Making CrossFit Work, Even with a Bum Knee

So I’ve been a bit of a bad blogger and have been MIA lately. But, I have a good excuse! You see, on top of my regular 8-5 job, I have a second job as a volleyball ref for a bar league a couple nights a week (6 pm to midnight), plus I am a freelance writer for a few different equine magazines. Lo and behold, I had three big features all due on the same day (May 15) and other things in my personal life going on that made blogging not very important at the time. But, my articles are submitted, so I’m hoping to be back in action. (I hope you can forgive me!)

Anyway, last week I failed to blog about my class at Man O’War CrossFit, so I figured I’d combine this week’s class with last weeks.

First up, last week’s class:


Last week’s class was a trial in pride for me. We worked on push presses and trying to get 70% of our max so we could do four sets of 10, along with 10 medicine ball throws for our strength portion of the workout. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a weak upper body–a lot of women do. But I didn’t realize how weak until we started this exercise. After many attempts, I ended up doing the push presses with a 35-lb woman’s bar. (Hey, at least I have a starting point to build from!)

After the strength portion, we worked with a partner to do the WOD:

Thrusters (rx 95/64#)
Lateral bar jump
For Time

Working with a partner, one did 10, you did 9, partner 8…until you hit 1, then you switched and went back up, so partner would do 1, you 2, partner 3… I did the thrusters with the 35-lb bar, but jumped over my partner’s bar that had 15-lb weights on it. Part-way through the WOD, my knee started bothering me. I figured maybe it was just doing the later bar jumps, so I tried to take it easy. Unfortunately, I think too many squats (with the thrusters) and heavy weights, plus the jumps wasn’t the best thing. Later that day, and the next day, my knee was sore, so I didn’t go back for my Friday class like originally planned.

Now, last night’s class:


Before class I contacted Taylor (coach) about my knee and how I was concerned about the strength portion: 8 reps of split squats on each leg for 5 reps. He told me not to worry, that he’d come up with something for me to do in replace of the leg stuff and to come on to class.

My strength workout? 12 reps of body weight pull-ups and chest-2-bar pull-ups, 3 sets each. (I told him I really wanted to work on my upper body strength, so he listened!) I used the wide band on my pull-ups. Those are tricky little things–you start off feeling so strong for the first couple, then quickly you’re starting to struggle to get your chest to the bar. But, I did it!

Our WOD:

Dumbbell Thrusters
Handstand Push-Ups
1 50m Farmer Carry

For me, I did dumbbell push presses instead of thrusters to save on my knees. Then, for those of us who couldn’t do handstand push-ups (yet), we worked off of boxes. You set your toes in the middle of the box, then got in a plank position for your push-ups. The closer you got your hands to the box, the harder it was. Also, the higher the box was, the harder the exercise was. But you didn’t want to get your body in less than a 90* angle at the hips. I used the 24″ side of the box and tried to get my hands close. But I know I’m going to need a lot more work on push-ups, period, to get the strength for HSPU!

Here’s a great explanation of the progression training you can do for handstand push-ups:

Taylor wanted us to finish in no more than 15 minutes. I finished in 10:33 with 15lb dumbbells (for push presses and farmer carry). I rounded up the workout with 100 full butterfly sit-ups using the ab mat, since I wanted to take it easy on my knee and not do wall balls for the day.

What’s one CrossFit exercise you’re afraid to try? I think HSPU are going to be my big fear! Haha


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