Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Left Arm

Unlike the Daniel Day Lewis movie regarding the triumph of the human spirit, this post is about the failure of the human body, specifically, of my left arm.

Yesterday morning during CrossFit Total, I was forced to face my disproportionate arm weakness and rename the event CFT 2.5 (which is far more positive than my original thought, CFTS: the added ‘S’ for suckage).

Everything was going fine; I increased my previous weight on the squat to 135# from 100# and thought I had some more in me. (There is no use denying it - I was pretty impressed with myself at this point.) Then came the press. I know my upper body is much too weak for my liking, but my left arm DID NOT WANT TO PRESS.  As a completely reasonable response to my lack of ability, I grew angry at my left arm. Sure, I shattered the crap out of that elbow during an ill-considered running cartwheel when I was nine, and yes, that particular folly required a metal pin, traction, and hundreds of hours of work for an entire year to restore it to 98% extension and retraction. But this is how it repays all of my time and devotion? 57½ measly overhead pounds?

Oh, yes. There were 2½-pound increments for me yesterday. 

Okay. (Deep breath) I was able to shake that off, because next came the deadlift. That’s my lift—no problem. I had recently lifted 145# without too much trouble, so I started there.  Again, not too much trouble. Next, I tried a conservative 5# increase—Failed!  What? That’s like a 3% increase!  You mean, I can squat down and back up again with 135# pounds on my back, but not stand up with 150# attached to the ends of my arms? Bummer, man. Third attempt—you guessed it—147.5#.  Apparently, two and ½ pounds made all the difference for me.

If you’re keeping score (after all, what are numbers for), that’s a CFT of 340#. Not bad, as it places me between novice and intermediate (if we can assume a linear relationship between the two points, I am 77% of the way to intermediate). But the failure weights confound me.

I’d lament, What is up?, but I know the answer will be, Nothing, if I continue to allow my left arm to have its way.

I’m happy to report that as of this morning I was able to change my press form by bringing my elbows in closer and more forward and leaving the bar resting a little higher on my shoulders. I wasn’t able to lift any more than the empty bar today, but the lift repetitions felt much stronger and more stable.

I am determined to show that left arm who's boss.

1 comment:

Jenn Casey said...

Dude, you rock, and your left arm will soon know it.