Gymnastics Warm Up
8 minutes, alternating:
Chest to Bar Pull Ups
Wall Walks


12 minutes to establish a 1RM Hang Clean (just above the knee) and Jerk


7 minute Ladder of:
3 Toes to Bar
3 Thrusters 45Kg/30Kg
6 Toes to Bar
6 Thrusters 45Kg/30Kg

photo (47)

Strength & Conditioning

Gymnastics Warm Up
8 minutes, alternating:
Ring Rows
Wall Walks

A) Deadlift 3 x 5
-Pigeon Stretch (30 Seconds)-
B) Push Up/Dip/Weighted Dip 3 x 8
-Tactical Frog (30 Seconds)-


7 minute Ladder of:
3 Abmat Sit Ups
3 Dumbbell Thrusters
6 Abmat Sit Ups
6 Dumbbell Thrusters

How We’ve Strategised for the last year – Colm

It’s no secret I like the competitive side of CrossFit, and The Open, with all it’s flaws. Regardless of what you train for The Open gives us a chance to test the programming and coaching against an external measurement tool. It can be too easy to program a bodyweight pull up challenge, spend 8 weeks doing nothing but pull ups, and then claim progress. Meanwhile every other aspect of fitness has been neglected.

While watching the mean level of performance throughout CFI last year I noticed that while we were quite strong in the barbell movements, we slowed down during our gymnastic movements (i.e. toes to bar, chest to bar pull ups, etc.) [along with a less than optimal strategy for CrossFit cardio movements - burpees, double unders, etc.]

This made sense, given our programming focus. Strength is the foundation of your conditioning. If you aren’t strong enough to do a 52.5Kg Push Press, you aren’t going be able to do a lot of them, or a lot of them quickly. Our programming had prepared us for that. We know what we snatch, what we hang snatch, low hang snatch, power snatch, can do for a triple etc, etc. BUT we didn’t know how many chest to bar pull ups we can do, how many handstand push ups or double unders in a row.

We simply had no systematic way of training these, other than relying on what came up in a workout. They required, no, demanded their own individual focus. Hence the gymnastics warm up was born.

With gymnastics movements, we’re primarily concerned with repeatability. What can do for again and again. Is that 8 kipping pull ups, 4 handstand push ups? How much rest is required. Overall once off sets don’t count for much in the sport. Consistent sets do.

An issue that occurs with gymnastics movements is that we’re dealing with failure, we’re always trying to find the line of how many you can do before you can’t do another. And we want to stay clear of that failure point. Starting a workout by doing a max effort set of pull ups, and then limping home doing 1 or 2 pull ups (or even a half pull up) isn’t productive.

This sport is about finding a pace that allows you to continue to move for the duration of the workout or until the work is done. If you can minimise rest, particularly in later rounds, you can perform better AND not be as sore. Better immediate pay off (in terms of a quicker workout/better score) and better long term progress. All too often we see a blisteringly fast starting pace only to drastically slow down towards the end. I cannot think of another sport where this happens.*

The gymnastics warm up allows you to build up your tolerance with plenty of rest and a relatively low heart rate. In the gymnastics warm up you’ll generally repeat sets of about 40-60% capacity four times. So if you can do 10 Handstand Push Ups, you’d do 4-6 each set, giving you a total of 16-24 Handstand Push Ups. When the movements appear in a conditioning piece it’s a chance to test various strategies when the gymnastic movements are higher in volume and combined with another movement.

This strategy has worked really well for our muscle ups. I was amazingly happy when everyone I coached during the last “Amanda” (9-7-5 Muscle Ups/Snatches) PR’d. “Amanda” is a CrossFit staple workout, and one we could objectively test against any other programme as a fair test of it’s efficacy.

Are we there yet? Absolutely not! we still don’t have the perfect formula for how many exposures to each movement you need each week, combined with the volume of each exposure, rest to work ratios and how the movements interfere with each other. These will be further challenges as we progress.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, we should address redlining – going so fast you burn up or feel like you’re going to get sick. It has it’s place in the sport and fitness. We just felt it came way behind overall strength and your gymnastic endurance capacity. Since August we’ve included as much wall ball time as possible, and generally trained it during our EMOMs (Each Minute on The Minute) work to know where our threshold was for this movement. (And yes, we play The Wall Ball song to mentally train for it as well). Wall Balls are one of, if not the easiest way to bring you into that high heart rate, high respiratory rate zone.

Traditional redline training (i.e. going fast from the start, with primary focus on the clock above all else) means that only a handful of people who can embrace that level of physical discomfort can excel at the activity, with the vast majority making poor progress and also finish feeling like poo each conditioning piece. A paced strategy allows you to get fitter without the beat down effect and really takes into account the long term view of training.

We’ve backed our strategy of getting you strong in the “Tier 1″ movements of CrossFit, and developing your resistance to fatigue in bodyweight movements above. The great test now lies ahead of us in The Open. It’s a test we can’t rig, to see how our training methods have prepared us! It’s exciting!

*I know in the 800m sprint the second 400m is slower than the first. But that’s it.