Numerous CrossFit boxes around the country did the WOD “Murph” on Memorial Day in honor of Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. Since we were closed Monday we will attack the WOD today.
I bought the book “Lone Survivor,” by Marcus Lutrell, when it first hit the book stores in the summer of 2007. I couldn’t put it down. “Lone Survivor” is the history of Navy Seal Team 10 from the beginning of boot camp to the mission that ended in an ambush on June 28th, 2005. The narrative is told by the only survivor, Lutrell. It is a riveting account of becoming a Navy Seal, surviving boot camp, going to battle and the hardship he faced as he fought to stay alive while his entire team was annihilated. I highly recommend the book.
I hadn’t heard of CrossFit back then but I remembered Michael Murphy. Much later “Murph” was one of the first WODs I did all alone at the track. I didn’t know you could scale then! Don’t be intimidated. Scaling is definitely an option!
“Murph” For time:
1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
1 mile run
In this WOD you run the mile then partition the following in 10 rounds; 10 pull ups, 20 push ups, 30 squats, followed by another mile run. Cutting the WOD in half is an option. Keep Greg Amundson’s words resounding in your head. For a little inspiration here’s Greg recently at CrossFit West Santa Cruz gearing up for the regionals by doing “Amanda.”
While I was in Phoenix last fall for the olympic lifting camp I was fortunate enough to meet and stay with Yael Grauer. Yale is a freelance writer and contributes frequently to Catalyst Athletics newsletter, The Performance Menu. Here is a great article from the latest one, cropped slightly due to length.
Top Ten Strategies For Dealing With Injuries
You’re trucking along in your training, making steady progress. You’re finally getting close to where you want to be. Then, all of a sudden, life throws you a curve ball. A niggling pain you’ve been ignoring becomes unbearable, or you suffer from an injury you just can’t ignore. It’s not like it’s unexpected. Injuries are part of the game. But somehow it is more devastating when it’s your injury, standing in the way of your progress and goals. But not all is lost. Use the following ten tips from athletes who’ve been there and done that to help you get back on track.
1. Stay Positive
Easier said than done, I know, but it’s important to avoid getting caught up in self-destructive thought patterns. “It’s a generally depressing feeling when an
injury sets you back and it’s very easy to get negative thoughts,” says MMA fighter Lyle Steffens, who’s battled several debilitating injuries. “You must first remember that every great athlete has worked through injuries and it simply comes with the territory. I’ve come to accept these times as opportunities to invest more time into relationships, other personal goals and work on pieces of the athletic puzzle that I otherwise might neglect,” he added. Bodyweight skills enthusiast and personal trainer Jim Bathurst sees many clients who are easily discouraged when they encounter any sort of pain or injury, even though injuries are not atypical. “You think people just lock in and out of the gym everyday with continued, uninterrupted progress? Every single person has to deal with aches and pains somewhere along the way. Again, use it as a chance to learn, not to whine. There are much stronger people than you who have dealt with much worse injuries,” he points out.
2. Do Something
Although it’s easy to get depressed, stay in bed all day and eat bon-bons, Bathurst points out that sitting around and doing nothing is not the answer. “Passive rest rarely helps,” he says. “Move and exercise the injured area anyway you can in a pain-free manner.”
3. Work Neglected Areas
After letting your body recover, use this as an opportunity to work on other things. “I tend to focus on lots of cardiac output training with low impact equipment such as ellipticals, bikes and aerodynes,” says Steffens. He also focuses on full body flexibility before resuming his normal training at a much lower volume and intensity.
Bathurst finds ways to train things differently if possible. “When I’ve had various issues with my wrists over the years, did I stop training the handstand? No, I trained
them on a set of parallettes so that the wrist was in a neutral position (and pain-free). Do what you can,” he advises.
4. Play around with different healing modalities.
Steffens swears by red light and infrared light therapy (while avoiding anti-inflammatories and ice), and Bathurst is a big proponent of trigger point therapy, TPT
and ART, as well as lacrosse balls, soft yoga massage balls and the Theracane for self myofascial release. Remember that not all experts have the right solution for everyone, though. “Results are the only thing that matter, so if a therapist isn’t getting you the results you want – then find another therapist,” Bathurst says. He adds that being methodical is important. “If you try a million different things at once, you don’t know what helped or not. It’s just like training.”
