Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CrossFit Walter Reed Class 07242012

Class was held at our normal 1400 time in building 226. We had two participants; an above knee amputee (U.S. Army) and a bi-lateral hip disarticulation and left hand amputee (U.S.M.C.)


Press 3-3-3-3

AMRAP 10 Minutes
10 T2B
15 KB Swings (53#/35#)

Level II
AMRAP 10 Minutes
8 K2E
12 DB Swings (45#/30#)

Level III
AMRAP 10 Minutes
5 Pushups
10 Hang Knee Raises
15 DB Swings (35#/25#)

Our single AK warrior practiced his Overhead Press with a standard 45# bar focusing on the balance needed when at full extension at the top. For amputees, the loss of connection with the ground, even when both feet are firmly planted, can pose a problem with balance. This is exacerbated by holding weight over head while simultaneously trying to balance from the hip on on limb and the full limb on the other side.

Our bi-lateral hip disarticulation amputee was able to work on balance while pressing overhead. His prosthetic device for his arm physically clamps to the bar which limits his range of motion. Instead of the bar being in the rack position, we had to modify slightly so that the bar was roughly an inch off his chest. Additionally, he was able to press out starting with a blank 12# bar and working up to 42# bar. The only other variation to the standard press is that the bar, in the fully extended position is slightly forward of his ear/spinal base line. This was from the floor. When he performed the exercise from his chair, he was able to achieve the full range of motion.

To facilitate smooth operation of the WOD, we used one warrior's chair as a base for his DB swings (15#) but the rest of his movements were performed as prescribed.




Great work guys!

When in Springfield........

What do CrossFitters do on vacation? They visit other boxes! At least sometimes we do. While I was in the Army, I had the chance to meet several folks who helped to make Fort Drum a much more tolerable place to be. I have carefully chosen the ones I want to remain in contact with. While visiting two of these friends in Springfield, MO, I had the chance to visit their box. My friends, Chris and Niki have consumed the Kool-Aid and are CrossFitters now and have made huge changes in their lives with regard to fitness.

My first impression of CrossFit Springfield was that this was a very typical looking CrossFit box. Rubber and concrete floors, pull-up rig, plyo boxes, weights and bars. But as I walked in and got the typical stare of "what is this guy going to do" I noticed I was also being actively welcomed by both coaches and athletes. Honestly, I am pretty sure that even if I were not friends with two of their members, I'd still be received as positively as I was. As with most CrossFit boxes, examination of the whiteboard showed that the evening classes were the busiest. I noticed that even though we had around 20+ people in class, there were still at least two coaches there to coach, demonstrate and assist in the WOD.

WOD 1:

Warm up was a brisk 600m run along with some push-up/gymnastic fun courtesy of Coach Meggin.

Rachel and Jason Sturm @ CrossFit Springfield in
Springfield Missouri
WOD: Thrusters 135# and Ring Rows. Start with 1 Thruster followed by 10 Ring Rows. Increase by 1 Thruster for each round ensuring that you perform 10 Ring Rows between rounds. Continue until you complete 10 rounds (Final Round will be 10 Thrusters and 10 Ring Rows)

Completion: I scaled this WOD because I still have some issues with heavier Thrusters (95# Thrusters for me) and the class was larger so to save time (instead of waiting around waiting for rings to open up) I substituted Push Ups for the Ring Rows. A bonus to this WOD was my wife Rachel was in the box for her first CF WOD (I'm not allowed to get excited though). My time was 15:13 with the wall being met at round 6.

WOD 2:

Warm up was a nice little rowing sprint for 4 minutes followed by 5 Pull-ups, 10 sit-ups & 25 Burpees; decreasing Burpees each round until you complete. 10 minute cap.
Jason with 315# Mixed Grip/3 Reps

Deadlift 5x3: 225, 275, 295, 315, 335

2000m Row for time: 7:36 Rx'd

Overall, I have to say that CrossFit Springfield is an outstanding gym . Friendly staff, great area for the kids to play while parents workout, very capable coaches and a hearty competitive spirit from it's members. If you're ever in the area, pay them a visit.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Suffer in Silence. No Bitch Noises.......

