Friday, September 26, 2008

Small gains

You have to start from somewhere, and even small gains are nice even if they aren't that noticeable.

I like to do races to see where my fitness/training level is at and use that as a gauge to see where I need to improve - uphills, technical sections, downhills, etc. The same goes with Crossfit workouts. I haven't been doing CF workouts as long as I have been running, but I'm noticing the similarities in both ways of training. Most noticeable is how sore I am when I take off too much time between workouts and much slower I am when I start up again.

Case in point was Wednesday's workout:

3 rounds of
- 50 thrusters (Olympic bar)
- 25 sit ups

I think I got stronger on the last set when I broke the set down into reps of 7. My weakness is usually not going to full extension with my arms, but I had no problem that night. My current struggle is that I'm stalling out half way up during the squat. There's a bit of a pause so it's not one fluid down/up motion. I don't know how to correct it. I know that breaking it down to reps of 7 helped me maintain form. I first tried reps of 10 and my form got all wonky on the last few reps. My shoulders burned throughout, still sore from rugby, so I'd break between reps and do a Phelpsian type 'stretch' by bending over and slapping my arms across my body and hugging myself. Doing that a few times seemed to help. I didn't want to take too long of a break, either. I finished the workout in somewhere around 35-40 minutes. I have nice bruises on my collar bones from the bar and nice and sore shoulders and lats from extending fully. There's still plenty to work on, such as keeping my weight back on my heels, but it's been awhile since I've done any bar work, and it felt good.

Yoga followed right afterwards and I wasn't looking forward to any arm balances or shoulder stands. I modified the pose if I felt any strain on my upper back and/or shoulders and pushed myself far enough to get a good stretch. I didn't have to stretch very far. It seems like any gains I make in yoga, I lose the next week. A case of 1 step forwards; 2 steps back. I know that going on a regular basis will help me improve as will stretching on my own.

I'm also hoping to see improvements in my Crossfit workouts by adding another workout each week. Currently, I'm only doing 2-3 workouts a week, and most of it involves bodyweight movements. The workout schedule for the week is posted Monday morning, so I know what the punishment is going to be. This week, I modified the Tuesday workout of 3 rounds of 1000m row, 21 reps of KB swing, and 12 reps of pull ups to just the KB swings and jumping pull ups. I have a 15lb kettle bell and a door gym, so it was very do able even if it was an easy workout. Even a simple workout gives me a chance to slow things down and focus on form.

I would love to be doing 95lb thrusters, 100lb cleans, and real pull ups and push ups, but I know miracles don't happen overnight - injuries do ;) In yoga, I'd love to be able to do arm balances and something as simple as stepping my foot from Downward Dog up to a lunge, but I don't have that flexibility or balance yet. Every workout and even those rest days will help me improve and get closer to the strength and flexibility that I yearn for.


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