12/30/09

Thursday, Dec 31

the "Fun Workout"
4 rounds
400m run
10 burpees
10 situps
10 squats

post time to comments

12/29/09

Wednesday, Dec 30

WOD
3 rounds
50 Squats
40 Situps
30 Pushups
20 Lunges
10 Pullups

Post time and distance in the comments. 

Tuesday, Dec 29

WOD
Practice Handstands for 10 minutes.

For the wrestlers: After the handstand practice spend time walking through all of your wrestling skills. Do your single and double leg takedowns unopposed, practice your sprawls, cowcatchers, etc... Then have a match in your mind. Find a quiet place and see yourself performing in your first match of the season. See it going just the way you want it to. After your "match" work through various situations in your head and how you will respond to them. What will you do if your opponent does x, y or z?

12/28/09

Monday, Dec 28

Death by 10 meters
Mark off 10 meters. Start your timer and run 10m. Each minute on the minute add 10m to the run until you can't complete the run in one minute. For example, 10m the first minute, 20m the second minute, 30m the third minute and so on.
Borrowed from www.crossfitla.com
Post time and distance in the comments.

12/27/09

Sunday, Dec 27

Find something heavy to lift for today's WOD. Fill a backpack with books or rocks, use the sandbags we talked about making(in class) or use your little brother or sister(if mom allows). Dumbells will work too.


The WOD is:
Move the weight from the ground to overhead 30 times as quickly as possible. You can Clean and press the weight. Use your angry gorilla position to get the lift started.

Post time and what you used for weight in the comments

12/26/09

Saturday, Dec 26

Warm up with a light jog or some jump rope then:

15-12-9
Pullups/ Thrusters w/ Dumbbells
Do 15 Pullups then 15 Thrusters( Front Squat to Overhead Press)
Do 12 Pullups then 12 Thrusters
Do 9 Pullups then 9 Thrusters

Select appropriate weight for the thrusters..
If you are using homemade dumbbells like we talked about in class, remember a gallon of water = 8 pounds. A gallon of dry sand = 12 pounds

12/25/09

Friday, December 25

Merry Christmas y Feliz Navidad

No WOD today. Enjoy the day with your family and friends. Get out and do something fun. Play soccer, football, basketball or hide and seek with your little brothers, sisters and cousins. Make up an new game or revisit one form elementary school. Organize some races for the family, teach them some of the exercises we use or just encourage your parents and grandparents to get off the couch and go for a walk with you.

Post your best Christmas experience in the comments.

12/24/09

Thursday, Dec 24

Christmas Eve Day
A busy day so this will be a quick down and dirty WOD
100 Burpees for time

Remember chest touches the ground on the pushup part and feet leave the ground on the jump part. Be honest with yourself. Post time in comments

12/23/09

Wednesday, Dec 23

House of Cards

Grab a deck of cards:
The number on the card is the number of reps and the suit is the exercise. The exercises are:
Hearts = Pushups
Diamonds = Situps
Clubs = Squats
Spades = Burpees

Ace= one
Jacks= 11
Queen= 12
King= 15

Pull a card, do the exercise, pull another card, do the exercise. Continue until you finish the entire deck.

12/22/09

Tuesday, Dec 22

3 mile run

A lap around Fremont is approximately one mile so do three laps around the outside of the school. If you want to start from your house use www.mapmyrun.com and plan your own route.

Post your time and distance run in the comments.

12/19/09

Buff Class Final



The semester comes to a close and here is a pic of the class before the final. The final was a nasty chipper:
"Buff Class Final"
30 DB Cleans
30 Pushups
30 DB Deadlifts
30 DB Over Head Press/ Push Press
30 DB Front Squats
100m Crabwalk
100m BearCrawl
850m Run
5 Bleacher climbs
30 Burpees
Times ranged from 14-52 minutes but most were in the 18-24 minute range. I was very pleased with the effort from the class. It has been a fun, enjoyable and challenging semester with the first ever "Buff Class." I will see some new faces in the class in March and some faces will not be there due to their class schedule changing. There will always be just one 1st Buff Class and it is and will be special for me.

I will be shifting back to regular posts for the Buff Class to keep in shape over their 2 month break and also for the wrestling team who needs to stay fit during the holidays.

12/7/09

Discovering intensity

This past Friday Buff class did the Big Dogs WOD from CrossFit Kids website:
5 rds
50m sprint
10 Squats
50m Bearcrawl
10 Pushups
This workout was the first time, for many of the students, that they understood "intensity." Not really sure why this WOD was such an eye opener but it was. The students were gassed but they kept on pushing. No one quit, not even the last kid who took 17:30 to finish.

11/13/09

T Shirt Designs




The shirts came out looking great and the class ecstatic about them. It has raised the level of commitment 100% and that is impressive. It is great to see the students take pride in something that is positive. They feel special to be part of this group of 42 and they own it. The fitness levels are rising but I am seeing a change in how they interact with each other and the maturity level is growing. Don't get me wrong, the testosterone level is through the roof and they are predominantly 16-18 year old guys. They still do plenty of stupid stuff but they are growing.
Marijuana is a huge issue at our school. I know that some of the "Buff Class" guys use it but now they have a desire to stop. In the middle of a work out this week a couple of guys said they needed to quit "smoking weed" because it wasn't helping their lungs and made it hard to do the workouts. It is a start and hopefully they will make that change on their own.

