Setting Goals

I admit I’m not a very organized person.  This is something that I’ve really been working on lately, but still need a great deal of improvement.  Setting goals is one way towards becoming more organized.  With a clear and measurable goal in place, you can then determine what steps you need to take to acheive said goal.

When I first started Crossfit last year, I wasn’t aware of the many goals that athletes set for themselves within the sport.  Naturally, there were weight goals that people set for PR’s, etc. But I’m referring to the lesser known goals that may even vary from box to box.  For instance, at CFI1504 the one-handed handstand is a popular goal.  For many these goals are elusive and require countless attempts before obtaining.  I personally didn’t even attempt the one-handed handstand for several months. However, with a little coaching, I was able to get it down in a few attempts.  Another common challenge at our box is double unders – jumping rope where the rope passes under your feet twice for every one jump.

There are other, more widespread goals within Crossfit that are even more difficult to reach.  One of the more popular movements that will draw a group of onlookers and encouragement from fellow athletes is the muscle-up. From the first time I witnessed a muscle-up, I knew it was a move I would eventually want to conquer.  I say conquer because for the average person it is a very difficult move.  The first time I attempted one, I knew it would be a while before I completed a muscle-up successfully.

Training

Initially I even had difficulty with the progression, whereby the kip and transition is practiced on low rings with a band to help support your body weight.  In fact, it was so awkward, that I never practiced the progression again; I went straight to the regular ring setup.  About a month ago, I got serious about wanting to complete a muscle-up.  Over my time in the box, my shoulders had gone from hurting, to feeling normal, to getting stronger. I knew my shoulders would be the limiting factor, but they have been feeling good, so I decided to get more serious.  Depending on the WOD, I would hop on the rings and just practice the kip (the initial momentum movement to get a muscle-up started).  Some days I would try to add the transition, usually unsuccessfully.  Then one day I made the transition, but got stuck and one of my arms rotated out, causing me to fall through the rings.  I was close though and I knew it.

Accomplishment

For whatever reason, I felt good about trying the muscle-up on Friday February 14th.  We had just completed a WOD that was pretty intense on the shoulders – including thrusters, snatches and clean & jerks.  Needless to say, my shoulders were warm, but I wasn’t sure if they’d be too tired for a good attempt.  Quietly, I stepped over to the rings in the back of our box and gave it a shot.  My kip was good, the rotation over the rings went better than I expected and there I was, over the rings ready to complete my first muscle-up except that I was stuck.  With my body inline on the rings, I had zero leverage to push up, completing the move.  So I asked Luke, a fellow athlete who I knew had his muscle-ups down.  His tip was to make sure my head gets through the rings more, which will position your body with more leverage to push up.  We walked back to the rings and I prepared for my second attempt.  This time I focused on the transition, getting my head through strong and providing myself with the leverage I needed to finish the move.  As I rotated through the transition I immediately pushed straight up and locked my arms – completing my first ever muscle-up!  At the top of the movement I screamed “YES!”  Although there were 10-12 other people in the box, only Luke had seen it.

As word spread, it was decided that I needed to get it on video.  While I was all for that, I wasn’t sure I could get two in a row.  However, on the very next try and with a lot more eyeballs watching I was able to get my second successful muscle-up on video.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment when you finally achieve a goal that you’ve set for yourself.  A goal that never existed in your mind until you saw someone else perform it.  A goal that wasn’t physically possible until you trained and trained – and all of of sudden in a single moment on a Friday afternoon, it was.

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