• Erik

CrossFit Open 18.4

The trend of firsts continue. The first three workouts introduced DB Clean and Jerks, DB Front Squats, and the first Open WOD to feature both ring and bar muscle ups. 18.4 delivers another new and long-rumored movement: the handstand walk. The real challenge, however, is getting to that point. With an entire “girl” wod plus another 21 heavy deadlifts in 9 minutes, we have our work cut out for us before we get gymnasty.


Diane is a couplet of deadlifts and handstand push ups. Most athletes will feel comfortable deadlifting at 225/155#--we train at this weight for metcons most of the year. Get through the deadlifts quickly, but safely! As I always say, you can do reps fast, but never rush them. Keep your back flat, chest up, and move your shoulders and hips at the same time. Tomorrow you will be grateful!

Handstand push ups, like double unders and muscle ups, are another movement in the Open that separates the pack. This year brings a new standard of where your feet begin and end the rep. Be sure to practice this before the WOD--that line may be higher than you’re used to, and you may have to have your hands closer to each other than usual. We don’t practice this standard in the day-to-day and these handstand push ups will feel trickier as a result.

There are no two words more valuable to handstand push ups than “know thyself”. Know when you’re approaching failure before you fail a rep. If you’re not sure you can get the next rep, COME OFF THE WALL! This is one of the rare movements where it’s better to quit while you’re ahead rather than to try and risk failure. When you do rest, make sure you give yourself an extra few seconds before getting upside down again. Nothing stymies Diane more than a failed rep, especially after not resting enough between sets.


315/205# feels heavy enough as it is, but after 45 reps of Diane-weight lifts, you’re going to wonder if you put too much weight on your bar by mistake! At this weight, your best strategy is to drop the bar at the top of each lift. There’s enough weight that it won’t bounce or roll away from you. Plus, you’ll save a ton of energy that would’ve been spent slowly lowering it to the ground.

Thankfully, the handstand walks don’t have to be unbroken. Your shoulders are going to be pretty taxed at this point, but as long as you can get your hands completely past each 5-foot line, you’ll be fine. Just keep those toes pointed towards the sky and don’t forget to breathe.

Ultimately, 18.4 will be divided into two groups: those who can finish Diane in under 9 minutes, and those who need more time. If your short, stubby arms naturally put you in that first group, consider pacing yourself a bit more than usual to save energy for the heavier deadlifts. If your longer I’d-rather-be-wall-balling arms make a sub-9-minute Diane unlikely, than attack it just like you would any other day.

Despite a duo of firsts (first benchmark WOD in an Open and first time featuring handstand walks), 18.4 treads familiar territory. Above all else, know thyself, and you’ll crush it.

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3636 E. Colorado Blvd - Pasadena - CA - 91107


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