For those who don’t know, I purchased a Groupon to a local Crossfit gym as a bit of a post-Christmas gift to myself. I went in for my first session on January 8th.
The facility seemed small to me, but that was perhaps only because I’m used to going to Gold’s Gym, which is a roomy 40,000 sq. ft. Regardless, while the 7,000 sq. ft. Hybrid Athletics facility was much smaller than Gold’s, it certainly didn’t feel crowded.
Upon arriving, I was put in a group with three other Groupon purchasers and we were all sent upstairs to warm up on the stationary bikes. Afterwards, our instructor came up and introduced himself, and began walking us through each exercise in the workout we were going to be doing. Crossfit utilizes a lot of exercises that are familiar to me by name, but it alters them slightly and has very specific technique rules. For example, Crossfit Push Ups call for your elbows to stay close to your body, and your chest must make full contact with the floor before your can rise. If you cheat on this, they make you “release your hands” which means lifting both hands off the floor between each rep to show you’ve made contact. For Squats, they don’t count a rep unless your butt passes below parallel with your knees. This is commonly referred to as ATG, or “Ass to Grass”.
TABATA ROWING (8 x 20 sec.)
Our workout started with some tabata-style Rowing. For 20 seconds we were told to Row as hard as we possibly could, and then we took a 10 second break. We did this for 8 sets.
TABATA AIR SQUATS (8 x 20 sec.)
Next, we followed the same principle for Squats. For 20 seconds, we did as many ATG Air Squats as we could (“AMRAP”), and then tried to meet or beat our first score for every subsequent set. I over-exerted in the first set with 16 Squats, then fell down to 9 or 10 Squats by the third set, and had to really push to finish with 12 in the final set.
21 – 15 – 9 (RingUp, PushUp, SitUp)
The main WOD was a 21 – 15 – 9 of RingUps (See image to the left), PushUps, and Situps, with a 200m Run between each set. This means that for the first round, we did 21 reps of each exercise, then we ran 200m, then we did 15 of each, ran 200m, did 9 of each, and ran our final 200m. The 21 set was pretty brutal for me, considering I’d only been able to do 10 PushUps before. I’ll admit I had to transition into the “girl PushUps” halfway through. Similarly, RingUps were a real challenge for me and I had to keep my feet on the floor and give myself a bit of an upward incline.
This is a modified version of “The Filthy 50”. Having barely dragged myself through the 30, I can’t imagine surviving the 50. For this WOD, we cycled through 10 exercises as quickly as possible, doing 30 reps of each. There was a final step that the instructor failed to mention, which was curling up and dying afterwards.
30 Box Jumps
This was unnecessarily difficult for me. They give you a 20″ tall wooden box, and you have to jump on with both feet from a stand-still. When I jumped, I typically went an extra 4-6 inches higher than I needed to, but for some reason, I psyched myself into thinking I was going to undershoot. I kept spooking and hesitating mid-jump, then I’d have to reset. It took forever! Koodos to the instructor for pushing me through though.
30 Jumping PullUps
Stand beneath a bar and do a PullUp, but let your feet hit the ground and give yourself a bit of a jump. Not bad.
30 KettleBell Swings
I can’t remember what weight my KettleBell (KB) was.. I think it was 16lbs. This is pretty much what it sounds like– start from the ground and swing the KB up over your head until it’s vertical.
30 Walking Lunges
Lunge with one leg, move the other leg forward and lunge with that one. Repeat. Nothing to it.
30 Knees to Elbows
This is the pre-curser to the Toes to Bar exercise. You hold onto an overhead bar and kip your knees up to your elbows. My problems with this exercise were twofold: one, I don’t have the grip strength to hold onto the bar, and my hand slid off as soon as I started swinging; and two, I’m a marshmallow and couldn’t bring my knees anywhere near my elbows. As an alternative, the instructor had me do 30 SitUps on the Back Extension Bench.
30 Back Extensions
All the way down, then all the way up. This one isn’t actually too bad for me. Perhaps it’s a benefit to being busty– my lower back had to develop some decent strength when I was about 15, and it’s had to sink or swim ever since. The fact that I’m still standing is probably evidence enough that I have decent lower back strength.
30 Push Press
Using a barbell, this felt pretty much like the Jerk portion of a Clean and Jerk. It was really just an Overhead Press with a mini-Squat. We didn’t have any weight on the bars, so it wasn’t a problem for me.
30 Wall Balls
These, on the other hand, were a problem. They were a HUGE problem! If I wasn’t trying to get my face around the damn ball, I was catching it late after my toss and taking a 20lb. ball square in the chest. It seemed so simple– Squat with the ball overhead, throw the ball up to a line on the wall, catch the ball, repeat. Nope! Hard as hell. I was exhausted by the time I got to Burpees.
Do I even need to explain how much these suck? Is there anyone that actually enjoys Burpees? They’re like the mosquitoes of the fitness jungle. Without the motivational push from the others in my class, I probably would’ve thrown in the towel halfway. That’s exhibit A why the Crossfit environment works well for me. The strength of my self-motivation sits somewhere between 0 and kitten.
Make a skipping rope circle under your feet twice before you hit the ground between jumps. It’s just like we used to do in Elementary school, except back then I was good at it and I didn’t have boobs to deal with. I need to practice my skipping. I’m a girl– this should’ve been the easy part!