Not Quite a Crocodile Handbag


In my quest for lean superhero-ness, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy stuff and work on skills a few times a week. For about 18 months or so, I’ve been using the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. It did a brilliant job of seeing me through my n=1 experiments and definitely increased my strength, but the way my body looks hasn’t changed the way I want it to. So in the interests of both science and vanity, I’m now working with Mark Schneider from The Movement Minneapolis.

(If you’re new to strength training, here’s a great overview of what all the lingo below means.)

I’ve been working with my trainer Mark Schneider for about two months, and I see evidence of progress in two ways. (1) I’m LOVING my workouts. I look forward to doing them. I feel great while I’m doing them. I feel strong and accomplished after doing them. (2) I’m definitely building muscle and getting stronger. Aesthetically, it’s not anything super dramatic, but my shoulders and arms look less like marshmallows, and I’ve decided the shape of my legs is “cute.”  And every workout, the weight I’m lifting gets higher or I do more reps. Wins all around

One of the very best things about having an expert like Mark do my programming is that he’s introducing me to new exercises that I would most likely never do on my own. That was one of the things I liked about CrossFit, too… being pushed to try new movements. The great advantage of the workout philosophy of The Movement Minneapolis is that the goal isn’t to drive yourself into the ground. Instead, the goal is to make it “look easy” and to listen to your body – while also working your ass off.

It’s like taking a deep, nourishing breath of air to work hard, but not feel beat up. Brilliant!

Today, my workout was full of new stuff. In my half-asleep state, reading through the list this morning, I saw the words “alligator” and “suitcase,” and before I knew it, I was imaging this:


But, alas, that’s not what Mark was talking about AT ALL.

He meant this:

And this:

The focus of my training for the next two weeks is on movements that target one side of the body at a time. There’s a buttload of 1-arm and rotational stuff in my near future. Here’s what I got up to at the gym this morning… all new, all crazy, all good.

8:00 treadmill at 4.1 mph (1/2 mile)
arm circles, straight-leg march, air squats


4 rounds:
alligator crawl, 50 feet
11 palloff press, 20 #
time: 9:34

4 rounds:
suitcase deadlift: 5 (right) @ 75# + 5 (left) @ 75# + 4 (right) @ 85# + 4 (left) @ 85#
11/side rotational medball slams, 10#
time: 11:24

3 rounds:
strict pullups, black band
dumbbell clean & press, 25#: 10 per side + 10 per side + 8 per side
time: 9:13


Handstand hold at the wall… just for fun! I got about 5 seconds free standing!

Have you tried anything new at the gym lately? Tell us about it!

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  • Lydia says:

    That alligator walk looks HORRIBLE.

    God, I hate crawling around on the ground. Which means I’ve made a resolution to do it more, once my commitment to the local Renaissance Festival is over for the season (can’t afford bruised knees and jammed wrists right now).

    Haven’t done anything *new* in a while, but my trainer and I are working on smoothing and improving my power clean/push press combo.

    GO YOU with your five-second freestanding handstand!!!

  • Brandy says:

    Gasp….that bag! So gorgeous! Sounds like a great trainert / program.