Alquemy here

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    So I thought I was ready for Crossfit…WRONG! :)

    A couple of the WOD’s were doable…difficult, but within my reach. Then these insane ones started coming, and I humbly realized that I’m nowhere near as strong as I thought I was. So here I am!

    My background: I have years of off-and-on weightlifting/bodybuilding experience, and am an avid martial artist, having dabbled in wing chun, Muay Thai, boxing, and now doing Eskrima (Filipino martial arts). I have a powerlifter build but would like to get leaner, faster, and more balanced than I’ve ever been.

    I’m gonna start with Level 1 today, but I’m gonna test myself by doing the Day 2 workout just to see how long it takes me to get it done. If I blast through it in less than 5 minutes, I’ll step myself up to Level 2. My main obstacle will be the pullup, and here’s the thing that makes it frustrating:

    I can do 100 pushups in 2 sets with little rest, and I can do LOTS of bodyweight squats (I’m a big fan of the Hindu squat!), but I can BARELY do one…count’em…ONE pullup! So yeah, I think I’m going to alternate by doing 3 negatives and then doing 3 “cheat” pullups (jumping up into it), and repeat until I get the required amount for the round. And yes, I’m aware that 3 subs equal one normal, so this is gonna be one hell of a workout! I’ll keep ya’ll posted.

    One more thing…I tell ya, after years of doing “hardcore” weightlifting and bodybuilding, this “boring” bodyweight stuff RULES! It’s really humbling and fun as hell. I love it.




    alquemy wrote:

    but I can BARELY do one…count’em…ONE pullup! So yeah, I think I’m going to alternate by doing 3 negatives and then doing 3 “cheat” pullups (jumping up into it), and repeat until I get the required amount for the round. And yes, I’m aware that 3 subs equal one normal

    Hey and welcome.

    Impressive pushup counts! On the pullup issue – don’t discount the body row. The muscles worked are essential to pullups. I went from 0 to max of 19 in a workout (so far and NOT in a row yet) doing negatives as you plan but really ramped up when I included body rows and planks.

    Again – welcome!


    Okay…I just got back from the gym.


    So I started my workout with my daily eskrima drills, which makes for a great warmup. Then I cut through Golden Gate Park to the gym, but by the time I got through the park I realized I didn’t write down my workout! I obviously didn’t have it memorized, either, so I just winged it, with a little extra things afterwards. This is what I did:

    3 pullups (i.e. 9 total negatives)

    50 pushups

    50 squats

    That took me about 10 minutes. I then did:

    Overhead Barbell Squats (45 lbs. bar)-12 reps

    pushups-12 reps

    for 5 rounds, which took me about 7 minutes.

    So I got a decent workout. But I’m pretty sure I need to just start at regular Level 1, doing the workouts in sequence.

    Once again, though…those damn pullups! I was DYING at the end of that set. And when I got home and looked at what the workout was supposed to be, I said “WHAT?!?!?”. So yeah, once again, very humbling indeed!

    And thanks for the tip with the pullups. One question, though…what’s planks?


    Greetings alquemy,

    Great work! With your foundation the pull-up should be within reach. Maybe you should try some variants on the regular push-ups and squats, like one-armed/one-legged?

    Planks are a great static strength ab exercise! I use it a lot when I teach kids martial arts classes.

    Immortal Wombat

    Welcome alquemy, glad you’re ‘enjoying’ the exercises 😈

    taifun: I looked at the plank and thought “pff, that looks eeeasy”, I get down to try one and start shaking within 3 seconds 😳


    Oh yeah…I remember the plank. My physical therapist made me to that while I was recovering from a sciatica episode. yeah, ouch!

    So I’m gonna start logging my workouts starting Monday. Today I worked out again, this time just in my backyard doing workout 3 of Level 1. For pullups I did them jumping, 3 for every 1, which totaled 30 pullups. I then went to pushups, felt like 21 was too little so I kept going to 50. Then on to squats (which I did “prisoner” style, with my hands behind my head) which I went up to 35. And needless to say, I was spent! I got through that in just under 5 minutes (not including my Eskrima workout), so I think I’m going to start at Level 2 on Monday.

