I’m two months in to CrossFit. I’m two workouts in for the 2014 CrossFit Open. Well actually, I’m two announcements in to the Open and only one workout in. But right now, I feel at my CrossFit lowest. It makes me want to use the C word. Yes, that hideous, nasty, debilitating C word. Proceed with caution – the language ahead may make you cringe.
14.2 was announced last night. Before the announcement, there was this sweet little video posted on Instagram of Dave sending us cheer and foreboding. Aww, you really shouldn’t have Dave! (seriously, wtf Dave, you’re evil!) I was imagining some workout of a high number of repetitions with some of CrossFit’s more taxing movements, something like a lot of wall balls or burpees. 14.2 revealed that this was not the case. 14.2 will actually be the shortest workout I’ve done in my past 2 months. In fact, it may be the shortest workout I’ve ever done in my life! And this is for competition!
Fourteen-point-two (weird to type that out, huh?) consists of a 3-minute round of 10 overhead squats and 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups, repeated once. If you finished all 20 OHS and CTB in the 3 minutes, you “earn” the right to continue for another 3 minutes but the rep counts increase to 12. Finish again and you get 3 minutes and 14 reps. This continues until you cannot complete the amount of reps in the three minutes. Oh, and the squats are 95 lbs for guys, 65 lbs for girls.
The good news here is I can do chest-to-bar pull-ups. I’m unsure exactly how many I can do but I can do enough that the CTBs won’t be my limiting factor. It’s the overhead squats that will define this workout for me.
Warning – here comes the language.
I can’t do overhead squats.
My initial 14.2 thoughts were broadcasted on Twitter for the world to see.
Sucks that my poor 14.1 score now looks beastly after the 14.2 announcement… Thanks Dave. #crossfitgames
— Chris (@ifailedfran) March 7, 2014
If Vegas made a line on my rep count, I think the over/under would be 0.5 reps. And I would take the under.
I’m glad I waited until Friday morning to write down my thoughts. A Thursday night post would’ve been extremely dark. Last night I was seriously asking myself Why The *!%# Did I Sign Up For The Open? It would be like me entering a three-point shooting contest. How could I expect to compete against real, accomplished shooters? Except there is one major difference: I can actually shoot a three-point shot! It may not go in, but it’ll have a chance! But now… I can’t do an OHS.
Why can’t I do an overhead squat? In a word, mobility. My body is too tight to work through that movement’s range of motion. And I think in that reason and explanation, I can finally find my silver lining.
The majority of my day is spent sitting down in front of a computer with a poor ergonomic setup. I know for the vast majority of Americans, this is life as usual. Part of me wants to blame the American culture for my predicament regarding 14.2. But then, nobody is forcing me to sit all day, to hunch forward, to tighten my shoulders and hips, to shorten my ligaments and muscles, to render me incapable of extending my arms overhead and squatting down. I have done that to myself.
My silver lining is this: I’m too freaking tight. The thing is, I already know this. I know my shoulder and hip mobility sucks. Just two weeks ago, my coach Emily went to a CF mobility class and I told her how pathetic my flexibility was and I asked her for some shoulder stretches! It’s like I was clairvoyant or something! She gave me a simple stretch to do and most days since then, I’ve done this stretch.
Well, I’ve gone through the motions of this stretch.
I know I’m tight. I know I need to stretch. But dammit, I don’t want to take the time to stretch.
I’ll “stretch” while watching TV sometimes, the same way that I’ll “foam roll”. I go through the motions. I spend a minute or so on each area and then move on when it really starts to hurt. Basically, I go until the real benefits probably start happening, and then I stop.
Now, I’m staring in the face of a task that I must complete but can’t, and the reason for this is me.
So, what am I going to do?
I’m going to stretch!!!
I’m going to do about 35,207 overhead squats with PVC pipe today.
I’m going to scour the internet for info on OHS.
I’m going to reread my own posts of how being at the bottom can be good and how little things like shoulder tightness can sabotage entire big workouts.
But all this is short term.
For the long term, I’m going to develop some kind of regimen to loosen my body. I’m going to take stretching seriously. I’m going to take foam rolling and other recovery aspects seriously. I’m going to eliminate my range of motion issues as a reason to say I can’t.
And for this, I need your help. I am calling on the awesome CrossFit community to help me out. Leave replies with stretching routines that you do. Tweet me links to good mobility articles. Write on my Facebook wall ways to straighten my arms overhead and squat down without rising up on my toes. I implore you, help me.
Don’t let me fool you, my outlook is still fairly negative. When I compete, I want to actually be competitive. I don’t want to get a zero for 14.2 and the thought of failing that bad really pisses me off. Sure I know that when I start believing I can’t do something that I am correct and I won’t do it, I know to be mentally tough, I know. But I tried this movement with an unloaded barbell… it wasn’t happening. Adding 50 pounds to that bar seems folly when 45 lbs alone was a no rep. But I will try. If nothing else, I will try. I’ll go for an OHS PR of one at 95 lbs. And then I will stretch. And stretch. And stretch.
And work on eliminating can’t from my list of adjectives describing overhead squats.