Down South Series Volume 4. EVENT RELEASE.

Range of Motion is proud to provide the events for the fourth volume of the Douth South Series. Here, we reveal the events, as well as the rationale behind them and share some strategy tips to maximise your team's performance.

 

Event 1:

EVENT 1: Earn the Bar.

400m run then max reps of power clean and jerk in the remainder of each round. Rounds are: 4, 3.30, 3, 2.30, 2.00, 1.30, 1.00.

Can share the reps any way. Don’t have to wait for your team to get back to start, but each team member must touch the bar before the time limit for that round is reached to qualify for the next round.

Teams can choose their own weight for the event, and score is total weight lifted (reps x weight). If an athlete fails to complete a run under the cap for that round, the other team members can continue. Each completed run for each athlete is worth 100kg. The run is completed when the barbell is touched.

Rationale:

This event is testing the athletes’ ability to cycle a barbell at moderate loads for multiple reps under cardiorespiratory fatigue.

This event has two elements (the run and the clean and jerk). Each element would traditionally favour a different type of athlete, so the event favours the team who has generalists, rather than specialists. An athlete with strength and muscular stamina will be an asset for their team, but only if they also have the ability to complete lifts under cardiorespiratory fatigue. The run is effectively a ‘buy in’ for each round. The athletes will be forced to earn the right to get to the bar.

The variable weights introduce a strength element, rather than simply testing cycle rate and movement speed.

This event has the potential to be up to 17 mins 30 secs long if the team survives to the end, so

This event will be won by the team with three athletes of similar ability who have good engines, good muscular stamina with the barbell, great movement efficiency, and smart pacing in the first half.

Strategy:

The first choices for the teams will be what weight to use, and how many reps to do each. The weight should be selected based on the ability to move the bar quickly. The weight should be such that strength never becomes an issue for more than one member of the team, and the cycle rate of each rep shouldn’t slow down, even under fatigue. Inexperienced teams should go lighter than they think. 50% of the middle athlete’s one rep max is a good starting point. Each team member should complete a small number of reps each set (recommendation is three) with very fast change-overs between each athlete. If there is a strength difference between each member of the team, the stronger athlete should do slightly more reps, and the weaker athlete should do slightly less. If one member of the team is a better runner than the others, and gets back to the bar well ahead, they should complete singles until their second team member returns to help out. As a team loses athletes who don’t finish a run, the sets of clean and jerk should get smaller.

When completing the clean and jerk, a team’s success will be less determined by how fast the barbell is cycled, and more by how little time the bar spend on the ground. There should never be a time when someone isn’t completing clean and jerks. Efficient movement should be used from the start, and all athletes should use a push jerk, not a push-press. Good technique = efficient technique = a good score.

The event should be paced as if it was just one long run. For example, if you were running for 17 mins 30 secs you wouldn’t go out at a sprint. Just because a second exercise (clean and jerk) is added, doesn’t mean this even pacing should change. Don’t go fast in one element at the detriment of the other. Working hard on the clean and jerk and not on the run (or vice-versa) will mean the athletes hit a wall. They should work at a consistent pace throughout – this has the potential to be a long event.

As the event progresses, completing the run should become the main priority (to get the bonus 100kg for each run), and the number of clean and jerk completed in each round will become less important.

Start easier than you think and build from there.

 

Event 2:

EVENT 2: Progressing Descent.
15 min cap.

Male Rx:
For time:
24 synchro burpees over box (20 inch). Must jump.
75 pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 75 reps).
16 synchro burpees over box (24 inch). Must jump.
50 chest to bar pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 50 reps).
8 synchro burpees over box (30 inch). Must jump.
25 bar muscle-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 25 reps).

Female Rx:
For time:
24 synchro burpees over box (20 inch). Can step.
60 pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 60 reps).
16 synchro burpees over box (24 inch). Can step.
40 chest to bar pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 40 reps).
8 synchro burpees over box (30 inch). Can step.
20 bar muscle-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 20 reps).

Female scaled:
For time:
24 synchro burpees over box (20 inch). Can step and use hands.
60 ring rows (one person working at a time for a team total of 60 reps).
16 synchro burpees over box (24 inch). Can step and use hands.
40 jumping pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 40 reps).
8 synchro burpees over box (30 inch). Can step and use hands.
20 pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 20 reps). This can be scaled to five jumping pull-ups = one pull-up.

Male scaled:
For time:
24 synchro burpees over box (20 inch). Can step and use hands.
60 jumping pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 60 reps).
16 synchro burpees over box (24 inch). Can step and use hands.
40 pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 40 reps).
8 synchro burpees over box (30 inch). Can step and use hands.
20 chest to bar pull-ups (one person working at a time for a team total of 20 reps).

