16.4 is Here

But why 55 of everything!? Read the strategy write up by Coach Jacob!



By Jacob T

Output Management & Technical Considerations

The structure of this workout is interesting. Each movement is likely to have the greatest local impact not on the movement following, but two movements after, i.e. the deadlift has a greater specific impact on rowing than it does on wall ball, wall ball has a greater specific impact on handstand pushups than it does on rowing, etc. However, all of these movements, and especially the first three, are very systemically stressful.

In some cases, proficiency in some of these movements will be contradictory to proficiency in others. Excellent rowers are not as likely to be excellent at handstand pushups. As you select a strategy, bear in mind that you may have to do a little bit of gaming based on your own abilities.

In all movements, bear the following in mind: there is no point in doing a larger set unless it reduces the total number of sets the exercise will take you. There is no appreciable difference between 15/10/10/10/10 and 11/11/11/11/11, except that the first set of the first scheme is more taxing than it needs to be. Whenever you increase the size of a set, it should be in service of reducing the total number of sets, which is useful so long as it doesn’t cause your rests to get too long.

Deadlift: Move at a steady pace. Don’t try to move every rep as fast as you can, and be careful of bouncing the bar off the floor. However, avoid lowering the bar too slowly or resting at the top, as this will place undue stress on your grip and increase the total work time of each set. If you find the concentric slowing down against your will, you may be forcing yourself into sets too large for your capacity.

I would recommend breaking the deadlift into five sets of eleven, keeping rests around five seconds. Adjust for proficiency, avoiding letting the sets become maximal. If you are a very proficient deadlifter, I would keep the sets at 5×11, but make your early rests minimal – just drop the bar to give your hands a short break, follow it down, regrip and go again.

Wall Ball: The key here is to work in sets that allow you to focus on using your legs for as much of the work as possible, and avoid fatiguing the shoulders more than is necessary. For your breaks, put the ball up against the wall and lean into it. This will reduce your transition time and give you some additional rest. Control your breathing, keeping the arms and shoulders relaxed and trusting your legs to handle the brunt of the work.

I recommend four possible breakdowns depending on your ability with wall ball:

  • 11/11/11/11/11
  • 15/15/15/10
  • 25/15/15
  • 35/20

A note: why do I recommend that higher level athletes go for bigger sets on wall ball, where I did not recommend that on the deadlift? This is because the potential for systemic stress with 225#/155# deadlifts is significantly higher than with 20#/14# wall ball shots. If you push yourself a little too hard on a set of wall ball, it’s easier to recover from than doing the same during a set of deadlifts.

Row: I recommend starting at an easy pace for the first five or so calories before picking it up into your working pace. Back off just slightly for the last five calories, to recover your breathing before HSPU. Starting the HSPU without your breathing in check is risky, because it’s a difficult movement to recover your breathing during, due to the compression of the diaphragm.

Handstand Pushup: The moment we’ve all been waiting for.

It is crucial to maintain a sound, solid kip from the get-go. Particularly if you are strong at HSPU, it will be tempting to rush through the early sets. Moving fast is fine, but if it results in underutilizing the kip, it’s not worth shaving a second or two. This is the only movement in the workout in which there is a real possibility of hitting a wall and failing reps. Keep your technique on point and save your shoulders.

Like wall ball, I’ve provided several possible breakdowns depending on your ability below:

  • 11/11/11/8/7/7
  • 11/11/11/11/11
  • 15/15/15/10
  • 25/15/15

Other Notes

You may consider taking your shoes off after the row and before the handstand pushup. Your feet will slide along the wall more easily in just socks. MAKE SURE TO MEASURE THE STANDARD WITH YOUR SHOES OFF IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO THIS!

Specific Warm-Up

1) EMOM 12, alternating:
a) 5 Deadlifts
b) 5 Wall Ball
c) 5 Calorie Row
d) 5 Handstand Pushups

Deadlift: Starts at 135#/95#, second set 185#/135#, third set 185#/135#, fourth set 225#/155#

2) 2×10 second row sprint, rest 60 seconds between sets. Rest 2 minutes before beginning workout.

CrossFit Games Open Workout 16.4

55 Deadlifts, 225#/155#
55 Wall Ball, 20# to 10’/14# to 9′
55 Calorie Row
55 Handstand Pushups