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Santa Cruz 13.5 Announcement

You can see how far north Santa Cruz if rom Los Angeles. it was a short flight, but it feels like a different state.

You can see how far north Santa Cruz if rom Los Angeles. it was a short flight, but it feels like a different state.


briggs v leblanc-bazinet


Me, Sam and Camille downstairs at the hotel. They were joking about which songs they each picked to come out to for the ‘battle’ against each other tomorrow.


Where did the Open go? Five weeks went blazing by, as we’re wrapping up the last workout of the entry level of the 2013 CrossFit Games.
As some 140,000 wait by their computers and cell phones anxiously refreshing as the workout’s about to be announced, we all form guesses in our heads, or imagine what we’d ideally want to see.
This weekend is a double show-down. Most people will be watching online on Wednesday as Dave Castro announces what workout Camille and Sam Briggs (currently ranked #1 and #2 worldwide), and Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa (currently ranked #1 and #6 worldwide) take part in a versus-style CrossFit battle.

Last weekend, I went to a celebration in Beverly Hills for Christmas Abbott with Dave and Greg Glassman. I ended up getting an opportunity to fly to Santa Cruz to watch the announcement on Wednesday of the final workout of 13.5. Changing my week around, and hastily leaving Hollywood on short notice, I took off to what the  Southern Californian’s call “up north,” a vague discription of the bay area, Los Gatos, San Jose, Santa Cruz, San Francisco.  Once on the plane, all I could anticipate was that I had no clue how everything was going to happen. Living one day at a time is tricky when planning trips, and I had no idea what to expect.

After landing, and taking a taxi to the hotel,   Sam Briggs (currently ranked #1 in the world for the Open) was walking in the door as I was getting out. I hadn’t seen her since my trip to London, and watching her compete online and seeing how far she was ahead of everyone worldwide, I had been so anxious to talk to her! Reminding myself to “play it cool,” almost never works in these situations. I was signing for the taxi, and ran in for a hug and met her coach, and was in CrossFit-dork mode. Then the taxi guy comes up and is like … “Miss… you forgot your luggage!”
Bags… who needs bags, really? Not me.

Then the three of us decided to head to the hot tub where we had good talks about everything CrossFit! Past Games workouts kept coming up, and since we both hadn’t competed last year in the 2012 Games we chatted about doing the workouts on our own and which were our favorites.  As she was out for a knee injury, she had a positive outlook on recovering and being back with a purpose; it’s nice to talk to someone who can empathize.  She was telling crazy firefighter stories as I was trying to follow her thick English accent. Our sport sets apart because so much of it is based online, and we’re so spread out all over the world and we’re depending on learning, practicing, self discipline and the ever-changing elements.  CrossFitters could talk about standards for hours! And we did.

Later, we met for dinner, talking about different CrossFit sponsorships and telling crazy stories. Remembering workouts from the London Throwdown, and the differences between such extremely cultures; Los Angeles city vs. the hills of Manchester .  Camille and her husband Dave Lipson dropped in and it was so cool anticipating what the next day was going to be like. When I got to my hotel room there was a care package full of paleo healthy treats like pecan butter, seaweed, beef jerky, that was so fitting for a “CrossFitter.”

10 Tips on 13.2 for Beginners

Lindsey Valenzuela Vs. Annie Thorisdottir right after they announced the workout in New York.

Lindsey Valenzuela Vs. Annie Thorisdottir right after they announced the workout in New York.

What is 13.2? It is the second workout in the 2013 CrossFit Games Open. For the last three years we’ve labled workouts like this to help reference ones in the past. This one is a mixture between 11.2, (10 min amrap: 9 deadlifts 12 pushups and 15 box jumps) and 12.3, (18 min amrap: 15 box jumps, 12 Shoulder to Overhead, 9 Toes to Bar). Just because we’ve seen these workouts before, doesn’t mean the standards are going to be the same. We have new tricks, new spins, for a completely new and exciting capacity test.

1. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE. This workout will be very fast-paced, and your heart rate will jump after the very first round. Having a 45 second round followed by a 70 second, then four 90 second rounds will deceive the purpose of pushing hard in the beginning. The ‘sprint’ will be in the last two minutes for most new people, try to remember that.


