Coaching Roundtable CrossFit Open 14.3: Tips & Advice

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Pat Barber: NorCal CrossFit

14.3 is a good workout. Not having tackled it yet myself, I don’t really know exact specifics – however here is what I will guess.

It is mainly about the deadlift. Every CrossFitter at a top level can handle 15 box jumps, so it will come down to how long can you handle deadlifts. I would watch out for being lazy with setting your back on the deadlifts and burning out your erectors early.

I will probably try to move smooth and comfortable focusing on setting my back well in the early sets to not burn out.

I will most likely not do this twice. I like the idea of one and done.

Wes Piatt: Coast Range CrossFit

Wes Piatt: Coast Range CrossFit
Love it!!! Two classic movements that have been coupled together since the beginning of CrossFit.

As far as tips and pointers, wear a weight belt. Something with Velcro that you can loosen when doing box jumps and tighten going back into the deadlifts.

Warm up your calves and Achilles well. Do some light jogging, double unders and some box jumps to get the stretch reflex of the Achilles nice and warmed up.

If you aren’t good at box jumps do step ups, from the beginning. Make them fast and rest while changing out the weights.

Potential pitfalls to watch out for would be not breaking up the deadlifts early and trying to do box “jumps” rather than step ups if it’s a weakness for you.

For prep work, focus on banded good mornings, and some myofascial work in the Achilles is smart as well.

Keep thinking “constant” with constant movement in mind. Get to that last set quickly so your tie breaker time is sooner rather than later in the workout.

Do it twice if you plan on going to Regionals. But take a couple days between. Give your back time to heal up.

If you are not going to regionals …. Drink a beer, high five, and go back to training!

Dr. Allison Belger: TJ’s Gym and PsychologyWOD

Dr. Allison Belger: TJ's Gym and PsychologyWOD
First off, this is a workout in which you need to be extra thoughtful and deliberate with EVERY rep. You need to be mindful of your form on the deadlifts, in order to save your back, and you need to be 100% alert and organized before each box jump.

With fatigue and when doing this much volume of these particular movements, it is easy to misstep and catch your legs on the edge of the box. Get your act together before you jump, and never get lazy.

If you are not a high-level competitor, or if you are an older athlete and therefore more vulnerable to injury, I’d recommend that you step up and down on the box. Unless you are extremely confident in jumping, and you cycle jumping with frequency in your training, you are likely to be more efficient over time by stepping up and down, avoiding missed reps and saving your Achilles in the process. This week’s mental slips will come in the form of box bites and no-reps on deadlifts lacking full hip extension.

Address the weight changes as parts of the workout; be sure you are fully prepared to use the proper weights for each round, and create a plan of attack for what you are going to be saying to yourself as you are rigging your barbell each time.

This break in the action is a good time to repeat your internal mantra and cue phrases you’ve created over the last two weeks of competing. Settle yourself down with this internal and repetitive self-talk, so you can focus solely on the movements as soon as your bar is loaded.

The mental game for this week might be something you should have learned when doing 14.2; you need to have faith that pacing and breaking up sets from the beginning will set you up to perform better later in the workout. This mental focus and restraint will be imperative for athletes who plan to move into the final rounds. It is then that you can attack the movements with abandon, even if that ends up being one deadlift at a time.

Now that we are three weeks into this madness, I feel compelled to comment on the phenomenon of obsessing about workouts during the Open. While there are surely downsides to the excessive focus on the Open workouts – one’s performance, the leaderboard, the possibility of redoing and redoing again – I’d like to throw a positive spin on things, at least this week.

For many of you doing the Open, it is a chance to immerse yourself in a physical contest that can provide both a measure of personal improvement and a psychological and emotional distraction from the monotony of everyday life. It can serve as a way of testing your mental fortitude, both during the workouts, themselves, and in general throughout the five-weeks – it takes quite a bit of mental stick-to-it-iveness to endure five weeks of obsessive focus on competitive exercising!

For those of you doing the Open with a legitimate shot at Regionals and even the Games, this kind of focus is likely part of your routine – the Open may be merely a notch up from your usual level of concentration.

