After the dust of 13.3 has settled, many of you correctly predicted that we would see a ladder… but you probably did not think that CrossFit Open 13.4 would be a clean & jerk and toes-to-bar ladder, a wicked little weightlifting and gymnastic couplet. With only seven minutes on the clock, this one does not seem to leave a lot of time for resting — you’re going to go big or find that you have run out of time. But never fear, as we have a returning team of coaches and athletes at the ready to offer their guidance. Read it all, take what you need, and get ready for an intense seven minutes. You saw Graham and Chris, right?
MobilityWOD Dream Team (MobilityWOD, San Francisco CrossFit)
Kane Greene (CrossFit Fairbanks, MoveFastLiftHeavy)
I have always excelled the most at WODs that involve a barbell, light-moderately heavy weight, and a sub-10 minute time domain. This shit is right in my wheel house.
So we know our rep scheme is 3-3, 6-6, 9-9, 12-12, 15-15, etc… and a 7-minute time cap. This type of workout HURTS, like a long version of Fran. Did you see Graham? His fitness level is likely leaps and bounds ahead of you, and this workout broke his ass off.
Rules for Open WOD 13.4
Men’s Weight 135, Women’s 95 — this should be a light weight for those hoping to take it to the next round. This workout is designed to break apart the “competers” from the “completers,” and my strategy is intended for the first of the two.
Rule #1: POWER CLEAN + POWER (push) JERK
Do NOT muscle clean and DO NOT half ass press it with a little bounce from the toes, no matter now light it feels. It’s a short workout, but not that short. With the overhead + toes-to-bar combo, your shoulders are very likely to fatigue. Use your hips and get under that barbell. Taking that extra time in the beginning when you are fresh will pay off in that last 4 minutes. Smooth is fast.
Rule #2: Stop to shake it out momentarily before muscle failure on C&J and toes to bar.
Rule #3: KIP THE S**T OUT OF THE TOES TO BAR.
Yes it is a little harder on the lungs, but do you know how much slower it is to do the weird double swing (and super slow) toes-to-bar vs efficient and smooth toes-to-bar?! It’s like watching someone walk a 100m sprint against a D1 collegiate sprinter! I know that sometimes it is hard to keep that kip going under fatigue, but keep your mental game tight and ride that train as long as possible.
Rule #4: Transition wisely.
Your transition from CNJ and T2B after the round of 9-9 is really important to your success. This is the time to chalk your hands if you need to. I would put 6-8 feet between my bar and my pull-up bar with a chalk bucket right in the middle. This gives you just enough time if you stop to reach in the bucket to re-chalk and keep walking to move forward. WALK from bar to pull-up bar; there is no need to jog or hustle. It is like preplanned rest. Just don’t linger or overdo it.
The Ladder Rep Scheme
For intermediate athletes, your goal is to make it through 6-6 without taking your hands off the barbell or pull-up bar. For advanced men and women, your goal is to not take your hands off of the barbell or off the pull-up bar until you are finished with 9-9.
From here we just go by feel for both levels. Your mission is to work in triples, doubles, singles. Work my 3…2…1 method based on however you feel. For example, let’s say you are advanced and after completing 9-9 that sense of “uh-oh…I’m getting moderately fatigued” starts to set in. You may decide to work 12-12 in triples or doubles. That means you do your best to do the number you think you are capable of then do the 3..2…1 countdown before repeating it. Start with triples and work down. You may go from triples to singles in one round, or maybe you do triples to doubles on 12-12 and then doubles to singles on 15-15 and beyond. (For the record, Spealler would do a triple to start these higher rounds and immediately move to steady singles after that.)
This workout, along with any other couplet including moderate weight, boils down to one thing: your pain tolerance. This one will definitely hurt…and if you think it was easy when you finish, you obviously did not push yourself in the least! The only thing holding you back from a better score is pain tolerance and your desire to be better than everyone else.
Get after it!
Stephen Flamm (Cincinnati Strength and Conditioning)
Clean & jerk
Even if the load is relatively light and you are proficient at touch-and-go reps, this isn’t “Grace,” and treating it as such can leave you crushed very early into the 7 minutes. Delay grip and low back fatigue — as well as big spikes in heart and breathing rates — as long as possible by breaking these up before absolutely necessary. The rep scheme lends itself nicely to sets of 3 with short breaks before moving to quick doubles or singles as needed when you get into the bigger rounds. Limiting rest between reps is critical here, but so is limiting the cycle rate of each actual rep. For many, a hybrid power clean into a push press will be very quick and effective. If you have to reset at the top of the clean before going overhead, do so as quickly as possible while still allowing for a successful jerk, as resting in the front rack is really no rest at all. Regardless of the relative weight and your ability to string together reps, using the hook grip throughout will delay grip fatigue and allow the forearms to be as fresh as possible for the gymnastics piece.
Efficiency and avoidance of absolute failure is everything here. Again, break your sets a few reps before you absolutely have to, rest as little as possible between sets/reps, and limit the time you are hanging from the bar without actually doing a rep. A tight, fast kip will be greatly rewarded here, and if you have it you can push the limits more to get back to the barbell. If, on the other hand, you lose rhythm under fatigue, be willing to drop off the bar and hop back on under control to reset for the next rep. I’ve seen singles with short rest be much quicker and less taxing than resetting the kip while still on the bar between reps. Often when these go they go for good, so avoid absolute failure at all costs until the closing seconds.