I have been doing CrossFit for almost a year and what a journey it has been! For the first 2-3 weeks I was so sore that I seriously couldn’t even walk down stairs. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. I had to find alternative ways to get places. I remember days that I couldn’t lift my arms over my head. I almost quit. I thought I was seriously damaging my body.
I’ve been watching a series of 5 Squat videos from Matt Wenning over at Elite FTS. Oh, and by the way, Matt can squat 1100 lbs. I’m glad that I ran into these today, because tomorrow is our Squat day at my CrossFit box. There are some really great tips on how to maintain proper, powerful, and safe form while doing the squat. He shows a guy adding 40-50 lbs to his max Squat in just one session, thanks to improvements in form. Pretty impressive! Then he wraps up the series talking about how to address your weaknesses through assistance exercises that will help you strengthen the muscles that you need to have work together in more powerful harmony during the Squat. I’ve put the full series of 5 videos together for you below. Enjoy!
We’ve come to the end of the week, March 19, 2011. The “Strong is Sexy” weekly event is off to a slow start, with the monkey tying for positive votes with the strong lady. But, since the monkey received more thumbs-down votes, the win has to go to the lady. Her photo is featured below. Each week we will feature the strongest and sexiest women as determined by votes from all of you. To participate, you can upload a photo of yourself. Once we approve the photo, it will be available for voting. So, be sure to tell all of your friends about it so that they can come back and vote for you here!
Today in CrossFit we did a Conditioning WOD that included the Overhead Squat. The Overhead Squat (OHS) is as much about shoulder flexibility and core strength as it is about leg strength, perhaps even more about flexibility and balance. I’ll be honest; I’ve struggled with the OHS. It isn’t about the weight or my ability to squat it. It’s about my shoulder flexibility more than anything else. As you get down into the deep squat position, you should be able to shrug your shoulders, lock your arms out straight overhead, and actually have those arms somewhat behind your head (i.e., someone should be able to see your ears from the side). When I started doing the OHS, I couldn’t even put my arms that straight overhead with NO WEIGHT! My shoulder flexibility held me back. But, I’ve been working on stretches and using a lacrosse ball to open up the muscles around my scapula and shoulders. It is helping and I can do a better OHS now, but I have a lot more room for improvement before I can add significant weight to this lift.
It was a little over 2 years ago (Jan 2009) that I committed to a lifestyle change. I began making wiser food choices and walking and running again. About 1 year ago, I started P90X and finished it. Then about 6 months ago, I started CrossFit. 7 weeks ago I began the Paleo Challenge. Basically, [...]
My CrossFit workout this morning really hit my overall body with a variety of exercises that worked the core, arms, and legs. I felt it all over! Made me also realize that my forearms were more sore than I anticipated from the 32 Kg kettleball farmers walk and hammers yesterday. I really felt it on the pull-ups and performed a bit weaker than I had hoped. Oh well. Every day can’t be the best day for a given exercise. We did this same workout back in November 2010, so I was able to compare my performance. This is so critical for your motivation!). I took 17 seconds off my time and did much better on my pull-ups this time. Now my goal for the next time I do this WOD is to do everything unbroken. No breaks!
Today’s CrossFit workout was kind of fun! In addition to the usual strength training, we did some conditioning work that included pushing a Jeep. I don’t think I’ve pushed a car or truck since high school, when we either got stuck in the mud or ran out of gas. Who would think that I would do that again someday as a workout that I pay for? Life is funny…
You know it’s going to be a good day at CrossFit when your warmup looks like a full-on conditioning WOD. One of the warmup exercises was a 250 M row on the C2 rower. That was just to get us all warmed up and excited for the 2000 meter row that was coming up. Today ended up being my best row yet for the 2000 and I’ll tell you how I did it.
I described what a Tabata workout is in an earlier post. A Tabata is high-intensity interval training (HITT) and is basically 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise and then 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 8 cycles continuously for 4 minutes. It really packs a ton of cardio and fat-burning exercise into the longest 4 minutes of your life. Today we did it for 4 exercises back to back (Squat Cleans, Pull-ups, Burpees, Kettlebell Swings), so that makes it the longest 16 minutes of your life. Who would think you would be completely drained after just 16 minutes of exercise? But, try it sometime and I think you will discover the same thing. I have a love/hate relationship with the Tabata. More than a lot of other conditioning WOD’s, you really do feel like you’re competing against yourself (if you track your progress as you should be doing!). I love that and, looking back at my past performance, I see improvements that motivate me a lot. That includes physical changes that I can see; burning off fat and getting a lot more muscle definition. The hate? The Tabata workouts really wipe me out and, like I said, you would never imagine how long 4 minutes can feel.
I apologize for not posting in a while. I was traveling in Europe and playing a bit of catch up over the past week. The business trip and my stay in a very small, somewhat authentic, Parisian hotel made it a bit too challenging to keep up with any CrossFit travel WODs. But, despite a week of French food and no high-intensity exercise (although I did walk for about 10 hours each day!), I only gained about a pound and getting back into the swing of things at CrossFit last Monday wasn’t too painful. It wasn’t easy! But, it wasn’t as bad as I feared it might be.