CrossFit® Open 18.2 – The Complete Strategy Guide (Scaled, Masters, and Rx)

Written By Ben  |  Open 

CrossFit Open 18.2 workout tips

Week two is underway! And of course, WODprep has your back for all things Open-related.

Last weekend, our CrossFit® Open 18.1 Complete Strategy Guide got a ton of hits. Your feedback was incredible! Our goal is to help even more athletes this week. So before we start, we want to ask that you share this guide with a friend or two if you find it valuable.

Moving onto the WOD. Patrick and Noah did a great job showing us how it’s done. Which was definitely necessary, because Castro did a hilarious job explaining it. My goodness. He needs a bigger blackboard... and a penmanship class. But ya gotta love the guy! If you didn’t watch the live event, you can catch it here.

Last week’s WOD seemed like an eternity. We have a feeling this week we’ll all be wishing we had a little more time to complete the task. Let’s dive in.

CrossFit® Open 18.2: The Workout



1/1, 2/2, 3/3 - up to - 10/10

  • DB Squat (50s / 35s)
  • Bar-Facing Burpees

18.2A - 1RM clean (in remaining time)



1/1, 2/2, 3/3 - up to - 10/10

  • DB Squat (35s / 20s)
  • Bar-Facing Burpees

18.2A - 1RM clean (in remaining time)



1/1, 2/2, 3/3 - up to - 10/10

  • DB Squat (*weight dependent on age)
  • Bar-Facing Burpees

18.2A - 1RM clean (in remaining time)

For a complete standards guide, please visit

Just like last week, we encourage you to Rx this WOD!

18.2 Crossfit strategy

CrossFit® Open 18.2 - Strategy:

Go "a little hot" on the MetCon to buy a little extra time on the barbell; the goal is to not rest at all. If you start off too fast and have to rest, you likely hit it too fast in the beginning. Remember... both 18.2 and 18.2A have equal value, so your goal is to do as well as possible on both.

CrossFit® Open 18.2 - Mindset:

  • Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.
  • This is an ascending ladder so it’s designed to be incrementally more difficult as time passes.
  • There are 110 reps in 18.2 - the halfway point is the round of 7/7!

CrossFit® Open 18.2 - Movement:

Dumbbell Squats

  • Don’t get no-repped on your first rep. Standards dictate you must lock out your hips before dropping into your first squat. Don’t squat clean your first rep. If you power clean your first rep, stand up completely before dropping. 
  • Don’t throw your DBs away! Place them on the floor right outside your feet so you can step right into your next first rep. 
  • Hands must be on the DBs at all times! Keep your elbows up and out, the higher the better. This will open up your chest and let you keep a straight torso. Shifting the DB weight towards your upper back will save your quads.
  • Keep a regular front rack full grip on the DBs in the beginning. Then switch to the “crease grip” as the sets get longer. See the strategy video for more details on the “crease grip” we recommend.
  • Keep your DBs outside of the bumper plates on either side of your barbell. This will prevent your feet from crashing into them on the burpees. 
  • BREATHE! Keep it 1:1. Don’t try to squeeze multiple reps into one breath.

Bar-Facing Burpees

1 Rep Max Clean

  • Your everyday athlete will not have copious amounts of time like Noah and Patrick did. So don’t expect to be able to sit on the floor for two full minutes before your first rep.
  • Hit about 80 to 90% of your clean 1RM before the WOD if you can. We suggest hitting a weight heavier than your planned opening weight. Otherwise, your opening weight will feel overwhelming after the MetCon.
  • The opening lift should be ~80-85% of what you built to in warm-up. Your goal is to have 2-3 attempts at the Clean - plan them out ahead of time.
  • Other people can help you with the barbell. Take advantage! If possible, have someone help you with adding weight. This will be a huge edge over those changing their own weights. If you can sit down on the ground while other people load/switch your weight, that would be best.
    • Let your coach know your plan for weight escalation so there’s no time spent “arguing”.
    • Don’t shy away from adding incremental (1lb / 2lb) plates. There will be A LOT of ties for lifts ending in a 0 or 5. Grab a slight edge by adding the smaller plates, chances are you won’t feel the difference.
  • Aim to take smaller jumps in weight (20 lbs or less) instead of big jumps (30lbs or more).
  • Focus on “fast elbows”. Don’t let a lazy catch ruin your lift.
  • If your power clean is as strong as your full (squat) clean, then you should try power cleans for 18.2A. You’ll only know how you feel once you get there!
  • SAFETY TIP: Please keep your extra bumper plates away from your barbell's path. We don't want dropped barbells ricocheting off the plates and injuring you or someone around you. This should be standard practice, but it's worth mentioning again. 

CrossFit® Open 18.2 - Gear:

  • Knee Sleeves: Lots of squats in this WOD so if you’re used to knee sleeves, they’ll come in handy.
  • Olympic Lifting Shoes: I will be wearing lifters for both 18.2 and 18.2A. If you’re not comfortable doing burpees in this type of shoe, then you could switch shoes between events. However, that will waste a lot of time, which most of us won't have to begin with. They are going to be a great help with the DB squats and 1RM clean.
  • Belt: A belt will help tighten up your exhausted core. Don’t worry about this for 18.2, but I’m going to strap up for 18.2A. Again, if you’ve never lifted with a belt, don’t worry about it! This is not a time to try anything new. 
  • Tape: Tape your thumbs! This will help with your hook grip, especially under fatigue. If you don’t hook grip, shame on you! WODprep athletes should ALWAYS hook grip for heavy Olympic lifts.
  • Super pumped for everyone to CRUSH 18.2/a! Comment here with scores, take-aways, questions, etc.

