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Now this is my kind of workout. The classic CrossFit chipper with an olympic lift and some higher-level skill work. This is a good workout to differentiate many of the people who have excelled so well at the Open so far. Between the 50 toes to bar and the 20 muscle ups, we are going to see some competitors who are unprepared for Regionals struggle a bit. I’m excited for this one.
With that in mind, one of our potential Regional team member took this on last night as soon as it was released and tested some theories and ideas out for us to analyze. Here’s what we’ve learned so far, and while I recognize we will learn a lot more over the next couple of days, most of these truths will stand firm. I’m going to take a look at each individual movement specifically giving you one or two simple takeaways to consider when completing this workout over the next four days.
Rowing: A 60 cal row if performed at a non-maximal effort can be carefully done to almost be used as a warm-up rather than actual work. One of the largest things you must consider when completing all 60 cal is your stroke rating. Remember calorie rowing is not directly tied to rowing for meters though sometimes calorie output can correlate to more meters. What that means is that the faster you row does not necessarily mean the more calories you accumulate. I recommend reigning in your stroke rate just a bit so that you are much more powerful through the drive and much more relaxed through the recovery. I’m of the opinion that your drive should be three times as fast as your recovery and should be performed at this pace for the entirety of the 60 cal. With that in mind, if your drive is not very powerful and it does not accumulate a massive amount of calories, you may have to increase your stroke rating a bit to complete the 60 cal in a timely fashion. Remember ┬ábig principal on the rower, speed does not always correlate the power. The faster you are moving on the erg does not necessarily mean that your theoretical boat is moving at that speed. Power output matters, especially when you’re being tested for calories. Use your legs as long as possible during the drive and work intentionally to slow down your recovery back to the catch. Let that fan spin just long enough that it doesn’t slow down but you get all you can out of every drive.
Toes To bar: This is your first largely shoulder intensive movement. Be careful here as big sets early will make the wall balls much more taxing on the shoulders and therefore later come back to bite you on the muscle ups. The name of the game with the toes the bar is fluid, efficient movement. Our guinea pig broke them up into sets of 10 until the last 20 whereupon she did two sets of five before finishing with a larger set of 10. Watching her complete the T2B, it was obvious when the fatigue began to set in. When that happened we slowed her down and had her complete sets of 5 rather than 10 to help her recover. My suggestion here is if you’re proficient at them do no more than 10 reps. You want to save your shoulders and your grip for later. If you watch the Open announcement live then you saw that shoulders become the issue very quickly. If you’re not proficient at them do not be afraid to break them even to small sets of five and move quickly resting less. This is going to be especially true of those of you who have longer limbs and farther to move your toes to get to the bar (I’m looking at you Beau). That longer range of motion is going to be more taxing on the shoulder and leave you under tension for longer. You might especially want to consider sets of five with a short rest between sets.
Wallballs: Advise here is simple. Sets of 10 if possible. Set of five will not be incredibly hurtful, but does not really seem that necessary for anyone worth their salt. The key to the wallballs is to not allow this seemingly simple movement to overtax you aerobically and especially to not allow the wallball to overtax your shoulder capacity. I will likely do sets of five on this workout for that reason (I’m not a Crossfitter). Saving the shoulders for the muscle ups are key regardless of how good the wallballs feel. Lastly, do not stop the squat short or just at parallel. I made this point last year when 13.3 came out and I will stick to that truth today. Squatting all the way to the bottom, using the stretch reflex out of the bottom of squat, and allowing some of that energy to carry into the ball will allow you to use your shoulders less and save them for later. Use every bit of the bounce out of the bottom of the squat that you can. Stopping yourself short for “range of motion sake” is simply too taxing and takes too much work over the course of time. Likely stopping yourself short will come back to bite you on the cleans.
Clean: The debate is still out on these. I don’t necessarily know that it is largely beneficial to do sets of two or three unbroken or if it’s just simply a better idea to go to singles. I’m still deciding on that. The benefit of going unbroken sets is you’re able to use the energy in the floor just like you did with the deadlift and you’re able to recruit the hamstring a little bit better for the return on the second or third rep. The downside to unbroken sets is that it may cause you to rest longer between sets and ultimately get you to the rings with less time to do muscle-ups then if you just did singles from the beginning. Obviously, the upside to doing singles is there’s no eccentric motion, therefore you are less taxed performing the cleans, but you are forced to move very quickly not allowing the body to rest for very long. Our guinea pig did a triple to start and then immediately went to singles because of how taxed she was aerobically. She also noted after the workout was over that she wished she had held to unbroken sets of two or three to prevent her from using her arms more. She said that at such a light weight she found herself wanting to use her arms more than she would at a high percentage of her one rep max. Again, I don’t know that we know which is a better strategy or if the strategies are going to be athlete dependent. My big piece of advice for the cleans is to not allow them to spike your heart rate just before heading into the muscle ups. Particularly if you’re going to be rushing to the rings to try and get a maximum number of reps with minimal time left. All that being said, if you do not think you’re going to get a muscle-up then these cleans are crucial for you. It is pivotal that you move as fast as possible with zero regard for your heart rate as your tiebreak time will be the determining factor for your standing.
Muscle up: if you watch the 14.4 announced then you were likely as surprised as I was to see Scott and Josh struggle immensely with the dip out of the MU. They both were able to make the transition fairly easy but both struggled to complete the dip part of this exercise. This is likely because of their rate of speed on the toes to bar combined with the wallball combined with the rower that fried their anterior deltoids to some extent. This is why your success on the muscle ups is largely dependent upon your ability to stay within a comfortable rep range for all of the movements leading into the muscle ups. With that in mind, remember to stay tight on the kip, delay your turnover for as long you can to allow yourself to turn over as high into the dip is possible. Completing that transition into the dip of a muscle-up extremely low to the rings will make the dips more difficult than they need to be. Use a big kip, fire your hips to get you as close to the rings as you can, and transition into the dip as high above the rings as possible. For more on the specifics regarding the technique of t
he muscle-up take a look at Deep Movement.
This workout’s going to be a spicy one, but I would highly recommend that each of you do it at least twice. If you can complete the work out today do so. You will have plenty of time to recover and complete it again on Sunday or Monday and it should not impact performance the second time around. Finally! A workout we can all enjoy watching and finally a workout that’s going to separate the legit Regional competitors from those who just have a massive engine. Enjoy this one. Good luck.
Oh and remember. You dictate when you rest and when you work. Don’t let the workout determine that for you!