Rationale:

One of the key aims when programming the events for the DSS was to ensure that beginner athletes were well catered for, while still ensuring that more advanced athletes were given the opportunity to show how hard they’ve been working in training. This event does just that, with teams required to get through more simple bodyweight movements (the pull-up variations) and grinding moderate reps of work capacity (the burpee box jump variations) to get to the point where they can test their ability at more complex and difficult movements under fatigue.

The patterning of the movements in this event means it will test the cardiorespiratory system and leave little room for strength imbalances. Although both movements require the athletes to move their own bodyweight, the burpees over box are more ‘push’ and ‘leg’ dominant, while the pull-ups are more ‘pull’ dominant. Because of this, the muscular fatigue from each movement shouldn’t impact the other movement, and there should be enough time between subsequent sets of similar movements for the muscles to recover. This low interference should mean teams can keep moving at a good pace throughout, but conditioning will become a deciding factor.

The synchronised burpees will test a team’s communication and will reward the team with the fittest ‘weak link’, as the cycle rate of the burpees will be determined by the slowest athlete at this movement. The increasing height of the burpees over box will slow down the cycle rate on this movement, and will require the athletes to generate moments of explosive power under fatigue.

The pull-ups (and their variations) will not only be a differentiator for the more highly skilled teams later in the event, but the loading of the more complex movements at the end of the event will make pacing and efficiency very important. Pacing because teams need to leave something in the tank for the final round, and efficiency because they won’t be able to rely on strength and stamina to ‘muscle’ through the movements at the end.

Strategy:

Strategy differs for this one base don the ability of your team. If you think the complexity of the movements will get too much for your team, go out faster to give someone on your team the opportunity to maybe get their first pull-up, chest to bar pull-up or bar muscle-up. If you think your team can finish the event under the time cap, pace it so you can maximise you ability in the final round of exercises – if you hold your own at the start, the end is where this event is to be won.

On the burpees, use your slowest team member as the pacer. Don’t make the mistake of trying to drag them along at a high speed because they will hit the wall later and slow the team down. Talk about this before the event starts, and establish the speed you’re planning to move at. Don’t exceed this speed in the first round, and only go faster (if you’re able to) towards the end. Only if the person with the lowest cardiorespiratory endurance is planning on doing less pull-ups, can they afford to push a little faster than comfortable on the burpees because they’ll be getting a rest. In the divisions where it’s an option, take advantage of the step-up or ability to use hands wherever possible. Respect the height of the box if you’re jumping, particularly on the first rep of a new height.

On the pull-ups, it’s less about how big each set is, and more about how fast the next person jumps up once one person has finished. Don’t wait for one person to finish and get down. If there’s room, jump up to the bar as the previous person is doing their last rep. Communicate on the last few reps of your set of pull-ups so the next team member knows when to jump up. The fastest teams will be fast because there’s no down-time, not because they’re cycling movements quickly. Aim to never have three pairs of feet on the ground at the same time. In the final set on the pull-up bar, just keep plugging away. If you’ve paced it well, you should be aiming to not let five seconds go past without the team ticking off a rep.

Transitions are important between movements, where a lot of time can be wasted if you don’t have a good plan. Communicate during the previous exercise so everyone on the team knows exactly what’s going to happen next.

 

Event 3:

EVENT 3: Complex ladder.

10 mins to progress as far as possible through an ascending ladder of the following complex. Must stay in same order with one athlete lifting at a time.

Rx:
Snatch grip deadlift, hang snatch (full or power), jerk from behind the neck, overhead squat.
Scaled:
Deadlift, hang clean (full or power), jerk, front squat.

Male begin at 50kg and increase by 5kg each round.
Female being at 20kg and increase by 5kg each round.

Score is combined total of each team member’s biggest lift. As each team member drops out, the other(s) can continue. Anyone in the team can load the bar (even if they’re out of the ladder). Individuals can have multiple attempts at each weight as long as they remain in the same lifting order.

Rationale:

This puts a twist on a traditional strength ladder, in that the rate at which the teams progresses through the rungs of the ladder is determined by the team’s speed, not by the clock. This ensures all levels of athlete have an opportunity to test their abilities, with stronger and faster teams earning attempts at the heavier bars.

The event tests the ability of the team to move a barbell around their body, rewarding not only strength, but also the coordination and efficiency to make successful lifts under fatigue. Strength and power are both tested in this complex.

This event is designed to favour the stronger athletes, but to punish the athletes who have developed their strength while neglecting stamina and endurance. There is enough recovery time between lifts for athletes to show off their strength.

