First, some logistics and safety concerns:
This is a great test of capacity, starting with one of the most classic benchmark workouts of all time, "Diane" - and then finishing with a true "separator" for the athletes on the very top end of the spectrum (heavier deadlifts and handstand walking). From a "fan of CrossFit" perspective I love this workout as a competition test, but from a "gym owner and coach of everyday CrossFitters" perspective I also have anxiety around the possibility of precarious reps by athletes who are potentially not yet ready for this loading and/or movement pairing.
So, let me be clear by stating once again: you are not allowed to do shitty deadlifts or sketchy HSPU attempts at Arena Ready. Ever. I don't care if it "feels fine" to you or whether or not you were allowed to do it somewhere else. If it looks bad to us our coaches will stop you, no exceptions. We ask that you make a good decision every time, even as you attempt to push yourself in the workout. Knowingly executing a heavy (or even not so heavy) deadlift with poor position will eventually lead to back pain and likely to injury - so please don't do it. Your health and safety are more important than a score on a workout, and if you can't come back next week to train then what's the point?
Just like we do in class every time HSPUs are programmed, we're going to be on you about being smart with regard to your head/neck. Just because this is a competition we don't feel any differently. If you cannot do HSPUs without slamming onto your head or losing control of the movement, then DON'T DO THEM. Your head and neck are serious business, so don't try to be a hero when you're inverted - play it smart and protect ya' neck!
That said, if you are capable of attempting either movement with good technique, but have simply never put yourself in that position (or under than load) just yet, you are more than welcome to try - and we are here to help you and to support you with honest feedback as to whether or not we think you're ready for what you're about to attempt. Be smart, try hard, don't be an idiot.
As we've covered previously in this post here, we'll be running the Open Workout ("18.4") during rolling heats in all of our Saturday morning classes. If you haven't already please sign-up for class in advance and plan on doing the workout AND judging another athlete while in the gym (no, you do not have to be a certified judge who has taken the judges course).
For those new to Arena Ready please note that these Saturday morning classes will be very different from our usual protocol. The warm-up will be self-directed and written on the board in AR North for you to follow. Please plan on showing up 10-15 minutes early for class if possible, so that you can sign-up for a heat time when you arrive and get yourself situated for warming-up.
If you're not officially entered in the Open then ask a coach on site to help you decide on a reasonable scaling for the workout if needed -- based on availability & logistics we may assign you to a particular station to give priority to the athletes who are officially registered.
The rest of this post will attempt to break down some strategy based on where your current abilities lie within the parameters of the workout...
I can do "Diane" at Rx (and have before) in under 7 minutes:
Welcome to the fun of this puzzle of a workout. You might be saying "but the time cap is 9 minutes not 7" - true, but the Open standard for the HSPU is much tougher than when you're simply doing "Diane" as the gym's daily WOD (and even tougher than the Open standard in prior years, particularly if you have shorter arms and like a wide hand position). So if your true Diane PR is not under 7 minutes then your goal should be to finish the first 21-15-9 under the 9-minute cap - don't get too worked up about 315/205, and don't even think about handstand walking because sorry to say you won't even be close (I prefer to tell you the truth rather than blow smoke).
If you have a sub-7 minute Diane then it's all about getting to the 315/205 bar with some time remaining and maximizing how many reps you can safely make at 315/205 for that first round of 21. Every single rep is huge from a competitive standpoint since it places you ahead of hundreds, if not thousands, of others in the world (because this is where the bell curve of Rx athletes around the globe will be). Unless your name is Coach Hillary then this will likely be singles at 315/205 for just about everyone (maybe doubles if you gamed "Diane" well enough, are a strong deadlifter, and are feeling relatively fresh). It's likely that you will not sniff the handstand walking either, sorry not sorry for keeping it real.
If you have a sub-4 minute Diane, and are a good deadlifter, then it's all about getting to that first handstand walk and registering reps for that movement. And if you're really good walking on your hands then getting back to the deadlifts is a possibility.
If you have a sub-2 minute Diane then it's all about trying to finish the entire workout under the time cap. You should also be training for the CrossFit Games, just sayin.
Whether you're sub-7, sub-4, or sub-2 minutes on Diane (meaning your end goal for 18.4 is different) the general strategy is, in fact, very much the same: BREAK THE DEADLIFTS EARLY AND OFTEN AND STAY WITH SUB-MAXIMAL SETS ON THE HSPU THAT KEEP YOU NOWHERE CLOSE TO FAILURE/NO REPS.
For deadlifts it's all about managing systemic shutdown and breaking-up the time under tension early on to pay dividends later. When Coach Liz nearly won the 2013 Regional deadlift workout she went 6-5-5-5 on the set of 21 while nearly everyone else went out hot for an early lead. When Liz and Hillary were in the Regional Top 10 in 2014 for the Open deadlift workout they broke early and often while nearly everyone else went out hot for an early lead. Sound like a pattern? Think I'm biased because they're our own athletes/coaches? OK fair enough... on Thursday night Scott Panchik (who is one of the fittest humans alive, can deadlift 500lbs, and do Diane in under 2 minutes) did the first set of 21 deadlifts in 6-5-5-5, the 15 in 5-5-5, and the 9 in 5-4. He watched BKG go out hot and stay ahead of him for a while, and then implode before his eyes while he just kept holding his own methodical, calculated pace.
