The Regular Girl’s Guide to 13.2


I am not Annie Thorisdottir. And chances are, you probably aren’t either, which means that going into 13.2, you are not expecting to get 13 rounds + change… and you are probably wondering what the heck you should be hoping to get. Because this WOD is deceptively simple, and you, the smart CrossFit gal that you are, know that you are going to need a plan. Well lucky for you, I did 13.2 at 5:30 this morning, so if you are gearing up to do it tonight or this weekend, let me tell you what you, the Regular CrossFit Girl, should expect from your experience.

If you don’t have time to absorb this entire post, here are the cliff notes: Don’t get no-repped, don’t stop moving, don’t get no-repped, don’t stop moving. Pretty straightforward, right? For more details, read on…

Let’s lay down a few quick stats. I am 5’3, 120 lbs, and my push jerk max is 95 lbs. I am not a super fit person cardio-wise–my fastest mile time ever is 9 minutes–and this is my first Open, and actually my first ever “competition” (in the sense that the Open is really a competition for us folks). So, needless to say, this has been quite the learning experience for me so far.

Going into 13.2, I knew that I was going to need to try to link all of my shoulder-to-overhead (aka “overheads”) so that I wasn’t spending time re-cleaning the bar. I also knew that the box jumps were going to be a pacing nightmare, especially for someone like me who typically prefers to jump up and step off. The deadlifts I was not so worried about, but I learned a few things about them in the process, too.

The first thing you will notice when you start 13.2 is that 75 pounds gets heavy really fast. However, the biggest thing that I was not ready for in the early part of this WOD was that flying through the deadlifts in an attempt to make up time ended up just blowing out my legs for the box jumps. Turns out that when you speed through deadlifts, your hamstrings are going to know about it, and then they are going to start bitching and moaning, just in time for you to need to get through 15 box jumps.

So, my advice for the first round is this: Until you settle into a pace, go just a little slower on the deadlifts than you think you need to, because any time you make up in speedy deadlifts has the potential to be lost in the box jumps if you blow your legs out too early.

Depending on how strong and mighty you are, you may not have to deal with failing on the overhead at all during this WOD, and you may be able to stick to push jerks the whole time. I, however, had to switch to split jerks for the last 2 reps in my 2nd round, and dropped my third overhead attempt in the 3rd round, and then had one failed attempt in each subsequent round as well. This is where the game gets mental. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the, “Oh my gosh that felt so heavy, how am I going to pick this back up, what if I fail at the next attempt, my shoulders are so tired…” because that is what was going through my head, and let me tell you that it did not serve me at all. Turn off your brain, take 2 deep breaths, and pick the bar back up.

If you are lucky enough to be able to move quickly through the overheads, then this WOD is going to feel like 10 minutes of box jumps with occasional breaks for weightlifting. It seems like the deadlifts have just been put in this WOD to slow you down, but you should be able to link all of them. If you do have to rest a little, I always find it much easier to rest at the top with the weight in your hands because your lungs can actually expand in that position. I will say this, though–don’t let yourself get no-repped by not standing all the way up or not touching the bar all the way back down on your deadlift. Every rep is EXTREMELY important in this WOD, and a single no-rep, whether it be on the overhead, deadlift, or box jump, is going to make a big difference.

Onto the box jumps. Whether you are jumping on and off, jumping on and stepping off (like me), or stepping on and off, you just need to keep moving. This is where you are going to lose a lot of time if you let yourself take too much rest. I tried to break it into sets of 5, and on the 5th and 10th rep I would stop on the top of the box, take one deep breath and wipe the sweat out of my eyes, then keep moving. Toward the end of the WOD I also realized that you can use this time to do a few arm swings while you’re jumping to loosen your shoulders back up for the overheads. Whatever you do, pay attention to your form, because there is a huge difference between 15 box jumps and 16 box jumps. You do not want to get no-repped.

In the end, I came out with 128 reps (4 full rounds + 5 overhead + 3 deadlifts). That’s a little more than 1 rep every 5 seconds for 10 minutes. This is a far cry from the 210 I had estimated I would get before I knew anything about how to do the WOD, but I am really happy with that score and feel like it’s an accurate representation of my abilities. That 10 minutes does feel like a lifetime, but when you start to slow down, just remind yourself that it’s only 10 minutes and you can endure the pain for a little longer.

I hope this helps for you folks who still have 13.2 to do this weekend. What did I miss? What are your tips for 13.2?

  • Whitney

    Love this! Doing it this afternoon, I think! So I saw one thing that I’m going to try an do and that was making sure you’re keeping your hips engaged in the deadlifts as to not have to use all arms/shoulders to get the bar up. You end up having to pull the bar much further than you would if you keep your hips engaged. We’ll see how it works in the heat of the moment though. :)

    Thanks for the tips Claire Bear! Great job!!!!

    • clairechapman

      You and your power shoulders. Sigh.

  • crossfit grandma

    I love reading your blog. We share a lot of the same 1 rep max weights but I am 47 years old and inch shorter and a few pounds heavier. My biggest issue was the shoulder to overhead. I did push jerks the whole way. By set 5, I was doing clean and jerks for every rep. Had to set it down. After the box jumps, I mentally needed a rest before picking up the bar again, knowing it was heavy and not being confident I could do all 5 unbroken. Stepping up on the box sounds like a smart move. I ended up at 153.

