-cream maker: 3x3
Tuck planche: 5x1

Monday 081215: Rest Day

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday 081214: Rings Strength

Warm up: Row 500 meters
Front squat: 3x3 @ 175lbs
Front lever pull: 3x3
Ice-cream maker: 3x3
Tuck planche work on dip bars

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday 081213: MetCon, Lifting

The 12 Days of Christmas

Do the workout just like the song, do the first item on the list, then do the second and the first items on the list, then do the third, second, and first items on the list . . . for time:
1 2 sec. handstand hold
2 KB snatches (24kg/16kg)
3 shoulder presses (95lbs/65lbs)
4 burpees
5 box jumps (18")
6 squats
7 situps
8 KB swings (24kg/16kg)
9 dips
10 pullups
11 knees-to-elbows
12 hang power cleans (95lbs/65lbs)

Chadron 26:43
Laura: 30:47

Finished up with some jerks and a few cleans; put up a 90kg clean and jerk.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Been bad about posting the past few days, but Tuesday, and Wednesday took trips to the gym, did work on basic ring training stuff, nothing really crazy. Got to a HS on rings, and also landed a flyaway 1/2 dismount on Wednesday. Took Thursday off. Will work out today (Friday) and both weekend days; should be everything back on schedule. Law school finals sometimes interfere with my workout planning.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday 081209: Rings Strength

Front lever: 1-1-1-1-1
Cross pullout: 1-1-1-1-1
Press: 1-1-1-1-1

Early December Update

Monday 081208
Kip to L-sit: 7x1
Pull-up to cross push-out: 6x3
Fwd. roll to muscle-up: 3x1
Tuck planche (4 sec. hold): 8x1
Jump to maltese: 3x3

Sunday 081207
Sick Day

Saturday 081206
Clean: 1-1-1-1-1-1
275lbs. deadlift: 3x3
25lbs. dumbbell maltese press: 3x3
80lbs. pushup position row: 6x4 (3 sets per arm)

Friday 081205
Rest Day

Thursday 081204
Various rings drills: 30 mins.
Tuck planche: 4x1
L-sit press handstand: 4x1
Jump maltese: 5x3

Wednesday 081203
21-15-9 rounds for time of
95lbs. thruster
Various rings drills: 30 minutes

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday 081202: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Warm Up
2x of:
Ice cream-maker x3
Muscle-up x3
Box jump x3

Rings Technique
4x of practice routine #6.2:
Straight body pull to inverted hang
Inverted pike
Press handstand
Tuck planche
Front roll to muscle-up
Front roll to front lever
Forward roll to swing

Rings Strength
Cross pullout: 1-1-1
Kip cross practice

Monday 081201: Rest Day

Sunday 081130: Rings Strength, MetCon

Push press: 1-1-1-1-1
Bodyweight squat: 3-3-3
Tuck planche: 7 x 4 sec.

Tabata Mashup
8 rounds of:
~20 seconds man-makers @ 30lbs db/hand
~10 seconds rest
~20 seconds handstand
~10 seconds rest

Ex post comments: Got the push presses up to 135, a little sore from the deadlifts and dips from the day before. Tabata mashup of man-makers and handstands was crazy. Did the handstands spotted, was able to hold all but the seventh for the full 20 seconds.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday 081129: Rings Strength

One-Arm DB Snatches: 1-1-1-1-1-1-1

Lynne's Pretty Sister
5 rounds for max reps, no clock running of:
Bodyweight deadlift
Ring dips

Got the one armed snatches up to 100lbs. with the left arm, 85lbs. with the right arm. Could have gone up a bit with the left, but the next size db was 125lbs.


Had to use regular dips, as rings were unavailable. After the second round, I cut the deadlift reps intentionally, as technique was getting pretty ugly. Followed everything up with some handstand work.

Friday 081128: Light Strength Work

Team Workout with the GF
4 Rounds Individually for Time:

Him: 1 HSPU
Her: 3 Burpees
Him: 3 Pushups with her on my back
Her: 3 Burpees
Him: 5 Squats with her on my back
Her: 3 Burpees

Times were 1:25, 1:19, 1:12, 0:56.

Thursday 081127: Rest Day

Took a rest day for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday 081126: Lifting, Rings Strength

Did a number of random gym activities in Philly. No rings available, but used the dip bar for V-sit and tuck planche work. Also worked HSPUs and some cable machine simulated cross pullouts. Finished off with weighted pushups, made it up to 105lbs.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday 081125: Light Strength Day

Got some pics from Sunday's deadlifts. There are a few more over at as well as some great commentary from Binhong. First photo is 168kg (370lbs.) and the second is 185kg (407lbs). Form was good on the 168; back rounded on the 185 but not much.
Travelling complications meant no workout today; but did 5x1 HSPUs upon arrival in Philly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday 081124: Rest Day


Sometimes we never really know what we can do until we push ourselves. It would make sense to me that nature generally tells us to never quite give our all when we're working out. Think about it: I just got myself a woolly mammoth and am about ready to drag it back to my cave. I should probably still be able to defend myself if a saber-tooth cat decides he wants my dinner.

It is only in the extraordinary circumstance that we find out what we're really capable of. Take, for example, the other day when I was doing a workout that involved rope climbs. For the first two rounds, I went half-way up the rope rather than all the way. I rationalized this to myself "oh, my forearms are pretty tired, and it's quite a drop in case I lose my grip at the top." Was there any danger of me actually losing my grip? No. Was there a relatively large crash mat under me even if I did? Yes. But yet I still persisted in convincing myself that going all the way up really wasn't necessary.

But it is necessary. Climbing a 10 foot rope twice with a break in the middle is a lot different than climbing a 20 foot rope once.

Half-way up the rope for the third (and final) time, I realized this. I thought to myself, "What if I ever have to climb a rope like this? What if I had to climb this rope to get to someone I care about?" And up I went.

Now, I'm no fireman, policeman, or member of our armed forces. I'm just a regular guy (the extent to which I can be called "regular" is a debate for another day). Things happen to all of us that require us to give 100%. Maybe it's a car accident, or a fire, or an earthquake, a terrorist attack, or a tornado. In the moment, the reason isn't important. Lots of people have been in the situation where the world thrusts them into a life or death situation. Climb something. Run somewhere. Carry someone else. Lift something off of someone. Bust down a door. Sprint to get help. Sprint to save your neck.

