18.3 CrossFit® Open Workout Tips from Top Athletes and Coaches

Well, we guessed CrossFit Open Workout 18.3 would have some high skill level movement, and we sure got it. Last night, Dave Castro dropped the news on workout 18.3 from Skyline CrossFit in Houston, Texas. At the announcement, the stage was set for veteran Masters CrossFit Games athletes Kyle Asperbauer and Neal Maddox as they went head-to-head in this grueling workout.

If you missed the workout, we’ve included it below, but be warned…it’s a doozy.

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

Time cap: 2 Rounds for Time with a 14 minute time cap:

  • 100 Double-Unders
  • 20 Overhead Squats (115lbs/80lbs)
  • 100 Double-Unders
  • 12 Ring Muscle-Ups
  • 100 Double-Unders
  • 20 Dumbbell Snatch (50lbs/35lbs)
  • 100 Double-Unders
  • 12 Bar Muscle-Ups

How to Score: Your score is your time to complete both rounds. If an athlete is unable to complete both rounds, then the total number of reps completed from the workout will serve as your score.

Movement Standards

Since this is a time cap focused workout, then we highly suggest checking out the movement standards below to avoid missing any reps and hurting your score. Most of the standards will be similar to movements programmed in previous Open workouts, but it never hurts to go over them again.

Double-Under: Standard double-under is to be used where rope passes twice in each rep.

Overhead Barbell Squat: The hip crease must pass below the top of the knee, and an athlete can begin the reps/set by performing a squat snatch if the crease falls below the top of the knee. To complete a rep an athlete must stand up completely with the bar fully locked out over head.

Ring Muscle-Up: Athletes must begin with arms fully extended and feet off the ground, kipping is acceptable, but swing to rolls are not permitted. To complete a rep, an athlete must fully lock out the elbows at the top. For athletes who wish to kip consecutively, then there must be a change of direction below the rings.

Dumbbell Snatch: To begin, the dumbbell must have both heads on the ground, and the athlete must complete the rep in one-motion, touch-and-go is not permitted. Every rep the athlete must switch hands and may not do so until the dumbbell is below the top of the head. The opposing arm may not make contact with the body, if an athlete receives a no rep, then they can continue from the point of no rep and don’t have to go back to the no-repped arm.

Bar Muscle-Up: To begin, an athlete must be in full extension with the feet off the ground. Kipping the muscle-up is acceptable, but an athlete is not permitted to do pull-overs, roll to support, or glide kips. To complete a rep, an athlete must have their arms fully locked out at the top and no other part of the arm may come in contact with the bar when performing the muscle-up.

CrossFit Open Workout 18.3 Tips

1. Nicole Carroll – Don’t Underestimate Anything

Carroll acknowledges that an athlete’s focus will most likely be on the ring and bar muscle-ups, but to warm-up well for each movement. She expressed to not take anything for granted and to break up the double-under reps accordingly for your skill level. Also, she mentioned that if you do mess up on something like a double-under to breathe and avoid freaking out.

2. Cole Sager – Watch Your Heart Rate

Similar to Carroll, CrossFit Games athlete Cole Sager points out the importance of knowing your limitations. He stresses to watch this in the first three movements before your first set of muscle-ups, so you’re not so gassed you have to take a long break. Break up the reps early on and manage your heart rate.

Sager concludes by saying understanding the basics of the movements and knowing how to manage the heart rate will be an athlete’s key to success.

3. Brooke Ence – Find Your Optimal Reps

Ence points out that going unbroken in the double-unders can be a recipe for failure. She stresses to do amounts that are almost relaxing for you, so you don’t mess up, then start panicking.

For muscle-ups, Ence says take your time and ensure that every attempt is going to be a good attempt, as opposed to trying and missing reps from fatigue, then taking more attempts.

 4. Craig Richey – Remain Calm

CrossFit athlete Craig Richey says to avoid looking at this workout as a whole, and to view it as individual sets and an AMRAP (that’s what it will be for a lot of athletes). He also mentions that strategic rests early on will be key to workout longevity because this workout is very shoulder focused and taxing.

5. Brute Strength – Understand Can Vs. Should

Brute Strength coaches Adrian Conway and Nick Fowler make a couple good points in their tips video. They both point out that while athlete can perform something unbroken, it doesn’t mean they should – the athlete that understands their limiting factors best will excel in the end.

Also, they stress that warming-up fully for each movement is a huge key to an athlete’s workout success.

6. Michele Letendre – Break Up the Double-Unders

CrossFit athlete Michele Letendre shared a few pointers on her Instagram saying, “Break up the Dus. Here are three suggestions:

5 x 20 OR 50/30/20 OR 70/30

I opted for the 5 x 20 and that allowed me to go unbroken on first set of DU in the second round then back to 5×20. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t trip up but I kept my plan as is. 
You get back to the double unders so fast that it is really easy to get overwhelmed and rushed. I strongly suggest this break up for anyone who is really good at double unders:
100, 70/30, 70/30, 70/30″

Takeaway Points

Yes, this workout is very technical, but in terms of advice, almost every athlete and coach provided the same tips. First, warm-up fully for every movement and to avoid only taking into account the technical movements like the muscle-ups. Second, break up your sets early on to optimally perform, and avoid grinding through sets and burn out early (understand can vs. should).

Lastly, go into the workout with an open mindset and think about it in chunks, as opposed to looking at it as a whole time capped workout.

Feature image screenshot from Trifecta YouTube channel. 

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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.