WOD is Alex Thinking #6 (20.5)

The Open has definitely left an impression on my psyche. Leading up to Thursday I started getting nervous and anxious about what 20.5 would have in store for me. My friend got into my head telling me that even though thrusters already appeared in dumbbell form, they would reappear in 20.5 with some pull-ups.

I actually had a bad dream the night before that it was announced to be thrusters and pull-ups. Anyways, as I counted down the seconds to the announcement and fidgeted at my desk at work, I was excited as soon as I heard muscle-ups. One of the moves I was most hoping to see in the 2020 CrossFit Open was the Muscle-Up. I had finally gotten my Ring Muscle-Ups this year and my Bar Muscle-Ups were already great so I felt that was the one special move that would place me ahead of the rest. However as my brain started processing the actual workout,

I realized that with the format being in “any order you want”, that the muscle-ups(MU) would have to be earned. Since you can do the movements in any order and partition that however you want, 1 MU = 1 cal row = 1 wall-ball. If those are all equal points then the MU is the most difficult of the three, so unless I can finish all the cal row and wall-balls, the MUs would do me no good. Did I mention that I am pretty bad at both row and wall-ball!!?

The WOD: 

CrossFit Open 20.5 For time, partitioned any way:
40 muscle-ups
80-cal. row
120 wall-ball shots, 20-lb. ball to 10 ft. Time cap: 20 min.

The Strategy:

After placing the MUs on a distant pedestal, it was time to get to the drawing board and figure out how to get through this workout. I know I have to keep my reps low to avoid getting too tired too quickly. I also didn’t want to leave all the MUs for the end as I had them, but wasn’t amazing at them yet.

My first plan was:

15 Wall-balls

10 Cals

1-5 MUs (Basically stick to one go at it, as in if I can connect 2-5 then do that but if I drop from the rings move on)

Friday morning I decided to stop by the gym and test out my plan with 3 rounds. It did not go as planned, I failed my first attempt at the rings because I was breathing too hard from the row. After about 30 seconds I was able to hit the MU, but only 2 this time.

My 15 wall-balls started to fall apart quickly and I was only able to hit 10 without dropping. The row was probably the easiest element solely because I can control my tempo and slow down if I’m tired. After a not so good practice run, I decided that I would have to cut back on MU heavily.

My new plan is to start fresh with 5 MUs just to get a few before I begin my journey. Then I would stick to just row and wall-balls until both are done. Finally, I will chip away at the MU with whatever time remains. I will be doing the workout tonight (Friday) so if anyone has any input about my experience….I’m all ears!

The Outcome:

I would say it went as planned. I started with 5 connected MUs then went to 10 wall-balls and 10 calorie row. I quickly learned from a mistake I made on the row when I got off my row at 10 cals and seconds later it ticked to 11. So from then on I went to 10 and then did a few tiny yanks to hit 11 with minimal effort. That probably netted me around 7 calories throughout.

I mostly bouncer back and forth between wall-balls and row because it was hard to gsthet myself enough to go into MUs. I was able to knock out 2+3 MUs in the middle but eventually finished my row with 50 wall-balls to go. Those last 50 felt like hell. I knocked them out slowly 5 at a time. I finished them with about 4 minutes left on the clock.

I spent almost a minute trying to regain my composure for MUs. My shoulders were fatigued so I was hitting 1-3 per attempt and it went slowly. I almost fell through once so I was a little shook. In the end I got 8 more before time ran out. I’m happy I got as far as I did but a bit frustrated at how much difficulty I had with the wall-balls.

Deciding to redo:

I spent a bit of time reflecting on my first attempt. I was very worried about my Wall-balls to the point I didn’t if I would finish them if I put too much time into the MUs. Once I saw that I could finish them even if slow I wondered how much further I could get in the MUs if I incorporated them in earlier.

I decided I needed to do it again, not just for the MUs but because if you suck at something in CrossFit you suck it up and do it till you don’t suck anymore. So I needed to put myself through that again.

My strategy this time was to start with 2 sets of MUs, which I did and got 8 to start. Then I went to a 10 WB/10 Cal/ 2-3 MU plan. I mostly stuck go this plan till I got to 23 MUs which was enough to beat 2 people I used as my competition. Once I got there I was bit behind on my WBs. I had about 40 left and 10 cals left. So I spent the last few minutes on that. I finished my last WB with 1 minute left on the clock. So I gathered myself and hit 2 more MUs before time ran out.

Final Score: 218 RX (2nd attempt 225 RX)


Alex Bykov

Alex Bykov is a Web Developer by trade who has always looked for ways to combine his passions for CrossFit with his professional skills. Alex started CrossFit about 3 years ago to keep up with his kids and loved it so much he never looked back. In his nerdier days, A-Train also designed board games and card games for various companies. Check out his work at AlexByDesigns.