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      News — crossfit open

      2017 Crossfit Open 17.5 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      2017 Crossfit Open 17.5 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      2017 Crossfit Open 17.5 Strategy
      Written By Jenn & Jared Astle

      How bad do you want it?

      17.5 is all about exploring the depths of the pain cave and willing yourself to move when you most likely won't want to.  This is a classic 5th week open workout, nothing fancy, just guts and go.

      10 rounds is a lot of rounds and this workout is much longer than the fittest on earth would have you believe during the live announcement.  Attacking this as a 7 minute workout will expose a severe underestimation on your approach.  Just plan on your legs to stop working and slowly becoming anchors; a great example was Sara Sigmundsdóttir’s last round during the live announcement, she executed perfectly and left nothing on the table, however imagine if the unset of that failure took place in round 6.

      Be Disciplined:
      Compartmentalize the work to not get overwhelmed with the reps ahead, and JUST WORK.  Let your judge know how you would like to hear how many reps remain or what round you are on and when.  It’s not uncommon for a judge to throw you off mentally by communicating the workout progress differently than how you would like to process it. 

      Every wasted movement will be the difference in this workout, I would not recommend adding any unnecessary movements including; chalk marks to count rounds, drinking for your water bottle, wiping hands with towel, unnecessary set up routine, etc.…

      The Transition Matters:
      Transitions are huge on this workout, there are 20 of them and they need to be quick.  This means, take a single inefficiency during the transition whether it’s an extra step, extra jump, untangling of your rope, and multiply the impact in wasted time by 20!

      Double Unders:
      When short & sweet becomes hot & spicy really quick, expect by round 3 a mental battle beginning to take place - shoulders, shoulders, shoulders.  For the proficient double under-er, 35 will take about 28 seconds. As fatigue sets in the risk for tripping up will become higher.  Staying calm and controlled during this time can save you precious seconds.  A trip-up can cost you 5 seconds or more, and will allow that person next to you to gain easy reps on you. Stay composed, you’ll want to make sure you are breathing and keep your shoulders relaxed so they don't blow up in the early rounds.  But let’s not lie to ourselves, this workout isn’t about pace, it’s about timing the onset of pain correctly.

      9 light thrusters 95lbs/65lbs.  When you transition from the rope to the bar, move with a purpose. Don't let the bar control you.  Squat clean thruster that first one.  The 9 repetitions will be over before you know it.  For speed on these light suckers you have to be aware of the bar path to make sure you aren't wasting energy fighting the weight pulling you forward and be efficient to use your hips as much as you can.  If you noticed Rory during the live announcement, he was locked and resting at the top every rep during the middle rounds, I recommend you pop locked at the top and pull down immediately; you will not fail a thruster at this weight, know this, and believe!!! 

      If you are going for top scores here to close out your 2017 open season, breaking is not an option for you on the 9 thrusters; you have to fight for it. The person who can stay controlled enough to not trip up on their dubs and embrace the suck will raise victorious. Being tiny statured will help too.  Its physics, if you are 4 foot, you just have to move the bar a shorter distance. Case closed.  Try to shrink, forget about pain, and don't stop till it’s over!


      2017 Crossfit Open 17.4 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      2017 Crossfit Open 17.4 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      2017 Crossfit Open 17.4 Strategy
      Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      This workout is a true test of moving moderate weight and body weight consistently over the course of the 13 minute cap. It is a classic chipper with a twist at the end. You need to constantly be moving! The key to winning a chipper is to always be moving. Small, quick sets with minimal rest are king in this exercise domain. Don't get sucked into doing huge sets that you are unable to sustain.

      The Deadlift isn't exceedingly heavy, but over the course of 55 reps, it will take its toll on your CNS (Central Nervous System).  How much you can deadlift will delineate how many reps you do at a time.  If this weight is less than 50% of your DL, 1RM (holding to at least 10-15 reps at a time) is a good plan.  Take a few seconds off tension then get back on the bar. Do smooth reps that allow you to breath and stay aerobic as long as possible. If it is more than that, you need to come up with a good game plan before you begin. My suggestion would be something like 10-9-8-7-6-5-5-5.

