I have had many small “wins” since I began Crossfit in the summer of 2013. Over time I have had fairly significant gains (for me) in many lifts and various workouts. However, the one movement that has been my achilles heel has been the overhead squat (“OHS”). Due to poor flexibility in my hips, ankles and shoulders this has been a very difficult movement for me since the beginning. While I’m still not that great at it, and have yet to increase my weight above what is usually Rx weight, I have made some improvement. How much wasn’t apparent until I completed the Open 15.2 workout.

When I first heard that 15.2 was the same as 14.2, I was pretty deflated. That was my worst workout in the Open last year, and possibly ever during my time in Crossfit. I mean, it was bad. Last year only one out of every four or five rep attempts counted. I was being (rightfully) no-repped left and and right. At one point I lost the bar forward and fell backwards on my butt. My total score in 14.2? 22 reps. That’s right, 22. Pitiful. That’s why I was a little worried when I saw watched the 15.2 announcement.

Then I shifted my mindset a little. I reminded myself that my only true goal is my own improvement. With a benchmark of 22 reps, that shouldn’t be too difficult. Since I ran the Spartan Race on the Saturday that our box performed 15.2 as a group, I had to wait until Monday afternoon to do the workout. As it turns out, this helped me a good bit.

Last year I did 14.2 during a regular class time too. Justin was my judge that day. Prior to starting 15.2 we even discussed the previous year and how he felt bad having to no-rep me so much. I told him I was determined to beat that score no matter what. I had my bar ready, had picked out a place for my chest-to-bar pull-ups and Justin got the clock set. I had been dreading this moment since the announcement, but it was go time. 3-2-1, go! Then something happened.

I got the bar overhead and dropped into my first overhead squat. I was determined to take it a little slower and make each rep count. I squatted about as low as I could and Justin counted “one.” Now I knew my target depth for a good rep. So I did it again – “two.” For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) I strung together 10 good OHS reps. I paced myself on the chest-to-bars and oddly enough was not hesitant to get back on the bar. A few deep breaths and back to the OHSs “one, two, three….”

The clock finally caught me after the second set of OHS in the round of 12. But I had done it. 76 good reps, without a failed attempt. Not a stellar performance compared to a lot of other athletes. But that wasn’t the point. I had crushed my previous score in this workout by almost 3.5X. I was pumped. Justin was pumped, and that made me even more proud of myself. At that moment, I was reminded of why I love Crossfit so much. That overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and self improvement. There are a lot of moments we question why we keep coming back, to endure the pain day after day. Then there’s that moment, when the movement you hate the most suddenly gives you the greatest feeling of accomplishment. It’s a hard feeling to put into words, but when you feel it you’ll know it, and it will make you come back for more.

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