2014 CrossFit Open 14.2 Workout Strategy and Tips

14.2 is:

Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:

From 0:00-3:00
 2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats (95/65/45)
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups (chin over for masters men, jumping c2b for masters women)

From 3:00-6:00
2 rounds of:
12 overhead squats
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00
2 rounds of:
14 overhead squats
14 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds

For the second time, HQ has surprised me. First it was by starting 14.1 with double unders (a higher skill movement for novices) and now in 14.2 there is an escalating structure (first seen in 13.5 last year) and two fairly tough movements for novices and even intermediate CrossFitters. Of course, the advanced and elite will have no problem with these movements, so I imagine HQ is trying send a message of “WORK ON YOUR WEAKNESSES!”

Required are a pull up bar and a barbell with bumpers. Many of you are wondering what is legal for hand protection. Here is the official line from the CrossFit rulebook:

“Subject to CrossFit, Inc.’s prior approval, non-branded belts, non-tacky gloves, hand tape, neoprene joint sleeves and common fitness wear may be allowed during competition. However, no grip assistance or weight support may be derived from any device worn. In general, gear is allowed that improves safety and/or comfort, but does not confer advantage.”

What does this mean? Basically, you can use chalk or wear tape, gymnastics grip, or gloves, but not the gymnastic grips with the dowel to improve grip. (seen here)


For other gear, most people will wear weightlifting shoes with a raised heel to have better ankle position in the overhead squat. Some might be concerned about the extra weight during c2b pull ups, but in my opinion this is a non issue if it helps your OH squat positioning. If you’re flexible enough to wear sneakers and are used to OHS with them, then go ahead and do whatever is comfortable for you.

Many of you are concerned about the overhead squat. Maybe you’ve gotten away with partial range of motion in your CrossFit classes, but now there is a worldwide standard to abide by. Here is some mobility prep that should help with getting in that overhead position. Focusing on both thoracic and hip mobility will definitely help get in that bottom position. These are not reserved for just before the workout; do them a day or two before and you’ll feel a major difference!:

Note: this post is not really aimed at the firebreather who will string many of these reps. Rather, it’s for the novices/intermediates/slightly advanced crowd.

This workout is deceiving. There is a group of people who will get a score of 10 because they don’t have c2b, but even if OHS and c2b are not concerns, the amount of work will sneak up on you. Without looking at any real results, I imagine most people will not get past the 3rd round.

If you finished the required work in each 3 minute round, you can rest until the next round begins. Some people might think they should blow through and rest as long as possible, but I think this is the wrong decision. Keeping your HR down and lactic acid low is key. Moving at a steady pace and breaking things up is the way to go to maintain longevity. Of course, this will look vastly different across the spectrum of abilities, but here are some thoughts.

If the OHS is heavy or awkward for you, break it up in sets of 2-6. Either equal sets of 2, or a 6/4 split depending on your strength and comfortableness with the movement. Proficient people may squat snatch the weight to get moving quicker, but most should probably power snatch to ensure stability. You may also clean the bar up and put it on your back to get in a snatch grip and push press it up. Focus on a horizon point to maintain stability and watch your breathing to stay stable. Make sure you hit depth because a no-rep will be costly if this is a heavier weight. At the other end, be sure to open your hips, especially you firebreathers who will move quickly. Judges will need a good eye to spot both the top and bottom standards for the OHS. As a novice/intermediate, if you can eek out all 10, then do it. Dropping the bar here is more costly since it takes a good deal of energy to get it back up. If you can do a narrow grip or clean grip OHS, do it. It will save the shoulders by stacking the bar, wrists, and elbows over your shoulders.

For pull ups, unless you are a ninja, break these up, even from the start. You may even want to do singles as long as the bar isn’t far from your reach. The eccentric movement of lowering yourself down (either in a butterfly or a kip) can drain you quickly. As I stated before, better to take a bit more time and keep your body from redlining since the work will catch up to you in the round of 12 or 14. If you do sets of 2 or singles, just stay under the bar and get right back up. No walking around!

You may use any grip for the c2b and I find some people (especially women) do better with an underhand (chin up) grip. It allows them to use their biceps more and combined with a violent kip, can produce great c2b pull ups.

Throughout this workout, your shoulders and grip will feel it. Do what you can to mitigate these side effects and you’ll be able to move along. Be smart about pacing and don’t be a hero in the first round. This workout cannot be won in the first round, but it can definitely be lost.

