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Patronus! How to choose your goal and what to ….Expecto…..

By Tim! Wells | In Blog | on January 10, 2020

Good start, Tim. People will definitely take you seriously now….

Hi. You’ve heard us chatting about the Quidditch Cup and choosing Patronuses for a few weeks now, and hopefully you read the QCup blog post from earlier this week, found here. In the world of Harry Potter, a wizard’s Patronus is a powerful defensive spell, and the form it takes differs from person to person. Some folks cast it easily. Others struggle a bit. For all, it’s a powerful tool that can make a huge difference when the situation calls for it.

The Patronus in our Quidditch Cup is no different. I want you to think of the movements you struggle with, the ranges of motion that elude you, the kinds of workouts that give you anxiety when they pop up. In short, your weakness that you want to turn into a strength. Now is the opportunity.

There are a bunch of ways that athletes have approached this over the last 4 QCups, which I’ve boiled down into a few broad categories:

  • – movements
  • – range of motion
  • – attendance
  • – benchmarks
  • – lifts


The majority of Patronuses involve mastery of a high skill movement, most commonly double unders, toes to bar and muscle ups, with a good number of strict pull ups and handstand push ups. The 15 minutes of skillwork before or after class will be critical to you achieving your Patronus. If you choose a movement this year, you’ll have the benefit of the OWL skillwork to base your own work on. You’ll learn more about OWLs in a post next week.

Remember that your Patronus cannot be to achieve a movement from that list in the other post for the first time. Honestly, it kinda needs to be more than that. We’re looking for you to demonstrate something close to mastery here. You want to be able to call on your Patronus skill 3 months from now, not just that one time during the Cup. In that spirit, we generally ask for a number of sets over the course of the Cup. Five chained toes to bar is great, but you can you do it again three days later? If not, I wouldn’t consider that skill mastered. Tony’s Patronus in 2017 was 3 sets of 30 chained double unders. He succeeded, and his dubs ever since have been pretty darn solid.

One thing you do need to take into consideration when choosing a movement is how the skillwork will affect your body throughout the week. Your calves might not enjoy all those extra jumps. Make sure you smash them a little before you leave. Extra time hanging from a pull up bar might mean a little more wear and tear on your hands. If you tear, that might prevent you from getting your full fitness on in regular classes. Just something to think about.

Range of Motion

Having trouble holding weight overhead? Can’t hit depth on your squats? Focused mobility and skillwork is the key. Nora’s 2019 Patronus stands out as one of my all-time favorites, which was holding the bottom of a 16kg goblet squat for a minute straight. She made a plan to strengthen her core, mobilize her hips, back and calves, and spent some serious quality time getting cozy with a kettlebell in the bottom of a squat. She was ultimately successful, and now squats to depth with ease.


Many of us are lucky enough to have schedules and lifestyles that allow us to come to the gym regularly, but of course that isn’t the case for everyone. A Patronus trend that started in 2018 and really caught on last year was setting a certain number of classes to attend or workouts to perform over the course of the Cup. The post-pregnancy struggle is monumental for a lot of our athletes, but Tenley used the Cup last year to successfully reestablish the routine after Nilah was born.


Does Fran give you anxiety? How about Filthy Fifty? Have you recently figured out handstand push-ups and want to give Diane a try? Perhaps a benchmark PR is for you. This may be a little harder to figure out skillwork on your own, but that’s what we’re here for. I would not recommend just doing the benchmark every week for 5 weeks straight. Can’t control your heart rate during Fran? Let’s do some intervals and some thruster EMOMs. Want to shave a minute off your Annie time? Work on your dubs, do some tabata sit ups.

Cathy and Rob did some grrrooossssssss rowing intervals every Saturday last year in an effort to meet a specific 5k row time. I like that one a lot because you know those cardiovascular endurance gainz carried over into everything else they did in the gym. Great idea.


A lot of folks have chosen a lift goal since the first Cup. Perhaps a bodyweight clean, a double bodyweight deadlift, or simply a 20 lb PR on your clean and jerk. Unfortunately you won’t be able to rely on the 15 minutes of skill work for this one, unless mobility is one of your limiting factors. You’ll have to plan on at least one or two 30-minute lifting sessions a week during Open Gym to truly attack this properly. We just don’t have the space for you to work on your clean in the corner during a regular class.

So that’s all I have on Patronuses. At the end of the day, just pick something you’ll enjoy working on and hopefully will enjoy using successfully in future workouts. Nothing better than overcoming a weakness. Also, remember that there’s a deadline to set your Patronus this year and it’s aggressively early: Monday Jan. 27 @ 8pm. So start asking us now! We may not end up being your Head of House but all five of us are invested in your continued progress.

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