17.1 = Work capacity and lower back endurance

Posted by Raw Strength and Conditioning on

 RAW Strength and Conditioning, super coach to world class Games athletes James Newbury and 4th place finisher, Brent Fikowski, breaks down 17.1. See how the best athletes in the world approach their workouts during the open.

Initial thoughts on 17.1 was this will be an easy workout as you can start slower and build into the workout as it will be a LONG piece. Given the 20mins time cap I though more than a few people would not finish. THEN the Pat and Brent went sub 13mins each which was faster than I thought. Thinking they may finish in around 15mins giving mortals only a slim chance of finishing under the time cap. I was wrong.

I think MOST people are capable of finishing IF you pace the workout well. BUT under NO circumstances think it will be easy. There will still be a fair portion who time cap.

Lets look a little deeper………….

• 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 DB snatch with 15 burpee box jumps separating each rep scheme.

• DB’s must be alternating

• NO assistance on the way up

• Rep complete at lock out of ear

• Both heads of DB must start on the ground for a good rep

• Box jump must be facing box

• Line marker must dissect the body (cut body in half) when on ground

• Hands and feet straddling the line

• You must jump on the box OR jump over the box as long as your feet are the only things that touch it.

• You do not have to stand on top of the box at full height.

• You may jump off the box, drop off the box or step off the other side

Although the weight is “light” for DB snatch you are doing 150 reps and moving 2250/3375kg.  The first sets of 10 and 20 may seem easy. The last two sets of 40 and 50 of the DB will be very tough. I would be really careful of my posture on the DB snatch. I can see a lot of people getting the back jacked up hard. Once your back gets jacked not only will the snatches be tough BUT also the box jumps.

It is true…….. this is a workout where you should be able to keep moving and grind away. The athletes who are able to spend the least time resting will win…… obviously……… This means you do not have to snatch at light speed, you do not have to box jump like you are jumping into hyper space. All you have to do is keep moving, minimize rest, knuckle down and be ready to hurt.


The warm does not need to be long and complex. After a some general movement such as airdyne and rowing you can move into mobility and activation. I would focus on hamstrings, glutes, lats as these are the key areas that will tie into your low back. Don’t go to town on these areas just make sure you hit these areas with a foam roller or mobility ball. Just free the area up a little. Also spend some time on your shoulders just to make lock out easy. It would also pay to spend some time on your chest and anterior shoulders/delts as there are 75 burpees you have to get through.  You do not have to get the heart rate up to much. I would just practice your transitions and of the hand change in the DB snatch and placement of the DB in relation to your box. I would practice a few box jumps to see if you are better to skip/step into the box, jump onto and over the box and then turn OR turn as you jump off the box or land and then turn or step off the box. Just get a few reps in practising being accurate with the feet and hands on either side of the tape. I would do NO more than 10 to 15 DB’s total in the warm up and say 2 sets of 5 box jump overs. You will warm up in the workout quite quickly and no movements are terribly taxing on mobility requirements


One of my favorite sayings in these types of workouts is don’t start faster than you think you can finish. You will be far better to start slower and keep moving than to start fast, blast out the first 3 rounds and then having to have a breather of 2 or 3 seconds after every 2 DB snatches from there on. Just keep moving. There will be a HUGE difference in taking 3 seconds per DB snatch on the round of 40 and taking 2mins vs taking 5 seconds per rep because you have to stand up tall between each rep to get some air and taking 3mins 20 for the set of 40………….

As an example Pat Vellner took around 2 seconds per DB snatch and on average 5 seconds per burpee box jump. If this is follow from start to finish he would have spent 5 mins doing DB snatch and 6min 15sec on box jumps. This is a total time of 11min and 15seconds. Allowing for a few no reps and transitions between exercises this is pretty much the exact timing he stuck through the entire workout.

The take away from this is…….. try to be efficient in all movements, build into the workout, don’t start too fast and minimize the amount of time you are either looking at the clock, looking at the ceiling or searching for chalk you don’t need. Place the DB NEXT to your box so you do not have to walk far to it!!!!!

Grind and hurt


Lay on the ground floundering around like a fish out of water………


When you have got your breath back spend some time working the same areas you did in the warm up. Hammies, glutes, lats etc. Get them on the recovery train early. If you went to hard to fast or paced to early from the start I am sure you will want to try this workout again although I wouldn’t really recommend doing 2 workouts with 150 hip bending movements in quick succession. That is 300 DB snatches. Give it your all on your first attempt and if you re do it (I’m sure you will) make sure you have two full days rest of hip bending before you re attempt. If you are gunning for a top 30 or 20 (region) dependent then I see no reason why you should not do this twice. As long as you are smart and recover between. You have spent the whole year training for this…………. Every second does count……

Those who are expected to go to Regionals on past experience your best effort once off should be fine one would think.

Want to train with the best? Rob offers world class coaching to athletes around the world. Read more at:


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