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Old 10-25-2006, 08:26 AM   #1
Brad Davis
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Hello Folks.

I need some advice. I started doing the CrossFit WoD 2 weeks ago and have already hurt myself and am very frustrated. I'm a little bitter at the moment, so I'm wondering if CrossFit is only suitable for young folks who are already great athletes, not someone trying to get in shape starting at a lower level.

Some background:

35 years old. I was a decent competitive powerlifter from 18-23 and was mostly sedentary from 23 to 34, starting and stopping programs, mostly weight training and running. For the last 6-8 months, I've done a lot of bodyweight-only exercises trying to get back in shape. I carry around about 9-10% bodyfat and can do a fair number (for an average 35 year old anyway) of pushups (50-60), squats (500+ in a row), HSPU (20-25), dips (30-40), pullups (10-12), situps, etc., so I'm not in bad shape by most standards.

The WoD from a few days ago called for 400m, pullups, and HSPU. After doing the 2nd set of HSPU, my ears felt like I had some inner ear pressure issues. It took 2 days for me to not feel like I'd just driven up a mountain and needed to swallow but couldn't. Never had anything like that happen before.

Sunday, the WoD was 400m, deadlifts, and situps. I felt fine when I left, but then I came home and sat in my office chair for 2 hours and my lower back spasmed to the point that I can barely tie my shoes. It's been that way for 3 days now and not getting any better.

I don't know really how/if to scale the WoD because I can get through them, although a little slowly. I figured that meant that I should just stick with the WoD.

I'm starting to wonder if CrossFit is simply too much for someone who is not already a great athlete. Is it hopeless for somebody like me?

My goals are great overall health and fitness, not to be a MMA fighter, SWAT team member, gymnast, etc, although it would be super cool to be in that kind of shape at 35-40 years old.

Am I in the wrong program? So far, "my goal of 'great overall health and fitness'" isn't working out favorably.

Honest advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:40 AM   #2
Mark Permelia
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Well I not an expert by any means but I am in your general age group (34 soon to be 35). I have found that you really need to ramp up the WoD effort slowly. Recovery is very important and it takes longer at our age. Even though you can get through a WoD apparently your not recovering enough to get through the next one. I would suggest you scale the workouts and be very conservative with increasing intensity.

BrandX Martial Arts does a good job of scaling the WoD's. Their site can be found here:

Don't let your ego get in the way. Start at the lowest level and make sure your recovering properly before you goto the next level. It will take time but you'll feel alot better.
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:43 AM   #3
Anthony Bainbridge
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First, welcome!! You are DEFINITELY in the right spot based on the goals you mentioned. And your numbers are a great base to build on.

BUT! Slow down! Injury is a result of a mistake you made (like it or not). When you first started powerlifting, were you squatting 1000lbs in the first two weeks? Probably not! The same applies to this type of intensity ... feel things out, familiarize yourself with the movements, see how you react, and gradually increase the intensity each workout.

Generally speaking, I'd say 1-2 months before you push yourself to the max.
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:46 AM   #4
Keith Wittenstein
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Welcome on board, Brad.

The order of progression should be mechanics, consistency then intensity. Make sure you know the moves first, then practice consistently. After that, then up the intensity.

If you give it a month, I'm sure you'll stop feeling so beat up after the WODs. You should definitely scale things and go easy for a while.

For example, Fran (21/15/9 95#thrusters/pullups) should first be attempted without weight. Just mime the movements (air thrusters and broomstick pulldowns) and see how your time is. See how your body feels just doing the movements at full speed with perfect form. Rest. If you have some more in the tank, then do a Fran with light dumbbells and on a gravitron for pullups. Wait a couple of days then go up to a moderate weight and jumping pullups. Still alive? Great. Now maybe you are ready to try it as Rx'd.

Most of the WODs should be tackled in this way for the first month. Go ridiculously easy for the first attempt...make that your warmup. Then gradually work up to full throttle over the course of a few days/weeks/months.

CrossFit is for everyone. The trick is that you have to scale load and intensity to your appropriate level. Proper mechanics, consistency and intensity will soon have you performing like a fire-breather, Brad.