In trying to explain to a close family member why fitness is important, I used the example, "what if the house were on fire and your wife were unconscious in the basement? Could you pick her up and carry her up the stairs?" His response is always, "sure." When I challenge him to do it, the answer is "I could do it in an emergency." Well guess what? That adrenaline is a great thing, but it's not going to give you anything you don't already have. What if a 300lb. piece of house had fallen on her that you'd have to remove before the trip up the stairs? Can you do that with the adrenaline? What if it were three people? What if it were three flights of stairs? What if it were a 400lb. piece?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday 081123: MetCon, Rings Strength, Lifting

First, with the Charlottesville Crossfit crew:
3 Rounds For Time
21 knees to elbows
21 kb swing (1.5 pood)
21 pushups
1 rope climb
21 box jumps (20")
21 back extensions
150' walking lunges

Ended that one in approximately 24 minutes. MetCon capacity has dropped noticeably. Pukey paid a visit. That said, I did all of the swings as one group each round, which was a goal I had at the beginning.

Then, after a recovery period, I got on the rings and did the following (numbers are approximate):
15 muscle-up
12 kip
10 forward roll to muscle up
8 L-sit
6 tuck planche
4 front roll to front lever
1 back lever
"...And a partridge in a pear tree."

After that, I did some lifting:
Shoulder press: 1-1-1
Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1

Worked the deadlifts up to two reps of a max at 185 kilos (407 lbs). Photos forthcoming.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday 081122: Rest Day

Ended up having a lot of random things to do today, took a rest day. Was pretty sore anyway so the rest might have been a good thing. Not quite a full rest day, ended up doing the walk up a steep hill and a nice little hike through the woods. That was just enough to keep the blood flowing and use some extra energy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday 081121: Rest Day

Got a couple pictures from today, first is a back lever, second is me with a bear. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday 081120: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

In Any Order
Felge, forward roll, dismount: 7x1
Dislocate: 10x1
L-sit press to handstand: 7x1
Cross pullout: 3x1
Tuck planche: 6x10sec.

Complete 32 intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest where the first 8 intervals are burpees, the second 8 are one-arm snatches, the third 8 intervals are pullups, and finally, the last 8 intervals are candlesticks. There is no rest between exercises.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday 081119: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

L-sit to handstand: 1-1-1

Dislocate practice: 5 mins.

2x of practice routie #6.1 (slight modification from yesterday):
Straight body pull to inverted hang
Inverted pike
Swing forward
Press handstand
Front roll to muscle-up
Front roll to front lever
Tuck planche
Forward roll to swing

Dislocate practice: 5 mins.

Cross pullout: 3-3-3
Spot maltese: 3-3-3

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tuesday 081118: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

First day at the gymnastics gym in the second technique cycle. Haven't put together a long string of moves in 4 weeks, but the moves themselves have improved in a very serious way.

5x1 of Practice Routine #6
Press handstand
Front roll to muscle-up
Front roll to front lever (1-leg tuck)
Tuck planche
Forward roll to hang

Cross pullout: 1-1-1 (5 sec. hold)
Harness ring handstand (toe awareness drill): 3x10sec.

Monday 081117: Rest Day

Now that I'm in the start of the second technique cycle (11 weeks in, as the second technique cycle was only 3 weeks long), I'm going to take stock of what I've got.

At the end of the last technique cycle, four weeks ago, I had the following moves:
Back lever
Forward roll
Kip (got it right at the end there)
Tuck planche

Now, at the start of this technique cycle, I can add to all of that the forward roll to muscle-up and the felge. Additionally, the L-sit press to handstand is close enough that I can train it in practice routines, and the cross is, according to my spotting buddy, getting close.

For the routine, the two things that I am seriously lacking right now are the handstand move and the swing to strength move. As mentioned, the handstand is getting closer, but for the swing to strength, I am planning on doing kip to cross.

In light of this information, I'm going to be working this technique cycle on five things.

1. Kip to cross. My kip isn't that bad, but if I'm going to do kip to cross, getting that cross down solid might be a good start.
2. L-sit press to handstand. I just need to get a little better technique on it and it'll be there, right now I'm trying way too hard to simply press the whole time. That's bad for two reasons: first, I'm simply not strong enough to do it. I can shoulder press a max of 140 lbs; I weigh around 175. Second, apparently to count as an A move, it needs to be a swing with a push-assist, not a mere show of strength.
3. Dismounts. A stuck flyaway would be nice, but a stuck twisting flyaway or a double would be better.
4. Practice routines. I've got to get the body used to connecting all of these different elements in order to do well in competition. On the plus side, I can train all of the skills I already have plus add the aforementioned parts into the practice routines as well. I can use a spotter for crosses, make attempts at handstands, and there's no sense in not ending each practice routine with a dismount, even if it's just a flyaway.
5. The other moves which I want to include in the routine but are not crucial should not be ignored. These could be the ones that can really make a score difference. These would include planche, maltese, and front lever. In this category can also work on the kip to L-sit or kip with straight arms (although those could equally be justified under the kip to cross category as well).

This is going to have to improve. A lot.

Sunday 081116: Lifting, Rings Strength

Shoulder press: 1-1-1-1-1 (125-130-135-140*-135*)
Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1 (325-345-365-385*-365)
Front lever row: 3x8
Tuck planche (4 sec.): 8x1

Saturday 081115: Rest Day

Very sore and with somewhat of a stomach ache, took the day off.

Note that today marks the start of the second technique cycle (more to come regarding that).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday 081114: Rest Day

Thursday 081114: MetCon

Last day of the second strength cycle, going to do something to cling to my Crossfit roots. Plus, I hate to miss a hero workout.

For time:
100 Squats
5 Muscle-ups
75 Squats
10 Muscle-ups
50 Squats
15 Muscle-ups
25 Squats
20 Muscle-ups

Then some kips and cross pullouts.

Ex post comments: 34:50. Wow, my endurance has really dropped off over the time in which I've been doing this gymnastics hybrid. The last six muscle-ups took approximately 10 minutes. Ouch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday 081112: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

40 minutes technique work, focus on swings and dismounts with a few kips and felges thrown in as well.

Kip, then 3x of L-sit, press handstand, hold shoulder stand (3 sec.): 5x1

Band cross pullouts 1-1-1-1

Ex post comments: Getting higher on the press handstand from L-sit. I know I have the strength, it's just a matter of moving the right muscles at the right time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday 081111: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

3x each of:
~Twisting dismount into pit

Front lever: 1-1-1-1-1
Cross: 2-2-2-2-2
Tuck planche: 1-1-1-1-1
Spot jump to maltese: 3-3-3-3-3

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday 081110: Rest Day

From a post at SF Crossfit, something for which we can all use reminder: "It is far easier to talk about, discuss, argue and try to find 'the-one-secret-technique-that-will-make-it-click' than it is to put the work in and learn something new."

Whole article is at:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday 081109: Lifting

Back squat: 3-3-3-3-3
Push press: 3-3-3-3-3
Maltese db press (25lbs.): 4x4
DB row: 3x5 each arm

Warmed up with some light deadlifts.
Didn't get very heavy with the back squats (up to 215), but got them very low and with relatively good technique.
Push presses were 135-155-175-195*-175. Got the 195 for only one rep. However, that's still a max for me on the push presses by quite a bit.
DB rows were 60-70-80, done as continuing rehab for the winging scapula.
Also messed around with a few L-pullups and some back levers on a pullup bar.

