WOD Strats – Angie – A Beastly Strategy Guaranteed to Improve Your PR
We’re all interested in testing out our benchmark fitness level. One of the most fundamental ways to do it is to challenge ourselves on the big four bodyweight exercises:
- Pull ups
- Push ups
- Sit ups
- Bodyweight squats
A benchmark workout of the day that challenges you to knock out a hundred reps of each of these moves in the quickest time possible is a great way to challenge yourself. That workout goes by the name of ‘Angie.’
The Angie WOD is one of the most popular of Crossfit challenges. In this article we’ll uncover some strategies to help you get it done faster.
What is Angie?
The Angie WOD comprises the following:
- 100 Pull ups
- 100 Push ups
- 100 Sit ups
- 100 Bodyweight squats
You need to perform all of the reps for one exercise before moving on to the next.
That last proviso adds an extra element of challenge that really ramps up the intensity of the workout. You don’t get the chance to recover your lats and biceps by throwing in twenty bodyweight squats between sets. You simply have to grind out your entire hundred reps before you move on to the next move.
The workout has been designed to go from hardest exercise to easiest. That is good news and bad news. Psychologically, it's beneficial to know that the two exercises that you are going to do in the second half of the workout are a lot easier than the first half.
However, the bad news is that you have to go from pull ups directly to push ups, both of which are very taxing on your upper body. It would be a lot nicer to go from pull ups to sit ups, or even body weight squats. This would give your upper body a few minutes to recover. But, alas, this is not the case.
What’s a Good Time?
So, what sort of time should you be aiming for on Angie? The current record was set by Chris Speller, who did it in 10 minutes and 11 seconds. But, don’t let that be your guide. If you can knock it out in double that time you will be doing very well.
If you set your initial goal at twenty five minutes, that will average to just over six minutes to rep out a hundred on each of the four exercises. In reality, you will be spending a lot more time on the pull ups than on any of the other moves.
I know that you want to preserve all of your energy for the challenge to come, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t warm up. You should spend the time before Angie to do some light calisthenics and mobility exercises.
One particular thing that should do to prepare for your pull ups is a scapular drill. This will actually allow you to do more pull ups during the challenge.
The body is a kinetic chain that is designed to work together. When you do a pull up, the arms, lats and scapular are all working together. The scapula connects to the arms, so any arm motion is going to involve the scapular.
The scapular provides the stable base for pull ups. When you activate the scapular, which is normally dormant. Before doing pull ups, you will instantly become stronger on pull ups. To do it, simply hang from your pull up bar, and pull up without bending your arms. Think about bringing your traps up to your ears. This will provide retraction, followed by depression of the scapula.
Do about five of these scapula activators immediately before doing your first set of pull ups. By doing so, you will be able to do more pull ups during the challenge due to the fact that you have now activated your power base.
Dividing Your Time
As just mentioned, the length of time that you send on pull ups will be more than you need to devote to any of the other exercises in this challenge. It is a good idea to divide your goal time up to give you milestone goals to work towards.
Let’s assume that you are planning to complete Angie in twenty five minutes. How much time should you allocate to the pull ups?
We suggest that you give yourself a full ten minutes to getting them in. That breaks down to just ten reps every minute for ten minutes. In reality, especially once you get into the fourth minute and beyond, you will find yourself hitting three or four reps and then resting tens seconds before pumping out another three, and so on.
Realizing that you will be taking a lot of mini rests between your pull ups, you should find a pull up bar that allows you to rest between pull ups without having to drop to the ground. The few seconds that it takes to get back into position will waste time and energy. Doing your pull ups on a power rack will allow you to rest your feet on the safety bars between your mini reps.
Segment your Reps
You might be able to whack out a hundred reps in a row, but we don’t advise. You do not want to go to failure on any of your reps. Even if you could whack out 20 reps of pull ups on your first set, you shouldn’t do so. Why not?
Because by your third set, you will be down to doing just one or two reps at a time. You will have burnt yourself out and it will take forever to get to your one hundred reps.
So, even if you know you can do a lot of early reps, you need to discipline yourself to break it up into smaller sets. This applies more to the pull ups than any of the other exercises.
We suggest you break your one hundred reps of pull ups into 20 sets of five reps. Remember, that you are trying to get these down in ten minutes, which averages to 5 reps every 30 seconds. In reality, you can pump out 5 reps of pull ups in 8-10 seconds, giving you twenty seconds of recovery before going into your next set.
When you move into the push ups, you may choose to change your strategy. If you know that you can normally get to a hundred reps of push ups in one go, we suggest that you do go to failure on this one. Considering that you have just annihilated your lats and biceps, you may be able to rep out to about 65 reps. Then give yourself a sixty second recovery and go to failure again. Doing it this way, you should be able to complete your hundred pushups in three sets max, and in around three minutes.
Aim to do your sit ups and your body weight squats in a single set. As your counting them off in your mind, however, do exactly what you did with your pull ups; divide them into twenty sets of five reps. This makes it a whole it easier to complete your goal by focusing on the next five reps only - before you know it you will have hit your hundred rep total.
Perform Kipping Pull Ups
Let’s face it - the pull ups are what will make or break you in this workout. That being said, it is in your best interest to find a way to get through them with as little pain as possible. That leads us to the kipping pull up.
Don’t think that kipping pull ups are cheating. They are a legitimate form of exercise in CrossFit. With kipping pull ups, use your hips to power you up over the bar. Begin the move by hanging from the bar then swing with straight arms, with your legs straight and together. Now swing back and forward at the shoulder joint, simultaneously kicking your legs forward. This will move your body behind the bar. Use this momentum to pull yourselves up.
Once you get to the top of the bar, push yourself away from it to provide the momentum to fluidly move into the next rep.
How to Do the Exercises
- Start by hanging from a bar with your palms facing away from you.
- Engage your abdominals to prevent excessive extension in your lower back.
- Keeping your shoulders depressed, pull yourself up until your chin is at the bar’s level. Slowly lower yourself back into your starting position.
- Start in a plank position facing the floor with your arms straight out in front of you, your knees locked, and your feet together on the floor.
- Keeping your pelvis in a neutral position, use your arms to lower your shoulders and hips as one unit toward the floor.
- When your chest is about 3 inches from the floor, press through your palms, continuing to move your shoulders and hips as one unit, and return to the starting position.
- Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your ears (so you’re not tempted to pull on the back of your head).
- Sit up, trying to bring your chest toward the ceiling rather than toward your knees. Exhale sharply to fully evacuate your lungs.
- Once you’ve come up as high as you can, slowly inhale and return to your starting position in a controlled manner until your head is back on the ground.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (or slightly wider if needed) and within 15 degrees of parallel.
- While keeping a tall chest, bend your knees and begin to squat as low as you can while still maintaining control of the movement, or until the tops of your thighs are parallel with the ground. Make sure to keep your weight evenly distributed between your heels and the balls of your feet.
- Press through your heel and midfoot and rise, with your hips and shoulders moving as one unit, back to your starting position.
Other WOD Strats
On the minute (until you complete 100 reps of thrusters).