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Twenty years ago, as a young police officer candidate being taught boxing during the defensive tactics portion of our academy training, a question was asked of the instructor. “How hard should we hit them?” The instructor looked the candidate square in the eyes and with deadpan seriousness said, “As hard as you can.”  We took that to heart, and that statement instantly became the motto for our class and embodied everything we did from that point forward.

When I think about people pushing as hard as they can, one name at CrossFit Frederick always comes to mind, Jill.  No matter what time you normally work out, you've likely seen Jill in the Box.  She's always either doing a WOD, strength, mobility, or specialized extra work under the guidance of Dave and Amanda.  For most of us, the CrossFit Open ends after the five weekly workouts in February/March are completed.  Not for Jill.  For the third year in a row, she scored in the top 200 worldwide in her Masters division and moved on to the Online Qualifiers.

After the Online Qualifier, the top 20 in each Masters Division move on to the CrossFit Games. This year, Jill finished 76th in the Qualifier for her age group, which is amazing.  Here’s what she had to go through to achieve that.

 

Workout 1

For Time: (10 minute time cap)

4 Thrusters (65 lb.)

1 15 ft. rope ascent

8 Thrusters

2 15 ft. rope ascents

12 Thrusters

3 15 ft. rope ascents

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Workout 2

4 rounds for time (15 minute time cap) of:

25 chin over bar pull-ups

5 cleans (105 lb.)

 

Workout 3

AMRAP in 20 minutes:

50 Wall ball shots (10 lb., 9 ft. target)

100 double unders

50 ft. handstand walk

100 double unders

50-calorie row

100 double unders

50 ft. handstand walk

100 double unders

 

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Workout 4

AMRAP 5 minutes:

9 Handstand Pushups

6 Burpees

3 Snatches (80 lb.)

 

The catch with the Online Qualifier workouts is that you only have five days from their announcement to when the videos and scores need to be submitted.  That's five days to complete four workouts.  As if that pace wasn't tough enough, Jill did WOD 1 at noon on Friday, and then came back into the Box at 6PM that same night for WOD 4.  She was back the next morning at 9AM for WOD 2, followed by a day off and then WOD 3 on Monday.  I'm sore just thinking about packing all that into such a short timeframe.

Jill felt her rope climbs were among her strongest movements in these WODs.  She was able to reach high up on the rope with her foot placements, which helped her climb up quickly.

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The handstand walk proved to be very challenging, as Jill admits she couldn’t do a handstand walk before this event.  As per standards, the 50-foot walk had to be marked out in a 25-foot length of 5-foot increments.  If you failed to complete a 5-foot segment, you had to restart at the last segment completed.  Jill never gave up and even though she lost her balance many times, her persistence allowed her to complete two of the 5-foot segments.  Jill also learned to do kipping handstand push ups this year, which helped her score during that WOD.

While Jill also made the Online Qualifier in 2017, she was forced to withdraw from the competition after the first WOD.  A nagging shoulder injury prevented her from continuing.  It was so bad that she could not do an overhead squat or even a shoulder dislocate. This shoulder pain continued on through late 2017, and Jill knew she had to address her shoulder issues if she was going to be able to compete in 2018.  Through a combination of dry needling and focusing on maintaining good posture and working on strengthening the small muscle groups of the shoulders with Dave and Amanda, Jill was able to fix her muscular imbalances and become pain free by the time the 2018 Open began.  But Jill says it was not easy.  “I oftentimes was in the gym a combined time of three hours a day.  Also, the sessions that Amanda and Dave did with me were grueling.”  

Jill knows all too well that what happens outside the Box can affect your performance inside the Box. What advice does Jill have?  “Mobility and good posture is very important especially as you age.  Also, before adding weight make sure you have good technique and form.  At our age, all you really have to do is come to the box and workout with a positive attitude!!”

So what does Jill have planned for the rest of 2018?  She is going to keep working on mobility, tuning up her double unders, and working on muscle ups and the technical aspects of her lifts.  Whatever she does, expect to see Jill going As Hard as She Can during the Open and beyond next year!

--Geoff

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