3 Dynamite Strategies for CrossFit Open Workout 21.2

Written By Ben  |  CrossFit, Open 

CrossFit Open Workout 21.2 is a repeat from Open Workout 17.1. To tackle Open Workout 21.2, we’re going to need tips and a solid strategy in place to log the best score possible.

Contrary to 17.1, for Open Workout 21.2, there’s been a significant change for the dumbbell snatch — and you can now change your grip at any point during the lowering portion.

We’ve built the ultimate Open Workout 21.2 tips and strategy guide to help you crush this workout for the first time OR beat the scores that you logged in 2017. Let’s make this your best CrossFit Open yet.

Want more exclusive CrossFit Open content and insights? Sign up to receive our 2021 CrossFit Open Strategy Guide and stay in the know! Also, enter to win tickets to the 2021 CrossFit Games.

My Top CrossFit Open 21.2 Strategies

We’re going to break this CrossFit Open Workout 21.2 strategy and tips guide into three sections where we’ll discuss best practices for pacing, dumbbell snatches, and burpee box jump-overs.

If you’d rather watch me go through it all on video, just click play below!


Pacing Strategies for Open Workout 21.2

No matter what division you’re competing in, pacing is going to be HUGE for success in 21.2. Here are my top two pacing tips for Open Workout 21.2.

1. Resist Going Full Speed At the Start

For this workout, we need to mind our pacing out of the gate and resist the temptation to send it too fast, too early. Upon the first rep, establish a pace that works for you and work to keep it until the later rounds to avoid burning yourself out.

With pure engine workouts like this, it’s not only an endurance game but a mental one to pace yourself accordingly based on your capabilities.

2. Adapt a Metronome Lifting Pattern

Essentially, I want you to adapt a metronome-like pace for your dumbbell snatches and box jump burpee reps. An even-keeled pace here will allow you to nail your breathing mechanics and get into a flow-like state especially when working through the higher rep sets.

pacing for crossfit open workout 21.2

If our speed is inconsistent, then we can burn ourselves out way too quickly. So, think like a metronome.

3. When You See the Light, Gas It!

Everyone will have a different version of “seeing the light”. For some, this could be the final round of the workout as they beat the time cap, and for others, this could be getting in as many reps as possible before the time cap.

Regardless of what “seeing the light” means for you in Open Workout 21.2, I want you to give it your all for the last portion to log your best score yet. This is why it’s important to pace yourself early on because otherwise we’ll fall flat at the end when we want to push.

Dumbbell Snatch Strategies for Open Workout 21.2

The dumbbell snatch is back, but with a fairly significant change. This year, you can switch your dumbbell snatch grip at any point as long as you lock out your rep. This means no more waiting until you’re below eye-level to switch, which could help some athletes.

1. Adapt a Movement Pattern Based On Your Capabilities

Basically, I think there are three primary ways athletes can perform the dumbbell snatch in this workout. Some will be more efficient than others and we need to adopt a means of completion that is feasible for our skill level.


  • Slow Transition: This type of dumbbell snatch entails putting the weight down, getting set, then performing your next rep. This movement pattern might be best for beginners or those who struggle with the prescribed weight, but want to attempt the workout with it anyways.
  • Fast Transition: As opposed to setting the dumbbell down, then getting set all over again, the fast transition entails following the dumbbell with the opposing hand, getting the body ready, and switching as fast as possible to complete your next rep. Basically, there’s no period of time where you’re taking a second to fully set.
  • Mid-Air Transition: The last and most advanced method is switching the hands during the downward movement pattern of the dumbbell snatch. This method is incredibly fast, however, it’s important to make sure you practice a few reps doing this before the workout and you’re conscious of your grip throughout — especially when you’re tired!

2. Don’t Be Sloppy With Your Contact

The last thing an athlete wants is to be “no-repped” for not touching both heads of the bell to the ground. Every rep, make sure you’re making contact with both dumbbell heads on the ground to ensure ALL of your reps counts.

In addition to touching both dumbbell heads, we also have to be mindful of how we’re setting the weight down. Try to set the dumbbell down after each set in a controlled fashion and keep your feet relatively planted so the dumbbell doesn’t bounce and roll away, only adding time to your workout.

3. Power Vs Traditional Reps

Outside of transitions, it’s also a good idea to select a movement pattern that is conducive to your goals and capabilities. Some athletes will power snatch the dumbbell while others will perform a traditional, lower-hip position dumbbell snatch.

Both options can be awesome, but if we’re not going into the workout without consistency in our movement patterns, then we may fatigue too quickly. Basically, we don’t want to have half of our reps in ONE set be power, then the other half be traditional as this can throw off our pacing and timing.

If you want to switch styles whenever you hit certain rounds or levels of fatigue, then do so, and have a plan in place before you hit the workout.

Burpee Box Jump-Over Strategies for Open Workout 21.2

The burpee box jump-overs are loved by some and loathed by many. This exercise can make or break scores and can be absolutely brutal especially as we hit the later rounds.

