Article

What's in a Double-Under?

Published on Fri, 2014-02-28 15:00
By: 
Kevin Daigle

It can be an exclusionary, divisive tactic, or a challenge and an opportunity. The choice is yours.

Photo by Naveen Hattis.

Open Workout 14.1 is upon us.

It’s the first, and for me, most hated, Open workout ever. It’s a metabolic suck-fest of epic proportions—light, fast and 10 soul-crushing minutes long.

At least that’s what it seems like to those who have the prerequisite skills. The Open is intended to be as inclusive as possible, but we can’t ask people to stand there for time. So, I got to thinking, what’s really big in this workout? What matters in the context of what we’re doing here in the Open? Is it the score? The (hopeful) improvement since 2011? The ability to do a certain movement?

The answer is a matter of scale. If you do not have double-unders yet, this is a challenge. You only have to get a single, solitary rep for your score to count. I scored 312 repetitions on 11.1. I would like to get at least 315 tonight, which would be 7 rounds even.

So what’s a bigger deal? A recent graduate getting their first job, or a top executive getting a 2 percent raise? Me whipping myself furiously like some twisted masochist for three more reps? Or my friend, the 60-year-old grandma who didn’t have double-unders, and finally gets one around the feet twice?

If I meet my goal—and I will be pumped—it would be a 0.96 percent improvement. Not even 1 percent. If grandma gets any double-unders at all, it’s a huge, unquantifiable achievement because she didn’t have any before. It’s momentous.

This is about fitness. If you can’t do something, it’s a hole in your game and you need to fix it. It’s also about perspective and how you choose to look at things. One commenter on the CrossFit Games Facebook page said, “Great first workout. Way to exclude 70% of CrossFitters,” while another more determined soul said, “I have two hours to master double-unders tomorrow. Challenge accepted.

It can be an exclusionary, divisive tactic, or a challenge and an opportunity. The choice is yours.

The big moments of the Open are when people transcend a boundary or push back a limitation. Not Garret Fisher trying to break 400 reps on his third attempt at the workout, to move up one spot in the world on his inevitable march to the regional. That’s not something that gets a party in its honor. His reward is elsewhere.

It’s those who walk into the gym hoping to get one rep—and do, and then another and another—who keep us spellbound. They’ve gained a new skill, more confidence in their abilities and gotten fitter. We get to be inspired. That’s why the Open matters even if you don’t have double-unders … yet. You’ve been challenged to go get them, and get them you shall.

 

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