About halfway through the box jumps I thought reducing the height from twenty-four to eighteen inches had been a mistake and I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. “This WOD won’t be too bad, good thing I already go some grappling in,” I told myself. By the time I was halfway through the pull-up round I thought I was going to die from exhaustion and I was calling myself an idiot for even attempting this workout.
The “Filthy Fifty” is a serious mental challenge. Ten exercises. Fifty reps of each exercise. For time.
When I was about 30 pull-ups in I felt like my brain was going to explode. I’d just done about 90 minutes of grappling, and MMA sparing, and I could feel my blood racing to the spots where I’d been hit. My heart felt like it was trying to sprint past the tempo of the punk rock blasting through my headphones.
The kettlebell swings and walking lunges flew by. I hardly thought about fatigue or pain and just completed the movements one rep at a time. Shoot the window. Lots of hip toss. Full extension on the lunges. Just step and lunge. I almost felt refreshed going into the knees to elbows. When I passed through the first four rounds my fatigue changed. I accepted it. I knew I was exhausted. It wasn’t going to get better and it wasn’t going away. Only one option: choose to move.
Then I crashed. After about twenty knees to elbows my core was on fire. It felt like I rested for a full minute after those first twenty, but it likely wasn’t more than about twenty seconds. By this point in the workout I was breaking up the sets of fifty into multiple sets of ten or fifteen with a few breaths in between. I gutted out the remaining knees to elbows with my abs, biceps and hands all ready to catch fire. The forty-five pound push-presses and back extensions almost felt like resting by comparison.
Some exercises aren’t terribly taxing until I do tons of them (air squats) while some others are brutal right out of the gate (burpees). Wall ball shots are possibly the single most deceptive exercise I’ve ever done. For those who are unfamiliar a wall ball shot is an exercise where you hold a nonreactive medicine ball that’s anywhere from ten to twenty pounds, (I used twenty today) you do a full goblet squat, and then shoot the ball to a target that’s ten feet in the air, usually against a wall. The first five to ten feel like a joke. Hardly worth the effort. Then, if you’re doing them right, your quads, glutes, chest, and abs all start to catch fire. I had to take my rounds of ten and fifteen and break them down to rounds of five. Squat, shoot, catch. Squat, shoot catch. Squat, shoot, catch. Squat, shoot, catch. Squat, shoot, catch. Try not to let my body shut down. Choose to move. Get through the round. After all, I had burpees and doubleunders to look forward to.
By this point I accepted the mental game. I’d been exhausted since the knees to elbows. There were no light exercises left. Just a burn to the end. The only way to stop the burning was to finish the workout. Slowing down would only prolong the suffering.
Burpees suck. There is simply no way around that. You can be doing ten or a hundred and every single one makes you feel slow and exhausted. Doing a significant number in a row (like fifty) is a serious exercise in self control and self motivation. All I could think about was the clock and how badly I wanted some food and water. My goal of doing the burpees as five sets of ten broke down after twenty. I just had to do as many as I could in a row. Catch my breath and let my body re-phosphorylate some creatine so my muscles could work again. Burpees down. Just doubleunders and I’d be done.
I’ve been working on my doubleunders. I’d done twenty unbroken doubleunders. Fifty would be challenging more from a cardiovascular point of view than a skill point of view at this stage of the workout. Could I remain focused and energetic enough to string doubleunders together, or would my fatigue get the best of me and hurt my form?
I dominated my fatigue. After a broken start of only three doubleunders I hit a PR and strung together twenty-seven unbroken doubleunders. After all that work, and fatigue, and exhaustion I hit a PR. With the finish line in my sights I brought all my remaining mental strength to bear and finished the last fifteen unbroken as well to end the workout.
Time: 28:32. Not too bad for my first time and post-grappling. Now I’ve got to do it again as prescribed and to beat my time.
50 Box jump (18″)
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings (16kg)
50 Walking Lunge steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press (45#)
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots (20#)
50 Jump Rope doubleunders