May 2023


Body weight: 165.2

Mood: Meh

Upcoming Competitions: see below!


Yeah, so last month, I alluded to the fact that I would not be participating in any upcoming competitions. With my training schedule almost completely bereft from “traditional” CrossFit metcons and with less-than-usual Olympic lifting taking place, I can’t say I’m exactly in “CrossFit shape” at this point.

Then I found out about the “Battle4Bar” competition.


In Montenegro, where I (unfortunately) currently live, there are very few competitions that are easy to drive to. The city of Bar (yeah, that’s the actual name) is only about an hour-and-a-half away from my home…not too bad of a drive at all.

One of the biggest selling points? Well, competitions in the region always greatly over-estimate how many interested parties they’re going to have (except with the scaled version, people who would come in the top 5 as Rx’d in competitions regularly sign up for scaled here so they can “dominate” Just check out some of the “Scaled” scores on WOD 1A vs. the “Rx” scores for the same exact workout). There were spots for 18 master’s 35-39 year-old men; only 12 signed up.

You may disagree with my strategy in these cases, but I don’t really mind. As long as I actually qualify for a competition, I don’t care if I come in 1st or 18th in the qualifier. This is doubly so when I know that a qualifier is going to screw up my training for the day or when it is going to be taxing on the central nervous system.

As you can see from the first qualifying workout, this was definitely going to be the case:

I’m sure that somewhere, the all-knowing event organizers can explain the significance of a 7RM squat (and the slightly fatigued 5RM bench press and 3RM standing press….yeah…2 consecutive pressing movements), but I couldn’t tell you what it is.

(Just kidding; the event organizers were obviously just pulling random movements out of their butts).

The box jump overs (which about half of the athletes actually “cheated” on; the rules, which were shamelessly pulled directly from the 22.1 Open workout rules, explicitly called for a “step off”) and handstand walk seemed to be testing skills that will likely not show up in the actual competition.

Knowing that I was assured of qualifying as long as I put some numbers up, I decided to go ahead with my rowing training for the day as I filmed the qualifying movements.

(I can assure you that I locked all 3 of those presses out!)

I haven’t received my invitation for the Battle4Bar main event yet, but that 12th-place finish would indicate that I will be able to take part if I so desire!

I still probably won’t take part in this competition, but for the 10-euro registration fee, it was worth the “competition insurance”.

On a side note, I don’t understand why organizers decide to use competition providers other than the likes of Competition Corner. For this competition, the organizers went with something that one of their friends had to have created. It’s called Circle21.

It’s pretty awful, to be honest. None of the leaderboards formulate until, like, half of all of the scores are in…which means you don’t get any leaderboard until about 5 minutes before the submission deadline.

And check out that logo next to the Century 21 (real estate) company logo:


If I decide to participate in the Battle4Bar main event, I’ll discuss it next month. I might just drive down to Bar to take some pictures (assuming I get my new phone/camera up and running…if I don’t, I won’t subject you to more SD, potato-lensed pics!)


Man, oh man….it finally happened!

I mentioned last month that I had gotten some rowing pointers from Coach Jack Nunn at Roworx. I immediately put almost all of them into practice (I have not taped my rower yet…soon) and tried a few of the workouts from his 30-day F.A.S.T.E.R. program.

To be honest, these were a bit much for me. Considering that Nunn suggests about 20 minutes of warm up for each of these (I’d be decently tired and out of breath after the “pick drill” and 70 “power stroke” warm-up), I needed to get in a little bit better “rowing shape” before embarking on this program.

I picked up Amanda Painter Diver’s book at the beginning of April and opted for the 4-week plan she includes at the end. The book itself isn’t that great in my opinion and is probably written for a much more novice rower, but the dedicated workouts were just what I needed to prep for the F.A.S.T.E.R. program.

Almost all of Painter Diver’s workouts have some type of stroke “max” included in them, as in, “don’t row more than x strokes per minute”. This has been excellent in helping me to develop my form because if I want to row faster, I have to be stronger and more efficient in my strokes (I can’t just do more or faster strokes). Additionally, none of these workouts are longer than about 20 minutes, so I’m able to complete them before or after my powerlifts, double-under, and bodyweight work.

Roughly 2 weeks into my dedicated rowing work, it was time to put my new stroke and Coach Nunn’s pointers to the test…

And a sub-7:00 2K (and a 5.5 second overall 2k PR) was accomplished.

