Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The B@tch About Wall-Balls Is...

If you've been following the CrossFit Open, then you're aware that the world just got slammed by 150 wall-ball this past week. Yea yea, there was some stuff that came after those wall-ball, but I'm not going to discuss the double-unders or muscle-ups.

First actually, I wanna give props to everyone that did this WOD. Some of the workouts (think 13.2) automatically remove some newer athletes because the weight of the first movement is already over their head (no jerk pun intended). But anyone signed up for the Open can get into the wall ball! This means that folks that don't usually go Rx could jump right in with their big dawgs. It's exciting to be able to go head to head with your fellow athletes and on the same playing field!

Oh wall ball, you are so innocent looking! And you're so light (respectively)! When athletes are accustomed to seeing "95#", "135#", "185#" on the whiteboard, seeing a "20#/14#" next to the movement can seem pretty darn do-able! For most of us that don't have muscle-ups or even double-unders, the challenge of this workout is simply to get through and survive 150 squats & throws! People bravely fought this single movement for twelve whole minutes, but at the end I saw far too many tear-stained cheeks.

It's apparent simplicity and seeming "do-ability" is exactly what makes this Karen-based WOD so emotionally devastating. Let's review a couple Karen issues:

"I can do 100 squats easy, how bad can 150 wall ball be?"

"I usually scale to the lower target, how bad can that extra 12" be?"

"I've only used the 10# ball to the 8' target before, but I've got at least 125 reps on this Rx."

Unfortunately, after the clock began athletes started realizing that extra 12" makes an enormous difference, that extra four (or six) pounds suddenly comes back down a lot faster than anticipated, and when you've got 10 no-reps under your belt and you're not three minutes in yet, the long dark tunnel of time and fear starts to open up before you.

It is a long. Dark. UGLY. Tunnel. And it leads no where good.

Here's the thing you need to remember though. Even though the numbers with the wall ball are seemingly small (9', 10', 14#, 20#) you can't think numerically low weight = easy movement. Let's think about snatches for a comparison. Would you rather be able to do 30 snatches at 35# or 5 snatches at 125#? To complete either is substantial work, wouldn't you agree? So look again at the wall ball.

Would you rather be able to do 150 wall ball at a scaled height and weight or would you like to be able to try your hand at going all out Rx?!

By choosing the latter and getting 10 reps, 30 reps, 70 reps, you are DOING SERIOUS WORK! You should be proud that you had the balls (no wall ball intended) to step up and go Rx, to see what happens, to see what it feels like, to stare down that long ugly dark tunnel that tries to suck you in and shout "F* YOU WALL BALL" into the dark. Let the echo bounce around in there a couple times so that YOU can hear it and know you REALLY meant it!

With fittest intentions,



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