Skills Challenge

Hey Vic City,

I hope everyone enjoyed the latest test of fitness, Open WOD 14.4. It was a true challenge of both physical and mental strength, along with high volume and high level skills. The 50 toes to bar up front really could be a shut down point for many of us. Of course ring muscle ups could also be a point which people were forced to just look up in exhaustion unable to complete a rep, if they were able to navigate their way all the way to that point in the chipper.

As mentioned in the last blog, I have a way for you to improve your skills that will be tested in the Open. It is in the form of a challenge, and you can apply to any skill that you wish to improve. The challenge is typically a month in length, and with the Open beginning next month, there is no time like the present to jump on board if you are serious about improving your skills.

Obviously, toes to bar could be a skill that we could all afford to improve on, as getting through that set of 50, faster would really save time and energy for working through those other reps in that Friday/Saturday WOD. Historically the Open has featured toes to bar in high volume so I would say this should be a skill that is near the top of importance.

Let's get back to how this skills challenge works. Pick a skill, and over the course of a set amount of time (try 30 days), perform that skill each of those days, starting at 1 and adding 1 rep each day. Example, if you start this Monday, January 9th, do 1 rep of your chosen skill, on Tuesday the 10th, do that same skill for two reps, and 3 times on the 11th etc. all the way to 30. The goal is to go unbroken for as many days as possible. Initially, the skill should be something that you can perform around 7 consecutive reps.

How to pick your skill?

Some highly relevant skills would include handstand push-ups (strict or kipping), pull-ups (chest to bar, kipping or strict), ring dips, toes to bar, and muscle ups (bar or ring). Again if you currently don't have a skill don't try it everyday for 30 days. Pick a skill that you can do for around 7 unbroken reps. The first few days should be easy but after a week or so each day might be a new max. Also, if you don't have access to certain equipment to perform your skill on days you aren't at the gym, just come back the next day and complete the next number. It isn't an exact science, but the gradual increasing exposure to a skill will help you perfect and improve that skill.

Does it work?

I did this challenge before the Open last year. The skill I chose was strict handstand push-ups. Going into the start, I had a max set of 12. The first week was pretty easy, day one 1 rep, day 2 two etc. By the time week 2 rolled around, I ended it completing 13 and 14 unbroken (both new maxes for myself). In fact, I was about to get all the way to day 18 until I had to break my unbroken set. That was 5 consecutive days with PRs. Each day after I started with the largest unbroken set I was able to complete, then rested a short amount of time before completing another unbroken set until the total amount of reps was completed. Did strict handstand push-ups come up in the Open? No, they didn't, but kipping did, and by building up my tolerance of being upside down along the way, I was able to complete 45 unbroken kipping in the middle of 16.4.

So what will your skill be? Whatever you chose, stay committed to it and you'll see the results.


Training Monday - Tuesday

Warm-up: 3 rounds with empty bar - 7 hang power cleans, 7 front squats, 7 press. Rest and stretch forearms in between rounds.

Skill: Intro to the butterfly kip pullup OR banded kip practice 5 x 8 E2M

Work with coach on BFK pullups or get in 5 sets of 8 regular kip pullups

WOD: Thruster Combo

For this workout, you'll have two scores - one for your max thruster and one for the reps achieved in the 5 min amrap

Part 1: 12 min to a max thruster from the floor. Start with an empty bar!

Part 2: AMRAP 5 min of clean thruster reps @ 75% of your max

TG: bar taken from a rack