Wod Starts – JACKIE WOD – A Beastly Strategy Guaranteed to Improve Your PR
updated August 3, 2018
The Jackie WOD is one of the most popular, and challenging of the female named workouts of the day in the entire CrossFit stable. In this article, we’ll dissect Jackie and then reconstruct her with winning strategies that will allow you to give your best performance next time you take this lady on.
Here’s what Jackie consists of:
- 1000 meter row
- 45 pound thrusters (50 reps)
- 30 pull-ups
Jackie is a timed workout. That means that you need to get through it as quickly as possible. To give you a gauge of what sort of time is possible, Jason Khalipa set a world record on this WOD in 2013 with a time of 5:04. You might not be able to get close to that mark, but if you get this thing done under ten and minutes, you’ll be doing pretty darn good.
Exercise #1: Rowing Machine
The rowing machine is a technical piece of equipment that requires proper form. Without it, you can and will waste a lot of your energy on bad form. That is why it is imperative that you get your form right from the start.
Start by strapping your feet into the foot stirrups securely.
There are three aspects to your rowing motions, and they involve three parts of your body - the legs, hips and arms. Start by keeping your back upright with your core tight. Lean slightly forward, making sure that your spine is in a neutral position so that you never hunch your back over.
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Your three step motion begins with the legs. Extend them out to open your hips, simultaneously leaning back and following through with the arms. This motion needs to happen fluidly as one smooth motion. You should be moving in a straight line. Each return should be an opportunity for a slight recovery.
On the way back, send your arms back in, then bend at the hips and then at the knees. So, it’s legs, hips,and arms on the row, and arms, hips,and legs on the return.
You don’t want to be rowing in short, fast bursts. Allow the turbine to run its complete course. This will actually allow you to cover more distance than going all out on short bursts. Think in terms of a long drive back and a recovery on the return.
Becca Borawski, editor of Breaking Muscle, offers the following advice on tackling the rowing portion of Jackie . .
"People are horrible rowers,and they ruin themselves first thing, going too fast, moving too inefficiently and not planning for the entire workout. And, before that, even, improve your rowing technique. So many CrossFitters spend so much time on other exercises and waste ridiculous amounts of energy on any workout containing rowing."
Exercise #2: Thrusters
With the Thruster exercise, technique is, once more, imperative. The thruster, when done correctly, is a front squat which goes into a push press, culminating with a punch at the top. The key to success with this move is to join these three aspects in a fluid motion.
The placement of the bar is imperative. It needs to be resting across your shoulders as you perform the front squat and you need to keep your elbows high. This will keep your torso from tilting forward. It will also keep your elbows from getting in the way and hitting your knees when you descend into a deep squat. This can help to prevent some serious damage to the elbow joint.
Coming out of the squat, you should drive with your hips. This will cause a chain reaction of momentum that will transfer directly into the pressing movement. As you come up, squeeze your glutes and push up with your hips. Make sure that the bar is still resting on your shoulders, and not being held out in front of you.
Once you have done the push press, punch the bar up over your head. Do not grip the bar too tightly so that you can flip back your wrist as you punch up.
Exercise #3: Pull Ups
To get through your 30 pull ups in as fast a time as possible, you should opt for butterfly kipping pull ups. With this pull up you do not have to actually get your chin over the bar. You simply have to get it in line with the bar. The butterfly kip uses the energy that gravity gives you when you fall on the front portion and use that energy to create a circular motion.
The butterfly pull up needs to start at the shoulder. You want to roll your shoulders back and then forwards, which will start to elevate the elbows. You also want to create angle at the knee and the hips in order to create more power. To do this you should close up the hips and elevate the knee during the press down portion.
When you start the butterfly pull up, you need to understand the circular motion. Once you do, you will learn to kick harder with your legs, which will bring you higher into the butterfly. Think in turns of swooping down and following through as a fluid action. It is the leg swing that drives you up for the next rep.
You can practice the proper leg swoop motion by standing with your left hand cracked against an upright and doing leg circles with your right leg that mimic this popping motion. Get faster and faster as you swoop your leg down. Then repeat with the other leg.
Once you have this standing leg swoop down, jump up to a pull up bar and practice a hanging leg swoop. Once you are used to doing this, pull up a,little bit with your arms. Then keep pulling up as you drive with more momentum through the legs to bring yourself up to the level of the bar.
You need to go through this progression to become confident in your butterfly kipping technique before you even take on Jackie.
Pacing Your Workout
As with any WOD, pacing on the Jackie is critical. You don’t won’t to go all out in the first couple of minutes and then crash and burn before you’re through. On the C2 Rowing Machine you should go at 90%. Try to hold a rating of 28, which should allow you to complete this part of the workout in around 3:20. Remember to focus on a long, smooth rowing motion. If you sprint, you will only end up building up lactic acid in the muscle, which is not a good thing. As you row, count off sets of a hundred rows and imagine yourself out on the water.
Your goal should be to get through all 50 thrusters in one set. It is usually here where people tend to slow the pace, so your goal should be to do the opposite. Build momentum and speed as you, without sacrificing your form. Do not allow yourself to stop short. Rather than counting all the way to 50, which is too mentally daunting, focus on knocking off 5 reps, ten times.
Here is Borawaski’s thruster advice . . .
"Pick up your speed over the course of the thrusters. Try to get faster when others are getting slower. Don’t let your brain stop your thrusters set short. This is even truer on the pull ups. Just get them done. Don’t think, don’t breathe, keep moving. This is where you make up your time."
If this is your first time at attempting the Jackie workout, you should consider doing a mini version first, to allow yourself to work up to the real thing. You might use half the weight in thrusters, use a resistance band and to help you with your pull ups or lower the resistance on the rowing machine. Once you have done this a few times, use the actual resistance required on the workout, take away the resistance and and put the rower resistance back up, but cut the number of reps in half.
Other WOD Strats
On the minute (until you complete 100 reps of thrusters).