Crossfit Open 18.4 Strategy

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2018 Reebok CrossFit Open 18.4 Strategies
Written by American GAINZ Nutrition



2018 CrossFit Open Workout 18.3 – Let’s call it “Heavy Diane”

Directly from the CrossFit Games website:

Prior to starting this workout, the athlete will need to mark a foot line on the wall for the handstand push-ups (details in Movement Standards section). He or she also will need to measure and mark lengths on the floor for the handstand walk. This workout begins with the barbell on the floor and the athlete standing tall. After the call of “3, 2, 1 … go,” the athlete may perform 21 deadlifts, then move to the wall for the 21 handstand push-ups. He or she will then complete 15 deadlifts and 15 handstand push-ups, then 9 deadlifts and 9 handstand push-ups.

The athlete then can move on to the heavier deadlifts to complete 21 deadlifts, a 50-ft. handstand walk, 15 deadlifts, another 50-ft. handstand walk, and finally, 9 deadlifts and a third 50-ft. handstand walk.

The athlete’s score will be the time it takes to complete the workout or the total number of repetitions completed within the 9-minute time cap. In the handstand walk, each 5-foot section will count as 1 rep.

For Time:

21 deadlifts, 225 lb.
21 handstand push-ups
15 deadlifts, 225 lb.
15 handstand push-ups
9 deadlifts, 225 lb.
9 handstand push-ups
Heavy Diane
21 deadlifts, 315 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk
15 deadlifts, 315 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk
9 deadlifts, 315 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk
Time cap: 9 min.


Big Picture:

Well this was honestly an unexpected surprise. The handstand walk we all new was coming; this movement becoming extremely popular in just about all Rx competitions as well as it being regularly programmed on the website should have been a solid clue.

The real surprise was the heavy deadlifts after the heavy 1RM Clean of 18.2A. I think most of us assumed the “heavy weights” box was checked for the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Open Season. For the bigger athletes out there, there is still hope, leave it to TheDaveCastro to keep us coming back for more!

Also, the HSPU standard changed, we think for the better well partly. It’s fairly straight forward; depending on your arm measurement (knuckles to elbow), you’ll be adding anywhere from 5” to 9” to your height to place your line on the wall. Important to note, the arms do need to start and finish locked out for each rep to count.

This standard basically normalizes the distance traveled among athletes of varying heights. If you are on the shorter side, you'll find your hand position now to be much more narrow in order to travel the necessary distance (feet above the line).  The days of shorter athletes going wide and traveling 2"-3" per rep totally locked out are gone as of this standard.   

On the flip side, taller athletes, will now be able to go much wider with their hands and the distance traveled compared to what they were held to standard wise in years passed just got cut in half.  

Tip: Know The Standards!!!

So this WOD is very straight forward. If you don’t have Handstand walks your workout is basically a race to complete Diane and attempt to Deadlift the heavy weight 21 times. If you do have handstand walks, well this is where the Box Regulars will separate themselves from the in-shape weekend warriors. Like Sam Briggs during the only Regional Season (2014 - Regional Event 2) she didn’t make the Games, Handstand walking isn’t a skill that can be developed on demand. This high skill movement requires some time, sweat, and tears. Like the dumbbells showing up again this year, we all should expect handstand walks to show up next year as well; so with this said, add this skill to your 2018 season goals!!!

Live Announcement Pace
21 Deadlifts @ :33 (21 Reps)
21 HSPU @ :59 (42 Reps)
15 Deadlifts @ 1:29 (57 Reps)
15 HSPU @ 2:01 (72 Reps)
9 Deadlifts @ 2:21 (81 Reps)
9 HSPU @ 2:45 (90 Reps)
21 Heavy Deadlifts @ 4:19 (111 Reps)
50-ft. handstand walk @ 4:45 (121 Reps)
15 Heavy Deadlifts @ 5:55 (136 Reps)
50-ft. handstand walk 6:24 (146 Reps)
9 Heavy Deadlifts @ 6:51 (155 Reps)
50-ft. handstand walk @ 7:13 (165 Reps)


To gauge your score or establish your target reps for this workout we think the leaderboard come Monday/Wednesday will look something like this:

Elite Men & Women: 6:00 - 8:00
Regional Invitation Contention: < 8:30
Top 500 in the Region: 121 - 136 Reps
Top 1500 in the Region: > 90 Reps

General Strategy

This classic couplet was designed to be a sprint, however with the addition of “Heavy Handstand Walk Diane” your pacing to a degree is absolutely necessary.

Although most elite athletes will attempt to keep a steady unbroken pace through the entire workout, the Panchik strategy of breaking often and consistently on dead lifts seems to be a strong example to follow.

For reference, "Diane" was programmed originally as a CrossFit Regionals workout back in 2012. To give you an idea of how fast Diane can be completed, Dan Bailey early in his career completed this benchmark in 1:35, you can YouTube that video. Important to note, the standards have changed since then and not for the betterment of speed as we all saw the live announcement “No Reps”.


This movement is all about kip-efficiency and shoulder fatigue. The best tip we can offer is to break often with quick rest and STAY STEADY at whatever your pace you set. All those small body weight ninjas will blow by you, but they will be waiting for you while they stare at that heavy barbell, so take your time and try not to red line until the set of 9s.

Important to note* - The difference between fast HSPUs and slow HSPUs can be massive. Once you have reached muscle fatigue, HSPU can literally take forever just to hit singles, so you should pace accordingly.

Lastly, the most amount time spent on this workout was during the set of 21 Heavy Deadlifts. So, if you redline to finish HSPUs, you will have time to recover for handstand walks while you are resting between deadlifts so dot panic.


This workout is a 1 and done. Your lower back is going to be screaming so we recommend approaching this workout with injury prevention in mind. If you aren’t risk assessing this movement, please take the time to do so. Ask yourself this question before starting, “What are some of the things I’m going to do to keep good form and protect my back from injury?”

I think the vast majority of us will make good use of a reliable weightlifting belt. More importantly than the equipment is to set some mental and physical queues before attempting the heavy deadlifts. There are two easy options to save your back for failing, both of which by avoiding the "slow negative" portion of a touch-n-go Deadlift descent.

  1. One option is to accelerate the barbell down and take the advantage of a small rebound and gravity.  This means, being intentional with each rep and fully committing to the next rep prior to bending at the back from the top position. To a degree, push the barbell down.  The logic here; If you are pushing down, you are not pulling up.
  2. The other option is to avoid the negative all together and drop the bar from the top position. As you may have noticed while watching the live announcement, there was a decent amount of time between sets once on the 315lb bar.  This option requires discipline, try not to move your feet, stay close to the barbell between singles, and if possible use the black bumper plates so your not chasing the barbell all over the gym.  

In general, when fatigued an athlete performing steady singles at that 80% or more weight may become faster than an athlete doing small sets of touch-n-go followed by walking away and breathing.

Handstand Walk

Stay tight, squeeze your butt, point your toes to the sky, push through your shoulders and dig your finger pads into the floor! This skill looks so different for everyone, so just get it done! And remember to roll if you collapse trying, there's nothing like having to explain to co-workers Monday morning how you obtained that facial bruise while working out!!!

As always, we will keep this page as up to date with the latest strategies and tips the community discovers between tonight and the 18.4 submission deadline. Until then, best of luck and try to hit this one hard, the first time, to avoid an unnecessary repeat. GOOD LUCK!!!

 ~American GAINZ Nutrition

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