Most years in the Open, there is a repeat workout. And this Open was no exception. Although Dave Castro did mix things up in that this repeat was not happening on the same week as it did originally. 20.3 was 18.4, which was a workout that I had done in the past, and hoped to improve upon.
There was just one small problem. I have been avoiding doing kipping handstand pushups in the last year or so because I am convinced that it would be better and safer if I trained myself up to the point where I could do one strict before I worked seriously on kipping. Back in 2018, I was able to do kipping handstand pushups. I got 12 of them at my second attempt of 18.4.
But I’ve gained weight since then, and I haven’t been working the movement. I was dreading the attempts, because I remembered on that second attempt that I completely lost the ability to do them and had to be coached through technique until my body remembered what to do.
At the Friday night strategy class, I decided to try something a little different and brought out a yoga mat for the handstand pushups. I figured the thick mats were a bit too squishy and I don’t particularly like putting my hands on the plates (in order to put an ab mat under the head, the hands must be raised with weight plates so that the head goes down to the level of the hands).
In practice, I managed to get a few reps off. I can, in fact, do handstand pushups.
But when it came time to get them done after 21 reps of 155 pound deadlifts… I just couldn’t do it. I could go through the motions, but my arms didn’t have enough oomph to finish the press up the wall. I tried and tried and tried, but I couldn’t get lock out with my arms.
I tried to hold my head high after that, but I felt deeply disappointed in myself. I was supposed to be improving. I’d been doing CrossFit 20 or more times a month for over 2 years and I regress on handstand pushups?
That emotion was likely my downfall. It led me to going in on Saturday during the open hour and working on handstand pushups. I was convinced that I just wasn’t getting the motion right, and that I needed to relearn how my body can do them. In retrospect, I think I was exhausting myself to no good end, since I didn’t end up getting a single rep on Saturday or on Sunday when I redid the workout.
One good thing did come of me going in on Saturday though. My friend was there, and I convinced her that she should do the workout Rx instead of scaled, because she can do handstand pushups. The deadlift weight is heavy for her, but she can also do that. So on Sunday, I got the joy of judging her through her first Rx Open workout, and seeing her get a good number of handstand pushups.
When it was my turn to go, I was determined to at least do the 21 deadlifts at 155 pounds faster than I’d ever done them before. On Friday, I’d started doing an 8 – 7 – 6 rep scheme, but gave it up after the set of 8. I ended up at 1:23 for the deadlifts, and I figured if I didn’t give that scheme up, I could probably get under a minute.
I pushed through, and while I couldn’t get near one of my other friend’s incredible time of 23 seconds, I did beat a minute with a time of 56 seconds.
And then I attacked the handstand pushups. And I gave it my all for the remaining 8 minutes of the workout. And all I got for my effort was a really sore head from falling down after each of my attempts. I got close a couple times, but I couldn’t get it. Based on how sore my shoulders were for days afterwards, I probably would have been better off not practicing at all on Saturday and giving myself a chance to recover before Sunday…
I had to really work at not being disappointed with myself. It helps to put that emotion into the drive to get stronger. If I want to be able to do handstand pushups, then I need to get strong enough to do them strict so I can practice kipping and continue to become more skilled. I know what it took to get a pull up, and I know that it wasn’t impossible, though it seemed so before I started CrossFit.
|My friend can deadlift 155 pounds, yes she can!
|I did try. I tried very hard.
|I can also deadlift 155 pounds. Pretty fast, too.
|Gosh, this picture makes it look like I did a rep… but I’m just hanging out at the top.
|Another angle on the lifting.
|Up it goes.