CrossFit Open 20.4: Ultimate Strategy for Rx, Masters, Scaled | WODprep

CrossFit Open 20.4: Ultimate Strategy Guide For Rx, Scaled & Masters | WODprep

CrossFit Open 20.4 is officially here, and we've got a full-length strategy guide for Rx, Masters and Scaled athletes. 

Regardless of which movement is going to slow you down in this long, heavy chipper workout, let's get a plan in place to tackle it. 

Here's the CrossFit Open 20.4 Workout: 

20.4 CrossFit

With increasing weight on the clean and jerks - regardless of scaled, Rx, or masters - my guess is that it's eventually going to a be a barbell weight that slows you down. That, or lack of pistols. 

Head here to read the full CrossFit Open 20.4 workout and movement standards.

Check out our 20.4 CrossFit workout announcement and quick tips.  

Here's a breakdown of some of the do's and don'ts that I suggest for each movement in CrossFit 20.4...

CrossFit Open 20.4: Clean & Jerks

You have a few different options for cleaning (power, squat) and jerking (push, split) and I'm going to recommend you adjust by weight and comfort-level with the movement.

For example, power cleans and push jerks are going to be quickest - stick with those on the lighter weights.

crossfit open 20.4

As weight starts to get a little heavier, try switching to split jerks if that's easier for you.

For the heaviest barbell, pick the version of the clean that you're stronger in - for a lot of us, that's a squat clean, and then split jerk it. 

Singles on the clean and jerks is going to be smart here - and make sure that you're using a hook grip. Make every rep count. 

Pro Tip: Try the 'clip trick' when setting up your barbell (shown in the above video). Flip the clip around when putting it on the barbell - this acts like a clamp to better hold the plates in place (especially if you are doing singles). For extra security, ask your judge to add another clip and have your barbell double clipped.  

CrossFit Open 20.4: Box Jumps

Let's break down movement technique options by speed...

  • Step Up, Step Down = Slower
  • Step Up, Jump Down = Fast
  • Jump Up, Step Down = Fast
  • Rebounding = Fastest


Rebounding, as we've seen, is fastest - yet it's also dangerous. I don't recommend doing rebound box jumps as it puts you at a high risk of injuring your achilles tendon.

If you are choosing to go the step up, step down route - try to keep your reps touch and go in order to keep moving through the set.

Don't put your hands on your legs and press off on your way up - this is a no rep. You must jump up onto the side of the box, not the corner. 

Open 20.4: Pistols

This is the first time single leg squats have ever been programmed in a CrossFit Open workout... and while I guessed they might be coming, I'm still a little surprised to see them actually pop up.

Never done a pistol before?

Try the step-in technique. Start from standing, and take a step into the leg that you're doing the single leg squat on. Lean into the rep, squat, and then make sure to full extend at the top before putting the other foot back down.

When performing pistols, it can help to grab the foot that you're not squatting on to keep balance. If you try to perform the movement too slow and controlled... you're going to fall over; this is a movement that's better done quickly.

CrossFit Open 20.4: Scaled & Masters Athletes

If you're doing this workout scaled - or you're a masters athlete 55+ - you see med ball step-ups programmed instead of pistols (you also have different weight sets, so be sure to read the full standards).

Technique that I'm advising for the med ball step-ups are to hold the ball on your shoulder of choice, or right behind your neck/upper back - not in front of you. Think right-right, left-left, to get into a cadence while performing these. 

Avoid shuffle stepping - this is just extra, wasted energy.

Masters Athletes - are you looking for Masters-specific coaching and strategy?  Want help making sure that 20.4 is your best workout yet? 

Our brand new Masters-community can help - check out more on WODprep Plus!

20.4 CrossFit: Equipment

I'm generally not huge on CrossFit gear, but when it comes to Open workouts, you have to do what you can to set yourself up for success. With that being said, here's what I would advise for CrossFit 20.4...

  • Tape your thumbs
  • Wear lifting/OLY shoes if you have them 
  • Have a lifting belt on hand for when the Clean & Jerks start to get heavy
  • Wear knee sleeves if you have them


Last but not least - have fun. With only one workout left next week, try your best to enjoy these Open workouts, learn from them, and move forward. 

Need some recovery tips for CrossFit Open 20.4? Check it out:

About the Author Ben

The CEO and Head Coach at WODprep, Ben is passionate about helping fitness athletes of all abilities get their competitive edge and learn new skills! He's currently living in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two dogs, and whenever possible the two love to travel and explore new places around the world (and meet new WODprep athletes).

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  • JHS says:

    Do sleeves have benefits for those with strong, healthy knees?

  • […] CrossFit Open 20.4: Ultimate Strategy Guide For Rx, Scaled & Masters | WODprep […]

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