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Old 08-14-2013, 08:07 PM   #21
Chris Greenwald
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

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Originally Posted by Andrew G Parker View Post
My coach has convinced me that technique is the foundation to progress. We have to learn and master the technique first, which usually equates to less weight for some time, but equates to much more in the long run. That translates beyond lifting and into everything we do at the box. Scale to ensure good form. Better knee push ups with good form than non scaled push ups with off form. Better pull ups with the assistance of a band or more, than poor form and injuring yourself or not being able to do any reps. Better a 6 or 8 lb wallball with a lower target and full motions than a 16 or 20 lb ball with poor and incomplete movement. Just my opinion. Coaches need to be helping you determine what you need for every WOD.

Have you had the conversation with the coaches that your initial post lead to with us? Two coaches to twenty seems a bit high (if everyone isn't fairly advanced) to me, but you should be getting some personal attention during your workouts. The attention might just be encouragement and cheer leading, but often should include (for us newbies) plenty of correction and instruction as well.
Agree with what you say. What I will say is that when I was practicing cleans and snatches with PVC pipes or just the barbell, I learned how to "fake it". It looked decent, but I was pulling with my arms too much/early. So, I feel like for me, I need to use a light weight, yes. But, isn't 95 lbs. really light for cleans for a healthy, non-obese male? My theory is that if I can't clean more than 95 lbs once, it is because I'm not doing it properly. And using too light a weight will make it too easy for me to get the bar up using my arms even if it's not obvious that's what I'm doing.

The attention/encouragement you mention I am getting. But, obviously, it has not been enough for me on some of these key exercises. Given that I've only been a member at one CF gym, I have no frame of reference to determine how much of this is a result of the gym's format and/or coaches not being a good fit for my needs.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:31 PM   #22
Chris Greenwald
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

Many within the crossfit community lament the number of people who give it a lame try and then give up. I'm also curious to hear what you all think constitutes a valid try at crossfit. How many WODs over how many weeks/months/years constitute a legitimate try at this? I realize that perfecting things and getting really good can take years. But not all of us can pump out $200 a month for a long period hoping that, after several years, we can do all of the movements at a decent level of proficiency. The deal I made with myself was that I was going to give this a legit go for a legitimate amount of time. I'd either get good at it and stick with it. Or, if I decided to give it up, I could feel at ease in knowing I gave it a good go and reasonable people would not look down upon my effort.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:03 PM   #23
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

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I've definitely tried to go about it that way. And, with many things, that works just fine. But, with pull-ups, my forearm tendons just end up feeling like they will explode as I can't get close to doing one pull-up. With cleans, just going at it seems to lead to one increasing injury risk.
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Do you have underlying medical issues of any kind? I'm completely baffled by the "forearm tendons exploding" thing, seeing how I've seen 300+lb people hang from pullup bars without ever hearing of that issue.

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IMO, I don't really have any numbers in deadlifts, cleans or pull-ups. Or, you could say it is 0 for all of them. I have not learned how to get my body in the correct position in order to do them properly. A clean or deadlift where the arms are the primary movers of the barbell really aren't cleans or deadlifts in the first place. And a pull-up where the overwhelming majority of weight is going to tendons in the forearms is not really a pull-up. Could Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his absolute, roided-up prime, pull his body/chest up on a pull-up bar using only some tendons in his forearms?
You posted 1RMs so those are your numbers. And how are your arms acting as the primary movers of the bar on a deadlift? If that's really the case your coaches are far worse than I initially thought. And no, your forearms aren't contributing anything to a pullup other than isometric force to squeeze the bar.

Wait a minute....Hamzi, is this you again?
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:13 PM   #24
Kelli Talaska
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

Chris, if you have other options for boxes near you, I would absolutely give that a try before giving up. I totally love my box (you can look up my yelp review if you're dying to see just how much), but I've been away for a couple months now and tried out some other boxes, and that's really highlighted for me how much fit matters. There's a box near my family that I like quite a bit, and it's a good place for me to drop in as a holiday visitor, but there is no way I'd have lasted my first year there. I'd probably have been making a post like yours. The coaches are really good (and at least the head coach is well known), but there's one coach per class, and it's not unusual for there to be 20 people in a class. Assuming you get your "fair share" of coach time, that's maybe 3 minutes in an hour class where someone is specifically critiquing your form. I can hang with that now, but that's because I already had extensive coaching to get me into good shape.

If you're set on sticking with the box you're at now, could you arrange a few private sessions to work on technique?
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:16 PM   #25
Andrew G Parker
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

"when I was practicing cleans and snatches with PVC pipes or just the barbell, I learned how to "fake it"."

We use dowels to learn the movement and then move to barbell. In the guy's case 20 kg. We will do maybe five reps with those and then gradually start adding weight. As soon as our form starts to fail, we are instructed to decrease just enough to be able to do the sets without compromise of technique. Bad technique with the weights is really not tolerated in the box I go to. We can all see the improvements, both in form (which equals increased confidence) and in strength. During WODs, we are reminded if we are getting sloppy in anything, not just weights. A good coach can correct and motivate at the same time. When I'm being corrected I may get frustrated at me, but not at the coach.

Different coaches have different styles too, so most of us have at least some preference for one coach over another, even if they are all really good.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:17 PM   #26
Jeff Enge
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

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Do you have underlying medical issues of any kind? I'm completely baffled by the "forearm tendons exploding" thing, seeing how I've seen 300+lb people hang from pullup bars without ever hearing of that issue.