Best of luck.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:25 AM   #5
Travis Loest
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I'm going to have to agree with everyone else so far Brad, take it easy in the beginning. Get yourself familiar with the proper execution of the exercises not what you "think" is right. Work technique without weights before you even think about adding weight. Good luck and happy CrossFitting.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:59 AM   #6
Mike ODonnell
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I know this is repeating what people have said above...but scaling down is the key. Most people on here definitely scale down the weights if they need to. When in doubt...start light, work on form for all movements, build up some endurance and then little by little add more weight if neccessary. Crossfit is more a lifestyle than just a workout, so take it slow and steady and the results will come.
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:45 AM   #7
Jeff Martin
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We have been running large group Crossfit classes for almost three years now. Our oldest client is 78. He recently competed in the Fight Gone Bad fundraiser as well as the most recent Painstorm. He started with us two weeks after having stents put in his legs. and has been a steady participant fo the last year or so. He can now do unassisted pull ups and some of the best push ups in the gym. We also run Crossfit Kids
( our youngest CrossFitter is 4. A good pic of the athletesicsm of our youngsters can be seen on Sunday's mainpage WOD. The key to the program is scaling, and taking a long view to doing the CrossFit WOD's as proscribed. The three keys to Crossfit are functional movements, variety, and intensity. Intensity should be dialed up very slowly regardless of the person fitness level.
The direct link to our scaled workouts is
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:51 AM   #8
Darrell E. White
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What did you hurt? How did you do it? What has your recovery been like? Folks way smarter than me may have some very specific thoughts given this information.

I'm 46 yo, basically a washed up ex-athlete who needs to be physically fit for mostly my own sanity. I'm not in a physical profession, not an LEO, firefighter, armed forces, etc. No longer interested in hard style MA. But my job does involve very intense bouts of concentration performed repeatedly over time, and it's important for me to be fit in order to perform at my peak ability every single time.

Much of the advice above can be distilled down to one simple approach. It's necessary to check your ego, all of it, at the door when you begin CF. Your level of fitness is dramatically higher than mine was in January, and you are 10+ years younger than I am. Your up-side is HUGE!. For some people CF is about competing with Anthony, Matt G. (come home, Matt!), Kelly, and the rest of the elite athletes here (did you see the video of APT's Fran?!); for most of us it's only about competing with our yesterday. But in the beginning it's all about no ego and no competition, with yourself or anyone else.

The genius here is IMHO precisely in the scaleability; CF is for everyone because of the scaleabillity. With your background it's not likely that you will scale very much for very long, but scale you should.

Let us know a little more about your injury, too. Welcome aboard. It's scary to think of what you will be able to do with your base and background after a little while of CF!

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Old 10-25-2006, 11:56 AM   #9
Peter Queen
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At 45 with a very active background I was very humbled at first with CF and decided to scale things back before I hurt myself. Take your time and give yourself proper rest, even if it is more than 2 days inorder to recover, then get back at it. If the WODs ask for 15 reps of something then do 10 for example. When working with any lifting or squatting, use the bar only or a broomstick only at first just to get the body mechanics and technique down, ect. You'll get there and most of all be patient. Make sure you check out the "Exercise" section on the first page and view the training videos.

"I carry around about 9-10% bodyfat and can do a fair number (for an average 35 year old anyway) of pushups (50-60), squats (500+ in a row), HSPU (20-25), dips (30-40), pullups (10-12), situps, etc., so I'm not in bad shape by most standards."
By most standards is correct, that's really great. You are already starting out better than a lot of people, especially me. If possible get with some other CF-ers in the Virginia area. There are a lot of them and facilities up and down your general area of the country. Even in DC...See Tom Brose for example:
There are facilities in Fairfax, virginia Beach, I think there is one in Richmond but not sure. Anyway, get with others to help you go through the routines mechanically and with the proper tempo.
Good luck and welcome.
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:59 AM   #10
Jason Lopez-Ota
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Use the scaled workouts! You are going to be doing things that you aren't used to. You couldn't do 20-25 HSPUs the 1st day right? Same deal with crossfit. You probably won't have to scale HSPUs though scale the workouts to your lever.

(Message edited by jay123 on October 25, 2006)
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