17.5 – Thrusters and Double unders?

Tonight the final workout of the 2017 CrossFit Games Open is announced. Thus far the workouts have been as grueling as expected. Dave Castro posted a clue to 17.5 earlier in the week.

17.5 clue

Social media was alive with guesses and predictions. Dead meat came up a few times. A knife thrust through under-cooked meat. A Ka-Bar knife. Thrusters, double unders, bar muscle up (again!). There are some movements that have been repeated every year since the start of the Open. Two of those have not been in any of the workouts yet – thrusters and double unders.

thruster

I have a tough history with both movements. In last month or two, I’ve become more comfortable with double unders but given how I’ve struggled I don’t take this comfort for granted. I still practice regularly and was happy to have them programmed in our WOD yesterday. I should manage if they do appear in 17.5. Thrusters have been my Kryptonite since I first started CrossFit. My form has certainly improved but I still find a 95lb weight rather heavy for the movement. The fear I have is that we’ll end up having 50lb dumbbell thrusters. I tried these earlier in the week and wasn’t able to complete even a single rep. Anyway, this had me scouring the interweb for some tips and tricks. I found this article on Boxlife Magazine’s website which had some good insight. If you’re uncertain about thrusters as well, have a look. There’s also a link to a demo video of Jason Khalipa doing thrusters. Hopefully these are useful.

I’m excited about tonight’s announcement. Castro may yet surprise us with a completely unexpected workout. Looking forward to the final one of this season. Good luck everyone.

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Row, row, row your rowing machine

IWC rower

Since there were only 3 people in the class today we were given a choice: the pacer test/beep test or rowing. We chose the row and ended up having to do 5000m on resistance setting 6. Before this morning, the longest distance I’d completed on the rowing machine was 3000m so this was going to be a challenge. Our coach said we should aim to finish in around 18 minutes. My pace for 3000m put me closer to 20 minutes.

Before we started he gave us some useful tips:

  1. The start of the row should be like a seated deadlift – keep the arms straight and push back with the legs.
  2. Once the legs are nearly fully extended, lean back slightly and pull the arms towards the chest to complete the pull.
  3. The recovery is the same motion in reverse.
  4. Make sure you don’t hunch your back during the stroke – engage your core to prevent this from occurring.

The first 3000m were not too bad. I stayed on a 4min per km pace. After that it became patchy. Some stretches were good, others not so much. I finished in 20 min 30 sec. So now I have another benchmark to beat.

We finished the class with the following:

WOD 16.2.18

I didn’t use the Rx weight for the thrusters. I bailed on that and went with 75#. By the end I was flat on the floor – exhausted and drenched in sweat. Just another day in the box :-).

Saturday Suffering and Monday Moaning

WOD 16.2.13

Saturday’s Partner WOD

Saturday morning at I WILL CROSSFIT is always fun. For a given value of fun.

Coach Matt has us doing partner or team WODs. This Saturday we had a workout titled “Strung-out, Backwards, Upside Down, Fran.”  It was a tough one for me. Up until Saturday, I’d not been able to do Thrusters at 95 pounds, so I started the workout feeling rather nervous. My partner, Steve L., and I decided to split the reps and also to do 10 at a time.

After the 1 mile run, Steve made quick work of the first 10 Thrusters. I approached the bar with a boat load of trepidation. But Steve kept telling me I could do it. I reached down, raised the bar to my shoulder and went into the squat. Braced myself for a split second and pushed up. Transition into the press. I did it! I almost dropped the bar with excitement because I seriously didn’t expect I’d be able to manage. I calmed myself quickly though, there were still 59 more Thruster reps and 60 more pull-ups to complete before the workout was done. All-in-all, happy day for me. I was an exhausted puddle of sweat at the end but I feel a bit more comfortable about the Open now because 95 pound Thrusters are inevitable. Thanks for the encouragement Steve!

1601_CFG_Open_Badge_Blank_SML_0

Monday morning and the alarm goes off at 4:45am. Aaarggghhh. Already! Nooooo! I was still sore from Saturday. My quads, my abs, my lats, my shoulders. Actually, my whole body. I got ready anyway. The Open is less than two weeks away and I need all the training I can get. We always start our warm-ups with a jog up and down the gym track. This takes us by the WOD board and we all try and sneak a peek at what new torture awaits us. Today it was going to be a bunch of Clean and Jerks.

Cue further trepidation. My Clean technique is rather dirty. It needs a lot of work. I had maxed out at 145 pounds when we did baseline testing at the beginning of the year. At 155, I couldn’t get out of the squat. I was just stuck and ended up having to drop the weight.

WOD 16.2.15

Monday’s WOD

I started out conservatively – just the 45 pound bar for the first 6 reps – and focused on technique. It still sucked. I’m still working on the bouncing the weight off my hips on the way up. I lose power and momentum in that part of the lift. For the 5 reps I added another 20 pounds to the bar. Still manageable despite my fledgling abilities. Coach Matt pointed out that I could be more explosive on my split jerk as well. For the second set of 5 reps I added another 20 pounds (I’m more used to kilograms since I’m from South Africa, but with pounds it always seems like so much more, so I’m happy to report in pounds 🙂 ). Another 20 for 3 reps – still ok. For the first set of 2 reps I went up to 135 pounds. Pretty close to my 1 rep maximum of 145. I managed both reps but it was definitely more of an effort now. I took a bit of a longer break this time after loading the bar with a further 20 pounds. 155! If I lifted this, it would be a clean PR!

The other crossfitters all paused their lifting to watch and all shouted out various words of encouragement. I approached the bar. Set myself. And went for it. I got the bar onto my shoulders and went down into the squat. Here’s where I lost it last time. I gathered myself and lifted. And made it! Yay!!!! A clean PR!!! I still had the jerk to do and just about managed to get under the bar and lock out my arms.

A good day for PR’s. Steve S. also managed to improve on his clean max.

I only managed 3 rounds of the METCON but a good couple of days in the crossfit box for me. Still lots of work but I’m seeing the improvements thanks to brilliant coaching from Matt.

I’ve started cycling again. So look out for some updates in that arena soon.

Until next time. Thanks for reading and keep making a ruckus!