How to Set Up the Tape for 15.4

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September 28, 2022

The handstand push-up (HSPU) finally made its long-awaited debut in the CrossFit Open last night, albeit with some specialized attention. All the bodyweight ninjas and fans of Diane (21-15-9 deadlifts and HSPUs) who were rubbing their hands in glee when Castro announced the format of 15.4 got a rude awakening when the specifics of these particular HSPUs were revealed by CrossFit HQ.

From the CrossFit Games site:
Prior to starting you will need to establish the foot line for your handstand push-up. Stand facing the wall with your feet at hip width and your toes touching the wall. While standing tall, reach your hands over your head with your elbows straight, shoulders extended and your thumbs touching.

tape set up 1

From here, mark the height of your wrists, then measure down 3 inches and create a line on the wall. Mark your line with a permanent marker, chalk or tape. Judges may restore the line between rounds as needed.

tape set up 2

Each handstand push-up begins and ends with the heels in contact with the wall and above the pre-marked line. The athlete may place their hands however they choose, as long as their heels are above the line.

tape set up 3

At the bottom the head makes contact with the ground. The feet do not need to remain in contact with the wall for the entire movement, but must touch above the line at the beginning and end of each rep. Kipping is allowed.

The subtle change of adding a ‘foot line’ wreaked havoc on Josh Bridges in particular, as time and again he failed to clear the line with his heels, which turned out to cost him dearly as Panchik took the win at the live announcement of 15.4. If the elite athletes can struggle with this change to the HSPU, we sure as heck better be as well prepared as we can be. Here are a few tips to make sure that the ‘foot line’ isn’t your undoing in 15.4.

Tips for tackling the foot line

  • When you first stand against the wall to measure the foot line, depress your shoulders (let them sink down) as you raise your hands up. Your arms will still be straight above you but you’ll gain an inch or two of space. It all counts!
  • Make sure you measure from the bottom of the wrist crease, not the top.
  • Record the line with something permanent that won’t slip away during the workout, and have a backup just in case. Some heavy-duty duct tape should do the drink, but use a marker on the wall (that you can clean off), chalk or some stickers in case the tape does fall off.
  • Have your judge tell you if it’s a rep or a no-rep before you start the process of coming down from the wall. If you’re unsure, hang out at the top and keep pressing up until your judge counts the rep as good.
  • Do a few practice reps before tackling 15.4, and mark the position that you want your hands to be in so that you’re the right distance away from the wall, you’re balanced, and you’re in a position where your heels can clear the line with each rep.

Images from games.crossfit.com

About Damect Dominguez

Co-founder of BoxLife Magazine. Author: Training Day: 400+ Workouts to Incorporate in Your Training.

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