CrossFit 19.1 Open Workout: The Ultimate Strategy Guide for Rx, Scaled, and Masters

Written By Ben  |  Open 

The 2019 CrossFit Open has officially kicked off! Since the announcement some are calling this an old school CrossFit workout, others are saying it’s a tall athlete’s dream.

Tall or short, this workout is a grind and shouldn’t be underestimated. This one’s going to burn. 

19.1 CrossFit Workout

Take a few minutes to read up on some tips and tricks, and make sure both your rowing and wall ball game are ready to go for 15 minutes.

19.1 CrossFit Open Workout

15 minute AMRAP

  • 19 Wall Balls (20/14 lbs) (Target 10’/9’)
  • 19 Calorie Row

Full full workout standards, visit

19.1 Workout Strategy 

Pacing is going to be absolutely key here. 15 minutes in the sport of CrossFit is a marathon, not a sprint. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Workout Transitions: 

Know what you’re doing with your feet in the rower. Don’t be a dummy and play around with the straps; practice your row-to-wallball transition a few times before starting the workout. Sitting on the rower isn’t the place to catch your breath… stand up and walk back to your wall ball station, picking it up without hesitation or thinking, “Why am I doing this again?”

Workout Pacing: 

This workout is about grit. It’s going to be 15 minutes in the pain cave, but 15 minutes across the grand scheme of your day is nothing. You’ve got this. Go into this workout with the intention of finishing at the same (or even at a stronger) pace than when you originally started.

A good number to keep in mind is about 85% effort as a starting point, hold that for 12 minutes, then ramp up those last 2-3 minutes for a strong finish.

I REPEAT - don’t come out of the gates too fast - you will crumble and it will only get worse. Keep a steady pace, then finish in the “pain cave”. 

19.1 WOD Set-up: 

Get the rower as close to your wall ball target area as possible. Bonus: try not to be somewhere in the gym where the lights are blinding your eyes.

Also, during your 19.1 practice reps, mark a spot on the floor where your feet should go for the wall balls. Place them here every time and avoid awkwardly-positioned reps where you accidentally start too far away or too close.

This workout is definitely one that can be done more than once… if you’re willing to re-enter that pain cave.

CrossFit 19.1 Open WOD Mindset Tips  

Below is a collection of mental cues to repeat to yourself mid-WOD. You can write them on the floor, tell a friend to cheer you on, or simply internalize them during your warm-up.  

  • “12 minutes of steady, 3 minutes of ‘dark place’.”
  • “Never hurried, never paused.”
  • “No resting, always moving.”
  • For every pull on the handle, think “PULL” for every shot of the wall ball think “PUSH”.

19.1 Movement Breakdowns

Wall Balls:

Use a ‘clearing stroke’ for your sets, rather than keeping your hands up the entire time.

  • Don’t try to shorten your squat. Allow your body to come down smoothly and bounce back up from your natural bottom position. If you are highly mobile, this might mean you are getting well below parallel and that’s OK as long as you use the rebound out of the bottom. Extra effort to prevent depth will probably fatigue you. On the other hand, many people have a naturally shallow squat, so be sure to hit depth each rep!
  • Set up your wall ball target as close to your rower as possible. Mark where your feet are in the optimal position so you know exactly how far to stand from the wall every time each round.
  • Try to keep same sets the whole time. For example, 10/9 throughout is way better than trying to go unbroken, and then having to break it up into 5 small sets towards the end of the workout.
  • If you struggle to get below parallel or tend to have squat issues, you can wear olympic lifting shoes to help you achieve optimal squatting position.
  • Jump just a little bit if you start losing height and/or getting tired.


