Crossfit Open 18.1 Strategy

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2018 Reebok CrossFit Open 18.1 Strategies
Written By American GAINZ Nutrition 

2018 CrossFit Open Workout 18.1 – Let’s call it “Grip & Grind”.

This workout begins with the athlete standing on the floor under the pull-up bar. After the call of “3, 2, 1… go,” the athlete may jump up and perform toes-to-bars. After 8 reps are complete, the athlete will move to the dumbbell for hang clean and jerks. The athlete must complete 5 clean and jerks on one arm, then 5 on the other arm. He or she will then move to the rower and pull 14 calories (12 for women). The monitor must read 14 calories (12 for women) before the athlete can unstrap and move to the pull-up bar for the next round.

The athlete’s score will be the total number of repetitions completed within the 20-minute time cap. Each calorie completed on the row will be equal to 1 rep.

Big Picture:
18.1 is essentially a different flavor of 16.1. Remember the 20 min AMRAP of OH walking lunges, burpees and CTB. This workout is all about finding that rhythm and settling in for the long haul. If you saw the live announcement you witnessed Sam Briggs dismantle this work out. Following the leader’s splits understanding that K. Holte lead early before Briggs pulled away; the rounds went something like this:

Round 1: 1:18
Round 2: 2:45 (1:27)
Round 3: 4:13 (1:28)
Round 4: 5:48 (1:35)
Round 5: 7:21 (1:33)
Round 6: 8:44 (1:23)
Round 7: 10:12 (1:28)
Round 8: 11:42 (1:30)
Round 9: 13:12 (1:30)
Round 10: 14:43 (1:31)
Round 11: 16:13 (1:30)
Round 12: 17:38 (1:35)
Round 13: 19:05 (1:25)

As far as a guide to shoot for. Assuming the above reflects a standard set by an Elite Athlete (Facts), here’s our prediction of how the scores will fall once on the leaderboard come Monday.

Elite Games Athlete: 1:20 – 1:30 Per Round (14 Rounds: 448+ Reps)
Regional Individual Contention: 1:25 – 1:40 Per Round (13 Rounds: 416+ Reps)
Top 500 in the Region: 1:35 – 1:45 Per Round (12 Rounds: 384+ Reps)
Top 1,000 in the Region: 1:45 – 1:55 Per Round (11 Rounds: 352+ Reps )
Top 1,500 in the Region: 2:00 Per Round (10 Rounds: 320+ Reps)

For the women, due to the row being an overwhelming proportion of this workout and the structure, we can expect the scores to be 10% less than the men.    

Unlike most Open WODS, this workout actually favors long arm'd athletes.  The DB clean from the hang reduces the advantage of the short lever'd CrossFit athlete, and the DB clean and the Rower is where all the time is spent, where as the gymnastics movement is more of a token, not really designed to stop athletes at that station.  nothing like if it were 15-25 reps.  

In 2016 – To finish the comparison of 18.1 & 16.1 as far as the time it takes to complete each round.  In 2016 Josh Bridges hit 14+ Rounds, Emily Bridgers was 10’ short of finishing the 13th Round. We think the scores will be very similar here. If you have your 2016 16.1 data point, I would start there to define a good pace. If you follow Misfit Programming, you recently completed 16.1 so you have a huge opportunity to fine tune your pace.

20 Minutes is a long workout and we didn’t pull the phrase “Grip & Grind” out of thin air. The facts are;
• You are going to experience grip & forearm failure
• If you don’t have a strong mental game, this workout will expose that weakness
• If your 1st round is faster than 1:10 – you failed. Stop and restart after your pre-workout wears off

Be Disciplined in your Strategy:
Compartmentalize the work to not get overwhelmed with the remaining time, and CALMLY WORK. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast here. Let your judge know how you would like to hear how many reps remain or what round you are on and when. Be familiar with your intended split targets prior to starting. It’s not uncommon for a judge to throw you off mentally by communicating the workout progress differently than how you would like to process it.

Every wasted movement can compound quickly and easily become routine with this much time. Think about how you’re going to transition from movement to movement and make it as efficient as possible.