Long before any of you were awake on the 4th of July, I was standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. As people prepared themselves mentally with idle chatter about what to expect and prepared themselves physically through stretching and jogging about, I stood there, pack on my back, 24 pack of Yuengling in my hands (entry key for the cadre) and anxiously awaited the beginning of the Washington D.C. 1012 July 4th GORUCK Challenge. Having completed my first (and probably not my last) GRC in June, I was able to shadow and take pictures and hang out all day with the cadre and observe the madness. This wasn't just about that. My friend and fellow wounded warrior Mark Lytel was participating in this GRC. As soon as I heard he was doing the July 4th GRC, I told my wife, I want to shadow. I want to be there to try to provide moral support but also, I wanted to be there and tell him at the end (because there was never a doubt in my mind that he'd finish) welcome to his new family!

Mark showed up and I noticed him receiving the same kind of stares I got when I arrived to my GRC. The kind of stares amputees are used to. The stares of people trying to figure out just how we are going to do at this event. An almost sizing up of your toughness. Mark and I joked around about how the bipeds are cheaters and about how I only half cheat because I am a monoped. This type of joking is generally saved for those of us with missing limbs. You see folks, Mark is a dual below-knee amputee. What balance and stability I have as a single leg amputee, you can toss out the window when it comes to dual amputees.

Mark Lytel. Gator walking and bear crawling in front of the
White House. July 4th, 2012.
Mark never asked for, nor did he receive preferential treatment throughout the entire event. Through every challenge and obstacle, he persevered. He never quit. I suspect that's because he is a part of a rare breed of human. A breed who was knocked down and expected not to get up. We, we didn't get that memo. We rose from the ashes like the Phoenix and in the words of Cadre Lou, we kicked in the door and punched anything standing in our way square in the mouth. Mark embodied this grit and "never quit" attitude throughout the blistering heat, mental and physical challenges and did most, if not all of this, with that gigantic grin on his face.

I'm proud to have shared that moment with you Mark and can't wait till we can sit down and have a beer and joke about it. Outstanding work my friend and welcome to the family!

GRC Class 201, Independence Day, 2012.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Defining Loyalty

Loyalty is defined as a strong feeling of support or allegiance.

In the CrossFit community, we tend to become loyal with the box we have chosen as our second home. For me, this box is CrossFit Reston. From coaches to fellow athletes, I see them all as my friends and extended family. But as in life outside the gym, we tend to have multiple cliques of friends, each deserving of our loyalty. I am truly a lucky guy to have the support system I have with the coaches I interact with in the Mid-Atlantic region. So what happens when you redefine loyalty? When you lift at a globo-gym, there may be loyalty to the gym you workout at but if something better comes along, you wouldn't hesitate to drop your membership and go elsewhere. This is generally where CrossFit differs. CrossFit boxes become small (or large) families. You struggle together, you succeed together and you don't let each other fail. It is an underlying theme in the CrossFit circle.

For me, this family is a much larger extension that some other crossfitters. My home box is CrossFit Reston but I have two secondary homes as well. My first secondary home is CrossFit Rubicon. A box that defines family and makes that evident by the many members who's silhouettes are painted on the walls of the gym. David "Chef" Wallace and his wife Hronn, along with their talented coaches, deliver a mix of Strength and MetCon that always leaves me sore and wanting more. What's more interesting about CF Rubicon and Chef is how I came to call this place a second home. You see, Chef works with Adaptive Athletes and has been working with Brian Wilson of Patriot and Potomac CrossFit to build programming for not only his box but also working to develop a comprehensive site where coaches everywhere can go for insight on the challenges and rewards of training adaptive crossfitters. Chef's project SIX (We got your back, we got your six) is beginning to build steam and should be making huge strides in the near future. (To donate in order to get this going: I was introduced to Chef by way of the Facebook/CrossFit community and regularly try to make it up their for strength work and his inventive torturous WODs.

As I began to develop a relationship with CrossFit Rubicon, I was introduced to the CrossFit Walter Reed project being spearheaded by Brian Wilson and Dillon Behr. Brian worked to develop programming which can be scaled and build a base for our wounded warriors to continue that warrior spirit through crossfitting.  I expressed interest in working with this project and was welcomed. As I had worked to "teach" myself CrossFit before joining CrossFit Reston, I could relate to some of the difficulties of being an amputee and trying to figure out just how different complex Olympic lifts were to a body compromised by range of motion in one or multiple joints and just how to try to make your body do what you want it to do. As mentioned in previous posts, I started training at least once a week at CF Walter Reed and will hopefully be a trainer there once I take and pass my Level 1 Certification at the end of July.

These three gyms are all homes for me. They are each a part of my family and I am loyal to them all. Am I disloyal to any of them by going to other boxes? No. I am loyal to all of them equally. Each has helped in my journey so far.