For the first time, today I showed up for the CrossFit class instead of personal training. I was nervous. I didn’t know the structure of the class or what I’d do to get attention if I didn’t know how to do something. Nancy was helpful, telling me what to expect and pointing out a 45-pound bar I could use for the push-presses.
The workout consisted of three timed rounds of: pull-ups, push-press 40 percent of body weight, rowing, and push-ups. In other words, do as many of whichever exercise as you can (or row as far as possible) between Nick’s calling “start” and “stop.” After each one he collected scores and put them on the board. I don’t know how much time he was giving us.
By the time I got out my pad to write down my scores, Nick had averaged the scores for all three rounds of each drill.
My averages were 3 pull-ups, 14 push-press, 233 meters rowing, and 16 push-ups. On pull-ups, I started with my usual four, then managed a few more before the time was up. On the second and third rounds, though, I did 2 and 1 pull-up respectively. I spent the rest of the pull-up time hanging from the bar and concentrating on lifting myself an inch. Nancy later told me you can do them any old way, and it’s not necessary to shoot for perfect form. Even so I’m not sure I would have added very much to my score.
The push-press is more demanding on the lower body than the upper body, so I was able to do it more consistently than the pull-ups in all three rounds, doing about 20, 12, and 11 presses. Still, when I’d done as many as I could, I found myself standing with the bar hanging down at my thighs and unable to lift it to chest level to rack it when Nick called stop. I had to set it on the floor or a low rack at ankle level. I thought I could lift it, but I quickly found that it went all lopsided to the left—my weak side, apparently—and I couldn’t counteract the tilt because I was so fatigued.
Rowing is much easier for me and felt almost like a break. I went as fast as I comfortably could and my times did not vary too widely.
Push-ups are really hard, but not as hard as pull-ups. I think in the three rounds I did something like 20, 16, and 12 push-ups for the average of 16—much better than pull-ups.
After all three rounds of scored drills, we had a non-scored cool-down that was a workout in itself: three rounds of rope-climb, 15 back extensions, and 15 sit-ups. I climbed halfway up the rope the first time, a quarter up (maybe) the second time, and I couldn’t get more than two inches off the ground on the third. I tried to use the right technique of gripping with my feet, but in my last two attempts I couldn’t seem to pinch the rope with my feet. In hindsight I think I was probably trying to support myself (in a slight panic) by pinching it with my thighs. I didn’t slide or get burned, but I also couldn’t get my feet to cooperate. I’m just glad I was able to control my descent enough to avoid hurting myself. Back extensions and sit-ups were surprisingly hard on top of all that!
My upper body—shoulders, lats, back—are so tired that I feel like a pair of legs with these loose, useless appendages balanced on top. I had to rest a couple of hours before I felt like typing. This is exactly what I had in mind—a hard workout that lets me feel that I tested myself and accomplished something at the same time.
I’m glad I got my first class over with. I’m not going to be able to go back for a little while, but I’ll be able to look forward to it more now that I’ve done it once. The workouts will always be unpredictable, though.