Grace WOD: Setup, Safety, and Scaling

Continuing the line of CrossFit “girl WODs,” welcome upon yet another benchmark workout that is meant to leave drained yet satisfied at the end. A whole lot of Glassman’s girls are highly demanding. This time, we’ll take a look at Grace. A simple one-exercise WOD can turn your workout into one of the hardest you’ve seen in CrossFit. Very similar to what Linda does to athletes! 

Grace WOD focuses on one of the most challenging exercises for beginners – clean jerks. To master it, you’ll have to practice the free weights technique for quite some time. Continue reading to learn more about the safety rules and workout tips for Grace WOD! 

What Is Grace WOD? 

what is grace wod

Grace WOD was introduced roughly at the same time as the Girl line of WODs. This is an objectively well-known WOD used to measure the athlete’s progress over time. For CrossFit pros, this is an opportunity to show off their might. However, for beginners, this may easily turn into a nightmare. 

On the paper, Grace WOD is as straightforward as it gets: 

30 clean and jerks for time 

The expected weights are 135 lbs for men and 95 lbs for women (61 and 43 kg, respectively). 

In practice, clean & jerk is a highly technical exercise that requires a proper preparation. It tests your full-body strength and comes with serious injury risks for the unprepared! Beginners should always prepare for this WOD. If your trainer assigns this to you in the first week of training – run far for your safety. 

Clean and jerk are an Olympic-level training exercises. It doesn’t mean that amateur athletes can’t perform it, though! 

In preparation for Grace, learn to master the clean jerk with free weights and under a watchful eye of a CrossFit coach. More about the technique later. 

Scaling 

CrossFit pros are expected to complete this WOD in one swift go. However, if you are on another level, there are quite a few things you can adopt to scale down the exercise. 

Firstly, scale down the weights. Chose the ones that would allow you some ease at the start; it’ll get progressively harder. The rule of thumb – if you are already super tired after rep 10, you’ve either chosen heavy weights or go at it too fast. During reps 11-20, you should feel the burn but still be able to fight till 20. Finally, in the last third of the exercise – you’ll get that second breath and adrenaline to get you through to the end.

Secondly, break up the WOD into several reps. Total beginners should maintain focus on the technical aspect and do each clean jerk individually with minimal rest between them. Several popular set options are 

  • 6 sets of 5 reps 
  • 3 sets of 10 reps 
  • 2 sets of 15 reps 

What Are Grace WOD Goals? 

grace wod

Grace WOD is for time. To faster you are, the better your PR. 

The official Grace time goals are 

Beginner: 6 to 7 minutes

Intermediate: 5 to 6 minutes

Rx: 3 to 4 minutes

Rx+: Under 3 minutes

Let’s dissect a beginner’s exemplary WOD progress. The set tie goal is six to seven minutes. Thus, your perfect pace would be 4-5 pers per minute. 

For the intermediate level: 5-6 per minute. 

Rx: 7,5+ reps per minute. 

Consider these calculations as an approximate guideline for your pace. 

How to Do Grace WOD?

grace wod safety

Though Grace WOD consists of one exercise, the “how to do” here is a highly important issue. The wrong technique can lead to serious injuries. 

  1. Load the barbell with the proper wights and lace it in front of you. 
  2. Start with feet hip-width apart so that the bell is positioned above your shoelaces. 
  3. Reach down to grab the bar. Use a shoulder-width apart overhand grab. 
  4. Straighten your back, pull your shoulder blades down and chest up. Tighten your core and ground through your feet. Gaze straight ahead. 
  5. Pull the bar off the ground by straightening your legs. DO not rest it against your body! 
  6. The second pull: your upper back goes slightly back and hips forward – “pop” the bar up in a straight line towards your shoulders. At the same time, your knees should bend slightly and you move the torso slightly under the bell. 
  7. As you do a front squat, drive the elbows forward and rotate them around the bar. The chest is up, chin down. Straighten. 
  8. Now, to the jerk. This phase begins with you standing tall. The barbell is on your shoulders; elbows directed down. 
  9. Powerfully, push the barbell above your head as you dip down. 
  10. Move your right leg forward, bend, and ground for the split jerk. The left leg remains straight. 
  11. As the barbell is secured up, straighten back. 
  12. Carefully and controlled, move the bar back to the ground! 

This how-to-do guide will help you move through the motions without weights. A broom would be a perfect option for your first clean and jerk. 

Grace WOD Safety and Tips

how to do grace wod

Clean & jerk is a complex exercise that bears serious injury risks. Therefore, you should always follow safety rules, no matter how experienced you are. 

  1. Learn to perform the clean and jerk without weights initially. A light stick would be perfect. Only add weights when you master the technique and make all the movements automatic. Always start light anyway! 
  2. Don’t forget to tuck your chin at the end of the clean. Never make this mistake. 
  3. Unstable feet. Find your ground. Your stance should be strong and balanced. If you notice unstable footing at any time duting the exercise, take a second to ground yourself. Otherwise, the list of possible injuries starts with a sprain and goes all the way to severe issues. 
  4. Switch your grip between the clean and the jerk. At the end of the clean, your elbows look forward, and your fingers are underneath the bell. For the jerk, switch to elbows down and finger above the bell. 
  5. Clean & jerk puts lots of load on your wrists and elbows. If you have weak ones or have some issues, consider wrist wraps and elbow sleeves. Plus, consult with your coach about whether you are allowed the exercise with your type of issue. 
  6. Lock your elbows overhead to get the complete rep. Otherwise, your coach may be too stubborn to count it in. 
  7. Letting the barbell go. If you want your technique to be as on point as a pro, keep the bar as close to your body as possible. If you let the bar go too far away from the body, the exercise will look messy and won’t probably even be completed. 

What Are the Benefits of Grace WOD? 

Grace WOD is a full-body workout that targets an athlete’s power and overall physical process. Clean and jerk enhance your fitness performance in many other exercises. It targets the core, legs, arms, shoulder, back, and chest. 

By learning the proper clean and jerk technique, you automatically improve your techniques in all other barbell exercises. 

Grace WOD puts lots of pressure and elbows. However, if you are being careful with the weights, you’ll notice them strengthening with time. 

Additional slightly lesser noticeable advantages are developing balance and speed. 

In Conclusion 

Today we’ll learn the detailed information about yet another girl WOD. The whole line is just highly popular among CrossFitters, both male and female. 

Grace WOD is that tricky workout that seems plain and easy on paper and becomes highly challenging in life. You can only get injured by rushing to improve your PR during this highly technical WOD. Thus, I advise utmost care regarding the technique and lighter weights. Of course, CrossFit coach supervision is advised. 

Resources

  1. Grace WOD – (CrossFit.com/workout)
  2. CROSSFIT GIRL WOD “GRACE – (July 2018, WOD Time Calculator)
  3. Meier, Nicole, Stefan Rabel, and Annette Schmidt. 2021. “Determination of a CrossFit® Benchmark Performance Profile” Sports 9, no. 6: 80. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9060080
  4. Butcher, Scotty & Neyedly, Tyler & Horvey, Karla & Benko, Chad. (2015). Do physiological measures predict selected CrossFit(®) benchmark performance?. Open access journal of sports medicine. 6. 241-7. 10.2147/OAJSM.S88265.

About

Irene’s fitness journey began in 2017 with attending classes to improve her health and researching the anatomy of working out. After years of investigating trendy and “up and coming” fitness regimes, she is ready to share the tips and advice she’s learned from athletes and expert trainers of the field.