I’ve gotten some questions on how to approach the rowing portion of CrossFit Games Open workout 14.4:
14 minute AMRAP:
- Row 60 calories
- 50 Toes to Bar
- 40 Wallballs
- 30 Cleans
- 20 Muscle Ups
Here’s some key points:
This is a long workout. You don’t want to absolutely kill yourself on the row as you will have another 100+ reps to go after that.
60 calories is a weird measurement – you should view it as about 90 strokes / 850 meters.
In order to finish in the 3:00-3:30 range, men should strive to keep a >1200 calorie-per-minute pace and women should strive for >1000. This is of course a generalization – the reality is the rowing piece could take anywhere between 2:15 and 4:00 depending on fitness and technique.
Keep the cadence high – shoot for 30+ strokes per minute. For a workout of this length you do not want to crank the damper up and row strong and slow, despite the temptation. The flywheel will slow down too much in between strokes, and this rowing piece is long enough where you will be firmly in the aerobic energy system. Muscling it will simply shred you for the rest of the workout. I recommend damper between 4 and 6 for most people, keeping consistent pace at a cadence of 30 strokes per minute. Close your eyes, count out 80 strokes, then open them and see what you have left to sprint. That will give you a decent time on the row and will leave you with energy for the rest of the WOD.
As a benchmark, as a masters male I completed the row in 2:16 and logged 180 Rx reps for the WOD (i.e. I made it through the cleans).
Great post from Tabata Times:
Amen I say, especially as we start to get into CrossFit Games season. I’m always amazed at how many people go strict Paleo, etc. but then only exercise in the controlled environment of the gym. Get out there like your ancestors! Strike out into the woods in the snow! Swim in the ocean! Climb a mountain! Sometimes we forget the “learn new sports” aspect of the CrossFit philosophy. There’s no better “constant variation” than trying something you don’t know how to do.
Winter is winding down, CRASH-Bs are over, and the docks are going in soon in the East. While for many this means that the CrossFit Open is starting and they are looking forward to the CrossFit Games, for me it means that it’s time to become a cherry-picker.
What I mean is that I have spent the winter doing whatever CrossFit threw at me, because it made me stronger and less prone to injury, and it made winter training interesting and motivating.
Now it’s time to focus on how CrossFit can make me stronger as a rower, specifically. This means developing power and acceleration in addition to strength in the specific movements that make up the rowing stroke. There are 3 principles I plan to implement:
1. Maintain the “constant variation” theme, but try to bound it within a set of WODs and exercises that relate to developing specific rowing power:
- Russian kettlebell swings – more closely models the speed and cadence of rowing.
- Jump squats or burpees, with emphasis on jump height vs. max reps.
- Box jumps, broad jumps, and other plyometric jumping variations.
- Ring rows and pullups.
- Back/core exercises: single-leg kettlebell deadlifts, hollow rocks, planks, toes-to-bar, L-sits, supermans.
- Light thrusters or wallball shots, training for maximum acceleration instead of max reps. I might even take the wallball outside and see how high I can shoot it vs. how many standard-height shots I can do.
2. Use weekly training volume and periodic testing to add periodization to my plan. While the CrossFit philosophy blows up traditional highly-planned progressive periodization cycles, the concept of varying volume and tapering can still be applied in terms of the number of workouts and how they are cadenced within a 1-week microcycle.
3. Make sure that no week passes without doing at least 1 core strength WOD in the following areas:
- Back Squats
- Some type of single-side injury prevention work such as single-leg kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell lunges, kettlebell snatches, or Turkish get-ups.
Not to say I won’t still try to get better at things I can’t do well like double-unders or handstands, but these are not going to be as effective in generating a 3:40 1K time in the single scull, which is what I need to be at by the end of July.
The good news is that the first Open WOD, 7 minutes of burpees, is squarely in line with my transitional focus, so that will be an exciting start to the weekend.
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