Friday, October 10, 2008

An 'a ha!' moment that lasts as long as it takes to say 'a ha'

All these push ups that I struggle to do and sit ups that I seem to rock endlessly back and forth on seem for naught. Even the squats that I can knock out pretty quickly and the burpees that have more 'urp' than substance to them have a purpose. But that is exactly can take some time to figure out.

At the start of rugby practice on Tuesdays, we've been including some CrossFit type workouts in our warm up. Last week was a Tabata - 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off - of squats, push ups, and sit up. This week, we did a Tabata of star jumps, Superman (lie on stomach and lift arms and legs at the same time), and holding the push up 'start' position. While in the push up position, though, you were supposed to alternate touching your right hand to left shoulder, and left hand to right shoulder. It might sound simple, but I had no problem with any of the exercises. I struggled slightly with the Superman because of a tight left shoulder (hard to hold my arms straight out in front of me), but had no problem with the plank. I was able to move my hands quickly from the ground to the opposite shoulder without much flux in my positioning. To me, that meant that my core was engaged, and I was doing the workout correctly and efficiently. It was my 'a ha' moment, and it didn't last long.

It lasted a whole 24 hours, until my next CrossFit session, when we did the following workout:

AMRAP in 30 minutes of -
20 Hindu push ups
20 Box Jumps
20 Hand stands - hold for 5 seconds

It has been awhile since doing Hindu push ups and it showed. My form wasn't all that terrible, but I was a little more cautious with each rep since my shoulders were sore from rugby practice. We did a few 'test' hand stands before starting the workout to make sure we were correctly kicking up against the wall, and then coming down with good and controlled form. However, holding them for 5 seconds was what 'got me'. It would take me at least 5-7 'kick ups' to finally be able to GET UP and hold the position, and then I would do the '12345!' quick count and call it good. I was slightly afraid of slamming my feet into the wall, of my arms crumbling beneath me, tumbling into the Reformer machines or the person next to me, and falling to the floor in a heap of failure.

What bothered me the most is that it took me forever to just do ONE! I could get up, but couldn't hold it for the allotted amount of time. It was a seemingly simple movement I would spend summer afternoons as a child doing that I couldn't even do anymore; I could barely muster one. I almost mentally 'checked out' of the workout, but continued, albeit, slowly.

Once done with my first round, I moved on to the box jumps that were no problem. After the Hindu push ups it was back to the handstands again. This round went a little quicker and I was able to kick up to the handstand and hold it without my feet against the wall for a good (not quick) five seconds. I was pretty happy with that, and the 'a ha' moment I had about using my core came and went with every attempt until I finally GOT IT! Then I had to start over.

It was a frustrating workout because it was so do able. I looked at it and saw the Hindu push ups and figured I could do 4-5 rounds in 30 minutes. After starting the handstands, that number quickly dropped to 2-3. I managed a pitiful 2 rounds and 12 more Hindu push ups.

You have to start somewhere, and I don't think I could get any lower. I know engaging my core will help me hold the handstand, as well as doing other movements, but there's that 'a ha' moment of knowing how to do it, doing it, and being able to do it every time.

I'm stuck. Luckily, not in a handstand.


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Katie said...

Jen, I think that part of people's issue with handstands is fear. As small kids we don't worry about tumbling down on our heads and landing on things. We know we'd laugh it off.

As adults we have a fear of doing those things, and rightfully so. It would hurt.

But, when we begin to fear things, we don't focus on what we need to do. We lose our active shoulder or we lose our core tension. Then we can't do the move at all. The lunge and active shoulder are uber important at the beginning, and I would honestly work on that just for a little bit. Practice going from a lunge into the beginnings of your kick up and really think about active shoulder. Maybe that would help?


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