As 2016 draws to an end, and the 2017 CrossFit Open approaches, we will be shifting our focus towards conditioning, muscular endurance, and common movements found in the Open. To fully kick off the start of the Games season, we are focusing on an iconic CrossFit workout: Karen!
Karen is a deceptively simple WOD–150 wall ball shots for time. But as those of you who tested last week can confirm, its simplicity is what makes it so challenging. Without another movement to break up the workload, the lactic acid can build up and overwhelm the muscles, and the explosive nature of the wall ball can quickly jack up the heart rate. Just the sheer number of reps can be a daunting mental task, as you realize 50 reps in that you still have another 100 to go and it’s already starting to hurt! It requires knowing your body and its capabilities, and having a game plan to ensure it doesn’t all fall apart.
It’s the mental and physical challenge, as well as the relative simplicity of the movement that makes it a great workout to initiate our Open prep. With the holidays, taking a step back from practicing more complex movements is a nice break, and will hopefully allow you to still see progress even with holiday parties, family get-togethers, etc. getting in the way of training (although we will continue to work on cycling olympic lifting in WODs, and will be returning to it as a focus in 2017 since it’s an integral part of the CrossFit Open). Facing a seemingly insurmountable task will help you take on any challenges that arise during the holiday season, as well as any that Dave Castro (the CrossFit Games Director) has up his sleeve! And, for those of you participating in the Open, you can bet wall balls will be a part of it.
In addition to Karen, we will be working on two other movements. First, we’re going back to focusing on building strict pull-ups so that we have a better platform for working on kipping pull-ups and muscle-ups in the beginning of the new year. If you don’t yet have a pull-up, this could be the little push you need to get your very first one!
Secondly, we’ll be working on building up proficiency in double unders. For those who already have doubles, our goal will be to get you more consistent as well as assist in linking together the biggest possible unbroken chain. For those of you who struggle with the double under, the coaches will work with you to get your first reps and set you on the path to success in the future!
If you haven’t tested yet, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible this week. Test your unbroken strict pull-ups, biggest set of double unders, and tackle Karen and make note of your time and reps. For full details on each test, you can ask a coach or go to Tuesday, December 6th’s WOD on the Grassroots Beyond the Whiteboard Feed. Even if you don’t plan on participating in the CrossFit Open, building up endurance, stamina, and precision in wall balls and double unders, and developing your upper body pulling strength are all important for improving your overall athleticism.