Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lifes a Beach...

July 26, 2012

... and thats where I am today!

Took a day off from work to spend the day with some great friends and their rugrats! I really needed a recharge and this is just what the Dr ordered! Thanks for letting me crash one of your vacation days guys!! I had a fantastic time!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Start Today!!


July 25, 2012

This morning at the gym was another fantastic WOD, but one of the things that stuck out to me most was the skill/strength session. This morning it was “death by hand release pushups.” I have explained this before, but in case you forgot a “death by” workout is one rep in the first minute, 2 in the second, 3 in the third… and so on until you can not successfully complete the amount of reps in one minute of time. Typically when you know you can do 10 reps of whatever the exercise is, you do the sets adding 2 to each minute, so 2 the first minute, than 4, 6, 8 and so on. When you first start out it seems really easy, one rep of most exercises in 60 seconds leaves you plenty of “rest” time for the rest of the minute, however when you get to the 8, 9, and 10 sets you are usually working back to back, so it can be very difficult.

All of the CFW athletes (and crossfit athletes in general) work really hard, and its only natural that the people you WOD with daily or even just a few times a week become those you know the best. We all share in each other’s PR’s and do our best to push and encourage each other whenever we can. It feels just as awesome to see someone who you know is kicking ass on a daily basis reach a goal that they have been shooting for, or help to encourage them to PR. What got me about the skill session is what I heard JM say in the middle of it. She started up CFW back before the Opens and has been flying high surpassing goals left and right, accepting challenges and really kicking ass in general ever since. We WOD together a few days a week and really enjoy the challenge we present to each other as well as cheering on, encouraging and pushing where we know we need it.   

Anyway, in the middle of the skill session as she and I were working doubling the HR pushups (2, 4, 6, 8… so on) I heard her say to M, “I remember when I couldn’t even get to 10, and that wasn’t a very long time ago.” It made me smile on the inside. That right there is the whole reason why crossfit is awesome. I hope she dosent mind me sharing this publically, because I honestly feel the exact same way. There are days I sit back and think of my first few WODs and even WODs just months ago. I am doing things I never thought I would be doing and getting better at accepting the “suck” and pushing past the uncomfortable spot and overall getting better at everything at the same time. There we both were this morning doubling the work of our death by sets… working towards getting 18 reps in a minute… not 10… 18!! That’s a huge improvement and it feels amazing to look back and think that the only person that got me where I am is me. My dedication, my work and my sweat! What makes it even more amazing is that she is sharing in her excitement for her own accomplishments as well and that gives me the warm and fuzzies too!!

The long and short of it is that you can not get where you want to be unless you start. Too many people say “I cant” or “I don’t have time.” Than in the next breath they are looking for a way to reduce their tummy fat, or wish they could get down to the next size smaller pant size. Well, if you WANT it, you have to go get it. Why wait and start tomorrow. Start today and put in the time, put in the dedication, you will have results! It dosent have to be crossfit, but understand that if you do nothing, you will see no results. Wanting to be a certain way is not enough, doing it will make it happen. The cool part about the accomplishments you see in CrossFit is that you know every is working hard for their PR’s. Its like once you start, you cant stop. You crave getting better, you crave lifting more and you want to know how you can get that way. Its fantastic to see and witness someone like JM hitting those milestones, gaining confidence with every day and hearing her excitement about it. It makes me want to get better and push harder and feel those feelings everyday!!

I made a choice. I stopped saying "tomorrow." I pass on the chocolate cake and fried food. I believe in myself and my goals. I am so unbelievably proud of myself and it makes every struggle worth it.

WARMUP:
3 Rounds
- 20 Double Unders
- 5 Pullups
- 10 Pushups
- 15 Air Squats
Pigeon Stretch (2 min each leg)
Group: SDHP

WOD: Adhesion
21-15-9
SHDP (75)
Box Jumps (24")
(4:51 Rx)

SKILL/STRENGTH:
Death by HR Pushups
(2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, missed 18 by 2)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh Good, More Running!

