Do whip-like body lashings and lower back bruisings sound like fun to you?
If so, get excited; we’re talking about Annie today!
(at least this is what the Annie WOD was like for me the first time through, whipping myself with the rope and getting rugburn from the floor without an AbMat!)
It doesn’t get more “CrossFit” than that!
The Annie WOD is also one of the more polarizing CrossFit workouts out there.
Consisting of exactly 150 double-unders and 150 AbMat sit-ups, it’s a workout that can be completed pretty quickly and without excess exhaustion for those who “have” double-unders.
…or turn into a nightmare for those who don’t “have” double-unders.
Let’s take a look at this iconic workout in greater detail; we’ll discuss modifications, as well as the story behind the WOD.
Table of Contents
What is the Annie WOD?
As mentioned above, the Annie CrossFit workout involves two movements: double-unders and AbMat sit-ups. It takes on a descending rep pattern, beginning with 50 repetitions of each exercise and systematically working down to 10 repetitions of each.
Like this guy:
Under 6 minutes is pretty good (Mr. Laich obviously didn’t take any breaks!) but is it “elite”?
Good Annie WOD times
As mentioned, Mr. Laich’s sub-6:00 time above is pretty good (he obviously didn’t waste any time or miss any reps!), but is it “elite”?
As you can see, Laich would have to go a bit faster to qualify as “elite” on Annie.
…but are those “elite” times a little “too elite” in this case?
Top-level athletes finishing in the ~6:20-range.
Now, these men (especially Ohlsen) don’t appear to really be pushing it. However, this leads me to believe that this is one of the cases where wodtimecalculator’s fitness levels are slightly off.
Annie CrossFit Workout Strategy
Your strategy for Annie can really be broken down into two major camps, both directly related to your ability to do double-unders. If you can consistently knock out big sets (~20 or more) you fall into the first camp and if you cannot, you fall into the second camp.
Big Sets of Double-unders
Great! You have been practicing your “dubs’ and feel confident in your ability to complete a lot of them really quickly.
So…you’re going to do them really quickly.
In the grand scheme of things, 150 double-unders, split up over 6-plus minutes isn’t that debilitating. You honestly may as well go for it.
If you’re really good at dubs, the sit-ups are going to be what slows you down and what might catch up with you.
If you’re blowing through the double-unders and moving through sit-ups at a good pace, be mindful that during the first few big sets, you might find yourself cramping.
So…go fast during the double-unders. Maybe go fast with your sit-ups, but at worst, allow yourself a short break after every 15th or 20th rep. This really only translates into 4 or 5 breaks so you’ll still post a good score. Plus you’ll have a good data point on how you felt which will be very useful on your second attempt.
Small Sets of Double-unders
Okay, Annie is probably going to be a bit tougher for you.
But don’t despair! The clean and even rep increments make the Annie WOD ideal for planned sets, whether your double-undering in sets of 15, 10, or even 5.
For example, if you can consistently do between 10 and 15 double-unders, you might consider straight sets of 10. For the first set, this looks like:
You hit your tenth rep each time, have a short, “celebratory break”, and gear up for the next 10.
Now, there will probably be some breaks here and there, but be sure to save the actual breaks for the 10th rep each time. Something like this will still get you through the first set:
8,2 – 10 – 6,3,1 – 8,2 – 5,3,2
Now, the flip side of this is, you’re really going to want to push the sit-ups. To be fair, you will probably exert a bit more energy (I know I get more tired from missed reps than I do from completed ones!) than someone going unbroken, but there will be a greater time domain. To be frank, you’re getting more rest during the double-unders.
So ball out on the sit-ups!
Be mindful of the cramping possibilities mentioned above, though. Remember, on your first go of the Annie CrossFit workout, you’re mainly looking to:
- Get a good workout
- Collect some data points
Once you have your double-unders on lock, you’ll chuckle thinking about your first shot at Annie!
(I know I sure do; a couple of elementary school kids at my first CrossFit gym in Belgrade smoked me!)
Scaling the Annie WOD
You might consider the planned breaks from the discussion above as a “scaled” version of Annie…but I just consider it to be a smart strategy.
Instead, when we’re talking about scaling Annie, we’re almost always talking about scaling the double-unders
AbMat sit ups are a rather foundational movement that even beginners can complete. As such, these aren’t scaled in Annie (or in most workouts, to be honest).
Additionally, the “beginner” fitness level athlete for Rx’d Annie is still finishing in under 12 minutes…not an overly burdensome or long time.
So, when scaling the Annie WOD, the only real options are to do double the number of single-unders (some ambitious individuals would argue that triple the number of single-unders would be better) or to do an equal number of tuck jumps
Annie with tuck jumps subbed in for double-unders looks like this:
Notice that the times here are a bit slower than they are for double-unders. Try doing even 10 tuck jumps and you’ll understand why!
Finally, if you want to perfect your double-under cadence without using a rope, you can also substitute penguin hops for double-unders.
Penguin hops will help you to practice both your rhythm and height of your jumps as you work closer to perfecting your double-unders!
Advanced Versions of the Annie CrossFit Workout
Until somewhat recently, Annie has pretty much been left alone in regards to advanced WOD versions.
This really changed back in 2020 when a really advanced version of Annie was included in the CrossFit Games qualifier workouts.
A workout that truly lives up to its namesake, let me introduce you to “Awful Annie”:
The inclusion of 150 GHDs alone is enough to make me feel sick, but tack on 15 heavy cleans to the mix…
A true nightmare!
Not to be outdone, in early 2023, Annie’s namesake herself, Annie Sakamoto, introduced a gymnastics version of the workout.
“Gymnasty Annie” seems to be a gymnast’s “answer” to the heavy Olympic lifts of her “awful” twin:
Neither of these advanced options are workouts that you’ll likely casually attempt on a given day. When Annie decided to go “advanced”, she wasn’t messing around!
Who is Annie?
As mentioned a few times already, Annie is named after Annie Sakamoto. When we talk about some of the “CrossFit Girls” workouts, oftentimes we talk about some of the OG WODs. Well, Sakamoto can be considered one of the OG CrossFit athletes, trainers, and general figures in the community.
Sakamoto was one of the first ever CrossFit trainers, getting her start back in 2004 at the first CrossFit training center, CrossFit Santa Cruz. Since then, she has made multiple CrossFit Games appearances, winning the 45+ women’s master’s category in 2021.
Seems like an appropriate personality for such an iconic CrossFit workout, right?!
Go do Annie!
I’ve been trying to get better at double-unders lately and have mainly been working big, but manageable (50 reps or less) sets.
Annie is the perfect workout for me!
You might be the world’s expert on double-unders, have abs of steel, and want to hit those elusive, “elite” wodtimecalculator times.
Annie is the perfect workout for you!
For the guy who wants to perfect his double-unders, breaking them into small sets, chipping away until he hits all 150…
Annie is perfect for him!
A true OG CrossFit WOD named after a legendary CrossFit personality, you can’t go wrong with a little Annie action!
Prefer a barbell with your “CrossFit Girls” WODs? Grace would love for you to give her 30 clean and jerks a try; check out our article on good times to beat and best strategies to help you dominate!