17.1 Tips and Strategy from Talayna Fortunato

Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

Hi guys and welcome to the 2017 Open! As usual the Dave Castro has started off with a heck of a painful one!

That said, there are two things to consider in this workout to improve your score.  How you perform the movements and pacing.  You don't really need to think about how you're going to break them up because if you're pacing correctly you shouldn't have to.  Except maybe later on, on the dumbbells, we'll talk about that.  Let's get started on the movement strategies first, shall we?

The dumbbell snatch

  • You are allowed to transition the dumbbell at any point during the movement.  Doing it at the top seems rather dangerous, especially when you're tired so I'd say that one is out!  Some may want to switch on the way down.  If you've practiced this, it can be faster.  There are, however, two negatives to this gain in speed: most people aren't able to handle the increased cardiovascular tempo gained anyway and decelerating the weight enough to switch hands, places an additional eccentric load on your already pissed off posterior chain.  Do that for 150 reps and it adds up quick!  I, myself, am going to transition at the bottom. 
  • During the transition at the bottom, have your other hand close by, ready to grab and go.  Some people like to balance themselves with the other hand floating off in space, but then it takes time to get it back down and grab again, so don't! 
  • Most people are accustomed and conditioned to cycling barbells and pulling from the rig with a pronated or overhand grip.  I suggest using this on the dumbbell as well, but try it the other way too and see what is more comfortable for you.  I'm going overhand.  This means the dumbbell will go from left to right on the ground under you and not front to back. This girl would be crushed during the open, but this is what I mean...
  • She would also get a no rep because her arm is on her leg.  Obviously, she didn't read the standards!
  • Think of this like a real snatch and keep it close to your body on the way up and the way down.  No swinging it out in front, that's too inefficient.
  • If your shoulders start to fatigue, dip under by bending your knees to catch the dumbbell over head similar to a push jerk vs. a push press.
  • Finally, you don't have to pin the thing by your ear, you just have to have extended hips, knees, and arm overhead with the dumbbell over the center of your body.  If you lean a little to the side, it's actually easier to keep it over the center of your body and it's less taxing! You're welcome ;) 

The burpee box jump over

  • Sam Briggs may be the only person I know who can jump her feet together from the bottom of the burpee and then onto the box for this entire workout.  The rest of us humans will be way better off metabolically to step up from the burpee and then jump! 
  • The style over the box you use will dictate which muscle groups are going to fatigue.  If you stand all the way up, your back may get tired.  If you stay down in a squat, it will be your legs.  Play around with both styles and don't be afraid to switch them during the workout if one area is getting too fatigued.  
  • Don't waste time getting down to the ground off the box.  Gravity will assist you, I promise.  
  • It's actually the easiest part of the workout so don't dilly dally taking four or five steps to turn around.  Unless you're doing it for the pain face effect to show your peers how close to dying you are.  Then, by all means, look confused as hell as to where the box went every time and shuffle turning around! 


  • There are twice as many dumbbell snatches in this workout as burpees box jump overs, and much larger sets of them at the end.  The burpee box jump over is actually two movements too (I'd argue the workout is a triplet, but whatever!)  This gives your body a little more time to flush from arms back to legs again.  Hence, most of your pacing should be on the dumbbell.  
  • You can slow the snatch tempo down, but I wouldn't slow the transition in the bottom from hand to hand down too too much.  If you find yourself pausing too long at the bottom, you may want to start doing them in sets.  An isometric hold bent over or squatting down hovering over a dumbbell trying to catch your breath is not how you want to rest!  If you need a break, stand up or assume the hand on knees (gimme a second) and then go back into another set with quicker transitions in the bottom.  You won't look this happy though...

Potential issues

  • The biggest issue I can see here is people's backs blowing up.  The first instinct on the dumbbell is to hinge at the hips and use you back to pick it up.  If you're not prone to having your back lock up this may be fine, but if you are, you may want to consider starting the workout with more of a squat to get the dumbbell. This way, if the legs start to get too tired you can shift to more of a hip hinge and use your back later on.  Where as if you start back dominant and your back starts to tighten up, you will be using it on the burpees as well and there isn't really a place to hide.  It's also much easier to finish a workout with a leg pump than a back pump!  
  • Another word of caution I have to throw in as a P.T.  Do your best to maintain spinal integrity and avoid the Hunchback of Notre Dame snatching.  We want our back, especially the lower back, to remain erect throughout the movement.  

Odds and Ends

  • I would put the dumbbell to the side of your box, not at the end of your burpees like they did in the demo.  Every time you finish 15 burpees box jumo over, you have to walk all the way back to the far end of your workout area instead of to the side of your box again.  Those few steps over 5 transitions could be about 15-30sec. on your score, depending how confused you manage to look about the whole thing as mentioned earlier.  Wait what?
  • Tape your thumbs!  Especially if you hook grip, which everyone should do to most things they grip in daily life anyways. 
  • If you sweat a lot, wear some wrist bands or wrist wraps.  
  • The last thing you want is the dumbbell slipping out of your hands or stopping to look for chalk.  For me, it's just the feeling of the dumbbell getting slippery that's distracting.
  • Warm up well!  You want to get blood flowing to your back, hamstrings, and quads especially!  You also want to get a little lactic acid built up and then flushed during the warm up with some short sprint type stuff.  Think 20 sec. hard on the rower, with a full recovery a few rounds.  Then run through the movements (short sets) at a quicker pace than you plan on going, as well.  Just remember to dial it back at 3 2 1... Go.   

Oh yes, I almost forget the promotional pump.  If you even consider wearing lifters, smack your own self upside the head - that's a bad idea.  Wear your favorite Nano's!  Mine are the 6's.  And no one good wears Nike anyway.  Except for that guy who won last year because Rich was busy doing team again.  

Ok, so maybe he was kind of good, but he was wearing Reeboks at the Games, just saying...

I hope all of my tips help and everyone does their absolute best this week!  It's a long open, but it will be over before you know it so enjoy the time with your fitness community and have no regrets about your efforts!  Until next week friends! 

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  • I love the “gravity will assist you” and the pic of the guy face planted LOL great tips thank you for sharing

    Kelsey on

  • Great article, thanks T

    Tracy Adams on

  • Thanks and best of luck!!!

    NAYT on

  • Thanks for this Talayna! The Wells’ family is rooting for you in the Master’s Division!!!

    Theresa Wells on

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