2015 CrossFit Games Open WoD 15.3 Strategy Guide

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I got to watch tonight's Open announcement with friends at a bar. Here's me tipping my glass to the pain cave the girls were in.

After the workout my friend (who does not have a muscle-up) and I started briefly talking strategy. She said, "I think you just have to go as hard as you can for as long as you can". I do believe that statement was the second clue I've given you as to why she is choosing to do the scaled division. Not to belittle my friend's strategy, she knows I'm kidding anyway, but it's a perfectly good one if you enjoy running full speed into a brick wall of suffering for 13min. There is also a place in training for that. It's called lactic intervals. NOT a 14min. AMRAP! 

On to more constructive talk about how to actually attack this. It's going to be very individual. The first decision to make is can you do a muscle-up? If you can you're RX. If you aren't close, you're going scaled. And if you think you're close enough to try getting your first muscle-up then today's the day to do something special! Warm up your shoulders really well, make sure the cameras are rolling, and try to get one for 14min (ok maybe only the first 5 will be constructive). You may be surprised what the cheering of a whole gym will do for you! If you do get your first muscle-up, post your score, post your video to Instagram, call your mom, and congratulations you just beat everyone in scaled! Now please redo the workout scaled, so you can actually assess your motor and see where you stand (or at least a couple of rounds minus muscle-ups of RX). Gosh I'm mean...

If you are scaled you will be doing lots of single-unders and wall balls. If you have double-unders, please do a few single-unders before you start. For whatever reason they're sort of hard at first once you're proficient at doubles. Then pace your wall balls to your current fitness level and catch your breath on the rope. There's not too much more to the couplet. Just remember it's long and aerobic. Moderate sets with short breaks will move you through the workout faster than huge sets with a lot of bent over hands on knees.

For those doing RX there are actually 2 divisions here. The first is those who are not super proficient at muscle-ups. I'm talking if you're max set is around the 5 or less range. You will need to break them and you will get a rest there making it a little (repeat a little) less aerobic. My advice for this group is to go in small sets on the first 7 muscle-ups. Julie Foucher's max set is probably more than twice 7, but she still had to break by the second round and remarked how much harder they were. Be prepared for them to be harder and use these tips to make them easier: 

  • Concentrate on using your hips to drive through the wall balls and save your shoulders and triceps.

  • Again relax the shoulders on the double-unders and try to spin the rope using more wrists.

  • When you get back to the rings fatigued after round 1, concentrate on your hip drive to turn you over on the muscle-up. 

Keep an eye on the clock as well.  When you get off of a round of muscle-ups, if you have 4min. or less left you are most likely not going to make it back to the muscle-ups for another round and your sights should be on going as deep as you can at that point. (Please read on through the next part because the breaking of wall balls and double unders still applies.)

For those of you who are good at muscle-ups congratulations, this workout is going to hurt you the most! The same tips to make the muscle-ups easier above still apply. PLEASE make sure you get your HR up beforehand. You don't want a huge heart rate spike after minute 2 because you weren't already hot. You should be breaking a sweat by 3.2.1...GO! Rep schemes will be very individual. If you love wall balls 25/25 might work. If you're 4'10", you probably don't love them and that would be a less intelligent rep scheme, but the theme is the same. Keep yourself at a manageable (think under 80-90%) exertion rate. You will constantly have to self regulate during this workout to do that. You don't want to let yourself get too lactic. That's when your other muscle groups will start over working, breathing will get out of control, and your score will be drastically impacted. 

Decide when you're going to break the sets of wall balls and double-unders, do no let the movements decide for you. It's ok to start with a plan of what your rep scheme will look like through round 1, but realize it more than likely won't look like that in later rounds so be flexible, and keep moving in manageable sets. When you do break stay present! No wandering around (I'm really good at that). It helps me to count my breaths while I stare at the thing I'm supposed to be moving. When I get to breath 3-5 I try to get myself to go again. If you haven't gone by the 10th breath alarms should be going off in your head to move because you're probably not going to feel any better by 20 anyways and you might as well start moving again (it's science I swear). At breath 20 you are allowed to do a little self berating talk if it gets you to pick up the wall ball (I'm partially kidding). 

Speaking of self talk (or thinking as it were) this workout is also a very mental one because it will be painful. I challenge everyone to go in with the mental resolve to stay present in the workout. This means you must block out the thoughts of "I hate my life and everyone here right now", "why do I choose to do this to myself again?", and the simplest/most common "this hurts" and bring yourself back to your cues. "Hips" on the wall balls, "relax your shoulders" on the double-unders, and of course counting what number you're on. 

Watch the clock and when you have 3-4min. or less when you complete a round of muscle-ups (or just over a minute or less after the last round of wall balls) you probably won't make it to the next round so it's time to dig deep for another gear. That means pain cave time. If you have 1min. or less left you can go full retard pace. If you have more than that you may have to be a bit smarter, but it's still time to go at a pace you know you can't sustain (mainly because you won't have to). Every rep counts at this point, so don't finish and say you think you could have done more. The next question I want you to ask yourself then is why didn't you?

Lastly, congratulations to Lauren and Julie. I know how stressful the Open announcements can be and they did an awesome job. Ok one more thing, I can't wait to see all of the first muscle up videos from this workout! Heck please tag me @talaynaf on Instagram so I can! 

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  • Talayna Fortunato
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