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What Joining CrossFit Taught Me as a PT and an Athlete

My first introduction to CrossFit was by Olivia Ferguson – my best friend on my softball team at Francis Marion. She started the fall of our senior year, and I would tag along to not be alone in the apartment. But I wasn’t really interested in it. As I went to PT school the following year, the consensus was that CrossFit kept us in business. Those crazy athletes just moved around erratically and injured themselves, which led them to physical therapy. My first knowledge of Brandon Vaughn (part-owner of Vertex) was that he had a private practice within a CrossFit box – and that was a lucrative business model because they were always injured! Never did I think I would actually join a box myself or ever do CrossFit.

What I realized once I was out of PT school and began practicing was that all of my pre-conceived notions were totally false. CrossFit wasn’t a place where people did exercise with reckless abandonment.

I wanted to do Olympic Lifting because of Summer Strong. I knew without any introduction to Oly Lifts that I would end up injuring myself…and I knew I didn’t have friends. So, I finally decided to drink the Kool-Aid.  I joined CrossFit Soda City in June of 2017. What I realized the more that I went was that I found my new “thing.” I’d played softball in college for the physicality and for my Patriot-family.  I’d competed in Obstacle Course Races for the community and the challenge. And now I’d joined and began to love CrossFit for the community and the challenge.

So, what I learned joining a Crossfit Box is this:

  1. These people are way nicer than any other people you’ll ever meet in any gym environment. They genuinely care how you’re doing and what’s going on in your life.
  2. CF is not dangerous, if you’re being smart about it. You’ll always have people who take it too far – every box has “that guy.” But on average, people want to do it right and don’t want to get injured.
  3. CF gives you that competitive environment if that’s what you’re looking for. You push yourself hard because you have something to prove to yourself or you have a love of competition. If you don’t want to go hard, you don’t.
  4. CF helps you become a better mover. If you practice those motions, you build a better motor program for the motion. You get cleaner in your bar movements. You get better and faster.
  5. CF changes people’s lives. People become motivated to become healthier. It’s not JUST about losing weight. It’s about getting strong: mentally, physically, and emotionally. It helps you see who you are and how strong you are. Can you get through “Fran,” can you get through the MetCon when you’re dog tired and worked 10 hours that day? Yes. You can. You’re a beast.

I love my gym-Fam. Is CrossFit for everyone? Absolutely not. That’s why we have so many options – Pilates, Barre, Yoga. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you move. Once we STOP moving, we’re much more likely to sustain injuries. Find your thing, Jelly Bean!

-Tristan Faile, PT, DPT, OCS, CF-L1

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Open WOD 18.5

7min AMRAP:

3-6-9-12-15-18-21-etc.

Thrusters – 100/65

Chest-to-Bar Pullups

 

 

18.5 – ANALYSIS

Here it is, the finale. Whether you’re happy with the first four weeks or not, we’ve come to the bitter-sweet ending. And we’re going out old school.

The Fran Ladder from 2011 was, in my opinion, the most painful open workout from that year. Once again, we get to see how far our fitness has come since “the good ol’ days”. The classic pairing of thrusters and pullups never gets any easier, no matter how the rep scheme is spliced together, and those of you on the bubble of Regionals have the next 4 days to show how bad you really want it.

In a ladder ascending by 3’s, it is normally a pretty good idea to start off slow and gain momentum throughout the workout. When it’s a 7 minute AMRAP, you may have to come out guns blazing and hope for the best during the later rounds. Annie did just that, and it paid off. While all of the Icelandic girls were fairly even through the first 3mins of the workout, Annie’s transitions were more slightly more aggressive, and her turnover rate during each of the thrusters was slightly quicker. She may have just gotten lucky that neither of the other “Dottirs” were able to catch her on that given night, but she did set a world record in the process. In any case, it will be the little things here that make the big difference in the end. Sara’s no-reps combined with slow transitions put her (relatively) far back in the race by the last 90 seconds. Katrin displayed some thruster inefficiencies that allowed Annie to get out in front early on and keep the lead.

Long story short: Move well, and move with purpose.

 

MOVEMENT TIPS

Thrusters

  • Control – Controlling the Front Squat portion of the thruster will be key for several reasons during this workout: 1) an efficient squat will directly decrease your overall energy expenditure per rep, and 2) an efficient squat = a faster squat. Keep the chest up, don’t let those elbows drop, and accelerate through the entire movement.
  • Breathe at the Top, Unless you Can’t – Early on in this workout, an easy way to pace these thrusters will be to take a quick breath at the top of each rep. This will allow you to stay tighter during the squat, and help keep the panic at bay. That being said, if you are standing there with the bar locked out overhead taking large, gasping breaths, it’s time to just drop it and actually get some air.
  • Shoulder Pop, then Punch – Just before the overhead press, many athletes neglect the momentum generated from the last little bit of the squat. Shrugging the shoulders just as you finish standing up can help “float” the bar up several inches, decreasing the amount of work on the triceps and delts to finish the press. With a relatively light weight, try to “pop” the bar up off the shoulders, then finish with a violent punch overhead. It might seem ridiculous to focus on such a small detail, but small details can save a lot of energy over the course of 50+ reps (and if that number seems small, that’s 5 reps into the round of 18 thrusters).

Chest to Bar Pullups

  • Make Your Reps Count – Common themes tend to emerge when talking about gymnastics movements performed at high intensity. With C2B’s, making each rep count is no exception. There is no fixing a missed rep, and each no rep has essentially the same energy demand of a good rep. So don’t waste your hands, lats, or sanity on barely missing the bar with your chest. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Break Before You Need To – By this point, you should have already focused on the kip during the 18.1 and 18.3 (toes-to-bar and bar/ring muscle ups). The C2B’s require nothing new on that front, but they will disappear faster than the other exercises did. For that reason, having a plan to break these up will likely lead you to success. The sets themselves will vary based on individual capacity, but it usually means stopping 2-3 reps shy of getting “close calls”. In the round of 21 pullups, Annie broke off a set of 11, followed by 6 and 4. She didn’t wait until she failed a rep to come down and rest. Just pick manageable numbers for your skill level, and get quick sets done early. That will save you valuable resting time and energy throughout the rest of the 7 minutes.

