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Cindy vs. Mary

June 19, 2012

Cindy and Mary are 2 of CrossFit’s great, adiposity simple triplets.  Normally, ed when CrossFit posts Cindy as a WOD, drug Mary goes with it as an option.  These are both great options, because they only require a pull-up bar.

Which one should you do?

Cindy is 5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 squats for 20 minutes.  A great, simple yet challenging workout.  I would recommend most Athletes do Cindy with a goal of hitting 20 rounds.  20 is a great score.  The first time I reached it, I would do a round at the top of each minute, and rest the rest of the minute. I am going to tell you up front, I haven’t done Cindy in 4 years.  In my first 2 years of CrossFit, I did it once a month, every month.  That’s 24 Cindy’s.  I’m not kidding about this.

Even if you only have 1 pullup, try doing Cindy RX.  Do 1 pullup at a time. 1 will become 2, 2 will become 5, and soon Cindy will be your b#$%h.

Cindy is a great measuring stick, because it’s easy to quantify one effort to the next.  It was also a workout that taught me the importance of nutrition, because I was doing it so often, I could tell how good nutrition felt, and I got hammered on bad nutrition cycles.  In 2007, I was consistently hitting 18 rounds, and had a bad eating week and got 11 rounds.  This made me start the Zone diet.

The problem with Cindy, is once you get good at CrossFit, it produces a TON of reps.  20 rounds is 600 reps.  Did you have plans on using your arms this week?  Or sitting down on the toilet?  Cindy may effect those plans.  I believe I could pull off 30 rounds, but I’m not sure I’m ready for the 5-6 days of serious soreness.  900 reps of anything is a recipe for disaster in my book.

Once you have 20 rounds of Cindy, you can “graduate” to Mary.  Mary is 20 minutes of 5 Handstand Pushups, 10 Pistols and 15 Pullups.  This WOD is super fun, and not only requires strength and endurance but lots of balance.  A good Mary score is 10, a great score is 12, and an elite score is 15 and above.  The problem with big Mary scores is it’s SOOO many pullups.  If you can get 15 rounds of Mary, you’re almost guaranteed a hand rip.  Trust me, I speak from experience.

I will add a third WOD to this mix: “Nate”.  Nate is 20 minutes of 2 Muscleups, 4 HSPU and 8 Kettlebell swings at 70/53.  Another great WOD, but this one requires more equipment.  I would consider this an advanced WOD, but if you have the movements it is not too bad until minute 12 or 14..

If you have never done 20 rounds of Cindy, do Cindy.

If you have 20 rounds or more of Cindy, do Mary.

If you have 10 rounds of Mary, you can do Nate.  If you are capable of doing Nate, you’re kind of on your own.  But that’s because you’ve earned it.


Workout of the Day


20 Min AMRAP

5 Pullups

10 Pushups

15 Squats



5 Handstand Pushups

10 Pistols (alternating)

15 Pullups

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