Linda WOD: Setup, Safety, and Scaling

Although the Linda workout is a Girl WOD, there is nothing easy about it! Unofficially, it’s called the “three bars of death” in the community. But why such a horrifying name for a WOD with a pretty, nostalgic name Linda? The case is – this workout is far from the stereotypical “girly weak.” 

Linda WOD is one of the rarest benchmark CrossFit workouts. It’s pretty easy to remember but hefty to complete. It only contains three exercises: deadlift, bench press, and clean, that go for a simple sequence of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The weights calculated depending on your body weight make it hard to finish. 

Linda WOD is one of the most challenging WODs for beginners to finish as it tests pure strength with no regard to fatigue. If you are already interested in this full-body killer and want to test your might, read the further tips and safety precautions first. 

What Is Linda WOD? 

linda wod basics

The workout of the day named Linda is the official WOD created by CrossFit founder Greg Glassman. It was first featured on the official website on July 5, 2003. Thousands of CrossFit athletes shared their Linda scores and impressions throughout the years, and none of them were complaints about how easy it is. 

The standard version of Linda WOD goes as follows.

  • deadlift (1½ of the athlete’s body weight) 
  • bench press (1 x body weight) 
  • squat clean (¾ body weight) 

Complete the sets of three in the following reps: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. 

This WOD is for time!!! 

It would seem that the final rounds of 3, 2, and 1 would be easy breezy, but not after half an hour of excruciating lifting and pressing. 

Linda WOD Variations

The Regional Linda variation is slightly different from the standard sequence. It is mentioned yet again on CrossFit Journal. This variation offers fixed loads because bodyweight-based loads are rare in CrossFit. Therefore, if we recalculate the weights, the variation would appear to correspond with the standard for a “195-lb. male and 145-lb. female.” Except the women’s bench-press load is 10 lb. lower at 135 lb. 

What Is Linda WOD Goal Time? 

crossfit wod linda

Although the main goal of this WOD is to set your own records and beat them in time, the official sources have given us the following goal timeframes (approximate): 

  • beginner level – 28-32 minutes
  • intermediate level – 19-25 minutes
  • advanced level – 14-17 minutes 
  • elite/regional level – 11-13 minutes

In general, these are the approximate timeframes, but you can check your fitness level by doing Linda. As it is a full-body workout (and a hard one at that), you can clearly see your progress by your record time. 

Note that this WOD is not suitable for fresh beginners who cannot keep proper form and technique during any one of the three exercises. Instead, your coach will offer a substitute WOD. 

How to Do Linda WOD? 

Here are a few simple rules of how to do Linds WOD correctly. 

  1. First of all, you’ll need three separate barbells. As the weights are different for each of the three exercises, it’ll take twice as much time to reload the barbells. Also, make youse you have a bench and barbell stand for the bench press, which will be the biggest challenge in this workout. 
  2. Start with the 10 reps of deadlifts. Make sure your technique is strong. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, barbell right in front of you. While maintaining a strong spine, bend at knees and hips to pick up the barbell. Stand straight with a strong core and spine. Lower the bard with control and hinge hips back, return to the straight position. 
  3. After 10 reps of the deadlift, switch to bench press with minimum rest time. Lay flat on your back and plant your feet firmly to the ground. Lift the bar off the rack and slowly lower it to the chest. When your elbows reach below the bench, stop lowering and lift it back up. Make sure you have complete control over the weights. 
  4. Lastly, switch to cleans with minimal rest as well. Don’t rush; maintain proper technique. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the bar as you do for the deadlift. Pull the bar off the floor by powerfully extending your legs. Keep your back straight. Do the scoop – shift your torso to a vertical position and rebend your knees slightly. Then, the catch – drop into a quarter squat position with your back straight. Knees and hip bend a bit. At the same time, Drive your elbows forward to rotate them around in the bar and catch the bar in the racked position across the front of your shoulders with your fingertips under the bar and stand up.

This is the whole first round of the sequence. Now, you need to do nine more of them in a ladder system that gradually lowers all the way to 1 rep for each exercise. Easier said than done!

Make sure to do proper reps even at the end of the WOD. If you can’t do the last 3,2, or 1 with a proper form, scale down a bit. 

Linda WOD scaling is mainly done with the help of regulating weights. So make sure that the weights are challenging but within your limits. 

Linda WOD Safety and Tips 

how to do linda wod

  1. When you work with weights, especially such challenging weights, you should always start with learning proper techniques. Neglect this step, and an injury is guaranteed. As I’ve mentioned in the introductory article CrossFit 101, a good coach is a key to CrossFit safety. If they give you this WOD without making sure you know the proper techniques – run! All three exercises rely heavily on form; learn to maintain it with free weights at first. 
  2. Keep straight back. No matter which one of these three exercises you do, you need a straight strong back all the time. During a bench press, also make sure your lower back remains tucked to the bench at all times. If you feel pain in the lower back at any time of Linda WOD, stop the sequence. Check your form either in the mirror or record a video. If it’s perfect, but you still feel pain, take lighter weights. 
  3. Do a warm-up!!! A proper warm-up is necessary before any fitness workout. If you are not doing it, you are training wrong. It is crucial before such heavy-weight WODs like Linda. Remember that a good warm-up increases your performance in 79% of fitness workouts, according to a 2010 study. Also, randomized controlled trials prove the reduced risk of injury due to warm-up before working out.
  4. Don’t jerk the bars around too quickly. Yes, specific exercises like the clean require a fast movement, but it is still controlled and technical. Plus, there are no rash movements in the other two exercises. It’s better to take a bit longer than you would like than risk injuries in setting your new PR. 

What Are the Benefits of Linda WOD? 

The main benefit of this particular WOD lies in its full-body training. This set requires strength in most major muscle groups of your body. And it increases it further. 

Moreover, it trains your endurance in the face of heavy-weights and fatigue. Finally, to complete the last several reps, you need to train your mind as well as body to withstand pressure and keep going even when it seems an impossible task. 

Another important feature that makes Linda so popular among CrossFit athletes – it’s a check-up point to track your progress. Linda, like no other WOD, shows far you’ve gone in your CrossFit training. The timing tiers I’ve mentioned, plus the scaling options, make it a versatile tool to measure the strengths of athletes of all levels. 

In Conclusion 

The Linda WOD is one of the most brutal “girl” WODs you can find in official CrossFit journals. It was created by the founder, coach who knows how to challenge even professional athletes. 

CrossFitters of beginner levels will require around half an hour and reduced weights to complete this WOD. However, an important precaution to remember from this article is not to push if you can’t do it yet. This WOD requires good technique and the base strength that newbies do not possess. Always feel free to ask your coach to substitute this WOD with something beginner-level in your gym at the start of your CrossFit journey.

Leave the “three death bars” to experienced CrossFit athletes! 

Sources:

  1. WORKOUT OF THE DAY; Saturday 091128, “Linda” – (crossfit.com)
  2. You and Mat Fraser Vs. Linda and Triple 3  – (2018, by Jonathan Kinnick, journal.crossfit.com)
  3. Fradkin AJ, Zazryn TR, Smoliga JM. Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):140-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c643a0. PMID: 19996770. – (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19996770/)
  4. Fradkin AJ, Gabbe BJ, Cameron PA. Does warming up prevent injury in sport? The evidence from randomised controlled trials? J Sci Med Sport. 2006 Jun;9(3):214-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2006.03.026. Epub 2006 May 6. PMID: 16679062. – (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16679062/)

 

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.