Thursday, December 16, 2010

10-12-15: Post No. 100 = Death by Turkish Get-Ups

CrossFit Garden City WoD for December 15th, 2010
(courtesy CrossFit Garden City)
As you may or may not know, my CrossFit Level 1 certification was taught by 5 highly skilled trainers. Of them, two hailed from nearby (to me) CrossFit Garden City, Dennis Marshall and Jennifer Hunter-Marshall. Both were amazing teachers and trainers, and were very inspirational to work with (so were the others! It just excites me that Dennis and Jen have a gym 10 minutes from my house!)  I decided with this workout to give their programming a try.  I like the inclusion of specific warm-ups and things to work on with the "pre-training" practice, which is a very nice addition to a prescribed workout.  It's something I've never given too much attention to, just going through my usual active stretching routine, but nothing ever workout specific. Click on the WoD link above to see their additional notes for the workout (beginner/advanced advice, etc.)

I did some jump-rope, trying to go for longer times, and trying to do some fancy running patterns (alternating for two, right foot for two, alternating for two, left foot for two), as well as a little double-under practice.  However, my shoulders and chest were getting tighter by the minute, so I opted to cut that short and get some good stretching and mobilization in... as prescribed in the workout!

After that, seeing some floor space open, I did some slow Turkish Get Ups. In hindsight (about 25 reps later), I found myself wishing I had brushed up on my technique, because what *I* was doing at first were NOT ideal, and were very hard on the quads. Maybe that's good, and maybe there are some schools of thought that my method is actually the best, but it started sucking very fast in the actual workout.  But I get ahead of myself... I started at 20# for each arm, and that seemed easy. 25# seemed very doable.  30# seemed just right... heavy enough to be challenging, light enough that three rounds of 20 didn't seem impossible. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Having worked up to a workout weight (theoretically I could have warmed up even a bit heavier, since the last time I did Turkish Get Ups, it was with the 35# bar bell, and I did a lot of those, so stopping at 30# might have been a tad hasty), I surveyed the gym.  Too many kids, as usual, but the GHD was open, and there was floor space in the cardio room for the Turkish Get Ups.  I wasn't too sure about the third exercise (the Toes to Bar), since the only place to do those is off the back of the Smith machine, and with kids milling around, the likelihood of someone not "blasting their chest, brah!" on that godforsaken pile of crap is always very low. I figured I would mix it up a bit, and keeping with the mega-core blast that Toes to Bars provide, I decided on GHD sit-ups with a med-ball throw to the wall. That oughtta blast my abs, brah!

25 Hip extensions on the GHD kicked of festivities... not too bad.  First time doing them since the cert, and with a much better idea of what should be locked into place for the duration (lumbar arch) and what should be moving (hip joint), these actually felt better than ever. On to the Turkish Get Ups, 30#. 

I started by doing 5 per arm, which worked very well for the first 10.  However, I started switching arms every rep after that, feeling my shoulders start to get a little pissy at being worked so constantly. Either that means I was dumb to try and do that many in a row on one side, or it means I need to do that more often to get them to strengthen up.  Or both.  Made it through 20, but realized I was probably doing something wrong. My quads were starting to kill me, and I made the connection that my technique was probably to blame.  Somewhere in there, I was missing the stage of the Turkish Get Up where you have one knee on the floor, and one foot flat on the floor, a position of relative strength. Instead, I was somehow skipping the knee, and going straight into a very compromised squat position.  By that, I mean that most of the important elements of *any* good squat were missing.  I was deep enough, but coming up from the lying down position, I was usually up on my toes, which goes against ALL good squat logic.  It was at this point that I realized about the knee... crap.  Well, I'd have 40 more reps to figure out what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it.

On to the GHD wall-balls. Yup, these sucked as planned, so I was happy to have included them. :D

Round two, more hip extensions, nothing too exciting.  On to the Turkish Get Ups.  Finally got my leg work straightened out, though now I need to go review all of Jeff Martone's videos and articles, because my non-weight bearing hand, which gets planted on the floor for part of the move, seemed to always want to go to new positions, and I'm fairly certain there should be a definite "best" position for that hand. Either way, the progression was now stronger with the knee on the ground and the other foot flat on the ground, allowing me to push through my heels on the stand-up.  However, by this point, my shoulders were pointing out what a frickin' dolt I was for thinking I could do 60 Turkish Get Ups with 30#.  I dropped down to 25# and that seemed to quiet some of the voices.  However, by about 10 reps, I was really feeling done.  I was pretty much halfway through this workout, and my shoulders were just feeling one mistake away from damage. Not a fun feeling.  I decided to gut it out a bit and made it to 15 reps. At this point, I decided on some 'on-the-fly' scaling.  15 reps this round, and 10 the next.  If I didn't go for that, I would have just stopped at the end of the 2nd round... feeling weakness like that in my shoulders worried me, since they are NOT my strongest element, so I don't feel great just hitting them with everything I can.  I'll beat on my legs all day long, but shoulders...ugh.

The Smith machine was actually clear by the time I was done with that dilemma, so I ran over and banged out 15 Toes to Bars.  My technique was sloppy enough that I could also have called them Knee to Elbows, which most likely means I was doing them so wrong as to be a waste of time.  I'll need to investigate that the next time I have time in the gym without the ever-milling students around.  Maybe tomorrow (today as I write this).

Round 3, much like the 2nd, a slow and steady slog. Hip Extensions, 10 Turkish Get Ups (5 per side), and 15 GHD wall-ball sit-ups. Argh.... All in all, it was a GREAT workout, spoiled only by my usual inability to scale something appropriately.  That said, I'm planning on following their programming for a while to see what I can learn.

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