July 24, 2012

After the fiasco of a day yesterday I couldnt wait to get home to go to sleep! Since I was able to sneak out of work a little early to make it to CFW to workout with the 5:30pm-ers, I was all discombobulated. I got home and it was only 7:00, typically its almost 8:00 when I get home on Thursday nights. I grabbed my late snack and started eating and than realized it was WAY to early and I would be starving when I woke up at 4:45am if I ate so soon. I spaced out my meal and laid on the couch waiting for Hubs to come home. My calves were killing, dehydration was in total effect! I did everything I could to stretch them out and just prayed by the time I woke up I would be good. I was in bed... 8:30 and asleep by 9:00. HEAVEN.

Since I was in bed so early I didnt get a chance to see what the WOD was for today. Usually I check it before I fall asleep. It never changes my mind if I am going to go or not, but for some reason it has just become habit. I woke up when my alarm went off and looked at the WOD before getting out of bed... "oh good, more running..."

First we worked some strength. Snatches, something I have been working on for a few weeks on Thursdays. I really have to learn not to pull too early and to slow my pull down until after my knees. This will allow for maximum hip extension and explosion.

Heres Elisabeth Akinwale during the CF games, totally killing the Snatch Ladder... look at that hip extension.


My working hard is paying off, I can feel how different the movement feels when I am hitting all the right spots. I certainly think the work I have put into the movement has made a difference and I plan to keep at it so I can develop it even further. This morning I PRed with 105lbs for 2 sets of 1. I felt great and M was really encouraging with every attempt, from the light weights to the heavier sets, making sure I was keeping good form and pointing out what I am doing wrong. Thats how I like to be coached. Tell it like it is, why it sucks and what can make it better... every rep, I dont care.

Than we moved on to the WOD. This one was great. Another one of those mind over matter moments. Thrusters are killer lifts to begin with, than add to that the squat clean and the ability to keep them strung together without rest is pretty difficult. Legs are burning, arms and shoulders... its FUN in my book, but the "hard" kind of fun!

With every ounce of concentration I have, I was able to complete all 5 rounds without letting go of the bar for every set of 15 squat clean thrusters. I kept saying to myself "just keep your hands on the bar and keep pulling" and amazingly enough, thats what I did! The run was the hardest part for me, after the third round of lifts I went to go do the run and felt like I couldnt lift my feet off the ground. I gained composure, kept pushing and by the time I had run about 50 yards I had a longer stride again.

This could be one of my favorite WOD's. It was fun, challenging and man did I sweat like a beast!! Its nice to feel human again!!

WARMUP:
500m Row
3 Rounds
- 1 Rope Climb
- 4 Turkish Getups
- 8 Inchworms
- 12 Mountain Climbers
500m Row
Group: Bergerner

WOD: "Meat Grinder"
5 Rounds for Time
- 200m Run
- 15 Squat Clean Thrusters (65lbs)
(15:05 Rx)

SKILL/STRENGTH:
Snatch 3-3-1-1-1
(65, 85, 95, 105, 105) <----- PR

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Would you like a margarita?

July 23, 2012

Today was a rough day. A perfect reminder as to why I choose to live the lifestyle that I do 99% of the time. Alas there is that small 1% of the time when I let myself go a little more than usual, yesterday, one of those days!! Hubs and I had an excellent day up at Salisbury Beach with our friend KP, T, H and their families (we missed you J).  When we arrived I was a little stressed, had an emotional morning and KP said the magic words "would you like a margarita?"

After a FABULOUS day, lots of well needed laughs and smiles, quite a few drinks, some delicious ribs an antipasto salad and sun, sand and sparklers Hubs and I needed to head home because we had to work today. Let me tell you something... I had to be in work at 6:30am to leave with my big boss and another co worker for a meeting... and wow... I was feeling those beverages, thats for sure!! After only a few hours of sleep (more like passing out) and not enough water I was a hurtin unit. The car ride to the city in the back seat of my boss's car, not exactly a fun place when you arent feeling so hot.

I do not regret the time we had Sunday, but it just went to show me that I dont really "need" to have that much to drink to have a good time. Sometimes I let myself get out of control and forget that its been a long time since the days when I would slam back tequila shots and a bunch of beers. My body certainly processes alcohol much differently than it used to and the couple of hours that I use to be out of it has now turned into a day or more. Not worth it. Fun, fun fun, but not worth feeling like crap the next day!

