Crossfit Open 17.3 has been announced by an oddly mustachioed Dave Castro, and many crossfitters are breathing sighs of relief that no dumbbells are required.  This devilish snatch and chest to bar couplet hides the fact that it is a huge workload, almost quadruple Fran if you can finish it.  There are a few key tips that will allow you to predict your optimal pace, giving you the best chance to score well in this WOD.  Keep reading to find out.  

Before we get into some nerd science and power output calculations for 17.3 take a gander at the WOD itself.

Crossfit Open 17.3 WOD
Crossfit Open 17.3 WOD Men RX
Crossfit Open 17.3 Rx Female
Crossfit Open 17.3 Rx Female

This workout is very cleverly designed, and provides a number of different functions for testing an athlete’s fitness.  First the pairing is very smart.  Generally those with great pull ups will not be strong on the snatch. The reverse is true as well.

This means that the workout is really testing your power to weight ratio.  To do well you will need to be very strong, highly skilled in the snatch, and light enough that the chest to bar pull ups will not tax you severely.

Power Output 

The next thing you should know about this workout is that it doesn’t actually get harder as it goes on.  The power output rises initially as the weight in the snatch increases, but it rises to it’s highest point when the snatches reach 185/135lbs.  This point requires you to average 130ft-lbs/s of work for a 200lb male, and 81 ft-lbs/s of work for a 135lb woman.  Notice women seem to get off easy here with a much lower power output requirement.  Well, they weigh less than us guys, so suck it.

Check out this infographic to see all the data relating to the work required, and the power output through the rounds.

Crossfit Open 17.3 Infographic
Crossfit Open 17.3 Infographic

It’s quite surprising that the power output goes down as the weight in the snatches go up.  This is true in the mathematical sense, but from an athletes point of view, the skill requirement to snatch heavy weight more than makes up for the lesser total work.

Strategy

You have 8 minutes to get through the first two rounds.  Assuming that you are proficient with the snatch, this should not be a problem.  I would recommend dropping each snatch from the top.  There really is no need to touch and go.  If Scott Panchik doesn’t touch and go, you shouldn’t either.

I also recommend splitting the sets of chest to bars from the beginning.  Unless they are a particular strong suit of yours, you really don’t loose much by doing a set of 3 or 4 and taking a few seconds to finish the set.

Pacing 

The other key to this workout is for you to remember that the time windows are the slowest you can go and still advance.  If you are able to move at a sustainable pace, and get a head of the time requirements, do so. You will need extra time to rest for the heavier snatches.  One missed snatch will cost you at best 10 seconds, plus tiring you out for your next attempt.  Do your best to be measured and focus on technique once you hit those heavy snatches.

Bonus for Beyond the Whiteboard Users 

If you do happen to use Beyond the Whiteboard to track your stats, you can use the analyze tab to get a very accurate power estimate from the workout average power output graph.  You need to find a WOD with similar movements at the time interval you want to advance through.

If you think getting past the 12 min mark will be your challenge you just need to look and see if there are any WODs that you have recently completed, with similar movements, that are higher in power output than the 119 ft-lbs/s (men) or 73 ft-lbs/s (women) required for this part of the WOD.  If there are, then you can probably advance, provided these movements aren’t a weakness of yours.

Final Thoughts 

This WOD will require high skills and even pacing with increasing weights.  This should feel like you are completing your reps at the same pace for as long as you can.  When you need to rest, make it short and force yourself to get back to to work because 8 min will come before you know it.

It might also be worth wearing some gymnastics grips to keep from forming blisters or tearing your hands.  If you are an intermediate to advanced crossfitter you should be able to get out of that 8 min time cap.  The question is will you push yourself hard enough to score what you are truly capable of?

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