Coaching Roundtable: CrossFit Open 13.4 Tips and Advice

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Page:  1 Next »
Print

Coaching Roundtable: CrossFit Open 13.4 Tips and Advice

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?

We also welcome two new voices to the coaching panel this week: Kane Greene of CrossFit Fairbanks and Stephen Flamm of Cincinnati Strength & Conditioning.

MobilityWOD Dream Team (MobilityWOD, San Francisco CrossFit)

Kane Greene (CrossFit Fairbanks, MoveFastLiftHeavy)

This type of workout HURTS, like a long version of Fran.
I want to start by saying that I’ve been really stressed out all week about giving strategy advice on such a large scale this entire week, regardless of the fact that I’ve been a CrossFitter since 2006. Upon watching the 13.4 release video and Graham and Chris go at it, I feel entirely relieved.

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.

Shake it out momentarily before muscle failure

This is the type of workout where you will feel like you are about to burn out with muscle fatigue CONSTANTLY after only 2-3 minutes. That’s the time to stop and shake it out.
A break is better than a no rep. Getting no repped on this workout is for suckas, and you don’t want to be a sucka. Even though 7 minutes is short, it’s not short enough to compare it to a 100-yd dash. This is the type of workout where you will feel like you are about to burn out with muscle fatigue CONSTANTLY after only 2-3 minutes. That’s the time to stop and shake it out. That doesn’t mean stop, shake it out, walk around, grab a water, chalk up, get more water, chalk again… That means if you are on toes-to-bar you drop off, continue to maintain eye contact with the bar, count in your head 3…2…1.. and get back at it. If it’s on C&J you drop it and start counting that 3…2….1 in your head as soon as you let go of the bar — don’t even wait until it starts bouncing. Even better, have someone cheering you on know about your strategy beforehand and do that counting for you. The psychological  effect of someone counting that down for you is HUGE! Try it with any CrossFitter in any workout, and I guarantee whenever you are on 1 they are already trying to start back up again. Ideally, try to utilize a training partner or coach who really knows your ability and capabilities to be your counter/cheerleader. They can pace that 3-2-1 count over 2 seconds, 4, or 6. Whatever keeps your mind positive, your body pushing forward, and you doing better than you normally would.

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

The Ladder Rep Scheme

This workout, along with any other couplet including moderate weight, boils down to one thing: your pain tolerance.
Let’s break this down into advanced and intermediate. If you’re a beginner, this year you should be concerned about getting a baseline, not doing workouts over more than once to move from 15,115th to 14,967th. That’s not important.

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)

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.
Though it may look eerily similar to the thruster & chest-to-bar pull-up ladder from the last two years, 13.4 will likely yield dramatically different results in both scores and feel for most competitors. The selection of two grip-intensive movements with greater ranges of motion and a heavier barbell will yield lower scores than on 12.5 across the board. The end result will be a tighter range of scores in which each repetition could be worth 50+ points in some of the larger regions. Truly maximizing your score and jumping those extra spots on the Leaderboard will require operating at the fastest possible pace without red-lining on either movement. What that will look like, of course, will vary significantly from person to person according to individual strengths and skills. A few considerations:

Clean & jerk

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.

Toes-to-bar

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.

Warm-up, set-up, and other notes

Though it may look eerily similar to the thruster & chest-to-bar pull-up ladder from the last two years, 13.4 will likely yield dramatically different results in both scores and feel for most competitors.
Give the lats, pecs, and shoulders special attention, as they need to be warm and loose to achieve good positioning and ease of movement in both the front rack and the overhead positions of the jerk and toes-to-bar. The hips will need a big warm-up here as well, since they’ll going through both loaded extension and flexion. Set up your barbell as close as possible to your toes-to-bar station. Again, every extra rep will mean a significant jump on the Leaderboard, and you don’t want the clock to stop as you’re transitioning between stations. Mentally, you’ll be walking a fine line for all 7 minutes, as breaking and recovering too frequently and for too long can be just as detrimental as forcing maximal sets on either movement.

Printable Version
Page 1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Looking for a competition near you? Having an event?
Check out our new Event Calendar!

Our event calendar lets you create your own event listing for any type of event - throwdown, adventure race, seminar, you name it. For free. In 2 minutes. It's as easy as writing a Facebook post. And you can embed the calendar right on your website.
Try it today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Most Popular of All Time

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

Sledge CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Trying to get the #Sledgebarbellclub to take one good pic #sledgefamily

IMT CrossFit posted on Facebook

"Mo Legs Mo Problems" 200m Run 16 Weighted Step Ups 400m Run 16 W.S.U. 600m Run 16 W.S.U. 800m Run For Time *After each run, 12 Deadlifts (185,105)

CrossFit North Alpharetta shared an image on Facebook

Palmetto Bay CrossFit posted on Facebook

WOD 18 min amrap 5 BB floor press 10 T2B 15 cleans ------ Core

Animus CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Kristy Parrish published the post Free Money: Fitness Through a Financial Lens on Tabata Times
The title says it all for this article. Fitness and health are free money. They’re out there for...
J. Humenay published the post Namesake WODs: Honored Through Sweat on
Last week, my trainer assigned me a WOD called "Dork". At first I thought he was making fun of my...
CrossFit Blueprint posted an article
CrossFit Paragon posted an article
The CrossFit Cube posted an article
CrossFit Dojo posted on Facebook

Friday WOD 041114 5 Rounds for Time 200m Run 20 Burpees 2 Rope Climbs 20 Kettlebell Swings

CrossFit Dojo shared an image on Facebook

Way to go get'er y'all!