Lastly, do whatever you can to finish the round you are in. It may be obvious to do your best, but if you need to sprint/redline to finish the round within the relevant 3 minute window, do it. The reason is that finishing allows you to move on to the next round and get more reps, even if it means resting 2 minutes and 30 seconds. In other words, the last rep of the round is worth SO much more than the ones prior to it. The last rep gets you the next round and therefore, 3 minutes to get more work done. You MAY want to repeat the workout if you think you can get into the next round.

What are some other strategies or tips you have for 14.2?


Observations and Predictions for the 2014 CrossFit Open (and more)

The 2014 CrossFit Open begins when the first workout (14.1) is announced this Thursday night. With that said, I thought I would offer some observations on past Open workouts and make some predictions for this season. These are strictly guesses as we never truly know what HQ will throw at us!

K.I.S.S. – (to a point)
Let’s start with the premise that the Open is designed to allow everyone to participate. By everyone, I mean your stay-at-home mom working out in her garage to the Navy Seal in Afghanistan to the elite CrossFit Games athlete with access to Eleiko bars and bumpers and 10,000 sq. ft. of space. Yes, the RESULT of the Open is a ranking of the top competitors to move on to Regionals and then the Games, but the PURPOSE of the Open is to foster an environment in which anyone can participate.

With that said, the movements in the Open will be common and the equipment will be minimal. As CFG Analysis has broken down, there have only been 14 movements in 3 years’ worth of the Open and 10 have been used each year. Equipment-wise, a barbell, some bumpers, rings, jump rope, box, and pull up bar are all that’s needed. This is not the time to introduce atlas stones, rowers, prowlers, and Airdynes. The K.I.S.S. method is the name of the game for the Open.

This is not to say that high skill or heavier movements won’t be in the Open. However, you probably will not see muscle ups or a snatch ladder until the 2nd or 3rd workout. Even when they do show up, they will be preceded by an accessible movement to allow the majority of people to post a score. For instance, Open workout 12.4 included 150 wall balls, 90 double unders, and then 30 muscle ups. Most of the world can do a number of wall balls, but then the higher skill double under and muscle up will separate the mediocre, advanced, and elite athletes. 

AMRAP has and will be the timing format for the Open. As a coach, I’m a big fan of AMRAPs because it’s neat and tidy: everyone starts and ends at the same time, but the amount of work done can differentiate performances. Last year’s 13.5 saw a slight variation of AMRAP where athletes had to do a certain amount of work in a time cap. If they made the time cap, they continued. I wouldn’t be surprised if they repeat something like this, but save it for the last workout again. 

The shortest and longest workouts have been 4 minutes and 20 minutes respectively. I don’t think they will go longer than 20 for logistical reasons (especially if people are uploading to Youtube), but we may see a workout that is in the 3 minute domain. The only problem with short workouts is that movement can become sloppy from the intensity, but it’s not like we haven’t seen sloppy performances across all time domains! I would expect the majority of workouts to be in the 7-14 minute range this year with two straying in either direction.

There are a few things we won’t see, based on equipment issues or movement issues.
-We’ll never see a rowing workout given that not everyone owns an erg.
-We also will never see a kettlebell workout if AJ Moore has anything to say about it.
-Similarly, although 11.2 had hand release push ups in it, I don’t think we’ll ever see push ups in an Open workout again. There simply is too much snaking and bending of the rules (pun absolutely intended).
-And although I would love to see HSPU’s in the Open, I think it’s just too hard to judge considering some people will be videotaping and feet will be coming off the wall at all different points. The angles just don’t seem to work, but maybe HQ will prove me wrong.
-REALLY heavy weights: while it would be fun, a deadlift ladder won’t happen, mostly because of logistics. Not everyone has 500# or more of weights and we would definitely need that for a deadlift ladder.