Make sure you know what you’re going to be held accountable for. Knowing your weight for your age-group, what is allowed for shoulder to Over-Head, and what will not be counted and be a “no-rep” is explained here. You don’t want to have to do extra work!

3. OVER WARM-UP. Last week it was recommended a 15 minute warm up for the workout because it was based on endurance, was 17 minutes long, and started with 40 burpees. This week is for half the time, and is designed at “light-weight” to stay at a sprint. Warm up for at least 30 minutes, doing active stretching and core exercises. Perform at least 3 rounds of 45 seconds of high intensity movement.

4. USE THE STEP-DOWN. Take advantage of the new Rx movement. Whether you’re a beginner or not, the legs get burnt out quickly. Coming straight off the barbell, stepping up and getting active reps while you can breathe is better than resting and then doing box jumps.

5. SHOULDER PRESS. If you’re strong enough, use the legs as little as possible for the over-head. Of course shoulder pressing won’t be ideal for long, it’s only 5 reps, where there will be 25 reps of all leg work coming up shortly after, so it’s a nice break if you can barely jerk or barely push press. However, if this weight’s challenging: split jerk.

6. ENGAGE YOUR CORE. Warming up the abs is mandatory. Getting them activated and ready to work will eliminate your back doing all the work. Constantly remind yourself to tighten up in the barbell work.

7. PROTECT YOUR BACK. Bend your knees in the Deadlift, don’t do them all straight-legged with long levers. Catch yourself in a quarter squat for the box jumps and stand up with control. Don’t risk injury for fast jerky movements.


This is a really old video I made a few years ago for a qualifier for my friend that wanted to do well with box jumps and bar-facing burpees (Mary Beth went on to win the 2011 World Games in the 50+ division, so I think she was already on the right track!) Making the video so she could practice in her Colorado gym back at home, it’s pretty ghetto, but it has helpful tips. Getting the rhythm of box jumps is important for this workout. I led my classes through all of the warm-up exercises in this video.


Carl Paoli, Brian McKenzie, Diane Fu and Kelly Starrett give tips for strategizing the workout. They educate athletes on the movement patterns of Annie T and Lindsey for the 13.2 wod-off, and talk about ways to position your body to avoid back pain after the workout. With 35,000 views in only two days, they’re definitely producing great videos in order to help you stay safe, and perform better.

10. RELAX ON THE GOALS. Everyone seems to have a set plan and goal they obsess over days before the workout. It’s great to have an idea in your head, but remember that’s exactly what it is. It’s an educated guess, it’s a vague idea based on what your friends are getting or how far behind you think you should be behind Annie T 😉 . In a 10 minute amrap, expect that anything can happen, and anything will. You might have to change your plan. If you’re at 9 minutes and you’re at your goal, keep working as if you’re not there yet.


10 Tips on 13.1 for Beginners


What is 13.1? It stands for the 1st workout of the 2013 CrossFit Games Open. Which hopefully, most of the people reading this are taking part in! This years first workout is a mixture of last years’ 12.1 (7 min amrap burpees) and 12.2 (10 min amrap of 30 snatches going up in weight at four levels). This year we have a 17 minute workout with all the same tiers of weights as last year, but inserted are descending rounds of burpees. This workout is a grueling combination of both workouts, as it kicks up the endurance, and keeps the strength component as a barrier of finishing.

After teaching 5 classes Thursday of this workout, 4 on Friday, and 3 private clients, I have barely thought of anything else! Finally I decided it was time for me to ‘battle the beast’ and take all the tactics and strategies I watched our members use to try it myself. I knew it would be mostly strategy, and it wouldn’t just be about strength. After watching the videos of Julie Foucher, Dan Bailey and Scott Panchik, I could tell that this workout was going to be no walk in the park! Dan and Scott found out this workout on site, and had absolutely no time to prepare, (which was very exciting for the crowd) and Julie was filming all five wod demos in one weekend, neither a desirable task!

If you’re going to “Redo” the workouts, do it for the right reason! Don’t worry about what other people got. Letting that distract you will only stress you out. If you have an inside pull knowing you can get a better score, then re-do it! Follow your heart, do it for the right reasons.

Here are some tips I have for either beginners attempting 13.1 for the first time, or people that are trying to ‘redo’ their scores.

