the spaz of fitness has arrived

Go Gumby

In Training, WOD on July 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Part of what makes CrossFit so much fun, and yet still one of its larger tragedies is how much it borrows from other fields to which other athletes dedicate their entire lives. Though CrossFit contains so many elements of many sports– sprinting, rowing, even the notorious softball throw from last year’s open– I think its perpetual ADD is particularly tragic when it applies to Olympic lifting and gymnastics– two extremely demanding disciplines that require so much time and attention to detail. I mentioned recently that our box started offering specific gymnastics classes. It’s a very cool feature and one I don’t think I’ve seen at many CrossFit gyms, though I do know that many top-tier athletes attend specialized gymnastics gyms to train.

But I’ve noticed something that differentiates these disciplines from the lifestyles of the typical WOD-aholic: the amount of time that athletes dedicate to supplementary work outside of “working out.” Now this supplementary work could be stuff like technique drills or training particular muscle groups, but I’m thinking of something even simpler: stretching. Even with quick research, I’ve found that Catalyst Athletics recommends an extensive stretching routine for any of its Olympic lifting programs– one that probably lasts longer than most CrossFit WODs. I’ve seen powerlifters take a full thirty minutes to warm up before approaching the bar. And I’m fairly certain that gymnasts can dedicate hours to stretching alone.

We CrossFitters, however, are the impatient sort. A popular marketing angle for CrossFit gyms is “get your workout in less than an hour!” We’re used to high-intensity, fast-paced AMRAPs. We’ve encountered four-minute workouts that can render you incoherent (Fran, anyone?). It’s no wonder that the slow, time-consuming discipline of proper stretching has fallen to the wayside. We’ve all heard the CrossFit mantra: “Your workout is my warmup,” and it’s true– but is that a good thing. Why are we warming up with other people’s workouts? Isn’t there a reason they warm up with other things? Perhaps to keep from snapping precious muscle fibers? I bring this up because I’m so very guilty of this mentality. For way too long, I’ve satiated myself with a bit of foam rolling before heavy lifts or sprints. Not only does it cripple the effectiveness of my workouts, it puts me at huge risk for injury. Well, no more!

We’re actually fortunate enough to have more than one gymnast at our box. Today, I pestered our little stretchy man (henceforth referred to as Gumby) to help me stretch out my hips. Let me tell you… twenty minutes of this hurt so much more than most WODs. I managed to ply and twist and agonize parts of my butt I didn’t even know I had. And it felt damn good… well afterwards, anyway. I’m also very perturbed by how entirely inflexible I am in certain ways. I think the backs of my legs (calves and hamstrings) are just made of cement. Gumby actually made a suggestion that I rather liked– that I stretch whilst typing for a few minutes a day. It’s really not that far of a stretch (ha! Pun intended) from my current routine, since I already take breaks from my desk to do handstand pushups against my wall or pistols on my living room floor.*

[*Yes, I realize how strange this is. I’ve conceded that I’d either be impossible to live with, or just damn entertaining…particularly when the occasional handstand-gone-awry results in couch-collisions]**

In fact, I type this now from my living room floor with painfully splayed limbs.**

[**Please stop picturing this. Or if you do, picture it far more graceful than it actually looks.]

Anyway… I’d planned to dedicate Tuesday to some kettlebell work, but the box’s WOD was too fun to resist:

AMRAP 5 minutes:
7 Sumo Deadlift High Pull (2/1.5)
3 Strict Pull Ups

Rest 3 Minutes

3 Deadlift @ 275/185

Rest 3 Minutes

7 Burpee Smashballs (15/10)
1 Rope Climb

Tomorrow, I have squats again… I alternate between feeling nervous about squats, and being excited. Right now’s a nervous time. Wish me luck. Hope I don’t get squished.

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