The organizers of the CrossFit Games really know how to test an athlete. The third workout (13.3) for the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games was a test of an athlete’s mental toughness as well as their physical fitness.
There was no heavy barbell to press and no massive kettle bell to swing. This workout was all about seemingly endless repetition and the mental grit to keep going long after the muscles started burning and fatigue set in. The heaviest weight the athletes were required to lift was their own body and a medicine ball.
The 13.3 workout is timed at 12 minutes and consisted of:
150 Wall Balls (14lbs for women, 20lbs for men)
To complete one wall-ball, an athlete is given a medicine ball according to gender and must throw it against a wall to a specified height, men at 10′, and women at 9′.
To throw the ball and hit the mark a few times is relatively easy and many athletes do it as a warm up exercise before their WOD (workout of the day). But to have to complete 150 wall balls is a totally different story. The mental grit of an athlete is tried as the count slowly creeps up over a long period. Most athletes threw the ball for over 7 or 8 minutes continuously, with some preferring the longer but lighter wall-ball work over the previous week’s heavy barbell work. For some, the heavy barbell work of the 13.2 workout was a wall that their muscles couldn’t break down no matter how much mental grit and drive. For others, barbell workouts are preferred over the grueling work of wall-balls. “I like the instant gratification a heavy barbell movement. Success or failure, the outcome is immediate. Long drawn out metabolic movements like 150 wall balls takes more mental strategy” – Leah Sommers
After the wall balls are completed the athlete moves on to the double-unders. This might look like simply skipping rope, but it isn’t. In order to complete a double-under, an athlete must have the rope pass under their feet twice during a single jump. This requires both prefect timing and a tall vertical jump. Many athletes are mentally exhausted by the time the wall-balls are completed, but they must clear their heads of the fatigue and focus their minds on timing their jumps perfectly and finding a rhythm or they won’t complete enough double-unders to progress to the next phase of the workout. Talking about double-unders, an athlete describes how it feels to move to them after doing 150 wall-balls, “I considered doing the DU’s (Double-unders) a privilege. meaning I was strong enough to get past the WB’s (wall-balls)…they were sort of a victory lap for me”. Double unders are very hard on their own, but especially after the punishment received at the wall ball. “Once you get the rhythm its not bad… but when your hips, thighs and shoulders are on fire after 150 WB’s (wall-balls) it sucks”
If an athlete is able to complete both the 150 wall-balls and the 90 double-unders, they then get to move on to one of the most challenging routines in CrossFit – a muscle-up. To complete a muscle-up, an athlete must grab a set of rings above their head and pull themselves up until they achieve full extension in their arms and lock their elbows. It’s an incredible feat of strength and is amazing to watch in person. The sheer effort required to do one-muscle up by itself is immense, but doing one after the previous workout seems
nearly impossible, however, some CrossFit Legacy athletes complete one or more within the 12 minute time limit. It’s a testament to their mental toughness, physical strength, drive to exceed, and coaching by gym owner Brian Yoak.
When talking to the athletes at CrossFit Legacy, every athlete I’ve spoken with has talked very highly about Brian Yoak’s coaching at the gym. A number of athletes have come from other CrossFit gyms to train at CrossFit Legacy specifically because of Brian’s drive and ambition to build the most elite athletes. Nobody at CrossFit Legacy is there to hang at the gym and pose. CrossFit Legacy was built with the goal to help people transform themselves into the fit, strong, confident person they always wanted to be.