CrossFit Open Workout 18.2 and 18.2a: Tips & Strategies

The 2018 CrossFit Open is upon us! Over the next 4 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.

This week’s guide features 9 strategies and tips for CrossFit Open workout 18.2 and 18.2a

The Workout – 18.2 and 18.2a

18.2 and 18.2a features 3 different movements and is split between 2 workouts:


  • 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • Dumbbell Front Squats (50/35)
  • Bar Facing Burpees


  • 1 Rep Max Clean

Time Cap: 12 Mins.

Movement Standards

Take note:

  • Dumbbells must rest on the shoulders the whole time. Hands must touch the dumbbells.
  • Must be facing the bar on burpees. RX athletes must jump up.
  • The clean can be a power, squat or split clean.


You can find all the scaled requirements here.

Preparing For CrossFit Open 18.2 and 18.2a

A post shared by Brent Fikowski (@fikowski) on

Here are 4 things you should do to prepare for 18.2 and 18.2a.

  1. Which is your strength? 18.2 or 18.2a?

If you are a firebreather and know that your clean score won’t be that high, go hard and rest hard on 18.2.

If you are strong but lack the cardio, you might want to take a different approach. Survive the first part of the workout and give yourself just enough time to hit a few solid cleans.

Be realistic about your abilities so you can max out your score.

  1. Make sure someone else is changing your weights.

Along with someone to judge you, make sure someone else is available to change your weights so you don’t have to. In an ideal world, you’ll have 2 people helping.

  1. Line your dumbbells up so they are next to the bar.

  1. If you are strong, pick the dumbbells up between your feet with a wide stance.

Watch the Patrick Vellner and Noah Ohlsen demos to see what I’m talking about.

5 Tips To Max Out Your CrossFit Open 18.2 and 18.2a Score

Here are 5 tips for maxing out your score on CrossFit Open 18.2 and 18.2a.

Tip #1: Unless you’re a firebreather, don’t “jump jump” the bar facing burpees.

You’ll pump a ton of acid into your legs if you jump up from the bottom of the burpee (RX standard) and immediately jump over the bar.

Unless you intend to qualify for regionals, you’re probably better off taking a small left and a right foot step forward once you’ve come up from the burpee, and then jumping over the bar. It takes a bit longer but will save you a ton of energy.

Tip #2: Go slow (and do the math) with the ascending ladder.

Ascending ladders are tricky. Most people bust through sets 1-5 thinking they’ll just get to halfway and then gut out the rest.

Wrong. Don’t do this.

Halfway (27 reps) through the workout isn’t until after you’ve completed the round of 7. That’s when the workout starts. Keep your breath under control through the first 6 sets so you have something left for the 8, 9, and 10 (second half of the workout) sets.

Tip #3:Do this workout multiple times.

Unlike most Open workouts, you have an opportunity to do this workout 2-3 times over the weekend. It shouldn’t tax you as much as a workout like 18.1 did.

It’s a simple tip, but plan to repeat the workout at least once. You’ll know after the first time whether you can clean more with a second try or finish 18.2 quicker without sacrificing your strength.

Tip #4: Perform the bar facing burpees in two “lanes”

If you go back and watch how Noah Ohlsen and Patrick Vellner performed their burpees, you’ll see that they did them in two “lanes”. As they jumped over the bar, they kicked their feet out at a slight angle so they could save a step in between reps.

If you are fast with your burpees, this tip will save you time between reps.

Tip #5: Shoot for 3 attempts on the clean.

For most people, 18.2 will take around 7-9 minutes to complete.

Take your time before you start 18.2a. There is no good reason at all for you to pick the bar up and immediately go.

Shoot for 3 attempts on the clean: one you are comfortable with and know you can hit, then 2 heavier ones.

Even with 2 minutes on the clock, you will have time to attempt 3 reps. Relax as much as you can so your heart rate goes down and give it a go.

We’ll have you covered with a strategy guide for all 5 CrossFit Open workouts. Good luck on 18.2 and 18.2a!


Ben Kissam

Ben Kissam

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

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