3 Killer Strategies for CrossFit Open Workout 21.1

Written By Ben  |  CrossFit, Open 

Welp, CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 is going to be anything but easy. Across all of the workout divisions for Open Workout 21.1, there are only two exercises that need to be performed per workout. Every workout type also follows a similar format for judging which is completing each respective workout for time with a 15-min time cap.

More than likely, you’re scratching your head wondering how to tackle this workout. How should you break up your sets? How should you attack this workout to beat the time cap? These are all questions I’m here to help you with.

Note, for this CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 strategy article, we’re going to cover tips for the Rx’d and Scaled divisions. Also, if you’re in the Equipment-Free division, the wall walk tips below will also be applicable for you!

My Top CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 Strategies

To help you navigate Open Workout 21.1 with strategy and intent, we’ve broken this 21.1 guide article into three sections. We’re going to cover jump rope, wall walk, and pacing strategies, respectively.

Jump Rope Strategies for Open Workout 21.1

Whether you’re attacking double-unders in the Rx’D division or single-unders in the scaled division, there are multiple ways to ensure you do so in the best means possible.

1. Position Your Rope Strategically

The first tip for anyone jumping rope is to position your rope with strategy when coming off your wall walks. Instead of throwing your jump rope on the ground carelessly, take a second and position it in a “U” shape. This will help you save time from untangling a carelessly tossed rope and get you into your double-unders and single-unders quicker.

2. Start With Practice Jumps

The next tip is to start every set with a couple of practice jumps if you need them. Instead of rushing your sets and starting a string of trips, do a few practice jumps, then get into the main work.

For example, take a couple of single-unders before starting your double-unders if you’re newer to this skill. By taking a few practice jumps, you can help yourself get into a smooth and consistent rhythm.

3. Breathe, Don’t Count

Another pitfall to avoid is counting your own reps. When you count your own reps you tend to start pacing yourself off of the numbers you’re counting. This can seriously throw off a smooth flow. Instead, have a friend or your coach/judge count for you while you focus on breathing.

4. Accumulate Reps By Any Means Possible

More than likely, you’re not going to finish this workout before its time cap. That’s why it’s important to have a strategy for accumulating reps, especially in the later sets. For example, if you have to do something like single, double, single, double when performing double-unders, then do it.

That is a much better strategy than having a double-under meltdown, trust me.

double unders

5. Don’t Have Double-Unders? Try Anyways!

Look, “Open magic” is a very real thing. I’ve seen countless athletes get things like their first muscle-up, double-under, and bodyweight snatch in the CrossFit Open. If you’re working on double-unders, don’t default to single-unders, go forth and attempt doubles.

Once you unlock one and begin to gain confidence, your mindset and skillset level will change forever.

Wall Walk Strategies for Open Workout 21.1

The wall walk is a novel exercise for the CrossFit Open. This means that for most of us, a lot of the execution for these might be a bit touch-and-go at the start. Here are my top tips for nailing wall walks for high rep sets.

1. Feet Flat, Shoulders Down

When you’re setting up for your wall walks, pay close attention to your body positioning. Make sure your feet are flat against the wall and your shoulders are down.

If we have the hands in a more prone push-up position, then our shoulders will likely be shrugged upwards which will only add additional work and distance that we need to travel.

2. Hips, Feet, Hands

When doing your wall walks, a great self-cue is to remember, “hips, feet, hands”. Essentially, you’re going to hike the hips up first, move the feet up the wall, then bring the hands. This sequencing will be more efficient than doing a flounder-esque approach with no flow.

Handstand - Wall Walks

3. Hand and Finger Position Matter!

For the Rx’D division, when you are setting up make sure your fingertips are on the line. Try to avoid moving the hand past or over the line as this will only add distance for how far you have to travel. In the later rounds, this can really add up, so work to have the fingertips precisely make contact with the line.

For the scaled division, make sure the edge of your palm is just over the line. Avoid overreaching and having the hand move far over the line. Similar to the Rx’D group, this will only add more distance that you need to travel, and it will create more work for yourself.

4. Make Your Reps Count

The last thing anyone wants is to get “no repped” later on in the workout when the shoulders are fatigued. Instead of rushing reps and chancing a “no rep” ensure you’re ready before beginning your ascent up the wall.

If you need to take a second to breathe, do it. You’ll save more time by taking that extra second than exerting a bunch of energy just to get “no repped” due to poor execution.

Pacing Strategies for Open Workout 21.1

This workout is all about pacing and having your engine do its job. That being said, we need to be mindful of how we’re pacing ourselves because we ALL have different skill levels and capabilities. Here are my top pacing strategies.

1. You Are Not Kari Pearce

Sadly, we’re all not Kari Pearce, and most of us won’t be able to take a lot of these sets unbroken and beat the time cap. This isn’t meant to discourage you, but more so to help you strategically use a pacing strategy that works for you.

In the world of sports, this is what we’d call “taking your medicine”. Basically, we need to be objective with our capabilities and not let our ego take control when attacking the higher rounds.

2. Count Your Breaths Between Wall Walks

Another great pacing tool is counting your breaths to autoregulate your exertion. As you get deeper into the workout, you have to be mindful of your engine and your cardiovascular capabilities.

To assist with this, start counting your breaths in-between your wall walks. This will help you pace reps and keep a heart rate that is manageable for longer durations. A super high heart rate will only fatigue you faster.

3. Stop, Breathe, Then Start Your Double-Unders

You’re tired, the time cap is sneaking up, and you start rushing double-unders. What generally follows this? Trip, trip, trip. Instead, stop and breathe before you start your double-under sets. Sounds easy, right?

Well, when your mind is tired and you’re feeling the fatigue accumulate, we can at times subconsciously rush. This is why it’s important to make a conscious effort to slow down and BREATHE before your sets.

4. Relax Your Shoulders

If there are two things that will get beat up this workout it’s your engine and your shoulders. On top of counting your breaths in-between your wall walks, it’s also a good idea to relax your shoulders.

Instead of staying in that push-up-like position at the bottom of your wall walk, relax the shoulders and shake them out or extend the arms. This will help promote blood flow and give them a break from maintaining constant tension.

My Takeaway Thoughts

There is no denying that this workout is going to be absolutely brutal despite only consisting of two exercises, but with strategy we can all make it through. My takeaway advice here is to be realistic with your abilities and play the accumulation game.

If you think about gathering as many reps as possible instead of finishing out right, then you can partition energy and effort with much more intent.

Follow for real-time tips and updates for the 2021 CrossFit Open





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