Did my own thing at the box today and it was a whole lot of fun. I think it may set the tone for the year ahead.

CFD’s programming has shifted back to what I’ll call it’s traditional schedule of working six lifts over six weeks. It seems the majority of the gym population was not satisfied with the last cycle. I’m disappointed. While the programming is certainly effective, I find that it leaves a lot of terrain untouched. It’s very barbell specific and there’s so much more to Crossfit than barbells.

But that’s ok. It just means that it’s time for me to be responsible,exercise some independence and define what I want out of my gym time and make that happen. My current plan is to hit the box 5 days a week. For now, while the weather keeps us mostly indoors, Sunday, Mondays, and Fridays I’ll do whatever the box has programmed. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my days to experiment. My intent is that while the rest of the group does the assigned strength work, I’ll monkey with different gymnastics moves, ring work and body weight exercises and see what I can do. Then I’ll do the assigned METCONs with the group. Today was my first attempt at doing that. I was pretty pleased with the results.

I think my theme, or resolution if you prefer, for 2015 is going to be “Explore.” I want to discover different ways this 44 year old body can move. I’ve established a modest level of strength with which I’m pretty comfortable. Now I want to see what else this body is capable of. I want to explore some of the other components of Crossfit. I want to spend time with balance, coordination and flexibility. I’m totally enamored of gymnasticswod.com right now, as well as the Mov Nat channel on YouTube. I keep watching things there and thinking, “Huh. Wonder if I can do that?” Well, this year I intend to find out.

Why those days? Simple logistics. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays there’s a bootcamp session running at the same time as the Crossfit session. Space is at a premium. Tuesdays and Thursdays, there’s more floor space.

So today was Day 1. What did I explore? Backward rolls.

I don’t think I’ve attempted a backward roll since maybe middle school, maybe longer. While exploring gymnasticswod.com last night, I stumbled on backward roll progressions and thought, “it’s as good a place as any to start.”

So I spent 20 minutes or so this morning running through a series of progressions on tumbling mat: candlesticks, where you start out standing, sit back into a tuck, roll backwards with the arms extended out overhead. lift the legs at the hip and then reverse the process to return to a standing position. After that it was a number of sets of rolling back and placing the hands by the head and then rolling back up to standing. From there I moved to some sets of rolling back, placing the hands and tucking the legs in then rolling back and standing up. All of those progressions went quite smoothly.

I really had no expectations. I kept wondering where I would stall, thinking that surely one of the progressions would prove to be too difficult. But I was able to move through them, get a feel for the motion and then move onto the next step.

Finally, I did three sets of 5 backward rolls! It felt pretty awesome. They need work, but they were legit! I need to remember to push out with my hands and resist the tempation to use my head and neck to push out of the roll, but otherwise I’m quite pleased.

They went smooth enough that I decided to incorporate them into a spontaneous METCON. I elected to sit out today’s assigned METCON. It was several rounds of Cindy, mingled with double unders. I did a full Cindy on Sunday. I had no desire to revisit so soon. So I came up with: 5 minute AMRAP of 3 forward rolls, 2 back ward rolls, 10 sit ups. My first thought was to do handstand holds after the backward rolls, but the 6:15 crew was using the rig for their METCON, so I steered clear of that space. Then I thought, “rope climbs! I’ll do one rope climb to complete each round.” But by the time I was ready to get rolling the 7am bootcamp had arrived. I had to relinquish that space to them.

It was obvious that I would need to limit myself to the space of the tumbling mat, hence the sit ups. Still, it was a fun little exercise. I completed 5 rounds. I was very cautious and meticulous about every roll, so I was moving slower than strictly necessary. After 5 minutes, I had worked up a fair sweat and sitting here now a couple hours later, I’m definitely feeling sore in some places that I don’t normally notice. That’s exactly what I’m looking for.

In addition to the backward roll progressions , I did some jump rope work; 200 single unders and 36 double unders. Why such an odd amount of DU’s? I was trying to parse them out in sets today, but they just weren’t there at all. I decided to set them aside.

I also worked on arm levers; balancing myself parallel to the floor on the edge of a 20″ box. If you’re curious, there’s a video here  This also proved to be very entertaining. It took some monkeying around and tinkering with positioning to figure these out. I was able to do 3 individual 10 second holds on the right side, only one on the left though. Definitely have to work on those assymetries.

My levers don’t look nearly as graceful as those of Carl Paoli, but I did them! I have to bend my legs at the knees shortening my body, but I can hold myself parallel to the ground. I’ll have to work on more strength to extend myself to full length. But that’s something to look forward to.

In case you can’t tell, I think 2015 may become my year of Paul’s Stupid Human Tricks videos. But I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish.