CrossFit Open 17.4: Back on the Grind

There definitely are past Open workouts I wouldn’t want to repeat. This was one of them.

Jamie Toland, CF-L1 March 28, 2017

There definitely are other past Open workouts I would not want to repeat. The 16.4 workout was something I didn’t want to grind through a second time because of the strain on my lower back. While I know this isn’t an exclusive concern to me, knocking out all 55 reps at 225 pounds filled me with a sense of dread.

For reference, the men’s breakdown for 16.4 and 17.4 is this: 13 minutes, as many reps/rounds as possible (aka AMRAP) of 55 deadlifts at 225 pounds, 55 wall balls — 20-pound ball to a 10-foot target, 55 calories rowed, 55 handstand push-ups.

The 225 lb. deadlifts is roughly 70 percent of my one-rep max for deadlift, and I generally only go as heavy as about 185 pounds when going heavy in my regular training. In essence, in an effort to protect my back from poor form and subsequently possible injury, I rarely go heavier when it comes to deadlifting in a workout.

But my Open philosophy is this: If I CAN Rx the workout, I WILL. So like last year, I did the Rx.

Here is an excerpt from last year’s attempt:

“As the workout got underway, the five singles worked pretty well. But, as anticipated, that bar got heavy, really quickly. The 5s became 3s, the 3s became singles, until after what seemed like hours of deadlifting, my judge said the magic word: 55! I have no idea what the time was or how long that took me, but I was done and quite sure I was NEVER going to do that again. (I hope!) The wall balls weren’t as bad as I thought, and I did sets of 5 until I got to 40, at which point I pushed myself to rep out an 8 and a 7 to finish.”

I was hopeful to never do that again, but alas, here we are tasked with a repeat. This year, I noticed that after longer warm-ups, the 225 pounds didn’t feel too bad. When I started out with 17.4, I did sets of five unbroken instead of dropping each time like the year before. I was able to keep that pace until about 30 or 35 reps, then I went to the sets of five singles to finish out the 55 reps.

For the wall balls, I did sets of five the whole time while trying to limit my rest as much as possible. I had almost four minutes to knock out the 55-calorie row and attempt a handstand push-up. I felt like my pace was fine — I was trying to keep my calorie-per-hour pace between 900 to 1,100 when possible. As the time continued to tick away, it became pretty clear that if I pushed it, I would finish the row and also there was probably no way I would make it to the wall for a handstand push-up for the second year in a row.

With only six seconds left, I finished the 55 calories and had no time or desire to make my way to the wall.

I was content with my result, and as always, I had no desire to repeat this. The 17.4 workout and 80 percent of my Open was finished.

Only one more week to go and we’ll soon find out what Dave Castro is going to throw at us. My guess: thrusters and something else.


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About the Author

Jamie Toland, CF-L1

Jamie Toland, CF-L1

Jamie Toland is a CrossFit Level-1 trainer and runs the gear review website Grinder's Gear Review. Jamie has worked for CrossFit Games Media for two and a half years as both a writer and video media team member. In addition, Jamie also works as a freelance writer for various online and print publications.