I was dragging ass allllll daaayyy at work after my meeting. Thinking about the fact that I had signed up for the 5:30pm class at CFW and how badly I wanted to sweat out the hangover. Honestly, as much as I was worried my performance would suck, I really wanted to just get there and get it all out. I was not going to bail, I was not going to let one day of drinking overtake me. NO EXCUSES. Its my own fault that I put myself in that situation and I would be really mad if I missed the day at the gym because of boozing on Sunday, I will not let that happen.

The WOD was hard. No questions asked. It was hard to get moving since I was tired... and I was concerned that I was going to reek like tequila through the whole workout... but eh, we all stink every now and again right? I was determined to suck it up and push through no matter what.

Thats exactly what I did. So the way this AMRAP worked was different than we are typically used to. That was a nice change and also a good way to mess with my head to keep going. We started with a 400m run, than came in and went right to the pullup bar. I wound up doing Nicole (rather than "Chesty Nicole") because I am just now kipping pullups so trying to get chest to bars without dropping would have me running a million miles and getting no pullup work in. What you had to do was connect as many pullups as you could and as soon as you dropped (let go of the bar) you had to go for another 400m run. I have to say, I thought I would have done a lot more running than I wound up doing.

I was VERY pleased with myself. The first three rounds I was able to connect and kip 10 reps! This is huge for me. On the 4th round M told me to get off the bar with the tape and work there, since we know grip is my issue, not strength, so if I want to get better at it, I have to keep working at it. At that point I was exhausted and doing my damnedest to stay on the bar even if I had to hang than re-kip to get up there. I strung together 6 for the rest of my 3 sets to finish the AMRAP.

Proud of myself, yes. Happy with my performance, yes. My pullups have come a LONG way and I just have to get past the mental block about hanging onto the bar. Once I let myself drop its hard to keep going, but in a "normal" WOD I have the option to jump back up for singles, not today! I really liked the format as it pushed me to do what I need to work on most with no excuses. I have said it before, you have to work at the things you suck at to get better at them. Soon, soon, I will not suck at them!! I can feel it!!

WARMUP:
3 Rounds
- 20m Shuttle Run
- 5 Wall Balls
- 10 Lunges
- 15 Ring Rows
Half Flight Simulator
10-20-30-40 double unders

WOD: "Chesty Nicole"
20 Minute AMRAP
- 400m Run
- Max Chest to Bar Pullups (I did kipping regular pullups)
(10, 10, 10, 6, 6, 6 = 48 Rx Nicole)

SKILL/STRENGTH:
HSPU 3X5
"Graduated" to one abmat with a 10lb plate from 2 abmats

And for your viewing pleasure... the ladies at the beach!!


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Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Day My Life Changed Forever...

July 22, 2012

I have plenty more entries to catch up on, but right now, today I have to write this one.

Twelve years ago, on this day, my life changed forever. In the middle of the night, there I was trying to sleep when the phone would not stop ringing. It was my brothers girlfriend calling over and over again looking for him. I was pissed off because he had "stolen" my boyfriend for the night (we had plans to get together) and they had gone out to the club or the bar or something with a bunch of friends, I was only 19 so even if they wanted me to go, I couldn't. I couldn't get comfortable, I couldn't sleep and than add the numerous "no he isnt home yet" conversations into the mix and I wasn't a happy girl. Sometime in the middle of the night, early morning I heard him come home. He came into my room asking if anyone had called. I was so angry, but responded with a simple "yeah, could you please call your girlfriend and tell her to stop calling the house." He had a cell phone, but clearly wasnt answering that either.

We exchanged and few words and I concluded with a "good, now get the f*#K out so I can get some sleep," which was not abnormal talk between the two of us... and off he went. That was the last time I talked to him. The last words I said to him... The last time I saw his face.

The rest is a bad dream... a nightmare. From the door bell ringing at 7:00 in the morning, making every parents worst nightmare come true as the police officer (who happened to be a friend of our family) stood red eyed, trying to be strong and professional, to deliver the news... to my wakening to the commotion in the kitchen and flying downstairs to assess the situation. I couldnt, wouldnt, didnt understand what was being told to me... this was not happening.

