Most of you have heard this before, but I’ll now join my fellow pontificating blowhards in using the internet to articulate my tirade.
I abhor bands. Period. And since I am doing the programming for the next four weeks, no one at RCFN will be using bands in the month of May. The bands are gone, and gone means not in the gym. So don’t ask for me to go get them from the office because they are not there. Gone.
But I have a heart. If you would like to come in and complain about how you can’t do pull-ups without bands, I would be happy to listen to you. After you prepare your Opening Arguments, make sure to bring an open Grüner to set on the counter. That beautiful brown bottle will let me know what you want, and I will listen to you until said beer is gone.
Now before you make a mad rush to the Getränkemarkt, let me review a few scaling options.
Pull-ups—the number one culprit for band use. Your first option is to look to your left, or maybe your right, and ask the kind-looking person standing there for some help. You heard me. It is okay to ask for help from a stranger. No matter what your mom told you about strangers, it does not apply in CrossFit boxes. Have your newfound friend press up on your back with his or her hands to help you through that sticking point, or put your feet on your friend’s legs so that you can press with your legs and control the amount of help you receive. Or it could be possible to help yourself! Set up a box under just one foot. Ensure it is at a height that you can stand on that one foot to push your body up as you pull. Please don’t forget the pull part, or we have just moved on to pistol practice. If you are still not satisfied, we could work on some negatives. Help yourself up from a box or one of the hooks so that your chin starts over the bar then resist plummeting back to the earth.
Ring dips—the source of your newfound appreciation for Olympic gymnastics. This may sound familiar, but you can also ask someone for help on the ring dip. Have Friend hold your feet to take a bit of pressure off of your shoulders. You can again control the amount of help you receive by how much you push with your legs. Friend could also help lift your body by lifting your legs as you raise yourself, but you will lose a small amount of control over how much help you receive, so communicate. But wouldn’t that be a great story to tell your kids? “I met the love of my life because I couldn’t do a ring dip and had to ask for help.” Just make sure that you invite me to the wedding. Afraid of social interaction? RCFN is fortunate enough to have adjustable rings, so go ahead an lower those rings so that you could reach the ground and have One Leg help Shoulders with that dip. If all of the rings are already in use, then set yourself up between two boxes/parallettes/stacks of bumper plates and dip. If the stack is high enough, you can maintain your upright trunk with hip underneath your shoulders. Now you can keep the same range without the unstable platform. If you struggle to dip with your bodyweight, then lower the stack so that you can again use your legs to assist.
Note that none of these scales decreased the range of motion or dramatically changed the stimulus. You may find a partner or trainer for assistance during our skill work and then switch to a self-help scale during the workout—isn’t that a novel idea!
This post is by not meant to exhaust the list of scaling options. Instead, it is meant to simply illustrate that options exist.
Stay tuned this month for a little more background on my illogical disdain of these colorful elastic loops. Topics may include motor recruitment patterns, concentric/eccentric loadings, accommodating resistance, and more.