So should you do deadlifts 6-5-5-5 to start? Maybe. It's one way to go if you're pretty darn good at Diane and/or you're a strong deadlifter. Believe it or not sets of 4s and 3s the whole way may even be better for most. You'll need to know yourself as an athlete and keep your breaks short and strict (e.g. two breaths or 3 seconds on the clock).
HSPU sets should be managed in much the same way, but with a wider variation in how big/small the sets should be based on your ability with the movement. If you're a HSPU ninja and this simply isn't an issue for you then you're basically trying to buy a little time before having to deadlift again, so a break or two may be a good idea. If you're not a HSPU ninja then sub-maximal sets in slightly smaller numbers than you likely think is the way to go.
Remember to try the HSPU standard in the warm-up area so you're familiar with how it feels and where you need to put your hands in order for the rep to count. It's quite challenging if you've never tried it before, so don't overlook this point (especially if you tend to do your HSPU with very wide hands, very far from the wall, or with a hyperextended/overextended back). Pull your toes toward your shins (i.e. dorsiflex your foot) at the top of each rep so that your heels reach farther up the wall - this should help you mitigate the risk of your feet not being high enough for the rep to count.
Nine minutes is not a lot of time, but even still, humor an old coach and SAY IT WITH ME: Smooth IS Fast.
I'm not sure I can deadlift 225/155:
Is the Rx weight something in the neighborhood (10-20%) of what you've lifted before, even for 1 or 2 reps? If the Rx weight is something you can lift with good technique, but it feels challenging and heavy, you may be in the boat of thinking of this workout as "9 minutes to do as many beautiful heavy deadlift singles (or doubles) as is reasonably possible" (and no, those things are not mutually exclusive). Maybe you could surprise yourself - many athletes certainly did so the last two years in the Open, including a memorable performance by Kyle, who at the time had never deadlifted anything close to 225 lbs... when he did the WOD he proceeded to complete all 55 reps of deadlifts for 16.4/17.4, making sure to set his back and mid-line every single time. It was awesome to watch. Remember, you don't have to rush - you just want to get as far along as you can with solid position and technique. "Try hard" does not mean "get sloppy."
If 225/155 lbs is simply far too heavy and you just aren't in that neighborhood yet, then consider doing the scaled version of the workout which uses 135/95 lbs for the deadlift. If you have no idea where you fall in the spectrum then find a coach while you're warming up and ask them for their advice - they can help guide you and provide some insight on what is realistic and appropriate.
Deadlifts at 225/155 are fine but I'm not sure handstand push-ups are gonna happen:
How far are you from handstand push-ups (HSPU) being a reality? If you can't kick up to the wall and support yourself safely & reliably and/or lower yourself onto your head under control, then now is likely not the time to try and get that first one.
If you know you have a good shot at making your first HSPU, or first few in a workout, then find a coach or experienced athlete in the warm-up area and ask them to help you with the standard and with fine-tuning your movement. Just remember to respect the fact that they too have to warm-up and do the workout, as well be available to judge others - so trying to make up for a year of lost skill work within 5-10 minutes is unrealistic. But if you're strong enough, mobile enough, and have been playing around with position drills and skill work recently enough to know you're close, then a little help and encouragement may get you the rest of the way.
This is another opportunity where I'll leave my PSA from last weeK:
"This is the time of year when I usually give my PSA that sounds something like "We have Open Gym Sundays nearly 50 weeks out of the year, and I'm almost always there -- AND some of my favorite movements to teach are ring muscle-ups and handstand push-ups. Just throwing it out there, friends. I can even provide references from current AR members if you need to verify that it works if you work at it with some guidance."
Closing remarks (since I said I would keep re-posting them):
Be smart and move well. You know what that means, I don't have to explain that one to you. The weights will be here tomorrow... will you be?
Cheer for your fellow athletes, and be a good judge. We do things the right way at Arena Ready -- with integrity and to the standards of the competition. Our movement is clean, our technique is admirable, our effort is 100%, and our members know the difference between intent and accomplishment (e.g. giving your fellow athlete a respectful but deserved no-rep when they're working their ass off but simply didn't accomplish a valid rep). The spirit of the Open is amazing - there's nothing like the energy and positive family vibe of these 5 weeks. Many of your buddies will do things they never thought possible, some will fall short of what they wanted and be frustrated for a bit, and others will have experiences on both sides. But in the end this is our community, and our AR family, and we support each other in success and in failure... knowing that we're all just trying to get better every day.
WOD For 03-17-18:
For Time (9 Minute Cap):
21-15-9 (AKA "Diane")
Deadlifts @ 225/155 lbs
... followed immediately by...
Deadlifts @ 315/205 lbs
50ft Handstand Walk Between Rounds