I bet you didn’t know that 17.5 was 10 rounds, 50 Shades of Grey for time.  You better be good at double unders, or be a fan of whipping yourself.  This workout is going to be an all out assault on the shoulders and cardiovascular system.  Keep reading to help plan your attack on the last and final wod of the 2017 Open.

This workout is by far the simplest WOD of the 2017 season, and that should worry you despite how easy the “dottirs” made it look on the open announcement.  They really should be disqualified for making this WOD look too easy.  Before we get too deep into strategery, lets take a look at the WOD.



Crossfit Open 17.5

10 Rounds for Time 

9 Thrusters, 95lbs Male/65lbs Female

35 double-unders


50 Shades of Crossfit

Boulder Shoulders 

This WOD will be very tough on the shoulders.  Thrusters directly tax the shoulders and squat muscles, and they have the unfortunate side affect of raising your heart rate precipitously.  Paring that with double unders is the devil. Effectively, this is preventing your shoulders and arms from recovering from the thruster.

The key to recovering as much as you can will be to try and relax your shoulders and traps as much as possible.   Often times, I see athletes that can do double under’s pretty well; however, they squeeze the hell out of the traps and shoulder muscles while they are doing them.  This causes premature fatigue.

I would also recommend taking a little bit of time transitioning between movements to shake out your arms.  It is not likely that you can maintain a pedal to the metal pace, but shaking your arms and shoulders out for a few seconds will allow some of the metabolic waste products to clear from the shoulders.

Frustration Management 

This is going to be a huge piece for a lot of crossfitters.  There is nothing more frustrating than doing a few double unders and whipping yourself, then transitioning to jump, whip, jump, whip… expletive.  This isn’t even counting the questionable looks from coworkers who think you are hardcore into S&M or in an odd fight club.

If you are ok at double unders (you can do 10-15 in a row), then you need to do your best to focus on your technique, and most importantly your jump height.  Over 90% of double under misses are caused by a low jump, due to muscle fatigue.

I recommend as the sets progress you attempt to jump a little higher each rep.  This will keep you from getting to low, and missing.  Like always, do not do max sets.  Do comfortable sets with small breaks.

Timing and Data 

The biggest trap in this workout is the seeming ease of the first few rounds.  If you are proficient at double unders, and fairly strong, you will be able to crush 3-5 rounds.  This equates to about 40 seconds per round with no misses, and quick transitions.  This gives you a total time of 6:40.  This is for games level athletes.

An advanced or elite crossfitter  should probably shoot for 1min per round.  This would look like unbroken thrusters and double unders, with a nice leisurely transition between movements to get your breath, and relax your shoulders as much as possible.

Intermediates should shoot for around 2 min per round on average.  Most likely it will be the double under misses that slow you down, so really concentrate on form, and jump higher than you feel like.

Closing Thoughts 

In my 10 years of crossfit experience, my biggest mistakes on WODs were always on the ones I thought seemed easy initially.  This is exactly that type of WOD.  Don’t let the pro’s trick you into miss pacing the WOD.  Figure out a nice split time per round, and try and stick to it as long as possible.

It’s ok to slow down a bit towards the end, but don’t let that fatigue break you.  This is the last WOD of the open season, and then we can get back to spending too much time on our strengths, and ignoring our weaknesses.

Just kidding, don’t do that, or I’ll have that Russian chick from Dodge Ball take you out.  If you want to keep getting better all year, then you should really sign up for the newsletter on the right.  You’ll get behind the scenes content, and first crack at the newest articles.  If you don’t sign up, then it’s Russian dodge ball chicks for you.