Fave Innovations
COVID has forced us all to get a bit creative and innovative.  Doing workouts outside the gym has tested our resourcefulness.  Setting up for some WODs feels a bit like an episode of MacGyver where we’re building a complex machine out of duct tape and a few spare parts.  And we’re not out of the woods yet.  Many members are opting to ZWOD along from home for now and even in the gym we will face serious space and equipment limitations.  But it’s not all bad, here are a few of people’s favourite workout innovations:

Shovel Inverted Row Barstool Dips Cat OHS
Propane Tank Carry Toy Box Deadlift Easy Curl bar for everything
Spit Grip Dog Cleans Sofa Handstand Walk
Hammer TGU Towel Ring Rows Rock Throwing
Orchard Lap Dog Food Cleans Beach WODs
Logs on Beach Boyfriend Back Squat  
Using a Kettlebell for every exercise imaginable
Deadlift with kettlebells attached to hockey stick

A Walk in the Park
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic closed the world down, I was in the kitchen on a  Sunday morning – my rest day – turned my head and felt a muscle beneath my scapula lock into deep spasm squeezing constrictor-like upon the nerve trapped there out of reach between the shoulder blade and my rib cage.  Painfully debilitating as it was, I’ve suffered muscle spasms like this before and in my experience they resolve on their own within about a week so I was content to suck it up and wait for it to pass.  Only this one didn’t resolve.  In fact it showed no sign of releasing and sleeping was becoming difficult and the pain sucked any joy out of any workout and life in general.  Realizing belatedly that I might need help, I rushed to a physiotherapist for a completely ineffective treatment the day before all appointments were cancelled for COVID and I was locked inside alone with my suffering.

For the next few weeks any exercise requiring shoulder or neck movement brought tears of pain to my eyes.  But as much as moving it hurt, not moving it resulted in worse pain.  At least exercise seemed to loosen it a bit.  But things like handstand walking became all but impossible as each step with my right hand felt like daggers stabbing into my neck and shoulder and I’d inevitably flinch throwing off my balance.

We were all depressed by the closing of the gym and the isolation thrust upon us by COVID, for the first couple weeks I just added this to my list of things that sucked in life but by week three I was fed up with wallowing in self-pity and got on a mission to fight back against circumstance in every arena.  I’d already been following Tim Anderson’s Original Strength for a while and liked his methodology so I did a search to see if he had anything to say on the topic of scapula health.  And wouldn’t you know it?  He had an exercise called the scapula rock.  It’s so easy and non-strenuous that there was no way it could work but on the plus side, it was the first upper body exercise in weeks that didn’t cause me to grit my teeth in pain every time I did it.  And unexpectedly, little-by-little I began to feel something shift in the unreachable tissue beneath my shoulder blade as the adhesions in the fascia began to loosen their death grip on the nerve and began to glide more smoothly as they are meant to do.  As I began to explore the movement of the scapula following the Original Strength methodology, the shoulder continued to loosen.  It was by no means instant but the progress, though incremental, was steady and measurable.  Within a week and a half I was once again able to sleep on that side without pain and in two weeks I could turn my head to the side without whimpering.

Tuesday I completed the handstand walk with good, strong, pain-free handstand walks going 30 feet at a time confidently.  There is still some tissue adhesion there but it is no longer painful or disruptive.  And all this from a minute or two of rocking back and forth twice a day!  No professional intervention, drugs or dramatic exercises.  Sunghee and I have since enrolled in the Original Strength online reset program and are enjoying it.  We’ve been sharing portions of it in ZWOD warm ups and in her Mobility Class and have received enthusiastic feedback from members.  We will be pursuing this program more because it feels like a perfect complement to CrossFit!

Warm Up
Part 1: Muscle Balancing
15 Arm Raises
30 Arm circles Forward & Backward
10 Arm Overhead Raises
20 Standing Elbow Touches
10 Shoulder Pull Overs with each interlace (2 sets)
20 Face Down Elbow Raises
Part 2: OS Scap Series
10 Scapula Rocks
5 Single Arm Scapula Rocks each side
10 Palms Down Scapula Rock
10 Scap rotations each direction
10 Scap Retractions
10 Original Strength Push Ups
10 Dive Bomb Push Ups
10 Table Raises
2 mins Forward and Backward Crawls
2 mins Reverse Lunges

15 min AMRAP
25ft HSW
75ft Lunge
25 Sit Ups

Cool Down
10 Scapula Rocks
5 Single Arm Scapula Rocks each side
10 Palms Down Scapula Rock
10 Scap rotations each direction
10 Scap Retractions
5/5 Pistons R+L