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WOD 9.3.13

As Many Rounds As Possible in 15 minutes of:
3 Deadlifts 315/205
6 Toes to Bars
12 Push-Ups
130m Run


As Many Rounds As Possible in 15 minutes of:
3 Deadlifts, 315/205
6 Muscle-Ups
130m Run

Post rounds completed and Rx to comments.

3x12 Heavy DB Reverse Lunges

Post loads to comments.

A very serious looking Dave F

Ouch: Discomfort, Pain, and the Space Between.

By Noah Abbott

Life, inevitably leads to pain. Wow, hold on.  That’s an incredibly depressing way to start an article about Crossfit.  All the doom metal at the gym must be rubbing off on me.  That said, the mixture of lifting heavy weights, moving our bodies dynamically, and testing our metabolic limits- all agitated within the cocktail shaker of 9-5 sedentary desk jobs- can certainly lead to some ouchies.  Knowing the difference between a stubbed toe and an amputated leg is a crucial ability for any Crossfitter, so let’s examine the pseudo-science of “listening to your body.”


Most of us have had the good fortune to have been hit broadside by the Crossfit Truck.  That global, total body soreness, stiffness, and general fuckupedness is most often caused my high rep conditioning workouts and poor recovery (bad positions, bad sleep, Bad Bad Leroy Brown, or bad, bad, evil, sweet alcohol.) This is muscular soreness, often referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and it’s a fact of Crossfitter life.  It’s mainly caused by the eccentric portion of lifts (lengthening/lowering.)  Soreness in and of itself isn’t really problematic, although it does sometimes signify fatigue of the affected muscle. >This feeling can generally be overcome.  Drink some water.  And a cup of coffee.  Get to the gym a little early and move around, jump on an erg or a rope and get your body temperature up.  Take some sort of foamy implement, stick it wherever it hurts (within reason) and roll around on the floor like a kid watching Pokemon.  Anything that increases blood flow to the region- massage, foam rolling or other self-myofascial release, or the awesome and scary Voodoo Band- will help clear up soreness lingering from a workout.

That said, the easiest way to avoid soreness is Not Jumping Off The Deep End.  The easiest way to make yourself really sore is to take a long vacation to New Orleans, subsist entirely on beignets, muffaletta, and booze, and then try and PR Helen on your first day back.  Ask me how I know this.

Discomfort can also present itself during a workout, again, generally a long, high rep conditioning piece.  Just because its hard to breathe doesn’t necessarily mean you are about to die, and just because your legs feel really, really heavy doesn’t mean they are going to fall off.  Both intra and post workout discomfort are pretty normal parts of being a Crossfitter, so get used to them.

When It’s a Problem

Although I’ve said before that some soreness or discomfort within or after a workout is acceptable, the whole game changes if my movement patterns begin to become compromised.  Are you so sore that it begins affecting your ability to get into these basic positions we require for safety:

1. A full depth squat with a neutral lumbar spine and pushed out (abducted) knees?

2. A neutral, braced spine when you deadlift or set up for a clean or snatch?

3. A healthy and mature overhead position, with your elbows locked and biceps in line with your ears?

If your soreness is preventing these positions, then you need to take the time to make it right.  That could mean the tactics described above or even *GASP*, a day off!

(Note: if you can’t get into those positions due to other mobility concerns, and you don’t come to class a half hour early and work on it, well, this is how I feel)

The problem of course, isn’t that your snatches or Fran time will suck, although they will.  The problem is that our bodies are really smart and sneaky, and will still find a way to throw that weight overhead or get your chin over the bar.  Like a carb crazed triathlete twerking their way across the finish line, you’ll get there.  But your body will not be happy with you.  Which leads us to...


Pain is sharp, localized discomfort that generally signifies structural or systemic damage has taken place. This most often results from some sort of trauma- hitting your thumb with a hammer, falling down stairs, and the like.  While that’s the norm, enough movement through suboptimal ranges of motion can certainly get you there as well.  Pain is a signal to your body that something is wrong and it wants you to stop.  We would be foolish to bull our way past this signal, but oftentimes thats exactly what we do.  If you feel pain during a workout stop, and talk to a coach.  Often this can be surprisingly quick and easy to fix- mostly by targeting the tissues above and below the painful site to feed some systemic slack to your grinding gear.  That approach (which Kelly Starrett calls Upstream/Downstream) along with some Voodoo Band compression can address most of what ails you.

