It sucks? Too bad. Do it more.

lateral squat

Lateral squats, a regular exercise on the MaxFit USA Powerlifting workouts

I’ve heard people say you should check your ego at the door when you come into a CrossFit gym. That wasn’t a problem when I couldn’t do anything. But I’ve built some confidence in the last months and am pretty proud of some of the things I can do now. That’s why it’s good to be reminded that I am still at the  beginning of this journey.

I woke up incredibly sore this morning  in a few places — notably my upper hamstrings and my glutes. My first thought when I wake like this is always ‘what on earth did I do?’

Then I remembered. Many pathetic attempts at single leg Romanian deadlifts, and 3 successful but laborious sets 0f 10 – on each side – lateral squats. Think a hybrid of squatting and lunging and you’ve got the picture. I wasn’t sure how much weight to do so I just added a couple 10-pound plates to the  bar for 65. Breathing hard after one set, I said “those suck!” to some compatriots in the gym. “Then you’ve got enough weight!” Rachel replied.

Yesterday was a long workout with several new exercises I’ve never done. I had to google the Romanian deadlifts before I went in, as one-legged Romanian deadlifts with dumbbells were in the program for the day. I found this helpful video, but had already lost the mental image by the time I was ready to do it. Rachel was nice enough to show me though, and gave me a good concept to help me understand the action –” think of your body like a see-saw,” she explained. You go down and up but keeping straight and level.

I tried it with a medium-sized kettlebell, then with a smaller one, quickly grasping that this move required greater balance than I have. “Try it without a weight,” Rachel said, “and put your hands on your hips so you can feel if you’re twisting the the side.”

While a violent thunderstorm raged outside, I tried repeatedly to balance on one leg and bend at the waist and rise. My foot on the standing leg cramped from trying to grip the floor and hold my balance, and I wobbled like a matroyshka doll, trying in vain to stay balanced. This was ridiculous — I thought I had better balance than this! As people trickled back in from watching the crazy storm, I grew more reluctant to struggle through my balancing act attempts. I forced myself through one set on each side of 10 lackluster attempts and moved on the the next exercise.

When Ben arrived later I asked if there was something I could substitute for the Romanian deadlifts, since I couldn’t do them. He often swaps out work for things that are too advanced for me, like push-ups for renegade rows, for instance. Not today though.

“Balance is everything!” he said. “Welcome to your new warm-up.” I laughed, hoping he was joking. These things sucked. I hate sucking. “I’m serious,” he said. Do them every day. Two sets of 10 until you can do them with weights.”

Ok. If I conquered chin-ups, I can do these blasted things. But I’ll practice at home where nobody has to see me suck but my dogs.


2 thoughts on “It sucks? Too bad. Do it more.

  1. I love challenges like this. When I first came into the gym I didn’t even know what pistols were.. Then one day they popped up and I was awful. I hated it. So I went home and practiced everyday until it wasn’t hard anymore. Same thing with the atlas stone. We came in everyday and picked it up, until it wasn’t really hard. It is great to have your weakness so clearly exposed.

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