Listen to Jack

Weekly Programming:  Classic, Advanced, Venice Barbell Club

Monday, August 26, 2013


Keg Drill, 2 minutes
then, 2 Rounds with Barbell of:
10 Good Mornings
5 Snatch Grip Behind the Neck Press
5 Overhead Squats
5 Sotts Press

Notes:  Just like for our Snatch work, do not squat deeper than perfect form will allow!


15 minutes to establish a 3 Position Snatch

Notes: Athletes should try to add a little weight from the last time they did this complex or change the order from the floor to the hang positions.  

Classic Conditioning

3 rounds of:
3 minutes to complete
Row 500m (all out)
ME Kettle Bell Swings 32/24kg in remaining time
Rest 2 minutes between rounds

Notes: The rows should not be strategized at all. They should be all out and the athlete should try to immediately go to the KB and accumulate as many reps as possible in the remaining time of the 3 minutes. The kettle bell chosen should be heavy but with good form.  Score is 3 row times plus total reps completed.

Advanced Conditioning

3 Rounds of:
3 minutes to complete
Row 500m (all out)
ME Muscle-Ups in the remaining time
Rest 2 minutes after each round

Note: Each 500m row should be all out. Do not strategize to allow for more MU

Cool Down

2 Rounds:
5 Jefferson Curls plus 10 second hold on last rep
10 PVC Dislocates (weighted if possible) 

“This isn’t fun,” Martina’s words before stepping off the ledge

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Jackson, Wyoming for a week of climbing and hiking in the Grand Tetons. The day before we left was the Central Coast Clash and I was surprised how many members asked me if I was ever going to compete (again?). My answer to everyone was yes of course! I began to realize how many people may have never even seen me workout, let alone compete, since I have been so busy with the Venice gym over the past year. In case you are curious, my priority is preparation for the 2014 CrossFit Games Open, where I plan on helping MDR represent a team at the regionals! As I left for my week of climbing, the thought of competing in CrossFit again was fresh on my mind. After our arrival, we got to meet one of Sandy Hill’s long time climbing friends and our guide for the week, Jack Tackle. He is a living legend within the mountaineering community with an even more infamous mustache. We got along immediately and over the course of many days, drinks, long hikes and meals, we discussed life, death, work, climbing and CrossFit. Through these conversations, I was reminded that the best part of competing in CrossFit and why I love climbing is mostly in dealing with the mental challenges and conquering the fear of failure.

For years I would get anxious before my CrossFit workouts. I would not be relaxed at all and I could feel my performance suffer because of it.

You know that feeling of wanting to do well and knowing that you have the potential to do well, while simultaneously knowing how hard it is going to be and not wanting to fail? When I decided to start competing, I knew these feelings and emotions would be amplified and something I wanted to learn to control. That same year I had just started rock climbing and I recognized that there was a similar anxious feeling before each climb and something I had to deal with if I wanted to improve in the sport.

Climbing outdoors is a fascinating experience if you have ever had the opportunity. Without going into too much detail, I always say that climbing is the greatest combination between mental and physical abilities. Jack simply says it is problem solving. For instance, there is something called ‘exposure’, which refers to the feeling of the climb. This is that simple concept of walking or even running on a narrow cement curb along the street. Not once do you even hesitate or fall off. You can turn around, jump up and down and you think nothing of it. But put that same exact curb 100ft in the air and it all of a sudden becomes hard to take a single step. Scratch that, there is no fucking way you are going to even attempt to walk across that thing for fear of falling to your death. Nothing has changed physically but everything has changed mentally. So what if I put a net under the curb and attached you to a harness and safety rope? Do you think you would still feel a difference? This concept is what climbing is all about.

The picture of Martina above is her beginning the final pitch of a climb called Baxter’s Pinnacle. This particular move is notorious because to start the climb you must step out off a ledge that is 1000′ off the lake below, and reach for a handhold that you cannot see. The move itself is not physically hard. If it would be 1 foot off the ground you would do it effortlessly and without hesitation. The fear of failure in moments like these take on a different meaning. Irrational thoughts start to creep into your mind ‘What if the rope unties or my protective gear doesn’t work and I fall?’ You look at your knot, you look at your harness, you know that it is safe, you know that you can do this move, you know that Jack Tackle, the world renowned climber is not going to let you fall to your death, yet you have to deal with these thoughts because they are very real in your head. I have been to this place before, I know to just focus on the movement. One move at a time is all that matters. Failure is ok. I will live. I am reminded that these moments on the wall make me a better CrossFit athlete. They are for the moment you step up to that new PR snatch weight or attempt to break your best Fran time. They are for the moment you are waiting for that 3,2,1…go!

Thanks for everything Jack and thanks for the unforgettable trip Sandy.

Sidenote: The primary purpose of our trip was to summit the Grand Teton. On Friday, we left on a 6 hour hike up to the base of the summit where we were immediately hit by a hail storm and rains that lasted all night long. We ate and slept for a few hours and at 4am attempted to summit. We climbed for another 3 hours and with about 400 vertical feet to go had to back out due to poor weather and unsafe climbing conditions. We ended up summiting a secondary peak on the Grand, called the Enclosure but had to leave without accomplishing our ultimate goal. While this was disappointing, we all agreed that we would return and summit the Grand Teton someday!

This is an experience that I recommend everyone consider.  You can watch a video of what it is like HERE (except we had ropes on:) and check out Exum Mountain Guides for more details.

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