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CrossFit Open 18.1 Tips, Tricks, and How to Warm Up


CrossFit Open 18.1 Tips, Tricks, and How to Warm Up

What can we say about how the 2018 CrossFit Season is opening more than it is a grip burner! We will cover tips to save the grip, how to pace, and other ‘hacks’ that will help you perform your best to get this 2018 season started out right!

10,000 Foot View

We think this is a great workout. It has a skill, but it primarily work.  Move from one task to the next.  Over and over again.  We like the smaller sets. We like the combination of movements. We LOVE that it is an AMRAP!

Grip will be a determining factor for most people. Even if you have the ‘engine’ to perform these movements fast, you may hit a wall as your grip starts to fade. Using multiple strategies to save your hands for the later rounds will help performances significantly!

Another thing to point out is that we want to avoid hand rips, especially the first week of the Open! Using some of the strategies below should help you prevent rips, but making sure your callouses are shaved/moisturized, will make sure your hands stay healthy for the next 4 workouts.

As usual (and in particular for longer workouts like this), pacing will play a key roll. CrossFit rewards the pacer.  We say this at Okie CrossFit every day.  Don’t come out of the gate too fast and then blow up after minute 10 or 12. Have a plan and stick to it so you can keep steady progress all the way until the end!

We went ahead and broke down pacing to help you understand where you might pace better. You can write the numbers in on your score card and have a friend/judge help you pace:

4 Rounds – 1 round every 5 minutes
5 Rounds – 1 round every 4 minutes
6 Rounds – 1 round every 3:19
7 Rounds – 1 round every 2:51
8 Rounds – 1 round every 2:30
9 Rounds – 1 round every 2:13
10 Rounds – 1 round every 2:00
11 Rounds – 1 round every 1:49
12 Rounds – 1 round every 1:40
13 Rounds – 1 round every 1:32
14 Rounds – 1 round every 1:25
15 Rounds – 1 round every 1:20
16 Rounds – Jesus is on your side and you don’t need Okie CrossFit’s help in your pacing.

The Details

Toes to Bar

Most people will want to keep the sets “small”. That will be relative to everyone, but by coming off the bar regularly, we can save the hands and extra the ‘negatives’ that really tax the grip. By doing less negatives, our grip will be much better off in the later rounds.

Make sure you mix up the grip. Doing a little wider, a little narrower, mixed grip, etc., will save the grip for later rounds, but it will also prevent blisters and the potential for rips/tears.

Use your kip.  Don’t get stuck under the bar flinging your feet above your head.  Use your kip.  Get your torso behind the bar and at the top of your kip, get those toes to the bar.

You will also want to point your toes on the toes to bar. Pointing the toes will ‘unlock’ the posterior chain and make it easier to get the leg up to the bar. You will also be less likely to “miss” the bar with the tip of your toes (because you can hit with any part of the foot, and the top of the foot is a larger surface than the tip of the toes).

If you are thinking about using gloves or grips, make sure you are familiar with them. Don’t try them the first time for the Open!  That said, even if you wear hand protection for the first few rounds, and then strip them off, you may save you hands.It is always easier to take them off than put them on (if you decide to try them mid workout)!

Single Arm Dumbbell Hang Power Clean and Jerks

Last year we loved dumbbells.  We love single arm and single leg work here at Okie CrossFit.  We are thrilled to see a ‘new’ movement with the dumbbell in the Open again this year! We do a ton of single arm pressing and snatching. Moving with a dumbbell in one hand is not foreign to us.  That said, there are some standards to be aware of to make sure every rep gets counted!

First, you must stand up fully to the top of the hang position BEFORE going into the power clean. That means a complete deadlift!  In the heat of the moment, it will be easy to rip it off the ground into the first power clean and end up jerking it before the judge can yell “NO REP”! Make sure you hit this position every time you pick up the db (especially if you end up putting it down mid set).

The other standard to watch out for is that the dumbbell must touch the shoulder before going overhead. We believe this is to prevent people from mutating the movement into some sort of hang-snatch-press-out.

You will want to practice a few reps with your judge so you both are comfortable with the standards!

We recommend always starting the first 5 reps with your non-dominant hand. You will be a bit more ‘fresh’ and then you’ll be able to finish the set with your strong side. It will also be easier to transition from your weaker hand to your stronger one (from a coordination perspective).

