CrossFit Open 17.3: The Magic and a Mess Up

CrossFit Open 17.3: The Magic and a Mess Up

Aaaand I’m back with a recap of my Open workout 17.3. If you missed the first two workouts, read all about 17.1 and 17.2 first and I’ll meet ya back here for even more fitness.This latest Open workout is a little confusing at first glance, but essentially is an ascending ladder of pull-ups and a descending ladder of squat snatches with time caps that if met, “unlock” another time cap to continue the workout.  Here’s the official workout, Rx and scaled:

initial thoughts

Woof. Thumbs up for no dumbbells, at least?! This girl is still working on regular pull-ups, so chest-to-bars were out for me. Also, the Rx snatches are heavy for me. Unfortunately, the scaled version of 17.3 offered my least favorite way to scale pull-ups: jumping pull-ups. Could I have tried for that Rx score and yanked myself up there for a chest-to-bar? A few even? Probably…but y’all know my thoughts on scaling. So jumping pull-ups it was, but man I hate those.  It always feel like more of a workout for my legs than it is for my lats/arms/shoulders. 

I definitely scoffed at the 35-lb starting weight for the snatches (which I later regretted), and with my current snatch PR of 95-lb, my goal was just to get to that round. What I didn’t put together before doing this WOD was the total number of reps that had to be completed before I even got to 95-lb. Fifty four to be exact.  

the workout

3, 2, 1…I got right to work on the stupid jumping pull-ups and 35-lb snatches. The barbell by itself felt light and awkward, but by the rounds of 55-lb snatches my legs started fatiguing. I had totally underestimated this workout. 

I finished the first 6 rounds well within the 8 minute time cap and as such, earned the additional 4 minutes for the next 3 rounds (65-lb). Between reps, I tried really hard not to walk away from the barbell and just take a few deep breaths. 

The snatches were taking a toll on my quads, but also on my back. I don’t share much about it here (mostly because it doesn’t usually bother me), but I have a partially herniated disc in my lower back. The high volume of snatches wasn’t irritating that specifically, but I was definitely fatigued and my back felt tight. When I got to the round of 95-lb snatches, I took some rest, given that 95-lb is my current 1 rep max. My first attempt was a failure, but I was pulling it high enough to get under. I caught the next lift, but too far forward and I couldn’t stand up.

Here’s where the magic of CrossFit (and the Open) comes into play. After those failures, I started getting more of an audience.The coaches and other members gathered around me and wouldn’t let me give up on that barbell. The coaches and people I workout with day after day know what I am capable of and gave me the confidence to keep trying. This is one of my favorite things about CrossFit as a culture…the encouragement from people who know you can do something even when you aren’t completely sure of that yourself. And so, after a few more fails, I got one 95-lb snatch and then another.  

The snatch is still uncomfortable for me and I’ve been playing around with my hook-grip and widening my arms, so it’s a work in progress for sure. I finished with an official scaled score of 159 reps and am super happy about getting those two snatches at my previous 1 rep-max weight. If it wasn’t for the support around me, I know I would’ve just given up.

final thoughts

As I was typing this recap, I realized I screwed up and shorted myself on time for this WOD.  I finished the rounds of 75-lb snatches well under the 16-minute mark, so I should have had up to 20:00 on the clock to get through the round of 95-lb. Instead, I ended my workout at 16:00 on the clock, with no one realizing I had banked that much time. This is such a bummer because I could have taken much more time to rest between my attempts at 95-lb. Don’t get me wrong–I’m still happy with my score, but I probably could have successfully hit a few more. Dang it! I also screwed up a workout last year during the Open and it was one with jumping pull-ups. Confirmation that jumping pull-ups are not my friend!

Despite my mess up, I really enjoyed 17.3 and liked this format where you have to hit certain targets or times in order to keep going. If my back wasn’t being cranky, I may have considered redoing it but overall I’m happy with my performance! More importantly, I’m so glad the “magic” of the Open not only allowed me to hit my PR twice, but brought the fun community vibes of CrossFit back for me this week. It was definitely a welcome reminder!

Stay tuned for the last two workouts. Here’s hoping for no more dumbbells and definitely no repeats of 15.5 or 16.5!