But for those of you doing the Open for fun, for community, and as a test of your progress and current level of fitness, the five-week focus can be a funny kind of blessing. It offers a forum for you to step out of your normal routine and put yourself – your concerns, your fears, your insecurities, your goals, and your drive – all into one experience and see how you come out at the end.  Along the way, you’re likely to learn a whole bunch about how you tick – from how competitive you are, to how difficult it is for you to relish small victories and let go of perceived failures, to how able you are to focus on the big picture when the details seduce you.

Sometime this week, take a few moments to reflect on YOUR Open process thus far and determine what it is doing FOR YOU and TO YOU. If you are on course for where you want to be in ways that are not measured on leaderboards, then keep at it. If there is something you’d like to change for 2014, now is your chance, so have at it!

Jeremy Jones: Diablo CrossFit

Craig Howard, Jeremy Jones & Paul Southern: Diablo CrossFit

Overall  Pacing:

Plan on getting through the first couple ‘rounds’ at a good pace. The beginning is a ‘buy in’ for when the barbell gets heavy. The sooner you get to the challenging weight (whatever that means for you), the better … you’ll have more time with the bar that is going to challenge you the most!

The first 3-5 reps at that heavy weight will feel pretty terrible, but as you regain your wind you’ll start to feel better.


Most people will want to do big sets in the beginning, but when the weight gets hard be ready to start doing small sets or even singles to keep moving. Having a belt handy will be a good idea for just about everyone.

Make sure your hamstrings are good and mobilized before you start. Make sure you can go ‘down fast’. The slower you lower the bar, the more taxing it will be for your hamstrings and back. Remember to keep the bar close to the shins and don’t let it drift away from your body when you are tired.

Box Jumps:

Doing fast sets (even unbroken) will be a good idea for most of the workout. The less time you spend on the box jumps, the more time you’ll have with the barbell.

Some people will want to do step ups. If you struggle with ‘rebounding’ box jumps, then doing step ups will be the best idea.

If you can rebound effectively (using the elasticity of your tissues to bounce right back up) doing steady paced box jumps will be best. This workout is not the same as last year’s push press, deadlift, box jump workout. This workout is shorter, and since there is no push press component, the ‘rebound’ movement should be more sustainable.


Settle into a good steady pace in the beginning, but don’t be afraid to move fast. Know that you will get winded getting to that ‘heavy’ bar, but that after a few reps, you will catch your breath.

When the weight gets heavy watch the clock, or use a friend to pace you so that you don’t go too fast (or too slow) on the deadlifts.

If (or when) you start to do singles, don’t panic or stress out. Keep moving and stay calm. Take the time between reps to focus on proper abdominal pressure and keeping the bar close to the shins.

Chris Michelmore: CrossFit Moxie

Chris Michelmore: CrossFit Moxie

Keys to Preparation:

As a general rule, the shorter, more intense the workout, the longer the warm up needs to be. For something like this I would spend a fair amount of time jogging, riding a stationary bike, and jumping rope long before picking up a barbell.

Make sure that your hamstrings and calves are nice and spicy going into 8 minutes of lifting and jumping.

Keys to Strategy:

This is all about those last reps, so getting there smart is the name of the game. It would be smart to start breaking from the 3rd set of deadlifts.

Even if this weight is not a struggle yet, a quick release from the bar might give you that extra gas at the end. Also, knowing your body will allow you to drop the reps BEFORE the reps get hard, not after.

If you hit a point of muscle failure in your back or legs then it is over folks. Once you decide to go singles you have to be ok with that, and dedicated enough to keep the rest short between.

As for the box jumps, this is just mean and will test you mentally. Whether you step or jump you have to find what works for you to keep moving. Moving a little slower is better than not moving at all.

Keys to the Movements:


  • The set up cannot be sacrificed here.
  • Whether you are doing singles or linked, don’t take the lift off for granted, EVEN on the lighter weights!
  • Make sure that bar is right along those shins the entire rep.
  • Every millimeter of extra work here will be exponentially more difficult at the heavier weights.

Box Jumps:

  • If you can rebound the jumps I actually recommend it here.
  • If your engine is good enough and if done correctly and you can use the top of the box as the rest.
  • Otherwise, stepping might be more efficient for your heartrate, but it is slower and there is no rest.
Final tips:

My feeling is that this is going to be one that people do multiple times. If that’s the case, then feel free to play with a few things and listen to yourself and your body, not the million other voices out there. Make an adjustment, and then correct it the next time.

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