15.3 - Tips and Performance

Posted by Ben Quinney on

15.3 – well, I gotta give it to Dave Castro, he sure knows how pick ‘em. A combination of movements that we’re all too familiar with in the CrossFit Open, but with a nasty little twist that makes this event a whole new ball game! And as he said, “by Monday we’ll know who in the community has one muscle up”. This breakdown of 15.3 will be geared towards those individuals who will be able to clear the first set of 7 muscle ups, we’ll go through your warm up as well as your pacing strategy to last the full 14-minutes.

Warm Up

Your warm up this week is focused on preparing your shoulders and midline for the load they’ll be bearing throughout this workout. As this event has a longer time domain, our warm up should take around 15-20 minutes in total.  


3x20s Banded Shoulder Distraction with internal and external rotation (each side)

2x20s Goblet Squat Hold (use elbows to push your knees out)

3x10 Banded Face Pulls

2x10 Leg Swings

2x10 Walking Lunge with Torso Twist (each side)

3x12 Glute Bridges

Increase Heart Rate

Row or AirDyne for 5-minutes - :50 easy, :10 hard.


Practise Movement Patterns

4 rounds, not for time:

6 Ring Kip Swings

8 Wall Balls

20 Double Unders

Then, spend around 3 minutes hitting singles or doubles on the muscle ups.

Muscle Ups

How you attack these is completely determined by your max effort unbroken PR.

- Let’s say you can comfortably hit 15+, you’ll probably want to hit the Muscle Ups unbroken.

- If your max set is around 10, then I’m going to recommend that you break these up from the start, before they become the reason you break down. There are two ways you can break up the set – 4/3, or 3/2/2 – either way, minimising rest is crucial so make sure you’re back on the rings within no more than 10 seconds of your last set.

- If Muscle Ups aren’t your jam and you can only hit 2-3, then go singles from the get go. The 5-seconds rest in between singles is much more efficient than the 20- or 30-seconds rest you’ll take if you hit failure.

Wall Balls

A majority of this workout will be spent here chipping away at those pesky Wall Balls. Each lot of 50 Wall Balls could potentially take us anywhere between 1:40 to 2:20 to complete, depending on your engine.

- We want to minimise the amount of time spent on the Wall Balls so we can spend maximum time on the Muscle Ups, therefore my recommendation here is to finish your Wall Balls in the least number of sets possible. If you’re going to break them up, do it only once or twice at the most.  

- Take a wider than normal stance as this will allow you to travel less distance to get below parallel, additionally, you’ll be able to recruit more musculature in your legs allowing you to get greater bounce out of the hole.

- Take a leaf out of Rich Froning’s book and let the arms drop while the ball is in the air. That split second will allow the shoulders a small amount of time to recover and delay fatigue.

Double Unders

If you’ve made it this far in to the workout I’m pretty confident Double Unders aren’t a problem for you.

- The key here is to take your time. Tripping up on the rope consistently because you’re rushing can very easily make a task that should take less than 1:30 to complete blow out to over 2-minutes.

- Similar to the first point, RELAX YOUR SHOULDERS! Anyone who tells you that Double Unders blow out their shoulders is only saying so because they can’t do them efficiently. Keep the elbows close and the shoulders relaxed – let the wrists do the work and stay fresh for the next round.

- Monitor your breathing and use it at an indicator of when to rest. Do not blow out here! Look at resting at the half-way mark, or even less if you’re the type whose heart rate loves to skyrocket.

Conclusion and General Tips

- Keep moving! Be calm and steady, but be prepared to jump back on the rings, or hit up your next set of Wall Balls or Double Unders a little sooner than you’d usually like to. No more than 10-seconds between sets and no more than 15- or 20-seconds in transition between exercises

- Stay as efficient as you can in each exercise. Use your hips to throw yourself over the rings, bounce out of the hole in the squat, and keep your elbows in close. Yes, when we fatigue things tend to get a little sloppy, but you’re going to be churning out a few more reps if you can prevent that fatigue by moving correctly from the go!

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