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CrossFit Open WOD 18.3 – Tips, Tricks and Warm Up


CrossFit Open WOD 18.3 – Tips, Tricks and Warm Up

18.3 is a 14 minute Time Cap – 2 Rounds of 100 double unders, 20 overhead squats, 100 double unders, 12 ring muscle ups, 100 double unders, 20 db snatches, 100 double unders, 12 bar muscle ups… If you finish two rounds (hahaha) you can log your time instead of your reps. Technically, we should Dave Castro should’ve just called it an AMRAP – 14. Let’s be honest, the VAST MAJORITY of folks will just getting as many reps as possible in 14 min and not finishing 2 rounds.


This workout will be very different depending on where you are at on the ‘muscle up spectrum’ (assuming you can string more than 10 double unders together at a time). I see the bulk of people falling into 4 main categories.

a) People who aren’t close to getting a muscle up (but can do DU)
b) People who are looking to get their first muscle up because they are close
c) People who are trying to get as many muscle ups as possible in 7-8 min
d) People who are shooting to reach or finish the bar muscle ups

We’ll try to touch on each group here, as well as some tips for all of the movements people will be doing. Check out these groups down below, but first let’s talk about some other overall stuff!


Even if you can only do the double unders and the overhead squats, this one is going to be a shoulder burner! Anything you can do to mitigate shoulder fatigue is going to help you on this workout. If you tend to have your shoulders ‘blow up’ on a particular movement, make sure you check the movement tips below to make sure you are being as efficient as possible.

Double Unders are the Tie Breaker!

In case you missed it, the time you finished your last round of 100 double unders is going to be your tie breaker.  There will be a lot of people who finish the 100 DUs, but can’t OHS the load ‘as Rx’.  It comes down to DU times.  There will be a lot of people that finish the OHS and the second set of DU, but can’t do a Muscle up… It goes back to DU time. Make sure you practice double unders before so you can go as fast as possible!


a)    Can’t do a Muscle Up, but can do decent on double unders and overhead squats

So there will be a TON of ties at 220 reps! If you can’t do a single ring dip, but you can do double unders and overhead squats at 80lbs/115lbs, this becomes a neat little workout for time.

Take some time to practice double unders and make sure you are warmed up and mobilized for overhead squats. You can do this one multiple times without too much risk. Just make sure your heel cords are nice and supple (we don’t want to tweak/sprain/tear an achillies)!

Check the notes below for DU  and OHS tips, but in general… you need to be striving for going for big unbroken sets. That said, you may need to just settle in and get it done. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you 10 minutes to get through it. Just keep making progress!

Super fast folks should be shooting to finish this in 2:30 – 4:00… but 5-6 min will still be good for the ‘no muscle up’ crowd!

b)   SO close to getting that first muscle up

In case you were counting, at Okie CrossFit we have done 22 muscle up or ring dip skill practices or muscle up scale ups in workouts since December (yes, we keep data on our workouts). This wasn’t an accident! Hopefully you are VERY CLOSE to getting that first muscle up!

As a general guideline, people who can go all the way down in a ring dip (as in: their shoulders are touching or almost touching their thumbs), pause for 5-10 seconds, then can push them selves back up (strict) are probably able to do a muscle up. If you can’t do this, it isn’t likely you’ll get a muscle up this time.

There are ways you can learn to kip through the transition, but it is a risky endeavor. Attempt them at your own risk!

You’ll want to maximize your time on the DU>OHS>DU to get your best tie breaker time, and then rest a bit before your first attempt. You should have plenty of time to make some attempts.

Another strategy you may want to try (and yes, you should think about more than one attempt) is to pace the overhead squats so you aren’t as blown up. Your mileage may vary. If you get one MU, it will pay off!

One IMPORTANT thing to remember is that you can do as many drills, assisted muscle ups, etc., as you want. They won’t count toward you score, but this can be a way to get that first MU. For example, if you have a coach help you with some spotted or assisted muscle ups, then stop giving you the ‘boost’, you may get that MU without even thinking about it!

Side Note: Don’t let this get into your head. You can either get your muscle ups, or you can’t. If you don’t get it this time, do not beat yourself up!  Move on and prepare for the next workout. After the Open is over, get back to doing the drills that are going to help you get there before next year!

c)    Trying to get ‘max muscle ups’ in the remaining time

The next category of folks will be people that can do one or a few muscle ups at a time, but will not likely finish 12 within the 14 minute time cap.

