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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 10-22-2006, 12:13 PM   #1
Nicholas Hahn
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I've been doing Crossfit for about 3 months now and my father would like to try it out. When he was a child he lost some functionallity in one leg due to polio. I don't know where he would start, since it seems like the most basic Crossfit excercise is squats. And almost every other olympic lift is centered around the legs. For the runs, I think he could sub rows. However, so many other key Crossfit excercises require use of legs, such as wall ball, burpees and the multitude of squats we do. He can walk just fine, however, it just seems like most other Crossfit exercises require the use of both legs, unless someone cat tell me they've actually done a one-legged clean or snatch.

This also seems like a pertinent post, since there are probably a lot of sailors, soldeirs, airmen, and marines comming back with no legs or limited use of legs due to IEDs, etc.

Does any one have any suggestions? I have just been wondering a while whether Crossfit is really scalable to everyone?
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Old 10-22-2006, 06:26 PM   #2
Elliot Royce
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If you think about CF as a combination of metabolic, skills and strength conditioning, then there are lots of things he can do. You would just sub exercises that would not overtax his leg. Instead of push presses, regular presses, etc. For metabolic, I doubt the heart and endocrine systems care if the stimulus is coming from the legs or not. They are major muscles but he could do tons of pullups, dips, one legged jumps, etc. All the gymnastics sort of stuff.

If you want to have him build leg strength, then I guess it's a question of how much his weaker leg can handle. Certainly you can do one-leg squats but it might be better to try to strengthen his weaker leg. In that case, using the machines would make sense. One leg presses on a machine would allow you to build both legs at their own pace.

As for cleans and snatches, I don't see why he couldn't do dumbbell snatches or cleans. He may favor his good leg when doing it but that is natural. If his bad leg is really weak, he could hold something with his weak side hand and do the snatches/cleans with the strong side.
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Old 10-22-2006, 09:39 PM   #3
Nick Cummings
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Can he do lunges? They would be a reasonable replacement for squats. Try doing olympic lifts from the hang with almost no weight and see where it goes. Goodmornings and back extensions might be possible. If he does not have full use of his body he has the ability to specialize to a large degree in what he can do.
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:25 PM   #4
Jordan Dotson
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No offense, but I think any trainer who recommended lunges or any degree of OLY lifting for a man who doesn't have a degree of functionality (not strength, but function) in his leg, without an extensive introduction period to basic resistance training, might soon be staring at the ugly end of a lawsuit.

Caution Caution Caution my man...there's definitely a place for you father in Crossfit, but I wouldn't even think of him attempting to build leg strength until he's improved his general fitness through the exercises still available, & gained a lot of muscular awareness in the process.

Seems to me like the best thing you could do would be to vary the exercises to his capabilities & then start doing them together--not only could you push each other, but you could use your intuition to determine if the variations you've created truly work in the CF context.
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Old 10-23-2006, 05:38 AM   #5
Keith Wittenstein
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The upper body is a no brainer. Teach him the mechanics and slowly up the intensity. Let's get him doing lots of pullups, rope climbs, muscleups, overhead presses, bench presses, etc.

You say "lost some functionality in his leg." That means there is still some left. I would try to get him to as strong a place as possible in his legs without killing the guy. Can he sit and stand without using his arms? I would work on sit/stands off a box. Start with a really high box then gradually lower it. Try to get him to use his arms less and less. Don't let him use momentum to roll up off the box. After he has mastered that I might add weight or see if he can do some form of a squat.

Sub walking for runs.

I wouldn't be looking for cleans and snatches in his immediate future. I would be looking for squats and deadlifts in some modified fashion. Sitting, standing, walking, picking things up off the floor, lifting things overhead and carrying things for distance. Functionality. These are the places you should start.



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Old 10-23-2006, 06:03 AM   #6
Craig Van De Walker
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This sounds like the kind of thing it would be helpful to find a certified crossfit trainer for.

There are articles about training say upper body when you have a lower body injury and the reverse in the CFJ. I don't know the issue number.

If you were trying to get him involved without using the help of someone more experienced you could probably use the message board but need to give more detail about his limitations.

Can he be trained with CF, heck yes, even if he had no legs he could be trained CF. But it will not be a simple matter of looking at the WOD and having him do it.
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Old 10-23-2006, 07:55 AM   #7
Tim Dewey
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Well,I don't know his limitations, but from personal experience, I developed some osteoarthritus in my right hip back when I was around 49. I definately had to change things around, and talked to a Dr that was familiar with sports med (that's a must). Hi impact is out. No box jumps, no sprints. Biking and rowing are fine, and the Doc actually recommends them highly. I've had to play around with squat stances. The split version is fine, as is the B squat (staggered stance). The O lifts work fine with these stances as well. The only thing is the DOC told me that with a degenerative thing like osteoarthritus, don't go for the limiting out. On those days, I work up to a moderate weight and use it for 5's or 3's.DL's are done with RDL's with the bar down to around mid shin.
All in all, check in with a physician, determine what he can and should not do, and work around it. I really have no problem following the WOD's, I just have to modify some of them that are loaded with box jumps and sprints
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:16 AM   #8
Elliot Royce
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Tim:

If you ever come to the point where you need to have a hip operation, check back with me as I have two implants. They were done with a newer technique which allows for pretty much any activity post-op.

My comments above were partly based on my experience recovering with two legs that had almost no strength in them due to post-operative trauma.

Elliot
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Old 10-23-2006, 04:26 PM   #9
Tim Dewey
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Hi Elliot. I'm not there yet according to Doc (he's conservative, and I respect that), but would like to know what the proceedures name(s) is (are) so I can discuss it with him. Thanks.
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:31 AM   #10
Nicholas Hahn
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Thanks for the advice. Craig, I think the best advice would be to see a certified trainer and ask his/her advice.

Unfortunately, I think strengthening the weaker leg is out of the question, due to the nature of polio.

It is also a good idea to get his overall fitness level up, as well, before trying any one-legged squats or crazy things with his legs. Upper body excercise probably would be the easiest thing, but I've been wondering about the metabolic (I think I've using the word right) impact that could have. Since the upper body has relatively small muscles, will it be possible to sustain a high heart rate after he continues to do Crossfit and aclimates to the regime?

Thank you all again for your input. I never cease to be impressed by the helpfulness of the Crossfit community.
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