Today’s WOD included 5 sets of kettlebell front squats, holding 2 equal weight bells in the rack position (locked on the chest), and doing as deep a squat as possible. I found these much more doable than front squats with a bar, as they are much easier on the wrists and required more concentration on individual front/back balance on each side of the body. Because of this, I felt the work in my core as well as in my legs. I found that when I got tired, I had to concentrate on front’/back balance a lot more and keep my core and lower back engaged in order to avoid a natural tendency to tip over.
I think that for scullers in particular, the use of kettlebells is far superior because it requires awareness of, and balance in, each arm independently. During winter training we often lose this sense of independent coordination due to the use of barbells and the static handle on most rowing machines. For the same reason, I find ring rows (pulling the body up to gymnastic rings) to be much more functional for rowing than seated rows or body rows pulling up to a bar. I didn’t realize until today how the kettlebell approach in Crossfit can be far superior for scullers when compared to the “usual” strength training exercises you might find in the gym.