Cross Fit Moves
Whenever people ask me about Crossfit, they tend say ‘ oh, so what.. you lift weights together?’ to which I always find myself answering ‘ummmm kind of?’.
Yes, we push press and hang clean, we split jerk and we front squat. No machines in any Crossfit gym. Just you and some extremely ‘Flintstone’ looking weights. This is serious lifting.. the kind you see at the Olympics where people’s arms fall off.
When I started Cross fit, 15lbs caused veins to pop on my head and I couldn’t hold the steering wheel on the way home. 4 months later 85 or 100lbs doesn’t faze me. So while I won’t be wearing a belt and chalking up any time soon, I now do some ‘Olympic’ lifts. We also do more traditional stuff like bench-presses but by comparison anything using a bench feels like gravy. Easy peezy lemon squeezy. Hell you get to lie down. So yes, there is lifting of weights. But no bicep curls here and you won’t see anyone squeezing anything between their thighs as they listen to an iPod.
But ‘lifting weight’s’ is really only 25% of Crossfit.
Next is the lung busting aerobic insanity brought on by running, rowing, jumping on things, over things (the bitch called the double under) and yes, burpees. These activities are used to make sure that a) you can’t think straight or count to 10 by the time you get to actually lift something (yes, sometimes lifting stuff is your ‘rest’) and b) make sure that you’ll never get on a stairclimber or elliptical machine again.
After years of working out in a regular gym (23 years!), I have spent literally weeks climbing, striding and stepping my way to nowhere. I might have sweated, I know I was out of breath, but I never.. ever.. really pushed myself. I can swear on a stack of Bibles that I never got off a machine and had to lie down. I’ve never stopped the elliptical because I couldn’t think straight, and typically, while I was ‘working out’, I also managed to read ‘US Weekly’ and ‘Elle’ propped on my machine.
NOTE to regular gym goers. If you can read a magazine while you’re working out. You’re not working out very hard.
NOTE: If you’re thinking ‘but I don’t want to work out very hard’, then why not go for a walk? Its free and you don’t need to wear a sports bra.
Ok, so Crossfit ‘cardio’ is intense. But there’s a reason that has nothing to do with machismo. You are simply learning to push your limits, that what you thought you could do is about ..mm… 50% of what you actually can do. As a result, over time, you get more comfortable being uncomfortable.
I can now ride my bike harder, I don’t slack off when my breathing gets labored during a run and if I can feel my heart beating in my chest, I welcome it instead of speed dialing my doctor.
Next up is the body weight pulls, pushes and presses. Handstand push ups, Pull ups, Feet to Bar and Ring Muscle ups (think gymnasts). Push ups, Dips and Rope climbs. The stuff you used to do in middle school? Its all here. A lot harder than you remember, but who doesn’t love to swing on a bar or some rings? Its so much fun. Especially when your callouses start to bleed. But these moves make every kids playground an ‘on the fly’ workout space and anyone can do a pull up (or so I’m told).
And finally we have the ‘other stuff’. Oh I love the ‘other stuff’. This stuff… well its just wackness.
Unexplainable weird moves that makes you go ‘huh?’ I have no explanation other than to say.. they are hard and whoever invented them was having a bit of a laugh.
Turkish get ups.
Its the middle of the night. You’re startled by a noise. You grab your 50lb weight from beside the bed, hoist it in the air and start to get out of bed.. ready to attack.. with your kettlebell.
Yes, this outlines what a Turkish get up look likes. Its ridiculous.
The first time my trainer explained it to me, I thought he was kidding.
“So I’m lying down?’
“Then I lift a kettle bell straight up in the air?”
“Then I lift myself up to standing, without lowering the kettlebell?”
“Yes! You got it”
I still don’t know.
This exercise looks piss easy. You’re throwing a medicine ball against a wall, and squatting in between each throw. C’mon people, this is Crossfit. Bad-ass. Sweating. Pain. Throwing a ball? Pur-leese
After picking a fairly light ball (12lbs), I thought this was going to be a breeze. I played netball until I was 16. I’ve thrown some balls in my time.
Oh the pain. The pain.
2 throws in, I moved down to 10lbs.
5 throws in, I moved to 8lbs and having to rest for a few seconds inbetween throws.
10 throws in, I was wondering if they had a 2lb ball and starting to lose feeling in my arms.
With only 10 more to go, that wall is starting to look as far away as North Korea (and equally insurmountable) and the ball weighs ..ooo.. 90lbs. I can barely lift it and I throw it at the wall with complete hate. When my instructor tells me to ‘squat deeper’ I want to punch her.
This is just what you think it is. Carrying shit. Heavy shit. An exercise totally engineered for women. We shop. We carry heavy shit. All. The. Time. I mean, show me a woman who’s not tried to carry 6 bottles of water, 3 gallons of milk and untold cartons of coconut water, all while trying to keep the dog down and the kids from under her feet. We are pros at carrying shit that is too heavy while walking. Hell, women will carry a 4 year old on one hip all day. The farmers carry is just that. Carrying heavy shit while walking fast. Over and over again. And women love it. Because show me a woman who’s ever dawdled in her life and I’ll show you 50 guys who dawdle every day. Dudes hate this exercise.. (how many guys carry groceries?) and sure, it starts to hurt when you’re scuttling along with 80lbs, but ladies.. this one is your sweet spot. Weird that its part of Crossfit, but sweet.
So, next time you hear someone talk about Crossfit I hope I’ve provided you with a good mental image. We’re pushing massive weights, swinging from bars and yes, skuttling along with our kettle bells, veins a-popping. Its wacky, its sometimes weird, but it always kicks your ass.