March 11, 2021
Nicole Carroll's Tips for Open Workout 21.1

Team. Here we are. We made it to the first workout of the 2021 CrossFit Open. 

We have something for everyone this year with Rx’d and scaled versions, as well as equipment-free and foundations versions of the workouts. Choose the one that is right for you and let’s do this.  

As prescribed, 21.1 starts with 1 walk walk and 10 double-unders … seems so benign … but this quickly escalates with ascending sets of 3, 6, 9, 15, and 21 walk walks, alternating with 30, 60, 90, 150, and 210 double-unders within a 15-minute time cap. 

This is the first time we have seen wall walks in the Open and, frankly, they are hard! I cannot overstate how demanding these are on the shoulders. In 21.1, metabolic distress will take a back seat to managing shoulder fatigue. 

So, let’s talk about how we do this.

First, gain and maintain body control. When you wall walk, you want active shoulders, arms locked, and the body in a tight, ideally hollowed position. Bent arms and a saggy body will do you no favors here.

Next, de-loading the push-up off the ground can also help. As long as your hands do not move, you can initiate the movement by pushing up off your knees from the ground. Similarly on the return, once your hands hit or cross the line, do not crash but also don't work a slow negative down — think controlled release to the floor. 

There is zero benefit to racing through the wall walks. This movement, and certainly the volume of it, is new for most of us, so checking out mentally, and relying on muscle memory and grit is not going to work as this standard punishes sloppiness. On the ascent, it becomes far too easy to move your hands before both feet are on the wall, or, on the descent, to let your feet come crashing down before your hands touch or cross the front line. 

One more time because I love you: Pay close attention to the standard! Scaled is distinctly different from Rx'd. And either way, each rep is so much work and no reps are so costly. 

For the jump rope, consciously relax through the shoulders and turn the rope from the wrists. If you’re doing double-unders and get to the higher rounds, you may still feel like you need to break them up because your shoulders will be so fried. That’s OK. Stay calm and just get through them. 

Two-hundred and fifty-thousand CrossFitters across the world have come together this year against many odds. There’s a beautiful and powerful collective resiliency in this and whether it is your 11th Open or your very first, you’re part of that. 

Whichever version of the workout you choose, remember to move well, work hard, and most importantly have fun! 

Go get ‘em and good luck.

—Nicole Carroll, CrossFit General Manager of Education