Power Clean, Front Squat, Push Press, Rear Squat, Push Press, and done… sounds easy right? HA! This series of exercises comprise “The Bear” or “The Bear Complex” I’ve always included Power Cleans and Push Presses in my workouts. This complex seemed a wonderful little way to jazz it up a bit and increase the difficulty of the exercise. I am not wrong about that; however, this is harder than it looks.
Inspired by watching you-tube videos of this exercise, I decided to give it a go myself. As there are no mirrors anywhere, I decide to set the video camera to film myself and watch my form. I walk up to the bar, squat behind it, and with a nice strong flat back, I grip the bar and take a deep and cleansing breath. 1…. 2…. 3…. GO! In slow motion, here are the elements of the complex as I performed them: Deadlift, check, shrug, check, drop and catch, check, front squat, check, push press, check…. and this is where things started to get ugly. As I attempt to bring the bar behind my head in order to perform the back squat and the push press from behind my neck, it seems that my big old gigantic head has absolutely no intention of getting out of the way. I was able to complete a couple of shaky repetitions; however, I had only completed three rounds, when as I dipped my knees with the bar behind my neck and powerfully exploded my hips and my shoulders up for the push press, my head was instantly filled with the resounding clang of the barbell smashing into the base of my skull. Lord have mercy! Don’t forget, I had video of this, and it is not pretty!
From what I understand about Olympic lifting (which admittedly is not a lot), technique and form play an enormous role in successfully and safely completing the lifts. When I was studying training in school, we touched on Olympic lifts, but never really focused on correct form. It became very very clear to me today, that I don’t have it, and I need help.
For some time, I have heard tales of Crossfit workouts and Crossfit gyms, or “boxes” as they are called. As I daily scour the internet, searching for new and interesting twists on old exercises to incorporate in my workouts, Crossfit comes to play more often than not. A different and high intensity approach to fitness, the Crossfit gyms don’t have machines, rather the focus is more towards combining Olympic lifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, running and rowing to create a workout that is always different, functional (the way your body naturally moves), and always intense.
My sheer and utter failure at performing “the bear complex” sent one message to me loud and clear, I need instruction. If I want to be able to do these more intensive complex movements, I need coaching on form and technique. It bears mentioning, that there is no Crossfit box in my town. I had always assumed that the closest gym was in Spokane (nearly 3 hours from me).
I need to go to Seattle next week, and I have decided to contact a gym while I am there. I got online to find the gym closest to my parents house, and I made an amazing discovery. There is a Crossfit gym in Chelan. While this is not in my town, it is just about 30 miles away. This is completely doable.
I have decided to go. I will check it out for myself. I must admit to being just a little bit afraid. The doubts and excuses run rampant through my mind. This crazy internal dialog is going something like this: “Will I be the oldest person there?” “Will I be the only one who can’t do a hundred pullups or handstand pushups?” “What if I cannot do any of it?” “What if my knees and shoulders hold me back?” “What if they laugh at me?”
Take a deep breath. My fears are not reality. They are phantoms of what might be, but also what might not be. Here in town, they call me “Ms. Fitness”, but I am human. I am a real person, with fear, anxiety, weakness, and a bit of an ego. They say that you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Here I am. This is me. I will take the first step.