Annie Didn’t Stand a Chance

I’d never heard of a “Double Under” before. Sounded like something from In-N-Out burger. Picture jumping rope like normal, but swinging the rope TWICE for every jump. The rope needs to pass under your feet two times, each time you jump, so you have to move your arms and wrists fast. (“Yea I could never do that”) is usually the first thought people have.

But since I started CrossFit, I’ve been working on this movement. It is EXTREMELY frustrating because it really is a movement based on technique and muscle memory. When I started CrossFit, I’d barely been used to doing single unders (regular jump rope) so double unders were something that existed on a different planet. Time after time of getting my feet caught up or whipping myself in the arms (which really does hurt), does get you frustrated.

But practice makes perfect. “Annie” is one of the “Benchmark” CrossFit workouts that I’ve been doing every few months in between practicing my double unders. It’s a workout done, “For Time” meaning your score is your total time. Annie is simple enough and consists of:

Double Unders
Sit-ups

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It’s a compilation of:
50-50
40-40
30-30
20-20
10-10
Meaning you have to do the 50 double unders before you move on to 50 situps. Then 40 double unders, then 40 situps, then 30, etc. Take a look at “Annie” in this instructional video, performed by “Flagship Crossfit” in San Francisco.

“What Gets Measured Gets Managed”

That quotation has been attributed to different people, but what I’ve done with every single CrossFit workout since I’ve started is to log it in a spreadsheet. I can track my times, my weights, my scores and my improvements, and then compare to where I was a week, a month, or a year ago. If you’re involved in any type of fitness routine, be in CrossFit or running, I’d recommend this. Yes I know it might be a hassle to spend the extra minute to write it down, but just do it.

“Annie” has been a personal challenge of mine over the last year. I’ve been working on cutting down my time, (and just generally trying to figure out how to do double unders). I started working out at CrossFit 515 in Grimes, Iowa and the instruction I received there was superb. I then got continued support from CrossFit 845 in Wappingers Falls, NY.

My goal has been to cut my time down to less than 10 minutes, which if you watch some of the superstar CrossFitters, still seems like a lot. But considering my first time was nearly 20 minutes, that would still be a heck of a feat. But today was the day. Annie didn’t stand a chance. Here is my log of every, “Annie” workout that I’ve done.

It doesn't seem like, "sit-ups" would be that difficult. Until you realize you need to do 150 of them.

It doesn’t seem like, “sit-ups” would be that difficult. Until you realize you need to do 150 of them.

February 8th, 2013 – 19:49
June 13th, 2013 – 18:26
October 5th, 2013 – 16:41
December 4th, 2013 – 13:45
February 28th, 2014 – 13:11
April 27th, 2014 – 15:17
August 10th, 2014 – Was time capped at 10min, Did Not Finish, (probably would have been around 12-13 minutes if I’d been allowed to.
August 11, 2014 – 10:41
August 18, 2014 – 10:20
August 25, 2014 – Two attempts, knew I wasn’t going to break the 10 minute mark.
August 26, 2014 – 9:37 – Success!

Reaching that Goal is Tremendously Rewarding

Besides the fact that I can now say I’ve beaten 10 minutes, finishing that last sit-up at the 9:37 mark was tremendously rewarding. Many, many months of practicing and adjusting technique finally paid off. The rush of achieving that mark when a year and a half ago it took me, literally double the time, is a tremendously accomplishment to feel. Here’s some thoughts if you’re involved in CrossFit, or just want to try out this workout, (all you need is a jump rope and a place to do sit-ups).

1) Doing these stupid things is extremely frustrating. Just stick with it, it really is muscle memory and you will get better if you take the time to work on it. Last week I did the 50 set of double unders completely unbroken, (meaning I did all 50 without getting tripped up or stopping). Even a few months ago this would have seemed impossible.

2) Think about investing in one of the speed ropes from rogue fitness. It might be mind over matter but I did notice a difference in using them. The ball/joint the rope uses instead of the strict wire through the top hole of the handle, seems to be more flexible.

Is there a fitness technique or workout you’re struggling with now? Or something you really want to improve on like run a faster mile? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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