In 20 minutes, establish a 3 rep max back squat
Then, 3 x 10 reps (5 each leg) reverse lunge steps @ 50% of 3 rep max
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Yo, what’s the deal with rhabdo? (part 2)
In yesterday’s blog I discussed what “rhabdo” (short for rhabdomyolysis) is and defined some commonly used terms (eccentric vs. concentric movement). I used an example of how someone may get rhabdo with the jumping pull-up. That again is only one example. There are other causes of rhabdo, as well as several risk factors that can predispose us to getting rhabdo. Those risk factors include, but are not limited to, severe trauma, burns, heatstroke, seizures, viral infections, alcohol/ drug use, some prescription medications such as statins for high cholesterol, and, of most concern to us in the Crossfit community, intense muscle exertion.
So how do we, as much as we possibly can, work to prevent rhabdo in our athletes? One way is scaling. Crossfit is infinitely scaleable. Scaling does not mean we are weak, less of an athlete, or somehow inferior. Scaling is a tool used to help us grow as athletes, increase our strength and capacity, and keep us safe. If you are new to Crossfit, fresh from the foundations program, you may be given fewer rounds, reps, or weight. If you were once a collegiate athlete and find yourself de-conditioned and getting back into working out, you may be given fewer rounds, reps, or weight. If you are recovering from an injury, along with the above, you will also get modified movements to support your rehabilitation. All of this can, and should, be done at an intensity level relative to your abilities.
There is, however, the possibility of over scaling and, in doing so, yet another way to get rhabdo. I will again use the pull-up as an example. There are workouts that literally contain hundreds of pull-ups, i.e. “Angie”. An athlete who has never done more then 50 total pull ups in a workout before decides they are going for all 100 today. They grab a band and at 3,2,1, go, they’re gone. Somewhere around pull up #40 they are beginning to fail and they are no longer able to get their chin over the bar, so they grab a bigger band. The bigger band helps them start moving through pull ups again but the new pull up momentum is short lived. The athlete is again failing and can no longer pull their chin over the bar. So the athlete yet again grabs a bigger band, and the cycle continues. This is called progressive scaling. This athlete has gone to failure at every scale used to get through a volume of work literally double anything they have ever done before. This is a recipe for rhabdo. This athlete was right to grab a band for their scale, but this is a case where this athlete needed to be scaled on their reps as well. Muscles fatigue during workouts, it’s okay to adjust a scale or add one during a workout to account for this, but as athletes we cannot go to total muscle failure and progressively scale through it. There was a post written on a Crossfit discussion board about progressive scaling along with “Top 10 ways to avoid giving a client rhabdo”. It is directed towards the Crossfit trainer, however it is a good read to understand why trainers do what they do. Click here to the article.
Should you unfortunately get rhabdo, here are a few signs and symptoms: 1) pain out of proportion to the amount of soreness you would expect, often coming on much faster than you would expect after a workout, and often accompanied with weakness, 2) swelling of the body part involved, either with or without pain, 3) decreased urine output or darkened urine the color of tea or coco cola. If you have any of these signs and symptoms you need to get to a doctor and determine its extent and treatment.
Listen to coaches when they caution about rhabdo, and do the appropriate scale in the workout. Again, scaling is a way to help build appropriate volume on high risk movements. The moral of the story . . . don’t mess with rhabdo, it’s no joke. And wasps nests, don’t mess with those either, it wasn’t in the story but its just good advice.