Front Squat 3-3-3-3
25 Ball Slams (30/20)
Love the CrossFit Open for a couple of reasons – watching folks push themselves to new heights and stories like this, from Barbend.com:
A little over a week ago, I was scrolling through the CrossFit subreddit and stumbled across an amazing story. It was about a newer CrossFit athlete (started in September 2017) named Jillian Bleck overcoming a lifelong paralysis termed Erb’s Palsy and tackling the CrossFit Open for the first time. Bleck’s right arm sits around two inches shorter than her left and her shoulder internally rotates, which makes it nearly impossible to raise her arm under her own power past chest level.
In the Reddit post, Jillian’s husband Aaron Bleck wrote about her hesitance to dive into the string of five Open workouts, and was eventually convinced by CrossFit Coach Jake Pickering at Best DAM CrossFit in Boulder City, Nevada. Aaron’s story about Jillian was not only inspiring, but a nice reminder of how strength sports continue to improve lives.
I wanted to know more about Aaron and Jillian’s CrossFit careers, so I reached out with questions. Some of the answers below have been clipped for brevity.
BarBend: What’s been the toughest struggle dealing with Erb’s Palsy in life & CrossFit? Was there a form of exercise you did before taking up CrossFit? Or was CrossFit your first organized form of fitness?
Jillian: As a kid I never really knew much about Erb’s Palsy except that I couldn’t lift my arm up. But when you are a kid I don’t think you see your limitations like you do as an adult. I think the biggest struggle has been realizing it’s an actual “disability”. I really hate that word, but I’m getting used to it. When I was growing up I was in dance until I was about 12 when I started to realize I was never going to go any further because without being able to get my arm over head for moves I had already gone as far as I could with it.
After I was done with dance I went through a very short-lived phase where I wanted to try out for the swim team. I practiced the breast stroke in my pool for a week and had my mom time me and I really thought I was doing good. I remember the day of tryouts; I wasn’t even halfway across the pool before everyone had already finished. It was pretty embarrassing, but all the other kids cheered me on so it could have been worse. As an adult, I look back at my mom who always supported me in all the things I wanted to try and realized it must have been hard for her to know I would fail, but to still be there and encourage me when I wanted to try out for something ridiculous like cheerleading. She’s been my biggest supporter all my life (along with Aaron).