      The Wall Balls should be treated the same way.  Stick to sets you know that you can work through with minimal rest in-between. Then pick up the ball and do work. Don’t forget to breathe - saving a larger set to push the boundaries for the end of this movement will be advantageous. 

      It’s okay to be a little gassed going into the Row since when you first mount the rower, it will take a few pulls to find your rhythm and regain your breathing.  Remember rowing is highly technique driven.  If you can be efficient with your stroke you will save your arms and lungs for the rest of the work to be had. The row is long! Take your time and recover. If you sprint you may make up 30 seconds but the cost of that time will be extremely high in regards to your output, and therefore isn't worth it. Find a pace you can settle into, one that will allow you to prepare yourself for the HSPUs.

      Don't waste time getting off the rower and onto the wall for your HSPU.  Your arms should be fairly fresh to get a good set in off the bat.  If you are a HSPU boss, still pace yourself. Burning out on the first set will be a costly mistake.  Be smart and move quickly thru the sets with minimal rest and NO MISSED REPS.  Tight midline with feet flexed to ensure your heels meet the standard line. You need to look at doing sets of 10 here if you want to be competitive. For everyone else, focus on consistency throughout this movement. Consistent rest then consistent work. Small, quick sets is a great strategy.

      Depending on when you get off the wall, it’s time to empty the tank and stay in the pain cave.  Don't worry so much about pacing, but rather pushing the limits as you most likely won’t have much more than a couple of minutes left to get the rest of your reps in.

      This workout, like all others, requires a strategy. Be disciplined and trust your body. Good Luck!!!

      Crossfit Open 17.3 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      Crossfit Open 17.3 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      2017 Crossfit Open 17.3 Strategy
      Written by Jenn & Jared Astle
      This workout is straight out of the 2016 regional play book with an unexpected twist to make you breathe just a little bit heavier; a challenging combination testing both high volume gymnastic skills and heavy technical lifting under fatigue.

      At first glance on paper the rep scheme isn't that intimidating. Small sets of chest to bar pull ups, followed by smaller sets of full snatches.  This type of a “time bonus” work out has been debuted in the open before; work fast, earn more time. I think the first 8 minute goal may be too long of a period for you use to easily gauge pace, so I recommend thinking about this interval in terms of 2 x 4 minute intervals. The total number of reps that need to be completed in 4 minutes is very mentally doable, however you’ll be making a mistake if you are basing the time it takes you to complete these reps in the later rounds when your body is fresh. Remember, once fatigue begins to set in, you’ll need to adapt and change your rep/rest ratio.

      For those that read last week’s 17.2 strategy, you now understand why I put so much emphasis on hand management. If you ripped badly last week during 17.2 or maybe a redo, do your best to protect your healing hands as you never know what’s coming in week 4!!!

      For the warmup, stick to your routine, however I recommend adding in some glute and shoulder activation through some light banded work. If you are going to perform some snatches, hitting a nice confident 75-80% snatch before starting won’t take away from your wod, but will get you right mentally.

      Some athletes will be best served doing small sets of chest to bar, with a quick rest and getting right back on the bar.  Myself personally, I feel like quick turnaround doesn't let me keep my heart rate controlled which is needed for me to ensure I don’t miss any lifts. Don’t miss your lifts!!! Although I'm pretty proficient at the chest to bar movement, there is absolutely no reason to go ham on them. Two sets on all of them keeps the reps few enough that even when you are tired you can just jump right back up to finish.  You just can't rest too long here as you will need that extra time to prepare yourself to lift the heavier weights.

