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A Double Open Workout

Dave Castro mixes it up, and the first Open workout comes in two scored parts.

Nice move, Dave Castro.

Just when you think you can predict everything that’s going to happen in the Open, they mix it up. Two opening workouts, back-to-back on opening night with the top two Fittest Men on Earth in 2014. Wow, none of the people who made predictions last week called that one (or two).

First, Dave Castro throws out a classic CrossFit triplet. The 15.1 is 15 toes-to-bars, 10 deadlifts (115 pounds/75 pounds) and five snatches (115 pounds/75 pounds) AMPRAP in nine minutes. My initial thought on this was that it wasn’t too bad. I have a 155-pound snatch one-rep max, so doing sets of five at about 75 percent of my max was the thing that stood out to me as a concern. I’m decent at toes-to-bar, and the deadlift would be a problem for no one, so just managing the snatches would be my focus. No problem, I got this.

MORE:The Snatch

Then I noticed Dave Castro was taking pauses in his announcement, even more than usual.

He looked as if he was getting ready to add a disclaimer about this workout but instead added a second component: 15.1a.

Immediately following 15.1 would be a second part: six minutes to recover and establish a one-rep-max clean-and-jerk. What I liked about this, aside from the fact that it was a twist no one had seen before, was that no matter what you did for 15.1, you couldn’t scale or hide from 15.1a. You either got the weight on your shoulders and overhead or you didn’t.

This was intriguing and I didn’t hate it.

As I prepped for this one and did my traditional routine of reading articles online and watching tutorials of the various movements, I was carrying the mindset that this one actually wasn’t going to be that bad. All I heard from people on social media and also witnessed as I judged on Friday morning was one word: grip.

So I warmed up and tried to become familiar with the feel of the bar as I practiced the transition from one movement to the next. Obviously, there was little need for concern with the 115-pound deadlift, so I focused on being comfortable with the snatch weight and stringing together my toes-to-bar in sets of five with a four-second rest.

Round one went fine.

Then in round two, I lost my concentration on the last five toes-to-bar and went into recovery mode after that. Although I never broke down completely into singles on the toes-to-bar, I was foolish enough to hang on the bar while I did two or three very slow reps.

This cost me big time after the nine minutes were up because my arms were numb from the elbows to the wrists. This is a problem when you’re attempting to lift a good deal of weight off the ground to clean it, let alone jerk it overhead. I grabbed the bar almost straight away and punched out a sloppy 115-pound clean-and-jerk so I had a score, no matter what. After that, I composed myself, took some recovery time and hit 165 followed by 185 a minute later. My plan was to go to 195 pounds (just shy of my 205 PR), but for some reason, I decided that 200 was no different than 195, so I went for it.

I repped out a full squat clean, as nice as I’ve ever done, especially under that kind of physical duress. But the jerk was not there. I had it overhead but didn’t get under the bar quickly enough, and that was it. With 25 seconds left and my arms blown out, it was over.

My score was fine. It was a lot tougher than it looked, but I had completed my first ever Masters RX workout for the CrossFit Open.

Four more to go.

How did 15.1/15.1a go for you? Share your stories of triumph or struggles in the comments.

Stay on the Grind.