CrossFit Open 17.2 Breakdown, Farm Boys, Scale or Not, Not Letting Yourself Down

Open 17.2 is here!

I learned a long time ago that ‘farm boy’ strength meant a strong grip and a strong back (and there aren’t people that are more functionally strong than farm boys). This workout will really reward those people who have been doing workouts (like Thrivestry) that create strong grips and strong backs! 


I do have to say that I am pretty happy with this workout. It is still ‘approachable’ for many people. The tie breakers will allow people who can do the lunges to still do it “as prescribed”!  In fact, let’s start with that:

To Scale or Not to Scale…

The way the rankings work, if you can do 5’ of lunges at the prescribed weight, you are ranked above EVERYONE who scaled. That means that even if someone get 10 rounds scaled, the person with 5’ of lunges is ahead of them. So even if you can’t do many (or any) toes to bar, try to finish the lunges as prescribed if you can, then get as many toes to bar as possible. Now if you want to ‘get a good workout’ that day, continue the workout scaled, but then log on Games site what you did ‘as prescribed’.

Now there is a large group of people in the open can do toes to bar, but can’t do bar muscle ups. Those people should do the first two rounds AS FAST AS POSSIBLE through the power cleans. The ‘tie breaker’ time is after the power cleans.  Treat this as a full blown metcon for time!  All those people who get zero muscle ups will be compared using this time. Expect A LOT of ‘ties’ at 44 reps (2 rounds plus the lunges). Do not pace this so you can do the lunges on round 3 right away. Go so fast that you have to take some time to rest, and even break the lunges up significantly. Super fast people will finish this in the 3-4 minute range. Many others will finish in the 5-7 minute range. This will be plenty of time to rest, get those lunges done, and then try for some bar muscle ups. (NOTE: on round 2, go ahead and finish all 8 power cleans before resting. DO NOT do 7 reps and then rest before the lunges. See below)

Similarly, if you don’t think you’ll finish the 16 bar muscle ups (and there will be many), still try to finish the 2 rounds at a good fast pace, but break the toes to bar up a bit more so you have some juice to get through a good number of bar muscle ups.

Dumbbell Lunges

As I mention on the video, it isn’t clear if you can ‘stack’ the dumbbells on your shoulders (with the handles vertical). I wouldn’t try this technique until we have a more definitive answer. That said, this could be a way to help your forearms recover.  Just remember that if you do use this style, you still must keep your full hand on the handle. NO letting go of the handle and palming the head of the db.

Keep your chest up and torso vertical. Do not take too large of steps and hyper extend your back. Taking larger steps may mean one less lunge step each 25’, but it will make the lunges ‘harder’. If the load is going to be an issue for you, really try to step forward then lower your body straight down to touch the knee, and then come straight up.  The tendency is for people to shift the weight to the front leg, which requires much more strength. Step, drop straight down, come straight up, then bring the feet together.

Really focus on spreading the floor with your feet. By pushing both legs front and back, you will engage more muscles in the hips and it will pop you up easier.

It is critical that you avoid ‘no-reps’!  If you commit any fault, you will have to go back to the previous 5’ line. Be deliberate and make sure that you are keeping the dumbbells up, touching the knee on the floor, not shuffling the feet, etc. You do not want to do any extra 5’ increments than what’s required!

Toes to Bar

Find a bar that isn’t too high so you can do lots of small sets without having to worry about a big jump. If you can’t find the perfect bar, have something you can step up on to avoid jumping. If you know you will need to go to singles, try and have a bar that is even lower so you can do fast singles and drop off the bar each rep to save your grip.

I am a fan of the bent knee and ‘flick’ style of toes to bar. If you are more comfortable with the straight leg version, stick with that, but the bent knee style means that the feet are making a more linear path and will faster.  This style also puts a bit less stress on the hip flexors and maximizes the benefit of the kip.

Point your toes! Keeping your ankles at 90 degrees puts extra tension through your posterior chain (your calves up through your hamstrings and glutes). 90 deg ankles also means that you have to hit the bar with the tip of the shoe versus the entire top of the foot, the tip of the toes increases the likelihood that you may miss or tap your feet out of synch causing a ‘no rep’.

Dumbbell Power Cleans

Similar to last week, use a hook grip. This will save your grip for toes to bar and bar muscle ups. Grab the dumbbells so that the heel of your hand is touching the rear part of the dumbbell. That way, you can angle the dumbbell so that the front part hits the ground and you do not have to bend over as far when linking touch and go reps.

Plan on breaking these up at least at rep 7 of the cleans. Do not do 8 reps and then rest!  That means you’ll have to do an extra rep to get them up for the lunges of the next round. The exception for this is people who are trying to finish that second round as fast as possible for the tie breaker. Go ahead and finish the 8th rep to get a fast tie breaker score!  Everyone else should plan on breaking these up more.

Keep the elbows straight on the pull! The tendency will be to bend the elbow as the biceps try and ‘curl’ the weight up to the shoulder.  This will tax the grip even more. Keep the arms straight and catch in a partial squat.  Only strong people should do a ‘muscle clean’ with no squat.

Some people will benefit from touching the dbs back behind the toes/feet slightly (as opposed to straight down at the sides of the feet). This will make the cleans feel more like a ‘swing’ and use more hip drive to get them up.

Bar Muscle Ups

Really focus on the ‘modified glide kip’ for more reps here. “Glide Kips” are not allowed since they require the feet to go above the bar. Modified Glide Kips are very similar, but the knees are bent slightly so that the heels stay low enough to keep it legit. 


If you look at this video from Trac’s gym, you’ll notice that his first rep has the legs low (not ideal). Then he gets his legs and hips much higher, making the movement much more efficient. You will also notice that on the first rep, he has to bend his arms to pull himself over the bar. In the later reps, his arms stay much straighter. It is good to think about pushing the bar away though the transition as your body goes into a solid ‘hollow’ position. In fact, the knees are actually moving toward the bar before an explosive hip opening movement that pops the body up over the pull up bar.

Keep in mind that you will not be allowed to place your forearm, elbow, or armpit on the bar to get up.  Only your hands can touch the bar. Some people who can’t do muscle ups yet, may still get a rep or two by doing a pull up and getting one arm over the bar, then getting the other arm over. It isn’t ‘good’, but it may still help some people get a rep or two!

Be careful with the dreaded ‘chicken wing’.  Doing one arm at a time, throwing that shoulder over, puts a lot of stress on the shoulder and comes with a big risk of injuring the shoulder. As in: surgery, type of risk. While some people may be comfortable with the risk in order to well in the Open, it should not be taken lightly and if people are trying to ‘rep’ this version out, they should know the risks completely (not good for your ‘regular’ CFer who is just doing this for fun, an extra challenge, and who has to go back to work the next day).


I am not going to make a pacing chart this week since this one is pretty straight forward, and dependent upon if you can do muscle ups, or how many muscle ups you plan on doing. I will say that breaking the toes to bar and bar muscle ups early (and more than you think) will pay off in later rounds for sure.  Both CrossFit Games ladies said they would have broken it up more had they known how much their grip would have been taxed (and they were both pretty gymnastics-competent)!

Note for Team Scores

If you are trying to get the best score for your gym, you need to know that tie breaker scores do not matter. That means that you may want to pace a bit differently so that you have a higher chance of getting that extra rep or two. Generally this will mean going a bit slower on the tie breaker score so you are more rested for the muscle ups.  There is no guarantee that this will pay off, but if getting a high team score is the priority over individual performances, it is something to consider.

Final Thoughts

Mindset going into the workout is key to having a good experience. Focus on small goals that you have control over. Things that are good goals you can control:

  • How you are going to break up the first two rounds
  • Getting less than 3 no reps
  • Not resting too long between sets (count your breaths)
  • Sticking to your plan

Things that are bad goals that you cannot control:

  • Beating a particular person
  • Getting a particular score
  • Getting your first bar muscle up
  • Going unbroken in later rounds

The reason these things are a bad gamble is that if you DO get that score you have set for yourself, you feel ‘neutral’. You said you were going to do something, and you did it. But if you don’t hit that goal, you feel terrible. Frustrated, upset, you risk injury trying to achieve it, etc. It isn’t a good trade off!

Stick to your plan and focus on what you can control. If you do this, you will do YOUR BEST. And as Coach Wooden says: “You can’t do better than your best!”

PS – We still have 3 more workouts!  Make sure you are still focusing on the movements that haven’t come up yet. I am suspect that we’ll still see ring muscle ups and burpees. I am hoping that we’ll get a chance to put our new deadlift strength and handstand push up ability to use as well!

Have fun and Thrive on!



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