CrossFit Midtown posted on Facebook

Happy 30th bday to our Head Coach Mike Aaron! We hope you've had a great day :)

CrossFit Rx posted an article
CrossFit Decatur shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Peachtree posted on Facebook

WOD for Friday April 11th... A. 3 sets Not for time Handstand hold 60-90sec 10-12 Pistols L- sit hold 30-60sec Rest 2min B. For Time 30 KB/DB Clean and Jerks (15ea) (53/50//35/30) 30 KB/DB OH Walking Lunges (15ea) Run 800m 30 KB/DB Clean and Jerks (15ea) 30 KB/DB OH Walking Lunges (15ea)

CrossFit Peachtree shared an image on Facebook

No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

An evolutionary take on Paleo and Low Carb Diets. - http://t.co/KeIoe5pmre

No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

What's for dinner? Lose Weight at Dinner With These 9 Paleo Recipes - http://t.co/vvgfhvhKlz

CrossFit S3 posted on Facebook

Friday S3 Conditioning: 5 Rounds: 10 Thrusters (95/65)(75/55)(65/45) 20 Ab Mat Situps 50 Double Unders (Sub=100 Singles + 10 Lateral Bar Hops) 400 M Run

CrossFit Perimeter posted on Facebook

Best Rx Scores from Tuesday: Doug J 282 Malia M 279 Harrison F 279 Nardia W 252 Travis Thorne 242 Travis Jones 230 Erin P 229 Damian C 228 Jonathan L 226 Lauren Z 225 Dan S 224 Frank V 215 Chris C 214 Adam M 205 Kelly D 201 Ken T 189 Melanie W 187 Julie S 163 WOD: 3 Rounds: 2 minutes of WBS (20/14) 2 minutes of rowing 2 minutes of burpees 90S Rest

Carolina CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

The CrossFit Cube shared an image on Facebook

Today mobility class is CANCELLED! Sorry for the inconvenience #cancelled #mobility

Palmetto Bay CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Friday 4/11/14 from 7am-10am we will have open gym. Pick your favorite WOD or work on a skill.

CrossFit Soul posted an article
No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Larry Neal http://t.co/SUgxwIvm5Z

No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Mario Macrina http://t.co/gELWqGcRno

CrossFit On the Square posted on Facebook

Interested in Krav Maga?? We have someone looking for a training partner to split the discounted semi-private lessons with. Email ivy@crossfitonthesquare.com for inquires.

CrossFit Intense posted on Facebook

Don't forget that our Intense Strongman event is this Saturday at 9 am! We have 36 registrants (which is AWESOME for a strongman event) and we have 7 women signed up! The day will be finished off with the athletes performing a truck pull. This event will be fun for the whole family and is expected to conclude no later than 2 pm. The weather forecast looks great so make plans to attend!

CrossFit Downtown Miami posted on Facebook

Happy Thrusday #TeamCDM ! Share with us your favorite throwback thrusday using our hashtag! #tbt

The CrossFit Cube shared an image on Facebook

STOP THINKING START DOING! by @friks84 "Photo cred to @mrandychong #crossfitcube" via @PhotoRepost_app

CrossFit Rock Hill posted on Facebook

Hoodie orders will be submitted today at 3pm. If you still want one, post it here!

CrossFit On the Square shared a link on Facebook

The only way you can hurt your body is if you don't use it. -The Legendary Jack Lalanne.

CrossFit North Atlanta shared a link on Facebook

https://flic.kr/p/mXccyz

CrossFit Smyrna posted an article
CrossFit WV shared an image on Facebook

JJ gets a bar muscle on his last day at crossfit wv!!!

CrossFit Smyrna posted on Facebook

Find your 1RM Squat Clean Rest 5 min 21 Deadlifts 225 lbs 21 Handstand Push-ups 15 Deadlifts 225 lbs 15 Handstand Push-ups 9 Deadlifts 225 lbs 9 Handstand Push-ups

Sledge CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

True or false. Sledge now has showers?

