OPEN SERIES - WEEK 6: Workout and Tips

This week we have got another 7 minute workout. This time you get two movements and an ascending rep scheme. We will be doing:


Open Workout 11.6 (also 12.5)

7 minute AMRAP

3 Thrusters (100/65)
3 Chest-to-bar pull-ups
6 Thrusters
6 C2B pull-ups
9 Thrusters
9 C2B pull-ups

*Athletes will continue adding 3 reps to both movements until time runs out.

Here’s where all your kipping practice will (hopefully!) pay off. This week in our coaching, we will be focusing primarily on the thruster – position, approach and strategy to completing one of the most compound, multi-joint movements we do. While the pull-ups are obviously critical as well – we would argue that this workout falls into the middle of the Venn Diagram created by the Strength, Skill and Suffering circles we now put our workouts into – we know we will see thrusters in the Open and you can be sure you’ll see them from now until eternity in our regular class programming. So how can we make them more manageable?


First, let’s talk position. Having and holding a strong front rack position is critical to efficient thrusters. Mobility is going to be a key, yes, but so too will be midline strength. Focus on keeping a consistent angle with your upper arms throughout the squat portion of the thruster (parallel to the floor, elbows straight out would be ideal). When you squat, allow the bar to primarily rest on your shoulders, do NOT support the weight with your arms. Also, focus on your breath, exhaling as you stand and press, inhaling as the bar returns to the shoulders and holding (or bracing) through the squat. Bracing through the movement creates a kind of “corset” effect, keeping the torso more upright by keeping the spine more neutral. When you’re thinking about weight for this workout, you should choose one that allows you to maintain these good positions throughout multiple reps.


Second, back to breathing. The tendency with most things we don’t like to do is to do them fast. With the thruster, especially early on in the workout, this would be a mistake (unless we have a well-developed strength foundation and can maintain a good position throughout the movement AND have an exceptional engine). Use the natural rhythm of your breath to set the tempo for the movement. Give yourself time to exhale and inhale with the weight over your head. If you rush into your descent, you’re cutting your inhale (your oxygen!) short. If you rush into your ascent, you’re cutting your exhale (your off-load of carbon dioxide!) short. We know from Coach Danny’s blog a few weeks ago that this results in an acidic environment in our muscles, forcing us to stop and return to a more alkaline state through our breathing. You are going to get further in the workout by pacing yourself on your thrusters than you will if you fly out the gate trying to do them as fast as possible.


Finally, let’s talk about that bottom position and a little more about that rep rhythm. If we plop to the bottom of our thruster, we lose tension. When we’re tired and lose tension, we lose our brace and start to tilt forward. It’s now harder to stand up with the load, let alone put it over our head. Let’s help ourselves out and focus on stopping our squat just below parallel. This can take some practice because we have to meet depth standards but we don’t want to go all the way down. Practice with air squats and then with an empty bar. Soon your body will naturally find the correct position. Couple that with the bracing and high elbows we talked about previously and we should be able to keep that bar moving in a relatively straight path as it travels up and down. My tip on rhythm is this: once you get to the top of a rep, decide if you need to take a break or you can keep going. Make the rule that if that bar is coming down from overhead back to your shoulders, you're committed to your next rep – all the way down, all the way up. We want to limit our time under tension so standing around with a bar on our shoulders in our front rack position is not helpful when doing sets of thrusters. Be decisive and intentional about your movements. You’ll find they’re much more manageable.


If you employ these tips, in this workout we should be able to get through our first 3-5 sets of thrusters without breaking them up. That will give us more time to attack those pull-ups! Despite what last week’s burpees made you think, seven minutes will go by very fast in this workout. Keep yourself moving throughout and set a goal for yourself (i.e. unbroken thrusters, round of 12s, C2B pull-ups, etc.). Get after it!


-Coach Caitlin


On Saturday, 2/11, we will be running the group through Open Workout 11.4


60 Bar-facing burpees
30 Overhead squats (120/70)
10 Muscle up