5. Hit the books
Bathurst recommends spending time away from your regular routine progressing mentally. “Many training injuries are a result of lack of anatomical knowledge and/or improper programming. Use the injury as the impetus to study as much as you can about that injury. Less time training can mean more time reading. That way, you can become smarter and avoid it again (or help others avoid it the first time). It’s the whole “fool me once” line. I’ve tweaked my shoulder badly twice over the years, but each time I do I’ve learned more about the shoulder,” he said. Steffens spends his time studying dynamic warmups, nutrition and energy systems. “There is so much information out there and it’s very likely that we all hold onto some outdated knowledge that can stunt our progression and possibly even injure us. The more you know about the body and how it works the better you’ll be able to weed out information that doesn’t add up and make use of the information that does,” he says. Strength coach Josh Henkin echoes the sentiment. “Being able to learn from the injuries and become a smarter athlete/lifter/coach can sometimes turn a negative into a true positive,” he points out.
6. Don’t obsess about your progress
Yes, we know, you’re not making progress since you can’t train the way you want to. But we’ve all heard stories of people who had a long layoff and came back even stronger. “The fact is that sometimes you need a break to restore the nervous and endocrine systems from long periods of hard work. With some time away you might grow hungrier, see the forest for the trees and become better than you were before,” Steffens says. Jim Bathurst says one should shift their focus away from how their lifts (or sports performance) is suffering, and John Welbourn agrees that it’s a good idea to try not to obsess about one’s injury or progress. “The body heals at the rate at which it is supposed to,” he says.
7. Know When To Work Through Injuries
Welbourn believes that injuries are part of the game. “You have to deal with them in the same manner as lifting weights, running, going to practice and learning the playbook. You accept they will happen and can not let them slow you down,” he says. Weightlifter Aimee Anaya points out that it is easy to be pain-free when one is inactive. “I think in lifting, you have to really make an effort, a choice, to wrap it up, tape it up, ice it, deal with it, and keep lifting. I am sure it is the same in any sport… you take the pains along with the rewards. It is part of it. Part of being an athlete. You have to wake up and make a choice. You either suck it up and train because it is what you love to do even if it is what you hate to do, OR you give up and choose to not have achy knees. So I guess my motivation to keep training despite the pains the platform may give me, comes from knowing that I would rather be lifting with some training pains, than sitting on the couch with great knees. Some days I am so achy that I can hardly squat down to put my shoes on. But, you just do it, and you get through it, and you smile at the end of your workout,” she says.
8. Know when NOT to work through injuries (AKA: don’t be stupid)
Training injured—or going back to training before you are ready—can have devastating consequences. Bathurst says, “If you’re injured and something hurts, don’t do an exercise that hurts it further! If you test an exercise and it causes discomfort, then pick another exercise! You only work through that hurt if you have a vital competition where you must compete. Find what doesn’t hurt and work it.” Olympic weightlifter Aimee Anaya agrees. “[You have to] really understand when it is safe to train through something [an ache or irritant or soreness], and when to back off [a real pain], because if you don’t back off and allow something to heal, that is when injury happens. Big injuries can be devastating, and can cause you to lose weeks if not months if not years of training. If you just take 3 days off to allow your body to rest, you may not end up having to take 3 months or 3 years off. Be smart, train through when you can, and rest when you must. Focus on the end goal, not the immediate need to get through a workout.”
9. Set goals.
“Make long term and short term goals. Try to meet the short term goals and you realize long term goals are the sum of all those small victories,” Welbourn advises.
While working through multiple ACL injuries, Chestney set goals that encouraged her to maintain a positive and optimistic attitude in her recovery process. “For example, a goal could be, “I will not make negative comments about my knee recovery, and if I do, I will be reminded and must create a positive counter comment to my negative comment.” So let’s say I slip up, and say, “This healing is taking forever; I hate waiting.” If someone notices this negativity, or if I notice the negative comment myself, then I’ll immediately create a positive learning comment that will counter the negative one just said. For the negative comment, I would counter, “This healing is helping me learn to be more patient with my body’s needs.”
10. The sun’ll come up…
While difficult, looking on the bright side of your situationcan help you become more emotionally resilient. “Try to find something positive that came out of their
situation,” Chestney advises. What did you learn from what happened? How did you emotionally grow or become stronger from what happened?” “Don’t focus on how your lifts are suffering. Get that out of your mind. There are ups and downs to anyone’s training career. Enjoy the ride,” Bathurst advises.