15.5 is lots of rowing and lots of thrusters. Here is the Black Storm strategy guide:
PACING: It’s easy to look at this workout and think that once you finish the second round (round of 21) you are half way done when that’s not true. You’re actually more than half way when you finish the second row before you even start the 21 thrusters. So it would be smart to think about your pacing as it relates to that.
Say you want to finish in 10 minutes, getting through the 21 round of row cals in 5 minutes puts you on pace should you be keeping a sustainable pace. I recommend most people break the thrusters up early in to 3 sets with fixed rest and don’t deviate. Intermediate to Advance athletes, (in regards to thruster efficiency and strength) I recommend splitting the first 2 and possibly 3rd round into halves with timed rest. Whatever the case definitely do the last 9 unbroken as fast as you can after the row and finish the wod. If you’re a firebreather than going unbroken could be doable here for the top 1-2% of athletes worldwide.
MOBILITY: you’re going to need all the ankle flexibility you can get. Not only are thrusters hard for tight ankles, but so is getting in to full-forward position on the rower for the long pull you need to generate power for calories. So start stretching those ankles now. for general movement prep I advise rolling out the T-spine, mid back to neck, and under the armpit for a better overhead position. Also, loosen up the hips, couch stretch and holding a deep squat faced up against the wall should help improve your torso agle, the more forward you are with your torso the more this will hurt. Really fire up the quads and shoulders during warmup as they are going to be the most affected region of the body on this WOD.
MOVEMENT: if you have good position and lockout overhead I recommend taking your breaths at the top of each rep and descending immediately into the next rep and right back up to the top for your next breath. Trying to breath in the front rack position sucks and arms overhead opens up your diaphragm for a bigger, fuller breath that will help brace your core as you descend into the bottom of the thruster. If you don’t have good overhead position or if these weights are near maximal this will be easier said than done and is more incentive to work on your mobility. If overhead position is not-so-good then I recommend not taking long breaks (longer than a 8 count) in rack position as holding a barbell in rack position is fatiguing in and of itself, short rest (less than 8 seconds) should work out just fine
For rowing, I recommend treating each pull like barbell reps, big pull, one breath with handle in lap, return to front, big pull, one breath with handle in lap, return to front, repeat. Try to make big pulls to generate a calorie per pull, keeping the cal/hour over 1200 should do that. Set the rowing damper higher than usual but not so high that you round you back and lose your shoulders to pull hard. Your shoulders should stay back and chest up through the pulls. This will break down during this WOD and it will cost you power output on the rower so get what you can with good form early and fight for it until the end.
Lastly, have fun, this is the last one for 2015! Just go HAM and embrace the pain, you never feel what its like to be alive more than in the middle of brutal WOD. Just accept that it’s necessary and do the work!