CrossFit Open 16.3 Tips, Tricks, & Strategies

Xi XiaCFPDX CompetitionLeave a Comment

Initial Thoughts & General Comments
This workout will be hard, but in very different ways depending on who you are. You might be struggling to get just a few bar muscle-ups, making this event more challenging to your strength, skill, focus, and demeanor. Or, you might have bar muscle-ups for days, in which case, this one will feel FAR more breathy than you might be thinking. Consider which category you fall into, and use the guide below to help you mentally prepare for whichever kind of “suck” you’ll be going through.

Knowledge of your abilities is only gained through experience. We help people learn more about their engines everyday in our competition program.

Movement Considerations
Power Snatch
There are a couple ways you can make these quick while staving off fatigue. In list form:
– Use the hook grip!
– If you can set your hips a bit higher than usual in the set-up without rounding your back, go for it.
– Keep your feet in the same spot through the whole rep.
– If you are strong enough to muscle snatch, do so, but I recommend keeping the bar tight to your body, as you would in a heavier snatch. This will keep your upper body much fresher for the bar muscle-ups. If you have any question at all if you’re “strong enough,” or if you know that bar muscle-ups will be tough for you, definitely power snatch!

Bar Muscle-up
If you have 12+ solid chest to bar pull-ups, you are likely strong enough to do bar muscle-ups. There are a couple of ways you can work towards getting your first bar muscle-up.

The first is to use bands. Hook a heavy band under your feet like you would to assist a pull-up, and make some attempts using that. Then, when that is easy, use a lighter band, and keep working towards less assistance until you’re not using any bands at all. The “feel” of the movement is a bit different than the real thing, but it is a nice way to practice getting over the bar and slowly ramp yourself up to a real one.

Another method is to practice with a box under the bar. With your toes on the box, do the forward swing of your kip (your knees will be bent), and then use your legs to help propel yourself over the bar. At first, you’ll want a very tall box, but as you warm up, you can move to a lower and lower height.

If you haven’t done a bar muscle-up before, do these drills in the warm-up, but save your “real” attempts for the workout.

For those of you that have them, but are looking to increase efficiency, here are some tips (these are also helpful if you’re trying to get your first one!):
– Use a “slight” false grip on the bar. This basically means gripping over the bar a bit more than you might normally. Not so much that you can’t kip powerfully anymore, but just enough to make the transition over a bit easier.
– A strong kip is important, but it must be balanced. By that, I mean that when you swing forward, don’t swing so far as to throw off the timing of your swing back.
– Many people start pulling too soon. If you’ve attempted a bar muscle-up, and instead ended up slamming your chest into the bar as maximum velocity, that’s probably what happened. While very strong individuals don’t get much “lay back,” most others will need to get the torso pretty far back relative to the bar before beginning to pull over.
– Speaking of the pull over, it needs to be fast! Many people don’t make it over because they simply weren’t aggressive enough. Think of it as the world’s fastest sit-up.

The below advice covers a pretty broad range of skill levels. As always, create your own individual plan – just use this as a jumping off point.

If you don’t have bar muscle-ups…
If you’re trying to maximize your spot on the leaderboard, definitely hit the workout “as rx’d” first, even if that means you just do 10 power snatches and then stare at the bar for 6 and half minutes. 1 rep of rx’d beats 1000 reps scaled. Then, if you’re looking to get more of a workout in, do the scaled version right after.

If you happen to get your first bar muscle-up in this workout, congratulations! You just jumped 100,000 places on the leaderboard. There’s a strong likelihood that you could get your second one too, but chances are high that it won’t happen 15 seconds after the first. Pace yourself, and take attempts every 45 seconds to 1 minute. This will ensure that each attempt is a quality one, rather than a wasted effort.

If you can do “some” bar muscle-ups…
While it is tempting to give yourself more time for bar muscle-ups by blazing through the power snatches, this might not be the wisest strategy. You want to save as much strength as you can for bar muscle-ups, and so pushing to get 10 unbroken each round, versus 5 + 5, might not be worth the extra 5 seconds it grants you. Basically, if your grip or shoulders start to feel “burny” prior to 5 minutes in, you’ve probably gone out too hot. It might make sense to do 10 unbroken the first round, and then 5+5 (or even 5+3+2) in the later rounds, until you get back to the bar for what is probably our last round – then bust out 10 quick ones if you can.

As for the bar muscle-ups, singles from the get go will probably be your best bet. While the second rep in a set can sometimes feel a bit stronger due to the momentum built from coming down from the top of the bar, you want to avoid missed reps at all costs, and singles is the way to do that. Set a pacing strategy for yourself based on time (1 every 15 seconds, 30 seconds, etc), or breathes (1 rep, 10 breathes, 1 rep, 10 breathes).

If you are proficient at bar muscle-ups…
For bar muscle-up ninjas, you will feel your grip, shoulders, and lungs during this workout – not necessarily in that order! While 7 minutes is not a long time, it still makes sense to pace yourself a bit out of the gate. Start at 90% and try to avoid redlining until at least 5 minutes in if you can help it.

The best scores in the world will be put up by people who go unbroken on the snatches and bar muscle-ups. However, as stated above, if you start to feel your grip and shoulders burning more than your lungs before 5 minutes in, it might be wise to break the power snatches into two sets, just so that your bar muscle-ups can be that much stronger. You definitely want to go unbroken as long as possible on those.

5-10 minutes Easy Aerobic Work
– Bike, Row, Jog, etc
5-10 minutes Dynamic Range of Motion
– Emphasize lats, shoulders (especially internal rotation), hamstrings.
10 Scap Pull-ups
10 BN Snatch Grip Presses, empty bar
10 Kipping Swings
5 Above Knee Muscle Snatches, empty bar
3-5 Pull-ups
5 Mid Shin Muscle Snatches, empty bar
3-5 Chest to Bar Pull-ups
3 sets:
5 Power Snatch 75/55#
1 Bar Muscle-up OR 1-3 reps of Bar Muscle-up Drill
Rest 1 min x 3 sets – build speed each set

Rest 5 minutes before beginning the workout.

Additional Notes
Due to its shortness and the skill component, this workout is extremely redoable.

If you think you might rip your hands, tape em’ up.

If bar muscle-ups aren’t exactly your thing, remember that your performance on this workout does not define you. Being able to do bar muscle-ups, or not, does not define you.

Have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *