12.4 is very similar to last year’s fourth Games Open workout. First, they get your heart rate up and shoulders nicely toasted, then you gotta do muscle ups.

For some of us, getting one or a few muscle ups would be a great achievement. Assuming you can do muscle ups, the trick isn’t getting there with lots of time, its getting there with reserves left in the tank to do one!

Like last year, its easy to forget about the “filler” – wallballs and double unders, go too fast and then get to the muscle ups completely redlined and waste your opportunities at attempting them.

Wall Balls

The height, squat depth, and target rules are clear. Good thing we practiced this 4-5 weeks ago with the benchmark workout! Also, not having to catch the ball is a huge bonus!

By letting the ball drop, pushing it into the ground after it bounces, then picking it up from a dead stop on the ground, you can do 20/minute. Video of this coming later.

If you are using a 15 lb / 20 lb slam ball that does not bounce, you can rep out 22-24/minute. Ladies, we have small 15lb slam balls and I would definitely try them out even though they are 1 lb more.

This method is much slower than catching and throwing (30 wallballs/minute) but the minority of individuals can do 150 wallballs under 7 to 7 1/2 minutes. What does this have to do with wall ball style?

The drop-n-throw method is MUCH easier on the shoulders and legs. It will induce less fatigue over the 150 reps. If you did the math already, you can see that 20/minute gets you to 150 in 7 1/2 minutes…

I think a combination of starting out with catch-n-throw (large sets, short short rests between) and switching to drop-n-throw when you want to avoid redline is a good strategy to get a solid time and go into the double unders not too fatigued.

If you are going to catch-n-throw, the shoulders can fatigue quickly. One thing I’ve been doing that seems to help is throw the ball up and then put my arms down. I bring them back up at the last moment to receive the ball at shoulder height and right into the squat I go.

Double Unders

I like how CrossFit threw this skill in there. Double unders are seemingly harmless but there are people who struggle with them but can do muscle ups easily!

The more consistent you can be, at whatever pace you decide, the better. If it is a double, then 2 singles, and then another double, great! Keep that consistency and have few fails.

If you are trying to get your first one, you gotta let your wrist whip the rope FAST FAST right when you jump. Whip the rope down at the ground just infront of your feet. Whip it with your wrists!

Kipping Muscle Ups

There isn’t a way to “game one”. You either have the strength & technique or its not happening. Good thing there are more of you now with the strength but lacking technique.


You should be able to do full depth ring dips. Or, kip one.
You probably need to be able to do belly to bar/ring kipping pullups
You would be doing yourself a favor by knowing how to use a false grip

There are so many muscle up tutorial videos on the web. Good thing Carl at gymnasticswod.com already put one out exactly to help with 12.4!! This is a really fantastic piece on generating momentum and positioning to get through the toughest part of the muscle up – the transition.

Warm Up
1) Jump Rope – 3 min
2) Bar complex

Supine scorpion

A. Clean & Split Jerk: work up to a heavy single
B. Clean & Split Jerk: 1 rep EMOM until 2 failures or 20 min max.  Use 90% of today’s max.
C. Tabata Situps


Comments 4

  1. Tia

    Anyone else tackling 12.4 today at 5:30? 12.4 is one of the tasks on my to-do list before heading off to Hawaii Sat morning. It would be great to do it with someone else, this always seems to help me push myself harder and achieve better results than going at it solo.

  2. JD

    Gonna try it at 4:30. Have some family obligations and can’t do the 5:30. Sorry but good luck!

  3. John G

    Did 12.4 at noon today (Fri), and I wish I’d had a better plan for the wallballs. My final score was 163 (150 WB + 13 DU), and the wallballs were flat brutal. I went out with 20, 15, 10 and felt pretty good, but was down to sets of 5 shortly thereafter (with a no-rep sneaking in every 5-8 reps) and felt pretty spent by 70. Psychologically, it is not a good thing to feel spent when you’re less than halfway through. By 90 I was chipping away 2-4 at a time and probably had too much rest in-between (trust me, I wanted even more).

    I tried letting the ball go to the floor for a few reps but that took noticeably more energy so I tried to stay with the catch & throw after that. I did try XXs “drop your hands between throws” technique in the early parts and liked it, but I flat forgot to do it later on. I used the big wallball but wonder if the slamball would have been slightly easier–definitely try it out. And force yourself to get that ball off the floor after a short rest (ideally 4-5 seconds–mine were longer). Your mileage may vary, but thought I’d get my thoughts out there.

    Good luck to everyone going at it this weekend!

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