      Full Snatch
      Your snatch should be methodical. During the light weights, provided the weight is light in comparison to your 1 rep max, I suggest doing fast singles. If you can easily hang on to the whole set, go for it, it seemed to work out for Fraser during the first 8 minute interval of the 17.3 live announcement, just keep in mind, he is also the fittest on the planet. ;)
      As the weight gets heavier, the single reps should still be within rhythm, but only pull when you know you are ready to hit the weight.  No one can tell you that moment, only you will know when you are ready to execute. If a 135# snatch for a male is automatic, however 225# is like 85-100% of your 1RM, your goal should be to get through the 185# bar round and to the 225# bar/round with the most time available as this will be the round the workout most likely ends on.
      Misses during a workout like this are incredibly detrimental, especially at the heavier weights. Use the support of the box, but don’t make an attempt prematurely, your friends will be yelling at you to go faster and pull harder, but do not rush and miss what you could execute successfully a second or two later. Remember that every snatch rep gained in this workout will have a great impact on the leaderboard.
      Capitalize on where you can make your money. If snatches aren't your jam, move through the chest to bars and take your time on the snatches. As always, it’s just another work out!  Have fun for heaven sake!


      Crossfit Open 17.1 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      Crossfit Open 17.1 Strategy - Written by Jenn & Jared Astle

      2017 Crossfit Open 17.1 Strategy
      Written By Jenn & Jared Astle


      As everyone has been guessing, 17.1 has been crafted to be basic movements & very aerobic. For those who watched the announcement’s main events, you had a firsthand look at what impeccable engines are capable of.

      For most competitive athletes, this 50#/35# DB snatch is considered to be fairly lightweight. However, these snatches, when paired with burpee box jump overs, are designed to spike your heart rate fairly rapidly. Your approach to this WOD needs to fall somewhere between - setting a pace to keep moving the entire time & gassing out too quickly, potentially doubling or even tripling the time you spend on burpee box jumps.

      A few things to consider:

      1. No athlete will win 17.1 in the first round, so move with a purpose but no need to get anywhere near that red line. It should take you well under 2 minutes. Be disciplined and intentional this round.
      2. Either you love burpees or you don't. As many of you know, I'm not a huge fan, although if I had my choice, burpee box jump overs give the movement slightly more dimension. While normalizing the range of motion for super tall athletes (not having to burpee to a target or extend the hips on the box) and bottle necking everyone’s speed no matter your size over the box, its obvious why this variation of the burpee was chosen. Another positive to this movement, when compared to the standard burpee-over-bar or lateral burpee, is your breathing. The movement naturally allows for better opportunity to catch your breath while on your feet because you will spend more time in between pancaking your lungs between your bodyweight and the ground.
      3. The key to these burpees is moving with purpose. It is very easy, especially when gassed, to take extra steps and add wasted motion to your burpee, ultimately slowing down the movement. If you can manage to control your breathing and minimize extra movements (jumping your feet vs stepping) you can conserve seconds here with every successful burpee. Over the course of 75 reps, seconds add up!
      4. As far as the DB snatch, be mindful of the challenge Sam Briggs mentioned post 17.1 interview with Castro about both heads of the DB having to hit the ground at the same time for the rep to count. There may be value in switching hands on the down motion, however, just one no rep may strip that value away quickly. Also, experiment with your feet width, if you can widen your feet only an inch or more and shorten your range of motion, over the course of 150 snatch reps you will make a difference on your cycle time, and lower back fatigue (wider feet will allow for more upright DB snatch).
      5. As I said, this whole work out is VERY aerobic. There is NO reason that you should stop moving, EVER. Make your mantra down & up. Play with a way to keep your mind in check as you are counting. Its ONLY 5 rounds. Some athletes prefer to know they are ONLY doing 25 per arm max in that last set of 50 DB snatches. It can be advantageous to break the large number of reps into smaller more mentally accepting groups (counting 1,2,3,4,5, then 1,2,3,4,5, and so on). You need to know how to stay in that moment and know that each round and rep is one less that you have to do. When you reach 40 snatches you only have one round left to go.
      6. Lastly, I hope that at this point in the season you know what your sustainable pace is. Assume that you will be working straight for 15 min or less. But when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, that’s when it’s time to turn up the magic and go. That last set of burpees should be your fastest. I know you are tired, but it’s over after that.


      IF this one isn't your jam, you have 4 more to go. It’s just another workout after all! Good Luck!

