Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And if your confidence may be shattered, it doesn't matter....

"I try to keep myself in situations that will teach me shit. The more challenging, the better. It keeps me young, curious, and humbled. Life isn’t supposed to be figured out. It’s supposed to have twists and turns and things you can’t predict." --Mike Watt

I am not an enormous fan of limitations. I think most of them are self-imposed horseshit like: "I know I would be better off if I stopped eating _____, but that'd be *impossible*."

Those ones aren't truly a matter of "can't." They are a matter of "won't."

Then there are others that are, for the moment, firmly planted in the "can't" category, but those are temporary. Like right now I can't do a muscle-up. But I think it's possible that with a hell of a lot of work/practice, I may get there.

And generally speaking, that's how I approach everything in CrossFit: keep trying and I will get it, eventually.

I think that attitude may be a little too optimistic -- and perhaps painfully counterproductive -- when it comes to the jerk.

You have a barbell at shoulder height. There are basically three ways to get it over your head: press it, just using your arms; push-press it, using your arms assisted by a dip/drive from your legs; or jerk it, launching the bar upwards with a jump and then diving under the bar to catch it with your arms already locked-out overhead. Theoretically, the amount of weight you can get overhead goes up fairly dramatically as you move from press to push-press to jerk.

But it's the "lockout" part of the equation that I am afraid falls into the "can't" category for me when it comes to the jerk.

I have been playing drums for the last 30 years. Over time, thanks to the lack of full 180-degree extension every time I hit a cymbal (which I do 99% of the time with my right arm), I now simply cannot straighten my right arm. Well, I can't straighten my left arm either, also from drumming, but it is the right one that is especially horrifying. I would estimate that, at best, I can get it to about 165 degrees, although a protractor might give me a number slightly worse than that.

I do mobility exercises to try to straighten both arms. There is an especially painful one that involves using a giant rubber-band thingy to literally force it straighter, but, in the end, I think the best I am doing for it is preventing it from getting worse.

Which brings us to the jerk....

We did one-rep jerks today at CrossFit. For the third straight time, my jerk is no better than my push-press because when I jerk a heavier-than-i-can-push-press weight overhead I can't catch it with locked-out arms.

Try catching a flying heavy barbell with non-locked-out arms.

It hurts, a lot. It's as if someone is ripping your elbow, wrist and shoulder off in different directions.

I don't think I am doing myself any favors by trying the jerk.

This type of realization is difficult for me, but I suppose it is important to learn the difference between won't and can't whenever possible.

The learning never stops. It's just that some of it hurts more than others.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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