But yes, it was. He was gone. My big brother, my other half. My partner in crime. Gone.

I was 19 years old. I can remember every emotion I felt that day and the days to follow like they were yesterday. I was lucky, I AM lucky. My brother was quite the wonderful person (not that it was a surprise to me). He surrounded him self with amazing people. His best friends immediately kicking into high gear and being there for me and my parents as if Joshua was giving them instructions to do so. My parents, they are the most amazing people in the world. Strong, supportive and their love for each other holds each of them up when they feel like they just cant go on for one more second. They may not say that on the outside, but they dont have to... you can see it and feel it when they are around. Their faith and love runs deep through me. My boyfriend, Pat, like a rock for me over the minutes, hours, days, months, years that followed. Not leaving my side, not saying a word but saying so many words just with his presence. I am forever grateful for that time. There are not enough "thank you's" in this world for all of the people who have been in my life since 5:30 am, July 22, 2000.

I had to make a choice. I had to decide how I wanted to live my life in the aftermath of losing my brother. Of course it didnt come over night. There were lots of sleepless nights, tears, arguments with my faith and overall questioning why this had to happen. However, the way I looked at it, no matter what I "wanted" this tragedy was going to define me, who I was and how I was going to be for the rest of my life. It was my choice to decide if I wanted to use "it" in a positive or a negative way. I had to feel and think of what my brother would have wanted me to be, and seeing as how he was one of the most stand up people on the planet... I would shoot for the stars and make him proud of me.

People comment "I dont know what I would do if I were you," or "I dont know how I would go on." The truth is, I envy the fact that they dont know what its like... and I wouldnt wish it on anyone. But the other truth is... I had no plan, I had no idea what I was going to do... and I didnt know how I would go on... I just did. I woke up every morning, put my feet on the ground and the days kept on passing by. A conversation I had with him years ago rings through  my head almost every day and I will not let him down. I will not give up and I will never fail.

Josh was different from anyone I ever met. He lived every single day like it was going to be his last. He never passed on a challenge, never let anyone tell him he couldnt do something. When I was young, people would tell me how much we looked alike and acted alike. Of course we wanted no part of that at the time. Today, right now, I am proud to say I am like him and I hope to be the woman he would like for me to be.

Twelve years ago my life changed forever. Twleve years ago I changed from the inside out. Twleve years ago I had to learn how to put one foot in front of the other, learn how to live every day to its absolute fullest. I have the worlds best parents, who support me and encourage me to be everything I want to be. I have a supportive and understanding husband who deals with my ups and downs on a daily basis. I have my "brothers" who my brother hand picked to be with me as he would through  my life... who I trust and love with all my heart. I have my friends and family who encourage me to keep moving forward, pushing for my goals.  I have my faith... and my connection with my brother. I feel I am who I am today because of "this."

I thank my brother Joshua for the life he has given me. I love him, I miss him and I would give anything to have him with me again.

"Your heart has brought great joy to many, those heart will never forget you."












And my favorite pic of all time...

   
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mile

June 14, 2012

So, I have this problem. Well, maybe its not a problem, just a "trait" that I have never been able to prevent from rearing its head in these types of situations. Basically I have an issue not accepting any challenge that is put in front of me.

When presented with the challenge directly I clearly wouldnt be able to decline, but thats an obvious one. When presented with someone telling me there something I "cant" do, well right away I have to prove them wrong, or at least work as hard as I can to convince them that THEY are wrong. That too is a pretty obvious instance, knowing my personality.

Finally there is the "tricky" situation where I see something that is challenging, or hear about something that is challenging that I have the ability or opportunity to complete and its almost like I get hooked on said "thing" and cant let it go. I have to complete it, almost like I have presented this to myself as a challenge and I have to prove to myself that it will happen, that I am strong enough, fast enough, whatever it may be... and I can do it. I can do anything I set out to do right?

My cousin is getting married in November. I am really excited to head to PA to visit my family and see she and her fiance get hitched over Thanksgiving weekend. I was a little bummed when I realized that I wasnt going to be able to complete the Turkey Trot... that was my big "you wont do it" moment last year. Well to my surprise she posted something on her FB page about a race they hold yearly in the town she grew up in...

