19.1 CrossFit Open Workout Strategy Guide

The 2019 CrossFit Open is here! Over the next 5 weeks, we’ll break down each workout and offer strategies to help you maximize your score.

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 19.1 Open Workout?

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:

  • 19 wall-ball shots*
  • 19 calorie row

*Men throw a 20 pound wallballl to a 10 foot target.

Crossfit open 19.1 workout

CrossFit Open 19.1 Movement Standards

For all standards and movement explanations, check out the 19.1 WOD description on CrossFit.com.

4 Preparations Tips for CrossFit Open 19.1

Here are some preparation tips to set you up for success for 19.1:

1. Equipment

Line your rower up so it’s perpendicular to the wall, then set your straps so they are loose enough to slide in and out of. You shouldn’t have to touch them once the entire workout. Otherwise, you’re just wasting precious seconds.

Keep chalk nearby as your forearms and hands might get sweaty from wall balls.

2. Set A Goal

It might sound cheesy, but decide what your ideal score is for this workout. Some of the early top scores are close to 10 rounds, which is a blistering pace. Where do you stack up to that?

3. Think About Karen

Karen, or 150 wall balls for time, should give you a reasonable idea of how many wall balls you can do per set. When you do that workout, are you able to do sets of 20-30 in the opening few minutes without breaking? Or are you a 10 at a time then break kind of athlete?

19 wal lballs won’t be hard the first few rounds. As your shoulders wear down from rowing that story will change. If you think you can do 19 straight through for every round, stick to that goal—otherwise think of other splits (10 then 9 or 7, 7, 5, for example)

4. Mentally Prepare

The Open isn’t about getting fitter. It’s about proving your fitness. Don’t ego trip or get upset because you can’t hang with others.

Mentally prepare yourself for your best performance, and shoot for that. You will without a doubt get a better score.

This Open guide from last year has some other tips.

Tips For Maximizing Your Score

These “in the weeds” tips will give you an advantage over other members at your gym. They will also help you maximize your Open 19.1 score.

1. Pace, Pace, Pace

For the past few years, the first Open workout has been hard on the lungs but something anyone could complete. You’d assume CrossFit does this so people aren’t discouraged before they’ve done their first workout. This year is no exception.

Wall balls and rowing aren’t heavy and are both exercises you can keep doing even when you’re breathing hard. Just be careful in the opening rounds. Treat the first two rounds as a warm-up and use round three to set the pace for the rest of your workout.

Make no mistake. The same thing happens every year—several guys from your box will go out too hard on this workout and limp to the finish line.

It’s better to move moderately through the first 6-8 minutes and finish strong.

2. Know Your Rower Calorie Stroke Rate

If you’ve been around the block with CrossFit, you should know how to get a calorie per row on every pull. This is what you should aim for during this entire workout.

Don’t listen to anyone that says you need to set the damper at 10 to get max calories—they’re wrong.

Set it at 7. You don’t have to be strong to get a calorie per pull, just patient.

Before you start, practice pulling hard, even strokes on the rower. Find the optimal

CrossFit South has an awesome rowing guide that breaks down your twenty second split.

For example, a 1200-1400

3. Plan To The Second

As of this writing, the top score (which will surely be beaten) is 379 reps, or 9 rounds and change.

This is a 15-minute, or 900 second, workout. That means the athlete completed a rep approximately every 2.3 seconds.

Consider: the difference between a rep every 2.2 seconds and 2.3 seconds is 18 reps!

So many reps means every single second counts. Eliminate all unnecessary transitions (stepping away from equipment, having to reach for chalk, etc), and stick to your pacing.

See You Next Week?

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.