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19.4 Tips by Hannah Caldas – PicSil Sport

We are now almost in the final stretch and here’s the wod some of you have been looking forward to and the rest of you have been dreading.

The muscle up makes its appearance.

I assumed when we saw the muscle up this year it would be right at the beginning of the workout to force a lot of people to go scaled, and in the process eliminating a few of the hundred or so spots at the games by countries where people would be unable to perform the workout RX.

But that wasn’t the case, and so everyone still gets a fair shot. As gymnastics skills go, the bar muscle is one of the least skilled, however in 19.4 it comes after a little anaerobic piece with built in rest.

Smart! Not only are we testing the ability of an advanced gymnastics movement, but we are also testing the ability to recover and still be able to perform it fast and well. Ultimately, this workout is all about managing your effort/recovery in order to perform muscle ups. Personally this is likely my favorite test in the Open so far.

In all we have 3 movements: snatches, bar facing burpees and bar muscle ups.

For total time:
3 rounds of:
10 snatches
12 bar-facing burpees
Rest 3 minutes
Then, 3 rounds of:
10 bar muscle-ups
12 bar-facing burpees

Time cap: 12 minutes


These are power snatches and the weight is light! This is your standard barbell cycling and together with the burpees is designed to get your heart rate up and see how well you recover for the second piece. This workout is all about the second piece!

If the weight is manageable I recommend close grip snatches, these will leave the shoulders “fresher”

Break into manageable sets. There’s no need to go unbroken unless you are able to go unbroken on Isabel (30 Snatch For Time). Control your breathing as well as the rest time when you break the sets. When in doubt break the set!!!


These are bar facing burpees so you always face the bar on the burpee and the repetition doesn’t end until you have jumped to the other side of the bar. Unlike in 2018, you are again allowed to step in and out of the burpee, however if you intend to perform the workout Rx you MUST jump over the bar with a 2 foot take off. The landing however is not necessarily a 2 foot landing. This opens up a lot of opportunities and especially strategically I would suggest employing different styles as you will read.

I would recommend different approaches for the burpees on the first piece and second piece. So let’s break them down.

Bar Facing burpees, take 1:

As I mentioned this first piece is designed to tire you out and so anything you can do to minimize how taxed you’ll be will ensure you will recover faster for the second piece.

Pace out your burpees here. While you still want to finish this piece as fast as possible, compromising a few seconds here may come in handy later on;
Step back and walk forward your burpees. These aren’t necessarily too much slower, but they will raise your heart rate a lot less. Be methodical in them and keep moving, making sure you control your breathing throughout;
Get a good bounce from the bottom, and avoid exaggerating the push off the floor. Let your legs do more work, your arms will need to be ready for later.

(Check burpees take 2 further on)

The 3 min rest:

If you finished the first piece in less than 9 minutes you now earned yourself a 3 min rest period before you can tackle the second piece. If you made it after 9 min, the workout is over for you, and by all means think about giving it another go another time!

While we might be so tempted to just throw ourselves to the ground and wait until it’s time, this is NOT how you should approach this “rest”. The rest is part of the test, and what you do during this time can greatly influence how well you’ll perform in the second portion. Use this period to get mentally ready for what is coming. If you need a drink, then do that. I highly recommend rest walking with controlled breathing in order to lower your heart rate. If your fitness level is good you should be able to get down to almost baseline in 3 minutes if you were smart enough in the first piece. Goal is, get ready for the next bit (not to die on the floor. You can die later)!

Bar muscle Ups/pull ups

For a lot of people this will be the moment of truth! A lot of you have worked all year for this moment, and it’s now time to test it. If you were smart in the first portion you have now positioned yourself in the best position possible to succeed at the task at hand, be it muscle ups or pull-ups.

Set yourself up for success. Only attempt a rep if you are confident about it. A missed rep is bad for the ego, but it expends a lot of unnecessary energy;
Unless you are a bar muscle up machine you aren’t going unbroken. Know your limits, know when to break a set, never get to the point of failure. If this is singles it’s totally ok! Each person on their pace. Don’t feel pressured and fail;

Avoid no reps!

  • Your feet may not pass the height of the bar, so a glide Kip isn’t allowed;
  • No part of your arm other than your hand may touch the bar;
  • Finish the rep, lockout arms with shoulders over the bar, it would suck to do all the work and not finish the last bit and all the hard work go to waste;
  • Finally if you are connecting reps remember you may not remove your hands and rest on the bar.

Bar facing burpees, take 2:

My recommendation here is completely different. You have now made it to the bonus round and the goal is make it as far as possible and eventually finish. You should now attack. If you are able to at this point jump back and forward on the the burpees. Also turn up the pace a little to try and make it as far as possible in the rep scheme if not finish.

However you decide to approach this workout set a goal and make a plan. The right pacing strategy can pay off in a big way in getting those extra reps and getting ahead on the leaderboard.

This is a workout you can easily repeat, especially if you didn’t make it to the second part initially or if the bar muscle up Gods weren’t too kind to you the first time around.

As always, familiarize yourself with the rules and standards BEFORE you do the workout. Whether your goal is to make it to the Games or to just join in for fun it’s imperative, especially if submitting a score, to be honest for the Open process to work in selecting the fittest people to advance.

So get your Picsil Grips on and 3…2…1… Good luck!


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