Fall into a pace as early as possible without a huge discrepancy between that pace and your first round. As the workout progresses, you need to mentally pick it up to hold the pace. This means consciously picking up the pace knowing that you are battling the tendency to naturally slow down. If you can keep a tight spread like Briggs you know you did this workout to the best of your potential. Her slowest round was round 4 @ 1:35 while her fastest was round 1 chasing Holte @ 1:21ish… Hard to beat a 14 second spread!!!

The Transition Matters
Transitions are huge on this workout, for most competitive athletes there are 20 – 30 of them and they need to be quick. This means, take a single inefficiency during the transition whether it’s untangling your foot straps, adjusting hand grips, or logistically not being setup to limit distance between movements. Times that inefficiency by 20 and that can easily be a lost minute of work.

When short & sweet becomes hot & spicy really quick, expect by 5 minutes a mental battle beginning to take place – shoulders & grip. For the proficient T2B-er, 8 is not a lot, but understand your forearms will remain pumped given the subsequent movements.

Break early, and don't get caught hanging momentum-less or starring at the bar without intention.  This movement is where athletes will get caught not being active.  Think about your high school days, you may get 9/10 100%, but if you factor in a single 0%, your average falls fast.  T2B in this workout is the movement you simply have to get through, do your resting and dying on the rower.  Hard to get no-rep'd there, and even the sloppiest of pulls yields some calories working towards your goal.  

Think about setting up some plates, so that you don't have to jump to the bar, bur rather grip the bar and fall naturally into your swing.  When your grip fatigues, doing a single rep, and dropping/resetting can be done with at most ~50% less efficiency than going unbroken.  When talking about a 15 second unbroken movement, this now becomes 22.5 seconds but you've kept your heart rate down and your forearm pump / grip sustainable.  

Another tip is to 4 Count on the rower (A 1 Second Pull, with a 3 Second Reset), and keep your grip lose, this really becomes your only rest period for the paws. These should be as UB as possible, keep the time in tension to a minimum so work fast here, realistically 8 T2B should take less than 12 seconds .

Note*, if your grip is gone, you can switch it up, the options are Overhand, Underhand, or Split Grip. Use the rules to your advantage.  If your DBs have a skinnier handle or you have banana hands, think about hook gripping the DB and what that might afford you. 

DB Hang Clean
Remember what happened to Sam Briggs on her first rep “No Rep”. This was due to the lack of a pause at the hang position prior to cleaning the DB to the shoulder. Pick the DB off the ground, and pause at the hang before proceeding. We were able to witness several athletes in Houston complete this workout, and we noticed the stronger athletes kept the DB to their side in the hang position, whereas the smaller athletes handled it as if it were a kettle bell. Handling the DB like a kettle bell between the legs may be taxing on your lower back in the long run. Geometrically, the DB is not as ergonomic as the Kettlebell to use the hips in contact with your arm to really drive the weight to the shoulder. This is causing athletes to hinge at the hips and really bend over in order to cock the power position. If you’re considered a bigger athlete, our vote is to stick with the side method (Swinging Curls) and use the KB between the legs method as a backup.

Note* If you drop the DB from the top, it will bounce like a football and cause you to chase. If you do drop it between arm exchanges, treat it like a light barbell and DO NOT walk away, stay focused, take a breath, and pick it up.

For the taller bigger athletes this is a great triplet. To have 2 movements that are not disadvantages for heavier athletes coupled with low volume gymnastic is a massive victory. This movement for most athletes will take up the most time for any given round. We saw the powerful Sam Briggs tie in her feet when she got on the rower and take the time to calmly untie her feet on the way off the rower, every round. However K. Holte kept her foot holds loose to a degree. Up to you how you want to do this, but be intentional and take your time handling the straps efficiently. Using a 4 count can keep your heart rate steady and allow a big breath to attempt a powerful pull (1 Cal per Pull) once the fan is running.
Note* Agree with your judge ahead of time as to when he/she will reset your rower.

Well we will keep this page as up to date with the latest strategies and tips the community discovers between tonight and the 18.1 submission deadline. Until then, best of luck and try to hit this one hard, the first time, to avoid an unnecessary repeat. GOOD LUCK!!!

For more Strategy here a a couple links.

Ben from WodPrepNicole Carroll - Wod Time Calculator - Flo Elite

~ American GAINZ Nutrition

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