Numbers Don't Lie: Movements To Master Before The CrossFit® Open

Numbers Don’t Lie: CrossFit Open Movements To Master For 2019

In case you’re new to CrossFit, let me take a minute to bring you up to speed. The CrossFit Open is made up of five workouts, announced weekly over five weeks, usually beginning around mid to late February. 

This year, the format is shifting so that moving forward, the Open will take place in October. Read about changes to the CrossFit Games season here

"The Open" is just the beginning portion of The CrossFit Games® (a series of events to find the fittest athletes on earth).  Anyone can join (I highly encourage that you do) - and you do not have to belong to an affiliate to participate.

Since 2011, we’ve seen tremendous participation growth across The Open:

crossfit open growth

2011 - 2014 , 2015, 2016, 2017 - sources

Hacking The 2019 CrossFit Open: Movement Awareness Is Key 

Given the many movements within the realm of CrossFit, there is virtually no limit to the combination of movements and rep schemes that can make up a WOD. This simple notion is what keeps athletes coming back for more: “Constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity”.

Is it possible to master each crossfit movement? While there are many athletes who excel in particular functional fitness movements, the good news is:

We don’t need to perfect every movement under the sun to perform well in the Open.

Due to the nature of the Open, many movements are eliminated because they are difficult to standardize / judge. So far in the early stages of the competition, judging has relied on movements that have binary results such as chest-to-bar-pull-ups.

If your chest hits the bar, that’s a rep. If it doesn’t, that is a no-rep.

This is why over 9 years and 46 workouts, we’ve only seen 23 different exercises, 5 of which have been repeated each and every year. These movements are the simplest movements to judge.

The 2019 CrossFit Open: Movements To Focus On

CrossFit Open Movements

Caption: adapted from Beyond the Whiteboard’s 2017 Graphic

Out of 23 total movements listed, only 5 present themselves each and every year. It is said that history is the greatest indicator of the future. Armed with that knowledge, I highly recommend you keep these movements in mind as you prepare for the 2019 October CrossFit Open.

Don’t know where to start? Looking to fine tune some of the movements and get  ‘Open Ready?’ WODprep is here to help, check out the list of movements below, with links to free guides.

Open Movements (number of times seen, in order):

  1. Double Unders - 9
  2. Muscle Ups (bar or ring) -  9
  3. Toes To Bar - 9
  4. Thrusters - 9
  5. Chest To Bar Pull Ups - 9
  6. Snatch (Full / Power) - 8
  7. Wall Balls - 8
  8. Burpees (any kind) - 8
  9. Deadlifts - 7
  10. Cleans (Power/Full/DB) - 7
  11. Calorie Row - 6
  12. Box Jumps - 5
  13. HSPU - 5
  14. Overhead Squats - 4
  15. Shoulder To Overhead - 3
  16. Walking Lunges - 3
  17. Clean and Jerks - 2
  18. Handstand Walks - 2
  19. Dumbbell Snatches - 2
  20. Push Ups - 1
  21. DB Hang Clean & Jerk - 1
  22. DB squats - 1
  23. DB box step-ups - 1

2019 CrossFit Open: The Two Most Important WOD Schemes

crossfit open workout schemes


The most popular WOD scheme seen in The Open is a couplet, seen 23 times so far - followed by the triplet.

Trendspotting:

While you now have the top crossfit movements that are consistently programmed in the back of your mind, let’s take a minute to look at two trends from the past few years:

  • Calorie Row: This guy has attended The Open 67% of the time. However, it’s important to note that the calorie row has shown up every year for the past 6 years straight. It’s an easy way for them to throw some pure cardio into a workout, since running is much harder to standardize, measure, and judge.
  • HSPU’s: These fall into this same category as the calorie row. Don’t overlook handstand push-ups just because of their 56% historical attendance rate in the Open. We’ve seen this movement for the past 5 years running (in this most recent Open - strict HSPU), and I wouldn’t be surprised if that trend continues.
HSPU progress


Last year we saw Handstand Walks make their first ever debut in the Open, and they showed up again this February Open. I wouldn't be surprised if we see them again in this 2019 October Open. The good news? We’ve have a great blog post that can help out your Handstand Walking.

How Can I Perform Better In The CrossFit Open?

1. Find the easy wins.

Since we now know the movements that are highly likely to be included in this year’s Open, let’s shift our focus there. Which one of those movements is your biggest weakness? If you are inefficient in any of these seven movements, persistently practicing one of them can significantly improve your score. Thankfully, we have Free Guides for 5 of those top movements to help you get started!

