Deadlift, Wallballs, Rowing, HSPUs Oh My! Tips for 17.4
We finally got the repeat WOD in 17.4 and this one is going to take some strategy (in case you forgot from last year). While the bigger athletes serve to do well in the first 3 out of the 4 movements, it’s the smaller, quicker athletes that have the advantage in the last movement which is the handstand pushups (HSPUs). Considering you are not new to CrossFit and you are an average-to-advanced athlete, this workout most definitely comes down to the HSPUs. These are taxing in and of themselves, let alone after all the work that needs to be done prior to getting here during this workout. And, while most of us would like to just attack the workout full speed ahead from the get-go, it is much wiser to set up a nice strategy that allows you to break up the movements into small, flowing sets, with little rest in between, which undoubtedly will save you in the end when you need your energy the most!
 
As always, be sure to check the movement standards and how scoring works before you begin. This is especially true with the HSPUs, as there is a specific standard that must be applied to each individual athlete in the way of “The Line,” which is a very demanding standard to meet and allows for little wiggle room. Even the most elite athletes found themselves getting no-repped during 16.4 because they were unable to meet the standard of heels crossing over “The Line” during the HSPUs. Again, check the actual movement standards before beginning this WOD. In addition, you should note that contrary to last years standards, this year each athlete must BEGIN their set of HSPUs with heels over the line, then progress into their reps. Basically, you must start the movement completely stretched out while inverted, and also end that way. 
 
So, how do we warm up for this type of chipper? Health and Fitness consultant and owner of CrossFit PB, Bryan Boorstein offers his insight in the proper way to prepare for 17.4:  "The warm-up should consist of 'general warm-up' to get a light sweat going. Ideally, this should be done on the rower, since we will be rowing in the workout. As you progress through the rowing warm-up, begin to take note of your stroke rate, damper setting, “cals per hour” (noted mid screen when sets on “calories”) and pay attention to your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). It’s important to get your heart rate elevated by completing some intense “intervals” for 10-20 sec on the rower. This will prepare the body for the work ahead. When determining how fast to row your 55 cals, it is VITAL that you understand that the row is the third straight movement that hammers your posterior chain, and therefore, the fatigue will be exponentially greater than what you feel while warming up.

Next, you will need to ensure your hamstrings, hips, low back, glutes and shoulders are all mobilized. The usual approach of lacrosse ball, foam roller, band pull-aparts, inch-worms should work quite well. Having hamstrings that are flexible will help you keep proper position during the deadlifts, which could have a big impact on how you feel the rest of the workout."

As said above, pacing is also extremely important with this workout. Unless you are super strong and a deadlift machine, we suggest breaking up the deadlifts in sets of 5, with quick rest. You will be thankful you did when it’s time to row. That said, wall balls should also be strategically broken up into small-to-moderate sets. Some say 5 sets of eleven reps; while others argue a scheme of 20/20/15, and so on. This is where you need to know yourself and decide before hand what you will try and pull off here without taxing your body and lungs too much. Naturally, the row needs proper pacing too. You do NOT want to approach the HSPUs barely able to breath and with biceps on fire. This will make being inverted that much more miserable. And finally, unless you are a top Games or Regionals athlete, you will most likely have no choice but to break up the HSPUs into small sets of 5 or so, just to be able to keep moving. Additionally, you DO NOT want to start failing or getting repeated no-reps on these HSPUs or you will end up succumbing to the movement and crash and burn. Slow smooth, steady and fluent and you can knock out far more HSPUs than trying to get aggressive with them. 
 
Finally, remember to KEEP BREATHING and have fun! And hopefully you will crush your old score reaping the benefits of all the hard work you’ve been putting in over the last year! Good luck!
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