Chris Spealler’s Tips for Tackling CrossFit Open WOD 14.1

Chris spealler crossfit wod 14

The CrossFit Games Open competition launched Thursday night by going back to the beginning. Literally. CrossFit Open WOD 14.1 is a repeat of the CrossFit Games’ first-ever open workout (11.1) in 2011. The WOD was announced by CrossFit co-founder Dave Castro at CrossFit North Atlanta.

The recycled couplet is a 10-minute AMRAP (as many rounds/repetitions as possible) that includes 30 double-unders and 15 power snatches. In 2011, CrossFit champ Rich Froning Jr. won the event with 448 reps (just under 10 rounds).

To help you strategize this year’s first challenge, we enlisted advice from CrossFit legend and Reebok athlete Chris Spealler, the only athlete to compete every CrossFit Games before missing the 2013 Games.

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Men’s Fitness: What are your initial impressions of Open WOD 14.1 and your advice for approaching it?

Chris Spealler: It’s a simple CrossFit couplet that requires a bit of skill with the double-under and offers the potential to get a whole lot of work done. Start out with a strong and steady pace for the workout and try to maintain it till the last minute, then kick it into high gear. You’re heart rate will be jacked from early on so establish a strong pace and stick with it.

Why do you think there was a repeat of 11.1?

This is the fourth year of the Open, and a lot has changed. Fitness has increased across the entire CrossFit community and more people are competing in the Open than ever before. I think it’s a great way to look back and see where we have come from as well as see what is possible for all of us.

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Because there are just two movements, is this the kind of WOD that could be deceiving?

This is absolutely deceiving. For those of you who are skilled at double-unders, you will be back on the bar before you know it, and although the weight is light, it’s moving a large range of motion, which can lead to fatigue quickly.

What’s a “solid” score for this workout?

Five or six complete rounds is a great starting point to shoot for. If you’re working on getting to Regionals you will want to fight to have eight complete rounds.

Is this workout more about pacing or is it an all-out sprint?

Think of it as a paced sprint. It’s 10 minutes, so you can’t go all out from the get-go and maintain that pace. You also can’t sandbag it from the beginning since the weight is light and you can get more rounds early on. Find a strong and challenging pace and fight to stick with it.

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Is there anything you would warn CrossFitters to be careful of in this WOD?

Make sure you drop your hips and bend your knees a bit at the beginning of each snatch. If you aren’t mindful of this you will end up stiff-legging the first pull of the snatch and it can lead to lower-back fatigue early on.

Do you think this is the calm before the storm?

Don’t underestimate this workout. We often think light weight is easy…you can just go faster. It can be quite the mental test. 

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