WOD 10/16/08

“Killing Joke”

10 Squat Cleans (M:135/W:95)

50 GHD Sit Ups

8 Squat Cleans

40 GHD Sit Ups

6 Squat Cleans

30 GHD Sit Ups

4 Squat Cleans

20 GHD Sit Ups

2 Squat Cleans

10 GHD Sit Ups

This is the evil sister to “Sucker Punch”. It’s fun, in a sick sort of way. I think the hardest part about this WOD are the GHD Sit Ups.

The cleans are full squat, from the floor each time. Deadlift, transition, jump the bar straight up through a forceful extension of the legs and hips, slam the elbows forward and catch the bar across the deltoids (the Reader’s Digest version). If you are timing it right, you should not be catching the bar too high and having to ride it down too much. The other problem that can present itself is getting down too far under the bar before the catch. This leads to a lot of weight crashing down onto the shoulders and clavicles – not a lot of fun, but it does leave cool bruises and the occassional snapped bone. It’s about timing, so if you are new to cleans, go light and work on timing and technique before you try to show how strong you are. In fact, if you are new to cleans, I would recommend you dial those in a bit before going headlong into WOD’s like this. There’s a lot of little stuff to make or break them..or other things.

GHD Sit Ups are to be done off of a GHD machine or Roman Chair/Back Extension thingy. This movement is HARD although you may not feel it initially. The next day you seriously may not be able to move. It consists of a full, arched extension off of the rear of the apparatus, touching the outstretched hand to the ground, coming up and reaching for your feet. This movement is driven to some extent by the abdominal muscles, but a chunk of it is also handled by the hips as well. Weak hips equals weak abs. A lot of people claim that sit ups in this manner are hard on the lower back and they are right…if you are doing them wrong. The reason this is thought is because if the legs are kept locked and straight as you descend back, the iliopsoas muscle exterts some serious strain and shear on the spine due to it’s attachment at the spine and femur. How do you avoid this? A slight bend in the leg as you go back relieves this strain. Upon coming up, the leg needs to be sharply straightened. The rectus femoris muscle does the work by snapping the body up, similar in fashion to what it does when we are standing. There’s a lot more to this, but suffice it to say you should keep a slight bend in the knee as you descend and snap the legs straight when you rise.

If you have not done, or do not do GHD Sit Ups regularly, you can either do regular sit ups on the ground with an Ab Mat or rolled towel under the low back, or go off of the GHD to a halfway point so you are parallel to the floor. A spotter here is a great idea because if you get tired and blow it, you’ll fall over backwards and die an akward death in some corner of your gym.

Alrighty then, go forth and conquer!

Nice extension - Knees with a slight bend to relieve back tension.
Nice extension - Knees with a slight bend to relieve back tension. Photo courtesy of CrossFit Spokane.
Legs straight, not so bueno. This will make the back hurt due to the pull from the Illiopsoas.
Legs straight, not so bueno. This will make the back hurt due to the pull from the iliopsoas on the spine. Photo courtesy CrossFit HQ.

3 thoughts on “WOD 10/16/08

  1. I got crazy with the Cheez-Whiz and bumped up to 155 Lbs for the Squat Cleans. It was not a lot of fun, but I still did fairly well. I finished at 12’54”, which is exactly 3 minutes slower than my RX’d time. 20 lbs and 3 min…interesting.

    I am toast….

  2. Doug

    Thanks for the great desciption and explanation regarding the GHD Sit Ups. I have so much to learn and I appreciate you sharing all of your knowledge with all of us.

    Unfortunately, I now have GHD machine envy since you called my roman chair a “thingy”! 🙂

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