 

PACING STRATEGIES

Regionals, or Close:

  • Quick Transitions – I feel crazy for even feeling like I have to say this, but transitions will make or break this workout. The girls tonight finished the round of 12 in 1:48. That equates to 8 transitions for 60 reps in 108 seconds. The beginning of this workout needs to be very, very quick. Unfortunately, everyone will have to break their thrusters and/or pullups into smaller sets at some point during the workout. For those breaks, you should have individual sets and goals in mind. The transitions, however, should not be viewed as “planned rest” early on in the smaller rounds. Utilize those smaller sets to take advantage of quick transitions to get out ahead of the workout, then ease back into a slower pace in rounds 9 and 12.
  • Go Unbroken Through 12 – I might be wrong, but if you break the 12 Thrusters or Pull-ups, I’m not sure there is enough time to regain the ground later in the workout. If necessary, plan on breaking the 12 Pull-ups into two sets of your choice. Any more than that might be digging yourself into a pretty big hole. For most athletes, the round of 15 will probably be where “it” hits the fan. Have a plan to break up the 15’s, but even they should be bigger sets with small rest breaks.

Definitely Not Regionals:

  • Break Early, But Find Out What You’re Made Of – This workout allows you to do something we rarely ever do anymore: come out at full intensity and see what happens. Personally, I think every athlete should do this a couple of times per year just to see how far they can really push before fatigue or “quit” set in. If you don’t have any aspirations on taking this season to the next level, consider this an option. HOWEVER, if you’re just trying to beat your buddy and win a monetary (or food-related) bet, that is not the best strategy. The best way to maximize your score will be to identify your weakness during this workout (thrusters, pullups, or fitness in general), and work at a pace that will NOT take that aspect to failure. For example, if your C2B will be the limiting factor, make sure you break early enough that you do not miss any reps. While this may seem frustrating, it will allow you to go faster on the thrusters and get more reps overall than you would by consistently failing reps every round.

 

THE WARMUP

General Warmup:

  • 8min Assault Bike – Start easy, increase intensity each minute to the finish.
  • Rest 2mins – move around, start air squatting, stretching, etc.
  • 4 Rounds on the Assault Bike – 30 sec Hard: 30 sec Easy. Don’t blow up on the first one – keep the intensity high throughout each 30 second interval.
  • 25-50 Band Pull-Aparts or Face Pulls – Warm up the posterior shoulders
  • Banded Shoulder Stretching: If you typically do this to open up the shoulders, be sure to stretch out the pecs and lats. If this is not something you normally do, don’t start now.

 

Dynamic Movement Prep:

30 Seconds at Each Movement x 2 Rounds:

  • Spiderman’s – in a pushup position, bring one leg up and outside your arm. Try to sink your elbow down to the ground, then reach back up to the ceiling. Switch sides, and repeat.
  • Deep Squat Hold – get into a deep squat, focus on getting your back upright, and driving your knees out to exaggerate the demands of the rower. Use a rig or band around hips for support if needed
  • Scap Retractions on Pullup Bar – Retract for 5 seconds, briefly relax and repeat.

Thrusters:

With an empty bar:

  • 10 Overhead Presses + Pause at the top – Exaggerate the lockout position. Make sure your overhead motion is warmed up and ready to go.
  • 3 Pause Front Squats – Take 3 seconds in the bottom to establish a good position
  • Full Clean into 5 Thrusters x 2 Sets
  • Thrusters – Get moving, take some lighter weights for several sets. Work up to something heavier than your workout weight for a set of 5 Thrusters (Rx Guys: 115-135, Girls: 85-95)

Chest-to-Bar Pullups:

2 Rounds on a Pullup bar (rest between exercises as needed):

  • 10 Hollow-Arch Transitions
  • 10 Full Kips (Think Kipping pull-up, without the last chin-over the bar part)
  • 5 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups (Kipping or Butterfly)

 

Specific Workout Prep:

 

EMOM x 3:

3 Thrusters – Workout Weight

3 C2B Pullups

 

After Round 3 of the EMOM, go right into…

6 Thrusters – Workout Weight

6 C2B Pullups

*Move Fast, Focus on rep speed and Transitions. This should set the tone for how fast you will open up the workout. Remember – Quality saves Energy.

 

After this last warmup piece, you should already be sweating and ready to go. Get your mind right, move around, but don’t get cold. Ideally, you should have about 5-8mins between your last warmup round and Go Time.

 

 

-Go crush it.

 

Sean Jacobs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L2

 

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Open WOD 18.4

21-15-9 Reps For Time:

Deadlifts – 225/155 lbs

Handstand Pushups

Then,

21-15-9 Reps For Time:

Deadlifts – 315/205 lbs

50’ Handstand Walk After Each Set

Time Cap: 9mins

 

18.4 – ANALYSIS

I will admit, I have been impressed with the programming throughout the 2018 Open so far. But this one makes me happy in a way only CrossFit programming nerds understand. Not only did they bring back one of the classic benchmark “Girls” from the old days, CrossFit upped the ante and is giving us another opportunity to show how far our fitness has come over the past 15+ years.

Coach Glassman has always said to “master the basics of gymnastics”, and this year has shown us how important that tenet is to the current Sport of Fitness. For the first time, there are more gymnastics components than barbell weightlifting movements (at least through these first 4 weeks). Strength will always play a requisite role in being a competitive athlete – that will never change. But now we get to see another level of fitness testing in the worldwide arena.

While the first two movements themselves, Deadlifts and Handstand Pushups, are not the most difficult ones we train in the gym, they do play off of each other into a unique way to challenge posture, mechanics, and trunk stability throughout a workout. How do we make it harder? Add weight to the bar and three-dimensional body control while under fatigue. And still upside down.