Heed the clarion call of pain, friends, for if you don’t, prepare yourselves for:


Eventually, in our pursuit of competitive exercise immortality, we may find ourselves injured.  I won’t, and can’t, get too much into the minutiae of the anatomy, physiology, or rehabilitation of an injury.  I am not a doctor.  In fact, none of the coaches are doctors.  That is why, at the end of the day, when an athlete comes up to us with some sort of nebulous description of the pain they are feeling (“Noah, it feels like 2 hamsters are having a sword fight inside my left knee”) we will always recommend that you “get it checked out.”  That does not mean go home, drink a fifth of Old Grandad, and then come back tomorrow.  It does not mean ignore it, or do lots of yoga, and hope it gets better.  It means go to a doctor, who may know what we don’t, and/or get an MRI, which can see what we can’t.  Just because we wear tshirts with skulls on them does not mean that our coaching staff can fix something truly torn or broken.

Now that the gloomy semi-disclaimer is out of the way, I can talk about something I do have personal experience with; the mindset and perspective that injury will give you.  I had the pleasure of spending almost a year rehabbing a disc injury that I inflicted on myself (by being an idiot) before I ever walked into the hallowed hall of physical training that is CFSBK.  I’d never wish the injury or rehab on anybody, but it did give me lots of time to reflect on my priorities and how I wanted to train when I got better.  Ask anybody who has lost time to a significant injury and they will tell you this:

The major goal of each day of training is to have fun, learn a little, and equip yourself to come back tomorrow a little stronger and faster.  Fucking yourself up in pursuit of some vaguely held goal is the opposite of this paradigm.  It’s not fun, you miss “classroom time” and you can forever alter your ability to gain (or maintain) strength and speed.  When you are 80, nobody will care how much you squat, but you will care if you can get up off the toilet without assistance.  Train accordingly.

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Reader Comments (29)

I suck at this as I was always taught to not use my pain as a crutch and push through. Thank you crazy college basketball coaches. I also am guilty of being tired of dealing with an pre existing injury, and so I say "fuck it" and do dumb shit cause I just want to be "normal".

One thing is for sure--I need a more disciplined, highly personalized mobility practice to keep me healthy and safe.

Ps: Monty Python & Dr. Quinn? Freaking love hyperlink humor. Excellent job Noah.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGracie

Well said, Noah! Can't wait to approach today's WOD with these thoughts in mind.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFox

That piece was like a cross between advice from Hunter Thompson and Einstein! I dig it!
Also, all doctors are not the same. Choose wisely.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike

6am with Josh. Worked a clean&jerk complex that consisted of 1 power clean, 1 squat clean, 1 push jerk and 1 jerk. Worked up to ~200# with this complex, then dropped the push jerk and worked up to 242# which matches my power clean 1RM. The jerk on the last rep was a little soft. The pull on the cleans felt great today. Had a bit of trouble getting out of the hole on the squat cleans. No bounce. Need to work on that.

Then, 5min max effort kettlebell snatches @ 24kg. 68 reps. Thought that was going to be worse than it was. Finished with EMOTM for 7min of 2-3 bar muscle-ups. Made it through the first 4 rounds before I only hit 1 bar muscle-up on the 5th round and 0 on the 6th. Hands are now red and raw.

Noah's piece today ties in nicely with yesterday's article on average speed. Training to the point of injury is an easy way to kill your average speed.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Today I was really feeling it in the abs after yesterday's Annie and all the hollow rocks with the overhead work. Hit 6 rounds plus 110 meters at 225. Felt bad for my partner as he thought it was a staggered start for him and was trying to workout while I was and we over lapped a few times and then realized the issue then could not Wod when the real time came.

I always listen to pain. Having had a shoulder injury almost a year ago to date, I certainly don't want to ever do that again. Three months of no serious working out, 6 months before I really felt I could do a pull-up sucked. Like Noah said, sore is one thing pain is another. Nothing is worth injuring yourself over unless maybe its the finals of the crossfit games and you are fighting for second place. There is always tomorrow to think about and being injured only allows you to think about it and not act on it.

