strength training

After missing the 2016 Crossfit Open though injury, my one goal was to participate in the 2017 Open. I have no expectations, the goal is simply to participate in 2017’s Crossfit Open. I’m not a great athlete or close to going to Regionals. This series is purely the Open from the perspective of the average Joe Crossfitter. Week by week I’ll update this post on how my Open workouts went. Hopefully you can relate and I’d love to hear your Open experiences in the comments…


The first week of the Crossfit Open and what a week it was. I had mixed feelings of nerves and excitement the night before. It’s funny how this is the case even when you know you’re not pushing for a anything special. I imagine that most people feel this and I think it’s more that we’re nervous about whether we will do ourselves justice.

Will we do ourselves proud after all the training we have put in?

After all, most people who Crossfit do develop some form of competitiveness. The Crossfit Open is all about participation. However, it’s brutally honest, it will expose us and our weaknesses and not care about doing so. This, for me, is why I get nervous, I’m nervous about what I will find out about myself.

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So, without rambling on anymore, here’s how I thought 17.1 went…..

What I was happy with

  • I did a box jump. Like an actual two footed jump onto a box Image result for laughing emoji . Not a big feat but the box jump (or stepping off one) was what injured me last year. It took me ages to grow a set and do one warming up so to complete 75 in a workout was a great feeling!!!
  • One pace, whilst the box jumps were admittedly cautious and slow, my pace never changed. This was the goal and the dumbbells were fairly quick.
  • I was happy with my performance and the effort I gave. That’s the goal this year, just have fun and give it what I can.

What I want to improve

  • Spinal!!! The next couple of days were interesting in terms of standing upright. It took its toll on my lower back and hamstrings. This was the same for everyone, but building a strong lower back is never a bad thing.
  • I’m competitive so wish I went faster. At the same time I know I couldn’t at the minute, but hey, the grass is always greener.


Sooooooo, more through inquisition than anything else I gave this another go. Twice. One thing to note is that I was slower on both occasions. It just goes to show that even when you feel recovered your nervous system isn’t and you move slowly!

I couldn’t get this workout out of my head. Just wanted to work out how to go quicker but unfortunately it wasn’t happening. Overall I’m happy with my time and the effort I put in. It was more just wanting to understand how it could be done better.

Onto 17.2…..


Castro’s mind games started again. A goldfish and Arnold Schwarzenegger statue. So I was hoping for swimming and bicep curls. Unfortunately it wasn’t that but it was still a fun workout…



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This looked like one of those workouts that you have to really think about when doing. Not a typical Crossfit Open workout but interesting none the less. I’ll be honest, I’m just happy they’re not over-head lunges!!! I got 4 rounds and here’s what I thought.

What I was happy with

  • It will feel like a stroll in the park on your lungs compared to 17.1. Polar opposite stimulus, it’s actually a fun workout.
  • Lunges, they went well, they felt light and smooth. I was worried about my left leg but it turned out to be okay. Pleased with this and they’re a rest in the workout so just move one them.
  • The cleans took a bit of time to get going, I was happy enough with them but the last set taught me to do 7, rest then 1 and start lunging.

What I want to improve

  • I thought my grip would go. It would hold onto the toes to bar if you can and go unbroken. In addition, there’s no need to put the dumbbell down. They’re a rest and use them to recover and catch your breath.
  • The first set of muscle ups felt harder than the second. I’d break earlier than you think if you’re not a ninja with them. If you’re a ninja, get a big set out!
  • Cleans, do 7 and 1 the lunges let you recover and rest your arms.
  • Generally felt like I paced it wrong. I feel like I could go a little harder form the off and hold on. It get’s tough on the bar muscle ups but split them correctly and can move through them.



This one could be re-done whenever you want. I actually felt quite good coming off it after the initial post-workout meh phase (Maybe because I didn’t go hard enough!).

I think I’ll re-do it one more time and hold onto the dumbbells and toes to bar to see what happens. It is a funny one though as the reps after each round are slow. It’s lunges and you have to complete 5 feet for a rep so I doubt I’ll score massively more.

This is one of my favourite Crossfit Open workouts. A fun and quick workout that really tests bar muscle ups under fatigued. I felt like the bar muscle ups is where it really got going. I will likely do this workout a few times as a tester over the next 12 months… Enjoy and let me know how you do!!!

Onto 17.3…..


