CrossFit Games 17.4 Rowing Advice

Some unsolicited advice on CrossFit Games Open Workout 17.4 from someone with one foot in the rowing community and one foot in the CrossFit community:

The workout (unscaled) is:

  • 55 deadlifts
  • 55 wallballs
  • 55 calorie row
  • 55 handstand pushups

I don’t have handstand pushups, so my strategy was to max out on the row for an Rx score.

A lot of people have asked about rowing strategy.  Here’s what I’ve been telling them:

  1.  The row is equivalent to about 850 meters, but because you will be doing it with smoked back, smoked lats, and smoked legs, you will not be able to treat it as a straight sprint.  It will take you about as long as a standard 1K row.
  2. In terms of pacing, try to remember the number of calories you did on the last 1 min round of Fight Gone Bad when you were tired – that is about the pace you will be able to maintain.  For me, that was in the low 20s, and I finished the 55 cal row this morning in just under 3:00, so that computes.
  3. For me, I set a light damper (drag factor 105, about 3.5 on the machine I was using) and kept a relatively high stroke rate (32-33 to start, down to ~30 during the middle, and back up at the end).  I believe it’s better to keep the wheel spinning for a piece this long, because with tired lats it’s easy to fall into the trap of squishy finishes, which will sap your ability to maintain power at a lower rate.  I think once you let the rate drop into the 26 range and are tired, you start going into a death spiral that’s hard to sprint out of.
  4. Unscientifically, I’d recommend Rx non-rower men shoot for something like 1000-1100 pace, and women 600-700 pace.  Again I was a little higher because I knew I was not doing HSPUs – you will have to pace yourself if you expect to do a bunch of HSPUs.
  5. Goal should probably be to finish the row by 10 minutes if you want to have time for HSPUs.

I see that a previous post on Calories to Pace conversion is getting some hits today – thanks.

Good Luck!

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