Establish a new 1RM Push Press.
5 x 3
Warm up and perform 5 sets of 3 at a medium-heavy weight.
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50 Thrusters, 45lbs
This CrossFit benchmark workout is a leaderboard item. Be sure to keep your reps on point if you're aiming for a top spot! Go your hardest in any case. Baller status for unbroken reps on the Thusters and Pull-Ups. No bailing empty bars!
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The Iron Maidens of CFSBK: Meredith Riley
The Iron Maidens Raw Open is now less than a week away! Leading up to the event, we've been posting brief interviews with CFSBK lifters to help you get to know our team and give you a sense of what these women are doing to prepare physically and mentally. This year, through competitors’ fundraising efforts, Iron Maidens will once again fund the Iron Maidens Stay Strong Scholarship. Last year, Iron Maidens participants raised $30,000, far surpassing the $20,000 goal. This year, our goal is to raise $30,000 to pay for 70% of college tuition for students in the College Prep program at the Bronx-based Grace Outreach. Right now we're at $21,421, and we need your help to reach that goal! You can donate to a lifter's campaign by going here.
Name (and any nicknames): Meredith, Mer, Merry, Mer Bear, Megadeath
Megadeath! This is your first time participating in Iron Maidens. Is there anything you're particularly looking forward to or nervous about?
First time! I am terrified of being in front of the crowd for my lifts, but am looking forward to being part of the crowd for everyone else's. I tend to DOMINATE the back-corner squat rack, so lifting in front of spectators will be a new and nerve-wracking experience. But we have such a mind-blowingly supportive community at CFSBK and especially at Iron Maidens. There is so much support from management and coaches, and friends and family members. It will be incredibly inspiring, if also sort of super uncomfortable.
What are your goals for Iron Maidens?
My goals are really just to participate, get a sense of what it feels like to be in a powerlifting meet, have fun, and raise some money. If you had asked me this three months ago, my goals would have included huge PRs and unimaginably impressive feats of strength. But you know, life intervened, I got a new job, etc etc, the usual, and those were outsize aims to begin with. So now my goals include small PRs and walking away having spent some time figuring out and acquiring a better knowledge of lifting. I know a lot more about what my strengths and weaknesses are, and what I need to work on. Just spending dedicated time on it has allowed me to move past some long-term barriers and identify what’s behind some other ones. This is an outrageously ideal environment to start out in, and I’m looking forward to building on those lessons and going forward in my strengthening journey.
How has lifting impacted you athletically? Personally?
For me, both the meet and lifting are really about challenging myself and dedicating myself to doing something that is outside my comfort zone. I came to weightlifting through CrossFit, and to CrossFit through running (right), so this is all very far from my natural athletic inclination. And weightlifting is about one thing: strength. It is far too rare that women, individually or as a group, have an environment in which they can focus on just plain getting stronger. It's like, just not done, sort of, right? But there is no good reason for that. We get so many social messages about how women should be and look, and, frankly, what we should do with our bodies, that all gear us toward being the opposite of strong. CrossFit, strength work, and an all-female weightlifting competition all have inherent good in counteracting that. It’s a daily practice of getting better at being who you are when so many people are subtly (and not so subtly) saying you should be otherwise.
I’ve also been continuously struck by how lifting is so simple but so weirdly profound. Everything you do (rest, recovery, nutrition, programming, form, and mental focus) feeds into your numbers and how much weight you can get under on the bar. There are no shortcuts. You can’t ignore a problem in your form, for example, because it’s going to stop you sooner or later, and it could easily result in a devastating injury that will undo everything you’ve worked toward and then some.
And there is no getting around the simple truth of just lifting heavy. You can’t sacrifice form or programming, but if you want to get stronger you just have to suck it up and lift more weight. It is hard and uncomfortable and can be frightening, but you have to find that zone of “heavy” and get used to spending lots of time in that zone. Lifting is also a solitary thing, but in order to be your best you need other people. I am notorious for not wanting to ask other people for a spot (#awkwardopengymmoments), but you need to lift very heavy and in order to lift very heavy you need spotters. And you need people to check your form, ask for advice, and help troubleshoot roadblocks. It’s your lift, but you can’t get there on your own.
Finally, every lift is ultimately an act of mental and physical focus. There is no element of a lift that just happens. You have to focus on it and willfully make it happen. Letting your mind wander in the middle of a heavy lift will quickly send you into a world of hurt and trouble. Lifting forces you to do something difficult while simultaneously forcing you to focus everything on executing every component part of it.
What a great answer! What's your motivation for competing in Iron Maidens?
Getting the chance to participate in an all-female lifting competition, surrounded by such a supportive community, next to all of these super-strong women, and for such an important cause, was sort of a no-brainer. The whole meet is about women getting stronger, and benefits women getting stronger not just physically, but in the rest of their lives. Education has been enormously important to me—everything in my life has been possible because of it. And everyone deserves that chance. It is unfair and arbitrary that the women Grace Outreach serves would be denied the opportunity to earn an education just because of the circumstances they happen to be in. So it’s about lifting, but it’s also about lifting each other up.
(Great line, right? DONATE MONEY.)
The Terrible Myth: William Kunstler POV on PBS (Kunstler is CFSBKer Jess G.'s grandfather!)
Inside the High-Flying World of Estonian Extreme Swinging Atlas Obscura