We will still want to maximize the tie breaker score of the DU>OHS>DU, but then we will want to take some time before that first MU attempt. It is better to do a ‘clean’ rep that isn’t a grind (rather than jumping up to the rings and having a ‘grind’ of a rep or even failing one).

You’ll want to do small sets (maybe even singles) with adequate rest between reps. If you do a rep that is a grind, take a bit of extra time for your next set. Use the clock to pace yourself. Try to keep a steady pace and speed up a bit after you have recovered a bit from the double unders and overhead squats.

d)   Getting to the bar muscle ups and/or getting into round 2

If you can finish the DU>OHS>DU in 2:30 to 4:00, and you can do the muscle ups in 2-4 sets, you may have enough time to get to the bar muscle ups (and beyond). Focus on being steady on the muscle ups and then trying to go fast on the next DUs and dumbbell snatches.

For your last set of double unders, you’ll have to determine if you have a chance of finishing the bar muscle ups. If you go too fast on the DU, you may get a great tie breaker time, but then end up doing a bar muscle up or two less. The goal is to get as many bar muscle ups as possible!

A lot of folks are going to need at least a couple minutes to get through the bar muscle ups. If you are going to finish the DUs at minute 12 or more (and you aren’t a BMU ninja), finish strong on the DUs but save some gas for the BMU to get the most reps.

If you finish the BMU, go big on the next set of double unders! It will be a race to see how many DU>OHS>DU you can get. If you get back to the ring muscle ups again, you’ll be pretty high on the leaderboard for sure. It will come down to engine at that point.

Movement Tips

Double Unders

Make sure you practice your timing ahead of time. Do not get caught in the trap of skipping these because you are afraid you will “run out” before the workout starts. Spending some time warming these up will make sure you have your groove and that they go well during the workout.

You can start with the jump rope in your hands (not on the floor), so don’t miss that opportunity!

Keep your arms close to your sides. This will save your shoulders and help you do bigger sets. If your arms get wide (especially for people doing multiple sets of 100), your shoulders will be much more taxed for the other movements.

The body should be straight. Double unders are all in the ankles and the wrist. Avoid jumping too high and using too much knee bend. Think about flexing your quads (pulling your knee caps up). If you are slamming your feet down, you are probably jumping too much with your knees and your hips.

If you know you are going to break these up a lot, practice starting with a double under (and no singles) right from the get go.  All of those extra singles are going to add up.

Make sure you are BREATHING! Many people who get to 15 or 20 reps, then mess up, are holding their breath. Try to time your breathing with the rope so that you don’t become hypoxic from holding your breath.

Get started on your next set of DU right away. You’ll see people who plan on doing a big set take too much time before starting their next set. Pick that jump rope up and get started! You may only do a small set, but you may surprise yourself and get in a pretty big set. If you aren’t going to go unbroken, getting a chunk of reps done ahead of time (then taking a small break) will help you get through the 100 reps faster.

You will likely ‘trip up’. If you aren’t tired yet, get right back on your next set. Do not over think it or use it as a time to rest.

Do not try and make too many corrections (which leads to more trip ups). Take a breath and get back to it. If you trip up because you are ‘gassed’, or you get gassed and need a break, stop and take some time to catch your wind. Just keep in mind that the 100 DUs are the tie breaker!

Remember that faster double unders are more efficient! If you can speed up and do less of a ‘hop’ (jumping not as high), you’ll use less total energy. This will pay off as you do hundreds of reps.

Side Notes: TIE YOUR DANG SHOES! Double knot them. Shoes have a habit of coming untied during double unders and you don’t want that to slow you down. CHECK YOUR ROPE OR HAVE A SPARE! Make sure the screws are tight so you don’t end up with a rope coming apart on you. If your score is really critical (to you or the gym), have a spare ready ‘just in case’.

Oh and don’t forget your ‘judges gloves’ for the millions of double unders you’ll be counting if you are going to be judging!

Overhead Squats

These won’t be terribly heavy for most folks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend some time warming them up. Make sure you have good ankle flexion, and that you practice squat snatching (if that is how you are going to pick up the bar). Squat snatches count as a rep as long as you go below parallel.

Be really careful to open the hips at the top. A lot of folks will straighten their knees but not open their hips at the top. Squeeze the glutes to get maximal extension before initiating the next rep.

