CrossFit Open WOD 14.3 – Tips and Suggestions

20140209-215525.jpgSo finally the heaviest weights ever come out! This is going to jack your back and it is going to test your mental fortitude. This is one that you don’t want to have to do again. Please be careful out there!

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Some previous advice can be found here…

Deadlifts

Box Jumps

Workout 14.3 – Games.CrossFit.Com

8 minute AMRAP:
10 deadlifts, 135 / 95 lb. (61.4/43.2kg)
15 box jumps, 24 / 20 inch
15 deadlifts, 185 / 135 lb. (84.1/61.4kg)
15 box jumps, 24 / 20 inch
20 deadlifts, 225 / 155 lb. (102.3/70.5kg)
15 box jumps, 24 / 20 inch
25 deadlifts, 275 / 185 lb. (125/84.1kg)
15 box jumps, 24 / 20 inch
30 deadlifts, 315 / 205 lb. (143.2/93.2kg)
15 box jumps, 24 / 20 inch
35 deadlifts, 365 / 225 lb. (165.9/102.3kg)
15 box jumps, 24 / 20 inch

O.M.G. I love CrossFit but I really hope and pray that you all take it easy out there. This is where back injuries can occur.

You really have to balance out whether the extra few reps will be worth it if you hold on and push through with bad form. It can seriously affect your performance…Stacey Tovar said she did deadlifts and burpees on Monday (3 days earlier) and it caught up with her today…that is instructive because it means that any re-attempt you make may not make a big difference.

IMG_9314Warm Up – Advice For Everyone:

I am a fan of doing the movement. I am not an expert on energy systems but I figure that if you do some moderate exercise for 12-15mins before the WOD, you will have a nice combination of the 3 systems running for you. Go in hard and fast and underdone and you will probably hit a wall that will be hard to recover from.

Suggested movements:

  1. Bear crawls – yes, I love these as a great way to warm up. This time, I want you to try to keep your back as straight as possible – this will help the dissociation pattern for your shoulders and hips from your trunk.
  2. Inch Worms – Yes, I love these too! I want you to focus on bending from the hips in particular while keeping your back straight – this is to really make that hip flexion pattern as mobile as possible. Because arms won’t bee needed above your head, there is no need to stretch these out as far as possible like last week’s advice.
  3. Romanian Deadlifts and Good Mornings – from the high hang position, bend from the hips and load the posterior leg and back muscles (I hate the term “posterior chain”!)
  4. Step ups into Box Jumps – start low and progress from step ups into singles into rebounding box jumps
    1. If you feel the need stretch and roll out your calves and achilles, do it when you are warm and early on in your warm up.
    2. I would rather you did some nice, deep squats to warm up your Achilles
    3. Stretching and bashing your Achilles just before plyometric exercises can increase your risk of injury because of the possible micro trauma that you may cause…fine at the end of a WOD but not before it!!
  5. Deadlifts – have a go each each load you think you will get to. I will be hoping to get to the round of 225lbs

rogue-bumpersKnow Your Weights – Advice for Everyone:

