As CrossFitters, we are generally proud of our injuries. Not major ones of course, but the small stuff. Like hand tears from pull-ups or shin scrapes from deadlifts. We wear these boo-boos like badges of honor. We Instagram our wounds like a sorority girl does selfies. But there is one powerful plight that remains taboo, one malevolent maiming that misses social media. Monkey butt, the silent ASSassin.
My CrossFit journey was still in its infancy when I became acquainted with monkey butt (or CrossFit crack). Monkey butt is not unlike food poisoning, sneaking up on you uninvited and rendering you utterly defeated and making mundane tasks (like sitting for instance) monumental.
First of all, what is monkey butt? As far as CrossFit goes I only know one way to get monkey butt – sit-ups. Monkey butt occurs when friction causes an abrasion to your skin. During a sit-up, the area on your body that is most prone to rubbing is the area just above your bottom… Basically the very top portion of your butt crack, the upper most buttocks region. Multiple sit-ups combined with the grinding hard floor and sweat and perhaps abrasive clothing can create quite a raspberry above your bottom. Think of it as a skinned knee, but on your crack. Sounds lovely huh?
It’s not. Not at all.
Monkey butt hurts! It hurts something fierce! Although nothing hurts like the initial CrossFit crack discovery (more on that soon), everything hurts afterwards. Just taking a seat becomes a twelve-step program. First you have to squat down, then catch yourself with your hands to keep your bum elevated, then lower yourself gingerly onto one cheek and then slowly roll over into a seated position. This process takes approximately 15 seconds and will make the most manliest of men look like a whimpering little baby. Believe me, I’ve been there.
Oh wait, did you think that’s the extent of the man card mangling? Nope! CrossFit crack is a twisted, back country, inbred cousin of diaper rash. What’s a way to make diaper rash go away? Slather it with Desitin. What’s a way to help monkey butt go away? Lather yourself up with the same and smell like a diaper! Yay for manliness!
You don’t feel Monkey Butt as it forms. You don’t feel your skin rubbing away. You don’t notice the raw meat above your butt. Oh, but you will notice it!
I discovered my monkey butt the same way most people do – in the shower. I have a certain way I get into the shower. I start facing the water and get my face and front side nice and warm and wet first. Then I turn around and get my back side. I let the water hit the back of my head and shoulders and then trickle down my back. And as the water trickles down, it contacts the lower half of my body….
Dear God, make it stop, make the pain go away!
My first thought was that a viper had slithered out of the drain and embedded its fangs into my ass. No joke. I yelled. Or maybe screamed. I at least hollered, and it could’ve been partially a whimper. I thought I had just taken a bullet in my butt. It was one of the most intense, worst pains I had ever felt. Perhaps what made it the worst was I had no idea it was coming! (Rains of Castamere, anyone?) I’m pretty sure I took a crossbow bolt to the buttocks during that shower. Curse you monkey butt!
The first cut is the deepest. Did
Sheryl Crow Cat Stevens have monkey butt when she he wrote this song?? Maybe! All I know is that I will never forget what it felt like the first time the viper water hit my poor raw butt after a WOD of sit-ups. Each and every time I do sit-ups now, I will give myself a once-over in the mirror before entering the shower. If I notice some raw redness… I’m not sure what I’m going to do, perhaps just not shower and just Old Spice up or something.
Some people will stick a jug of milk under your nose and ask you if you think it smells bad or if it is spoiled. If it is truly spoiled milk, you’ll know. The smell is unmistakable. You know if the milk is spoiled. Monkey butt is the same way. If you think you’ve had monkey butt, you haven’t had monkey butt. You KNOW if you’ve had the monkey butt.
So what can you do to prevent monkey butt? You can use an AbMat when doing sit-ups do help relieve some of the pressure/friction between yourself and the floor. I find that the AbMat definitely helps me, and you can take it a step further by putting a towel or shirt on top of the AbMat. If you have no AbMat to use, you can use a rolled up towel to sit on. You could probably do sit-ups in one of those doughnut things that shorter people use to help see over the steering wheel when driving. You can use the anti chafe balm that runners use. There’s even some anti monkey butt powder! Remember, and this is especially true for CrossFit crack – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What can you do if you unfortunately acquire the butt of the monkey? First, you’re going to have to suffer through washing your bum. It’s ok if you cry, there’s no judgement here. After cleansing your wound, apply some ointment. Yes, seriously, I recommend Desitin. Desitin provides relief and protection to speed healing and keep away bacteria. From here, some people may want to bandage their behind. I don’t do this, simply because I find it difficult to get a cover on this area of my body. Those bandaids that are butterflied seem to work the best if you wish for one. And of course, abstain from sit-ups for a couple days. Remember, monkey butt is an injury, just like if you ripped your hands doing pull-ups. You would rest your torn hands for a day or two… you must also rest dat ass if you have the monkey.
Monkey butt, the bane of sit-ups everywhere. This has been a public service announcement. You have been warned. Monkey butt is real, it exists, and it will sneak up on you and literally bite you in the ass.
**Editor’s Note: This post was featured on Tabata Times on 03/25/2014!