17.1 Strategy Guide

First off, big shout out to Ally and David last night!  It was real fun to cheer them on as they tackled the WOD.  The rest of us will be taking this on either tonight at the 5pm, 6pm 7pm CrossFit classes or Sunday at the 9am, 10am, 11am or 1:30pm (L2) classes.  

As soon as we get over the hysteria of "OMG!  That is soo many reps!"  or "I am going to come out and destroy this one!"  We need to figure out a strategy.  We don't have a lot of experiences from this WOD to draw upon, but we do have a few.  David and Ally offer us an example of what mortals can do with this WOD (though they did awesome).  Sam Briggs and Patrick Vellner offer us what the elites can do.  Also, Nicole Carroll offered a nice write up on her experience with 17.1... though she is a beast in her own right (2:14 Fran).

First off, this work out is about pacing.  Your primary means for fueling your muscles for this work out is going to be oxygen.  It is a 150 reps (at, hopefully, a light weight), and 75 reps of bodyweight burpee box jump over.  The movement is very cyclical (especially the snatches), and will require pacing each rep to avoid elevating the heart rate too much or building lactate levels in the muscles past the bodies ability to flush out.  

You need to work out a pace that will avoid your body 'red lining', if you elevate your heart rate too much or reach blood lactate levels too high, you will have to rest.  And resting is not an option.  Resting to return your heart rate to a more manageable level and to return your lactate levels to a workable range will take minutes... and minutes equals not finishing the work out.  

If we look at Vellner's performance we can see the pacing of his Power Snatches (thank you TZ Strength for the break down), we can see that he started a little fast, but kept his average rep per second pretty steady.  Those 10 reps at a faster rate where probably fine and generated little fatigue.  So, we are looking at a 2.5 to 3 second average pace per rep.  He probably pushed it a little too hard on Round 3 (30 reps), and we can see the drop off in performance (especially on the burpees box jumps).  

  • ROUND 1: 10 Power Snatches - Round time: 0:21.75 - Rep Avg: 2.175
  • ROUND 2: 20 Power Snatches - Round time: 052.03 - Rep Avg: 2.6015
  • ROUND 3: 30 Power Snatches - Round time: 1:16.86 - Rep Avg: 2.562
  • ROUND 4: 40 Power Snatches - Round time: 1:52:46 - Rep Avg: 2.8115
  • ROUND 5: 50 Power Snatches - Round time: 2:26.04 - Rep Avg: 2.9208

If we look at the burpee box jumps we can see that Round 4 wall he hit.  I am going to guess that this marked his buildup of lactate.  He was able to finish like a champ, but cost him the work out.  Sam Briggs was able to keep up a quicker pace.  Vellner would have benefited from slowing down a little on ROUND 3 before the big ROUND 4 and ROUND 5.  

  • ROUND 1: 15 Burpee - Round Time: 0:57.62 - Rep Avg: 3.8413
  • ROUND 2: 15 Burpee - Round Time: 0:56.07 - Rep Avg: 3.738
  • ROUND 3: 15 Burpee - Round Time: 0:56.2 - Rep Avg: 3.746
  • ROUND 4: 15 Burpee - Round Time: 1:11.97 - Rep Avg: 4.798
  • ROUND 5: 15 Burpee - Round Time: 1:00.83 - Rep Avg: 4.0553

The trick is saving yourself for the Rounds 4 and 5.  The majority of the work out is in those two rounds.  Vellner completed ROUND 3 at about 5:30, and ROUND 4 and ROUND 5 took him another 6 minutes and 22 seconds.  Keep a slow (BUT CONSTANT!) pace for Rounds 1 thru 3.  Round 4 is where the volume hits and where the blood lactate levels will start skyrocketing if unmanaged.

  • ROUND 1 Completed roughly at: 1:19
  • ROUND 2 Completed roughly at: 3:07
  • ROUND 3 Completed roughly at: 5:20
  • ROUND 4 Completed roughly at: 8:24
  • ROUND 5 Completed at: 11:52 

The second Big Thing is the fatigue factor of the lower back.  This is almost all local muscular endurance of the posterior chain (some shoulders for sure).  You have to protect your lower back because that is the weakest link of the posterior chain, and you will get lazy and not properly get down on the set up for the power snatch.    This will put it at greater risk for injury and for burning out the relatively weaker muscle group the spinal erectors.  Try to keep your hamstrings, glutes, and even some of your quads into the power snatch.  Take that extra quarter of a second to keep good position off the floor and you will be ready to tackle 17.2  

In tackling the Burpee Box Jumps you should step back into your burpee and step up into your burpee before you jump.  Don't hop straight from the bottom of the push up.  The hop up will elevate your heart rate more and will not save enough time to be worth it.  HOWEVER, do not rest on your burpees.  YOU MUST KEEP MOVING.   

A few athletes have already asked me whether they should use a muscle snatch  or a power snatch  for the snatches.  The answer is, it depends on your strength levels.  If the weight is light, keep with a muscle snatch.  It will require more upper body strength, but will be a lower power output and a lower power output means less energy utilized on the rep. However, if the weight is heavy for you, use a power snatch.  If it is kinda heavy, or starts to get heavy, start dropping under the pull and it make it a power snatch.  

So, in summary, PACE!  An elite level athlete should be able to hit this in about 11 minutes.  The VERY good CrossFit athlete will be about 15 minutes.  Finishing the work out is an accomplishment in of itself, but with proper planning (Ally and David just tackled it without planning because they had not time to plan!) and proper pacing a good CrossFit athlete should be able to finish.  I would take an honest appraisal of oneself and figure out a plan for either a 15 minute finish time or an 18:30 minute finish time.  

An example of finishing it at 20 minutes pace is below.  This would be just getting it done.  You will want to have an average of about 5 seconds per rep of the Power Snatches and 6 second pace on the burpee box jumps.  You will finish the ROUNDS like this:

  • ROUND 1: Snatch (:50), Burpees: 1:30, Elapsed: 2:20
  • ROUND 2: Snatch (1:40), Burpees: 1:30, Elapsed: 5:30
  • ROUND 3: Snatch (2:30), Burpees: 1:30, Elapsed: 9:30
  • ROUND 4: Snatch  (3:20), Burpees: 1:30, Elapsed: 14:20
  • ROUND 5: Snatch (4:10), Burpees: 1:30, Elapsed: 20:00


Kurt RoderickComment