Oscar’s Training Articles – 14.5 Game Plan

This week’s workout is a couplet of thrusters and bar-facing burpees. The workout starts at 21 repetitions of each movement and goes down to 18-15-12-9-6-3.

5 former/current CrossFit champions including Annie Thorisdottir, Sam Briggs, Graham Holmberg, Jason Khalipa, and Rich Fronning where the first to attack 14.5 in San Francisco. Both defending champions, Rich and Sam, had the fastest times.

There are many reasons to why Rich is the champ and has been for the last couple of years. The biggest part of his success is his movement pattern. He is more efficient than anyone else which helps him waste less energy and get more work done quicker. Rich displayed 84 textbook thrusters paired with smooth burpees and that secured the win.

The Burpees is a huge part of this workout and they need to be good. Rich’s pace on the burpees never deviated through the workout. A smooth and controlled pace on the burpees will keep you moving consistently. Doing a full 180degree twist mid-air is very taxing and it is very hard to sustain for 84reps, go for a jump and a quick turnaround step. The thrusters and burpees can definitely take away from each other if the movements get sloppy. The goal should be to limit the use of the triceps in both movements. Push the chest up first on the burpee and focus on the hip drive in the thruster. Landing on the toes in the burpee will quickly fatigue the quads which are much needed for the thruster so try to land as flat footed as possible.

Relax on the thrusters. Rich’s breathing pattern is the same on every rep with a calm exhale at the top of the lockout. This will help you get through this grinder of a workout. None of the athletes used an oly-shoe for the workout but I would recommend it to stabilize the squat and to help keep the chest more upright.

Make sure you get a decent amount of reps of both movements before doing the workout. Start off with light thrusters and work your way up in weight. You could even do a few heavier thrusters and then back down in weight for the workout. Practice the footwork on the burpees. Figure out how you are turning around and practice it until you feel comfortable with the transition. Keep your head as close to the bar as possible on the burpee, the further away you go from the bar, the more work you will end up doing.


Good luck with your last open workout, and I will see you on Sunday for 14.5, pizza, beer, and donuts! :)

Oscar Isacsson, CSCS, USAW-L1SP
CrossFit TNT Coach