We have barbells!!! I honestly thought we’d see dumbbells in every Open workout this year. Apparently so did Matt Fraser warming up with dumbbell thruster’s. Before this workout something told me that it might be another grippy one!!! I was worried about this as I still can’t drop into a squat snatch, however, I bit the bullet and knew that I’d have to scale. But so what, it’s the Open just have fun with it…

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I also think it was more obvious from Castro’s hints what this would be. The road being an endless workout format (up to 24 minutes) and the cards, ascending/varying rep scheme.

What I was happy with

  • Chest-to-bar felt good, all of the upper body gymnastic work through knee rehab has paid off – small wins!
  • I wasn’t massively gassed, so again conditioning work is paying off, transitions felt smooth

What I want to improve

  • I seriously struggled with the snatches, even scaling, the lighter weights felt clunky. I’m still not moving well going into the full squat, scaling was the right option for me.
  • I should have broken chest-to-bar sooner, because they felt good I tried to hold on but they suddenly fell off VERY quickly, smaller sets with less rest would have been smarter- 17.2 obviously didn’t teach me too much!!!
  • Pushing a bit harder on the opening couple of weights to bag some extra time when the weight gets heavy.


I will definitely re-do this one. I’d use a lower bar for the chest-to-bar and break earlier to keep fresh, drop off and jump back up – that’s important. If you only have higher bars or struggle jumping into a kip, place plates either side of your feet. Step onto them and kip through the gap in the middle – Just find a way for constant movement on them.

For the snatches, if you can, move through the lighter weights fast – It buys you time. Then, as the weight gets heavier, drop to quick singles. If you do that, I found setting a time to go on each rep worked. Say every 15 seconds, breathe in the rest, stay controlled and I’d try not to waste any reps. I found this just demoralised me more than anything ha!

Overall, another fun Open workout. This year’s proving to be cool workouts. It can be over quite quickly this one but don’t let that put you off (It just means you an re-do more often). Have fun!


Repeat week! The great thing about Crossfit is that it is measurable and observable. So a repeat year on year is a great way to see how your fitness has progressed. I’m a massive fan of repeat workouts. So, 17.4 is…

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Having missed this last year with my injury I didn’t really know what to expect. Most will have some form of idea of pacing or rep schemes but it’s a new workout for me!

What I was happy with

  • The row felt like a bit of recovery! All the aerobic and interval work has paid off in this regard which is satisfying.
  • Deadlifts I split up early. I have learned this is best over the years and did sets of 5 from the off

What I want to improve

  • The wall balls gave me trouble. Knee wise I’m struggling at the minute and these didn’t feel great.
  • Handstands! I find that the Open standard is so much harder than an other competition. Normally you just focus on locking out, however, in the open you have to focus on where your feet are. They felt good but still not what I would like them to be.
  • Breathing kind of jacked on the wall balls when I started to struggle. It highlighted that sometimes it’s a case of not remaining calm that spikes your heart rate and you should trust your fitness and panicking less.


For 17.4 a re-do is a no go. This is purely due to how my knee feels. I made it into the handstands (35) but that’s it, a bit of a disappointment really but it is what it is. I was just happy to do the workouts this year and need to remember that.

For those of you hitting it today I’d focus on the following:

  • If you’re good at deadlifts, hit them in 10’s, if not, 5’s or fast singles. There’s no point in blowing out on these, the eccentric lowering is the part that will tax you. Therefore, fast singles avoid this and aren’t that mush slower. So, if you’re bad at deadlifting this will not blow your back out and keeps you ticking over.
  • Same for the handstands, it all depends on how good you are. However, either way split them up earlier. than you need to. Failing on these is where you will lose most of your time. Look at Rich Froning last year, he split them early, kept moving and scored well. You don’t need big sets, small fast ones work and will keep you moving where other’s stop.
  • The row should be one pace, use it as a bit of recovery but don’t drop off. If that’s 1100 calories/hr from the off then stick to it. It’s better than going out at 1500 and then falling to 800.
  • Finally, for better athletes the wall balls should be unbroken. However, if they’re a weakness, or like me struggling today, then it is a good opportunity to drop at increments you’re comfortable with. Shake the legs out and go again, just make sure you only rest for 5 seconds or so.

So, that was 17.4 from my perspective. A bit of a rubbish one for me really, however it was fun enough and I kept the goal alive of completing the open RX in 2017. Let me know how you get on I;d love to know, enjoy…


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