21-15-9 Reps For Time:
Deadlifts – 225/155 lbs
21-15-9 Reps For Time:
Deadlifts – 315/205 lbs
50’ Handstand Walk After Each Set
Time Cap: 9mins
18.4 – ANALYSIS
I will admit, I have been impressed with the programming throughout the 2018 Open so far. But this one makes me happy in a way only CrossFit programming nerds understand. Not only did they bring back one of the classic benchmark “Girls” from the old days, CrossFit upped the ante and is giving us another opportunity to show how far our fitness has come over the past 15+ years.
Coach Glassman has always said to “master the basics of gymnastics”, and this year has shown us how important that tenet is to the current Sport of Fitness. For the first time, there are more gymnastics components than barbell weightlifting movements (at least through these first 4 weeks). Strength will always play a requisite role in being a competitive athlete – that will never change. But now we get to see another level of fitness testing in the worldwide arena.
While the first two movements themselves, Deadlifts and Handstand Pushups, are not the most difficult ones we train in the gym, they do play off of each other into a unique way to challenge posture, mechanics, and trunk stability throughout a workout. How do we make it harder? Add weight to the bar and three-dimensional body control while under fatigue. And still upside down.
Pacing the first half of this 18.4 will play a crucial role in your success, regardless of your ability or competitive goals. Quick Recap: Panchik broke his deadlifts (at 225, mind you) into sets of 6’s and 5’s JUST to save enough energy to maximize his efficiency in the HSPU and heavier deadlifts. Gudmundsson came out more aggressively, and he only gained 15-20 seconds on Panchik by the end of part 1. In the end, Panchik was able to hold his composure better than his Icelandic competition, and finished 55 seconds faster.
To look at their pacing another way, both of these athletes are capable of completing Diane in 2-ish minutes (if not faster). That means they did Diane at about 65-75% speed. In this 9-minute workout, patience is a virtue.
- *It should go without saying, but if possible, load two separate bars with their respective weights. Don’t waste time changing weights if you can help it.*
- Breathe – Too often during workouts do athletes grab the bar from the ground, pull for as many reps as possible, then drop it without ever having thought about taking a breath. This will spike your heart rate way too early, and completely throw off any pacing strategy you may be attempting. In this workout, get tight, lift the bar, and reset at the top with a big quick breath. Each rep should be accompanied by one breath. That doesn’t mean “relax, stay loose, and hope for the best”. It means stay calm, stay tight, and knock out small sets without redlining before the race even begins.
- Push through the Ground – If you think about “pulling” every rep of these 45-90 deadlifts, your hamstrings and low back will go on strike. Keep your chest up, and use your quads to drive the movement as much as possible. If there is a major muscle group that is least involved in handstand work, it’s the quads. Despite the volume, the first deadlift bar is relatively light, so focus on technique more than speed or intensity.
- Make Your Reps Count – Several things come into play when these Open standards are involved, but the most important thing is to make sure your heels cross the line at the top before you descend back into your next rep. That means: Pull your toes down toward your face (it will raise your heels up 1-2 inches), squeeze your glutes at the top to stay in a good hollow position, and fully extend your arms and shoulders through the end of the movement. Shortchanging these factors will quickly and dramatically cut down your range of motion.
- Kip Big, and Kip Hard – If you are dead set on doing these strict because you simply cannot figure out the kip to a handstand pushup, then it is what it is. But don’t rely on a half-hearted leg kick to get you any momentum out of the bottom. I always tell my athletes to think of these as Upside-Down-Thrusters: The movement starts with a violent squat from below parallel, and then the arms finish to lock out overhead. If you can get an efficient kip in this workout, you will save valuable energy in the shoulders needed for good deadlift mechanics. As a wise teacher once said to a young golf prodigy, “It’s all in the hips.”
- *Note: If you make it to the Handstand Walk, there is a good chance you have already practiced this movement. If this is your first time attempting the Party Trick of Fitness, consider going scaled, or devoting some practice time prior to the workout itself. Here’s a handstand walk progression to try against a wall or with a partner:
- Grab the Floor – Handstand walking is not just an act of balancing on your palms while falling forward. Make your hands cover as much surface area as possible, and spread the load throughout your fingers. Increasing stability on the ground is required to gain your balance and control your entire body through space.
- Active Shoulders – As weird as it may sound, your arms become your legs, and your shoulders become your hips. This means that your shoulders need to be engaged the entire time, pressing through the ground to shift your weight from side to side to unload the hand that will be moving forward. Much easier said than done, but you cannot move your hand forward unless all of your weight is on the opposite hand first.
