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15.3: But I Can’t Do a Muscle-Up

Jamie Toland came to terms with the fact that he might never be able to do a muscle-up. Until 15.3 started on the rings.

“15.3 is the end of your Rx scores.”

Well, that’s not exactly what Dave Castro announced, but that’s how it translated in my head.

The muscle-up. Dang. I’ve been doing CrossFit for five years, and I have arguably spent more time at our affiliate attempting muscle-ups, but never actually completing one, than any other member. I even worked last fall with Hunter Britt (formerly from CrossFit Conjugate and Q-Town CrossFit, now with Invictus) on muscle-up progression drills. Still, nothing.

I’ve come to accept the fact that at 40 years old and 195 pounds, I most likely will not complete a muscle-up. I was fine with that realization … until last Thursday.

I’ll say that my goal this year was to complete all the Open workouts at the Rx level. So to some extent, I am disappointed that I had to scale this one. But the difference between my disappointment and those who took to social media to stomp their virtual “feet” and kick and scream like 2-year-olds is that the person I’m disappointed in is me.

There were muscle-ups in the Open last year. I knew the possibility of having them again this year was there. The point is, I did not work on them to get better. That’s the simple truth. The reality of this situation is that the onus is 100 percent on me if I can’t complete the movements as prescribed.

Even if I had been able to do muscle-ups, this was going to be a grinder for sure. We had 14 minutes to complete as many reps as possible of seven muscle-ups, 50 wall balls (10-foot targets at 20 pounds) and 100 double-unders. Scaled was the same time but 50 wall balls to a 9-foot target and single-unders.

Single-unders? What the hell?

There was a lot of complaining on social media about this one being reduced from a triplet to a couplet when moving from Rx to scaled, which I can understand, but please feel free to read my earlier statements about whose fault it was that I couldn’t complete the Rx in the first place.

The workout itself reminded me very quickly how much I hate high-volume sets of wall balls. (No matter the height of the target, I’m still doing sets of 50 front squats at 20 extra pounds). It’s also one of the reasons I spent months learning how to string together double-unders. Single-unders, by the hundreds, are really torturous. A few years ago, I got tired of not being able to do any Rx workouts with double-unders. That and the fact that our scaling option had grown to a 4:1 single-under to double-under ratio motivated me to learn.

A positive for 15.3 was that I didn’t have to read any additional articles or watch videos for tips. I broke up the reps. Round one was 25 and 25 followed by 100 and 100. Round two was 15, 15, 10, 10 and four sets of 50 on the singles. Round three was sheer willpower to get through the wall balls and then just hammer out singles as long as I could stand it until I dropped.

Final tally: 651 reps, scaled. I did the workout “Karen,” plus 501 singles. I’m still feeling that one days later.

Although I wasn’t one of the thousands who posted videos on social media of people getting their first muscle-up, I’m OK with my result and remain happy that I’m healthy enough to be a part of the Open.

Maybe next year? I guess that’s up to me.

How did 15.3 go for you? Did you get your first muscle-up? Did you decide to scale? Share your stories in the comments.

Stay on the grind.