23.3 – Celebrate How Far You’ve Come…While Upside Down

By Kendra Whittle
Mar 03 2023

23.3 – Celebrate How Far You’ve Come…While Upside Down

Come…While Upside Down

The final workout of the 2023 CrossFit Open is what is known as a “separator workout” – it contains intermediate movements that must be completed quickly and successfully every single time. Athletes will quickly be whittled out thanks to a relentless, short clock, leaving the elite to continue on to the next round of competition leading to the 2023 CrossFit Games. And that’s really what the Open is all about, right?

Following the workout announcement, Competition Director Adrian Bozeman said the most important thing about this final Open workout came back to the spirt of ALL CrossFit athletes. He said, “You guys are part of a culture that embraces challenge and celebrates effort over absolute placement on the leaderboard.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to prove him right.


Starting with a 6-minute time cap, complete as many reps of possible of:

5 wall walks

50 double unders

15 snatches (weight 1 – 65/95)

5 wall walks

50 double unders

12 snatches (weight 2 – 95/135)

If completed before the 6-minute time cap, add 3 minutes to the time cap and complete:

20 strict handstand push-ups

50 double unders

9 snatches (weight 3 – 125/185)

If completed before the 9-minute time cap, add 3 minutes and complete:

20 strict handstand push-ups

50 double unders

6 snatches (155/225)

If you complete the workout, your score is the time it took you to complete the full workout. If you do not meet the time caps, your score is the total number of reps you completed.

There’s a lot of components to scale down depending on your athletic ability. For a full list, click here.

More proof this is a “separator workout” – Bozeman himself. He came right out and said that for most affiliate athletes, this is going to be a 6-minute sprint, “the shortest and most technically demanding test of the 2023 Open.”

When looking at this workout as a whole, your first thought might be – SHOULDER FATIGUE. And you would be absolutely right. That’s why, whether you’re capped at 6 minutes or are able to get through the entire 12 minutes of chaos, you’ve gotta pace yourself. With a very limited amount of time to get through sets, every single rep is going to count. A failed snatch, not walking your hands back far enough on the wall walks, and a missed dub – AKA no reps – have the potential to cost you big time, both with time and with your already-fatigued muscles. Take calculated rests to not tucker yourself out to quickly, putting you at a higher risk of failing on reps and having to do them over again. Work smarter, not harder.

Coaches advised during the Open announcement that smooth transitions will also serve you well in making every rep count. Don’t be in a hurry to pick up the jump rope or grab that barbell for the snatches immediately after getting upright. Fast transitions mean you’re more likely to move unsteadily and more likely to have improper breathing – both which set you up to make easy mistakes leading to no reps. Move quickly and purposefully to your next work area but take a breath and position yourself correctly before beginning, and you can make the most out of each movement.

Some tips and tricks for each movement of the workout:

Wall Walks

Wall walks make up a large bulk of the first 6-minute chunk of the workout before moving on to harder inverted moves (handstand push ups). A tight core is the secret to success with the wall walk. Bracing your midline and avoiding side-to-side rotations will help stabilize the movement and overall will make it easier.

Before we get into progressions that help you build the strength and balance necessary to complete a wall walk, it’s important to break down the movement itself.

Here’s how to do a wall walk, from start to finish:

Fitness blog The Progrm also recommends short, quick steps to get into that inverted position, as opposed to taking 2 to 3 giant hand steps back to the wall. Doing this will work hand-in-hand with your midline for stabilization. Remember that the farther you get away from the wall, the more tension on your upper body, so keep your descent smooth and consistent as well. No collapsing those legs away from the wall!

Double Unders

Dare I call the double unders your recovery move? Well, they are – kind of. Double unders are the steady, paced movement that give your body the opportunity to relax and for you to get your breathing under control. Concentrate on a higher jump as opposed to whipping the rope as fast as you can – this will help you to be more efficient with reps and to slow your heart rate. Stay agile on the balls of your feet and maintain a relaxed form, especially in your shoulders – you’ll need that shoulder strength for literally every other move in this workout.


The snatches vastly differ from the beginning of the workout to the end of the workout. They start with a high rep scheme at a low weight, and end with far fewer reps at a heavy weight. It’s a power snatch, and not a squat snatch, which means the pulling phase of the movement needs to be especially aggressive.

Cycle through snatches in the beginning of the workout as best you can, as the weight should be manageable. String together 4-5 at a time at a smooth, consistent pace – you’ll need to keep these moving if you want to stay on track for beating the initial 6-minute clock. But again, only keep this up if your form is good. It’s better to take a strategic rest and come back to strong reps than to keep moving with poor form and fatiguing faster (and possibly no-repping later on the line when you’re really getting tired and really needing reps to fast).

As the weight increases, keep up those strong arm pulls and DO NOT FORGET to keep that bar path close to your body. Fitness blog BarBend points out that as lifters increase their snatch weight, they need to drive with the lower body (thighs, hips and above the pelvis) and then pull hard with the arms, propelling the barbell higher and helping the lifter to stay closer to the bar during ascent. Heavy singles are obviously appropriate here, but don’t rest too much between reps. Let the bar settle, take one deep breath, and go again.

Cross training. Male athlete lifting heavy barbells

Handstand Push Ups

Back to inverted! This movement will weed out many athletes – especially since in the Rx’d version, they’re strict handstand push ups (though in some age divisions, they’re kipping handstand push ups – lucky!). Double check your perfect hand position (6-12 inches from the wall, a little wider than shoulder width apart) before the initial kick up into the wall. After hitting those snatches, spend a second shaking your arms out before the kick up – you’ll want to establish a sturdy base up against the wall before descent. Watch those 45-degree elbows and go slow on the descent, making sure to maintain control of your upper body strength. Make sure you’re well brushed up on your movement standards – your head needs to touch the floor at the bottom, and your arms need to lock out at the top to count. Again – this is NOT the time for a no rep!

As we close out this CrossFit Open, I’m again drawn to something Bozeman said while introducing this workout, something that I really think sums up the CrossFit spirit – the reason why year after year, despite my better instincts (ha!), I find myself back at the Open.

“Celebrate yourself and your effort.”

I will, and I hope you do too.

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