Each and every person will bring a different skill set with them when they begin their CrossFit journey. Some people have strength, some have endurance, while others have flexibility. However, no matter what you bring to the table, there is bound to be something that is going to trip you up in the programming. It is the nature of the beast. Constantly varied and constantly pushing your limits. This is a list, in no particular order, of some of the most frustrating CrossFit movements, today, because I’m sure HQ is thinking up new ways to haunt our dreams as you read this.
1. Double Unders– Jumping rope. No big deal, kids do this every day. Oh wait, you want it to pass under my feet twice in one jump. As you begin, you imagine Rocky training with Apollo, speed rope hissing through the air while sweat drips from your body. You swing the rope over head and immediately hit your feet. Good start. The average person swears about 3.7 times per one double under when they first start. Rightfully so, you would probably have just about as much fun standing in place and just whipping your arms and legs with the rope. Then it happens, you string some together. The sound of the rope passing under your feet twice is like an angel’s whisper. Then you see some YouTube video of a guy hitting triple unders. Thanks, why don’t you just kick my dog while you’re here.
2. Thrusters – For some reason I feel like Greg Glassman was not that good at math. In CrossFit, 1 never equals 1, it’s always 2=1 or 3=1. There is no better example of that then the thruster. So let me get this straight, essentially you want me to power clean, front squat, and then push press, and that equals one rep. Now hit 21 reps, 15 reps and 9 reps. “It’s the set of 15 that gets you.”. Nah, I’m pretty sure rep 1 sucks just as bad as rep 45. I’ve never heard someone cheer “Yay, thrusters!” at the beginning of Fran.
3. Wall Balls – Ok, these are just like a thruster, only with a soft, 14-20 lb, medicine ball. What could go wrong, right? Wall balls will suck the life out of you faster than trying to run through quicksand. But they seem so harmless. You want me to do how many of them in a row? 150 wall balls will have you making up stories about a vacation on a dude ranch where you were on a cattle drive for a week. That’s easier to explain why you are walking funny and avoiding steps like the plague. Plus, no one would believe that a plush 20 lb ball could do that to a human being, until they tried it at least.
4. Burpees – Someone once asked me if a singular burpee was called a burpi, to which I replied “No, burpees never come in singles.” Drop down to the ground. Do a push-up. Hop back up. Jump and touch your hands above your head. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You get the idea. The only way to get over burpees is tricking your mind into thinking you like them. Say it with me, “Burpees are awesome. I love burpees.” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
5. Muscle Ups – Ahh, the ever elusive muscle-up. Trying to pull yourself up on top of the rings from a hanging position. I’ll just swing back and forth for five minutes, that’ll get me up there. Let’ be honest, even after you get them, some days you have them and some days you don’t. She is a fickle creature the muscle-up. And the worst part is, this is what a gymnast calls just “getting up on the rings”.
6. Rowing – It’s not that rowing is difficult, anyone can do it. It’s just that it’s so damn boring. There’s a reason why they do it on a river with scenery instead of in front of a 4 inch monitor that resembles your old Nokia cell phone. Now that i think about it, having that snake game on it wouldn’t be half that bad. I might actually attempt the half marathon. The only one who likes rowing is that guy who is 7’3” and gets 250 meters per stroke. There’s one at every box, but ask him how much he likes overhead squatting and toes-to-bar.
7. Handstand Push-ups– So, you know those push-ups that you have been doing, ya I’m going to need you to flip up onto that wall and do them upside down. Don’t worry, the six quarts of blood that rush to your head will be enough to distract you from the fact that your shirt and shorts are coming up exposing pretty much all of your insecurities.
8. Box Jumps – Ask someone to jump 20-24” in the air, no problem. Ask them to jump onto a wooden or steel box, big difference. Now, most people have no problem with box jumps, until the they smack their shins for the first time. The first time you bash your shin good off of a box, you collapse to the ground like Peter Griffin from Family Guy, clenching you shin saying “awww” for ten minutes. Then that next set of box jumps might as well be 10 feet high as you stutter to gather the confidence to get back on top. You are now contemplating hypnosis to get over the fear of that seemingly insurmountable two feet.
9. Pistols – A one legged air squat. If only you could get half a point for just the downward part. Because it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the bottom and then trying to come back up. Yes we know, use a counter weight. All the tricks in the world don’t stop the fact that it feels like my knee cap is going to explode out of my leg like a bullet, hence the name, maybe.
10. Snatch– I think the worst part of the snatch is that every time it’s brought up it turns into an episode of The Office where everyone turns into Michael Scott repeating “That’s what she said”. Yes we get it, it sounds dirty, but maybe if you focused on your form as much as your innuendos, you could actually hit a half decent rep. Name aside, the problem with this olympic lift is that we tell you to remember all these positions then when it comes time to lift, we tell you to forget all of them and just hit the snatch. Go ahead, say it.
All ten of these movements are challenging in their own special way. Some take strength, some endurance and others flexibility. Most certainly they all have one common denominator, practice. I always tell people in my classes that practicing these movements in a WOD is a lot like flossing your teeth before you go to the dentist, no matter which one, you are going to be there awhile. Now I’m sure competitors from the Central Beast Region like Rich Froning or Ger Sasser might look at this list and think “What’s so hard about any of those movements?”, but it’s not about the 100 or so athletes that make it to the CrossFit Games. It’s about the hundreds of thousands of regular people across the globe that curse these movements daily. Let’s be honest, all of us are thinking it, I just had the wall balls to say it.