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19.5 The Grand Finale. Tips by Hannah Caldas

The Grand Finale… or something like it

Here we are, the close of the Open, 4 weeks have flown by and we are at the 5th and last week of this process. And if you were expecting Uncle Dave to give you a Grand Finale, well think again. 19.5 is as “granola” as an open workout can be.

It’s that deja vu, variation of Fran we get every single year. Thrusters and Pullups (well C2B since those are easier to judge), and this year they come in big chunks. Essentially we have 2 full Frans, back to back with no rest. If you’ve ever done Fran, and I know you have, you know this is death x2.

So how to approach this workout?

The workout as written is as follows

33, 27, 21, 15, 9
Chest to Bar

While last year in 18.5 we had an AMRAP with an ascending rep scheme, this year we have a for time with descending reps. So on one hand we have closure, as we won’t go beyond 210 reps, on the other hand “pain” will last 20 min no matter what, and we start with fairly large sets.

No matter how we approach this workout one thing is certain, IT WILL HURT. So one of the key things is be prepared to suffer. This will be mental, and once again, strategy should play a role.


– Don’t miss a chance; once you pick up the bar take advantage of the momentum at cluster the first rep;

– Break your sets before you feel like you need to. Thrusters hurt really bad when you are at your limit, so the key here is never get to that limit;

– Smaller sets with short rest will trump large sets with tons of rest;

– The weight shouldn’t  be limiting for most people, moreso the ability to do so many reps. If you finish the workout you would have done 105 reps, and that is quite a feat!


– Choose butterfly or Kip. Butterfly will definitely be faster, but it will raise your heart rate much higher so that once you break your reps you will need longer rest periods. Gymnastics kip will be slower, but your shoulders will be happier and you should be able to be more strategic with your sets and rest. Unless you are amazing at C2B pullups, seriously consider Kipping.

– Here you REALLY need to assess your sets. And my advice is to stay conservative. I definitely suggest going for a lower number that you can maintain for the whole workout.

– Think of your hands!!! Especially if you intend to repeat. This is the last week so why not repeat? But at 105 reps per try your hands are going to take a beating. Get your Picsil Grips and put them to good use. As usual my preferred are the AZOR 3 finger as they provide the most coverage and are malleable enough that i can still feel the bar while protecting my hands.

So what is the take home?

Well you are definitely in for some suffering and not much excitement. Thrusters and C2B pullups are as boring as it gets, but enough to make you cry. Be smart, strategize and have at it. It’s the last week and for the majority of us it’s time for that pat on the back and that well deserved beer for testing our fitness for yet another year… or in this case, until October! Good luck!


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