Coaching Roundtable CrossFit Open 14.4: Tips and Advice

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Chris Michelmore: CrossFit Moxie

Chris Michelmore: CrossFit Moxie
My first thoughts… I love it! While I love it because I think it’s a great workout and looks fun, I love it more because it so closely resembles a workout that you would see in any box at any given time around the world. There’s no gimmicks or tricks — just an old fashioned CrossFit chipper!

Keys to Strategy:

For this workout it is important to classify the two types of athletes who will be attacking it.
1) The Athlete Without Muscle Ups… The answer is simple — sprint! It’s going to be all about that tie breaker time, or giving yourself as much time as possible to get that first muscle up.
2) The Athlete with Muscle Ups/the Athlete Trying to Make It to the Next Level… Not such a simple answer. I feel that with all the grip nasty movements it is going to be most important to get to the rings not just with your heartrate controlled, but also with your grip protected as early as possible. Heartrate and grip therefore will be the focus of the movements below.

Keys to the Movements:

Row: No need to go crazy here. Most people can row between 1200 and 1600 cal/hr just fine and that will be all that is necessary to move efficiently on this workout. Regardless, the row should not be the focus and needs to be done with a relaxed grip and with your heartrate low.

Toes to Bar: Small sets and short rest. No need to do large sets out the gate. If you watched, Bridges and Panchik were doing 2-3 reps at at time at the end. Conserve at the beginning rather than fail at the end.

Wall Balls: These need to be done in as large of sets as possible. Your legs should be fresh by this point so go for it!

Cleans: Singles. One rep at a time at a consistent rate is all you need. However, keep that rest short because that tie breaker is going to separate thousands!

Muscle Ups: If you’ve done your job, hopefully your grip isn’t too destroyed. That doesn’t mean you need to do large sets here. One or two at a time at the beginning will save you on number 20 if you have any hopes of getting there.

Have fun, and remember — it’s just like any chipper we’ve all done at any given gym all year long. This is going to be fun!

Wes Piatt: Coast Range CrossFit

Wes Piatt: Coast Range CrossFit

Thoughts on the Workout

I think this workout is gonna be great for EVERYONE!! It a longer workout so a majority of the time will be spent at a comfortable threshold. The last 2 min are where it’s gonna suck. If you have an athlete who’s already hurting when they get off the rower or are on the toes to bar, get them to calm down and breathe.

Tips and Pointers

The row is your warm up, and the toes to bar should be done in a fashion where there is no more than 2-3 sec rest before returning to reps. Wall balls are same as toes to bar. I like to tell people that if you’re thinking 8 sets of 5, why not make it 6 sets of 6 and one set of 4. Not only will you finish faster but you will feel more rested going into the cleans having only done 4 reps before. It’s only one extra rep…. Just do one more!

The cleans are singles. The second your hands touch the bar, pull. Don’t sit there bent over with you’re hands glued to the bar and not moving. Not only are you collapsing your diaphragm, making it harder to breathe, but the longer you rest the easier it is to keep resting. You touch, it moves.

Muscle ups are done in sets of 2 or 1 with 5 seconds rest in between. If you’re nervous about getting one muscle up….. Forget everything I said above and sprint your ass to those rings!!!!! Give yourself as much time as humanly possible to get that first muscle up baby!!!!!! You got that shit!!!

Potential Pitfalls

Allowing yourself to go too hard on any of the movements and redlining too fast would be my only concern with this workout.

Specific Prep Work

Hip flexor sand quads definitely, ankles, and lats. There is a lot of hip flexion and extension in this workout. I would spend some time digging into the hip capsule, quad, and ankle to help with the wall balls and toes to bar. This is where 90% of people will spend the majority of this WOD.

Mental Approach

Wooooooosaaaaaaa….. Light your meditation candles, burn some incense, whatever you do to relax. Just stay calm and keep moving. Be a robot.

