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CrossFit® Open WOD 16.4 Tips and Strategies Webinar Replay

Here’s the replay of the live webinar where Coach McG and McElroy break down strategy and tips for 16.4.



General Overview

13-min. AMRAP:
55 deadlifts
55 wall-ball shots
55-calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

M 225 lb. / 20-lb. ball
F  155 lb. / 14-lb. ball

55 deadlifts, wall-balls, calories and handstand push-ups (HSPU)…ouch! Back is going to be blown up! Hopefully you’re not like this guy at the end though 🙂

To do well on this workout, it’s crucial to warm-up/mobilize well and pace effectively. Breaking up the reps into multiple sets will absolutely help you chip away at the workout.

Have an idea how far you’re going to get in this workout and work backwards to determine your pace and sets.

If you make off of the rower, you’re doing really well.  The HSPU’s in a fatigued state will present a problem for most people. Just be calm and do your best to get some reps.

In general, make all your reps count (even Sara and Katrin were getting no-repped multiple times) and get as many reps in as you can.


Warming Up

First, before you warm up or do any mobilizations, measure your tape line height since it could change (get higher) after you’re looser.

After you’ve measured your HSPU tape line, we suggest you do this:

10-12 min Aerobic – Rowing preferred (use this time to practice pacing for calories, footing, damper, etc.)

3-4 min hip flexion mobilization – Bending/Squatting

3-4 min on mobility for shoulders- Shoulder Flexion/Lock Out Specific

5-10 min Movement Prep – Bending/Squat/Kip Drills
Deadbugs, Half-kneeling Presses – Retract Shoulders During Measurement

3 sets:
5 TNG deadlifts
5 Wall balls
10 Cal Row (hard)**
2-5 HSPU’s *this will depend on how good at HSPUs you are. If they give you trouble, don’t over-fatigue and do less here
Rest as needed
**Get your heart rate up and get used to speed fatigued HSPU’s


Pacing Strategies

In general this workout will test your ability to pace. Break up reps and make them count.

For elite level athletes you’ll need to push an aggressive pace on the deadlifts and wall-balls. Get through the row so you can get to the HSPUs. HSPUs will be the bottleneck and where you can improve your placing the most with more reps.

For high level athletes (top 500), figure out where you’ll finish and adjust your pace based on that. Get to the HSPUs and make every rep count.

For everyone else, still figure out where you’ll finish and pace accordingly. Break up reps with smaller sets of descending reps. You’ll save time in the long run.



You’ve gotta make every rep count and your technique on the movements will play a HUGE factor on how well you do this.


Use high density plates (competition plates) to get a little bit of rebound. Use a belt to save your back but be ready to unhook it to help with breathing. Use a little bit of a wider stance (you can’t sumo) but with a wider stance, you won’t have to bend lower to get to the bar and the range of motion will be slightly shorter. Use a grip you’re comfortable with. If you go double-overhand, hook grip to save your grip.

Wall Balls

If you’re hip or ankle mobility isn’t the greatest, Olympic Weightlifting shoes will help with the squat and staying upright to receive the ball in a good position. You don’t want that ball out in front.


This is your time to catch some air. During the warm-up practice getting into the rower fast and then get moving. Make sure the display is on calories/hour so you can keep pace. Recover for about 8-10 strokes, speed up, then slow down to get ready to transition to HSPUs. You want to be fresh for the HSPUs.


Break them up into small sets at first. Once you go to failure on these, it will be hard to come back. Use a few reps to get a feel for the breathing and fatigue. Make sure flex your toes down toward your face. It will help you cross that tape line at the top.


Cool Down

It’s important you facilitate recovery after this one. Do some light aerobic for 10 min, stretch/smash quads, hams, hips and shoulders.

Try to do some abdominal activation to relieve lower back tightness. Ex: hollow body holds.


One & Done or Repeat?

This will largely depend how you feel afterwards and if it’s worth it. The movements are simple but the high-rep deadlifts could have the potential to light you up for a few days. Plus if you’re not near the cusp of making it to Regionals, it may not be worth it.

Also because this is pacing intensive workout, you may learn how to pace better after trying it one time and improve your score the next time.

If you do repeat, you’ll want to give yourself a few days to recover so do the workout on Friday and again on Monday if you’re going to repeat.

Have fun and see you next week!


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Mike Bledsoe

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