CrossFit Rife posted on Facebook

*****reminder there are no 6 or 7pm classes this evening. Please plan accordingly.

CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

WOD 4/10/14 - http://www.crossfitrva.com/2014/04/10/wod-41014/

CrossFit RVA posted an article
CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

RVA Fit 4/10/14 - http://www.crossfitrva.com/2014/04/10/rva-fit-41014/

CrossFit RVA posted an article
cfwhrob published the post 4 Common Kettlebell Swing Errors Made by CrossFitters on
The kettlebell is a common tool in the CrossFit arsenal. Every box has a collection of them, and I...
Patriot CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

CF Teens Spring Break Schedule Mon 4/14- preteens @ 5:30pm, teens @ 6:15pm Weds 4/16- teens @ 6:15pm NO class T/Th! CF Kids class this Sunday 4/13 12pm at Patriot! Hang Snatch 2-2-2-2-2 4 Rounds 10 HSPU 15 Box Jump (24/20) 2 Rope …

CrossFit Indulto shared a link on Facebook

4/10/2014 http://wp.me/s2wdCw-4102014

North End CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

http://northendcrossfit.com/?p=2118

North End CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit On the Square posted an article
Ballston CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Compound CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit South Cobb posted an article
CrossFit North Fulton shared an image on Facebook

Jason got a PR by 15# on his Press yesterday! 130#!

No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Progenex will be at No Excuses on Saturday! http://t.co/KppjFyEbeI

CrossFit Chesapeake shared an image on Facebook

A great night with the CrossFit Chesapeake Kids!! Rowing, tire drags, and burpees, oh my!!

CrossFit Chesapeake posted an article
CrossFit Rosslyn posted an article
Carolina CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Thursday, April 10th- CCF is always striving to offer our Members MORE than just a "gym membership". Just a reminder of some offers you may not be aware of: - beyond the whiteboard Ever wonder how to keep track of your workouts, times, weights? What about when you're asked to do 80% of a max? CCF offers ALL Members a FREE account with Beyond the Whiteboard. You can track your WOD's, diet, sleep, weight, and so much more from your computer, or mobile device through the BTWB app! Each days WOD is loaded into the system so all you have to do is just enter your time/reps. To sign up, go to www.beyondthewhiteboard.com. YOU WILL NOT NEED TO ENTER ANY CC INFORMATION! If you're having issues signing up, contact Coach Josh here: josh@carolinacrossfit.com - HYLETE Carolina CrossFit is "Powered by HYLETE", and as a part of being "powered by HYLETE", everyone is invited to receive 20% off for LIFE at HYLETE.com. Go to http://hylete.com/poweredbyhyleteathlete to activate your 20% off account. Use promo code "CarolinaCF25" for an additional 25% off your first order, totaling 40% off your first purchase! If having issues getting your account set up, contact Coach Josh here: josh@carolinacrossfit.com - Barbell Club & Intro to Olympic Lifting Want to learn the Olympic Lifts? Ready to transition from Fitness to Balance? Looking to focus on your lifts on a regular basis? For info, and to sign up, contact Coach Joe here: joe.s@carolinacrossfit.com http://barbellsandbabies.blogspot.com/ - MiBek Farms CCF has partnered with Kelsey W. of Mibek Farms to provide our Members with grass fed, grass finished, free ranged beef; raised right down the road in Barnwell, SC. Kelsey will now be here EVERY Monday, alternating between the afternoon and morning classes. For more information on Mibek, check out their website here: www.mibekfarms.com - Exclusive Coaching Your private programming experience will be tailored to your specific needs, and will include: ~Mobility exercises to improve and restore joint range of motion ~Skill-based warm-up to prepare for specific movement patterning ~Strength and conditioning exercises chosen to specifically achieve your goal ~Post-workout recovery techniques ~Health, wellness, and lifestyle support Private programming is recommended if you have been sedentary for a long period of time, are training for a specific sport or event, have significant health limitations, or just prefer the additional attention and accountability. Exclusive programming can be done online or at Carolina CrossFit. For additional EC information, contact Coach Joey here: joey@carolinacrossfit.com - Palmetto Sports Massage CCF has an onsite Sports Massage Therapist in Shaun Phillips. When he's not at CCF, you can catch him on the sideline of the USC Football games and various other Gamecock Athletics programs. For more information, or to set up an appointment, contact Shaun here: palmettosportsmassage@gmail.com www.palmettosportsmassage.com - Vaughn Physical Therapy, LLC CCF also has an onsite Physical Therapist. Dr. Brandon Vaughn, DPT, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN American Physical Association Member For more information, or to set up an appointment, contact Brandon here: brandon@vaughnpt.com www.vaughnpt.com ___________________ Open Gym 10am-6pm Optional WOD- Fitness & Balance: Z1 (easy pace- non stop) 1 min AD 1 min row 1 min bear crawl 1 min jump rope singles 1 min FLR 1 min run x 5

Brickhouse CrossFit posted on Facebook

Don't forget about Yobility at 6am tomorrow morning with a Coach Alicia!

CrossFit Old Town shared a link on Facebook

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV