2014 CrossFit Open Workout 14.5 Strategies and Tips

2014 CrossFit Open Workout 14.5 is:

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
95/65-lb. thrusters
Bar facing burpees

Thrusters and burpees were all the talk in all CrossFit circles, but very few people predicted a task priority workout. Another first in the history of the Open, this workout is for time – no clock saving you from doing another rep. Let’s talk about gear, prep work, and tips for 14.5.

Knee sleeves like Rehbands will help you bounce out of the hole in your thruster, plus provide a nice cushion for your knees on the burpees. Weightlifting shoes will help your bottom position in the thruster and shouldn’t be a question unless you have Froning-like dorsiflexion.

Some people will want to wear wrist wraps if you’re used to your wrists hurting in a front rack position. Wraps may hinder mobility though, so use them wisely.

Row if you can (e.g. 1k @ 60%, 500m @ 75%, 250m @ 85%, 250m @ 90%), or work squats in your warm up. Work thoracic mobility to have a comfortable overhead position for the thruster. Get those wrists mobile and do some front squats so you don’t complain in the middle of the workout. Grab a kettlebell and do some goblet squats to work your bottom squat position. You don’t want immobility to get in the way of your workout. Work up to a medium-heavyish thruster so 95 or 65 lbs. seems light when you give it a go. Be warm before you start because you’re definitely going to GET warm during it.


hanging out with Annie


getting coached by Annie on….THRUSTERS

Rich Froning and Sam Briggs did this workout in 8:26 and 8:31, respectively. You and I are NOT going to do that, so we need to think of this workout in terms of a 15-20 minute workout.

Break It Up – If you watched the face off among the 5 champions (Froning, Khalipa, Holmberg, Briggs, and Thorisdottir) you noticed that they pretty went unbroken in their thrusters. This is not the strategy for mortals. In training and daily workouts, we want you to go hard and push that lactic threshold. In terms of competition like 14.5, you need to hold back from that redline and break reps up so you can keep moving. So whether that’s three sets of seven for the 21’s or eleven and ten, break the thrusters up.

Watch Your Rack – Get the bar on your shoulders in the front rack position and use your body to carry the bar down in the bottom of the squat and throw it off on the way up. Holding it with your hands will not only put a lot of strain on your wrists, but it also makes you use your arm muscles to hold the weight through the full range of motion. When you are in a front rack position, you don’t need to be in a full front squat position with triceps parallel to the floor, but if you can them at a 45 degree angle, it’s probably your best compromise.

Relax on the Burpees – this might seem like a contradiction, but since we don’t need to jump and clap with arms overhead, try to relax your arms while your jumping over the bar. Even jump the minimal height necessary to get over the bar. Don’t waste energy jumping from 4 feet away and 3 feet high when you can step up to the bar and hop the 9 inches or so required. Also, DO NOT speed through the burpees unless it’s your last 6 or 3. Going slightly faster on burpees only to have to rest 10-30 seconds on the bar is not worth it.

Jump Your Feet Out – Many people doing burpees tend to jump their feet in between their hands, but this makes you ball up in a very compressed position. If you can jump your feet outside of your hands, you’ll notice that you’re less compressed and use less energy to stand up, especially valuable quad strength. At some point you may need to walk your feet in due to fatigue and that’s fine. Just keep moving.

Breathe – while obvious, think about take a breath in when you descend into your front squat and then exhaling while the bar is on the way up overhead. This will keep you breathing and possibly allow you to keep a rhythm doing thrusters. On burpees, continuous breathing is a must and like I said before, try to relax and get your heart rate down from those dang thrusters.

Squat Clean the Bar – you are allowed to squat clean the first rep into your thruster, so do it. If 95/65 is a heavy weight for you, then of course power clean it and then front squat it (assuming that your squat clean form is less than perfect compared to power clean)

Communicate with Your Judge – Many everyday CrossFitters still have trouble finding the right depth in a squat, so make sure you and your judge are on the same page in terms of what counts and what doesn’t. For burpees, make sure you know what number you’re on because doing extra reps of either is costly for both time and energy.

Have Fun! – This is the last workout of the 2014 Open season so have fun! Get a cheering squad or your favorite fellow athletes to go in the same heat as you. Stay at your gym to socialize and cheer others on. Since this for time, people will be grinding reps out and need all the support they can get!

If I find other useful videos, especially from Athlete Cell, Outlaw Way, Carl Paoli, etc. then I’ll post them here at a later date. For now, go get a lax ball and mobilize!

Any tips for 14.5?



CrossFit Regionals Statistics: Froning Dominates

Here’s some quick stats from The Naked Exerciser on the CrossFit Regionals. He used the website CrossFit Regionals Showdown that compares all Regionals athletes together. The last two stats from Naked Exerciser blew my mind: 

  • 73,153 men input a score for 13.1, 753 men started Regionals Event 1, 673 started Event 7, and 47 qualified.  0.0006% of all Open men’s competitors qualified for the Games.
  • 46,516 women input a score for 13.1, 643 women started Regionals Event 1, 512 started Event 7, and 45 will be sent to the Games (44 qualifiers and 1 invitation).  0.0096% of all Open women’s competitors qualified for the Games.

Those percentages really put a scope on how big CrossFit has become and how truly “elite” these guys and gals are. I don’t care that probably hundreds of people signed up for the Open and didn’t even fully participate; this is still a legit feat to get to Regionals and the Games!  When you see some OG’s like Chris Speal, Nate Schrader, Spencer Hendel, and Pat Barber not make it to the Games, plus others who went team like Tommy Hackenbruck, Jeremy Thiel, Carey Kepler, etc., then you KNOW it’s gotten crazy competitive. Do I think these athletes have gotten worse? No way. I bet they could beat their 2007-2009 selves hands down. They are stronger, faster, and more agile. But within a field of 120,000 people, there are simply going to be more outstanding athletes. 

One thing that the Naked Exerciser didn’t point out is how absolutely dominant Rich Froning is. He beat all other Regional competitors by 51 points. (second place was Jason Khalipa) Just imagine a huge arena with 753 male athletes competing at “Regionals.”  Rich beats 752 men in 3 of the workouts. He gets 2nd in another and 4th in another. His worst performance would have been 12th. I’d like to believe anything can happen at the Games, but Rich Froning Jr. is simply dominating. 

Arguably more impressive than Froning? Team Hacks Pack UTE. Out of 485 teams, they placed first in 5 workouts, 2nd in one, and 5th in the other. They led the second place team in the world (CF Fort Vancouver) by 62 points! 

Like I said, anything can happen at the Games. It’s harder to tell with the women right now, but who knows what Castro has in store for everyone.  

What are your thoughts on the Regionals performances?