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Mike Poppa’s friend and fellow coach over at Power and Grace Performance wrote a post to help us work through 15.1 with efficiency. This post was originally published on their site. Pass it on!

To say that I’m excited about 15. would be a massive understatement. Finally a one rep max in the “peoples” part of the season. All of you that have been following any site with a weightlifting bias are smiling big right now. That would include Power and Grace. Literally this will be the largest scale max day in the history of the world. USAW you paying attention? However, there is that little nine minute deal before you get there.

There’s not a lot to say for this workout but there are a couple quick bullet points that will save you, especially for 15.1A, in the long run. The basic theme here: remember the fundamentals.

1. Small sets on the toes to bar. This should not be mind blowing to anybody. By round three Rich was breaking his toes to bar up. That’s the best CrossFit or ever known to man. If he was breaking his sets up you should break yours up smaller than he did and do it from the beginning. Our recommendation is at bare minimum break it up into fives from the very beginning. Also, many of you may have noticed that Mat switched his grip near the end of the first piece. Not a huge deal here and probably not easier with the switch grip but if you’re at that place where it’s either your grip fails OR you switch your grip, then switch your grip. You could even switch back-and-forth between hands as needed but only if the other alternative is failure.

2- Remember your mechanics on the toes to bar. Utilize every bit of the arch position that you can through the kip. You want your hips to be the driving force for the toes to bar and not your trunk. You’ll need that trunk later to stabilize a heavy load in the clean.  If you noticed both Rich and Mat struggled to stand up weights that should be a fairly routine for them and the clean and jerk. Rich got buried by his last two cleans because of a soft back. Mat, while he didn’t struggle to stand up the clean, was out of position when he stood up his last two cleans. You can see that through the rounding in his upper back and the dropping of his elbows. My bet is if Mat stands up with that last clean like he normally does with an erect torso, he makes the jerk and beats the champ.

3- Do exactly as Rich and Mat did on the deadlifts and the snatches. The weight is too light to worry about singles and, unless you have some specifically engineered training plates, the weights will likely bounce away from you too much for you to be able to complete singles with quick efficiency. Mix yourgrip on the deadlifts always hook grip both the deadlift and the snatches. I know it seems silly to hook grip such a lightweight and a hook grip a deadlift but your grip is the key element to success in the beginning of this work out.

4- I’m going to hate myself for giving you this last piece of advice for 15.1 but disregard everything I’ve ever said about getting your shoulders over the bar for the snatches. As I stated previously, this workout is going to take a toll on your torso and your posterior chain. The worst thing you can do is on every snatch reach out with your shoulders over the bar and put more strain on your back. After each successful snatch, as the bar comes down stay behind the bar with your body and allow your quads to do most of the work. This will save your back for the clean later and ultimately prevent fatigue in your torso that you’ll need for the toes to bar.

5- For 15.1A, your strategy is simple. Do your warm-up warm-up to whatever you’re opening weight is going to be. Maybe even a little higher. It should feel much easier in your warm-up than it will after a nine minute AMRAP so no big deal there. Pick an opening weight that on a normal day you could do two reps touch and go at. Why do I say so light? Because ultimately you want to get something in the books and build your confidence for the heavier weights. You have six minutes to get heavy and you’ll be fairly warm by that point you just need to warm the movement up. If I were doing this work out I would likely open at 75% of my one rep max. Maybe even lighter depending on how I’m feeling. You can make big jumps early and jump to as high as 90% depending on how you’re feeling.  However be careful, one thing we all did see today is that neither Rich nor Mat got anywhere near their 100% after the nine minute AMRAP. The reality is both of them went a little lactic on the final minute of that workout and that probably dampened some of their explosive power for the second part. The same could be true of you so be careful how big of jumps you make but plan on no more than three or maybe four attempts inside that six minutes. The best example I can give you is if I were doing this workout. After coming off the nine minute AMRAP (if I didn’t die) I would likely open at 120kg or 125 kg to get a simple, “comfort” weight in the books and then I would jump to 135 kg which should be a challenging weight for me especially after the nine minute AMRAP and then my last attempt would be at 140 or 142.  All of those weights are standard weights for me in training and all of those weights are less than I would open at even in a weightlifting competition but because of the taxation of the AMRAP I would be careful. Remember you are planning to do this work out more than once and because of that fact you want to stay conservative on the weights yiy pick the first time because you can always go up and chase a bigger weight at a later time.

6- Remember your mechanics on the clean and jerk. Three specific cues I want you to think about as you’re working up to that heavy single. First, drive hard with your legs off the floor. They’re going to be a little wobbly and you’re going to want to shut them off early. Keep pushing with everything you have to the very last second through that first and second pull. Maintain as much downward pressure in your feet as possible. Secondly? Finish your second pull. Again because your hips are we fatigued as well as your torso you’re going to want to shut that off early as well. Get as extended as possible open your hips aggressively and finish that pull! Bar height will matter immensely for your success in the clean. Remember the easier to clean the easier the jerk. Thirdly, don’t rush the jerk. Because of the clock and because of all the adrenaline and because of every other stressor surrounding this workout your temptation will be to rush the jerk. You can’t afford a missed jerk. The clean is going to be the most taxing piece of this workout especially 12 or 13 minutes deep. Make sure every clean counts. Take a deep breath, calm down, then smoke the jerk. Don’t rush it.

These are all thoughts that just came off the top of my head as I saw the two fittest man in the world compete. I likely will learn more and more about this workout as the next couple of days go on I will try to update the blog as I feel necessary but ultimately this workout is it about management of intensity. The first nine minutes need to be as aerobic as possible. Low intensity with consistent round times. The rounds time differential from start to finish should be no more than 45 seconds and if you elite athlete probably less. Avoid your lactate threshold on that first workout and save that energy for the second.

This’ll be fun to watch and even more fun to see who is successful at this workout. I personally believe it favors the lifters with the heavy clean and jerk but only time will tell.

Open 15.1 is here!

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