Finding a Gameplan for 15.3


The article below is based on the assumption that you scaled 15.3 properly, (after you swallowed your ego) and don’t end up with a lousy 3 reps because you aren't quite ready for muscle ups in a Metcon. Standard #20/#14, 10’/9’ target for Rx and #20/#10, 9’ target for men and women. Now we have an idea of how these reps will feel and we can start building a gameplan on how you break up the WBS(wallball shots) for your best score.

If you remember when we tackled the 5 - 2½  Minute Rounds of ME unbroken WBS + 30 sec plank(rest remainder of round), you may have the greater advantage tackling 15.3. I recall it was a Monday. 12/29/14 to be exact . Round 1 was most likely your best round.(unless you’re not human) Let’s say that you were feeling fresh from a light weekend and surprised yourself with an impressive 50 reps. With that in mind and 14 minutes on the clock, you would be well served to break up the sets into at least 3-4 sets. The breakdown below will help you stay moving and find that 'shot' sweet spot.

Your best unbroken WBS set    Recommended sets to hit 50 reps

50 reps @ 25-33%                        (13,13,13,11 or 20,15,15)

40 reps @ 25-33%(10,10,10,10,10 or 13,13,13,11)

30 reps @ 25-33%                         (10,8,8,8,8,8 or 10,10,10,10,10)

Double unders: Find a pace that will allow you to stay moving

Singles: Just jump. Use this time to get your breathing under control

Final thoughts: If you already have a solid gameplan, hit it hard. If you don’t, this might give you an idea of how to approach 15.3

- Stephen

Reading the Whiteboard, Part II

So now that you are committed and put yourself in a positive mental state, it’s time to EVALUATE the whole situation.  Which of the following movements are you good at?  What are the one(s) that you struggle with?  How many rounds are you planning to complete?  What are your EXPECTATIONS?


5 Hang cleans (155/95)

10 Deadlift (155/95)

15 Box Jumps (30”/24”)

I will assume I can do the METCON Rx and this is how I would quickly evaluate this METCON.  I would do each of the movements unbroken and rest between each movement until I am ready to go unbroken on the next movement.  For example, I would complete the 5 hang cleans unbroken, rest about 10 seconds, complete the 10 deadlifts unbroken, and move directly into the box jumps.  However with the box jumps, I will pace myself and consistently move.  

With this strategy, it would take me 2 seconds per hang clean, 2.5 seconds per deadlift (we’ll round up to 3 seconds), and 4 seconds per box jump (includes stepping down).

5 hang cleans X 2 seconds = 10 seconds

10 deadlifts X 3 seconds = 30 seconds

15 box jumps X 4 seconds = 1 minute

So for all the work put in, it will take me 1 minute, 40 seconds (100 seconds).  If I were to go all out for the entire 15 minutes, I could complete 9 full rounds.  The reality is I am not Rich Froning or Josh Bridges.  I’m just “Good ‘ole Joe.”  So I have to program in some rest times as well.  I’ll add some rest and transition times as well.

5 hang cleans X 2 seconds = 10 seconds

*rest 10 seconds

10 deadlifts X 3 seconds = 30 seconds

*5 second transition

15 box jumps X 4 seconds = 1 minute

*rest 10 seconds

Now the total time with work and rest is 2 minutes, 5 seconds (125 seconds.  So that would give me at least 7.2 rounds.  My goal would be to complete 7 rounds.  Anything extra is just icing on the cake.

So what I’ve done is a quick EVALUATION the METCON and set my EXPECTATIONS.   Thus far, we have covered:





Now I want you to get out some scratch paper and do the same.  Pick an appropriate weight and box height where you consistently move.  Let’s see how many rounds you EXPECT to complete.  3..2..1..GO!!!



Stay tuned for additional parts to this 'Reading the Whiteboard' blog series.

The Committed

The other day I decided I needed to get some lifting in and decided to go to the base gym where I work – Naval Support Activity Millington.  I did my regular routine of checking-in, grabbing a towel, and I headed straight to the back to go to the only lifting platform they had in the gym.  Okay so it really wasn’t a “true platform” but it was a designated area where the flooring had additional padding and there were some bumper plates.

As I got closer, I noticed that there were more colored plates than usual. Wait!  What?  I couldn’t believe what I saw.  The athletic director actually bought more bumper plates.  I was so giddy inside.  Once I claimed my spot, I put on my knee braces and lifting shoes.  Normally I would put on my headphones because I didn’t want to hear other people’s conversations in the gym.  But today I decided not to…and I am glad I made that choice.

There were three older guys to my right doing seated barbell presses on the smith machine.  Ninety percent of the time I come to this gym I see these three guys.  They always workout together and I always make a point to greet two of them although I never knew their names.

As I was going through my warm-up routine I couldn’t help to chuckle at the things they were saying.  They were “one-upping “ each other on reps, poking fun, bantering, and just plain motivating each other.  One guy said, “If you want to be strong, you need strong hams and glutes.”  That immediately caught my attention.  By this time, I was about halfway through my snatch routine.  It was a gentle reminder for me to engage my hamstrings.  It just stuck with me.  I can hear it over and over again - If you want to be strong, you need strong hams and glutes.

I could see from the corner of my eye them watching me.  I was in the 4th set of doing 5 snatches at 115#s.  I accelerated quickly from the starting position and whipped the bar overhead, pulled under the bar and…you guessed it!  I fell directly on my butt while still holding onto the bar which landed right in front of me.  The only thing that hurt was my pride.  I dropped my head down and took a big deep breath.

