So as I’ve written before, I’m huge fan of Crossfit and a massive promoter of the positives that it brings to polers, and vice versa. As some of you may be aware, the 2015 Crossfit Open is currently going on (as I write, I’m gearing up for the 5th week and final week). Now this is my first year competing, and I’ve been told that the Open has changed over the years and people’s attitudes towards it have also changed as Crossfit has come more into the mainstream. (If you want more info about the Open, Regionals, and the Crossfit Games, check out http://games.crossfit.com). Essentially, the Open is:
- Any individual, anywhere, can sign up ($20 registration fee); you can sign up with an “affiliate gym”, where someone, either a coach or a fellow athlete will judge your workouts; or you can submit your videos online
- There are 5 workouts (referred to by numbers – the first two digits are the year, and the number after the decimal point indicates the week – e.g. 15.1 was the first workout of the 2015 Open)
- Each week, you complete the workout, either as prescribed (Rx) or scaled (a new option this year) and upload your score to the site
- You can then see where you rank worldwide for those workouts
For the overwhelming majority (read: nearly all) of people who compete in the Open, this is it – it is described as “the only true test of fitness,” testing functional movements that are the core of the Crossfit concept – and for a large portion of this group, myself included, it provides a competitive way to gauge your progress (never underestimate what the power of cheering can do for a PR!). For those awesome amazing athletes who essentially do this as a full time job (aka my dream), the top athletes (exact number depends on the region) meet at regionals, and then top 5 from each regional event make it to the Crossfit Games (which is SO AWESOME to watch on ESPN – seriously, it’s fantastic). But for that majority, the Open is a fun way to bond with your team and your box and to
What the Open also can do is provide a harsh reality check for the everyday athlete. Haven’t been working on those chest-to-bar (C2B) pullups? Decided to skip the days where they focus on double-unders? Refuse to learn handstand pushups? Welp, gonna be a difficult Open then. If you’re a Crossfitter then you’ve probably heard/seen/read opinions/rants (got a little slash happy there…) on the workouts. While I won’t get into the specific of some (damn muscle ups, I’ll have you next year), I’ve noticed a trend towards complaining about a move that requires practice and that the athlete put in a decent amount of work. For example, yes, pullups are difficult – but unless you put in the work, they’re not magically going to happen one day.
(On that note, if you have been blessed by the magical muscle fairy, do pass him/her along.)
For me, the same is true in pole. While yes, I may have come into pole with a fairly extensive athletic background (track & field, rowing), it doesn’t mean that some of those crazy muscle-y moves that I love haven’t come without a lot of hard work and epsom salt baths.
(Just saying, the one that has the eucalyptus and mint and is all lovely and relaxing? It’s awesome.)
My opinion is that it’s all about attitude and a willingness or even enthusiasm to work at it. For many things, in both Crossfit and pole, the amount of improvement or the comfort level with a move is directly related to the work you put into it. If you’re only going to a couple of pole classes a week, it’s going to be a long time coming for you to really see those improvements; likewise, if you’re going to a lot of classes, but you’re only putting forth mediocre effort, then guess what? That’s right…not a lot of improvement, or much slower improvement that you want. You want to start lifting heavier things or get those elusive pull-up variations? Best start working on them.
It can be as simple as grabbing a chart off of pinterest (like this! or this! or just search for ‘monthly workout challenges’ like I did) – start with some pushups, situps, and burpees. Yes, I know, they’re your least favorite – but they work. Or don’t leave your box immediately after your WOD – stay and work those pullups, try out a couple of those handstand pushups (play around on the rings afterwards with skin-the-cats and meathooks…..). And don’t forget your mobility and stretch work – even if your coach doesn’t remind you – remind yourself! Your body will thank you!
Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go work on my handstand pushups!
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