For Those Who Are Trying to Finish the Workout:
- Big Deadlifters – If you struggle more with HSPU than deadlifts, do slightly bigger sets on the deadlifts and allow for more, smaller sets on the HSPU (5-5-4-4-3). The heavy deadlifts will feel probably feel MUCH heavier than it normally does, so plan on doing quick sets of 3’s and 4’s (MAYBE 5’s if you need to). Here’s a suggestion:
- Deadlifts: 6-6-5-4, HSPU: 5-5-5-4-2, DL: 6-5-4, HSPU: 5-5-3-2, DL: 5-4, HSPU: 4-3-2
- Gymnasty Freaks – Go with smaller sets on the Deadlifts (5-5-4-4-3), taking VERY short breaks in between each set. Your personal HSPU skills should give you a good idea of how to break those up, as this will be highly individual to the athlete. Don’t go anywhere near failure during the rounds of 21 and 15, sets should not be bigger than 8-10 at the most. Unless you feel REALLY confident, and don’t mind redo-ing this on Monday if you game planned it wrong. Here’s a suggestion:
- Deadlifts: 5-5-4-4-3, HSPU: 7-6-5-3, DL: 5-4-3-3, HSPU: 5-5-5, DL: 5-4, HSPU: 5-4
For Those Trying to finish “Diane” and MAYBE Get some Heavy Reps In:
- Go Big on your Strength, Leave More time for your Weakness – If you’re not happy about Diane, it’s probably because you struggle with one movement more than the other. That means this workout is all about just trying to beat your personal benchmark, or set one that you’re proud of for the first time. Pick your favorite movement out of the two, and go for bigger sets there. Find out what you’re made of, and have fun with it.
- 5min Assault Bike – Start easy, increase intensity each minute to the finish.
- Row 500m @ 80ish% – Treat every pull like a Deadlift.
- 10 Pushup-to-Downward Dogs
- Row 500m @ 85-90%
- Foam Roll: T-spine Extension, Lats and Shoulders (if needed). Make sure you have full overhead motion and that your hips are loose.
- Banded Shoulder Stretching: If you typically do this to open up the shoulders, be sure to stretch out the pecs and lats. If this is not something you normally do, don’t start now.
- 25-50 Band Pull-Aparts or Face Pulls – Warm up the posterior shoulders
Dynamic Movement Prep:
- 3 Rounds:
10 Russian KBS – Moderate Weight, get the violent hip extension firing
10 GHD Back Extensions
Max Sorenson Hold – Get to the top of a Back Extension, and hold until just shy of failure
- Deadlift Prep: In Sets of 3 Reps – Work up to something heavier than the heavier Deadlift bar for a set of 1-3. Take as many sets as you need to in order to feel comfortable moving the heavier weight (Rx: Guys – 335+, Ladies – 225+). After you have reached your heavy set, strip back down to
- Wall Walks: After each set of Deadlifts, perform 1-3 Wall Walks into a Handstand facing the wall. Focus on active shoulders, pressing through the ground to drive your feet up the wall, and maintaining a tight midline throughout the movement. Don’t arch your back just to get your chest closer to the wall!
- 1min At Each Movement:
Hollow Body Hold – establish a good hollow position on the ground with arms overhead and legs straight out off the ground. Generate as much tension as you can, and maintain for as long as possible during the 1 minute station
Nose-and-Toes Handstand Hold – Walk up the wall into a handstand facing the wall. Drive your shoulders up toward your ears, pressing your hands into the ground. Squeeze your glutes and abs so that your stomach is not touching the wall – this should look like a good hollow position from shoulders to toes. The only things touching the wall should be your Nose and your Toes.
Handstand Walking – Depending on your skill level: Either spend some time working on a challenging HS Walk Progression, or Handstand walk in Specific Increments (pick a target distance, hit it, reset and repeat). Move with Purpose.
Specific Workout Prep:
2 Rounds For Time:
5 Deadlifts – Workout Weight
3-5 HSPU (Scaled: 5 Hand Release PU)
*Move Fast, but Smooth and Controlled. This should emulate the pace you plan to use during the workout.
After this last warmup piece, you should already be sweating and ready to go. Get your mind right, move around, but don’t get cold. Ideally, you should have about 5-8mins between your last warmup round and Go Time.
-Go crush it.
Sean Jacobs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L2