  • When it comes to damper settings, higher doesn’t necessarily mean better. Instead, check your drag factor. (It’s in the monitor settings and will largely depend on the altitude and humidity. More geeky details and instructions can be found here.)
    • Men drag factor: ~125
    • Women drag factor: ~ 115
  • Want an easier way? Just row between 4 and 6. Boom. Simple. Women on the low side, men on the high side of this range. 
  • Catch: for this workout specifically - try to keep your hips “high” on the rower to prioritize your posterior chain. If you get really “squatty” on the rower, you’ll be even more miserable on the wall balls.
  • Stroke should be this sequence: Knees, hips, arms
  • Finish: Slight lean back about 10 degrees, pull to the bottom of your sternum with extended knees, elbows in by your ribs.
  • Recovery should follow this sequence: Arms, hips, knees
19.1 CrosFit Open WOD

Check out what The Gains Lab had to say

Here's an excerpt from his strategy guide on rowing...

This is the secret - and the biggest mistake - right here: When you get to 16-17 calories, start backing off.

You do not want to come roaring through the 19-calorie mark. You do not want to sprint across the finish line of each 19-calorie round. You do not want “two big pulls” when you reach 17 calories. Some coaches and judges will say things like this this to motivate a tired athlete. TWO BIG PULLS! Understandable and well-intended? Yep. But just plain wrong. If you finish the 19 cals at a high speed, you will have used up 21-22 calories worth of energy. The wheel is still turning when you get off the rower, using energy you supplied, but those calories do not count in your score. That’s 2-3 cals of wasted energy. Do this for 7 rounds and you will have rowed the energy equivalent of an 8th round.

If you’re a strong rower, back off when you hit 16 calories. If you’re not such a strong rower, back off at 17 calories. “Back off” means complete your pulls, but let the wheel start slowing down. Pull less hard. Don’t drop the thing, but ease up a little, then a lot, then completely. Every coach knows about the short, powerful strokes to optimally accelerate the erg. This is optimal deceleration.

Here’s the Math:

- 1200 cals / hr 20 cals per minute 3 seconds per cal

- 1080 cals / hr 18 cals per minute 3.33 seconds per cal

- 900 cals / hr 15 cals per minute 4 seconds per cal

Therefore, if you row 1200 cals/hr for 16 cals, then drop to 1080 for the 17 and 18, then down to 900 for the last calorie, you will lose about 1.5 seconds vs if you had powered through 19. Over 8 rounds, that’s a total of just 12 seconds.

If you want to read his entire breakdown (it’s geeky and awesome), then check it out here.

19.1 CrossFit Open: Masters:

Masters are going to be following the same as above for the 19.1 workout , until we get to ages 55 and above. Here are your changes:

  • Men 55+: 20 lb wall ball, 9’ target*
  • Women 55+: 10 lb wall ball, 9’ foot target

19.1 CrossFit Open: Scaled:

Doing the 19.1 WOD scaled? You’re looking at the exact same workout, just change the med ball weights. 

  • Men: 14 lb wall ball, 10’ target
  • Women: 10 lb wall ball, 9’ target

For full 19.1 workout standards and breakdown, check out the CrossFit website. 

Need to be brought up to speed on all of the changes made to the format of the 2019 CrossFit Games season? Check out this article

19.1 Open Workout: The Strategy Video

Our full-length 19.1 strategy guide video covers everything we write about here, plus a bit more. Check it out!

The Ultimate 19.1 WOD Warm-up

Want to see exactly how our athletes are warming up to attack 19.1? Sign up for our Open Strategy Emails and you’ll get the bonus warm-up and recovery videos delivered directly to your email inbox. 

2019 Movement Tracker

This year, our friends over at the Morning Chalk Up will be actively updating their Open Movement tracker after each Open workout. Be sure to bookmark this page it has some great insights not only on which movements have shown up in the past, but for what specific workout they were programmed in as well. 

CrossFit Open: Leaderboards

Are you officially registered for the Open? Join our WODprep athlete leaderboard by typing #wodprep into the hashtag wizard. We'll be giving prizes at the end of each week! Read more about that here.

Ready for 19.2? Here's the full-length workout strategy guide

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

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