Yepper... now I am training for a race. A much longer race than I have done in a long time!! Hey, if I can do 5, than I can do 9 right??

I decided that I just have to learn a good mile pace and stick with it for the entirety of the race. I know I will fall back on the hills, but I can do this! So tonight and as often as I can I will be working on my running. I started tonight with a mile. I kept a good pace though I really want to slow my pace a little more so I can keep my breath through the whole race. Not sure this is the "correct" way to train, but I feel like I am heading in the right direction.

Every step forward is a step in the right direction!


WARMUP:
Run 400m
3 Rounds
- 5 Pushups
- 10 Shoulder Dislocates
- 20 Lunges
Run 400m
2 Minute Shoulder Opener
Rolling

SKILL/STRENGTH:
Mile Run (7:56)
5 X 30 Double Unders (unbroken)

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Hanging Around

June 13, 2012

FINALLY... my double unders have returned!! What a frustrating turn of events with them over the last few months. I had them I really did... that suddenly it was like they just disappeared! I spent the last 3+ months agonizing every week for my skill sessions working on my double unders it was almost like there were two things I worked on, pullups and double unders. It seemed I just couldnt connect my head to my hands than to my feet. We laughed and joked and pretty much tried EVERYTHING to get them to come back. When its all said and done it goes back to the same old same old... practice, practice, practice...

This is one of the nights where R tried to "tame" the velociraptor... as he liked to call me!


I usually get all stressed out when a double under WOD comes up... and today I went into the gym focused on being positive. The WOD included both double unders AND pullups! Yippie! To my very own surprise, it was a good day for double unders. I finally was able to string them together and relax while I was doing them. This allowed for me to take my time, get all of them Rx and not waste any time getting all frustrated and pissed off, which as we all know does absolutely nothing except waste time.

So, I am a happy girl, my double unders are happening, my pullups are getting stronger... and hey... who wouldnt want to hang around with these clowns at 5:30am every day?


WARMUP:
3 Minute Double Under Practice
3 Rounds
- 5 Burpees
- 10 Ring Rows
- 10 Hollow Rocks
- 15 Air Squats
Group: Junkyard Dog

WOD: "Punch"
5 Rounds for Time
- 30 Double Unders
- 10 Ring Dips (strict on GHD)
- 10 Pullups
(my time 15:47)

SKILL/STRENGTH:
TABATA L-Sit (hanging)

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Boing Boing

June 12, 2012

Sometimes in life you feel like you have to go backwards to go forwards. In order to accomplish a goal you must take a step back re-evaluate than go in for the kill again. There are also times you have to step back and slowly progress back to the goal in order to fully understand the process to the final result. There is certainly a feeling of failure built into this happening. You cant help but feel like you shouldnt have to regress, that you should always be going forward. In reality this should happen a lot more than it does. Instead lots of time "you" bang your head against the wall just pushing and pushing for a result when you are so close... ahhh human nature, dont ya love it.


There are lots and lots of directions involved in going forward. No matter what it is you are trying to succeed at; your job, school, work, friendship, relationships, exercise, weight loss... there are going to be downs, struggles, confusion, tears, frustration and loss, but on the other hand there will be successes, smiles, handshakes, laughter and proud moments... very proud moments. These are the times that will make you happy you went through the "bad" to get the "good."

Whats the point? It wouldnt be my writing if I didnt relate this all back to crossfit... so here goes. Today the WOD included handstand push ups. While I have been working very hard on my kipping HSPUs I decided today (with a littler persuasion from K) that I should use the green bands for them to work on the full range of motion. When I kip against the wall I usually use two abmats under my head, this allows a little less range of motion and I am able to complete plenty of reps. However, as I said I am missing a part of the range of motion in doing so. I agreed with K that I should use the bands understanding that it was not a set back, but a key ingredient in making forward progress.

Keep your head high and your sights forward and you will continue to move in the direction you desire!