Saturday 081108: Rest Day

Still not recovered from the previous week, and I'm starting the last week of the second strength cycle. Going to take an extra rest day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday 081107: Rest Day

Thursday 081106: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

50 minutes technique work, working on getting more height on the dismount to prep for doubles. Also worked felges, kips.

Muscle-up, forward roll to muscle-up, tuck planche 1-1-1-1-1
Cross pullout 1-1-1-1-1

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday 081105: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Rings Technique
45 minutes on pit rings

Rings Strength
Spotted jump to maltese: 5x3
Muscle-up to L-sit (5 sec.): 5x1
L-sit to handstand: 5x1
Front lever pull (x4), ice cream maker (x4): 4x1

Great link over at to check out today (found via Crossfit NYC):
You Need Me

Seriously, I love this article. I'd love to apply it to gymnastics and my workouts. This type of mentality doesn't seem to apply to my current coach (not that there's anything wrong with him, it's just not his style) or anybody else on the team. How much the approach in that article would help them, I can't say. But for me, you better believe it helps. Some of the other gymnasts look at me funny when I get pissed off from missing a move, when I walk out of the room with headphones on to get in my head, or when I encourage myself out loud. All that stuff works.

Come on coach, someone like me needs to be pushed and pushed hard. Shout. Yell. Scream. Get in my face. If I can do something, make sure I do it. Don't accept failure. I'd rather a coach give me a caning than accept anything less than my best. And, seeing as how I'm effectively my own coach, I gotta give it to myself.

The guy busting his ass, ripping his hands open, yelling while he pushes himself to give his all shouldn't be the one to be embarrassed. The ones who should be embarrassed are those who give a half-effort every time, who stare and gawk, and rest on their laurels, confident that the new guy will never be as good as they are.

Then again, who am I to judge? I guess that's the beauty of competition. You get on the apparatus, under the lights, you give your all, and leave the judgment to the judges. Some of us are here for different reasons. I'm here to give 100%. I'm here to prove that you can take some 6'1" 175lbs. 25 year-old guy and turn him into a competitive gymnast. I'm here to win. What are you here for?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Tuesday 081104: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Rings Technique
Swings, felges, and kips: 45 minutes

Rings Strength
Forward roll to muscle-up, forward roll to front lever (one leg tuck): 5x1
Cross pullout (spotted): 1-1-1-1-1-1-1
Parallel bar situp: 3x10

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday 081103: Rest Day

This week, I will get a good dislocate.

Sunday 081102: Rings Strength, Lifting

Weighted muscle-up: 1-1-1-1-1
Front lever: 2-2-2-2-2
Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1

Ex post comments: Made it to 35lbs. on the muscle-ups, and 365lbs. on the deadlifts.

Saturday 081101: Rings Strength, MetCon

Today is the start of the third week of the second strength cycle.

HSPU: 1-1-1-1-1
Maltese press on Swiss ball (25lbs.): 4x3
One-leg squat: 6x3

4 minutes of alternating 10 sec. L-sit, 20 sec. plank hold.

Breathing ladder: Burpee+clean w/25lbs. dumbbells.

Ex post comments: Did the workout in my living room with the girlfriend (for you all who think I'm crazy, you should see her press handstand!). Made it to 14 rounds on the breathing ladder, Laura made it to 6. Gnarly, gnarly stuff there.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday 081031: Rest Day

I like lions.
Penguins, bears, and eagles are cool too.

They used to have these amazing lion cuff links at Thomas Pink but now I can't find them. It was a gold male lion's head with a mane and red jeweled eyes. Anyone who can find them . . . I'll give you a cookie.

Thursday 081030: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Dismount (flyaway 1/1) training and drills: 60 minutes

Cross pullout (4 sec. count): 1-1-1-1-1-1-1

Tuck planche (4 sec. count): 5x1

Front lever pull: 5x1

Ex post comments: This dismount business is a pain in the neck. I also threw in a couple kips, felges, and forward roll to muscle-up in for good measure at the start of some of the swinging sets. Forearms, for some reason, seem to be aggravated and started cramping at a few times toward the end of practice.

Wednesday 081029: Lifting, Rings Technique

Had to go to the gym early in the afternoon, was only able to make it to gymnastics facility for about 45 minutes due to Law School matters (dinner with the former Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Veasey... couldn't turn down that opportunity!).

Anyway, the first workout of the day was
~Weighted pullup 1-1-1-1-1 (75-75-85(f)-75-75)
~Handstand pushup 2-2-2-2-2 (improving!)
~Maltese dumbbell press: 5x4 @ 25lbs. (elbows felt fine)
~Horizontal row on cable machine: 5-5-5-5 (took it up to around 180)
~Clean (technique): 1-1-1-1-1 (135-155-155-185-155)

Later went to gymnastics, worked some technique things; kips, presses, planches, and (with the counterweight harness) kip to cross.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday 081028: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Rings Technique
Handstand: 3x10 sec.
Felge, swing, dislocate: 5x1
Kip, swing, dislocate: 5x1
Dismount: 10x1 (may be done after successful dislocates after felges and kips)

Rings Strength
Cross pullout: 3-3-3-3-3
Forward roll to muscle up: 5x1
Tuck galimore* (front lever to tuck planche): 5x3
L-sit: 4x1

*Galimores are described at

Ex post comments: Ended up mixing the forward rolls to muscle up in with the technique work. Galimores are very hard. I was not able to string together more than two of them, and not in anything close to a smooth fashion. However, it definitely is a good exercise which will be useful to learn better body control. Dislocates are problematic but are slowly improving (probably only did a total of 5 before shoulders started telling me to lay off), and the dismount is getting both higher and more comfortable. Time to start thinking about twisting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday 081026: Lifting, Rings Technique

Did a little technique work on the snatch with the Crossfit crew, then did some technique work on the rings, mostly forward rolls, muscle-ups, and L-sits. The forward roll to muscle up is coming along nicely, although I'm still struggling with locking into the right position on the forward roll to front lever. Was feeling pretty sick so I did not end up doing much work. Plus Armando got his first muscle-up today, and I got a good shot of Ben's muscle-up as well. Check out more about that one at Certainly looking for feedback on the L-sit -- I know the rings should be turned out, but if anybody else sees corrections to make, please point them out.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday 081025: Lifting

Today is the start of the second week of the second strength cycle.

Deadlift (215lbs.): 3x3 (focus on form)
Overhead squat (95lbs.): 5x1
Back squat: 1-1-1-1-1

Ex post comments: That went well. The technique on the deadlifts at 215 is very good. Overhead squats felt ok, but visually, the right shoulder is far from symmetrical from the left. Back squats only went up to 225lbs. but the form is getting much better. Also threw in some victorian and maltese dumbbell presses with 20lbs (3x3 on the victorian 3x5 on the maltese) for joint preparation. I found that I can't really even support 20lbs. dumbbells directly overhead with the right arm, but I have no problem going well over body weight with a barbell. Conclusion from all this is that while I might have no problem balancing things out if I do handstands on the floor or on high bar or P-bars, handstands on the rings look like they might be a problem due to the continuing problems with winging scapula.

