« Snatch | Main | February Athlete Of The Month »


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 2.26.11

Difference Maker: Alex T decided that it was too hard to locate different weight bells given their random sizes and color patterns so he did something about it. Last Saturday he stayed after classes and stencil labeled every kettbell's kilogram weight so that Everyone could easily locate what the weight they want.  We salute you, Alex!

Ragnar Relay Info Session this Saturday

Do you enjoy running?  Do you enjoy testing your endurance (both physical and mental?)  Have a penchant for staying up all night?  If you answered yes to any of these questions.. Ragnar Relay should already be on your bucket list.
Ragnar Relay is a 200-mile 6-12* person team relay event held at various locations all over the US (talk about a new way to see the sites).  Each runner is responsible for 3-legs of the race and it goes non-stop, that's right.. start at 8am one day and finish late afternoon the next.  What's that you say?  You've dreamt of running at 3am through the countryside?  Possibly wearing a costume or just some reflective spandex?  Yes, folks, we can make this a reality.
If any of this sparked your fancy Asta Fivgas will be holding a Ragnar Relay info session at CFSBK on Saturday (2/18) at 1pm.  The more the merrier!  Please RSVP with astafivgas<AT>gmail.com so we can get a rough estimate as to how many will be attending.
For a little more info on a nearby upcoming Ragnar (Asta is currently assembling a team for it now, deadline for early sign up is Feb 29; race is on May 11-12) click here

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!

Block Making in Kenya CrossFit
The 21 Most Inovative Gyms in the US Greatist
The Dogs of CrossFit South Brooklyn WODStack (Thanks Ross T!)
Doctors Clear Peyton Manning To Let 300-Pound Men Slam Him Into The Ground As Hard As They Can

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Gucci outlet
    workouts using exercise bands
  • Response
    Response: cheap lululemon
    One of the best things about yoga is how easily it can be adapted to meet the needs of practically anyone willing to give it a try.

Reader Comments (36)

I have a bunch of snarky comments regarding the 21 gyms article that I'll keep to myself, but I'll make a note of two things.

1) I tried to learn to lift at Peak Performance (I found it because they had Oly platforms and while I didn't necessarily want to O-lift I figured if they had those they were serious about lifting). If not listening to your client is innovative then, yeah, it was great. 1 month and $600 later I found Jeremy and CFSB. End of story.

2) How was CFSF left off the list-- it's an outdoor gym!

I came in last night because the birthday girl (my wife) wanted to work out and the birthday girl gets what she wants dammit.

Press: 140x4x, 135x4, 135x4
This makes no sense, but suffice to say I'm trying to maintain and I benched 4 sets the night before.

T-Row: 75 plus partial weight of the bar: 4 sets of 10
These are cool and seem to provide a good arm workout. I'm doing them for my shoulders and back though, so hopefully that is happening too. Concentrating on pinching the scaps together.

Short, easy and sweet which is what I need after a brutal volume day Monday.

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterRob Is

Thanks a bunch, Alex, for the kettlebell stencils!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichele

I heard a rumor that today was Round 1 of 5 of Barbara over 5 weeks.....................

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShree Mulay

If you are doing ring pull ups or ring rows instead of pull ups what would you suggest as the volume? i.e ring pull ups strict 10? Ring Rows 20 still?


February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDH3

Re: Best Gyms

Anyone ever been to Defranco or Parisi's in NJ? I am crushing on their indoor astro turf tracks, how dreamy and romantical.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

1 - Did the scaled band' version of Barbara, parallette for thumb friendly pushups, I thought I mucked up the count and added extra 2x10 to situps. 35.24 was my time, I'm pretty sure, phone crashed with my notes - going paper now. All the B12 shots and xtra Rx'd supplements are making me normal again, WOOOO!, so if we do Barbara again then I'm going Rx'd with the band.

1a - All my staying after and working on pullups/chins is really paying off and body is naturally starting to use the kipping movement, woo!, which I noticed this morning at the end of 4th round.

2 - Very special shout out to Stella for doing my morning math at the end of the WOD. Dudes. I'm already bad enough at keeping it straight, attempting post Barb was just pathetic.

3 - Books reading right now: The Night Circus and Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Recommend both highly.

4 - Anyone have a recommendation for a Sports Medicine doc? Pretty please?

5 - If anyone working for Lululemon is reading this, I love the Wonderunder crop something fierce but the little notched seam on the back in the middle at the bottom of the band? Yeah, drills a hole into the butt cheek with situps. Thought maybe I just had a weird arse but someone else was wearing them today and same deal. Just feedback :) I will happily test any future prototypes :)

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJules

Jules - noted! I will pass on the feedback. Maybe a wunder under crop with a different band would be better - like the astro wunder under...

