This year’s CrossFit Open kicked off on February 22, with WOD 18.1 and will continue through to March 26, ending with WOD 18.5. As each Open WOD is announced, I will be providing you with the same briefing I give the athletes at my gym, Precision CrossFit. This immediate feedback will arm you with valuable strategies and tips to help you make the most of your efforts and score your best possible performance in these WODs.
As I have always said, aiming for success in the Open is not just for top-tier athletes. It’s also a tremendous opportunity to build benchmarks and goals into your year-round training. Even if you never go on to high-level competition, completing the Open WODs each year gives you performance data you can use to chart your progress and evaluate your programming going forward.
So, now we get to Week Four. This WOD, like last week’s, is programmed for top-level athletes. Again, the reality of CrossFit competition is clear: only the best of the best go on to Regionals and even fewer to the Games.
You might not be able to finish this WOD. You might not be able to even come close. Who cares? Just try your best. If you really give it your all, you can be confident that your score is a solid benchmark going forward, and your place on the leaderboard is merely a relative standing that simply compares you to others at your level. Regardless where you place on the leaderboard, you should still give it your all and continue to use these WODs to test your CrossFit level, evaluate your fitness training, push yourself, and, with luck, expand your limits.
Open WOD 18.4
- 21 deadlifts, 225 lb.
- 21 handstand push-ups
- 15 deadlifts, 225 lb.
- 15 handstand push-ups
- 9 deadlifts, 225 lb.
- 9 handstand push-ups
- 21 deadlifts, 315 lb.
- 50-ft. handstand walk
- 15 deadlifts, 315 lb.
- 50-ft. handstand walk
- 9 deadlifts, 315 lb.
- 50-ft. handstand walk
Time cap: 9 min.
Men perform 225-lb. deadlifts for the first 45 reps, then 315-lb deadlifts for the final 45. Women perform deadlifts with 115-lbs. and 205 lbs., respectively. Additional scalings, movement standards, and more are available on the official CrossFit Open 18.4 page.
How to Approach WOD 18.4
Well here it is.
Every year, there’s one WOD where I tell my athletes that it’s time to forget about the analysis and strategy, and instead just go for it. This is that WOD.
There are a few things to be mindful of, of course.
First, don’t think of this as a handstand-walk workout — it’s a deadlift workout. The total tonnage you’ll be lifting in this WOD, is… well, let’s just say “significant.” In the video, I discuss in more detail what this means for your preparation, the workout itself, and especially for your recovery. But, to get a quick idea of what you’ll experience, do the math. Multiply the weight to be lifted by the number of reps and see just how much weight you will be moving.
Next, note the new handstand pushup standards and be sure to kip with the heels, not the toes. And keep your hips close to the wall. These standards may feel more taxing for you. You’ll have to do your best to monitor yourself and avoid missed attempts. Break the sets into something a number you are certain you can manage. A missed attempt is virtually just as taxing as a good rep, yet gets you nothing but time lost and energy wasted — not to mention it kills morale.
Also on the WOD, we see again that simple housekeeping — getting your area set up well and ensuring the smoothest possible transitions — can make a big difference. Do all you can to minimize transition times. Set up your workout area for maximum efficiency and the quickest possible transitions. Having a deadlift area, handstand walk area, and handstand pushup area all close to one another can be a logistical challenge, but you’ve got to try. Every unnecessary step and re-positioning cuts into your time. For those of you doing well on the in the rankings, each misstep can be a stumble down the leaderboard. If you haven’t already this year, be sure to review my prep info for last year’s Open. There’s a bunch of tips and ideas in there to help you with this and upcoming WODs.
Overall, you’ve got to pace yourself but do so smartly. you are going to go for it, but you are not going to lose all judgment and sense. Aim to get through the first part of the WOD (“Diane”) as quickly as possible. This should be a Diane PR. After that, it’s just guts and keeping moving.
Like last week, this WOD is programmed for serious, high-level athletes. For everyone else, just try to make it as far along as you can in the time you’ve got. And always try to get done with Diane and as far into the deadlifts as possible.
Last, remember that even if you are not a high-level athlete, your performance on this WOD will give you even more data to assess your training and make adjustments going forward, and keep in mind that these high-level workouts are good an opportunity to push your boundaries and expand your limits. So, take a look at this week’s athlete briefing and give it all you’ve got!
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