It's the final week of the Open at Arena Ready, and our final Saturday Open WOD brings us two movements that most of us saw coming - thrusters and chest-to-bar pull-ups!  

Like we say every week - whether you're officially signed-up for the Open and will be competing on Saturday (Or Sunday), or you're just doing the workouts for fun & fitness (and to be a part of the Open energy at AR) please watch the 19.5 standards video (I have re-posted it above) and read the workout details here on the CrossFit Games website.  Due to the "time priority" nature of this workout (i.e. it's "For Time" and not an AMRAP where the time is set) AND the 20 time cap, it's important that everyone completing and judging the workout are familiar with all of the standards in advance.  Thank you.

Oh, and if you're entered in the Open and plan on taking the entire 20 minute cap (which is likely most of us) you may want to bring a small thank you gift for your judge.  Just a thought. But seriously, try to work out who will be judging you in advance while at the gym — and then return the favor to them. It will make the timing of warm-ups and heat schedules much easier on everyone.

First, some logistics:

For most this will be the longest Open workout of 2019. Please note that whether you're entered in the Open or not (and whether doing the workout Rx or Scaled), if your performance and movement deteriorates to the point of unsafe levels WE WILL CUT YOU OFF regardless of what the clock says.  Sorry I'm not sorry.  Letting someone continue on past the point of exhaustion and safe movement, particularly with these two movements, is just plain dumb.  I don't think our athletes need that warning but it makes me feel better to write it out and to say it out loud if needed.  

If you haven't signed-up for a class time please do so now, and expect to do the workout and judge one athlete within that hour-ish (I say "ish" because a workout like this one can run late if lots of athletes end up using most or all of the time cap).  Plan on showing up 10-15 minutes early for class so you can get yourself warmed-up and primed, and so that you can sign-up on the heat list. We've detailed a suggested, self-directed warm-up on the board and you're welcome to follow that or do your own warm-up to get yourself ready to go.

Should you do scaled or Rx? For some of you that’s the first question to answer — I would say that if you can do 95/65-pound thrusters safely then start with the Rx workout to register an Rx score. If you can do a few C2B pull-ups or are close to doing one then give yourself a set amount of time to attempt them (safely and intelligently, of course) if/when you get there — and once that time has clearly elapsed switch to jumping pull-ups (the scaled modification) and continue the workout… you can bank your Rx score at the point when you switch, and then continue the workout in an “unofficial” manner for the remainder of available time.

If 95/65 isn’t in your arsenal just yet then no worries, do the scaled workout from the start (65/45 lbs and jumping pull-ups) and know that in many ways the intensity of the faster transitions will make the workout feel “harder” for sure.

Second, some thoughts on strategy:

There's actually not a lot to it this week, folks.  Some sources have over-complicated the strategy element of this workout to the point where I think they're just making up rhetoric in an effort to sound like an authority on the topic.  All the "split time" spreadsheets and "how to shorten the range of motion" suggestions are mostly nonsense, because the fact of the matter is you can pick any pace or splits that you like - the key is CAN YOU HOLD THAT PACE FOR 210 TOTAL REPS?  I could very easily say "Oh, you want to run a 4-minute mile?  Well that's easy, you just have to pace it correctly.  Run each 400m lap in just under 1 minute.  There you go... easy.  Have fun and thank me later." 

1) Shocker..... pacing is key.

210 reps (or 20 minutes) of ANYTHING requires pacing.  Smooth and steady is fast.  Smooth and steady is fast.  Smooth and steady is fast.  Trying to go out hot is a recipe for disaster.  Some of you saw two of the "Fittest on Earth" do the workout live on Thursday evening, and it may have skewed your impression of what you thought was possible - you have to know yourself, be honest with where your fitness level currently is (and how proficient you are with these two movements), and set a pace accordingly.  Pace it smooth and steady early on, and don't let the feeling of the round of 33 fool you into thinking it will feel that same way thereafter (you still have 70% of the workout to go at that point).

The nice thing about the descending rep rounds is it makes the conceptual approach easy - if you use the 80/20 rule (go at 80% effort for 80% of the workout, and then step on the gas for the last 20%) you'll be steady (but moving with a "sense of urgency") through the round of 21s, and then you'll leave it all out there in rounds 15 and 9.  

