The 4th workout of the 2015 CrossFit Games Open is a couplet. Handstand Push-Ups. Cleans.

15.4WOD

Now, keep in mind when reading this, that I am pretty much as far from the HSPU expert as you can get. However, one thing I think I can do fairly well is pace workouts. For me, this 8 minute WOD is basically a HSPU endurance race, with some Clean “breaks” built into it.

Handstand Push-Ups:

If you’re close to getting one for the first time, fight today! My advice on kipping them is simple:
With your butt against the wall, pull those knees down to your chest, kick to the ceiling, and throw your head “through the window” to help you ensure that proper lock-out.

I don’t want to get into the politics of sportsmanship and integrity in the Open in a strategy post, but know this… there will be lots of cheating in this workout. You just need to decide whether you want your score to be tainted and rank higher, or if you want to score less reps with proper range of motion. It really is as simple as that, to me. Some of us have been doing CrossFit for 5-6+ years already, and I feel this standard is the most fair one that has ever been set. I am very curious to hear from you guys as to why you might think this standard is LESS fair. Here’s how I see it… 3″ below your wrist, regardless of arm, torso, leg length, and regardless of your weight, is 3″ below your wrist. Am I missing something? Fill me in!

Cleans:

Do them. Haha, not much logic here. If it’s close to, or an actual 1 Rep Max for you, then buckle-up and get it. Plan on a full squat clean, jump and shrug as hard as you can, pull under that bar quickly with fast elbows, and stay tight on the way up! If you’ve got this weight, I’d suggest to move through it as efficiently as possible. For me, it felt like quick singles worked best.

Pacing:

As someone who isn’t great at HSPUs, my goal was to make it through all sets of them without reaching failure. I stuck with short, quick, sets of three for the entire workout. For my friends who are better at them, I suggest starting to break them up at least starting at the set of 12 (if not sooner). My best suggestion is just to fly through reps until you feel your pace slow, then kick down. Whether that’s at rep 7 or 9, or rep 4 of 12, kick down, shake ‘em out, and kick right back up.
When I do this workout again, I’ll try to decrease my rest time between HSPU sets. This is going to be one of the workouts with the largest discrepancies happen between athletes. If you’re strong and stick to the standards, you’ll be just fine. What are your strategies? Anything crazy that might help someone else?
Good luck, have fun, I believe in you. We’re almost there, everyone. One more week!

This post is later than I would like. My bad!

However, workout 15.3 of the 2015 CrossFit Games Open is a doozy! 14 minutes of fun, and my advice is very similar to that of last week. PACE!

15.3WOD

Here is the logic for my incredibly wise “pace yourself” strategy. A 14 minute workout can be very long. Just because you CAN do 7 muscle-ups in a row, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you CAN do 50 unbroken wall balls, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. And you have 100 unbroken double-unders? Congrats! If any or all of those things are going to leave your heart rate sky high, realizing you have 10 more minutes of work to try and “hold on” to your pace, you’re going to have a bad time.

Muscle-Ups:

If you KNOW for a fact that 7 muscle-ups in row won’t tax you, by all means, go for them unbroken. If, even for a second, you worry that maybe you’ll become too fatigued by going for it, even if you think you can once… don’t! My advice, based on your comfort level, either go 4/3, 3/2/2, or fast singles, knowing that you won’t fail a rep, and that you’ll be able to maintain that pace throughout the workout. Going all out from the start is a bad idea, in my opinion.

Wall Balls:

Very similar advice here. Just because you’re fit enough to do 50 wall balls in a row, doesn’t mean you should. Many fairly competitive athletes will get through 2 or 3 full rounds of this workout. If crushing your first set of wall balls is going to leave you wrecked and gasping for air, the rest of the workout won’t be very fun. My suggestion here, and this may change from round to round based on your fatigue level, is to go 20-20-10, 20-15-15, 20-10-10-10, or 5 quick sets of 10. Whichever option will help keep your rest breaks short, and your legs and shoulders as fresh as possible.

Double-Unders:

For the jump rope portion of this workout, whether you’re doing 100 double-unders or 200 single-unders, I believe your focus needs to be keeping your heart rate at a manageable level. Going unbroken for that many reps is an awesome skill to have, but if you’ll need to take a 30 second break just to function enough to get back onto the next movement, you’re going to pay for it at the end of the workout. Suggestions here, based on your skill level, will be sets of 50, 25, or 20. As many coaches suggest in workouts, regardless of their time domains, if you’re going to potentially make it back to that particular movement, break the reps and rest far before you think you need to do so. Your fatigue level will thank you later!

