Muscle Ups Blew Up the Internet

Last night the Crossfit Open workout 15.3 was announced, and if you do Crossfit you probably already know, the world exploded.

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The workout is a 14 minute AMRAP beginning with 7 muscle ups and then moving to 50 wall balls and 100 double unders.  While traditionally the Open workouts have included this complex gymnastic movement, it has usually followed an easier, more accessible movement allowing the wide range of participants who sign up for the Open to at least receive some sort of score for the week.

Obviously, for 15.3 this isn’t the case, and people are seriously pissed.

Part of me understands, and even sympathizes with those who are saying that signing up for the Open is BS and a waste of money.  Heck, I don’t have muscle ups in my repertoire either.

But let’s be honest kids, they have shown up as a moment every single year since the inception of the Crossfit Open.  It’s not like we didn’t expect to see them.

And with the new scaled Open option available to participants this year, it’s not really any surprise that the Rx version of the workouts are more challenging than what we’ve seen in previous years, is it?

All of that said, I think there’s one very simple thing Crossfit could have done leading up to the Open to avoid all of controversy floating around on the interwebz right now.

Release workout standards prior to the Open while folks are registering.

If you look at other Crossfit competitions around the country, it’s a common practice to release workout standards leading up to the event for the Rx and Scaled divisions.  Not the workouts themselves mind you, but just a list of movements that participants should be both able and comfortable doing with weights they should easily be able to move in each category.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll even see the movements in a workout, but it gives participants an idea of what they should be able to do for each category.  Don’t have muscle ups, chest to bar pull ups, or heavy snatches or deadlifts?  Then sign up for the scaled category and you’ll be sure to be able to complete the movements as prescribed.

In the case of the Open, is this overkill?  Yeah, maybe.  Sure, the open is a worldwide competition that’s purpose is to whittle down tens of thousands of competitors into just the best of the best for the new regional competitions, so it’s a given that the workout are going to be designed to eliminate everyone but the best from getting high scores.

But to keep the raging masses happy, this is my advice to Crossfit.

So readers, how do you feel about 15.3?  Are you doing the Open this year?  Do you think having standards would have helped you know which category to sign up for?

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When can’t becomes your crutch…

Do you ever get it in your head that you just can’t do something?

Come on, you’re human, just admit it.  Lord knows I do.  I’ve been better about it lately, and since starting Crossfit over a year and a half ago I am much more willing to at least try something that scares me.

But I’m stubborn as shit, and every once in awhile something ends up in the “can’t” basket.

Up until a few days ago, double unders were in that basket.

I would love to tell you that I practiced them religiously and just simply couldn’t get them no matter how hard I tried, but that wouldn’t be true.  Sure, I had practiced them.  For a few minutes at a time a few times a week, usually whipping myself in the shins or the ass and totaling maybe 50 jumps before getting frustrated and quitting.

When they showed up in any WOD I just did the penalty (at our gym it’s burpees) and never even tried them.

I had actually convinced myself that I didn’t care if I ever got a dub.  Didn’t matter.  Jumping rope is just as effective of a workout if you swing it once or twice and I’m not competitive or anything so it won’t matter if I never get them.

That was, until 14.1 was announced on Thursday night.  As most of you know, we are in the midst of the Crossfit Open.  The Open is a 5 week competition where anyone in the world can register to see how they stack up against Crossfitters everywhere, and against themselves.  The workouts are announced via a live broadcast on Thursday nights, at which point two of the big dogs go head to head and show us how it’s done.

Like every other Crossfit addict worldwide, I was glued to my laptop on Thursday beyond excited to know what the first workout would be.  Because the Open is truly meant for everybody, I was confident it would be doable movements and something I could totally excel at.

Imagine my dismay when they announced a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) of 30 double unders and 15 snatches (75/55).

Um what?  The FIRST movement that you had to do in order to get ANY reps whatsoever were DOUBLE UNDERS?  And I had yet to ever successfully do even one.

I wish I could say that I put on my happy face and decided to give the workout all I had, but I can’t.  The truth is I went to bed that night telling hubs “well this sucks.  I guess I’m taking a 0 for the first workout because I don’t even see the point in trying.”

I woke up the next morning, the day I was to do the WOD, and just didn’t want to go.  I got to the box early and practiced for a solid 15 minutes.  I managed about 3 reps in that time, and truthfully, they were almost accidental. But I was going to try to do the workout Rx.  I wanted a score.  Even 3 reps was better than 0.

