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5 Rounds for time of:
20 Pull-Ups
30 Push-Ups
40 Sit-Ups
50 Squats

Rest precisely 3 minutes between each round.

Post total time, work intervals and Rx to comments.
compare to 7.1.10

Thoughts on Scaling Pull-Ups in "Barbara"

by David Osorio

This benchmark girl is a high-volume interval workout comprised of body weight movements. Completed as prescribed, it calls for 100 Pull-Ups, 150 Push-Ups, 200 Sit-Ups and 250 Squats.  To preserve the intended stimulus of "Barbara", scale the movements such that you can complete each round in about 3-5 minutes. For many people this will mean drastically scaling the pull-ups.

Scaling Pull-Ups, Strict versions versus Kipping Pull-Ups
If you don't have well developed kipping pull-ups then you'll need to drop upwards of 1/2 to 3/4's of the volume on this movement.  Kipping pull-ups and strict pull-ups are very different exercises with different training outcomes.  The kipping pull-up is a dynamic movement used for conditioning purposes while the strict pull-up is a slower movement used to develop pulling strength & stamina. If you're doing a strict variant (For example: Strict pull-ups, Banded Strict Pull-Ups, Leg Assisted Pull-Ups or even Ring Rows) choose either 5 or 10 reps per round.  If you choose 10 reps then you should be able to accomplish every set in 2-3 micro sets. For example, if your reps look something like this: 3-2-1-1-1-1-1 then the scale is too difficult! 
What you don't want to happen is for the these to slow you down so much that you spend most of your time at the pull-up station staring at the bar and shaking your arms out.  The small danger is that it could ruin the intention and balance of the workout while the larger danger is that this kind of training will leave you unreasonably sore and could ruin the rest of your training week.  Because strict variants have a controlled lowering phase (unlike kipping pull-ups) they have the potential to do a lot of structural damage on your muscles. While we want enough of this "damage" to make your body a little sore for a few days  we certainly don't want so much damage the putting your shirt on two days later because a workout in itself. Trust me on this, sometimes less is more. Scale to make these challenging but doable.

If you've got kipping pull-ups then it becomes more a matter of how many reps you can do unbroken.  If 20 reps is something you can bite off in 1-3 sets then go for it Rx'd. If you work mostly in 2's and 3's then scale to 10 reps per round.

Here is a programming summary with scaling options for you to choose from:

Strict Variant:
A: 10 reps, B: 5 reps
Kipping Pull-Ups: A 20 reps, B: 15 reps, C:10 reps

As always, you can scale on the fly whenever you feel like you've bit off too much or perhaps not a big enough chunk.  If you start with 10 reps but by round three have "lost your pull-up", swallow your ego and drop the reps. Remember you want to keep the workout moving and not hit a wall on any particular movement.

Closing Thoughts
Even if you drop to 5 pull-ups per round, the rest of the workout (even scaled) can pack a pretty serious punch. If it's your first time with "Barbara" we highly recommend doing a 3 round version of the WOD.  Interval workouts like this, especially THIS one, have been known to make people "not right" afterwards.

As Rx'd, Barbara gives you 700 opportunities to choose to do a movement correctly or rush through something with questionable form.  Our goal is to increase your work capacity while strengthening your muscles, connective tissue and discomfort tolerance.  Scale wisely, move well and enjoy your date with Barbara today!


Linus taks a nap on Smudge

Congratulations to team SBK on their performance yesterday at CrossFit Queens' "Hail to the Queen Throwdown"!  We're proud to report that Kiki tied for third place overall in the event!  Great work to Margie, Steph P, Jess F and Kiki!  Let us know how it went down in the comments, Ladies! 

The Paleo Challenge is almost over!
Remember that your "after" photos and post challenge write-up are due by Tuesday March 1st.  We want to hear from everyone on how you did, the good the bad and the ugly.  This is a learning experience for you guys and for us so please help us help you.  And also.. there is a post challenge Pot luck and year at Degraw Street Party on Saturday, March 5th.  For the details on everything, click here!

Pat Barber does "Barbara" CrossFit

Reader Comments (16)

oh fuck
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSameer Parekh
a New Zealand paleo blogger's pretty harrowing account of getting stuck in the earthquake there.... makes me think about my unfulfilled resolution, a couple years ago, to prepare some "emergency" items in advance of the next unforeseen disaster in NYC.

(try and make it through the stuff in the beginning of the article about the moon causing the earthquake - it gets better.)


February 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichele
It was a real treat to see Jess, Steph and Kiki in action yesterday. All three of them absolutely gritted it out, pushed hard and were phenomenal examples for my first crossfit type competition.

I learned a couple of things about gaming, strategy and the difference between competing and just "going for it." In retrospect, I realize I chose the latter by doing all the workouts rx'd (except wall ball height, which I had to scale on the fly). It was a great challenge for me at this point in my "fitness" life and beyond my capacity from a competitive perspective.

To me the difference between the two is that to go for it means you are purely exploring and testing your ability, whereas to compete means you have that knowledge plus the confidence and desire to harness it strategically for an end goal.

Had I competed scaled, I believe I would have done well as a competitor. But now I understand I made a different choice, which is a great thing to learn. Next time I might make a different choice. If there is a next time...
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargie
I was worried when I saw something so pushup-heavy pop up on the blog this morning, and apparently rightly so.

Set out to do five rounds at 10/20/40/50, but called it a day after 3. Discretion, valor, and so forth.

22:01 total (16:01 of work time).