Plan A: Keep working handstands on rings and hopefully things will work out.

Plan B: Shouldn't be as much of a problem to swing through handstand. Ring giants? Might be a long shot but if the right shoulder can't do handstands physiologically, I'm going to have to come up with something else. I'd better get to work on that dislocate, and fast.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday 081024: Rest Day

Well, now there's a good reason to turn the rings out during a kip beyond using proper technique: skin damage.

The first picture is from last night after getting back from practice, the middle one is today (healing very quickly for some reason and somehow not very bruised), and the last one is a picture of a friend's kitten playing with my shoe.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday 081023: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

L-sit press to handstand w/bungee belt: 6x1

Technique work: 60 minutes
(include swings, dislocates, felges, kips, dismounts)

Kip: 5x1

Cross pullout: 3-3-3-3-3

For time:
21- 15- and 9-rep rounds of

Ex post comments: Managed to start a little bit of spin on the dismount (trying to get to a flyaway 1/1), although it's going to take much more practice. The first attempt, I ended up spinning all of about fifteen degrees and landed flat on my side. The best attempt got me around a little more than 90 degrees and I landed that one feet first. Frustrating, but I suppose progress is progress.

On the L-sit press to handstand . . . I wasn't able to press with the bungee belt so I went to the counterweight harness and added the weight vest. The right shoulder feels somewhat less stable than the left in the handstand position, although I'm trying to use the straps less with my feet for balance.

Beat up the arms pretty bad with kips, but all of the work with cleans (the lifting exercise) certainly have paid off in the form of making that exercise relatively easy (esp. compared to a felge or muscle-up). Hopefully I can develop that to a straight arm or L-sit kip with the addition of some better technique and timing. Seriously though, it feels like the exact same muscles in the hips as one would use in a hang power clean.

The 21-15-9 circuit at the end felt great; although my hands were shredded from the rings work so I kept my grips on for the pullups to avoid ripping. Finished it in 5:02. For anyone unfamiliar with candlesticks, the idea is to stand, sit back, roll onto your back with your legs in the air, until you're doing a shoulder stand, then snap your legs down, roll forward into a low squat position, and jump to full extension. I think it's cousins with the burpee.

Wednesday 081022: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Rings technique work: 40 minutes

Fwd. roll to front lever: 1-1-1-1-1

Cross (spotted and blindfolded): 1-1-1

For 12 rounds, alternate 10 sec. on and 20 sec. off of:
~Tuck planche

Spotted planche-maltese pushup: 4x3

P-bar row: 2x8

60 sec. handstand

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mental Toughness

Why is mental toughness important? Why is it important to have the dedication to keep going? Why do I stress the mental aspect of training as an equal to the physical? Because you can do all the physical training in the world and it won’t help you when things get rough.

~When trying to psych yourself up for a maximal effort, someone says, “Nobody expects you to work this hard, why do you beat yourself up?”

~Trying to choke down the last bit of the big dinner you know you need in order to recover, when all you want is to go to sleep.

~Hop in the alternating temperature shower or ice bath, or take a nice hot one and call it a night?

While this goes for all athletes, it is especially true for self-coached athletes. We don’t have someone telling us you can hit one more rep. We don’t have anyone assuring ourselves that no, it’s not too hard. We don’t have anyone making up our workouts, telling us what we can and can’t do. Successful self-training almost requires a bit of multiple-personality disorder. You’ve got to reserve a place in your mind for the voice to answer your own questions. When you’re thinking I can’t do any more, you need some other voice in your head, equally real and even stronger, responding yes I can.

Some people look at me funny. Some people say I’m too hard-core, and others just label me flat out crazy. But you know what? If I need to put on headphones and be antisocial between my sets to keep focused, so be it. If I need to talk myself through something under my breath, just seven more – just take three more breaths and go; if I need to let out a grunt or some other noise; if I need to straight up yell at myself in the midst of a workout YOU WANNA QUIT? to get the message through my own head, and if that’s what works for me, so be it.

I’m not training to be mediocre.

Tuesday 081021: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

40 minutes technique work; swings, trampoline, dislocates, forward rolls

Cross weight machine: 5-5-5-5-5
L-sit to shoulder stand: 5x1
Front lever pull (x4) + "ice cream maker" (x4): 4x1
Harness handstand + inverted cross + press to handstand: 5x1
Harness handstand: 60 sec.

Ex post comments: Crosses on weight machine were with 65-75-85-95-85. Not sure what happened on the inverted cross presses to handstand but my left shoulder feels like it took a little too much of a beating and is a little strained. On the plus side, the right shoulder is feeling much better on the swings and dislocates; I took it a little easy on it tonight to make sure it would hold up and will be working more on those big swinging moves in the future.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday 081019: Lifting

Met up with the Charlottesville crew today to work on front squats and push presses. Some of the weight totals are strange due to using a mix of lbs. and kg. plates.

Warmed up with kb swings and goblet squats, then did some barbell work. Tossed in a few muscle-ups and L-sits.

Front squats up to 215lbs.
Presses to 132lbs.
Push presses to 174lbs.

Check out the group and some pictures at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday 081018: Rings Strength

Today is the first day of the second strength cycle. I'm am currently planning on alternating between the strength and technique (Bulgarian) cycles in the following blocks: 4-3-4-4-3-4.

Warm-up: Row 500m.

L-sit (5 sec. hold): 5x1
Back lever: 5x2
Front lever: 5x2
Muscle-up: 4x4 on 4:00
Cross pullout: 2-2-2-2-2 (blindfolded)
Tuck planche: 60 sec. total
Handstand: 60 sec. total

Friday 081017: Rest Day

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday 081016: Rings Strength, Rings Technique, MetCon

Ex ante comments: Going to the Charlottesville gymnastics gym with the team for the first time in almost two weeks, so I'm looking forward to it. The right shoulder is feeling quite a bit better, but I'm going to try to take it easy on it tonight, maybe just a few swings to get it reaquainted to the full range of motion.

Note: Today is the last day of the current technique cycle, a new strength cycle will begin this weekend.

