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      News — Jared Astle

      Crossfit Open 16.5 Strategy - Written by Jenn Jones & Jared Astle

      Crossfit Open 16.5 Strategy - Written by Jenn Jones & Jared Astle

      Crossfit Open 16.5 Strategy
      Written by Jenn Jones & Jared Astle


      It has come to this - we all knew it was coming...Thrusters.  What a lovely surprise from Dave, repeating a movement that we all thought was in the books after 16.1.  Not only that, but a repeat WOD from 2014 to test the growth of your fitness over the span of not one, but two years.


      As we learned in 2014, this is a true test of CrossFit.  How far into the pain cave can you push yourself?  Thrusters have a sneaky way of crushing your spirit as they tax every inch of you.  That first round of 21 will feel amazing! You are fresh and the clock starts and adrenaline will start to pump. Pacing is everything in this workout.  Like most open WODs, if you go out too hard, the middle rounds are going to be a struggle and you are going to start sinking.


      Thrusters are a combination of efficient movement patterns and bar path, as well as lever length and distance traveled for the bar.  Shorter people do have a slight advantage just because of ROM (range of motion). Don’t get discouraged though if you’re tall. What sets people apart in this WOD is mental strength.  As fatigue sets in, try and focus on maintaining sound front squatting mechanics. Keeping your chest up and elbows high will definitely become harder as this WOD unfolds. If you are an efficient mover and you are able to stay tall throughout the thruster, your shoulders will thank you and allow you to push with less fatigue on burpees. Also, remember that the movement standard is just below parallel at the bottom and ears in front of the bar at the top.  You don't need to hold the overhead position for more than a second.  The bar is light enough to pull the bar actively down back to the shoulder to start the next rep quicker.


      Plan where and when you can breathe to keep calm to continue to move.  But you HAVE to stay moving.  This is where time will be made.  Those who can push will be more successful.  The burpees need to be smooth and consistent.  Jumping the burpee will keep them moving faster but could tax you quicker.


      Learn your pace.  Take some time to play with how "slow" you can do your movements to stay calm but finish rounds in a time frame that will help you accomplish your time goals. I suggest doing a set of 10 thrusters and 10 burpees at a moderate pace and use that as a gauge for how long every set should take. That being said, be aware that being fresh and doing 10/10 will be much different than doing the middle set of 12/12.


      Honestly, that is all there is to this WOD. Most of us have done it before and we know it is a classic knockdown, drag out brawl and no strategy or planning will make up for the zeal and drive of those that truly want to win this fight. Good Luck!!!

      Crossfit Open 16.4 Strategy - Written by Jenn Jones and Jared Astle

      Crossfit Open 16.4 Strategy - Written by Jenn Jones and Jared Astle


      Crossfit Open 16.4 Strategy
      Written by Jenn Jones and Jared Astle

      This workout is a true test of moving moderate weight and body weight consistently over the course of the 13 minute cap. It is a classic chipper with a twist at the end. You need to constantly be moving! The key to winning a chipper is to always be moving. Small, quick sets with minimal rest are king in this exercise domain. Don't get sucked into doing huge sets that you are unable to sustain.

      The Deadlift isn't exceedingly heavy, but over the course of 55 reps, it will take its toll on your CNS (Central Nervous System).  How much you can deadlift will delineate how many reps you do at a time.  If this weight is less than 50% of your DL, 1RM (holding to at least 10-15 reps at a time) is a good plan.  Take a few seconds off tension then get back on the bar. Do smooth reps that allow you to breath and stay aerobic as long as possible. If it is more than that, you need to come up with a good game plan before you begin. My suggestion would be something like 10-9-8-7-6-5-5-5.

      The Wall Balls should be treated the same way.  Stick to sets you know that you can work through with minimal rest in-between. Then pick up the ball and do work. Don’t forget to breathe - saving a larger set to push the boundaries for the end of this movement will be advantageous. 

      It’s okay to be a little gassed going into the Row since when you first mount the rower, it will take a few pulls to find your rhythm and regain your breathing.  Remember rowing is highly technique driven.  If you can be efficient with your stroke you will save your arms and lungs for the rest of the work to be had. The row is long! Take your time and recover. If you sprint you may make up 30 seconds but the cost of that time will be extremely high in regards to your output, and therefore isn't worth it. Find a pace you can settle into, one that will allow you to prepare yourself for the HSPUs.

      Don't waste time getting off the rower and onto the wall for your HSPU.  Your arms should be fairly fresh to get a good set in off the bat.  If you are a HSPU boss, still pace yourself. Burning out on the first set will be a costly mistake.  Be smart and move quickly thru the sets with minimal rest and NO MISSED REPS.  Tight midline with feet flexed to ensure your heels meet the standard line. You need to look at doing sets of 10 here if you want to be competitive. For everyone else, focus on consistency throughout this movement. Consistent rest then consistent work. Small, quick sets is a great strategy.

