130329 – 13.4 Strategy & Tips

13.4 is seemingly a “run into the wall” workout, with no room for strategy or real variability. However, after testing this morning, I actually believe there is as much to be gained here from a tactful approach, as all the other WODs of the 2013 season.

Clearly 13.4 is very grip intensive. Spealler and Holmberg both complained immediately about grip after finishing the demo on the announcement show. This led me to question immediately whether touch & go reps were appropriate for the piece, despite the fact that I have always believed they were significantly faster.

Here’s video of our testing:

As you can see Adam is clean and efficient with both styles. Also, as you can see, they take almost the exact same amount of time. This leaves me no choice but to recommend dropping every rep of the Clean & Jerk. It will take discipline and a non-bouncy set of bumpers, but with a grip intensive workout, not having to control the bar back to the floor will make a huge difference overall. You should do your own testing and see if your pace is similar.

Here are some numbers:

>C&J 5 reps – 17 seconds
>TTB 5 reps – 8 seconds
>C&J – 3.4 seconds per rep
>TTB – 1.6 seconds per rep

To complete the round of 18 (126 reps):

>63 C&J 215 sec.
>63 TTB 101 sec.
>5:16 total work
>1:44 total rest

This would allow for nine planned 10 second rest intervals to be spread over the piece, and another 15-ish seconds for transitions. Yes, I understand that it will be nearly impossible for anyone to do this amount of reps, but the notion of planned rests can help everyone. For maximal success on 13.4 the athlete cannot be forced into rest, they must at least have a notion of where they will allow themselves to rest.


-Drop the bar every rep to save grip and time under load (or no more than 3 touch & go reps), but stay as close as possible, and re-grip immediately.

-Find the least bouncy set of plates in your gym. Comp plates are the holy grail.

-Hook grip every rep, and thumbs around the bar on TTB.

-All Push Jerks.

-Wear the shoes you’re comfortable doing TTB in. WL shoes are unnecessary.

-Break TTB well before failure, especially if you’re not planning rest intervals. However…

-Plan rest intervals.

Even with an improbable score of 126 reps there is space for 1:45 worth of rest. If you do not plan these rests you will be left with your hands on your knees, unable to recover from an early flame out. I will not suggest exactly where to use them, but I will suggest planning them early—round of 9, and possibly 6 on—and not allowing for any extraneous waste (chalk, adjusting clips).

WOD 130329:

Movement Prep

Every 30 sec for 3 minutes:

1 Power Clean & Push Jerk @ 65%

*Immediately perform 2 TTB after every rep.


CrossFit Games 2013 Open WOD 13.4

53 thoughts on “130329 – 13.4 Strategy & Tips

  1. 101 reps this morning with 530 AM class, ( they begged me to do it with them). I had no plan at all and found myself doing 2 touch and go reps of the c&J in rounds 12, 15 and 18.This pace worked pretty good. All t2b unbroken. Pretty confiedent I can get more reps if I try it again, if necessary. SoCal division. Thanks for the coaching. Greg Mountain

  2. Just wanted to let you know that you are the Gandolf of exercise. Ya know… The Wizard of exercise with a magnificent beard!

  3. 102
    The 2nd best piece of advice (1st was to drop the bar) out of the strategy guide for me was to ditch the WL shoes. It would have definitely slowed down the t2b a lot more than it would have helped the c&j’s.

  4. 79
    something up with my stomach today. kid you not, nearly shit my pants several times. another 20 seconds and I’da had 90 reps, going to see how I feel tomorrow for another try.

    • I did 3 touch and goes until my 6 set then went singles right after that. Scored 78. I have good toes to bar sooo my clean and jerk must still be balls…

    • I did not, but my forearms were killing me, and likely made me drop from the bar on my set of 9 T2B… normally I am pretty good at these. I got 78. gonna try it again with singles, I am shooting for 90.

        • Awesome! I did the first 3 unbroken then all singles. 94. If you do big sets it will gas you too fast. My forearms never gave me trouble it is all about conditioning. Thanks Rudy!

  5. 55, and completely unphased or worn out at the end. Dropped every rep, and with the VTX plates, the bar bounced back up to waist height (I’m over 6′). All T2B were tripples with enough time to regrip.

    Doing this again with competition plates

  6. 102 reps
    – Unbroken on T2B, those were easy. Went 3 touch and go’s every set until 12’s then all singles through 15. did a couple doubles in round of 18. got 102 right at the buzzer then fell down and died.
    -pace yourself through 3, 6, and 9 save some for that set of 15 and 18

  7. 71
    i feel like i coulda got more. still had gas in the tank when the clock hit 7. tempted to redo it, but i’m gonna pass and come at it that much harder tomorrow

  8. 98
    Dropped every rep, went UB on T2B, and rested 10 sec at the halfway point of C&J’s on 9,12, & 15

  9. 57, all ttp unbroken, c+J singles, I can’t seem to figure out high rep TTB, when I kip I fly all over the place and can’t land the toes. Minimal rest just a lot of time hanging from the bar bringing my legs up.

  10. 89…way better than I could have hoped for! every rep dropped and ttb broken up into sets of 3 or 4 no rep on last set of ttb but grip was fine throughout thanks for tips!

  11. 100
    something up with my stomach today. kid you not, nearly shit my pants several times. another 20 seconds and I’da had 90 reps, going to see how I feel tomorrow for another try.

  12. 78. Did all singles with regular grip as I am not used to clean with false grip and forearms usually is not an issue for me, as well as in this wod.
    My only problem was t2b, super slow….I suck at kipping t2b and when both feet have to touch the bar together…I just could not take risk kipping….well….what I learned from Open wods so far: I such at all gymnastic moves 🙂

  13. m/34/5’8’/175lb

    69 reps 1st time, 75 reps second time. Legs felt smoked on second time, wanted 90, what ya gonna do

  14. 81 this morning using a hook grip – did triples through the entire thing
    74 on Friday with a normal grip – triples up to 6 and then random sets throughout
    Never got to the point of muscle fatigue – my weakness is very clearly the conditioning aspect.

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