Last night, Dave Castro took us back to the beginning with the final announcement for the 2016 CrossFit Open.
The live announcement took place at The Ranch, the original battle grounds in the first years of the CrossFit Games. Coupled with the nostalgic location was a throwdown of epic proportions featuring four-time Fittest Man on Earth Rich Froning against the current Fittest Man on Earth Ben Smith and Mat Fraser, who’s spent the past several years chasing Froning and Smith with the aggressiveness of a dog on the hunt.
Unfortunately, we called it over a month ago that 16.5 would be a repeat of 14.5, a dirty combination of thrusters and burpees that left even the most elite feeling woozy.
Our predictions came true last night at The Ranch and we are now preparing ourselves for the massive amounts of thrusters and burpees.
16.5 Open Workout
Thrusters (95/65 pounds)
16.5 Live Announcement
During the live announcement, it was hard to say who would dominate this workout the most. All three of these men are in peak shape and are exceptionally gifted CrossFitters. However, anyone who watched CrossFit HQ’s recently released Fittest on Earth knows that Mat Fraser coming in second in 2014 was devastating and to come in second again in 2015 to Ben Smith was nothing short of heartbreaking for the 2015 Open winner.
So, needless to say, Fraser came with something to prove and prove it he did as he rushed to a first place finish, completing the WOD in 8:06, smoking his 2014 time by 12 seconds. Froning came in a close second, finishing in 8:41 and Smith took third place in 9:06. Froning did not beat his 2014 time and it was also his first time not winning an Open live announcement.
Our Tips For 16.5
For a workout this nasty, there isn’t a whole lot we can tell you that’s going to make it easier for you. This one is going to hurt.
That being said, we’ve got some tips to maximize your time and to help you make this last Open workout really count.
1. This Will Hurt
Embrace it. This is a workout that is going to take you to a deep dark place where you question why you ever did CrossFit in the first place. Get comfortable there and keep moving.
2. Slow Your Roll
Unless you are Mat Fraser, you are not going to be able to maintain an explosive pace throughout this workout. In fact, lots of stellar athletes will have trouble maintaining ANY kind of pace during this workout.
Take a deep breath and settle your nerves down. Set a pace from the beginning that is doable throughout. This is how you will get ahead on the leaderboard.
When you start struggling — and trust us, you WILL struggle, and probably quicker than you imagine — take a deep breath and force yourself to slow down and keep moving.
3. Rest Overhead
Although these thrusters aren’t super heavy, everyone hates thrusters on principle and it’s a heavy workload. In a perfect world, you won’t feel the need to drop the bar, rest or cry, but in the real world, you’re going to get tired.
When you do start reaching a fatigue point, resist the urge to drop the bar and instead rest with it overhead. This optimizes your breathing and allows you catch just a hint of a break without having to drop and re-clean the bar.
4. Swivel Your Burpees
In the live announcement, one of Fraser’s most successful strategies was swiveling his burpees in mid-air to speed up the process. This way, he didn’t have to take the time to turn and face the bar during each rep.
Some of us (me!) will be doing great just to get through the burpees and are not focused on speed. However, if you’re competing for a spot at Regionals or even just for a top spot in your gym or if you’re just a sadist and feel the need to do these really quickly, implement that turn in the air to save time. It shaves seconds off of each rep, which add up when you have more than 80 to do.
5. Do What Works For You
Repeat after me: You will make it through this workout. You may have to drop your thruster bar on the very first set and break them into smaller sets. You may have to do your burpees at the pace of molasses. But you will finish. You’ve come too far in the Open to quit now.
Figure out your strategy and stick to it. For example, I hate thrusters and am asthmatic, so I’m not even going to waste time fatiguing myself by doing thrusters unbroken. I can instead break them up into pre-determined sets that I know are doable for me. Others might be able to hang out to the thruster bar the entire time so that they have more time to recover during the burpees. Find a strategy that works for you and just GET. IT. DONE!