Posts Tagged by pull ups

Why I’m Not Participating In The CrossFit Open

Ahhh The Open. An event where everyone in the world has the ability to compete against the fittest in the world for a spot in the CrossFit Games. Yes, only about 1% of participants will make it to the Games, but it’s a great way to test your skill levels.  I had actually been looking forward to The Open since last year, especially after going to the Northeast Regionals.  But when the time came to register, I knew I still wasn’t ready…

If you aren’t familiar with The Open, it is a worldwide event that, according to the CrossFit website, is when “everyone in the world is invited to compete in five workouts over five weeks, posting their scores online in real time.”  From The Open, the top athletes and teams advance on to the Regional competitions, and from there The Games.  It’s exciting to follow and looks even more exciting to participate in.  So why didn’t I?

There are a few basic movements that have been in all previous WODs (workout of the day) that I still am not able to do.  These include: Toes to Bar, Double Unders, Pull Ups & Muscle Ups.  To me it was not worth fumbling through these workouts and getting frustrated by not being able to do these moves.  Plus I’m not really at the top of my game at the moment, so why risk an injury trying to prove something that I know deep down I can’t complete.  I know, I know…it about being part of the community and testing your limit, but this year just didn’t feel right for me.  

Once the WODs started coming out, I knew I had made the right decision.  14.1 was announced last week:

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Oh hi there double unders.  Maybe I would’ve been able to complete 30 of them in the 10 minutes, but I would’ve been cursing my way through that whole thing.  55# snatches sound like a breeze, but those DUs…nope!  Best case scenario, my score would be 45 reps in 10 min.  Compare that to the leader, Sam Briggs, at 472.  Now I know I’m no Sam Briggs, but this wouldn’t have been a good confidence booster.

Now 14.2:

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While overhead squats are not a strong movement for me I can get through them, but then there are pull-ups…once again, nope!  My score for 14.2 would be a solid 10 reps.

So instead of being frustrated, I rather watch, cheer and get motivated to improve my skills for next year.  My goal for this year are pull ups and double unders.  I want to be able to string at least a few of these together.  Hey now I have an event bigger goal to get these mastered by September…the Disney Fit Challenge!  

Are you participating in the CrossFit Open?  What movements do you have trouble with?

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You Need a Class on Jumping Rope?

That is the question I was asked when I told most people how I was spending my Saturday afternoon, and so you know…yes, yes I do.  Actually, it was much more that jumping rope. Yesterday I attended a Double Under and Pull Up Clinic an my gym that focused on breaking down each skill and working on ways to improve, and it was so much fun!  The best part is that it was women only, so there was wonderful support and lots of laughs.

The clinic was developed by two of our coaches, Gina and Amanda, who saw a need for this.  Many classes briefly go over the skills that we are working on that day, but don’t take the time to help you improve on technical movements like pull ups.  I’ve been doing CrossFit for a year and a half now and learned so much yesterday!

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We started the day by coming together to review the movements and to go over the importance of strengthening the body through other auxiliary movements.  Many of these included things we do in class every week, including barbell bent over row, pendlay row, dumbbell row and ring rows.

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The most interesting thing I learned was that dead lifts (only with a double overhand grip) help with grip strength.  This will definitely come in handy.  We were also tasked to push ourselves in all of these movements.  Many times we are not using enough weight to make these movements worth while.  I’ve recently started using 40# dumb bells for my  rows which is way more then I ever thought I could do, but I can!

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We reviewed various mobility movements that we often do as part of the warm up, but again we focused on proper form and slowing down the movements.  These included the thorasic windmill, cat/cow, t-spine rotation and heel touches.

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Next up was a breakdown of kipping.  Kipping involves using momentum from your torso and legs to help achieve a pull up.  This involved a lot of rolling around on the floor.  First we went through the hollow rocks to superman drill, which then translates to the basic kipping motion when on the bar…light bulb moment!

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From there we worked on raising our knees while kipping, which brings you back behind the bar.

