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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 01-11-2005, 09:26 AM   #1
Norma Loehr
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Here is a challenge - my brother is 6'4" and weighs in at about 490#, 33 yrs old. I have talked to him about the CF program that I have been following the last couple of months and he has expressed some interest but cannot do *any* of the excersises posted. I remember one of Coach's comments that the WOD can work for just about everyone. WODs are not altered but load and intensity are modified. So, any ideas on modifying WODs for the obese? Keep in mind that at this weight, he cannot get up off the floor on his own and just walking can be very tiring.

Some ideas I came up with; for squats he could get up from/sit down in a chair - arms overhead for overhead squats and arms thrusting up for thrusters; walking for any running; lat pull downs for pull-ups (he cannot be supported on an assisted machine nor is the assistance great enough given his weight); tricep rope pulls for dips; wall "push ups" instead of floor push ups; OH presses for HSPUs...and I suppose reduced reps and weight for everything and additional walking before or after each WOD. Not sure what he can do for ab work. Perhaps work on rising just his torso from bed?

Thanks for any ideas. I am always trying to get him motivated!
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:59 AM   #2
Beth Moscov
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HI Norma,

That is really exciting about your brother getting interested. Wow.

The sit to stands from the chair are great. Basically have him learn the movements. push ups can be on knees for example. In the first month or two, just doing the movements that each WOD asks for will be a lot. Also try and get him to learn about the zone but he may not want to diet even if he is getting interested in health now. You can try the idea that the zone diet helps with recovery and thus reduces muscle soreness. It is true - it does. For abs, just regular crunches might be the beginning. If that is too hard, then there is some ab work that physical therapists use for rehab but I would have to look it up - mostly simply lying on the floor and tightening and releasing the abs muscles. The main thing is to let him start slow. For the obese, it is really hard to overcome being sedentary and too much muscle soreness ends up defeating them. He can start pushing himself in a month or two when some of his muscles are stronger. Oh - I do speak from experience here.

Also, there is a crossfit journal about modifying for children and seniors that might give you some ideas. I think it is issue October 2004. It also has a beginners guide to crossfit in it.
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Old 01-11-2005, 10:39 AM   #3
Graham Hayes
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Also simple warm up exercises, like arm circleing. Alternate lifting one leg up, use support if nessesary. Bend over touch the seat of a chair (for example) and bring arms to overhead, like a dumbbell swing. Lying on back lifting one or both legs up. If you can, get him to agree to take photos every month, this way he can see his progress and keep motivated. I would suggest that diet is the most important thing, but he's a big guy, make sure he doesn't starve himself or he may get dicouraged. Encourage him to eat plenty of the good stuff.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:32 AM   #4
William Hunter
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The remedial ab exercise Beth referred to is called abdominal hollowing and/or bracing. It's really great because it puts almost no strain on the low back (acute LBP after exercise stops many people in their tracks). Just tell him to try to pull his belly button into his body. When he gets used to this, he can try to maintain tension and alternate raising his heels off the ground an inch or two. It progresses later into something called the "dead bug", but I wouldn't mention that right away.

Best of luck. Give him encouragement from all of us.
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:13 PM   #5
Ron Nelson
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Norma,
I highly suggest looking at www.ironwoodyfitness.com and buying a couple of sets of stretch bands. They can be used to learn thrusters, overhead lifts, deadlifts, and in time, used to assist pull ups. I know I'm just scratching the surface with these, but they are a great training device that your brother can use while sitting or standing. They come in all kinds of resistance, from easy to super hard. He can also use them to assist stretching routines.
I sort of went through what he is going through, although not as extreme. I was 310# at my heaviest and started losing it by going 3 days a week, doing lots of light cardio, and totally changing my diet (this was 20 years ago, so calorie restriction was pretty much the way). Keep encouraging him and remind him that he did not wake up one day and, POOF, he was obese. It will take time!
As Aesop said, "Slow and steady wins the race!"
Feel free to ask for more help as he progresses and encourage him to post results.
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Old 01-12-2005, 08:32 AM   #6
Norma Loehr
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Thank you everyone! These are great ideas! My brother actually went to the gym yesterday armed with these suggestions and did 25 each of lat pull-downs, bicep curls and tricep extensions with light weights as well as the remedial ab excersises described by Beth and William. He only walked a little bit - he doesn't think the treadmills will hold his weight (something I am investigating). I encouraged him to do some reps getting up and down from a bench or chair. I am trying to get him to post his workouts to provide some accountability as well as encouragement.
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:01 AM   #7
Brian Loehr
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Thank you everybody, I really appreciate all the help. I am going to workout again today.
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:29 AM   #8
Beth Moscov
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Welcome Brian! Glad your here. Congratulations on getting through your first workout (and maybe your second by the time your read this). Don't worry about the treadmill. If you can find some time to walk outdoors that should be great. I forget where you all live but if weather doesn't work, I know a number of folks who got their start on walking using a video called Walk Away The Pounds and you just walk around the living room with the guidance of the teacher.
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:45 AM   #9
Paul Theodorescu
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Just a guess here, I would focus on what I think is most functional: walking and squatting. Benchpressing would be a superior exercise to tricep extensions, IMO. Barbell rows are also a good option.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:03 AM   #10
Mike Minium
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Welcome to CrossFit, Brian!

Paul's suggestion to keep functional movement in mind when exercising is a good one.

If you have any questions along the way, ask away. And keep us posted on your progress.

Mike
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