The clock counted down 3…2…1… and a funny thing happened.  Suddenly, getting double unders became important.  Not being able to do them just wasn’t acceptable anymore.  I had to figure it out.  And I had 10 minutes to do it.

I’m not going to say it was fantastic.  In fact, it was a tough and frustrating 10 minutes.  But by the end of it, I had managed 27 reps.  Mind you, I never even made it to the barbell or finished a complete round, but whatever.  It wasn’t a 0.  And for ME, it was a PR.

But what’s more, by the end of just 10 minutes of consistent practice with a clear goal in mind, I was actually stringing a few of them together.  I knew that if I had ANOTHER 10 minutes, I could do a lot more.

I’ve never repeated and Open workout before, but after taking the weekend to think about it, I decided I just couldn’t let that score of 27 stand.  Not because I cared about my standings, but because I KNEW I could do better.  That simply wasn’t my best effort, which isn’t ever ok by me.

Monday is the last day to submit scores for the week, so I went in early for class.  I warmed up alone and set up my barbell.  This time, I knew I would need it.

I grabbed a judge and asked them to count and time me, and set out with one goal in mind.  Get thru one round.  45 reps in 10 minutes.  I knew if I made it through the dubs I was home free.

What a different experience the second time around.  I was stringing together doubles in sets of 3-4, and at around the 5 minute mark I was done with 30!  I flew through the over head movement, and got back on the rope as fast as I can.  With just under 4 minutes left, I knew I could make it through one more round of jumps.

AND I DID.

Not only did I, but I managed a few more overheads before time ran out.

Final score, 78!!!

I won’t lie, I almost started crying.

See, it doesn’t matter to me that the top competitors in our region and the world managed 450+ reps.  It matters that I did something I had NEVER done before.  I let go of the “can’t” and found the will to figure it out.

That my friends, is what is beautiful about the Open.  So many of us do Crossfit to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and then still end up sitting there anyway.  Sure, the zone has become bigger than what it maybe was before, but it’s still there unless we continually challenge ourselves.

I won’t rest.  I will grow.  I won’t fall victim to “can’t.”

Thanks Crossfit.

Apparently I shouted “NO REP” in my sleep last night

Guess what blog-o-verse?!  The CROSSFIT OPEN is only something like 37 days away.  

If you’re a Crossfitter, you know what this means.  And chances are you’ve been practicing your DU’s and T2B with a vengeance because you know we will be punished with a 444 minute AMRAP of them both (or something equally as sadistic) in just a few short weeks.

If you’re NOT a Crossfiter, here’s my explanation:

So the Crossfit games are like the Crossfit Olympics.  You might have seen them on ESPN.  Good stuff.  In order to get to the Games you have to compete in the Open, qualify for Regionals, and then the top 3 men and women from each region go to the Games.  It’s pretty standard stuff.  But here’s the cool part… literally ANYONE can register for the Crossfit Open.  It’s $25, you do it online, and can get a chance to get to what is basically the Crossfit Olympics.

This is cool stuff people.  This is a really unique model of competition, and I’m excited to be a part of it again this year.

As the sport has continued to grow, the Crossfit powers that be continue to tweak the way they do things in the Open, since it has the potential to be a logistical nightmare determining who the best of the best are in each region, and having a fair Regional competition.

This year they have added some rules around how athletes will advance.  Most of us just do it to do it, and have fun competing and sweating with others at our boxes.  But the best of the best who think they may have a run at regionals will need to submit a video of their workout each week, as well as be judged by a certified Crossfit judge.

And now we get to my sleep talking.

I want to be a judge.  Not only do I think it will be super cool to get to watch the top athletes at my box give it all they’ve got for a shot to go to Regionals in the workouts, but I’m one of those nerds who really wants to see the brand and reputation of this sport grow as it grows nationwide, and I can totally get behind enforced judging standards and accountability.  Not to mention, IF we do have an individual or a team go to Regionals, I am TOTALLY going to be there, and as a certified judge I could volunteer to judge while there.  How AWESOME would that be?!

So I’m taking the course online. 

And dreaming about it.  Last night, I yelled “NO REP” at one of the monsters at my box and he throat punched me.  In my dream of course.

Maybe I’m having second thoughts…

If you’re interested in becoming a judge for the open, check out the link here: https://oc.crossfit.com

 

1.8.2014 – 1.10.2014 Workouts

I don’t normally do posts with more than one day, but I’m a bit behind and figured I would do a quick catch-up-and-prove-I-really-did-it post.  🙂

1.8.2014

First day back at my box in almost 7 weeks.  I almost didn’t go.  In fact, I put it off all the way until 4:30 before I finally worked up the nerve to do it.  I publicly called myself out to the group to give myself the accountability too.

Man I’m glad I went.

Warm Up:  Still the usual.  Except I felt like I might DIE half way thru.  That’s new.  Let’s hope that passes quickly.

Mobility:  Hamstring stretching with the bands.

SWOD:  Snatch Deadlift 5×5? @ 53 lbs

I honestly don’t remember the rep scheme on this.  Coach said to keep the weight at 55% of your 1 RM  Snatch, but my 1 RM Snatch IS 53 lbs, so I just went for it.  Obviously, this was really light, but my mantra quickly became “I want to be able to walk tomorrow” so I was ok with light.

WOD:
21-15-9
DB Squat Cleans
DB Push Press

Time: 8:47 @ 10 lbs dumbells

The only movement I hate more than Wall Balls are DB squat cleans.  These bitches are my nemesis… and honestly the reason I almost didn’t go to class.  But I did them.  They sucked bad.  The whole workout sucked bad.  That’s what I get for taking so much time off.

1.9.2014

Went to the 9 a.m. class.  I’m not working at the moment, so I’ve got a lot of flexibility with my schedule.  I LOVE my 6 a.m. peeps, but can’t convince myself to get out of bed that early when I have no real reason too.  I’m probably going to bounce around to a few of the classes to figure out where I fit best.

Warm Up:  Usual stuff.  Super awesome girl coach was coaching this class, which I liked.

SWOD:  Snatch Balance 5×3 @ 33 lbs

Again, I kept this really light.  I did make an attempt at 43 lbs but just couldn’t get my arms locked out fast enough.  After failing the rep I scaled it back and finished up at 33.  Lots of time to get stronger, and I want to be able to walk tomorrow (are we sensing a mantra here?)

WOD:
10 minute AMRAP
5 ball slams
10 HR Push Ups
15 Hollow Rocks
20 Double unders (or 2 burpees + 20 single unders)

Score: 5+15 with 15 lbs ball and SU

I love AMRAPS.  You can’t finish last.  And I actually really liked this AMRAP.  The gymnastic-y movements tend to be my favorites.  I practiced DU’s for a few minutes before and still can’t do even one.  I want this skill bad.

1.10.2014

Today went to the noon class.  Went out with hubs and another one of the boys last night and had a late (for me) night that had one too many hard ciders as part of the line up.  Sleeping in was my friend.

Turns out Super Awesome Girl Coach was coaching this class along with one of our 6 a.m. ladies, the New York Ninja, who is a new coach at our box.  I had heard a rumor that she got certified and was SO EXCITED to be in her class.  She is one of those amazingly athletic women that makes you want to either hug her or punch her when she gets her DU’s on her FIRST TRY EVER.  I remember when she and her hubs joined about a year ago, and I’m really excited to work with her.

So anyway, onto the workout.

Warm Up:  Usual Stuff + some fun hip mobility stretches from the Ninja.

WOD:
11.5
20 minute AMRAP
5 power cleans
10 toes to bar
15 wall balls

Score: 185 @ 53 lbs on power cleans, toes to bar done on the ground, wall balls at 10 lbs

Obviously, I did this VERY scaled, and am glad I did.  Other than the t2b I physically could have done it Rx, but it would have taken me the full 20 minutes just to do the power cleans I think!

I love doing the Open workouts though.  Until the Open kicks off we’re going to be doing one every Friday.  I’m stoked.  I want to beat some of my scores from last year.  I am definitely not in as great of shape as I was last year, but I have over a month to improve as much as I can, and I can’t wait for the energy and excitement again this year.

Hello from the phlegm factory that is my life

Strep throat is a curious illness. Who would think that something that makes your throat feel like you’ve taken up a fun little side hobby of gargling battery acid would also cause this acid to come flying out of your butt at a rapid rate requiring you to install both a seat belt and a snow cone on your commode?