11/2/09

WOD's with a class

It is a great idea to do a WOD with your students on occasion. It is a great way to show them what intensity really is and for your students to see that you are human. There is also a great incentive for them to go out and beat you. The students that do beat you will feel great about their accomplishment. Working with them helps create a bond between you and your students. That being said there are a few things that must happen for this to work well. First, the WOD should not be highly technical. All the included movements should be well known and practiced. There is no reason to sacrifice student safety just to workout with them. I would make it a low or non-weighted WOD. Bodyweight WOD's without equipment are perfect.
Second, complexity is overrated so K.I.S.S. A couplet or triplet is ideal as an AMRAP or with 3-5 rounds. As intensity increases memory decreases and rounds get skipped. I violated this second part today. The WOD was 5 Double Bleachers then 2 x 400m run/5 pullups/10 burpees. The Double Bleachers was a mental crippler. The guys up front couldn't remember how many round they had completed and that threw off everyone behind them, myself included. Now I am not the fastest runner but I know that I am faster and fitter than most of my class but as I came in from my first 400m run close to half of the class was "finished." I realised that the self motivation of a number of students is still lacking and they took advantage of the fact I was doing the WOD with them. On the whole it was a success. Everyone got to see what it looks like when someone goes all out on a workout and hopefully it will carry over into their workouts from now on.

10/25/09

Buff Class Hooverball

The "Buff Class," as it is now known around school, played a wicked game of Hooverball on Friday. Normally the game is played with a volleyball net but that wasn't available for us. Instead we used the football goalposts as our "net." We used a 6 pound medball(the kind that is hard and bouncy) and played on a "court" 30'deep and as wide as the goalposts. It worked out well and each team of 8 was able to play at least 3 games. Games were played to 3 with rally scoring. I thought playing to three would lead to quick games but some of the points were endless with teams failing to make a mistake. This isn't a bad thing but I had hoped for more matches during class.
The best comment I received was that the ball seem heavy at first but they quickly learned the "best" way to throw it and then it was effortless.

10/20/09

Data

I have begun to gather the second round of data from my classes. We are currently having midterms so we are halfway through the semester. I have only briefly looked over the results and they look promising. There are a few flaws in my data gathering. The first difficulty is student motivation. Some are not motivated and therefore they don't bother putting forth a good effort. The second issue is the revolving door of my classroom. Students check in and check out on a regular basis. Kids that started the semester only 8 weeks prior have moved or changed schools or had their schedules radically adjusted and are no longer in my class while others have checked into class over time. These students don't have a baseline test so the midterm is now their base line.
I have yet to figure out a way to get all of the kids to "buy in" to PE and I'm not sure that is possible. Some students don't want to sweat, others don't like being physical and some just don't like me.
I will try to get the preliminary data posted in the next few weeks and then determine if my programming is effective or not.

10/4/09

Ladies in the House

I mention the guys the most because there are 37 of them but I certainly don't want to leave out the 6 girls that are part of the class. Only one of the ladies is a new student for me, one is a Junior and the other four are taking a 4th year of PE with me. That is special because in California PE is only mandatory for 2 years and since this is the first year that we have offered this Elective class things don't seem to add up. All four of these young ladies had to take an extra year of PE because they failed the first time around. That is the special thing.
I haven't always had the best relationship with these girls but somehow they realized that what I was offering in my class was good for them and deep down they liked it. Most kids who fail PE would not choose to take more PE after fulfilling their graduation requirement but they have. Yes, they still do some whining and complaining but they do it with a smile and they are getting Fit.
We learned and practiced Frogstands this week and I was amazed to see my 200# girl hold a Frogstand for 5 seconds. A number of the lighter guys couldn't hold it for that long.
With 1:6 ratio of girls to guys it can be a bit overwhelming with all of the testosterone running rampant in the class. I make sure to give the girls some individual attention every day so they know they are welcome and appreciated in class.
Also this week two of my former female students saw me and told me that they wanted to be in the "Buff Class" next semester. I told them, " That would be great."

10/1/09

Buff Class

The students in my CrossFit/Weight Lifting class have come up with a slogan for the class. It started last week when the guys greeted me after lunch saying, "Hey Mr. McCue. It's your buff class." Then a bunch of the guys used a thick, black marker to write "Buff Class" on their shirts. This quickly spread and was changed to read, "It's NOT PE. It's Buff Class." Today the ring leaders came into the office all charged up with excitement. "Mr. McCue, check it out. We have a logo for the class." One of the students had drawn a pretty cool logo that best represented the class in their eyes. It looks a bit like me with arms folded, sunglasses on and wearing a visor. Cool. I will be looking into getting t-shirts made up with the logo on one side and the slogan on the other.
This is exciting for me. I now have a class where 100% of the students want to be there and are excited every day. They are challenging me as a teacher and coach to keep them motivated and progressing in their fitness and we have yet to pick up a weight. I gave them all homework on Tuesday. Do 5 pullups or assisted pullups before class starts every day. I looked out the window on Wednesday and sure enough, they were all out there practicing their pullups. I felt like a proud father and I made sure to show two of my colleagues how well the students were doing.
I will post a photo of the T-Shirts when we get them printed.