Pacing the first half of this 18.4 will play a crucial role in your success, regardless of your ability or competitive goals. Quick Recap: Panchik broke his deadlifts (at 225, mind you) into sets of 6’s and 5’s JUST to save enough energy to maximize his efficiency in the HSPU and heavier deadlifts. Gudmundsson came out more aggressively, and he only gained 15-20 seconds on Panchik by the end of part 1. In the end, Panchik was able to hold his composure better than his Icelandic competition, and finished 55 seconds faster.

To look at their pacing another way, both of these athletes are capable of completing Diane in 2-ish minutes (if not faster). That means they did Diane at about 65-75% speed. In this 9-minute workout, patience is a virtue.

 

MOVEMENT TIPS

Deadlifts

  • *It should go without saying, but if possible, load two separate bars with their respective weights. Don’t waste time changing weights if you can help it.*
  • Breathe – Too often during workouts do athletes grab the bar from the ground, pull for as many reps as possible, then drop it without ever having thought about taking a breath. This will spike your heart rate way too early, and completely throw off any pacing strategy you may be attempting. In this workout, get tight, lift the bar, and reset at the top with a big quick breath. Each rep should be accompanied by one breath. That doesn’t mean “relax, stay loose, and hope for the best”. It means stay calm, stay tight, and knock out small sets without redlining before the race even begins.
  • Push through the Ground – If you think about “pulling” every rep of these 45-90 deadlifts, your hamstrings and low back will go on strike. Keep your chest up, and use your quads to drive the movement as much as possible. If there is a major muscle group that is least involved in handstand work, it’s the quads. Despite the volume, the first deadlift bar is relatively light, so focus on technique more than speed or intensity.

Handstand Pushups

  • Make Your Reps Count – Several things come into play when these Open standards are involved, but the most important thing is to make sure your heels cross the line at the top before you descend back into your next rep. That means: Pull your toes down toward your face (it will raise your heels up 1-2 inches), squeeze your glutes at the top to stay in a good hollow position, and fully extend your arms and shoulders through the end of the movement. Shortchanging these factors will quickly and dramatically cut down your range of motion.
  • Kip Big, and Kip Hard – If you are dead set on doing these strict because you simply cannot figure out the kip to a handstand pushup, then it is what it is. But don’t rely on a half-hearted leg kick to get you any momentum out of the bottom. I always tell my athletes to think of these as Upside-Down-Thrusters: The movement starts with a violent squat from below parallel, and then the arms finish to lock out overhead. If you can get an efficient kip in this workout, you will save valuable energy in the shoulders needed for good deadlift mechanics. As a wise teacher once said to a young golf prodigy, “It’s all in the hips.”

Handstand Walk

  • *Note: If you make it to the Handstand Walk, there is a good chance you have already practiced this movement. If this is your first time attempting the Party Trick of Fitness, consider going scaled, or devoting some practice time prior to the workout itself. Here’s a handstand walk progression to try against a wall or with a partner:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWDN313DwsE

  • Grab the Floor – Handstand walking is not just an act of balancing on your palms while falling forward. Make your hands cover as much surface area as possible, and spread the load throughout your fingers. Increasing stability on the ground is required to gain your balance and control your entire body through space.
  • Active Shoulders – As weird as it may sound, your arms become your legs, and your shoulders become your hips. This means that your shoulders need to be engaged the entire time, pressing through the ground to shift your weight from side to side to unload the hand that will be moving forward. Much easier said than done, but you cannot move your hand forward unless all of your weight is on the opposite hand first.

 

PACING STRATEGIES

For Those Who Are Trying to Finish the Workout:

  • Big Deadlifters – If you struggle more with HSPU than deadlifts, do slightly bigger sets on the deadlifts and allow for more, smaller sets on the HSPU (5-5-4-4-3). The heavy deadlifts will feel probably feel MUCH heavier than it normally does, so plan on doing quick sets of 3’s and 4’s (MAYBE 5’s if you need to). Here’s a suggestion:
    • Deadlifts: 6-6-5-4, HSPU: 5-5-5-4-2, DL: 6-5-4, HSPU: 5-5-3-2, DL: 5-4, HSPU: 4-3-2

 

  • Gymnasty Freaks – Go with smaller sets on the Deadlifts (5-5-4-4-3), taking VERY short breaks in between each set. Your personal HSPU skills should give you a good idea of how to break those up, as this will be highly individual to the athlete. Don’t go anywhere near failure during the rounds of 21 and 15, sets should not be bigger than 8-10 at the most. Unless you feel REALLY confident, and don’t mind redo-ing this on Monday if you game planned it wrong. Here’s a suggestion:
    • Deadlifts: 5-5-4-4-3, HSPU: 7-6-5-3, DL: 5-4-3-3, HSPU: 5-5-5, DL: 5-4, HSPU: 5-4

 

For Those Trying to finish “Diane” and MAYBE Get some Heavy Reps In:

  • Go Big on your Strength, Leave More time for your Weakness – If you’re not happy about Diane, it’s probably because you struggle with one movement more than the other. That means this workout is all about just trying to beat your personal benchmark, or set one that you’re proud of for the first time. Pick your favorite movement out of the two, and go for bigger sets there. Find out what you’re made of, and have fun with it.

 

THE WARMUP

General Warmup:

  • 5min Assault Bike – Start easy, increase intensity each minute to the finish.
  • Row 500m @ 80ish% – Treat every pull like a Deadlift.
  • 10 Pushup-to-Downward Dogs
  • Row 500m @ 85-90%
  • Foam Roll: T-spine Extension, Lats and Shoulders (if needed). Make sure you have full overhead motion and that your hips are loose.
  • Banded Shoulder Stretching: If you typically do this to open up the shoulders, be sure to stretch out the pecs and lats. If this is not something you normally do, don’t start now.
  • 25-50 Band Pull-Aparts or Face Pulls – Warm up the posterior shoulders

Dynamic Movement Prep:

  • 3 Rounds:

10 Russian KBS – Moderate Weight, get the violent hip extension firing

10 GHD Back Extensions

Max Sorenson Hold – Get to the top of a Back Extension, and hold until just shy of failure

 

  • Deadlift Prep: In Sets of 3 RepsWork up to something heavier than the heavier Deadlift bar for a set of 1-3. Take as many sets as you need to in order to feel comfortable moving the heavier weight (Rx: Guys – 335+, Ladies – 225+). After you have reached your heavy set, strip back down to

 

  • Wall Walks: After each set of Deadlifts, perform 1-3 Wall Walks into a Handstand facing the wall. Focus on active shoulders, pressing through the ground to drive your feet up the wall, and maintaining a tight midline throughout the movement. Don’t arch your back just to get your chest closer to the wall!

