Dave Castro announced the 2014 CrossFit Open 14.1 workout as a repeat of the very first Open workout back in 2011:
AMRAP in 10 minutes:
30 double unders
15 snatches, 75#/55#
Rich Froning Jr. took first place in 2011 with an incredible 448 reps, just shy of 10 rounds. Tonight, Marcus Hendren and Garret Fisher went head to head to start the season and posted scores of 358 and 373 reps, respectively.
I’m actually surprised they would have double unders as the first movement of the Open. Many of the 172,000+ registered athletes already have double unders, but I’m willing to bet there are a whole lot that don’t. While it would be exciting for them to get their first one in 14.1, chances are they would have to scale the rest of the workout and post scores of 1, 2, or 3. The reason I was expecting burpees was for the same reason they put them in 12.1: practically EVERYONE can do them, no skill required. But I digress….
Let’s talk strategy:
Prep: Get two lacrosse balls, tape ’em together and work that thoracic mobility. Foam rollers are fine, but the lax balls will dig deep into that tissue to loosen you up. You don’t want to lose reps on a bar that isn’t over your head. Hamstrings will be used for both the snatch and the dubs, so warm them up as well. You want to be fairly warm by the time this workout starts for you aka don’t go out there cold otherwise you’ll get smacked in the face. (you’ll probably get smacked anyway around minute 5)
10 minutes is a long time. This is a simple couplet that is incredibly deceiving if you’ve never done it before. Your lungs and shoulders will be burning in the first few minutes and you’ll think about how 10 minutes can go so slowly. Pacing is key, but not too slowly.
If you have du’s, it should go without saying that you should do them unbroken. 30 UB du’s takes about 20 seconds or less, whereas a couple of sets can extend out to a minute. Stay relaxed, keep your elbows in, fling those wrists around, and keep your jump composed. I like to focus on a single point in the distance about 5 ft. up from my horizon, but that’s just my thing. Find a way to stay focused.
Snatches for most people will be light. You should NOT use the same form as you would a 1 rep max snatch. In fact, most people should be muscle snatching: a movement where you do not rebend under the bar to catch it in a power position. Hips are generally going to be higher in the start, legs are straighter, and lower back is used more for these light, high rep snatches. Keep the bar close, explode up, and lock the bar out quickly overhead. Hook grip will save your forearms just a bit.
Bringing the bar down, be smooth and keep the bar close again. By pausing a fraction of a second at the hip, you can descend back to your original starting point and retrace the way you came up. Try to keep the bar on the ground for as little as possible; Marcus and Garret both tapped the bars and brought them back up.
If you do need to power snatch, make SURE that you stand up with it for it to count. Nothing worse than shorting a rep and it not counting.
If you have to rest, do it intentionally. Don’t go crazy on the snatches if it means getting 10 reps, taking a 30 second break, and needing 5 more. Break it up in either 3 sets of 5 or 8 and 7. I like 8 and 7 or 9 and 6 because mentally you can say to yourself that you’re more than halfway and the next set is less than what you just did. Obviously in the last rounds, you may be doing singles or doubles to get reps in and this is fine.
Transition is key. These are quick movements that can earn a lot of points on the leaderboard and the difference between even one point could equal hundreds of spots due to ties. Don’t walk 10 feet from rope to bar if you can walk 5. Don’t throw your rope in dramatic fashion because you’re just going to have to pick it up again. Don’t ghost ride the bar and toss it somewhere because you’re either going to hurt someone or you’re going to have to hunt for the bar or both.
Every rep counts, but the dubs are so efficient in that it takes very little time to get a bunch of reps and therefore a bunch of points. 10 double unders takes 4 seconds, but 10 snatches can take 25-60 seconds! What does this mean for you? If at 9:30 you’re in the middle or starting snatches, you have to do everything in your power to get back to that rope. Because if you do, there’s a great chance you can rack up 10-30 reps in the remaining seconds.
Those are my candid thoughts, I didn’t even edit. I may add more, but I figured people are googling “CrossFit 14.1 strategy” in hopes of beating Rich.
ADDENUM: you MAY clean and jerk and although I said snatches were the way to go, I looked back to my notes from three years ago and I improved my score from 266 to 302 by clean and jerking when I felt like I could only do singles on snatches. I may or may not try this strategy, but it’s something to think about. The reason is that although C+Js are slower, if you can string them, then they make up over time