Free Double Under Guide

Free Bar Muscle Up Guide

Free Ring Muscle Up Guide

​Free Shoulder Mobility Guide

Free Toes to Bar Guide

Free Pull-up Guide

2. Be happy with good enough.

Let’s say you can do 50 double-unders unbroken. Most WODs rarely call for more than 25-40 double unders at a time. Given the fact that you can do 50 unbroken, you are more than likely able to do sets of 25-40 with ease. There is no reason to continue “practicing” double unders at this point. Reduce training of that movement and shift gears to another roadblock movement that you may have.

3. Reduce time on rest & transition.

Since we know 85% of Open workouts are couplets and triplets, we can be sure a lot of time will be spent simply transitioning from one movement to another. In the world of a competition with more than 350K athletes, every tenth of a second counts! Be sure to set up your equipment in a compact environment. Try to limit your rest between movements to zero. The time spent “salsa dancing” in front of a barbell, taking sweet time getting strapped into a rower, or staring up at the pull up bar before your first rep does irreparable damage to your final score.

 As in life, the first step is the hardest, so get it out the way as fast as possible! Even if it means just one rep. Furthermore, try to limit your break time within a set to a predetermined number (i.e.: 7 seconds on the clock or 5 slow and controlled breaths). If you need to let go of the pull up bar, or find yourself doing singles late in the WOD, commit yourself to a certain break.

Lastly, be mindful about taking care of your body these next 6 weeks leading into the Open. Eat well, hydrate well, and be proactive about mobility, stretching, and stabilization drills. 

Comment below with a BRAND NEW movement you're expecting to see in this 2019 October Open. 

Good luck!

Other interesting notes about the CrossFit® Open:

  • In 2011, The Open consisted of six workouts.
  • 15.1 / 15.1A was the first time a workout was separated into two parts.
  • Singlet: 11.3 was listed as two movements but it was Clean then Jerk so we categorized it as a single movement for the purposes of this post.
  • There were two Single Movement workouts in 2012: AMRAP in 7 min Burpees & then a Snatch Ladder. The 4th & Final Singlet was 15.1A (1RM Clean & Jerk)
  • Quintuplet: 14.4 was the only workout which had five movements (Calorie Row, Toes To Bar, Wall Balls, Cleans, & Muscle Ups)


Disclaimer: WODprep is not associated with CrossFit® in any way and these opinions are separate from the CrossFit® brand. 

About the Author Sunny Shakhawala

Another member of the WODprep team, Sunny tries to balance out an unhealthy social media addiction (mainly IG & YT) during the day by reading self-improvement books in the morning and biographies of the world's most successful before bed. Advocates CrossFit® memberships for three major reasons: 1) They're expensive, which always pushes me over the edge when I'm on the fence about going to class. 2) Surrounds yourself with high achievers (in one discipline or another) 3) It's easy if you can just show up: the programming is done for you, a coach's feedback is available to you, and there's a built-in support group.

  • Dave Hardie says:

    Love the content. Hate the font in your charts.

    • Ben says:

      Since several others agree, we might just change it for you. Thanks for the feedback, even if it sounds a bit grumpy 😉

      • Mike says:

        Love the content, the hard work and the font in your charts. Don’t waste too much time listening to people complain. No matter what font you use someone will complain – they should be training instead 😉

  • RaShane says:

    Awesome Chart!

  • Chris.. says:

    Great content, very informative. Thank you!!

  • Jackie says:

    Always enjoy reading your emails/content/charts regardless of the fonts. I have many more battles than fonts, e.g., consistent ring muscle ups to whine over. Would be great to see Dave Castro throw in some bombs and shake up the work outs. More technical or difficult movements such as pistols, ring dips, handstand walks, etc. Keep up the awesome information Ben!

  • Jon says:

    Cool analysis. I’m jealous that I didn’t think of it. Numbers and Crossfit…it doesn’t get better. Nice work Sunny. I’m a long-time follower and always appreciate the content – especially when it’s free!

  • Andrew Michael Rough says:

    New movement Triple unders
    More standard movements with dumb bells instead of bar bells

  • Geoff says:

    Just from following HQ I’d say pistols and handstand walks are very possible

  • Shiloh Jones says:

    Great read, I’m thinking some over head dumbbell movement. For sure will see Couplet with thrusters, I’ll guarantee it.

