When Week 3 of the Crossfit Open was announced, I felt happy and confident. Finally! Two simple movements that humans have been doing for years: picking something up and stepping up on something. Finally, a workout that I could do with little to no thought: deadlifts and box jumps. My excitement was squandered though when I read the format of the workout. The weight and reps of the deadlifts would increase with each round. You would have eight minutes to complete as many reps as possible. It went something like this:
10 deadlifts at 95 pounds
15 box jumps
15 deadlifts at 135 pounds
15 box jumps
20 deadlifts at 155 pounds
15 box jumps
And that's basically when I stopped examining the workout because, well, I had never lifted anything over 110 pounds in my life. Doubt started to set in. Could I actually lift 155 pounds, or even 135 pounds? I wasn't sure, but I thought it was possible.
I also knew that I needed a strategy. This wasn't a workout that you could rush through. It was going to get harder and heavier the further you went. This meant you had to hold back in the beginning and manage your energy. Also, the box jumps could be completed as step ups. This seemed like a good option. The deadlifts would require maximum effort and I didn't want to waste that effort on box jumps. We also had to load the barbell with weights on our own. I was a little worried about this too, because I usually loose the ability to do simple math during a workout.
The nerves started on Friday night, March 14, as I waited to start my workout. My barbell was loaded with ninety five pounds and I was ready to go. I quickly went through the ten reps with ease. Next, I moved on to the box jumps. I went with the step up option and used these reps to ease my breathing.
Once I completed the box jumps, I loaded the bar for 135 pounds. This was a little heavier. After three reps, I decided to break the reps into 3 sets of five. Breaking the set into smaller sets worked. I quickly went through the 15 reps and back to the box jumps. Now came the true test.
I lifted the 155 pounds and pumped out three deadlifts. Wow, this was heavy. I had to drop the weight and regroup. I picked it up again, and hoped to get three in a row. I only got two. I was hitting the wall.
"There's not way I'm going to complete these reps."
I looked at the clock. There was nearly four minutes left.
"Crap. I can't just stand here. I have to try."
So that's what I did. I could only manage one at a time. It was ugly. It was painful. It was brutal. I cringed, grimaced and even screamed my way through each rep. After 14 reps I glanced again at the clock. There was enough time.
"I can finish this."
I finished 20 reps and I made it back to the box jumps. With seconds to go, I pushed out as many step ups as I could, hoping to complete the round. When the clock hit eight minutes I had completed thirteen box jumps. It was just two shy of completing three rounds.
I went to the floor and laid on my back. I stared at the ceiling, and tried to catch my breath. 155 pounds. I had never lifted anything that heavy in my life. I don't weigh 155 pounds. But somehow, I had just managed to lift that exact weight twenty times.
When I stood up, I couldn't help but smile. There were a lot of smiles surrounding me too. Quite a few of us had just completed our heaviest deadlift ever. Before tonight we had questioned ourselves, and doubted if we could complete such a feat. Now we had our answer. We just never knew that we had the strength within us, until now.
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.