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15.2: The Remix

It was like 14.2 all over again.

I never repeat an Open workout … unless I’m forced to. In this case, 15.2 was … 14.2, not my favorite.

Both workouts break down like this: Every three minutes for as long as possible complete:

From 0:00-3:00 two rounds of:

10 overhead squats (95/65 pounds)

10 chest-to-bar pull-ups.

From 3:00-6:00 2 rounds of:

12 overhead squats (95/65 pounds)

12 chest-to-bar pull-ups.

From 6:00-9:00 2 rounds of:

14 overhead squats (95/65 pounds)

14 chest-to-bar pull-ups


The workout continues until you are not able to complete the reps of overhead squats and chest-to-bar pull-ups in the allotted three-minute window.

Last year, I went right at this thing: 10 unbroken overhead squats, five and five on the set of chest-to-bar for the first two sets. I ended up with a little time to rest, but the issue was that I was wiped out. I pushed through the first set of 12 overhead squats, but by the time I got back to chest-to-bar pull-ups again, I was pretty much done.

So this year, I watched the videos with tips on maximizing my efforts and read the articles about mobility work and planning out my reps. The advice that stuck out the most was to break up the OHS and doing singles on the pull-ups. This seemed ridiculous because I could easily do the sets of 95 pounds without putting it down, but the argument wasn’t about the weight. What I was hearing was if I could maintain more consistent small sets, then I could drop my beats per minute and that a lower heart rate would allow me to not be as “gassed” on the chest-to-bars.

So many times I’ve heard stories about the “best-laid plans,” so I tried to keep that in mind as I focused on staying with my plan.

In hindsight, I probably should have tested this out a few times before putting it into practice. I’m not saying I didn’t warm up or try the movements, but I think if I would have repped out a set of 10 and 10 and then gauged my fatigue, I might have been more prepared for what it was going to feel like during the actual workout.

I started with a 4-3-3 rep scheme on the first 10 overhead squats, then 10 quick singles on the chest-to-bar pull-ups. No problem. On the second set, I shorted my opening squat snatch and dropped the bar. I pulled it cleanly the second time and did another 4-3-3 set and 10 singles, finishing the first three minutes with seven seconds left. The problem was, my heart rate was way too high and I was breathing entirely too hard. Not a great situation to be in when I was faced with another round and a higher rep scheme.

I labored through a set of 4-4-4 to start the round of 12. I noticed that I was really struggling, mostly mentally, because I was at that point when I just wanted to be done. I wasn’t willing to go to the “pain cave” that all the top athletes talk about. I finished my chest-to-bars, fought through 12 more overhead squats and then just struggled through as many pull-ups as I could get before my judge called “time.”

Not better, not worse. Just the same score as last year. The new strategy didn’t change my score at all. At 40, I’ll take it. On to week three.

How did the repeat of 14.2 (aka 15.2) go for you? Share your experience in the comments.

Stay on the Grind.