Monday, September 10, 2012

PFL: Be upside-down

this isn't me...yet.  via

So I went to CrossFit today.  I'd looked over the WOD beforehand and it seemed doable - some not-too-crazy-heavy deadlifts and cleans and that was pretty much it.  Awesome sauce.  I get there just as the previous group was finishing up their cleans, and I try to make it through the gauntlet of snappy hips and flying barbells to drop my stuff at the cubbies.

Oh hey, who's that?  It's the lovely and talented Dr. Shirey, who promised to spot me on, sometime. is sometime.  Um.  Right.

I thought about just smiling and not talking, but that would be totally weak.  As I walk by her, my mouth immediately says "So, handstands?"  Damnit, reactive brain!  You will get me killed.  No going back now.  "Yeah!" she says.  "After the WOD?"  Sure...but now I'm thinking about supporting my entire bodyweight with my arms right after lifting heavy-ish stuff multiple times.  Hm.  Hmmmmm.

The WOD wasn't actually that tough.  I may have unintentionally sandbagged it a little because the day I figured out my current 1RMs was a few months ago now and I'm already considerably stronger.  But my form on the cleans can definitely use some work, so we can just count it as a skill day.  So:

  • 10 sets of 2 reps on the minute of banded deadlifts at 85lbs (sadly yes, that WAS about 60% of my last measured 1RM) getting up as quickly as possible (I slowed it down considerably on the way down instead of just dropping the bar)
  • 12 sets of one full clean and one hang clean (both with a full squat) on the minute at 65lbs.  Decent, but honestly not heavy enough for me to feel like I had to engage my hips all that much. Which is a good thing, especially as the scary elite who watched me totally fail at hang-cleaning 95lbs a few months ago was there.  I didn't fail this time.
And then everyone started doing banded good mornings - step on a band and wrap the other end behind your neck, then bend over and straighten up a bunch of times - which just looks ow and also kind of like Dave just found a sneaky way to get everyone to bow to him.  So obviously handstands are so, so much easier, especially with the ever-fabulous Ms. Scott volunteering to spot me on the other side.  She and Kristen told me they were total Hercu-Lisas and would never let me fall on my head so that I'd have to spend the rest of my days typing out slow but inspiring prose with my eyelids.  In fact, they were going to each grab one of my ankles with their pinky and parade me around the gym.  Why?  Because they're motherfucking bamfs and they CAN, that's why.

Kristen was amazingly helpful and spent a lot of time telling me about how there's an actual physiological reason for why some people start crying uncontrollably when they're put upside-down (yes!  science!), and showed me a couple of ways to start kicking up against the wall and told me the story of when she was learning to do handstands with Dave spotting her, and also demonstrated some absolutely beautiful handstands numerous times and actually was able to look up at my face WHILE she was doing them, which is absolutely inconceivable to me.  And then after enough stalling, it was my turn.

By this time Amy had joined us and I had a fitness goddess on either side of me ready to catch me, so there was really no reason not to.  Except, you know, my BRAIN telling me that the second I kicked up I would fall down/up towards my feet and crash through the roof into the sky and fall into space.  God DAMNIT, brain.  But I knew it was crazytalk and there was only one way to shut it up.


Set up my hands.

Put my feet in position, one behind the other.

Try to stop at least the necessary parts of my body from shaking.

Shut my eyes as tightly as possible.


I probably went about a foot off the ground on the first try, but it felt like a freaking barrel roll.  But I didn't die.  Amy and Kristen were yelling wonderful encouraging things that I cannot for the life of me remember.  And so I did it again.  And again.  Kristen showed me the approximate angle my body was reaching, which was way more than I thought it was...that's good, right?  But honestly it was too terrifying to think about the fact that I was actually doing it, so I just did it again.  And another time.  And then a few more.  And then Team Hercu-Lisa grabbed my ankles and spotted me all the way into a full handstand.

I wish I could remember it better.  I was so focused on locking my shoulders and elbows out and not opening my eyes and trying to ignore the fact that I was honest-to-gods upside-down under at least half my own power for the first time in my LIFE that it was all kind of blurry.  And then I was saying "put me down now down please now yes down" and then I was down and not crying, by some miracle.

I did it.

And then I wrote it on the PR board and totally forgot to take a picture, but next time I promise.  Because there will be a next time.  And my goal for that one is open my damn eyes already and don't forget how gravity works.

Commenters: leave me more ideas of what to do for Project Fear Less.


1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite exercises is the handstand pushup. I guess that is the next step for you. Body weight workouts are the best.