I have officially found a new favorite exercise at CFD. I absolutely LOVE ball slams. Of course, a large part of that may just be a juvenile giddiness to justifiably and repeatedly use the phrase “slam balls” and “ball slams” in my writing. I admit it. It amuses me. There you have it.

As I mentioned yesterday,I did end up going to the 7:15 WOD rather than the 6:15 today. It was very cool to do. As I hoped, I really enjoyed working under the guidance of a coach I haven’t worked with before and training with athletes that I don’t often get to work with. I was a bit surprised and highly amused to see that the space where I most often park the Mustang was still open when I arrived around 6:50. The thought occurred to me, “Huh. Nice of them to reserve my space.” I thought that was awful considerate.

Coach Allison lead the WOD and put us through warm ups. The 5 minute cycle of 15 seconds of burpees as fast as possible then 45 sec of rest got me good and sweaty right out of the gate. I was pleased with my burpee form for this drill. I really threw myself down, bolted back up and dropped right into the next rep. It’s easy to do when you know you’re only going to go for 15 seconds. But it was indicative that I’m capable of more when doing burpees in other WODs and I’ll have to concentrate harder.

Learned a few things about some of the more commonly used shoulder stretches like pass throughs and around the worlds. For pass throughs, she pointed out that you should be actively extending your arms out throughout the entire range of motion. That adds a whole level of stress and stretch that I’d never felt before. On around the worlds, as you pass the PVC pipe around your body, really anchor the low side hand on your hip to do the stretch effectively. On both, if you’re needing extra stretch, relinquish the super wide snatch grip and start working your hands in closer to the center of the bar. That’ll get your attention right quick!

WOD for Wednesday 112311
Work on ball ups, inversions, skin the cats, and levers

I have so much to learn and work on here that it’s just silly. Until I walked into the box today I didn’t even know what ball ups, skin the cats or levers were! I know now. I can’t do most of them, but at least I’ve seen them and have something to work towards.

I spent the entire time today working on ball ups. They are the simplest of all the maneuvers. By the end of the session, with a slight hop, I can get myself to an inverted balled up position. I’m unable right now to extend my feet and legs upwards to get into a true inversion, but I’ll work on it.

6 Rounds For Time:
10 Power Cleans (135/95)
10 Ball Slams
10 Toes To Bar

I got to the box early enough to see the 6:15 crew churn through this one. It took a lot of people who are much stronger athletes than I am a very long time to grind it out! I kept that in mind when it was my turn. I scaled the power cleans all the way down to 75lbs and grabbed a 15lb slam ball.

The power cleans went quite well. In hindsight, I probably should have challenged myself a bit more there. Allison pointed out the objective of the WOD was to go heavy, but after watching the 6:15 crew and not knowing how the ball slams would tax me, I opted to stay lighter. I focused today on really driving my elbows through quickly. For the most part I accomplished that.

Ball Slams are just the coolest exercise ever! You take a weighted ball, extend it up over your head as high as you can while keeping the weight of your body in your heels and then drive it down into the floor. You have to drive your entire body downward into a good deep squat immediately behind the ball because a true rep means the ball will bounce and you catch it while in that squat. But the ball should only bounce once! In hindsight, I think I want to do more ball slams to work on that fast downward motion that’s been eluding me during my snatches! You end up in a very similar position and it would be great practice. I could see using ball slams as a warm up to get my body prepped for squats.

All of my ball slam sets were unbroken and the ball only escaped me once forcing me to do an extra rep. If I used a 20lb or heavier ball, I’m sure I wouldn’t be as enamored of the exercise as I am. I watched a couple of folks far stronger than me really struggle to get the ball to even bounce. I’m sure it would have tore me up. I was cruising through these reps pretty well when Karl offered me a tip on the fly that improved the rep even more. When you slam the ball downward, if you get just a bit of forward torque/rotation on the ball, it seems to bounce just a bit higher and truer, making the reps that much easier. Thanks Karl!

My toes to bars weren’t. For the first 4 sets, I was doing knees to elbows. Even those were not true knees to elbows. They never came in contact with one another, but they were the best I’m capable of right now. For the last two sets, I elected to do an exercise I’d seen other athletes do. I lay on the floor with my head resting at the base of a post of the pull up rig. I grabbed the post with both hands and used my core to raise my extended legs up to the post. If it has a name, I don’t know it.

In the end, I completed the WOD in 12:53. I think I was the first athlete in the 7:15 session to finish, but not by much. One more thought on ball slams. They are great anger management exercises. I thought of every person that’s aggravated or upset me over the past month and put their name on a repetition. This WOD was demanding, challenging and incredibly therapeutic and gratifying.