9/22/09

Week 4

This semester is kicking my butt. I am spending quite a bit of time trying to get the space cleaned up that will be the new weightroom. I've been throwing out dumpsters full of trash and sawing off bolts and ducts protruding from the floor and ceiling. I've done all of this after teaching 5 periods of PE. I am not complaining though. This is what I have wanted for a number of years and now I have the chance to fulfill my dream of "my gym."
As far as the classes go I have come to realize that CrossFit has increased my workload. That is workload not work capacity. In years past I have been able to teach the same thing to each class but this year I can't do it. My students from last year actually learned something........ and still remember it. I need to spend a lot of time on Squat mechanics with the 9th graders but the 10th graders and even the 11th graders repeating the class only need a little prompting to correct their form. This is a good thing but now I am planning 3 different lessons for the three levels of class. I can't just show up in the morning and quickly throw a class together on the fly. Not only is CrossFit making the students fitter it is making me a better and more dedicated teacher. Hence the reason for the limited blog updates.
My class tip for the post:
Animal moves
Spend a class or two having the kids move like different animals. This will be a very challenging WOD. Have them do Crab Walks forward, backward and sideways. Bear Crawls forward and back, Frog Hops, Gorilla Walks, Inchworms, Duck Walks and Bunny Hops. Do this over a relatively short distance of 10m. You will also get a good workout over the course of a day demonstrating the movements. These animal moves work quite a few of the 10 components of fitness: strength, flexibility, agility, balance, coordination, accuracy, power, speed and stamina. Not too bad for acting like an animal.

9/8/09

A new year

The 2009-2010 school year has officially started. Well it started last Monday but we didn't really do much . Today was the first day off dressing/activity and a day I have been anticipating for quite some time now. Try as I might, I was thinking of things I wanted to accomplish and new ideas to try out all summer.
I committed to tracking my data this year so today was the first day of data gathering otherwise known as pre-testing. Each student was given a 5" x 8" card to record their results. I pass them out at the beginning of class and collect them at the end of the period. This ensures that I get the data and I don't have to spend class time asking each student for their results individually.
The 5 test I am using for the general PE classes are; one set of Max Pushups, 1 minute of Situps, 1 minute of Squats, a 400m run and a mile run. Each class completed at least two trials today without any major problems. I was surprised that the 400m run was a crippler. A number of the kids were completely incapacitated after the run. I have two thoughts on this. One thought is that I have a lot of work to do get these kids into shape. My other thought is that I am excited for these guys because they want to work and they want to work hard. They will eventually raise the bar for the entire class. I plan to spend the next couple of days to complete the pre-testing and then in about 8 weeks we will retest and once again 8 weeks after that so I have three solid data points. So Mikki, if you read this, I'll be sending you some hard numbers come January.

An update on my new weight training/CrossFit class. The class has approximately 46 students and they all show up for class. I hope it stays that way. I'm a bit disappointed that there are only 6 girls in the class but I am glad they are there. I have seen over the past few years that often the girls in my classes are the best performers and the most receptive to coaching. The space we are supposed to have the class is still up in the air.I'm taking over the old wood shop which has approximately 3500 sqft of space with a vaulted roof. The problem right now is the equipment is still bolted to the floor and they each weigh a ton. We are also waiting for the locks to be rekeyed so the new equipment doesn't walk away. Hopefully this will be ready to go soon.


7/17/09

The difficult ones

Teaching can be a very rewarding experience. Whether you are teaching kids or adults, when you see your students "get it" there is a feeling of euphoria. This is what keeps us teaching. On the flip side we have students who refuse to get it. I am not talking about the people that work their butts off and come up short. I mean the ones who refuse to engage, who are unwilling to put forth any concerted effort or those whose goal is to disrupt class . I usually have a number of these kids each semester. These are the ones that make class difficult.
What is the best way to deal with them? The ones who show up everyday and refuse to do anything are probably my biggest frustration. After a few weeks of encouragement for them to dress and participate I will leave them alone. It is a sad state of affairs but I refuse to spend all my energy on a small few and take that away from the rest of the class. Over time some of these kids have come around and become involved in the class (usually not until the next semester) but many just fade away. I've found that phone calls home are only a temporary fix and don't work for very long. School discipline is also ineffective. I would love to know how others deal with these students.

7/8/09

I Failed!

This is quite a disturbing statement to make. No one likes to fail and some people don't fail well. Let me be specific about what I mean by not "failing well." There are some who will enter into a class, challenge, certification and quickly give up and quit. When the inevitable happens, they fail, the excuses come out. Phrases like, "I didn't really try" or "It was stupid anyway" or "the teacher/instructor didn't like me." I could go on and on with examples of people's rationalizations for failure. When someone utters one of these excuses they fail a second time. It is one thing to fail the initial task but there is no excuse to fail a second time and not learn from the mistakes you made.
I spent the last 2 days at CrossFit Silicon Valley for the Level 2 certification and I failed. I failed to score enough points to achieve the certification. I earned 50 points and I needed 54 to pass. I contend that despite not getting certified I was not really a failure. I was successful for a couple of reasons. I learned how to be a better instructor/teacher/coach. I also learned what aspects of my teaching are lacking and now I can focus on improving those areas.
Does that sound familiar,"work your weaknesses?" It should. In CrossFit we learn that if you improve the weak point it benefits everything else. You only really fail when you stop trying.
Now the hard part begins. I must continue to hone my craft, learn as much as my brain will allow, practice, practice, practice and then I will take the Cert again. The next time I will achieve my passing score and it will be that much sweeter knowing I had to work extra hard to succeed.
Thanks to Todd, Adrian, Lisa, Freddy and Annie for their valuable insights and instruction. I value your opinions and I will take to heart your advise.

6/26/09

Finals

The past three days have been Finals at Fremont. I created a culminating task for the students to complete. Here it is:
800m Run
50 Deadlifts(PVC) each
800m Skipping
50 Thrusters(PVC) each
800m Run Backwards
50 Burpees each
200m Crabwalk
The students did it with a partner or a group of up to 4 students. The runs were together but the exercises were completed with one person working at a time. I waffled a bit wondering if I had made it too difficult but I figured I could always adjust it on the fly if necessary. I was amazed with the results. I only had one student not finish the WOD and that is only because she had not been feeling well for the past week.

