Every year, I document my experience with every CrossFit Open Workout, including repeats, post mortems, etc. This year will be no exception. Consider yourself forewarned.
I enjoyed the announcement on Thursday evening with a bunch of friends from Reach Barbell Club. Since I do CrossFit for overall health and fitness, there are some moves I haven’t been committed to master. Every Open event typically includes at least one. This was no exception. I can’t do a pull-up to save my life.
The overhead lunges also looked very challenging to me. I can do overhead squats, and I can do front rack lunges (poorly), so my challenge was – can I do overhead lunges?
A bigger challenge than OH Lunges, was the clock – 20 minutes! I hate long AMRAPs.
Regardless of the WOD, my 2016 goal is simple: finish in the Top 50% of Masters Men 60+. I vividly remember being trashed and in tears because I couldn’t do a single movement in the Open (zero points).
With that said, I still want to do as much as possible Rx in the Open. So there will be times when I will do Rx, and times when I do Scaled because it’s the only way to get a point on the board.
So, my goal is to maximize my points as an Rx athlete. I have done front rack lunges with 75 pounds before. They suck, but I’ve done them. So I am assuming I may be able to do a 65 pound Overhead Lunge, IF I stay tight.
If so, I can get the first set of lunges, then burpees, then lunges. That would be 18 points. Now the fun begins.
Why do I say that? Because I am unable to do a pull-up. BUT, Masters is a Chin-up. I might be able to muster enough to get a chin-up or two. If I ever succeeded in getting all 8, I’d get another shot at lunges.
With that said, my personal prediction is for Men’s Masters 60+ for 18 point. With a miracle, liberally drenched in adrenaline, 18+ a Chin-up or two. Fact is, I expect to have 15 minutes to struggle to get 8 Chin-ups. If I’m able to pull it off, I get another shot at lunges.
This is a scenario that I can live with. Anything over 18 points is a celebration.
I did the 16.1 workout Friday evening with a couple dozen of my sweaty friends. For many it was a 20 minute suckfest.
For me, 16.1 was the most accurate forecast I’ve ever done for an Open workout. I was able to get the barbell overhead with ease. I opted for a shoulder width grip (more like a jerk grip, than a wide snatch grip). My intent was to remain stacked as vertically as possible.
My issue with lunges is balance. This is one area where I do put in some extra effort. Old men falling down can be a recipe for disaster. With a weighted barbell overhead, even more so. So balance would be the key factor that would determine whether I was going Rx or Scaled, not the weight.
I tried a few OH lunges during warmup. My knees hated the movement, and the hard rubber floor was painful. I borrowed some skanky knees sleeves and I was good to go. The knee sleeves provided a perfect amount of padding.
Merriam-Webster Definition of skanky
slang: repugnantly filthy or squalid
When the clock started I moved very deliberately. Long strides, with a vertical front leg. Wide stance for a rigid platform. Then rising back to a standing position, and onto the next lunge forward. Long legs were getting me five feet of progress, for every pair of lunges. But I was slow, steady and methodical, which worked very well for maintaining my balance. But the weighted bar was overhead for an extended period of time.
I had resolved to not put the bar down unless I simply crashed. I did not want to be set back five feet, and be forced to lift the bar again. So I maintained my slow pace and moved forward.
The first 25 feet went well. Then I did the requisite burpees and moved to take the bar overhead once again. My shoulders were growing loose. It was requiring much more effort to remain locked out and to force external rotation. My strides were suffering and my last five feet required another step to get over the line. My shoulders were smoked. I had my 18 points.
Now I had 15 minutes left to get my chin-ups. At 200 pounds and 65 years, one does not simply wish himself over the bar. I did get ONE during warmup. But that was prior to overhead lunges and burpees. So I spent 15 minutes, playing with various grips, strict pull-ups, kipping pull-ups and discussing whether my judge’s beer was Paleo or not.
So I had a 5 minute WOD and a 15 minute Pull-up workshop. My score was an amazing 18 Rx points.
I am vocal regarding my disdain for AMRAPs, however, that is hardly a factor here. My barrier to getting another round in this WOD, was a matter of strength training. Four years into CrossFit, and I continue to avoid overcoming the most elementary bodyweight exercise. Can I continue to use the excuse of age and weight? I could if I actually worked to improve, unsuccessfully. But the fact is I do not suffer to get strong in this domain, so I fail.
Rather than accepting failure, as a curse imposed upon me by the nature of aging. I am declaring my goal to perform strict pull-ups by the end of 2016. But a simple declaration won’t make it happen. However, a training progression will.
I do not need time at the gym for this. I have a squat rack with a pull-up bar in my garage. I have a barbell and sandbags so I can do rows to develop strength. I have no excuse other than my lack of willingness to commit to the process.
So there you have it. My prediction, my sparse results, my confession, and my commitment to train this weakness. I hope this inspires you to rise to your own challenge in the upcoming months.
Feel free to share this with fellow athletes who, like me, may be avoiding confronting a personal weakness head-on.