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Starting CrossFit....advice!?!?!?!

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  • #46
    I was thinking about this last night.... I think CrossFit critics really need to go see it in action at a local box. I know if you go look at the website and read the workouts, it's very much, WTF? What you don't realize is how much it scales down. I've only RX'd one workout which had deadlifts that I happen to be good at so I could do the RX weight. Usually, people doing RX workouts have been doing it for a while.

    I work out with a group of women and none of us are "beasts" nor do we take stupid chances and our coaches are always happy with our performance.

    I think for me, I need to be pushed to do more and most other programs do not really push you. CrossFit pushes you. You can't really slack, as I seem to do otherwise. So, while I can see where CF might end badly for a very competitive, underprepared person, it ends up really well for a slacker. I think when it comes down to it, that at the actual boxes, for every dude madly kipping away and overdoing it, there are 10 people just working hard, and then probably 10 more doing scaled versions in a way that pushes themselves safely. Yeah, the site does not feature the 40 year old woman jogging the sprints, cleaning 50lbs and doing band pull ups, but that happens too, and that woman gets in amazing shape for all her scaled efforts!

    http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
    Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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    • #47
      Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
      I was thinking about this last night.... I think CrossFit critics really need to go see it in action at a local box. I know if you go look at the website and read the workouts, it's very much, WTF? What you don't realize is how much it scales down. I've only RX'd one workout which had deadlifts that I happen to be good at so I could do the RX weight. Usually, people doing RX workouts have been doing it for a while.
      One of the things that bother me the most about crossfit is the casual approach to injuries. "If it happens, it happens." I find that attitude very problematic, especially when some of the WODs include explosive movements such as the olympic lifts, box jumps and muscle ups for time.

      I must say that 'Linda' strikes me as a particularly suicidal WOD - bench presses, deadlifts and cleans for time? My question is: At what intensity do you consider those exercises safe when you try to do them as fast as possible and with questionable form?
      Yeah, my grammar sucks. Deal with it!

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      • #48
        Question for those who go to xfit boxes:

        Will they allow the option of showing up and using their equipment to do what YOU choose to do w/o ever following a WOD?

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        • #49
          Originally posted by bcbcbc2 View Post
          Question for those who go to xfit boxes:

          Will they allow the option of showing up and using their equipment to do what YOU choose to do w/o ever following a WOD?
          At my box, no, not until you demonstrate that you know what you're doing. We do have a group of people who only come to our Olympic weightlifting classes, but we have a certified Oly coach who programs and runs each Oly class. We also have some of our members who do more weight lifting than WODs, but they started by doing the WODs on a regular basis first--so all the coaches know them. Those guys do their lifting in pairs or small groups--so there's always a spotter handy.

          And of course they have to pay membership fees.

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          • #50
            I must say that 'Linda' strikes me as a particularly suicidal WOD - bench presses, deadlifts and cleans for time? My question is: At what intensity do you consider those exercises safe when you try to do them as fast as possible and with questionable form?
            Well, at my box, they might swap out the bench presses (not enough space) with an alternative exercise. They would help you choose the correct weight on deadlifts and cleans. Our coach would let us know not to rush things.

            And yes, some exercises are dangerous. We had a workout the other day with a lot of box jumps which became step ups for me. No one cared. But other people did the box jumps. You can fall on a box jump, just like you can crash a bike or slip and fall out running.

            Maybe my perspective is skewed from years of riding horses and actually not being in full control of my safety. At a Crossfit Class YOU are in total control of your safety and have the ability to stop, use a lighter weight, slow down, modify or do any number of things to prevent injury. We did a WOD a couple weeks ago with thrusters, push presses and something else (can't remember) combined with running. I personally get nervous heaving weights over my head as I get tired, so I took many breaks, broke the sets down and walked part of the runs so I had good energy on the lifts. Another girl switched to lighter weights. Many people walked. Everyone got a great workout, no one got hurt. The only thing the coach bitched at people about was bad form. I have never been yelled at for being too slow on lifts. EVER. No one ever gets told to lift faster. Yeah, you might get pushed to be faster on burpees.

            To be sure, the WOD's are designed to push people and be a challenge, and as written they are designed to challenge very fit members. There is a girl at my box who always RX's. She is a sheet of muscle. Can bench her bodyweight, squats over 250 (iirc) and deadlifts over 300. Understand that our coach does NOT expect us to handle the weights she does.