Good sized 10:00 class today. Hope everyone enjoys the (relative) warmth outside.
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
holy shit that was actually a good barbara time.

don't know what is up with that. no pukie, even!


total time: 40:51

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSameer Parekh
Barbara: 36:33 as Rx'd (approx 14:30 better than last time)4:194:335:015:345:06

Pull-Ups - UnbrokenPush-Ups - Sets of 10 rds 1-4, rd 5 was 10 then 5sSit-Ups - UnbrokenSquats - Mostly sets of 10 with some 20s thrown in.

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVincent S Dugan
Margie, I would have loved to see you do that workout scaled-- the fact you were doing the thrusters facing a woman literally twice as big as you and almost kept up with her was amazing, but seriously, she was TWICE as big as you. That is not a fair fight which is why they have weight classes in so many sports. Remove those burpies and you were in that thing....

Anyway, you showed some amazing guts and determination.I haven't seen something that bad-assed and egoless in a sports arena before.

Again, props to you ladies and all the competitors. That was a brutal WOD I saw, brutal.

PS Oh, and then the girl behind you must have outweighed you by at least 50 pounds and *she* scaled... Wow.


Dave, awesome write up. I'd like to do this WO scaled as you explain, but Jeremy has banned me from the gym for 9 days. :-)
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRob Is
I was “not right” afterwords.
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon Shea
Great advice, David. Often very hard to follow in the excitement of the moment, but excellent.

Didn't do Barbara today - decided it was not the right workout after yet another two week period with only 2 workouts. Eventually my work life will settle down and I'll be back in the gym working out regularly.

Props to everyone who DID do it and to our ladies who competed yesterday. I'm looking forward to seeing our athletes in the sectionals this year!

LBBSQ: 145x5x3Press: 78x5x3

10 minute Cindy: 8 rounds + 5 pull-ups. Really felt the squats, but it was the push-ups that slowed me down, as always.
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel
Nice write up, DOS!
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFox
Barbara: went with 10/20/30/40 as a no-brainer scale. Used the blue band on the pullups. Usually squats are easy for me but my hammies were barking from yesterday and 200 of them took their toll. Overall, not too bad.34:33
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter
I liked David's write up too. For me, the pushups are the problem. They are a strict movement and once I lose them, they're gone.

I usually lose the kipping pullup because of a loss of rhythm, grip fatigue, impending skin tears, anything other than local muscular exhaution. Often I can just hang for a moment to let the oscillations die down, or come off the bar and get right back on. If my arms are failing I can just Kipharder.

With push ups, there comes a point where I simply cannot do them. My shoulder girdle gets fried while the rest of my body is statically holding itself straight (or more likely doing an impression of an overripe banana). I'd imagine a similar problem comes up with strict pullups.

I scaled the push-ups to twenty after one round at thirty and I think I should have scaled them further. I got bogged down on them and I probably ended up blunting the metabolic stimulus.

I think it would be interesting to try this workout with a moderately heavy push press instead of pushups. It would allow some power contribution from the whole body like the other movements do (you can kind of kip situps, plus almost anything that moves the hip is full body enough for a huge metabolic challenge). This way you would reach your limts less from local muscular fatigue and more from global fatigue.

You could say that local muscular fatigue is a perfectly valid training stimulus, and I'd agree. You could say push-ups just kind of go with sit-ups and pull-ups (maybe it's the -ups suffix). I still feel like the spirit of this workout with it's interval structure and higher reps for easier movements is to produce a metabolic disaster.

In short, I suspect well scaled push presses could make this WOD suck MORE.
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwillie
Rack dead lifts? (Start and finish with bar elevated to just below knee)335# x 3 x 3

3 rnds:20 OH KB swings (1.5p)10 C2B pull ups20 burpies10 Box Jumps 24"Missed my exact time but just under 15 min.

Park loop from main enterance to exit 28:32
February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos
Should have taken David's advice more to heart & scaled down the pullups but go the whole hog:5:356:387:077:308:25------Total Time: 47:15

* Pull-ups: Started off ok, did some kind of half-a$sed kipping pullups to reach 20* Modified the situps to do 10 GHD situps in every round instead of 40 regular situps

Feeling a bit sore in the lats this morning, but should survive...

February 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeepak
finally getting around to posting my take on saturday.

the "all hail to the queen" competition was a blast! it was a real treat to have the ladies taking center stage in an environment that pushed all the women at all levels to their max. brandy, paul and all the CFQ folks should be really proud of the event!

i personally went into the day feeling really excited but also really nervous. i have a habit of getting really competitive with myself and others and didn't want to psych myself out or get pissed off if i didn't do "as well as i should have" after the WODs.

i left the day feeling that i put everything that i had out on the table and feel empowered to train hard and continue to push myself as hard as i can and not worry about anyone else.

i enjoy the spirit of competition, and how it can push you further than you thought you could go. i love seeing everyone cheering and pushing each other to go just a bit faster or get that one extra rep (or wall walk!).

THANK YOU so much to jeremy, fox, josh and rob for coming out to cheer us on!

and a BIG CONGRATS to margie, kiki and jess for kicking ass! it was awesome seeing you gals in action!
February 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstephaniep

10 (small green band) 20 (knees) 30, 40

Pullups went well 10, 10, 10, 6/4, 6/3/1
Pushups still gone since going down the stairs, even going on the knees was a problem and this is where most of the time was spent.
Situps unbroken
Squats unbroken

5 rounds: 35:58

Felt totally great, went home, took a shower, lay down for a sec and caught a coma--woke up 2+ hours later.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H.

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