Ring Dips (or Close DB Bench Press)
Tempo Ring Dips (32X1):
4 x 6-12 Strict, 1 x Max Reps
Perform 4 sets across to 2 reps shy of failure, then 1 max effort set to failure. Perform a full range of motion on all reps. Rest as needed between sets. Goal is to add total reps each week by increasing the sets across and/or the max set.
Tempo Close Dumbbell Bench Press (32X1):
4 x 6-12, 1 x Max Reps
Perform 4 sets across to 2 reps shy of failure, then 1 max effort set to failure. Rest as needed between sets. Start with a load that feels almost easy for 12 reps. Keep elbows in close to mimic the bottom of a dip.
The tempo note (32X1) means control the eccentric (down) portion for a 3 count, pause at the bottom for a 2 count, contract concentrically (up) as fast as possible, then hold the top for a 1 count before beginning the next rep.
Post loads/work to comments.
Exposure 3 of 8
50 Calorie Row
50 Box Jumps 24″/20″
50 Russian Kettlebell Swings 72/53lbs
Row hard but don’t blow up on the first part of this chipper. Box jumps are Rx’d as a two foot take off. Step ups are a scaling option but we’d rather see you jump to a lower box than step to a higher one. The KBS should be on the heavy side. 550m = 1 lap around the block
Post time and Rx to comments.
April Athlete of the Month: Paul Astuto
By Chris Fox
This month brings yet another athlete whose name has been tossed into the AOM mix for a few months now. The coaching staff all agree that he’s coachable, eager to learn, and super committed to improving himself. I had fun sitting down and getting into the head of someone (as I realized early on) was as nerdy about fitness as I am.
Fox: Hey Paul, congrats and thanks for meeting with me! Sorry you had to miss AG for this! Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. When and how did you first start doing CrossFit?
Paul: Thanks so much for the chance to be sitting here, Fox. I’ve been not-so-jokingly saying that being named AOM is probably the greatest honor of my adult life. I started Foundations with you in September of 2013, so coming up on three years now. Steve L. from my group still comes to the gym as well. A buddy of mine had been going to CrossFit Virtuosity and kept telling me about his workouts there. They sounded like fun and hit on notes of competitiveness that intrigued me. The main thing, though, was that it was in a group setting. I don’t do “alone” very well. Like, even on my walk to and from the train I’ll have to have a phone conversation with someone. So I searched Yelp and the reviews led me here to CFSBK. I now realize I was insanely lucky to find such a great place.
Fox: What were your first impressions of CrossFit like? Did they meet the expectations that your friend’s stories laid out?
PA: Well, funnily enough, it was actually a struggle to get myself into Foundations in the first place! The cycles kept selling out before I would sign up. One day I got a last minute call—I guess someone had dropped out—and I jumped into a cycle. I learned a lot, and I still remind myself of many of the things you said in those six classes (vertical bar path, listen to your body, stay tight, etc.). The workouts were not awful but they were hard enough and they were fun. Since I don’t do “alone” very well, I remember initially starting out feeling slightly detached from the group as I was not only bad at everything (even Single-Unders were an issue), but also felt like there was an “in” crowd of folks who had a tight knit bond with each other that I wasn’t yet a part of. It wasn’t that anyone was cliquey or mean, but I recognized the bond that exists in this gym and wanted to be part of it.
Fox: Yeah, it can be tough entering a new environment and being apart from the crowd. I’m glad you didn’t read that bond between people as exclusive or anything. Seems like you’ve made plenty of friends over the past three years here. What was your fitness life like pre-CrossFit?
PA: To go way back, I was a very overweight, very non-active kid. By the time I got to high school, I’d started to go to the gym and dabble a little bit but nothing that made any real sense. I went to BC and in college I joined a group that was training to run the Boston Marathon, which suited me pretty well (emphasis on the group part). So I ran the marathon and lifted like an idiot with no concept of a program or results. I was fairly devoted, even ascetic about it at times, but I eventually became bored.