Interestingly enough, I attempted the row at the end of my training for the day. I hadn’t done any hard endurance or cardio work, but was far from “fresh”. I also found myself in the odd position of questioning whether I should have “kicked” it even earlier.

At the 1500-meter mark, I knew I was in good shape, but I didn’t want to get greedy. As a result, with ~300 meters to go, instead of contemplating suicide (or at least quitting, as I normally would feel like), I was frantically trying to dispel all of the excess energy I had left!

And then, it was over. My years-old mission to break 7 minutes was accomplished.

In the aftermath, I came to two conclusions:

  • I immediately set my sights higher. Knowing I could have kicked more, that I wasn’t completely “fresh”, and I would continue to improve my stroke and efficiency, my next target is a 6:55 2k. I hope to achieve this by the end of my current rowing “mission”.
  • I know I will never be a “rower” and have no interest in getting that much better at rowing. I simply wanted to improve my mechanics to help me in CrossFit metcons and with a bit more work and additions to muscle memory, I think I’ll be good to go. As such, I may only do another month of “dedicated” rowing (as opposed to 3-4, as originally planned).

6 days a week of rowing isn’t exactly my idea of “fun”, but I can attest that doing so will help you to improve your rowing really quickly. This volume combined with Coach Nunn’s pointers and suggestions all but ensure this. If you want to improve your rowing mechanics and times, give it a try!

Double Unders

As mentioned last month, I’ve been working through the Train Heroic “Get Better at Double-unders” program with my new, Bear Komplex rope. I’ll write a full review of the program in the future, but for now, let’s just say I’m…less than impressed.

To be fair, I may have misinterpreted the target audience for this program. To me “get better” implies that you can already do something…you just want to improve your (existing) abilities. As I draw close to the end of the program, non-consecutive double-under work is being introduced for the first time. “Get better” in this context seems to mean something like “get your first”.

I should have seen this coming a bit earlier as there has been a lot of single-under work. To add to that, these segments have really long time caps. I did this piece today:

4 minutes to do 100 single-unders, even in the context of the “Tactile box drill”…yeah…not really what I personally need.

I will say that a lot of the “strength work”, largely centered around building up the calves has been helpful and I think my double-under capacity will improve by doing this work. Overall, though, I don’t think I’ve gotten any better at double-unders over the last few weeks. I know this because I have worked in a few sets (generally something like 4 sets of 20-25) on off days…and I’m about as “good” as I was when I started.

I’ll give the Train Heroic program a fair shake and finish it next week, but I’ll likely immediately be on the hunt for a replacement program…hopefully with better results.

Bodyweight Exercises

The Convict Conditioning and Next Level Strength calisthenics programs have been consistent staples in my training over the last month. I have progressed to Step 2 in all of the Convict Conditioning movements without taxing myself too much and will likely make the jump to Step 3 soon…

…except with Crow Stands…

Man, how these are a Step 2 exercise is beyond me. I am almost certainly missing some key movement cue on these that would make them much easier to perform, but I honestly find handstand holds and walks easier at this point.

I’ll probably continue to work on Crow Stands along with the “Healthy, Powerful Shoulders” Step 3 movement (Wall Handstands) as to not get caught up with one movement for an extended period of time.

None of the Next Level Conditioning movements I’m doing right now (Table Bridge to Grounded L-sit, N-sit, Ring Rows, Flex Hang/Negative Pull-up) are overly difficult on the surface. However, it has taken a few weeks to build the endurance and capacity to hold the sits and negative reps for the ~20 seconds that each set requires. I have never had this static endurance base for gymnastics movements before and I am sure that by developing more, all of these areas will improve…especially when I’m fatigued.

The bodyweight work is easy to tack on to the end of a workout and I will likely continue to progress through both of these programs. I probably won’t progress as quickly as others do, but I’m more concerned with consistent form and capacity improvement at this point. I’m okay with not hitting the single-arm, freestanding handstand push-up this year!


I’m still following HWPO for my strength pieces (I have added the Olympic lift portions back in, as well), but still haven’t come to a decision with my Olympic lifting training moving forward. I should have a better idea of what I’m going to do by the end of the month.

Best of luck to all of the Semi-finals athletes competing this week and later on in the month!

P.S. I have the new phone, but I don’t have the new phone plan…a little bit longer until the picture quality improves on these posts!

Photo of author


Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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