CrossFit Open 19.4: Ultimate Workout Strategy for Rx, Masters, Scaled

Written By Ben  |  Open 

CrossFit Open 19.4 is here, and it's a great week for a first bar muscle up.... or maybe a pull-up, if you're going after 19.4 scaled. In week 4 we have three movements, and some programmed rest. Let's take a look at the workout, and then talk strategy. 

CrossFit Open Workout 19.4: 

For Time (12 minute time cap, this includes 3 min rest!)  

3 rounds: 

  • 10 snatches 95/65 lbs 
  • 12 bar facing burpees 

 Rest 3 minutes then...  

3 rounds :

  • 10 bar muscle ups 
  • 12 bar facing burpees 

Looking for a complete breakdown of 19.4 workout standards? Head to the official 2019 CrossFit Games Open website

19.4: Snatches

  • If the snatch is light for you (~50% or less), go touch & go, try to stay unbroken.
  • If the snatch is heavy (~ 60% or more), it's OK to do quick singles - but make sure to move quickly on burpees!
  • Don’t rest unless absolutely necessary. Remember, you have a huge 3 minute rest after part 1 that you can take advantage of. 
  • Especially if you’re going unbroken, keep a hook grip the whole time your hands are on the bar. Start with wide feet and try not to move them at all. Power snatch for most people is going to be ideal here. 

19.4: Burpees Over The Bar

  • Go fast - no excuses here since you'll have time to recover. The key is not "as fast as possible", which would make you redline, but instead it should be "what pace will make it so that I have absolutely no resting?". Go at that speed, and try to push your tempo.
  • I personally plan to do my burpees by jumping down and stepping up. Last year step-down/step-up burpees were not allowed, but apparently they are now OK in 2019 - check out the full CrossFit 19.4 Open standards on the Games website. 

19.4: Bar Muscle Ups

  • Bar Muscle Ups are going to depend on your abilities. Personally, I will try this unbroken, then move to 6/4, but this is because I can do 20+ unbroken when fresh. 
  • Most people should HIGHLY consider breaking up into singles. If you can't do 5+ BMU's unbroken, DO NOT try multiples, as it will only hurt you and cause you to rest too much. 
  • Using the "box drop-in" will be a HUGE win for anyone trying to learn their first reps. At the very least, make sure you are jumping into the first rep of each set (or each single) to ensure that you utilize the precious momentum. 
  • “Find the floor” and make your transition AGGRESSIVE. (watch this for more details)

Check out the box drop-in demo below! This is a video pulled from the secret vault inside our paid coaching course, Bar Muscle Up Mastery, where I explain exactly what to look for in the box drop-in technique. 

19.4: Burpees Over The Bar (Round 2)

  • I wouldn't push the pace too much - at least not as fast as part 1... the goal is to be slightly recovered for the BMU so you can crush them! If you go max effort on these burpees, you’ll more way too slow on the BMUs and might start failing reps. 

CrossFit Open 19.4: Scaled

Scaled needs to do pull-ups in the 19.4 scaled workout! Oh snap!

  • Guess what... you need to be working on these ALWAYS and it should be a priority for your fitness, and is a fundamental part of being a fit person. So, please, don't pass up the chance to join our Strict Pull-up Strength coaching program when it opens next. Instead of complaining "I can't do pull-ups! They've ruined the scaled division!” Say "I need to own this. I need to get to work."
  • Check out the above advice on snatches and burpees - similar coaching pointers apply!
  • If you are trying for your first pull-up, I WOULD NOT suggest kipping wildly just to try to get a rep, but since that will inevitably happen... here's what I suggest - use the "box drop in" method to develop momentum to get your chin above the bar (this is demonstrated above under the BMU section).
crossfit 19.4 bar muscle up
55+ Scaled (CrossFit Open 19.4)
  • On the jumping pull-ups - USE YOUR LEGS and don't let go of the bar. Embrace the burn because your rep cycle time will be fast!

CrossFit 19.4: Masters

Like past 2019 Open workouts, the standards are going to stay the same here until we hit Masters 55+, where the BMU’s change to Chest to Bar pull-ups

  • The same rules apply for C2B’s as they do for BMUs... trust your abilities, but don't go unbroken if your max set is only 15 reps.
  • Instead, take short, quick breaks and get back on the bar ASAP. Singles are totally OK as long as you keep moving. Don't waste time!
  • As previously mentioned, push the burpee tempo, but not so much that it burns you on the pull-ups.
  • Check out this video we have on the 'hip pop' if you plan to do either bar muscle ups - or chest to bar pull-ups.
19.4 Open WOD Mindset

For many, this CrossFit Open 19.4 is all about “facing your fear”. You either hate snatches, you’re worried about the bar muscle ups, or you’re still working on mastering the pull-up - which is now considered a “scaled” movement?! Here are three things I want you to think about during the 19.4 workout. 

  1. “Keep moving.” There’s a 3 minute rest in the middle of the workout, don’t add any extra rest in the middle of the burpees!
  2. “Face your fears.” Have confidence to try something hard. If you fail, don’t worry, make an oath to yourself that you will be ready in 6 months when the movement shows up AGAIN in the Open.
  3. “Take ownership.” No matter your ability, own it. You are the one that has gotten you to the level of fitness you currently possess, so don’t blame others for the lack of _____. Instead, own it, and start creating a plan about how you can attack your weaknesses!
CrossFit 19.4 WOD: Athlete Gear

  • Tape your thumbs for the hook grip on the snatches. If you don’t use a hook grip, do 100 burpees right now. Seriously - you MUST use a hook grip for olympic lifts. Please. Don’t know how to tape your thumbs? Watch this.
  • Definitely tape the bar OR use grips to help with grip... not both because that's not allowed. If you feel like you’re going to tear your hands, watch this

If you're looking for more details on the 2019 CrossFit Games season, check out this article.

For an abbreviated CrossFit Open 19.4  strategy guide to share with a friend and easily digest, check out this 19.4 quick tips page.

  • Is the box drop in bar muscle still considered an Rx rep when performed in a workout? Or is it a “drill” for beginners working to improve their kip?

    • Hey Joe – it’s considered Rx as long as you’re following standards, which are: The athlete must begin with or pass through a hang below the bar, with the arms fully extended and the feet off the
      ground. Kipping the muscle-up is acceptable, but pullovers, rolls to support and glide kips are not permitted.
      No portion of the foot may rise above the height of the bar during the kip.

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