Last year was busy for the Human Race. Obama won, Lance Armstrong apparently didn't. Afghanistan is all but done, as troops pull out and demilitarize from areas that some say still need our help; however, it seems that neither Osama Bin Laden, nor the Mayan Apocalypse could end humanity (neither could the apocalyptic mid-season break from AMC's “The Walking Dead”!). With the New Year already passed, the time to get moving on New Years resolutions is now. Most people get a new box of pens, and vow to always have one on them so they never miss that crucial moment in front of the big boss. Others promise themselves that they will spend more time with their families. Still others have set out plans to meet that perfect person, and hopefully never mess up.
Outside of these groups of normal people, are the gym dwellers. As the new year passed, these people hardly noticed. They decided to forget buying pens, the office has boxes to steal from everywhere... possibly in other people's desks. Why spend time with the family, when they won't even get in shape and stick around another twenty years? While others partied out the New Year, this group was getting ready for the early morning alarm clock and that gulp of preworkout mix by going to bed early (probably next to the hotty who wasn't at the New Years bash). It would seem that the fitness fanatics have it all figured out, but why not get into the spirit of 2013?
If everyone else is looking for more Middle Earth than Middle East, mixing up the normal and staying fresh may be the core of the new game. And the name of the New Year's game for 2013 is Crossfit.
Many people get grumpy about the idea of crossfit, without even learning what it truly is. Mostly, these are young people who would simply die if they weren't the most non-conformist person who's ever lived; and they fear crossfit gyms because they imagine them to be fads. But those are the same people going Gagnam style... whatever that is.
Here's a Crossfit Exercise Circuit to help get over the New Year slump:
- Raised Cross-legged Crossovers x 20
- Monkey Lunge Bars x 10 bars
- Small Log Toss x 1
- Tall Log Toss x 1
- Dips x 10
- Tire Flip x 1
- Push and Drag x 10 feet
SO, WHAT are these exercises? One of the biggest pitfalls of the underground nature of Crossfit is not having universal names for a lot of the exercises. These exercises are given their Marine Corps names, simply because that is what this author learned them as. Here are explanations for the seven movements listed.
1. Raised Cross-legged Crossovers – (the most complicated of the seven)
a.) While sitting, cross both feet at the ankles (i.e.- almost “indian style” with the right ankle over the left ankle) so that one must bend over completely to reach around the front of the feet.
b.) Clasp both hands together as if holding a large balloon, elbows raised almost to shoulder level.
c.) Raise both feet anywhere from six to eighteen inches off the ground, knees bent outward, creating a diamond shape from where the ankles meet to crotch (the inside of the knees being the sides of the diamond).
d.) Rotate the torso to the left, maintaining abdominal and oblique tension, until the left forearm touches the ground.
^^d part 2) This is done simultaneously with the rotation, to keep balance and challenge the obliques. While rotating, bring both legs together. Just like a squirrel uses it's tail for balance, this should keep the body from wobbling.
e.) Rotate back to center, while re-bending the legs as they were before (in a diamond shape).
f.) Rotate to the right and back to center, using the same method as for the left rotation. This completes one rep.
2. Monkey Lunge Bars -
The intent of Monkey Lunges is to complete a series of half-pullups, along several bars at different heights. Whether along a straight line of bars or around a squared cage with bars at the top, constant tension for at least thirty seconds is the goal. It is acceptable to use the momentum swinging at the waist to assist in movement. This develops the muscles of the back and biceps.
3 & 4. Small and Large Log Toss -
Very straightforward. Grasp a weighted log, while bent at the knees. Using the legs, spring upward and lift the log. As it is still moving upward, regrasp the log (this time so that it is possible to push it, instead of pulling it upward). Push the log upward and over, using caution to avoid crashing the log down onto someone or yourself. This is a full body movement, but focuses mostly on the core stabilizers, quadriceps, and anterior deltoids.
5. Dips -
Keep elbows tight against the sides of the body, lean forward, attempt to arch the body backward, and dip as far downward as possible. Hold the deepest part of the stretch, and then press the body upward. This works the chest, triceps, and lower back.
6. Tire Flip -
Using the same method as was described for the Log Tosses, lift a tire and push it end over end. This super-sets the same muscles needed for the Log Tosses.
7. Push and Drag -
This exercise seems impossible, at first, but once it is mastered, the benefits are very real. Gripping dumbells, assume a pushup position with one hand above the head and the other at waist level. Using the muscles of the upper back, rhomboids, and posterior deltoids, lift or drag the waist level dumbell and move forward in the same way Spiderman crawls up a wall.
While performing this circuit, the amount of rest time between exercises should be minimal; however, upon completion of a full circuit, rest for thirty to forty-five seconds is acceptable. Three complete circuits should take about fifteen to twenty minutes, and if done correctly should substitute for a moderate sprinting session.