    • clairechapman

      Nice work!! I can’t believe you did full C&Js for each rep and still got 5 rounds! I only had to clean the bar twice at the most in each round and only got through 4 rounds and change… really nice work!

  • Steph Vaughan

    Your post-WOD analysis is great! I feel anyone, no matter their ability, can take away from what you’ve written. I have yet to do the WOD and will really listen to your tips. Thanks!

    • clairechapman

      Thanks Steph! Were you happy with how you did?

  • krista

    This is definitely helpful! I’ll try to remember for my wod tomorrow :)

    • clairechapman

      Thanks Krista! How did you do?


    One tip the afternoon group used at my box was just to continually move. The box jumps are where I struggled the most. I jump up and jump down, which takes a lot out of me at 6’2″ 210. I would rest at the top of the box when I just couldn’t do another rep and take a couple breathes. The trick the afternoon class used was to do steps at the start of the round for 4-5 reps to get your breathing under control and then you only have 10 box jumps. You need to make sure to get these unbroken though. If you are tired just do steps ups instead of stopping. You need to keep moving the whole time. It is only 10 minutes! One guy improved his reps by 20 using this method. Just my two cents. Good luck to you all! I am going to do it again tomorrow using the method above and try to improve on my my 212 reps from Thursday.

    • clairechapman

      Yikes I complain about box jumps because I’m short but at least I’m light! Did you get a better score when you redid it?


        I got a 258 my second go at it. Pretty happy!

  • Megan Richards

    I agree – Not getting ‘no repped’ is key and just keep moving. I did 13.2 at 6am Thursday before hearing all the different strategies out there.
    I have shoulder strength in my favor here and all my overheads and deadlifts went unbroken. But I have heart rate issues that are exacerbated with jumping I got maybe one round of actual box jumps in. During the second round I was getting dizzy as my heart rate was getting to high and the big breaths to bring it down were slowing me down so I just started stepping up which give me no problem. Doing the step ups actually sped me up because I could breathe through them and “rest” I stayed with step ups for the remainder. I ended up completing 6 rounds + 4 overheads. I like Greg’s strategy below too. I’m going to try again tomorrow, just to see if I can get a few more.

    • clairechapman

      Did you get more the 2nd time?

  • Megan Peterson

    Nice job Claire! I recommend stepping up/ stepping down if you’re not “bouncy” and efficient w/ your box jumps. I did this and per Claire’s suggestion, I just kept moving (felt like I was in a step aerobics class, ha!). This is allowed in this WOD and I believe helped me get a higher score – I ended up 1 rep shy of 6 full rounds (179). Also I blazed through the DLs as fast as I could so I would recommend the same if the weight seems light. For the shoulder-to-overhead movement which I’m not super comfortable with, I used a push jerk the whole time and went slower than expected so I didn’t get no-repped. I did an extra 2 DLs the 1st round (d’oh!) so had that not happened I definitely would’ve had 6 full rounds + ??. This is a tough WOD so pace yourself (I took a few deep breaths after each round before picking the bar up) & keep moving as much as you can b/c it’s only 10 minutes! Have fun!

    • clairechapman

      Nice work!! That sucks about the extra rep, but (practically) 6 rounds is an awesome score. I am pretty happy with how I did for what my overhead strength is, but I am hoping that 13.3 is a little less overhead dominant!

  • Linnéa Geiger

    Love this! Thank you Ms Claire

    • clairechapman

      How’d you do??

  • NJ Paleo

    Wow, you did a great job on this workout!

    • clairechapman

      Thanks! Did you do it??

      • NJ Paleo

        No, sadly my gym isn’t technically a CrossFit affiliate so we don’t participate in the open. I’m pretty sure that this workout will turn up as a WOD one morning though…..

  • Jennifer

    Claire, you did amazing!! These are great tips, too. I honestly had no idea how many reps to aim for as I had no idea how those overheads were going to go. I knew the deadlifts would go by quickly, but yes- your poor legs!! I did step-ups under the recommendation of our coaches; they said most people were pulling higher numbers with the step-ups over box jumps.

    I was considering redoing this a second time… but after I did it I said heck no, never ever again.

    Good job, girl.. keep it up! :)

    • clairechapman

      I kind of wish I had tried step-ups but I think I would have gotten no-repped a lot. I am pretty happy with my score but also hoping that 13.3 is a little less overhead-lift dominant!

  • Simone

    You’re my blogging/crossfit hero. :)

  • Simone

    Okay, sooooooooo, we definitely did 13.2 as last night’s garage workout, and oh-ehm-gee.

    First of all, since we’re just a bunch of “knuckleheads” (as Pete calls us), we forgot that there is scaling for the ladies, so — though I can’t do 75# thrusters yet and instead did 55# — I did 115# deadlifts and 24″ box jumps with the guys. I can also assure you that about 90% of my box jumps would have been no-repped for not standing up enough at the top, but I tried my best!

    I ended up with 4 full rounds and about 5 seconds to spare (which did not translate into any more thrusters). I am very okay with this. :)


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