10 Tips on 13.3 for Beginners

Julie Foucher demonstrating the movements in the Demo for 13.3

Julie Foucher demonstrating the movements in the Demo for 13.3

As Castro takes longer than the American Idol host to announce the next workout

As Castro takes longer than the American Idol host to announce the next workout

What is 13.3? It’s the third workout of 2013, taken directly from last year’s Open, aka 12.4. For athletes that have been around since last year, they’ll be able to compare their scores to see how much they’ve improved, which really puts the pressure on! Kristen Clever (2010 Fittest Woman on Earth) and Talayna Fortunado (2012 CrossFit Games 3rd Place Finisher) battled against each other in Boulder, Colorado when the workout was announced on Wednesday. The whole world got to see what we would be enduring for the next week by watching them push through it!

There are lots of different strategies in this workout. Last year, right when it came out I did it without music in the corner by myself and stayed very calm and relaxed, got 17 muscle ups. Then I did it 4 days later in a very intense competitive environment, and sped through Karen and double unders to have 2 more minutes left for muscle ups, and got 17 again, same exact score. That was when I started realizing that for myself, doing the workout twice wasn’t always beneficial. It was before when I was less experienced, but sometimes you’re just “at your limit,” and doing it once could be enough. Looking back, analyzing the experiences to predict what would be best for me, I’m realizing nothing is ever right or wrong. There will be a different strategy for everyone and CrossFit is never black and white. Make this workout your own, and listen to your body.

10 Tips on 13.3 For Beginners

1. WATCH THE DEMO. Hold yourself accountable. It’s your job to make sure you are aware of the movement standards, and what’s expected of you. Makes it easier for the judge, and eliminates wasted effort in “no reps.” Don’t ride the line on the wall balls, it’s not worth the chance of getting one that doesn’t count. Make them clear.

2. BREAK THEM UP. I saw plenty of people get great times on “Karen” (150 wall balls) by doing 10 wall balls every 30 seconds. Of course you set yourself up for only having a limited amount of time in the amrap, but it’s easy to stay consistant.

3. BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING. This workout is a high skill, low weight baring workout. If you don’t make it through Karen, you’re not the only one! But warm up double unders and progressions on the rings “just in case,” to eliminate surprises.

4. SINGLE SINGLE DOUBLE. Don’t have double unders? You don’t have to have them consecutively. If 90 is a lot for you, then go through them by focusing on consistency, and no matter what you do, how many singles you need, your judge will only count the double unders. Stay relaxed, look up, and think, ‘chest higher’! Shoulders will be taxed, so keep them relaxed, stay calm. If you miss, take a breather.

5. DON’T GO TO FAILURE. No matter what movement you’re on, don’t let put yourself in the “RED ZONE!” Add rest, even if you’re not burnt out yet, listen to your body. Pacing is not the enemy here, finishing with enough energy to perform the next movement is the goal.

6. TAKE YOUR TIE BREAKERS SERIOUSLY. Let’s say you’ve been trying muscle ups, but know your ‘doomed’ score is going to be 240 (Karen+ DU’s), only then: Sprint through to get an aggressive tie-breaker score! That’s the difference between this year and last year; our ties will be ranked according to who completed the previous round faster.

7. MUSCLE UP #1. Plenty of people are getting their first muscle up before or during 13.3! I’ve seen at least 10 ‘first timers’ in the last week, the pressure’s on! REST as long as you can before you try that first muscle up. A minute, 90 seconds… and give it your all. Getting that 1 muscle up will mean thousands of places in the leaderboard, so it’s worth the break.

8. MUSCLE UP EFFICIENCY. Carl Paoli talks about the importance of being in a good shoulder position in the catch of the muscle up. Warming up with bands and practicing “dip balances” and maintaining center of mass at ring level before finishing will help.

9. KIP THE DIP. Even If you’re strong enough to strict dip out of the catch in the muscle up, why would you? It’s exhausting, especially if you’re planning on getting multiple reps. For the same reason why most wouldn’t do strict pull-ups in Fran, or strict HSPU in Diane. Carl explains it well in reminding us the movement is a “jerk, not a push press.” Make it fast and quick, not long and strenuous, ‘pressing out’, if you can avoid it.

10. HAVE FUN, MAKE FRIENDS! Get yourself a comfortable environment. The reason why we’re doing this workout is because we’re testing ourselves. Even though it’s nerve-racking, at the end of the day, we’re just working out. It’s another day of getting better, fitter, and staying healthy while doing something we all have an undeniable passion for.


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