Burpees: They’re simple, require no equipment, and have been in the Open every year.
Snatches: We’ll see some variation, but not sure if they will be light a la 11.1 (75#) or a ladder a la 12.2 or 13.1. Either way, every year should be a wake up call to work on the snatch! Since they have done a heavy snatch ladder for the past two years, I think they will be more CJ or thruster focused this year with lighter snatches in the mix.
Squatting movements: wall balls, squat cleans, front squats, overhead squats. We will see a bunch of these, but not necessarily all. We’ve never had an air squat in the Open and I don’t expect it to be in this year (they didn’t even appear until the 5th CF Games in 2011!)
Overhead pressing: most likely a shoulder to overhead, allowing for people to shoulder press, push press, push jerk, or split jerk a weight.
Pull ups: no explanation needed.
Midline test: this will most likely come in the form of knees to elbows or toes to bar. GHD’s are rare outside of a CF box and sit ups are harder to judge standards (do we touch the toes, the ground, what if someone has long arms, etc)
-double unders: these have also been in every Open and at the Games level we may see some triple unders (mainsite has programmed it)
Muscle ups: same as above. Addenum:  I forgot to put the bar muscle up, but I think there’s a good possibility to see it in the Open. Why? 1. It’s a movement we’ve seen programmed on mainsite 2. It’s fairly easy to judge (get over the bar and get shoulders in front of pull up bar with extended arms) 3. It’s a variation of the ring muscle up. 4. It will expose weaknesses.
Box jumps: I didn’t necessarily like the fact that step ups were allowed, but they did prove to be more efficient. We’ll see some sort of “get on top of the box” movement. Another thought is that we’ll see a “jump on and over box”, perhaps paired with a burpee. If you thought 7 minutes of burpees were awful, how about 7 minutes of burpee box jump overs?

If they Open is supposed to be simple and straightforward, the Regionals and Games are where HQ can have their creative fun. We have seen the weights get heavier and heavier every year (The 2007 Games had a “heavy” 135# push jerk for reps whereas the 2013 Games had 405# deadlifts for reps), but I think we are going to see a focus on high skilled gymnastics and odd objects. Free standing handstand push ups and/or strict HSPU’s instead of relying on the kip, possibly back flips (although I don’t think so), and maybe even America Ninja Warrior-style stuff like rope traverses may be in the mix. Maybe some strong man stuff like atlas stones over walls or odd objects like fire hydrants (have you ever tried to lift one of those? Crazy hard since all of the weight is in the cap) Since the Winter Olympics also just ended, I think it would be fun (and definitely varied) to have some winter sports mixed in: ice skating, skiing, etc. The one thing we have not seen in a CrossFit-endorsed event is bench press, so I’m thinking we will see some sort of bench workout: maybe not a 1RM, but an NFL combine including 225# bench for reps?? Or maybe a heavy bench combined with a bodyweight movement like burpees?

In the spirit of the Open, 14.1 should be a workout that is accessible to the most amount of people. Last year surprised me when they threw in a snatch ladder first thing, but the couplet format just works. For this year, I think 14.1 will be an AMRAP for 10 minutes of 20 burpees and 15 thrusters (or squat clean to overhead), 100#/65#.

What do you think 14.1 will be?? How about other workouts we will see, or thoughts on Regionals/Games?

see also: CrossFit Open: Bringing Out the Best (and Worst)

Bar Muscle Up Tip

Today’s workout at CrossFit King of Prussia included bar muscle ups. The movement involves a dynamic pull up to get yourself up on top of the bar and then doing a dip to reach full extension of the elbows. It’s a movement that requires a great deal of upper body strength, control, technique, and timing.

One of our members was having difficulty with it and he really shouldn’t have been. Oleg has strong upper body strength and “easy” chest to bar pull ups. I mentioned that because the bar muscle up requires your center of gravity to be higher, you need a delay in pulling your body TO the bar. In other words, keep your arms extended for a fraction of a second longer on the way up in order to increase that radius around the bar. By doing so, you can move from chest to bar pull ups to almost belly button to bar pull ups which is needed for the bar muscle up. (Note: a progression for this would be to kip violently while keeping your arms completely straight, sending you up, but away from the bar where the radius is your arm length connected to the bar)

Sure enough, instead of immediately pulling his chest to the bar, Oleg kept his arms extended just a bit longer and circled up and OVER the bar, making it look like he had been doing bar muscle ups his whole life. In fact, he got up so easily he almost landed in a fully extended position (not needing the dip), surprised himself, and immediately dropped down in disbelief. I got the next one on camera.

Here is a screenshot of just how high he gets. He is basically doing a hip to bar pull up and then rotates around the bar.

Oleg bar muscle up screenshot

If this is beyond your strength and you don’t even have a bodyweight pull up, read this: CrossFit and the Need for Strict Pull Ups

Do you have any other tips on the bar muscle up?