17.4: Small Progress is Still Progress

Historically in the CrossFit Open there is always a repeat workout from a previous year.  This year that repeat came during 17.4, which turned out to be a repeat of 16.4, last year’s chipper style AMRAP. A perk of blogging about the Open workouts is having my past recaps to reflect on and learn from, not just my score logged in an app somewhere. Here’s the workout: 

Initial Thoughts

My experience with 16.4 wasn’t terrible–I completed it scaled last year and definitely struggled with the hand-release pushups. There could have been so many worse WODs to repeat, so I wasn’t upset at this announcement. I also didn’t mind that it was a repeat, because it’s kind of fun to compare year to year.  So many people get caught up in the crazy competitive nature of the Open and forget that what we’re really striving for is progress in ourselves. As Nicole Carroll of CrossFit HQ put it:

“Repeat workouts give us the opportunity to shift away from focusing on ourselves relative to others and instead focus on where we are relative to our own performance, effort and progress.”


Amen, sister. For me, there has been a lot of progress in terms of my weightlifting this year. When it comes to 17.4/16.4, 155-lb deadlifts in the workout are much more reasonable for me now.  I’m also good with all of the movements except the handstand push-ups, but likely wouldn’t get to those within the 13 minutes anyway. That all said, I decided to go the scaled route again this go-round. My back has been acting up a little bit and high rep deadlifts just wouldn’t have been smart. Plus redoing this workout scaled is a more accurate measure of progress–comparing apples to apples.

The workout

The deadlifts at 95-lb were fairly light, but 55 reps are a lot…so I broke them into sets of 10, then 8 and 7.  I finished the deadlifts in just over 2 minutes and moved onto the wall balls. The 10-lb ball (vs. 14-lb in the Rx workout) was a blessing and even though I still had to break them up, I felt pretty good during wall balls.  My legs started feeling fatigued on the rower, but I settled in on a sustainable pace and held on.  At 9:33, I rolled myself off the rower and onto the floor to start hand-release pushups.  

Early into the pushups I was doing sets of 2 and 3, feeling completely shot. Without compromising form (aka worming), I was struggling. Somewhere in the 20s, I grunted at boyfriend that I needed to get at least 38 push-ups to tie my score from last year. It honestly wasn’t looking good. While I’m definitely a stronger athlete overall this year, pushups are not my strong suit and we don’t do them all that often. Boyfriend (and others in the gym) were encouraging me in the last minute and I managed to get to 42 of the 55 pushups in the time cap.

I took a little rest, grabbed a Guinness (it was St. Patrick’s Day, after all!) and judged Boyfriend in his heat. He also chose to go scaled as he eases back into CrossFit WODs and manages some shoulder pain. He’s a smart guy! 

Final Thoughts

To be honest, at first I was pretty bummed that I only improved by 4 reps from last year. As usual, boyfriend slapped some sense into me by reminding me that I haven’t spent any time on improving my pushups, so I shouldn’t expect to be all that much better at them. Again, I’ve got a smart guy who helps my negativity in check. Progress is progress…no matter how small. I still did 4 reps better than last year and I’m proud of that. I’ve improved in many other ways this year…especially weightlifting and double unders. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m actually hoping for dubs in the last workout! 

What do you think? Will we see double unders in 17.5?

2 comments on “17.4: Small Progress is Still Progress

  1. Umm “The deadlifts at 95-lb were fairly light.” That is all. So proud of how strong you’ve become!

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