In this training block, we’ve decided to program overhead squats. In CrossFit, it’s one of the 9 fundamental movements. I’m not necessary a huge fan of the movement, but this is only because it exposes my mobility issues. With this being said, I throw them in because many of you perform these excellently, and it’s challenging full-body movement.
When I first started CrossFit, I did a benchmark workout named Nancy. The workout consists of 5 Rounds of a 400m run and 15 Overhead Squats at 95/65lbs. This workout should take roughly 15-17 minutes, but due to my stubbornness, I didn’t scale accordingly, and it took me 43 minutes. Yup, you read correctly, I was literally on my toes on each squat and broke up my reps because the weight was simply too heavy for my mobility issues at the time.
Fast forward a few years later in my journey, and I decided to train it religiously. You’ve heard the old cliche, “make your weakness your strength.” That was my goal, and when I was the ripe age of 35, my overhead squat 1 rep max was 300lbs and my “Nancy” time was sub 13 minutes. In my head, I mastered the movement, and I could move on to the next thing.
This takes me to last Friday’s workout: in strength, I only built my Overhead Squat to 95lb and in the workout, I used 65lbs. These weights are certainly a far cry from my old max, which was nearly a decade ago, and I couldn’t help but reflect upon my old numbers….but they did not affect me in the manner that you would expect.
A younger Dave would’ve obsessed over the regression, but not this Dave. Sure, it’s a reminder that there are some movements that I’m not necessarily designed to perform at heavy loads. But the fact that I can perform the movement at all is testimony to the CrossFit methodology, and I friggin’ love the challenge. And if/when I can’t do it anymore, I’ll front squat. No big deal.
If you stick around long enough, you’ll surprise yourself in many ways, but also get frustrated with the process. You’ll have injuries, bad months, or even bad years. But those bad moments are certainly better simply because you’re moving, which is the key to health.
If you can get out of your head, show up, and simply focus on moving, you’re better off for it. Cherry-pick, modify, improve, regress, and the reality of it is that it only matters to you and no one else.
So yes, I’ll program Nancy at some point and perform it at a reasonable weight this time around. I’ll run instead of row even though I hate running. Who am I kidding??! I’ll jog and walk the last 20-30 meters. And when it’s done, I’ll move on to the next workout and reassess in 10 years and again in 20. That’s the beauty of it all, we’re able to do this as our form of exercise…even if it’s not perfect.
And that is progress, folks.