18.1 CrossFit Open Workout Strategy Guide

The 2018 CrossFit Open is upon us! Over the next 5 weeks, you can expect a full strategy guide for each of the workouts to help you maximize your score.

For those of you living under a fitness rock, the CrossFit Open is the annual online competition that is the first step for qualifying for the 2018 CrossFit Games.

Athletes must complete each of the 5 workouts between Thursday evening and Monday night. You can learn more about the CrossFit Open and CrossFit games here.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 18.1 CrossFit Open workout. Before you dive in, check out this 4 Tips To Dominate The CrossFit Open guide, too.


As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:

  • 8 toes-to bar
  • 10 dumbbell hang clean and jerks
  • 14/12 calorie row

Movement Standards

Here are the official movement standards for the toes to bar, dumbbell hang clean and jerks, and calorie row: CrossFit Open 18.1 Movement Standards

To sum up the movement standards for 18.1:

  • Toes to bar– go from a full hang to having feet touch the bar, feet must touch the bar at the same time.
  • Hang dumbbell clean and jerk– pick up off the ground, dumbbell makes contact with any type of clean with the shoulder and is locked out overhead. Hips and knees fully locked out.
  • Row- rower must be reset at zero for each round. The athlete must be seated until the rower hits 14/12 calories.


If you are in the master’s or teens division, you can find all the scaling and modifications for your division here.

5 Things You Should Do To Prepare For 18.1

1. Set up all of your equipment next to or under the pull-up bar.

Make sure things flow from one movement to the next. You should come off the pull-up bar and immediately be able to pick the dumbbell up for the first hang clean. Once you complete your cleans, the rower should be less than 3 steps away from the dumbbell.

If you drop your dumbbell and it bounces, ask your coach to replace it while you row.

There will be between 30-40 transitions for someone that scores around 10 rounds.

2. Set a chalk bucket next to the rower.

3-4 less steps will save 3-4 seconds that add up quickly.

3. Is this a core workout or a grip workout for you?

This workout will come down to your grip failing or your core getting tired from the toes to bar. Mentally prepare yourself for which scenario is more likely.

4. Set your straps up on the rower so you can slide in and out. Don’t pull them tight.

Pulling the straps to lock your feet in is an unnecessary transition if you set them beforehand.

5. Use grips for the toes to bar.

Some of you will do 80 or more toes to bar in this workout. Using grips is a no-brainer.

Here are Nicole Carroll’s (CrossFit HQ) tips for doing well on 18.1:

2 Tips For How To Max Out Your 18.1 Score

Each week, we’ll give you 1-2 tips to make sure you can max out your score. Here are 2 tips for maxing out your 18.1 score:

Tip #1: Pace the heck out of this workout.

Every year, Dave Castro cooks up at least one longer workout during the Open.

Historically, it’s been in the first few workouts, so we’re right on schedule with this one.

Don’t make the same mistake most athletes make on these 20-minute AMRAP workouts.

20 minutes is a long time. Most people know this, but every year people go out way too fast and blow up around 10 minutes into the workout.

Understand: your score will be much higher if you get to minute 13 and realize you have something left in the tank. If you get to minute 8 and you’re wiped, you might as well stop the workout and do it again.

Don’t worry about the guy next to you ripping the rower like it’s the last minute. I can almost guarantee you’ll pass him before it’s all said and done.

Keep a pace chart next to you or in your head. You can guess about how many rounds you’ll get on this workout. Divide that number by 20 and estimate that each round will take X amount of time. Early scores show the Games athletes getting 12-14 rounds.

For example, if your goal is 10 rounds, you have 2 minutes to complete each round.

Don’t try to do the first round in 60-70 seconds.

You will pay for it.

Tip #2: Save your grip.

One of the keys with pacing this workout is saving your grip.

The nastiest transition in this workout is from the toes to bar to the dumbbell hang clean and jerks. That’s 18 straight reps of holding onto something, and because you’re also gripping the rower, your forearms will be fatigued after a few rounds.


  • Loosen your grip on the rower to let your hands recover
  • Take a little longer on the rower purposely in the early rounds. If you lose your grip, the workout is over.
  • If you’re strong enough, don’t bring the dumbbell down to your shoulder after each rep. Drop it from lockout to the hang position.

*You are allowed gloves/hand grips OR tape on the bar for this workout, but not both. Make sure you follow the rules so your score counts.

We’ll have you covered with a strategy guide for all  5 CrossFit Open workouts. Good luck with 18.1!

18.1 Live Annoucement

Ben Kissam

Ben Kissam

I help college athletes maximize their 4-year sports window and succeed after graduation.

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