In my case, the best, and certainly most notable part, about my strep throat is that is just so happens to coincide with a large three day industry conference in which we are launching our newest product release. I just happen to be solely responsible for all of the marketing efforts around this release, as well as the entire sponsored portion of the conference, so my real life simply won’t let me be sick.

I wonder if I could get one of those face masks from a big designer?

“Oh this? No, this isn’t blocking my pressure washer powered germs from splattering you in the face and giving you a mucous factory of your own. This is Gucci.”

I think even if Wonder Woman let me borrow her lasso, I’m kind of screwed on this one kids.

4.5.2013- Overtraining and 13.5

Fran

It’s the Friday before a big weekend for me, and my thoughts are all mushing together.  Only one post today, as my WOD and my overwhelming desire to write about my feeeeeelingsssss are all mushed up into one lumpy mess of thoughts.

 

Warm up– the usual

Mobility Work– rolled shoulders, back, pecs and then did the giant bungee cord hip opening stretch.  Man my hips are tight.

WOD: 13.5- aka the Fran-RAP
4 minute AMRAP
15 thrusters/15 chest to bar pull ups
If you complete 3 rounds in 4 minutes, you get to add another 4 minutes and keep going

Score: 42 with jumping pull ups and 45lbs

There were a lot of things going on this morning.  First, the basics:

I don’t have pull ups yet.  Not even with a band or anything.  I’m terrified to be up that high and while I’m working on it, I’m not there yet.

So with that, I knew going into this I would not be able to Rx the WOD.  Additionally, the Rx weight for girls (65#) is 10 lbs heavier than what I just did Fran at on Tuesday… and it about killed me.

Finally, I HURT today.  My whole body.  I’m just sore.  I was sore yesterday, and woke up even worse this morning.  I’m still trying to balance the bike riding that I’m doing with Crossfit, and as Crossfit is the more important of the two to me, I need to find a place where I’m not suffering, and recovering well each week.

After a warm up set of thrusters this morning I decided I wasn’t even going to attempt the weight I had used on Tuesday and scaled it back even more, and in the end still wasn’t able to complete even two rounds.  The entire WOD I just felt tired, slow, and strangely hungry.  My body is definitely trying to tell me something.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m on the verge of overtraining this week.

After this morning I decided that I’m taking today off from riding (I would usually ride over lunch with my group), and will lay low tomorrow as well.  I have a 35 mile charity ride that I’m registered for on Sunday, and I would like to be well rested by then.

I’m also going to examine my training during the week, and probably talk to one of my trusted coaches about it, as I’m not sure that riding as much as I am is the right thing to be doing given my current goals.  I need another voice in my head other than mine to reason with my “do more and you’ll lose more weight” philosophy.

Happy Friday gang.  How did 13.5 go for everyone else?

3.29.2013

Today was 13.4.

Did the usual warm up- we added in leg swings and burpees, both of which I’m glad to have back in the rotation.

Did some hamstring stretching mobility along with some core warm up for toes to bar.

This is the first of the Open WOD’s that I am not yet able to do Rx, so I scaled and got to work.

WOD:

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes following the rep scheme below:
95 pound Clean and jerk, 3 reps
3 Toes-to-bar
95 pound Clean and jerk, 6 reps
6 Toes-to-bar
95 pound Clean and jerk, 9 reps
9 Toes-to-bar
95 pound Clean and jerk, 12 reps
12 Toes-to-bar
95 pound Clean and jerk, 15 reps
15 Toes-to-bar
95 pound Clean and jerk, 18 reps
18 Toes-to-bar…
This is a timed workout. If you complete the round of 18, go on to 21. If you complete 21, go on to 24, etc.

Score: 56 with 73 lbs and knees to elbows

Pretty darn happy about that.  Also, I decided on my new short-term goal… I want to Rx Grace.  I love love LOVE the clean and jerk movement and I feel like I “get” it.  I’m positive I could do 95 lbs at least once, and I’m even more positive that if I make a concerted effort to improve my efficiency on the lift (especially at getting under the jerk) I could Rx this within a few months.

Additionally, my “toes to bar” have improved massively in the past two weeks.  Between the kipping swings in the warm up and practicing, I’m getting much stronger at curling my hips up when I bring my knees up.  My toes are a solid foot closer to the bar than they were when I started working on this skill.  I think within another month I’m going to be able to do at least a few of these.

