Learning points from DBB


Learning points from DBB

5 Rounds for time 15 Deadlift, web 12 Hang Cleans, dosage 9 Front Squat and 6 Shoulder to Overhead, physician 135/95 or as we know it, Death by Barbell (DBB).  It’s a nearly perfect WOD that came from CrossFit.com in 2009.  As far as barbell WODs go, there is nowhere to hide, as it tests nearly aspect of the Clean and Jerk – pulling from the ground, pulling from the hang, the squat and the overhead.  It helps to be very strong, but absolute strength is not a total indicator of who does well on this WOD.  Having a great motor helps, but if the weight breaks you off, you’re going to spend a good chunk of time staring at the bar.  In the words of Glassman, if you’re anything less than a weightlifter with the lungs of a porpoise, your times will show as much.  There is a Snatch version of this WOD, but it seems overly technical to me, and not nearly as gnarly.  If you’re interested, search the inter webs and find it.  Post your – hee, hee -, Snatch search on the FB comments section.  If you find it, awesome.  If not, I’ll post it one day. 

Another aspect of the WOD that I love is the strategy involved.  For 99% of the fitness population, DBB will have to be significantly broken up.  Look at both ends of the strategy spectrum for DBB.  What happens if you attempt to go through unbroken?  I’m not psycho, so I don’t know, but I would guess somewhere in round 2, definitely by round 3, your system will start to redline.  Unless you are an absolute mental warrior, you are going to start taking breaks, and time will start tick, tick, ticking away.

What if you went through in all singles?  Early on, it would save your system, keeping you well below that dreaded “redline.”  But, eventually the time lost would start to outweigh the energy you were saving early.  Plus, think of all the extra work you would have to do, extra deadlifts  every time you had to clean, and extra cleans every time you got into front squats and shoulder to overhead.  You could feasibly add 60 extra Deadlifts and over 70 extra Cleans by dropping every rep.  Not good.

For everyone, there was a fine line between the right amount of work to keep you moving and too much work to cause you to bleed time.  There are lots of great lessons here, and you will need to look at your performance to see where you can improve.

Take a look at each individual movement – what caused you trouble and really started fatigue?  It’s all there – did you start with good deadlifts only to begin hinging and candy caning late?  Did you find slow elbows became your nemesis on the cleans?  Did you dread the front squats as you neared the end of your sets of cleans?  Did you have to break up the shoulder to overheads more than once per set?

Often times, the answer to improvement is “get stronger.”  Yes, getting stronger is great.  But improving your 1RMs may not help you a ton in grind WODs.  Practicing cycle times, linking sets, being faster on the Front Squats by pulling your body down quickly after each rep, same with the Shoulder to Overheads, improving midline stability.  Basically – improving fitness

Did you pay attention to your time splits early?  When did your splits start to fall off?  Personally, I am pretty good in WODs like this that are short, under 8 minutes.  DBB is not short.  I finished 3 rounds in around 7 minutes, then my wheels fell completely off, and my final 2 rounds took equal time.  Weakness exposed – get better at longer WODs.

I am curious about doing this WOD alone.  I had a good time going with the large group, feeding off the energy and working with my (beautiful) judge to maximize my rest.  I didn’t have to worry about counting, I just did the work.  How much slower, even if I went hard as a mo fo, would I be if I did DBB alone?  15 seconds slower a round?  30 seconds slower? That’s 1:15 to 2:30 to your time.  Crazy.

We’ll have a report on CrossFit Oakdale’s outstanding performers tomorrow night.



3 Clean OTM for 10

Things should be pretty darn heavy now.  If last week was tough, keep the weight the same, and try to perform better.  If possible, add 5#.


10 RFT

100m Sprint

15 Pushups