17.2 – Year of the Dumbbell

17.2 – Year of the Dumbbell

Week two of the 2017 CrossFit Open is here. There are always a few certainties and unknowns that you can expect during each week of the open. One certainty? Dave Castro will speak in very slow…. dramatic pauses…. just to…. try and see…. how long…. he can…. drag out a…. workout…. explanation (I just got so annoyed with myself typing that. I’m sorry). The unknowns? Well, that’s simple. The workouts! TDC (that’s “THE” Dave Castro) is really doing an awesome job of pushing competitive athlete output levels, as well as innovating and pushing the standard of CrossFit for the every day affiliate like ours. By using equipment that many gym owners skimp on, or simply choose to not see the value in, he is elevating the standard for CrossFit programming around the world.

But enough about that, let’s look at 17.2.

17.2 is a 12 minute AMRAP of weighted walking lunges, toes to bar (then muscle ups), and dumbbell power cleans. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of strategy work (you can check out Jacob Tsypkin’s strategy guide, I only wish he would have been more detailed), but instead I just want to talk about why I think this workout is so awesome.

This workout is really, really, great for 3 reasons.

  1. It’s a teaser
  2. It’s introducing a new movement (and more dumbbells!)
  3. It’s raising the standard for RX and Scaled divisions


Just like 17.1, this is a big time teaser workout, and it’s going to bait people into making some pretty big mistakes early on. If you decide you’re going to go flying out the gate with super speedy lunge steps, big sets of toes-to-bar, then unbroken dumbbell power cleans while you’re skipping into the next set of lunges, you’re in for a rough ride. While these movements look pretty simple on their own, they form a truly nasty combo of grip and output control. Seasoned athletes will know not to take the bait on this one. They understand that the big sets of 16 bar muscle ups will be the area of focus (the separator of sorts). It’s probably in your best interest to start out a little slower than you’d like so you can have some room to push when it starts to get rough. TDC, you’re such a tease.


Have you ever done a bunch of dumbbell front rack work? It’s TOUGH. Another word to describe it: effective. The dumbbell front rack walking lunge is a fantastic exercise, and I’m really happy to see it in the open. Last year, the overhead walking lunges were trouble for some, but I would venture to say that those are potentially less strenuous on the midline and upper body than a proper dumbbell front rack position (if you stack your body properly, holding weights overhead is easy). This workout is going to open many eyes to the wonder of adding variance to simple movements with heavy holds in static positions. Also, you didn’t REALLY think we were done with the dumbbells after one snatch workout… did you? 🙂


There’s nowhere to hide in this one. If you want to go to Regionals, you have to be able to sustain HIGH levels of output, as well as manage fatigue through some big sets of high level gymnastics movements (while already being in a fatigued state!). We’ve seen big sets of muscle ups before in previous open workouts, but not many with the option of actually getting back to them before time expired. This one is a different beast. It’s also raising the standard for the scaled athlete. This is the 7th year of the CrossFit Open, and the third year of the scaled division. In that time, we have never seen pull ups as a necessary requirement for the scaled athletes. It has been either jumping pull ups, or jumping chest to bar pull ups. While this might seem discouraging to some (what’s the point of it being SCALED?!), I think we should treat this as a call to action to really get after our pull up strength. We know that bodyweight/gymnastics strength is a necessary part of our overall fitness, and this should serve as a good reminder that it’s something we should still be striving for, no matter how long we’ve done CrossFit. Looks like our next extra work program at Yellow Rose is going to involve some pull ups!

2 open workouts down, 3 more to go. A lot of people like to try and guess what the workouts are going to be, but at this point, Castro is becoming so unpredictable that I’m not even sure it’s worth trying. While I appreciate Castro pushing the standard of CrossFit programming by incorporating dumbbells, I sure hope he keeps assault bikes out of it… at least until next year when we have some 😉

I’m excited to give 17.2 a go, and I hope you are too. I’ve got my personal goal to get through at least one round of the muscle up section… let’s see how this goes!

-Clark Hibbs

3 down, 28 more to go.


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