Tuesday was a bit of an aberration that saw a mix of skill and strength, but no real conditioning. Odd? Perhaps, but worth it to spend the time on some handstands and then a few heavy thrusters.
Before anyone kicked up into a handstand, class spent some time on the floor reviewing the Hollow position, an essential piece of any handstand work. The hollow position review included:
- pulling the knees into the chest, raising the shoulders off the floor and pressing the low back into the floor;
- getting into, and maintaining, the above position while extending one leg;
- as above, but extending the other leg;
- then, finally, extending both legs.
The goal each time is to work on tilting the pelvis forward/up while pressing the low back into the floor. Remember, this is NOT an ab exercise! The point of this drill is to teach you control over the hollow position in an unloaded position, such as an actual handstand.
The hollow position review was followed by 3 Rounds of either max Handstand Hold (facing the wall), or 20 Alternating Shoulder Touches (facing the wall). Each set was immediately followed be a max Hollow Position hold. Athletes were give the option to either cartwheel up of wall-walk into position; however, while the Handstand holds were programmed as “max time,” obviously going to failure when facing the wall isn’t optimal, and so athletes were instructed to go to a point that was as long as possible while still being sub-max (hopefully saving anyone from failing out and crashing down onto their heads).
As to why handstands were only allowed facing the wall, take a second to read our blog post from last December (“AMERICAN HANDSTAND“) about the positional benefits of practicing your handstands facing the wall as opposed to facing away from the wall. Post handstand work, class moved over to the platforms for some strength work in the form of heavy thrusters.
Pull-Ups were to be performed immediately after each set of Thrusters, with scaling options which included Chest to Bar, Chin over Bar, Band Assisted (still chin over), or Negatives (beginning from the chin over position).
The default explanation for a thruster is that the movement is a front squat followed by a push press. Yet, it’s not really one lift followed by another – it’s a single contiguous movement.
The issue, or difficulty, arises from the fact that the technique for the thruster is much more difficult than for either the front squat or the push press alone. This is because the ideal front squat uses a different elbow position than the ideal push press. The front rack position is hard enough, but in the thruster, a lifter must not only have a solid front rack, but then be able to transition, mid-lift, into a solid push press position. Thrusters are often used in CrossFit workouts in high rep schemes, but going for weight can really help determine where you are weakest in the movement, areas that are perhaps covered by brute strength or speed when done at lighter weight for high volume. It’s tempting to want to concentrate on the over-head part, but remember: without a stable and well-controlled front squat, you may very well not even make it to the overhead part.
Great work on some complex movements. Although a rarity, we do in fact have classes from time to time that are without a met-con. Of course, this usually means something conditioning-centric is lurking just around the corner. See you all Thursday!