Learning Process

Weekly Programming Links:  Group Class, Advanced, Venice Barbell Club

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Monday, December 16, 2013


Foam Roll IT Bands
Keg Drill
Supported Ankle Stretch

Group Warmup

Row 500 meters
2 Rounds:
10 Wall Squats (2nd round Back Squats)
15 Pike Situp and Stretch – DEMO
10 Burpees
30 sec Hold (Handstand or Plank)
30 sec Sampson Stretch

Classic Strength

5 Rounds:
3 Back Squats- Heavier than last time.
5 Strict Freestanding Handstand Push Ups with spotter(s)

Notes: Compare squats to 12/9/13.  This is our third week of sets of 3 in the back squat. Try to increase the weight over all sets from what you used last week. For the HSPU, use 2 spotters and focus on keeping your chin tucked and back straight. If struggle to perform full range of motion, perform the piked variation with feet on the ground or a box. If 5 reps is easy with a spotter, perform to a deficit.

Advanced Strength

4X 2/4 FS/BS @ 95% (of 1RM Front Squat) – rest 3-4 min between sets and increase rest each set as needed

Notes: Feel free to work in some HSPU work between sets as well!

Classic Conditioning

5 Rounds:
Row 300m
20 Push Ups
– Rest 1 minute-

Notes: Go hard on the row and scale push ups to allow full range of motion and the ability to move quickly through the rounds. The first set should be unbroken!

Advanced Conditioning

5X500m Row @ 90% – Rest 1:1

Notes: If you have the rower to yourself, you can program the monitor to the rest interval that you want in advance.  If class is busy, just do your best to maintain your interval times.

Cool Down

2 Rounds:
10 PVC Dislocates (weighted if possible)
Pigeon Stretch, 90 seconds (1 leg per round)

 Lauren in the process of learning and adapting.


I’ve told this story about 50 times over the past week, because it ties together so many things that I love to talk about:  crossfit, life, training, failure, fear, passion.  The story is a response to how my trip to Hawaii was last week.  If you didn’t know, I went out to watch the Billabong Pipeline surf competition.  I didn’t know much about professional surfing, but I have heard of the infamous “pipeline”, as well as the “fabled north shore”  and watched countless youtube videos of big wave surfing and people getting “barrelled”, but this was going to be my first time seeing it up close.

The first unique aspect to surf competition is that there are no predetermined dates, but rather the event organizers have a window of a couple of weeks in which they need to wait for ideal conditions.  Fortunately for us, the first two days of the competition fell within our 5 day vacation, which didn’t just mean that there would be big surf for the competitors but for everyone that wanted to surf the North Shore.  After watching the pros surf all morning at Pipe, I was fired up to get out on the water and try something out of my comfort zone…something big!

A few breaks down from Pipe, is a famous surf spot called Sunset.  This spot is not just known for the great waves, but for the strong current that runs through there and how far off shore you had to paddle to catch the waves (click HERE and check out slide 4 for a breakdown of this surf spot or HERE to see some surfers in action).  The current would actually help you paddle out to the break and provided a “safe zone” where the waves wouldn’t crash.  This was good news, because my main fear was getting caught inside where these massive waves would pound on me and prevent me from getting out to the surf spot.  When I watched from the shore, the paddle out was intimidating and I could get a sense of the size of the waves in comparison to the people surfing them.  The report stated 10-12 foot waves, but don’t be fooled, that means from the top of the wave to the back of the wave, so the face (the part you ride) is almost double that size.  That meant that these were 20-25ft waves!  As I watched from the beach, my friend Jesse Billauer (who is a quadriplegic surfer) is stoked about the conditions and plans on paddling out.  He tells me that I should paddle out for the experience no matter what, even if I don’t ride any waves.  So I decide, fuck it…I know I have a safe spot in the channel and this is my dream to ride big waves…you never know, maybe the perfect wave will come on the outside and I will catch the wave of my life!

The paddle out is surprisingly fast, as I watch Martina and a few friends quickly become tiny landmarks on the beach.  The scale of the waves starts to become clear as I get about halfway out and the size is immediately threatening.  I have to remind myself the waves won’t break in the channel, but they are still rolling at about 15ft high, a couple hundred feet long and about 30-50ft thick and my mind has no reference for this sensation.  When I get out to the location where people are catching waves, the thought of paddling into the area to try and catch a wave is not even a consideration.  I am on the edge of the current and I can feel the power of the waves slowly drifting me in towards them.  While I am still a good distance from where the waves are breaking, I am now concerned about that previous thought of a wave that might find me on the outside.  I feel exposed and keep reminding myself that everything will be ok.  As I watch from this new vantage point, the waves that seemed reasonable from the beach, now seemed absolutely absurd.  Watching people take off on these waves, they are staring practically straight down a 20ft wall of water, moving so much faster than anything I have ever experienced surfing, in a situation, where if they fall, they are going to get pounded by something so powerful I cannot even begin to understand how they are doing this.  I am thinking about some rough 5-6ft waves that have held me down in my Socal surf sessions and wonder what this would be like.  The fear is incredible…and I continue to sit on the outside.  At one point I felt like I was getting sucked in too close, so I paddled further away from the waves just to be safe.  (Martina and the spectators at the beach later told me how funny I looked paddling so far away from every other surfer.)  After enjoying the scenery for about 45 minutes and coming to terms that today is not the day I will become a big wave surfer, I realize I have no plan for how I am going to get back to shore!  I ask one of the guys how I am going to get back in without riding a wave and he tells me what I already know…I have to paddle against the current all the way back the same way I came.

The first part went ok, but about halfway back it felt like I was sitting in place.  When I would sit up and take a rest, I would slowly start to drift back out.  Enter CrossFit training and mindset:  45min amrap of:  100 strokes, rest 10 seconds.  After I made it to shore, there was a little bit of disappointment for everyone that watched me paddle out, but I knew that even though I did not ride any waves, the experience was well worth it.  That is what this post is all about…Later that night, as I was sipping on some fancy tequila drink and thinking about the experience, I announced that I will surf Sunset someday.  The feeling of those waves was now a part of my memories and I could begin to understand the reality of surfing these waves and how I needed to progress from where I am now to those caliber waves and the path became clear.  The following day I had a chance to surf another spot on the North Shore with waves that were still much larger than anything I had surfed before and due to my experience the previous day, I had more confidence than ever and rode the biggest waves of my life without hesitation!

Keep pursuing your dreams and be ok with the failure that happens along the way.  Learn from these experiences and use CrossFit to prepare you when you can’t get out and train your primary sport!

In case you are interested, here are some highlights from the last day of the Pipeline competition…

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