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Its workouts are designed to get you in and out of the gym as quickly as possible, while still providing you with a full array of muscle- and cardio-building benefits. The following iron-heavy workout certainly doesn’t look like much here on the screen.
But put into practice—and with the clock ticking as you aim to complete the prescribed work in as little time as possible, while maintaining strict form—you’ll understand why CrossFitters say “I do the impossible.”
This routine is meant to be done in superset fashion in a sequence of 21-15-9. In other words, you’ll do 21 deadlifts followed by 21 dumbbell split jerks on your first set, then 15 and 15, then nine and nine. The entire workout is to be performed without rest, although a rest-pause cadence—completing a few reps at a time and allowing for short bouts (10-20 seconds) of recovery—is certainly acceptable if this is your first go-round.
Choose a weight that is about 75% of your 1RM for the deadlifts, then use half of that weight for the dumbbell jerks. As an example, if your 1RM on the deadlift is 300 pounds, then load the bar with 225. For your dumbbell split jerks, you would use half of that weight—roughly 110 pounds, so two 55-pound dumbbells.
It should go without saying, but make sure to get in a thorough warm-up prior to diving into this workout, including 2-4 light sets of deadlifts and dumbbell split jerks. Note your time from first rep to last and aim to decrease that number each time you perform this workout.
Reps: 21, 15, 9
Exercise: Dumbbell Split Jerk
See how to perform the moves on the next page.
Start: Stand in front of a loaded barbell with your feet a little wider than your hips. Squat down and grasp the bar with a staggered grip (one hand pronated, the other supinated) just outside your knees. Your back should be flat, head in a neutral position and your heels flat on the floor with the bar touching your shins.
Execution: Inhale, push through your heels while pulling the bar upward, keeping your back flat, chest high and the bar extremely close to your body the entire way up. Exhale at the top, standing straight up with the bar and pulling your shoulders back while thrusting your hips forward slightly. Do not hyperextend your back. Lower along the same path and repeat for reps.
Start: Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder level, your palms turned in. Your knees should be slightly bent.
Execution: Lower yourself into a partial squat. Explode out of that bottom position, simultaneously pressing the dumbbells to full extension overhead, your feet splitting into a partial lunge position. Your feet should plant at the same time the dumbbells reach the top position.
Keeping the dumbbells overhead, bring your rear foot forward so that your stance is even, feet about hip-width apart. Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the start position and repeat for reps.