Okay, so I was half right. Last week I called thrusters and burpees as the final WOD of the 2015 CrossFit Open. Thrusters are the darling movement of CrossFit in general and to get through 5 weeks of programming without it is blasphemy. Here are my tips for survival.
1.KNOW THY PACE. Thrusters are going to suck regardless of what else is coupled with them. I call them burpees with a barbell - they always produce shot to heck shoulders and jacked up heart rates. Throw rowing for calories on top and you've got a lactic acid inferno waiting to happen. Hit a few thrusters prior to starting so you can get an idea of how fast you can actually go. Side note: I'm normally not really down with preworkout supplements before WOD's anyway, but this is a different kind of beast. 15.5 is a short burst heart pumping massacre. Taking one will at the very least throw your pace off, and at the most could put you in the hospital.
2. KNOW THY GRIP. This applies specifically to the thrusters. The thruster grip is generally a happy medium between the clean and jerk grips. Find your appropriate width first, then clean your bar and mark it with chalk. This takes the guesswork out of your setup and saves a few seconds.
3. KNOW THY BODY TYPE. 15.5 favors the middle of the road sized athlete - think Rich Froning, Matt Fraser, and my pick to win this workout that will be named later. The taller athlete may dominate the rower, but needs to travel a much longer distance for thrusters. The munchkin athlete that needs to move 3 inches to a CrossFit standard squat will lose out on the long levered advantage of the tall athlete. Know which of the three categories you fit best in and use your dimensions to your advantage.
4. KNOW THYSELF. To me, this is one of the most mentally challenging WOD's I've seen in the open. It's a closed chain core to extremity pull and a closed chain core to extremity push with no rest in between. This will hurt and there's no way around it. Rowing for calories carries its own monster with it; at some point you will pull as hard as your body physically can and the number won't budge. This WOD will be a quick journey into the dark place that so many athletes mention. If you haven't been there before, I welcome you with open arms, for it is here where better people are made.
Back to my prediction of who will win 15.5. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Jason Khalipa. Average height, way above average engine and pain tolerance, and an exceptional rower for his dimensions. Best of luck!
Chalk up, throw down.