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Noah Ohlsen Talks Tearing His Pec Two Weeks Before Winning Regionals

Noah Ohlsen came second worldwide after Mat Fraser in the 2017 CrossFit Open and was more than ready to dominate the Regionals and the 2017 Reebok CrossFit® Games themselves.

But just over two weeks prior to the beginning of the CrossFit Regionals, Ohlsen tore his right pec during an interval-based workout of dumbbell snatches and ring dips. In a recent Instagram post, he wrote that the lead up to this year’s Regionals was “the most nerve-racking and doubt riddled yet.”

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The elephant on my chest: The lead up to this regional was the most nerve-racking and doubt riddled yet. A little over two weeks prior to the competition, I tore my right pec doing intervals of dumbbell snatches and ring dips. While it was minor, it was so painful that I couldn't even do a burpee, let alone support myself on the rings. Max (@trainingthinktank) and I took a step back and did EVERYTHING in our power to intelligently heal the tendon while still trying to maintain my fitness and prepare for game day. With the help of @sflrehab, @athletixrehab and @joannleigh, I was able get it back the point where I could slowly do a few strict dips two days before. I slept about five minutes total of the ten hours I was in bed Thursday night, anticipating the workout that'd set me back less than three weeks ago. Needless to say, I made it through unscathed and was just as happy to remain healthy as I was to win. Thankful for whatever went on inside of my body and for all the TLC I got from very special people outside of it, to give me the confidence that I could still perform when the time came. A deep, sincere and heartfelt sorry to those who didn't make it all the way through the weekend. I'll do my best to represent in Madison!

A post shared by Noah Ohlsen (@nohlsen) on

In a recent Instagram post, he opened up about how the injury affected his mindset and performance.

While it was minor, it was so painful that I couldn’t even do a burpee, let alone support myself on the rings. (Ohlen’s coach) Max (@trainingthinktank) and I took a step back and did EVERYTHING in our power to intelligently heal the tendon while still trying to maintain my fitness and prepare for game day. (…) I was able get it back the point where I could slowly do a few strict dips two days before. I slept about five minutes total of the ten hours I was in bed Thursday night, anticipating the workout that’d set me back less than three weeks ago. Needless to say, I made it through unscathed and was just as happy to remain healthy as I was to win.

We believe that he barely slept the night before the workouts. The knowledge that your pec could re-tear at any point would have made Regionals Event 2 — which paired 80-pound dumbbell snatches and ring dips with a rep scheme of 21-15-9 for time — pretty darn stressful. That makes the fact that he came first in the Atlantic Regionals all the more impressive. (Though he did understandably come 13th in that particular event.)

Last year, Ohlsen came first in the Open by a considerable margin (he earned 41 points while second and third place finishers Rich Froning and Travis Mayer had 85 and 86 points respectively), and he came fifteenth overall at the CrossFit Games.

It’s amazing that he was able to overcome a pec tear to power through a ring dip workout in just a couple of weeks. With that kind of will — and if he can keep his pec in tact — we should see some awesome results from Ohlsen at the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games.

Featured image via @nohlsen on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. At BarBend his writing more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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