CrossFit Workout

Tonight’s workout was once through on the following.
800m row
21 kettlebell thrusters
21 hanging leg raises
500m row
15 KB thrusters
15 hanging leg raises
300m row
9 KB thrusters
9 hanging leg raises
I was a slowpoke at 21 minutes because I had to take breaks during all sets of thrusters and hanging leg raises.
Rowing at first didn’t seem so hard, and I thought jumping rope was a lot harder. But now I see how hard it is to row fast and how much the effort increases with speed—more than I expected! By my final set I was rowing pretty slow.
Thrusters are a way to explode out of a squat, weights held in front of shoulders, and spring into a standing position with the weights fully up overhead like in a press—but instead of pressing you use the force of the hips coming forward to pop the weights into the air and get under them. The feet should come off the ground a little from the force of the hips. Video here (Windows Media; warning, headbanger music). I started out with kettlebells cryptically marked with two vertical lines like the pause button on a CD player. Did that mean 11 or 2? I couldn’t tell. For my second and third set I went to the next smaller ones.
Hanging leg raises means hang from a pull-up bar and bring your straight legs up to the bar, contracting the torso completely and extending fully at the bottom, poking the stomach out so that the abs actually stretch before contracting completely again. I did it pretty well on my first set of 21, which I broke up into 3 sets of 7. I bent my legs a little but I kept my arms straight and brought my feet up close to the bar. On my second set, I bent my knees a lot more but I tried to concentrate on full contraction. On my third set of 9, which I divided into sets of 5, 2, and 2, I just tried to lift my knees to my shoulders and contract as much as I could.
I rested for ten or fifteen minutes and then we did some gymnastics—a regular Wednesday thing with a different coach than the rest of the workouts. We practiced handstands and the hollow position that he said is fundamental to gymnastics. He had us pop up from flat on our backs into the hollow position as fast as we could and hold it for five seconds. We did that 10 times. He said the thing to focus on is contracting the body with the higher abdominal muscles that are right below the sternum.
We did a couple of difficult exercises that are used to build up to the planche, including doing a planche on parallettes with feet in a rubberband hung from overhead. I did well at that one for some reason—I was surprised. I guess the rubberband was pretty strong and I wasn’t as heavy as the guys who tried it. These exercises required us to use the same high-abdominals focus. I’m going to be ridiculously sore tomorrow, and Friday, and …
Later we used the pommel horse. We started out by grasping the handles and jumping up to hip level, then raising the hips as high as possible by pressing with the shoulders. I got high enough so that my ankles were at the top of the horse. A few people could get their feet over it. We practiced swinging with legs in a V, first with hands in front of us and then with hands behind. Some of the more experienced people were able to build momentum and height enough to swing a leg over the horse, pick up a hand, and get the leg between the handles. Some of the time, a few people were even able to swing the leg in, keep going and more-or-less gracefully swing the leg right back out again without sinking down onto the horse.
On my turn, I didn’t even have the nerve to take my hand off the handle at all! I had not focused on the sensation of my weight shifting from one hand to the other when we were doing the swings, and I never built enough swinging momentum to get that instant of weightlessness. So I just tried to concentrate on exaggerating the weight shift. I need to practice that some more. I don’t want to be the only person who won’t pick up a hand and swing onto the horse. Next time I go to the gym, on Friday, I’ll practice that swing as my warm-up.
A friend read the Suffer on Saturday post and asked me what a kettlebell looks like. It looks like this: