After both watching several athletes test this WOD and trying my had at it yesterday, I wanted to share with you all some of my observations/general experience in advance of our test day(s) tomorrow and Monday:

All of us need to carefully manage our metabolic output during this workout. If your heart rate gets too high too early, you’re toast, period, stop. This means that each of us needs to carefully manage our heart rate so that we don’t cross the point-of-no-return (PONR) too early in the workout. Because the weight is light, and because we’ve been regularly training/taxing pure anaerobic systems for a 2-3 minute time domain, I’m concerned that too many of us will be tempted to hit the WOD too hard too early, and will cross their PONR before the 5:00 mark. Those who do will be able to finish, but instead of keeping their pace throughout the whole 10:00, they’ll effectively slow down by as much as 60%. Each of us needs to work to keep our HR below 168-172* for at least the first two rounds / 2:40, and then slowly allow it to increase through the course of the WOD until the last 1:20 to 1:00. CrossFit Outlaw wrote a GREAT blog post yesterday that I think provides some good ideas as to how you can manage your HR in such a fashion that willl delay your inevitable HR spike while simultaneously ensuring that you don’t lose/waste time in between rounds. The original article is here; I’ve listed the points I most agree with below:

Thing #1: DON’T MUSCLE SNATCH. Even if you’re super strong, Muscle Snatches will gas you faster than power snatches. What’s worse, they’re not all that much faster at all (at MOST 1-2 seconds a round). For each Snatch, slow down the movement as necessary to ensure that you’re using the legs and hips to get the bar up, and that you’re not throwing it with your arms. This extra time will both help keep your HR lower early, and will save you alter in the game.

Thing #2: KEEP YOUR CHEST UP IN THE SNATCH. If you keep your chest too low when you start the snatch movement, three things will happen:

  1. the bar will move too far in front of you as it goes overhead. This will gas your shoulders more, as you’ll have to pull it back over you/muscle it into position;
  2. You will press more fro your toes and pull more from your back, both of which you’ll need to make sure that the double under gods stay on your side;
  3. You will not get as far as you should during the workout.

Taking a little bit of time to snatch properly not only helps reduce your overall fatigue during the WOD, but also it forces you to slow down JUST ENOUGH to delay the inevitable HR spike.

Thing #3: MANAGE YOUR JUMPROPE WHEN YOU’RE DONE WITH IT. It’s tempting to just drop your rope so you can move on to the snatches, but doing so is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Think about it – a tangled rope could cost you as much as 20 seconds in the workout. Given that a person with fast double-unders could complete all 30 double-unders in this time, it makes NO sense to risk a tangle during the WOD> slow down, put your rope down in a position that makes sense, then move on to the snatches.

Thing #4: BREAK BEFORE YOU HAVE TO. If you try to complete too many rounds of snatches unbroken out of some misplaced sense of pride, you won’t get very far during this workout. Break the snatches up a minimum of once, maximu of twice (for most of us) a round or two before you feel as though you absolutely have to. This will keep the HR lower longer, and will prevent you from getting a lactate burn in your grip or shoulders.

Some folks have asked about Snatching vs. C&J. In my experience, I don’t think it’s worth it to modify the movement UNLESS the prescribed weight is VERY difficult for you to Snatch. I arguably have the weakest shoulders in the gym for my bodyweight. I also don’t have impeccable Snatch technique.  I didn’t find that switching to the C&J did much of anything for me other than slow me down, and interrupt my rhythm. That said, One community member approached me yesterday to inform me that she plans to C&J most every rep, because the prescribed weight is effectively her 1RM for the snatch (appropriate given her training age and bodyweight). This is exactly what she – and anyone in the same boat – should be doing.

That’s all of it for now. Get some sleep, hydrate, massage out those calves, and sleep in your compression wear. Can’t wait to see you all in the AM – it’s going to be fun!!!

*This is a GROSS approximation. THere are one THOUSAND variables that could alter this by individual, but for those of us that have been regularly following the PERFORMANCE and RTG Program tracks, I’d say this is probably fairly accurate. The better indicator is to go roughly by perceived exertion. If you know that you have a hard time getting your HR to come back down after a really hard, really fast effort, then you need to go a little slower/keep your HR a little lower. If, on the other  hand, you find that you recover fairly quickly from these little gassers, then you can afford to let your HR get a little higher.