 

  • 1min At Each Movement:

 

Hollow Body Hold – establish a good hollow position on the ground with arms overhead and legs straight out off the ground. Generate as much tension as you can, and maintain for as long as possible during the 1 minute station

 

Nose-and-Toes Handstand Hold – Walk up the wall into a handstand facing the wall. Drive your shoulders up toward your ears, pressing your hands into the ground. Squeeze your glutes and abs so that your stomach is not touching the wall – this should look like a good hollow position from shoulders to toes. The only things touching the wall should be your Nose and your Toes.

 

Handstand Walking – Depending on your skill level: Either spend some time working on a challenging HS Walk Progression, or Handstand walk in Specific Increments (pick a target distance, hit it, reset and repeat). Move with Purpose.

 

 

Specific Workout Prep:

 

2 Rounds For Time:

5 Deadlifts – Workout Weight

3-5 HSPU (Scaled: 5 Hand Release PU)

*Move Fast, but Smooth and Controlled. This should emulate the pace you plan to use during the workout.

 

After this last warmup piece, you should already be sweating and ready to go. Get your mind right, move around, but don’t get cold. Ideally, you should have about 5-8mins between your last warmup round and Go Time.

 

 

-Go crush it.

 

Sean Jacobs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L2

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Open WOD 18.3

2 Rounds For Time:

100 Double Unders

20 Overhead Squats – 115/80

100 Double Unders

12 Ring Muscle Ups

100 Double Unders

20 Dumbbell Snatches – 50/35

100 Double Unders

12 Bar Muscle Ups

 

Time Cap: 14mins

 

18.3 – ANALYSIS

This week, we have a test of double under capacity and muscle-up proficiency with pre-fatigued shoulders.  I’m really excited to see what happens on this one. Neither of the two Games athletes (Kyle Kasperbauer and Neal Maddox) came close to finishing this workout under the 14 minute time cap, but it will be done.

Strategy for this workout plays a very different role for each individual type of athlete. If you are on the cusp of Regionals, and also debating whether or not you can finish this workout, you will need to play the long game and make sure you have that extra “push” in the last 4-5 mins. If you are an athlete who will be happy completing the first 12 Muscle Ups, then your strategy will be the opposite – Maximize the amount of time you have to crank out those singles.

Out of 928 possible reps, 800 of those are Double Unders. That means your midsection needs to be tight, and you need to be bouncy. Pick manageable sets, somewhere between 20 and 50, and knock those out set-by-set with a breath in between. There is no room for wasted reps on the jump rope in this workout – you should always be either putting reps on the board or actually resting to catch your breath.

As we saw in 18.1, the dumbbell is just a place-holder / time-waster, but it needs to be efficiently crushed with the hips. Using your shoulders and arms during the snatches will get them done in the same amount of time, but you will suffer from it on the next set of DU’s and MU’s.

Overhead Squats could play an interesting role over 14 minutes. These will be more taxing on the trunk than Snatches, which could tire out the shoulders if you’re not careful. On the other hand, if you commit to keeping a vertical torso and locking in good positions throughout the entire set, you will most likely be gaining an advantage over your fellow competitors.

Overall, you can probably predict which part of this workout you, personally, are going to hate the most. If it is the muscle ups, consider treating this like a muscle-up practice workout, if going scaled is not even in your list of options. But if you’re going to be getting well into the 2nd round, make all of the movements crisp and smooth, but don’t rush. There will be plenty of time afforded to those whose shoulders are not totally blown up by minute 8.

 

MOVEMENT TIPS

Double Unders

  • Stay Tight – Such a cliché cue, but it really applies here. Smash your feet/legs together, squeeze your abs and glutes, and rely on calf “springy-ness” to make these as efficient as possible.
  • Keep Breathing – This is the only movement that could possibly be considered as relative rest. While jumping, think about taking as deep and long of breaths as you can. In through the nose, out through the mouth. This will also give you something to think about, rather than the terrible number of times you have to jump back up into the air during the workout.

Overhead Squats

  • Vertical Torso – Not everyone is built to squat completely upright with the barbell directly over their ears, but everyone will benefit from attempting The more forward you are leaned, the more work it is on the upper back and shoulders to stabilize the bar. The more work your shoulders do here equates to wasted work.
  • Try a Slightly Narrower Grip – Play around with this in the workout, but I have seen several people (myself included) benefit from a slightly narrower grip during high-rep sets of Overhead Squats. This isn’t possible for everyone, but it can often decrease the stress at the shoulder and keep you fresh for the muscle ups.

Ring Muscle Ups

  • Hips Drive The Movement, Don’t Pull Early! – If you watch a good muscle up in slow motion, it is simply a large Arch-to-Hollow kip, followed by violent hip extension to drive the athlete up over the rings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsicY9fe_M0
  • Catch as High As Possible – Don’t rely on catching in the bottom of the ring dip if you have the choice. Take some stress off the shoulders, and try to get a big enough hip drive to catch higher in the dip.

Dumbbell Snatches

  • Grab-N-Go – That’s really all I’ve got. Follow the standards for “Good Reps”, but just launch it with your hips. When you are doing these efficiently, your arms and shoulders don’t even have time to pull on the dumbbell. Make them efficient, save your energy.

Bar Muscle Ups

  • Hips (again) – The same rules here apply as in the Ring Muscle Ups. Some people actually need a slightly larger kip to get themselves up and around the fixed pull-up bar, so keep that in mind. The bright side is that it’s a fixed surface, and once your over, you’re practically done!