Rings Technique
Kips: 10 minutes technique work
Trampoline work for dismount: 10 minutes
Swings, forward rolls to front lever, dislocates and any other ideas: 10 minutes

Rings Strength
Spotted kip to maltese: 5x1

3x1 of Practice Routine #5
Tuck planche
Forward roll
Front lever
Back lever

Wednesday 081015: Rings Technique

Went to Rocky Top today and spent about 2 hours on technique and other random stuff. Finally got a kip, and then did it about 12 more times. Worked on crosses, forward rolls, levers, planches, L-sits. Also worked on some dumbbell exercises for maltese and victorian crosses -- not that I'm anywhere near a victorian, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to say hello to those muscles. Did some Pendlay rows up to 60 kilos, and a few cleans just for kicks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday 081014: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Ex ante comments: Workout today will be at Rocky Top Rec. Center as the gymnastics gym is closed due to an undergrad school break. The right shoulder does not seem to be bothering me, but I have not been asking much of it recently. I am going to continue to let it heal until Thursday before doing any dead hang, handstand, or overhead weight moves.

Forward roll to front lever: 4x1
L-sit to tuck planche: 4x1
Forward toll to muscle up: 4x1
Forward toll to front lever: 4x1

Cross pullouts: 1-1-1

5x1 of Practice Routine #4
Dip x3
Tuck planche
Forward roll to front lever
Basket hang
Back lever
Ice-cream maker x3

Cross pullouts: 1-1-1-1-1

Work on forward roll to front lever, back levers, kip to support, tuck planche, and feet-supported planche: 45 minutes

1x1 of Practice Routine #4 (supra)

Front lever pulls: 3x4

Ex post comments: Ended up staying in the gym for quite a while, mostly just resting and working on some technique moves. I did the second grouping of cross pullouts blindfolded to help increase concentration on body position, and it seemed to be very helpful getting rid of extra distraction and focusing entirely on the movement and hold. It is strange how even a slight swing on the rings is much more perceptible with the blindfold on.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday 081012: Lifting

Back squat at 135lbs: 3x3
Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1
Front squat at 185lbs: 3x1
Maltese dumbbell press: 3x4
Horizontal rows: 3-3-3

Ex post comments:
Deadlifts were 375*-345-365-375**-365
* bad technique, rounded the back
** failed
Failed on the third front squat.
Dumbbell presses were done with 25lbs and then 30lbs on the last set.
Horizontal rows were done with the cable machine, sitting on the ground. No idea what the labels mean, although I worked up to around "220." I say this because any rowing motion with normal free weights (sitting, Pendlay, etc.) I do seems to get very shaky over about 115, and these were hard but not problematic. The right shoulder still is a little sore where it was bothering me after swinging over a week ago; I'm trying to avoid extending it above my head (e.g., handstand, snatch, hang from rings) which seems to be the motion which bothers it.

Saturday 081011: MetCon/Mental Toughness

Worked out at The Black Box in Manhattan ( - thanks to Court Wing for letting me drop in a little early so as to be able to work out, return to hotel, shower, and still check out on time.

Cat Breath
Five rounds for time of
30 seconds (combined) L-sit
15 skin-the-cats
20 kg kb alternating clean-burpee combo (10 each arm)

Ex post comments: Finished in 47:58. Did the L-sits on rings with pointed toes and good form, which took a while in the last two rounds to add up to thirty seconds. It was nice to do a long metcon for the first time in weeks.

Friday 081010: Rest Day

Thursday 081009: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Once again at Upper Merion Dance and Gymnastics Center ( which has an awesome facility and very friendly people working and working out there.

40 minutes assorted technique work:
Front roll to support
Trampoline flips
Basket hang to back lever

Cross pullout: 1-1-1

3x1 of Practice Routine #3:
Muscle up
Tuck planche
Front roll to front lever
Back lever
Tuck planche

Ice-cream makers: 2x5

Ex post comments: Shoulder is still giving pain at a full hang; it's not ready to start swinging yet. Will have to give it some more time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday 081008: Rest Day

Took an unscheduled rest day today. Might not have been a bad idea to accelerate the recovery of the shoulder. Going to have to hit it hard tomorrow though.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday 081007: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

20 Minutes Technique Work
~Front roll to front lever


3x1 of Practice Routine #3
Muscle up
Tuck planche
Front roll to front lever
Back lever
Tuck planche


Front lever pull: 5x2

Ex ante comments: I'm in Philadelphia visiting the girlfriend, so tonight's workout will be at the Upper Merion Dance and Gymnastics Center ( The right shoulder is getting much better, but I'm going to refrain from swinging and full dead hangs so it can get back to 100%.

Ex post comments: The session went very well, although I was having a hard time locking out in the front lever, even with one leg tucked. The facility was amazing and very reasonably priced at $7 for an hour long open gym session.

Monday 081006: Rest Day

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday 081005: Lifting

Deadlift: 2-2-2-2-2

Ex post comments: 315-315-335-335-315.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday 081004: Rings Technique, Rings Strength, MetCon

Rings Technique
Give muscle-up, L-sit, and lever training pointers to UVA Crossfit group

Rings Strength
Cross pullouts: 1-1-1
Front lever: 1-1-1
Back lever: 1-1-1
Tuck planche: 6 x (10 sec. on 50 sec. off)
L-sit: 6 x (10 sec. on 50 sec. off)

Muscle-up ladder 1-5-1.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday 081003: Rest Day

No idea where it's actually from, found it on the crossfit board:
"Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday 081002: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Ex ante comment: Something is still wrong with the right shoulder, something was overstressed on Tuesday doing swings and dismounts. It really only is a problem overhead, e.g., when hanging from the rings or swinging. I'll be working around that limitation tonight, which means that hanging elements, swinging elements, and handstand elements are out.

What a great opportunity to focus on a competition perfect L-sit!

Rings Technique
Support forward roll to front lever (also start from L-sit and straddle): 20 mins.
Back tuck to layout progression on trampoline: 20 mins.

Rings Strength

Jump to maltese (3 sec. hold): 3x2

3x1 of Practice Routine #2:
Dip x3
Tuck planche
Dip x3
Tuck planche

3 rounds, not for time of:
10 x reverse hyper (on vault or horse)
15 x parallel bar situp (cf. GHD situp)

Ex post comments: Not sure if it was just stretching out or being excited to be at the gym, but the shoulder felt a lot better after working out for about half an hour. Ended up doing some spinning moves on the trampoline instead of flipping. The maltese is going to take a lot of work to get, although the cross is improving. The front roll to front lever seems like it is going to be a great addition to the routine and the training: it's not particularly taxing, but it demands a great deal of control and will need quite a bit of practice to get it nice and smooth.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday 081001: Lifting

Going to have to mix the schedule around a bit for today because the right shoulder is sending me some very negative signals in terms of strain from the swings last night. Hopefully a good day of staying off of any arm work combined with frequent ice and a trip to the hot tub later will be beneficial and I'll be able to get back on the rings tomorrow, albeit taking it easy on the swings.

20 meter tire drags: 6x1

Ex post comments: That tire is very heavy!
Times: 14-12-12-12-11 seconds.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday 080930: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Handstand hold: 60sec.

