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

Find out my personal strategy for CrossFit Games Open workout 17.5 to reach top 5% worldwide!

CrossFit Games Open Workout 17.5 is …

Open 17.5

10 rounds for time of:
9 thrusters
35 double-undersMen use 95 lb.
Women use 65 lb.

I don’t believe it is already last week of CrossFit Games Open! Last workouts are always rough and 17.5 will be no exception.

Let me show you how I will approach 17.5 to get into top 5% worldwide!

What is the good time to beat in 17.5?

According to WOD Time Calculator, good time to beat is 12:01 and that should be enough for top 20% athletes. As I want to reach top 5%, I will aim for the time around 10:00.

We already saw Dottirs and know that holding about 40-45 seconds per round is possible if you are Games or Regionals level athlete who aims for top 1%. To achieve that you will have to do all thrusters unbroken in a quick pace and don’t fail on double unders.

But for other 99% of the athletes average of 60 seconds per rounds should be enough to get into top 5% worldwide in the CrossFit Games Open.

My strategy to hit top 5% in workout 17.5

Correct 17.5 strategy is all about pacing these thrusters. For most of us going unbroken in all 10 rounds won’t get us our best time. Why? Fatigued shoulders, too high heart rate and longer rest in later rounds.

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– Go unbroken only if you love thrusters and you know that you don’t need rest before getting back to the bar
– Or go unbroken only if you know that you will fail a lot on DUs (+5 fails per round)
– Always squat clean your first thruster
– Goal is to save shoulders so use legs a lot when pushing bar overhead
– I will personally go for 5+4 thrusters from first round, but you can even consider going for 4+3+2 if you have weak thrusters
– How? Get to bar right after last double under, do few thrusters, drop it from top, 2-3 breaths and get back to the bar
– Why? If you choose to go for 2-3 smaller sets, you can pick up the barbell immediately without resting after DUs as you know you got only small set to do
– Smaller sets won’t peak up your heart rate so much
– Your shoulders (which you need for DUs) won’t be so fatigued which will allow you to fail less on DUs
– If you are still not convinced about smaller sets then consider this I was able to go under 10:00 in 16.5 with sets of 4-7 reps

Double Unders

– Place your rope parallel to the barbell, this will allow you to have quicker transition times
– Go for as quick transition as possible if you know that you will be able to do all sets unbroken
– If you fail your double unders get back to the rope as quickly as possible
– Borrow spare rope from friend and have it ready in case something happen to your rope during WOD
– Goal is to fail as less as possible, ideal scenario is you will do all sets unbroken
– Rest for few seconds before starting DUs if you are not very efficient at DUs to make sure you won’t fail your sets
– If you keep failing think about basic cues “jump higher,” “rotate faster,” “elbows touching the body” and “hands in front of the body”

Other tips

– This WOD should be easy to repeat
– Always think about 1 round, don’t think about that you have X more rounds ahead of you
– If you really can’t get your time under 10:00 consider alternating between 9 Thrusters and 35 DUs every 30 sec, running clock may push you harder than you think


17.5 is all about being smart on thrusters as you need to do all DUs unbroken if you want to get a good time. Save your shoulders and lower your heart rate by doing thrusters in 2-3 sets.

Let me know if this strategy worked for you! See you next year!