Monday, March 18, 2013

Open 13.2, Gaming for the sake of the Games!

I truly have fallen in love with the Open season in CrossFit. It's not because I am in the running to go to the games and it's not because I am avidly following the elite crossfitters of the world and tracking their scores minute by minute. It's because I get to compete with and cheer on my fellow athletes. It's because we get to sit in our plastic chairs at the box and discuss gaming the WOD and how to get as many reps as possible. I love cheering on my friends and fellow athletes! I love the look of determination in their eyes during the WOD and the slightest look of thanks and a fist bump when their done.

When 13.2 was announced; a 10 minute AMRAP of 5 shoulder-to-overhead (115#/75#), 10 deadlift (115#/75#) & 15 box jumps (24/20), I immediately thought about gaming the WOD. Worried about stringing together the shoulder-to-overhead movement, I never really gave thought to the box jumps. I considered that they'd be slower since the box jump takes a little more concentration for me. I calculated, after watching a few videos, that my quads would be smoked. I began to game the transition between the push presses, jerks and strict presses. I ruled out the jerks as I tend to split those and that would have destroyed my time even more. I decided that since 115# isn't all that heavy, that if my quads needed a break, strict press would be my relief. Still, never even considered the box jumps....

13.2 version 1...........

I had two goals for 13.2. First, never put the bar down. Second, more than 200 reps. I felt that was attainable! 3-2-1 go! I succeeded in my first goal of never dropping the bar.  That part was easy! What I found difficult was getting any kind of rhythm and speed on the box. I noticed that those around me were transitioning much faster than I was. Not to mention how gassed I was from the jumps and step offs. As the time counted down, I began timing myself on the jumps and realized that most of my jumps were nearly 10 seconds per jump! SLOW!

After the time expired, I saw my lowly score.....164. Wow!!

While I judged the next athlete, I purposely aligned myself so I could watch another adaptive crossfitter, Matt Ramsey, do his WOD. He chose to primarily do step ups over jumps. As I graded and watched Matt in the background, I noticed that he was able to do step ups 3:1 to my box jumps. He also slowed dramatically when he opted to jump.

13.2 version 2............ I decide to give it another go.......

I decided to give 13.2 another shot. Not simply because I wasn't satisfied with my score. But also because I wanted to test myself on step ups and see just how much faster it was. While I timed Matt's step ups, we're different athletes and I wanted to see if I could keep pace with his first score.

Another 3-2-1 go, and I was pushing and deadlifting away. When I got to the step ups, I found a rhythm. I found some speed. I also discovered something very interesting. Being a left below-knee amputee, I found it interesting that I was faster and stronger stepping up on my left foot. Maybe a little quad fatigue!? Maybe I was developing a lot more push and power with the bar on the right and the left felt it's contribution would be in the step ups. I'm not sure.....

I know I felt better though and gamed the movements for what was appropriate to me. During the last round, my quads were a little cooked. I chose to strict press the bar for the last 5 rounds. It saved my legs a little for the final deadlifts.

The difference...... 222 reps. A 58 rep increase!

I've heard a number of other adaptive athletes comment on their adaptations of 13.2. The general consensus was that the step ups were a life saver for the majority of us! Maybe something to consider when CrossFit develops adaptive standards for competition WODs.....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

CrossFit Open 13.1 WOD; What Did You Learn?

So, to break from the norm of the past two years, CrossFit HQ and Dave Castro cast aside the 7 minutes of burpees and decided to throw a little curve ball in the game. By combining WODs 12.1 and 12.2 from last year's open, they created a beast of a WOD that was sure to test folks! I know it incorporated the one Olympic lift I am very, VERY shaky at........snatches.

135# Snatches during 13.1.
Having decided to use the open as a measuring stick and to identify my weaknesses, it seems that I would be doing so immediately out the gate on this one. The WOD was as follows:

Men's Standards:
Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees
75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
135 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
165 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 burpees
210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

In last year's Open WODs 12.1 (7 minutes of burpees) and 12.2 (the snatch ladder incorporated above) I completed 69 burpees and then 36 reps in the snatch ladder. This year, I completed 108 reps. That is an increase of 2 reps in the snatch but considering I completed 70 burpees in the mix as well, I'll call it a win. While not the best score, by far, I am proud of being able to muscle through it.

Muscle through it....... That's where I learned the most. One of my fellow coaches and amputees, Matt Ramsey completed 150 reps. Beast! As I sat back and analyzed his performance, I came to a very stern realization. My strength far exceeds my form and mechanics in the snatch. While Matt's snatches actually resembled snatches, mine were closer to a snatch grip shoulder press. I know I'm strong, now it's time to get efficient. 

I'm not one for waiting to start challenging myself so directly on the heels of 13.1, I joined the CrossFit Rubicon Barbell Club in order to get better. But there's much more to the progression of learning and improving. Listen to your coaches. Practice the movements. But most of all, NEVER sacrifice form! So many of us hear 3-2-1 Go, and just shit on our form to get the most reps. It takes a bigger man to slow down and do it right, to demand more of yourself, than to plow through the movements in order to get the highest score. After all, this is training. Not testing!

Now to further improve myself and test myself with 13.2.