For 40 minutes, do any desired mix of:
Swings (get big!) and dismounts (even bigger!)
Any other swinging and flipping moves

3x1 of Practice Routine #1:
Tuck planche
Front lever
Back lever
Roll to hang
Muscle up

Rest minimum of 5 minutes between attempts, use spotter for crosses.

Handstand hold: 60sec.

Ex post comments: For the practice routine, suffice it to say, "like getting ran over in succession by a car, a truck, and then a train."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday 080929: Rest Day

Sunday 080928: Lifting

Travelling, once again.

Pistol: 5x6 (for a total of 15 each leg)
Weighted pushup: 3x3
GF Squat: 5x3
Handstand hold: 60secs.

For the GF squat, have your girlfriend jump on your back and hang on like you're going to carry her piggy back style. Then squat; whatever happens, don't lose your balance!

Saturday 080927: MetCon

Travelling, so the workout is a little skewed:

21-15-9 rounds, for time, of:

Candlestick: from a standing position, roll backwards onto the ground and lift legs until in a shoulder stand, then push the legs down quickly to return to a standing position and jump.

Ex post comments: Finished in around 8:30, did the workout in a hotel's "fitness center" which was basically a tiny room with a treadmill (used that to warm up), a stationary bike, and an elliptical. I thought about deadlifting the machines but figured that I didn't want to break anything.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday 080926: Rest Day

Thursday 080925: Rings Strength, Rings Technique, MetCon

Note: This is the last workout in the first strength cycle.

Swings/dismounts/felges: 20mins.
Maltese and invert work with harness: 20mins.
Cross pullout: 6x1
Front lever: 6x1

For time:
25 squats
25 pullups
25 situps
1 muscle up
25 situps
25 pullups
25 squats

Ex post comments: Managed to get a good chunk of the pit foam in the left eye while working on dismounts. On the plus side I am getting higher on the release and will start working on getting more laid-out soon. I'm pretty sore now, and will likely be taking this weekend pretty easy. Finished "151" in 5:48.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday 080924: Rings Strength

Back lever, front lever: 5x1
Muscle-up: 5x2
Cross pullouts: 5x3
Maltese dumbbell press: 4x4
Horizontal row: 3-3-3-3-3
10sec. tuck plance hold: 6x1
10sec. L-sit hold (p-bars): 6x1

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuesday 080923: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Swings and dismounts: 20 minutes
Backwards roll to support: 6x1
Strict muscle up to L-sit: 5x1
Jump to maltese: 6x1
Straight body raise: 3x3
Cross pullout: 7x2
Back lever: 4x2
Tucked front lever pullups: 4x4
Tuck planche hold: 60 seconds

Ex post comments: That was one heck of a workout. Only did four of the back rolls to support but they are coming along nicely. The maltese position seems like it's more of a balance issue than anything else -- that's not fun but it beats having more strength issues. Coach Bruce says that my swing and dismount are good but to just start working on getting higher. Ended up doing spotted front lever pullups instead of the tucked ones and changed the sets to 3x8.

Monday 080922: Rest Day

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday 080921: Lifting

Note: This weekend starts the fourth week of the strength cycle.

Warm up: cleans, squats
Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1
DB One arm snatch: 1-1-1-1-1-1

Ex post comments: Deadlifts were 325-345-345-365(f)-345. I was able to keep from rounding the back for the most part. But, the attempt at 365 got about an inch off the ground and my back felt like it was already as round as a bowling ball, so I dropped it and went back down to where I could keep at least a semblance of good form. The DB snatches were good for the rehabbing shoulder, I was able to stabilize 70lbs overhead with the right arm, got up to 90 with the left. Worked some horizontal pulls after the workout, then did about 25 minutes of stretching.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday 080920: MetCon

Working out today with a bunch of people in Charlottesville.

20 minutes for maximum rounds
5 pullups
10 pushups
15 squats

Ex post comments: Made 14 rounds and some change. Pullups were chest to bar, alternating grip. Classic workout.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday 080919: Rest Day

Thursday 080918: Rings Strength, Rings Technique, MetCon

Rings Technique
Backwards roll to support: 6x1
Swings and dismounts: 15 minutes
Cross pullout (with harness): 4x4

Rings Strength
Inverted cross press to handstand: 5x1
Back lever: 5x1
Front lever: 5x1

Handstand hold on floor: 30sec.

Ex ante comments: Gymnastics practice will finish earlier than usual tonight so workout is shorter than usual. Feeling somewhat sore from the last two days, but nothing serious. Shoulders and back are pretty tight, but joint pain is not present.

Ex post comments: Things went well tonight, the backwards rolls to support are improving; it would see that it's more of a muscle-memory thing than anything else. Left forearm started to bother me during practice, nothing major, but it wasn't the good kind of pain. Hopefully a nice rest day will bring improvement. Finished the day with a long stretching session.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday 080917: Rings Strength

"Reverse Cranks" (basket tuck, back lever, inverted hang): 6x2
Muscle-up: 4x4 on 4min. intervals
Spotted cross pullouts: 5x1 (6sec. hold)
Horizontal rows: 3-3-3-3-3
Push press: 1-1-1-1-1

Four rounds (not for time) of:
5 Maltese dumbbell press
5 Maltese pushup

Hollow rock (x3) to arch rock (x3): 15 on 30sec. intervals

Ex post comments: Push presses were 120-130-140-145-145; horizontal rows were done with 140. Dumbbell presses were 25lbs each. Added a V-up after each round of the hollow rock to arch rocks. Finished the day up with a few overhead squats with the bar, mostly to keep form nice and cool down a little bit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday 080916: Rings Strength, Rings Technique

Another day at the gymnastics facility:

Rings Technique
Backwards roll to support: 5x1
Swings and dismounts: 20 minutes

Rings Strength
Cross pullout (spotted): 5x3 (4 minute intervals)
Tucked front lever pullup: 5x4 (keep hips level to shoulders!)*
Single leg tucked back lever: 60 sec. hold (as many attempts as necessary)
L-sit: 60 sec. hold (id.)
Spotted handstand: 60 sec. hold (id.)

Group Conditioning
With a partner, alternate going through the following (i.e., rest while your partner completes the exercises), doing as many rounds as possible in 8 minutes.
Go down and back the length of the floor while doing each of
~Handstand walk/forward roll
~Wheelbarrow walk
~Punch jumps
~With your partner's bodyweight (drag or carry)

*The Front Lever Progressions by Christopher Sommer at

Ex post comments: Did not get to the handstand holds due to time constraints, also had to cut out some work on the harness. However, the cross pullouts were done with a spotter and they went very well. I'm starting to feel the correct shoulder position from time to time. Tucked front lever pullups were a nice challenge and felt good. The group workout didn't go exactly as planned but everyone (7 people) seemed to have a good time and get a nice bit of conditioning in. Ripped the right had a little bit in the palm under the pointer finger; it is not too bad though, and should have no impact on training this week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Monday 080915: Rest Day

Sunday 080914: Strength, MetCon

As many attempts as needed to hold each of the following on the floor for a total of 60 seconds:

~Handstand hold
~Top of maltese pushup
~Top of superman pushup
~Top of pushup
~Handstand hold

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday 080913: Lifting

Front Squat: 3-3-3
Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1
Front Squat: 3-3-3

Note: This is the start of week 3 of the first strength cycle.