I really hope that this post helps you guys destroy 15.3. If you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback, please let me know. Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!!

The second workout of the 2015 CrossFit Games Open is a repeat of last year’s competition. As Dave Castro said last night during the big reveal… “15.2 is… 14.2.” Check out what the workout is below:

15.2WOD

 

My advice on this one is simple. Regardless of whether you can complete this workout Rx’d, or whether you need to scale it, PACE, PACE, PACE!

Some of the best athletes out there CAN complete the first two rounds of 10 Overhead Squats and 10 Chest-To-Bar Pull-Ups in under a minute. To me, though, there’s no reason to do that. If your heart rate spikes and your grip starts to go that soon, that athlete will start to fatigue far too early. I suggest pacing the first two rounds, keeping your heart rate down, and move slowly and comfortably from station to station.

OHS Pacing Suggestion: Go unbroken as long as you can, as long as you feel comfortable and can hold a steady pace. To start each set, I would recommend that the athlete perform a squat snatch as their first rep as long as they’re comfortable with the movement. It is simply more efficient, and requires less time under the bar.

Pull-Up Suggestion: Unless you’re great at Chest-To-Bar Pull-Ups and don’t think you’ll fatigue that badly, start with sets NO larger than 5 at a time. For most athletes who are comfortable with C2B, the first round or two of the workout will not be that bad. The reps will start to add up a lot more on the round of 14. Getting there in sets of 4 or 5 reps at a time will conserve more energy than blasting through larger sets early on. If you can, like last week, try to have a box or some weights next to the bar you plan on using so you can step over onto the bar instead of needing to jump up to it.

This workout has put people’s hands through the meat grinder for over a year now. My suggestion is to not let your hands get shredded, especially if you plan on re-doing it before Monday night.

Pace. Pace. Pace. Chest and eyes up on OHSs. Lock out those elbows hard and stay as calm as you can, control your breathing. Small comfortable sets on the pull-ups.

For all of you out there who will get your first OHS at 95/65lbs, and those of you who will get your first chin-over or chest-to-bar pull-up… CONGRATS! That’s such a fun moment. You should be super proud of yourselves! :)

I’d love to hear how you guys do. If you’ve done it before, let me know if you improve. Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!

I can’t believe it’s already time for the 2015 CrossFit Games Open!

I also can’t believe that it’s been almost a year since I have been actively posting on this blog. Well, what better time to bring it back than the most largely participated-in athletic contest in the WORLD! (I have no idea if that’s true, by the way)

Workout 15.1 is actually two workouts. Woah, that’s never happened before. Here’s what we’re dealing with for this week’s fun:

15.1

I was able to get after this one last night, and my advice is actually pretty simple. For me, the hardest part of Workout 15.1 is the toes-to-bar. I started with sets of 5, and wasn’t even able to hold that throughout the entire 9 minutes. My suggestion is to take them in sets that you know you can maintain throughout each round. If that means sets of 5 for the first two rounds, then down to sets of 4, and so on, go for it. Once your grip goes, it could very well be gone. Therefore, burning out in the first 4 minutes of the WOD will lead to a very slow and frustrating final 5. Remember, once you get off of the toes-to-bar, you need to hold onto the bar for deadlifts AND snatches (or potentially clean and jerks for the Scaled division). When that little 9 minute adventure is over, you then need to pick up a heavy barbell. Destroying your grip early on is a lose-lose scenario for me. Instead, I suggest smaller quick sets with very short rest between them.

As for the deadlifts, I feel these are meant to be the easiest part of the workout. I used an alternating grip and got through them all unbroken. If your grip and lower back can take it (which I think they should be able to), I’d go unbroken on all rounds here. Lastly, the snatches. If you can handle 115/75lbs, try your best to get through them unbroken. The time it takes to let the bar settle inbetween “single” attempts is significantly slower than trying to get through them with “touch-and-go” speed. At a moderate to light weight, only having to do 5 reps at a time is a gift! Had there been even 10 reps in a row, I think this would be a totally different workout.

Once the 9 minute AMRAP is done, athletes are to go right into their 6 minute 15.1a, in which a 1 rep max Clean and Jerk should be established. This one can get dirty! My advice here… give yourself 3 attempts.

