Today’s WOD, CrossFit Games Open WOD 13.3, starts off with 150 wall balls aka “Karen”.
Karen is a WOD that we’ve completed twice here at Cróga CrossFit since we opened and many saw a huge improvement between their first and second go at it. It is a WOD that is quite basic in design, but can also be very humbling at about repetition 75.
In my opinion, Karen is the perfect WOD to practice a skill that can deliver success in pretty much every WOD that we attack.
This skill is the ability to control your breathing.
Although many CrossFitters loath the wall ball, most can perform the movement reasonably well and can get in the groove of cranking out 10 reps at a time while slowly chipping away at the 150 that lie ahead of them.
What this repetitive movement allows you to do is find your squat & throw form over the first 5 or 10 reps and then start to focus on how you’re going to establish a steady and consistent pace to use throughout the workout.
My strategy for every WOD isn’t always the same, but when I know consistent breathing is going to be a large factor in how the WOD goes, I tend to attack them in generally the same way.
Here’s my strategy for today:
I like to start slowly and make sure I’m comfortable with my foot position and establish that my throw is consistently over the 10 foot line.
Once I’m moving well I start to focus on breathing in while I’m squatting with the ball and then breathing out as I stand up and throw.
As I breathe out on the way up, I count my rep. This is also another reminder to breathe because you can’t speak without breathing out.
Now that I’m steadily plugging along, I try my best not to think about how many I have left to do, but instead, how many I’ve done so far.
Not thinking about how many more I have to do keeps me from thinking about how tired I am or having a thought of “how am I going to do 90 more, when I’m hurting this bad after just 60?”
As I continue, I use everything I have to focus on these 3 things: breathe in, breathe out, count your rep.
Once those first 150 reps are over, I’ll use a very similar strategy to attack the 90 double unders, but also focus on keeping the muscles in my arms relaxed, which will help me spin the rope better.
If I have kept my breathing consistent and kept my mind in a good place, I will hopefully have time at the end of the WOD to rip off some muscle-ups and at that point I’ll be full speed ahead trying to get as many as possible before the time expires.
I encourage you all to give my strategy a shot during today’s WOD, I promise that it will help you get through the wall balls at a nice steady pace and leave you with some energy to actually jump rope if you make it through the 150 before the 12 minute time cap.
If you cannot make it in today, I encourage you to focus on your breathing during a future WOD that has a substantial amount of reps in it and see how it can help you stay focused and accomplish more.