Strategy:

In the early rounds with lighter weights, this event is about movement and transition/loading speed. As the event progresses, strength and remaining mistake free become the priorities, while a strong sense of urgency will be important. Getting to the 80-85kg+ lifts for the guys and 50-55kg+ for the girls should be achievable if the teams stay fast and mistake free.

Team work and communication will be almost as important as barbell proficiency here. Teams with slow and inefficient weight changes won’t have the time to progress to higher weights. It will be a big advantage to practice the weight changes before the event to create ‘pit crew like’ efficiency. As each team member is completing their lifts, the other two should be discussing the upcoming plate changes.

Pacing is not an issue in this event, and team should move as fast as possible from the start. The increase in weights as the ladder progresses will cause a natural slowing of movement speed, so let this be your metronome, not excessive pacing.

You should order the athletes from the strongest to weakest lifter. If an athlete misses a lift and looks like they won’t make a second attempt, they should opt to exit the ladder to enable the other members of the team to continue. If a lifter drops out of the ladder, they should then become responsible for communicating and leading the plate changes.

Lift with identical technique at all weights – poor, inefficient technique in the early bars will be punished in the later bars with poor movement patterns and missed lifts. 

Expect the first five minutes to go slowly, then the last five minutes to go very fast.

 

Events 4 and 5:

EVENTS 4 AND FIVE: Back It Up.

Male Rx:
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 30 cal row, 20 HSPU.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is one scored event.
Then, immediately at the completion of the first scored event:
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 20 HSPU, 30 cal row.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is the second scored event (ie: the total time of parts A and B).

Female Rx:
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 20 cal row, 10 HSPU.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is one scored event and the next event starts immediately.
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 10 HSPU, 20 cal row.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is the second scored event (ie: the total time of parts A and B).

Male Scaled:
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 25 cal row, 20 hand release push-ups.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is one scored event.
Then, immediately at the completion of the first scored event:
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 20 hand release push-ups, 25 cal row.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is the second scored event (ie: the total time of parts A and B).

Female Scaled:
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 15 cal row, 20 hand release push-ups.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is one scored event.
Then, immediately at the completion of the first scored event:
In relay format, one at a time, each person completes: 20 hand release push-ups, 15 cal row.
When the third person finishes their final rep, this is the second scored event (ie: the total time of parts A and B).

Rationale:

This event is all about testing the ability to maintain a very high work rate for a short amount of time, then back it up after a short recovery period.

Calories have been chosen as the unit of measurement on the rower instead of metres, as this unit of work will disproportionately reward those people who put in max effort on the rower. It won’t be unusual to see an individual who goes at 90% come off the rower 30 seconds ahead of a similar individual who works at 80%.

The pushing bodyweight movement (HSPU or push-ups) is of a low enough number that most athletes shouldn’t be slowed down, and this will remain a test of high power output in a low time domain. If the bodyweight pressing is a weakness however, athletes may hit a wall here which will mean they have to pace the row more.

In terms of movement balance, the row will favour the heavier, stronger athlete with a strong and powerful posterior chain and good pulling power. The bodyweight pressing movement then favours a lighter athlete with a good strength-to-weight ratio. Aside from the need to maintain high power output at high work capacity, there is little interference between the movements, and balanced athletes should be able to complete this event at an almost max effort sprint.

The reversing of the order of movements in part B will encourage a max effort, all-out row to finish the competition. All strategy and pacing is off the table at this point, and a high tolerance to discomfort will be rewarded!

The scoring for this event has been designed so while event four is based purely on the finishing time for part A, event five is based on the finishing time for part A and B. This means teams who over-pace this event in the hope of coming home fast may be faced with too big a deficit to make up in part B.

Strategy:

Order your athletes fastest to slowest. If you have a good level of competency on both movements, you need to go through part A at 90-95% effort, then part B at 95-100% effort, particularly that last row which needs to be flat out.

Teams will be rewarded in a big way for attacking both rows, and there’s a big advantage to be gained by going hard here. The top teams (with bodyweight proficiency) can win this on the row. That being said, know your abilities on the bodyweight element. If this is going to be the limiting factor for you, you need to pace the event to maximise your ability to complete the bodyweight movement without hitting the wall.

If you think you’ll struggle on the bodyweight movements, pace them. There’s no point doing 15 reps super fast if you then hit the wall for the last five reps.

Once again, this event rewards athletes and teams with the strongest weaknesses.

Dan Williams's picture

Dan Williams

Dan Williams is the Founder and Director of Range of Motion. He is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Exercise Scientist with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science. Dan is a CrossFit Coach (at CF Games Level) and four time CrossFit Regionals Athlete.