Coaching Roundtable CrossFit Open 14.3: Tips & Advice

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Coaching Roundtable CrossFit Open 14.3: tips & advice
The 2014 CrossFit Open continues with workout 14.3, an AMRAP of box jumps and ascending (!) deadlifts. Just like for 14.1 and 14.2, 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

  • 30 min warm up
  • Mix in a bunch of intense :30-:45 efforts working on transitions with weights
  • 10 min “7’s” warm up on the erg (we posted in 14.1 and 14.2)
  • Work on dynamic flexibility for hamstrings and glutes
  • Do some core activation stuff and then do a series of heavy and metabolic intervals to understand the WOD more
  • Work up to an 80-90% 1rm on the deadlift so you stimulate your nervous system enough to pick up a heavy load – remember to work up to a heavier load than you will use for this WOD at least for a couple singles
  • Pace the first portion where you know you can move fast so when it gets heavy and a more metabolic section you don’t need to slow as much on the deadlifts.
  • Wear an adjustable belt if possible and default to a starting clean position to save your back and use your legs as the weights go up.
  • This imperative to save your back from doing the brunt of the work for this WOD.   

Shane Farmer: CrossFit Invictus

Back, back, back, back, back, back. Did I mention you’re going to feel this one in your back?

Here’s 14.3, the heaviest one yet and ever. Increasing weight and increasing reps on the deadlift is going to torch some posterior chains but more importantly our goal should be to get you through this workout safely.

Mobility and Warmup

Get into the gym early for your warmup here. Let’s start with what may be the most overlooked component which is getting your t-spine open.

Spend some time with a double lacrosse ball and a med ball on your chest getting that t-spine moving. You’re going to need it for support and engagement with the bar.

If that sucker is locked in place going into this workout, you’re going to feel some brutal thoracic fatigue that I guarantee will translate to your lumbar having to take over.

Next you are going to want to hit your achilles, soleus, and gastroc chain to make sure they’re prepped. Last years regionals saw a lot of blown achilles because of the deadlift, box jump combo. Don’t let that be you. Make sure you mobilize AND warm them up.

Finally, get some work in your glutes. Make sure you don’t go into this workout with them already tugging on your lower back or hamstrings.

Use your mobility session to get them open so you can prime them with your warmup and have them nice and hot but not fatigued going into the start of the workout.

Mindset and Prep

Shane Farmer: CrossFit Invictus
Repeat this with me. “I will lay out my plates in a manner that makes sense to me and I will practice the full transitions that I will face at least 2 – 3 times before the workout actually starts.”

Lots of people are going to want to grip it and rip it but you’re going to be smarter than that. You’ll add a good amount of reps to your workout by mastering your plate transitions.

Use good collars. Don’t spend time adjusting the plates because your collars aren’t strong enough to hold the plates in place. Pull out those prized clips for this one so you can save yourself some time and energy.

When you’re transitioning the plates and doing your box jumps, use that time to breathe and calm your body. It’s going to be easy to want to blast through your box jumps but that’s where you need to calm yourself.

As I haven’t played with it yet, I can only suggest timing yourself for your normal box jumps vs box jump up, step down style. Last years Open proved that this can be a successful strategy. There is no shame in being smart, so time yourself through 15 box jumps plenty ahead of time and check to see how you feel as well as how long the two methods take. You may be surprised.

The Workout

Box jumps are free reps. The won’t be what gets you in this workout, it’s going to be the deadlifts so I reiterate, use the box jump time to bring your heart rate down, focus on your breathing, and tell your mind to stop panicking.

Concerning the deadlifts. KEEP THE BAR CLOSE TO YOU! If you’re leaving it out front even a couple inches, it will put far too much unnecessary strain on your posterior chain. By keeping it close you are increasing your longevity in this workout and the discs in your back will be singing your praise.

Stay flat-footed. As things get tiring, that weight will start pulling you to your toes. Especially because the weight and reps are increasing, you’ll notice it getting more and more challenging. Your objective is to drive those heels through the ground so you get the whole chain involved because driving through the toes will be a death sentence.

As you bend over to put your hands on the bar, be ready to lift it. By putting your hands on the bar, positioning your body, adjusting your feet, and then dropping your butt and bracing for the lift you’ll be spending precious energy that could be used for more reps. So practice ahead of time dropping your hands to the bar while already being in position so you can save yourself.

Consider taping your thumbs with a malleable tape, as well as the idea of a weight belt if you’re used to using one.

When/if you go to singles and you are lifting the bar then dropping it each time, make sure you stay in front of the bar. If you go back and watch Tovar & Pichelli, they both waste a lot of time stumbling back after every rep.

Think about if you shaved off the amount of time it took to stumble back from each of those 25 reps. Do you think that may add up to extra time to get more reps? You bet, so ask someone to stay on you about keeping the bar on your shins. This is an easily forgotten note when everything and everyone is screaming so it pays to have it in the top of your mind.

Spend time after the workout bringing your back down. I’d suggest laying flat on your back with your feet in the air and knees bent at 90 degrees resting on top of a box to truly let everything calm down and relax. Consider doing some light stretching of the hamstrings, and mobilizing the glutes again before you leave the gym.

Finally, go back and re-watch Pichelli & Tovar duke it out. You’ll notice that out of the gate, Pichelli does a really nice job of using her legs to help with the deadlift whereas Tovar is almost straight-leg deadlifting it.

Now translate that through numerous reps, fast forward to the last round of deadlifts, and take a look at whose back position is holding up better. You’ll notice Pichelli, while clearly fatigued is still holding together OK while Tovar is struggling to keep her thorax connected to her hips (i.e., lumbar rounding and exposing the vertebrae to injury).

Remember, this workout isn’t going to be won in the first round or two, but you can’t slack either. Set a steady pace and start to buckle down and push as the weights start to pick up. Just remember to prime the pump for movement, and be smart and safe while performing this workout.

Also, did everyone watch the announcement to see Dave Castro pull an Oprah? YOU GET NANO’s! YOU GET NANO’s! YOU GET NANO’S! Kind of a fun sight to see.

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