I Sentence You To: Burpees

I’ve had two really excellent workout days back-to-back, and I’m on day four of 100% clean eating, and I’m feeling like about a billion bucks. Although, I have been punished with the burpee torture.

CrossFit Austin has a nifty system: Say the words “I can’t” in the gym and pay a fine of 10 burpees. Run late for class and cough up three burpees for every minute you’re tardy. I managed to earn both reprimands this week. It’s a bad behavior PR!

Tuesday, July 13
a.k.a., the ring dip day

Our workout:
5 sets:
5 snatch grip 3-position deadlifts
rest :20
5 ring dips (3 second hold, then lower for 3)
rest :60


7 rounds:
5 jumping chinups
15 unbroken box jumps
rest :30

I did not make this photo. It came from CrossFit London UK. (truth)

Why I owed the burpee bank:
I said “I can’t” while attempting ring dips. 10 burpee penalty.

How I did on the workout:
This was a workout of things that I’m not very good at yet. The only thing on the list that makes me feel confident is box jumps. Snatch grip deadlift makes me whine. (“Hook grip hurts! [pout])… referring to what I do on the rings as a “ring dip” is just insulting to a real ring dip… and while I can, on occasion, complete one deadhang chinup from a box, to do more than one, I need to jump first.

But rather than feeling discouraged by all of that, I’m enjoying being in learning mode again. Can I get a hell, yeah for failing as succeeding?!

To scale the ring dips, Wes had me jump into a 3-second hold, then lower slowly. The problem was that instead of bending my elbows to lower myself, I was just moving my hands away from my body and letting myself whump to the floor. At one point, Wes pinned my arms to my sides and said, “OK. Bend your elbows.”

I was, like, “Elbows? Where are my elbows?”

Totally disconnected from my body for a few seconds… but then I got it. And it was HARD. I’m not at the point yet where I can press OUT of the bottom of the dip, but I did get the hang of slowly lowering myself.

Win! Except for the previously mentioned punishment.

Before I even realized I was going to say it, I said, “I can’t” about bending my elbows. Ten burpees.

And now a story about unbroken box jumps:

They are really hard.

The end.

Wednesday, July 14
a.k.a., the double-under day

Our workout:
3 sets:
12 split squats (3 seconds down, 1 second up), 10# DBs
rest :30
powell raises (3 seconds down, 1 second up) to failure
rest 2:00
*yse same DB weight on both moves


4 rounds:
25 double-unders (scale: 3 attempts at double-unders then 100 singles)
15 burpees
rest :90

Yeah, I didn’t make this photo, either.

Why I owed the burpee bank:
I was two minutes late for class. 6 burpee penalty.

How I did on the workout:
I’ve talked about my experience with double-unders before (here and here and here). I’ve been known to string a few together, but before today I wouldn’t have said with confidence, I have double-unders.

From now on I will.

Full-disclosure: Tristy taught us a drill to help with our double-unders. The entire time she was explaining it, I was thinking to myself, That’s never going to work. I know how to do double-unders I just can’t do them. This drill is never going to work.

I continued to think it wasn’t going to work while I did the drill, and it worked. Literally, the rope was gliding under my feet, and I was still thinking, This isn’t going to work.

Shows you what I know.

Anyway. We had five minutes to practice, then we started the WOD. I did the first two rounds as RX’d. That means 25 double-unders each round! I had to do a single jumps in between them, and I tripped on the rope a lot, and lashed my ankles, and was breathing like a freakin’ freight train. I think I saw my heart burst out of my chest at one point, and I gasped in round two, “I think I’m going to have a heart attack.” But I did them. And Michael, how is a double-under master, gave me a high five in the MIDDLE of the workout. AWESOME!

On the last two rounds, we were allowed three attempts to get double-unders before we had to switch to singles. On those, I got about 11 or 12 double-unders before moving on to 80 singles.

So what’s the secret? I had to get violent. Unlike single jumps where the rope kind of takes on a nice easy swing of is own, with double-unders, the rope needs to be flicked violently and aggressively. Think of it as jump rope with purpose. The movement uses the entire body, even though it initiates in the wrist. It’s kind of like the difference between singing under your breath and really belting it out from the diaphragm.

Once I got kind of angry and put some muscle behind it, the double-unders made sense. They’re still very challenging, but now I can say, I’ve got double-unders.

If you want to be able to say you’ve got double-unders, try the trick that Tristy taught us. (Holy crap! That’s like an alliterative T tongue-twister!.. Try the trick that Tristy taught us! Try the trick that Tristy taught us!)

The drill:
Stand in ready-to-go position for jumping rope. Then swing the rope slowly until just before it hits your toes. When it’s just about there, flick your wrists really violently, jump up, and let the rope fly under your feet twice.

I know! It sounds like it’s not going to work. And trust me, it looked like it wasn’t going to work. But. it. did. CrossFit magic. For free. Right there.

Good luck!

And if you say “I can’t,” drop and give yourself 10 burpees.

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  • Anniebug, bugger or BUG. says:

    I got my ring dips in tip top shape by using a band to modify. I went from the blue to the purple one to the skinniest one and it was a tremendous help. You can also control the modification by how much slack you allow in the band. It's a great way to get them down! Try it sometime…I bet you'll be dipping in no time!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    I LOVE doing dips with the band. But the CrossFit Austin peeps are pretty firmly "no band" on dips because they prefer the jump+slow lower instead.

  • girlblake says:

    Way to rock those doubleunders! I'm totally going to try that drill to finally conquer them. It sounds like Crossfit Austin is giving you some awesome challenges, thanks for passing it along to the rest of us!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Their whole "unbroken reps" thing is also kicking my ass and TOTALLY awesome.

  • Aaron says:

    Hell yeah!! (for failing as succeeding)

    Seems like the change to CF Austin has done well for you. And keep that self-talk positive – it matters more than you think! Keep rocking Mel!