      Depending on when you get off the wall, it’s time to empty the tank and stay in the pain cave.  Don't worry so much about pacing, but rather pushing the limits as you most likely won’t have much more than a couple of minutes left to get the rest of your reps in.

      This workout, like all others, requires a strategy. Be disciplined and trust your body. Good Luck!!!

      Crossfit Open 16.2 Strategy - Written by Jenn Jones and Jared Astle

      Crossfit Open 16.2 Strategy - Written by Jenn Jones and Jared Astle


      Crossfit Open 16.2 Strategy

       Written by Jenn Jones and Jared Astle

      Okay, first things first, this workout can be approached two different ways.  To settle in on a strategy, you first need to be realistic with yourself and identify what part of the workout contains your biggest weakness. You are either weak at toes-to-bar and worried about fatigue, or your 1RM squat clean is close to one of these weights and therefore making that lift 7+ times while tired is farfetched.


      Approach 1: I have the TTB of a sloth not a ninja.

       For you this workout is going to be about pacing and consistency. We saw Bailey and Gudmundsson come out with UB first and second rounds. Bailey finished the first round around 2:25 leaving him with 1:35ish until the cap. Why does this matter? Your first round needs to consist of short fast TTB with little rest between sets. 


      Max UB TTB Guide: If you have…

      5 or less = you are doing 25 singles. One rep, turn around and back onto that bar. Use the swing to conserve your abs and make these the fastest singles you have ever done. 

      5-10 = you are doing sets of 3. Same thing as above, quick sets. Hit your 3 reps turn around and do it again.

      10-20 = you are doing sets of 5.

      20-30 = Set break down is 7-6-5-4-3. Make the turnaround fast!!!!! 

      30+ = you are in the wrong pathway my friend!


      We have to have a fast turnaround between sets because we HAVE to build up as much residual time as possible. We will talk about that later on. Also, be aware of what is fatiguing….is it your hip flexors, or your grip.  Grip you can vary, width, and mix grip.  If your hips are failing, you need to preserve your strength.  Drop your reps.  Your hip flexors will affect your squatting mechanics and ability. Just have a backup plan to stay moving if your initial set plan has to change. 


      Approach 2: Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.

      For you this workout is going to be about time! You are going to have to build up a large reserve so that you can rest and get one or two reps at that “brick wall’ weight. Your TTB sets need to be large. 15-10 is a good strategy. Bailey did 25 straight and if you are a ninja this may be the strategy for you, for the majority of us this will be suicide. This doesn't mean go slow, you have to come after this workout hard and fast, but with consistency of pace.


      Big points to take away no matter what your weakness:

      • Tie break time is based off the 50th DUB. If you absolutely cannot clean the weight, get to that last DUB as fast as you possibly can.
      • Score differentiation is going to bunch at squat cleans.
      • If you can’t hit the weight GET THROUGH THE DUBS AS FAST AS YOU CAN, they are the tie breaker
      • If you can hit the weight but it is going to be like Atlas lifting the world, TAKE YOUR TIME. Recover and hit that first rep. One rep at every weight on this ladder will be hundreds of places. The same goes for two, three, etc. reps.
      • Residual time is huge! Build it up as much as you can by moving at a CONSISTENT pace. You must look at this as a 20 minute workout (or a 12 minute workout if that is your absolute 1RM) It is not a 4 minute sprint, and it is not an EVERY 4 MINUTES ON THE MINUTE. Build up your rest time so that when you need it to get those last few cleans to BOOST your score, you have it.
      • DUBS must be as UB as possible. You can’t waste time or effort on these. If you can’t do 50 straight, break them into 25-25 from the beginning. Or 20-20-10, whatever number you can hit all the time every time and take minimal rest between these sets.
      • Cleans, especially in the first few rounds are not about touch and go.  You need to be conservative and know your limits to your consistent pace.  You can’t waste time between reps, but you can’t red line here either, as you have to get back to the toes to bar.


      Have fun with this one guys. It’s going to be rough and for some of us frustrating, but stick with YOUR plan and run your race. Don't get sucked into the guy or girl next to you as their pace isn't your pace. We hope you all crush it and have a good time enjoying the spirit of competition!

      Mental Toughness in Crossfit - Written by Jared Astle

      Mental Toughness in Crossfit - Written by Jared Astle

       Mental Toughness in Crossfit

      Written by Jared Astle


      In my experience as a competitive athlete in both gymnastics & Crossfit, I have found a common thread that proves to be critical for success in both, that is mental toughness.

