18.1 CrossFit® Open Workout Tips From Top Athletes and Coaches

And just like that, we’re back for another year of CrossFit® Open workouts. Last night, Dave Castro kicked off and announced CrossFit Open Workout 18.1 from São Paulo, Brazil. After the announcement, we got to see 2013 Games champion Sam Briggs take on 2017 seventh-place Games finisher Kristin Holte in a head-to-head 18.1 workout showdown.

In case you missed the announcement, CrossFit Open workout 18.1 is as follows.

Start: Athletes start on a 3, 2, 1 countdown before beginning the workout.

  • 8 Toes-to-Bar
  • 10 Dumbbell Hang Clean & Jerks (5 each arm; men use 50 pounds, women use 35 pounds)
  • 14/12 Calories Rowed on a Concept 2 Rower (men/women)

Finish: As many reps as possible in 20 minutes.

Movement Standards

Before diving into this AMRAP triplet and the tips provided below, we recommend checking out the 1-minute video that covers this workout’s movement standards, so there’s no missed reps.

Since this workout is an AMRAP with a time limitation, then athletes should definitely consider employing a strategy before beginning. The last thing you’re going to want is to slow down before the time cap, or burnout prematurely. Below are some tips from some of CrossFit’s top athletes and coaches.

CrossFit Open Workout 18.1 Tips

1. Nicole Carroll – Perform Just Below Your Threshold

In Nicole Carroll’s video, she explains that this workout is designed to keep you moving. That being said, she stresses the importance of finding your tempo that’s just below your absolute threshold. Short breaks and strategic sets will be your best bet to save your grip. Carroll says if you need to break something up, then do it on the toes-to-bar.

2. Brooke Ence – Don’t Change the Way You Do Things

CrossFit athlete Brooke Ence and Trifecta teamed up to produce a video highlighting Ence’s tips. In the video, Ence states she’s breaking up her toes-to-bar early. In addition, she advises finding your limiting factor in the workout, then figuring out how to make up time for it with the other two movements.

Her biggest piece of advice to CrossFit athletes is to not change what they currently do things for the Open, aka no on the fly last minute changes for or in Open workouts.

Interested in watching the rest of this year’s CrossFit Open announcements? Click HERE to find out how to watch them live every Thursday evening throughout the Open!

3. Cole Sager – Smooth Transitions

CrossFit athlete Cole Sager stressed the importance of smooth transitions and mindful breaks. He states that more than likely to be really competitive you’ll have to go unbroken on a majority of the sets, but if you need to break, then do so quickly.

Additionally, Sager stresses that transitions can be a major waste of time if not done correctly, especially when walking movement to movement.

4. Craig Richey – Don’t Grip Too Hard

CrossFit athlete Craig Richey focused a lot on the grip factor in his 18.1 tips video. He points out that this workout is focused heavily on grip, so be conscious of how tightly you’re gripping the bar on toes-to-bar and the dumbbell hang clean & jerks.

For the hang clean & jerk, Richey advises going unbroken, then using the rower as recovery if you need it. He states this is important because then you don’t waste time standing around resting.

Takeaway Messages

If you watch all of the tip videos above, then you’ll recognize a few consistent themes. First, it’s a grip focused workout, so be mindful of what you can perform just under your threshold and create a strategy accordingly. Second, don’t change what you currently do just because it’s the Open.

Lastly, account for smooth transitions between movements because they can save you a ton of time and aim to go unbroken in the hang clean & jerks. Good luck to all of the athletes participating!

Feature image screenshots from Trifectra, CrossFit, and Cole Sager YouTube channels.

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.