 

PACING STRATEGIES

For Those Who Are Trying to Get Well Into the 2nd Round:

  • Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast – Make the movements efficient (especially in the Double Unders), and get rewarded later on with extra energy. Take your time to get into a good rhythm with each movement, then you’re just going to have to keep moving.
  • Stop 1-2 Reps Short of Failure on the Muscle Ups – You should know your personal limit with these, but hitting the wall during round 1 will not be something you can recover from. There just isn’t enough time to start missing a couple of reps and still come back from it. Be deliberate.

For Those Who Will Be Happy With 1 set of Muscle Ups (or even 1 Muscle Up):

  • Get to the Rings – Knock out the DU’s and OHS as fast as you can, then collect yourself and get it together. This will now become Muscle Up practice for the remainder of the time cap. Don’t rest too long between singles, but try to make every single as crisp and efficient as possible. Having this mind-set will prevent you from rushing into failed reps. The goal here is NO failed reps.
  • You Can Always Re-Do It – The volume from the first round of this workout will not be bad enough to prevent you from giving it a second shot. Even if you “overpace” the first time, you shouldn’t be too sore in 2-3 days to come back at it.

 

THE WARMUP

General Warmup:

  • 10min Easy Assault Bike, Jog, or Rower
  • 5min AMRAP: Unbroken Sets of Double Unders

5-10-15-20-25-30-35, etc.

*Each set must be unbroken, then rest, take a breath, and execute the next set with purpose. If it’s not unbroken, repeat that entire set before moving on.

  • Foam Roll: T-spine Extension, Lats and Shoulders (if needed). Make sure you have full overhead motion
  • Banded Shoulder Stretching: If you typically do this to open up the shoulders, be sure to stretch out the pecs and lats. If this is not something you normally do, don’t start now.
  • 25-50 Band Pull-Aparts or Face Pulls – Warm up the posterior shoulders

Dynamic Movement Prep:

  • 3 Rounds:

10 GHD Situps

10 GHD Back Extensions

10 Dumbbell Snatches – Start at a lighter weight than you plan to compete with, then work up to the workout weight.

 

  • 1min At Each Movement:

Deep Squat Hold or Sots Press – get into a deep squat, focus on getting your back upright. Grab a PVC pipe or barbell, do a back squat, then press it into an overhead squat position while remaining in the bottom. Lower the bar and repeat. Rest and reset as needed.

 

Hollow Body Roll to Arch – establish a good hollow position on the ground with arms overhead and legs straight out off the ground. Roll over into an Arch position on your stomach, essentially the opposite of a Hollow. Hold each position for 5-10 seconds, then transition back into the other.

 

Active Hangs aka Scap Retractions on Pullup Bar – Hang, Retract your shoulders, hold for 5-10 seconds, relax, and repeat.

 

  • Muscle Up Progression: Do 2 sets of each movement, rest between sets and exercises:

10 Hollow-Arch Kips on Pullup Bar

10 Full Kips (Think Kipping pull-up, without the last chin-over the bar part)

5 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups (Kipping, not Butterfly)

3 Bar Muscle Ups (or Muscle Up attempts)

10 Ring Dips – SLOW and controlled, with a 2-count pause at the bottom.

 

**Repeat the entire Bar MU sequence on Rings.

**During this entire progression, think about keeping your midsection as tight as possible, and rely on the hips to drive the kip. The shoulders should be doing as little work as possible.

 

  • Overhead Squat:

Pause Overhead Squats – 5x 3 Reps, work up to something slightly heavier than workout weight.

**Pause each movement in the bottom for a 2-count, making sure to stay tight and keep your torso vertical.

 

 

Specific Workout Prep:

 

1 Round For Time:

10 Double Unders

6 Overhead Squats – 115/80

10 Double Unders

2 Ring Muscle Ups

 

Rest 1-2mins

 

1 Round For Time:

10 Double Unders

6 DB Snatches – 50/35

10 Double Unders

2 Bar Muscle Ups

 

**Focus on Transitions and Movement Efficiency during these two warmup pieces.**

 

Remember, this workout should be “fun” (at least more so than the others). Get your mind right, move around, but don’t get cold. Ideally, you should have about 5-8mins between your last warmup round and Go Time.

 

 

-Go crush it.

 

Sean Jacobs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L2

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Open WOD 18.2

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Reps For Time of:

Dumbbell Squats – 50/35 lbs.

Bar Facing Burpees

 

18.2 A

1-rep-max Clean

Time Cap: 12mins to complete 18.2 and 18.2A

 

Well, dumbbells again. This workout feels like the ghost of CrossFit past coming back to haunt the new-age Sport of Fitness. Among the original tenets of CrossFit during the formative days, Coach Glassman repeatedly expressed his love for dumbbells because of their propensity for creative usage. Some advice he would give early adopters would be “invest in dumbbells before kettlebells” and if you can’t afford a barbell, try doing Fran with a pair of 45’s… (trust me, it’s worse).

This workout essentially hits on every aspect of the spectrum that 18.1 did not. 18.2 is a dead- glycolytic- sprint to the end, and 18.2A affords you the chance to load it up and display some downright animalistic strength (should you have the capacity to do so). If 18.1 was the CrossFit version of the 5k, this is the CrossFit version of “Run 1 mile as fast as you can, then try to out-lift everyone who outran you”. Poetic.

While the movements may seem simple, performing them with efficiency will be the major key to crushing this one.

