“I can totally Rx this one!!”
That was my first thought once Castro announced CrossFit Open WOD 16.3. Usually I immediately think how awful the workout is going to be, or debate if I am going to attempt Rx or go with scaled.
But not this time. While some CrossFitters may have been cursing the bar muscle-ups, I was jumping for joy.
The middle workout of the 2016 CrossFit Open was a couplet of snatches and bar muscle-ups. Each athlete got 7 minutes to complete as many rounds and reps as possible of 10 power snatches and 3 bar muscle-ups.
Muscle-ups have arguably been the most debated movement in the CrossFit Open. From a skill and strength standpoint, there may not be a harder movement. The question is always are muscle-ups too difficult for the average CrossFitter? Last year, it was the middle workout 15.3 that held the muscle-ups. These were ring muscle-ups though; this year we have the bar variety. Same idea… get from handing below the bar to pressed out above the bar.
Last year I got my first muscle-up. (FYI, generally a muscle-up implies rings where a bar muscle-up is performed on a gymnastics bar/rig.) While I seem to have lost my ability to get muscle-ups without the impetus of the Open… I can handle bar ones. Combine that with a light snatch weight… I was ready to perform!
Guys that did the WOD before me said the best advice they could give would be to break up the snatches even on the first set. Remember, the 75 -lb snatch truly is a light weight, even for a weakling like me. Usually a set of ten 75-lb snatches would not need broken… but these guys were some of our top Open scorers, so I listened to them.
I practiced a few snatches and a couple bar MUs and after a few shoulder mobility drills I was ready to go. My plan was to go 5-5 on the snatches, then get through the muscle-ups however I could.
Everything started off beautifully. It was like…. like I was a real CrossFitter. I went 5-5 on my snatches. It kind of almost felt silly to break that set up.
Shout to Halo Headbands for their awesome product keeping sweat out of my eyes, and to WODies for keeping my hands and wrists secure and not torn. (But if you did happen to tear your hands, get yourself some w.o.d.welder!)
On to the bar muscle-ups. Guess how many I got that first round once I jumped up to the bar. 1? 2? 3?
That’s right, went unbroken on my MUs and came back to start the second round in under a minute. I felt pretty badass, not gonna lie!
Once I got back to the bar though, I felt that sweet workout burn in my shoulders. Little did I know that the small burn was about to become a full fledged inferno.
For round 2 I went 5-5 on my muscle-ups again. I was definitely starting to get breathy at this point. So far the workout had been an all out sprint. On to more muscle-ups and…
… Yeah. Out of gas.
This is what it looks like when your bar MUs start to fail you. Can you say chicken wing?
Phew. That may have been the fastest I’d ever gone from feeling like Hercules to totally sapped of strength. Definitely didn’t go unbroken on those MUs. I think I went 2, dropped, then got that last one.
Back to the bar again… shoulders absolutely on fire! My arms felt like they wanted to fall off my body. I think I went something like 4-2-1-1-1-1 on that set of 10. Haha, it was almost comical how everything blew up so quickly! When I went to singles I did a good job of staying with the bar and not taking long between reps.
Round 3 of bar muscle-ups brought the first failed reps of this WOD. This is where I spent the biggest chunk of my workout time. Once you go to exhaustion on these MUs, there’s nothing you can do but wait until your shoulders recover. I was standing there watching the clock, shaking out my arms and waiting to try again.
Of course, I didn’t wait long enough. I’d try another muscle-up only to fail again.
I’ve noticed this trend before. When watching the CrossFit Regionals or even the Games, athletes will attempt to continue a workout when they would be better served waiting and resting just a few more seconds. I know I’ve done it myself before and I did it during 16.3. I tried to get another muscle-up before my arms were fully ready to go, and I subsequently failed the rep.
Why do we do this? Waiting and recovering sure seems like wasting time. We don’t want to stand around, we want to move and continue getting reps. Recovering seems like weakness in the middle of a workout. If you aren’t going guns blazing the whole time… you’re doing it wrong.
Waiting. We hate it. Traffic sucks. Lines at the store suck. Waiting for service appointments when they give you those stupid 4 hour windows to show up really suck. Waiting to get a new job sucks. Waiting for people to make mistakes before they realize what they want is right in front of them sucks.
Waiting for my stupid arms and shoulders to recover enough to get my above that stupid bar sucked. After many failed reps however… I managed to get one. And then two. And then after a few more failed reps and more waiting… three. Let me tell you though, that third MU was ridiculous; I chicken winged bad and just couldn’t lock my arms out, I started drifting to the right and was in danger of touching the rig with my legs (would’ve been a no rep) but somehow I held on and didn’t touch anything and I got locked out. I finished that third round at 5:49, leaving 71 seconds for the fourth round.
As you can probably guess… that was all she wrote regarding bar muscle-ups for this workout. I did manage another 10 snatches and one failed attempt at another MU before calling it quits. I was done. I finished with a Rx score of 49.
I did think I would score a little higher than that. I had no idea how taxing the lightweight snatches and bar muscle-ups would be to my upper body. That was an all out assault for 7 minutes. It’s funny, back in my globo gym days, if you would’ve told me I could destroy my shoulders and be cardiovascular spent in 7 minutes I probably would’ve laughed at you and said yeah right.
Speaking of shoulders… check out this post WOD pain photo.
Look at that shoulder pump! Those are some Dwight Howard shoulders right there. Haha. That left shoulder seriously is about to explode! And I actually kept my shirt on for a workout too, so there you go.
On a serious note though, waiting is sometimes a necessary “evil”. That’s my takeaway from this workout. Whether it be waiting for muscles to recover or waiting for someone to text you back or waiting for someone to review your resume or waiting for the person you love to remember they love you too… waiting is sometimes what must be done. You can’t rush things that you have to wait for. So if you find yourself waiting for something, make the most out of your time.
Good things come to those who wait.
Your turn -> What’s something you’ve waited for recently? Tell me how your 16.3 went!