CrossFit Open 14.1 Strategy Guide, Tips & Tricks

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UPDATED: Friday morning at 9:40 AM. Clean and Jerks are good too!!!

We are off and the first workout of 2014 is…the same first workout from 2011. Very creative CrossFit…

This is a strategy guide with tips and tricks for 14.1. By now, there must be a ton of blog posts out there about how to best do 14.1.

My guide is based off of personal experience with this workout. When it was first released in 2011, I think I did it 5 times, each time getting better at it.

My final score was 6 rounds + 43 (13 snatches). After the last rep, I dropped to the floor like I had been kicked in the nuts. Good times.

I have one theoretically game-changing (or waste of time) trick at the bottom of this post.

(It was possible in 2011 to do it 5 times because the first two weeks of the 2011 Open was the same workout. There was a first year glitch. Yay for us!)

Who would benefit from this guide?

This guide is intended for the beginner to intermediate level CrossFitter. The closer you are at getting to Regionals or you go already, I’m betting not much here you haven’t considered already.

All my suggestions below will be based off of 2 extremes and mens weights. One extreme is the 75# is LIGHT because you can max power snatch at least 150. The other is the 75# is your max power snatch.

You can just adjust my suggestions based off your ability.

Also, I’m assuming you can do double unders, even if slowly, and can snatch 75#.

If you can’t snatch the weight, you either are not strong enough (highly unlikely!!!) or you haven’t practiced an effective technique to do it (much more likely).

The Snatch

Assuming 75# is LIGHT…It’s not a snatch. Not anything like the traditional sense seen here.

You can see what I mean here. That’s the champ and he did 9 Rounds + 43 reps on this in 2011. Not one “pretty” snatch in that whole thing.

Here is Jason Khalipa. Here are the two studs that just did it live. Fast forward to 30:00.

Lifting a light weight many many times over your head is MUCH MORE EFFICIENT with technique that is:

– minimal knee bend at start of lift. Think high hips deadlift.
– minimal change in height of body mass
– minimal explosion/jumping of feet
– minimal squatting to receive the bar. Probably none at the beginning, some near the end.
– minimal use of grip and relaxing it at the top of the snatch.
– hit off the lower thighs. Possibly no hit at all if you are super strong.

Things you should consider changing and playing with:

Grip width – narrow it a bit so you can pull there weight up with upper body/arms more effectively.

Grip width – narrow it so you can touch the weights to the floor without having to squat down so low.

Grip width – WIDE but only if you can touch weights to floor without squatting. This greatly shortens the distance the bar has to travel over your head.

Assuming 75# is HEAVY…forget this advice and do CLEAN AND JERKS (power cleans and push presses). Your Clean and Jerk is much stronger than your snatch…am I right?

The Pace

Assuming its LIGHT…this workout is sneaky sneaky.

For the double unders, you’ll want to do unbroken if you are skilled. You can easily do the Snatches unbroken. Certainly does not mean you should!

I’ve seen plenty of potentially good times just blow up into hopes and dreams because someone decided to go “unbroken”. Bro, great first round time of 56 seconds…why was your last round 2:30?

When I break, I like to use descending sets. So 8-7 or 6-5-4 or 4-4-4-3. It gives you a sense of confidence and relief to have less to do as you fatigue.

Breaking allows you to avoid terminal failure longer. Fatigue does not grow linearly, its gets up on you exponentially.

If this is your first time, do one round at a relaxed but strong pace. I know, its subjective…don’t dawdle and don’t floor it either. Ask yourself if you can maintain that round time for 10 minutes…if you are leaning towards possible, then use that time.

Lets say it is 1:30 or 90 seconds. Take 10 minutes or 600 seconds and divide that by 90. You get 6 Rounds + 60 seconds left for bonus reps. With a round time of 1:30, you can easily get over 6 rounds on this workout!!

You then map out the round split times.

Round 1 End 1:30
Round 2 End 3:00
so on….

Try to stick to the plan!!! If you are ahead of the times, and feeling great, just go faster.

If you fall behind, your estimate was off, and trust your intuition on what is a sustainable pace. You will not catch up by going faster, you will just implode in about 30 seconds by doing so.

If you have a previous score or can do a practice run at 80%, it will be much easier for you to calculate round times.

Assuming 75# is HEAVY…well, its not going to feel that bad at all when you finish.

The heavier it is, the more rest time you’ll need between reps, the more this becomes a lifting session rather than a cardio workout. The double unders will just be a fun break from all the lifting.

Maximize Your Score

We’ve talked about pacing and I wanted to highlight this in a section of its own.

Obviously, the more reps you get the better. However, depending on your pacing, you can easily lose yourself 30 extra double under points because you rested an extra 15-30 seconds in the last round of snatches.

It only takes 15-30 seconds to do 30 double unders. It takes much more than that to do the snatches.

As the workout progresses and you have 1:30 to 2 minutes left, think about what you are doing. If you are starting double unders, it is very possible with a kick at the finish to complete the snatches and get back to doing double unders.

Tips & Tricks

When you complete Double Unders, set the rope down so they are not tangled and it is easy for you to pick up. Duh.

I have an idea for this workout that, theoretically, could work really well…I’ll have to test it but here it is.

Here is one rule from the Rules for 14.1

“If you begin with an empty barbell, or a barbell that only has plates smaller than standard bumper plates, each repetition must begin with the barbell clearly below the knees.”

So what this rule is saying is if I loaded a 45# barbell, with metal 10# and 5#, it would be 75# and the legit weight. It’s also saying I just need to lower the bar below my knee.

Well, “below my knee” can be much higher than where a barbell normally would be if it had bumper plates on it.

For example, below my knee to the floor is 19″. A barbell would be about 9″ from the floor if it had bumpers on it.

19″ – 9″ = 10 extra inches I’m moving TWICE (up and down) on each rep. Say you did 5 Rounds, that’s 75 snatches x 10″ x twice = 125 Extra Feet of barbell movement!

Subtract out some slop for dropping last reps, consider each power snatch rep you move a barbell 10-12′, and you could save the same distance it would take to do 8-10 power snatches!

There is a downside to this. By having the full size bumpers, you can do touch and go reps which means the plates striking the floor gives you a little rebound on each rep.

However, I think you should try it and see if its easier for you. I am certain some will find it much easier to use smaller plates and just go below the knee!

If you choose this, do not drop the barbells and definitely do not use the bearing bars for this!

Ideas? Questions?

I would love to hear them! Good luck everyone!

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