CrossFit Challenge Week 11: Goats, Beefcakes and Good Shoes

I still laugh at the title of this one. I just had to throw that out there. Sorry for it being a week late! Buying a house apparently takes up more time than I thought. I did get a bit sidetracked researching CrossFit shoes too. I’ve got some good pointers for shoes at the bottom of this post. Let’s hop into the WODs we did for week 11 of the CrossFit Challenge with CrossFit Nanaimo.

Tuesday’s WOD

7-6-5-4-3-2-1

(200m run in between)

Snatch Deadlift (Deadlifting the weight off the ground with a wide Snatch grip)

Hang Power Snatch (Snatching the weight over your head from a hanging position)

Squat Snatch (Snatch the weight over your head from the ground into a squat position)

Overhead Squat (Squats with the weight over your head)

Ow! Overhead squats are still my enemy! This was one intense workout.

Overhead Squats (and Squat Snatches) are definitely in my Goat list. I’m still having troubles rotating my shoulders around enough to get a good solid overhead hold in the low squat position.

The Hang Power Snatches and Deadlifts were fun, probably because I didn’t even have any weight on the bar because of the Overhead Squats later on in the workout. I didn’t want to be changing weight half-way through the workout so I just used the 45 pound bar the entire workout. I have to use more energy that I should because I can’t get my shoulders around though. Every Cash-Out I’m doing some stretches to help with the shoulder mobility problem. I know I’ll be able to lift the weight once I get my shoulders in place. I was hoping for a quick fix for the mobility problem but it looks like it’s going to require a lot of patience!

I was thankful for the runs in this one. I can usually stomp the runs no problem. It lets me get out of the gym for a quick refresh outside before I tackle another round of killer Overhead Squats.

Thursday’s WOD was the Beefcake from the title. I know one big workout once in a while isn’t going to make us all huge muscle beefcakes but it felt like the old days in the gym with low reps and huge weight.

Thursday’s WOD

Bench Press 1-1-1-1

Backsquat 2-2-2-2

Deadlift 3-3-3-3

It was solid day but I had a sore back from hockey so I didn’t push it. I still got almost up to my personal best in backsquats for 1 rep max. I was doing 2 reps though so I’m not sure what it would have been but if I had only been doing 1 rep I would have been able to beat my 1 rep max.

These days are nice to have to measure up your progress. Most of the WODs have such a variety of exercises in them that it’s hard to measure progress on certain exercises. Don’t get me wrong, I love the variety and keeping things fresh for every single workout but slowing down and doing one exercise is a really good test.That’s it for workouts this week. On to the questions. This week’s question has been coming up more frequently at the gym so I decided to check into it and see what my options were.

CrossFit Questions

Footwear – what’s the deal?

I’m currently just using a pair of runners for my CrossFit WODs but they aren’t the best so I’ve been researching what makes a good CrossFit shoe. Here’s the answers I’ve been able to come up with.

CrossFit is very similar to a lot of other sports in terms of footwear. You can wear normal runners to start but you’ll quickly find out that there are better options out there. Runners can get you started at CrossFit or playing Ultimate, Soccer or Basketball but they’re not the best. A few points on each of the shoes stand out as big differences to some of the other sports footwear.If you like minimal running shoes, you’re in luck. A lot of the preferred CrossFit shoes are basically flat, lightweight running shoes. And so what makes a good CrossFit shoe? Let’s get into it.

Lightweight

When you’re ripping around in the WOD and on runs you don’t want to a big heavy shoe that’s going to slow you down. They need to have some weight to them to stick together but the consensus seems to be lighter is better.

Durable

New CrossFit shoes for your WODs is exciting and they most likely will have an impact on your performance, comfort and safety. Having new shoes wear out because you’ve worn them a few times sucks. Make sure you get some shoes that are good and tough to last as long as you can in the gym.

Neutral Drop

This is probably the most confusing part on this list. It’s not a feature that has been listed on shoes until recently. It goes something like this. All shoes have some sort of measurement for the difference in height from the ground to your heel in the shoe and to your toes. Most running shoes have large cushion under the heel and only a bit under the toes. This creates a drop as you go from the heel of the shoe to the toe. In other words, when you have the shoe one, your heel is higher than your toes are. The drop from heel to toe and all the padding under the heel was created under the assumption that we’re supposed to land on our heels when we run. Recent studies have found that’s not how humans are supposed to run.

New running techniques like the Pose technique shorten your stride when you run, pulling the spot where your foot lands in front of you in closer to your body, nearly underneath your weight. Our feet are meant to land on the ball first when we’re running and the only way to do this is to shorten up our stride and lean forward a little. Coming back around to shoes, all the cushion in the heels of most running shoes and a big drop from heel to toe makes it hard to run on the balls of our feet. New running shoes are coming out that have zero drop from heel to toe, making it easier to run properly.

Another benefit from the limited cushioning and zero drop in these new shoes is that they’re very stable for lifting heavy weights. Every time we go to lift heavy weights, the cushion in those big shoe heels worms around and creates an unstable platform for balancing all that weight. We want to stack the odds in our favor when we get that big weight up on our shoulders and chests and having a wormy, squishy, unstable platform under our feet is not the way to do it. A direct connection to the ground through the heels is a great way to do that and you can get it with shoes with little to no padding.

Breathable

If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough. Chances are your feet are working extremely hard in your workouts and they’ll sweat to. You don’t want everyone to run out of the gym when you take your shoes off in a steamy mess so it’s probably a good idea to get breathable shoes. The less moisture you have in your shoes the less likely they’ll slip around or create blisters too.

Quality Sole

Many of the workouts rely on you being able to stick to a certain spot on the ground or box. If you’re sliding around on your shoes every time you jump or run, you’ll never get anywhere in your workouts. You’ll want a quality sole that won’t break down quickly and that gives you nice grip when you’re jumping and running.

Stable

This ties in a bit with the neutral drop above. Unstable shoes can lead to injuries or just sub-par workouts. Heavy weights demand a stable platform to do that from. Shoes with a solid base or just minimal padding will give you a good solid start to heavy lifts. The rest is up to you. Now that you know exactly what to look for in a shoe, here’s a few examples of good ones that are favorites in the CrossFit community. Some have been out for a while while some are brand spankin new.

Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 – These guys are great minimal trail runners. Inov-8 makes a variety of them. They make great trail runners as well as CrossFit shoes.

Vibram Five Fingers – The famous Vibram Five Fingers. They’re like gloves for your feet. Give them a try on before you get them because they’re not for everyone. They come in a variety of designs, they’re about as minimal as you can get. They do have a thin sole on the bottom so you can run on the road but you’re going to feel any rocks you step on.

Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove – A shoe version of the Vibram Five Fingers. The Barefoot Trial Glove is a minimal trail running shoe but works great for CrossFit workouts. They have zero drop and little padding so you getting a direct connection with the floor when you lift. Then you can run the trails using your Pose Running Technique after the WOD.

Reebok CrossFit Nano – One of the newer shoes by Reebok specifically for CrossFit, they have zero drop and are super lightweight. They have a special grip on the toe to prevent wear from climbing ropes. Definitely check these ones out if you’re going to be around the gym a lot.Now you have the details on exactly what to wear on your feet for CrossFit.

Have you tried any of these shoes? Which ones do you like best?

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If you’re just joining us, check out the rest of the 3 month CrossFit Challenge. Thank you so much to Heather and Katie at CrossFit Nanaimo for making this challenge possible. You can follow them on CrossFit Nanaimo Facebook too. 

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