If you have the shoulder mobility, using a more narrow grip will help save the shoulders. The grip should be slightly more narrow than your usual snatch width. That said, if you haven’t practiced these before, don’t worry about introducing them now.

If you have to break these up, consider resting the bar on your back. You’ll be able to take a hand off of the bar and shake it out. This will save time and energy from picking the bar back up.

Muscle Ups

See above for the tips on if you haven’t done a muscle up yet, but you think you are close. Take the time ahead of time to drill the muscle up transition. Work with your coach to determine if you should be using a strict technique or more of a kipping one.

Remember that the key to good kipping muscle ups is to get your hips as high as possible, and then driving your head up to the ceiling (not through, or just over, the rings/bar). Think about what it is like to push yourself up out of the pool in one fluid motion. You aren’t trying to go forward and ‘beaching’ yourself onto the pool deck. You are pushing your head up to the sky!

For the bar muscle ups especially, you will want to use a ‘modified glide kip’. Glide kips are when you put your feet well above the bar (these are not allowed). You must keep your HEELS below the bar for the rep to count.

You can still use a similar style by bending the knees (see the video of the breakdown). This will enable you to get your hips up to the bar while staying ‘legit’.

As another overall muscle up tip, you’ll want to use the ‘modified glide kip’ to get as high as possible and avoid the bottom portion of the dip. These use less energy and they require less shoulders. Chances are, you’ll have to catch lower and lower as you get more fatigued, but avoiding the dip early on will pay off on later reps/movements.

Dumbbell Power Snatch

Try to crank these out fast, but don’t get ‘no repped’ because of a silly fault. Make sure you are switching hands below the top of the head and that you are touching both heads of the dumbbell to the floor.

Most people are going to best by doing ‘touch and go’ reps (as opposed to switching hands on the floor). Practice the movement before hand so your body can flow well during the workout.

Really fast folks are going to ‘juggle’ the reps (drop it from one hand to the other on the way down), but most people are going to do better with a controlled lowering to the shoulder, then switch, then touch and go.


Shoes and Belt

Wear whatever shoes are going to help you do double unders well. If you can’t do overhead squats without them, you may consider wearing them for the first set of double unders (then taking them off), or changing shoes after the double unders are complete.

You probably won’t need your belt for the overhead squats. If you do, don’t wear it for the double unders!


Double unders (and muscle ups) have a reputation for really messing with your head.

If you start tripping up on the double unders, avoid trying to make too many corrections. Take a breath and get back to your set. Do not let the trip ups get in your head!

Don’t focus on too many things when doing the double unders. Pick one or two things to keep your form tight. I like to have people keep their eyes focused on a spot on the floor (or wall), for people to keep their arms close (and at their sides, not out in front), and keeping the knees straight. Your points may be different, but trying to make too may corrections will confuse your limbs and mess you up.

Do not be afraid of the rings. You either have the ingredients to make a muscle up or you don’t. Jump up there and get it done! You shouldn’t be too fatigued getting there, but make sure you are chalked up, and that you have a good grip on the rings before attempting.

If you don’t get that first muscle up (or you don’t get as many as you’d hoped), it doesn’t reflect on you as a person. It just means that you need to get back to drilling and practicing them (after the Open). Do not beat yourself up and get into a funk. Focus on the movements that may be coming out next week!

The Warm Up

2 Sets:
2:00 Very light Row
5 Bird Dogs ea side
10 Squat Jumps
:20s of Single-Unders

2 Sets:
2:00 Light Row
4 Inchworms
6 Single Arm Dumbbell Deadlifts, each side
:20s of Double-Unders

2 Sets:
25′ Bear Crawl
8 Dumbbell Rows ea arm
4 Strict Pull-Ups
3 Kip Swings

2 Rounds at walk through pace:
15 Double-Unders, 5 Empty Bar Overhead Squats
15 Double-Unders, 1-2 Ring Muscle-Ups
15 Double-Unders, 3 Dumbbell Snatches each side (light)
15 Double-Unders, 1-2 Bar Muscle-Ups

Next Workouts

Chest to bar pull ups, snatches, handstand push ups, wall balls, deadlifts, and thrusters. If you have one or two movements on this list, you now have another week to make progress. 3 down and 2 to go! Check back here for a more in depth analysis of what we can expect.