Is the Best Community in the World your Box?
14 February, 2019
19.2 Tips by Hannah Caldas
2 March, 2019

And just like that the CrossFit Games Open is here and the first announcement has been made. While the community seems to be stuck on how underwhelming the 3 presentations across the world were, and where in the world is The Dave Castro, one thing can be said about the workout presented, basic!

And basic isn’t a bad thing.

Basic is good, basic is inclusive, basic is CrossFit. Do the common uncommonly well, so here is a great opportunity for everyone to demonstrate the so called virtuosity that CrossFit is so proud to preach! If ever there was a workout that almost anyone (able bodied) should be able to RX, 19.1 is it!

We have a time priority workout (15 min of work) in a couplet format. A curious choice of movements to pair, but this is CrossFit and we know it likes to test us in every possible way. We have 2 movements, wall balls and rowing, that are driven primarly from constant hip flexion/extension, so while basic it is important to really master the technique.

While the community seems to be sarcastically suggesting the number 1 tip for this workout is to grow a few inches/cm (I doubt we would see Mat Fraser resort to this as an excuse!), here are a few realistic tips that may help you ace 19.1!

This workout will be primarily a rowing pacing workout with a wall ball tolerance thrown in the middle to see how well you can continue to row.

General tips

  1. This is a 15 minute workout. You won´t be rewarded if you get out super fast. Slow and steady wins the race. Be smart, have a plan, carry it out!
  2. Properly warm up. As mentioned before, throughout the whole workout you will be performing hip flexion/extension, so make sure you give it the proper TLC before starting.

I am inversing the movements for these tips because I feel it makes more sense to talk about Rowing before Wall Balls when strategizing 19.1

Rowing

Rowing will amount for more than half of your workout and so you should put a lot of emphasis here. Not only in pacing, but also technique.

While likely everyone has tables out for how to pace for this workout, I believe more so than the pace, the technique will be crucial. Can you row with the most efficient technique and still achieve the calories? Absolutely! And this will ensure that all or most of the energy expended on the ergometer was turned into calories rather than wasted, meaning you will be able to use it for the wall balls coming right after.

Rowing expert tips

I conferred with Rowing expert Sandro Silva (Instagram @erg.on) about how to best address the rowing portion of this workout and these are the tips:

  1. Technique technique technique! Yes the wall balls will also demand from your legs, but I would rather keep good technique and be a bit slower, than be super fast and get out with a destroyed back and upper body;
  2. A stroke rate of around 26-28 spm and 1400-1500cal/h for men 1000-1200 cal/h for women which should translate into 3 cal/4 strokes roughly. Can you go harder and faster? No doubt, but there should really be no need to as long as you can keep this throughout the 15 minutes;
  3. Don’t skip on your recovery phase. Return the paddle twice as slow as you pulled. Breathe and control your heart rate;
  4. If, and only if needed you may emphasize the pull with your arms a little more. This is because in the wall balls your upper body will be pushing (throwing) the ball and so it is the opposing movement you will perform on the rower. The legs will be pushing in both. This doesn’t mean you will be rowing primarily with your upper body and letting go of the legs! It only means that you add more emphasis on the pull while still maintaining the technique.

Wall Balls

The wall balls are here to further insult your cardiovascular system and test how efficiently you can row while having fatigued legs and lungs. It´s really as if this workout is a rowing test with wall balls added as a twist.

  1. Know your limits! Don’t burn yourself out on the wall balls. While most top level athletes should be able to perform these unbroken every round, for the majority of people it will be important to know how many wall balls we can handle before being too taxed and requiring a significant amount of rest. The goal here is really to minimize the amount of dead time, so rather than going to super large sets you can’t sustain, know your number and time your rest!
  2. While in the rower you can’t get a no rep, here you can! So you shouldn’t go for a rep you aren’t sure you can make! It sort of goes with point 1, but know when to cut your set, minimize the chance for a no rep, and thus wasting time and effort that could have easily turned into a rep had you planned a stop;
  3. Do plan your stops! It is ok to have to break your wall ball sets, but when you do don’t leave it to “chance”; know exactly how long you are pausing for. It is very easy in a 15 min workout to lose several minutes in pauses because we overexerted ourselves.

Final considerations

I am pretty much going to repeat myself here, but ultimately it is the take home message. PLAN for you level of fitness (you have been training all year, you know what you are capable of!) and EXECUTE with the best technique possible. If you attack this workout intelligently not even your height (if you believe you lack in height) will hold you back!

Hannah Caldas
Hannah Caldas
7-times CrossFit Regionals, 2-times CrossFit Games, Grid League Pro Athlete and a lot of experience in competition and training. I'm a traveler. I love it and I have been in more than 90 countries in my life.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent Tips Hanna!!!

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *