The release of 14.3 likely created a polarizing reaction amongst your gym and your gym members. I know in our gym we had multiple people who are incredibly excited about a workout like this with very little skill involved. While at the same time some of our athletes who excelled at the chest to bar pull-ups are now looking at that 185 pound deadlifts with a scowl.
Truthfully this workout comes down to some basic principles. This is pure CrossFit at its finest. A simple, relatively high-intensity couplet. HQ did however throw a wrench in the chain of all of our bodyweight movement warriors out there with ascending weight and reps.
There are seven things I want you to think about when approaching 14.3. We are still learning a lot about this workout and likely by Monday will be able to give a more detailed rep scheme or strategy. However, for the time being there are some simple principles that can be used to help you succeed in this workout.
1. Transitions matter. According to our time estimates you cannot afford to spend more than 10 seconds transitioning from the box to the next weight on the deadlifts. Be quick with your weight change. Remember it is much easier and more efficient to pull the weight toward your body when changing weights rather than trying to push it away from your body. Always stand on the end of the barbell pulling the weight towards you and then when you’re adding weight to the barbell stand on the other end and pull it towards the center. Pulling is simply just a faster motion and less taxing than pushing.
2. Much like the double unders in 14.1 and the overhead squats in 14.2, the box jumps are the reps that are going to allow you to rack up high numbers. It is important that you race the clock to get back to the box. If you have 30 or 40 seconds left in your workout and can complete the deadlifts even to get back to the box with 10 seconds, those 8 reps or 6 reps depending on your speed will be crucial in moving you up the leaderboard. This is a fast-paced work out where tiebreaks matter and every rep will be the difference between potentially 10 or 15 spots on the leaderboard. Get back to the box jumps! Those are reps that HQ is just giving away. I know they are allowing step ups and that should definitely be a consideration for each of you individually. There are a multitude of different options on how to get on and off the box. Basically test out every option and see which works best for you, which allows you to be the fastest without taxing you aerobically, and ultimately what allows you to be most fresh when approaching the heavy deadlift bar. We saw last year that step ups, step downs, and all the other variations can all can be done just as fast if they’re done correctly. A lot of that will depend on the specific athlete and their biomechanics. Pick one that allows you to be fast without destroying your ability to pull heavy deadlifts.
3. Be careful taxing your back early on the early rounds. The sets of 10 and 15 are going to feel easy and for some of you the set of 20 will feel lighter than you expected. Don’t let that feeling of it being light ruin your workout. The crux of this workout is who can get through the fourth set the fastest. (We think) In order to do that you have to have a little left in the tank when you approach that fourth bar. What that means for most of you is that after the first set of deadlifts you need to start breaking up the sets. I know that seems crazy and I know many of you are going to question whether or not a barbell that light should be broken up. Trust that if you turn this into a sprint early you will not be sprinting late. Eight minutes is a relatively long time to be doing two movements. It will seem like a much longer work out then you expected. My suggestion is to break the 15’s into threes or fives depending on your deadlift strength and the set of 20 in sets of three or two. The reason being is because I do not think it is largely beneficial to do singles on that fourth bar. Singles on the deadlifts are extremely inefficient considering the energy you’re leaving on the table. Rubber plates on rubber mats, even when you are ascribing to standards and not bouncing the bar, still produces some energy off the floor. Stringing reps together is crucial for time constraint and the most efficient use of your energy. On that fourth barbell it is going to be extremely important that you have the ability to do multiple reps together. Don’t tax yourself so early that you are not able to hold onto the bar and complete multiple reps later. Eight minutes is a longer time than you think and having the ability to speed up at the end to get back to the box will be pivotal for your score.
4. Another little trick that you might consider especially if you have a weaker back or a longer torso is in the early rounds consider using a clean deadlift style. Use the quads a little more, save the back and the posterior chain by using your lower stance set up and quads off the floor. You will still need to modify the set up just a bit since you’re not starting way over the bar but if you can drop your hips just a tad during the early weights and use a little more of your quad from the beginning then it will allow you a little more strength and endurance later when you change back over to regular deadlifts.
5. One are the more crucial and overlooked elements for a workout like this is your warm-up. This is a short eight minute workout, and remember the shorter the workout the longer the warm-up. You likely will need to spend up to an hour warming up for this one. Start very very general with movements like rowing and double unders. Then work to more specific movements all the way down to deadlifts and box jumps. Make sure you focus on mobilizing the hips, gluts and hamstrings specifically doing some work to prep fast twitch muscle fiber firing in those specific areas. Dynamic range of motion warm-ups like high knees and jumping high skips and movements like that will help warm-up the right motor pathways for this workout. Lastly it is important that you spend a great deal of time hydrating at least six hours before you complete this workout. Also about two hours out from the workout as a fueling source make sure you’re consuming some extra carbohydrates. The morning of the work out you should be eating fruit and some carbs as well. This workout is going to force the expenditure of glycogen stores very quickly so fueling for that impact is incredibly important.
6. Move fast. No matter what keep moving. If the wheels come off find a way to keep moving. If you had planned on doing box jumps from the beginning and all the sudden you find yourself resting too long between box jump reps then go to step ups. It is more important that you are constantly moving than you stick to a specific movement strategy. Member if you do plan to do step ups then turn the box cornered toward you so that you are not having a step up and around a box but rather gives you a little more efficient step to the top of the box. Remember the tiebreak will have a huge impact on your score on the leaderboard. Thus moving fast is going to be crucial for your ranking overall.
7. I wanted to revisit this point one more time but let me reemphasize singles on the deadlifts are only an option if the wheels are falling off when during the workout so much so that you cannot physically do more than one rep in a row. Remember the hardest part of the deadlift is breaking the floor with the weight. Once the bar has left the floor, the hard part is over. You do not want to have to pull that weight from a dead stop off the ground more times than is necessary. Also if you can find a bar with the least amount of flex as possible that would also benefit you. I have seen some recommendations for men to use a women’s bars to save their grip. I would highly advise against this for two reasons. One I do not think that grip is going to become a determining factor in this workout and also the added flex of using a women’s bar will force men to apply that much more force to get the bar moving off the ground. Using a men’s bar or using a men’s powerlifting bar if you can will prevent any unnecessary energy output to get the bar moving.
Good luck y’all! Go get it.