Crossfit Open WOD 17.2 has been announced, and there is much gnashing of teeth and wailing in protest.  It’s the second dumbbell WOD, with a lot of grip intensive movements.  Keep reading to see our analysis of the WOD, and 3 key tips that will allow you to put in your best performance.

First and foremost lets talk about the what the WOD is.

This WOD is good pairing of low skill, high work capacity movements in the first couplet of rounds.  In the second set of rounds, it becomes a high skill test with the addition of the bar muscle ups.  The constant theme throughout this workout is going to be the heavy use of the grip.  So in order to excel we need to manage the grip smartly. This, in turn allows us to keep working on these difficult movements.  Before we get into the nitty gritty, check out the standards video so you know you are doing this the right way.

Tip 1: Managing Your Grip 

The best way to manage the grip is to not squeeze any harder or any longer than you have to.  A good example of this is when you are doing the walking lunges; you should attempt to finish the first half as quickly as you can, and then set the dumbbells down to rest your grip.  You will also find that your legs will not really be taxed to the max with only 25 feet of lunges, so bear down and get through them so your grip can recover.

Tip 2: Smart Sets 

The next hurdle we need to overcome is the gymnastics movements that will tax our grip and our abs.  A good general rule for gymnastic movements, in a WOD, is to do as many reps as you can until you start to slow and then stop for a rest.  Once you start to slow this is a sign that your body can no longer handle that power output much longer metabolically.  A smart athlete won’t push deep into that area until the very end of the workout.

Tip 3: Keep the DB Cleans Simple 

The dumbbell power cleans are not going to be a significant portion of this WOD for most folks, but you will need to perform them in a certain way to leave you better rested for the other movements.

You need to use your back as much as possible to move the weight, and use your biceps as little as possible.  I know this is going to be rough for the bro’s out there, as not getting a sick bicep pump is basically sacrilegious.

Using your lower back to move the weight is advantageous because it is much stronger, and more fatigue resistant than the biceps, and it leaves your biceps free to help for your muscle ups.

Did someone say biceps?

Putting the Plan Together 

We know that we need to be smart with our grip, and only go till we slow on our other movements.  Likewise, we need to transfer the load to the largest muscle groups available in order to preserve small, more fatiguable muscles like our biceps.

For the lunges we should aim to complete each 25 ft section unbroken, taking a short rest in between.  Once we move onto the toes to bar, breaking them into two sets of 8 is ideal, with the next best method being 6,5,5 reps.  The power cleans should be done using those strong back muscles, most likely unbroken.

The bar muscle ups are going to be a big hurdle for the majority of folks completing this WOD as prescribed.  Unless you are very good with this movement, I would do sets of 4 or 3, with small rests.  Remember you can go till you start to slow down, but I think you’ll find that sets of 4 will probably be the right number for many advanced crossfitters.

Final Thoughts 

There is no great secret to this WOD.  All the tips above are aimed at minimizing your limiting factor, which is the grip.  The only thing we haven’t discussed is not tearing your calluses.  It might be advantageous to wear gymnastics grips or gloves to spare those hands.

If you do want to raw dog it, then you need to pay attention to any hot spots developing in your hands, and move your grip around on the bar as necessary.  Now you’ve got the info, be smart, and really push yourself.  It’s only 12 min, how bad could that be…..cue evil laughter.

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