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And from there we did what Gina called “jumping the fence” which is is s strong hip drive used as you pull up on the bar to give extra force.  Now I’ve never come close to a pull up without assistance from a band, but after putting all these movements together, it actually felt possible.  With a lot of practicing and strengthening, is a pull up really in my future???  Hopefully my hands hold up…

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Next on to double unders.  Now don’t laugh, but when I started CrossFit I actually struggled with jumping rope.  Yes, I know that is something you learn when you are about 5, but not having done it in so long I was a fumbling idiot.  Needless to say, it was quite embarrassing.  So then when I was told that I was supposed to pass the rope twice under with each jump, I felt defeated.  I’ve gotten a few here and there, but I’ve never been able to string them together and lately they have been few and far between.

We spent about 10 minutes working on wrist motion and body positioning, then moved into attempting to get some.  I basically managed to whip my leg numerous times…ouch!  

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There were a few girls who did start stringing them together and they were SO excited…it was great to watch.  I kept getting stuck on only one leg going through, but with practice I”ll get there.  My biggest struggle is moving my wrists fast enough.  Sigh…

So yes, I practiced jumping rope for a good part of the day and I had a damn good time doing it.  I left with some really helpful tips on how to improve two moves that I’ve been struggling with for a while.  Plus I had a lot of laughs, which always makes for a good day 🙂

What do you need to work on in your exercise routine?

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Not Taking the Easy Road

It’s called the easy road for a reason…because it’s easy to navigate.  I find myself on this road far too often.  Not challenging myself and going with what I know I can accomplish instead of pushing myself to try something new or be uncomfortable.  

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These past few months have been tough for me.  My health hasn’t been great and it’s been hard to stay positive.  My nutrition has gone downhill and I’ve struggled with motivation in just getting off the couch, let alone pushing myself at the gym.  Basically I’ve been taking the easy road to “just get by” everyday and it has turned into an evil cycle of depression which in turn does NOT help my health issues.  Blech.

After fighting a fever for a few days last week, I decided that I can’t keep going with this cycle.  Not only is it bad for me, but it’s not good for the people around me either.  I’m no use to my husband just lying around like a lump on the couch.  I’m not supporting my friends when they need me at the gym, during a race, or when facing difficult situations at home.  I’m just pushing people away as I continue to not deal with my issues…that easy road sure is detrimental.  

So this past weekend I forced myself to get up and tackle a few things around the house that I’ve been avoiding.  That mountain of papers that has been piling up in the kitchen and the office…GONE.  The guest room that looked like an explosion of clothes and suitcases…CLEANED.  Both feel like a giant weight that has been lifted.

At the gym this week, I decided it’s finally time to get out of my comfort zone.  I can’t do pull ups and I even avoid doing the band assisted ones during WODs because I have trouble with those.  But on Monday, I decided to go for it.  I’m not going to get better if I don’t practice.  It’s going to suck and probably take me twice as long to finish, but I have to at least get off the easy road and TRY.  So I attached a thick band to the bar and got ready for 3 sets of 20 pull ups.  Surprisingly I got through the first 10 unbroken which gave me the confidence that I might be able to do this.  It was HARD and by the last set I was only doing one at a time.  I got through 15 on the last set and just couldn’t get another, but look at that…55 pull ups!  I was one of the last people to finish the WOD, but my friends were cheering me on and I got through it.  I could have taken the easy road and finished in half the time, but I’m SO glad I didn’t.  I was huffing and puffing and my arms felt like jelly, but I felt AWESOME!  

The rough and rocky road has clearly been hard to navigate, but it always makes me feel better than just plodding along on the easy road.  It’s a constant battle for me, a constant reminder to get up and challenge myself.  But I have to be stronger than my illness, I have to keep living my life and not let it get the best of me.  Today I ordered this bracelet from Endorphin Warrior to wear as a constant reminder to never get back in that place and to get off the easy road…

PersevereDo you find yourself often taking the easy road?  How do you PERSEVERE?  

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