March 8, 2018
Nicole Carroll's Tips for 18.3

Watch the full demo of Nicole executing 18.3 here

Open Workout 18.2 challenged you to lift heavy weight under duress; 18.3 is asking you to execute challenging technical moves under duress. Not only is every single movement technical, but they primarily tax one body part: shoulders, shoulders and more shoulders. 

Overall Strategy

The key to this kingdom is composure. Nothing needs to be frantic or rushed. Think smooth, controlled, and relaxed. With all the double-unders and other technical movements, 18.3 presents copious opportunities to mess up. Simply moving steadily and minimizing mistakes will pay off big. 

Outside of the double-unders, keep all other movement breaks short and deliberate. Only rest to stave off failure. This workout has a chipper-like quality to it—meaning you may not get back to a movement for a second time—and the sets are relatively small. You can and should push the limits of how briefly you can rest before getting back to business.

Make all transitions quick, and get to it. Yes, you will be breathing hard, and yes, your shoulders will be tired, but there’s enough variation to successfully get going quicker than you think.

Warm up well for all movements. Warm up your muscle-ups, work through some progressions and get one or a few small sets of each (depending on your capacity). For the overhead squats and snatches, get up to your working weight and get comfortable there before starting. Check out @crossfittraining on Instagram for a great warm-up option.


Do the largest sets you can. If you start to miss or simply need a break due to fatigue, stay calm and do not let frustration ruin your sets. Do not be afraid to take a moment. Just breathe, relax the shoulders down, bring the hands into position and go again. Pausing to regain composure for an extra second or two can end up saving you time in the long run. 

Transition to the double-unders right away. Pick up the rope, take that quick moment to center yourself and get started; get some reps in. A small caveat to this: I had my best sets after the muscle-ups and worst sets after the overhead squats and snatches. This is likely due to having bigger sets and more time under tension for the shoulders. After the overhead squats and snatches, the double-unders took 20-25 seconds longer than they did after the muscle-ups. I might consider slowing down this transition ever so slightly to see if that helps me next time. 

Overhead Squats and Snatches

I was surprised by how difficult both of these movements felt. Warming up well and being mentally prepared that the fact that the overhead squats and snatches are as much a factor in this workout as the muscle-ups will help.

If you need to break up the overhead squats, do so before you start to fail. Take less rest than you think you need and get on with your next set. 

On the snatches, do not do squat snatches! Squat snatches are allowed but not required. As such, you should not do them! You should power snatch or muscle snatch. This was a hypoxia-induced mistake I made in the heat of the workout. 

Ring Muscle-Ups and Bar Muscle-Ups

Do not go to failure. That said, for many people, 12 muscle-ups won’t be a huge set. And the reality is, it’s a long road back to the next set, and you may not get there. So, push them. Go for the largest sets you can, stopping just shy of having to eek one out. Take a shorter break than you think you need, and get back up there. I feel like my breaks were a little long for both types of muscle-ups. I will endeavor to compress these break times a bit more on my next attempt. 

If you’re working on getting your first bar or ring muscle-up, or if a set of 12 is a huge feat for you, don’t worry. There is ample opportunity to practice, and you can use the energy of the Open to get your first one or PR a set of them. 

Final Thoughts

Focus on moving well. The benefits of this are exponential in a workout where the movements are technical and you’re trying to minimize impact on a single body part. The right way is also the most efficient and effective way. It translates to you not wasting energy and strength on errant movement—i.e., you get more work done in less time. So be consistent! Keeping the elbows close to the body on the ring muscle-ups, maintaining active shoulders on the overhead squats, fighting for tight hollow-body swings, lifting the dumbbell directly overhead on the snatches and turning the rope from the wrists on the double-unders will all add up to make a big difference.

Good luck! 

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