18.2 and 18.2a Strategy + Tips
By Colin Farrell
This was, believe it or not, a really fun workout. Regardless of the type of athlete you are, there is something in this workout to look forward to and be positive above. If you’re a lighter weight gymnast, the burpees should be a breeze. If you are a strong engine kind of guy or gal, the first portion of this workout should be squarely in your wheelhouse. If you love slinging heavy barbells, you should make quick work of those dumbbells and enjoy 18.2a
Things to keep in mind…
How you pace 18.2 will entirely depend upon what type of athlete you are, however, some universal rules that will help:
Athletes in workouts like this (ascending rep schemes) are often very tempted to race through the rounds of 1 through 5 with very quick transitions between. Rather than race through those and slow down precipitously towards rounds 7 and 8, be methodical from the get-go. I would suggest a nice, even pacing early on and start hitting the gas pedal closer to round 8.
If you have them wear lifters; this is especially true if you have the lifters from Reebok or Inov8 that have a flexible forefoot, making the burpees a little more comfortable. This will help you keep your chest up and heels down… thus taking a little bit of stress off the quads and shifting it to the backside/posterior chain, as well as making it easier to breath and keep your elbows up.
Breath and focus. Don’t forget, for Rx athletes, you must have both feet go back and return simultaneously. It’s easy to go to sleep inside during burpees and not think. That can lead to silly mistakes and no-reps, costing you time and energy. While doing your front squats, concentrate on your breathing, ignore the burn in the quads and just stay moving.
Go unbroken on all the sets of front squats.
Your pace on the burpees should be just on the wrong side of the comfort|discomfort line, but you should not be dying either.
Warm up your clean ahead of time to your opening weight for 18.2a. This first lift you should be very confident you can hit. Do a little self assessment and answer the following questions for yourself, “What if shit goes south and it takes me 11:15 to finish the squats and burpees? Knowing how fatigued I probably will be, what weight do I know can I hit in less than 45 seconds?” That number is your opening lift. If you plan to power clean, warm it up as a power clean. If you plan to squat clean, warm it up as a squat clean. Do smaller jumps, more frequently. So, instead of hitting 185-lbs and rest for well over a minute then jumping to 225-lbs; it is better in this scenario to hit a new lift every 30 seconds or so and only make 5- or 10-lb jumps.
What I would have done differently…
I finished 18.2 in 9:28 (I think) and hit a 215-lb clean on 18.2a. Overall, I am actually pretty happy with this, as unimpressive as that may be. I took it a little easy on the burpees and squats so I could save some energy for the barbell. A few weeks back I had a really disappointing showing with my clean-and-jerk at a lifting meet, so I used this workout as redemption. I could have pushed a little harder on squats and burpees.
Before you do the workout, do some front squats and burpees ahead of time. Do a set of 15 of each at a decent, but methodical pace. See how long it takes you. There are 55 reps of each in this workout. Based on how fast you completed 15, start reverse-engineering a game plan. For example: If you do 15 of each in about 2:00, you should be at the round of 3 by X:XX, the round of 6 by Y:YY, and you should 9 by Z:ZZ. Write this game plan out on a whiteboard and stick to it, even if it hurts a little bit.
Good luck everyone!