When you think about movements like the shoulder press today, or wall balls, or ketllebell swings, or rowing or burpees to name a few, do you think about them as movements with no rest? In other words, while you're performing the movement, is the perception that only work (energy use for force production) is being done?
Almost all movements in CrossFit have what are termed in Kinesiology as contract and relax cycles. This is actually to my knowledge universally the case in any dynamic (not focusing on iso/static movements) movement - a muscle contracts and then it relaxes to move the desired limb. Because of this, almost all movements have periods or "rest."
Take the kettlebell swing workout from Tuesday as an example. When you were doing those swings, did it feel like you were working the entire time? Did you feel like there was any relax/rest or non-work periods in there? Would it seem crazy if I said that you are resting as much as working during kettlebell swings?
Well, if we want to define a movement by the time it takes, then about half the time of a kettlebell swing would be "rest." So if that's the case, shouldn't we focus on utilizing this rest period as much as possible?
The key and point of this post is how. How do we not only establish and find these "rest" periods in movements, but capitalize on them as much as possible.
One idea is to pay as much attention as possible to what the movement feels like. The more we become in-tune with our (buddy) body and what it is doing, the more we'll understand not only that our bodies are not ALWAYS working, but we may even get an insight that this pain I'm feeling and have always thought of as negative, is not actually as bad as I once thought.
CrossFit methodology is brilliant and what Greg Glassman created is nothing short of incredible, amazing, and magical. But one thing I've heard him say before is that he doesn’t believe in the idea that we should "listen to our bodies," because if we did that we can just forget about CrossFit!
From my perspective, this sounds like a fearful way to view muscle fatigue. Fatigue is telling us something, but is it to stop? Or is it simply a feeling that is created in our bodies that we are suppose to pay attention to? The fatigue is there, but are we sure it's telling us to stop?
How does your body/mind feel after workouts where you went as hard as you could through fatigue? The best?
If you feel the best after workouts you push hardest in, then is the fatigue that we experience a signal to stop? Or is it simply there as something we're suppose to pay attention to - no more, no less?
The idea here is to go into the feeling of fatigue/burn and become familiar and friendly with it, not afraid of it or want to avoid it because it's "bad" or it "hurts." The more we develop a pure non-label relationship to these training feelings, especially in metabolic workouts like CrossFit, the more we accept them and find peace/flow/efficiency in workouts WITH them. We may learn a thing or two about ourselves as well ;)
I am in no way an expert here. It's something I work on all the time because it fascinates me. If I'm honest, I don’t' succeed most of the time. But those moments where you do find yourself completely present or relaxed in the middle of a movement, truly listening to your body, transforms the "pain" and reason to stop into a very enjoyable, inspiring, and invigorating feeling.
Can you think of movements in CrossFit where there actually is no real "rest" time? I can think of two, but maybe there's more? In these cases we aren't looking for those muscle relaxation phases to find rest, but are tuning in even more to how the body feels.
John, Megan and Rachel all overhead in the shoulder press this morning. This position for most people is supported structural by bones, ligaments and our center of mass. This is an opportunity to find a moment of (not total) muscle relaxation.
Shoulder Press 10-10-10
*build up to heavy set of 10