Several updates have been made to this post today, Thursday, 6/19. Specifically, we’ve included a section RE: Strategy Tips for each WOD. Even if you’re a seasoned competitor, it might be helpful for you to review the Strategy Tips as you develop your team’s strategy, as there might be elements that you’ve overlooked.

We’ve also included a word document (AVAILABLE BY CLICKING HERE: Team Goals – 2014 Ranch Wars) your team can use to help draft their strategy. Ideally, we’d like to have one of these sheets per team; if your team is comfortable with their strategy, and isn’t looking for coaching assistance during the event, you don’t need to fill one of these out. We won’t be offended, and we’ll still cheer for you (loudly). If, however, you do have specific things you want help with or want us to see, we ask you to please fill these forms out, as they help us – your coaches – manage our workload throughout the day.

Finally, you still have the following homework assignments:

 1.) HYDRATE. Begin hydrating today. It’s going to be HOT down there – you should all be doing your best to try to drink a gallon of water each day for the next 2 days.

2.) PREPARE. Don’t leave it to the last minute to stock up on the supplies you’ll need during the day on Saturday. Here’s a link to the post we wrote for the Vermonster this past summer – take a look to remind yourselves. Conveniently, Healthy Living has everything you’ll need. Tomorrow is also supplement day at Healthy Living, so if you’re looking to get some recovery mix but missed the order window, you can save 25% on SFH. It also might be a good idea to pick-up some Fish-Oil while you’re at it.

3.) STRATEGIZE. As discussed above, we’d love to have a specific idea as to each athletes goals prior to the event. Each Team that’s interested should forward Coach Tyler or Coach Meghan a Goals Sheet that contains the following information, ideally by tomorrow PM:

  • Team Goals for the Event;
  • Team Strategy for each event (rep count split, order that you’ll plan to move in, who will push/pull the sled, and why, etc.);
  • Contingency plans. What you’ll do if something goes wrong with one of your plans;
  • Any fears each athlete has. I know this is a tricky one, in that some of you may not be comfortable sharing this information with your teammates, but it is something you HAVE to do. This is a TEAM event: communication is ESSENTIAL to your success. If you don’t have an understanding of the things you’re all afraid of, there’s no way that you’ll be able to work together to address them.

Again, if you’d like this feedback, please forward this information in one document or email / team to Coach Tyler or Meghan before tomorrow PM.

4.) DON’T FORGET: A lot of folks forget to bring these items.

  • Sunscreen. Ask Katie H.
  • Chairs or blanket.
  • Foam roller. if you have your own, label it with your name and bring it.
  • IF YOU HAVE CLEATS OF ANY TYPE, BRING THEM. They will help immensely for the pulling events. Even if you don’t want to wear them, someone else on our team might.

That’s it for now. See you all in the AM!!!


Point #1. Transitioning between partners will slow you down. When you’re coming up with your plan for when you’ll transition back and forth between one another, try to do so in a way that will minimize the total number of switches that you need to make, and will maximize the time you’ll spend doing work. That said, you shouldn’t minimize the number of transitions you make on an exercise by asking one partner to do more work than they reasonably should…which brings us to point #2.

Point #2. Don’t split the work even-steven between the two of you. Split the work according to your relative strengths. When you’re working on the exercise that’s your strength, your job is to accumulate as many reps as you can, as quickly as you can. When you’re working on the exercise that’s your weakness,  your job is to give your partner as much rest as you can, without slowing down too much, or burying yourself too deep so that you can’t perform when it’s your time to shine. Example: In the Thruster / Box-Jump / C & J wod, almost every one of our teams has one partner that’s better at box-jumps, and one that’s better with the barbell. So rather than splitting the reps evenly, have the partner who’s better with the barbell do more thrusters and C & J’s, and vice versa. How many more? Let’s move to point #3.

Point #3. I’m not a big fan of adhering to strict rep-count splits. It’s a good idea to have a plan, and a set idea as to how many reps you plan to do before you switch, but it’s also important to recognize that things can change in the heat of battle. Sometimes, things might go better than you’d planned…and sometimes they might not. Rather than solely fixating on your rep-counts, also pay attention to the speed at which each of you is doing work. As soon as one of you can’t keep your target pace, it’s time to switch.


