I've gone through some serious physically debilitating seasons in my life over more than a decade with this battle with relapsing-remitting MS and the most frustrating and humiliating times were losing the ability to do everyday tasks/movements, like bending over to pick something up, walking without assistance, sitting down on a chair and then having to get back up, and worst of all, being able to actively play with my kids without falling over.
On several occassions, I had to resort to using a cane or walker due to leg weakness and lack of balance from the MS. On a beautiful Spring day at one point, i was trying to throw a football with one of my sons. I kept dropping it when he threw it back to me because I was trying to catch it with one hand, as i also tried to stabilize my lack of balance and weakness with a cane. My son would run over to help me pick up the football time and time again so I could throw it back to him. We repeated this cycle several times and then he said as kindly as he could, "Mom, playing football with you is like playing fetch with myself." I thought it was hilarious. And it hit me how sweet he was being by trying so hard to help me be active... Unfortunately, it was at his expense.
I didn't ask him to run over and pick up that football for me. He just did. He's just that sweet. But it got understandably old. I longed to be able to catch that darn football, stomp in mud puddles, play actively with my kids... And now I can... and more! As I've said, God has used Crossfit and the Paleo diet to heal my body.
I'm learning more and more everyday, including how to strengthen my legs that are so far behind compared to my upper body. I'm throwing around weight I NEVER thought possible, having to make new goals as i keep meeting the ones i have set and i am having fun in the process. I mean really!!! Who at my age that has gone through the debilitating effects of MS and is a mom to a half dozen kids can climbs ropes and walls, do handstand push-ups and olympic weightlifting? It IS funny! It IS going against all the odds. And it is by the grace of God. And i am just so thankful. Some have asked why I do all of this? What am I trying to prove? Well, ha, I do it because I can and even though I didn't start off trying to prove anything, the results of Crossfit and Paleo have proved themselves overwhelmingly. I remember waiting for the ball to drop. I was used to being on an MS roller coaster as I increasingly got side-swiped every 3-4 months. But it's been over 2 years now since I've had any MS issues. I no longer wait to get sick. I live everyday actively and well beyond what I ever dreamed possible.
So back to strengthening my legs. On top of doing Crossfit, I decided to go through this additional squat program available at this link: Russian Squat Programming
I completed this 3 day a week, 6 week program and increased the lift I chose to focus on (front squat) by 15 pounds. Not only did my one rep max increase, but so did my confidence in doing the Olympic lift called the clean (which also increased 15 pounds), and I felt this program allowed me to also focus on proper technique.
My motivation for doing this program was not in thinking Crossfit wasn't enough. It was a complementary program to the excellent Crossfit programming at my box that allowed me to conquer a goal on a movement that I've had a hard time personally advancing on. It was well worth the time. You can essentially pick any lift you want to work on and plug your one rep max in and it will develop the 6 weeks of lifting for you. Just stick with it and I promise you will see results.
Now I'm going to take a 2-3 week break from the "extras" and try out Smolov!
Just remember to have fun!