What amazed me is that all of these students have learned to not quit. They could have quit(and many wanted to) at any point in the workout but they all stuck with it. They have learned to break down a large task into manageable parts and continue on till the task is completed. I congratulated every student as they finished. Their time as irrelevant to me or their grade. They got credit if they finished because that was the goal. I can't say that some students didn't short reps because I couldn't watch everyone all the time. I am very proud of the kids.

I will update the blog weekly throughout the summer with what I am planning for next year.

6/22/09

The Cert Review

I spent 4 days in Ramona, CA at BrandX 2 weekends ago for the CrossFit Level 1 and CrossFit Kids Certifications. I can't recommend these enough. It was my second time for both and I learned new things at each. I was fortunate to have a who's who of instructors at the Level 1 cert. Guys that had been around when CrossFit was only in Santa Cruz. I witnessed some great presenters but one in particular stood out. At the Level 1 Cert, Andrew Thompson was the best. Andrew is a Major in the USMC and I imagine that every soldier under his command would gladly go into battle and give their life for him. He has the ability to connect with everyone in the room as if they are the only one there and as if you are doing him a favor by listening to him. Well spoken, low key, polite, passionate and extremely powerful when delivering instruction. The question often comes up in the CrossFit community, "Who is you CF hero?" Well I have one now. I hope that as I continue to develop as a teacher and a CrossFit coach I can be more like Drew.

The great thing about the CF certs is that there is always something you can learn, a technique to pick up or a cue to steal. It is great to see how others teach the 9 movements and how can I incorporate their ideas into my own programming. I highly recommend both Certs but if you want to be a better at teaching everyone CFKids is a must. The way Jeff breaks down the movements into cues that a 3 year old can understand cuts through all the mumbo jumbo and jargon we use as "educated" adults. The KISS principle is definitley in effect and makes you wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"

A big thanks to everyone at both certs. It was a blast.

Fun Stuff

As the year is winding down I am trying to review all of the skills we have learned especially the lifting movements. One of those things that we only get to do once in a while is play with Medicine Balls. These are so much fun and provide a number of cool activities. One of which is Med Ball relays. I like groups of 4 kids spread out aver 40 feet. They have to pass the ball using different techniques down the line and back to the start. We use four throws; Overhead, soccer throw in style, chest pass, Gorilla Swings and side rotations. After a few warmup rounds the contest begins. The balls must go down and back 3 times. Speed and Accuracy are the keys here so if a ball hit the ground the group has to do 5 burpees each and then continue. At the finish, their finishing order multiplied by 5 determines the number of repetitions of a certain exercise they must complete. This adds to the excitement of the activity and makes for some close finishes. This a great way to maximize minimal equipment.

6/10/09

Dog days of June

As a teacher, June is always the toughest month for me. My stress level begins rising right after Memorial day and doesn't subside until finals are over. School is winding down and my classes are continually kicked out of our area(the Gymnasium) for more important school activities. The kids are getting antsy and some are getting desperate. They want to know how they can makeup their grades and I spend my lunches ofering makeup WOD's. All this means my diet goes in the tank and my workouts suffer, greatly. Adding fuel to the fire this year, my laptop was stolen out of our PE office during 3rd period one day last week and I have spent every day for the past 4 weeks trying to get checks cut so a colleague and I can attend the Level 1 cert along with the CrossFit Kids cert this weekend in Ramona, CA. That finally happened yesterday so I don't have to worry about that any more.

I introduced dumbells to the classes last week and I was pleasantly suprised. The Squat went very well as did the Deadlift.
For the Squat we did a Squat Train with 6 sets of DB's in increasing weights. They used 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10 pound DB's starting. Students started with 1's did 5 reps and then moved on to the next set of DB's until they finished with the 10's. Then they looped around back to the 1's. The classes did 2 or 3 rounds depending on time constraints. The students also got to work their Deadlifts when the y picked up and put down the weights. If I saw them pick up or put down with bad form they did it again until they did it right. I was blown away at how good their Squat and Deadlift form was with weight. Many of them had better form with weight than without.

Here is a class from last week:
Warmup:
3 x 40ft Walking Lunges
20 Lateral Hops
40ft Bear Crawl

Movement:
The Plank and Plank Wars
-In Plank Wars two students face each other in the Plank position and try to make the other student touch the ground with something other than their hands or feet. They are only allowed to touch the other student on the forearm and hand. 30 second of battle and thn switch partners. They loved it and I enjoyed watching it. Tame MMA for the high school set.

WOD:
'4 Corners'
3 Rounds 30 seconds work/30 seconds transition
- Burpees
- Situps
-Squats
- Jumping Jacks
Score by counting total reps.

5/28/09

A long week

The past week and a half have been rough. The students are burnt out, the teachers are burnt out and everyone is feeling the effects of the impending layoffs due to budget cuts. While I am not directly impacted, it is difficult to know that some very talented and dedicated colleagues might not be around next year. The morale schoolwide is suffering for the same reason. Top that off with state mandated testing this week and everyone is a bit down in the dumps.

Friday we did some relays for our WOD. Some were in teams of 4, others two groups of two. We did BearCrawl and Crabwalk relays, some sprint relays. Some of my favorites though were the wheelbarrow and the piggyback relays. Despite the physical demands of the last two most of the students really enjoy them an dtehy are fun to watch. I also had them do an under/over drill for a minute. One student hold the plank position while the other jumps over them and then crawls beneath them. The plank student can raise and lower their body to allow the other to navigate smoothly. After a minute the students switch positions andgo for another minute. This exercise is great short interval, high intensity that encorporates the 10 components of fitness: Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed,
Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. Give it a try sometime.

