Step-ups Are The Rage Games OPEN WOD 13.2

Photographer: Sweat RX
Box jump

10 minute AMRAP of:
5 shoulder to overhead (115 / 75 lbs)
10 deadlifts (115 / 75 lbs)
15 box jumps (climbs? ascensions?) (24 / 20 inch)

I was surprised, nay, shocked when I read the rules for this week’s WOD. This year, stepping up to the box was allowed where two footed jumps have previously been required (perhaps in response to the rash of ruptured Achilles tendons that followed the box jumps/deadlifts in 11.2?).

At any rate, a lengthy debate ensued at our box regarding the merits (and legitimacy) of step-ups. The purists among us were scandalized; step-ups may not be cheating, as per the rulebook, but they certainly feel like it. But, rules are rules, and while we may strive on a daily basis to squat low, jump high, and hit the target (“to cheat a rep is to cheat yourself!”), come game day we all know that the competitive field will most definitely be testing the line between rep and no rep.

And so, I stepped. And then (For Science!) I did it again and jumped every rep (with a step down). Results: jumping cost me 46 reps, including one where I stumbled off the box, tripped over the bar, and nearly took out my judge. With a sample size of one I conclude that step-ups are considerably faster in the long run for the average fellow, and are less mentally taxing to boot.

For some of the most elite athletes who share genes with both Tigger and the Energizer Bunny this is not the case; my friend and self-appointed personal butt-kicker, Britney Holmberg, jumped every rep and still beat Annie T. But for those of us with less spring in our step (for reference, Brit walks faster in snowshoes than I run), pretending we were in a step class was a chance to divert energy toward maintaining a box ascension pace that we could not maintain with jumps.

Are step-ups equivalent to box-jumps as a test of fitness? I feel they most certainly are not. Just as butterfly versus kipping versus strict pull-ups are all legitimate exercises, they do not test the same skills. Frankly, I felt slightly shady even considering doing step-ups as a substitute. But then again, Olympic weightlifters, who are required to catch the bar overhead with elbows locked out for a rep to count, might feel similarly shady if a press-out were suddenly allowed. And yet, the press out method is one we accept regularly in CrossFit.

I do wonder if it occurred to Dave Castro that his WOD would turn into an 80’s aerobics class…

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One Response to "Step-ups Are The Rage Games OPEN WOD 13.2"

  1. Commented by Rich Meesters on March 20th, 2013 at 1:18 am:

    Nice article. Step-ups saved me as I had injured my calf the day before 13-2 was announced. I did a few jumps to star but it quickly became apparent that they were really going to HURT, so I switched and got near my personal target for the WOD.

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