Like a spectre, the WOD crept up on me unbeknownst. Sure, it was Halloween, the Day of the Dead… Death should’ve been at least considered, if not expected. Friday was make-up day, and I knew the WOD I had missed during the week. I walked into the box ready to tackle my EMOM of hang cleans and slam balls. I was not treated with what I was prepared to do. I was tricked into a WOD of death, 3 Bars of Death, to be exact.
3 Bars of Death, aka Linda, is a devilish, brutal workout consisting of three movements: deadlift, bench press, and clean. The weight for Linda is determined by your bodyweight. Load up three barbells with a 1.5x body weight deadlift, 1x body weight bench press, and a 0.75x body weight clean. I weighed in at 183 pounds, which equated to an absolutely scary 275 lb deadlift, 185 lb bench press, and 135 lb clean. Reps are a descending ladder 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Do 10 deadlifts, do 10 bench presses, do 10 cleans, do 9 deadlifts, do 9 bench presses, and so on until you finish or you die.
That bench press weight though… phew! Even with my new focus on strength training, I knew that was going to be a huge load to move 55 times and probably my limiting factor. Also, I did power cleans rather than squat cleans.
The box was as empty as a graveyard as I readied myself to battle the three bars. With the unpleasant weather and trick-or-treat coming a mere hour or so away, attendance was very low. In fact, at the time Linda was sprung on me, I was the only one present to do the WOD. I laid out my bars and began warming up on the different movements. Gradually I built up to my Rx weights. I got myself hyped up and ready to go. I wrapped my wrists like a mummy and donned my costume, aka headband, and announced I was ready.
3… 2… 1… Go!
My Halloween dance with the devil had begun. I started with deadlift and did my 10 reps unbroken. Next came bench press. I got 5 reps in before racking the weight. I rested for a minute, then lifted off again…. and I didn’t do much. I think I got two reps and failed the third. Thank goodness I had Eric spotting me the whole time! It took a few minutes but I got two and then 1 more rep for my 10, then moved on to my cleans. I got 5 cleans then broke, got 3 more and rested, got 1 more and rested…. and wow I just couldn’t get that last rep! Many failed attempts later, I completed that 10th rep and successfully survived my round of 10.
By the time the round of 9 started, I was already feeling the Dementor’s kiss slowly sucking my soul away. Linda, and all her deathly hallows, had me in need of magic elixir stat. I had to break my deadlifts up this time, but got through them relatively quickly. The brakes were pressed when I got back to the bench. In fact, I completely fell off my broomstick. I got one rep on the BP and could go no further.
I needed to reduce the weight or else I would never make it through the WOD. I reduced to about 85% of my Rx weight on the bench press and clean. I left my deadlift at Rx (275). So now I was benching 155 and cleaning 115. The bench press was still super heavy while the cleans were probably a little too light, but still challenging.
It’s funny how CrossFit conjures up demons for you to face. I had as much of a mental battle as a physical one brewing when I was doing those high rep count sets. In fact, when I finished my round of 8, I was halfway done with the workout. I didn’t realize it at the time though. It felt like I had just begun!
But that round of 8 and round of 7… those were dark times. Those rounds hurt. They took me back to a nasty place, CrossFit Open WOD 14.5 to be exact. I started to doubt myself, thinking I couldn’t finish and that I should just go ahead and stop. I wasn’t getting more than 3 presses before needing to rack and rest. I failed a couple reps but I went back and made sure I completed them.
Brutal. I’m thankful I had Eric there spotting my on my bench press and giving me liftoffs when needed. I couldn’t have done it without you and your encouragement.
Once I got to the round of 5, I could see that big bowl of Reese’s Cups waiting for me at the end. My deadlifts stayed strong and my cleans stayed together too.
DAT PUMP THO!!!
It was time to exorcise all the demons once I got to the round of 3. Basically, it was sprint time from here on out. Got through the deadlifts with a quickness, then came the bench. I wanted to get all three reps unbroken. I got my first. The second took a bit of a yell but I muscled it up. After a few sharp intakes of breath with my arms locked out, I was ready to attempt that third rep. I lowered the weight with control. I may have bounced it a little off my chest to start the upward motion. I may have let loose an unholy shriek as I arched my back and pushed with everything from my chest to my shoulders to my legs to my feet. And, without selling my soul to the devil, I got that third rep locked out.
The remaining few reps weren’t quite taking candy from a baby, but they weren’t too tough. I say that now, but in the midst of battle the reps were a slight struggle. I caught my last clean and then dropped the bar at 37:10, then my zombie body hit the floor immediately after.
37:10?? I know, I know. Total rookie time. But hey, I worked hard for that time! That ranks up there among the toughest workouts I’ve ever done. From a purely strength standpoint, that might rank at the top as the toughest.
Now, I have a new goal! I want to complete Linda Rx. I don’t have a goal time, preferably under 45 minutes, but just getting through would be good enough for me. I’ve got the deadlift down, just need to work on the bench press and the cleans. Good thing I’m strength training (check my progress here – one cycle complete and on to the second!).
And, I still have rigor mortis in my chest and arms. Seriously, I was a legit zombie walking with my arms out straight all weekend! Ahh, such a deep burn! =)
Thanks for reading and putting up with my Halloween shenanigans! Your turn -> What did you do on Halloween? What was the most strength-demanding thing you’ve ever been faced with?
Oh, and congrats to Ashley and Jesse for winning a Halo Headband! I’ll be contacting you shortly!