            And I don't see any "casual approach to injuries". I don't even understand where you are coming from. If someone gets hurt, I imagine they stop and get the help they need, like in any other sport. I've only seen 1 injury at my box, a girl cut her chin on a bar and she stopped, got it cleaned up, went home and got some stitches. It's like anything else- you are expected to use common sense. I don't see how it is CrossFit's fault if someone pushes through a knee or back injury.... and people do that all the time in other sports.

            Oh, and we can use weights etc. after class and have open gym time. A lot of people just come in and lift when they don't feel like doing the WOD's.

            http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
            Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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            • #51
              Once again I agree 100% with Magnolia. I have been yelled at to encourage me to keep going... "You're doing great! Now just one more! And one more again!" But I've never been yelled at for anything other than "Your form is slipping a little, take some of those weights off or go slower". The worst injury I've seen at my box was a shin scrape from box jumps, and a scraped nose when he didn't get his face back when lowering the bar.

              One of the girls at my box was 31st at the Games this year. I've heard the coaches tell HER to take some weights off in a WOD !!! (Granted she was doing the men's RX weight at the time!)

              There may be some boxes out there that don't have the best standards or coaches. I've worked out at two others besides mine, and never saw anything but the same care and attention I get at my own box, but I know that not all have the same high standards. As Magnolia said, that is true in ANY sport.

              Why would coaches encourage us to do something wrong or beyond our abilities so we end up getting injured? Besides the fact that everyone I've encountered in Crossfit is genuinely caring, there's the business bottom line. Injured people don't work out, the box doesn't get their membership fees.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
                And I don't see any "casual approach to injuries". I don't even understand where you are coming from. If someone gets hurt, I imagine they stop and get the help they need, like in any other sport. I've only seen 1 injury at my box, a girl cut her chin on a bar and she stopped, got it cleaned up, went home and got some stitches. It's like anything else- you are expected to use common sense. I don't see how it is CrossFit's fault if someone pushes through a knee or back injury.... and people do that all the time in other sports.
                Do a Google picture search on 'torn calluses'. You'd expect to see a lot of powerlifters, weightlifters and ring gymnasts with hand injuries, right? Wrong. Those guys know bloody well how to take care of their hands. It's the crossfitters who don't know how to prevent hand injuries. No, scratch that. They know perfectly well how to prevent hand injuries - but slow and controlled pullups suck when you're lifting for time, so they choose to do kipping pullups instead.

                That, to me, is a very casual approach to injuries.
                Yeah, my grammar sucks. Deal with it!

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                • #53
                  Do a Google picture search on 'torn calluses'. You'd expect to see a lot of powerlifters, weightlifters and ring gymnasts with hand injuries, right? Wrong. Those guys know bloody well how to take care of their hands. It's the crossfitters who don't know how to prevent hand injuries. No, scratch that. They know perfectly well how to prevent hand injuries - but slow and controlled pullups suck when you're lifting for time, so they choose to do kipping pullups instead.
                  Yet again....at my box, people that kip often use hand protection, I don't kip and accept a slower time. We have chalk. It's not a given that you will tear up your hands in order to gain benefit from CrossFit.

                  And, well, perhaps some people do enjoy ripping up their hands, but have you ever seen runners feet? Black toe nails. Chafing with cycling?

                  BTW, did my CF Total last night- 185 back squat (below parallel), 70 lb press, 250 deadlift. Back in april, those weights were unfathomable to me. 5 months in, fitter, my back feels great, hips are getting more loose. I do have some callouses on my hands. I'm seeing benefits.

                  http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                  Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
                    BTW, did my CF Total last night- 185 back squat (below parallel), 70 lb press, 250 deadlift. Back in april, those weights were unfathomable to me. 5 months in, fitter, my back feels great, hips are getting more loose. I do have some callouses on my hands. I'm seeing benefits.
                    Whoa! Those are awesome numbers! You totally beat me into the ground! Great work!

                    Kharnath - First of all, kipping pullups are part of crossfit. Like heatseeker explained once in a different thread, kipping pullups are different from strict pullups--they are a different exercise altogether. And, yes, kipping makes it more likely that your calluses will tear, but you don't have to do any kipping pullups if you don't want to (or can't--like me). But toes to bars or knees to elbows can make your calluses tear too. Torn calluses suck. They really do. We are taught how to take care of our calluses (shave them down and sand them with a pumice stone) to minimize the chances of tearing. Some people use leather grips. But no matter how hard you try, there's a good chance that you will experience torn calluses no matter what. I've figured out that if I avoid the bars that have been wrapped with tape, my hands are unlikely to tear, but if I use the taped bars, I could get a tear even if I've just shaved my calluses that day. So now I avoid the tape and just use lots of chalk.