Friday 080912: Rest Day

Rest day. Driving to Philadelphia to visit and (work out with!) the girlfriend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday 080911: Rings Technique, Rings Strength, MetCon

Swings and dismounts into pit: 30 minutes
Dislocates: 10 minutes
Swing, backwards roll to support: 5 attempts
Jump to spotted maltese: 5x1
Inverted cross presses (harness with weight vest): 5x1
Cross pullouts (harness with weight vest): 5x3

As many attempts as needed to hold each of the following on rings for a total of 60 seconds:
~Handstand hold
~Tuck planche or frog stand
~Tuck front lever hold
~Handstand hold

Short group conditioning workout.

Thanks for ideas for the holds in this workout go to

Ex post comments: Did not make it to any of the holds due to time constraints.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday 080910: Ring Strength, MetCon

L-Sit (5sec. hold): 5x1
Hang, inverted hang, spotted back lever, inverted hang: 5x2
Hang, inverted hang, spotted front lever, inverted hang: 5x2
Handstand pushups: 5x1
Dumbbell rows, alternating arms: 10-10-10-10-10-10 (rehab for winging scapula)
Maltese dumbbell press: 4-4-4-4

For Time
9-6-3 of:
Power clean (135lbs.)
Parallel bar pushup

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday 080909: Rings Technique, Rings Strength

Swings and dismounts into pit: 30-40 minutes
Dislocate on low rings: 7x1
Cross pullouts with elastic band: 3-3-3-3-3
L-sit, press to handstand, inverted cross, press to handstand: 7x1
Front lever pullups: 5x2
Maltese presses on springboards: 5x2
30sec. handstand hold on rings: 3x1

Ex ante comments: Well rested, well fed, and given time to recover from last week's sessions, I am looking forward to a solid training session tonight. Plus I've got a steak ready to grill up when I get home.

Ex post comments: The workout went very well. Had to switch the dislocates and the cross pullouts as a matter of sharing equipment, but was able to to the cross pullouts with a spotter instead of the band. The front lever pullups were also done with a spotter.

Dismounts overall went well, with the exception of the time my left hand slipped off the ring on the way up for a flyaway. No harm was done, but suffice it to say that one-armed dismounts are not a good idea.

Handstands are going to need a lot more work, as the right shoulder is still somewhat unstable, likely a result of the winging scapula not being 100% healed.

Oh, and the steak, served with green beans, nuts, and a huge serving of milk, was delicious.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Monday 080908: Rest

Today's a rest day. The heat is not off though; a day of hard training or a day resting brings us 24 hours closer to competition. Recovery needs to be taken seriously; additionally, rest day means gym time which means more stretch time.

I'm going to be asking for some feedback on this post on a few forums so, before going into the plans for the next week, I'll give just a little run-down of how things have gone so far.

This past week was the first one at full scale. I'm sore but nothing unexpected. I've been drinking about 1/3 to 1/2 of a gallon of milk a day, eating lots of meat, fruits and vegetables, as well as olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

Below is my plan for the next three days which will wrap up my second strength week (weeks start on Saturdays and are 2 on 1 off 3 on 1 off). I'm generally trying to follow the philosophy at Performance Menu/Catalyst Athletics regarding doing a high volume of exercises to strengthen the body to begin to perform these movements when connected together (more on that, infra).

Tuesday, the workout will be at a gymnastics facility, and I can plan on having approximately 1:45 to complete the following:
~30 minutes of swings and dismounts into pit
~Cross pullouts with elastic band support: 3-3-3-3-3
~L-sit, press to handstand, inverted cross, press back to handstand with counterweighted harness rig (effectively halves user's bodyweight): 7x1
~Spotted 30sec. handstand hold on rings: 3x1

Wednesday, the workout will be at a local gym (Rocky Top Rec. Center in Charlottesville). There is a set of rings with long straps, and places to mount lower rings. The owner has asked that only non-technical, strength-based moves be practiced there. Any major swinging or handstand elements are out. Here's the plan:
~On low rings, L-sit (5 sec. hold): 5x1
~Hang, inverted hang, spotted back lever, inverted hang: 5x2
~Bulgarian dips: 3x8
~Hang, inverted hang, spotted front lever, inverted hang: 5x2
~Dumbbell rows (rehab program for winging scapula): 3x10
~Maltese postition dumbbell presses: 4-4-4-4
~Short metcon (under 10 minutes)

Thursday, the workout moves back to the gymnastics gym:
~30 minutes of swings and dismounts into pit (again)
~Dislocates practice drill: 15x1
~Backwards roll to support: 5x1
~Muscle-up to L-sit: 4x3
~Spotted jump-to-maltese hold: 5x1
~Maltese to iron cross with counterweight harness: 5x1
~Short metcon (under 10 minutes)

Friday is a rest day. One of the weekend days, I'm going to try to get on rings but facilities may be extremely limited (travelling to Philadelphia); the other day I'll be doing deadlifts or other heavy weight training, most likely a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1.


The other aspect to this training to which I am soliciting feedback is the macro plan. As is described at the very bottom of the page, I've been inspired by the Performance Menu / Catalyst Athletics program of a 4 week strength and then 4 week Bulgarian style training program, and am attempting to adapt this to my training.

The way that works is that the first and third 4 weeks are focused mainly on developing raw strength, getting the body used to the many positions and holds that will be required by my final competition rings routine. I'll be doing a lot of volume with crosses, presses, and levers. I'll also be specifically working on some of the more difficult connecting moves. I'll be working on swings and dismounts as well, generally 30-40 minutes per day when in the gym.

In the second and forth 4 weeks, I'll be doing considerably less volume in terms of raw strength, but will be doing a lot more of the "putting it all together" work. During these weeks, Here, I will put the competition routine together and go through it with a spotter a few times per practice session with a long rest period between efforts. When not working with a spotter, or when at a gym restrictive of certain elements, I'll be putting together routines with allowed moves which are approximately the same length as the competition routine. Because these workouts will be shorter, I'll be also able to focus more on working technique moves, spending even more time developing my swing, dismount, and other technical parts of the routine.


So, that's the plan in general. I would very, very much appreciate any sort of feedback on this concept, either from the micro or macro side.

My main question in terms of the macro programming is whether a 4 week/4 week schedule would be best, or if changes to that might be better. For example, starting with 4/2 right now to build strength, then do 4/3, 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 as competition approaches (plan on February or March 2009) and time becomes better used perfecting elements rather than building them. I realize that we're probably into theoretical/experimental ground here, but even some discussion and dialogue would be extremely helpful.

