If you have even a passing knowledge of strength sports, you will be aware that Iceland has always given rise to some of the mightiest athletes on Earth. Some say it is to do with the weather, others the water. Personally, I think it's more likely to be the fact that the majority of the population are direct descendants of Vikings.
Whatever the catalyst, the nation of only 368, 000 (about 65.4 million fewer people live in Iceland than the UK...) have and continue to produce some of the finest competitive CrossFit athletes. Especially women, a group of universally inspirational 'Dottirs' who have stood on the podium at the CrossFit Games an astounding number of times.
The High Icelandic Queen is Sara Sigmundsdóttir. A perennial Games podium threat and a dominating force at the various off-season competitions, Regionals and Sanctionals, she has racked up wins of the worldwide Open and first place medals at Dubai, Strength In Depth (London) and Filth 150 (Ireland) to name but a few.
All of that, she has done with a megawatt smile on her face. But, as this workout attests, she means business once she laces up her functional training shoes. Programmed by Sara exclusively for the MH SQUAD and to celebrate her upcoming capsule and full collection of clothing produced in collaboration with WIT, it is going to take you to the limit of your physical and mental capabilities. But then you wouldn't expect anything less, would you?
You're going to be taking on a descending ladder of power cleans and toes-to-bar, then grinding out some calories on any cardio machine apart from a treadmill. Sara favours the Concept2 Bike Erg, but you can use a skier or rower if that's easier for you to get your sweaty hands upon.
Before you begin to channel your fiercest Dottir, absorb Sara's invaluable advice on how she would approach the workout, then find the full session below, along with her movement adaptations to hit this at home. Try smiling like Sara does. It really helps.
PICK YOUR WEIGHT
The RX loads for this would be 60kg for men and 42.5kg for women. But pick a weight you are comfortable cycling on the power cleans – we want these to be unbroken. There is a rhythm to this workout with a piece of punchy barbell cycling into some (relatively) lower intensity gymnastics into a longer cardio, so we want to make sure that the barbell is fast and aggressive and generates a heavy stimulus.
BREAK THE TOES-TO-BAR
Make a plan around your breaking strategy. If your max set of T2b is 18, you obviously shouldn’t do your first round of 20 as a max set! In a longer workout like this, with lots of volume, you want to focus on maximum sustainable intensity. This is a work scheme that allows you to keep moving with minimal rests and allows you to use your time as efficiently as possible. This might mean sets of 6 with 5-10 seconds in between so you never fail anything.
PACE THE CARDIO
At least until the last few rounds! Your calories should be at a sustainable pace slightly above a recovery pace. As you progress through, the work done in the other parts of the workout reduce, so at the start you are going to use this to recover between the larger sets on the barbell and pull-up bar. As you get towards the later rounds, and the work reduces, you can really ramp things up for a big finish!
10 rounds of:
1) Power Clean, 10 down to 1
60kg men / 42,5kg women but scale at will – the concept is to be able to do all sets unbroken. If you're working out at home, swap to a pair of dumbbells. If you've only got one dumbbell, alternate sides each round.
2) Toes-to-Bar, 20-18-16-14...and so on
Reduce the reps of the toes-to-bar by 2 each round. You should end up with a final round of 1 power clean and 2 toes-to-bar. Remember to break early and often. Big exaggerated rest periods that occur after you’ve failed a rep overload metabolic pathways reducing your ability to get back to work. If you don't have a pull-up bar at home, swap in V-ups.
3) Air Bike, 20 calories
You can bike, ski or row. Whatever you choose, you will need to use your time to recover during the larger sets of cleans and toes-to-bar, or you'll redline. Once the reps start to reduce, you can start to push the pace. Swap the calories for 80 double-unders if you're at home. Either way, empty the tank at the end!
CrossFit Athlete Sara Sigmundsdottir’s exclusive pre-release capsule is available to purchase now from www.wit-fitness.com. The full SIGMUNDSDOTTIR x WIT collection launches in January 2022.
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