                    I also admit that both times my calluses tore, I posted pictures of them on FB. You may think that this is me "glorifying" injury, but I was really just complaining, the same way I posted a picture of my bee sting on FB. Not glorifying bee stings, just complaining. There's nothing glorious about a stupid torn callus, and it's really unpleasant/painful. Everybody I know hates them. But they're not serious injuries anyway. And, like Magnolia said, runners get similar injuries. I used to get horrible blisters on my feet from running all the time. Those were painful too, but I learned to drain them AFTER I shower (not before unless you like pain) so that I'd be able to run again the next day.

                    You can get injured doing any kind of physical activity. Hell, I can trip and fall just walking down the street and seriously cut up my knee. When I was a kid, I fractured a toe by tripping over a piece of furniture at home. Crossfit isn't any more dangerous than any other sport.

                    My journal

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Kharnath View Post
                      Do a Google picture search on 'torn calluses'. You'd expect to see a lot of powerlifters, weightlifters and ring gymnasts with hand injuries, right? Wrong. Those guys know bloody well how to take care of their hands. It's the crossfitters who don't know how to prevent hand injuries. No, scratch that. They know perfectly well how to prevent hand injuries - but slow and controlled pullups suck when you're lifting for time, so they choose to do kipping pullups instead.

                      That, to me, is a very casual approach to injuries.
                      It's another kind of pull-up, as there are many variations....and strict pull ups are utilized even weighted strict pull ups among all the others for different reasons. Ignorance abounds..... Just give it up already we get you are a crossfit hater....debating something you have little true knowledge of isn't very smart.

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                      • #56
                        Whoa! Those are awesome numbers! You totally beat me into the ground! Great work!
                        Thanks, but you have a higher number on the Press. That's the cool thing about CrossFit- enough different stuff that everyone can be good at some part of it!

                        Like it sucked to run. Always being last place, LOL. But give me a bar loaded for a deadlift? Hell yeah.

                        I hope that people that are curious at least give it a try. Know that you want walk in on your first day and leave in an ambulance.

                        http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                        Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
                          250 deadlift.
                          Yes, Mistress.

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                          • #58
                            Checking back in on this thread, and everybody already said everything I wanted to say. Well done.

                            I don't get why people keep insisting on hijacking threads with Crossfit hate. The OP said right in her post that she had already decided to join a box. There must be better things to do with your time than sit around going, "BUT, BUT, BUT... PUKEY, RHABDO, KIPPING, WAH!" Her decision is already made. Move on. Go lift some weights. Eat some steak. Sprint. These would all be far more productive uses of your time.

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                            • #59
                              I have really only one piece of advice for starting CF, and it is my main complaint I have.

                              Beware the Olympic lifts.

                              What I mean is that the clean and jerk as well as the snatch require a LOT of training to perfect to the point that you are challenging your strength rather than your form....I have spent years trying to get them down, and have maintained for a long time that a true to form snatch is a thing of beauty.

                              I would be leary of anything that is pretending to TEST these lifts early on. They take a lot of time, power, and most unknown to outsiders, flexibility. Most of the non-typical CF injuries occur from unconditioned, untrained athletes trying to test an oly lift without the form.

                              Also....doing them for time is the absolute dumbest thing I have ever heard. Period. No arguments.

                              Thankfully, most of the boxes have gotten away from that, and the military boxes train strength and conditioning separately. I worked out at one at Quantico Marine Base a few years ago while working at the VA, and all of the normal CF-hate about "no structure" and "all met-cons" went out the window. They were organized, used many old-school powerlifting progressions (Smolov, Wendler, etc) as strength, while keeping endurance high.

                              Those guys were ripped beyond belief and could go run 10 miles after their oly lifting session.

                              In the hands of idiots and band-wagoners, especially those attempting to take markedly OUT of shape people and sell them another fad, it is a huge waste of time.

                              So: 1) Judge the box and get a new one if they are a disorganized mess or don't motivate you well. Often they will allow you to go to another, if that is an option for you.
                              2) Beware the oly lifts. They aren't for newbies or tubby desk jockeys with 3 weeks of training to actually challenge strength. Most of the coaches understand this, but any that still hang on need to be told to shove it. I have seen shoulders that pop like a bag of Doritos you stepped on from taking an untrained guy and telling him to C&J 250#.

                              Good luck

                              P.S. Pretty sure Magnolia could beat up 80% of the men I know. Well done.
                              "The soul that does not attempt flight; does not notice its chains."

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                              • #60
                                Of course there is also the other direction in risk/reward ratio to consider.

                                Anybody who really cared about it would be doing only slow reps on machines under supervision.

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