CrossFit Open 17.2: Scaled and Proud

Holy glutes, we’re already done with two workouts of the Open! Missed 17.1? Catch my recap here, but today it’s time to talk about 17.2! Here’s what the workout looked like as prescribed:

The weighted lunges and power cleans required dumbbells–50-lb for men and 35-lb for women. Because muscle ups are a pretty advanced skill, the scaled version modified to pull-ups and subbed hanging knee raises for toes-to-bar. 

Initial thoughts

As usual, after the announcement there were a lot of complaints about this workout—dumbbells, again?! Why are there pull-ups in the scaled workout? It’s not fair…wah, wah, wah. I appreciate the competitive chit chat surrounding the Open, but guess what? The workouts aren’t meant to be doable for everyone, whether they’re Rx or not. There is always a way to scale the movements…that’s the beauty of CrossFit.

For 17.2, I found myself somewhere between Rx and Scaled and opted for scaled. I do have toes-to-bar so I could have completed 2 rounds + 50-ft of lunging Rx and used the rest of the time to “attempt a muscle up”.  But would that have been smart (for me)? Nope…and let’s talk about why. 

It’s true that any Rx score (no matter how low) ranks higher on the leaderboard than a scaled score. So I could have done just 1 rep of that Rx workout and ranked higher than the 12 minutes of scaled work I put in. But here’s the thing—if you’re getting swept up in how scaling a workout will impact your spot on the leaderboard, you’ve got CrossFit all wrong. The majority of us are not going to the Games and as such, we should be focusing more on the long haul by being smart about our movement. 

Admittedly, it’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the Open with everyone talking about that leaderboard and where they rank. I too like seeing how I fall among other athletes of my age and capabilities in both my region and around the world. It’s fun to compare and it’s exciting to move up in rank through the years. But it’s more fun to be able to move my body in a healthy way and make progress over time. Scaling has a purpose and it’s not just to hold people back.  

Let’s go straight to the source and check out what CrossFit.com has to say about scaling:

It’s also important to understand why we scale CrossFit work- outs: CrossFit workouts are scaled to preserve the intended stimuli despite athlete limitations such as experience, injury, illness or range of motion.

A properly scaled workout safely maximizes relative intensity (load, speed, range of motion) to continue developing increased work capacity despite limitations. A long-term goal of scaling is creating the ability to perform workouts “as prescribed.”

Long story short, opting to do this workout as prescribed by doing 7 or 8 minutes of work and then wasting the remaining 5-ish minutes not doing a muscle-up is not the intention of the workout. Choosing to scale mimics the intensity of the workout while helping improve the skills needed to eventually attempt it as prescribed.

the workout

Boyfriend and I headed back to do this workout during Friday Night Lights at the gym and he went first. I like going in separate heats so that I can cheer him on and he can yell at me during my workout. 😉 Despite not working out a ton in the last few months, he did great in this workout and ended up with 5 muscle ups. So proud of him!

When the clock started for my workout, I got moving fairly quickly with the lunges. I broke up the knee raises early on to save my grip/hands from hanging on that pull up bar.  It was definitely surprising how quickly my forearms started tightening up! The scaled weight for lunges and power cleans was 20-lb so those were awkward, but not terribly heavy. I finished the first four rounds just under 11 minutes and used the last minute to get through 50-ft of the lunges and 10 of the 16 reps of hanging knee raises.

The WOD was definitely taxing on my grip and I had to break up the pull-ups into almost all singles, dropping down between each rep. Considering I haven’t been working on pull-ups lately, I’m pretty stoked I was able to get through 32 of them in the workout! My hands are pretty beat up though, so you know I turned to my fave w.o.d.welder for healing. 

final thoughts

The lunges left my buns sore for days, but this workout was middle-of-the-road for me. Not terrible, but not really “fun” either! It was a good reminder that I want to focus more on improving my pull-ups and other gymnastics movements.  I’ve definitely been prioritizing strength in the past few months, so maybe it’s time to set some new goals!

What are your thoughts on scaling vs. going Rx in workouts? Did you do 17.2? What did you think?