One other thing not really mentioned however that is also a huge factor is age. A 25 year old can probably shrug off a bad night of drinking and poor food choices and still have a good Wod and laugh at the idea of AR. Sure, they might be sore while someone say 40 will be a wreck and pay dearly for the same choices. Pain/injury as well can be much longer and harder to overcome with age. People just don't heal as fast or recover for that matter as they get older. That high school sports injury comes sneaking back if you are not careful. Making it a point to really do a lot of AR is paramount as we age if you want to keep working out as we do. It certainly helped get me fixed and stronger before my injury.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeith W

i'm pretty sure pain is just weakness leaving the body. it's like science and stuff

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLuca

@Keith W hear, hear! Fox had a good post about warming up a creaky old body a year or so ago that really resonated w/ me. (I am *almost* as old as Fox.) I marvel at how quickly Linus, age 4, recovers from injury. His body is full of growth hormone so it's no bigs to throw a few extra skin/muscle cells into the mix. Whereas my body is definitely forgetting how to make new cells.

I'm home sick this week and sad to miss what would have been our post-vacation comeback week. Had some great capoeira workouts in the VT woods last week, including lots of inversion practice. MIss my 6am crew, though.

Great essay, Noah. I love that we have all these stellar coaches who are also fabulous writers. Renaissance CFSBK.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Ooooh....The Princess Bride- amazing!! I always enjoy reading your articles, Noah; you're a fracking poet.

8am class with the poet himself.

150# deadlifts- these were the easiest part for me, so maybe I should have gone heavier. Scaled to some sort of hybrid of the three versions of toes to bar, knees to elbow thingies. Yet another thing I would like to work on. I am happy that push-ups are once again in the standardized warm-ups as I seem to have lost the ability to do more than 6 strict in a row and found I had to drop to my knees much earlier than I expected. Got through 6 rounds and 3 deadlifts.

Cash out with 25# dumbbells. These got seriously heavy.
1000m row to cool down.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

is it a sign of mental illness - CFSBKalia? - that I had a dream about this wow last night after i checked the blog before going to bed?

In my dream I was trying to work up to a 315# deadlift but the barbells were all broken and twisted and broke into several pieces in my hands...

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrav

"Just because we wear tshirts with skulls on them does not mean that our coaching staff can fix something truly torn or broken."

Best disclaimer I've ever read. Thanks for the well written piece, Noah.

8am today with Noah

with #205: 7 rounds + 3 DLs, 6 toes-to-bar, and 9 push-ups

If I ever get to do it again I would run harder and put #225 on the bar.

I started doing some modified CRASH-B's-style lifts at home in the mornings to get better at rowing. I set myself a goal of doing these twice a week until I can hit all reps:

4x20 of each:

DB front squats @ #45 DBs,
ring rows,
DB RDLs @ #45 DBs

all lifts spaced 3 seconds apart, resting exactly 1 minute between sets

I can only do about half that number of ring rows, and my grip starts to fail fast on the RDLs. It's gonna be a while before I can hit all reps in this workout at tempo.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex C

Great article, Noah. You are one funny dude. I hope D.O. pays you a little bit extra of that sweet CFSBK $ for writing such good shit.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris A.

meat and veg CSA pickups today, 6-8:30

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermichele

Can I play flag football even though I've never played? I assume its like regular football. With flags.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterariel c

Sometimes when the pain is in my lower back (from deadlifting) I cant tell if its soreness I feel later or just regular pain. (later being right after i stop working out). Regardless, I cant bend to tie my shoelaces.
Following your advice Noah, I will take a rest day tomorrow from crossfit and maybe even watch the Princess Bride.
Coincidentally, the foam roller I ordered got in today.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpigeon

Someday, I will watch Princess Bride so I understand these references that people are always bandying about.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Was meeting up with a friend so did a scaled/modified version of today's workout in the office today.

15min AMRAP

3 Deadlifts at 275#
6 Toes to Bar
6 Ring Dips
15 Box Jumps at 20"

Made it through 6 rounds plus 1 deadlift. I feel like I definitely got the intended stimulus even with the box jumps, as I was huffing (and struggling on the deadlifts) by the third round.

Then 3 rounds of 12 barbell front-rack reverse lunges at 75#, 95#, and 115#. Feeling the burn.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

Getting up off the toilet when I am 80 is most definitely something I hope to achieve. More importantly climbing a Himalayan Peak when I am 60 is something I aspire to. I can be seen most days on the platform throwing heavy weights over my head, catching 300lbs on the clean with my ass almost touching the floor. I realize that this is NOT a long term pursuit. I do not believe competitive Olympic lifting is conducive for maintaining healthy joints into middle age. I have been VERY VERY lucky to have never sustained a serious injury and maybe this contributes to my willingness to abuse my body for now. However I realize that this will not and cannot last...the next couple months in particular I am willing to put my body through whatever beating I am giving it in order to try and qualify for a national event. Why I actually give a shit or care if I do is a good question. I have very little else to channel my physical energy into right now and I am, at heart, a terribly competitive person....with that said, I hope on Sept 22nd i can qualify for the American Open and represent CFSBK injury free.