Fox: BC, huh? The New York Giants love to sign those guys. Are you from the Boston area?
PA: Nope. I’m a NYC kid from Staten Island. My family is still there, my parents and brother and sister. Let’s just say that they better represent what people think of when they think Staten Island than I do, and that I can turn on the accent on command / fist-bump with the best of them.
Fox: As a Queens kid myself, I would never have guessed you were from SI! I know you’re getting hitched soon. Tell us a bit about the lucky lady?
PA: Of course! My fiance, Eve, is from Petersburgh, NY, and we actually met online a while back while she was living in NY. She’s great! We’ve been doing the long distance thing for some time now as she’s in grad school in Michigan, but the day we’ll tie the knot and be together full-time is getting closer (as in a week until the end of long distance and a month until we get married).
Fox: I’m guessing that Eve is often the person you’re calling on the walk from the train to the gym? Any work stuff or hobbies you care to share?
PA: I wish I was cooler than I actually am. By day I’m a Dean of Students at AF Crown Heights MS (a sister school to the one that Allie B. and Eduardo C’.s wife work at), and my life mostly resembles this commercial of a rinse/repeat cycle of work, gym, eat, and sleep. One fun fact is that when I was designing our school’s PM HR system, I decided to implement a portion called “Question of the Day” where kids come up with and answer a question about themselves before heading home that I stole directly from CFSBK’s group classes. Moreover, while my day job is ensuring strong culture in our school, I’m also a team-building/management book fanatic and I love thinking about questions like, “What is it that makes a great team where people perform at their best?” that you may have seen me reading books about on the couch. In all seriousness, though, the more I read these academic works about what makes a great organization the more I think to myself, “Man, CFSBK truly is a living example of this,” and the more I can see the intentionality that goes into building the culture that we all feel so strongly in this gym. I’m so thankful to DO and all the other coaches for doing what sounds incredibly easy but is, in practice, incredibly hard. I’m also so thankful to them for indulging me as I tell them about the newest book I read and how the lessons can be applied to CFSBK. (You know who you are, coaches.)
Fox: Sometimes the simple life is the easiest to enjoy and excel at. Do you have any current goals in the gym? What things are you looking to improve on?
PA: I have a few specific goals on a few lifts. I want to take my Squat from 270 to 290. I want to Clean and Jerk 185 and Snatch 135. Modest numbers, I know, but that’s where I want to be. I’m working on improving my Double-Unders and would love to get a Muscle-Up at some point, but that’s not a current priority. To digress a bit from that particular question, I have to say I feel really lucky to train here at CFSBK and I will admit I sometimes get gooey eyed when talking about it. I come here with joy and happily spend way too much time here. I can tangibly see how I’ve gotten better over these years and there are so many options for anyone’s fitness journey. From Anti-Gravity to Active Recovery to Starting Strength and Weightlifting Club, there are so many options to train with a mixture of guidance and autonomy. I love this place so much that, even though I’m currently looking for a new job, one major factor that I can’t get rid of is that I’m scared to take any job that may mean I have to leave this gym.
Fox: That’s really great stuff, Paul. Alright, last question. What should we look for in a future AOM?
PA: I’d have to give 2 pieces of advice that I think our gym does such a great job of striking the balance between:
1. Go First: I got this concept from a podcast with Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece but the idea behind it is that in life, as you are walking down the street, you have a choice. Do you go first and smile at the person walking towards you or wait to see if they go first? I try to live this as much as I can and wish I had done it more when I first joined the gym. So I think future AOMs should be the type of people who “go first” and bring positivity and joy to our space.
2. Get Better: One of my favorite Instagram posts ever came from Josh Martinez (who used to coach here) who said something like, “the day you start lifting is the day you are forever small.” In my opinion, truer words have never been spoken. I think another important component to being successful here is not becoming complacent and continually pushing yourself to get better, regardless of your skill level. I truly believe that there isn’t a single person in this gym who is “satisfied” with where they are, and I love that motivation and energy.