For the past year, I’ve been focused on losing weight and building strength. With the help of my compatriots at Crossfit Excellence, I’ve managed to lose forty pounds and do something I’d never thought possible — come to love lifting weights.

I’m still not very strong, especially compared with the bigger guys in the gym. But I’m getting better every day, setting personal records (also known as “PRs”) and developing new skills.

For the past few months, our trainer (Cody) has been leading us through a program designed to improve our abilities at a handful of specific lifts: squats, presses, and deadlifts. As a culmination of these efforts, our gym recently held a special Saturday weightlifting event. It was a blast!

Our goal for this event was to score as high as possible at the “Crossfit Total”. We were given three (and only three) chances to lift as much as possible at each of three lifts:

  • Back squat — A standard squat with the bar racked on your back. Thighs must come to parallel (or lower) in order for a lift to count.
  • Shoulder press — Rack the bar on your front shoulders. Press it overhead until your arms are locked. No bouncing or bending of the knees is allowed.
  • Deadlift — Lift the bar from the ground until you’re standing tall, with arms and legs locked out.

It was awesome to watch my friends set new PRs:

Miguel gets fierce!

Paul stays focused!

Carla is strong!

Erica kicks ass!

I set PRs of my own. Going into the day, my one-rep max was 175# for back squat, 100# for shoulder press, and 275# for deadlift. (That’s a total of 550#, though I hadn’t achieved those all on the same day.) My results for this Crossfit Total challenge:

  • I managed 215# for the back squat. On my third attempt, I went for 235#. The weight was fine — and I know I can do it again in the future — but my squat was too deep, and I came forward on my toes as I stood, which caused me to lose my balance and dump the weight to the rack.
  • I couldn’t get above 105# for the shoulder press. This bummed me out, but I know this is my weakest lift. I’m not sure how to improve here.
  • I improved to 295# on the deadlift. My third attempt was at 305#, and I came close, but ultimately just couldn’t get the weight all the way up. (As you can see from the video below.)

My final score for the day was 615#, which boosted me from the “untrained” category to “novice”. I’m good with that. I’ll work over the next year to move up from novice to the next level.

Crossfit Total at Crossfit Excellence

I can’t believe I love lifting weights, but I do. I just love exercise!

4 Replies to “Crossfit Total”

  1. Kevin M says:

    JD – I think lifting weights is my favorite exercise as well (other than roller hockey). As much as I’ve tried to get into running or even biking I just can’t.

  2. Cely says:

    Keep that low back arched! With deadlifts, if you can get it off the floor you can lift it all the way. It’s probably just getting out too far in front of you. If you feel like you might fall over backwards just before you lift, you’re in the right place. 🙂 (Just some ideas from a fellow Crossfitter!)

  3. Cely says:

    I commented a few days ago but it didn’t show up. I did not intend the comment to be controversial but maybe you just didn’t like it — ? I basically said that (as a Crossfitter, at the first CF franchise ever, in Seattle) I noticed that you are rounding your back during our deadlift. That can lead to injury. Plus just wanted to point out that, if you can get the bar off the ground, technically that means you can lift it all the way! The only thing stopping you is that you’re probably leaning too far forward. Just wanted to throw that out since you have made such AMAZING progress, and I am also a fellow CF fan. I love CF for all the reasons you’ve listed, and more. You have made such great progress, and the best part of CF is that you’ll never be “done!” Always more to lift, more ways to be faster, better, stronger. Good luck!

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