Sunday 080907: Strength, MetCon

Helped with the group workout with the Charlottesville crew; did some running and pushups, 18 muscle-ups, and a 3/4 cross on rings with short straps. Followed that up with about a half hour of various medicine ball and tractor tire activities.

Ex post comments: Hardly a day that can realistically be filed under "Ring Strength." However, many muscles and some tendons remain rather sore, so I suppose that, if I'm going to miss a day of putting on the grips and chalk, today was probably a good choice.

Saturday 080906: Olympic Lifting

Note: Because I'm in Philadelphia and it is raining cats and dogs, lifting is going to be today instead of tomorrow.

Clean 1-1-1-1-1
Jerk 15x1
Clean Drills
Light One Arm Snatches

The clean singles make up the lifting portion of the workout; everything else is light weight to help continue to rehab the shoulder or improve the cleans.

Ex post comments: Still stuck at 215 on the cleans. Tried 225 three times but couldn't quite get it. I am pretty certain that this is the limit of my clean without getting lower under the bar, so the technique drills were light weight but with an emphasis on getting my body lower, rather than getting the bar higher.

The jerks felt pretty stable; much more so than they did a month or so ago, but I only went up to 145lbs today. Additionally, I was able to do one-arm barbell snatches with both arms with no problem. The right (injured) one seemed to hold up just fine.

Friday 080905: Rest

Rest day.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thursday 080904: Ring Technique, Ring Strength, MetCon

Swing practice
Dismounts: 10x1
Muscle-up, roll backwards to back lever, inverted hang, front lever, inverted hang: 5x1
Backwards roll to support: 10x1
Maltese hold with harness: 5x1
L-sit, press to handstand, inverted cross with harness: 5x1 (30 sec. rest)

7 minutes AMRAP:
5 Box Jumps (36” box)
5 Straddle L-Sits on Parallel bars
5 Pullups

Ex ante comments: I'm noticing some moderate soreness today, which is more than I've experienced for quite some time on the Crossfit WODs. It's mostly in the upper back and shoulders, although a little in the chest and neck. I'm not planning on omitting anything from today's WO, but it's hard to predict how the tendons are going to feel today. These things take time to adapt, and I certainly don't want to to any damage that will set me back. We'll take things one set at a time.

Also, to quote Gant Grimes, from whom I'm taking a great deal of my training philosophy (via the Crossfit Message Boards), "Everything you do on this program packs a substantial neuroendocrine wallop. . . . You should be shaving twice a day on this program." Well, I used to be able to go three days without shaving before anyone would notice. I shaved yesterday morning, but missed today. I look like the Wolfman. Based on that, I know that at least something is happening. If all else fails, I can promote my blog as a facial hair growth program.

Ex post comments: Had to scale it back from what was planned due to time constraints. The dismounts into the pit took well over half an hour.

Wednesday 080903: Ring Technique, Ring Strength, MetCon

Muscle-up to L-Sit: 7x1
Cross holds with band (4 sec. count): 5x1
Press to shoulder-stand: 20x1
Pendlay rows (thanks braindx): 3-3-3-3-3
Bulgarian dips: 5x8
Ring rows: 3x10

3 Rounds for Time:
With a partner, alternate between the two stations:
Row 250 meters
Hold pushup position on floor-level rings

Ex post comments: The owner of the gym wasn't too keen on the presses so those had to be omitted (Wednesdays are at a more traditional facility for the next few weeks rather than at a gymnastics gym). I wasn't able to keep my back straight with much over 95lbs on the rows, so I went ahead and upped those to sets of 5. The ring rows were omitted in the interest of time.

Tuesday 080902: Ring Technique, Ring Strength

All exercises on rings with 3 sec. hold for strength elements unless otherwise noted:

Handstand practice on floor
Swing (x3) to inverted hang to back lever to inverted hang: 5x2
Backwards roll to support: 20x1
Muscle-up to L-sit: 5x1
Inverted hang to front lever: 7x1
Cross pullouts with harness: 7x4
Dislocate practice drills: 20x1
Maltese to inverted cross with harness: 5x1
Weighted muscle-ups: 3x1

Note: MetCon will be moved from today to Wednesday this week due to gym constraints. Long story.

Ex post comments: Made the weighted muscle-ups with 14lbs for the first and 16lbs for the second and third attempts. The biggest problem was getting used to using ring grips, but I'm starting to get the feel for them. With grips, the false grip as we know it is dead. The cross pullouts went very well; much better than expected. 20 reps for the back roll to support was a little excessive; for the last five reps or so I was not anywhere near proper technique. The whole circuit took a good 1:45, but at times I was sharing equipment with other gymnasts. Soreness has yet to set in, but something tells me it's coming.

That said, I am currently extremely glad that I worked out all summer doing the Crossfit WODs at the Black Box ( Without having done much rings work over the summer, I can safely say that I have retained what I had. In fact, I do not think I could have made it though this workout nearly as well as I could have four months ago.

No real idea how the body is going to react to all of this, but I'll keep you informed. All I really know is that I'm currently very hungry and am satisfying that with a massive plate of chicken and green beans.

Monday 080901: Rest

Rest day.

Found a nice article at American Gymnast regarding maltese training progression ( There were four exercises: maltese dumbbell press, maltese pushup, spotted jump to maltese on rings, and block maltese.

I'm a big fan of this last one and will be working it into the training. The idea is to set two platforms apart from each other so that the shoulders and arms rest on the boxes in the maltese position with the rest of the body mid-air, then (spotted, if needed) pull up to a shoulder-stand position.

Finished the day with a solid 30-40 minute stretching session.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sunday 080831: Lifting

Deadlift: 1-1-1-1-1-1-1

Ex post comments: Started with a set of 5x2 front squats to warm up at 135lbs, then started the deadlifts at 255 and went up to 305. Handled the weight through the 5th lift without rounding the back, then had to seriously fight it once the weight exceeded 275lbs. Finished the day with a long stretching session.

Saturday 080830: Ring Strength, MetCon

Muscle-Ups: 5x3
Shoulder Press:
65lbs x 7
65lbs x 5
65lbs x 3
95lbs x 1
Iron Cross with Assist Band, 3-Second Hold: 3x1
Hang on Rings to Inverted Hang (Slow Descent): 3x3

MetCon: Tabata Rows on C2 (8 Rounds of 20 Seconds On, 10 Off)

Ex post comments: The presses were a bit of a challenge with the shoulder problems (slowly recovering winging scapula) but went better than the last time I did them. That said, the Cross holds and subsequent pullouts did not seem to bother it at all. Averaged 8.5 calories per round on the rows with a total of 68 calories. Also, ring grips might help in the long run, but they're not making life very fun right now.


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.