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBex

I make no promises as to the accuracy of said math ;)

BSQ 162.5x5x3 That belt really does have magical powers. This is the first time I've used it for all of my work sets and I definitely felt the difference.
Bench 105x5x3, again with belt magic. I am amazed at how...well, not *easy*, but doable, both this weight and last week's have been, given that I failed at 102.5 two weeks ago. Granted, it was an unbalanced bar, but still!
Tall clean practice, then cleans 75x3x3. They still feel awkward. I'm thinking a goal for March, after I come out of strength cycle, is to practice cleans at low weight at least twice a week.
No time for chinups, alas! I can do them tonight while my husband is off at math class, though.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Holy crap that was a bitch...
its also makes me a bit proud that I did all sets of 20 pull-ups strict. (With a green band at the 3rd set.

43:43 was my time and my best was 5:06.
Thanks for all the cheers and I am in awe of Andrew who not only caught up to me but also started 3 minutes behind me. You are an animal.

Props to the 7am class for giving it your all like you did. I am going to go fight to stay awake all day long now.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith W

PS, all you Barbara beasts were amazing this morning! Keith was knocking off air squats like it was his job, and Charmel finished his last round by sheer force of will. Awesome, all of you.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Stella! I have full faith in your math :)

Bex! You're working Saturday? I will pop-in to BK shoppe and try your recommendation. My butt and I will be thanking you if it works :)

EVERYONE at 7am ruled, it was kind of magnificent to see the whole thing go down, and a special cheers to Andrew's knee as that was my focus point during squats the last two rounds.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJules

7 AM:

I was actually in the gym yesterday, so I had a full 24 hours to reflect on the fact that I was going to have to do Barbara this morning, and it did not disappoint.

40:30 (I think - don't have my notebook in front of me).

The pull-ups were easier than I expected, which I owe 100% to Noah suggesting that I sub kipping pull-ups into the standardized warm-up. The push-ups were way harder than I expected, possibly because I did burpees yesterday during "Rahoi" and push press Monday during "The Bear" (I didn't get into the gym on Sunday, so doing the three crush WODs on consecutive days was a bit of punishment for partying too hard on Saturday night).

Thanks to Josh, Keith, Jen, Julie, etc. for all of the encouragement, and a special shout-out to Jess Fox's 7 AM class, which I have to assume was Foundations from all the looks of "what am I getting myself into?"

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Jules, I have an excellent physician who is a specialist for hand/wrist/elbow/shoulder issues. He repaired my shoulder, which was a hot mess. Louis Catalano - 212-523-7590. He's at Roosevelt Hospital in the city - a few blocks from Lincoln Center.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Jules, I see Lisa Bartoli at The Continuum Center for Health and Healing. She does ortho, sports medicine, and acupuncture. I like her, a bunch. She takes Oxford insurance (among others), which was hard for me to find with the sports medicine doctors, and might help any folks out there in the blog-o-sphere looking for Oxford.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

I will be there Sat, we will get your butt into some good pants :)

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBex

Apologies for drifting off topic and boring you all with my personal goals, but I’m hoping that making them public will help keep me honest… I was inspired by David’s post a while back about focusing on only a few things at a time and prioritizing the bodyweight movements. I’m going to focus on these three for the next three months (I’m an accountant, I like to work in quarters), and see what comes of it.

In honor of Barbara (a body weight WOD), my three-month goals:
1. Pull-ups (well, chin-ups). Grease the groove, five days a week. Starting with sets of one rep because that's all I have :)
2. Push-ups. Grease the groove, five days a week. Done with the chin-ups.
3. Mobility. Focus on hip openers at least three days a week. My left knee keeps collapsing when I squat. I think a tight hip is to blame. (Coaches, please correct me if I’m wrong.)

So there they are. Thanks all!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKMo

Great idea for the KB weights. Sometimes KB's tend to chip or fade from what I've seen. If you can find a blank space on the wall, trace the outline of each KB size on it & stencil the weight on the wall. You can just compare profile for size/weight.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndy S.

For the kettles I have a recommendation.
Paint them all one color per weight and post a weight color chart on the wall. ;)

12KG green
16KB black
24KG red


February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith W


Always good to have goals! I am not as up to speed with greasing the groove as I should be, I thought that's what I did on the dance floor. I used this on chins for a while, and liked it, and it probably works with pushups too. If not exact, it's probably similar:


February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJR

I really like that Alex took the initiative to do that, thanks Alex!


We have 2 spots left for the Cape Cod race (!!) and already some interest for the Adirondacks race so don't be shy. :)

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterasta

I've seen Riley Williams and have recommended him to a number of people. He's a great surgeon who doesn't push surgery - I've only had 1 of my 3 issues surgically repaired. His specialties are sports medicine, knee, elbow and shoulder.