  1. Work out what you will be doing for each set.
  2. If you won’t be using collars, you will have to have at least the minimum weight on the bar – my collars weigh 0.4kg. I don’t think you will need collars until after the 102kg round. By then, you will be dropping the bar a lot and the plates will want to move more.
  3. I noticed in the announcement, the girls had 15kg bars and the 2.5kg plates on the inside so if you want the smaller bar, put 2.5kg plates on the inside and work from the 20kg bar calcs.
  4. For your plates, rest them on some small change plates so you can easily pick them up (Thanks Dave Fong for that tip!)
  5. Here is a suggestion for what to do in metric…for the guys first
    • Start with a 20kg bar, 2 x 20kg and 2 x 0.5kg plates (10 reps @61kg) – 25 total reps
    • Take 2 x 0.5kg plates off, add 2 x 10kg and 2 x 2.5kg plates (15reps @85kg or 4x1kg plates for 84kg) – 55 total reps
    • Take 2 x 2.5kg plates off and add 2 x 10kg and 2 x 1.25kg plates (20reps @102.5kg) – 90 total reps
    • Take 2 x 1.25kg plates off and add 2 x 10kg and 2 x 2.5kg plates (25reps @125kg) – 130 total reps
    • Take 2 x 2.5kg plates off and add 2 x 10kg and 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.25kg plates (30reps @143kg) – 175 total reps
    • Take 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.25kg plates and add 2 x 10kg and 2 x 0.5kg plates (35reps @166kg) – 225 total reps
  • For the Girls…
    • Start with 20kg bar or 15kg bar with 2 x 2.5kg plates, 2 x 10kg and 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.5kg plates (10reps @43kg)
    • Take 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.5kg plates off, add 2 x 10kg and 2 x 0.5kg plates on (15 reps @61kg)
    • Take 2 x 0.5kg plates off, add 2 x 5kg plates (20reps @70kg)
    • Add 2 x 5kg and 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.75kg plates (25reps @84kg)
    • Take 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.75kg plates off, add 2 x 5kg and 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.25kg plates (30reps @93kg)
    • Take 2 x 1.25kg and 2 x 0.25kg plates off, add 2 x 5kg and 2 x 0.5kg plates on (35reps @ 102kg)
  • I sincerely hope people don’t short-change the weights – it is complicated but it is what it is…if this is too fiddly, just work on the higher weight rounded to the nearest 2.5kg (62.5, 85, 102.5, 125, 145, 167.5kg for guys and 45, 62.5, 70, 85, 95, 102.5kg for girls)

The Workout – Advice for the “Common Athlete” (and for Elite Athletes to Read)

DSC_0952Deadlifts:

  • These are going to get spicy…it will be your back that jacks up in this workout – read some of my deadlift tips here
  • Focus on pivoting from your hips – right from the start, if you can bend from your hips on the way down from the deadlift, you will be in a better position to lift
  • Ride that bar down, don’t try to control it too much
    • What I mean is that you control the bar where it goes, try not to slow it down.
    • In the touch-and-go reps, don’t over-extend the back – this is one of the main causes of “jacked backs”. Keep your back straight…it doesn’t have to look like a banana
    • Conversely (pun TOTALLY intended), don’t let your back round like Stacey Tovar’s did. You have to keep the back straight if you don’t want your back to blow up
  • Take the time to set your back. You aren’t trying to make regionals! Hurting your back will affect the rest of your Open so take care of it. If you do things right, you will be gassed anyway.
  • Consider breaking up the deadlifts into manageable sets.
    • It is far better to do 3 sets of 5 and move straight into the box jumps than to ram out 15reps but waste time catching your breath
    • When done right, you can put the bar down and resume your reps in 5 secs
    • It will be the eccentric (lowering) phase of the deadlifts that will tire your back out – it is better to delay the point at which your back gives up and rounds from fatigue.
  • When your back gets to the point of fatigue, be safe!
    • Take some time to get some rest,
    • Set your back straight each time, do singles and drop the bar.
    • Squat lower to use your legs more.
  • Grip – make sure you know how to hook grip, normal grip and switch grip – you may need all 3 types! (Thanks Steve Bray)
  • If you have a bar jack, it may be helpful, otherwise rolling the weights onto a small change plate will help (Thanks Ben)

Box-jumps-9.26Box Jumps:

  • This is your “rest” period – It is constant and consistent
  • If you have weak deadlifts, you have 2 options
    • Get the box jumps done fast to have more time to deadlift the loads
    • Step up on the box jumps to preserve your legs
  • I will be trying to jump up and step down where I can and then move to step ups – make sure both feet make it onto the box and floor to satisfy the rule
  • Read my Box Jump tips – in particular, do a 1/4 squat to lower your centre of gravity
  • Really try to land your box jumps in the “power” position like a power clean – keep your back straight to ensure your are efficient

The Workout – For Elite Athletes

  • Read the above points – some may actually be pertinent to you!
  • You will have the engine to go unbroken for a long time…it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that your back will have the endurance necessary
  • Once you get tired but not exhausted (the point of failure), go for doubles and triples. It is better to keep moving consistently
  • Get those box jumps done. It is your rest time but also the time to make up some reps if your deadlifts are a weaker point
  • Remember to keep the back straight but don’t jam your ribs down into your back pockets! If you fire those erector spinae muscles up too hard, it will jack your back up really fast. Stay calm and relaxed and DO NOT overcook the straight back thing…don’t let it round either. Just do what is necessary

DSC_1025Recovery:

This is THE critical aspect of this workout. You have survived the WOD, your back is TIRED…I will guarantee it. You will need some recovery.