Resting a little longer than you feel is necessary before your first attempt is probably not a bad idea. Let your forearms and grip recover just a little. Then, I would approach the Clean and Jerk in a way the Olympic Weightlifters might approach a meet:
1st Attempt- I weight that is challenging, but you feel you could hit successfully 99% of the time. For me, that weight would be around 75% of my 1RM (conservative for a meet, but hitting this tired would not be a “gimme” for me)

2nd Attempt- Based on how the first attempt felt, I would gauge my second attempt. Personally, pushing up towards 85% of my 1RM was a good idea.

3rd Attempt- I would suggest waiting until around 1 minute remains in this workout to try your final attempt. That way, worst case scenario, if you miss… you’ll still have some time to compose yourself and give it one more attempt before the buzzer! For me, getting close to 90% of my 1RM is considered a big success for a relatively experienced lifter.

For newer athletes, establishing a true one-rep max may not be something you’re completely comfortable. That said, as long as you can perform the Clean and Jerk safely, be prepared with weights to potentially PR your lift! It’s counterintuitive for many of us to imagine being able to PR when we’re tired, but I’ll tell you what… it happens!!

Alright, folks. It’s time to get out there and have some fun! As always, I would love to hear your own thoughts before and after the workout, and please tell me how you do. Any other questions, let me know!

 

#TheOpenIsUponUs. Now go crush this first workout!

Moment of Awesomeness: 7/2/14

Posted: July 2, 2014 in CrossFit

I love motivational videos, and watching people doing awesome things.
So…. I’ll just leave this over here….

 

Made this video mostly for my little brother, as we’re working together to be better about meal planning in advance.

Here’s what I was able to cook up with a $128 tab at “Whole Paycheck”.

What do you think of this video, guys?

Moment of Awesomeness: 4/7/14

Posted: April 7, 2014 in CrossFit

It’s Monday, and it’s time to share a feel-good moment with the world.

In this video (that circulated around the Facebooks last week), a server named Chelsea is surprised by her coworkers and friends with some pretty awesome gifts.

I’ve never “Pranked it Forward”, but this would be awesome to do for someone!

Next, my buddy Rj Smith IV sent me this video to share with you guys. I’ve seen this video before (heck, maybe even shared it under a different name before), but any compilations like this get me all fired up. As some of the these videos say in their title… “People are awesome!”

THE OPEN IS HERE!!

Here are my initial thoughts on workout 14.1, which is a repeat of the first ever Open workout, 11.1.

14.1

What do you think of my advice? Let’s talk.

One of my friends owns the CrossFit gym, Glenwood Springs CrossFit. This post he made yesterday really rang true to me as an athlete, and a coach, and I wanted to share it with you guys.

The post is called “The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy“, and discusses a concept that I LOVE to preach often. Frequently, as a coach, we’ll hear athletes say negative things. Believing in yourself and being positive is so important, and we should all practice more of it!

I have a few “canned responses” that a lot of people know I say… and I’m sure they love hearing it every time. Here’s two examples:

1:

Athlete- “I can’t do that!”

Me- “Not with that attitude, you can’t!”

2:

Athlete- “I HATE burpees!”
Me- “What was that?”
Athlete- (usually after an eye roll and sigh of frustration) “I mean, I’m excited to have the opportunity to improve my burpees.”

EyeRoll

(image courtesy of crushable.com)

The point of the post is this, as humans, we have the ability to CHOOSE how we approach, and react to, what life gives us. If you remember this little guy in the video below, he probably has the greatest attitude of any person ever. Imagine if we ALL approached every situation with this attitude. We’d be unstoppable!

So, read the article, figure out if you’re one of those people who walks into the gym (or any other place in life, for that matter) with a negative attitude like Debbie Downer…

DebbieDowner

and if you are…… STOP BEING THAT PERSON.

My challenge to you is to take ONE DAY next week, and approach absolutely everything that life gives you with a positive attitude. One day.

Try it, and let me know how it goes. My prediction, you, and everyone around you will be happier. And who doesn’t want that!?

(Author’s note: In the interest of full discolure, as an athlete, I’m working on this very concept, myself. But I’m getting better!)

Happy Thursday!

The post again: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Well, we tried, guys. Thanks for coming out!

Yes, I am one of those CrossFit athletes who has had a serious mancrush on Dmitry Klokov for some time. However, a 418lb. (190kg) THRUSTER!?!
Get out of town.