February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan G.

Started pretty well on Barbara today, but got really dizzy and nauseated in round 4 and called it a day there.

4:01 (I think)

After a long layoff from CF, I think I just need to build up my endurance and pace myself on longer WODs in the meantime.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan L

Shout out to 7AM! The energy in the class today was awesome.

Barbara is a dirty little B. Five rounds sucked. And hard. Oh, and then there was round six: my five floor walk up.

Fastest: 4:20
Total: 35:41

February 15, 2012 | Registered Commenterjen stop

Wow Barbara is no joke!
Scaled the pullups to 15 and did them strict.
I still can't figure out how to do kipping pullups without tearing up my hands. Took roughly 38 min with rounds 3 and 4 being the slowest. Props to the 7am class. It sounds like you guys killed it!!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

A.m. Strength:

Squat 245x5x3
Bench 165x5x3
Clean 160x3x3
Chins +37.5# 5,5,5
Ghd ext +filler bag (15#?) 10x3
Ghd sit up +filler bag 10x3

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

My friend Nick's gym out in California have a little video up on the CF games website! His spot is one of my Santa Barbara workout joints.. (Besides his garage, which is also a premium local.)

Check him out

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

Just wanted to get under a bar. More like active recovery than weightlifting

Pushed the weight a little heavier than I initially planned. Mostly out of just wanting to feel like I did some work

Chins 3x10

Will do some conditioning tomorrow and Friday.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

Thank you so much everyone for the Sporto Docs!! Much appreciation x11.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJules

Tonight I did something I don't think I've ever done before.

I came in to repeat a lift because I gave up on myself trying to move it yesterday.

I accept that sometimes you can't hit your numbers. Failure is part of getting stronger.

But there are two things you can't tolerate in yourself if you want to be a lifter - two things you MUST beat out of yourself. They are (1) fear and (2) weakness of will.

Paying someone to sit there and watch you lift is a pretty good hedge against (1). But nobody can help you with (2). It's all you.



190x5 (PR)

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichele ma belle

forgot to say that I'm pretty sure wearing Rickke's shirt was key. Even his workout gear smells amazing.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichele ma belle

So glad that I could take the 6pm class and do "Barbara"

Here are my finish times per round:
37:23 (TOTAL)

I actually felt GREAT after Barbara today! I think it's all the paleo eating, to be honest. I went as hard as I could and was able to walk away from it without any issues. My limiting factor was by far my push-ups. By round three I was finishing my sets with double and triples. Always a limiting factor in metcons for me. Otherwise I did all the squats, sit-ups and 3 rounds worth of pull-ups (first, second and last) unbroken. Great workout, great vibe at the gym.

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

37 mins
3:43 fastest

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRonW

Strength Cycle, Week 6, Day 2

Came in after a day where I had suffered a bit of a fever so I wasn't sure whether I would be up for it. I was glad Jeremy hadn't scheduled a repout for me.

WU: 45x5, 135x5, 185x3, 215x1, 235x1
Work: 245x5x3

WU: 45x5, 95x2, 105x1
Work: 112.5x5x2, 112.5x8

Chins (dropped back to 25 from 40 to get more volume)
@25lbs: 5, 5, 9

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Yesterdays post did not take...had a lot to say. Readers Digest version:
3:45, 12:00, 20:51, 30:30, 40:26 on Barbara. Not my best time, a bit disappointed.
Thanks to David O. for the awesome and extra motivation.
Huge headache afterwards.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDMak

42:44 rx'd
-first round of pullups unbroken and pushups in 10's. After that, I was able to still get the first 10 pullups unbroken every round. Pushups degraded immediately after that first round and were pretty much in sets of 2-3's. The 3rd round of situps was the hardest and I took way too many breaks. Squats were pretty much unbroken and is where I tried to make up some time.
-gotta say it was mentally challenging to see all of the other 8pm-ers moving fast through this wod. But, I did appreciate them all supporting me throughout and especially through those last squats. Ya'll all alright.
-have only done Barbara once before rx'd (8/1/10) and total time was 46:31.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlady fox

M/ 38/ 134 lbs/ 5'-6"
I actually did "Barbara" last night... I saw that you guys had it posted and I was looking for something in the 20 minute range that would not kill my hands as they were a bit beaten up.
I did it in a PR of 25:48
all rest felt easy. I only broke up the pushups on the last round for speed, I could have taken longer and gone unbroken, but the point is speed, so I decided to maintain really good form and break up the last set.
Felt easier and the rests felt much better than I remember. I've been eating prertty well and although my hands are little beat up right now, I am just getting over a lower back pull/ tweek. I was kind of lowering my intensity a little bit this past week.. last 2 WODs I've been kind of letting myself go at it without holding back too much.

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranton gross

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>