Transitions and Breathing

Every time I go to CrossFit Continuum, I am in danger of learning something. And usually it’s something about myself. Scary. 🙂

Today is a stressful day. Our dog is undergoing major surgery to have a cancerous lobe of her lung removed and we’re all a bit on edge. So I was glad we could escape for a little bit to the relative sanity (and fun) of the box.

jumpropeWe arrived to find Coach Larry getting set up for us. It was me, Mickey, and AJ at first — and we were joined by Brent. So we had a nice little group for Larry this morning.

Started with a 1,000m row and then did a long warm-up involving a mix of deadlifts, push presses, strict presses, and snatches to get everything activated. Some with a barbell. Some with a dumbbell.

Add to that some jump rope practice for double-unders and we we were good and warm by the time we got started.

The workout was an interesting one…

  • 12 minute AMRAP for reps
  • 1 minute of double-unders (or 30s of singles and 30s of double-under practice)
  • 1 minute of dumbbell snatches (50/35# Rx, 35/20# level II, 20/10# Level I)
  • 2 minutes of double-unders (or 1 minute of singles and 1 minute of double-under practice)
  • 2 minutes of dumbbell snatches
  • 3 minutes of double-unders (or 90s of singles and 90s of double-under practice)
  • 3 minutes of dumbbell snatches

35pounddumbbellsI went with a 35# dumbbell and split time between singles and double-under practice.

  • 65 singles/21 snatches *86
  • 92 singles/40 snatches *132
  • 85 singles/48 snatches *133
  • Total = 351 reps (only counting singles and snatches, not double-under practice)

I was really struggling with breathing more than movements today. Warmed up with a 20# dumbbell. 35# wasn’t that bad. But double-unders are still a goat of mine. I got a handful throughout the class – some in warm-up and some during the workout – but haven’t quite figured them out yet.

When we were done we did a few rounds of five toes-to-bar or strict knees-to-elbows and some couch stretch.

It was a great metcon today — focusing on transitions (which I suck at) really makes me push myself further than I give myself credit. Did I kill this workout? Not when compared to other folks, but I don’t bother doing that. I scaled it to a level where it got to be a challenge at the end and that’s about perfect.

Plus I got to see my daughters get a few double-unders under their belts and push hard, which makes me happy. 🙂

Lessons of the Day

So here’s the “lessons learned” portion of today. I was working with Larry about my double-under issues, he pointed out a couple of things.

  • One, I really need to make sure I keep my head up and pointed about 45 degrees, keep my elbows close to my sides, and my hands in front where I can just see them at the bottom of my peripheral vision. I have heard all of those things separately, but it was good to start pulling them all together at once during a practice session.
  • Two, he thinks my rope is too short by a couple of inches. So I may experiment with a longer rope at the box or just order a new one to play with in the next few weeks. Having a bit more time (longer rope, longer lever) may improve my chances of getting it to pass more easily around my not-dexterous self.

And I definitely noticed that as I got more tired, my form went to crap with the dumbbell snatches. The one- and two-minute rounds weren’t horrific. But by the time I got to the three-minute round, I was really struggling to breathe.

t-rex-double-unders

Larry pointed out that by collapsing forward, I was really restricting the airway and thus causing most of my own breathing issues. Go figure. Always good to get another opinion.

I always appreciate Larry’s approach. So thank you Larry!

A Team of Coaches

That’s really the benefit for me I think of having multiple coaches throughout the week. I love all our coaches at CrossFit Continuum, but having different points of view really just drives things home. One coach may say something another coach says, but in a slightly different way with different emphasis or examples, and that repetition really helps make things more clear.

I really view my CrossFit journey as almost a second childhood. I was always slow, asthmatic, and without a natural talent for most athletic endeavors. After a while, I just stopped trying. Baseball in elementary school. Basketball in junior high. Marching band in high school. Bowling and volleyball in college. Softball in AZ with Ev.

CrossFit has proven that you can teach an old dog new tricks. I’m stronger, faster, and more dexterous than ever before. And all my coaches (present and past) have helped me move along to being more proficient.

So thank you to all the coaches (and athletes) at Continuum who have helped along the way. The journey is more important than the destination, and I’m still having a great time more than 4 years down the road. That still is a very pleasant surprise. 🙂

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