Friday, March 27, 2009

Stomp the box

I bet that everyone has ONE CrossFit exercise that scares the crap out of them. Heavy snatches, maybe? Because violently throwing your body underneath a loaded barbell seems more than a little insane. Or handstands... that has always been my #1 fear, hands-down. I remember getting down to GSX and meeting Tucker for the first time. Within two minutes, he said, "Okay, let's see what we've got here. Just kick up real quick..." And I was like, "Ummmmm... no f***ing thank you". I don't think he realized how much we'd need to baby-step the process. I set him straight on that one.

And I know a lot of people find box jumps scary. The thought of having to jump up AND successfully land on something that comes up to your knees - or higher - can be downright paralyzing. My sister Kelly, bad-ass kettlebell chick and recent CrossFit convert, is one of the box jump people. They have always terrified her. We've worked on them before, using everything from a 12" Reebok step to a 16" giant tire. And she'll DO them, but she doesn't like them. And they mess with her head in a serious fashion. At least, they did until last night.

Kelly has been doing some training with Kevin Williams - AKA "Torch" - at CrossFit Brooklyn (holla!). So I told her to hit her box jumps with Torch next time she went over there. She attacked the assignment head on. In Kelly's own words:

"As you know, I’ve always been irrationally afraid of box jumps. Hesitance translated into several attempts over the years that resulted in shins scraping down the front of the box. OUCH. That is NOT what I consider positive reinforcement. I’d always been told two things about box jumps. First, don’t look at the box. Two, try to land softly. Both of which meant I was jumping blindly, and nowhere near aggressively enough.

Torch’s advice last night: Look directly at the box. And stomp the shit out of it. Amen. I did a bunch of sets of 5 on a TWENTY INCH BOX without a single moment of hyperventilating. I don’t think Torch really understood the years of fitness anxiety that he had undone in literally a matter of 60 seconds. But I knew you’d get it."

In summary, Me:Handstands:Tucker = Kelly:Box Jumps:Torch. And the impact these trainers have had on us by helping us overcome our fears is pretty remarkable. My newly cultivated upside-down confidence has translated into me trying all kinds of new activities... more on that this weekend. And I guarantee Kelly is going to be jumping up on whatever is handy in the coming days - a bar stool, the kitchen table, maybe even another actual box in her own gym. So nice job, Torch and CFBK. Thanks for taking such good care of my sister. And way to go, Cute, for taking the lunch money from those mean old box jumps.

What are you afraid of, what have you overcome, and how did you do it?

I (heart) handstands. Brooklyn, get a picture of my sister stomping the box for me, will you?


Kelly said...

As an update, I rocked another 5 sets of 15 box jumps this morning. And I OWNED every one of them.

Ironically, while I was working out, I had two different trainers in my gym walk by and suggest that I try to "land softer."

I told them to STUFF IT.

Melissa Byers said...

Nice, Kelly.

When I first started doing handstands on my own, Scott was just waiting for me to put holes in the drywall with my heels. The only way I could kick up was to KICK UP... it wasn't pretty, but it did the trick. I don't have to do that anymore - now it's easy like Sunday morning.

As you get more comfortable with the movement, you'll refine it. You probably will land softer, and you may not have to look at the box the whole time. But the point is, you're getting up there successfully, with full range of motion, in a safe manner. So yes, fancy gym trainers.. I second the motion to STUFF IT.

Way to go.

Jennifer said...

It's not so much that I'm AFRAID of running, but I hate it. No, actually I h9 to run. Some people talk lovingly about how they run and relax and it's a nice mental break....but every moment of my runs is spent in agony.

I would LOVE to overcome my running anxiety. Anyone want to be my Tucker/Torch of running anxiety? :-)

Nick said...

Byers, this was one of my fears too (and definitely is still my gf's fears). But you should check out the coffin jump at SFCF. I think I got to the third rung. Haven't gotten to the top yet.

Daniel said...

I've spent most of the last year terrified of handstands as well. So a month ago, I made a resolution that I was going to get a FREESTANDING handstand by the end of the year, and started greasing that groove.

I can now kick up to a wall without difficulty. Last night we were working "hang time" forward rolls, as directed by Roger Harrell of CF Marin, and basically by accident I got a two-second freestanding. It was pretty damn exciting. Conquering fears is awesome.

Now if I could only learn how to receive a clean or a snatch...

Rich Vos said...

Thanks, Byers! My wife has the same weird problem with jumping. I shot her the link. Today, she'll give that a shot. Lovin' the blog!

Oh, and my suck is multiple heavy squat cleans. God how I hate the "Elizabeth" WOD!

Melissa Byers said...

Daniel - you are my HERO for going straight into a freestanding. Those still scare the crap out of me, mostly because forward rolls are scary too. What's a "hang time" forward roll?

Rich - check back in and let me know how your wife does with these. How cool if Torch could coach her through them by proxy?


rizzo said...

muscle ups, i just cant seem to get the transition down, the pull ups and ring dips are fine but just getting my shoulders over the rings never happens. i've done every progression i've found and i dunno its jut not clicking. oh and after practicing them last night, today's wod is pull ups and ring dips ahhhh

Ben said...

Wow, rizzo took the words right out of my mouth.

Daniel said...

What we're calling a "hang time" forward roll is basically just a roll with a pause at the top, something between a somersault and a handstand-forward roll. If you scroll to the bottom of CrossFit Marin's website, you'll see a series of links to videos Roger has done about handstands and rolls. I found these extremely helpful. Here's the one that shows what I'm talking about.

Erin said...

I have issues with throwing my body into space. Both box jumps and handstands are all about tossing yourself into air. It's dang scary.

I worked on box jumps last week and successfully handled a one-foot box. It felt great. Sure, it's not high, but it's all about baby steps, right? I dread going up to the next level, but will eventually get there.

Today I was working on handstands -- at a very basic level. Just trying to get my legs up against the wall and having my trainer hold my legs. It's that moment of planting my hands down while tossing my legs up that seems so frightening.

These two moves do not keep one part of your body on something solid. Pull-ups, your hands stay on the bar; squats, your feet don't leave the ground. I feel so much more in control with those exercises.

Congratulations to Kelly. Facing these scary things successfully is an achievement to be proud of.

Sampie said...

To help with your running go check out the CrossFit Endurance site. They have some information about running techniques that will help.


vagabonda said...

I has a nasty fall doing box jumps my first month doing crossfit. lots of internal bleeding in my shin and foot, i was off my feet for a week and on crutches for a month.

and i used to love stomping them! now they terrify me. hope to get over it someday..

tuck said...

Since when did you ever set me straight...? Umm dont answer that. Love love love this post!

Keep kicking ass and taking fucking names babygirl!


Ellen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen said...

I am new to crossfit and stumbled onto your blog. Last week I had an unfortunate accident with wall ball when the ball hit my glasses and cut my nose. I started bleeding inside and on the top of my nose. Then I got blurred vision and felt dizzy. The doctor and nurse at the ER literally glued me together so I am out of the gym for the next week and a half. I can't wait to go back but will substitute wall ball with something else. Strength does not necessarily mean coordination for me!