Posts Tagged ‘Breathe’

The final workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is finally here! Annnddddd… it’s a workout that has already been featured twice before in other years. Workout 18.5 is the same as workouts 11.6 and 12.5. As someone who has participated in every single year of this wonderful event, I’ve done this particular WOD four times already!

It’s an ascending ladder of Thrusters (100lbs for men and 65lbs for women) and Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups, with a 7 minute time cap.

18-5

 

Thursters

This is a weight that I would consider “CrossFit Medium” for most athletes. Sets of 10-15+ should be possible for a lot of people when they’re fresh, however I do not suggest doing that many in a row. As is the case with all workouts like this that increase in volume as fatigue also increases, the strategy is to pace appropriately right out of the starting gate.

There are very few athletes that I would suggest going past the round of 6 or 9 unbroken. Instead, intentionally break reps every 3 to 6 reps, take short rests, and continue on your way. If you watch Rich Froning when he’d do thrusters in a workout, a lot of people commented how he was moving too slow after the workout started. He’d drive up, pause at the top of the lockout for a split second to take a quick breath, then repeat. Nearly 100% of those same people were wrong when he maintained a comfortable pace from start to finish.

Completing the round of 9 reps in under a minute means nothing for how someone completes this workout. Instead, hold a slower and steady pace for five-and-a-half to six minutes, then turning it on at the end. If you’re crushed after minute 3… you’re going to have a bad time.

Control your breathing. Control your lockout. Don’t crash at the bottom of your reps. Make sure the bar doesn’t bounce all over the place when you drop it. The name of the game here is to be steady and consistent. This is not a sprint.

Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups

My advice for these is very similar to that of the thrusters. Having the physical ability to do large sets when you’re fresh doesn’t mean you should do that here. I’m going to suggest most people complete sets of 3-5 reps at a time from start to finish, with short rest between attempts.

Finding a lower bar which allows for a quick reset of the grip can also lead to conserving energy over the course of seven minutes. Before starting the workout and running out of gas, experiment with timing a few larger sets of pull-ups with longer rests, and comparing them with shorter sets with shorter rest; even if that means quick singles.

Please don’t rip your hands on this workout! Jumping up to a high bar for every set of pull-ups will not only keep your heart rate higher, it will also lead to more fatigue of your grip and shoulders. Breathe. Pace. Take more breaks than you want!

 

Scaled Version

The thruster weight is lighter and the movement is “easier” for the pull-ups. Please be aware that while this may sound great, it’s even more reason for you to slow down and control your heart rate. I would call this a 75% effort workout to most of my athletes. Find a pace where you can keep it moving, but not red line. If you pace this appropriately, you’ll get really far. If not, you’ll be staring at a bar that isn’t even heavy for you, unable to pick it up because of how tired you are. Pace. Breathe. Keep moving.

Throwback Thursday

Since I’ve been in the Open since year number one, I came across a few throwbacks that I wanted to share with all of you. First, here is a video of my first attempt at 11.6. Please note my technique (especially on rep #3 of the first set of thrusters) and my unbelievably smooth and consistent technique through the entire seven minutes. My advice is to watch this video… and do your best to mimic NONE of it. So funny!! We were just kids, then!

Then, I came across one of my first ever CF Open Games Strategy videos. Why am I not wearing a shirt, you ask? It’s because I had just finished the workout and just got home. What better time to record a strategy video, and then pack for a flight that left in six hours taking you out of town for the weekend. Just another throwback gem from the Smashby Training blog! You’re welcome.

It’s the FINAL WEEK of the 2018 Open! Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!

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It’s a new year, which means one thing: The 2018 CrossFit Games Open is coming!

It also means that Thirty-six people you know are “definitely going to make the CrossFit Games, bro!” Am I right? Of those thirty-six, at least four of them are going to start training this week, too.

Look, I’ve been doing CrossFit for nearly a DECADE (that’s a long time), and I’ve been a full-time CrossFit coach for over half of it. I get the opportunity to see the program help people improve their quality of life nearly every single day. So yes, you can call me a believer.

I’ve also been around the “Sport” of CrossFit for so long, that I’ve seen it grow from a BBQ with a few dozen friends at the Castro Ranch in Aromas to an internationally televised event with a prize purse of over two million dollars. That means I remember when the best athlete at your gym might have been the best athlete in the state, and when a 225 pound clean and jerk in a competition for a guy would leave spectators in awe! Now, there are hundreds (if not thousands?) of athletes worldwide who devote their lives to working out full-time. Some of them are former or current Olympians, some are internationally ranked in multiple disciplines, and many of them are on steroids and other performance enhancements. (That’s not speculation, it’s a proven fact.) What does that mean? Well, unfortunately it means that most (so…. 99.9999999%) of your friends and training partners who have full-time desk jobs, spouses, kids, and pets to take care of, and any kind of a social life are unlikely to make it to the next level. Sorry.

NOW, no part of that last paragraph is designed to insult or bash anyone, or dim the fire inside of those who devote months out of the year to constantly improving. In fact, over the last year, I’ve had the privilege of coaching multiple athletes who have actually competed at the CrossFit Games for multiple years! It’s incredible to watch the motivation, dedication, and performance output of these athletes and their training partners! Day in and day out I’m amazed at what they do. So it CAN be done, no doubt.

What this post does aims to do, is serve as a friendly reminder to nearly everybody else who is getting ready for the Open. For about 6 weeks each year, over a quarter of a million people sign up for, and compete in, this worldwide competition. I’ve seen PR Clean and Jerks, first-ever double-unders and muscle-ups, and countless other INCREDIBLE moments during the weeks we set aside to push that extra mile! In fact, it gives me goosebumps to recall some of those victories. What I’ve also seen, though, are people who become devastated when the results of a single workout don’t match where their expectations were set. I’ve seen people who trained hard for nine or more months look back on an entire year with regret for their overall ranking not being where they had hoped it would be when all was said and done. Worst of all, I’ve seen people push through injury and forget how important it is to let their bodies recover because it was more important to be able to write #NoRestDays at the end of their Instagram posts, and mean it.

At the end of the day, CrossFit is an activity that most people do to improve their health and hopefully have some fun along the way. When it becomes much more than that for some, this fun little fitness program can instead become the source of so much stress and anxiety. Can you see how that sounds a little silly?

My Call To Action for each of you is to try to keep it in all perspective.

Work hard. Find good coaching and fun training partners. Recover, eat well, and breathe. Repeat.

The 2018 Open is almost here. And if you play your cards right, it’s going to be a blast.

If you ever get caught up in things you can’t control, find yourself more unhappy than happy when thinking about this CrossFit thing, or are debating whether or not to do that workout for the 7th time in 4 days, remember what Will Ferrell’s tattoo said in the movie “The Internship” and relax. This is supposed to be FUN, after all!

Epic Win. Great video.

“BREATHE” from Paul Schneider on Vimeo.