    If you didn’t see it, MAKE SURE you read #2 of the “Before You Leave” section…

    WODprep will match your donation dollar-for-dollar, just make sure you read why above 🙂

    • Nope – not allowed to have more than one set, I’d just have them on the side of the barbell so you can get to them quickly no matter if it’s even or odd burpees.

  • Did it last night! Blow out the metcon, you will recover! My quads blew up in the metcon to where I could barely pushoff my toes to pop up on the burpee (one person said it was more their hamstrings), but did not think twice about my quads when maxing the clean so again don’t hold back in the metcon! Waited almost a full two minutes before attempting my first lift. Core felt smooshy on first squat clean but cleans got better as the weight went up and the time went by. I went from being laid out on the ground after the metcon to PRing my squat clean so know that you will recover!! Good luck and go get it guys!!

  • I have read from others that you can have a more than one set of dumbbells in your work space. For example, one set on each side of the barbell. The rule says “only one set of dumbbells” but it is not specific to work space. Do you know what the exact rule is? Having not to jump over again would be a huge save for the legs.

  • I’m thinking about trying a grip that wasn’t mentioned, where the dumbbells are vertical keeping the weight as back as possible – to make it more back-squat-like and less front-squat-like.

    • Hmm, that could work! Really for the DBs you want something that will allow you to move as fast and smoothly as possible. If you test a certain technique and love it, do it! 🙂

  • Love the tips and recommendtations. I follow you regular guides and am a frequent user. Thanks for putting these together.

    One problem i have had is that i do not get the prep guide emails once i sign up. It is a simple as i don’t get an email. Do you have the guides online? It is probably an error on my part

    • This is odd, Paul. Can you drop [email protected] an email and explain the issue. Once you get on the email list you’ll get the full warm-up video to go with the workout, which we’ve gotten great feedback on.

  • I read your article and watched the video (several times) for 18.1 and that helped me tremendously. I’ve been a member of my local Crossfit for 13 months and it’s a great facility and has the best decision in regards to “fitness”. This Opening is my very first competition and was a bit uneasy until I read your page. Your WOD-Preps are great. Thank You for doing these “tips” on getting us prepared.

  • How do you tape your thumbs?

    Thanks. I appreciate all your tips. They don’t help with my nerves…..but nothing will.

  • I did the open today, followed all your tips, thanks. Marking the floor was helpful and I kept a steady pace. I sped up on the last 10 burpees to make up a little time. Another tip I actually picked up somewhere else was to keep DB close together so I was already in my squat stance when I picked them up. I was satisfied with my time but not my lift. I started off 20 lbs under my PR and went up by 10lbs but was unable to hit it even with 3 attempts. My form was off and I knew it. I’m going to practice cleans over the weekend to improve my form and retry Monday. 🙂

  • hi your tips for 18.2 and 18.2a worked for me and results are awesome. the marking tip for burpees it helped a lot as i seen many of people struggle while doing burpees because of they gonna hit by barbell as they haven’t marked.
    thank you guys.

  • Thanks for the strategy guides Ben! The tips you gave on keeping your dumbbells between your legs and marking your hand placement for the burpees was a major help; I probably couldn’t have gotten a 7:35 without it.

  • If an athlete reaches for the barbell at 11:59 min (on 18.2 open wod) picks it up but does not do the rep completely within the 12 min time cap.
    The beep sign goes off when the barbell is at the athlete chest high – and looks like he missed by a split of a second.

    The question is:
    Even after the beep – does a movement that started right before it still counts?

    (Like a basketball thrown on air right before the end and scores)

  • Ben, as always, great tips. Went smooth and steady on the burpees. Dumbbells were pulling me forward a little while in the crease, but staying upright actually gave me something to focus on in the higher rep squat sets.

    Hit 5lbs less than my clean PR. I wish my box had some 1lb’s ers.

    Whats your take on re-do’s? I think you have talked about it before. My understanding of the scoring is that your weight for 18.2A is the primary score with 18.2 Metcon as a tie break? Thereby, anyone who cleans more weight than you will automatically have a better score. Is that right?

  • Hi guys,
    thanks for the tips, actually the burpees were the worst, the first time I did it with lifters and he burpees felt really bad, for my redo I used regular shoes and beat my time by 1min and 20 sec and then used that time to chance to lifters shoes.
    Definitely your advise to put the dumbbell together and then lift them and start squatting without moving setting my legs each round help me a lot. Thanks again and I look forward for your tips to 18.3.

  • Did it last night! Kinda dissapointed with my performance 🙁 in 12 mins I was in my 2/10 burpees and didn’t make the clean. I definetely have to work on my endurance, anyway thank you so much for your guide tips they are awesome!

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