March 16, 2017
Nicole Carroll's Tips for Open Workout 17.4

17.4 is our old friend 16.4: a 13-minute AMRAP of 55 deadlifts, wall-ball shots, calories on the rower and handstand push-ups.

Stimulus: Chipper!

Overall, err on the side of performing quick sets with quick rests and keep yourself just shy of the red line throughout so you can transition deliberately from movement to movement.  


We saw it work really well, even for the best athletes, to break these up into small sets that allow for short rests (versus trying to do larger sets that force you to take longer rests).

Breaking up the reps is smart, but the danger there is letting time get away from you in your breaks. One way to avoid this is to try to use a set rest period–something around 5-10 seconds–and allow that to dictate the size of your working sets. This strategy scales nicely for everyone. For example, I may be able to do only sets of 5 while maintaining 5-second rest periods, but you may be able to maintain the pattern with sets of 10.


We can’t break up the row, and we will be gassed but really just need to gut this out.

When rowing for calories, use a damper with a comfortable resistance for you–maybe slightly higher–and use smooth, powerful pulls.

Make every pull count. However, do not blow yourself up to the extent that you cannot transition quickly and get right into the handstand push-ups.


This workout is structured using complementary movements–i.e., pull, push, pull, push. This means you will be breathing hard, but the muscles required for the next movement will have life in them. They can go. You just have to push yourself to get right on to the next movement and get a few reps.


Fifty-five is a big set, and the standard is challenging. Familiarizing yourself with it ahead of time is wise!

Use a big kip right from the first rep, flex your feet so your heels are pointing up, and, most importantly, DO NOT max each set out. Small sets, probably much smaller than you think you should do, will serve you best here.

If you start to fail these, here are a couple things you can try:

  1. Move a little closer to the wall (but not so close you fall off).
  2. Narrow the hands slightly.

Both “tricks” cost you in other areas like shoulder strength (you have to travel further) and coordination (you need to stay on the wall). Practice them before heading into the workout to see if they can work for you.


Repeat workouts give us the opportunity to shift away from focusing on ourselves relative to others and instead focus on where we are relative to our own performance, effort and progress.

Dig in, and just put your absolute best forward, having confidence in all the hard work you have put in over the last year.

And of course, have fun, and … good luck!