Our area has two local crossfit “boxes” (gyms), 13 Stripes in Harrisburg and Crossfit 717 in Lemoyne, who we partnered with previously and where I was invited to try out this new-to-me fitness program.
Crossfit 717 has a new building, right behind the State Street Plaza and next to the Farmers Market. It’s a sweet little place, a big open space with three rooms, each loaded with different equipment.
I was pretty scared, I’m not going to lie. And one class — beginner level, which is 75% learning how to do a skill, in our case, a clean, and 25% murderous workout, or W.O.D. — didn’t really erase my fear, but apparently that’s pretty normal.
Eight of us gathered Saturday morning at 9 and were led by Coach Aldo in the breakdown of a clean. Coach apologized to me that this was the one skill that we were learning today because it’s quite challenging. I was just relieved we were going beyond the squat, which I worked on during our mini crossfit session in Boston.
Let’s interrupt this post for some quick crossfit lingo:
- Coach = instructor
- Box = gym, big no-frills room with equipment
- W.O.D. = Workout of the Day, i.e., thing that will either literally kill you or make you stronger. OK, not “literally-literally.”
- AMRAP = “as many reps as possible” — A workout done in a set amount of time
There’s more, but I don’t know it. Anyway.
Coach Aldo’s breakdown of the clean involved many squat repetitions, including Russian kettlebell swings (foreshadowing, little did we know!) to help explain proper movements and build body awareness. While this wasn’t necessarily high-energy, break-a-sweat moves, let me tell you how sore I was the next two days from SHRUGGING MY SHOULDERS. So tough, this one.
Once we learned the three separate movements that made up a clean — and practiced them repeatedly with a thin PVC pipe — we attempted to put them together, which admittedly felt a little awkward and as if everything I’d been taught in the previous 40 minutes had flown out the window. Coach Aldo explained this was normal and that we shouldn’t over-think the motions; it’s simply helpful to learn them in slow motion to focus on form and understand what your body should be doing through this motion. Further, had we actually used weights (it would take me a LONG time to work up to actual weight), it may have felt more natural. It’s hard to heave air.
Anyway, if we were unsure at that point whether we would be getting the killer workout one expected from a crossfit session, those last 15 minutes cleared things up for us.
- 12 Russian kettlebell swings
- 10 Goblet squats (We did this with the ol’ kettlebell)
- 8 push-ups
Holy. Shit. First of all, I went from zero to sweating profusely in no time. In fact, I felt my heart rate skyrocket the first time we did those Russian kettlebell swings as an example during the skill. Second, ouch. I completed 5 2/3 reps in 12 minutes. In the last round I did all of the kettlebell exercises and forced *1* push-up, just to say I could, before time was up. Wow. I did girl push-ups, sorry. That was still the most push-ups I’ve ever done in 12 minutes.
We beginners then collapsed/stretched/drank water while the more advanced crossfitters learned about and started their insane W.O.D.
It started with AMRAP Burpees for 3 minutes, and then partnering up for this:
Teams of two complete the following (20 Minute time cap)
- 10 HSPU (hand stand push-ups – SERIOUSLY??)
- 20 Wallball toss (over pullup bar to partner)
- 30 Deadlifts (agree on 70-80%)
- 40 Push Press (agree on 70-80%)
- 50 Box Jumps
- 60 Pullups
- 70 Calorie Row
- 80m Overhead Lunges (45/25)
- 90 Double Unders (scale bar hops)
- 100 Situps
Here’s the 10 a.m. class starting their 3 minutes of burpees.
Overall, my impression was this: Crossfit is legit, the community is solid, and I can see why people get hooked. Whether it’s for me is another thing. I’m definitely still a lot afraid of it (a friend said this takes about 3 months ’til that feeling goes away), and I hope I’ll get the chance to take the periodic crossfit class to test and improve my strength.