Strength Tuesday – 03/13/12

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In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I’m following the 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy and crank through a mini-metcon.

Once upon a time…

…it was Prince Dave’s birthday. The Prince and Princess made homemade banana pudding with a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and topped it with homemade whipped cream. (The Princess had a known whipped cream problem.) The kingdom celebrated and rejoiced the date of the Prince’s birth. But the very next day, a dark cloud — conjured into existence by The White Lady — engulfed the land. The Prince and Princess were despondent, short-tempered, and weary beyond their years. But then they remembered that the surest way to defeat The White Lady is to eat the meats and plants of the land, to drink deep of fresh cool water, and to sleep. The very next day, they stormed the castle to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs, and lived happily ever after (or at least until the next sugar-indulgent birthday).

The end.


This morning’s castle storming adventures, for your reading pleasure…

run around the parking lot (maybe 600m)
2:00 elliptical
10 air squats + 10 pushups + 10 air squats + 10 pushups
PVC work:
slow squats
slow good mornings
shoulder mobility


65% of max = 5 reps @ 105#
75% of max = 5 reps @ 125#
85% of max = max reps @140#. I did 9.

Overhead Press:
65% of max = 5 reps @ 50#
75% of max = 5 reps @ 60#
85% of max = max reps @ 70#. I did 5.


15:00 AMRAP:

1:00 jump rope
5 burpees
Russian stepups, 20# box
5 pushups
50 feet waiters’ walk, 25# db

Completed rounds: 4 + jump rope, burpees, and stepups


Did you storm the castle today?



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  • pamela says:

    Love the story.

  • Mel says:

    I just spent two weeks in Canada for work, doing no-weight Turkish get-ups and planks in my hotel room.

    I was told by my homeopathist that my adrenals were fatigued, and that I “needed to tone down the exercise”. So I stopped Crossfit (plus, I’d been at a plateau for the last two years anyway) and switched to powerlifting (the coach is also my Rolfer). He told me all my techniques from Crossfit were sloppy, so we’re essentially starting over. I have Class #2 with him tonight, and I was definitely tired & sore after Class #1, even though I had significant rest after relatively short bursts of activity. It’s hard to not want to lift heavy things (yet), but I know I’ll come out better in the end! A friend of mine also goes to him, and she’s seen incredible strength gains in the past couple of years.

    • Mel says:

      Good for you, for starting something new. That’s awesome! I took a break to give my hormonal system a rest, too, and it’s feeling great to be back at SOME intensity. But baby steps 🙂

  • Holly says:

    I love a good Fairy Tale. Also: Banana Pudding. Happy Birthday Dave!

  • Linda says:

    Wow, you are hilarious! What a great story!

    Today, we worked on OH press (3-3-3-3-3)and I did not measure up to my expectations…not even close. My max is 47# (yeah, strength is soooo not my thing!), but all I could manage was 45#. Ah well, not every day can be a PR kinda day!

    • Mel says:

      It’s really hard to gain strength in OH press because the shoulder muscles are small (compared to, say, quads). But hang in there!

  • ms jane says:

    I tried to storm the castle but it’s so hot here today I just wanted to swim in the moat!!!

    • Mel says:

      That time is coming here, too. It’s still in the 70s in the a.m. when we work out, but summer is coming… I can feel it. BIG BUMMER!

  • Lady A says:

    Happy Birthday to Dave! Mmm, banana pudding. The man has good taste. All your talk of 5/3/1 has me this close to ordering the book. Less thinking, more lifting, that’s what I need.

    • Mel says:

      It’s a pretty great program — definitely the right choice for “less thinking, more lifting” because it spells out exactly what to do. I like being able to focus on my technique, rather than stressing about how much weight to be putting on the bar.

  • Steph says:

    What are you doing for shoulder mobility? I have been feeling some “tweaks” recently and trying to work more on mobility so I’m very interested in what other folks might be doing and how effective it seems. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Our shoulder warmup is a lot of stuff with a PVC pipe: overhead rotations, behind-the-neck press, around-the-world thingies… I’ll work on a blog post that explains it in detail.

  • Juliet says:

    Are you doing Wendler 5/3/1 and, if you are, have you been doing it for a while!? I just started it this week for the first time and I’m curious to see where it takes me!!

    • Mel says:

      Yes! That’s the 5/3/1… this is the first week of our third month, and we’ve definitely been making steady strength gains — plus we’ve been really consistent, which hasn’t always been the case. It’s a very low stress, high reward way to lift. So far, so good.

  • Sarah D says:

    Since starting CrossFit just before Christmas, today was my least storming day. Didn’t meet my expectations, felt i let myself off easy 🙁 Job interview this afternoon so am trying to rebound and storm that instead.
    Love the blog, it gives me so much inspiration. Thank you

    • Mel says:

      Every day is not an awesome performance day, but every day you try is AWESOME. Hope your job interview went great!

      • Sarah D says:

        Hey, you know what? It did – i was the best me I could be. Sharing the disappointment helped me shift it out of focus and just get on to the next thing. Thanks again 🙂

  • Kelly R. says:

    I am on day four of a ten day hiatus from storming the castle. I tore my shin open on box jumps. In true CrossFit fashion, I finished the workout before getting stitches. I’m under strict doctor’s orders to avoid all things that could bust open the wound. Needless to say, I am jealous of your feats of strength. I’m feeling lazy and restless enough to want to turn to the banana pudding!

    • Mel says:

      Oh, man! Bummer! Sorry to hear about your shin. Stitches! That’s serious (and hardcore).

      Try to enjoy your downtime — maybe think of it as a time to gather your resources so that when you’re back at the box, you’re infused with new, fresh energy. Like, right now, you’re on a secret mission and you’re just waiting for the action to start, so you’re resting, visualizing success, and waiting for that 3-2-1-GO!

  • I started doing 5/3/1 about 2 years ago and still love it!! I have seen amazing strength gains. Enjoy!