ParaWOD’s 16.1 adaptation is in the books

You completed 16.1 this past weekend, right? So did lots of seated adaptive athletes, per the outstanding website WheelWOD. If you are a wheelchair athlete (“wheelie,” per the Chef) and you aren’t familiar with WheelWOD, then it is time to get acclimated. After the official CrossFit Games Open competition workout is announced, Chris “Stouty” Stoutenburg adapts the workout to seated athletes. You may be too late to sign up for the 2016 competition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do the workouts that he programs.

As we all know, the official 16.1 was thus:

20 minute AMRAP

  • 25-ft. overhead walking lunge (5 reps)
  • 8 burpees (8 reps)
  • 25-ft. overhead walking lunge (5 reps)
  • 8 chest-to-bar pull-ups (8 reps)

Total reps per round: 26

To adapt this workout, Stouty programmed the following:


  • 25-ft 1 Arm locked out over head wheel (25/15lb plate) (1 rep)
  • 8 chair to floor transfers (8 reps)
  • 25-ft 1 Arm locked out over head wheel (25/15lb plate) (1 rep)
  • 8 full hang pull-ups (8 reps)


  • 15ft plate drag (45/35lb plate) (1 rep)
  • 8 Med ball slams (20/10lb) (8 reps)
  • 15ft plate drag (45/35lb plate) (1 rep)
  • 8 seated pull-ups (8 reps)

Total reps per round: 18

To get an idea of the nature of the body movements, as well as how they would be judged, refer to WheelWOD’s 16.1 post here.

To add to the overall experience, my friend Coach Jason decided to get in a wheelchair and attempt the scaled workout along side me. Share in the suffering! It’s the best!

How did I do? 

I attempted the workout Rx and finished the 20 minute workout with 76 total repetitions. Two of the movements – the chair to floor transfer and the plate holds – I had never really attempted before. I do have a chair get-up incorporated into my own workout adaptation, but it always involves an elevated platform like a stool or a box to get the height I need to transfer. But straight from the floor? Never. This would be difficult.

Also, when I first started my CrossFit life, my Kiwi coach had me practice holding a kettlebell straight up (i.e. inverted, with the handle facing down toward the floor) while he pushed me around the room trying to knock me off balance. That’s the closest I ever got to this plate hold movement, but having to push myself in a straight line, that was new.

Because of the requirements on the plate hold, I knew that I would have to use my basketball chair, the only thing that would roll straight and easily and allow me to push both wheels with the same hand.

I practiced both of these movements for about 10 minutes, and I was fortunate to even get that amount of practice time, as our gym was a frenzy of activity during the opening weekend of the 2016 Open. Using my sport chair, I was confident I could do both, but knew I wouldn’t be fast doing either. As far as the strict pull-ups, I wasn’t concerned, as that is a staple of my gym’s routine programming.

As it turned out however, the biggest challenge was not in the workout, but in providing video evidence that I did it successfully. WheelWOD’s standards require that the entire workout be done in a single video shot with all movements and clock visible at all times. With the space required for this workout, combined with the sheer floor space that my gym at CrossFit Impavidus possesses, the video shots were anything but basic. And in the end, my lack of preparation in this regard ended up costing me on the leaderboard, as the judges did not have the clarity they needed to evaluate effectively. As a result, my poor video planning cost me a 15% penalty, which lowered my score to a 63.

Here are my movements:

1. Plate hold


(clip sped up slightly to see full distance)

2. Chair to floor transfer


3. Strict pull-up


As frustrating as it was to get penalized and not receive an official score that I thought was commensurate with my effort, there were plenty of lessons learned, not the least of which is that planning and preparation are important when it comes to providing video evidence.

Aside from that, the workout was still a winner for me. I challenged myself, completed two new movements in the process, and got to do a 20 minute workout with Coach Jason.

Thanks to Impavidus Gym for helping me out. I’ll do better on 16.2. Can’t wait!

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