Today was my fourth CrossFit class at QDos, thus completing my first week at the box, which is near Manchester Airport. Major kudos to the guys as not only do they have a gym name where you can make that “kudos” pun, they’ve also improved my form remarkably and already taught me to do new things. Considering these improvements it’s pretty unfair that CrossFit has a bad reputation for ruining form and getting injuries: throughout this week I’ve been under the watchful eye of a coach at all times – even two for bigger classes – with small adjustments being made to each movement I’ve made.
If you’re a beginner thinking of starting CrossFit, my advice is to just go for it! Everything can be scaled or modified to your own abilities, and there’s absolutely no shame in doing so. Everybody is working too hard on their own workout to mind what you’re lifting, and also many of the workouts are AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) which means that even if fitter athletes have finished their first round they’ll continue onto further rounds. It’s impossible to tell who’s up to which point in the WOD.
That being said, don’t hold back with trying out more advanced things. I accidentally turned up for Games Team training, decided to just go for it and had a great time. I’ve really surprised myself at the amount of things I’ve achieved this week.
✓ First up, rope climbs. Once I had the technique down there was no stopping me from climbing up and down – although getting down is actually much harder. I got to the top for the first time and thought “shit, how do I get back down again?!” The answer is hand-under-hand, still using your feet to support most of your body.
Rope climbs are definitely a full-body workout, so don’t be too concerned if you feel like you have a weak upper body.
✓ Next, my squat form has improved dramatically. Thanks to a few small adjustments, I now don’t tip forward when driving up, and I’ve had my feet brought closer together so there’s no chance of my knees caving in. Depth is still an issue for me though I know what to work on and I already feel like my hips are loosening.
✓ Sets of reps of pull-ups have been included in the WODs, and thanks to some guidance with resistance bands I’ve been able to do ten in a row. The band helps but I know I’m still working, so I’m sure it won’t be long until I move to a lesser resistance.
✓ Finally, both my overhead and front squats have gotten some much-needed attention. In my own workouts I tended to have a quick go at each and quickly gave up as my form was so bad! Again, easy adjustments made by trained eyes have made them both easier (especially in front squats – imagine your elbows are firing lasers straight in front of you) mean I feel much more comfortable, and I did three reps of 55kg of front squats. I wouldn’t have even attempted one rep at that weight before.
Today’s WOD finished early as Ninja Warrior UK were holding auditions in the arena (how cool?!) so I went upstairs to check out the Hammer Strength gym, the Strongbox. This place is an absolute box of toys, with loads of different training equipment that you wouldn’t normally come across in your commercial gyms. I’m thinking of adding a short session in here post-WOD to add in some heavier lifts.
I currently just have a month at QDos* – though I’m almost certain I’ll extend my membership beyond that – so I’ll be updating with my progress as the month goes on. I’m aiming to attend CrossFit classes four times a week, and I’ve even taken some ‘before’ pictures (eek) to compare to how I look at the end of the month. As you’re all well aware, my fitness isn’t just about how I look, so I’m really excited to see just how fit and strong I can get by the end of my first month of CrossFit.