 

MOVEMENT TIPS

Dumbbell Front Squats

  • I Heard You Like Front Racks… – I honestly don’t think there is a single MOST efficient place to rack the DB’s. Keeping your hands around the center of the bells will give you the most control, and will allow you to place them down exactly where you want to, which will save you seconds during the next transition out of the burpees. This will require a good front rack position, and the shoulder “shape” to comfortably let the ends rest on your deltoids or traps. HOWEVER, if it is a struggle for you to keep a grip on them, consider just resting them over your shoulders like two sandbags. The only rule is that your hands must remain in contact with the dumbbell at all times during the squats. You do not have to grip the dumbbell during the squats.
  • Down Fast, Up Fast – Don’t waste any time getting down to below parallel. If you are a good squatter, or a seasoned Olympic-style weightlifter, you will most likely benefit from controlled “dropping” and “bouncing” out of the bottom. The eccentric (lowering) part of this movement will be responsible for blowing your quads up, so try to minimize that as much as possible.
  • Wear Lifting Shoes, if you Always Wear Lifting Shoes – If you haven’t done a squat session or weightlifting session in recent memory without wearing a pair of high-heeled weightlifting shoes, this probably is not the time to change that. Most Reebok “lifters” have a fairly flexible fore-foot of the shoe, which really does not impede burpees at all. In other words: if you squat and clean better in weightlifting shoes, wear them in this workout. If it doesn’t really matter to you, then don’t worry about it. Squat efficiency will save your legs and heart rate during this workout, so do what you feel most comfortable with. Personally, I am better at pulling than squatting, so I will use my lifting shoes to maximize my efficiency with squatting the dumbbells, especially in the later rounds. It really isn’t going to take much away from my burpees, and I will already be wearing my favorite shoes to clean in.

Burpees

  • Keep Those Feet Together – If you are doing this workout as Rx’d, you need to focus on keeping the feet together during the sprawl and rebound. CrossFit made it very clear this year that “walk-out” and “step-up” burpees are no longer allowed as a viable Rx’d option. This goes into my second point…
  • No Missed Reps – A No Rep on the burpee will not only cost you an extra 2-5 seconds, it will also cost you a significant increase in heart rate, overall fatigue, and mental breakdown at the time you need it the least. Pay close attention to the movement standards on the website, and it will be WELL worth it to take them a half-second slower just to make sure you get every rep right the first time. (Vellner and Ohlsen were tied in the final round, then Vellner got no-repped on 1-2 burpees. Noah beat him by 15 seconds, 6% of the entire workout time.)
  • Stay Tight Through the Trunk – It’s only 55 burpees total. Never more than 10 at a time. This means that it is NOT a long, slow, march to the finish. It is a springy, explosive, sprint to the end of the set. If you are going to rest, rest BETWEEN burpees. Don’t waste your time or energy trying to make the burpee itself slower. You will expend MORE energy doing the drop-down, worm-up type of burpee than you will if you make every one crisp. The beauty of this workout is that you can always walk up to the bar and jump over, but no matter where you start the burpee, you should try to get back on your feet as soon as possible. The best example I could find of this on YouTube is this clip of Mat Fraser:

https://youtu.be/2FL1NnAns6E?t=8s

In the video, you’ll notice that Mat does several very efficient things:

  • He drops to the ground quickly, using his arms to absorb just enough force to land.
  • His back doesn’t round or arch on the way up (no “worming” before he kicks his feet)
  • Hips come up BEFORE his shoulders, or at least at the same rate.

Now, I’m not saying you have to do reps as quickly as Fraser. That would be ridiculous, and a poor strategy for us mortals. But you should try to get down to the ground and back up as fast as possible, THEN take a breath, step forward if needed, and jump over the bar with both feet. Rest happens between movements, not during them.

Clean

  • Do What You Can – Unfortunately, if you are reading this post with the goal of learning for technique tips on how to do your first 1RM Clean, this isn’t the time or the place to safely learn that movement. What I will recommend, however, is the style of clean that suits you best.
  • Power vs Full (aka caught below parallel)“Athletes don’t rise to the occasion, they fall to the level of their preparation.” At the end of 18.2, I will guarantee your quads will be on fire, along with the rest of your perceivable body. We just saw Noah get pinned with a weight that was about 80-85% of his 1RM. And he is a freak. That is a testament to how exhausting the first part of this workout will be on the legs. If you are hoping to make it to Regionals, you already know that you will most likely have to put together a very good FULL Clean in order to score something respectable.

 

If you are simply trying to beat all of your friends and earn bragging rights for an extra 5 days, you have a couple different options:

  • If your max Power Clean is >85% of your Full Clean, you should probably plan on ripping out a couple of good Power Cleans for your 18.2A Score. Your quads will be fatigued, and you should go with the movement that is most efficient FOR YOU. For Example: If your max Power Clean is 250, and your max Full Clean is 265, I wouldn’t worry about trying to catch your reps below parallel. Adrenaline will be your only saving Grace (pun intended) at this stage in the workout, and you shouldn’t be expecting a miracle of amazing technique during the full lift to save you. Warm up with the power clean, get your mind set on power cleaning when under fatigue, and be ready to pull the bar like there is no tomorrow.
  • If you are a REALLY good weightlifter, and you rely on pulling yourself under the bar to catch the weight, then the Full Clean is the way to go. Rely on your technique, and pull yourself under the bar as fast as possible. Just be prepared to have very little juice left in the tank to stand it up, so make it flawless.

 

  • Time It Right, and Know Who You Are – This workout separates people into 2 different categories: Good at 18.2, or Good at 18.2A. You should plan to maximize your score in ONE of these workouts. Don’t try to go slow at 18.2 just to get a mediocre Clean at the end. On the Flip Side, don’t try to set 18.2 on fire if you know you won’t have anything in the tank to even hit 50% of your 1RM clean. (See below for more Pacing Tips)

 

PACING STRATEGIES

For Those Who Love Seeing Burpees Come up in a Workout:

  • Set It on Fire – Come out hot on 18.2, and don’t let up. Be confident that your burpees are your strong suit, and know that the dumbbells are not REALLY that heavy. During the squats, get the DBs racked, and just move. Hit the standards on every rep, and KEEP moving until all the reps are done. Then, remember, this is your time to shine. As Patrick said, you CAN do the burpees faster, you just don’t want to.
  • Rest, then Pull – You should have at least 1-2 minutes of good, quality rest between the two pieces, so take your time, get your mind right, and hit quality reps. Your opening weight should be about 65-70% of your TRUE 1RM, and you will have about 3-5 attempts to make some small jumps up to your best possible score on 18.2A. Both Vellner and Ohlsen opened at 63% of their max Clean and Jerk (as posted on their profiles). And they finished with 92% and 88%, respectively. They took some big jumps as far as total weight goes, but the percentages should be a pretty good template for what most people should attempt during this workout

