Day 166 (February 18) – PR in cleans and double unders!


I’ve been doing the “100 days to greatness” (as it were) for Double Unders, Handstands, and Rope Climbs. (I think you can find me if you look under the “Fitness” ones – or maybe search for Fempowerment (my user ID) or my name? Not sure how that works.)

Yesterday, I posted the video in Double Unders, and basically said that I’ve signed up for a Double Under clinic that goes “from beginner to expert” and I was afraid (seriously, upsettingly) that I would be the ONLY person not to get a Double Under.

Because H was supposed to stay in the city for a dinner (he wound up feeling too crappy to do it – he came back from Europe with a bad cold which he had BETTER NOT share with me!), I did the 3:30 WOD. Seraphina was coaching. I think that it’s supposed to be Bo – and it might be that this was one of her first coaching experiences because Bo was there, but then left once the WOD got underway, and then returned at the end. I”m not sure when Sera got her Coaching Cert, but she’s not far out of high school.

She was REALLY good! GREAT cues.

The WOD was:

6 Min EMOM (every minute on the minute)
5 Touch and Go Power Clean @ 70%

Back Squat 5 x 2

For Time
800M Run
100 Double Unders
400M Run
100 Double Unders


On the clean, I decided to do it “way heavier” than I ever had – I had only done the “swirly bar” which is either 10 or 15 pounds – so I decided to go up even past the orange (10k or 22 lbs) to the red bar (15 k or 33 lbs). Sera saw that, and said “I think you can do 25k” [55 lbs.] – and I just didn’t argue. That was great – she has done WODs with me and has watched me do WODs (she’s usually at the 9:00 a.m., but finishing her workout not starting), so she had some concept of what I can do. I thought – what the heck? I decided not to complain about it or say “What?!?!! That’s 300% more than I’ve ever done!” I was able to do it, so there you go ;-) As usual, REALLY have to work on form: keeping bar in to legs, “arms hanging like chains on the bar, the hips/shoulders do the work” (I didn’t have a problem with that but that was the biggest cue she kept on folks about as they bent their arms on the pull); SHRUG HARD it gives you at least another inch; “fast elbows.”


On the back squat, I was as usual a hot mess. Anything that involves squatting low with weight is a non-starter for me. I just don’t have the “mechanics.” Let’s face it – I still do WarmUp squats holding onto the Vertical.

Now, I say that, but at yoga on Monday, for the first time EVER (in over 20 years of doing bikram) on the 3rd “Awkward Pose” (Utkatasana) I went from being only able to go down like 3 inches (leaving me embarrassingly standing where all the others are at the ground) to – on the ground! Yes really I actually wound up all the way down. Whaaaat? (I also was able to get my foot to stay up on my leg in “Half Lotus Tree pose” plus was able to reach down and over, touching the ground.)

But back to the WOD. On the back squats, I tried it with just the red bar and a short box behind me, box wasn’t high enough, did the medium box on the point. Sera said that the way I was trying to “get up” wasn’t engaging the right muscles, so she had me put my feet way under the bar on the rack and then try to “stand up to” my feet. I just couldn’t move off the box. Frustrating.

DELETE 3Then, the Run/Double Under combo. I had told Sera I was doing the Double Unders as one of my projects, and still hadn’t gotten it. So I wanted to know how many single unders I’d need to do for the WOD.

The interesting thing (like her just saying “Oh, you can do a clean at this weight”) was that she said “No, I know you’ve been practicing, but that’s not how we’re going to do this. You can do 50, but every time you TRY a double under, it will count, even if you don’t make it. That’s what you should be doing. Not giving up and doing a ton of single unders – you need to keep doing and doing and doing the double unders. So you only have to do 50 each time, and you can count if you do NOT make it as a rep, but no single unders.”

Well, that did not make me very happy. Again, generally if I have Bill, Bo, Anthony they just tell me what to do with the single unders – they also would have been probably ECSTATIC I was doing the clean with the red v. the swirly bar. So that was an interesting experience. But I also know that Sera knows what I can do, because I know she’s watched me in months worth of WODs, if only peripherally.

DELETE 4We all did the first run, then I started at the double unders. By 24 “misses,” I honestly was thinking “How am I going to explain the whip marks on my ass?” I could feel a welt starting where I would wind up whipping myself when the wire rope sort of “wound around” the back of my thigh each time I didn’t make it. Then – I made it. I was so surprised, I didn’t actually say anything at first. I just stood there. I figured it might be a total fluke and, in fact, I might have not really done it. Like, that hypothetical that you learned in high school Physics, that all objects (and humans) are really more space than they are cells, so if you hit a desk hard enough, and the cells all lined up, that your hand could pass right through the desk? (That one made for at least a month of folks surreptitiously hitting their desks intently.) ANYWAY – so I was thinking that MAYBE all the cells of the speed rope and all the cells of my shins actually lined up for a nanosecond, and in reality, the rope had passed right THROUGH my leg.

Either that, or I’d try to do another and my feet would just fall off and I’d discover that I’d cut myself through like a cheese wire.

But then, at count 28, I did another. Sera was watching me this time, and so I whooped it up and called it. My first Double Under, in my whole life! (Okay Okay so we all know it was really my SECOND but I like to think of that as “Double Under Zero.”)

It took me a LOT LONGER than anyone else to finish the WOD. Put it this way – the next session was starting, and I was still racking up my 50 Double Unders on the 2nd round. The nicest part was that Jimmy (who happened to be at that WOD) actually STAYED with me. That felt great. I was really honored he’d just sit there and cheer me on. I was very laser-focused on getting the dang thing done, but I heard him call out and as it was about 8 minutes after everyone had already packed up, it nearly brought tears to my eyes. I like that our box isn’t really a big ra-ra box – when someone does something like that, it’s huge.

DELETE 5After I was finished, Bo was back watching the folks doing the warm-up for the next session, and I ran out to my car and then made him video me doing a Double Under. He thought that was hilarious – of course, just about ANYTHING I do is pretty hilarious. I’m this “blumfy” (my mother’s word – meaning you have bits that seem to have different gravity than the rest of your body, yes, that would be my stomach) 50+ year old with a big oversized man’s T-shirt and board shorts, and he’s, like, Arrow, and can do things that defy gravity while eating a donut and coaching someone on the side. But he finds me amusing (smile) and he did do the video, and I did do another double under ON video – so it’s all on tape!

That’s enough for now…I’m very very excited. He and I talked about the Open – he’s a little concerned for me, since apparently you have to get at least ONE as a score or you can’t advance to the next workout – you’re locked out. He said that the 2nd year they really blew it, doing something super heavy on like Week 2 and it eliminated over 40% of the field. He of course knows there is a lot that I just can’t do – box jumps at height, pullups, anything involving a squat (laugh)…but he said my strategy should be to just get ONE of whatever it is, JUST ONE, to stay on the board. So that’s my Open strategy ;-)



clean: 15k bar (red) plus 2 5k plates – total of 25k

double unders: 50 total including “whips” (laugh) x 2 – they were all “single double unders” and some were misses, but hell, I did’em!

One thought on “Day 166 (February 18) – PR in cleans and double unders!

  1. Congrats on the progress!!

    Yes, “fast elbows” is such an important cue!! Really, consciously try and think about it as you lift. Slow deadlift.. jump shrug, FAST ELBOWS!” It makes it so much easier!

    Keep it up and cannot wait to hear about your experience with the Open!!

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