WOD #1: SLEDS AND EGGS: Each exercise has it’s own set of challenges, so we’ll address each movement in kind:

  1. Sled Pull.
    1. When you get to the event, incorporate this into your warm-up to test your strategy. Make sure it works, and that you’re both comfortable with it.
    2. Generally speaking, the SHORTER partner should push the sled, while the TALLER partner pulls the sled. All things being equal: the faster runner should pull, and the other partner should push.
    3. Momentum is everything with a sled pull/push. The person pushing the sled has the job of CREATING FORWARD momentum, while the person pulling the sled has the job of PRESERVING IT. Along these lines, remember the following:

i.     PERSON PULLING: Never, EVER let the line get slack. You need to be moving your feet as quickly as possible as to ensure that you’re always able to account for any increase in speed that your partner is able to generate. Accordingly, don’t make each step as powerful as possible. Instead, just lean into the rope, and try to take as many past steps as you can during each pass.

ii.     PERSON PUSHING: You’re not concerned with horsepower so much as you are torque. You don’t need to move your feet that fast, but every step you take REALLY needs to get that sled going. You’re like a diesel engine in that regard – your top speed might not be great, but you can generate a TON of power off of the line.

  1. At the turnaround,  you’re better off trying to make a wide turn than you are going straight, stopping, rotating the sled 180 degrees, and then re-starting. This will result in you taking a slightly longer running route (instead of running in one straight line down the 50m, and one straight line back, you’ll run in more of a tear-drop shape), but it will also ensure that you never lose your momentum – you’ll always be moving forward. The course layout may prevent you from doing this, but if you can take this approach, you should.

i.     HOW TO MAKE THE WIDE TURN: If the course layout allows for a wide turn, the person pulling the sled should ot go straight down the lane to the other end, but should go at a slight angle. Just before they cross the 50m line, they should start slowly cutting back towards the middle of the lane. By the time the slaed crosses the line, the person pulling the sled should be halfway turned around; when the sled crosses the line at the 1/2way point, the person pulling should cut aggressively back in the direction they came from. This cut should be made in a way that keeps tension on the line – this will help turn the sled around. Person PUSHING THE SLED – as soon as you cross the line, and the puller begins his/her cut, you should PULL on the sled with the arm that’s in the direction of the turn, and PUSH on the sled with the arm that’s opposite the direction of the turn. EXAMPLE: if your partner is turning right, pull the sled with your right arm, and push with sled with your left. This will help the puller rotate the sled, and tighten the turn radius.

ii.     HOW TO TURN WITH A DOWN AND BACK: As the PUSHING partner gets close to the line, they should call to their partner and tell them to ‘get ready’ to reverse. At this point, the puller’s focus should be less on pulling hard, and more on getting back to help with the turn. As soon as the sled crosses the line, the rear partner need to call out “GO!”, and the front (pulling partner needs to immediately reverse directions while still holding on to the rope with one hand. This part is critical – dropping the rope can cost the team a LOT of time. At this point, the sled may stop moving forward – this is ok. The puller will help turn the sled by using their free hand to grab the rope at a point that’s much closer to the sled, and skid-pulling the ‘front’ of the sled around, while the pusher will ‘skid’ the sled around by pulling with the arm that’s in the direction of the turn, and pushing with the arm opposing the direction of the turn. Once the sled is close to getting skidded around, the puller should drop the rope close to the sled, and sprint back toward the start line to get tension back on the rope as quickly as possible.