For those “Heavy Singles, ErryDay” Folks:

  • Fly Through the Squats – This is the equivalent of a 115lb barbell Front Squat for the same rep scheme. Not that bad, so take advantage of it. Rack them, and knock out the reps like they are air squats.
  • Bare Minimum Over The Bar – If you did 1 burpee every 5 seconds, that would add up to 5 total minutes of work. If you need to, set a metronome during the warmup to practice that pace. When you’re fresh, that is a slow burpee pace. You should be aiming to complete 18.2 in 10 mins, which gives you 2 minutes of time to post that beast-mode strength on the leaderboard. This is achievable, as long as you keep your eye on the prize and don’t let that negative self-talk creep in during rounds 7-10. Each burpee should be followed by a deep breath, step up to the bar, hop over, calmly turn, and repeat. (Go back and look at Movement Tips on the burpee to remind yourself how to do them efficiently.)

 

THE WARMUP

General Warmup:

  • 5-10min Easy Assault Bike (or Jog, or Rower, if you still don’t have a bike)
  • Bike Intervals:

3 Rounds: 15sec Sprint, 45sec Moderate Intensity. Active Rest 2mins after completion.

2 Rounds: 30sec Sprint, 90sec Moderate Intensity. Active Rest 2mins after completion.

**During the Active Rest, do any stretching or foam rolling that you specifically need

Dynamic Movement Prep:

3 Rounds:

  • 1min Deep Squat Hold – get into a deep squat, focus on getting your back upright, and driving your knees out to exaggerate the demands of the squat. Hold each rep for 15-20 seconds, stand up, and repeat. Use a rig or band around hips for support if needed.
  • Deficit Pushups – 10 reps. Get your hands set up on top of 25-45lb plates, laid flat of course. Then do slow, controlled pushups with a nice pause at the bottom.
  • Ab-Rollouts or GHD Sit-ups (your preference) – 10 reps. Your anterior chain (“core”) will need to be turned on to make the burpees as efficient as possible.

 

Specific Workout Prep:

Clean – Work up to a heavy Single, either Power or Full. Your quads should already be warm and you should have an idea of how that will affect your lifting. NO MISSED LIFTS. The minute it turns into a struggle, that is where you stop. Take 75-80% of that lift, depending on which part of the workout you are prioritizing, and plan to open with that. There should be a 0% possibility that you miss your opening lift on 18.2A.

3 Rounds:

5 DB Squats – Lighter than you will use in the workout

5 Bar Facing Burpees – Focus on hitting EVERY standard, and making the burpee crisp

 

3 Rounds For Time:

4 DB Squats – Workout Weight

4 Bar Facing Burpees

 

**Focus on Transitions during these two warmup pieces. Set the DBs down fast, but calmly. Don’t waste valuable time chasing down rogue dumbbells across the gym.**

 

At this point, you should have a good idea of how the movements will play off each other, and how you will feel when it hits the fan. Get your mind right, move around, but don’t get cold. Ideally, you should have about 10mins between your last warmup round and Go Time.

 

 

-Go crush it.

 

Sean Jacobs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L2

 

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Open WOD 18.1

20min AMRAP:

8 Toes To Bar

10 DB Hang Clean Jerk – 50/35 lbs

14/12 cal Row

MOVEMENT TIPS

Toes-to-Bar:

  • Efficient Kipping – Sorry to ruin the surprise, but your biceps will probably blow up during this one. Even though there aren’t many T2B in each round, 8 will still add up over the course of a 20 minute workout (I believe Sam and Kristin both just did 160ish). Even if you happen to get super-fatigued in the mid- to late stages of the workout, don’t waste time hanging from the bar. This will fatigue out all of the small stabilizing muscles around the shoulder joint and upper back, and cause even more chaos with your kip. Rest until you’re absolutely ready to get as tight as possible, get some good reps in, and then come back down before things get sloppy.
  • Break Early – This is the movement that will get none of the credit if it’s on point, but will get all of the blame if it ruins your workout. Nobody will win this workout because of amazing toes to bar, but plenty of CF’ers will find themselves standing under the bar staring up wondering “why didn’t I go 4-4 or 3-3-2 earlier?!” Each person’s gymnastics capacity will be different. That being said, if your max set of toes-to-bar is <20, go hard in the other two movements, and plan on taking a good amount of “planned rest” during this one. Even if your max set of T2B is measured in hours instead of reps, you may want to consider only doing the first 4-5 rounds unbroken. Basically, once you feel any sloppiness in your trunk (aka “core”), and your kip starts to get funky, break it down into a smaller rep scheme of your choosing.

DB Hang Clean + Jerk

  • 1 Armed DB Swing – I really feel like that sums it up. Sit those hips back, load up the hamstrings and the glutes, and swing that sucker up to your shoulder. The only movement your arm should be doing would be to pull you down under the DB after the hips come through. The weight should be light enough that a simple dip+drive from shoulder to overhead will not be an issue.
  • Stay Tight – This movement will challenge you in the transverse plane, something we rarely train in CrossFit. As the dumbbell comes back down from overhead between the legs, you will need to resist the rotational force with your trunk and hips. If you get loose, you’ll quickly feel a massive back pump that will be miserable on the rower. Stay tight, Keep your Chest Up, and Hips Back.
  • Don’t Curl The Dumbbell – I don’t think I really need to elaborate on this one, but I couldn’t sleep at night without adding it in. This will blow you up, and make your toes-to-bar miserable. Try to avoid using your arms as much as possible during this workout.

 

Rower:

  • Open the hips up – This is crucial. If your hips are stiff, you will need to rely on your low back and spinal erectors to do the majority of the pulling. This will not only make the DB’s much more challenging and fatigued, but will also throw off your rhythm on the T2B. Get into a good squat or deadlift position at the catch (beginning) of each stroke, and drive with your legs.
  • Big Pulls, ALL THE WAY THROUGH – One of the first things I noticed when Sam started gaining ground on Kristin (other than Sam figuring out how to do a DB Hang Clean on the spot) was that Kristin repeatedly kept trying to short-change the row calories. Do you ever do that thing where you tell yourself “1 more pull….okay, maybe just 1 more small pull…” and so on? In a workout with this many transitions, this will be a huge time waster. I would say she probably wasted 2-4 seconds per round doing small arm pulls hoping the rower hit 12. Sam was rowing like she was aiming for 14, and just jumped off when it hit 12. It is worth it to do one extra “big” pull and use those extra seconds for resting or transitioning.

