19.3 CrossFit Open Workout Strategy Guide

The 2019 CrossFit Open is here! Over the next 5 weeks, we’re breaking down each workout and offering strategies to help you maximize your score. Here are our 19.1 and 19.2 guides.

If you’re new to CrossFit, the CrossFit Open is the annual online competition that is the first step for qualifying for the 2019 CrossFit Games (at least, for one more year—it’ll change in 2020).

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.

Before you dive in, check out this guide from 2018’s open on 4 Tips To Dominate The CrossFit Open. Being fit will help you score high, but the right mindset and smart planning will ultimately make the difference. Here we go!

What is the CrossFit Open 19.3 Workout?

CrossFit open Workout 19.3 description

Here is the third workout in this year’s 2019 CrossFit Open:

For Time:

  • 200-ft. Dumbbell overhead lunge
  • 50 dumbbell box step-ups
  • 50 strict handstand push-ups
  • 200-ft handstand walk
  • 50-lb dumbbell, 24-in. Box

Time cap: 10 minutes

CrossFit Open 19.3 Movement Standards

Here are the movement standards for CrossFit Open 19.3 from CrossFit.com.

This is a skill-based workout. Each exercise should be carefully reviewed to ensure you don’t miss reps because you didn’t understand the movement standards.

4 Preparation Tips for CrossFit Open 19.3

Use these tips before the workout even starts to get ready for 19.3.

1. Honestly Assess Yourself

CrossFit stayed true to their typical programming of the Open—two workouts everyone could do, followed by a separator in the third workout. Every year it seems they use this third workout to start splitting the competitive athletes from the recreational CrossFit community.

This guide and the tips here mostly assume you aren’t a competitive Games athlete and that you won’t finish the whole workout. Most athletes won’t.

19.3 is divided into two workouts: fitness and skill. You may rip through the first two exercises then stare at the wall for five minutes trying to single rep handstand push-ups.

Know going in if you stand no chance of finishing this workout. It’ll help you pace better and squeeze out extra reps so you maximize your score.

2. Set Up An Easy Turnaround

You might not have exactly 100 feet of space to go out to and turn around for the dumbbell overhead walking lunge.

If you have to divide it into four turnarounds or more, that’s okay. Don’t worry too much about adding time there.

What will add time is you and other athletes interfering with one another. Hopefully because you’ll be using the same space for handstand walks this won’t be an issue.

To maximize your score, ensure that your distance is a straight path and free of obstructions.

3. Practice Gripping The Dumbbells

Dumbbell box step ups are deceiving. They may not jack your heart rate up if you pace them correctly, but the dumbbells become difficult to hold.

Practice various grips in your warm-up to see how you should hold the bells so they don’t bounce off the box or slip from your hands.

Chances are you’ll be holding the dumbbells closer to the front. Some athletes even use a hook grip on dumbbells.

4. Practice Strict HSPU’s Standards

It’s worth repeating to review the movement standards for strict handstand push-ups. Last year’s Open WOD created tons of confusion with the HSPU standard (though those weren’t strict).

Just make sure you have them right so you don’t get no-repped at the end of the workout.

Other Tips For Maximizing Your Open 19.3 Score

Here are some “between-the-lines” tips you can use to get a great score on 19.3:

Do A Longer Warm-Up

Anytime a workout is likely to put you in a “hole” (breathing heavy), an extended warm-up is a good idea. For 19.3, do ten to fifteen minutes of light cardio, then warm-up your shoulders, hips, and knees.

Do some glute activation to get ready for lunges and some shoulder mobility.

Also a good idea is to “spike” your heart rate about five minutes before you’ll start the WOD. Hop on the assault bike and do a quick sprint—full-out effort—for ten to fifteen seconds.

This will prepare your heart rate for high-intensity and you’ll be fully primed to start the workout.

Play For Two Workouts

Dave Castro is prone to building traps into Open workouts. There is an obvious one in 19.3. Many people will approach this workout with a negative mindset.

They will say “it doesn’t matter” how they do the first two exercises because there is no way they’ll get fifty strict handstand push-ups.

Then they’ll go balls to the wall and stare at the wall in between ugly sets of one HSPU at a time.

Don’t do that. Approach this workout like the first two movements are a high-intensity warm-up. Your heart rate shouldn’t spike so bad that you can’t get it under control with a few breaths.

Each lunge and step-up should be like the first one, and you should be breathing steadily as you go.

It’s better to arrive at HSPU fresh with two less minutes than to put yourself in a hole early and then be too gassed to string together HSPU.

It might only make a difference between five reps, but that’s something.

Three Sets of Box Step Ups

If you’re decently fit, try breaking box step ups into three sets of 25, 15, and 10. Rest the dumbbells on the box, take three breaths in between sets, then go again.

These descending sets offer a psychological advantage by getting “easier” each time even as your heart rate climbs.

If your legs get totally fried from the lunges and the first thirty five or so step-ups, though, slow down. Unless the clock is at nine minutes and you risk not finishing, get your heart rate under control for the HSPU.

See You Next Week For 19.4?

Check back weekly as we’ll have a strategy guide for each workout during the 2019 CrossFit Open season. Good luck!

For more WOD guides and equipment tips, check out the rest of Athletic Muscle’s blog.

Ben Kissam

Ben Kissam

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

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