Not trying to brag here… but could it be that for the second week in a row, Dave Castro gave us an Open workout that I could totally Rx?
Wall balls? Check.
Deadlifts? Check. Check. Check!
Oh man, this one had me excited!
The CrossFit Open WOD 16.4 was a chipper of deadlifts, wall balls, rowing for calories, and handstand push-ups. 55 reps of each and you had to complete one movement before moving on to the next one.
Of the four movements for this workout, two are definitely strengths of mine, one I’m pretty decent at, and one I can’t do yet. Deadlifts are my jam and I am tall therefore I can row pretty well. Also, being tall helps with wall balls. HSPUs… yeah can’t do those. Good thing they were the last movement.
I knew going in that this workout was going to blow up my posterior chain as well as my quads. The semi-heavy deadlifts and the sheer volume of work was going to fatigue all the muscles. Add in the time element and yeah… it’s gonna hurt. That’s what a chipper does – tax a certain muscle group to super fatigue (but not rhabdo fatigue, don’t get crazy on me).
The scaled version of Open WOD 16.4 had regular push-ups instead of handstand push-ups. Going into the WOD my plan was to get through the first three movements Rx, then switch to regular push-ups for the remaining time. Remember I’m not “officially” doing the Open so I can pick and choose my workout to customize my “Rx minus” level.
Warm-up complete. 13 minutes on the clock. Lots of reps to get through. Let’s do this!
I really didn’t 55 reps at 225-lbs was going to be that bad. Really.
My max deadlift is almost 200-lbs more than the weight for this workout. 225-lbs in and of itself isn’t a heavy lift for me. My plan was to get through this in 5 sets of 11 reps.
Well… I did 11 reps as planned before I dropped the bar for a rest and to kick out my legs. Once I picked up the bar again though, the weight started to creep up on me. I dropped the bar at 20 total reps, 2 shy of my goal at this point.
My back was already starting to tighten up. Oh noes! That was the exact moment that the magnitude of 55 reps hit me. 55 reps is A LOT! 55 reps of a moderately heavy deadlift is A LOT! Yikes. I started breaking up my sets into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually dropping to 5 at a time from 40 on.
Finally I could drop that barbell for the last time and move on to wall balls. Time to make the front side of my legs hurt as much as my backside was.
55 Wall Balls
Wall balls are a movement not unlike burpees where you just have to get through them. I try to take wall balls in the biggest chunks I can. Before 16.4 started my plan was again to go 5 sets of 11. Now that I was in the midst of this workout, I switched slightly to 5 sets of 10 plus 5 reps. I figured I wouldn’t maintain the 10 WBs in a set after a bit anyways.
And I was right.
I’m glad I had Jason there pushing me to pick that dumb ball back up and toss it against the wall. 55 times.
Also.. recognize those socks from anywhere? I told you they’d reappear! And yes, that’s my blue shirt. Why even wear a shirt into the box in the first place? =)
The wall balls weren’t as muscularly taxing as they were cardio taxing. I mean sure my quads were heating up nicely but more than anything I was starting to get breathy. Not a good thing when a 55-calorie row is waiting for you next!
Up. Down. Up. Down. The clock kept ticking with every passing wall ball shot. When I couldn’t string any more reps, the ball came crashing down to the floor with a thud. I bent over, hands on my knees, sucking in air, then picked the ball back up to do it some more. Up. Down. Up. Down. Shoulders started to hurt. Legs started to hurt more. Wished 13 minutes would hurry up and get here.
Finally I reached the 55 wall ball mark and staggered over to the rower and strapped in for 55 calories.
55 Row Calories
I like rowing. I could get on the erg and row all day.
However, hopping on the rower after the 110 reps I just completed didn’t sound like a ton of fun at that moment. I had my damper set at about 7 which gave me a calorie approximately every pull and a half. As long as I kept my calories/hr above 1000, I was keeping a really good pace.
There were times when I dropped into the lower 900 for calories per hour, which spurred more encouraging shouts to keep pulling and pick it up! Row row row my erg, not so gently down the stream.
By this time Tanner, who had just completed the WOD right before me, joined in the cheering efforts. I couldn’t let these guys down, I had to make it to the wall for the push-ups!
Relativity struck me again during the row. During random warmups I can accumulate 10 calories without even thinking about it. During 16.4, I swear there were times when it felt like I pulled and pulled and pulled and the calories didn’t go up! After what seemed like forever, I crossed the 55 calorie threshold and stood, wobbly-legged, and stumbled to the wall to attempt a handstand push-up.
55 Handstand Push-Ups
Ok that heading is a little bit deceitful. Let me make it more accurate.
55 Handstand Push-Ups 0 Handstand Push-Ups
So much for burying the lead.
I got off the rower at 11:33, so I had about 90 seconds to gather myself, flip upside down against the wall, descend until my head touched the floor, then push back up. Plenty of time, right? Not if you’ve never successfully gotten a HSPU before!
I still haven’t gotten comfortable with the whole kicking up into a handstand thing. When I try, I start from the ground on all fours. Yes, this takes more effort but so far that’s the only way I can even get on the wall.
Well, after the ordeal of the WOD up to that point, whatever energy is necessary to get myself upside down against the wall was lacking. As in gone. As in nope, not gonna happen.
I tried for the entire last minute to kick up into a handstand at least but to no avail. I knew if I could just get one HSPU, that would put my imaginary score that I wouldn’t submit ahead of a lot of people. Alas, that day was not the day to get my first handstand push-up. So I finished with an Rx score of 165 with an 11:33 tiebreaker time. Woohoo.
This was a good workout. I liked that it played to my strengths but still challenged me to push through when I wanted to rest. I’m glad I had friends to cheer me on and give me that push I needed when my internal voice was telling me to rest. This wasn’t like 16.3 where a longer rest was necessary; this was a chipper and a grind and as long as you could bear the pain and discomfort, you could continue to… chip away.
Unless you can’t do a handstand push-up. Then you’re just SOL.
I was SOL. Oh well. Next time.
Your turn -> Do you perform better when you have people cheering you on? Tell me how your 16.4 went!