Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The following comparison is what makes Crossfit so great:

Yesterday I wrote about a 72 year old client who had to really be scaled back on the continuum because of multiple comorbidities: PVC pipe load, squatting to a high plyo box, sitting on a plyo box to simulate the action of muscle ups. Did this make the workout any less effective for her? No, because she was still working at the limit of her capacity, pushing her threshold back.

Today, I trained a 71 year old woman. Similar in age, but that is where the similarities end.This woman is on the "fit" end of the health spectrum. Her food plan is based off the principles of Paleo, she has been active her whole life, and has very few complications and no limitations. Her workout consisted of similar exercises as yesterday's woman (they are both new to Crossfit and are still learning a lot of the basic 9 exercises) however, scaled up. She too, was working at her threshold, therefore, working on expanding her fitness, defined as work capacity.

For example, compared to Carol yesterday, Susan could perform three sets of PVC front squats with little trouble keeping midline stability intact, elbows up and forward, and coming below the knee with her hip and back up again. She could also perform a set of 5 cleans linked together, as well as pull herself from her kness on the muscle up three times.

These women both have similar goals: a better quality of life. The fact that one "fitness system" can address this goal with people who have such different levels of health is amazing. The universal scalability that Crossfit touts is not just an empty boast - it is truly applicable and effective.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day One

So, I am now officially a certified Crossfit Level 1 coach. My class had the distinct honor of having Coach Glassman visit and speak with us. Among his recommendations was the one for someone to start blogging about their experiences with scaling Crossfit and implementing it with Seniors who have ortho/movement limitations.

So, since the majority of my clients are over the age of 60, I decided to give it a try. I started this morning with a 72 year old client who has a meniscus tear, arthritic knees, spinal stenosis, and a repaired rotator cuff (2008). She has been training with me for a year and a half now, and has shown improvements in ROM and some moderate strength gains, using more "traditional" rehab methods and NASM-based exercises.

We warmed up on the bike, which is not a piece of equipment organic to most Crossfit affiliates, but given her meniscus issue, the exaggerated flexion at the knee caused by the rower is undesirable. Plus, the spinal stenosis is problematic in someone inexperienced with the rower. We decided to save rowing instruction for a separate day.

After a five minute warmup, we began with some glute bridges and Y's and T's to warm up and increase mobility in the shoulder and hip joint systems. We then proceeded with 2 rounds of PVC OHS x 10, wall push ups x 10, and PVC DL x10 She performed all of these motions successfully, and was particularly adept at picking up the DL. It helped quite a bit in getting her to understand spinal extension, and we got way more spinal extension in this exercise than we have in the past with other exercises. We then moved on to 2 rounds of step-ups on a five inch box, since box jumps are obviously out of the question at this point, and probably always will be. We did each leg x 5. This one was tricky, since foot placement and pressure was critical to avoiding knee pain. Our final exercise was the scaled muscle up that Andy Stumpf suggested at our cert this weekend. We tied 5 lb plates to the opposite ends of a set of rings, and she sat on a plyo box and pulled the rings to her, using the same motion that the muscle up requires, rather than pulling her body to the rings. Surprisingly, this was her favorite exercise!

Overall, I'm really happy with my first attempt at implement a scaled CrossFit workout with my older clients. I will continue to blog my attempts and efforts!