CrossFit Open WOD 20.1 Strategy Guide


Just when we thought we were done with the Open for 2019, we have arrived at the 2020 CrossFit Open! It’s a special year, where athletes will have a chance to show their skills and progression a second time, with a change of the Open season to October. If you have not signed up yet, there’s still time. Come join your friends and community for the next 5 weeks as we take on this beast together!

The first work out is very straightforward and a game of pacing; blow it out of the gate and you’ll be paying the price come round 7.


  • 8 Ground to overhead 95/65
  • 10 Bar facing burpees

(15min time cap)



We saw a similar pairing last year in 19.4 with power snatches and bar facing burpees. This year has a few more rounds but also allows us options with the change to ground to overhead. It really comes down to an athletes ability to move well and know their body. There is nothing overly complex or technical with 20.1 and should make for a great opening week burner.



If you are doing this early in the morning, it’s going to be best done fasted or consuming some liquid carbs 30 minutes prior.

If you are doing it later in the day, make sure you get a whole foods meal, including a small amount of lean protein and complex carbs, ideally 3 hours prior. You could also benefit from some quick carbs 30 min beforehand. Gatorade or dextrose with some optional BCAAs will work fine. Aim for about 20% your body weight in grams of carbohydrates.



Let’s start by getting the blood flowing throughout your body. I recommend 10-15 minutes of cardio at a steady pace that you could hold a conversation at. The rower is ideal, as it will promote and warm up hip extension, leg drive and the pull muscles required in this workout.

This one has really has a lot of hip flexion, hip extension and bending over, therefore the back, shoulders and hips will need to be nice and warm. It’s also quite taxing on the shoulder capsules and will challenge an athletes ability to maintain a smooth and clean overhead position throughout. Proper mobility will play a big roll in sustaining good form.

At least 1 min each side


Grab a foam roller and lacrosse ball. Spend some time on your lats, shoulder girdle and mid and lower back.

Next let’s get the shoulder girdle open. Start with PVC dislocates: 10 pass-throughs overhand, 10 underhand. After that, complete 2-3 sets of 15 alternating between banded pull-aparts and face pulls.

On to the pull up bar. Start with 2x15sec dead hang, then 2×10 scap pull ups, and lastly a set of 5-10 kip swings. It’s important to not spend too much time hanging on the bar and over tax your grip in the warmup.

Some explosive hip drills should be performed as well. Perform two rounds of 7 each: tuck jumps, broad jumps, high jumps.

At this point, your body should feel warm, mobile, and ready to start moving faster! Let’s get into a 20.1 specific warm up.

Get your bar loaded up to the prescribed weight, RX 95/65. You should run through the two movements, perhaps try

2 rounds of:

  • 3 to 4 Ground to overhead
  • 4 to 5 Bar facing burpees

Rest 2 minutes and repeat

These burpees should be performed at the same pace you plan to do the 10 rounds of 10 during the workout. Did I mention pace yet? This workout is all about pace! I’ll talk more about that and strategy soon.

About 5 minutes before your heat time, we NEED to get your heart rate jumping up. Get on the assault bike and go hard for 12/8 cals for 3 to 5 sets.

By now you should be ready to give this one your best! Stay calm, breath, and remember to PACE!

But first, let’s talk about these movements.



This can be performed as any variation of the snatch or clean and jerk. We are working with a moderate, respectable weight. Most athletes will perform the reps touch and go. There are 10 sets of 8 reps here, so breaking the sets up may be necessary, and could also save grip and keep your heart rate down. As far as performing a power or muscle snatch versus clean and jerk, it comes to your ability to perform clean, smooth reps. If you can snatch 135/95 for 10 unbroken, go for snatches. If you’re on the fence, you can always alternate each round between snatches and clean and jerk. And if performing 40-80 snatches RX is not for you right now, smooth clean and jerks are the way to go!


10 sets of 10 bar facing burpees. That’s 100 burpees; exactly what you should be thinking about when you approach your pace here. Elite athletes are finishing 20.2 sub 10 minutes, while most Open competitors will be just looking to finish under the 15 minute time cap. With 10 rounds that gives you 90 seconds a round. Figure out how long the ground to overhead takes you and how much time you have for the burpees. I know everyone comes out way to hot I’m round one, but round 2 through 8 or 9 you really need to stay steady and move at your own pace. You can kick it up at the end but don’t risk dying early and staring at the bar.

Now this isn’t your everyday 7 minutes of burpees; it’s bar facing burpees! These must be performed perpendicular to the bar, with both feet leaving the ground at the same time, clearing the bar. You can turn mid air or when you land. Notably, this year if any part of your body touches the bar, you have to re-do the burpee, so keep it clean! Thankfully, unlike last year, we can once again step up in the burpee. I really don’t want to see anyone jumping up. There’s no reason for it when doing 100 burpees and even Panchik and Froning stepped up every rep last night.

The last thing I’ll say about burpees is breathing is key. Get a breath in at both the top and bottom of the movement and avoid going to fast. PACE!


I promise this is the last time I’ll mention pace but think about this as a 2 mile run, find your groove, settle in and save some for the finish line!

Sweatbands, wrist wraps and/or gymnastic grips could be helpful if you sweat half as much as I do. Keep some chalk nearby, but if you’re chalking up every round it’s going to cost you half a minute 🤔

This workout is definitely repeatable, as CNS fatigue should be very manageable. If something went wrong or you know you could do even a little bit better, give it another go on Monday.

And let’s remember, this is week 1 of 5, the Open is long and there’s work to be down. About 30 minutes after this workout, try to get in 40% of your body weight in grams of liquid carbohydrates (I prefer half dextrose, half maltodextrin) and about 20% your body weight in whey protein. Two hours later, aim for a whole foods meal with complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Try to save the claws and pizza for tomorrow or next month and get at least 8 hours of sleep tonight. We are 1 day closer to 20.2! 😬

Now go get after it and crush this one! 💪🏽💪🏽

-Nick Alexander