Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting comfy upside down & interval training

Tuesday was a fun day at the gym. I showed up at 0830 to workout, but ended up coaching, which was cool, because it meant our head coach was busy taking a new person through the on ramp. Yay! :-D

The skill for Tuesday was handstand progressions and handstand pushups progressions.

The reason I broke them down into two areas was in light of my own athletic development in that area. My subtitle for the handstand progressions was "get comfy upside down".

I don't remember if I posted about this, but the first time I tried to kick up into a handstand, I basically just collapsed into a heap on the mat. After the same thing happened on my second attempt, I was gently banned from handstands, and introduced to the headstand and frog stand. I practiced these religiously for weeks, then kind of sporadically for a few more weeks. I think I got more interested in pullup practice at that point.

I didn't really know much else to do to prep myself for kicking up, until one day at CF KoP I was introduced to the concept of facing away from the wall, and walking my feet up the wall to get myself upside down. So then I had a new trick that I practiced to try to convince myself I could support my own weight upside down.

Then I learned about the HSPU harness, and started messing around with that, using it to practice handstand holds and also HSPU.

Finally one day I had the confidence in myself to try to kick up again -- and I could do it! I was so freaking excited by this, you have no idea. It wasn't as much excitement as getting pullups, but it was in my top 5 CrossFit moments.

The moral of the story is to meet your athletes where they're at, and give them a clearly delineated path to success. Learning the progressions for doing handstand pushups isn't necessarily going to translate into being able to kick up into a handstand. Putting your body in pike position off a bench or box, or even hanging your feet over a bar in the rack -- they just don't instill the same skills as other types of handstand practice. So while you're working your progressions for HSPU, don't forget about getting comfy upside down. :)

Hopefully what we taught yesterday will get more of our athletes on the road to confident handstands and eventually handstand pushups. :)

The WOD for Tuesday wasn't really a CrossFit WOD, because there wasn't any scoring. It was just a straight-up interval and conditioning session, and it was hard!
4 rounds
1 min at each station, 1 minute rest between rounds
Ring rows
Jumping lunges
Ab mat situps -- butterfly
Handstand hold -- if 5 full ROM HSPU, scale up to HSPU

Results: Really fucking tired! hehe
Seriously, I forgot how brutalizing jumping lunges are. If you want your legs to feel like they're going to fall off, or for them to just straight up go numb while you're trying to move them, try jumping lunges. It's a truly explosive movement, very good for developing strength, power, agility and balance.

And ring rows aren't just that exercise for people who can't do pullups yet. Try some, they are really challenging! If you have trouble finishing out your pullups at the top, add some ring rows to develop the shoulder -- make sure to bring the rings into the armpit. This is also a great movement to work the  stabilizing muscles of the core, since you hold a plank position the whole time.

OMG the handstand holds were brutal. I had done some Oly lift practice prior to doing this WOD, and I hope that's the reason why I could barely stay in a handstand hold for 45 seconds. I had to drop at least once every time. Geez. Time to work holds back into my cool downs again.

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