1.) WARM UP WELL. Even though there are 40 burpees to begin this workout, that does not mean you should start cold. Make sure you go for a jog, stretch, get warm, do body weight movements. Work up to the heaviest weight you’re going to be attempting, and get comfortable with touch and go.

2.) 3 2 1 GO… DOES NOT MEAN SPRINT. Don’t sprint the first 40 burpees. There is no advantage to being first person on the barbell. It’s what my track coaches used to warn me about in college about taking the lead early: the rest of the race you’ll be “paying the price.

3.) TAKE IT TECHNO. Use a metronome for your burpees if you need to. Use a music station that plays house music, or something where you can tell that you’re speeding up or slowing down.

4.) TAKE THE TIE-BREAKER SERIOUSLY. The judge should make sure to record the time from the clock at every 30th snatch. That will be a determining factor for most people that tie at the very standard tie places. For example, if your ‘doomed score’ is 100, and you know that you aren’t physically capable of snatching 135 or 100 lbs, be smart: sprint through it! If you have the fastest time after that first set of snatches, get there before anyone else, and you’ll be ahead of every other person in the world that got your same score!

5.) Adding weight incrementally instead of going straight from 45 to 75, or 75 to 135, work up to it, but those will not count towards your score. Go 45, 55, 65, then hit those 75 snatches with a smooth transition.

6.) BREAK ITUP. Think about each section separately. For the set of 30 burpees, only think about the 30 burpees! Don’t even worry about what’s coming next. Take it one step of the time. This is a mental game.

7.) FAST TRANSITION WEIGHT CHANGE. Have your weight plates set up perfectly, and make sure you know the exact order. Spending squatted down by the bar is not where you want to get your ‘rest’ wouldn’t you rather be standing?

8.) SPLIT SNATCH. Try it, that’s how I did all of my 120’s this year and last year. It’s fast, and it’s much better than squat snatching once you get up to those heavier weights. It’s good for beginners because they can get lower, without having to bend their legs worried about slipping into a full snatch.

9.) USE A FLAT SURFACE if you can. A board, a tarp, something you don’t have to look up to. It will save a ton of time, making sure you can hit the target as long as you jump high enough.

10.) REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN! Workout with your friends! It will calm you down if you’re a little nervous. Completing this workout in class or with your friends you usually do your workouts with will make you feel like it’s just another day at the gym. We are, after all, just working out, it’s no different.

Have fun, Good luck on 13.1!

The Open is Here

CHRISTMAS IS HERE! Today marks the beginning of the 2013 CrossFit Open.

CrossFit Open
Why should you compete in The Open? Because it’s a worldwide online competition that shows you where you rank next to the rest of the world. You can geek out and break it up into different categories, like people that have been doing CrossFit for as long as you have, or that are the same gender, or similar age groups, or see how you do among people at your gym. It’s a $20 financial commitment you make to yourself to take seriously 5 workouts in a row, seeing your rankings change week after week. There are almost 100,000 people signed up for the Open worldwide, and plenty of them are new and fresh into CrossFit but are finding fun ways to bond with their friends and be involved in the community! These workouts are going to be scalable and easily modified, so that anyone can participate in the Open. Register online at the website above, and go to your local CrossFit gym and get ready to have a blast!

If you’ve done this before, you know that CrossFit is measurable, and we can test our fitness by seeing how well we perform in workouts over time. Whether you’ve been training at a CrossFit gym for 2 weeks or 2 years, you will definitely see progress in the future when you compare yourself to now.

The open is to qualify the top 48 athletes in each of the 17 regions to go to the Regionals. From there, the top 3 women, 3 men, and 3 teams in each region are advanced to the World CrossFit Games. You have a chance to take part in that, and do well for yourself and how far you’ve come!

If that hasn’t convinced you, then talk to people at your box. They will all make you understand that taking part in the Open is something special, something bigger than us, and was one of the biggest participation events in the world last year. Also, signing up so you can loud and proud be repping your team and which box you’re apart of makes you feel like you’re on a professional sports team. Not to mention the top box in each region with the most signed up competitors gets free tickets to regionals, which is worth well over $20! The community will benefit from getting involved, and so will you!

Still not convinced? Watch the Update show. It’s an “ESPN” like show that highlights the facts, dates, athletes, and information for the Open to get everyone on the same page involving the workouts, rankings and leaderboard.