 

3.28.2013

Warm Up:

Skill: Clean & Jerk

Spent some time working on speed and technique for 13.4 tomorrow.  Since I am not yet able to Rx either movement, I’m looking forward to having some fun with it scaled.

2×5 with training bar focus on speed and form

2×5 with 33lbs focus on using the clean catch as the dip drive for the overhead

WOD: Level I – 3 rounds for time/Level II – 4 rounds for time of,

400m Run
10 Deadlifts
20 Burpees

Time: 15:06 L1 with 63 on deadlifts and rowing instead of running

**should have used more weight

Follow the yellow brick road… even if you have to crawl down it

weightloss tip

I pulled on the dress I planned to wear to work today and my husband walked by and said, “you’re wearing a mumu to work?”

Before I acted on my initial instinct to punch him in the throat (see, I DO have self-control), I looked in the mirror.

What can I say?  He was right.  The dress, which only months ago had been a favorite and was in the rotation around once a week because it was “flowy” and made me feel comfortable (ie not like a sausage stuffed into a casing that is too tight), now looked like something my grandma would wear to bed.

While I will miss the dress, it’s always interesting to me when I’m smacked in the face how far I’ve come right when I am starting to forget it myself.

This morning, 13.3 kicked my ass.  I was grumpy about it immediately after the workout.  I was even MORE grumpy when the coach told everyone that we needed to run 500 to cool down after, and I would row for 5 minutes because I’m nursing a sore Achilles.

Grumpy actually probably isn’t a strong enough word.  I wanted to choke him out in front of his fiancé.  I’m a big girl, I could have done it.

But instead I hopped on the rower, and went at what felt like an incredibly slow pace while chatting with another Crossfitter, letting my heart rate fall and feeling much better about the whole thing.

At the end of 5 minutes, comfortably cooled down and not even out of breath, I checked my distance just to make a note of it for my blog.

To my utter shock, I had rowed 1000m.

Rewind back to my first month or so of Crossfit.  I don’t remember exactly where I was in my journey, but I know I had graduated Elements and was in the big kid classes.  Our WOD one day was a 1000m row for time.  I had a goal, finish it in under 5 minutes.

I went balls to the wall (for me), pulling as hard as I could, panting and sweating and grunting and literally giving every once that I had to that rower.  I finished in 5:01 to a handful of people cheering me on and was beyond happy.  I was victorious.

And today, after one of the more physically challenging workouts I’ve completed, I did that pace as a COOL DOWN.

Progress people.  Progress.

I can’t say how grateful I am for these two reminders of how far I’ve come on my journey.

 

 

3.22.2013

13.3

Warm Up: the Usual

Mobility: Hip bungee cord stretch
Shoulder mobility with lacrosse balls

WOD:
12 minute AMRAP

150 Wall Balls/ 14 lbs 9 foot target
90 Double Unders
30 Muscle Ups

Score: 95 Rx

Cool Down: 5 minute- 1000m row

This was humbling, but at the same time, awesome.  This is now the third workout that I have been able to Rx, which isn’t something that I’ve pushed myself to do before, though I’m discovering that I’m clearly capable.

That said, this sucked.  I mean really really sucked.  I just posted maybe a week ago that I knew it was time to step up my wall balls from the 10 lb to the 14 lb ball, but to do it with a goal of 150 was probably a little aggressive.

I won’t lie, I wanted 150 wall balls.  I thought I could get thru them, or very very close, in the 12 minutes.  I knew I wouldn’t make it to the double unders, which is just as well since it would have been comical trying to do them with T-Rex arms anyway.

I was completely humbled when I had got through 50 and looked at the clock I realized I only had 5 minutes left to go.  I knew I wouldn’t hit the 150.

But… and this is huge for me… I was NOT defeated.  I didn’t quit.  In fact, I did my last 45 faster than I did the first 50.  I only “no repped” 4 the whole time.  Two because I lost my balance on the squat and didn’t have the momentum for the throw so I didn’t even try it, and two because my throw didn’t cross the line.

It’s possible I could have pushed a bit harder, but today I’m satisfied with the fact that I pushed the whole time.  I’m excited for a chance to do Karen on her own and see my time for that benchmark… and then blow it out of the water next year.