Wake Up Call
I replied, “Gee, Dan, I write some really good stories, now that you’ve started reading my blog, you mean I have to actually do some of this stuff?”
Hey, I’ve got goals. Lot’s of goals. I collect goals.
Hmmm, I think I just got Dan’s point. So instead of collecting goals after the 2016 CrossFit Open, I will set a goal and create a timeline to actually accomplish that goal.
Identify the Problem
So what singular, overarching goal would have drastically changed my position on the leaderboard in the 2016 CrossFit Open?
- Week One: Chest to Bar Pull-ups – fail
- Week Two: Toes to Bar – fail
- Week Three: Bar Muscle-Ups – fail
- Week Four: Handstand Push-ups – fail
- Week Five: Ugh! – succeeded
Over the next 11 months, I must master hanging bodyweight exercises.
Developing upper body strength in arms, chest and back would have advanced me a couple hundred places on the leaderboard. The first three weeks of the Open had this old man hanging from a steel pipe flailing like a mackerel on a string. Over the next 11 months, I must master hanging bodyweight exercises.
My default excuses have always been that I am too heavy (200+ pounds), too tall (6’1″) or too old (65). I can get lighter, but I can’t get shorter or younger. So I must discard these self-imposed limitations. They are BS, and if I truly desire to progress in strength I have to attack head-on.
So my goal is to lift 200 pounds three feet off the floor. I do it with ease doing a deadlift, but that is lifting with my legs, glutes, and hips. Obviously these are my largest and strongest muscles.
Conversely a Pull-up uses biceps, triceps, scaps, lats, pecs and more.
the middle and lower trapezius, rhomboids, pectoralis major and minor, deltoids, infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, teres major, subscapularis, biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, palmaris longus, flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum superficialis, and flexor pollicis longus, external oblique, and erector spinae.” – Breaking Muscle – Amber Larsen
A sad fact is that I have worked in an office all my life and I never stepped foot in a gym until a few years ago. These muscles do not even know I exist, we have never met.
My challenge is to introduce myself to each and every one of these muscles in the upcoming months. I will do it in the form of several movements including, but not limited to:
- Sandbag Rows
- Dumbbell Rows
- Bodyweight Rows (either Ring Rows, or from beneath a Barbell)
- Flex Hangs
- Banded Pullups
I need to do some homework to find a decent progression to build strength. Over the next month, I will focus primarily on doing sets of reps on the various Rows. I suspect it will be somewhat monotonous, but I must focus on the long-term goal.
There are many articles online that promise results in 30 days, I know it will certainly take more than thirty days to develop strength in a complex series of muscles that I have not used. Also, I will be paying attention to shoulder health, utilizing Crossover Symmetry to keep all the parts in harmony. Third, I plan to avoid kipping until I am strong enough for a series of strict PUs.
I’m not opposed to kipping pull-ups, I just want to ensure my shoulders and back are strong enough to handle the extra stress.
I envision the next eleven months as follows:
- Strict Pull-ups (including Chin to Bar, and Chest to Bar)
- Kipping practice
- Kipping Pull-ups
- Bar Muscle-ups
Those items pertain to bodyweight, gymnastics and time on the rig.
My next story will address a couple other goats I must slay over the next year. Where will you be placing your effort so you can progress in the 2017 Open?