Crossfit Open 16.5 Strategy - Written by Jenn Jones & Jared Astle

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Crossfit Open 16.5 Strategy
Written by Jenn Jones & Jared Astle


It has come to this - we all knew it was coming...Thrusters.  What a lovely surprise from Dave, repeating a movement that we all thought was in the books after 16.1.  Not only that, but a repeat WOD from 2014 to test the growth of your fitness over the span of not one, but two years.


As we learned in 2014, this is a true test of CrossFit.  How far into the pain cave can you push yourself?  Thrusters have a sneaky way of crushing your spirit as they tax every inch of you.  That first round of 21 will feel amazing! You are fresh and the clock starts and adrenaline will start to pump. Pacing is everything in this workout.  Like most open WODs, if you go out too hard, the middle rounds are going to be a struggle and you are going to start sinking.


Thrusters are a combination of efficient movement patterns and bar path, as well as lever length and distance traveled for the bar.  Shorter people do have a slight advantage just because of ROM (range of motion). Don’t get discouraged though if you’re tall. What sets people apart in this WOD is mental strength.  As fatigue sets in, try and focus on maintaining sound front squatting mechanics. Keeping your chest up and elbows high will definitely become harder as this WOD unfolds. If you are an efficient mover and you are able to stay tall throughout the thruster, your shoulders will thank you and allow you to push with less fatigue on burpees. Also, remember that the movement standard is just below parallel at the bottom and ears in front of the bar at the top.  You don't need to hold the overhead position for more than a second.  The bar is light enough to pull the bar actively down back to the shoulder to start the next rep quicker.


Plan where and when you can breathe to keep calm to continue to move.  But you HAVE to stay moving.  This is where time will be made.  Those who can push will be more successful.  The burpees need to be smooth and consistent.  Jumping the burpee will keep them moving faster but could tax you quicker.


Learn your pace.  Take some time to play with how "slow" you can do your movements to stay calm but finish rounds in a time frame that will help you accomplish your time goals. I suggest doing a set of 10 thrusters and 10 burpees at a moderate pace and use that as a gauge for how long every set should take. That being said, be aware that being fresh and doing 10/10 will be much different than doing the middle set of 12/12.


Honestly, that is all there is to this WOD. Most of us have done it before and we know it is a classic knockdown, drag out brawl and no strategy or planning will make up for the zeal and drive of those that truly want to win this fight. Good Luck!!!

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