Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard on the basics of pushing and pulling, along with building foundational strength with a barbell. We are now going to put some of that strength and stability work to the test with our new focus: J.T.!
J.T. was the very first CrossFit Hero WOD ever, made to honor Jeff Taylor, a Petty Officer in the Navy who was an ardent CrossFitter and died in Afghanistan. Unlike later Hero WODs such as Murph (which we will be performing on Memorial Day), the challenge in “J.T.” comes not from an excessive amount of volume, but from the sequencing of movements themselves.
A typical CrossFit WOD structure alternates between pushing, pulling, and squatting movements. This is designed so that when you finish one movement, even under fatigue you should be able to start on the next. Even in workouts designed to target a specific weakness (such as pairing pull-ups with kettlebell swings to tax the grip), the movements are different enough that careful planning can prevent excessive breaks.
With J.T., we have three pushing movements (HSPU, ring dips, and push-ups), which work the same muscles from all different angles. This structure all but guarantees that frequent, and possibly prolonged rest, will be needed in order to get through the workout. While only the push-ups are performed strictly, and the others benefit from leg drive, it will take a ton of pressing strength to make it through the entire workout.
Obviously, we’ve been working on the basics of pressing, but we’ve also been developing stability through the use of core work, unstable surfaces, and hand balancing practice. Improving stability allows the muscles to perform more work, as the body is not expending as much energy to simply balance and support the body upside down or on the rings. We will continue to build upon this in our skill and accessory work, as well as of course incorporate some targeted practice for the various movements of the workout. And because it’s important for shoulder health, we’ll continue to put plenty of horizontal and vertical pulling into the program.
As summer approaches, along with the middle of the year (already!!), it’s time to start layering skills on top of our base-building. J.T. is the perfect way to start this process and see how far we’ve come, as well as how much we can continue to improve.
Photo Courtesy of CrossFit.com