In anticipation of the Open’s first workout, Thursday’s programming had been dialed back a bit with focus on an essential movement and then a short bit of conditioning (reprogrammed to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather).
Scaling options for the night included unweighted strict chin-ups and negatives in the same rep range. Those who could get half their reps with strict chin-ups were urged to do so, filling in the rest of the rep requirements with negatives. Negatives were scaled to flexed arm hangs (jump up and hold your chin over the bar as long as possible).
Remember, pinching the shoulder blades (aka retracting the scapula) is the initial movement in ANY type of pull-up. That includes overhand pull-ups, reverse and neutral grip chin-ups, and even kipping pull-ups.
So instead of simply pulling with the arms, often causing the shoulders to pull forward and down, a proper pull-up/chin-up should be initiated with the scapula followed by the next by the elbows. If you begin by bending the elbows, you’ll find that the shoulders round forward severely (pinching the shoulder blades back at this point will be next to impossible).
By pinching the scapula, the shoulders are pull down and back, tilting the chest up towards the bar. This assumes, of course, that you’ve kept a neutral head (i.e., you’re not looking down). There’s nothing on the floor worth looking at, promise! When you look down, you put the muscles at the base of your neck and upper back in tension, making their job of keeping the shoulder blades pulled together that much harder.
Since a few of the rowers were miffed about the amount of humidity in the studio, we opted to multiple heats of a quick conditioning workout. In sets of three, everyone did an all out 500M row followed immediately by an 800M block run. Of course, the trickiest part of the run was running from a nice, bright gym out into the dark and down a set of stairs. Thankfully, no search and rescue parties were needed.
Congrats to Mary Catherine who got her Open 12.1 workout in before class. For the rest of you, please remember: if you aren’t able to make it on Saturday at 1pm, please let Tom or Chris know ahead of time so we can arrange an alternate workout time for you. Otherwise, we’ll see you all on Sunday!