Coaching Roundtable: CrossFit Open 14.2 tips & advice

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Coaching Roundtable: CrossFit Open 14.2 tips & advice
The 2014 CrossFit Open continues with workout 14.2, a combo of overhead squats and chest-to-bar pullups. Just like last week for 14.1, we bring together an all-star panel of some of the best coaches in the world of CrossFit to give you their thoughts on the workout and how they would counsel athletes to tackle it with tips & advice from their extensive coaching experience.

Soak it all up, enjoy and most of all – have fun!

Brian MacKenzie: Athlete Cell and CrossFit Endurance

  • 20-30 min warm up.
  • 5-10 min aerobic using 7′s as outlined in video and last week by Erin Cafaro.
  • Open up hips, T-Spine, and shoulders w/ some light stretching and dynamic mobility.

Tape your hands with a gymnastics tape job, and wear your Oly shoes for this WOD as it will allow for easier depth in squat. You will want a loose grip on the overhead squats as it will wear on your grip with all those pull-ups.

Pacing is the name of the game. Understanding how to maintain your composure in the first 2 rounds so it can set your tempo and ability for you not to blow up in later round(s). I would include 1 round at 70-80% of 10 OHS and 10 C2B pull-ups in your warmup to see exactly how much time you need – recover before you start.

Mentally you can’t let yourself get too negative about not getting back up on pull-ups. This is where you will come apart. Know that it is the eccentric or downward motion that is eating up your energy, so in continuing push down or accelerate on the way down as to avoid this pitfall as long as you can.


Smash lats and shoulders, and do 5-10 bridges or wall walks to open yourself back up and get your body into more extension form wrists to hips.

Carl Paoli: Naka Athletics and SF CrossFit

Carl Paoli: Naka Athletics and SF CrossFit
This workout is more about the stamina in terms of maintaining good mechanics than the cardiovascular demand of 14.1.

The two movements complement each other very well but have a very high technical demand especially in terms of the overhead shoulder position. As the body starts to fatigue and you get further into the workout, this is what will most likely make it or break it for most of us.

A good shoulder position will guarantee NO numb hands, fatiguing early, ripping your hands up too soon and helping crank out a few extra reps.

A good warm up and mobility for thoracic spine, shoulder external rotation in the overhead position, hip flexion and ankle dorsiflexion will be greatly appreciated  once a round or two into this workout.

For the Overhead squat:

After doing a good mobility prep work for upper back, shoulders, hips and ankles and your mobility allows for it:

  • Adopt a narrower grip on the bar for better shoulder position.
  • Adopt a slightly wider stance than your regular squat.
  • Try to position your head as neutral to your spine by slightly looking at the ground in front if you.
  • Focus on keeping your feet as flat as possible to the ground by slightly pressing your big toe into the ground.
  • During the first few reps if each set focus on finding a controlled descent until you adapt into a pattern you feel stable in and can accelerate according to your capacity. As counter-intuitive as going slow may seem while chasing the clock, it could just help you get a few more reps in.
  • During the ascent portion of every repetition, focus on pressing up against the bar to maximize shoulder stability and avoid the shoulder from rolling forward into a weaker position.

Focus on pressing up against the bar
This being said, the overhead squat position position is extremely important to focus on getting closest to the positions described above in order to get the most optimal application of force but also because it will be required to save as much energy here as it mimics the transition at the bottom if the pull-up especially if you are trying to do butterfly pull-ups.


Depending on your level, the chest to bar pull-up can be approached with 3 different styles.

  1. The kicking chest to bar pull-up. This style is the best to get your first ever chest to bar and try to get as many repetitions with the least amount of of experience.
  2. The kipping pull-up (gymnastics style). This one is the one that will allow you to last a little longer than the kicking especially if you have some experience with the movement and enough pulling strength to maintain proper shoulder mechanics with speed and over time.
  3. The butterfly pull-up. This is the most advanced movement and the one that will have required previous training and practice to be able to take advantage of in order to execute on this workout.

Whatever style you chose, try to think of the pull-up as a ring or bar row where it is not about throwing your chest to the bar but pulling the bar to your chest by ripping the elbows behind you. Ideally when the bar touches your chest you forearm shall be perpendicular to your upper body. (See my attached video below)

A great way to maintain accuracy and be able to adopt the rowing position at the top of the pull-up focus on:

  1. Leaning back as you perform the pull-up and,
  2. Keeping your gaze up at the ceiling or sky in a 30-45 degree angle.

Stick to quality of movement and let your positions and skill carry you through.

Move like you care and make it look good.

Follow me on Twitter: @CarlPaoli

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