A shirtless, tattooed man exhibits significant strict strength in performing a handstand push-up.

Workout 19.3 was a test of strict gymnastics strength, not conditioning.

Athletes needed a degree of conditioning to get to the wall, but the time cap wasn’t overly harsh. The majority of athletes in our gym got through the lunges and step-ups and still had a reasonable amount of time to flip upside down.

And that’s where the workout turned into a true test of strength.

Strict Strength

For years, people have demanded strength tests in the CrossFit Games Open, but my guess is the calls most often came from the barbell crew, not the gymnasts. Heavy deadlifts or a max squat would likely please that crowd.

But instead we got a straight-up test of upper-body strength in 19.3—which is fine with me. The handstand push-up—”headstand push-up” to gymnasts—is actually just an inverted partial-range-of-motion body-weight barbell press. It requires a significant degree of strength, and the actual amount depends on your body weight.

With that in mind, it might be tempting to say the workout favoured smaller athletes, but I don’t think any short people enjoyed the box step-ups very much. If anything, I think shorter athletes had to perform more lunges and disadvantaged step-ups until they got to make up some ground at the wall. Most didn’t get past that, so the handstand walk is irrelevant. 

Overall, I think the workout actually favoured athletes with balanced levels of strength and conditioning. All-around athletes.

Sounds like a pretty good CrossFit workout, right?

Read “19.Too Strong”

Building Strict Strength

If you got stuck at the wall, or if you got fewer reps than you wanted, I’d encourage you to dig into strict work over the next months. You can do jerks and push presses, and you can even kip once in a while, but I’d make sure I get to every class with strict pressing and strict gymnastics work. I’d focus on building strict strength.

Doing so isn’t quite as fun as maxing out a jerk. I don’t need much weight to max out a barbell press, and it’s always a humbling experience when the bar stops moving at the bridge of my nose.

But regularly performing strict pressing movements will help you build strength. And if you really commit to our gymnastics progressions, you’ll find even more success.

As an example, don’t make it a goal to do a kipping handstand push-up. Make it a goal to first do a series of long, slow, controlled eccentric reps first. Or to hold a handstand against the wall for 2 minutes. Think of those things as your base. On top of that, add regular pressing, and join in the curl-offs that seem to be happening with regularity at the dumbbell rack. They’re fun. Then come find me on Sundays and let’s hit the bench press. That’s fun, too.

Slowly build your strength. And always work on your conditioning.

Actually, just come to class regularly. We hit strength and conditioning every day.

Read “Fitness Training and Your Period.”

Several women row on an ergometer during CrossFit Games Open Workout 19.1 at CrossFit 204.

Please note we do not have regular classes Friday evening! Details below!

If you are registered for the Open, you can do the workout in any class on March 8, and we are having our largest group perform the workout in a dedicated session starting at 5 p.m.

The theme for the evening: Formal Night! We’ll be doing before and after photos: Show up shining and leave sweating. We will be taking portraits as you arrive, then you can change and start warming up. We’ll see you back at the photo booth after you hit 19.3!

All regular classes will be cancelled for the evening—please sign in for the CrossFit Games Open WOD.

Current Score: Müscle Crüe 63 – Iron Madams 54

Thank you to everyone who posted to Instagram and Facebook!

Best costume: Snowmobile Cody + 1

Top Rx Scores: Fernando +1, Jacqueline +1

Top Scaled Scores: Stephan +1, Cheryl +1

Week 3 Scoring Opportunities – More Points Available!

5 points per person – Write a Google review of CrossFit 204

3 points per person – pose for before/after photos (both)

3 points each – most formal male and female

1 point per person – post to Instagram with #204Open hashtag and @CrossFit 204 tag

3 points per person – post a Bright Spot in the Pirates Only group on Facebook and name your team (request access if you aren’t in the group yet!)

Part 1
EMOM x 8 sets:
Minute 1: 3-5 strict/kipping HSPU
Minute 2: 2 power cleans
Rest 3 minutes

Part 2: Almost Famous

12-ft. handstand walk
12 alternating pistol squats
12 alternating dumbbell power snatches (50/35 lb.)

I’ve been doing a lot of work on gymnastics articles lately, and I’ll share a secret with you: strength is required for success in gymnastics.

As coaches, we can provide lots of technical tips, and you’ll need them at some point, but to get a first muscle-up or pull-up or handstand push-up, you have to have strength. There’s no way around that.

So we focus on that: strict work, gymnastics focus sessions, weighted pull-ups, couplets, accessory work, spotting and scaling. All of that is designed to bring up strength levels. Once you’ve got that strength, we can iron out technique to get your chin over the bar or your hands on top of the rings.

But strength comes first. Whenever you see a block of gymnastics time in a class, know that you’re usually doing strength work–and it will pay off.

CrossFit 204-Legends-MM-HSPUTouch-and-go power snatch 2-2-2-2-2

Rest 2 minutes between sets

Touch-and-go power clean and push jerk 2-2-2-2-2

Rest 2 minutes between sets

As many reps as possible in 10 minutes:

Handstand push-ups

20 double-unders each time you break a set

Graeme decided to push for an overhead-squat PR and a score of 1 on 15.2 before reducing the weight and getting a great workout. We love that attitude!3 rounds, max reps in each minute:

Minute 1 – chest-to-bar pull-ups
Minute 2 – handstand push-ups
Minute 3 – overhead squats (95/65 lb.)

Rest 3 minutes

3 rounds, max reps for each minute:

Minute 1 – bar muscle-ups
Minute 2 – toes-to-bars
Minute 3 – front squats (95/65 lb.)