18.1 Strategy + Tips
By Colin Farrell
It’s a long workout, but it goes by quickly. With rep schemes as small as 8-10-12/14, athletes will never be stuck on any one movement for too terribly long, comparatively speaking, and before you know it you’ll look at the clock and see there is only a few minutes to go. This workout was fun, and the new movement – the hang dumbbell clean – I think is a great introduction to the cannon of movements available for use during The Open. Now, how to tackle this.
This workout should a little something for everyone: larger and more powerful athletes should do well with the row and the hang power clean-and-jerks. Smaller, more gymnasty athletes should enjoy the manageable sets of toe-to-bar. The key is to play to your strengths and do damage control on the movements not suited to you as a particular athlete.
Things to keep in mind…
Know your limits on the toe-to-bar and keep your ego in check. With smaller sets, it’d be great to go unbroken if possible, but if toe-to-bar are something you’re not super proficient at break the 8 reps into 5s and 3s or two sets of 4s. You may hate to start the 2018 Open Season with a small set of 4 reps, then coming off the bar but if they are not something you’re proficient with, break them up from the get-go so you’re not down to singles and doubles by minute 15.
You are going unbroken on the dumbbell movements. Stronger athletes may be able to switch hands without putting the dumbbell down and complete all 10. Smaller athletes, put the dumbbell down after you are done on side, take a quick breath, and get right back on to the other side. Don’t forget to breath while completing these reps and be sure to press the weight directly over the center of your body… otherwise there are two negative outcomes: (1) it is a no-rep unless the dumbbell is directly over your shoulder and frontal plane and (2) it will fatigue your shoulders unnecessarily, making the toe-to-bar more difficult.
Lastly, with regards to the dumbbell work: use the hook grip through the hang clean portion of the movement. If you lose the hook grip after the dumbbell has met the shoulder, that’s fine. Just be sure to re-grip on the way back down.
The rowing intervals are short, really short. Even for a guy of my stature I was never on it for more than 45 seconds or so, and for one or two rounds was done in about 36 seconds. Given the low rep scheme, athletes can push hard on the row, skyrocket their heart rate, and end up only saving 4-10 seconds at the most. And, if your heart rate is that high, that time will be lost later in the workout. Your rowing pace should be just shy of “comfortable.” For larger, more powerful male athletes that means a ~1200 cal/hr pace. For stronger female athletes, probably somewhere in the department of 850-900 cal/hr. I made the mistake of pushing a little farther into the “uncomfortable” side and paid the price.
I would suggest, if you can, completing one or two rounds of this workout about 10 minutes before the official call of “3, 2, 1… Go!” to get a sense for how fast or slow you can go, and what it feels like to row at a comfortable pace. Set a goal to stay on that track with, and stick to it.
What I would have done differently…
I completed 8 full rounds plus 6 toe-to-bar.
I went too hard on the row and too slow on the toe-to-bar. I’m 5’8” and only weigh about ~145# (I come from a long line of ectomorphs) and my calories/hour pace sat around 1350 for most of the workout. That was entirely too high and any time I saved going harder on the row was lost in more time catching my breath between movements or resting between sets. For three or four sets in the middle of the workout I broke the toe-to-bar into sets of 5 and 3, and regretted it. I should have gone unbroken on those the whole time. For a guy with my particular skill set, I should have invested more of my efforts there and less on the rower.
Good luck everyone!