5/19/09

Little Nancy

The students were introduced to the OverHead Squat on Thursday so we picked it back up on Monday. I am amazed at the lack of shoulder flexibility in my students. Many of their grips are maxed out attempting to do pass thru's with PVC. This is something I need to address. I've seen some beautiful OHS and some abominable ones with everything in between the past few days. The WOD on Monday was a little Nancy:
5 rounds
200m Run
10 OHS

This was a great way to get the OHS form to stick in their memories.

5/18/09

A class from last week

Warmup:
3 x 5 Pushups
10 Situps
15 Squats

Movement:
Overhead Squat

WOD:
10 rds
5 Deadlifts
5 SDHP
5 PushPress

While 10 rounds might seem excessive for the WOD, understand that it wasn't for time. I wanted the students to emphasize the form and technique. This was practice in the form of a WOD. I am still having difficulty with students remembering the correct hand and foot positions for the movements. In this case failing to move the feet under the hips for the PushPress after completing the SDHPs. There is always something to be working on.

5/12/09

Workout Generator

Here is the Workout Generator I mentioned in the last post. I borrowed it from the CrossFit Journal article that can be accessed here http://journal.crossfit.com/2006/03/training-in-austere-locations.tpl. This is a fantastic way to quickly create a workout for a class. All you need are 8 random numbers and you get a WOD. For example 84021357 would be:
AMRAP 7 minutes
8 Tuck Jumps
8 Pushups
8 Burpees
8 Squats
The first digit corresponds to the # of Exercises
The second - fifth digits choose the exercises
The sixth digit selects the Mode
The seventh digit selects the duration
The eighth selects the number of reps
The great thing about this is it is completely adjustable to your location and equipment.

We have had some fun with the plank the past few days. The students were introduced to the side plank as well as the one arm plank and the one arm/one leg plank. These were all held for 20 second intervals with various levels of proficiency. The side plank saw a big change in ability in just one day. The students had a difficult time with it on Monday when I introduced it to them but after having 24 hours to process the movement they were much improved.
We have another Parent Conference night tomorrow so that means I am at school till 7pm but on the bright side it means Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Zone be damned. Every PC night i go get the Jeanne Jones, a huge waffle and a monster omelet with american cheese and fried chicken in it. Hits the spot every time. If you are in the Los Angeles area I highly recommend a visit.

5/11/09

The Longest Month

For me, May is the longest month of the year. We have been back on track since March and we still have two months to go. June goes by quickly with finals and graduation and everything that goes along with it. May are the dog days. The time slows to a crawl,BearCrawl that is. Memorial day seems so far off and the students are getting restless.
I finished up last week teaching the Sumo DeadLift High Pull. I didn't have too much trouble getting the kids to execute the high pull but the deadlift fell apart on many of them. As I corrected their form, the common complaint was that the correct position "hurt" meaning that their legs burned too much.

Today was a mental recovery day for me since I am feeling a little fried. I decided to dig out the fitness cards and the workout generator and use them for class. This way I didn't have to create a workout the kids did. The fitness card have a bunch of different exercises on them and the students blindly draw them to makeup the WOD. As for the Generator, I get a bunch of numbers from a student, plug them in and out comes a WOD named after that student.

Kelvin
AMRAP 10 min
7m BearCrawl
7 Tuck Jumps
7 Burpees

Sinthia
AMRAP 7 min
6m BearCrawl
6 Tuck Jumps
6 Mt. Climbers
6 Situps


5/6/09

Cinco de Mayo

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, a totally worthless commercial "holiday" here in the US. So in honor of the Mexicans defeating the French at the Battle of Puebla, we had a Cinco x Cinco de Mayo workout.
5 rounds for time
5 PushPress
5 Deadlifts
5 FrontSquats
5 Burpees
5m Crabwalk(out and back)

Originally I had written in BearCrawls as well but a student was kind enough to point out that it was the 6th exercise so I cut it. This would have been more interesting as a 25m Crabwalk.

5/3/09

Finally Friday

Warmup:
2 x 25 Lateral Hops
15 Lunges
25 Jumping jacks
15 Pushups

Movement:
PushPress

WOD:
21-15-9
PushPress
Burpees
BroadJumps
Situps

Everyone around school is a bit burnt out right now, students, teachers and administrators. I'm going to have to figure a way to fire up my classes as well as myself.

4/30/09

Exciting News

I got word on Wednesday that I was approved for a school based CrossFit Affiliate. We will be known as CrossFit Fremont HS.
Also, we finished mid terms on Monday and all classes completed the WOD I posted last week. Interesting note on that. My two classes of 10th/11th graders had a much better average finishing time than those of the three 9th grade classes. I attribute it to the extra year or two of conditioning in my class. I am interested to see if the final creates the same results.
Warmup
2 x 10 Shoulder Presses
25m Bearcrawl
25m Sprint
Movement
The Push Press


Our First WOD as CrossFit Fremont HS
Crazy 8's
AMRAP 8 min
8 Burpees
8 Front Squats
8 Deadlifts
Notes:
The Deadlift instruction we did 3 weeks ago was all but forgotten. This will be on the docket as the Movement for 2 days next week. The Push Press was relatively simple to teach.

