Monday, September 3, 2012

CrossFit vs. SPEDe Training

I won a free week at a local CrossFit gym. I've heard so many great things about CrossFit, have enjoyed watching the CrossFit games, and have wanted to give it a try. This was my perfect opportunity.
Day 1: I signed a waiver and got to work. We began with a 400 meter jog, and then some stretching. Static stretching. This confused me from the beginning. All the latest research shows that athletes should NOT do static stretching (elongating the muscle and holding, i.e. standing, bending down and touching the toes) before working out. Dynamic stretching (moving stretches, i.e. butt kicks) should be done before a workout. We were told to do 8 warm-up reps and then 3 sets of 5 of bench press and dead lifts, working at 40%, 50% and 60% of our max weights. All went well, until the instructor corrected my form on the warm-up with the bar while deadlifting. He instructed me to keep my legs straight when only using the bar,  which is actually straight-legged deadlifts-- a totally different  exercise. After completing these 2 exercises, we did the main workout: 15 minutes of 10 KB swings (the instructor called them "American," but we were actually doing "Russian"), 10- 20 in. box jumps, 10 box dips. The workout was intense; I was sweating profusely. I had a pretty good time.

Day 2: 400 meter jog warm up followed by more static stretching. I did my own dynamic stretches, warming up my body correctly. For this workout, the correct deadlift form was demonstrated, the workout was explained, and we loaded up a bar for deadlifts. The workout was a prowler sled push w/ 50 lbs for 20 meters, 5 burpees, prowler push for 20 meters, and then deadlifts until 3 minutes were up. Then rest for 3 minutes. 5 rounds. By the end of the workout, I was toast, having completed 105- 135 lb. deadlifts.  In hindsight, I should've done what was better for me, instead of trying to prove myself by lifting heavy for so many reps. But I am stubborn. My body was intensely sore the next day, and I was angry with myself for pushing too hard. And I hated CrossFit.

Day 3: 400 meter jog followed by a mix of static and dynamic stretching. I was pleased to be able to more fully participate! We did heavy cleans... max reps for 1-1-1-1. I worked my way up and after some failed attempts completed the 1-1-1-1 of 115 lbs. Then we did the workout: 21-15-9 reps for time of 20in box jumps, KB swings (called "Russian" but were actually "American"), and sit ups- stand ups (a sit up, rocking all the way up to a standing position). I finished in about 7:20. And my thought: "That's it?" It was intense, and I was drenched in sweat, but it was a much shorter workout than I'm used to.

Day 4: 400 m jog followed by all dynamic stretching. Hhhmmm. This one might have been my favorite because I LOVE endurance work, and because I never get to row. First we did skills work-- handstands, handstand push ups, walking handstands, or whatever. Then the main set: 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest for 30 rounds on the rowing machine. It was intense, and I killed it. And in honor of my last day there, I asked and was granted permission to climb the rope 3 times. I'm glad I got to go out like that!

Overall, I was reminded of how truly blessed I am to have a personal trainer/husband who is so knowledgable and skilled in exercise science/physiology/functional movement! In talking to friends who are members of CrossFit gyms, it seems that each gym varies. So, if you are going to join a CrossFit gym, do your research first. Check their website, their facebook page and look for reviews. Call them and ask if they offer a free trial. Monthly fees are steep, and their overhead is pretty low (no air conditioning, which means you are guaranteed to leave sweating heavily, even if you don't put in 100%).  However, CrossFit delivers something than many typical gyms don't-- hard core lifting, intensity, and competition. Trainers circulated constantly, checking form. But I found the short, repetitive workouts a little boring.

The SPEDe Training workouts that I do are usually about 40 minutes long. They are just as intense as CrossFit WODs, but longer and more varied. They work a variety of muscle groups and are designed to build the body in Strength, Power, and Endurance (the SPE of SPEDe; the De is development). The best way for me to explain them is to provide 4 sample workouts, which you can compare to the WODs given above.

1: 10 minute warm-up on the bike. Warm-up bench press, deadlifts and front squats. Main workout:
5 pull ups
15 push ups
20 KB swings
10 bench press
10 toes to bar
10 side lateral sumo squats w/ KB
10 deadlifts
10 front squats
10 1-1-1 dumbbell curls
Complete 5 rounds or 42 minutes.

2: Warm up: 10 min bike. Dynamic stretching and light weight set of all exercises.
Pull ups 15, 12, 10, 12, 15
Pushups 10, 15, 20, 15, 10
Speed ropes 20, 50, 100, 50, 20
Reverse lunges 10
DB shoulder press 4, 8, 10, 8, 4
Burpees 10, 15, 10, 15, 10
Sit ups 20
DB leg curls 10
Complete 5 rounds (reps as listed) or 42 mins.

3: Same warm up
5 Cleans
8 pull ups
8 front squats
15 push ups
10/10 DB rows
8/8 walking lunges w/ 25lb plate overhead
6 1-1-1 curls
10 straight legged deadlifts
10 leg curls
4 rounds or 42 mins.

4: Same warm up
8 Dead lifts
8/8 overhead walking lunges
12 overhead tri extensions
10 preacher curls
10 db shoulder press
15 bench jumps (jump over the bench 15 times)
20 v- sit ups
12 wide grip pull downs
10 sit up curls (incline sit up and bicep curls at the top)
4 rounds or 42 mins.

These workouts were not consecutive days, I pulled 4 that show a variety. Typically in a week, we do  workouts that focus on each major body part and a combo day. I love the variety and the intensity. They are most fun on days when we do a family workout and are able to compete against each other.
**Please keep in mind that I've been working out for several years. If you do these workouts, first be sure you are healthy and work at your own pace!
                                                         Me, enjoying a workout!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's hardcore! We don't have a crossfit gym anywhere near us, so I am on my own with workouts and runs -- and I don't mind. I love working out outside, on trails adn in our yard. Thanks for the workout ideas!

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