ParaWOD post benchmark week: back on the floor, up on the ropes


Last week at ParaWOD was filled with plenty of benchmarks WOD’s and I am happy to say that I set personal records on all of them. Granted, 4 out of the 5 of them I had never even attempted before, but never the less, 5 for 5, baby!

This week it is back to the normal routine, which means learning how to do new things while working to do other things better. To get things moving forward, we added in two new movements to the normal repertoire.

1) Sled Pulling

At least half of Crossfit-style workouts involve pulling (hey-o!), but the pulling movement and the muscle groups involved frequently change. For this workout, we wanted to work on a horizontal pulling motion.

To accomplish this, ordinarily the coach can set up a weighted sled with a rope connected to it, and you simply pull the sled toward yourself. Easy, right?

It is not so easy when you can’t use your legs to brace yourself. Instead, you might end up pulling yourself right onto the floor, instead of pulling the weight toward yourself. To prevent this unfortunate event from happening, my coach set up a pull-up rig for me waste-high, and then I slid underneath the bar, which essentially turned into a metal seat belt. This video captures what it looks like:

It is not an entirely comfortable position, since the bar is jamming itself right into your stomach, but for short reps, it is tolerable.

2) Rope Climbing

A rope climb is also a pulling motion, but vertical rather than horizontal. There is also an element of risk in the rope climb, because if you’re actually pulling yourself off the floor, a) you had better make sure your grip is strong enough to support your weight; and b) your strength had better hold up just as much on the way down as on the way up. Protect yourself from a hard fall by using a crash mat underneath, so if you lose your grip, the fall will be well-cushioned.

For starters, get used to the feeling of your rip and your body weight (much different than a pull-up) by lying flat on your back and then pulling yourself up into a sitting position, followed by a controlled lowering back down to the mat.

As you progress in building up your strength and body control, you can begin to bring your entire body off the mat. Once again, make sure you know exactly how high on the rope you can go so that you have enough strength left for a controlled descent.

Both of these pulling exercises serve as basic life skills. Being able to pull and pick up heavy things are a part of life, and of course being able to get into and out of elevated seats (trucks, park rides, etc) are a quality of life that you want to always retain.

Many thanks to Coach Traci at Crossfit Impavidus for her innovative workouts and great camera work!

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