CrossFit Challenge Week 9: Butterflys and Grip Strength

This week had great new WOD’s with new exercises in them then I hadn’t tried yet. The Sept 25 CrossFit Workout was my first partner workout.

Partner workout?!

That means I actually have to get myself moving faster because I have a partner to answer to?!

Yup.

Working with a partner can push you harder. It really depends on how you feel about that partner though. You could not care and only go as fast as you want to. Or, like most people will I think, you can push it that little bit harder because it’s not just you on the team anymore.

Our Buy-In was trying Butterfly Pull-ups and then some Tricep Rows. I’ve done Tricep Rows before but the Butterflies were different. Tricep Rows are started in a push-up plank position. You then pull one hand at a time off the floor straight up to about chest height. Your elbow goes straight up in the air. You can do it with weight if you like but it’s a pretty hard exercise without it. The closer you put your feet together the less stability you have and the more core workout you get.

Onto the WOD!

WOD 1

15 minutes or 4 rounds (with partner)

5 Plank Over Under

5 Chinup hold

5 Burpee Box Jump

Ended with 3 rounds + 16

Some of the groups made their 4 rounds with this, we almost did but didn’t quite have the time. The Plank Over Unders are holding a high plank while the other person crawls under you and then hops over top. Chin-up holds are just a hold on the bar with your chin above it. Most  of us dropped into just hanging from the bar for the last few rounds. Guys had to hold it for 20 seconds, girls for 10. These were tough.

Burpee Box Jumps are dropping to the ground for a push-up, then standing back up for the Burpee and then jumping with 2 feet onto the box.  They start out deceptively easy. Then after a few rounds, your legs start to burn and jumping each time is a concentrated effort. By the final reps, it takes some serious self talk to get yourself all the way to the top of the box and down without falling on your face.

We made it to the middle of our last round of Chin-up Holds when the timer went at 15 minutes. I was glad to see the end after those holds. My hands were toast. They couldn’t hang out for one more round. After the terrible Burpee Chest to Bar’s and the Chin-Up Holds this week, I decided I need to work on my grip strength. I knew my muscles were strong enough to do more than this but my hands have been giving out too soon. I’ve found 8 exercises for grip strength that I mention below.

WOD 2

Loved this WOD! The Sept 27 CrossFit Workout was right up my alley with a lot of running. I think that’s why I liked it so much. No grip strength required either! Well that’s not true. There was a little bit but all I needed was to stay above the rings for the Ring Dips and then run like crazy and I was done.

So todays WOD was a countdown.

28’s

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

muscle ups or ring dips

400m run in between

14:34

So easy right? Get on the rings for some muscles ups or ring dips and then go run. I definitely can’t do muscle ups (I haven’t even tried yet but the girl in the video is killin’ em) so I opted for some ring dips. We started with 7 dips then a run, 6 dips then a run, 5 dips then a run all the way down to 1. Aside from the running in the workout, I liked the fact that the dips got easier. Every time I got back to do more dips I had to do less.  I can’t wait for more workouts like this one that I was excited to complete.

Goals

Here’s a quick update on my CrossFit goals for my last few updates of the CrossFit Challenge. Only 5 more updates for the Challenge. It’s gone by so fast! These are things I’ve come across that my performance in is pretty poor. I’m going to be working on:

Weighted Overhead Squats – I’ve got bad shoulder mobility, working on mobility for this one.

10 Kipping Pull-ups – My grip strength is the issue here.

10 Double-Under skips – The timing is tough with these. I’ve done a few in a row but it’s tough to keep it going.

5 Butterfly Pull-ups – Just tried these ones the other day. It’s a complicated move.

1 Muscle-Up – Haven’t even attempted these. Going to play with them for cash-out one day.

Grip Strength – I need to be able to hang onto the bar longer. I explain this a bit more below. 

CrossFit Question – What’s a butterfly pull-up?

A butterfly pull-up is basically a pull-up with some body movement thrown in that helps you get up and over the bar. The basic move is a pull-up where you move your body up and down. It’s hard and slow. The kipping pull-up is a little faster. It brings your hips into the equation and helps you up and over the bar with some momentum from kicking your legs up.

Finally there is the butterfly pull-up. The butterfly pull-up  gets your body moving in a much smoother rhythm to get your chin over the bar. When you can do these ones they are much faster than kipping or strict pull-ups. Sometimes in the WODs you have to do many push-ups under a certain amount of time and the faster you can do those the faster your time will be. It’s important to be able to do them quickly.Here’s a bit of instruction to show you how to do a Butterfly Pull-Up

CrossFit Question – How do I improve grip strength?

Grip strength is the limiting factor in a lot of CrossFit exercises. On it’s own improving your grip strength is going to be a huge advantage for climbing, kayaking and mountain biking but the main point of it here is to increase the weight you can lift while training. You can have huge strong arm and back muscles but if you can’t hang on to the pull-up bar or the barbell then you aren’t going to do much. I was feeling very limited in my pull-ups. I took a look around online for some suggestions and ran into the idea of being limited by grip strength. I’m not the only one having problems with it.Here are some good additions to your workout that focus on grip strength.

Farmer Carry – one or two plates in each hand. you can use 2 thin ones and hold them together. I will be adding this to my cash out.

Weighted Chin-ups – chin-ups but with a weight belt or a weight between your feet. Really stresses holding on the bar as long as you can!

Deadlifts (with Fat Grips) – The fat bar really works your grip muscles. When you return to the regular bars they’ll be easier to hold on to.

Low bar lifts (half dead lift) – pick up and hold as long as you can

Spring Loaded Grip Trainers – These are the little grip trainers you can do at home or at work. They’re just little spring-loaded handles.

Rope Climbs – I don’t have a rope but it would be a good trainer

Heavy dumbbell carry in each hand – This is like a farmer carry but just with dumbbells. They need to be heavy to work well.

Towel Pull ups – Wrap a towel around a bar and hold onto each rolled up end. Be careful with these ones, apparently it’s hard to drive home after.

Challenge Update

I’ve only got 5 more updates for the CrossFit Challenge and then it’s done! Once I’m done the regular updates, I’ll be doing a couple wrap-up posts to let everyone know what my decision is to continue or not. I’ll be touching on a few things that I’ve found great about CrossFit on it’s own and for other human-powered sports. If there are still some things that you don’t get about CrossFit or you want to know more about, email me or comment down below. I want to make this a good intro to CrossFit for the human-powered sporters.

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