Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hands on the ground, hands on the ground

Newsflash: I cannot do a handstand

Its not that I thought that I could, and I’m pretty sure that no one would take one look at me and say “now there is a guy capable of standing on his hands”, some may
say “there is a guy who spends most of his day with his head up his ass” but that is a different matter.

But a handstand was on the menu last night at CrossFit, well at least something approximating me putting my hands on the ground, and my feet in the air. Needless to say, this did not go well.

Well, maybe I should backtrack a little. Handstands were not on the menu when I got there, no mention of a handstand was on the board when I got there. There was a warm-up, and a WOD (Helena, 20 minutes of 400m runs and pull ups to failure). Then Zeke called the 6:30 class to order, and started adding items to the board.

3 sets of

30 second handstand
30 second frog stance

Followed by

3 sets of

3 reps handstand pushups

I’m pretty sure when Zeke turned around he quickly noted the glazed over look on 3 of our faces and knew that some remedial education was in order. Sure 2 of us were Crossfit vets, but the rest of us “didn’t have” (Crossfit’s polite way of saying you can’t do something yet) our Handstand.

So we started off with tripods. A movement that looks simple enough. To start you put your head down on an ab-mat. Then you attempt to walk you feet up until you place your knees on your elbows and either hold the pose, or go advanced and lift your legs up into the air.

Like I said, looks simple enough, but having just ran a half-mile, and done other assorted warm-up activities, I was already dripping with sweat. My knees kept slipping off of my elbows, causing my legs to crash to the ground.

After I bumbled through this movement for a couple minutes, Zeke introduced us to the Frog stance. This one didn’t look simple, and made me look even more foolish. Start in a squatting position, like you are stretching your groin. Proceed to move your weight forward onto your hands, and rest your knees on your elbows again, or in the air if you are actually in shape.

One again, an embarrassing display on my part. The mats were a sweaty mess from a combination of the moisture dripping off my head, and where various body parts crashed to the ground.

I spent the next few minutes going through the motions of trying to get our 30 second sets in each pose, but my bad shoulder was starting to act up, and I can’t say that my heart was in it.

We then went over to do some handstand push-ups. Full range of motion was stressed, and ways to advance the movement, or use the bands to help were discussed. Then those of us who “didn’t have our handstand” were taken over to a wall and instructed on how to “get our handstand”.

This pretty much meant flipping yourself ass over head and using the wall to help with balance. Or at least this is what you were supposed to do.

I quickly found that it takes a lot of momentum to get my substantial mid section over my head. After a couple of failed attempts, I manage to get them up there. Only to crash head 1st into the wall once I got suitable momentum. At this point my shoulder went from balking to screaming, and I excused myself to do some range of motion work on my shoulder as I waited for the workout of the day to start.

Things went better for me in the WOD. I ran further than I thought I could before breaking from a jog to a walk only for portions of the last three 400’s. The pull-ups weren’t impressive, as I was using an elastic band for assistance, and gasping for air from the runs. But I got more rounds in than I thought I would and did not allow myself to quit, despite my shoulder airing its grievances throughout the run, and a minor cramp in my side about half-way through.

About a month in, and I am already seeing some results from this workout regimen. I am running further than I have in years. My strength is slowly coming back. (Monday we maxed out in shoulder press, front squat and dead lift, and while I didn’t set all time bests for myself, I did substantially better than I could have a month ago). My mindset is improved, as I am pushing through physical discomfort in the workouts and not quitting on myself.

Other than the return of my aching shoulder, things are looking up.

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