This year’s CrossFit Open kicked off on February 22, with WOD 18.1 and will continue through to March 26, ending with WOD 18.5. As each Open WOD is announced, I will be providing you with the same briefing I give the athletes at my gym, Precision Crossfit. This immediate feedback will arm you with valuable strategies and tips to help you make the most of your efforts and score your best possible performance in these WODs.
As I have always said, aiming for success in the Open is not just for top-tier athletes. It’s also a great way to build benchmarks and goals into your year-round training. Even if you are not going to go on to higher levels of competition, completing the Open WODs each year gives you performance data you can use to chart your progress and evaluate your programming going forward.
Open WOD 18.1
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
- 10 Toes-to-bars
- 5 Dumbbell hang clean and jerks on each arm
- Row (men, 14 calories. women, 12 calories)
The Rx dumbbell weights are 50 lbs. for men and 35 lbs. for women. Additional scalings, movement standards, and more are available on the official CrossFit Open 18.1 page.
How to Approach WOD 18.1
The main issue with this WOD is grip. From hanging on the bar to the hang cleans to the rower — there’s just no clear way to rest your grip. And, at 20 minutes, most of us will begin to feel it long before the end of the WOD is in sight.
The first place to look for grip relief is with toes-to-bar. Once you begin to tire, you can switch to singles and give your hands a quick shake between reps. With the dumbbells, there’s hardly any way to get relief, except putting the dumbbell down to switch arms. If you do this, however, be sure to just shake your hands out quick and get back to it. As I discuss in the video, transition time is important in this WOD. Last, try your best to manage grip on the rower. It’s not easy, but the quicker you can get to your target calories, the less time you have to spend holding onto the handle.
Another key to success with this WOD is to minimize transition time — set up your workout area for maximum efficiency and the quickest possible transitions. You want to rank as high as possible, and a single second can put you up or down dozens, maybe even hundreds, of places.
Last, you need to find an optimal, sustainable pace. Go too fast, and you’ll tank. Go too slow and you’ll score lower than you should. I’ve covered the important understanding and managing your heart rate in workouts and competitions before. Here, with a 20-minute WOD, you really want to push to the edge, yet be careful not to go over the edge. Knowing and maintaining your target zone is a great way to maximize your efforts in this WOD.
I also want to remind you to refer to the techniques shown in my earlier technique instructions for competition workouts for the CrossFit Open. In particular, you should review the video on bodyweight exercises called The Final Four; it covers the essentials of efficiently cycling of gymnastics. It should prove helpful to you, especially when you get to the point where you’re cycling single repetitions on toes-to-bar.
In summary, this WOD is about three things: grip, transitions, and sustaining an ideal pace. So, check out my athlete briefing and start this year’s CrossFit Open with a score you can be proud of!
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