Nancy WOD: Coordination Meets Cardio

The Nancy WOD is a CrossFit Benchmark WOD. The workout is:

5 rounds for time:

400 meter run

15 overhead squats (95/65lbs)

The workout stops when you complete all five cycles. In total, you'll run 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) and complete 75 overhead squats.

How to Follow the Nancy WOD

Here are some tips for completing the Nancy WOD. Use them to get a great score or maneuver your way through your first attempt at this workout.

weight lifting

Correct form

The Nancy CrossFit WOD only uses two exercises - The overhead Squat and a Run. 

To do an overhead squat (OHS) properly:

  • Start in a shoulder-width stance. Grip the bar wide (about snatch grip); you'll have to either take it out of the rack on your back or snatch it from the floor.
  • Press your shoulders up into the bar; the bar should hover above the crown of your head with your armpits facing forward. 
  • Kick the hips back to the wall behind you. Squat down to parallel, then drive through the heels and exhale on the way up.

This video from CrossFit HQ can help break it all down.

Related: Best CrossFit Barbell Collars to PR Your WOD

The run is pretty self-explanatory. You can do a 200m out and back or a 400m track run if you have access. Rowing is an easy substitute, but because this is a CrossFit Girls workout (like Diane, Cindy, Annie, etc.) it's best to stick with the run.

Read Also: Top 8 Best CrossFit Rowing Machines

run - Nancy WOD

Tips

Here are some tips to on the CrossFit Nancy WOD:

  • Use the first round to set the pace. Don't go too hard, especially on the run. Otherwise you might burn out your legs. If you have to pause before starting OHS after a run, you went too hard.
  • Go into this with a pacing strategy for the OHS. Can you go unbroken? Or will you have to break it up into sets of 8/7 or 5/5/5? The fewer sets the better as it will mean picking up the bar less. But don't gas yourself out, either.
  • If your overhead squats aren't great, try squatting to a wallball. This allows you to get proper depth on each rep while focusing on the rest of your technique.
  • If you're a beginner, scale weight. OHS are not an exercise to mess around with. Don't be afraid to scale if you're new or just do this workout with a PVC pipe. (Trust us, it's harder than it sounds).

wallball squat - Nancy WOD

Benefits

The Nancy WOD is a great cardiovascular workout. The weight on the OHS isn't so high that you'll get a huge strength stimulus. But it's still 75 reps at a moderate weight, so you'll also reap lower body muscular strength and endurance gains, too.

Other benefits include:

  • Coordination. Similar to a fitness challenge like bear complexes, stringing together high-rep OHS while fatigued is a challenge for your nervous system too! 
  • Competitive advantage. Overhead squats with a cardio exercise is very common in CrossFit competitions. This is a good way to practice for the Open or prepare for the games if that is your goal.
  • Strategy work. Once you can do overhead squats proficiently, it's hard to beat your time by a lot. This workout is a great time to work on improving transitions and overall CrossFit athlete WOD strategy.

Overall, the Nancy CrossFit WOD is a simple couplet that offers some great benefits.

What is the Nancy Workout of the Day & Why is it so Popular?

The CrossFit Nancy WOD is one of the original "CrossFit Girl" benchmark WOD workouts. It was first published on main page programming in 2005. 

The WOD is popular because it's a good lightweight test of endurance, speed, and coordination. You have to be proficient and efficient at both a highly skilled movement and a basic cardiovascular exercise.

It's also an easy workout to scale. Intermediate or advanced CrossFitters can make this an awesome challenge by upping the overhead squat weight or running with a vest. You can also easily make this a CrossFit hotel workout with subbing a barbell for the kettlebell swing or a PVC pipe.

Related: Top 5 Weighted Vests for CrossFit

For more CrossFit WOD guides, check out the rest of our website. Good luck!

Ben Kissam

Ben Kissam

I help college athletes maximize their 4-year sports window and succeed after graduation.

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