Tag Archives: push-ups

Crossfit Isn’t Dangerous–I Am

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My grandma sent me an article about how dangerous Crossfit is. I read it, and like any good Crossfitter, I found it amusing.

Grandmas are supposed to worry; and someday as I’m doing handstand pushups and running ultra marathons, I’ll probably worry about my own grandkids too. It’s kind of the Oma’s job.

While I don’t entirely buy the ‘karma’ idea, I did manage to injure myself after I read the article. But I can’t blame Crossfit–it was entirely pilot error. I can’t pinpoint exactly what I did, but I think there was a problem with my improperly executed push-ups that left my shoulder-blade hurting. And like the stubborn marathon runner I am (pushing through pain) I kept working out until I literally could not put any weight on my left arm whatsoever.

Stupid, I know.

I tend to learn things that hard way (it’s a character flaw).

This shoulder ‘incident’ has left me feeling weak. While everyone else gets to do the WOD, I get the ‘injured runner’s special.’ It’s frustrating to NOT be with my fellow bogatyrs, swinging kettle bells and (as much as I hate the exercise) doing push ups.

It makes me feel weak.

We tend to think a lot about strength in Crossfit, but the ‘W’ word isn’t tossed around much.

That’s because no one WANTS to be weak–that’s why we Crossfit.

Weakness means not performing up to standard or to be structurally compromised or inefficient.

But being weak is so much more. Like strength, weakness is also a condition of the mind. Weakness causes people to roll over and die when things get tough, rather than facing challenges head-on.

We all have moments of vulnerability, moments where we WANT to give up. But the truly strong people will observe the weakness, and then elbow it out of the way as they push past.

Injury is not weakness. In fact, forcing oneself to recover from injury takes more mental strength than pushing through pain. It means staying humble by using a lighter weight; it means complete trust in your coach’s modification; it means willingly, purposely decelerating, though everything in you wants to put the pedal to the metal.

There is strength in self-control.

Given time, most injuries will heal, and with Crossfit, you can bet that you’ll eventually come out stronger than ever.

Weakness of the mind–that’s another story. No amount of time can heal it. Once it takes root, it will completely take over until lives are brambly and tangled with it.

The emotions we have are important outlets. Sadness, when it comes, needs to be recognized and given its proper respect. But it’s not a place to linger; and it’s certainly not a neighborhood you’d want to buy a home in.

So, we move on, without asking ‘why;’ without wishing we could change time; without hoping it was all a bad dream. We just keep moving forward. Though we might hobble along, we still keep moving. We don’t stop. We don’t look back.

Because if we look back, our progress stops cold in its tracks.

That IS weakness.

The best runners keep their eyes on the horizon. They don’t look down, and they sure as hell don’t look back.

If we’ve stumbled, then we learn our lesson, do things better, and make things right.

Being injured might make you feel weak–but that’s not true weakness.

True weakness is stopping to watch the clock run out instead of trying.

Even if you’re injured, you can still move forward, albeit slowly; because in this life, every rep counts.

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Are All Crossfit Coaches a Little Sadistic?

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One prerequisite for Crossfit Coach Advanced Certification is a psychological eval to determine whether the candidate is sadistic enough to derive “pleasure as a result of inflicting pain…or watching such behaviors inflicted on others.”

You might want to fact-check that statement. 

But it feels true. 

My arms are STILL sore from last Monday. And here we are again, facing 100 more pushups–as a ‘simple set.’

Tell me that’s not sadistic!

Of course, the next day’s WOD is written on the website, so we can see beforehand what we are about to endure, and we can imagine the PAIN involved on our already beleaguered appendages.

Now, my Crossfit friends will tell me to HTFU. And they’re right. I should stop crying and just do 100 more stupid pushups.

But I think our coach LIKES to hear us complain. It gives him a sense of accomplishment to know that whatever creative program he’s designed for our ‘benefit’ is actually working.

If the right muscles hurt, then we KNOW we’re doing things correctly.

For example:

If your back hurts after double kettle bell rack holds, you’re doing it wrong.

If your ass hurts, it’s okay.

Pain is how the coach measures success.

A while back, the Coach started this program that is tailored to the different needs of different athletes. I started in Tier 1, but after the first day, I asked to switch to “Bogatyr.” He told me that I COULD switch–but only once. And then I had to stick with it.

I’m still not sure WHY I switched. I think I just liked the name, which means ‘warrior,’ and truly, I need some kind of label to get me through my current personal life–and Bogatyr is a GREAT label. If I were going to get a tattoo, I might consider that one in a scrawly script on some body part nobody could easily see.

I digress.

I am a Bogatyr, and quite often, we get to play with the toys at the box, some of which were most-likely purchased at the Medieval Torture Museum at Rothenburg.

As a Bogatyr, we do things that often hurt (like nearly 300 Russian Kettle Bell swings) or HUNDREDS of pushups. And while I complain a lot and whip out ranting blogs on the subjects of pain and sadism, you should SEE my arms. I’m really proud of them.

And the fact that I can do 100 push-ups (and not from my knees anymore) means that something HAS improved. Ok, so my push-ups still resemble a Sea Lion flopping onto a rocky ledge, especially after the first ten, but at least I can DO them (sort of).

The fact is, I love being a Bogatyr.

I love the pain.

I joke about it with my friends.

I sign up for mountain marathons and look at the course elevation map and say, “That’s going to be frigging hard!” and then I laugh. I get excited about the challenge of it, and the fact that I WILL BE IN PAIN.

And then I dream about bigger races. 100 miles through the Himalayas is on my radar. 100 miles–at altitude. Little Sherpas will have to carry my sorry ass across the finish line, where I’ll smile and laugh and look for my kettle bells for a post-run WOD.

Which leaves me with one question:

Who is the sadistic one?

It might not be my coach after all.