Crossfit Open 2017 – 17.1

So 17.1 has now been and (almost, at time of writing) gone. Before the announcement, it was pretty clear that dumbells were making an appearance for the first time in the Open this year, but for them to appear in the first workout probably means that we haven’t seen the last of them, I’m certain we’ll see some more dumbell work in 17.4.

The workout itself was an interesting mixture of movements; that whilst on paper looked like it was going to be a punishing workout, it was so much worse once in the thick of it. From a programming point of view, the work is very much full body, but with most of the work aimed at your hips and quads. For the snatches (if you aren’t blowing out your lower back anyway), the movement pivots around the opening of the hips to get the work done. The same is true for the burpees and the box jumps. Hitting the burpee box overs after the set of 30 snatches, my legs ceased firing. My lungs were still there, but trying to get my legs to move at the speed I wanted just was not happening.

It is worth noting that I have gone Scaled again this year. Although I could have achieved a score in 17.1 at Rx, I know that movements such as muscle ups and handstand press ups are on their way, all movements I currently do not have. So although I might be able to get a score on every workout (so long as they don’t start with those movements like 15.3 and 15.4), I won’t be getting a good workout in, nor would I be competitive with the Rx guys at my gym. I think it’s the right thing for me to do this year, and attempting to struggle through Rx would only be for my ego.

My strategy for 17.1 was fairly simple. I wanted to maintain the same pace from the start, right the way through to the end. The weight on the dumbell is relatively light for me (I’ve hit a few comps over the start of the year, where there were dumbell snatches at this same weight), so going unbroken was the aim. As for the burpees and box step ups, the plan was to step up out of the burpees to save my quads somewhat, and then step on to the box as far over as possible, and then turn whilst still on the box. This worked pretty well for the first 3 sets of burpee box step overs, but by the 4th and 5th set, my legs were in pieces.

I set out pretty quick as I was in the same heat as one of my training partners. I got an early lead by getting onto the burpees first, but by the time we cleared our way through all 15, we were then level. I hit the next set of snatches hard again and gained even more ground than the first set. After the next set of burpees I was still ahead, and only extended the lead after every set of snatches. Keeping check on my heart rate was actually one of the tougher parts of this workout. After smashing through the burpees, my heart rate would spike. I managed this by swapping hands on the dumbell on the floor, rather than swapping whilst bringing it down. Once my HR was into a more comfortable range, I then swapped back to switching hands on the dumbell on the way down between reps, rather than on the floor. Hanging on for the set of 50 to go unbroken was brutal, but the end was in sight and I couldn’t afford to lose time resting. I finished far quicker than I expected in 13:13.

After seeing the announcement of the workout, this was always going to be a case of damage limitation. I am now hoping for something a little bit heavier and less body weight stuff. Given that last year also started with a 20 minute workout that was mainly an engine test, it’s probably likely that we’ll also see the second week bringing something heavier. The second week has also been a good choice for a workout repeat. Given this, I think it’s likely that we will see a repeat of 15.1 or 16.2. There was a bit of controversy surrounding certain Teams with 15.1 and 15.1a, so I don’t think we’ll see a repeat, or a 1 rep max Olympic lift. I think however that a repeat of 16.2 is far more likely. It also happens that I really liked the structure of 16.2, and I’d love to have another go at it in the Open atmosphere. I wasn’t able to finish it last year as the final weight was 83kg, but my 1 rep max squat clean at the time was 80kg. It’s one movement that I’ve been working on lately, so I’m really hopeful for a repeat.

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