WARMUP
Row 500m
2 Rounds
- 5 Pullups
- 10 Inchworms
- 10 Spidermans
- 5 Wall Squats
Row 500m
Group: Burgerner

WOD: "Same as the First"
3 Rounds for Time
- 3 Cleans (95)
- 6 HSPU (Strict with Green Bands)
- 12 Squats
(my time 2:34)

STRENGTH:
3 Snatches on the minute for 10 minutes
(85lbs)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mind Over Matter


June 11, 2012
 
I am a strong believer that if you think you can do something than you can… you know, to an extent of course. I mean don’t jump off a bridge and try to fly, because even if you REALLY think you can do it, its not going to happen. But if you think about how much our mind is in control of our emotions and feelings… almost like it is programmed and expected to act a certain way in certain circumstances not allowing us to push out of our comfort zone without a fight. When we are in the act of doing something more often than not our brain tells our body that we need to slow down and/or stop well before our body actually needs to.  Why is that? Why are we so worried about being uncomfortable and why do we automatically stop when things get that way?

In the past I would go to the gym, I would work out and push myself to where I was “comfortable” pushing. I was working hard, I was sweating, I would get sore the next day or two and I would go back and repeat. I knew in order to get results I needed to get to the point that I felt the work I was doing was actually doing something, but I don’t think I was actually aware of where that line was. When I was on the elliptical I would work and work and eventually after pushing myself bit by bit, day after day I was able to increase my intensity, or decrease my time slightly… but was I actually getting uncomfortable? At the time, I thought so. Looking back, no. 
 
 
In the last 10 months I have never been so comfortable being uncomfortable in my life. Of course there are times that are daunting and “scary.” Like the time I kicked up to a handstand for the first time in 100 years. Man, I thought for sure I was going to fall on my face. Or the first time I approached the 30” box for box jumps. I thought “there is no way in hell I am going to make it up to that box.” Did I break my face? No. Did I miss the box? No. But even if I did… I would have never got close to it if I didn’t try. Attempts and failures are just as important as successes. However, I kicked up into the handstand that day and never looked back… I am not afraid. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and started to trust myself more and more with every time. Now, I can stand next to someone looking at the three-four abmats piled on the floor sweating bullets as they reach for the ground and attempt a kick up to the wall thinking “please don’t fall…” and I can say “I have been there… you can do this!”

“Steel” was the exactly the WOD that proved how important it is to push out of your comfort zone. At first glance you might think “oh, a 5 minute AMRAP of shoulder to overheads with only 35lbs? That’s nothing” but when you are in there… DAMN its hard. Likewise, a 5 minute AMRAP of abmat situps, looks easy on paper, but when you are working for those whole 5 minutes… not so much! The method to my madness on this WOD was pretty much the same that it has been for the last 10 months in every WOD I have completed. I needed to continue to think “mind over matter” that the “pain” was temporary and that I will be proud of myself in the end. Push beyond my brain telling me to stop and rest, push beyond the burning in my arms and shoulders or abs, push until the clock stops and time is up. The only way to get better is to push… get uncomfortable… and surprise yourself in the end!

When I am asked if it was hard to give up “food” (after I stop laughing because I didn’t give up food at all) I respond with “at first yeah, it was a little uncomfortable to keep away from my the things I am comfortable with and used to… but as soon as I started to see the positive result… the answer is no, its not hard at all.” When I am confronted with the famous “how do you have the motivation for that” when people ask about my workouts or getting up at 5:00am to workout before work… my response is the same… “at first, yes. It was hard as hell to get up at the but crack of dawn to go to the gym, WOD, than go to work for sometimes 10 hours… but you know what, I knew it was totally worth it and now, no, its not hard at all.” There are no excuses. I knew what I wanted than and I know what I want now, and I know in order to get there I have to push myself to be uncomfortable every day. You know what… I am ok with that!!

Now, go out and get uncomfortable!   

WARMUP:
3 Rounds
- Run 200m
- 10 Pushups
- 10 Around the World
- 10 Back Extensions
- 10 Walking Lunges
Group: 9 Fundamentals

WOD: "Steel"
5 Minute AMRAP
- Shoulder to Overhead (35)
5 Minure AMRAP
- Abmat Situps
* Two minute rest in between
(99+144=243 Total)

STRENGTH:
Front Squats 3-3-3+
65%, 75%, 85% of 1RM)
125 (3), 145 (3), 165 (5)

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