The Power of Community:  CrossFit Open Workout 20.3 Recap

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Three workouts down and two to go!  CrossFit Open workout 20.3 was a repeat of Open workout 18.4 and consisted of two segments.  Segment one was Diane followed by basically a heavier variation of Diane.  Open workout 20.3=18.4 was as follows:

21-15-9 rep scheme of:

Deadlifts 225 lbs./155 lbs.

Handstand push-ups

Deadlifts 315 lbs./205 lbs.

Handstand walks 50’ distance

Time cap of 9 minutes

Why repeat an Open workout in a different year?  The CrossFit methodology is extremely scientific in its approach to quantifying progress in work capacity.  It’s why we write our scores on the board after every workout, track our max lifts, and track all our workout times.  It’s a simple way of compiling workout data and therefore every workout is a self-experiment.  In the 2018 Open, I completed this workout scaled and since that time, I’ve progressed to testing myself with the Rx workouts.  This time around I completed 22 reps and it’s that 22nd rep I really want to focus on!  In workout 20.3 I was able to achieve my first handstand push-up (kipping), but it did not come easy.  Open workouts are announced on Thursday evenings and my gym is doing the Open workouts on Friday evenings.  So I got into the gym Friday morning to see if I had a shot at completing a kipping handstand push-up.  I’ve been working on strict handstand push-ups for some time but still need the added height of a 10 lb. bumper plate and an ab mat to complete a scaled version.  Like CrossFitters around the globe, I watched a quick video on kipping handstand pushups and then gave it a go all by myself in the gym.  I was utterly unsuccessful and quickly found myself mumbling, “This just isn’t going to happen tonight.”

Fast forward to later that evening. With the gym music pumping, I set up for handstand push-ups by measuring out and marking my height requirement.  I informed my judge I was planning to make an attempt but would most likely move on to completing the workout scaled after the 21 deadlifts.  I knocked out my deadlifts and then got inverted, brought my legs down and then flailed them upward.  Nothing happened.  I repeated; I flailed, and I failed.  I did about three cycles of this before putting my hands up and basically throwing in the towel or at least that’s what I thought.  Within seconds, one of the gym veterans and top female athletes (currently 60th worldwide in her age division) was at my side yelling, “Come on!  You can do this!  Get back up there!”  She was right, what was there to lose?  She coached me through about 4-5 more failed attempts, but each time an adjustment was made and each time I got a little closer and gained a little more confidence.  Then, suddenly, light as a feather and boom!  I was up in my first handstand push-up! I was both elated and exhausted but I was pumped up by the support of my gym mates!  I tried for another and came close but was too exhausted.  In the end, I was satisfied (momentarily) with my first handstand pushup.  Two rounds later, I had the pleasure of judging another gym mate as she completed her first of four total handstand pushups.  I counted her reps and discussed the same coaching tips I had received and celebrated her success like my own!  Retrospectively, completing this Open workout was simply impossible for me.  However, by participating in a workout I knew I had no chance of completing, I was reminded of how essential the CrossFit community is in supporting and developing personal successes.  I like to believe I am dedicated and disciplined athlete, but in the midst of Open workout 20.3, I owe the success of a handstand push-up to my community of teammates!

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