A Beginner's Journey to Class at CFSL – Part 4:Getting to the halfway point

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Session 3

Our third session couldn’t come soon enough; I needed to redeem myself after the humbling experience of session two. Ozzie had been hinting throughout the day that this session would be a killer, but I still couldn’t race across town fast enough once work finished to get stuck into it, warning him to keep it all a secret so I couldn’t talk myself out of things.

We warmed up with more rowing, and I am beginning to notice it takes less and less time to get through the distance on the machine, though I still think the rowers are making me oddly seasick. Things descended into a bit of a workout, but it was a good way to channel all my aggression and energy from a day in the office into an outlet where I could really let rip.

We started honing in on three different movements. We started with the deadlift, something I was really glad to have some professional help with. I’ve always liked knocking these out in the gym, but have been occasionally gripped by doubt I was doing things wrong. The Crossfit burpee was next on our list.  Finally, we worked our way up the weights on kettlebell swings.  This was the most unusual experience of the three, but fixing on a point on the wall in front certainly helped to keep things in check.

As ever, we rounded things off with the final workout, which involved fiendish combinations of deadlifts, burpees and kettlebell swings.  There were three sets in total, with sixty seconds of much needed rest in between.  Ozzie pushed us throughout and I finished the third burst by exhausting my final ounces of energy.  It was only then that Ozzie revealed we in fact needed to do four sets. I couldn’t hide my shock. There was surely no way I could do it all again, one final time.  The sixty seconds had ticked down before we knew it and I was back at the deadlifts before I had made up my mind to get started.  From somewhere within, I was able to find the resource to force through, chipping away at the total number of reps with my mind somehow absent and yet utterly focused on the task in hand.  It turned out to be just about the fastest set of the four.

Again, I could barely speak for about thirty seconds, and then I wanted to do it again.  This wasn’t just a crazy circuit, but a circuit with serious weight (for me, at least) and all lifted with proper form.  What’s more, that fourth set was something I didn’t even think I had in me, and I ended up being able to smash through it.

If I am already doing things I didn’t think I could, then roll on being allowed into classes…

Session 4

Session 4 finally came round on a Monday evening and I was raring to go after a frustrating day in the office. Beginning with a mad squatting tabata, the troubles of the day soon faded away as I channelled my energy into trying to match each rep to the seconds passing on the wall clock.

We then warmed up our shoulders with waiter’s and farmer’s walks, with a few hollow holds thrown in to engage the core.  There was even handstanding…  Ozzie took us through thrusters, and yet again my form was restricted by my mobility. But the focus of the session was to be the pull-up, and more specifically, kipping.

We broke down each element, beginning by just hanging from the bar and swinging under control, adding one step at a time before putting it all together.  At least, that was the intention.  Kipping relies less on strength and more on synchronising a series of movements to pull yourself up as quickly as possible. For some reason, as soon as I reached five reps, the coordination fell right apart. Worse still, the session’s workout was to be rounded off with thirty pull-ups in a row (after a hefty row and fifty thrusters).

Frustrated by how long the workout took me and nursing some shame from nearly falling off the bar when my grip failed, I chalked this all down to another humbling moment in the CrossFit process. But, sharing our training room with a lad on his first session reminded me how far we had come, and walking through a class in full swing on the way out reminded me where I want to end up.

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