Week 4 of the CrossFit Games at CrossFit Legcy

The 13.4 workout was much different than the previous week’s. For starters, it was 5 minutes shorter, but that certainly doesn’t mean it was easier. The extremely high intensity of the 13.4 workout was balanced between the raw, brute power of clean-and-jerks, and more isotonic but punishing toe-to-bars.

The 13.4 workout consisted of:

CrossFit 13.4 5593 Clean and jerk (men 135lbs, women 95lbs)
3 Toes-to-bar
6 Clean and jerk
6 Toes-to-bar
9 Clean and jerk
9 Toes-to-bar
12 Clean and jerk
12 Toes-to-bar
15 Clean and jerk
15 Toes-to-bar
18 Clean and jerk
18 Toes-to-bar, etc
The athletes were grouped more closely together than usual to allow fast access to the bars to complete the toe-to-bars and this made the area surrounding the bars a hive of intensity and activity. Once the word was given to start, 4 athletes standing nearly shoulder-to-shoulder pumped the barbells into the air in a nearly synchronous rhythm. Some athletes elected to drop the barbell onto the floor after lifting it over their heads, while others placed it back onto the floor, never letting go of the bar. The clean and jerks weren’t just tough on the muscles, they were tough on the skin too. “I know the majority of CrossFit Legacy competitors have the tell-tale signs of the upper chest bruising.”, commented Jennifer Sevald.  The heavy barbell work was a marked departure from the previous week’s endurance test with the wall-balls.
Make your toes touch the bar

Make your toes touch the bar

Swing the legs upward toward the bar

Swing the legs upward toward the bar

Step one of a toe-to-bar

Step one of a toe-to-bar

When the barbell reps were completed, the athletes moved over the to bars and started the toe-to-bars. These can be thought of as the most punishing crunches ever devised. Jennifer said, “The more (reps) I had to do each sequence the harder they become. My grip gives out, my whole body feels heavier, and the bar just seems so far away.” Naturally, some athletes had an easier time with these simply based on their flexibility and height. Talking with taller athletes, they commented about the toe-to bars being difficult for them because of the length of their legs and having to get their toes that high into the air. Many times I’d see athletes get their toes nearly to the bar, but struggle to gain that last inch to make them touch. Rachel Heflen had this to say about the toes-to-bars, “Once I hit the round of 12 toes to bar it definitely got harder to stay on the bar, and I had to break them up. 13.4 was definitely a “grippy” workout, and I had to keep telling myself “just hold on the bar for one more!”

CrossFit 13.4 527After the toe-to-bar workout, it was back to the barbell for more work. Many athletes kept pounding out rep after rep for the entire 7 minutes without worrying about how much time was left. Talking about the clock Rachel said, “I didn’t watch the clock during 13.4. I heard when people were yelling how much time was left, but I just told myself, “just keep going” because this was a sprint, and not a 5K.” Because the count of reps kept increasing as they progressed further into the workout, it took more and more mental energy to keep going without stopping to let tired muscles rest for a moment. At least when transitioning from barbell to the bars, different muscle groups got to get some rest, but when an athlete is tasked with doing 10 clean-and-jerks in a row after already completing over 25 of them in the last 5 minutes, muscles begin to refuse to move and the mental power it takes to continue on gets harder and harder to conjure. Some athletes prefer a more explosive, shorter workout, whereas some, like Rachel, prefer a longer one, “I prefer a longer, less intense WOD due to my background as a distance runner. I like to be able to pace it out, and be able to make up time if I get behind.”

I came to CrossFit Legacy because I knew that CrossFit Legacy had competitive woman and I wanted to compete with them. I wanted to be pushed by the best. – Jennifer Ormsby Sevald

CrossFit 13.4 619Every athlete at CrossFit Legacy completed the entire 7-minute workout. Their fellow athletes gave encouragement as the look of fatigue began to show across their faces. “I enjoy the competition atmosphere and I am always excited to cheer for our team. It is really an exciting time and you can feel the electricity in the air of the box (gym).”, recalled Jennifer. After the workout was over, every athlete was congratulated by fellow competitors and friends. Next week is the final workout of the CrossFit Games qualifications. The workout of week will be announced on Wednesday at games.crossfit.com.

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