Open WOD 19.1 - Strategy - 3-2-1-GO!

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The 2019 CrossFit Games Open has begun. And this year, we are starting with a burner!

Open WOD 19.1 is as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of 19 Wall Balls and a 19 Calorie Row.

While it seems like a simple workout, a good strategy is important to get the best score possible. This workout is not one to be won in the first round, however, without a strategy, you sure could lose it in the first round if you aren’t careful.

Last night during the announcement for 19.1 we got to see 3 former CrossFit Games Athletes put on a show and crush the first workout in the Open. Kelly Friel was the CrossFit Games Masters runner up last year. Steven Fawcett has qualified for the Games twice, once as an individual and once with a team. And of course, 2013 Fittest Female on Earth, and now, 5 times CrossFit Games qualifier, Sam Briggs, who won the live event completing at or near 9 rounds. Scores have not yet been posted and they did not tell us the final scores.

Now, even though all 3 of these athletes looked like they were just going balls to the wall the entire time (balls to the wall…see what I did there? 😊), they still had a strategy going into it and paced according to what they knew they could do. At this level, they consider everything from the speed of their reps to transitions between exercises and the number of breaths they took. Just like we heard from Masters athlete, Brown Russell a few weeks ago (check out the previous blog), they had a plan and they executed it, even though they just learned what the workout was a few minutes before.

As you prepare for this workout, keep these 5 components in mind:

The first component is “Manage Movement Speed”. For 19.1, this refers to how fast you are doing the wall balls and how fast you are rowing. Keep in mind, this is a 15-minute workout. If you begin your first round sprinting through the wall balls and the row, you are going to burn out quickly and it’s going to be tough to keep that pace for the rest of the workout.

Find a pace that will allow you to keep doing wall balls in the largest amount of sets possible. If you can go unbroken on the wall balls, GREAT. Whether you break your wall balls into sets or go unbroken, find a speed that will allow you to breath between reps.

**When you get done with the wall balls each round, get right on the rower and start pulling. Even in later rounds, you might still be catching your breath in the first calorie or two, just make sure you are continuing to move forward. Then, once you get your breathing under control, you can settle in and speed up your pace.

Managing your Work Sets or Set Size is the next component, and with only two exercises, and only 1 where sets come into play, this may seem simple, but can quickly get out of control.

First, unless necessary, no more than 4 sets to get through the wall balls. Any more than that is really going to eat the clock up. Unless you plan to go unbroken for most of your rounds, instead of going unbroken on the first round or two, do 2 - 3 sets of wall balls from the very beginning. This will help you control your breathing and keep your energy reservoir at a higher level through the workout. If you are doing more than 3 sets from the beginning, no more than 5 seconds before picking the ball back up and getting after it.

As for the row, make sure you are making the most out of each pull and once you get it going, keep that pace. NEVER stop once you start that flywheel spinning. As you will notice on the first calorie, getting it moving again is a lot more difficult than keeping it moving. If you need to slow down to breath, slow down, just don’t let it stop.

Deliberate Rest is an important one in this workout. That’s why it’s so important to keep bigger sets as you make your way through. When you break, count in your head or even watch the clock as you take 3-4 deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth to slow your heart rate. If you can keep your rest to 5 seconds or less, that is going to help you keep a faster pace throughout this workout.

Getting water is still resting and unless you can breathe while you are drinking water, it’s not going to help you fill your energy reservoir like breathing will. Make sure you are hydrated before you begin so you don’t need to get water. If you do, make sure the lid is off, straw is out, and your water is ready to go. Believe it or not, unscrewing a cap is a waste of time.

We will make the transitions between exercises easy by placing the rowers as close to your wall ball target as possible. That said, be sure your rower is set up correctly, the straps are easy to get in and out of and the damper setting is correct before you begin. You can set the damper to whatever you want. I would recommend between 5 and 7. When getting out of the rower make sure you loosen the straps enough to be able to slide right back in. Fiddling with the straps when you are tired and catching your breath is no fun.

And finally, using objective help. With the rower, this is going to be your pace and your strokes per minute. Keep an eye on it to make sure it stays stead and according to plan instead of all over the place. On the wall balls, listen for the crowd, often you will hear people counting down for you to get back on the wall. Use that help throughout the workout.

It may seem like a lot, just remember at the end of the day to HAVE FUN! Whether your goal is the Games or just to do your very best, that’s what it’s all about. Be there for the rest of the WildFire Community. No matter what your heat time, get there early or stay late to cheer on your fellow athlete. This may be an individual sport, however, it’s no fun to do it alone. The best way to be a leader is to be there to cheer people on and they are going to do the same for you.

It’s going to be a GREAT first week, so get ready for some FUN!!

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