1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Reps For Time of:
Dumbbell Squats – 50/35 lbs.
Bar Facing Burpees
Time Cap: 12mins to complete 18.2 and 18.2A
Well, dumbbells again. This workout feels like the ghost of CrossFit past coming back to haunt the new-age Sport of Fitness. Among the original tenets of CrossFit during the formative days, Coach Glassman repeatedly expressed his love for dumbbells because of their propensity for creative usage. Some advice he would give early adopters would be “invest in dumbbells before kettlebells” and if you can’t afford a barbell, try doing Fran with a pair of 45’s… (trust me, it’s worse).
This workout essentially hits on every aspect of the spectrum that 18.1 did not. 18.2 is a dead- glycolytic- sprint to the end, and 18.2A affords you the chance to load it up and display some downright animalistic strength (should you have the capacity to do so). If 18.1 was the CrossFit version of the 5k, this is the CrossFit version of “Run 1 mile as fast as you can, then try to out-lift everyone who outran you”. Poetic.
While the movements may seem simple, performing them with efficiency will be the major key to crushing this one.
Dumbbell Front Squats
- I Heard You Like Front Racks… – I honestly don’t think there is a single MOST efficient place to rack the DB’s. Keeping your hands around the center of the bells will give you the most control, and will allow you to place them down exactly where you want to, which will save you seconds during the next transition out of the burpees. This will require a good front rack position, and the shoulder “shape” to comfortably let the ends rest on your deltoids or traps. HOWEVER, if it is a struggle for you to keep a grip on them, consider just resting them over your shoulders like two sandbags. The only rule is that your hands must remain in contact with the dumbbell at all times during the squats. You do not have to grip the dumbbell during the squats.
- Down Fast, Up Fast – Don’t waste any time getting down to below parallel. If you are a good squatter, or a seasoned Olympic-style weightlifter, you will most likely benefit from controlled “dropping” and “bouncing” out of the bottom. The eccentric (lowering) part of this movement will be responsible for blowing your quads up, so try to minimize that as much as possible.
- Wear Lifting Shoes, if you Always Wear Lifting Shoes – If you haven’t done a squat session or weightlifting session in recent memory without wearing a pair of high-heeled weightlifting shoes, this probably is not the time to change that. Most Reebok “lifters” have a fairly flexible fore-foot of the shoe, which really does not impede burpees at all. In other words: if you squat and clean better in weightlifting shoes, wear them in this workout. If it doesn’t really matter to you, then don’t worry about it. Squat efficiency will save your legs and heart rate during this workout, so do what you feel most comfortable with. Personally, I am better at pulling than squatting, so I will use my lifting shoes to maximize my efficiency with squatting the dumbbells, especially in the later rounds. It really isn’t going to take much away from my burpees, and I will already be wearing my favorite shoes to clean in.
- Keep Those Feet Together – If you are doing this workout as Rx’d, you need to focus on keeping the feet together during the sprawl and rebound. CrossFit made it very clear this year that “walk-out” and “step-up” burpees are no longer allowed as a viable Rx’d option. This goes into my second point…
- No Missed Reps – A No Rep on the burpee will not only cost you an extra 2-5 seconds, it will also cost you a significant increase in heart rate, overall fatigue, and mental breakdown at the time you need it the least. Pay close attention to the movement standards on the website, and it will be WELL worth it to take them a half-second slower just to make sure you get every rep right the first time. (Vellner and Ohlsen were tied in the final round, then Vellner got no-repped on 1-2 burpees. Noah beat him by 15 seconds, 6% of the entire workout time.)
- Stay Tight Through the Trunk – It’s only 55 burpees total. Never more than 10 at a time. This means that it is NOT a long, slow, march to the finish. It is a springy, explosive, sprint to the end of the set. If you are going to rest, rest BETWEEN burpees. Don’t waste your time or energy trying to make the burpee itself slower. You will expend MORE energy doing the drop-down, worm-up type of burpee than you will if you make every one crisp. The beauty of this workout is that you can always walk up to the bar and jump over, but no matter where you start the burpee, you should try to get back on your feet as soon as possible. The best example I could find of this on YouTube is this clip of Mat Fraser:
In the video, you’ll notice that Mat does several very efficient things:
- He drops to the ground quickly, using his arms to absorb just enough force to land.
- His back doesn’t round or arch on the way up (no “worming” before he kicks his feet)
- Hips come up BEFORE his shoulders, or at least at the same rate.
Now, I’m not saying you have to do reps as quickly as Fraser. That would be ridiculous, and a poor strategy for us mortals. But you should try to get down to the ground and back up as fast as possible, THEN take a breath, step forward if needed, and jump over the bar with both feet. Rest happens between movements, not during them.
- Do What You Can – Unfortunately, if you are reading this post with the goal of learning for technique tips on how to do your first 1RM Clean, this isn’t the time or the place to safely learn that movement. What I will recommend, however, is the style of clean that suits you best.
- Power vs Full (aka caught below parallel) – “Athletes don’t rise to the occasion, they fall to the level of their preparation.” At the end of 18.2, I will guarantee your quads will be on fire, along with the rest of your perceivable body. We just saw Noah get pinned with a weight that was about 80-85% of his 1RM. And he is a freak. That is a testament to how exhausting the first part of this workout will be on the legs. If you are hoping to make it to Regionals, you already know that you will most likely have to put together a very good FULL Clean in order to score something respectable.
