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Athlete Spotlight; Shanna Duvall

The Open season really gives many of OPEX’s year-round athletes a time to shine and see how their hard work and dedication to training have paid off this past year.

Shanna Duvall is another powerhouse athlete who trains with Coach James Taylor.

This past week, she saw a 64-rep improvement on Open workout 15.2 (260 reps) from her 14.2 score (196 reps) last year.

She currently sits in 28th place as a newcomer to the South West Region.

Shanna moved from the Mid-Atlantic to OPEX Headquarters in Arizona last summer in order to dedicate more time to her training with other like-minded individuals. Her goal for this year is to be an active member of Team OPEX Red and help them to qualify for the CrossFit Games!

With six years of competition experience under her belt (as a CrossFit Regional athlete since 2009), Shanna shared her reflections on making continual progress in her goals and performance.

Q. Tell us your strategy and how you stuck to it (or not) for 15.2?

Shanna: I had a 64 rep improvement from last year and I am excited to acknowledge there is more in the tank. My strategy was unbroken overhead squats and short quick sets on chest-to-bars. I executed as I had hoped to get through the round of 16s. I wasn’t as mentally prepared for the round of 18 – a similar experience to what happened to me during the round of 16 last year…always learning!

Q. What advice would you give others on giving each Open workout their best?

Shanna: Specific advice on how to approach each workout needs to come from the coach based upon the workout and the athlete’s ability. Beyond that I would say to remember to keep perspective. This is the time of year that we can easily fall into creating unnecessary stress by obsessing where we fall on the Leaderboard. Comparison is a great tool to help create goals and determine your biggest area of opportunity based upon rankings from workout to workout. Yet, at the end of the day, the place you fall on the Leaderboard does not define self-worth. Use the incredible performances by others to inspire you to perform your best in that moment without judgment around where that puts you relative to others. Essentially, control what you can to do your best and be supportive for others to do the same.

Q.How has OPEX impacted your training/performance as an athlete?

Shanna: My athletic journey with the OPEX community started as a Big Dawg blog follower in 2010 and then an exclusive coaching client in 2011…. the training continues to teach me how to best “run my engine” and approach a workout to produce the best result for myself.

Q. What changes have you made in your training and lifestyle this past year that have positively impacted you?

Shanna: My training volume has been quite high (10-12 session/week on average) over the past two+ years. Over this past winter I hit a place where I was losing the spark to train and it started to feel like a chore instead of a passion. Putting in high volume is a choice and definitely impacts my lifestyle so I know to expect a few lulls in motivation, but it came to a point where I felt it was a red flag. In January I finally took note of my regular comments such as, “I can’t wait for this season to be over so that I can cut back to singles!” When I acknowledged it wasn’t even February and the end of the season was potentially 6 months away (if I am able to achieve my goal for the year!) I immediately had a meeting with my coach and we re-evaluated. At this point, we cut me down to singles with much less volume and increased the intensity with more Open-prep testers during the week. This was exactly what I needed to reinvigorate myself and build some confidence coming into the Open. We’re now starting to add back in some doubles to prep for the volume of Regionals/Games.

Q.Any hopes for 15.3-15.5? What would be your ideal Open WOD? 

Shanna: I’ve been loving all the upper body pulling, as that is a strength of mine. I’d love to see some muscle-ups in a ladder or rounds for time style vs the chipper version of previous years. Possibly even some new movements for the Open like bar muscle-ups, pistols, burpee box jump overs paired with moderately heavy power cleans could be fun!

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Function 3/12/15

A. Incline bench press – 10, 10, 10, 10 – rest 2 minutes
B. Bent barbell row – 10, 10, 10, 10 – rest 2 minutes
C1. Powell raise – 3×8/arm – rest 60 seconds
C2. Bottom’s up KB press – 3×6-8/arm – rest 60 seconds
D1. Farmers walk – 3x100ft – no rest
D2. GH hip extension – 3×12-20 – bodyweight – rest 60 seconds

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Being 3/12/15



A. FS squat 1, 1, 1; rest as needed
B. emom – PS TnG x 3 moderate weight – 4mins
3 sets
Row 1min 90% aero
rest walk 1min
AD 1min 90% aero
rest walk 1min
2 sets tough effort
10 CTB chin ups
10 burpees AFAP
AD 15sec tough
rest walk 3-4mins

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Will 3/12/15

Rest Day

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She 3/12/15

GDS prep – Come into the gym and prep for an open workout, do all general, dynamic and specific rep. Once warm and ready to go, shut it down and go home.