6/8/15 ParaWOD: battle rope swingin’, dippin’, and benchin’ your face off

Monday offered up a full Crossfit experience:

Warm-up: at your own pace

  • Band pull-aparts
  • First rib shoulder smash – let’s spend some time here.

If you use a wheelchair, or even if you spend a lot of time at a desk at your job, chances are that your shoulders over time have developed a tightening in the neck area where we have our first rib. What is a first rib? It’s way up there in a place where you probably didn’t even know you had a rib. It also gets pinched over time, which prevents arm raising abduction from its full range of motion. So what we do to mobilize the first rib is to apply a Mobility WOD technique (bookmark that web site; it’s invaluable for self-treatment) and drive a weighted bar onto the first rib. Here is what it looks like:

Bad news – this hurts like the dickens, as it opens up the shoulder area. Good news – it works, and it works fast, which you can see as you test and re-test the motion. Try it with the taped up tennis ball for extra bounds of fun/pain.


A: Bench Press – Pause on the Chest(2s); 5×5


In the words of Coach Tyler, “Bench More!”

This time around, the focus is on a slower repetition and control. Get to a weight that is about 80% of your 3 rep max, or in other words something you won’t have difficulty getting 5 reps out of. Then, we’re going to use the negative motion to slow things down (count 2 seconds) and then pause for 2 seconds at the bottom. After the pause, explode upward and re-start. Five reps, five rounds. As you slow things down, you will really feel the movement engage a lot of muscles you don’t even think about during the bench press.

B1: Dips @ 31X1, 3×6-8
B2: Pull-ups @ 21X2, 3×5-6

We got this one as well. Alternate between a dip (Matador, parallettes) and strict pull-ups (bar, rings), using the pausing effect to prolong the agony.


3 movements, AMRAP for 10 minutes.

1) Time for some battle rope! It is like double-dutch for the para-athlete.


It doesn’t really matter which movement you do, so pick one. The reason why this movement is great for the para-athlete is that it forces us to really concentrate on our core strength and balance. Swing too hard, and we will topple right out of our chairs. Get the rhythm right, and your muscles will engage and counter-engage appropriately, improving overall balance.

2) 150 meter row

3) KB press, 7 reps per arm

Once you’re comfortable with handling the rope as well as the transitioning, this is a workout where you should be able to get at least 3 rounds complete.

5/18/15 WOD: Muscle-Up Progression, fight gone bad conditioning

Today’s workout consists of one of Crossfit’s benchmark movement, the muscle-up, followed by a fight-gone-bad style conditioning segment.


A. Muscle-up progressions

Skill/Volume: Slowly accumulate as many Muscle-ups as possible in 20min. Sub in weighted pull-ups, strict pull-ups, assisted pull-ups if needed. For scaled pulls, try to string together 3-5 reps each set and use a 31X2 tempo.

B. Conditioning: For four rounds, rotate to the next station on the minute. Try to accumulate as many reps as possible.
Row – Calories
G2O (75/55)

Remember, this is a STRICT MUSCLE-UP, not those kipping ones you often see in the Crossfit Games. The focus is on strength and full body control. Here is the interesting facet to remember – the strict muscle-up for the para-athlete is essentially the same as for the able-bodied athlete. Granted there will be more challenges, particularly with what to do with your lower extremities, but the strength component is going to be largely the same, and if you can master it, I contend you will be far ahead of the game vs athletes who elect to use the kipping motion to complete their muscle-up.

Fortunately, the progression for a strict movement will not be too dissimilar for para-athletes, so find a good guide such as this one.


For my own workout today, which you can see in the image at the top, the goal was to do accumulate a lot of work within a 20 minute period. To accomplish this, instead of getting 1-2 muscle-ups and then struggling the rest of the way, I used a banded muscle-up so I could chain together 3-5 reps at a time and then rest. An easy way to use a band is to tie it on the rig and then with assistance loop it under your arms, forming a harness. You can see the bands in the image above, which help with the elusive and difficult transitioning phase.

Conditioning component

4 rounds, 3 movements, 1 movement per minute, 1 minute rest in between.

Row – Calories = Row
G2O (75/55) = kettlebell clean/press
Burpees = parallette press

Each rep counts as one rep, and each calorie on the row counts as one rep. In total, I completed 188 reps in the 4 rounds.

Thanks to Justin Doran for taking the photo above.