4/25/09

Weekend Wrapup

It was really hot here at the beginning of the week but by Wednesday it cooled off which was good because Midterms started on Thursday. The Midterm was a partner challenge.
1 Mile Run
100 Pushups
200 Situps
300 Squats
1 Mile Run
The partners must run together. When the run is complete one partner does the exercise while the other one rests. When they fatigue the other partner takes over until they have completed all of the exercises. Then they run together again until they finish.
I have been very impressed so far. Three classes have taken the midterm and done extremely well. The best time so far was just over 31 minutes. In just 8 weeks the fitness level of the students is way up. Their recovery time is incredible. Two of the three classes played soccer and football after a 10-15 minute rest. This was optional for them and many chose to do so.
Two bits of exciting news. The order for Olympic Bars, Bumper Plates and Dumbells was put into the system so we whould have them for next year and I just submitted my application to become a non-profit Crossfit affiliate today.

4/17/09

A Week of Testing

I spent the week testing my students "fitness" using the Fitness Gram program so we just did Max tests. The tests are the mile run, max pushups on a 3 second interval, max curlups on a 3 second interval, height and weight, trunk lift and a flexibility test. I was pleasantly surprised at the results for most of my students. I haven't checked the numbers yet but I believe that 80 percent of the students passed 5 out of 6 tests. That is even assuming that they don't pass the BMI. There are quite a few kids who will not pass that measurement. While I don't think the FitGram is a great assessment of fitness( it sets the bar way to low) I am happy to see my students do well enough to pass it. It also shows that I still have a ways to go to really get the students fit in the short time I have with them.

Here are a few of our warmups for the week.
2 x 30 Tuck Jumps
20 Situps
10 Burpees

2 x 200m Run
30 Jumping Jacks
20 Situps
10 Squats

20 Burpees
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Mt. Climbers

As you can see I wasn't very creative with the warmups. They were more of an afterthought since I was focused on testing 200+ students each day. Next week things will be back to normal for the first half of the week and then we'll have midterms messing up the schedule. I would love to hear other teachers results on standardised fitness test that have been using Crossfit and CrossfitKids programming.

4/14/09

End of the Week

Friday, April 10
Warmup:
30-20-10
Jumping Jacks/Squats

Movement:
Review proper Pushup for FitGram

WOD:
AMRAP 10 min in teams of 3
Burpees=> BearCrawl=>Situps
BearCrawl was 15m. One teammate does Burpees a second BearCrawls 15m to the Situp station and relieves the third teammate. That person BearCrawls back and takes over the Burpee stations. The three teammate rotate through in this fashion for 10 minutes.
Thursday, April 9
Warmup:
2 x 10 Leaping Burpees
20 Mt. Climbers
Crabwalk back to start

Movement:
Intro correct form for situps on the FitGram

WOD:
Mile run

Wednesday, April 8
Warmup:
2 x 10 Pushups
15 Situps
20 Squats

Movement:
None

WOD:
Activity Day

4/7/09

Two for Tuesday

Tuesday, April 7
Warmup:
3 x 5 Burpees
10 Tuck Jumps
15 Situps

Movement:
None. Short day today doesn't allow for much.

WOD:
One Mile Run for time

Notes:
We are having a physical education Professional Development today. For once in my life I am excited about a Professional Development that will be conducted at school. I won't have to sit through a bunch of nonsense that has nothing to do with PE or could even be applied to PE. Of course the real reason I am excited is that I am the presenter. I will cover a bit on health, wellness and fitness and then we will head outside for an application seminar. I have a nice basic skill session planned as well as a three level WOD depending on their fitness level. I hope to show those who participate the importance of fitness and emphasize the 10 components of fitness as found in the October 2002 Crossfit Journal and on the Dynamax website. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 6
Warmup:
2 x 200m run
10 Pushups
15 Situps
20 Squats

Movement
Deadlift
- Focused on the Angry Gorilla position/ down position

WOD:
AMRAP 10 minutes
10 Burpees
10m Angry Gorilla walk
10 Presses (PVC)
10m Walking Lunges

Notes: I was very surprised with how challenging this workout was for most of the students. I know being that it was Monday had an effect effort wise. The Angry Gorrilla walks destroyed most of the students. I discovered a hidden lack of flexibility that will need to be addressed soon.

4/2/09

Thruster Thursday

Warmup:
2 x 25 Lateral hops
20 Sit ups
15 Squats
10 Push ups

Movement
Deadlift

WOD:
5 Rounds
15 Thrusters
50m Sprint

It was fun introducing the Deadlift to the students today. It is amazing how most periods were able to pick it up very quickly and yet one period struggled. The strangest thing is that one period has the most experience with the basic movements as they have had my class for almost 2 years now( or in some cases 3 years).

I am hopeful that the weightlifting bias/Crossfit style class I am proposing will be allowed for next year. I have about 25 students who are interested in taking it. The great thing is the class will be an elective so all the students want to be there. The other nice point is all the students know that I am the teacher so for them to voluntarily put up with me for another year shows me I am doing somehing right.

4/1/09

Active Rest

Warmup:
2 x 10 Pushups
15 Situps
20 Squats

Movement:
None

WOD:
Activity Day

All Out

Tuesday, March 31
Warmup:
3 x 15 Tuck Jumps
15 Situps

Movement:
Thrusters

WOD:
10 x 100m Sprints on 2 minute intervals

This is a fantastic WOD and most of the kids were feeling it the next day. I should know since I pretty much did the workout 5 times, every period. I was running backwards and forwards and felt a little like a dog herding cattle trying to get the most out of my students. I think the kids are more sore than I am though. When I asked the classes after the WOD what the difficulty level was few scored it less than a 9 out of 10.