    Also…I started eating Paleo/Zone style at the beginning of this week, and started doing this exercise in conjunction with my martial arts studies, and I’ve lost five pounds in one week! I know, generally that’s not a good thing, but I think that was just a bunch of water I was holding on to cause of all the extra salt and other crap that was in my diet. So yeah, very excited to see how I’ll look and feel by the end of the year!

    Thanks for the tips, and glad to be on board!


    Oh yeah…I worked out on Wednesday doing workout 3 of Level 1. That time I did body rows on a smith machine, with the bar set at around shoulder level if I stood upright. Thanks for the tip there as well! That was KILLER, but manageable. I stuck to the 21 total for push-ups and squats. I got through that in just under 3 minutes. Since I was at the gym I felt like doing more (of course), so I did 1 round of…

    hang clean squats x15 w/ 45lbs. bar

    push jerks x15 w/bar

    military press x18 95lbs.

    The first two exercises are totally new to me (I’m just picking some stuff from WOD’s off the Crossfit site and learning them), so I’m just getting feel for the motions with an empty bar, which is still pretty hard when you’re doing them for reps…hard to me, at least!


    For me – the weak link of pullups is the arms. I really focused on using my arms with body rows. This may not be your situation. Just thought I’d mention it.


    I’m actually the opposite; it’s my back that’s weak as hell, upper and lower. It’s always been weaker than all my other bodyparts throughout my years of weightlifting, and I stereotypically over-used my biceps to pull as much weight as I could doing bent-over rows and other exercises of the like.


    Interesting – I’ll keep up with your posts to see how your pullups come along.

    Do you pull wide on the body rows?

    Right now – I am doing some of the slow deadhang pullups as a “grease the groove” – just one rep at a time (see the GTG thread under “Training”). I am really squeezing my upper back and holding for a couple of seconds at the top. Then I take it really slow going down. This is giving my back some extra work.


    Yeah, pretty much standard shoulder-width grip on the bar. At the height I do it at it almost feels like a regular pullup, except with my feet touching the floor and my body at an angle as opposed to straight vertical.


    Here’s how it went:

    19 rounds, 20 minutes

    I was at this gym that had a pullup assist machine. The first 11 rounds I had 100 lbs. assist (I’m 240), the rest of the workout was set to 120 lbs. As per instructions on the site I did 3 assisted pullups each round. At round 12 I increased my pushup and squat rep count to 5 each. I tried to make it to 20, but I finished 19 with only about 15 seconds to spare, and I was SPENT! Tomorrow it’s back to my regular gym without a pullup machine, so I’ll switch back to body rows or jumping pullups.


    Tale of the tape:

    5 minutes, 56 seconds

    I did body rows this time (my regular gym has no pullup assist machine), and once again doing 3 body row rep per pullup rep. I didn’t add any extra reps this time. I’m definitely taking a break from all things athletic tomorrow as I’m starting to feel overtrained. With this new workout routine, on top of my usual eskrima training and weight training (I’ve been trying to learn some compound moves that’s used in Crossfit WOD’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays, not going real hard or heavy, just learning the movements while getting a good workout), AND my currrent caloric deficit, I need some rest! I know I shouldn’t over-do it, but I sure love to exercise.


    I did Level 2 Day 3 on Friday with a time of 2 minutes 51 seconds. Once again, I did three assisted pullups for every one normal I should have done. It was pretty hard, but I was still able to blast through it. Since I finished so fast I hopped on the gym’s rowing machine (not a Concept 2, but it got the job done!) for about 15 minutes.

    I started Level 3 today, and did a total of 21 rounds. I didn’t add any extra reps until the last round, seeing that I had only about 30 seconds left, I did 30 pushups and 30 squats to close it out strong. Got a great workout, and I think this is where I’m gonna be for at least a couple of weeks.


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