Snatch: Work up to 242x1x3
Squat: 330x5x4
Clean Pulls: 352x3x4
Jerk Stanch Press: 154x5x3

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

found this figure it could help a lot of people with muscle ups


September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam Ayide

Hi there, @MGMT! Let's say the only two days I can make it to the gym this week are tomorrow and Friday. With the gym being closed this weekend, what workouts will be available on Friday?

Thanks, and apologies if this was already answered elsewhere!

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllison K.

4:30 w/ Ro

5 rounds + 3 deadlifts, 6K2B, 3 PU.

I was surprised with my K2B success/effort. Not much kip the first 3 rounds, but definitely needed some momentum for the last 2 rounds. I really enjoyed this WOD. I like the style of...just keep moving until the time runs out. Pushups got hard. Broke up the last 2 rounds into sets of 3. Woof.

DIY: 3 sets of 12--goblet squats with King Willie #30
Handstand work outside against the wall...and a couple free standing kickups! Gettin better. Doesn't help with the dog licking my face though...

Love Jake's "I can often be seen"--NBD

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGracie

4:30 class
Pertormance Rx
4 rounds plus 3 deads and 5 muscle ups.

DLs unbroken, I ran slow throughout (shocker), and broke the muscle ups into 3s all the way through until I failed on the 3rd in my last round. My wrists hurt. I definitely stayed out of my discomfort zone on this one. Fun WOD.

Thanks to the CSA, I have all the cool tomatoes.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFox

6:30 with Ro and McDowell: my last workout before vacation. My abs are still wrecked from Monday's workout, so I moved pretty sluggishly today. Could not do more than ten hollow rocks during the warm up, and my T2Bs turned into K2Es and then into lat active knee raises real quick. 5 rounds plus 3 deadlifts at 205#. Slow and heavy, but I feel like I managed to Not Jump Off the Deep End, as inspired by Noah's fantastic article. See you in two weeks, CFSBK!

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Mc

4:30pm class.

Finished 5 rounds plus 3 dl's, 6 T2B, and 12 pushups with about 10secs left, at 205#.
-Didn't bother to head out for the last run. Should have pushed harder to easily finish that 6th round though.
-I was able to cycle my t2b for the first 3 rounds and then I just got lazy aka tired, moved to singles and slowed down incredibly.
-Pushups also slowed me down. These actually felt the best pushups have felt in a wod lately and I really worked hard to keep my elbows in. My achy right shoulder thanks me but my triceps might disagree with that tomorrow.
-On a positive note, I didn't tear!

Allison, Friday's classes will have the option of doing a 'Saturday' WOD as well. So, come on in!

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlady fox

happy wedding weekend, laura mc and andrew!

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterariel c

For all of you who wish jus to get up of the can at age 80... just keep moving. I have witnessed a grandmother at 90 lift weights, a mother at 70+ walk 400 miles in 8 weeks and a dad at 70+ ride the century ride around Lake Tahoe... Everyone at cfsk is way more in shape then my family ever was... you all will be pushing the limits of what people can do at whatever age you are... keep up the awesomeness.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterk2h2

5:30 with David/Arturo

7 rounds finished at 15:13. My board ended up looking like hieroglyphics. So the following may be some version of how it went actually happened.

3 dls 125#- unbroken and "easy"
3 strict muscle ups: got through 3 rounds, then a mix of failing the press up something like 1,f,1,f,f,1 and f, 1, f, f, so next round did 6 T2B and 12 push ups 4, 4, 2, 2. Last round muscle ups again f, 1, f and left to finish the run.

30# rev lunges 1 set of 16e and I was done.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrystal

Laura and Andrew Congrats!!!!!!!!

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrystal

Jake (or others) is Olympic lifting bad for your joints? Or just doing the kind of weight you do? Because I'm already middle-aged and I don't want to mess up my joints

Fun wod today. 6 rounds plus 3 dl at 275#

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrav

@Mrav- I think like anything else, anything in moderation. The intensity of training I am doing right now does not "feel" like it is a particularly healthy way of living in the long run.

September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

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