If you have been practicing your hook grip on the dumbbells (like we have been telling everyone to), you will definitely have an advantage here. Even if you just use the hook grip for the earlier rounds when you are ‘fresh’, it will pay off in later rounds. Take note in the video about the dumbbells that have ‘tapered’ handles (there is a way to hook grip these if you know to make it work).

We believe that going between the legs is going to be the best strategy for the hang. You’ll be able to use both sides of your posterior chain more effectively, your torso will be more upright, and you won’t be causing additional stress on the trunk after all those toes to bar.

If the load isn’t too heavy for you, try to ‘blend’ the catch of the clean into the push press/jerk. It will save time and it uses less total energy.

Most people should do a push jerk, but if you are really strong in this position, a push press is also an option. Either way, make sure you get a good lock out! If you do get no-repped, don’t repeat the clean, just do the jerk again!

And lastly, be careful with the hand off. When you go to switch hands the dumbbell needs to be below the head/face. Don’t rush this and get no-repped!


The calorie counter must be set to zero at the beginning of each row. You can do it, or your judge can. Talk to them beforehand if you want their help with this.

The damper should be a bit on the ‘high’ side. For shorter rows like this, a higher damper will pay off. “High” is relative term. Plan on setting it for males at 6 and for females 4.5.  Remember, this is a 20 minute AMRAP.  We want the row to be aerobic and not turn it into a bout of muscle endurance.

Avoid ‘death gripping’ the rower handle! Have a looser grip to give the hands a bit of a break from all of the grip centric movements.

You should set the heels of the stirrups a little high, and then roll with fairly loose straps. If done correctly, you should be able to get in and out of the stirrups easily without having to mess with the straps. Your feet will be a bit less stable, but the strap will be closer to your shin and provide you with some safety. To get out of the straps, kick your feet up toward the fan and lift your heels. The straps should be just loose enough to get the heel cups off of your shoes, so you can pull you feet right out.

The first few pulls each row interval should start with the quarter stroke>half stroke>full stroke technique. The goal here is to use the most powerful part of the stroke to get the flywheel up to speed faster. The part of the stroke to emphasize here is the middle where the legs have the greatest mechanical advantage.

Watch out for early arm pulling! If you start bending your arms too soon, you will blow up your biceps even more (not to mention your grip). Keep those arms straight until the legs and hips have finished their job.

The row should NOT be a sprint! The goal is to be able to get off the rower and go right into your first set of toes to bar. No chalk, water, or anything. After you bang out your first set, then chalk up. If you crush yourself on the row, you’ll pay for it on everything else!


With relatively small sets, making sure you aren’t wasting time between movements is important. Instead of planning on resting or getting chalk between movements, try and plan your rests so they happen in the middle of the set of toes to bar or db clean and jerks. Force yourself to really hustle between movements and don’t accumulate a bunch of lost time as you wander between movements.


We must remember that the Open is just a test of where we are at – RIGHT NOW. Stressing about the workouts, wishing we trained differently, checking the leaderboard 14 times per day… These are all not productive uses of our energy. These are all things you cannot control.

Create a plan that you can control (when you will break things up, when to speed up, when to slow down, how to breathe, etc.). When you feel the butterflies in your stomach before the workout starts, take some deep slow breaths and remind yourself that what you are feeling is ‘paleo performance enhancers’ (adrenaline and the like). Don’t let it all slam into your system before the workout even starts, but understand that it is a good sign, and that you can harness it to help you have a great performance!

Have fun, and don’t forget to take notes on your performances. Every competition is an opportunity to learn and get better for next time!

Warm Up

Warming up for a CrossFit Open WOD should take about 30 – 40 quality minutes

Foam Roll Lats, Glutes and Hammies for 10-12 Minutes

2 rounds

2 minutes bike

1 minute double under

2 rounds for quality

30 second hollow hold

10 db shrugs (5 each arm)

10 lunge step with twist (5 each side)

5 inch worms with push up

10 banded face pulls

2 rounds at 75%

12 russian kb swings

10 single leg KB RDL (5 each leg)

3 rounds building to workout intensity

5 db hang power clean and jerk (R arm)

5 db hang power clean and jerk (L arm)

5 toe 2 bar

Rest 60 seconds

Rest 5 minutes before workout