Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday's Workout: Hallow-Bata

To kick off Halloween in style, the 5 a.m. crew at CrossFit Palo Alto threw ourselves into a devilishly challenging Tabata-style workout.

  • 8 rounds of Tabata "green, slimy" grasshoppers
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 8 rounds of Tabata "headless horsemen" (a variation on kettlebell palm presses) (24kg / 16kg)
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 8 rounds of Tabata "cauldron jumps" (jump over a plyo box and land on the floor on the other side for each rep)
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 8 rounds of Tabata "deadly" double-unders
Score = Total reps.

With a lucky 13 of us in class this morning, we had to begin at different stations. I decided to start with double-unders, figuring I'd save my favorite -- the box jumps -- for last. Besides, I knew I had a better chance of cranking out more double-unders early in the workout, before I ran out of gas.

I was right. In the first 20-second set of Tabata double-unders, I ripped out 34. In the second set, I managed 28. But by the time the third set was done, I'd managed only 18. It wasn't exactly a shocker that my drop-off in movement efficiency, energy, and number of reps was exponential. I was pleased, though, that I was able to bust out almost 2 double-unders per second -- albeit only for the first 20 seconds of the workout.
  • Double-under results: 34 / 28 / 18 / 18 / 17 / 17 / 16 / 15
As soon as I saw grasshoppers pop up on a workout last week, I had a feeling we'd see it at the gym one day. That day came sooner than expected. Grasshoppers look simple enough: You start in a push-up position, and then kick a leg forward until your shin hits your opposite arm. That's half a rep. Repeat with the other leg for a full rep. In practice, though, grasshoppers are anything but easy -- especially with a lower back injury. But while I'd like to blame it all on my boo-boo and current lack of flexibility, the truth is that these are just plain hard.

  • Grasshopper results: 15 / 10 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 6 / 
Next up were the "headless horsemen" -- a modified kettlebell palm press. Starting with the kettlebell on the floor, we lifted it up with one arm, palmed it with the other hand at chest level, and then pressed the weight overhead. To keep from straining my recovering back, I didn't even attempt the RXed 24kg -- but let's be frank: Even if I was 100 percent, there's no way I would've been able to get through 8 Tabata rounds of these presses at that weight.
  • Headless horsemen results: 5 / 6 / 6 / 6 / 6 / 6 / 5 / 4
Last but not least: "Cauldron jumps." "Get over the box whichever way you can," Tim had instructed. "You can jump all the way over the box, or do a regular box jump and then jump to the floor on the other side. You can do sideways box jumps. Or step up and over."

Before the workout, I had planned on hopping like crazy over the box, but I thought better of it after two things happened: (1) One of my 5 a.m. pals took a nasty tumble off his box soon after the WOD started, and whacked his elbow something fierce; and (2) the double-unders, grasshoppers and headless horsemen left me too tuckered out to go nuts. Plus, I reminded myself of my current goal: Recovery, not PRs. There would be no attempt to jump clear over the box.

I did, however, start with lateral box jumps, which saved me a bit of time. I didn't have to turn around to jump back the way I came; instead, I just hopped sideways to change directions. But after three rounds, my lower back gave me a warning twinge, and I knew I had to dial it down some more. For the remainder of the workout, I stepped up and over the box -- which, oddly enough, allowed me to rack up more reps than I would've completed had I kept jumping.
  • Cauldron jump results: 10 / 8 / 7 / 9 / 8 / 6 / 6
Total: 335

Happy Halloween, boys and girls. And take it easy on the candy tonight.