16.4 Thoughts and Suggestions

“CrossFit Open Workout 16.4”
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 deadlifts
55 wall-ball shots
55-calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

Men deadlift 225 lb. and throw 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
Women deadlift 155 lb. and throw 14-lb. ball to 9-ft. target


There really isn’t that much to say about this workout, other than:

  1. Be cautious about blowing yourself up on the Deadlifts, especially if this weight is heavy for you, and…
  2. Minimize wasted reps (and extra time spent upside-down) on the HSPUs, IF you can make it that far.

Since anyone from our gym (or anyone who follows one of our program tracks) will have a good handle on their ability and pacing on the Wall Balls and Rower, the focus turns to the Deadlift and the HSPUs (again, assuming you can make it that far).

Deadlifts should be touch and go, taking advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle as much as possible, and broken up into some sort of descending-rep-scheme.  Some examples include:

  • 20-15-10-5-5
  • 15-12-9-7-5-4-3
  • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (mind=blown?)

*Note that these same types of breakdowns will work for the Wall Balls as well, since the reps are the same

I will now make a statement that I hope does not get taken out of context, or hurt anyone’s feelings.  There are two types of people completing this workout: those that can risk pushing the Deadlift to a place where there position might suffer for the sake of a faster time and points on the leaderboard, and you.  Translation: don’t be a video that winds up on the internet someday and causes someone to tell me at a party that they know about CrossFit and how dangerous it is.  Seriously folks…keep it together.  Nice flat back, hips below the shoulders, chest up, brace through the midsection.

Hanstand Push-ups are, of course, the big separator in this workout.  How many reps can you complete after putting in anywhere from 7 minutes to 12:59 of hard, grinding effort? A couple of considerations here:

  1. Know and practice the standard beforehand, leaving little room for error and missed reps.  Last year, we used a mirror to watch ourselves in practice, and I found that it helped a lot to make sure that I hit full extension at the top, got my head through, and finished with my heels over the line.
  2. KIP THE HSPUs as hard as you can, saving your shoulders the time under tension of having to grind out every rep.  At the bottom of the kip, your hips should be against the wall, head and hands in a tripod, and shins vertical with the pelvis rolled forward. Drive the heels hard up and toward the wall, getting as much speed and momentum through the middle of the movement as possible to propel you up into your handstand.
  3. Once your reps start to slow down, COME OFF THE WALL and shake it off.  Once you start to dip into that state where you are barely eking out reps, you are a hair away from failure, and having to spend a lot of time resting before your next set. Quick, short sets, with shorter rests between sets will be much more effective than opening up with a huge set, then burning out.  The only exception to this would be if you struggle at the first three movements, and only have a short amount of time for the HSPUs (even this, I would argue, would warrant some smart breaking of sets to maximize the time that you do have, but that’s just me)


Like the past 3 workouts, a good, moderate-intensity aerobic warm-up should be your starting point. Since the mobility demands here are less than they were in some of the other events, I would focus on the thoracic spine, shoulders/neck, hip flexors, and wrists.

Glute and hamstring activation should come next, in the form of Banded Good Mornings, Hip Bridges, Half-Turkish Get-Ups, etc.  Some Rowing can be worked in to get your “game pace” dialed in, followed by a couple of sets of the movements you will be hitting in the workout (ie. 5 Deadlifts, 10 Wall Balls, 5 HSPUs, Rest 60 seconds x 2)

It seems like every week that we say this, but this workout really comes down to how well you know your capacity in each of the movements involved, and how good you are pushing yourself into the highest realms of Aerobic Power, without redlining (meaning hitting your threshold and having to take an extended break, or slow down significantly).  Be smart on the Deadlifts, not just by having good mechanics, but by not forcing reps that are better left to the next set.  The Wall Balls are all mental, so don’t let up here, as is the Row (though this is where you can get some semblance of recovery in prior to the HSPUs).  If you make to the HSPUs (or Hand-Release Push-ups, for the scaled version), do not go to failure; once the reps become slow to complete, take a short break and go to short, quick reps.

Good luck everyone! See you next week for Thrusters and _________!

PS: Here is the video from Outlaw, for some further thoughts on the workout (if you have the 17 minutes, and don’t mind men with beards who don’t exercise telling you how to exercise):

Outlaw Way – 16.4 Strategy and Tips from The Outlaw Way on Vimeo.



  1. Did this one in the morning! Got 175, but scaled the deadlifts to 95#. Everything else was Rx. I figured the DL weight should be ~50% of my 1RM and I have sad noodle legs… I probably should have gone with 105 or 115 because I think 95 might have been a bit light.

    Not sure if this will help anyone at all but my DL rep scheme was 15-13-12-10-5 and my wall ball rep scheme was 13-12-11-10-9 (10/10 would recommend the wall ball rep scheme it was great haha). And handstand pushups were just to get as many as I could.

    I’m not participating in the Open this year (just doing the workouts) which is why I’m putting my scores down here. Good luck to everyone who’s doing it this evening!!!!

    Liked by 3 people


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