I’ve completed the six session fundamentals course now and I’d like to talk a bit about what I’ve learned, and hope to gain by pursuing Crossfit.
We last left off after the first session. A day by day breakdown looks somewhat like this:
Day 2: A focus on hip hinging. We learned Romanian Deadlifts, Deadlifts and Kettle bell Swings. The main takeaways from this day were to keep your shoulders back, neutral spine, and load the posterior chain. For the KB swings specifically, its still a hip hinge, not a squat. So when the KB is coming down you should be using your hips to catch the weight, not squatting underneath it.
One of my problems here is hip overextension on the follow through. After snapping your hips through, you shouldn’t be leaning back, you should be nearly vertical. I’ll add it to a list of what I need to work on.
If I recall correctly the WOD was a 7 minute AMRAP of 10 KB swings, 5 RDL’s, and 5 Pushups.
Day 3: Kipping movement, wall walks for Handstands, and Box Jumps. The major things I learned were that the kipping movement begins at the shoulders, not the hips. Often times people have shoulders that are way too tight to allow them to start hitting kipping pull-ups off the bat. I strongly recommend only practicing the motion back and forth until you feel comfortable. The wall walks were difficult for myself due to my wrist impingements/lack of flexibility. So I did more of a pushup position with my feet on the wall. I’ll be slowly progressing upwards to give my wrists time to adjust. Box jumps were easy. A few things here are to completely stand up on the top of the box, and land softly. Also be sure to step down after each jump, no need to put added stress on your joints and connective tissue yet.
We ended with a 10 minute AMRAP partner WOD consisting of 5 DL, 5 T2B (toes-to-bar), and 10 box jumps. At the end of the WOD I looked down and alas the first callous tear! I have a feeling this will be something that might happen often. I’ll be sure to write a post on how to speed up the healing process and how to get back into the gym fast.
Day 4: Wall Ball Shots, Front Squats, Thrusters.
We started off learning the front rack position. Being a taller athlete (6’4”) with currently limited thoracic extension this was very difficult for myself. Couple that with poor ankle dorsiflexion and wrist mobility and we’ve got a storm brewing! We began by standing and holding the front rack position for several minutes. Man, this was tough. Some keys here were to keep your elbows in front of the bar, and let the bar rest on your deltoids and across your throat. Oftentimes being unable to do that is due to poor thoracic mobility (upper back). Of course as usual you also must keep your abs tight (ribcage down) and glutes squeezed. We performed numerous sets and reps totaling to around 80. Many more reps will be needed to iron out the form required.
Our warmup was the assault bike: burn 10 calories at 60rpm, 10 at 70, finish with 10 at 75.
The WOD was 5 rounds or 6 minutes (whichever comes first) of 10 20lb wall ball shots to a 12 ft (?) target followed by 5 thrusters at 95lbs and 5 chest to bar pullups. I ended up finishing around 4:40, note that I had to break up the pullups into smaller sets towards the end.
Day 5: Oly lifting. Clean and Snatch.
Warmup on assault bike, 10 cal at 50rpm, 10 at 60, 10 at 70. Spent a good amount of time stretching out our hips with my favorite mobility poses. We then started learning the Clean.
The sequence for the movement is as follows:
Hip hinge and explosion followed by shrugging the shoulders up and bringing the bar up as close to your body as possible. Then swiveling hands around the bar and catching it in the front rack position.
Whenever I did cleans beforehand I would do the movement away from my body rather than keeping the bar traveling vertically next to my torso. The closer you keep the weight to your center of mass the easier it will be to catch it properly.
The beginning sequence for the snatch is the same as the clean, however your hands are much wider on the bar. Wide enough that your elbows are locked out when the bar is in your hip crease. After the hip hinge-explosion-shrug-arms pulling up, you ‘pull’ yourself underneath the bar and lock out overhead.
How to perform a snatch:
Clean and Jerk:
My overarching goal with Crossfit is to first lessen or eliminate my movement dysfunctions and subsequent pains, and gain strength in fundamental, functional movements. Which include moving weight (additional or bodyweight) in any functional movement pattern, whether that be hip hinging (deadlift, cleans etc), squatting (back, front, overhead), overhead movements (strict press, handstand pushups) while improving metabolic conditioning.
I plan to achieve this by attending 3-5 workouts a week. Specifically the Mobility and Conditioning class as well as the Strength Development class. Additionally I will be following a daily mobility routine to improve my biomechanics to prevent and recover from injuries.
Check out my previous post here!