Tips for CrossFit Open Wod 17.4 (AKA 16.4) by Coach Sal

Get to that wall!    Photo by Frank Pensabene

Get to that wall!    Photo by Frank Pensabene

                                     17.4. AKA 16.4. AKA a fun kind of torture =). I know a few people who were extremely excited at the announcement of this repeat Open WOD.  After it all soaked in, I think I was one of those people as well. I remember doing it twice last year. After moving well and finishing the row in really good time, I died out on the HSPU. I didn't get nearly as many as I had imagined I would - both times. I knew I had better and have been waiting for the opportunity to do this again. Come up with a better game plan. And Thursday night was my chance to put that game plan to work. The results - MUCH better than expected. Thursday night was supposed to be a trial run, since I did 45 Deadlifts at 225 the day before, as well as 45 HSPU. I was SAF (Sore as F*#$). I figured just do a test run to see if I'm comfortable with my plan. Then Coach Chris decided to go head to head with me. It was on like Donkey Kong.

                                    So what was my plan that allowed me to crush last years score(s) while I was sore and tired (9pm is past my bed time)? Before I break down each movement, there is one important tip to help you decide the correct way to break it up. Know Your Body! I've been CrossFitting for a little over 4 years now. I know when I can move fast, and what makes my body scream at me. The most important thing is to know how your body handles each movement, then break up each movement accordingly. This is called "Pacing". To me, pacing is the most important thing in any WOD. Not only knowing how to break it up, but when to rest, and when to push your limit. 

                                    After you figure this out, now comes the fun part. Breaking down each movement.

  1. The Deadlift. 55 of them. At 225. Ouch. That's 10 more than "Diane". Since I love Deadlifts for reps, and can do "Diane" unbroken, I needed to pick a good number that wouldn't destroy my back and burn me out for the rest of the 13 minute WOD. I knew that 10 reps would be a magic number, where I wouldn't get tired, and my back and hamstrings wouldn't burn. But since the rep scheme was 55, I wasn't going to do 10.s with a last set of 5, so I decided to do 5 sets of 11 reps. Like I said, know your body. Figure what works for you. Break it up into 5's if you have to. I coached Gil through that and it worked for him. Just think of a number that works for you and STICK TO IT! Make sure the number you pick allows you to take short rests. Do your reps, drop the bar, count to 5, or 10, then get back to it. Short rests are key in this entire workout. Another big tip - SAVE YOUR BACK! Use your hamstrings! Make sure you do legit deadlifts. Not the low weight, high rep, totally screwed up deadlifts that most people do in WODS. I can't stress this enough. If you don't listen to this tip, you'll see what I'm talking about.

  2. Wallballs! Everyone who knows me, know that I like wallballs like Elf likes maple syrup.  Not sure what all the hate is about. For the wallballs, the key is the same as the deadlifts. Break it up into a manageable number. Don't burn your shoulders for the HSPU's. Again I chose 11 as the magic number. Doing 11 reps allowed me to save my shoulders, and take very short rests. None of my rests were longer than 10 seconds. Pick your number, do tour reps, and rest as little as possible. Drop the ball on the last rep, the take a few deep breathes and get right back to it. I think it's a bad idea to try to open with a big set. You'll save time and energy by breaking this up. You have a lot of rowing ahead of you.

     3. The Calorie Row.  Another one of my faves. For the row, there is no breakdown. The key here is to keep moving an to breathe. Calorie rows differ from meter rows, in that, on a calorie row, you should be pulling as hard as you can and taking a short rest (about one deep breath) at the end. Men should shoot for close to a calorie a pull, women should shoot for a cal every 2 pulls. Men will have a much easier time on the rower. Just try to keep the same exact pace throughout the entire row. Your hammies will probably be on fire at this point. Just work through the pain. When you complete the row, you will not use your legs for the rest of the workout. If you don't know how to calorie row, please ask a coach to teach you before you attempt the WOD.

    4. Hand Stand Push Ups. Oh boy. We worked our butt's off to get to this point. Now What??? The best advice I can give here is as follows. If you don't have handstand pushups, go for it. Try one. With your adrenaline going, you may hit your first one ever! If you are ok at HSPU's, break them up into very small numbers. Even singles. Just do one at a time. Come off the wall, breathe and get back to it. If your HSPU's are good, just like everything else, break it up right away! I did sets of 5's to start because I was feeling good. I originally thought sets of 3' (which coach Chris did and stuck to the whole way) but I was feeling good so I listened to my body. I got all the way up to 30 before I started to tire then dropped to sets of 3's from there, and eventually to singles. I think for these, you need to listen to your body on the first set. Don't come out with too big of a set, or you will burn your shoulders out quick. See how you feel and adjust accordingly. That's the best advise I can give. Side note - If you make it to the wall with little time to spare, just go! All out! Whatever you have.

                           If you are skilled enough, or lucky, to make it back to the Deadlifts, a game plan would be based on how much time you have to spare. If little, then go all out, if over a minute, then break it up into smaller numbers. I'm hoping to get to this point on Sunday so I'll have better advice for you on this part. =)

                          As far as the warm-up, we will have a good one written on the board. The key is to get your heart rate gong, stretch those Hammies, and open the shoulders and wrists.

                          Whatever you do, and wherever you make it to, just remember to breathe and have fun!!!