May 19, 2011

CrossFit Total

This was only the second time I've done this workout. The first time was way back in January 2010, so about a year and a half ago.

Jan 2010 results:
Squat - 155
Press - 80
Deadlift - 185
Total: 420

Those numbers were after 6 months of training the barbell lifts. Not too bad, when you look at it from that perspective. At that point I was Rx-ing or close to Rx-ing the majority of barbell movements in CrossFit WODs, except those with deadlifts. I was just able to do a few unassisted pullups, but still struggled with other gymnastics / body weight movements.

Fast forward to today. 18 more months of training, so a total of (approximately) 2 years of total barbell training.

May 2011 results:
Squat - 160
Press - 90
Deadlift - 190
Total: 440

At first glance when I made the comparison between 2010 and today, I was pretty disappointed. Only 20 pounds more after 18 months?

So I wanted to think about the path my training has taken, and reflect a little bit. Feel free to stop reading now, this is mostly for me. :)

Despite only gaining 10 pounds in the press, my upper body strength has absolutely exploded as a whole. On multiple occasions I've completed 100 pullups or more in a single workout. It may have taken me twice as long as others, but I still completed each one. Pushups have been up and down, but on the whole I'm much stronger. Same story with ring dips.

I've fixed my squat. The butt wink that I got called out on during my Level I cert in March 2010 is now gone. I still struggle a little with keeping hamstrings tight in the bottom, especially switching back and forth between low-bar and Olympic high-bar and front squats. But it's all good. Reading Rip's book "Starting Strength" is helping me even more in this area. Knowledge is power.

The back pain I began suffering from in September 2010 led me to perfect chiropractor for me, and has completely changed the alignment of my legs and hips for the better. My posture from the waist down is completely revamped, and now we're working hard on the mid-back and neck. I know these changes are going to allow me to get even stronger in the end, even though my injury prevented me from lifting anything heavier than ~125# between September 2010 and February 2011.

The time taken off due to my back set me back more mentally than anything - obviously since my squat and deadlift both went up by 5, but didn't go down. The experience of lifting a heavy weight isn't just physical, it's mental. My brain is currently used to moving very manageable loads, and I've lost some ground in dealing with the "holy shit this is crazy heavy" feeling when moving a barbell. But I know it's just a matter of time and commitment to getting back my mental focus so that I can finally start getting stronger. Now that my body is ready, I will make my mind ready, and then shit is gonna take off!

So, I guess what I really proving to myself with all of this is that I didn't "waste" 18 months because my CF Total only went up 20 pounds. I accomplished a lot in that time, and learned a lot of really valuable lessons. And I've been learning to become a better coach, which is a super-high priority goal for me.

I don't want to get sucked into that numbers trap, where my numbers absolutely define me. Or where I am only worthwhile as a person if I have amazing numbers. There's more too me than just simple metrics.

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