Strategy for Open Workout 13.2

Personally, when I saw 13.1, I thought it was brilliant. Actually, I felt it was the best workout HQ has produced since the deadlift/pistol/double under/shuttle run workout in the 2010 Games. Which is funny because 13.1 combined two not-so-wonderful workouts (12.1 and 12.2) in one. Neither were very “crossfit” (little C, little F). Single modality workouts generally test, well, single modalities. And 12.1 and 12.2 were no different. Pure endurance was the test in 12.1 and power endurance was the test in 12.2.

Side note: Those who think 12.2 was a test of strength do not know… a hill of beans about fitness.

Although 13.1 was still an endurance test, 17 minutes of it, somehow the combination of the two workouts seemed much more “crossfit” then either were apart. I was happy because it gave the barbell boys a fighting chance. One of my complaints about the Open was that the workouts have been heavily biased toward the endurance/low skill end of the fitness continuum. It’s hard to see how a group of workout testing such a narrow set of skills can be seen as a true test of fitness. 13.1 seemed to address a bit of those issues. So in my mind, things were looking up, slightly.

Enter 13.2. This workout dashed the bit of enthusiasm or hope I had that the Open would become heavy and highly skilled based as 13.2 embodies everything I dislike about the Open. Light, low-skilled and built for the guys with big lungs. Jazzercise with a barbell.

Admittedly, my hope for a 225# power clean and handstand push-ups was just a pipe dream. It will never happen in the Open. Ah well, it doesn’t change my love for the sport. And it doesn’t change the fact that we still need to go out and demolish this wod. So let’s proceed.

This workout is clearly about one thing. Aerobic capacity. Actually, it’s about two things. Capacity and the ability to maintain position. Before even attempting this workout, you must know who you are. Are a ninja or a beast? Even the most experienced among us may not know this or want to admit which one they really are.

For the purpose of 13.2, you need to categorize yourself by capacity, height and gender.

Do you cringe when you see “Run 5k” on the whiteboard but get all giddy when you see “King Kong”? Chances are you are a beast. Are you tall or are you short? And I mean CrossFit tall or short. Not NBA tall or short. Tall for a woman is 5’4″ and up. Tall for a man is 5’10” and up. Are you male or are you female? If you don’t know, you have other issues. Categorizing yourself in this manner is probably the biggest key to this workout.

The box jumps, and your dexterity with them, will determine how you place in this workout. But how you approach the box jumps is completely determined by the category you fit in.

Only TALL-WOMAN-NINJAS should be jumping on all box jumps. PERIOD. And even they, if at any point feel the need to stop, should resort to stepping to avoid stopping. Also if you are employing this strategy, do your best to drop off the box, not jump off. Annie T does this with great efficiency by simply releasing one foot first, then dropping off the box. The rest of you will be stepping in one form or another the entire 10 minutes.

Capacity Tall Woman Short Woman Tall Man Short Man
Ninja jump up, jump down jump up, step down jump up, step down run up, step down
Beast jump up, step down run up, step down run up, step down step up, step down

It seems that the only way to get 12 rounds or more is to jump the entire way. So if you are a TALL-WOMAN-NINJA, you have the best chance of doing this. If you speculate that 12 or more rounds will be difficult for you, don’t worry. Stepping does not seem to slow you down that much and in some cases, you will add reps if not rounds. This is particularly the case with those who are SHORT-MAN-BEAST. We have examples of athletes adding 40+ reps on second efforts by switching to one of the stepping strategies above.

Note: I filmed the run up (single leg jump), step down as an example. Be sure to open your hips:

Unless you have some indicator that you might be able to achieve 12 or more rounds, either by a close score in a first effort or by some other means, then it is best for you to start the first round at a conservative controlled speed. THIS DOES NOT MEAN SLOW. However, do not be tempted to shoot out the gate. One of the worst things that could happen in this workout is to shoot your heart rate up too fast, too soon. The potential to do that in this workout is great and if you do, you will be done. You will not recover.

You should view the above table as your initial plan of attack. If you find you can speed up or need to slow down, switch methods. Remember, although jumping is faster, it is only slightly so. So proceed with caution. But by all means, never EVER stop.

The Annie vs. Lindsey video is very instructional here. Annie is quick in her movements but she does not hurry, particularly in the overheads. Lindsey speeds through the overheads. Eventually any ground Lindsey gained was lost as she began dropping the bar from the overhead position to the deadlift. Remember it is more important to move consistently that to be in hurry.

Julie’s video shows that you can move pretty slowly, stepping, and get a score of 270+ reps:

Transitions are more important than the absolute speed of your reps. However, this does not mean you can dog it. This is as slow a pace as you should go on box jumps.

Scott Lewis demonstrating pace:

Again, transitions are more important than absolute speed on the bar. You should move the bar only fast enough to complete all 15 reps – 5 shoulder to overhead, 10 deadlifts – without letting go of the bar and without causing you to rest in transitioning to the box jumps. Again, note the Annie vs. Lindsey video. Lindsey drops the bar several times and takes a few seconds to ready herself for each movement. Of course, this is all relative to Annie.

Give only what is asked for. Do not infer anything into the movement standards. Shoulder to full lockout overhead, shoulder behind barbell on deadlift and control for a split second on top of the box. Do not overextend in shoulder to overhead or arch back to far in the deadlift or pause more than a split second on top of the box. Again, watch Annie versus Lindsey.

This is especially important for those of you with low back issues. Your torso should remain as upright as possible in all movements in this workout. The deadlifts will involve a lot more leg than typical. Your hips will be lower and you must get bend in your knees.

Kelly Starrett’s video is actually very good in regard to this. I agree with him 100%:

If you must rest, you have only 3 opportunities.
a) slow down
b) drop the bar between the shoulder to overhead and the deadlift (use the proper plates)
c) step up, step down

What you can NOT do is stop completely.

Set a goal in your head. Then know where you need to be time wise to get the reps you’re shooting for. You should plan on a small amount of degradation speed as you enter the later rounds.

Good luck,

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