Happy Monday, Internet! I hope your weekend was good and you’re feeling ready to kick this week’s butt.
Yesterday was Sunday (thank you, Captain Obvious) and that means two things for me: the return of yoga at our gym (yasss) and open gym (*slow clap*). I love our yoga class because it’s a fantastic way to stretch out and undo all the tightness we’ve accumulated over the week, and because our yoga teacher, Wendy, has been gone the last few weeks kicking total ass at the USA National Weightlifting Championships (AND SHE GOT GOLD!!!). Not only is she a wonderful yoga teacher, she is also super strong and one badass lady. After an hour with her I felt good to go for open gym, which gets a slow clap because so I often I go in with a very loose plan of what I want to be doing. Today I went in with a plan, and even remembered to film some stuff!
Last week one of our coaches suggested I work on some gymnastics progressions, so he had me do some wall walks and handstand holds. Now my shoulders are en fuego and I have lots of fresh blood circulation to my face, which I’ve heard is good for you. I really want to get handstand push ups, but don’t yet have the shoulder strength to do them strict, and I don’t quite trust myself in terms of kipping because I still don’t have the technicalities down. See video of failed HSPU here:
From my experience, most people don’t post their failures on social media. The nice (and not so nice) part about social media is that all content that is posted is carefully curated to showcase brands/people a certain way; most people are proud of their successes and accomplishments (as they should be!) and want to highlight them as much as possible; what they don’t realize is how helpful showing their failures can actually be to us normal folk. I’m not a professional, I’m not an elite athlete…I’m pretty average. But, I do think it helps when real people post both their successes and failures, because EVERYONE misses sometimes. That is my miss, and I’m proud of it – when I started CrossFit, it terrified me to even kick up into a handstand against the wall. Now I can do it without second guessing myself, and the negative/descent work of the HSPUs are actually beneficial – even if you can’t kip back up, the work on the way down still helps build the muscle memory and the strength.
So there’s me failing at that, and I am (audibly) bummed. But I know it can only get better from here, and I still did some wall walks and handstand holds to help my shoulders with the strength piece, and to get comfortable being upside down.
I also really want to get a stronger back. I definitely feel like this is an area that is weak, and at this point I should be further along in my strict pull ups than I am; on a good day I can get 2 strict ones, but I really have to fight for them. To help with this, I did some pretty low ring rows with a slow descent on the way down. Tip: the lower you walk your feet/more parallel you are to the rings, the harder it will be.
My goal was to hold at the top for a second, and then have a slow & controlled descent down for about 4 seconds. I did about 5 sets of 5, and then went on to bent over barbell rows. For these I used 75 lbs and did 4 sets of 8 reps.
I also did some tricep dips, because I can do a few strict now! Looking at the video, I recognize I should get a little lower before pressing up, but again, this is something I’ve never even been able to come close to doing without anything assisting me. I did 3 sets of 3, and when I couldn’t press up I worked on having a slow & controlled descent.
Not every day you train needs to be heavy or high volume. Technique and skill work is just as important to work on, and today was a good day for it. It’s been incredibly hot here in the Bay Area (up to 102° today), and there are a number of wild fires raging in northern California that are creating a ton of smoke that’s drifting down here. So, it’s hot as hell with horrendous air quality. Not exactly ideal training conditions, but you work with what you have and it is what it is.
What are your favorite back exercises? I’d love to start incorporating more into my accessory work, and am always curious what other people love to do.