Fight Gone Bad (FGB) is what many call the toughest Crossfit WOD. I agree that it is among the most difficult. I hope to give you a method by which you can deconstruct the 17 minute hell modeled after an MMA fight gone terribly wrong. See this video for an explanation of the WOD and how it got its name. Fight Gone Bad is a three round workout with a minute of rest between rounds. Five relatively light movements are each performed for a minute. Exercises include wall-ball, sumo deadlift high-pull, box jump, push-press, and row. All moves are scored for reps, except for rowing, which is instead scored for calories. I will go through the workout and discuss a strategy to maximize your score in this WOD. Please note that this is a strategy to post a higher FGB score, not necessarily to increase the amount of work you do during this WOD.
To begin, a note on the order of exercises. The order is prescribed as listed above, but many of you will do this WOD in a group setting that will not allow you to order your exercises this way. The ordering as prescribed is preferable for several reasons. You start with wall-ball which is a good general full body movement to start the heart rate going. This move does not cause much localized muscle fatigue and each exercise that follow wall-ball gets progressively more specific. Sumo deadlift high-pulls are a full body exercise, but they have a strong emphasis on the shoulders, forearms, and traps to complete the pull to the chin. Box jumps work the legs very hard, less so the upper body. Push-presses fatigue the shoulders more than any of the other exercises fatigue their emphasized muscle groups. Finally the athlete comes to the rower. The rower takes time to get in and out of, as you have to reset the screen and get your feet in and out of the straps. If you row last, you can get out of the straps during your rest minute, and you don’t have to worry about the dismount cutting into your time for the next exercise. If you cannot use the prescribed order, use the notes about each of the exercises below and your knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses to determine where you should start.
The first prescribed exercise in FGB is wall-ball. This exercise has a long range of motion (ROM), starting with a full squat and ending with a full overhead extension. While the athlete is moving a relatively light load (20lbs for men and 14lbs for women), the accuracy component of the exercise places a large demand on the athlete’s metabolic capacity. To wall-ball well, you must make sure that you are throwing and catching the ball in rhythm. Stand about 2-2.5 away from the wall; any closer and it will be hard to throw the ball vertically enough to hit your target; any further and it will be difficult to throw the ball horizontally enough to hit your target and still catch the ball without reaching for it. Rack the ball at your chest in front of your face without covering your field of vision. Looking up at the target, squat the ball down and explode out of the bottom, using your hip drive on the way up to propel the ball towards the target. Keep your arms extended and your eye on the ball as it leaves your hands, hits the target and descends. Catch the ball as high as possible, and let it carry you down into the squat as you descend for the next rep. Repeat. Proper rhythm will keep your breathing controlled, as you will not be wasting energy chasing the ball after each throw.
The next move is the sumo deadlift high-pull (SDHP). This move is a similar distance of ROM as the wall-ball, and is equally difficult, for different reasons. The SDHP causes more localized muscle fatigue in the forearms, traps, and posterior and lateral deltoids than the wall-ball causes in any one area. The SDHP uses a greater load than the wall-ball (75 vs 20lbs), but does not have the same accuracy component, as you are not throwing and catching an external object. Instead of accuracy, the SDHP emphasizes coordination. The legs and hips must extend before the shoulder and then the arms pull the bar to the chin Make sure you keep your pulls efficient by beginning the movement with your hips to “popping” the bar up instead of using your arms to pull the bar. On the pull portion of the move, keep your elbows high in order to keep a neutral wrist and engage the upper back and shoulder muscles completely.
Box jumps are equally as difficult as the SDHPs and the wall-balls. They are taxing on your breathing and require some accuracy. Because each rep requires such explosive force, box jumps cause fatigue quickly, both in the leg muscles and the general cardiovascular system. The accuracy component involves making sure that your land squarely on the box. If you land too far back, with just your toes touching the box, it is difficult to come to full hip extension. If you land too far forward, you will have to jump backwards to clear the box on the way down. This extra backwards energy is an additional tax on your cardiovascular system. When box-jumping for reps, try to use the stretch reflex created by jumping up and down to quickly cycle reps. When you hit the ground, your muscles are stretched and ready to spring again. Land on the balls of your feet and immediately jump again. If you rock back onto your heels and pause between each jump, you lose some of this elasticity and rob yourself of easier reps.
When doing FGB for a best score, the Push-Press is the place to plan to do the most damage. The push press has the shortest range of motion of all the exercises in the workout. Since you have to move the same load as the SDHP much less distance (from the top of your chest to full lockout vs. from the floor to your chin), it is assumed that you will be able to do more reps. As in the box jump, it is best to use the stored elastic energy in the balls of your feet to drive the reps (Robb Wolf http://robbwolf.com/?p=90). For heavier reps, you should start the drive with the heel, but for high reps (exceeding 20 in one effort), you can use the stored elastic energy to increase your cycle time.
Rowing should be planned for as “active rest.” It takes much more effort to row 25 calories in a minute than it does to do 25 push-presses or any of the other exercises for that matter. Pick a set number to maintain across rounds and do not deviate from it more than a few calories. Use a high (7-10) damper setting, as you are only rowing for a short time. On most cardio machines, such as treadmill or an exercise bike, an athlete will only think about time, distance, and the combination of these two metrics, speed. When rowing for calories in FGB, we need to think in terms of power, making sure we maximize each stroke. Pick a strokes per calorie ratio and use that ratio to reach your goal per round. Heavy, tall, and conditioned athletes might work up to a one calorie per stroke ratio. Lighter, shorter, less conditioned athletes will want to shoot for a ratio of one calorie per 2 or 3 strokes. Make sure you have practiced getting in and out of the foot straps, as this transition will slow you down. You can also learn to dig your heels into the bottom of the stirrup to secure your feet without the use of the straps.
At the intensity FGB is performed, rest minutes are absolutely essential. Lying down during rest can slow your respiration and heart rate significantly. An athlete will not grow “cold” in a minute’s time, but if you do lay down for part of your rest minute, make sure you stand up and physically and mentally prep for each new round about 10 seconds before starting. You should have hydrated before FGB, so it may not be necessary to drink water, and it is not recommended to drink more than just a little fluid if you have a sensitive stomach (more liquid may make for more projectile vomiting). There is also a way to sneak some rest during each round; if you have planned the workout correctly, you may be able to finish your chosen number of reps early in each minute and take a quick breather in between exercise stations.
When planning scores for each exercise in each round, athletes should set realistic and informed score goals. Athletes should plan to do the same number of wall-balls, SDHPs, and box jumps in each round, based on their relatively equal difficulty. This number will decrease over rounds. The number of reps of wall-balls, SDHPs, and box jumps within a round may deviate somewhat based on each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses, but the scores should be pretty close within each round. Plan to do a relatively large number of push presses each round, with the amount decreasing over each round as you fatigue. Plan to do the same number of rowing calories each round, as this will be your active rest. Plan these scores ahead of time and stick to them; you don’t need to be worrying about the number of reps averaging out in the middle of the workout.
STRENGTH Front Squats x 20 Loading
Row for Calories