CrossFit 15.4 – PacWest Test

Dr. Brooks Newton Articles
Josh Bridges and Scott Panchik

Josh Bridges and Scott Panchik

The 2015 CrossFit Open Season has definitely lived up to its hype. We saw the addition of an ‘extra’ WOD in 15.1(a), we revisited a previous year’s WOD – 14.2 and now we have the addition of a new Open WOD movement: the handstand push-up.

CrossFit 15.4

CrossFit 15.4

CrossFit Open WOD 15.4 is a couplet of handstand push-ups (HSPU) and cleans in an ascending repetition scheme smashed into an 8 minute AMRAP.
Tonight, we had the opportunity to sit down with Nate Yoho of CrossFit Merle Hay to watch the live 15.4 announcement. Watching the live announcement highlighted the HSPU as the limiting factor for both athletes.
The HSPU is a movement with inherent pitfalls:
1. Difficult to control breathing inverted
2. Blood rushing to one’s cranium (head) while inverted
3. High potential for cervical spine (neck) injury due to compression

In order to properly prepare for the HSPU, it’s imperative to address the different regions of the upper extremity. In our mobility strategy for 15.4 we look at:
1. Wrists
2. Shoulders
– Tricep brachii muscle
– Upper trapezius muscle
– Anterior shoulder capsule

Mobility Techniques


Quadruped wrist extension static hold – 2 min


Barbell Tricep smash – 2 min

Barbell Upper Trap smash – 2 min

PVC External Rotation Bias – 2 min

Injury Disclaimer

As stated before, the HSPU has some inherent pitfalls. As a Doctor of Chiropractic, the first that jumps out at me is the inherent injury potential for the cervical spine. If you’re a person that doesn’t posses the strength platform or body control/awareness to lower one’s head with control to the ground, this is not your WOD. For those new to CrossFit or those that haven’t mastered the HSPU, the Open is not the time to explore a new movement that has a high potential for injury. If your HSPU are a bit sketchy or if you’re new to CrossFit check out the scaled WOD. Completing a WOD as Rx isn’t worth a cervical spine injury.


About the author

Dr. Brooks Newton
Dr. Brooks Newton

Dr. Brooks Newton is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, and a CrossFit Mobility Trainer. He specializes in the treatment of orthopedic and sport injuries which has lead him to work with athletes from the ranging from the NFL, NHL, Crossfit Games, NCAA Div I, II, and III, and the Chinese Olympic Teams.

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