Sunday, August 6, 2006

Sandbagging It

Inspired by last week's relays, the Again Faster crew rocked out a sandbag-centric race by the Pond.

We paired up, forming three teams of two. Each team was responsible for achieving the lowest combined time for:


Sandbag Power Cleans
Sandbag Thrusters
Sandbag One-Shoulder Squats

After some one-on-one work on the clean, Polly and I initiated the first heat. We focused on achieving triple extension on every clean, launching the 50-pounder using violent knee and hip extension. The weight was light enough to preclude full squat cleans, although they would've added a nasty element to the mix.

After the pull of the clean, we went to the push of the thruster. Hamstrings screaming, we slammed through the thrusters in short order. We concentrated on getting full extension at the top of the movement, making sure that the head went through the arms. The unstable load requires full extension at the top for proper stabilization.

The transition to the pullups required a 10 meter run on uncooperative legs--the move from squats to sprints is akin to running in ankle-deep mud. As the movement pattern changes from vertical to horizontal, the nervous system is forced to switch gears, resulting in a ever-so-slight sputter. Once I hit the bar, kipping out 15 pullups felt like a break.

The pushups were another holiday, chest-to-deck in the still-wet morning grass. My heart hammering, I made sure to get full range on every rep. I was hearing echoes of "Doesn't count..." as I repeatedly brushed my chin on the ground.

I stood, cleaning the bag to my left shoulder. One-shoulder squats add a stability component to the traditional squat movement. In addition to pushing the load vertically, the athlete has to tighten the obliques on the non-loaded side to keep the torso inline with the hips. I extended my non-working arm for balance, and started pounding them out.

We went through the sequence two more times, once at 12 reps per exercise, and then at 9. Regaining our breath, Polly and I watched as Dave, Dawn, Tara, and Josh tore through for time.

Dave and Dawn won the day, with a combined time of 17:56. Josh and Tara followed with 19:39, and Polly and I took last place with 30:29. As always, we had a great experience.

Josh and I had the opportunity to discuss the state of Again Faster after the workout. Despite our focus on performance, we found that winning takes a backseat to developing athleticism at our gatherings. We strive for competition in a non-ego-driven atmosphere. To his credit, Dave Picardy spend a good part of his day coaching a non-teammate, heedless of the standings at the end of the day.

We cheer just as loud for the competition as we do for ourselves, because progress as a group is just as important as individual achievement.

There are a lot of opportunities to be involved. Whether through Again Faster weekly workouts, group classes at our Crossfit affiliates, or individual instruction, I hope you'll find the motivation to join us.

Go faster!


Blogger Dawn Adam-Brown said...

9 minutes of grueling work + a sandbag = one hell of a good time. Continually impressed with your creativity and high powered energy...wish I could bottle that stuff.

After reading your post I am sitting here hoping I manage to concentrate on form, like I think I do. It does get hard in the heat of the moment, so next time you see me slacking off just give me a shot to the head, and yell real loud...I tend to be in a world of my own during a workout.

Thank you even more then last Sunday...and wish me luck in Atlanta...scared as hell.

8/06/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Gilson said...

You were awesome today! I was thrilled to see full extension on the pullups!

If you ever relapse, you can be sure I'll remind you. Gently. With the back of my hand.

You'll be a machine in Atlanta. Rely on your training and have confidence in your ability. I do.

See you when you get back!

8/07/2006 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Tara Picardy said...


Another extremely deceiving workout. It appears that it would not be too difficult until you reach the middle of the set of 12s thinking "where am I going to find more oxygen after I suck up all of it with every labored breath I take". It was another great opportunity to work with a talented bunch of athletes who will push through to the end no matter how long it takes or how much pain they're in. More importantly, having those athletes support you the whole way.


You know you are going to crush this certification! Your energy, stamina, physical abilities and inner strength will carry you through. You are woman.. I hear you roar!!!

8/07/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed this one, it looks like a great workout.

Dawn- Good luck in Atlanta, you'll be fabulous! Your hard work is inspirational and it will definitely pay off at the cert!


8/07/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dawn Adam-Brown said...

Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement. It means a lot and they have helped decrease my anxiety about going solo. Hope to do CrossFit Topsfield and AgainFaster proud.

See you when I return

8/07/2006 10:23:00 PM  

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