Back At It!
The CrossFit Open workouts that have deadlifts in them are notorious for being light weight and high rep. This is the first time we’ve seen loads increasing on the deadlift and they reach to some aggressive weights given the amount of repetitions that is called for.
Likewise, the box jump workouts that have appeared in the past are so high rep that athletes have run into Achilles pain or injury. Here we see much fewer box jumps than in previous years.
For the deadlift, athletes need to count on feeling the most fatigue in their lower backs and possibly their grip. As with any deadlift, position yourself with your weight behind the bar and stay back on your heels as you cycle reps. The more your legs help push you out of the bottom, the less work your back will have to do.
By breaking deadlifts sets early on in the workout you can save up some stamina through your abs and low back. Cycling reps will be the fastest option of course; however, keep in mind that lowering the bar every rep will require just as much tension through your midsection as it takes to raise the bar. Ultimately, when you drop the bar you alleviate that extra time under tension and give your stabilizers of the abdominals, and spinal erectors a much-needed break.
Know your limitations as an athlete, where you can push and where things will break down. I think it’s perfectly fine to go unbroken on the 10-rep and 15-rep rounds of deadlifts, which are at light loads, but look to breaking up the 20-rep set earlier than you might think in order to keep sets of 5-8, instead of 1-3.
Getting back to the 25-rep set with time left on the clock is of course the goal for many, but you’ll also need to have saved some energy and pulling power. When you break a set, give yourself a 2-3 count and then pick it right back up. If your reps turn into singles at any point, the goal needs to be to just keep moving. Drop the bar, follow it down and pick it right back up.
With the box jumps you need to cycle them quickly with as little time wasted as possible. I am an advocate of jumping off of the box from the top, but if this is something that you 1) don’t ever practice, or 2) don’t feel comfortable doing, then this is NOT the time to start!
Regardless of your box jump style, whether you jump down, step down, or even do step ups the whole time you need to find a rhythm and you need to keep moving. Every rep, as you come down from the box, you should be sending your arms back so that they are loaded behind you when both feet are on the ground. This signals to your body that you are ready to jump (or step) again. As soon as you’re in this position you need to swing your arms forward and spring right back up. Rest at the top of the box, not at the bottom.
Transitions! This is wear a lot of people will lose valuable time. Plan your weight changes beforehand and practice exactly how you will move from one load to the next. You will not be thinking clearly for 8min so this needs to be an easy to remember system. As for loading the bar, you need to move like the pit crew in a NASCAR race. Loading the bar is your built-in rest, don’t drag it out – the clock is ticking!