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Watching Samantha Briggs and Kristin Holte absolutely demolish 18.1 was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Between their incredible engines and ridiculous strength, it’s impossible not to feel motivated. While seeing the pros Rx a workout and make it look easy is entertaining, to say the least, if we’re being realistic, that won’t be most of us — and that’s okay. There is no shame in scaling workouts. If you’re doing hanging knee raises or sit-ups, and you’re using lighter dumbbells, here are a few tips for totally owning 18.1.

Find Your Rhythm

Yes, hanging knees raises are the scaled version of toes-to-bar, but make no mistake about it: they’re still highly technical. Similar to T2B, finding your rhythm will massively help in stringing together reps while needing to exert less energy overall. In fact, both require a similar movement pattern. Look at knee raises as an abbreviated version of T2B. You cycle your body in a very similar manner, but cut the movement short.

TWL wrist wraps

While “muscling” the whole movement (meaning relying totally on strength) can be exhausting when you don’t rely at least a little bit on momentum and speed, you also don’t want to be flailing around everywhere. Go back and watch Briggs from the live announcement. She needed but a tiny kip to knock out her T2B. Yes, the Engine of England is stronger than most of us; but it’s still a valuable hint: find a spot in between an enormous kip and no kip at all, and you’ll be able to handle your hanging knee raises more efficiently.

Use the Power of Your Whole Body

This is a good reminder for both the dumbbell clean and jerks and the rowing. The clean and jerks aren’t just an upper body workout — not nearly. Even just a tiny drive from the legs can make a world of difference in sending the DB first to your shoulders and then overhead. Don’t go overboard — a small dip will do. Just remember your legs are stronger than your arms. Take advantage of it.

The same goes for rowing. While your whole body is obviously involved in rowing, you should be driving the majority of the power from your legs by thinking of pushing through the pedals. Do this, and your upper body won’t have to do as much work. (Have you checked out our tips for rowing efficiently? We think it’ll really help!)

If you’re doing sit-ups, remember that you don’t accomplish this position by yanking your upper body up by your head. Engage your core and don’t forget to breathe.

Prepare for a Grip Killer

grip tape

While there’s not as much friction between your hands and the bar with hanging knee raises as there is with T2B, we promise you’re still going to feel it. Same with the DB work. Don’t let the lighter weight fool you; you’re still doing a ton of reps. Hand care is everything. Even if you don’t feel the need for heavy duty gymnastics grips, at the very least, make sure you have a roll of your favorite tape nearby. Your hands will thank you for it.

Remember that the best time to start breaking up your knee raises is before your grip goes. Believe it or not, frequent but quick rest breaks will leave you with more reps, compared to longer but fewer ones. Pace accordingly, keep breathing and never stop moving. You got this!

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