As Many Rounds As Possible in 15 minutes of:
3 Deadlifts 315/205
6 Toes to Bars
As Many Rounds As Possible in 15 minutes of:
3 Deadlifts, 315/205
Post rounds completed and Rx to comments.
3×12 Heavy DB Reverse Lunges
Post loads to comments.
Ouch: Discomfort, Pain, and the Space Between.
By Noah Abbott
Life, inevitably leads to pain. Wow, hold on. That’s an incredibly depressing way to start an article about Crossfit. All the doom metal at the gym must be rubbing off on me. That said, the mixture of lifting heavy weights, moving our bodies dynamically, and testing our metabolic limits- all agitated within the cocktail shaker of 9-5 sedentary desk jobs- can certainly lead to some ouchies. Knowing the difference between a stubbed toe and an amputated leg is a crucial ability for any Crossfitter, so let’s examine the pseudo-science of “listening to your body.”
Most of us have had the good fortune to have been hit broadside by the Crossfit Truck. That global, total body soreness, stiffness, and general fuckupedness is most often caused my high rep conditioning workouts and poor recovery (bad positions, bad sleep, Bad Bad Leroy Brown, or bad, bad, evil, sweet alcohol.) This is muscular soreness, often referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and it’s a fact of Crossfitter life. It’s mainly caused by the eccentric portion of lifts (lengthening/lowering.) Soreness in and of itself isn’t really problematic, although it does sometimes signify fatigue of the affected muscle. >This feeling can generally be overcome. Drink some water. And a cup of coffee. Get to the gym a little early and move around, jump on an erg or a rope and get your body temperature up. Take some sort of foamy implement, stick it wherever it hurts (within reason) and roll around on the floor like a kid watching Pokemon. Anything that increases blood flow to the region- massage, foam rolling or other self-myofascial release, or the awesome and scary Voodoo Band– will help clear up soreness lingering from a workout.
That said, the easiest way to avoid soreness is Not Jumping Off The Deep End. The easiest way to make yourself really sore is to take a long vacation to New Orleans, subsist entirely on beignets, muffaletta, and booze, and then try and PR Helen on your first day back. Ask me how I know this.
Discomfort can also present itself during a workout, again, generally a long, high rep conditioning piece. Just because its hard to breathe doesn’t necessarily mean you are about to die, and just because your legs feel really, really heavy doesn’t mean they are going to fall off. Both intra and post workout discomfort are pretty normal parts of being a Crossfitter, so get used to them.
When It’s a Problem
Although I’ve said before that some soreness or discomfort within or after a workout is acceptable, the whole game changes if my movement patterns begin to become compromised. Are you so sore that it begins affecting your ability to get into these basic positions we require for safety:
1. A full depth squat with a neutral lumbar spine and pushed out (abducted) knees?
2. A neutral, braced spine when you deadlift or set up for a clean or snatch?
3. A healthy and mature overhead position, with your elbows locked and biceps in line with your ears?
If your soreness is preventing these positions, then you need to take the time to make it right. That could mean the tactics described above or even *GASP*, a day off!
(Note: if you can’t get into those positions due to other mobility concerns, and you don’t come to class a half hour early and work on it, well, this is how I feel)
The problem of course, isn’t that your snatches or Fran time will suck, although they will. The problem is that our bodies are really smart and sneaky, and will still find a way to throw that weight overhead or get your chin over the bar. Like a carb crazed triathlete twerking their way across the finish line, you’ll get there. But your body will not be happy with you. Which leads us to…
Pain is sharp, localized discomfort that generally signifies structural or systemic damage has taken place. This most often results from some sort of trauma- hitting your thumb with a hammer, falling down stairs, and the like. While that’s the norm, enough movement through suboptimal ranges of motion can certainly get you there as well. Pain is a signal to your body that something is wrong and it wants you to stop. We would be foolish to bull our way past this signal, but oftentimes thats exactly what we do. If you feel pain during a workout stop, and talk to a coach. Often this can be surprisingly quick and easy to fix- mostly by targeting the tissues above and below the painful site to feed some systemic slack to your grinding gear. That approach (which Kelly Starrett calls Upstream/Downstream) along with some Voodoo Band compression can address most of what ails you.
Heed the clarion call of pain, friends, for if you don’t, prepare yourselves for:
Eventually, in our pursuit of competitive exercise immortality, we may find ourselves injured. I won’t, and can’t, get too much into the minutiae of the anatomy, physiology, or rehabilitation of an injury. I am not a doctor. In fact, none of the coaches are doctors. That is why, at the end of the day, when an athlete comes up to us with some sort of nebulous description of the pain they are feeling (“Noah, it feels like 2 hamsters are having a sword fight inside my left knee”) we will always recommend that you “get it checked out.” That does not mean go home, drink a fifth of Old Grandad, and then come back tomorrow. It does not mean ignore it, or do lots of yoga, and hope it gets better. It means go to a doctor, who may know what we don’t, and/or get an MRI, which can see what we can’t. Just because we wear tshirts with skulls on them does not mean that our coaching staff can fix something truly torn or broken.
Now that the gloomy semi-disclaimer is out of the way, I can talk about something I do have personal experience with; the mindset and perspective that injury will give you. I had the pleasure of spending almost a year rehabbing a disc injury that I inflicted on myself (by being an idiot) before I ever walked into the hallowed hall of physical training that is CFSBK. I’d never wish the injury or rehab on anybody, but it did give me lots of time to reflect on my priorities and how I wanted to train when I got better. Ask anybody who has lost time to a significant injury and they will tell you this:
The major goal of each day of training is to have fun, learn a little, and equip yourself to come back tomorrow a little stronger and faster. Fucking yourself up in pursuit of some vaguely held goal is the opposite of this paradigm. It’s not fun, you miss “classroom time” and you can forever alter your ability to gain (or maintain) strength and speed. When you are 80, nobody will care how much you squat, but you will care if you can get up off the toilet without assistance. Train accordingly.