      I have always felt that there are 6 proven keys to mental toughness. These keys can be broken down into smaller categories and therefore some sources may refer to 7 or 8, however for me, focusing on 6 has been the most effective.


      1)  Create SMART Goals - If I tell you to get from point A to point B but fail to properly define what and where point B is exactly, chances are you will never get there, after all, where is “there”? 

      This concept of defining goals needs to be applied to your mental game. If you don’t have a defined destination you are never going to feel successful or accomplished and at that point any progress towards your mental fortitude goes out the window. When making goals, ensure they are SMART;
        • Specific - What exactly do I want to achieve, “I want to place in the top 5 at Regionals”. Very Specific.
        • Measurable – Stating that you want to get “better” at HSPU is great, but how is that measured, what does “better” mean? A measurable goal would be, I want to be able to do 30 strict HSPU in 3 minutes.
        • Attainable - Being able to deadlift 800 pounds is probably not going to happen anytime soon. Now if I said, I “I would like to increase my deadlift by 10% in the next month”, now that is attainable. I want to be able to see myself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow me to possess them.
        • Realistic - To be realistic, I strive to make my goals represent an objective toward which I am both willing and able to work towards. Being the strongest woman in the world is a tough one. Now you are the only one who can decide just how high to set your goal, I say as long as it represent progress, it’s a good goal.
        • Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency, and then can easily be lost.

        2)  Be Consistent - To be mentally tough you have to be consistently mentally tough. This may not seem like a measure of mental toughness, but look at it this way:You are in the gym and your workout calls for 10 reps. You are exhausted from the long day, you are 20 minutes in and you get done with 9 reps and say to yourself, “Oh that is good enough for today”, we all do it. It’s just one rep right? So the next day you walk into the gym and you see Joe finish the WOD in 4:35, there is no way Joe got that time, or that you are going to let him beat you. So you cut off a few reps here and you shorten your ROM there. You get a 4:33. Way to go. You beat Joe. You are the winner of the day at Crossfit Schmuckatelli. So if this behavior continues, what do you think the result is 1 year down the road? Well, assuming you only skip one rep a day on each movement you would have skipped a total of:   

         4 (avg. movements a day) * 260 (5 days/week) = 1,040 Reps

        1,040 reps! If those reps were a 250lb back squat, you missed out on 260,000 lbs of work.

        Now let’s talk about the mental damage you just caused yourself. This can occur one of two ways.

        • You consistently cut your ROM and shorted reps, when competition time comes you do the same thing but you are "no rep’d" and you end up stuck in the workout wondering why you suck so much. That thought is not mental toughness, but rather self destructive.
        • You MENTALLY realize you don’t have the capacity to finish the workout. Every time you quit on the last rep bears down on you. Yeah it was only the last rep, but guess what, you still quit, just without ever recognizing your action as quitting. So now you enter a judged competition and act like something must be wrong with you, because you never quit, lol.

        Bottom line, shortening your reps or cutting reps has the SAME MENTAL EFFECT AND FATIGUE AS QUITTING.

        3)  Acknowledge the Small Victories - Some would refer to these as ‘mini-goals’, I however prefer to call them “small victories”, for the simple reason, these are not your goals, but rather progress towards your goals. An example of this would be recognizing that being consistently mentally tough, and not quitting, is worth treating as a small victory and then should be celebrated! The human brain is a funny thing and it is hard to control. It doesn’t like adversity. It will find the fastest and easiest way out. That is human nature, we are lazy. So every time you force yourself to conquer over 100,000 years of heritage that is your victory, so celebrate it and reward yourself, eventually it will become second nature. 

        4)  Concentrate on You - Someone who is mentally tough does not worry about the people around them or how good they are. When someone who is training around you is in the zone and killing it, celebrate in their success, they deserve it. I often hear, “but you always PR, I want to PR”, my response, “So go do it”.  Don’t get fooled into thinking that PRs are flying around the gym like the golden snitch in a quiditch match and that you’re just too unlucky to snag it up that day. Be accountable and responsible in obtaining your goals.

        5)  Be Positive - Negativity is a cancer and it will spread through your mind within seconds. Bad reps and bad days occur; recognize them as such and move on. When those bad days happen, you have to find the few positives to learn from and then refocus. Even on bad training days, small victories do exist so think, if you can accomplish positives on a bad training day, think of what you can do on a good training day?

        6)  Focus on What You Can Control - You can’t change the plates being used, you can’t change the stupid standards, you can’t change the bearings on the bar. Focus on what you can control and the rest will take care of itself. Things outside of your control do happen; beating yourself up over it will not strengthen your mental game. Don’t let them deter you, learn from it, and learn what you can do in the future to overcome.

        Success is 85% mental, 10% Physical, and 5% uncontrollable or outside influence.