  1. COMMUNICATION IS KEY: as soon as the sled crosses the line, the person pushing it needs to say so, so that the person pulling the sled can start their cut.
  2. Stone Throw:
    1. Minimizing the number of transitions is key here. If possible, you want to keep the number of transitions between partners to 1 per set of 10. Obviously, this strategy can (and should) change if one partner REALLY starts to slow down, but it’s a good goal to shoot for.
    2. Try to arrange your transitions so that the person who’s more comfortable with the atlas stone does the last rep. They should be the one carrying it across the field; if they do the last rep, it they’ll be able to just start walking with it as soon as it goes up.
    3. When walking with the stone, take short steps, and keep your midline TIGHT. This will help give the stone a foundation to rest on, and will save you energy as you move down the field.
    4. There’re two reasons why you’d drop the stone during the walk:

i.     If you’ve lost your balance, and done so accidentally: Make sure you tell your partner. Their instinct will be to jump in and help, because they think you’re struggling. This will just slow you both down. If you drop it for a sec., but are still good to continue with it down the field, IF you drop the stone during the walk, call out “GOT IT!!” as loudly as you can so your partner knows how to proceed.

ii.     If you drop the stone because you’re gassed, and need a break, holler “HELP,” and immediately step out of the way for 2nd partner to assist.

  1. Provided that everything has gone according to plan, the 2nd partner (less skilled with stones) should immediately resume working once the first partner drops the stone after the carry.
  2. IF YOU DROP THE STONE DURING THE WALK, DON’T PANIC. The stronger partner with the stone should not start the stones, but rather should go 2nd. This’ll give the partner who carried the stones the opportunity to get a quick rest after they cross the line.


WOD #2: Cow-Tipper Chipper: The information given in the General Considerations section above most applies to this workout, so this section will be brief.

  1. On the Thrusters:
    1. Don’t bury yourself. If your HR gets too high doing Thrusters, you will NOT be able to get it back down later. This’ll slow you down in the box-jumps, and REALLY slow you down during the C&J. Find a steady, manageable pace; if you start to fall off of it, holler to your partner to get ready, do one more rep, then drop the bar for a switch.
    2. Keep the MIDLINE BRACED. This will ensure that the momentum you generate with your hips and legs moves the bar up, and will save your shoulders for when you’ll need them (in the C&J). DON’T LET YOUR BACK ARCH.
    3. Keep the barbell moving. If your plan RE: rep count falls apart, that’s ok – just keep moving forward in the rep count. As soon as you see your partner start to slow down, holler at them to switch with you.
    4. On the Box Jump Overs:
      1. Treat them as you would a box-jump at the gym, in that you should think of the movement as starting on top of the box, and then “bounce” from the top of the box to the ground and back up.
      2. Always complete your turn on top of the box;
      3. We’ll see if the judges allow step-overs (where you don’t touch the box at all). If they do, and you have one partner with legs long enough to do the movement (Matt Chew), then they should do the work this way. Otherwise, do them as described above.
      4. DO NOT JUMP OVER THE BOX AND TURN AROUND ON THE OTHER SIDE. This takes WAY too long, and will gas your calves for the other workouts where you’ll need them.
      5. Clean and Jerk:
        1. DON’T RUSH THE BAR OFF OF THE GROUND. Keep the hips low, chest high, and bar close; don’t accelerate the bar until it gets to the bottom of the pocket.
        2. Pull yourself under the bar on the clean. Athletes who do this will have faster elbows (which will result in faster lifts), and will be better set-up for the jerk.
        3. Don’t Push-Press – Push-Jerk. It’s 95% as fast, and it will allow you to work longer without a break. This’ll minimize transition time, which will in-turn reduce your overall time.


WOD’s #3&4: Sandbag Carry / Tractor Pulls: We’ll have to evaluate this one based on the obstacles (Sandbags), and the configuration of the tractor (Tractor Pull) so we won’t be able to strategize much until we arrive. That said, here’re something to keep in mind as you plan:

  1. The order for the Sandbag Runners should be slower operator (not the slower runner, but rather the one who will struggle more with this WOD more) for each gender should go FIRST, and the faster operator SECOND.
  2. In our experience, sandbag runs are almost always faster when the bag is balanced across both shoulders, provided you don’t let the bag interfere with your hip rotation;
  3. Keep your feet in front of you when you are running. If your feet spend too much time behind you, you’ll have to ‘push’ with your calves and toes a lot more with every step you take, which could in turn gas you for the Tractor Pull / Eggs and Sleds events;