We’ve done this one before in both 2017 and 2018.  I remember needing to break up the front squats into 2 sets.  Back then I scored 61 calories of rowing across 5 rounds.  It’s a tough WOD because your legs are rubbery after the heavy front squats and they don’t want to jump on the high box.  The 3 minute break between rounds feels generous at first but speeds by remarkably fast in later rounds.

The score didn’t interest me so much, at least not at first.  My main goal was to do all the front squats unbroken every round.  It should have been hard.  Back in 2017 I had a 270lb front squat, the RX’d 185lbs wasn’t heavy for my legs but my core would fatigue during the set of 10, my elbows would drop and I’d need a break.  I haven’t front squatted heavy weights since before the shut down I’ve only done a couple squat cleans at 205lbs in recent weeks.  None of them felt particularly solid.  So how was I able to go unbroken each round?  This time my core felt rock solid, my elbows never dropped even when my legs grew rubbery.  It’s not just my daily dose of Original Strength that has strengthened my core it’s all the SLIPS HQ has programmed almost twice a week for the past 6 months.  I’ve done them all.  I’m so sick of being crushed by them I’ve even started doing extra plank and L-Sit practice between classes just so I don’t dread it so much each time it’s programmed.  So while the rest of me has grown weaker, my core has gotten stronger.

After the front squats I took a moment to set up my rower display before testing the box jump, that 15 second recovery was necessary.  36″ inches isn’t usually a challenge but when wobbly they sure are!  The key is to finish quickly enough to make it to the rower.  The Brick rule was created specifically for this WOD.  Skip a round to avoid front squats and box jumps and you can kiss that RX goodbye.  For your score to count you need to score at least 1 calorie per round.  That means completing all 50 front squats and box jumps!

Round 1 I scored 17 calories before collapsing on my box to rest for 3 minutes.  Round 2 I began to fade scoring only 16 reps but during the second break, as I began to sit down to catch my wind I noticed my lovely wife was using the 3 minute rest to practice her Original Strength resets.  I was so tired but to avoid looking like a lazy bum I reluctantly got up to do some breathing and a few head nods in the last remaining minute and went on to score 19 calories in round 3.  And now I was really tired but instead of wasting the next break resting I tried marching and cross crawls and skipping and despite the physical fatigue I was feeling I went on to score 19 calories again in round 4 a round that usually sees me beginning to fade.  In our final round we really hammed it up boogieing to the 70’s rock and roll between breathing resets.  The 3 minute break felt like a 30 second break but I was still able to push the pace in round 5.  The front squats were a real grind this time but to my surprise I was able to sprint the box jumps and then give it everything on the row to score 23 calories in the final round for a total score of 94, a 54% improvement over my previous scores!

So what happened?  When I slumped on the box between rounds my posture and breathing signaled my central nervous system that I was exhausted and overwhelmed and it responded accordingly by limiting my power output.  When I changed the story after round two and started sending it a new message that I was calm and composed it released the brakes and allowed me to perform better.  When I started dancing despite my rubbery legs I told it a whopper of a lie that everything was A-okay and I was feeling good and ready to perform and that gullible central nervous system didn’t seem to notice that my lungs and muscles were trying to send a different signal because hey – if they’re dancing how tired can they really be, right?

Try it for yourself tomorrow.  Instead of slumping defeated on your box between rounds gasping for air, try to get back to calm belly breathing through your nose, tongue on the roof of your mouth.  Practice some resets.  Wiggle your hips.  If you’re not too self conscious try a little happy dance and see how much better you perform.  Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves make all the difference!

Thursday WOD
Warm Up
2 Rounds:
1 min Squat Rock
1 min Goblet Squats
1 min Squat Thrusts
1 min Row

5 Box Jumps 18/24″
5 Front Squats @50% WOD Weight
5 Box Jumps 20/30″
5 Front Squats @80% WOD Weight
5 Box Jumps 24/36″
5 Front Squats @100% WOD Weight

5 Rounds:
In 3 mins:
10 Front Squat (heavy)
10 Box Jumps (high)
Max Cal Row
Rest 3 minutes

Scaling & Substitutions:
Front Squat: use a barbell, rock, luggage, small child, the weight should be heavy but allow you to finish 10 reps unbroken (but not easily).  No racks.
Box Jump: use the highest box you can realistically get 10 box jumps completed at.  If you haven’t a box measure out 24 or 30 inches on the floor and substitute with broad jumps.  In the gym it will be first come, first served.
Cal Row: ski erg, airbike or max burpees

Cool Down
Hands & Knees Rock
Dragon/Pigeon Rock
Downward Dog Rock