You posted 1RMs so those are your numbers. And how are your arms acting as the primary movers of the bar on a deadlift? If that's really the case your coaches are far worse than I initially thought. And no, your forearms aren't contributing anything to a pullup other than isometric force to squeeze the bar.

Wait a minute....Hamzi, is this you again?
Really does sound Hamzi-esque.

I'm going to go away from the beaten path of "your coaches must be no good" and say that you still need to take the initiative and responsibility for your own movement patterns. If you know you are deadlifting and cleaning wrong and how it's wrong, then fix it. The point of coaching isn't to sit over you and lead you through every single rep, therefore it's not only the coach's fault if you aren't doing something correctly - it is their job to tell you how it's supposed to be done and still your job to apply it. It may not be perfect but there's no way you can't work to fix such basic motor control skill as deadlifting with your arms (?) to the point where you are not this worried about it.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:26 PM   #27
Joe Spinelli
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

Are we sure this is not an issue with your grip? How is your hand strength? Have you tried a hook grip for dead lifts?

Not to be mean, but my wife is a small woman and has never worked out in her life and I guarantee she can pull more than 95lbs on a deadlift. Something is very off here.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:26 PM   #28
Chris Greenwald
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
Do you have underlying medical issues of any kind? I'm completely baffled by the "forearm tendons exploding" thing, seeing how I've seen 300+lb people hang from pullup bars without ever hearing of that issue.



You posted 1RMs so those are your numbers. And how are your arms acting as the primary movers of the bar on a deadlift? If that's really the case your coaches are far worse than I initially thought. And no, your forearms aren't contributing anything to a pullup other than isometric force to squeeze the bar.

Wait a minute....Hamzi, is this you again?
From what I have gathered and presume about myself, my positioning of my shoulders is such that my lats are not engaged. So, what else is going to be involved with attempting a pull-up if the back muscles are not a part of the equation? My biceps are not strong, either. So, when trying to pull myself up-not merely hanging from the bars- my forearms tend to blow out quickly. It might be forearm muscles rather than tendons, but the feel is weird and different than what one would expect from really pushing a muscle. It's the part on the top/outer portion of the forearms only that I'm feeling.

Numbers are numbers but if one is not properly performing a given movement, I'm not even sure how they can have true a 1RM. They (me) have technically not done any reps of the stated exercise.

With cleans, and to a lesser degree deadlifts, I'm pulling with my arms too soon/much. From what I've read, this is not uncommon for newbies. You have to generate a certain amount of power from your posterior chain and then the shoulder shrug with cleans. And, those two movements have to be merged with enough speed and timing so as to create sort of a synergy whereby the bar is almost shoulder height before there is any arm movement. I get that. In my head. My coaches know it and tell me and model it every day. I can't get my body to do it. Same for pullups. I know the forearms are not supposed to be primary in doing them. That's why it's all the more frustrating when that's the only place I feel anything (save for my hands where callouses are forming).
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:33 PM   #29
Chris Greenwald
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

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Chris, if you have other options for boxes near you, I would absolutely give that a try before giving up. I totally love my box (you can look up my yelp review if you're dying to see just how much), but I've been away for a couple months now and tried out some other boxes, and that's really highlighted for me how much fit matters. There's a box near my family that I like quite a bit, and it's a good place for me to drop in as a holiday visitor, but there is no way I'd have lasted my first year there. I'd probably have been making a post like yours. The coaches are really good (and at least the head coach is well known), but there's one coach per class, and it's not unusual for there to be 20 people in a class. Assuming you get your "fair share" of coach time, that's maybe 3 minutes in an hour class where someone is specifically critiquing your form. I can hang with that now, but that's because I already had extensive coaching to get me into good shape.

If you're set on sticking with the box you're at now, could you arrange a few private sessions to work on technique?
Yeah, my gym is actually pretty famous within Crossfit. (It's not in Hermosa Beach btw). It's probably among the top 10 or so most well known in the country. I don't doubt for a second the coaches know what they are doing. And, for the more advanced or the more natural athletes, it works. I just think they struggle with helping people who are totally unnatural with this. I havea couple of friends that I know outside of CF. They both used to be members before me and both left because they felt there was too much emphasis on serious contest prep and not enough on helping the needs of more average people.

As for private sessions, it came up early in my process. But was really only offered as a super-expensive session. Now that they know me better and know my struggles, maybe if I talk to them about this they'll offer me a session without asking me to go over the $200 a month I'm already paying. Maybe I'll show them this thread?
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:39 PM   #30
Chris Greenwald
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Re: Reasonable amount of progress 4.5 months in?

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Really does sound Hamzi-esque.

I'm going to go away from the beaten path of "your coaches must be no good" and say that you still need to take the initiative and responsibility for your own movement patterns. If you know you are deadlifting and cleaning wrong and how it's wrong, then fix it. The point of coaching isn't to sit over you and lead you through every single rep, therefore it's not only the coach's fault if you aren't doing something correctly - it is their job to tell you how it's supposed to be done and still your job to apply it. It may not be perfect but there's no way you can't work to fix such basic motor control skill as deadlifting with your arms (?) to the point where you are not this worried about it.
I have absolutely no idea what this Hamzi talk is all about. I do not know what you are getting at.

As for applying what I'm being told, uh, yeah. Would love to be able to do it. The dilemma is I'm stuck in a place where I don't know how to get my body to do these things or get positioned properly. I'm at the gym 4-5 days a week every week wanting to get better. But with some of these movements, it's not happening. I'm trying to figure out if I'm one of those people who is not cut out for CF? Or is my gym just not the right gym for me? Or do I need to stick it out and see things through for another couple of months?
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