Guest post by Tasha Parks
My Kryptonite is the overhead squat (OHS). In fact, I highly recommend that you visit CrossFit Elizabethtown on OHS day if you enjoy listening to recreational profanity and watching me experience pants-shitting anger. That’s me in the corner having a meltdown with the lovely OHS.
So what do you get when you mix hypermobility, shoulder stability issues and OHSs? Let me back up. Let’s review my 2014 fitness goals:
1. Better at pull-ups
2. Back squat, add 35#
3. Deadlift, add 50# (Update: I’m 35# away from this goal)
4. OHS OHS OHS
5. Learn double-unders (Update: COMPLETED)
6. Front squat, add 30#
7. Clean AND jerk 105# (I can clean it, but I can’t get it over my head)
8. Beat my 2:22 half marathon time
Notice the OHS doesn’t have a goal weight on it. That’s because at this point, even back on January 1st, my goal is to just do more of them because I struggle with them so much. It is my least favorite lift in the gym. One day I can throw up 45# and do fine, the next I’m wobbling around as if I’m trying to lift it while drunk, then the next day I can put up 60# without any problems. My one rep max so far has been 70#. I realize all of those are low numbers, but they are a serious struggle for me because I’m hypermobile and my shoulder stability sucks. I can get freakishly low in a squat, our warm up stretches usually do nothing for me, and I’m super bendy – but throw in the stability issues and OHS, and I’m screwed.
Most people probably feared the chest-to-bar (C2B) portion. My immediate thought was “I’d rather hold spare change in my mouth for three minutes while attempting C2Bs than overhead squat.” Saturday rolls around, the day our box dedicates to just Open WODs, and I’m half full of dread and the other half excitement. My car is due for service and Saturday mornings are really the only time I have to do it, but I’m so excited for everyone who’s going to show up, that I skip it and head to the box. I’m helping judge and it’s fun to see people push themselves and do well, it excites me to be a part of that. However, I know in the back of my head that the WOD is coming for me, too.
Just like last week, I watched most everyone go first. I used the 45# bar to get in a few OHS warmups and did fine. I used the loaded bar (65#) twice and knocked out two OHS the first time and three the next – fine, up down up down. I even jumped up on the rig to try a few pull-ups with different grips (under, over, mix of both) to see which one felt better when trying to get my chest to the bar. None of them, actually. My chest never came close, and that was ok, it was not my biggest concern. My biggest concern was making it to the rig, finishing the OHSs.
My goal: Finish the first 10 OHS and score a 10.
I have to get this over with. The bar is loaded, the clock is counting down. 3…2…1…GO!
I was able to get it over my head fine, but it was very wobbly at the top. Down, up, that’s one. The bar falls. Pick it up again and get it overhead without a problem. Move my hands out on the bar, it’s starting to wobble and I can’t control it. It falls again. Again, up over my head. This time I was able to control it and got another rep in. I can feel it shaking and it falls. Again, and again. I’m Sure enough, all of my favorite cuss words are coming out and I’m getting frustrated. Usually I would try to take my time and just get it done, but I can’t because over a minute has passed.
My final score: 5
I was mad, frustrated, embarrassed, and questioning why I’m even registered for the Open all at the same time. I didn’t even get half of my goal.
Almost immediately after, Justin, my judge (also one of our coaches) pointed out right away that it wasn’t a strength issue for me, it was a stability issue. He made me feel somewhat better by telling me that I was able to get it over my head easy every time. He told me about four different exercises I can do to strengthen my shoulder stability, all great information. I needed that learning distraction right then before the complete failure settled in my head. I’m not sure if it was his plan, but it worked. I walked away thinking about how I was going to fix this instead of beating myself up.
Jeremy reminded me that I although I only scored a 5, I did it 5 times at 65# which is the most he’s ever seen me do at that weight. Wow, good point. 65# is 93% of my one rep max!
Some people probably wouldn’t write about such a low score. But I know that I was trying with everything in me to keep that bar locked out and stable at the top. That is my best and I’m working to get where I want to be.
I haven’t turned in my score yet because I’m holding out for Monday. I’ll get back under the bar and try it again. Whatever I end up with on Monday will get turned in. I’m not the best, but I’m trying. I’m trying to reach my fitness goals and do my best in every Open WOD.
Patience. Progress. Persistence..
Notes from Steph:
11:45 am update from Tasha on 3/10/14: I’m going back and trying today. I’m so nervous..
8:00 pm update on round two of 14.2: I just went again. Scored a 6. Welp. I improved by one. Blah. #PPP
I don’t know about Tasha’s world, but in my book, that’s a PR! Way to go Tasha for conquering your workout nemesis!
Good luck on Monday — keep us updated! And when you update us would you mind sharing the four stability exercises? Thanks! I smell 10+