Beware! Front Squats and Running!

This has been a hellish week of work, but nothing could keep me away from CrossFit Continuum for a noon WOD today. Not even the threat of running. And if you know me at all, you know that is no minor statement.

A word of warning – this is a long post. Covered a lot of stuff. πŸ™‚

Ev went this morning to the 8:30 class and I heard lots of grumbling. I went in later and they were still talking about all the smack talk she laid down this morning, so I knew it was going to be a good one. πŸ™‚ Coach Bill worked out with us and coaches Drea and Larry kept folks chugging along. It was a trifecta of coaching goodness.

In the class itself, it was myself, Debbie, Joe, Trey, and a nice younger gal who was visiting from Austria. We started with a 400m jog and did some Spider-man lunges, knee hugs, PVC pass-thrus, and some behind the back stretching before warming up with some PVC front squats.

How to Front Squat

We were doing 10 sets of 1 rep – front squats. She was hoping for a new 1RM… As a friend of mine from college is fond of saying – NOT TODAY! πŸ˜€

I worked with Joe at the rig and he’s a beast. I only made it to 235# but he made up to 255# over the course of 8 or 9 single rep attempts. My wrists were starting to bug me and my right knee twinged on my aborted 245# attempt, so I called it. Trey worked with Bill and Debbie worked with the new gal and Larry.

Drea wants me to move faster. I’m burning a lot of energy when I go to the bottom slowly and then change direction. She’s looking for a quick drop and then bounce from the bottom so the energy is expended on the rise, not the fall.

Logically, she’s absolutely correct. Body-wise however when I do a single rep I’m always spending that first rep feeling it out. I don’t know where the bottom is even if I just did one rep a few minutes ago. I had a couple that were quicker but the heavier the bar got the more I pondered it prior to my attempt… probably a bad idea. Oh well. I got close to my old 1RM (245#) and that’s good enough for today. πŸ™‚


After that, we worked on the “running” portion of the workout. Bill, Trey, and Joe ran the new 800m route five times with a 3 minute rest between. The new gal ran the 600m route. And Debbie ran the 400m route.

The metcon was: 5 rounds, noting your time for each lap. They all killed it. πŸ™‚

Now, you’ll notice that I didn’t mention how I did. That’s because I started working with Drea today on a program to improve my running mechanics and hip/lower half mobility. Yes, I am actively trying to improve one of the aspects of crossfit I absolutely dread. Running. Even the mention of the word makes me cringe.

But if I’m going to get better at crossfit and functional fitness as a whole, it’s something I need to work on. It’s a part of many workouts and my running mechanics haven’t changed since junior high school 30+ years ago. In fact, as Drea and I were discussing, we think that years of marching band (heel-toe-heel-toe) probably was the beginning of the end for any kind of natural running gait for both of us.

We started with jumping rope. But this was not my usual jump. She emphasized the landing of the feet. Balls of the feet, then a light touch with heel. Took me a bit, but eventually I was able to get that figured out.

Where I started to stumble was when she wanted me to “run” with the jump rope. Essentially stepping forward, alternating feet, with each jump. Staying with the same basic rhythm and foot landing, but initiating some forward movement. Um, yeah.

I can step forward with my right leg just fine. But as soon as I got my left leg involved, all hell broke loose. I might have achieved a couple of attempts where I got two steps. So this is something to work on. I may actually start doing single leg jumps with the off (left) leg just to get more comfortable doing a bit more independent leg work.

So I think I’m going to have to do a lot more work (see the video for some examples) just to get to the point where my left leg isn’t completely useless.

7TaonKRbcThen we did butt kickers, focusing on bringing the foot backward – almost like you’re dragging the ground with your front foot when it strikes the ground and comes back into a “four” position. We transitioned this outside so that I was leaning forward, attempting to do butt kickers to get into a rhythm and then increase speed while continuing to use a lighter step with the ball of the foot.

We did a number of 50 foot back and forth attempts and I felt like it was a little easier the faster I went. If I was slow, I was still thinking about each individual step. But when I almost sprinted it was a bit smoother.

Other than some shin soreness, and now a bit of knee and ankle pain in the left leg, I think it actually went ok. I didn’t feel the runs in my knees at all, which was a first. Less pounding of the pavement with my heels is a good thing it seems.

So we made some good progress there and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.

And when all that was done, we went back inside and she showed me the various stretches she wants me to work on to increase hip mobility. Right now I’m better on the right (though not what I call “flexible”) and awful on the left, so it’s pretty obvious I definitely need work in this area.

Runner’s lunge and its variations was what we started with.

runners lunge

This Gal has a good post-run Yoga routine on her site

She wants me to do a runner’s lunge, then lean belly-button into the forward knee, then lean away from the knee pushing it with one hand… each for 1 minute on each side. It was easy to see just how bad my hips were as we went through this sequence.

And lastly we used a lacrosse ball in the hip, in the spot just above and behind the hip bone. Honestly lying on the ball was painful enough in that position, so I have some work to be done there as well as we loosen up a bit of tissue.

This lady looks like she’s smiling, but really it’s a “holy crap I want to kill my trainer” grimace πŸ˜€

I’m supposed to work on the stretching at least 2 or 3 times a day, so we’ll see if I can get that into the routine. I’ve already been doing a little bit of yoga in the evenings to try and shake loose things before bed. And Bill showed me a good foam roller position for the mid-back so I’ll add that to the mix as well.

Yeah. It was a lot to cover today.

Big thanks to Drea, Bill, and Larry for all the help. And great work to everybody who attended. Y’all killed it!

Now it’s back to work for a bit. πŸ™‚

No WOD for me tomorrow or Saturday, but we’ll be at the box for some fun activities if nothing else. πŸ™‚ Have a great day folks!


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