15.4 Crossfit Open Strategies and Tips

This morning I went to Crossfit Terminus to take care of Squat Mafia and Team Terminus, who is currently ranked top 3 in the World.

I had the opportunity to watch them do 15.4 and got to share some strategies with them while also learning of strategies and tips to implement. This Crossfit Open workout is going to be tricky as those who already have HSPU’s will need to alter their technique a bit to meet the new standard.


1) Roll out the upper thoracic spine.

2) Shoulders should be mobile with both internal and external rotation. Wrap the band on the pull-up and put the arm through rotating the arm from the shoulder joint. Check your mobility before you start loosening up your shoulders then recheck to make sure they move even more post warm-up. 

3) Stretch out the calf muscles! You will want these loosened up during HSPU as you will want great ankle flexion to lift those heels above the line.

4) Roll the bottom of your foot on a lacrosse ball.

Little Extras to Win

1) Nutrition

Be extremely hydrated going into this workout as you will not have time to stop and sip your water or fuel. This is a workout where I will drink a sports drink or coconut water roughly 15 minutes beforehand to get my electrolytes moving and balanced. 

KEY – Definitely have a protein shake post-workout and make sure to load up on protein following. 


1) The rules are different with the HSPU, so be sure to have your judge call out the rep once it is complete. This way you do not waste your shoulders on a  no-rep. 

2) Do not hit failure on the HSPU. Once you feel you are roughly 80% to failure, drop and reset. 

3) Your neck is your lifeline so PLEASE do not crush it on the mat every rep and either use a cushion or be gentle. The last thing you want to do is overload the discs and spine for future problems because you wanted 1 or 2 more reps. 

4) Keep your arms closer and not too wide. The wider you go with your hands the harder it will be to throw your legs up and reach the point where your heels need to go over. This video below demonstrates how 1 athlete setup too wide then readjusted her hands even wider, and got no repped because she lost distance by widening her arms. 


1) If you can touch and go..then you are awesome! For most of us, breaking this up in short sets will be important especially so we do not compromise form. 

2) Warmup with a decent weight to get the nervous system loaded up and primed. Do not go cold into this workout so when you lift 185 it feels heavy. 

3) Find weight that bounce less! Don’t put on the bumper plates that bounce away from you when you drop each time but place the ones that stop once they hit the ground. 

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