17.4 Open Workout Tips From Top CrossFit® Athletes

The fourth week of the CrossFit Open is in full swing, and 17.4 is a repeat of 16.4. Some athletes aren’t fans of repeat workouts, but a repeat may be a good thing from the grueling strength aspect of 17.3. This week’s workout is a chipper and involves four exercises listed below.

As always, athletes will start on a 3, 2, 1 countdown before beginning the workout.

As many rounds and reps in 13-minutes, an athlete must finish all 55-reps before moving to the next exercise. 

  • 55 deadlift – 225 lbs male/155 lb female
  • 55 wall balls – 20 lb ball male/14 lb female 
  • 55 calorie row
  • 55 handstand push-ups 

It’s important to keep in mind that the ruling for a good-rep with handstand push-ups has changed. For full details, check out CrossFit’s 17.4 Standards video below.

Even though this workout is a repeat, it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Last night, we saw Brooke Wells and Brenda Castro compete head-to-head and both finish with scores lower than their 16.4 workout (though this could be due to the elevation in Mexico City, where they completed the workout). This is a new year with new possibilities, so we compiled a list of 17.4 tips from top CrossFit athletes and coaches.

1. Rich Froning, Matt Hewett, Darren Hunsucker, Elly Kaboord, Lindy Barber – Breaking Up Reps and Rest

Members from CrossFit Mayhem discuss the importance of breaking reps up accordingly. Froning Jr. suggests to go longer in the first set of deadlifts than you think you should. The other members talk about the importance of staying close to the wall during handstand push-ups. Oh, and…go hard.

2. Lukas Esslinger (Finished 21st in the 2016 Games) & The Progrm – Importance of a Warm-Up and Elevating Your Heart Rate

John Singleton goes over a dynamic warm-up for workout 17.4 and the importance of elevating your heart rate before beginning. Singleton also recommends making sure your setup is close together and you emphasize short reps and rest to avoid wasting time.

3. Nicole Carroll (CrossFit HQ Director of Training & Certification) – Taking Smaller Rests and Shorter Rests

Carroll recommends dictating workout sets that allow you to take short rest periods that are consistent throughout the whole workout. She also emphasizes athletes paying attention to the handstand push-up standard, as they’ve changed.

4. CrossFit Invictus Coach and Athlete Travis Ewart – How to Properly Kip In the Handstand Push-Up

Ewart discusses how important nailing the kip is for finishing the 55 handstand push-ups fast. Since the standard has changed and strict handstand push-ups would be tough to do quickly, then there needs to be strategy with consistent kipping.

This is the same workout we saw last year for 16.4, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The goal should be to beat your score last year to give you an idea of your current fitness level.

There’s only one week of the Open remaining after this workout, so time is dwindling to log great scores. Think about your execution last year, take the above tips, and apply them so you can improve.

Feature image The Progrm YouTube channel, CrossFit Mayhem, and Invictus Athlete YouTube channel. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend.

He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,200 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter.

On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.

Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and a personal trainer the three years before that, and most recently he was the content writer at The Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office.

Jake competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a professional knee rehabber after tearing his quad squatting in 2017. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in New York City.

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