 

PACING STRATEGIES

Pacing here is going to be highly individual based on strengths/weaknesses, so I’m going to break up two different strategies into two different “avatars” of people.

  • “Toes-to-Bar Monster, Somewhat Slow of a Rower” – Unbroken T2B (or at least 5-3 or 4-4), Go easy on the rower and just try not to spike your heart rate. Think: 100%, 90%, 80% efforts on the three movements, respectively.
  • “Rowing Animal, but Just Trying to Get Away From The Rig” – Be prepared to let people pass you in the beginning. Your not the most gymnasty person in the gym, but that’s okay (I’m talking to myself here, too). Break the T2B early into 2-3 sets, because there’s a good chance you’ll be doing doubles or singles past minute 15 if you don’t. If you read the movement tips above, get fast, crisp sets in, then drop down, breathe, and go again. Then try to crush the DB’s and the Rower, because there will be plenty of built-in rest breaks under the pull-up bar.
  • Either way, the dumbbell should NOT hit the floor until you’re either done with 10 reps, or done with 5 reps at least. You can’t switch hands until you’ve done 5 on your first arm, so just try to get 5 done as fast as possible, and rest between arms if needed. Personally, I am going to try to limit the number of times I have to bend over and pick it up off the ground, so I will be resting a little bit extra both before and after those 10 reps.

Now, let’s talk overall pace per round.

Basically, the rule for this one is pick a pace that might seem slow at the beginning, because it won’t feel slow at the end. You can always decide to pick up the pace once you’ve got the adrenaline butterflies out of the way in round 2-3, but if you blow up early, there’s no coming back.

I think Sam put up one of the top 10, if not top 5, scores of this workout. Other than a few missteps on the DB hang cleans in the first 2 rounds, I don’t see where much more time can be made up. She paced the first several rounds to make sure she could hold on, and then gradually started going faster each round. Kristin Holte started off flying. Then her pace dropped off 24 seconds in the FIRST HALF of a 20 minute workout. (For any stat-nerds like me who might be interested, I laid out Kristin’s progress through the workout.)

To find your individual pace, I’m actually going to recommend that you do 1 full round of the workout, at near-max intensity as the last real piece of the warmup. See how long that takes you, then plan on starting out at 75% of that speed per round. If you’re someone who paces things really well over long bouts of time, but isn’t that explosive through one round, you may start out closer to 80-85% of that max speed. If you can knock out one round in around 60 secs, you may want to start out somewhere around 60-65% to save some of that energy.

Like I said, if you feel good after the first 2-3 rounds, you can start increasing your speed. But it rarely works the other way around – if you blow up by minute 6, its going to be a long 14 minutes.

 

Kristin Holte – Pace of 18.1

Round Time per Round Time at Each Completed Round
1 79 1:19
2 86 2:45
3 87 4:12
4 96 5:48
5 92 7:20
6 97 8:57
7 103 10:35
8 101 12:16
9 103 13:59
10 100 15:39
11 102 17:21
12 99 19:00

 


 

THE WARMUP

20 minutes is going to be a long time. For that, we need to really tap into both the oxidative and the glycolytic energy systems. This is CrossFit’s version of the 5k run for this Open year (I’m assuming they won’t have another 20min workout, but you never know).

General Warmup:

  • 10min Easy Assault Bike, Jog, or Jumping Rope – Go 45 seconds Easy, 15 seconds Moderate Intensity. Just break a sweat, but don’t start burning or gasping for air.
  • 20-30 Band Pull-Aparts – Get that upper back and shoulders warm.
  • 10-15 Pushups to Downward Dog – Pause at the top to get a good stretch, and make sure your chest, shoulders, and upper back are opening up in prep for the toes-to-bar.
  • Foam Roll or Lacrosse Ball (if necessary): Lats, Shoulders, Chest, Thoracic Spine (extend your upper back over the roller)

 

Dynamic Movement Prep:

30sec Each Movement x 3 Rounds:

  • Spiderman’s – in a pushup position, bring one leg up and outside your arm. Try to sink your elbow down to the ground, then reach back up to the ceiling. Switch sides, and repeat.
  • Deep Squat Hold – get into a deep squat, focus on getting your back upright, and driving your knees out to exaggerate the demands of the rower. Use a rig or band around hips for support if needed
  • Twisting Lunges – lunge left, twist left, lunge right, twist right, repeat.
  • 1-Arm Russian KB Swings – Light-Moderate Weight, Focus on driving those hips through
  • Scap Retractions on Pull-Up Bar

 

Specific Workout Prep:

1 Round:

8 Hollow-Arch kips on Pullup Bar

8 DB CJ’s (4 each arm) – use a lighter weight than you plan to use in the workout

10/8 cals on Rower

Rest 1:1

1 Round:

6 Knees-to-Chest or Toes-to-Bar (depending on skill level)

8 DB CJ’s (4 each arm) – use the weight you plan to use in the workout

12/10 cals on Rower

Rest 1:1

 

1 Round for Time:

8 Toes-to-Bar

10 DB CJ’s (5 each arm) – workout weight

14/12 cals on Rower

 

At this point your heart rate should be spiked pretty high. Allow 10-15 mins to let it come back down. Grab some water, but don’t get cold. Keep doing any general movements that you feel work for you before a workout. If you have 15+ minutes of down time after you finish the warmup, you may need to hop back on the Assault Bike and just keep it spinning to keep from getting cold.

At this point, you should have a good idea of how this workout will make you feel, and what pace you are actually capable of maintaining. All that’s left to do execute.

 

-Go crush it.

 

Sean Jacobs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L2