Did you, along with CrossFitters across the globe, watch the live announcement, only to think, “I have to do 100 burpees?!?” 

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Within moments, social media lit up with people panicking about the time cap, the burpees, and agonizing over whether to do power snatches or clean and jerks for the ground to overhead movement.

And then came the memes.

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If there’s anything CrossFitters are good for, it’s making killer memes about how much we love (and love to hate) our workouts.

Once we all got over our collective panic – 100 burpees!! – it was time to start strategizing to attack (and survive) the first WOD of the Open.

Here are some tips, tricks, and strategies from throughout the CrossFit community to help you embrace the suck and get through Open workout 20.1:

Ground to Overhead – To Snatch, or to Clean?

The big debate on social media has been whether to power snatch or clean and jerk to complete the ground to overhead movement.

Our advice: Pick whatever you can hang onto for longer, and scale weight accordingly.

If you’re great at cycling power snatches quickly, then go for power snatches. If you feel as if you’ll have to drop the bar every rep or two to regrip your snatch, then do clean and jerks, or even power cleans with push presses.

The only thing that matters here is that your arms lock out fully above your head. If they don’t, you’ll get no-repped.

Tier Three Tactical has some advice about what weight to choose for your ground to overhead movement: Only RX the weight if the prescribed weight is less than 50% of your one-rep max on either the power clean or the clean and jerk.

So, if you’re a female who wants to try RXing at 65 lbs, your one-rep power snatch or clean and jerk max needs to be at least 130 lbs

This will help ensure you have the strength to cycle the barbell in as few sets as possible, giving you better speed and not burning you out as quickly.

Bar-Facing Burpees – Everyone’s Nemesis

Now, the thing everyone’s talking about – the bar-facing burpees.

Yes, if you complete all 10 rounds of 20.1, you’ll be doing 100 bar-facing burpees.

But don’t think of it that way. Instead, break the burpees up into manageable chunks and just keep moving through them.

Rather than thinking of 10 rounds of 10 burpees each, think of getting through 1 set of 10 burpees at a time. Or, mentally break it up into 2 sets of 5 burpees.

If you’re going all-in on the burpees, WODPrep suggests using one of two methods:

Step up, Step down: This method is slower, but can help you keep a smoother, more consistent pace and decreases chances of burning out too quickly.

Splat down, Step up: With this option, you’re saving your arms a little because you aren’t relying on them as heavily to lower yourself to the ground. However, this does use more energy and can cause you to slow down over time.

If you’re planning to RX the workout, be sure you are always taking off on both feet when jumping over the bar. One foot leaving the ground before the other will earn you a no-rep.

One tip from WODPrep to help you maintain a consistent path, giving you better energy economy, is to use chalk to mark your hand position on either side of the bar before the WOD starts. You’ll have a target to aim for each time, decreasing the chances that you’ll snake back and forth and waste time and energy.

Warm-up Properly

The key to a great WOD that doesn’t completely tank you is a solid warm-up. 

With 20.1 you’ve got some serious strength work and barbell cycling, as well as a big cardio element with the burpees.

CrossFitter Cole Sager suggests to spend some time really warming yourself up properly before jumping into the WOD, including your hips, back, and shoulders to be able to tackle the ground-to-overhead movements effectively, as well as a good cardio warm-up.

Hip Warm-ups

To get your hips opened up and ready to take on the ground-to-overhead movements, consider these movements:

Back Warm-ups

You’ll need your back ready to go for both movements, so get it there with these warm-ups:

Shoulder Warm-ups

Fire up your shoulders with these warm-ups:

Once you’ve warmed up those muscles, get your heart pumping and sweat flowing so you’re not going into the burpees cold.

Go for a jog, hop on a rower, or spend some time on the assault bike. Cole Sager also recommends, in addition to a lower-intensity cardio warm-up, upping the intensity about 5 to 10 minutes before you plan to tackle 20.1 to spike your heart rate.

Then, take some time to bring your heart rate back down, but don’t sit before you WOD – You don’t want your muscles to stiffen up!


The CrossFit adage “smooth is fast” absolutely applies to 20.1.

If you try to rip through your reps in the hopes of banking time, it will catch up with you about midway through the WOD. Instead, focus on finding a pace that allows you to maintain consistency from round to round, even when you’re getting tired.

Your first round will, inevitably, be your fastest. You’re fresh, you’re excited, and you may even be a little nervous. That’s OK.

Aim to keep rounds 2 through 8 at as close to the same time as possible. This ensures you’ve got a steady, even pace and less chance of burning out too quickly. 

For the last two rounds, just throw your all into the movements and get through it.

No matter what your strategy, make a plan and do your best to stick to it, even when you’re in the thick of things. Good luck on Open 20.1!

What’s your strategy for getting through Open WOD 20.1?