What does an 80% effort look like in terms of breaking of sets? Well, that depends on your current work capacity (i.e. your “engine”) and your proficiency (or, dare I say, affinity) for the two movements. For higher level Rx competitors who have fast “Fran” times and enough stamina, muscular endurance, and ability to remain aerobic I like dividing the thrusters into thirds through the round of 15s. That means 33 = 11/11/11, 27 =9/9/9, 21 = 7/7/7, 15 = 5/5/5. Then 9s are GO GO GO if/when you get there. A good rule of thumb is "no strained reps for as long as possible" - meaning if you feel like you'll need to really gather yourself to stand up the squat or press out the top of the rep, or the speed of the reps is noticeably slowing, then put it down before the next one.  

If you’re not a “sub-3 minute Fran” kind of athlete (yet) then the thrusters will likely need to start in single digit sets. They should be anywhere from 3s to 7s for most of us, with the expectation that they may drop to smaller sets the further along you get.

Where do you “rest” during thrusters? At the top of the rep, with the bar locked-out overhead. Take a quick beat (or two) to breathe, relax your hands a little if needed, and get prepared for the next descent. Whatever you do don’t “rest” by pausing at the bottom of the squat (obviously) or standing with the bar in the front rack — if you feel you need to do either of those then just drop the bar and pick it back up when you’re ready.

How about the C2B pull-ups? With the exception of a few of you I think these need to be small sets from the start (4/5s for the higher level athletes, 2/3s for most, and even singles to start might be a good game plan for more than a few people), with quick little breaks just to come off tension and save the grip. Megan finished the workout under the cap on Thursday evening doing mostly singles on C2Bs so it can certainly be done with that approach, assuming you have the fitness and toughness to hold a good pace the entire way.

In yesterday’s blog post we listed two recent class workouts that should give you some good data to frame your approach and expectations — and thus your goal for thus workout. Use that data, and if you are so inclined, map out the volume/reps using the scorecard of 19.5 (the total reps are listed in the margin) to decide roughly “where you should be in the workout and when.” Then plot your rep scheme plan accordingly.

2) Warm-up the movements but don't go crazy.

You want to get a good warm-up in so the workout is not a shock to the body, but no need to "do the workout before doing the workout."  Get the heart rate up, get a little sweat going if that works for you, do a little "heart rate wake-up burst" or two near the end of your warm-up, and then let it come down a bit before you start (all of this is already detailed in the warm-up we wrote on the board).  Beyond that, and some focused mobility and movement prep, you don't need much else.  This is not the time to make up for lost technique or skill work (particularly for C2B pull-ups), lest you end up doing half of the workout before you even start the workout.  Your hands, shoulders, and lats can only take so much in one day, friends!

Speaking of mobility and dynamic movement prep...

3) Hips, Shoulder Girdle, Wrists, and Upper Pecs.

Get these bad boys ready.  You know what your body needs to get blood the pumping and your tissues unglued.  We've written some suggested mobility and movement prep items on the warm-up board, but feel free to do the ones you like to make sure you're good to go.  Your hips (and ankles too) need to be ready for the bottom position of the thruster, and your shoulders need to be ready for the overhead piece of the thruster plus the pull-ups. Getting your front rack positioning dialed-in as well will help over the course of (up to) 105 thruster reps.  

4) Weightlifting shoes help if you have them and like them.

The one exception I would say are athletes doing the scaled WOD with jumping pull-ups — if the lifting shoes bother you in the repetitive jumping action then consider skipping them.

5) Embrace the suck. 

This is supposed to be hard.  That's exactly why you do it.  If it were easy it wouldn't be worth doing.  So when your pacing strategy gets you through the first 5-10 minutes, and then the suck factor sets in and lets you know that the rest of the workout is going be uncomfortable, try to remember that this is exactly where you want to be... exactly where you knew you would be.  Embrace it.  Get comfortable with uncomfortable.  This is what makes you better.  This is why you're here... be smart, try hard, and channel that badass athlete that lives inside you.

WOD For 03-23-19:

“Open 19.5”

For Time (20 Minute Cap):

33-27-21-15-9

Thrusters @ 95/65 lbs

Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups