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Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Lazy Crossfitter

Kermit's Awesome at Yoga
Today I discovered something very, very sad.  It turns out that I have lazy shoulders.  In fact, I believe I may actually be a lazy crossfitter.  This morning I started off with a yoga class.  I love yoga because it forces me to feel all of those muscles in my body and you really can't ignore them when they scream at you.  Your teacher's like, "hold that pose for three more breaths," and you're like, "holy shit, how long is a breath?"  And your muscles laugh at you and tell you how you've been ignoring them all this time.  You think to yourself, "I am a crossfitter, I am strong and I have large muscles that lift big, heavy things" and your muscles just chuckle.  "Try holding your arm straight above your head," they say.  "Reach down and touch the floor while your back leg is straight and your front leg is in a lunge, keeping it in a 90 degree angle, tough guy."
Normally when this kind of smack talk is bandied about, I ignore it by thinking about what I'm going to have for lunch when I'm done and dreaming about what I'm going to make for dinner.  And what I might have for snack in between.  Today, for some reason, I decided to listen.  And they stopped screaming and started telling me the truth.  They told me that during my crossfit workouts, in order to get through the full thing, I try to conserve energy.  I power through moves using the least amount of effort as possible.  I do this instead of using my full body.  A part of me thought I was being smart, but the truth is I was being kind of a wuss, afraid of it hurting a bit.  The problem is, at some point, you stop getting stronger because those muscles you've been neglecting are important.  I have been stumped on a few maneuvers that I should have been progressing on.  For me, it's over head squats, pushups, hand stand pushups and handstands.  They stump me.  I'm pretty strong, but no progress.
After a quick lesson from the yoga instructor today on how to position my arms for down dog, I noticed there were some muscles that I haven't been engaging to avoid getting tired.  But I realize that had I been doing my best to keep them active from day one, they'd be stronger today, and I would be further along in a couple of moves.  After doing some shoulder and back work, I tried out some overhead squats with those muscles engaged and banged out some sturdy, smooth reps at a normally heavy weight for me.  I made sure to keep my shoulder blades together and it totally changed my ability to hold the weight over my head.
I learned about the muscles in my arms that I need to strengthen and stop ignoring.  I learned that I need to engage my whole body in every move.  I need to be aware of when I should be flexing and when to relax.  And stop being a lazy crossfitter.

Before you get upset, I'm not talking about modifying.  I modify the crap out of a workout to find the right weight, the right reps that will challenge me, make me stronger.  It will make it safer, and will make injury less likely.  Find the right weight then engage your whole body in the workout.  If you're exhausted, try your best to stay engaged.  I'm going to do my best from now on.

What do you think?  Are you guilty of the same?  Do you completely disagree?  Love to hear from you in the comments!
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