17.2 Workout Tips from Top CrossFit® Athletes

The second week of the CrossFit® Open is underway, and it’s a crazy tough 12-minute AMRAP. Last night, we saw Kari Pearce and Kristi Eramo – two of CrossFit’s elite female athletes – take on the workout live. In case you missed the grueling two-part triplet workout, it’s posted below.

Rounds 1-2

  • 50 Foot walking lunge, 25 feet down, turnaround, then 25 feet back. Dumbbells in front rack position. 50lbs for men 35 lbs for women.
  • 16 Toes to bar
  • 8 Dumbbell power cleans (one head of dumbbell must make contact with floor)

Rounds 3-4

  • 50 Foot walking lunge, 25 feet down, turnaround, then 25 feet back. Dumbbells in front rack position. 50lbs for men 35 lbs for women.
  • 16 Bar Muscle-Ups
  • 8 Dumbbell Power Cleans (one head of dumbbell must make contact with floor)

Rounds 5-6 – return to first triplet

Rounds 7-8 – return to second triplet

Follow in that order if you hit 8+ rounds.

12-Minute AMRAP

The announcers spoke on the fact that this workout needs to have strategy, as it’s tougher than the previous Open workout 17.1. When you combine exercises like toes to bar and bar muscle-ups, then things like strategically planning your grip strength become a priority.

To assist with your 17.2 endeavors, below is a list of tips from some of CrossFit’s top athletes on how to successfully make it through.

1. Michele Letendre (Finished 16th at the 2016 Games) – Different Methods to Grip the Dumbbells

First method: “The first few reps, I keep my hand in a hook grip closest to the front part of the dumbbell. I have short arms so this grip helps me feel more stable in the turn around.”

Second method: “The second grip I’m holding the DBs on the back part of the DB, still in a hook grip. This grips help reduce the range of motion to the ground. However, because of my short arms, the turnaround felt more labored.”

Third method: “The last grip is a middle grip, no hook grip. This one felt surprisingly good and it’s a grip I would recommend for shorter athletes. Both parts of the DB touch the ground so the weight is lower but because my legs were more involved i felt less strain on my arms.”

2. Rich Froning, Matt Hewett, and Darren Hunsucker (Members of CrossFit Mayhem) – How to Break Up Reps and When to Take Rest

The guys from team CrossFit Mayhem talk about breaking up the reps early to save your grip and fatigue level. They mention breaking up the cleans in a 5-3 rep fashion and the toes to bar with 10-6 reps.

3. Lukas Esslinger (Finished 21st in the 2016 Games) & The Progrm – How to Warm-Up, Grip Techniques, and Body Position

John Singleton, Lukas Esslinger, and Jacquline Dahlstrom discuss the importance of a proper warm-up before beginning 17.2. They then talk about strategies for holding the bar and techniques that save energy through every movement.

4. Nicole Carroll (CrossFit HQ Director of Training & Certification)- Grip, Lunges, Toes to Bar, Bar Muscle-Ups, Cleans, and Rests/Transitions

The name of this game is smartly managing breaks and transitions. You may have to break sets of everything up earlier than you think!

Full grip on handles does not = death grip. Use a modified front rack: elbows up, handles “resting” in your palms & rear heads of the dumbbells sitting on your shoulders (vs. holding them out in front of you!)
If needed, put these down at the turn around for quick grip relief. I did not but the ladies tonight did and they did much better than me!

Break them up earlier than you think you need to. Use short breaks and hop back up on the bar. Quick doubles or singles on these are often faster than larger sets with longer rests.

Remember, do not drop after the 8th and final rep and then have to re-clean the dumbbells to get going on the lunges!

Whatever sets you are normally confident with, subtract at least 1-2 reps from that to avoid going to failure. I failed 2 or 3 muscle-up reps; had I broken them into smaller sets from the outset, I likely would have gotten though them all.
Do not get discouraged if you do not have a bar muscle up! Get through toes-to-bar rounds and use the remaining time and #OpenMagic to try to get one!

Take enough of a break to successfully tackle the next set BUT do not let the time get away from you. Try using a little ritual; e.g. 3 big breaths, a short walk, clap your hands a few times, etc. to set a deliberate rest period and stick to it.
Use transitions wisely (shake hands out, breath, etc.) but again, try not to let them get too long. Always get on the next movement a little sooner than you want to!

The Open was released less than 24-hours ago and has already gathered a ton of athletes sharing their tips to make it through.

This workout is a test of strength, along with strategy, as it requires a lot more from the body than pure strength. These tips are great suggestions for acing every exercise in the workout.

Feature image screenshot from @mich_letendre Instagram page, The Progrm YouTube channel, and CrossFit Mayhem YouTube channel.