My Crossfit Foundations Experience
I’ve done Crossfit movements for years but never took an official foundations class or signed up to join a local box. A great deal was offered to me as a member of a local fitness club so I decided to jump on it and join the Lake Norman Crossfit Foundations class.
In the first few classes we covered some basic dynamic stretches and movements. Things like the Samson stretch, spider man stretch, PVC pass-throughs, air squats and how to do a strict press versus a push press. It had been years since I had any formal instruction on some of these movements. I was thinking back to my days of playing high school football and honestly couldn’t even remember what had been taught to me. Over time I’m sure I developed bad habits and got stuck in the rut of only doing things like a push press and not strict press since it requires more focus. For strict press it’s important to tuck your chin into your neck and then at the end of the rep “poke your head out the window.” We also covered the correct form for a kettlebell swing, which I learned I wasn’t opening my hips enough at the end of the movement. I could immediately feel a difference and found I had to battle myself from slipping back into bad habits.
After that it was time for the Workout of the Day (WOD). The first WOD was what is called an AMRAP. That stands for “as many repetitions/reps as possible”. Our AMRAP workout consisted of five barbell push press and 15 kettlebell swings. We did this for 10 minutes, which doesn’t seem like a daunting task at first but definitely left my shoulders and lower back burning. I opted to go for a slightly heavier kettlebell before the WOD started. I was regretting this decision a few minutes into the WOD. Someone else in the class (Billy) gave me some friendly heckling about picking the heavier weight.
In the third Crossfit foundations class we covered walking lunges and “over unders” which is where you shuffle sideways as if you are stepping over a hurdle and then ducking under one. Then we did more air squats, brushed up on our barbell push press and barbell front squats. The workout consisted of another AMRAP where we would run 400 meters and then do 15 kettlebell squats. I had foolishly run 8 miles that morning prior to class. I had all I could do to keep from cramping. I made sure to check the foundations blog after that to get an idea of what each class would have in store. That way I could give certain muscle groups a break and not overwork myself in any one area.
In the fourth class we started with a review of hip stretching, spider stretch, v leg sit-ups, reverse plank and again covered push press. It’s important to bend the knees slightly and take advantage of the downward momentum to push the bar back up when doing the push press. We covered the box jump, the kipping pull-up, band assisted pull up and butterfly pull up. I had to focus the most on opening my hips and fully standing up at the top of the box jump. I had done all of these exercises before but I was really here to work on my form so I paid extra attention to each repetition.
At the end of the fourth class our WOD was a 12 minute AMRAP of 5 push press, 5 box jump and 5 pull-up. I was shooting for at least 12 rounds, hoping to beat 14 and got 15 rounds completed when it was all said and done. Aside from working several muscle groups my heart rate was up the entire time and left me feeling like I burned a decent amount of calories. I always feel a level of satisfaction with the workout if I get a good sweat.
Afterwards I jumped on the rings to do a muscle up and was able to get one rep before I lost my form. I routinely do muscle ups on regular pull up bars but rarely get to do them on rings. I guess the class watching made me nervous because I couldn’t mimic my typical form. Stage fright apparently got the best of me this particular day.
I’ll be writing more about my experience finishing the foundation class and working on my form with these movements over time.
- Mike Murphy