On Wednesday, the CrossFit world was abuzz with this somewhat cryptic 20.2 clue on Dave Castro’s Instagram:
Could it mean running? “Ass to grass?” A sign that whatever 20.2 would be would cause everyone to be dead and buried?
Squats, wall balls, and thrusters were common predictions, but no matter what it was everyone knew it was going to be a burner, especially after the killer workout that was 20.1.
On Thursday night, live from Australia, we all learned what Dave Castro’s clue meant.
Yep. That’s a 20-minute AMRAP of dumbbell thrusters, toes to bar, and double unders.
While it is a simple workout on first blush, and scaling options are pretty manageable, this one’s a serious challenge for anyone looking to keep a consistent pace and really rack up the reps.
Here are some tips for tackling each portion of this exhausting WOD:
Dumbbell Thrusters – What’s My Weight Again?
The RX’d weights on the thrusters are 50 lb for men and 35 lb for women. That doesn’t seem like super-heavy weights if you’re only doing a few rounds, but when you pair that with the toes to bar and the fact that this is a 20-minute AMRAP and you’ve got a high chance of blowing out your shoulders real fast.
If you’re looking to scale this WOD, weights are 35 lb for men and 20 lb for women.
No matter what weight you choose, it’s important to choose a weight that allows you to do all four thrusters unbroken, each and every round.
Test your weights before you start the WOD. What may feel fine for a few reps when you’re fresh may get uncomfortably heavy several rounds in.
No matter what weight you choose, always make sure your squats are breaking parallel. If they don’t, you’ll get no-repped and slow yourself down.
Because transitions are so important in this workout, make sure you’re careful not to “ghost” your dumbbells.
If you drop them from the top, or even from your hips, those dumbbells are going to bounce and roll away from you, wasting time chasing them on your next round. Instead, guide them down exactly where you want them to go so you know where they’re at when you need them again.
Toes to Bar – If You Don’t Have Them, Try Them!
The next movement is six toes to bar, or hanging knee raises for those going scaled.
If you’re doing toes to bar, be sure to keep your core tight and your feet squeezed together so both feet hit the bar at the same time. Only reps where both toes touch at the same time will count.
What’s most important in toes to bar is your lat activation. Engage your lats, tighten your core, and push down on the bar to give yourself as much space as possible to get your feet in the air.
One of the big dangers here is having your hands rip. If you’ve got grips, wear them. But if you don’t, it’s worth it to take a little bit of time every few rounds to chalk up and minimize your chances of ripping.
The guys over at CrossFit Invictus recommend breaking the toes to bar up into a couple sets to help save your hands. If you’re prone to ripping, take this advice.
While racking up the numbers is important if you’re looking to get on the leaderboard for the Open, this WOD is also a great time to really work on your toes to bar.
If you’ve been practicing those kipping levers or knee raises for a while, try pulling your feet up for a rep or two. You might just surprise yourself, especially with the adrenaline and excitement that flows with the Open!
Double Unders – Keep Them Smooth
We all knew this one was coming in the Open, but we didn’t quite expect it so soon. And with the potential for so many rounds of them.
This movement is the bane of existence for many (mostly) women, and once the WOD was announced memes such as this one popped up:
If you’re scaling, there’s a 1:1 ratio of double unders to single unders, which is great for anyone who has trouble keeping track of higher numbers when you’re in the middle of a WOD.
The key here is to keep your core engaged, your feet tight together, and make your jumps higher than you think they need to be. As you fatigue, your jumps get lower and lower, making it more difficult to get the rope under your feet twice.
This is a very grippy WOD, so keep your grip loose on your rope to save your hands for the toes to bar.
As with your dumbbells, be purposeful where you drop your rope. Don’t just throw it down when you finish a set of double unders; instead, set it down so you can pick it up easily next time and so it doesn’t get tangled.
Set Yourself up for Success
There are a lot of transitions in this WOD, so making sure your space is set up to minimize the time it takes you is key.
If you’ve got the space, it may be best to put all your equipment in a line. Set your dumbbells on one side of the rig, and your rope on the other. This allows you to go from thrusters into toes to bar and then directly into your double unders. Use the few seconds it takes you to get from your rope back to your dumbbells to take a breath and get yourself ready for the next round.
For those who think the thrusters may get too heavy in later rounds, consider grabbing an extra, lighter set of dumbbells and setting them next to the heavier set. This way, you can just grab them when you need them, or leave them sitting if you don’t need them.
Also, be sure to grab an extra jump rope. There already are stories of ropes breaking mid-WOD, costing people valuable time in grabbing another.
Have a spare ready and waiting next to you just in case.
Pace Yourself – This Is a Long WOD!
As with every longer AMRAP, setting a consistent, manageable pace is important to keeping yourself from burning out too soon and tanking your rep count.
Instead of going full steam ahead right out of the gate, use the first five minutes or so to settle into your rhythm. The middle 10 minutes or so of the WOD will be really tough, separating those who paced themselves from those who didn’t. And the final few minutes are just a major push to the finish.
For most athletes, regardless of whether they’re scaling or going RX, aiming for about 1 minute per round is a good goal.
This gives you some breathing room in the later rounds as you get tired while also keeping something in the tank for that push through the final few minutes.
What part of 20.2 is your favorite?
Michelle Tipsword is a professional writer who tried CrossFit on a whim in May 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not writing or at the box, she can be found with her husband, kids, or cats, usually drinking coffee.