17.3 Open Workout Tips from Talayna Fortunato

Posted by Talayna Fortunato on


I would like to rename this workout "The sexiest open workout Dave Castro has ever written."  The only reason it's not the sexiest workout he's ever written is because it's just too long and too difficult to remember!  It had to be this way though, to ensure that everyone got to play and in this one, they definitely do.  Let's talk now about how to approach this one!

This workout will be very person-dependent upon your gymnastics vs. weightlifting strength and which movement will be the crux to you.  First, I'm going to ask you to take a look at the size of your snatch (yes, I know it's a double entendre when I say things like that - it's on purpose.)  I mean, what is your recent heaviest snatch?  Now, consider you will be under some fatigue, but also have adrenaline.  It's possible you could PR here, but be realistic.  I'll use myself as an example.  My current recent heaviest snatch is right around the second to last bar, which is 175.  If all goes REALLY well, I hope to get that 6 times! With the last bar being 185, I will be about where Cole Sager was; gunning for it on a good day, but not banking on it!  Next, you're going to evaluate how good you are at chest-to-bar pull-ups, and we'll decide a strategy for them in a minute.

Set Up

  • Finally a workout you can wear your sexy lifting shoes that you got for Christmas! 
  • Place the bar the shortest safe distance to the rig that you can.  I would have the bars parallel to one another in case your barbell bounces laterally, you won't have to move it before you lift. 
  • Put an easily accessible block of chalk near your pull-up bar.  90+% chance you're going to use it on this one. 
  • Find a white board, a clip board, or write on the floor, but put the rep scheme where it is visible to you.  This workout will be easy to get confused on and you don't want to start doing too many reps or have to stop and ask for directions.
  • Consider wearing a LOT of kinesio tape on your back like Scott Panchik did.  I don't know why, but he did very well on 17.3, so at least consider it for your redo! 


  • Whether you're good at chest-to-bar pull-ups or just able to get by, the name of the game on this will be to do them with enough gas so you don't have to recover for long periods before the snatches.  There will be very few people that start no-repping chest-to-bars and get time capped because of that.  Most everyone will be time capped because of the snatches.  
  • That said, you'll definitely want to gather yourself and take a breather before addressing the bar to lift, but you don't want to come off your pull-ups anywhere near redlining and take a minute to recover. 
  • To do this, you're going to have to break the pull-ups into doable chunks, where no rep becomes a struggle.  I would even encourage you to consider moving through with singles and doubles where you keep getting down and right back up again, rather than sets of 5 or more with long breaks in the later rounds. 
  • If you're coming up on a snatch weight that you know is near or at your max, break the pull-ups even more beforehand!
  • Same mindset goes for the snatches.  You can push your breathing rate up, but don't let any rep become a struggle until the very end.  They should be clean and smooth, like any good... never mind.  If you're trucking along at a weight and then you start to have a hard time standing them up, you're going too fast.  
  • A missed snatch will cost you :10 - :20 seconds and it will also tax your system a lot more too.  


  • I'll leave it up to you, but if you don't plan on making it deep into the snatch, (this is too easy) i.e. at least the second to last bar, I would consider starting off with singles on the first bar.  Definitely go to singles by the second bar.  Even Matt Fraser did that!
  • Hook grip!  If you don't know how, now is a great time to learn!  It will help immensely since every movement of this workout involves grip.  If you are learning, tape your thumbs! Goat Tape is great for this.
  • Focus on keeping the bar close to your body on the way up, it will be easier to catch it more consistently and more efficiently.
  • As the weight gets heavier, make sure you are moving your feet out to jump into your squat.  This will ensure you finish your pull and get better height with the bar.
  • Assign a trustworthy person with good math skills to change your weights for you. Be a courteous athlete and stack the plates on the sides of the bar in the reverse order that they're going on. Don't ask your judge to do it, they will be busy doing what judges do... counting how awesome you are!

  • If you need a belt in the later rounds, put it between the rig and your bar so you don't have to go wandering around to get it. If you aren't sure whether you'll need a belt,  put it there anyway.  

Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups

  • Use hand protection or tape your hands! I learned this last week the hard way.  Yes, I've learned this lesson before the hard way, but it had been so long since I've ripped, apparently, I needed to learn it again! It's been 4 days and my hands are healing now, but I'm definitely going to give them until Sunday for this workout.  It was a bloody mess I tell you, with no one to blame but myself! Just FYI, Grips and Hand Care are on sale right now through March 12.

Not bad for 4 days huh?!  Keep them covered and keep them moist, that's the secret!(you're welcome)  This stuff doesn't hurt either...

  • If you do rip and bleed everywhere, don't clean everything up except for your bloody block of chalk for the classes to find Monday morning.  Yes I did that, eeeek I'm sorry! 
  • Do not death grip the bar.  Relax your grip during the weightless portion of the pull-up. 
  • Thumbs around for safety and they increase your grip endurance.
  • Pre-chalk and/or pre-tape your bar.  Again, I didn't tell you to tape the bar. If your coach gets mad, make sure you take it down asap!
  • If you're planning to do small chunks (singles and doubles) on these, make sure you choose a bar you don't have to jump far to get to. 

Redos on this one will be dependent upon how far you get.  If you get very far you will be doing over 100 chest-to-bar pull-ups, and you should consider a one-and-done on this.  It will be hard to prime your system to repeat and improve after that many pulling reps and that much weight.  If you aren't getting far into the workout, then it will be very repeatable.  I, myself, like to go as hard as I can at these suckers one time only!  Then, I go have a good cheat meal and try not to obsessively look at the leaderboard!  

This should be another fun one to cheer people through too.  And perhaps the best part of the whole thing... NO DUMBBELLS!  Let's hope they don't make a reappearance the final weeks, shall we?  Good luck guys and pray for my hands... and my snatch! ;)


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