So you have started a journey down the crossfit road—and you get the hang of box jumps, wall-balls, and even double unders—but then your trainer breaks out the barbell and your knees begin to shake. (Note: for demos and links, locate the orange text throughout the post)
But who would have thought the trick to mastering some of the toughest crossfit moves is PVC piping or even a broomstick? I would venture to guess that these household objects probably don’t immediately come to mind when many think about a typical crossfit routine.
Over the past week, I have completed 4 classes as part of my initial crossfit onboarding—my trainer has broken down, demonstrated and critiqued several routines involving the infamous barbell. At the heart of each exercise is a 2 minute practice with a 6 foot PVC pipe—not-so glamourous and slightly humbling, but extremely helpful to master the movement before using the real deal. And for the gentlemen out there—this technique was something each trainer required both men and women in the onboarding group to do before moving up to the bar.
This PVC was even used to stretch before some of the tougher workouts and helped to build my confidence with the actual barbell, because at the end of the day, the goal is to learn the move without dropping the bar and weights on your head. Don’t have a 6 foot PVC pipe lying around the house? Why not try a broomstick or mop, so long as they’re clean?
After 4 days of onboarding I also learned that when it comes to shoes, the type of sneaker does actually matter—at least for lifting.
Newbies generally don’t have to worry about outfitting yourself head to toe in crossfit gear—so if you’re a runner who’s looking to branch out with crossfit, your Asics or Nikes will work perfectly fine for most of the crossfit workouts. However, I did see a difference when it came to lifting.
When you have the barbell with weights above your head, the one thing you want is a stable base—something you may not necessarily feel with running shoes, due to the cushioning in the sole. Instead, there are weight-lifting shoes that will help to stabilize you and surprisingly, you don’t have to spend all that much on them.
I happened to stumbled upon a 2 for the price of 1 sale at the Reebok outlet outside of Boston and ended up with the 2 pairs of crossfit shoes shown to the left—the orange ones for lifting and the electric blue ones for all other exercises (i.e. wall balls, double unders, etc.).
As I drove home from crossfit last night—after a long week at work—I realized I actually had much more energy than the week before and while the temperatures are warming up and the snow is melting, I have to think one of the major contributors to this new found energy has to be crossfit.
And after reflecting on this last week, I am slowly starting to understand why this fitness method has taken off and why there are some strong believers out there—
• It’s easy to make the time – only 50-55 minutes, warm-up to finish
• The trainers and members are beyond supportive – everyone encourages each other and I can’t remember getting more high-fives in my entire life
• You can do the moves – with proper onboarding, even the most novice of folks can muscle through 14 straight minutes of rotations consisting of 50 double unders, 10 box jumps and 10 burpees (note—this was the onboarding WOD as part of yesterday’s workout and trust me it’s as tough as you want to make it for yourself)
• It’s my excuse to leave work at a decent hour – I have consistently left at 5pm on crossfit days, which has been liberating and helped to foster a more balanced feeling at the end of a hectic work day for this workaholic
Here’s to week 2—only one more week until I can enter the regular classes!