Friday, January 29, 2010

WOD: Workout of the Day, WithOut Dying

WOD = WorkOut of the Day.

But, I heard this the other day: WOD stands for WithOut Dying! Hilarious! But important. The goal of the functional fitness program I follow - CrossFit - is to produce measurable results without dying. That is avoiding conditions such as dropping weights on oneself, blowing your back out, Rhabdo, heart attack, shortness of breath, shitting your pants, etc. I.e. WithOut Dying - physically or psychologically. So I thought I'd start a little side blog here that attempted to deconstruct the CF daily workout as well as some WOD's I create into manageable and doable routines. That is try to expound upon the effects of a WOD to help someone think about making a Workout of the Day that can b done WithOut Dying.

So, I will start with today's CF Daily WOD:

- 10 minutes of as many handstand pushups (HSPUs) as you can do
- 5 minutes of as many (air) squats as you can do
- 2 minutes of as many pull-ups as you can do
- 1 minute os as many push-ups as you can do

Score = total number of reps across all exercises

For those of you unfamiliar with CrossFit style workouts this might sound easy. It's not if you push yourself. However, pushing yourself is where we can run into problems with the WOD and it not killing you. If this is your first WOD, probably best to do it slow. That is try to focus on form as opposed to a high score. I like to take CF like other technically challenging tasks: start slow so that you master the form, which will then beget speed, power, etc. A question that might arise: can we rest. Yes. If you feel like you cannot go on, you can even stop. Although we don't like to recommend and/or encourage stopping. The best thing to do would be to scale the WOD so that you can complete it. Back to resting, sure. If you can do 2 HSPUs and then need to come down off the wall. Only to kick back up again in 5 minutes than that is what you have done. The next time you will do more. Trust me! As for scaling, this WOD is a tough one to scale because we are talking about body weight exercises, but there are possibilities. For example, you can scale the HSPUs by putting your knees or legs on a bench, the bar of the smith machine, or a box (making them parallel to the floor), which will alleviate some of the weight from your should press. It will, however, also detract from the midline stabilization aspect of the exercise, but that will come with time. You could even try having one leg on the bench and alternating legs. This will help train aspects of the core that you will not train by having two legs on the bench.

Air squats are harder to scale. The best thing to do is pay attention to form. It's useful to have at least one or two mirrors around so that you can see yourself from the front and side. The key is to maintain a close lock on the spine and pelvic area: keep them like a straight rigid line that intersects the middle of your body. Start standing straight up, full extension at knee and hip. Then Lower, and really lower to past parallel. None of this 90 degrees shit, go ahead, get low!  Scaling can occur by doing two things slowing your overall pace and setting. If you slow your overall pace you might lose some of the metabolic conditioning (metcon) associated with the WOD, but you may have to do this, or you may want to do this to increase your score. Setting entails doing quick bursts of sets of n number of repetitions. So you could do 10 squats as fast as you can. Rest. Do it again. And so forth. This should maintain a metcon effect, but give you some down time to recoup if you cannot go straight through.

Pull-ups can be scaled in a number of ways. The most basic way to scale a proper strict pull-up is to Kip it. Google Kipling pull-up, kip-up, or kips and you should get a number of videos showing how this works. Don't worry it's not cheating. Kips allow for you to do more work in faster time, thus producing a greater power output. They also effectively train the same movements and muscle groups necessary for the strict pull-up so you will actually get better at pull-ups by doing kips. Don't believe me, try it. Proper scaling can come in the form of a machine that allows you to set a weight differential to counter your bodyweight; i.e. the machine makes your body weight less to your arms and back so you can execute a pull-up. This is a great training tool for beginners who cannot do a pull-up because it trains all the right muscles, but it lacks the metcon aspect of the training. The other way that one could scale the pull-up is by attaching a stretchy band to the bar and then stepping on the band. This again makes your body feel lights, but it adds a component of core stability to be aware of. Each of these are great ways to scale the pull-ups.

Push-ups can be scaled simply by putting your knees on the ground. In gym class in school we used to call these girl pushups, but they are not girly. If you cannot do a proper pushup then this is a good way to exercise and strengthen the muscle groups necessary to develop the skill to do a push-up proper.

OK, well, I hope this helps people think about the exercises in question and how to WOD without dying. Until next time....

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