The final workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is finally here! Annnddddd… it’s a workout that has already been featured twice before in other years. Workout 18.5 is the same as workouts 11.6 and 12.5. As someone who has participated in every single year of this wonderful event, I’ve done this particular WOD four times already!

It’s an ascending ladder of Thrusters (100lbs for men and 65lbs for women) and Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups, with a 7 minute time cap.

18-5

 

Thursters

This is a weight that I would consider “CrossFit Medium” for most athletes. Sets of 10-15+ should be possible for a lot of people when they’re fresh, however I do not suggest doing that many in a row. As is the case with all workouts like this that increase in volume as fatigue also increases, the strategy is to pace appropriately right out of the starting gate.

There are very few athletes that I would suggest going past the round of 6 or 9 unbroken. Instead, intentionally break reps every 3 to 6 reps, take short rests, and continue on your way. If you watch Rich Froning when he’d do thrusters in a workout, a lot of people commented how he was moving too slow after the workout started. He’d drive up, pause at the top of the lockout for a split second to take a quick breath, then repeat. Nearly 100% of those same people were wrong when he maintained a comfortable pace from start to finish.

Completing the round of 9 reps in under a minute means nothing for how someone completes this workout. Instead, hold a slower and steady pace for five-and-a-half to six minutes, then turning it on at the end. If you’re crushed after minute 3… you’re going to have a bad time.

Control your breathing. Control your lockout. Don’t crash at the bottom of your reps. Make sure the bar doesn’t bounce all over the place when you drop it. The name of the game here is to be steady and consistent. This is not a sprint.

Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups

My advice for these is very similar to that of the thrusters. Having the physical ability to do large sets when you’re fresh doesn’t mean you should do that here. I’m going to suggest most people complete sets of 3-5 reps at a time from start to finish, with short rest between attempts.

Finding a lower bar which allows for a quick reset of the grip can also lead to conserving energy over the course of seven minutes. Before starting the workout and running out of gas, experiment with timing a few larger sets of pull-ups with longer rests, and comparing them with shorter sets with shorter rest; even if that means quick singles.

Please don’t rip your hands on this workout! Jumping up to a high bar for every set of pull-ups will not only keep your heart rate higher, it will also lead to more fatigue of your grip and shoulders. Breathe. Pace. Take more breaks than you want!

 

Scaled Version

The thruster weight is lighter and the movement is “easier” for the pull-ups. Please be aware that while this may sound great, it’s even more reason for you to slow down and control your heart rate. I would call this a 75% effort workout to most of my athletes. Find a pace where you can keep it moving, but not red line. If you pace this appropriately, you’ll get really far. If not, you’ll be staring at a bar that isn’t even heavy for you, unable to pick it up because of how tired you are. Pace. Breathe. Keep moving.

Throwback Thursday

Since I’ve been in the Open since year number one, I came across a few throwbacks that I wanted to share with all of you. First, here is a video of my first attempt at 11.6. Please note my technique (especially on rep #3 of the first set of thrusters) and my unbelievably smooth and consistent technique through the entire seven minutes. My advice is to watch this video… and do your best to mimic NONE of it. So funny!! We were just kids, then!

Then, I came across one of my first ever CF Open Games Strategy videos. Why am I not wearing a shirt, you ask? It’s because I had just finished the workout and just got home. What better time to record a strategy video, and then pack for a flight that left in six hours taking you out of town for the weekend. Just another throwback gem from the Smashby Training blog! You’re welcome.

It’s the FINAL WEEK of the 2018 Open! Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!

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