Of all the CrossFit workouts, Grace is the one that has most newcomers scratching their heads and saying, “That’s it?”
On paper, Grace is deceivingly simple as it’s only one exercise: the clean-and-jerk. But Grace is anything but easy to perform.
If you’re an elite-level athlete, you’re expected to go unbroken for this entire WOD. Even if you’re just starting out, be prepared to average a solid 10 repetitions.
With average Rx times coming in around three to four minutes, Grace is a WOD that will hit you like a ton of bricks when you least expect it.
Let’s breakdown the Grace WOD. We’ll review how to perform the clean-and-jerk, how many repetitions you’ll have to complete, and the best completion times according to experience level.
Grace WOD: Exercises
The Grace WOD is made up of just one CrossFit exercise: the clean-and-jerk.
To perform the clean-and-jerk, begin with the barbell on the ground in front of you. It should be lightly resting against your shins. Give a quick check to make sure it is aligning with the middle of your feet.
Kick your butt back, lowering your thighs toward the ground. Keep your chest up and pull your shoulder blades back.
Take a firm grip on the barbell slightly outside of shoulder width then straighten your arms. Keep your gaze straight ahead.
How to Perform the Clean
Begin the exercise by taking a deep breath. This first pull comes from the floor. As you pull the bar off the ground, straighten your legs. The barbell must travel in a straight line upward. Do not allow the bar to rest against your body as you pull it up.
Once the barbell reaches the point that is just above your knees, you’ll move into the second pull. Extend your upper body back and hips forward. Forcefully pull the barbell upward. Think of it like an explosive shrug. Some CrossFitters will refer to this as “popping the bar up.”
Again, the barbell will move straight up. You are moving around the barbell, not the other way around.
As the barbell travels upward, bend your knees slightly and move under it. You’ll “catch” the barbell on your front shoulders and move directly into a front squat. Your elbows will rotate around the bar, facing forward.
Stand up from the front squat, keeping the barbell on your front shoulders.
How to Perform the Jerk
Once you’ve completed the clean, you should be standing tall with the barbell on your shoulders and your elbows facing forward. Dip your knees slightly then explosively push the barbell up above your head.
From here, you have two options: the push jerk or the split jerk.
The push jerk involves pressing the barbell above your head from the squat stance you’re already in.
The split jerk involves you moving your left leg forward and your right leg back simultaneously as you push the barbell above your head. You’ll mimic the stance of a traditional split squat. Once the barbell is locked out above your head and secure, you’ll take a step forward with your back leg.
Returning the Barbell to the Ground
If you have bumper plates on your barbell, you can safely drop it on the ground in front of you.
If you are using uncoated plates, catch the barbell into your hips then place it on the ground.
Tips and Tricks
Although it’s quick, the clean-and-jerk involves moving into a front squat position. By strengthening your front squat stance and execution, you will naturally improve your clean-and-jerk. One of the best ways to improve your front squat is by placing a hip resistance band around your legs just above the knee and performing air squats.
Are your wrists or elbows bugging you during the Grace WOD? Consider investing in wrist wraps or elbow sleeves. Both will improve performance and alleviate any bothersome soreness during your workout.
Grace Crossfit WOD
Here’s the layout of how the sets and repetitions are performed.
You only have to complete 30 repetitions for the Grace WOD, but that’s a lot easier said than done.
Regardless if you’re a beginner or elite-level athlete, your goal should be to go unbroken for at least 10 repetitions in one sitting.
Time to Complete
Grace is a CrossFit WOD that focuses on completing the workout as quickly and safely as you can. Here’s a general guideline of timeframes and where you might fall, depending on your fitness level.
- Beginner: 6 to 7 minutes
- Intermediate: 5 to 6 minutes
- Rx: 3 to 4 minutes
- Rx+: Under 3 minutes
There is no time cap for Grace. You should move as quickly and as safely as you can. As mentioned above, you should select a weight that allows you to go unbroken at least ten repetitions. Challenge yourself but keep your safety in mind.
Scaling Options for WOD Grace
Are you new to CrossFit? Have you been visiting your local box for a year or two now? Here are a few scaling options for the amount of weight you can use during the Grace WOD.
- Use a PVC pipe but go through the movement as you would with a barbell. Complete the same number of repetitions.
- Men: 75 pounds
- Women: 55 pounds
- Men: 115 pounds
- Women: 75 pounds
- Men: 135 pounds
- Women: 95 pounds
- Men: 135 pounds
- Women: 95 pounds
- Note: For Grace, the Rx+ scaling option is focused on improving your time. Aim for under 3 minutes.
CrossFit Workouts: What’s Your Best Grace WOD Time?
Are you a regional athlete who can crush this workout in under three minutes? Have a video of yourself crushing the Grace workout? Tag us on Instagram so we can share!