Thrusters – 100/65
18.5 – ANALYSIS
Here it is, the finale. Whether you’re happy with the first four weeks or not, we’ve come to the bitter-sweet ending. And we’re going out old school.
The Fran Ladder from 2011 was, in my opinion, the most painful open workout from that year. Once again, we get to see how far our fitness has come since “the good ol’ days”. The classic pairing of thrusters and pullups never gets any easier, no matter how the rep scheme is spliced together, and those of you on the bubble of Regionals have the next 4 days to show how bad you really want it.
In a ladder ascending by 3’s, it is normally a pretty good idea to start off slow and gain momentum throughout the workout. When it’s a 7 minute AMRAP, you may have to come out guns blazing and hope for the best during the later rounds. Annie did just that, and it paid off. While all of the Icelandic girls were fairly even through the first 3mins of the workout, Annie’s transitions were more slightly more aggressive, and her turnover rate during each of the thrusters was slightly quicker. She may have just gotten lucky that neither of the other “Dottirs” were able to catch her on that given night, but she did set a world record in the process. In any case, it will be the little things here that make the big difference in the end. Sara’s no-reps combined with slow transitions put her (relatively) far back in the race by the last 90 seconds. Katrin displayed some thruster inefficiencies that allowed Annie to get out in front early on and keep the lead.
Long story short: Move well, and move with purpose.
- Control – Controlling the Front Squat portion of the thruster will be key for several reasons during this workout: 1) an efficient squat will directly decrease your overall energy expenditure per rep, and 2) an efficient squat = a faster squat. Keep the chest up, don’t let those elbows drop, and accelerate through the entire movement.
- Breathe at the Top, Unless you Can’t – Early on in this workout, an easy way to pace these thrusters will be to take a quick breath at the top of each rep. This will allow you to stay tighter during the squat, and help keep the panic at bay. That being said, if you are standing there with the bar locked out overhead taking large, gasping breaths, it’s time to just drop it and actually get some air.
- Shoulder Pop, then Punch – Just before the overhead press, many athletes neglect the momentum generated from the last little bit of the squat. Shrugging the shoulders just as you finish standing up can help “float” the bar up several inches, decreasing the amount of work on the triceps and delts to finish the press. With a relatively light weight, try to “pop” the bar up off the shoulders, then finish with a violent punch overhead. It might seem ridiculous to focus on such a small detail, but small details can save a lot of energy over the course of 50+ reps (and if that number seems small, that’s 5 reps into the round of 18 thrusters).
Chest to Bar Pullups
- Make Your Reps Count – Common themes tend to emerge when talking about gymnastics movements performed at high intensity. With C2B’s, making each rep count is no exception. There is no fixing a missed rep, and each no rep has essentially the same energy demand of a good rep. So don’t waste your hands, lats, or sanity on barely missing the bar with your chest. Which brings me to my next point…
- Break Before You Need To – By this point, you should have already focused on the kip during the 18.1 and 18.3 (toes-to-bar and bar/ring muscle ups). The C2B’s require nothing new on that front, but they will disappear faster than the other exercises did. For that reason, having a plan to break these up will likely lead you to success. The sets themselves will vary based on individual capacity, but it usually means stopping 2-3 reps shy of getting “close calls”. In the round of 21 pullups, Annie broke off a set of 11, followed by 6 and 4. She didn’t wait until she failed a rep to come down and rest. Just pick manageable numbers for your skill level, and get quick sets done early. That will save you valuable resting time and energy throughout the rest of the 7 minutes.
Regionals, or Close:
- Quick Transitions – I feel crazy for even feeling like I have to say this, but transitions will make or break this workout. The girls tonight finished the round of 12 in 1:48. That equates to 8 transitions for 60 reps in 108 seconds. The beginning of this workout needs to be very, very quick. Unfortunately, everyone will have to break their thrusters and/or pullups into smaller sets at some point during the workout. For those breaks, you should have individual sets and goals in mind. The transitions, however, should not be viewed as “planned rest” early on in the smaller rounds. Utilize those smaller sets to take advantage of quick transitions to get out ahead of the workout, then ease back into a slower pace in rounds 9 and 12.
- Go Unbroken Through 12 – I might be wrong, but if you break the 12 Thrusters or Pull-ups, I’m not sure there is enough time to regain the ground later in the workout. If necessary, plan on breaking the 12 Pull-ups into two sets of your choice. Any more than that might be digging yourself into a pretty big hole. For most athletes, the round of 15 will probably be where “it” hits the fan. Have a plan to break up the 15’s, but even they should be bigger sets with small rest breaks.
Definitely Not Regionals:
- Break Early, But Find Out What You’re Made Of – This workout allows you to do something we rarely ever do anymore: come out at full intensity and see what happens. Personally, I think every athlete should do this a couple of times per year just to see how far they can really push before fatigue or “quit” set in. If you don’t have any aspirations on taking this season to the next level, consider this an option. HOWEVER, if you’re just trying to beat your buddy and win a monetary (or food-related) bet, that is not the best strategy. The best way to maximize your score will be to identify your weakness during this workout (thrusters, pullups, or fitness in general), and work at a pace that will NOT take that aspect to failure. For example, if your C2B will be the limiting factor, make sure you break early enough that you do not miss any reps. While this may seem frustrating, it will allow you to go faster on the thrusters and get more reps overall than you would by consistently failing reps every round.
- 8min Assault Bike – Start easy, increase intensity each minute to the finish.
- Rest 2mins – move around, start air squatting, stretching, etc.
- 4 Rounds on the Assault Bike – 30 sec Hard: 30 sec Easy. Don’t blow up on the first one – keep the intensity high throughout each 30 second interval.
- 25-50 Band Pull-Aparts or Face Pulls – Warm up the posterior shoulders
- 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.
Dynamic Movement Prep:
30 Seconds at Each Movement x 2 Rounds:
- Spiderman’s – in a pushup position, bring one leg up and outside your arm. Try to sink your elbow down to the ground, then reach back up to the ceiling. Switch sides, and repeat.
- 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 rower. Use a rig or band around hips for support if needed
- Scap Retractions on Pullup Bar – Retract for 5 seconds, briefly relax and repeat.
With an empty bar:
- 10 Overhead Presses + Pause at the top – Exaggerate the lockout position. Make sure your overhead motion is warmed up and ready to go.
- 3 Pause Front Squats – Take 3 seconds in the bottom to establish a good position
- Full Clean into 5 Thrusters x 2 Sets
- Thrusters – Get moving, take some lighter weights for several sets. Work up to something heavier than your workout weight for a set of 5 Thrusters (Rx Guys: 115-135, Girls: 85-95)
2 Rounds on a Pullup bar (rest between exercises as needed):
- 10 Hollow-Arch Transitions
- 10 Full Kips (Think Kipping pull-up, without the last chin-over the bar part)
- 5 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups (Kipping or Butterfly)
Specific Workout Prep:
EMOM x 3:
3 Thrusters – Workout Weight
3 C2B Pullups
After Round 3 of the EMOM, go right into…
6 Thrusters – Workout Weight
6 C2B Pullups
*Move Fast, Focus on rep speed and Transitions. This should set the tone for how fast you will open up the workout. Remember – Quality saves Energy.
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