Mad Skillz

Although I know better, if the WOD doesn’t look crazytown – say, lots of reps or murderous running+barbell rounds – I sometimes think, deep inside, where the monsters sit in easy chairs, smoking cigars and eating pepperoni pizza, that the workout won’t be hard enough.

THAT kind of thinking is what’s crazytown.

This morning and Monday, Coach Wes prescribed skills work, and you know what? It kicked my butt and taught me some stuff. And isn’t that what makes a great WOD?!

Monday WOD

snatch practice

3 rounds:
2 snatch –  45#, 55#, 60# (1) – rest 2:00
:30 static ring pushup hold – rest :30
:30 hollow hold – rest :30

3 rounds:
8 frankenstein squat @4022, 60# – rest :30
8 supermans @4022 – rest :10
:60 tic tacs – rest :10
:30/side plank holds – rest :30

A few cool things about that workout:

1. I failed. Big time.
My snatch PR has been 55# for, like, forever. I can overhead squat at least 80#, and my clean is at 90#, but with the snatch, I get scared, just hesitant enough to hold me back. On Monday, I decided that I was going to snatch 60#. I committed to that idea. We were supposed to do two reps. I got the first one off the floor and overhead. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it. Mildly encouraged, I went for the second one… and landed right on my ass. It was fantastic. Because I finally, FINALLY, FINALLY tried hard enough to really fail. I was ecstatic. I almost can’t wait to try and fail again.

2. I did weighted Frankenstein squats.
If you’re been reading for a while, you know I have a somewhat twisted adoration for front squats. But before Monday, I’d never tried frankenstein squats with weight. Holy schmoly, that was fun! And the temp0 – lower for 4 count, 0 at the bottom, stand for 2 count, hold at the top for 2 count – was some cold-hearted sh*t. Brilliant.

3. I chose poorly.
Back in my bootcamp days, we regularly did tic tacs – sit on the ground, hold a medicine ball, contract core, and twist torso, tapping the ball on the ground on each side. We’d do, say, 20 reps and take a break. I always used a 10-lb. ball. So when tic tacs showed up  in the WOD, (a) I was excited; they’re fun; and (b) I grabbed a 10-lb. ball, ’cause that’s what I use. Except a minute is really, really long. After the first round, I very seriously considered getting a lighter medicine ball.

Can you believe that?! For a few seconds, I thought about giving up. Then I decided that was stupid. I mean, I was DOING the tic tacs, they just weren’t fun. You know what WAS fun? Knowing at the end that I stuck to my guns and muscled that ball back and forth.

Wednesday WOD

4 rounds:
250m row @ 60%  – rest :30
35-30-25-20 unbroken double-unders (3 attempts each set) – rest :30
11 seated DB press, 20# DBs  – rest :30

4 rounds:
15 Russian KB swing, 16kg – rest :30
8 band pull-throughs  – rest :30
:30 parallettes tuck hold  – rest :30

A few cool things about that workout:

1. I set a new double-under PR.
My best string of double-unders before today was 22. And I haven’t matched it in a few weeks, which makes me pout. When I do singles, my feet stay nice and close to the ground, and they’re practically in front of my body… kind of like the “hollow hold” position. But when I was doing double-unders, I was doing a “donkey kick” – bending my knees and kicking my feet behind me on the jump. Today, Coach Blake advised me to keep my feet/legs together, with knees pretty straight, and to hop on the balls of my feet, trying to see the tips of my toes almost in front of me on every hop. It made a HUGE difference, and I got a new unbroken DU PR! 32 in a row! Now I’ve got my sight set on 50. (And a big shout-out to my friends Erika and Jenny for conquering double-unders today. Well-done, ladies!)

I pretty much suck at the gymnastics stuff we do around the gym. But in a complete reversal of my old attitude, I now la-la-love trying all the stuff I can’t do. Playing on the parallettes is among my favorite “can’t really do it; love it anyway” activities. I don’t do too badly on the tuck holds; I’ve got a respectable 30-second hold in me most days. And today, Coach Blake offered to assist on L-sits, so for 30 seconds, I almost got to feel what it will be like when I can do an L-sit on my own. It’s gonna be a while, but man! parallettes are like superhero catnip.



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  • You fell?!? You fell and I missed it!! Darn jury duty! That is awesome. And I knew you were out there burning thru those double unders. I can’t wait to find my rhythm and get two in a row.

    The paralettes were something different for me. It helped to use Senators elevated set because it gave me more room. My pike is not tight enough. I’ll get there. Your L was lovely.

    • Mel says:

      Ahem. My L was very well assisted. I tried one without Blake’s helping hands and my legs were nowhere near straight. Good, clean fun, though.

  • Jeanye says:

    Good job on the DU PR. I got 24 this week! 🙂

  • Walker says:

    I am SO proud of you for going big! (and, falling down:) I figure if you don’t bust your butt on a lift at least once, you aren’t really trying, ha. And remember, there is a reason we put up that wood behind the oly platforms (to hide all the holes!)

  • Matt F says:

    I’m totally going to try that DU tip. Finally found a rope I like now it’s on!

    I’m not a fire breather but I okay one in my mind.

  • Melissa M says:

    I love your positive attitude! And I really appreciate you sharing when things don’t go as you plan or when you fall on your butt – keeping it real and sharing your failures as well as successes helps me relate!

    I am having a mental hangup about WODs lately and was hoping you could give me some advice… can I email you and ask you a few questions?

  • Robyn F says:

    I cant even jump rope, let alone do a double under. I have been practicing jumping, but for some reason I have mental blocks and have to do sissy girly jumping! One foot at a time. I NEED to learn how to jump both feet at a time. Any suggestions???

  • YAY DU PR! I love that you love trying the stuff you can’t do. I train at home and pick my own WODs…so a lot of times I choose things I know I’m “good” at slash I like doing.

    I’m trying to get better at loving the trying the stuff I can’t do. You’re an inspiration, my friend.

    • Mel says:

      I feel like I’m cheating because I TOTALLY wouldn’t do most of the stuff if I wasn’t in class. And I have to say, CrossFit Austin does an excellent job of creating an environment where it’s not only OK to try and fail, it’s kind of celebrated. I really think that’s why my cleans have gotten better and I can finally do a handstand… they made me feel like it was OK to not know how to do it… and then they taught me how. So nice.

      Thanks for your kind words!