after a week of work abroad, and another week of being sick, i was finally able to return to krav and crossfit tonight. oh joyus day!!!! since my last week was spent “resting” i made it a point to REALLY rest. lots of sleep, lots of good food, and lots of rest. so the pain i feel tomorrow will be well deserved.
to start out my first night back, i went into xf where our wod was 5-5-5-5-5 for deadlift and for benchpress. this was interesting. the deadlift, not a big deal, the mechanics were the same as i remember from hs with one modification—look straight ahead, not up at the ceiling (i was taught to look up in hs, that was a teenager ago though.) the benchpress on the other hand… that was something new. i gave it a shot and my verdict is this: it feels really weird.
this is what i don’t like about the new mechanics:
1. the touch point for the bar is between the nipples and the throat. for me, this is unnatural and awkward. the new bench mechanics taught tonight are supposed to mimic a pushup—which i understand—but when i do a pushup, i cannot get any closer to the ground than the highest point on my chest which happens to be my nipple line.
2. bringing the elbows in: when i used to lift, i was taught to have a wider-than-shoulders grip, come down and touch the chest, and raise it back up. my elbows always took care of themselves. with this new technique, we were taught to bring our elbows in so they were angled, and then push the bar back up (slight angle to a lot of angle, tough to remember the specifics on this part). what throws me off about this is that i have to think about how my elbows are positioned. imho, i don’t think you should have to think about your elbows. if your grip is right, and your mechanics are right, your elbows will take care of themselves.
3. the tightening of the core. with the majority of the exercises i’ve done in crossfit, conditioning, and krav so far emphasize core strength to the point of brainwashing. i get it. power comes from a strong core. without a strong core, your base body mechanics are shit. got it. but using your core on a benchpress? maybe i’m old school, or maybe i was taught wrong, or maybe there’s been new things discovered to help with bench pressing mechanics, i don’t know. but what i do know is that the bench press is meant to isolate the chest, shoulder, and arm muscles. isolate. chest, shoulder, arm. where does the core come in there? now, i did do some research tonight, and found the coach rippetoe teaches students how to arch properly (keep your ass on the bench!) and he also teaches how to use your feet to drive power into the bench press. great. i’m not completely sold on it yet. i’m a fan of strict, isolated movements for some exercises, pull ups being an example. imho, i believe the strict isolation can build better muscle fibers. point in case: strict pull up vs. kipping pull up: lets say two people are hanging from a ledge for dear life, person A has been doing strict, isolated pull ups for a very long time. person B has been doing kipped pull ups for a very long time. in this life or death situation, both have to pull themselves up to safety. i would place money on person A being able to get up no problem. i’m not saying person B wouldn’t be able to get up, but what happens if there is a wall that is preventing them from kipping? that’s all.
so, even with my criticism of this new bench press technique, i’ll still give it a shot. one night isn’t enough for me to say weather or not it’s bs, but i am skeptical.
and after crissy, kravina was waiting for me. it wasn’t tooooo bad, but i was definitely “glistening” with sweat midway through class, a great sign of a strong class! got a chance to work with a lot of new people in the level 1 class, and even got a chance to work with a couple “advanced” students. always good, that. no stress drills tonight, just a lot of hitting and kicking and defending against chokes with a push. a great class to get back into the swing of things.
and no pop quizzes either.