Like many lifters, deload weeks are difficult. For me, a deload week — while necessary — disrupts my sleep and y appetite. Without some exercise, my routine is thrown off. I’m a creature of routine. Knowing this, I gave CrossFit Delafield a call and asked if I could work in with them three times this week and do my deload during their strength or skill work and then run the workouts with them. The owner Maggie agreed. With a mix of trepidation and excitement I made my way in Wednesday morning.
Wednesday – 13 Minute EMOM Deadlift/BW Lunges
I walked into the gym a little anxious, but quickly felt at ease when I met the coach, Matt, and a few of the regulars, Adam, Matt, and Brandon. (I was the third Matt there that day. There was also another Adam and Brandon. Go figure.) We started talking shop right away after pleasantries were out of the way. I let them know that I am not a Crossfit regular — but a powerlifter — but have enough familiarity with most things Crossfit — I am a fan of it after all — other than Olympic lifts, to be competent on the floor.
We began the session with a dynamic warm-up. Burpees and 200 meter rows. Gotta admit, I don’t usually warm-up with so much cardio, since my warmup is to get under the barbell and squat. The classes proscribed strength work was to work up a 1RM Sumo. I just worked up to my (injured adjusted) 50% conventional– essentially just my warmup sets up to 250 lbs. After that we moved into the workout which proscribed for men was 5RM 175 lbs Sumo deadlifts followed by bodyweight lunges. (Women I think was 135 lbs.) Since my programming called for conventional deficit deadlifts at 250 lbs 3×10, I decided that I would change the weight and follow along as closely as I could with the workout. I stood on a 25 lb bumper plate and proceeded from there. I went six straight rounds before I took a 2 or 3 minute break. The last minute I AMRAP 15 reps for a total of 7 sets during the 13 minute EMOM. (Total 45 reps.) 250 lbs isn’t that very much, even deficit, but the constant cardio does get to me. Maybe I’ll add this for my deloaded work — be an easy way to sneak some more low-impact cardio into my training.
Thursday – Gymnastics Work
I had asked the coach Matt, what was in store for today on Wednesday so I knew what was coming. I had the most trepidation for this workout, because even though I had added in handstand pushups and toes-to-bar leg raises in my last 6 weeks programming, actually performing them in front of actual Crossfitters was another matter. And, with my left shoulder slightly injured, the pull-ups were going to be problematic — I had been skipping pull-up work in the last micro-cycle anyway.
Dynamic warm-up was inch worms and bear crawls. The bear crawls were difficult — I didn’t get my hips/lower back mobilized beforehand and it would have helped immensely. After the warm-up it was Hand Stand Push Ups. I wasn’t expecting much from myself, but I wanted to nail a few full range of motions ones like I had been experimenting on my own in the gym. (Yes, I am aware there is way to build this skill in stages.) I did lots of watching, consulted Maggie the coach, got suggestions from others and then just experimented. You know what, it was a lot of fun — because unlike the emphasis on every rep I put in powerlifting, I got to play. It was just fun to mess around and try do some handstands. I nailed two at the end of the skill work — something to build off.
Then it was the workout. Oh dang, its shoulder time. The hardest part was the ring dips. I don’t even do dips at the gym since coming off a shoulder injury last year. (Same shoulder hurting now.) The ring dips ate me up. Demolished me. I think if there were no dips, this workout would have been much more accommodating — not easy — but a little easier to get through. I did okay on the pullups and we were allowed to do them anyway we wanted. I would do some strict, some semi-kipped, and some with a full kip. Tore my lovely powerlifter callouses up. Fuck. Afterwards, I did my deload bench press with Adam.
Sets/Reps: 135×7, 155×5, 165×5, 195x3x10.
All-in-all a fun workout, and I was excited to come back for more the next day.
Friday – Fight Gone Bad
I gotta say, this workout is as badass on paper as it is on the floor, but because of past injuries it worried me — especially the Sumo High Pulls and OHP. (Left elbow/left shoulder ) Because of lack of equipment (which can be more of bonus than a detriment) I got to partner up with a more experienced Crossfitter, Scott, which was perfect. He asked if I need a partner which was super nice of him — still have those lingering fears of being picked last for the team. I followed in sequence a minute behind and, I got to watch him do many of the movements first which helped me make some minor form adjustments as we went along. I’ve done lots of wall balls in the past (thanks to Maggie introducing them to me last year at CF Delafield’s Grand Opening) but only with a 10 lb ball. A 20 lb ball is a different game. I had trouble returning my hands back to 10 and 2 for the next rep. When I got to the Sumo High Pull I had used a little different cueing that Coach Matt had suggested when I brought my concerns to him before the workout. That helped to keep pain away, but still, outside of CF I don’t think this is a movement I’m likely to use much. Box Jumps, I took these really easy, only did like 5 a round to save myself up for the OHP. I would walk up to the bar and suck in air for 30-45 seconds and then pump out 15-20 reps as quickly as I could in the last 15-20 seconds. (Last round my back felt horrible though.) The calorie row I had no idea what counted for reps so I didn’t include them when asked what my total reps per round were. Oh and that total: 157. I had far far far less than per round than everyone, but doesn’t really bother me. I was there to up my conditioning, have some fun, and learn what I could. Mission accomplished.
Afterwards I ran my squat deload, 225x3x10 and helped another member with his squats. I hope I helped him — his squat was pretty good already, I just think he needs more practice. Being a relative outsider — but a fan — to Crossfit, Crossfitters have a pretty solid culture of squatters.
In 2014, when I decided to get back into fitness (after the urging from my wife) I had no clue what Crossfit was. Upon learning about it, I thought it was actually pretty cool considering many of the principles were already there before I quit, I could never understand why some in this brave new world of fitness (i.e internet assholes and trolls) gave the Crossfit grief. (Although, founder Glassman is kind of dick.) SMH.
Anyway, I know Wendler recommends Prowler work for conditioning, but I find the Prowler quite boring (not that I have access to one regularly anyway) and during these deload weeks it gives me a great opportunity to just exercise and have fun doing it. I’m pretty serious about my powerlifting training, since every rep and set must be accounted for. Not only that, but working out with a community of other fitness geeks is fun. We all talk shop and I like talking shop.
So yeah I will be back next deload, but I’ll have to be careful since I will be 5 weeks out. I’d like to thank Owner/Coach Maggie, Coach Matt, Brandon, Matt, Adam, Matt, Adam, Scott, Jesse, Katy, and everyone else I met and trained with. These men and women were so supportive and complementary to me it made it very difficult for me to be humble since I felt I need to adjust everyone’s expectations.