What were these guys going to think?  One of them shouted, “How often does that happen?”  I humbly replied,  “More than often, but I try.”  And he replied, “Okay, keep at it!”  That immediately brought a smile to my face.  Those guys reduced the weight on their bar and began doing burn-outs to finish off as I peeled the weight off of mine.

Although the experience was a little embarrassing, I learned a few things from those guys.  The kept each other accountable, they challenged each other, they motivated each other, they showed up consistently, they never let age be a factor.  Most importantly they talked about fitness principles.  At a mere 37 years old, I need every edge I can get to get stronger – mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  

I was fortunate enough to snap a photo of these committed guys.  I simply (okay it wasn’t so simple) and humbly walked up to them and said the following, “Hey guys, I’m Joe.  I am an amateur blogger for the gym I coach at, CrossFit Mechanix.  I couldn’t help to overhear all the great things you guys mentioned about working out.  It really hit home when one of you guys stated to be strong, you have to have strong glutes and strong hams.  I see you guys everytime I come in and only hope to be half as strong as you guys when I reach your age.  I think a lot of us can take more advice from mature guys like you.  I’d like to write a blog mentioning you guys.  I think it would really motivate our members.  Is it okay if I take a pic of the COMMITTED?”

One guy replied, “I like how political you were, you called us mature.”  We all laughed and I was able to take a photo of my new friends.  Make it a point to listen to the more experienced and mature athletes.  You may just learn something...and it may be about yourself.


Pictured from left to right – Donald, George, Maurice.  Location - NSA Millington Base Gym

"Come in Cold, Leave Cold"

I know what you're thinking, "Come in cold, leave cold? Duh, there's ice on the ground and it feels like mid-winter in Maine." What am I getting at when I use that expression? Of course the term 'cold' could be used for anything but in this context, I am referring to the state of your muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, etc. before the warmup in each CrossFit class. To come in cold is easy. It's understandable that most of us drive to the gym rather than run a couple miles to get the blood flowing before heavy squats and a tough metcon, no judgment here. So we're halfway done, right? Not quite. Let's see how the other half plays out. 

 'Leave cold'. I'm not referring to the reason you make the mad dash to your car that you wish you had parked closer to the door. In this context 'leaving cold' refers to the time you spend after the WOD; stretching and encouraging good blood flow to those muscles you just exhausted with your new Fran PR or those terrible (and I mean terrible) 500m repeats on the rower. After a workout, while you're still warm is one of the best times to reinforce the positive changes of lengthened muscles, improved mobility, and stellar movement positioning that magically happened while you were focused on finishing strong. Don't lose that progress by finishing the last rep, storing your weights, and heading out the door in under 2 minutes. That's not tge PR that we're looking for.

In the spirit of keeping things simple, note your reps, stow your equipment and stretch it out soon after. Find a buddy that you enjoy talking to and build on a new friendship as you mobilize those tight shoulders. See, it's that easy. Not sure what to work on specifically? Ask one of your coaches. We know how you move and what you can improve. We're here to help. 

- Stephen

Reading the Whiteboard, Part I

Ah, the dreaded whiteboard.  Or in our case, the dreaded WOD posted in Wodify.  So let’s say the WOD looks something like this:


5 Hang cleans (155/95)

10 Deadlift (155/95)

15 Box Jumps (30”/24”)

What are some of your thoughts that come to mind?  How should you approach it?  There is an assumption that at times there may be some negativity associated with a person’s thoughts.  Thoughts or statements that say, “This is going to suck!”  “I can’t do that weight.”  “I think I’ll skip out on this one…I’m too sore.”  “OMG…what were the coaches thinking?”

So the first rule of “reading the whiteboard” is to BE POSITIVE.  Rule out all self-doubt.  Continue to think positively about the situation.  Remember CrossFit is for everyone!  It is scalable in all facets.  We can reduce the weights, use alternative movements, decrease the height, or modify movements if necessary.

The second rule is to COMMIT!  Yes your legs may be a bit sore.  Yes box jumps scare you!  Yes hang cleans can be a little difficult…and so on and so on.  However, I encourage you to trust your coaches.  I want you to know that we are looking out for your safety and each of us wants you to improve.  We also have a time domain in which you would complete the workout. There is an ideal time domain for each workout to maintain the intensity and maximum power output.

So now you know two things:


2.    COMMIT

Stay tuned for additional parts to this 'Reading the Whiteboard' blog series.


- Joe


Welcome to the CrossFit Mechanix Blog

As I type this first blog entry, thoughts are racing through my head with excitement of ideas, stories, and life experiences with CrossFit that I am eager to share with you. While there are few things in life that I enjoy more than coaching and connecting with other Crossfitters inside and outside the box, I have found that there is just not enough time during a 1 hour training session to communicate with everyone about what's new with them or myself. I will attempt to share here what is on my mind that excites me everyday to see the familiar faces I have built relationships with. I hope that you will share as well in the comments with the goal to build a community that results in open dialogue and lasting relationships. I will do my best to keep blog entries 'brief' but sometimes my thoughts can be lengthy. 

This blog will be a culmination of posts from not just myself but other coaches and guests that share a similar passion of education, experience, and thoughts of the culture we know as CrossFit. That being said, we want to hear from you about what you have gained from being a Member of our fitness community at CFMX!

I am looking forward to continuing the great things happening at CrossFit Mechanix so strap in, this is going to be fun!