1. Choose How You’re Getting Down to the Ground

There are two primary ways to get to the ground for your burpees. One method will be faster and more efficient, while the other will be slower but more beginner-friendly.

  • Jump Down: The jump down is the fastest and most efficient means for performing high-rep burpee sets. My advice here is to find a means of jumping down that doesn’t tax your body to a high degree. Basically, jump down and slow your momentum, and DO NOT perform a strict push-up.
  • Step Down: The step down is much slower and beginner-friendly. This movement pattern entails a consistent curation of stepping down one leg at a time to get the body flat and perpendicular to the box. My advice here is to still move quickly and avoid doing a strict push-up and create a consistent pace throughout.

2. Choose How You’re Standing Up

We talked about lowering yourself down, now let’s turn our attention to standing back up. Similar to getting down, there are two primary ways we can stand up from our burpee.

  • Step Up: The step up tends to be the most efficient option and will usually help you save energy because you can establish a more feasible pace. Basically, during the step up, you’ll have time to breathe and control your pace right before your jump.
  • Jump Up: The jump up is fast, but more than likely it will gas you quickly. A lot of us don’t have the capability to do a more “plyometric” style of getting up for this many burpees in a concise, quick workout. My advice here is to limit this tactic unless you absolutely have to use it.

3. Keep the Hips Low on the Box

If you watch all of the elite CrossFit athletes, they all maintain a low hip position on the box. By doing this, you’ll be in a better position for nailing your consecutive reps. PLUS, this method will help you save time because standing up can be inefficient when we’re racing the clock.

So, once you jump onto the box, keep a low hip position with adequate knee flexion to pop up and right off to get into your next burpee rep.

4. Mind Your Shoulders

On top of keeping the hips low, it’s also a good idea to keep your body in a more “sideways” position. Essentially, I don’t want you to jump up with square shoulders because this will only require you to then turn the body once you come off the box.

Similar to standing up, turning the body will only add time to your workout and increase your overall effort. The takeaway here is to jump with low hips and EITHER keep a slightly sideways position to quickly get into your next rep OR turn in the air during step down process.

For the scaled division, I’d suggest stepping up with one foot as soon as you get up from your burpee and keep a low hip position throughout without bringing the second foot fully to the box. This will help you be efficient and keep your score lower due to limiting wasted time and effort turning.

5. Use Your Arms In the Burpees

Arm swing equals momentum. When doing your burpees, use your arms to help propel your body forward and on to the box. When efficiency is the game, use all of your limbs strategically to assist with momentum and energy conservation.


This one is huge. Before you start the workout, use chalk or tape (ask your gym first!) to mark a consistent hand position that puts you close to the box without bumping your head.

A lot of times when we get fatigued we’ll jump off the box at different distances. If we do this, then we may perform burpees that are far away from the box which can create additional movement, AKA increase our effort and drive fatigue up further.

As a rule of thumb, set your hand position in a means that keeps your head a few inches away from the box to avoid bumping it and to keep you close for burpee sets.

My Takeaway Thoughts

Repeat Open Workouts can be one of the best tools we can use to track how far we’ve come and improved. CrossFit Open Workout 17.1 was absolutely brutal, but hopefully, this year you can implement of these Open 21.2 tips to improve your score.

The name of the game is having a strategy in place before starting the timer. Positions, movement patterns, and setups are all major factors to help you log your best Open Workout 21.2 score yet!

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




Blog post – Crossfit Open 21.3

YouTube Video – CrossFit Open Workout 21.2 – Full Strategy Guide
Blog Post – CrossFit Open Workout 21.2 Announced (All Workouts)
Blog Post – 4 Steps to Nail Your Open Workout 21.2 Video Submission

Blog Post – CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 (All Workout Types)
Blog Post – 3 Killer Strategies for CrossFit Open Workout 21.1
Blog Post – Tips and Strategies to Master the Wall Walk in CrossFit Open 21.1
YouTube Video – CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 – Full Strategy Guide

Get my FREE Strategy Guides delivered to your inbox every week!
2020 CrossFit Open details (if you’d like to compare this year to the 2020 Open)
WODprep’s Open Practice Workouts
Blog Post – 5 Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss The 2021 CrossFit Open
Blog Post – The CrossFit Open: All You Need to Know

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts

Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Chest-Facing Handstand Push-Ups
The Ultimate Guide to Handstand Walks: Nine Drills to Master
Add Accessory Programming to Get Better at CrossFit®
Mastering Burpees for CrossFit®: Techniques, Scaling, and Pacing
5 Amazing Shoulder Mobility & Warm-ups for CrossFit®
How To Get To The CrossFit® Games As A Masters Athlete
Effective Strategies to Address Knee Pain for CrossFit® Athletes
Test Your Absolute Strength & Fix Your Weaknesses
How to Build Absolute Strength for CrossFit
The Strength Pyramid: Building a Solid Foundation for CrossFit®
CrossFit Age Group Semifinals 2024: Workouts, Standards & Strategy
How WODprep Can Help You To Make Quarterfinals