3/30/09

Catching up

Monday, March 30
Warmup:
4 x 5 Burpees
10 Situps
15 Squats

Movement:
Thrusters

WOD:
4 Rounds
25m Crabwalk
10 Pushups
25m Broadjumps

This was a killer WOD. Most of the students gave it an 8 out of 10 on the difficulty scale.
Friday, March 28
Warmup:
3 x 20 Lateral Hops
10 Broadjumps
Crabwalk back to the start

Movement:
The Press(review)

WOD:
25 Front Squats
25 Burpees
25 Situps
25 Presses

We had some extra time at the end of a couple of classes so we had a Plank hold contest for max time. All the students had to hold it for a minimum of 60 seconds . The best time was 7 minutes. The Plank was held at the top of the Pushup Position.
Thursday, March 27
Warmup:
40 Jumping Jacks
40 Mt. Climbers
Stretch

Movement:
Front Squat

WOD:
5 Rounds
10 Front Squats
20 Situps
10 Pushups
20 Lunges

Wednesday, March 26
I did not teach class today. Instead, the entire PE department was sent to a seminar that was to help us better teach to the California State PE Standards. Let's just say it wasn't worth the time or effort to be there. I think my students were cheated out of a quality PE class. They felt so too when I returned on Thursday.

3/24/09

Interval Tuesday

Warmup
40 Jumping Jacks
10 Squats

Movement
None

WOD
4 x 400m run
- 3 minute intervals

This was a difficult WOD for the students. Too many quit on themselves when it began to get tough. That was disappointing.

3/23/09

Front Squat Monday

Warmup
200m Run
10 Burpees
Group Stretch

Movement
Front Squat

WOD
5 Rounds
- 20 count Plank hold
- 30m Sprint
- 10 Presses
- 10 Squats

The class reset after each round and started together as a group. If anyone's knees touched the ground during the plank the count was restarted. This was a great way to ensure that the plank holds were done and done correctly and then I was able to coach the Presses and the Squats effectively.

3/20/09

The Press Continues

Warmup:
3 x 10 Pushups
15 Situps
20 Lateral Hops

Movement:
The Press

WOD:
AMRAP 10 minutes
10 Presses
10m BearCrawl
10 Squats
10m Crabwalk

Were I to redo this day I would change a couple of thing. First, would spend a little longer on the movement. Second, I would change the WOD from AMRAP 10 minutes to 5 rounds. The students were unable to focus on the Press form for ten minutes. Even the best were looking looking around to see what else was going on. I remembered the KISS (simple, stupid) rule but for got to keep it short. Overall it was still a good workout.

Teaching the Press

Thursday, March 19
Warmup:
3 x 100m Run
10 Pushups
10 Tuck Jumps

Movement:
The Press/Shoulder Press
-Introduced the Stance, Body Position, Rack Position and Overhead.

WOD:
AMRAP 10 minutes
5 Burpees
5 Presses

I finally broke down and spent my own money to buy a class set of PVC. I am glad I did because I believe it was probably the best 40 dollars I've spent. I was able to get 60- 5' pieces of PVC and a cutter for that price. I will be able to use these for a long, long time. In a couple of the larger classes we didn't get to the WOD. I spent all of the time getting everyone's Rack and Overhead positions correct and solid. For the classes that did the WOD, I was adamant with my instructions, "Quality movement, not speed, is the key to the Press. You can go as fast as you can when doing Burpees but the Press must be deliberate."

Activity Day

Wednesday, March 18
Warm up:
400m run
20 Squats
20 Situps

WOD
Activity day

I check the students notebooks today. There were some excellent ones, some good ones and some terrible ones. Since the notebooks are a new thing for me, I have a learning process as well. I am trying to figure out the best way to get the students to really use their notebooks

Lunging Around

Tuesday, March 17
Warmup:
3 x 2 Mt. Climbers
3 Jumping Jacks
4 Pushups
5 Situps

Movement:
The Lunge
- practiced form with stationary lunges

WOD:
Tabatas 6 rounds 20 seconds of work/10seconds of rest
- Burpees
- Squats
- Situps
- Pushups

With pushups at the end of the grouping, they are a killer. The make for the longest 20 secs of the students lives.

3/16/09

Testing Again?

Warm up
2 x Roving plank ( 5 steps in each direction)
10 Mt. Climbers
10 Tuck Jumps

Movement
Squats

WOD
AMRAP 10 min with a partner:
One person runs 100m while the other does Burpees. When the runner gets back they switch activities.


Notes:
In all my excitement for the new semester, I had forgotten about all the scheduling snafus that occur in the Spring due to testing. I will have a number of students out tomorrow while they take the California High School Exit Exam. Then soon we will have California State Testing which will take up a whole week of class time. It is too bad that we spend so much time testing kids when they really need more time learning. I heard the number of days lost to testing, in California, is 12-15 days a year.
Of course in mid April, my students will spend a week doing the FitnessGram test. It isn't a great test of ones fitness and many students have difficulty passing 5 of the 6 components. If I haven't mentioned them before they are the mile run, Height and Weight(BMI), Pushups, Situps, Trunk Flexion and the Sit and Reach. My goal every year is for 90% of my students to pass 5 of 6. That number is always ends up being much lower than that because my class only works for the kids that show up on a regular basis. I have a number of students that do not attend regularly. I can't say I wish they all showed up though. If they did the rest of the students would miss out while I had to deal with the few malcontents.

3/15/09

Friday Meltdown

Warmup
100m run
20 Jumping Jacks
Sampson Stretch(15 count each leg)

Movement
none

WOD
"The Fun Workout"
4 x 400m run
10 Burpees
10 Situps
10 Squats

This is the Benchmark workout for my class.
The students staged a walkout to support the teachers being pink slipped so only half of my class showed up for second and fifth periods. Third and Fourth periods were canceled outright. It is great that some students felt the need to support their teachers but most just took advantage of not going to class. Everyone who was missed class on Friday get to make up the workout on Wednesday, their activity day.

