The Isabel CrossFit WOD – The 30 Fastest Snatches EVER

Reviewed by: Tom Eskey

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Question:

How does a task of executing 30 snatches against a ticking clock at prescribed weights of 135 pounds for men and 95 pounds for women sound to you?

If you’re like most (smart) lifters, I assume your response would involve something along the lines of, “such a dynamic workout requires a strategic approach that transcends immediate preparation!”

…either that or you’ll say something like, “dude…I can barely snatch 150; how the heck do expect me to snatch 135 thirty times?!”

(and, if you’re like I was in my first month of CrossFit, you’ll say, “yeah…which one is the snatch, again?”)

Today, no matter where you lie on the “Isabel CrossFit Readiness Spectrum(TM)”. we’re going to hook you up with what you need to know before you tangle with one of the most respected “girls of CrossFit”.

You might even feel ready to take her down in one minute-three seconds like Andrew Hiller (sorry, Noah!)

The OG Isabel…and Some of Her Crazy Friends

Before you (conservatively!) set aside 90 seconds to devote to the Isabel CrossFit WOD, we suggest you put in at least a little bit of workout-specific preparation. If your current training regimen allows it and you’re in the mood to set a PR, narrow your training focus to snatch-specific work, incorporating the prescribed weight (135/95) into workouts to familiarize yourself with the demands of the WOD.

…and with the workout itself.

Isabel

Of course, depending on your experience and fitness level, the “Rx” version of Isabel may look pretty tough or, for some, a bit too easy. Thankfully, there are a few different Isabel scaling options as well as some “Rxxx+” versions that are sure to challenge you.

Light Isabel

Performing 30 reps of the most intricate move in high-intensity weightlifting isn’t a walk in the park.

Everyone’s got to start somewhere, so there’s no shame in dialing down the weight if you need to. This allows you to embrace the challenge Isabel while you work on your technique (and without putting yourself at risk!)

Heavy Isabel

..and…yes; there will always be someone on the opposite end of the spectrum!
Seasoned experts who are continuously pushing their limits, making this classic WOD even harder.

You might be thinking, “seriously, isn’t it challenging enough?”

Well, truth be told, there’s a version of Isabel that’s downright heavy.

Notice how both athletes start with a full snatch—no room for a mere power snatch here; they understand the load is too heavy to opt for anything less.

Although Klokov finishes a few seconds earlier, if you look at Froning, he shows fewer signs of fatigue than Klokov.

…and It’s almost as if he could keep going for another five minutes. Hopefully you’ll feel the same when you give this one a go!

50-Rep Isabel

Once again, there are those for whom Isabel feels like child’s play, leading to the creation of “50 Rep Isabel”. While most of us mere mortals wouldn’t dream of attempting this, a couple of champions, Annie Thorisdottir and Samantha Briggs, showcase why they are two of the all-time greats.

Sam opts for a strategy centered on the strength of her arms, while Annie powers through each repetition with the strength of her legs.

At least these ladies have given you some options to consider!

The Standard

Recognizing the intensity of WODs like Isabel and Grace, the organizers of the CrossFit Games decided to merge them into a “megaWOD”, affectionately known as The Standard.

You probably look at it and think, ‘Well, in an intense week at the Box, I could tackle this in 3 sessions…’

The kicker? Athletes had just 12 minutes to get all of this work done (and they still had time to spare!)

The Isabel CrossFit Benchmark WOD – Tips for a Good Time with this Girl!

Trained up for your preferred version of Isabel and ready to go unbroken? Remember that regardless of how much you’ve trained and improved your snatch cycling ability you must be aware of your limits.

In the video below, watch man-mountain Eddie Hall not only go unbroken, but shatter the world record in the process. It’s more of a showcase than a competition since, although he lifts the bar above his head, strictly speaking, he isn’t performing a snatch. 

For the average person, attempting to mimic this “technique” would be disastrous. Instead, be mindful of the technique you’ve developed, pacing strategy, and the fact that you’re (probably) not Eddie Hall!      


Before entering the “arena” of Isabel meticulous preparation within the box is essential. 

The journey begins with a thorough warm-up, addressing mobility, activation, and priming the nervous system.  Dynamic stretches, joint rotations, and specific snatch warm-up sets set the stage for optimal performance.

As the clock ticks closer to WOD time, mental preparation takes center stage. Visualizing successful snatches, rehearsing the chosen breakdown strategy, and maintaining a positive mindset are crucial components. 

The atmosphere in the box buzzes with anticipation, and each athlete channels this energy into focus.

As the “10 seconds!” countdown begins, athletes step up to their barbells with a mix of excitement and nerves. The first rep breaks the silence, setting the rhythm as the workout starts.

In real-time, thoughts fluctuate between technique cues and pacing strategies. The initial sets flow smoothly, but fatigue begins to weave its presence into the movements.

Around rep 10, the snatch session intensifies. The barbell becomes both adversary and ally. Athletes navigate the delicate balance between speed and technique, understanding that a brief pause for reset is not a setback but a strategic necessity.

As the final 5 repetitions unfold, the intensity reaches its peak. 

The last snatch carries the weight of every practice session, every ounce of dedication poured into the snatch journey.

The clock stops, and at that moment, the extended preparation and real-time execution converge into triumph.

Isabel: The Symphony of Effort

The Isabel CrossFit WOD is not merely a workout; it’s a symphony of effort, precision, and dedication.  Success with this WOD lies not just in the physical execution but in the mental fortitude to listen to our bodies.

isabel crossfit

As we navigate this extended snatch session, it becomes paramount to maintain cardiovascular fitness, continually refine snatch technique, and push towards surpassing personal records. Precision in execution and an acute awareness of one’s body are not just suggested; they are integral to mastering this session.

The key takeaway remains unchanged: embrace the challenge, tirelessly pursue improvement, and savor the journey of mastering the extended snatch. While the clock ticks away during Isabel, the true victory lies in the dedication to refining our craft and surpassing personal milestones.

In the dynamic realm of CrossFit, Isabel is more than a workout. It’s a canvas for pushing physical and mental boundaries, emerging not just stronger but more attuned to the intricacies of the snatch. 

…and if you just can’t get enough of 30-rep, 135-pound Olympic weightlifting WODs, please do check out our deep dive into Grace. After all, if you’re going to tackle The Standard, you’ll need to get used to it, anyways!

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AUTHOR

Luis, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, DEKA Trainer, Certified Fitness Coach (TSAF) is a licensed pharmacist and a dedicated fitness professional. With a solid academic foundation, including a Bachelor's in Pharmacy and a Master's in Sports Physiology from renowned universities, Luis is committed to merging science and practicality to drive remarkable results in both athletic performance and health enhancement.