CrossFit WOD Grace is one of the fastest benchmark workouts there is. It is short and intense, and if you are afraid of a full body workout, then you should just avoid Grace completely.
The Grace workout seems simple on the surface, but it’s actually more challenging than you think.
Make sure you read this blog post all the way to the end because you’re about to discover how to dominate this workout and simple tips for adapting this classic WOD for beginners.
Table of Contents
- Why Most Dread CrossFit Grace
- CrossFit WOD Grace’s Deceivingly Simple Workout Details
- Clean and Jerk Muscles Worked (We Didn’t Think There’d Be THIS Many)
- How To Do the Fastest and Safest Clean-and-Jerk
- The Undeniable Reasons Everyone Should Attempt this Workout
- If You’re a Beginner, Start Here
- Can You Handle Grace?
Why Most Dread CrossFit Grace
CrossFit Grace is one of “the girls,” which are benchmark workouts that are designed to kick your ass, and at the same time they are used to assess your strength and weaknesses related to your fitness level.
Each one of the girls is designed to test your fitness level in different ways, and Grace focuses on power and strength because it involves Olympic weightlifting movements.
Grace will give you a snapshot of your current fitness level, and if you are a strength athlete, you should have a lot of fun with her. She will also help you gauge your improvement over time, so you should do CrossFit Grace regularly to track your progress.
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) August 24, 2016
However, CrossFit trainers don’t recommend doing the same benchmark WOD over and over again. There are 26 different benchmark WODs, with some requiring just your body weight, while others require equipment.
Each one also has a different format. So, by doing the different benchmark WODs throughout the year, each workout will test different areas of your personal fitness. But, if power and strength is your goal, Grace should definitely be at the top of your list.
CrossFit founder Greg Glassman created The Girls back in 2003 with six routines:
Later, he expanded the list to other 20 powerful workouts.
So, why do they have girls names? Glassman explains it this way:
Anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking ‘What just happened to me?’ deserved a female’s name.
CrossFit WOD Grace’s Deceivingly Simple Workout Details
Grace came along a few months later, and she features just one round of one exercise that you perform as fast as you can: the clean-and-jerk.
Specifically, CrossFit Grace is as follows:
30 Clean-and-Jerks (135 pounds) done for time
Power cleans or full cleans are acceptable, and you may re-set after the clean or catch the bar in the rack position and push straight into the jerk without pausing. It should be noted that snatches are not allowed.
Clean and Jerk Muscles Worked (We Didn’t Think There’d Be THIS Many)
The clean-and-jerk is obviously a total body movement, and it stresses every muscle. The main muscle groups you work with Crossfit Grace are:
- Lower back
- Transverse abdominals
- Scapular stabilizers
How To Do the Fastest and Safest Clean-and-Jerk
It’s important to use very good form when performing a clean-and-jerk so you can prevent unnecessary injuries and strained muscles. Plus, executing a this exercise correctly can help decrease your WOD time.
Here are the steps to do a proper clean-and-jerk:
- Start with your feet about hip width apart and slightly turned out. Your shoulders should cover the barbell, and your hips should be lower than shoulder level, but higher than your knees. The barbell should be in light contact with your shins at the setup.
- Grab the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and lift with your legs and back.
- With this first pull, you want to gain momentum and put yourself in the position for the next pull, which is where the barbell passes the knees and hits the explosion phase at your thighs.
- Continue to pull the barbell up your body while keeping yourself balanced. You want to push through the entire foot as long as you can before finishing as upright as possible with the torso and elbows. Your goal is to increase the height at which you turn the barbell over.
- Next, rotate your elbows underneath and into the front rack position. You will also move your feet and reset them firmly underneath you into a squat position.
- In the “catch phase,” fix yourself in a squat position with the barbell racked on your front shoulders.
- Then, stand up and prepare for the jerk dip, which is the downward loading movement of the jerk. Keep your weight in your heels, keep your torso and elbows rigid, then bend the knees slightly to load the legs. This should be a smooth, balanced movement.
- Instead of using your upper body (shoulders, chest, triceps) to press the weight overhead, use those muscles to stabilize your torso, and then use your lower body to drive the weight in a straight press overhead.
- Lower the barbell to the floor, and repeat.
If you do not have a lot of experience with Olympic lifting, take your time, reduce the load, and get the mechanics right for each movement of the clean-and-jerk before attempting CrossFit Grace.
And it’s also a good idea to have the right footwear for these kinds of weightlifting workouts. That’s why I suggest you check out our recommendations for the best high top CrossFit shoes so you can make sure your ankles are well-supported and stable during each of these lifts.
The Undeniable Reasons Everyone Should Attempt this Workout
The clean-and-jerk is one of the most difficult CrossFit movements, and Grace makes it even harder because she is so fast.
In addition to speed, this WOD also requires coordination, power, strength, and flexibility. Top CrossFitters can finish Grace in about one minute.
But, even if you are just starting out, the clean-and-jerk offers immense benefits.
- Increased body strength and power – When you are performing this total body movement regularly in your workout, you can expect increased strength and power in your legs, upper body, and core because it involves a heavy deadlift, a squat, and a press in one movement.
- Improved athletic power – Clean and jerk training, as well as other power movements, have been linked to better athletic skill sets like jumping and sprinting.
- Metabolic Movement – A clean-and-jerk stresses nearly every system of your body because of the speed, loading, and complexity of movement.
If You’re a Beginner, Start Here
Even though CrossFit grace looks like a pretty easy work out, it can be pretty difficult to complete for beginners.
If you are just starting out, you can scale CrossFit Grace by reducing the weight. Don’t be afraid to go as low as 75 pounds, to make sure you get the mechanics right.
You also want to be able to do multiple reps unbroken and in less than five minutes.
Can You Handle Grace?
As you can see, even though Grace is a simple WOD, it’s still a demanding piece of work that’ll work your entire body.
For best results, scale back in the beginning and then test your athletic ability by going for a competitive time. You may find you’re have more muscular endurance than you think.