17.4 Tips and How to Prep

The 2017 CrossFit Open is underway and that means five weeks of worldwide competition designed to push you to the limit (see why the CrossFit Open matters). We want you to do the best you possibly can, all while staying healthy enough to train during the week.

Each Thursday we’ll be posting tips for warm-up, nutrition, and recovery to help you devise the best possible game plan to tackle the workout.  Time to smash those goals.


Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 deadlifts
55 wall-ball shots
55-calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

Men deadlift 225 lb. and throw 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
Women deadlift 155 lb. and throw 14-lb. ball to 9-ft. target


There’s a lot of midline work and demand on the posterior chain in this one so make sure you’re hitting both those areas in your warmup. Pay special attention to your hamstrings/hips (we recommend doing a minute or two flossing)  open your thoracic spine and hit your ankles if they’re a trouble spot for you (especially without your lifters).

After getting mobilized and your heart rate up, do 3 rounds of 5 goblet squats, 20 second chest facing wall handstand holds (this will get you ready for a solid handstand and not a slouched one against the wall that will cost you later on!) and 7 banded good mornings. Follow that up with 10 total single arm suitcase deadlifts (with a kettlebell or medium weight dumbbell) and 10 pushups done like this: one scap push-up, one regular push-up, until you reach 10 total reps.

Warm up to the deadlift weight (or a little over if you’d prefer) and make sure you can hit the line on your handstand pushups BEFORE you start. You may have to move your hands in some. Run through 5 reps of each movement (including a couple cals on the rower). Set everything up so you’re not walking across the gym to the rower and back to the wall. Transition time is wasted time!


This is all about strategy as it’s a brutal chipper and a repeat of 16.4. There’s a lot of work before that, but the handstand push-ups are going to most often be the separator.

Break up the deadlifts. Brooke Wells, one of the CrossFit Games’ best deadlifters, took multiple breaks on the deadlifts and you should as well. Make them short, quick breaks and focus on staying tight and saving your back.

Trifecta: The official sponsor of the CrossFit Games

If you’re a good deadlifter, you can still do bigger sets of 20 or 15 and get through these quickly. If you’re not, break it up into sets of 7 or 8s or do a descending set of 10, 9, 8, etc. DO NOT DO SINGLES. At a minimum you should be doing sets of 2 to take advantage of the reversal of force from the floor.

Wear FLAT shoes. I don’t care how hard wall balls are unless you wear lifters-don’t do it. If you want to use your belt for this, go ahead.

Wall balls shouldn’t be an issue. You don’t redline on wall balls, they’re more a test of your mental strength. Aim for big sets to put this portion behind you. Keep the ball up high at your chest and rest with the ball against the wall (pressed against your chest with you arms down at your sides.) This will avoid wasting time and energy having to bend over and pick it back up. This is where it’s going to start to hurt, dig deep!

The row can be more of a rest. This is not the time to sprint and try to make up 10 seconds. You will pay for it later. Lower the damper setting and focus on a big, strong pull. This is not about the speed of your pulls, but the power.

Stay tight and maximize your height by not breaking at the midline!!! The handstand push-up standards can be incredibly challenging and the last thing you want to do is waste your time getting no-repped. Small sets here of 3-5 unless you’re a handstand push-up ninja and can do 10s with minimal rest in between. No matter what you do, DON’T go to failure on these unless there’s just a few seconds remaining in the workout. 

This drill is super helpful if you struggle with handstand push-ups. You need a big kip here, you will be tired when you reach this part. Think of your legs driving the movement and your upper body following for the lockout.

Recover during the Open. Use Code ATHDAILY10 to save.


Nothing crazy, nothing new and carbs and protein before and after.  Try to hit around 25g of protein and 35-50 g of carbs both before after.

If you like shakes, we recommend this one for having a good mix of protein and carbs. If not, make sure you have a mini meal on hand that has both fast and slow digesting carbs prior and all fast-digesting after. (You can find more on sports nutrition here.)


Your low back and posterior chain will be on fire. And since most of us will end on the handstand push-ups, your shoulders will be severely taxed as well.

Get back some spinal movement and work back some rotation in your thoracic like this. Unweighted reverse hypers, this simple wall stretch and this banded decompression will alleviate some pressure on your back and help you feel a lot better the next day.