  • Hydrate according to thirst. You will need to flush the lactic acid from your system.
  • Recover with walking/rowing/cycling – ease that heart rate down and keep the blood flowing
  • Areas to roll out and Lacrosse/Spikey Ball will be obviously your calves and back. But key areas most people will miss will be
    1. Get the Serratus Anterior!

      Get the Serratus Anterior!

      Ribs – these are critical. In trying to lift those heavy weights multiple times, the muscles of your back will get jacked up. What people forget is that they attach to your ribs! QL, Erector Spinae, Obliques, Serratus Posterior Inferior, and the intercostals will all need to be attended to.

    2. Pec Minor and Serratus Anterior– not only do these attach to ribs 3-5, they form an important link for your shoulder stability in your deadlifts. They will dominate the  posterior shoulder muscles and will need to be encouraged to release so the posterior shoulder muscles can get some rest
    3. Deep Hip External Rotators – These are the muscles which help keep your knees tracking in line. A lot of people do Pigeon-style exercises to increase the external rotation of the hips but you will need more INTERNAL rotation. more Internal Rotation will help the hip ball sit in the socket deeper. This will help your hip flexors relax
    4. Abdominals – these will try to help your ailing back. Get a kettlebell handle into your abs and carefully increase your spinal extension
  • Wear long compression garments soon after the workout. I have always been a fan of the Skins brand of compression because of the gradient compression they have – it feels better than the usual compression. These will help promote the circulation of blood and removal of waste products, especially when combined with light exercise like walking, rowing, cycling and swimming.
  • Keep moving for the next few days. Your CNS will have taken a battering – note how it affected Stacey Tovar in the announcement – so just beware of heavy dynamic movements in the next few days.
  • The best recovery is active recovery – the worst thing you can do is sit on your bum the day after
  • Some swear by ice baths and massage – if they have helped in the past, then try them. For me, compression and movement have always helped the most. If you can, a nice ocean swim/wade/walk is also nice.

Other Issues:

  1. Shoes – whatever you want to wear. Personally, I don’t lifting shoes will be fun to box jump in…
  2. Belt – If you have one, use it. Like chalk, put it on at the start so you aren’t fiddling around with it.
  3. Shirts – On or Off at the start. Don’t waste time taking gear on or off!
  4. Chalk – Only if you have really sweaty hands. I sweat A LOT and I don’t need chalk and I can deadlift 180kg. Put it on at the start if you really need to. Remember that chalking the bar will only make it more slippery because the knurling will be clogged with chalk! Also, sweat + chalk = slippery goop. There is so much chalk on our equipment that I rarely have to chalk
  5. Bar Jack – I think it will be helpful once it gets heavy…if you have one, use one, otherwise a fractional plate will be handy to have
  6. Pace – smooth is fast…fast is smooth. Keep moving. If you go out too hard, you can get your heart rate too high and hit the wall fast. Good technique will help as well
  7. Back Care – If you have a tired back, an injured back or a history of disc injuries, be very very careful with this one. It is only a workout…Now is NOT the time to push it. Not this workout.

Have I missed anything? I would love to field your questions and hear your thoughts below.

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About Antony Lo
Antony Lo is an APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist based in Sydney. His website is www.MyPhysios.com.au. He specializes in the management, treatment and prevention of pain and dysfunction, particularly of the pelvis and ribcage. His sub-specialties include Crossfit and Exercise Performance Optimization, Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Care and difficult cases that have failed treatment elsewhere.

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