17.4 – Strategy of Amateur Athlete to Reach Top 5% in CrossFit Open 2017

Find out my personal strategy for CrossFit Games Open workout 17.4 to reach top 5% worldwide!

CrossFit Games Open Workout 17.4 is …

Open 17.4

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 deadlifts
55 wall-ball shots
55-calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

Men deadlift 225 lb. and throw 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
Women deadlift 155 lb. and throw 14-lb. ball to 9-ft. target

As usual we got our repeat workout and this time it’s my favourite 16.4 from last year. In 2016 I hit score of 228 reps (1 rounds + 8 reps) and I hope I can improve this year! If you want to read my last year’s guide check it here or continue reading to find out my updated 17.4 strategy.

Let me show you how I will approach 17.4 to get into top 5% worldwide and to improve my score by at least few reps!

What is good score to beat in 17.4?

According to WOD Time Calculator good score to beat is 1 round and 10 reps and that should be enough for top 2-4% athletes – this time WOD Time Calculator gives pretty hard time to beat! As I want to beat my old self from last year I will aim for similar score or better but I hope I will get to at least 20-30 deadlifts in 2nd round.

As this workout is repeat we also have some data from last year from BTWB. Last year top 20% required 20 HSPU and top 5% required 40 HSPU but I think this year these numbers will be only slightly higher. In my opinion it will be something like 30 HSPU for top 20% and almost finished HSPUs for top 5%.

My strategy to hit top 5% in workout 17.4

My strategy for 17.4 will be very similar to one from last year. I will just try to improve the things that I have done wrong like not using belt or staying too long in my HSPU position.

Correct 17.4 strategy is all about going for many small sets. Last year this worked for me as wonder. Small sets will allow you to move consistently through all the movement without having to stop because you won’t be too fatigued. Find out below how I will attack each movement:


– Use plates that bounce
– Go for quick small sets like 10 quick touch and go sets of 6,6,6,6,6,5,5,5,5,5 (I have done it last year and it worked well!)
– Use belt! (I haven’t done that last year and I will use it this year)
– Don’t go for 1 large set and few small sets (e.g. 30+10+10+5) as it will tax your lower back and slow down your pace on other movements

Wall-Ball Shots

– Last year I have done this crazy rep scheme of 12-6-10-5-12-10 and it was the best thing I could do in this workout
– As you are doing many sets on the wall balls try to shorten rest as much as you can
– In this rep scheme you alternate between high/low reps which will allow you to calm down your HR while keep moving on through the workout (I also hate huge sets of wall balls)
Don’t hold hands up, pull them back near your face
– Go for large set of wall balls only if you are tall athlete or if you love wall balls

Row (calories)

– Going for small sets on deadlift and wall balls will allow you to move quicker on the rower
– Set pace that hurts but is still maintainable, it is worth to hold at least +1200 kcal/hr
– Last year I was able to hold 1300-1350 kcal/hr
– Don’t stop or slow down! It’s only 55 calories which can be easily done under 3:00

View post on imgur.com

Handstand Push Ups

– This workout can be win or lost there, if you check again data from last year 5 HSPU = top 50% while 55 HSPU = top 2%, so don’t forget that every rep counts
– From what I remember from last year first two sets of HSPU were the hardest as I needed to calm down after rower
– This year I will probably start slowly at about 10-20% off my max HSPU reps and increase reps with each set until I hit about 30% of my max HSPU set
– Rep scheme will look something like that 10%-20%-30%-30%-…-30% of max HSPU reps (for me it will be something like 3-6-9-9-…-9)
– Also kip all the time! Don’t do strict HSPUs
– Don’t rest on your head (as I did last year), it is much better to do fewer reps and return back on your kneels (it will help you save shoulders)

Deadlifts (2nd round)

– It depends on how much time you got left
– If you have over 2-3 minutes be smart and go for smaller sets
– If you have under 2 minutes go nuts and hit as much as you can
– Last year I had 30 seconds left and these 8 deadlifts I have done were freaking hard


Go for smaller sets with quick rest. Start slowly on the rower (+1200 kcal/hr) and hold that pace until end, don’t slow down. Do as many HSPUs as possible as WOD is won/lost there.

Let me know if this strategy worked for you and don’t forget to return next week to find out strategy of next workout!

And don’t forget to check out my new Travel WODs App!