6/8/15 ParaWOD: battle rope swingin’, dippin’, and benchin’ your face off

Monday offered up a full Crossfit experience:

Warm-up: at your own pace

  • Band pull-aparts
  • First rib shoulder smash – let’s spend some time here.

If you use a wheelchair, or even if you spend a lot of time at a desk at your job, chances are that your shoulders over time have developed a tightening in the neck area where we have our first rib. What is a first rib? It’s way up there in a place where you probably didn’t even know you had a rib. It also gets pinched over time, which prevents arm raising abduction from its full range of motion. So what we do to mobilize the first rib is to apply a Mobility WOD technique (bookmark that web site; it’s invaluable for self-treatment) and drive a weighted bar onto the first rib. Here is what it looks like:

Bad news – this hurts like the dickens, as it opens up the shoulder area. Good news – it works, and it works fast, which you can see as you test and re-test the motion. Try it with the taped up tennis ball for extra bounds of fun/pain.

Workout

A: Bench Press – Pause on the Chest(2s); 5×5

benchbw

In the words of Coach Tyler, “Bench More!”

This time around, the focus is on a slower repetition and control. Get to a weight that is about 80% of your 3 rep max, or in other words something you won’t have difficulty getting 5 reps out of. Then, we’re going to use the negative motion to slow things down (count 2 seconds) and then pause for 2 seconds at the bottom. After the pause, explode upward and re-start. Five reps, five rounds. As you slow things down, you will really feel the movement engage a lot of muscles you don’t even think about during the bench press.

B1: Dips @ 31X1, 3×6-8
B2: Pull-ups @ 21X2, 3×5-6

We got this one as well. Alternate between a dip (Matador, parallettes) and strict pull-ups (bar, rings), using the pausing effect to prolong the agony.

Conditioning

3 movements, AMRAP for 10 minutes.

1) Time for some battle rope! It is like double-dutch for the para-athlete.

ropebw

It doesn’t really matter which movement you do, so pick one. The reason why this movement is great for the para-athlete is that it forces us to really concentrate on our core strength and balance. Swing too hard, and we will topple right out of our chairs. Get the rhythm right, and your muscles will engage and counter-engage appropriately, improving overall balance.

2) 150 meter row

3) KB press, 7 reps per arm

Once you’re comfortable with handling the rope as well as the transitioning, this is a workout where you should be able to get at least 3 rounds complete.

5/13/15 WOD: weighted dips, get up, get down, get all around

Today’s WOD provided both a good strength adaptation as well as an easily adaptable conditioning AMRAP.

The prescribed AMRAP was as follows:

Conditioning: 20min AMRAP of…
10 air-squats
10 sit-ups
10 burpees
10 barbell rows (95,65)

Adaptation

For the strength component, we did weighted dips on a Matador dip station.

 The basic dip movement is one of my stronger attributes, but adding weight can be tricky. If you have hip control, a belt for adding weight is the easiest way to go:

However, if you cannot keep the belt seated on your hips, you have to get creative. We took a thick rubber band and I put it on kind of like a vest, and on that band I was able to attach the belt. Now my shoulders were controlling the weight instead of my hips.

We then added weights increasingly until I hit my 3-rep max weight. I finished at my body weight + 60lbs.

AMRAP

  1. air squats = wall balls (14lbs)
  2. burpees = push-ups
  3. sit-ups = medicine ball crunches (14lbs)
  4. barbell rows – this one required a little bit of adjustment. Instead of doing a standing barbell row, we placed a weight bench on top of 2 boxes, and then I did the row lying stomach down on the bench.

The movements are all doable on their own, but the most difficult aspect for a wheelchair athlete is getting from one station to another. Getting in and out of a chair is one challenge that every para-athlete needs to work on. Getting up and down off of a bench is quite another, because the risk of falling is always present. However, this is all the more reason for the para-athlete to practice this movement, to be able to do it quickly, efficiently, and most important, safely.