      2017 Crossfit Open Preparation - Written by Jenn Astle

      2017 Crossfit Open Preparation - Written by Jenn Astle

      2017 Open Prep
      Written by Jenn Astle
      The countdown has commenced and with the holiday season behind us, the 2017 CF Open steadily approaches.
      For the avid Crossfit athlete, the Crossfit season has become the focal point in which our diet, our sleep, and our training are all centered around. With the temptation to make up ground on any missed training opportunities, it’s critical that we don’t find ourselves constantly tapping into that “6th gear” -  inserting unpredictable patterns of training into our Open prep programming and thus undermining any chance of that programming being successful.  
      Fortunately, the sport of fitness is still so new that a gold standard for “how to train” is nonexistent.  With this said, it is important we recognize that there does exist plenty of great programs that have proven to be successful in the brief time Crossfit has gained popularity.  But if you happen to be new to the sport, not following any established programming yet still have the desire to make a run for the 2017 regional, you may be a little too late to this party. 
      So every year the season "ends" after the CrossFit Games and up until now, it would be a costly mistake to think any competitive athletes took time off from expanding their skill sets.  Although strength training is generally a part of most programs year-round with added emphasis in the first part of the season, our current Open prep season is underway and focused primarily on ensuring our metabolic engines are primed and ready to go for 17.1.
      What we’ve learned witnessing the development of the CF Open over the past several seasons is that the workouts are designed for the general Crossfitter.  This means the Open has historically been much more focused on basic movement patterns relying on the source of differentiation between athletes to be an exhausted metabolic engine, with far less of a focus on sheer strength or skill. However, in the most recent years as the general athlete and the sport have progressed, so has the programming, and therefore so has the Open. This year it should be safe to assume further development in the bank of Open movements to pull from, especially given the newest Open categories including a Teens, Scaled, and Masters Divisions basically ensuring that no specific movement excludes any large group of athletes.   
      This means that for the Rx division, to be best prepared, your current programming should include Bar MU, Ring MU, Double-Unders, Handstand push-ups, with the occasional strict movements just to be safe.  As a community, we love the success stories of athletes achieving their first muscle up or getting further in a double under set than ever imagined, but again, if you are planning to compete as an Rx’d athlete and you don't quite have these skills, I recommend reaching out to a coach who can assist you in refining this skill work asap.
      As far as your engine is concerned, I think it’s imperative to fully understand your current capacity.  Going into the Open you have to know what your strengths are as well as your short comings.  Knowing yourself will give you the best chance to leverage your strengths and also identify places to potentially make up ground.  Learning capacity comes from finding your limits, pushing to and through your red-line in workouts so you can best predict and then manage the onslaught of this limit during the Open workout.   
      Competing in the open previous years or familiarizing yourself with all past workouts can also prove to be beneficial.  Considering the high probability of certain movements showing up every year provides a pretty good road map to understanding where your capacities should be understood.  It’s almost guaranteed that we will see burpees, thrusters, snatches, toes-to-bar, chest-to-bar, etc., there is really no excuse to having weakness remain in these movements.  Rather than a weakness, improving cycle time & movement efficiency can ensure these basic movements are great strengths.  I'm sure this is a part of your current programming, but an excellent way to increase your thresholds for cycling speed is the classic EMOM (every minute on the minute) style workout.  For example, if you can execute 20 wall balls every minute for 10 minutes without fatigue, I would say you are in a great working place.  To build capacity, I would recommend you start with numbers that you can manage and then increase reps while decreasing your rest over time.
      We also have a strong prediction on what to expect for the duration of our workouts. To date we have observed the longest AMRAP (as many reps as possible) in the open to be 20 min (16.1).  So I’d say training to perform in a longer than 20 minute workout at this point can be put on the back burner.  We also know there will be a fast sprint of some sort with the majority of workouts falling in the medium range (12-15 min). 
      The time is closing down. Keep focusing on your goals. Be realistic in setting them and find experts to help you continue to climb! Good luck this season! Stay healthy! Stay hungry!