  • Vincent says:

    One more time, very simple and really good advices from Ben!! Thank you dude!

  • Amber says:

    Hi friend. If you remember, 14.3 was 15.3, 16.4 was 17.4 so…I’m predicting 17.5 is 18.5

    • Amber says:

      Wait…it was 12.5 was 11.6, 13.3 was 12.4, 14.1 was 11.1, 15.2 was 14.2, 16.4 was 17.4. Just when you think you have Castro’s madness figured out. I give up.

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  • jay says:

    Decent article, but to say that something has a “100% Likelihood” is a little over the top. Just because they had the movement every year, doesn’t mean its a sure thing. Is it highly PROBABLE? Yes. But probable in sports isn’t always worth much. Saying something is 100% would guarantee us seeing it. At the end of the day…the workouts are totally random and come from someone’s head. Castro could easily omit one of those “100%” movements this year.

    • Sunny Shakhawala says:

      @Jay Thanks for reading and sharing your concern. You’re right; Castro can easily leave out one of these “100%” movements. The underlying premise of the article is “history is the greatest indicator of the future”, which is how (or why) we jumped to such a strong conclusion. I’m looking forward to being wrong and humbled.

  • […] friends over at WODPrep wanted to help out with that last one, so they went digging and found the seven movements that have appeared in every single Open. While nothing is guaranteed, their findings could very likely reveal what we’ll see in this […]

  • […] Numbers Don’t Lie: 7 Movements To Master Before The. – Given the many movements within the realm of CrossFit®, there is virtually no limit to the combination of movements and rep schemes that can make up a WOD. […]

  • […] with changing up your training techniques. But I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to functional crossfit movements and I think you should be able to perform a great weighted squat barefoot if […]

  • Steve says:

    I have a feeling the Devil Press will show up in a workout…

  • Sarah says:

    My prediction is the new movement this year will be devil press

    Love the article, charts, and info… I can always count on wodprep for awesome content!

    (DB hang power cleans showed up in 18.1 and cleans in 18.2b, but I don’t see them counted for 2018)

    • Kait, WODprep HQ says:

      Hey Sarah! 18.1 was DB hang c&j – we had that one on the chart. However, good call on the 18.2 max clean – we just added that and it’s updated now. Thanks!

  • Petra says:

    No Cleans in 2018?? Did you forget about 18.2A? 1RM Clean

  • Matt Breslofff says:

    2018 -18.2 1 rm clean

  • Marcelo says:

    What about 18.2? There was a 1-rep-max clean. Does it count for the statistics table?

  • Jonathan says:

    Great content. I believe that this year will be a little different than years past, since the Open was the first step to getting to Regionals. With those now gone I believe that the door is open for heavier weights and new movements. For example, I believe RX will see 70lb (31.75kg) DB for men and 50lbs (22.67kg) for women. Assault bike will be a movement. HSPUs with the tape standard will be there again. The movements will be the same, but we could see some multiple part workouts for even more scores. For example, a 7 minute AMRAP, followed by 5 minutes to establish a 1RM squat snatch. There would be two scores entered. We could see 2-3 of these, so that there will be 7-8 scores, rather than just 5. I also believe that more people will have to scale than ever before and that’s perfectly fine. This is about testing your fitness, rather than making the workouts such that everyone can RX.

    • Sunny says:

      Hey Jonathan, thanks for your comment!

      Bold predictions. I like it!

      The assault bike may be a hurdle as many gyms still may not be equipped with those machines. Can’t wait to see if you’re right about the numerous multiple part workouts and heavier weights!

    • MJ says:

      I agree. Im thinking they will want to avoid having a small country national champion go to the games without being able to do ring muscle ups/pistol/…. im predicting at least one week will start with something most have to scale on. If you don’t have a single rep, no score, no national champion, no games.

  • Joann Tilton says:

    Hi – trying to get the free HSPU guide and I’m not getting past step 2. What should I do differently?

    • Kaila Sharlene (WODprep Web Developer) says:

      Hi Joann, have you checked your email? Please check your spam folder too. Let us know if it’s not there and I’ll coordinate with our admin. Thanks.

  • Jonathan Araujo says:

    I am grateful for your analysis.

  • […] grab the low-hanging fruit first. Last year, I wrote an article titled Numbers Don’t Lie: 7 CrossFit Open Movements To Master. As far as the movements every athlete needs to concentrate on, not much has changed year over […]

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  • Daryl U says:

    Great post!

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