Struggles and foundations
It's toward the end of week #3 of OnRamp at CrossFit Marysville (CFM). The novelty has worn off. We spent most of the session Thursday night simply going through the intricate details of executing the correct push-jerk and split jerk motions.
This stuff isn't very sexy, but definitely necessary if one is to do any of the lifts that CFM prides itself on having their members do.
And I have to admit: I kinda dragged myself through the session. I wish I could say that I was more enthused about learning everything I will ever need to know about foot placement and torso alignment when I do my split jerk, but it really wasn't there for me tonight when I started the session.
I think it's important that we acknowledge when we are struggling to master something, or even just to get through something. Do I want to become a better, stronger, more dynamic athlete at the age of 52? Heck, yes. Do I want to go through all of the preliminary stuff in order to get to the point where I am that better, stronger, more dynamic person? Not necessarily.
But as I went through the same motion with the PVC pipe for what seemed like the thousandth time, it dawned on me: this is why so few people actually stay committed for the long haul. This is why, according to a University of Scranton study, only eight percent of people achieve their New Year's resolutions. The challenge is to figure out a way to get through those tough times when we really don't want to go to the gym.
And that's where it is so nice to have a support group and competent, enthusiastic coaches like they have at CFM. If it wasn't for the fact that I have those four other OnRamp rookies there to go through this with me, I probably wouldn't have been motivated to show up and go through the relatively boring, but extremely necessary, routine we did tonight at CFM.
But, here is the important point: those routines we mastered tonight are the foundation for everything else we will be doing in just a couple of weeks. If we don't know how to properly place the PVC pipe above our heads, when we get to the 45-pound bar with weight added to it, a dislocated disk is just waiting to happen.
Thank goodness the CFM coaches are very patient about getting all of these movements "just right." I have heard horror stories of gyms where the athletes are pushed beyond their limit and form is compromised for a faster time. The potential risk is obvious. Multiply that by my age and you have a recipe for early, permanent retirement from physical activity.
Thank goodness my trainers for the day, Mike Coal and Elissa Knolla, have spent over twenty hours each in training to learn how to correctly position ones body and place the bar in just the right spot when performing a push-jerk.
And thank goodness for direction from the Ryan Swobody and Noah Prester, the top dogs at CFM. As the five of us in the OnRamp course awkwardly worked through the intricate, technical steps one must master in order to do these lifts correctly, Noah and Ryan were right in among us, giving us additional pointers on tightening up the core, bending one's back leg just a smidge more.
It was almost as if we were getting one-on-one technical tips from these guys. What more could a raw rookie want? Honestly, having those guys who have "been there, done that" in major CrossFit competitions giving us pointers — showing genuine interest in our mastering of the small details that they rely on every time they go up against the best in the world — is both inspiring and a little unnerving. Perhaps part of the stress of performing a perfectly executed push-jerk in front of them is because my wife has told me I have no rhythm many times when we have been out on the dance floor. And these Olympic lifts require some real rhythm.
Having someone as well respected as Noah Prester — who is a national coach for CrossFit's Weightlifting Trainer's series that teaches the Olympic Lifts to the various CrossFit affiliates — is just another example of CFM's commitment to quality performances. There are no shortcuts to perfection with him. Prester is like the Mach 3 razor combined with Aramis Total Comfort shaving cream of weightlifting technique — it doesn't get any more precise than what he demands.
Also, these guys were giving pointers to us newbies just minutes before they were heading off to Boston for the Kill Cliff East Coast Championships.
Talk about inspiration! Talk about intimidation! Talk about motivation! I may just have to go online this weekend and watch how the experts do that push-jerk in the competition. See how real champions do it.
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