Like I’ve said in all these, if you’re trying to make Regionals, do it twice if you need. If you’re not planning on going to Regionals, crack a beer and hang out, playa!

Jeremy Jones: Diablo CrossFit

Jeremy Jones: Diablo CrossFit

There are three categories of athletes who will be doing this workout: The first group will be hoping to finish the cleans in the shortest time possible (because they can’t do muscle ups yet). The second group will be looking to get as many muscle ups as possible. The third group will be looking to finish the muscle ups and get back to the rower.

First group (Hoping to finish the cleans in the shortest time possible because they can’t do muscle-ups yet)
Cleans: Do not walk away from the bar and watch the clock to stay on a steady pace.
People just worried about getting through the cleans as fast as possible should push the pace early on. Don’t row at a max pace, but don’t coast either. 60 Calories is about 750-800m. Men should shoot for a 2.5-3.5 min pace to finish. Ladies 3-4.5 min pace. It is okay to get a bit winded on the row because you’ll catch your breath on the toes to bar. Set the damper pretty low and increase the strokes per minute so that this is more “cardio” than muscular endurance. Do very small sets and/or lots of singles on toes to bar.

Try to do as few sets on the cleans as possible. Bigger sets will get them over with faster. Do the cleans in small sets or singles, but keep moving. Do not walk away from the bar and watch the clock to stay on a steady pace (as opposed to doing a bunch fast early on and getting blown up). Use the hook grip and tape your thumbs if pinched thumbs is an issue for you.

Second group (Looking to get as many muscle-ups as possible)

The difference between finishing the muscle ups and just getting into the 20 will depend on the each individual’s ability to do muscle ups. Either way, getting to them as fast as possible (without being too tired) will be important.

If toes to bar are an issue for you, do singles the entire time! You will still finish in a reasonable amount of time.
Push the pace on the row, but be respectful of how much it will take out of you (2-3 min pace for the men, 3-4 min pace for the ladies). Then immediately get to the bar for toes to bar! Do a small set to get started, then bigger sets in the middle. Don’t be afraid to drop to 3s or even singles to save your grip for the cleans and muscle ups. If toes to bar are an issue for you, do singles the entire time! You will still finish in a reasonable amount of time if you have the right height bar picked out (no jumping), and you will be slightly recovered for the wall ball. Mobilizing your hamstrings beforehand will make t2b much easier. Do big sets on the wall ball. The sooner you get through them, the longer you’ll have to do muscle ups. Taller athletes will benefit from not extending their arms all the way on wall ball. Utilize the “wrist flip” to get the ball above the target, and there is no need to extend the arms completely. This will save the shoulders for muscle ups later.

Small sets and small rest for the cleans in the beginning. If you pushed the pace on the wall ball, the first couple sets of cleans will feel difficult. As you recover from the wall ball the cleans will get easier. Do bigger sets if you are comfortable. Push the pace to finish the cleans quickly (for tiebreaker purposes).

If you struggle with muscle ups, take a moment to compose yourself before each rep. If you fail a repetition, check the clock and plan accordingly. You are better off waiting longer (even up to a minute) and getting only 1 repetition. Than rushing, and failing 3-5 times. Do not panic if you fail a rep. Visualize making it and then commit.

Third group (Looking to finish the muscle-ups and get back to the rower)

If you are good at muscle ups (on a good day: 7+ consecutive reps for men, and 5+ for ladies), you may be able to finish the muscle ups and get back to the rower. Men will have a greater chance of finishing due to the fact that rowing 60 calories will be faster for the men (and that muscle ups tend to be easier). Don’t waste time between the cleans and the muscle ups. Finish the cleans quickly, and then get right over to do your first set/rep. Start with smaller sets to avoid “no reps.” Before you finish your last set, make sure your rower is on, the monitor is reset, and that the foot straps are loose and ready. Once the last rep is complete, rush back and get right back on the rower. Pace the row according to how many minutes you have left (sprint if you don’t have much time left, settle into a longer pace if you have a minute or more).

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