3/12/09

Confusion

Warmup
3 x 5 Burpees
15 Situps

Movement
The Pushup
Practiced the top(plank) and bottom positions then did dome walking planks.

WOD
5 Rounds
10 Squats
5 Broad Jumps
10 Squats
5 Broad Jumps

The WOD as it is written was to confusing for my classes. I kept expecting the next class to understand it as I would alter my directions to fix what I thought was the underlying issue. They couldn;t grasp the concept of the same exercises repeating in the same round. I finally changed it to read 10 rounds of 10 squats and 5 broad jumps.

3/11/09

Wednesday- Activity/Rest Day

Warmup:
400m run
20 Squats
20 Situps

We went right into activity time after the warmup. The students have a choice of playing a game of their own creation, soccer or walking. A number of students commented that they were sore so I am glad I planned to day as a rest day.

3/10/09

Short Tuesday

Warmup:
3 x 5 Pushups
10 Mt.Climbers
15 Jumping Jacks

Movement:
None

WOD:
10-8-6-4-2
Burpees/Situps

Short periods today so instructional time was a whopping 24 min. Even with that short amount of time, have to include roll call and notebook time in there as well, each period ended up with 4 -6 minutes of extra time. On the whole the WOD took between 3-6 minutes. I am sure some of the students didn't do the complete workout but I can only do so much. I keep mentioning honesty in all class dealings but it doesn't hit home with all.

3/9/09

Squats

I spent the weekend at the Crossfit Running and Endurance Seminar. My running got better by 66% and I learned a number of drills I can use with the students to improve their running form. Great seminar. I certainly got a lot out of it. I spoke with Nick, from Crossfit Invictus, who runs the middle school PE program for a charter school in San Diego and picked up a few pointers on implementing Crossfit in school.
Warmup
3x 2 Mt.Climbers
3 Broad Jumps
4 Pushups
5 Situps

Movement:
Squats
We really drilled the form today each kid got a bit of individualized attention. Yes that can be very difficult with 50 students but it has to be done. After ther technique reintro and holding the bottom of too many squats(that's what the kids thought) we did a few Super Slow Squats. That's 4 counts down, hold for one and 4 counts up.

WOD
AMRAP 10 min
10 Squats
50m Run
10 Burpees
50m Run

Again the focus was on the movements not speed. I know that will come later but the benefits of the correct technique will last forever. A couple of periods didn't have time or the WOD due to Perfect Burpees. Thank you Coach Burgener. If I didn't get anything else out of his seminar in January, the drill "One Perfect Burpee" is one I will be forever thankfull.

3/6/09

Friday, March 6

Warmup
3 x 15 Tuck Jumps
10 Squats

We worked on Burpees and did 1 perfect Burpee

WOD
3 x 50ft of leaping Burpees
50 ft of Crabwalk

This was originally written as a 5 round workout but I quickly realized that it was way too much. Three rounds was the appropriate amount of time and volume. I know the students will enjoy the rest this weekend.

3/5/09

First WOD of 2009

Change has come to my class again. I am constantly trying to improve the experience for both me and my students. That usually means higher expectations for the students and they don't always care for that.

Warmup
2x 20 Jumping Jacks
10 Mt. Climbers
100m run
This is a more dynamic warmup than before and it allows a little more freedom to set their own pace of the warmup. I've moved stretching to the end of the class and this should provide a good cooldown.
WOD:
1 min Max Pushups
1 min Max Situps
1 min Max Squats
400m run
The focus was on the quality of the movement and not the quantity. After a 10 week layoff I knew form would have degraded but I needed them to get a baseline fitness reading for the students.

3/4/09

Spring 2009

The new semester is now upon us and tomorrow starts the first day of dressing for class after a two month layoff. I have a feeling it will be ugly tomorrow and I don;t mean the weather. Most of the students have admitted to not doing much other than hang out around the couch. The biggest problem with this is we have only 6 weeks to get the students fit enough to take and pass the FitGram. That could be a tough sell for some of the students.

If you are unfamiliar with the FitGram, it consists of 6 different test of a student's "fitness". The tests are height and weight which are used to find their BMI, trunk flexibility, mile run, max pushups at a set cadence, max curlups at a set cadence, and leg or shoulder flexibility. The bar isn't set very high for kids who are tested using the Fitgram but unfortunately many kids can't get over that bar.

I have instituted a new program this semester so the students can track their progress and improvement. Each student will have a notebook with them every day. They are required to log their PE workout and also their food intake. Logging their workouts will allow them to see their improvement over time and they will have a better grasp of their grade in class. The food part of the log is not to judge what they are eating, although I know that two big components will be Hot Cheetos and juice. The real goal is for them to see patterns in their eating habits and hopefully realize how food intake affects performance.

I expect to see some great things in the next 16 weeks from my students.

1/28/09

Update

I haven't posted in a while simply because life got busy. I knew having a child of my own would be a lot of work and I was right. I don;t understand how my students that have kids do it. I have a profound respect for the girls who still manage to stay in school and take care of their kid too. The fall semester had quite a number of high points and unfortunately a number of low spots. Fortunately the pluses outweighed the minuses.
After the past two weekends I am really looking forward to the Spring semester starting in March. I went to an Olympic lifting seminar two weeks ago and this past weekend I attended a Crossfit Kids seminar at Brand X in Ramona, Ca. This was a fantastic event and I learned a tremendous amount.
I am always seeking more info and ideas to apply to my students and myself. The quest is never ending as one can never truly finish until they die and I am putting that off for as long as I can.