If you are simply trying to beat all of your friends and earn bragging rights for an extra 5 days, you have a couple different options:
- If your max Power Clean is >85% of your Full Clean, you should probably plan on ripping out a couple of good Power Cleans for your 18.2A Score. Your quads will be fatigued, and you should go with the movement that is most efficient FOR YOU. For Example: If your max Power Clean is 250, and your max Full Clean is 265, I wouldn’t worry about trying to catch your reps below parallel. Adrenaline will be your only saving Grace (pun intended) at this stage in the workout, and you shouldn’t be expecting a miracle of amazing technique during the full lift to save you. Warm up with the power clean, get your mind set on power cleaning when under fatigue, and be ready to pull the bar like there is no tomorrow.
- If you are a REALLY good weightlifter, and you rely on pulling yourself under the bar to catch the weight, then the Full Clean is the way to go. Rely on your technique, and pull yourself under the bar as fast as possible. Just be prepared to have very little juice left in the tank to stand it up, so make it flawless.
- Time It Right, and Know Who You Are – This workout separates people into 2 different categories: Good at 18.2, or Good at 18.2A. You should plan to maximize your score in ONE of these workouts. Don’t try to go slow at 18.2 just to get a mediocre Clean at the end. On the Flip Side, don’t try to set 18.2 on fire if you know you won’t have anything in the tank to even hit 50% of your 1RM clean. (See below for more Pacing Tips)
For Those Who Love Seeing Burpees Come up in a Workout:
- Set It on Fire – Come out hot on 18.2, and don’t let up. Be confident that your burpees are your strong suit, and know that the dumbbells are not REALLY that heavy. During the squats, get the DBs racked, and just move. Hit the standards on every rep, and KEEP moving until all the reps are done. Then, remember, this is your time to shine. As Patrick said, you CAN do the burpees faster, you just don’t want to.
- Rest, then Pull – You should have at least 1-2 minutes of good, quality rest between the two pieces, so take your time, get your mind right, and hit quality reps. Your opening weight should be about 65-70% of your TRUE 1RM, and you will have about 3-5 attempts to make some small jumps up to your best possible score on 18.2A. Both Vellner and Ohlsen opened at 63% of their max Clean and Jerk (as posted on their profiles). And they finished with 92% and 88%, respectively. They took some big jumps as far as total weight goes, but the percentages should be a pretty good template for what most people should attempt during this workout
For those “Heavy Singles, ErryDay” Folks:
- Fly Through the Squats – This is the equivalent of a 115lb barbell Front Squat for the same rep scheme. Not that bad, so take advantage of it. Rack them, and knock out the reps like they are air squats.
- Bare Minimum Over The Bar – If you did 1 burpee every 5 seconds, that would add up to 5 total minutes of work. If you need to, set a metronome during the warmup to practice that pace. When you’re fresh, that is a slow burpee pace. You should be aiming to complete 18.2 in 10 mins, which gives you 2 minutes of time to post that beast-mode strength on the leaderboard. This is achievable, as long as you keep your eye on the prize and don’t let that negative self-talk creep in during rounds 7-10. Each burpee should be followed by a deep breath, step up to the bar, hop over, calmly turn, and repeat. (Go back and look at Movement Tips on the burpee to remind yourself how to do them efficiently.)
- 5-10min Easy Assault Bike (or Jog, or Rower, if you still don’t have a bike)
- Bike Intervals:
3 Rounds: 15sec Sprint, 45sec Moderate Intensity. Active Rest 2mins after completion.
2 Rounds: 30sec Sprint, 90sec Moderate Intensity. Active Rest 2mins after completion.
**During the Active Rest, do any stretching or foam rolling that you specifically need
Dynamic Movement Prep:
- 1min Deep Squat Hold – get into a deep squat, focus on getting your back upright, and driving your knees out to exaggerate the demands of the squat. Hold each rep for 15-20 seconds, stand up, and repeat. Use a rig or band around hips for support if needed.
- Deficit Pushups – 10 reps. Get your hands set up on top of 25-45lb plates, laid flat of course. Then do slow, controlled pushups with a nice pause at the bottom.
- Ab-Rollouts or GHD Sit-ups (your preference) – 10 reps. Your anterior chain (“core”) will need to be turned on to make the burpees as efficient as possible.
Specific Workout Prep:
Clean – Work up to a heavy Single, either Power or Full. Your quads should already be warm and you should have an idea of how that will affect your lifting. NO MISSED LIFTS. The minute it turns into a struggle, that is where you stop. Take 75-80% of that lift, depending on which part of the workout you are prioritizing, and plan to open with that. There should be a 0% possibility that you miss your opening lift on 18.2A.
5 DB Squats – Lighter than you will use in the workout
5 Bar Facing Burpees – Focus on hitting EVERY standard, and making the burpee crisp
3 Rounds For Time:
4 DB Squats – Workout Weight
4 Bar Facing Burpees
**Focus on Transitions during these two warmup pieces. Set the DBs down fast, but calmly. Don’t waste valuable time chasing down rogue dumbbells across the gym.**
At this point, you should have a good idea of how the movements will play off each other, and how you will feel when it hits the fan. Get your mind right, move around, but don’t get cold. Ideally, you should have about 10mins between your last warmup round and Go Time.
-Go crush it.
Sean Jacobs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L2