Crossfit Life Lessons-The Shredded Hands Story

Recently, I attempted something I had never done before in a Crossfit Workout, 30 Gymnastic Muscle Ups for time (20 min time cap). In the process, I did a “wee” bit of skin shredding on my wrists and palm of my hands. As I reflected on the experience I realized that it  was actually a cool learning situation for me, and not just in a physical way. What do you know, a Crossfit workout providing a life lesson!!

Now some of you may think, “Big deal, I can do that in about 8 minutes or less!” I applaud you… that is incredible! Others may be thinking “What the heck is a muscle up and why in the world were you doing it??”

Watch this video to see what I am talking about, “Muscle Up”   Or this example “ Kipping women muscle ups” 

(this is a video of my first one).This is not a usual gymnastic move used in competition for women, so we generally have to go about it a little differently. But the basic idea is that you start from a hanging position on the rings and pull or propel your body up and over the rings until you are in a deep dip position. From there, you simply drive out of the dip until your arms are completely locked out and your body is straight up and down. That is one rep. 30 for time, 20 minute cap.



1.Be Open: You know, I never did this before but it was the assigned workout for the day. So going into it I thought, “Hey, I am just going to go for it, and get as many as I can”. I focused on doing an efficient and effective MOVEMENT to get my reps done.  

Lesson: Accept the challenge laid out before you and just keep going…

2.Work Purposefully: My next strategy was to take adequate recovery time in between reps so that I could not waste any energy doing an incomplete movement. I don’t mean to say I waited to do it PERFECTLY, but I did keep moving to a steady rhythm of rest and work. I figured I could do 2 a minute and would have plenty of time to get that done.

Lesson: Do Work. Even if it is slow, it sure beats sitting still just thinking about working and will always result in some sort of progress!

3.Take Coaching Advice; While all my mental mechanisms were humming along, my body was becoming a bit more fatigued. Certainly that contributed to missing a few. But my coach(click) was right there, reminding me of the things I need to execute to stay the course. During my recovery and reflection time, I allowed his advice and encouragement to settle in my brain so that I could accomplish the next task.

Lesson: Coaches are all around us, sometimes we even learn from kids! Receive that coaching and reap the benefits.


4.Expect Challenges: At rep #21, I experienced my first real challenge. The skin on the inside of my left palm, about the size of a silver dollar, decided to tear away. (Think water blister bursting and skin ripped off) This made it very difficult to continue because it was open and raw. Time was still ticking, I had 6 minutes left to finish, so I quickly covered the wound in tape, and jumped back up. Rep #22, #23 done, but  it was at the cost of palm #2 (read Another Rip).


At this point, I had every excuse and good reason to quit. You know, I didn’t even consider giving up, I was too close and truly believed I could do it.

Lesson: Challenges are part of the process for just about everything. Adjust and press on!


6.Finishing short isn’t Failure– Because of my rips; I used up precious time and now had to speed my pace. I got 1, then another, then another until I was finished with 29 reps and a minute to go. I got into position on the rings, and failed maybe 5 times in that last minute. Then, even with the opportunity to try for the 30th after time had expired, I was NOT able to finish the task. The tape used to cover my wounds would not allow me to secure my grip to get that 1 measly rep. Lesson: Not all the shots you take will end up in the scoring.

Did I need to throw away all the work, mental focus and reps that I DID accomplish because I didn’t get the 30th one? It would not be wise to do so… nor was I even tempted to respond that way.

In 20 minutes, I had done something that I had never even come close to doing in my life. IT WAS A GREAT “FAILURE” and I was ecstatic about it. Take some shots and be okay with giving your all even if you land short.

7.Success comes with a price. Most of the time in order to have what you say you want to have, you’ve got to give up something else. Maybe it’s giving up TV to make phone calls that make your business grow, or chocolate chip cookies to get to your goal weight and to become a better Crossfit or any kind of Athlete.

Lesson: This day, in pursuit of my goal, I gave up some skin. Not too big of a price But you know, it will grow back and not cause me a bit more pain. But I will forever get to carry with me the accomplishment of a challenging goal. Totally worth the price!


Whether you are in pursuit of Crossfit/Athletic Success, Rising to new levels in your business or evolving as a human, you may have to endure some “shredded hands” on your path to success. But no one ever said it was going to be easy and smooth. There are lessons to be learned that apply to life in a variety of situations and its important to receive them to grow.

So open up, take a hold of the rings, use your skills, strength, and experience to propel yourself up to

the top!


Anne (Annie) Berryhill is a Crossfit Level 1 Coach, and Nutritional  Coach. She loves helping people revive their lives through fitness,  healthy eating progams, and amazing, life-changing supplements. Even if you are not in the Southern California area, she has a variety of programs to meet your personal needs. Contact her today at


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  • Anne, I can only imagine what all of that felt like. I could FEEL you through your words. Your lessons are so exquisitely articulated that they raised the hair on the back of my neck. You are BLESSED and a BLESSING to all of us that know you … xox

  • It's all about pushing yourself harder than that last workout mentally and physically! You have a strong heart that drives you to do things you can never dream of!
    30 Muscle Ups ain't no joke, only a small percent of the CrossFit community can even attempt it. You rock! Great job

    • Awe Rich, thanks! But what is most important is what I learned. It seems that over and over, Crossfit keeps teaching me stuff that applies to my whole life, not just the movements!

  • great story anne :)…. I really admire your strength and determination…. such an inspiration…. definitely needed this story, in more ways than one!!

  • Anne – This was an awesome accomplishment!  You are an inspiration to all of us. I appreciate how you take the time to help us out with words of encouragement or hints on how to do a lift or movement better.  Thanks!

    • Oh No JO!!! It’s you guys that need to be recognized! You ALL took time out from your WOD to encourage me to get what I needed to get! What a great group of Tight Assets!

  • You are one strong amazing girl..I have always loved the way you tackle ANYTHING!!!  Nothing scares you!!
    Your site is terrific ~ Just like you…Love, P

  • No Pain, No Gain" counts here….you've put forth some strength here; wow. It was worthed though! Congratulations with the Alexa breakthrough!


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